Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
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"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

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Under the patronage of St. Tammany



Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem

He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

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Irish Elk
Tuesday, February 24, 2009  

Death & Medusa

Mardi Gras revelers in costume, c. 1937-40

Photo by Eudora Welty


Monday, February 23, 2009  

The Church's new face in America

Dolan to NY:

Rejoice, say Michael Sean Winters and Rocco Palma.

Kathryn Jean Lopez and John Allen lend their perspective.

American Papist wonders: Will he still root for Marquette?


Saturday, February 21, 2009  

"Polar Bear Polka"

Composed by Albert W. Berg
New York : Firth, Pond & Co., 1856

Keffer Collection of Sheet Music,
ca. 1790-1895
Penn Special Collections


Thursday, February 19, 2009  

"The Composer Behind the Clown's Greasepaint"

Listen to a tribute to Fats Waller at Dave Radlauer's "Jazz Rhythm."

* * *

From Time, Aug. 9, 1943: "How Tom is Doin'"

He has cooked up some good ones before. Among them: Ain't Misbehavin', I've Got a Feelin' I'm Fallin', Keepin' Out of Mischief Now. Waller has collaborated with many a lyricist. Some of his best results he turned out with Andy Razaf, his favorite poet next to Longfellow.* During one rewarding session in retreat at Asbury Park, N.J., the two men turned out Zonky, My Fate Is in Your Hands and Honeysuckle Rose in two hours. Razaf had enticed Waller into his mother's Asbury Park home for a productive session away from the nightspots. Says Razaf: "She's a wonderful cook and Fats loves to eat. We had a show to write and I figured that would keep Fats away from the bars. He could set the telephone book to music."

Keeping Tom Waller away from bars is a difficult feat. His capacity for both food & drink is vast. A Waller breakfast may include six pork chops. It is when he is seated at the piano that he most relishes a steady supply of gin. When his right-hand man, brother-in-law Louis Rutherford, enters with a tray of glasses, Tom will cry, "Ah, here's the man with the dream wagon! I want it to hit me around my edges and get to every pound."

In 1932 Fats balked the depression with a rapid month in Paris. There his enthusiastic friends included Marcel Dupré, onetime organist of Notre Dame Cathedral. With Dupré, Fats climbed into the Notre Dame organ loft where "first he played on the god box, then I played on the god box." In Paris Fats also came into cultural contact with a fellow pianist and expatriate named "Steeplehead" Johnson. Fats got home from the French capital by wiring Irving Berlin for funds.

Few who had funds could ever refuse him. With a piano, a bottle of gin, and a hot weather handkerchief, he is one of the most infectious men alive. With his wife Anita and their two musically gifted sons, Maurice, 15, and Ronald, 14, he lives in an eight-room English brick house in St. Albans, L.I. The house has a Hammond organ, a size B Steinway grand and an automatic phonograph with 1,500 records. Next to Lincoln and F.D.R., Fats considers Johann Sebastian Bach the greatest man in history.

Once a dewy-eyed young thing stopped Fats and inquired, "Mr. Waller, what is swing?" Said he: "Lady, if you got to ask, you ain't got it."

* Razaf's real name: Andrea Razafinkeriefo. He is the nephew of Ranavalona III, last Queen of Madagascar.



Blossom Dearie, RIP

From the Daily Telegraph:

Blossom Dearie, who died on February 7 aged 82, was one of the great interpreters of American song in the post-war era. She did not like to be described as a jazz singer (although she grew up in a jazz milieu), nor as a supper-club singer (although she often entertained in supper clubs); a mixture of the two, she preferred to call herself "a songwriters' singer".

The New Yorker critic Whitney Balliett once said that Blossom Dearie's tiny wisp of a voice "would scarcely reach the second storey of a doll's house".

Marguerite Blossom Dearie was born on April 29 1926 at East Durham, near Albany, New York, where, it is said, the locals are noted for their clarity of diction. Surprisingly, her name, so unusual and so perfectly suited to her fragile, blowaway voice, was also completely genuine. Dearie is an old Scottish name, and her father, a barman of Scottish-Irish extraction, hit upon Blossom after seeing some peach blossom shortly after her birth.

