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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.

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

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Irish Elk
Monday, June 30, 2003  
Politics ain't beanbag, but Black Jack, some say, ain't politic

General Pershing stomping a nest of bandit rattlesnakes

Muslims have urged a reprimand of Massachusetts state Sen. Guy Glodis, who circulated a flier suggesting the US prevent terrorist attacks by shooting Muslim extremists with pig-blood-soaked bullets and burying them in pig guts.

The flier purports to tell the story of how General John "Black Jack" Pershing captured and executed 50 terrorists while he was a military governor in the Philippines in the early 1900s.

Before they shot the terrorists, the soldiers supposedly slaughtered two pigs and soaked their bullets in pig blood. The ritual "horrified" the terrorists, who feared they would be "barred from paradise (and those virgins) and doomed to hell," the flier states.

"And for the next forty-two years, there was not a single Muslim extremist attack anywhere in the world," the flier reads. "Maybe it is time for this segment of history to repeat itself, maybe in Iraq? The question is, where do we find another Black Jack Pershing."

Glodis forwarded copies of the flier to his Senate colleagues with a note reading, "Thought this might be of interest to you."

"By no means did I mean to offend anyone," Glodis said. "I thought it was a news item of interest for their input and comment."

Heh. Bet they love him at Democratic Party HQs in Cambridge and Amherst.

Muslims are not amused. Meantime, the Worcester lawmaker has seen his alliterative name in headlines in the Hindustan Times and the Bangkok Post.

The Pershing item has been making the rounds on the Internet. Snopes looked into the tale and reports its validity is undetermined.

True or not, the Pershing story doesn't hold a candle to what an overzealous British civil administrator, following similar logic, actually ordered done to captured Sikh rebels at Malerkotla in 1872, in an episode that marked a low point of British imperialist rule in India.


"Hooray for Sodomy!" Weimar Berlin meets the Island of Misfit Toys as gays parade. The Gray Lady waves the rainbow flag. Tammany Hall, too: "Let's hear it for gay pride," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., bellowed through a megaphone as he marched down the avenue. "Let's even hear it for the Supreme Court, who ever thought we'd say that?" While the parade featured its usual collection of motorcycle dykes, drag queens, and musclemen, the High Court decision dominated the mood.

The term "fruit," while not PC these days (if it ever was), had its descriptive qualities, and it is a marvel that a movement that annually showcases itself through a carnival of bizarre exhibitionism does so with the enthusiastic imprimatur of politicians and newspaper editors to whom the oddness of the spectacle apparently no longer occurs. Not for nothing, but at what point these days does decadence become remarkable?


O'Malley seen for Boston: More from Channel 5 in Boston and in Palm Beach. In a Reuters photo, he's a dead ringer for St. Nicholas.


Main Entry: yare
Pronunciation: 'yar, 'yer, 'yar
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English gearu; akin to Old High German garo ready
Date: before 12th century
1 archaic : set for action : READY
2 or yar /'yar/ a : characterized by speed and agility : NIMBLE, LIVELY b : HANDY 1c, MANEUVERABLE
- yare adverb, archaic
- yare•ly adverb, archaic *

She was yar: Katharine Hepburn and The Philadelphia Story remembered.



Fenway scoreboard, 6/27/03. Another angle


Millerites: Count me in! Hail, Dennis * Larry * Millar, Kevin (10th in batting, AL) * Mueller, Bill (7th in batting, AL)


Brave New World Dept: Er... so if we can make human beings from a foetus, blogger James Casey asks (June 30), doesn't that make a foetus human after all? Or are we saying that humans can come from something that is not human? Out of curiosity, if your mother's not a human being, what does that make you? Some new species of ape descent?


Friday, June 27, 2003  


A wild turkey who has taken residence in Cambridge's Kendall Square makes the headlines. Nicknamed Mister Gobbles, he eats acorns and stares at his reflection in building windows. UPDATE: Photos

Adam Gaffin at Boston Online earlier chronicled an encounter with a wild turkey in West Roxbury. Here's the picture he snapped.

Wild turkeys have become quite common in my neck of the woods, where a flock of "attack turkeys" was reported a few years back. But it is always a thrill to see one (as I did just the other day, in a farmer's field in Sherborn), and when one ventures close to the city it's news.

Audubon's Wild Turkey makes Newbury Street dealer Haley & Steele's Top 10 list of popular art pieces.

Ben Franklin favored the turkey as America's national bird:

"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

"With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country....

"I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

The wild-turkey emblem has been adopted to fine effect by the American Spectator, which is nothing if not feisty: See the latest articles on Sodomy in the Age of Oprah, on Berrigan-inspired nuns heading to the clink, and on affirmative action and the Rice baseball champs.

The Hokie Bird

Speaking of turkeys, the tale of how the school no one wanted, Virginia Tech, landed in the ACC is spun by Ed Hardin of the Greensboro, N. C., News-Record:

Though no one has compiled such a list, Virginia Tech's name would've been on a list of schools the ACC had no intention of ever inviting, a ledger that would include East Carolina, South Carolina and maybe even Western Carolina.

You could see Louisville getting in someday, or Notre Dame, or Penn State or even Connecticut. But VPI? Not in 50 years.

