Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
Amy Kane

"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)."
Erik Keilholtz

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

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Irish Elk
Friday, May 29, 2009  

Fire up the Quattro

Steve M and other Ashes to Ashes fans will appreciate this:

BBC America for some reason hasn't been airing the second season.

But some good soul has been posting all the Series 2 episodes online.

ByeLittleLady, we raise a glass to you as we huddle around the Gateway.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009  

Some Music for a Rainy Wednesday

SHINDIG! - Sixties Superstars

-- Dobie Gray - "The In Crowd"

-- Zsa Zsa Gabor

-- Jerry Lee Lewis - "Great Balls Of Fire"

-- The Isley Brothers - "Shout"

The Chantays play "Pipeline" on the Lawrence Welk Show, 5/18/63


Tuesday, May 26, 2009  

Levitations of St. Philip Neri

In honor of his feast day, this excerpt from The Life of Saint Philip Neri by Pietro Giacomo Bacci (1902):

He was often seen with his whole body raised in the air; among others Paolo Sfondrato, Cardinal of S Cecilia, saw him in prayer raised several spans from the ground, indeed almost to the ceiling, as he told Paul V. a little before his death…

Father Gregorio Ozes, the Dominican, declared that before he entered religion he also saw Philip raised in the air and with a resplendent light around him; and F Francesco Maria Tarugi, that he had beheld him raised a palm above his bed when the Saint was praying once for Tarugi's deliverance from a temptation of sloth, which immediately left him. These occurrences were not confined to private places or witnessed only by a few; even in churches and public places the Saint was carried away against his will into ecstasies. On one occasion he was praying in St Peter's at the tombs of the Apostles, when his whole body was seen to rise suddenly into the air, with his clothes gathered up as they had been when he was kneeling, and then to descend with equal suddenness; after which, fearing that he might have been observed, he fled away with the utmost rapidity. The same thing happened in many other churches, so that when he entered a church in company with others, he used to stay a very little time, only saying a Pater and Ave and then rising from his knees, to prevent the possibility of his going into an ecstasy.

He was repeatedly seen raised into the air when he was saying mass. At Torre di Specchi some of the nuns saw him three or four palms above the ground during mass. A little girl who was at his mass at S Girolamo saw him about two palms from the ground, and turning to her mother said with childish simplicity, "Mother, I think that father must be possessed; see how he stays in the air!" but the mother replied, "Hold your tongue, it is a Saint in an ecstasy."…

* * *


A Philip Neri cornucopia by Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP

Msgr. Ronald Knox on St. Philip Neri

The Collect of the Day

* * *


Beatus Philippus Nerius
Matthias Greuter (1564-1638)
Biblioteca Vallicelliana, Rome


Monday, May 25, 2009  

Burleigh E. Curtis Square, Holliston, Mass.

I'd long wondered about the story behind this small memorial tucked on the corner of a front lawn across from our church in Holliston.

Who was Burleigh E. Curtis?

This explanation was found online. He was a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot lost during a bombing run on June 13, 1944:

(On June 13, 1944,) The 378th destroyed eight flat cars, a box car and four trucks and strafed 15 trucks. Sadly, 2nd Lt. Leon Bentley of the 378th was killed by his own bomb while attacking a rail target at low altitude. Bentley’s bomb struck the top of a boxcar and bounced before exploding, catching his P-47D, 42-26114, in the blast. A similar fate befell Lt. Burleigh Curtis of the 377th in P-47D 42-75227; caught in his own bomb blast, his damaged P-47 tumbled out of the air, hit the ground and exploded. His squadronmates accounted for 31 military vehicles and 10 more damaged in the area around St. Andre de Briouze.


Sunday, May 24, 2009  

Excerpt from Memorial Day Address,

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, 1884:

It is not that these men are dead, but that they have so died...that they offered themselves willingly to death in a cause vital and dear to humanity; and what is more, a cause they comprehended as such, and looking at it, in all its bearings and its consequences, solemnly pledged to it all that they had and were.... This comprehension of the cause ~ this intelligent devotion ~ this deliberate dedication of themselves to duty ~ these deaths suffered in testimony of their loyalty, faith and love, make these men worthy of honor today, and these deaths equal to the lauded deaths of martyrs. Not merely that the cause was worthy but that they were worthy.... God grant to us that lesson of devotion and loyalty be not lost....