"Blossom's Blues" * "I'm Hip"


Wednesday, February 18, 2009  

The Chiffons: "One Fine Day"

~ Some spring in the step for Hump Day


Monday, February 16, 2009  

Presidents Day

Finally, an answer to the question:

Why Washington Pie is called pie:

In cooking, as in fashion, where one knockoff leads to another, the road to Boston Cream Pie seems fairly straightforward. The pie, or cake-pie as it was originally called, started out as a cake batter baked in a piecrust. This makes sense because most Colonial cooks had pie pans, not cake pans. At some point, the crust was eliminated, and the batter was poured directly into the pie pan. The transition from pie pan to cake pan is unclear, but once the pie officially became a cake, the real tinkering began.

The first variation, called Washington Pie, was a two-layer cake filled with jam and topped with powdered sugar. This was followed by Boston Cream Pie, with pastry cream replacing the jam. Next, in a moment of can-you-top-this, a three layer extravaganza with jam and pastry cream was created. Finally, in 1854, a chef at the Omni Parker House hotel in Boston transformed the dessert into Chocolate Cream Pie by topping it with chocolate.

These days, two pastry chefs at the Omni are kept busy making Boston Cream Pie.


Saturday, February 14, 2009  

Happy Valentine's Day!

* * *


"The Hippopotamus Polka"

By L. St. Mars
New York : W. Hall & Son, between 1848-58
Keffer Collection of Sheet Music
Penn Special Collections


Thursday, February 12, 2009  

Happy 200th Birthday, Abraham Lincoln



This day in history: Feb. 12, 1909

The centennial of Lincoln's birth marked the largest commemoration of any person in American history. The Lincoln penny was minted, the first coin bearing the image of an American president, and talks took place in Washington about a grand Lincoln monument to be erected in the nation's capital. All across the country, and in many nations around the world, America's 16th president was extolled. An editorial in the London Times declared, "Together with Washington, Lincoln occupies a pinnacle to which no third person is likely to attain." The commander of the Brazilian Navy ordered a 21-gun salute "in homage to the memory of that noble martyr of moral and of neighborly love." The former states of the Confederacy, which less than 50 years earlier had rejoiced at Lincoln's death, now paid tribute to the leader who had reunified the nation. W. C. Calland, a state official in Missouri-which, during the Civil War, had been a border state that contributed 40,000 troops to the Confederate cause-barely contained his astonishment in a memorandum reporting on the festivities: "Perhaps no event could have gathered around it so much of patriotic sentiment in the South as the birthday of Abraham Lincoln....Confederate veterans held public services and gave public expression to the sentiment, that had 'Lincoln lived' the days of reconstruction might have been softened and the era of good feeling ushered in earlier." (1)

In a ceremony at Hodgenville, Kentucky, at the old Lincoln 110-acre farmstead, President Theodore Roosevelt laid a three feet square cornerstone for a granite and marble neo-classic memorial building to enshrine a symbolic replica of the log cabin at the site in which Lincoln was born.

Seven thousand people showed up for the dedication. When Roosevelt began his speech he hopped onto a chair and was greeted by cheers. "As the years [roll] by," he said in his crisp, excitable voice, "...this whole Nation will grow to feel a peculiar sense of pride in the mightiest of the mighty men who mastered the mighty days; the lover of his country and of all mankind; the man whose blood was shed for the union of his people and for the freedom of a race: Abraham Lincoln." The ceremony in Kentucky heralded the possibility of national reconciliation and racial justice proceeding hand in hand. (1)

It was long known that Roosevelt greatly admired Lincoln. “Lincoln, he said, led the formation of a new Republican party when the old Whig party ceased to 'help the people'; Roosevelt followed in his footsteps. Lincoln hated slavery and fought against it all of his life; Roosevelt hated and fought the idea that 'it is one man's duty to toil and work and earn bread and the right of another man to eat it'.” (2) He also said about Lincoln, “Lincoln was the first who showed how a strong people might have a strong government, and yet remain the freest on the earth.” Roosevelt saw Lincoln as honest and reforming and was often guided by Lincoln's philosophy, wisdom and politics.

The cornerstone remained suspended in the air in the grasp of a big derrick and immediately after the speeches was lowered into its place at the signal from the President, who applied the first trowelful of mortar to hold it into place. Concealed in the stone laid a metallic box containing copies of the Constitution of the United States and some other important historic documents. After that, Isaac Montgomery, a former slave of Jefferson Davis, deposited into this box a copy of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, referring to himself as,”...one of the former millions of slaves to whom Lincoln gave freedom.”

The memorial building was completed in 1911 under the administration of President Taft and has 56 steps leading up to the building, representing his age at the time of his death.

~ Theodore Roosevelt Association's Notes, Facebook



Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Darwin


Wednesday, February 11, 2009  

Jennifer Jones

~ Acting in Song of Bernadette, 1943.