Tech got in because its most hated rival was forced to play political football. Virginia's spineless president, one John T. Casteen III, was told by Virginia's mindless governor, one Mark Warner, to back Virginia Tech in any expansion talks, the equivalent of our governor telling Richard Petty how to drive.

Casteen did it, throwing the entire expansion process into fiasco-mode and resulting in the bizarre chain of events that led to Syracuse and Boston College being thrown back to the Big East lawyers and a horrified ACC to inviting Virginia Tech at the risk of watching the entire process crumble.

Now Virginia, which hates Virginia Tech, and Virginia Tech, which hates Virginia (and a lot of people agree with both of them) have become strange bedfellows in a politically induced sleep that has a lot of people bickering and a lot more snickering.


Well, they're probably taking that baseball bat to Ol' Strom's coffin lid right about now.

On the occasion of his 100th birthday this past fall, the longtime South Carolina senator was described colorfully by The Guardian's Matthew Engel, and even more colorfully by Mark Steyn, who wrote in a column headlined, "Strom has done a lot of living":

A Senator's only as old as the woman he feels, and that's one thing Thurmond's always had a feel for. This week he became the only 100-year old Senator in the Republic's history. He's also the only American to have been elected to national office by a write-in-campaign. And the only Senator to have spoken for 24 hours and 18 minutes continuously, back in 1957 when he filibustered the civil rights bill and had an aide standing with a bucket in the adjoining cloakroom so he could relieve himself while keeping one foot on the Senate floor and still speaking...

And, of course, Strom is the only circuit court judge in South Carolina history to have made love to a condemned murderess as she was being transferred from the women's prison to death row. This was Sue Logue, the only woman in the state ever to be sent to the chair, but not before she'd been sent to the back seat of Strom's car for a lively final ride. It was a particularly bloody murder case that had begun when Mr. Logue's calf had been kicked to death by some other feller's mule. Things had escalated from there. Strom was said to have had a soft spot for Mrs. Logue, whom he'd hired as a teacher back when he was School Superintendent. She didn't meet the criteria for the post but she was said to have had unusual "vaginal muscular dexterity." I mention this not merely to be salacious and gossipy - perish the thought -- but only as an example of the extraordinary pageant that is Strom's life. If this were an appreciation of supposed Presidential candidate John Kerry, we'd have exhausted all the interesting stuff a couple of paragraphs up and you'd already have flipped to the sports section.

I only met the Senator during the impeachment trial in 1999. On the first day, in a chaotic melee by the elevators, I was suddenly pushed forward and thrown between Thurmond and California Senator Barbara Boxer. Ol' Strom had just cast an appreciative bipartisan eye over the petite brunette liberal extremist. Ms. Boxer gave an involuntary shudder. I'd been squashed between the two for about five seconds when I became aware that my elbow was being affectionately caressed by Strom. Presumably he'd mistaken my dainty arm for Barbara's, but who knows? What a great country! In how many other national legislatures can a guy just wander in off the street and find himself in a tripartisan squeeze being petted by a 97-year-old Senator?

Bill Clinton's legal team had been seated just in front of the old boy, and, during each break in the trial, Strom was at pains to demonstrate his, er, evenhandedness. He'd wobble up to the President's two lady lawyers, pat them down, tickle their elbows, stroke their hands, and refuse to let go until the gavel came down and the proceedings resumed. Watching from the gallery, I thought, "That's the way he used to treat me, the ol' three-timin' no-good dawg." Cheryl Mills, Mr. Clinton's fetching African-American attorney, smiled nervously, no doubt marvelling at how far the Senator had come since his 1948 segregationist campaign for the White House and, indeed, how far he was willing to go to demonstrate in a very real sense his personal commitment to integrating with the black community. Her colleague, the President's other cunningly planted jailbait nymphette, 41-year old Nicole Seligman, stared thoughtfully at Strom's flame-coloured hair plugs and made a mental note to warn her client that this is what he'll look like in half-a-century if he doesn't cut out the womanizing.

Meantime, revisit the 1948 Dixiecrat Convention at the Smoking Gun.


All About Jazz offers recommendations for building a music library on a budget: Ella Fitzgerald * Frank Sinatra * Blues


The arrival of Krispy Kreme on the Boston scene has sparked a frenzy among doughnut loyalists. Haven't been yet, so don't have an opinion on the relative merits of the Krispy Kreme. On the coffee question, Dunkin's vs. Starbucks, I come down on the side of Starbucks. (Call me a BoBo, but there it is.) But I do give Dunkin's the nod over Honeydew on doughnuts.


In covering the Anglican crack-up, Christopher Johnson of Midwest Conservative Journal has been without peer. Reading his send-up of the latest Episcopal "peace" mission to the Mideast, all I could think of was Monty Python's Fire Brigade Sketch:

(As she puts the phone down the front door beside her opens and there stands a huge African warrior in war paint and with a spear and shield. At his feet are several smart suitcases.)

Eamonn: Mummy,

Mrs Little: Eamonn. (he brings in the cases and doses the front door) Mervyn! Look it's our Eamonn - oh let me look at you, tell me how... how is it in Dublin?