They gave their best for something held dearer than joy ~ something of good beyond their personal experience; the giving of which, in this world's estimation, is of such cost that it cannot be justified by your understanding but only in your overpassing faith.

We do not live for self.... We are a part of a larger life, reaching before and after, judged not by deeds done in the body but deeds done in the soul. We wish to be remembered. Willing to die, we are not willing to be forgotten.

* * *


"Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in Memorial Day Parade,"

by Ken Hendricksen


Saturday, May 23, 2009  

Thom. E. Osgood

Thomas Emerton Osgood by J.D. Andrews of Boston, Massachusetts. Osgood (1814-1896) served as a sergeant in Company C of the Twelfth New Hampshire Infantry from 1862-1865. He suffered two battle wounds. In 1863 at Chancellorsville, Virginia, a minie bullet hit him in the arm. In May 1864, near Drewry's Bluff, Virginia, a shell fragment struck him in the right leg.

~ One of a series of cartes de visite of Civil War soldiers posted to Flickr from the collection of Ron Coddington, author of "Faces of War," a regularly appearing column in the Civil War News, and two books published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, Faces of the Civil War (2004), and Faces of the Confederacy (2008).


Thursday, May 21, 2009  

"The Hut Sut Song"

My Dad used to sing this. The chorus goes:

Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah add a little brawla, brawla too it,
Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah add a little brawla sooit.
Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah add a little brawla, brawla too it,
Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah add a little brawla sooit.

I like the exasperated Spode lookalike in the video.

By way of warning, the tune tends to stick in your head.

You may or may not thank me for this.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009  

RCB for Narragansett

Grace the Gansett Girl says:

If you're not drinking Gansett, then you're not from New England.


Monday, May 18, 2009  

The Sevens

Better late than never: Irish Elk marks seven years online.

Thanks to all who've visited!

At Flickr: Lucky Sevens

Question for the Day: Who wore No. 7 for the 1932 Red Sox?

Image above posted by Sarah Quinn to the Sevens Ale House group on Facebook.



Warner's Seven Aces Jazz Band


Friday, May 15, 2009  

The Bruins are golfing, too.


Via Stanley Cup of Chowder


Thursday, May 14, 2009  

Carnival of Whiggery

When something fades into obscure obsolescence it's said to have gone the way of the Whigs. Jack Aubrey had no use for them, but the Irish Elk thinks that politically, at the end of the day, he is more than anything else a Whig. Turns out he is not alone.

Karen Hall writes:

That does it. I was never a Republican. It was all a bad dream.

I'm a Whig.

Meantime, something called the Modern Whig Party is staging a national online conference on May 19.

So for those Whiggishly inclined, some items of interest found on the Web:

Keira Knightly goes to a Whig rally.


The Duchess of Devonshire's Gossip Guide: Tarts of the Week.

* * *

From the Time archive, a 1970 profile of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (pictured above), then a Nixon appointee:

"Whig in the White House"

He blossomed out in Savile Row suits and developed a taste for fine food and wines. Captious critics suggest that England gave him the airs of an Edwardian intellectual dandy who became intoxicated with the sound of his own voice; it is perhaps more accurate to say that London life turned him into a spiritual descendant of the Whigs —the 18th and early-19th century oligarchs who combined a sense of personal elitism with a certainty that they knew what was best for society. In any case, the experience imbued him with a fondness for place and a lively sense of the past. He is the contented owner of a 300-acre farm in the land of James Fenimore Cooper in upstate New York...

* * *

From the Guardian, a 2001 review by John Charmley of Roy Jenkins' Churchill:

"Once a Whig"

Very Whig of very Whig, begotten not made, would not be a bad summary.

* * *

Burke's Corner:

The theologies of conservatism:

The low church spirit of Bryan dominates American conservatism. If conservatism in the Great Republic wishes to reconnect with Burke's concern for prudence and order, it should stop listening to revivalist preachers - and read Rerum Novarum.

