"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. Email
Monday, September 28, 2009 A bit more Audrey Munson
"If you have walked Manhattan streets, visited Central Park, or stood in the atrium of the Metropolitan Museum's American Wing, you have seen the art of Audrey Munson," observes arts journalist Jane Librizzi.
Certainly Miss Munson is all over town, mostly undressed. Mrs P, it is possible that Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. addressed this American Venus, in her statue form, while he was pub crawling with H. L. Mencken.
New York City Statues has posted a remarkably long list of all the statues in the city depicting Miss Munson. Above she is seen as "Pomona, the Fountain of Abundance" at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street.
The young Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., covering the [1932 Democratic] convention for the New York Herald Tribune, joined his friend H. L. Mencken for a tour of the Loop's speakeasies. "A taxi took us to a bar which was located in a long, narrow room," he recalled. "Near the front door and to the left was bar itself. Standing before the bar was a young lady who could best be described as gorgeous. At the end of the room was a piano and a species of male singer, in vogue at the time, known as a crooner. Mencken and I ordered drinks and, as we stood drinking, the crooner's voice became more and more objectionable. Finally, Mencken said to the young lady behind the bar, 'I'd like to shoot that son of a bitch.' The young lady did not bat an eye or change her supercilious expression. She reached under the counter, pulled out a Thompson submachine gun, laid it on the counter, and with a condescending fluttering of her eyelids said, indifferently, 'Go ahead.'"
Almost everything about Wellington Mara was old-fashioned, starting with his name. Who anymore names a child after the Duke of Wellington?
He had an earthy, pug-nosed Irish face and an authentic New York accent, of the kind you hear now only in movies from the 30's and 40's. He was a Catholic who attended Mass daily and fathered 11 children. And as his eulogists kept pointing out, he was the last of the old-school sports-team owners, a throwback to football's leather-helmet era.
That we will not see his like again is a certainty, if for no other reason than that people no longer become owners at age 14, the way Mara did in 1930, when his father, a former bookmaker, turned the Giants over to him and his older brother, Jack.
Mara…was beloved by his players - seven busloads of whom turned out for his funeral…
Mr. Mara assembled the fabled Giants teams of the 1950's and 60's; they included Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote, Y. A. Tittle, Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, Roosevelt Brown and Roosevelt Grier. And he helped fuel the immense prosperity that all the N.F.L. franchises enjoy by championing a formula in which all the teams share equally in national television broadcast revenue.
He devoted his life to his large family, his Catholic faith and his extended Giants family, whose members revered him for his integrity and kindness.
The archetypical Catholic gentleman distinguished himself in his pro-life work, very practically engaging football stars in his “Athletes for Life” which helped the moral formation of young boys in our morally desolate culture. I saw him shortly before he died and he never ceased to smile in spite of his discomfort.
We used to joke that we got on so well because of my disdain for professional football, fleeing the slightest prospect of free tickets. He was a faithful penitent and communicant and I think he converted many in his raucous profession by his example.
At Mara's funeral in 2005 his son John recalled in a eulogy one of the few times Mara lost his temper with the press:
‘What can you expect from an Irishman named Wellington, whose father was a bookmaker?’ A local sports writer derisively wrote those words about 30 years ago during a time when we were going through some pretty awful seasons. My father usually didn’t let criticism from the media affect him very much, but those words stung him in a very personal way.
‘I’ll tell you what you can expect,’ he said at our kickoff luncheon just a few days later. ‘You can expect anything he says or writes may be repeated aloud in your own home in front of your own children. You can believe that he was taught to love and respect all mankind, but to fear no man. And you could believe that his abiding ambitions were to pass onto his family the true richness of the inheritance he received from his father, the bookmaker: The knowledge and love and fear of God and second to give you (our fans and our coach) a Super Bowl winner.’
Lastly, if Wellington Mara weren't already in the RCBfA pantheon, this is his granddaughter:
Actress Kate Mara, pictured above in Vanity Fair, also is great-granddaughter of Steelers founder Art Rooney.
Washington, D.C. Aug. 28, 1937: He-man exercise took the place of calisthenics today as the Redskins, Washington's entry in National Professional Football League, started training. The boys "flying thru the air" are, left to right: Millner (Notre Dame), Rentner (Northwestern) and Peterson (West Virginia Wesleyan)
According to Redskins Encyclopedia author Mike Richman:
Here's what I know about the selection of the nickname Redskins: The franchise was called the Boston Braves in its first season of existence in 1932. Owner George Preston Marshall chose that nickname to match with the National League baseball team; both teams played at Braves Field. (The NFL was only 12 years old, and it wasn't unusual at the time for a new football team to copy the nickname of the city's existing baseball team, i.e., Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates.)
Following the 1932 season, Marshall moved his team across town to Fenway Park, home of the American League's Boston Red Sox. He renamed his team the Redskins, pulling the "Red" from Red Sox and using "Skins" to maintain the Native American theme he had with the Braves. [That way he could keep using the team uniforms ~ Ed.] It's my understanding that Marshall didn't have any racist motives by selecting the nickname Redskins.
Around the same time, Marshall hired a new coach in William "Lone Star" Dietz, a part-blooded Native American. Dietz recruited six players from the Haskell Indian School in Kansas, where he'd once played with the great Jim Thorpe. Also, the players got a full makeover before the season-opener, wearing burgundy and gold uniforms and Indian war paint. Marshall was an entertainer at heart, and he wanted his squad to have its own uniqueness.
On Capitol Hill, as well as Westminster, drink once oiled the political process. "Cactus" Jack Garner, the genial Texan reactionary who was FDR's vice president in the 1930s and who famously said that his job wasn't worth a bucket of warm piss, confined his work to asking senators in to "strike a blow for liberty" over a flask of bourbon, so much of which flowed that Cactus Jack had a malodorous urinal installed in a corner of his office. If he wasn't the best advertisement for the virtues of booze, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a notably serious drinker who was also several cuts morally and intellectually above most of his Senate colleagues.
More alarming were Richard Nixon's last years at the White House. After a good many evening martinis, he would call Henry Kissinger, and the secretary of state would grin silently as he passed around the telephone so that others could listen to their commander in chief's unbalanced ramblings. Since Nixon was in a position to blow us all up, this suggests a somewhat esoteric sense of humor on Kissinger's part.
And yet it is not just patriotic pride to claim a special place for my country, from the time when William Pitt the Younger was prime minister in the 1790s while consuming three bottles of port a day. A contemporary jingle imagined him and his drinking companion Henry Dundas entering the Commons unsteadily: "Cannot see the speaker, Hal, can you?" "What, cannot see the speaker? I see two." #