Eamonn: Well, things is pretty bad there at the moment but there does seem some hope of a constitutional settlement.

Mrs Little: Oh don't talk. Let me just look at you,

Eamonn: Great to be home, mummy. How are you?

Mrs Little: Oh, I'm fine. I must just go upstairs and get your room ready.

Eamonn: It's a bungalow, mummy.

Mrs Little: Oh dam, yes. Mervyn, Mervyn - look who's here, it's our Eamonn come back to see us.

(Mervyn appears. He still looks shattered by the death of the hamster.)

Mervyn: Hello, Eamonn.

Eamonn: Hello, Merv.

Mervyn: How was Dublin?

Eamonn: Well as I was telling mummy here, things is pretty bad there at the moment but there does seem some hope of a constitutional settlement.

(The phone rings)

Mervyn: (answering phone) Hello, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes - what? what? ... (looking at Eamonn bare foot) Size seven. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes ....

On that front: Anne Elk and more favorite Python bits.


Thursday, June 26, 2003  
"An astounding crate full of air"

A note on the name change:

"Irish Elk," my e-mail address and now the banner of this weblog, began a few years back as a nickname for an online Red Sox forum. The name of an evolutionary curiosity whose antlers were too big for its head, as my opinions often are for mine, it reflects my interests in the antediluvian, the Hibernian, and the Bull Moose Rooseveltian. Besides, it would make a good name for an Irish bar. So I've placed it atop this cyber-pub, truly, in Seamus Heaney's words above left, "an astounding crate full of air."

The name change also reflects a move toward a weblog that is catholic with a small "c," encompassing not only a taste for beauty in architecture and liturgy, but a range of interests in politics, culture, baseball and the arts, with a respect for the timeless overarching all.

To all who have made this site a stop on their rounds, hearty thanks, and a wish that you keep on visiting. Cheers, MCNS


The Paris Review features a lively interview with Jonathan Miller, opera director, former medical doctor, and a writer of the Beyond the Fringe satirical revue. His skit on George III, General Wolfe and the Biting of the Generals is priceless. He has no use for continental philosophers. Nor does he have use for religion, which leaves him at something of a loss, it must be said, to explain the Things he acknowledges Just Are, including the admirable courage and sacrifice people exhibit on behalf of others.

While at the Paris Review site, see also the archived 1955 interview with James Thurber, which opens with a wonderful anecdote about a naked woman, a bookcase, and a meticulously detail-oriented New Yorker editor.


Better than the Onion

My new favorite paper is North Carolina's Dunn Daily Record, which brings a Mayberryish panache to its coverage of the National Hollerin' Contest in Spivey's Corner, an annual event * which the paper covers like the morning dew.

The newspaper's other features include fish pictures, local good news rounded up by Hoover Adams under the heading These Little Things, and columnists like Bart Adams and the Old Master. Are they playing it entirely straight? Or are they having a bit of fun? You, sophisticated urban reader, be the judge.

* For more hollerin', consult a history of the art, with video and audio samples.


Language barriers: Peter Jones writes in The Spectator that universities are becoming factories of jargon and illiteracy:

Take any of the following nouns: aspect, role, development, challenge, context, stakeholder, opportunity, provision, resource, direction, investment, portfolio, policy, programme, skill, track-record, liaison, quality, function, end-user, process, commitment, profile, range, environment, skills, outcome, collaboration. Throw in any of the following adjectives: key, crucial, proven, wide, broad, emerging, expanding, international, ongoing, developing, innovative, pro-active, strong, strategic, organisational, or any of the above nouns used as adjectives (‘policy relevance’, ‘information resource’). String together with verbs such as facilitate, deliver, develop, broaden, enhance, support, encourage, co-ordinate, champion, implement. That’s it. You too can soon be talking about ‘pro-active development opportunities facilitating and delivering an ongoing end-user collaboration process.’

Orwell characterises this sort of writing with a splendid image: ‘words falling upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details’. Which raises the question: why are the guardians and transmitters of our culture presenting themselves to the outside world in this dreadful language? How on earth can anyone with the slightest respect for words write such vacuous drivel? What sort of education can people who promote such an image be trusted to offer? And what can be done?

Be sure to read the letter presented for contrast, composed by an 18th-century English rat-catcher short on ferrets.


Tuesday, June 24, 2003  

Most images of early 20th-century Tiger managerial great Hughie Jennings show him in trademark "Eee-yah" mode (as here and here), but this 1912 advertisement captures him in even less guarded fashion. (Or more gartered fashion, as the case may be.) The ad comes from the Oddball shelf of the Cycleback Museum of Early Baseball Memorabilia.


Batting lead-off on anyone's All-Hair Team: Oscar Gamble


Marxist, historian, thief: The late Philip Foner remains a hero to many labor historians – despite having been a plagiarist of epic scale, ever ready to pilfer the work of others, the Chronicle of Higher Ed reports.


America's most impressive historic survivors just may be our taverns, according to American Heritage, which devotes a cover story to this most worthy topic. See a list of personal favorites, from a year ago, and read an ode to The Dugout.


Worth a Visit: Center for a Free Cuba


Where are they now? An unusual starring vehicle for Alex P. Keaton's little sister, with music by one of the Go-Gos.