* * *

Edmund Burke caricature, 1790:

"Sublime and beautiful reflections on the French revolution, or the man in the moon at large"

* * *

Snarksmith on Burke the Whig as crypto-Catholic, whose Reflections on the Revolution in France was written in response to the enthusiasms of the local Revolution Society:

The 18th century Irishman was not merely defending the church in France out of an a fortiori defense of monarchy as being inextricable from divine right. Apart from his general esteem of the ecclesiastical tradition, Burke was acutely concerned with the denomination of church in question. His mother was a Roman Catholic and his father, as Conor Cruise O'Brien has brilliantly argued, was in all probability something of a "closeted" one, too. Richard Burke may well have been confirmed to the Protestant Established Church of Ireland only to protect his legal practice and to indemnify himself and his family against England's viciously anti-Catholic Penal Code. Burke fils spent the better part of his political life agitating for Catholic rights and suffering no small amount of obloquy and persecution for it. He at one point lost his Parliamentary seat in Bristol following the passage of the Catholic Relief Act of 1778, which was the fruit of his singular labors. Burke was also personally blamed by the psychotic Lord George Gordon, imago and populist egger-on of the anti-Catholic riots which swept London in 1780 and bore the aristocrat's name.

In short, then, he was well attuned to the anti-Papist subtext of the banners of 1789. The Revolution Society was after all founded to celebrate England's Glorious Revolution of 1688, in which the Catholic King James II was ousted in favor of his Protestant daughter Mary and her Dutch Protestant husband William III. Here is O'Brien:

"This particular combination of defending 1688 while attacking Roman Catholicism hurt Burke deeply, for it hit him along a fundamental fault line in his political personality. Burke was a Whig, and thus ex officio committed to the principles of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, including the Protestant succession. But at the same time he was disqualified from sharing the feelings of normal English Whigs toward that Revolution: Burke needed to play down its anti-Catholic elements. When the Revolution Society played up the latter, Burke suffered and needed to strike back."

* * *

From the First Things archive, a 1990 article by Michael Novak:

"The Return of the Catholic Whig"

In his famous Postscript to The Constitution of Liberty, Friedrich von Hayek identified Thomas Aquinas as "the first Whig," and has several times since noted how important it is to distinguish the Whig tradition from that of many exponents of the classical liberal tradition. Among Hayek’s favorite exemplars of the Whig tradition are Alexis de Tocqueville and Lord Acton. It is noteworthy that all three of Hayek’s models are Catholic, and to his list other names can readily be added: Jacques Maritain, Yves R. Simon, and John Courtney Murray.

In important ways, all these thinkers go beyond the usual positions of "liberals." For example, they have a respect for language, law, liturgy, and tradition that, in some senses, marks them as "conservative." Still, they believe in some human progress, and they emphasize human capacities for reflection on alternatives and choice among them—characteristics that mark them as realistic progressives. With the liberals, they locate human dignity in liberty, but
ordered liberty (just as, for Aquinas, practical wisdom is recta ratio). The Catholic Whigs, then, present a distinctive mix: conservative, progressive, liberal, and realistic.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009  

Cardinal Cushing and

Dick "The Monster" Radatz


Sunday, May 10, 2009  

Happy Mother's Day

Pictured: Mignon Critten Sherley, with husband Congressman Swager Sherley (D-Ky.), and child, 1908.

The couple met on a steamer trip to the Philippines with future President Taft. Her friend Alice Roosevelt and Nicholas Longworth paired up on the same voyage. The NY Times headlined "Secretary Taft as Cupid."

Via Shorpy


Friday, May 08, 2009  

Around the Horn

Kent school headmaster Father Sill yells to crew team.

Connecticut, 1937

From the Life archive

* * *

Scrolling through the bookmarks:

Charlie Parker Gunslinger: Ziegfeld girls

Andrew Cusack:

Fake newspapers in Bright Young Things

Guinness heraldry

Patum Peperium: Bert the Lobsterman

American Digest: In future, everything will be cheaper, crumbier

History Today: A history of the Virgin Mary

Commentary: I.F. Stone, Soviet agent

Atlantic Ave.: Elephant seals of Piedras Blancas

Dr. Boli:

Torquemada Persuasion Technologies

Dramatic scenes from 'Edna Lou'

Daily Telegraph: Strange signs and bizarre language around world

Uni Watch: Baseball Digest archives now online



Spring has sprung

Annie, rolling in the clover.



Who is better than his brother Joe?

Dominic DiMaggio!



Tuesday, May 05, 2009  

The Mad Monarchist:

Consort Profile: Empress Carlota

On July 27, 1857 she married Archduke Maximilian von Hapsburg, younger brother of Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria. For a time they were the viceregal couple of the Austrian territory in Italy but found their hands tied there and unable to have much of an impact. When the French Empire and leading Mexican Catholics offered Maximilian the Crown of Mexico she urged her husband to accept. They were both young and idealistic and convinced they could make Mexico great and usher in a new era of monarchial glory in the New World.