From the Life Archive.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009  

Noted Here & There

Daily Telegraph: Kindle 2 the future of books?

Llamas: Zippy on the stimulus package

CNN Politics: P*rn star Stormy Daniels for Senate

Digital Hairshirt: Bishop Williamson is a fool * Hail to the Chia

Shorpy: Nat'l Theater, 1918 * Shoomaker's saloon, 1917

Ye Olde Evening Telegraph: Buster Keaton, 1955

Walter Isaacson, Time: How to save your newspaper

Andrew Cusack: Some Afrikaners * Victory Parade, Dublin, 1919

Dr. Boli Advertisement: More of the flavors dogs crave

Panabasis: Five Fine Fezes

The Port Stands at Your Elbow: "Farewell, Will Robinson"


Monday, February 09, 2009  

Go You Sons of Herb Wakabayashi

No. 1 BU plays NU in the Beanpot Final tonight.

US College Hockey Online has lots of coverage.

If you want to find a classic BU cheer online you have to go to
ancient archrival Cornell for it.

Or for the Cornell anti-version, at least.

Courtesy of hockeychick470 at the E-Lynah Forum, here's the
old BU fight song (with a Cornell twist):

Also via E-Lynah, here is the famous cowbell cheer, which Cornell
invented, but was appropriated by BU:

Cornell fan Chris '03 comments on BU:

They really are the bizarro Cornell.

* * *

Above: Herb Wakabayashi

* * *

What They Were Thinking:

Boston University freshman ANDREW RASMUSSEN (third from left), texting at the conclusion of the Terriers' 4-3 first-round Beanpot win as referees review -- and wave off a Harvard goal that came after the buzzer, Feb. 2, 2009 --

"I'm sitting up top, and my friend Chuck, who goes to Northeastern, is sitting right across in the Northeastern section. My friend was texting me all game, telling me how Harvard was going to win and how BU was going down. He sent me a message saying, 'Hey, fun fact for you, Harvard's winning this game.' I couldn't let the reputation of my school be debated. So I sent him back a message saying, 'No way. BU owns the Beanpot ' It was so clearly not a goal -- it was like five seconds after. I didn't get to enjoy the moment but putting him in his place was well enough enjoyment for me. I look terrible. It makes me look like one of those people that go to the game just because it's the Beanpot. It's so embarrassing, but it's pretty funny, too. I'm definitely not a nerd. I'm going to be there Monday night to watch BU win; but I'll probably leave my phone home."

~ Stan Grossfeld, Boston Globe




If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

~ GK Chesterton


Sunday, February 08, 2009  


Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say,

"In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood -

"In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant."

Well for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

~ Elwood P. Dowd, Harvey

~ Via Songs I Sing



He doesn't remember where he was when he took this picture.

"There's the ocean," I said. "And the clouds look fairly subtropical. More of a morning than evening sun maybe."

"Could be I was leaving Miami."

The photo's a month or so old. I found it on his iPhoto and swiped it. Silver and gold, clouds and sky and shadows and ocean.

He sees stuff like this all the time. I wonder what beauty I see every day, take for granted and don't remember.

~ Amy Kane, pilot's wife


Thursday, February 05, 2009  

It's cold out

Eighteen degrees today. Reason enough to post this wonderful
2003 picture by the AP's Robert Bukaty of a red-winged blackbird chilling.

An adherent of the Droll Yankee hookah? Summoning the avian patronus?


Wednesday, February 04, 2009  

Michael Dubruiel, RIP

Amy Welborn's husband, Michael, has passed away at 50.

He leaves a young family and many friends across St. Blog's Parish.

Deepest condolences.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009  

Pitchers and catchers report in eight days

Punxsutawney Phil notwithstanding, spring is on the way.

Get in the spirit with these images from the Life Archive

of the Boston Braves at spring training in Florida in 1949.


Buddy Holly on Ed Sullivan

"Oh, Boy"

"Peggy Sue"

"That'll Be the Day"

~ In memoriam


Monday, February 02, 2009  

Habemus Marmota!



Once More For All the Beans

Terrier Hockey Fan Blog and Stanley Cup of Chowder
preview the 57th Beanpot Tournament.

The BU Pep Band sets the mood with a musical cocktail.



Barry White:

"You Are The First, My Last, My Everything"

You can't hear this in the car and not be in a good mood.

Had planned to post this Friday for the weekend.

Now I find Mr & Mrs P have Barry White up, too.

Great minds, etc.


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