The Bambino's Curse has been called up to Fox Sports New England, which now hosts the Red Sox diary blog by Edward Cossette. A great quote from June 19:

You know I've seen places as varied as Chartres Cathedral in France to Machu Picchu in Peru, wonderful, beautiful, take-your-breath-away locations, but never have I seen anything as jaw droppingly perfect, the hand of God stuff, if you will, as Fenway Park on an October afternoon, the way the sun light streaks in at long, golden angles, and the straight edge between bright light and dark shadow inches slowly yet resolutely from the batter's box across the short infield, through the pitcher's mound …

Image: Fenway Park, World Series, Oct. 12, 1914. The Miracle Braves beat the A's 5-4 in 12 innings. *


The Avengers ring-tone: Here's a site with files to make your Nokia ring to the tune of the '60s secret-agent classic. Don't ask me how it works: I'm cell-phone illiterate. I visited to download a Real Audio version of the Mrs. Peel-era theme, and of the Patrick Macnee-Honor Blackman hit single, "Kinky Boots." Plus: Salon's tribute to Diana Rigg, and a website devoted to the British TV cult favorite.

The Mystery Channel currently airs the Avengers at 7 p.m., so the kids have been getting versed in Mister Steed before bed. When Tara King appeared on the scene tonight in hot pants and go-go boots, our four-year-old announced: "She's wearing pants. That means she's going to have a fight." Right she was: The Emma Peel rule holds.


Friday, June 20, 2003  

St. Gaudens' 'Diana'

Reasons to be Cheerful: With regards to the late Ian Drury, I offer a few more: Cape Ann * St. Gaudens (above) * Leavitt & Peirce The MacArthur corncob * Barbecue * The Mahogany Hall Stomp * A good bookstore * The corner bar * Guinness stout, pictured by Gilroy * The Karmann Ghia, if more in concept than in practical utility * The Vineyard Gazette * Ella * Turner Classic Movies * Dark roast * Scramble bands

Future installments planned. Submissions welcome.


Piano player in a brothel: The late Malcolm Muggeridge is described as a man very much of the 20th century who rebelled against it.


Thursday, June 19, 2003  
Guilty as charged

The Rosenbergs

Today, the usual suspects, including Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte and Banjo Bolshevik Pete Seeger, turn out to mourn Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on the 50th anniversary of their execution as atomic spies, while the Globe profiles the couple's sons.

The Rosenbergs remain martyrs to the unreconstructed Left, but declassified Soviet documents show them to have been guilty as charged.

Arnold Beichman of the Hoover Institution surveyed the files for The Weekly Standard in December 1998.

What a tragedy the end of the Cold War has been for the kids and grandkids of the spies. How do they talk to their children about Grandpa and Grandma? If there were today a glorious Soviet socialist paradise, treason at least might be rationalized: Father tried to help create a better world. But history has rendered its verdict on Stalin’s American agents: They served a monster, their so-called socialism was a fraud, and the USSR? Gone forever. Until a few years ago, the Rosenberg sons toured the land proclaiming to friendly audiences their parents’ innocence. Then the National Security Agency declassified what have become known as the “Venona” transcripts, secret messages between Soviet KGB officers reporting on their American informants in the 1930s and 1940s, intercepted and decoded by American cryptanalysts.

These decoded messages confirmed what had already been proven in American courtrooms, namely, the treachery of Hiss and the Rosenbergs. But worse was yet to come for the true believers. With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Soviet KGB archives suddenly became accessible to sophisticated students of the communist movement in America. These archives confirmed and amplified what Venona had shown. Through his American spies, Stalin in effect had installed a giant bugging device that let him listen in to the White House, the Treasury and State Departments, the Manhattan Project, the office of Vice President Henry Wallace, and the Office of Strategic Services, our wartime intelligence agency. And, yes, Harry Dexter White [a high-ranking Treasury official under FDR and Truman] was one of those spies…

It will not be surprising, though, if his daughters keep protesting his innocence. As Saul Bellow once said, “a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”

Historian Ronald Radosh, born of the Left and raised on the Rosenberg cause, came to see the couple as indeed guilty of atomic espionage, and made the case – later buttressed by the Venona Files – in The Rosenberg File.

Radosh's memoir of his own red-diaper babyhood and upbringing in the world of Seeger and Sandinistas, Commies: A Journey through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left, is engagingly reviewed at NRO and in Reason.

He writes today an "Open Letter to the Rosenberg Son."

In the end the truth remains that your parents were traitors who betrayed their country and their sons for an illusion. They acted with courage, but for a cause that was corrupt. By recognizing this you would restore their humanity, and perhaps heal the wound you obviously still feel. Instead, you have chosen to continue the charade, pretending that their cause was noble and that they were heroes of an American “resistance.” Resistance to what?


Thousands flock to Milton, Mass., hospital where image of Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in third-story window.