Going by the Spanish version of her name, Empress Carlota quickly showed her hardworking nature and zeal to be a good empress. She held parties to raise money for the poor of Mexico, hand sewed nightshirts for people in the hospital and had orphanages and poor houses built. She also proved a more able administrator than her husband and often acted quite capably as regent while he was touring the country. She was also extremely brave and afraid of nothing. When republican revolutionaries became a problem she assured her husband that there was no situation she could not handle. She told him that if a threat arose, as long as she had a few hundred zouaves on hand she could deal with it herself…

Above: Bette Davis & Brian Aherne, Juarez (1939)

~ Via booboogbs at Flickr




Happy Cinco de Mayo


Monday, May 04, 2009  

Jack Kemp, Happy Warrior:

Michael Gerson * Rick Brookhiser * Bill Bennett

Michel Martin, NPR * Peter Wehner, Commentary

National Review

Jack Kemp: A Letter to My Grandchildren


Friday, May 01, 2009  

A toast to St Tammany

Celebrate the feast day of early America's patron saint
with an intoxicating concoction:

The Tammany Cocktail

Mixmaster Old Dominion Tory offers this recipe:

1 jigger Mount Gay Rum
1 jigger Dark Rum (e.g., Black Seal)
1 T Fresh Lemon Juice
1 T Fresh Lime Juice
Dash of sweet vermouth
1. Fill cocktail shaker with ice
2. Add ingredients. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled cocktail
glass. Stir with a walrus tusk.
3. Variation -- Top with Ginger Beer

I do believe I have my walrus tusk lying around somewhere. Cheers!

* * *

To Tammany let well fill'd horns go round
His fame let ev'ry honest tongue resound
With him let ev'ry gen'rous patriot vie
To live in freedom or with honour die.

~ St. Tammany Day drinking song, 18th century

~ From Saint Tammany and the Origin of the Society of Tammany
or Columbian Order in the City of New York
by Edwin P. Kilroe, 1913

* * *

Cigar-store figure, Pekin, Ill.

* * *

The legend of St Tammany is one of the oldest in America The actual Tammany is said to have been an old Indian of whom very little was known, who lived near the Delaware, signed a treaty with William Penn, and is said to have afterward lived and died on the spot now occupied by Princeton college. Another story is to the effect that Tammany lived west of the Allegheny Mountains, north of the Ohio River and that it was he who built, with his people, the mounds and other monumental remains which exist in the valleys of that section of the country. In his youth he was famed for his exploits as a hunter and warrior, and his deeds were recounted at every council fire from beyond the Father of Waters to the Great Salt Lake. All sorts of curious tales are told of the warfare that was kept up between Tammany and the evil spirit. It is alleged that it was this contest which induced the latter to plant poison sumach and stinging nettles, to send innumerable rattlesnakes into the land, and to turn loose large droves of mammoths and other huge animals over the country. There are also tales of a terrible deluge which overwhelmed the continent, or a large portion of it, the waters of which, being drained off, left the falls of Niagara as a monument of the event. In regard to these and many other terrible calamities, which were precipitated upon the country by the evil spirit, it is related that in every instance the great chief Tammany came off conqueror at last, and that eventually this enemy was banished to the cold and remote regions of Labrador and Hudson's Bay and threatened with instant death, if he should ever be caught showing his face south of the Great Lakes. After this Tammany is said to have devoted himself to the arts of peace and especially the pursuit of agriculture. His government was patriarchal in character and his decisions were always law. Plenty prevailed in his land and his people were contented and happy. Their watchword was "Tammany and Liberty." ~ From The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1893

* * *


Of Andrew, of Patrick, of David, and George,
What mighty achievements we hear!
While no one relates great Tammany's feats,
Although more heroic by far, my brave boys,
Although more heroic by far.

These heroes fought only as fancy inspired,
As by their own stories we find;
Whilst Tammany, he fought only to free
From cruel oppression mankind, my brave boys,
From cruel oppression mankind.

When our country was young and our numbers were few
To our fathers his friendship was shown,
(For he e'er would oppose whom he took for his foes,)
And he made our misfortunes his own, my brave boys,
And he made our misfortunes his own.

At length, growing old and quite worn out with years,
As history doth truly proclaim,
His wigwam was fired, he nobly expired,
And flew to the skies in a flame, my brave boys,
And flew to the skies in a flame.


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