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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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
Saturday, October 31, 2009  

Happy Halloween!

Get in the spirit with:

The Retro Cocktail Hour Halloween Spook-tacular

and A Haunted House of Blues Radio Hour

(Free registration required)


Friday, October 30, 2009  

He Who gets Slapped (1924 USA 80 mins)

~ In its entirety, with Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer and John Gilbert; directed by Victor Seastrom [Sjöström]

David Cairns:

Chaney plays Paul Beaumont, an aspiring scientist who loses everything in one horrific day – his theories are stolen, he is disgraced before his peers, and his wife scorns him in favour of the man who robbed him. Each horror culminates in a slap to the face. Beaumont cracks, begins to laugh, and the next time we see him he’s employed as a circus clown and known only as HE. And then the film’s true story begins...

Freud once remarked that Chaplin was a simple case: a rich man driven to endlessly replay the trauma of poverty by dressing as a tramp. As usual, Freud was mistaken, at least partly: Chaplin quickly tired of his tramp persona but was compelled by the public to maintain it. But Chaney’s character, HE, obsessively revisits his own trauma, re-enacting the slap that ended his first life, again and again, for the delectation of the circus audience. As an exploration of emotional masochism,
He Who gets Slapped is an extraordinary work, far removed from the romantic glitz MGM would make its stock-in-trade.



Lon Chaney Tribute


Tuesday, October 27, 2009  

The Shemp Meditation Tape

Bizarre and funny, 30 minutes of hee-bee-bees:

Recommended for new age nitwits and chuckleheads alike....scientifically mixed in Shemp-A-Rama for your enlightened casaba-banging pleasure.... Soar the Horwitz heavens and become one with Shemp's karma on the Heee Beee Beee Beee side... transhempify your mind and cook your chakras on the life-infirming Ahh Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha side.


A vast lode of myriad phobias: He was afraid of water, afraid of heights, afraid to drive, afraid to ride in a car. He wouldn't get on a plane, he jumped at every noise, and he was afraid of every dog but his own Collie, Wags.

Shemp Company

Wall of Shemp


Monday, October 26, 2009  

'Cozy' Dolan says: Go you Phillies

They're out to win, win ev-'ry day. Every victory is sweet.
Watch 'em hit that ball a mile; play a game that's packed with thrills.
Get Pa to bring your Mother, Sister and your Brother
Come out to see the Fight-in' Phils. The fight, fight, fight-'in Phils.

~ Phillies fight song, 1950

More songs about teams


Thursday, October 22, 2009  

Why Catholic?

Apropos of the Pope's recent remarkable invitation to the Anglicans, an inquiring friend writes:

If you weren't raised Catholic, would you be Catholic?

My reply is that is an excellent question. If you'd asked me 10 or 12 years ago I would have said not necessarily or probably not. Today I'd say definitely.

The reasons for this are many and not that easy to articulate, but I'll try to provide a few, via a sort-of jumbled shorthand:

* Looking into my infant child's face and knowing there must be a Creator at the heart of all, and that I am grateful to Him;

* The idea that this Creator so loved us that He would come among us and share our existence and our suffering, and offer Himself for us; that the Divine would thus touch and ennoble the human experience; that He would have us see Him in one another and in all things, and that His message would be one of sacrificial love;

* The remark by, I believe, Chesterton that if you look into the mirror of the universe and all you see looking back is yourself, it's a pretty shallow existence;

* The connection with the "seen and unseen"; the Communion of the Angels and Saints; the Blessed Virgin;

* The Real Presence; the idea that the Church asks you to believe something that is not perceptible to the senses but that is taken on faith; the realization that the most enduring and important things in life likewise cannot be seen or touched;

* The description – Chesterton again – of the Church as an institution that does not move with the world, but that moves the world;

* St Christopher; St Bernadette of Lourdes; St. Dismas, the Good Thief; Fr. Willie Doyle, SJ; Jesuits and Oratorians, Passionists and Marist Missionaries;

* My family;

* Taking Communion to Mozart's 'Ave Verum Corpus' sung by the boy choir at St. Paul's in Harvard Square, or kneeling at the altar rail in front of a statue of the Virgin at the old Holy Trinity German Church in the South End.