Verdad! reports from the scene (June 18) and claims it's the real deal:

It is simply not explicable in human terms. The image of the Virgin Mary in the third floor window of the Milton, Massachusetts hospital’s administrative office building, is in my humble opinion nothing short of a miracle. To my eye, the image of the blessed mother appears to be standing barefoot on a cloud where she is clearly praying over the masses gathered below her. She is clothed in the typical garb we always associate the Virgin Mary to wear, and has a long white cloth that covers her hair and drapes over her shoulder. Her hands are joined together just below her face and her elbows are open across her chest in a humble position of prayer toward heaven. There is a large, semi transparent white spot in the center of her body that is clearly her Immaculate Heart.

The image's beauty is overwhelming; the timing is perfect and the message clear: Have Faith and Trust in God.

See photos and a roundup of coverage.


Around the Horn: Larry Doby, R. I. P. * Good to see Rice advance to the finals of the College World Series, if for no other reason than old-school manager Wayne Graham resembles a cross between Sparky Anderson and Casey Stengel * Do the White Sox wear black socks because the Black Sox wore white socks? * By all means, visit BlackBetsy.com, Shoeless Joe Jackson's Virtual Hall of Fame * Hear a clip of the '59 Go Go Sox fight song at a site devoted to Chicago's last AL pennant winner * Andy Rooneyish geezer observation re the Pale Hose: I prefer the old scoreboard abbreviation CHI (AL) to the new stock-tickerish CWS * See the Fields of Dreams slideshow from the official site of the Cape Cod Baseball League, "where the stars of tomorrow shine tonight"


Write better e-mails, make more moneys! Mariam Abacha and friends invite you to the Third Annual Nigerian E-Mail Conference.


Wednesday, June 18, 2003  
The Fantastic in Art

Demon of the lower order, from Dictionnaire Infernal, 1863

The gallery of the Fantastic in Art and Fiction maintained by the Cornell University Rare and Manuscript Collections is a treat: Note, for example, Angels & Demons and the Bestiary.

The link comes via Giornale Nuovo, itself a sumptuous site that one visitor accurately describes as a feast for the eyes and the mind. (Hat tip: Unfogged)


Religion: Province of 'women and queers?' A. N. Wilson recalls campy clerics from his time in the seminary and notes the lives of great service they have gone on to lead.

Not long ago, I went to a town in the North to give a reading in a bookshop. At the end, a priest came up to speak to me. It was Plum Tart. Such a pretty, clever boy 30 years ago. Ever since, he has given his learned, pious good life to the service of the Church.

As often happens when I meet one of my fellow-collegians, I momentarily forget his real name. One finds oneself going into a room and meeting an archdeacon, and becoming completely tongue-tied. One can hardly say: "Hello, Gladys." All one can remember, when seeing the portly, distinguished form of some Anglican cleric, is an evening that began with Solemn Benediction and clouds of incense, followed by a boozy dinner, followed, probably, by disco dancing in a gay club…

I have lost my religion - their religion - but I do not feel that this is a good thing. I am aware that the spiritual life of England is most alive in its national church, and that the best priests in that Church are people who, for a few silly but highly amusing years of their youth, were known as Pearl and Gladys and Edna the Cruel…

These are men who have been prepared to devote their whole lives to working in poor parishes, visiting the sick, the housebound, the lonely, the prisoners and the captives. They believe in, and live, the Gospel of Christ. They think that God became a poor man to carry our sins. Many of them, but not all, carry with them the strange burden of being homosexual.

Apparently, we are still not grown-up enough in England to believe that this is rather marvellous…

(Via Relapsed Catholic)


Catholic Beauty: An outstanding homily by a priest at a Chicago Latin Mass parish who sees in timeless Catholic liturgy, music and art the universal language of the Pentecost.


On Hillary

La Paglia:

But perhaps it is more troublesome for democracy (where religion should be kept distinct from government) if Hillary’s religiosity is genuine. It would certainly explain her air of smug moral superiority and her close to messianic view of her destiny as a reformer. The egotism of career humanitarians was dissected by William Blake and Charles Dickens and later satirised by Oscar Wilde, all of whom saw the nascent tyranny in fervent idealists with a masterplan for humanity.

On the evidence of this book, Hillary appears to believe that good intentions excuse all. Impediments to her lofty goals may have arisen partly through minor miscalculations on her part, she concedes, but most of the problems, in her view, have come from pigheaded reactionaries “who want to turn the clock back on many of the advances our country has made”, thanks to the Democratic Party, a congregation of the elect whose mission is the salvation of mankind.

John Updike

Senator Clinton is an excellent and thorough-going politician and not a novelist; her description of "the most devastating, shocking and hurtful experience" of her life is nowhere as moving or human as the legalistic vignettes of furtive partial pleasures in the Starr Report. Her surprise at her husband’s belated confession is indeed surprising, as if they had never quite met before. But I loved the sentence, "I hadn’t decided whether to fight for my husband and my marriage, but I was resolved to fight for my President." Her citizenship is ardent.

(Via Relapsed Catholic and T. S. O'Rama)


In defense of prejudice: An Australian law professor considers the merits of Burkean prescription, particularly when approached by Gypsy pickpockets:

"But I'm not Polish," I protested. "I don't know anything about gypsies."

"Everyone in Europe knows about them."

"But I'm from Australia." At that, he softened. The doorman recognised in me that rare thing: a person innocent of relevant prejudices and therefore ready to be taken for a ride.

The next day, I was talking to a sociologist friend about the incident and he said: "It's funny. We spend a great deal of our time trying to disabuse our students of their standard stereotypes and prejudices. Yet, if you'd just had the normal prejudices of a Polish peasant, you'd never have got into this mess."


'Stop bleating about WMD and listen to how Nasir's mother was executed in a pit.' Ann Clwyd, British MP and Tony Blair's special envoy on human rights in Iraq, writes in The Times.


Bostonia: Reproductions of historic prints and maps from the Boston Public Library collection are now being offered for sale * Bill Cork considers the Brahmin historian Francis Parkman * Apollo Magazine, devoted to the fine arts, is now online, and its May issue is devoted to Boston's MFA.


Tuesday, June 17, 2003  
Bunker Hill Day

The New England Flag

I've tended to overlook today's holiday as merely an excuse for a day off for state and Boston city workers, but after reading Tom Fitzpatrick's June 17 post on the significance of the day, I hung the July 4 rosettes early, and the kids, with flags on tricycle and Big Wheel, staged an impromptu Bunker Hill Day parade.

Take an online tour of the Freedom Trail that ends at the Bunker Hill Monument. The famed Charlestown obelisk is echoed in the towers of the new Bunker Hill Bridge, which has inspired photographers and been found elephant-worthy.

In 1953, on June 18, the Red Sox observed Bunker Hill Day a day late with a display of fireworks, scoring a record 17 runs in the seventh inning of a game against the Tigers.

Among the 1953 Topps baseball cards in this online gallery is one of Sox hurler Ellis Kinder, whose thirst was prodigious, as battery-mate Birdie Tebbets could attest.

One night when the men's club of Providence College (his alma mater) met at the Andover Inn, Tebbetts, during a question-and-answer session, was asked about the current whereabouts of Ellis Kinder years after his retirement from the game.

Kinder was a Red Sox teammate of note who liked to imbibe. Without missing a beat, Tebbetts looked at his watch and cracked, "Right now I'd say he's at Jimmy O'Keefe's (a Boston watering hole).''


Monday, June 16, 2003  

'Scathing' does not begin to describe this reviewer's takedown of the St. Louis U. art gallery. David Bonetti of the Post-Dispatch builds up a head of steam and doesn't let up in a review that SLUMA won't be posting to its website anytime soon.

Where to begin? At the beginning – and it's all downhill from there:

St. Louis University Museum of Art should do penance for sinfully bad art

Ordinarily, I consider looking at art one of the highest forms of pleasure, but there are times when it can be downright painful. The art at the St. Louis University Museum of Art, I am sad to say, wins the blue ribbon when it comes to inducing painful experiences in me.

To be totally honest, I have never seen so much dross presented as gold in a building that fancies itself a museum. What the heck is going on here? Could this poorly conceived and executed institution be the product of the same church that commissioned Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel? Whatever you think of the popes of yore, at least they had good taste - or, perhaps more to the point, good advisers…

Because the primary occupation of a Jesuit is to be a priest, I think it is fair to say that, by definition, the art here is amateur, i.e. not professional, in nature and thus not proper subject for view. Two artists do stand out, however.

The Rev. Dennis McNally makes paintings that might look familiar if you've seen the erotically suggestive sculptures of nubile young men that dot the SLU campus. One work, "The Trinity," features Christ, his mother and St. John, a revision of Catholic dogma that might skirt heresy. According to the church, the Trinity represents the three personae - the father, the son and the holy ghost - that exist within one God. It is the central concept of the Catholic faith, and it does not include Mary or John, the feminist and homoerotic implications of their inclusion notwithstanding.

The other McNally work is a Crucifixion, "After Cimabue," that might be more appropriate hanging in the antechamber of a sadomasochistic dungeon than on the walls of a Jesuit museum. The Rev. McNally shows a hunky Jesus clothed in a loose and surprisingly revealing loincloth…

Upstairs, back to the horrors. There is a sleazy sculpture of a black African woman slave that is offensive in just about every way you can imagine, and there is a trashy painting of a Madonna and Child in the tradition of Murillo via Bouguereau. The predominant tone of the work on view is leering, lightly veiled eroticism.

Oof. Is this a case of a reviewer who got hold of a bad ice cube? Well, you can judge for yourself on Fr. McNally, chairman of fine and performing arts at St. Joseph's University, by visiting his website gallery.

Fr. Sibley will want to fasten his seatbelt and place his tray in the upright position. Caveat: Readers easily offended may wish to skip to the next post.

There’s Jesus on the Plane, from a 9.11 diptych by Fr. McNally

Jesus and Me in the Sauna from "Encounters with the Deity" and New Adam in the "Grey Series" are exemplary of the Gay Bathhouse School of sacred art. (Nudity). Another of the Grey Images offers the Words of Institution as pronounced by Steve Reeves.


Now you can be, in the real sense of the phrase, self-ordained: Not only are the possibilities for do-it-yourself liturgy boundless, but also for off-site private adult sacramental sharing. (Via Fr. Sibley)


One-hundred-thousand page views: If this blog had a horn I'd beep it. Thanks to all who've visited.