The list could go on, but there is a website that does the job far better, a blog by North Shore writer and publisher Webster Bull called Why I am a Catholic.

He describes the site thus: A friend, a fellow convert, asked me out of the blue one day, "So, Webster, why Catholicism?" I was at a loss. I couldn't say. So I started this blog. Each post is a partial answer.

The result is a remarkably eloquent work in progress, well worth a visit. (Via America.)

* * *


Jesuit Father Alfred Barrett, teacher-poet, reads aloud from a book of his poems to students on the lawn at Fordham University ~ From "Jesuits in America," photos by Margaret Bourke-White, Life Magazine, October 1953.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009  

'New era begins

as Benedict throws open gates of Rome

to disaffected Anglicans'

This is astonishing news. Pope Benedict XVI has created an entirely new Church structure for disaffected Anglicans that will allow them to worship together – using elements of Anglican liturgy – under the pastoral supervision of their own specially appointed bishop or senior priest.

The Pope is now offering Anglicans worldwide “corporate reunion” on terms that will delight Anglo-Catholics. In theory, they can have their own married priests, parishes and bishops – and they will be free of liturgical interference by liberal Catholic bishops who are unsympathetic to their conservative stance.

This is a decision of supreme boldness and generosity by Pope Benedict XVI, comparable to his liberation of the Traditional Latin Mass. The implications of this announcement will take a long time to sink in, but I suspect that this will be a day of rejoicing for conservative Anglo-Catholics and their Roman Catholic friends all over the world.

~ Damian Thompson, The Daily Telegraph

* * *

Rev Thomas J. Reese, SJ, Washington Post:

Anglican welcome could revolutionize Church:

Could married Roman Catholic men from the traditional dioceses join the Anglican ordinariate and become seminarians and priests? If so, we have just solved the priest shortage problem and within a generation there will be more priests in the Anglican ordinariates than in the traditional dioceses. The rest of the people will soon follow and the Anglican ordinariate will hold a majority of Roman Catholics.

* * *

WSJ: Vatican in bold bid to attract Anglicans

Time Magazine: Pope to unhappy Anglicans: Come on in!

The Times (London): Pope's gambit could see 1,000 quit Church of England

Google Blogs roundup: Catholic Church Opens up to Anglicans

Midwest Conservative Journal: Bombshell

The Anchoress: Pope: Anglicans, Liturgy, Welcome! UPDATED

Mere Comments: Come on in, the Holy Water's fine

* * *

Above: John Henry Newman


Thursday, October 15, 2009  

Happy Wodehouse Day

Oh, by Jove, oh by Jove, oh by Jove.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009  

Stag party


Friday, October 09, 2009  

Ig Nobel

Michael Binyon, Times of London:

Absurd decision makes mockery of prize

James Delingpole, Daily Telegraph: WTF?

Mary Katherine Ham, Weekly Standard: Some thoughts and laughs

Peter Beinart, Daily Beast: Nobel farce

Benjamin Kerstein, New Ledger: Joke is on us

Marc Ambinder, Atlantic: But should he turn it down?

Benedict Brogan, Telegraph: He should turn it down.

Jonah Goldberg, NRO:

Hilarious…and sad:

The only thing that really bothers me is that this comes just days after the Obama administration turned a blind eye to the Dalai Lama and told the world that it's at least considering a separate peace with the Taliban. That's grotesque. Meanwhile, there are real peace activists and dissidents out there whose dungeons will stay just as cold and dark for another year because of this.


Thursday, October 08, 2009  

"Tessie (You Are the Only, Only, Only)"

~ Sung by Dan W. Quinn (1902)


Wednesday, October 07, 2009  

The GOP at the Museum of Natural History

~ By Elliott Banfield


Monday, October 05, 2009  

Annie is a most pious dog.

At the Blessing of the Animals she kept licking the holy-water sprinkler.


Friday, October 02, 2009  

Jazz at the National Zoo, 1925

The polar bear is digging it.

Via Shorpy.


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