The Vicar of Bray: A "wonderful old chestnut" served fresh at The Inn at the End of the World.


Around the Horn: The Cards and O's (nee Browns) recently played in the uniforms of their 1944 World Series counterparts * Dom Bettinelli offers a photo gallery of a recent trip to Fenway that includes a nice shot of Pedro putting one over the plate * The history of the Baltimore Orioles' mascot and bird logo: Put me down for the Hartzell and the chirping bird.


Thursday, June 12, 2003  


"Stand up, Miss Jean Louise. Your father's passin'": The most moving line in one of the greatest of films.


Scout: If you shouldn't be defending him, then why are you doing it?

Atticus: For a number of reasons. The main one is that if I didn't, I couldn't hold my head up in town. I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do somethin' again.

And: "There are some men in this world who are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father's one of them." *

Gregory Peck, R.I.P.


Good night, David: The career of the late David Brinkley is recalled in a video report narrated by his NBC successor Tom Brokaw.


The spiritual root of Palestinian terror

The Grand Mufti with Hitler, 1941

Appointed Mufti of Jerusalem by the British in 1921, Haj Amin al-Husseini was the most prominent Arab figure in Palestine during the Mandatory period. Anti-British and anti-Jewish, the mufti was the key nationalist figure among Muslims in Palestine. (The idea of a nation comprising "Palestinian" Arabs was newly derived.) Fearful that increased Jewish immigration to Palestine would damage Arab standing in the area, the mufti engineered bloody riots against Jewish settlement in 1929 and 1936. He was a pioneer in the use of suicide squads to terrorize Jews.

Dismissed from his position following the riots of 1936, he continued his extremist activities from abroad. During World War II, the mufti was involved in the mobilization of support for Germany among Muslims. In November 1941 the Mufti met with Hitler.

Little Green Footballs posts images of the Mufti's Nazi junket, as well as documents of his collaboration with the Germans that reveal a Saudi tie. (Plus ca change)

The Mufti's Nazi legacy is described by Chuck Morse in an article, "Hitler and the Palestinian Arabs":

On 1 March 1944, in a radio broadcast to the Arab people from Berlin, the Mufti stated:
"Arabs! Rise as one and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor."

The Mufti initiated some of the most virulently pro-Nazi and Jew-Hating broadcasts in history. Declared a war criminal at Nuremberg, he would spend the rest of his life living in opulence in Cairo. His broadcasts, pamphlets, intelligence network and sabotage against Israel would continue after his death in 1974. In his memoirs, he wrote,

"Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: 'The Jews are yours."

The heirs to the pro-Nazi cleric Yasser Arafat describes as his hero and mentor continue their work today.

The Palestinian Arab response to peace overtures – stepping up murderous attacks on innocent civilians – has become as inevitable as the sunrise. For Israelis, taking a bus or visiting the grocery store can mean not seeing another sunrise.

A Google search on the phrase "Arafat condemns terrorism" returns 12,400 results, according to Little Green Footballs.

LGF notes that in the week leading up to yesterday's bus bombing, 23 Israeli civilians died in terror attacks and 10 would-be suicide bombers were arrested. A graph charts terrorist incidents in Israel in the preceding three weeks.

There is no "cycle of violence." To say Israeli self-defense against terrorists who seek Israel's destruction is the same as those terrorists' attacks on Israeli civilians is to engage in the same crazy moral equivalence as equating American self-defense against al Qaeda to Osama's murder of thousands on 9.11. Promoting this phony equivalence gives legitimacy to killers who have no interest whatsoever in peace with Israel and never have. Yet all too many churchmen and statesmen and editorialists and self-described peace activists continue to do so.

As has been said, if Palestinians were to lay down their arms tomorrow, they'd have a state; were Israelis to do so, they'd all be killed.

Here's James Lileks:

I haven’t written much about the “Roadmap to Peace” for the same reason I wouldn’t write much about attempts to crossbreed a llama with a vacuum cleaner: I don’t think it’s going to work. I never thought it would work. The only question is how many dead Israelis it will take before the point is made, for the 3,234th time.

The top-of-the-hour radio news played today's news just as you’d expect - everything shoved through the tit-for-tat template. Israel attempts to take out a terror leader; Hamas “responds” with a bombing. As if they’re equal. As if targeting the car that ferries around some murderous SOB is the same as sending a blissed-out teenager to blow nails and screws through the flesh of afternoon commuters so he can bury himself in the heaving bosom of the heavenly whorehouse. Cycle of violence, don't you know.

They don’t have helicopters, we're told, so they use suicide bombers. If they had helicopters, they would have strafed the bus and everyone waiting at the corner. Give them a nation where Hamas runs unchecked, and they’ll have helicopters.

What an overwhelming number of Palestinians who call for an "End to the Occupation" really want is for Israel to be wiped from the map, as the David Horowitz shows in this slideshow.

What should be wiped out is Hamas. The Israeli army is reported to be on that job. Good hunting.

More perspectives on the Mideast: Cox & Forkum * E. L. Core *


More on the Looting Story that Wasn't: Roger Kimball in Opinion Journal (Via ELC) * Cronaca (Via Andrew Sullivan)


Wednesday, June 11, 2003  

Shibe Park, Philadelphia, c. 1913

Tom Fitzpatrick expands on the topic of tradition in church and ballpark architecture (June 11), with evocative descriptions of his historic parish in Salem and of Fenway Park. A commenter remarks that Shea Stadium was the archetype of the modern multi-use sports facility. When Shea opened in 1964 it was the park of tomorrow, in the spirit of its Flushing neighbor, the New York World's Fair. Bet a lot of people today would like to have the Polo Grounds back.

"Preserving Brooklyn's lost shrine" is Ebbets-Field.com, while the Library of Congress notes the place of the ballpark in American urban life (Topic 5). The Stadium Graveyard is a resting place for images of great fields lost.


Edmund Burke, who would have appreciated the notion of Shibe Park, is the focus at this joint website of the societies named for him in America and Great Britain. Wonder if Burke would have been a Cubs or a Red Sox fan?



Larry Bird's number. The mystical sum on the Rolling Rock bottle.

And the tally of artifacts actually missing from the Baghdad museum.

Not 170,000. Thirty-three.

Andrew Sullivan, writing in Salon, cites NYT culture critic Frank Rich, in April, on the alleged looting:

"Is it merely the greatest cultural disaster of the last 500 years, as Paul Zimansky, a Boston University archaeologist, put it? Or should we listen to Eleanor Robson, of All Souls College, Oxford, who said, 'You'd have to go back centuries, to the Mongol invasion of Baghdad in 1258, to find looting on this scale'?"

Er, no -- and no.

A letter-writer at ArtsJournal.com cuts to the chase: It was all propaganda, to BLAME AMERICA FOR EVERYTHING!... We are all being duped by this publicity stunt foisted by Baath Party museum wonks.

Read the latest on the Baghdad looting hoax hysteria under "Articles of Note" at Arts & Letters Daily.


VH1 lists its Top 100 Songs of the past 25 years, and not surprisingly, only two or three would be on my play-list from the same period (which, of course, contains few entries post-dating 1987.) Started working on a list in the car this morning, and may post something in the near future. Nominations accepted.

For inspiration, listen to some of the RAMs at this music appreciation page that offers a better sampling of the zeitgeist (IMHO) than the MTV types. Me, I've had "Blitzkrieg Bop" in my head since hearing it the other day on the new AT&T wireless commercial. Madison Avenue embraces the Ramones: Who would have thought it?


When in doubt, offend: Andrew Sullivan on the latest from the "enfant terrible of Britart."


The sculpture that has replaced the toppled Saddam statue in Baghdad appears to have been inspired by various church tabernacles in Northern Virginia.


Worth a Visit: ArtsJournal.com, which links to intriguing articles such as these: Stanley Crouch on the problem with jazz criticism * Will Disney Hall be LA's defining building? * The British Museum at 250 * Sculptor of the Enlightenment


Tuesday, June 10, 2003  
The Church of Baseball

Yaz homers vs. Cards, '67 Series

The Red Sox open an inter-league set against the Cardinals at Fenway Park in a historic reprise of World Series matchups in '46 and '67.

The 1946 Series, of Pesky's held ball and Slaughter's mad dash, holds a place in the litany of tragic Sox failures (alongside '48, '49, '67, '72, '74, '75, '78, '86) that any Boston fan can readily recite.

All those campaigns live in my imagination, but none so strongly as that of 1967. I was only six that summer and not yet cognizant of the Fens, but in the years shortly thereafter, when I grew baseball mad, I committed to memory the highlight record of that pennant-winning season, The Impossible Dream.

Perhaps we reserve a certain brand of nostalgia for the near past, for the periods on the cusp of our own contemporary memories -- for the '50s, say, or the pre-Vatican II era. I don't have personal recollections of the '67 Sox, the way my older brothers could describe Tony C's beaning, or a particular incredible throw by Yaz to catch a runner at the plate. I attended my first game at Fenway the next season, 1968, sitting in the bleachers: The pitcher I understood at the time to be named Jim Lawnmower, and the most I remember about the game is that I got a snow-globe for a souvenir. But within a year I would eagerly lay claim to the '67 Sox tradition.

Baseball is all about past heroes, about story-telling, about lore and legend, about the imagination. A good bit of my early love for history was founded on accounts of Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby and Dizzy Dean, Ted Williams and Stan Musial, none of whom I saw play except in my head.

If Bull Durham celebrated the Church of Baseball, Dale Price suggests the Church of Rome could take a lesson from baseball's rediscovery of the place of memory in the game and its architecture.

Ford Field is a great place to watch football. As is Comerica Park a great place to watch baseball. Why? In large measure, because tradition was remembered, reclaimed, and applied to new settings. Comerica Park is a ball park, and one that remembers and honors the past, complete with statues of Tiger heroes. It's not flawless, but there is an obvious recognition that fans have a living connection to the past, even if they never saw the games "their" heroes played. I never saw Hal Newhouser throw a pitch, but I can vigorously defend his induction into the Hall of Fame. The Park says: "You, like millions before you, are part of the living tradition of Tiger baseball."

This should be the idea in every non-expansion sports venue, but it's odd how often that simple premise got lost.

Which is too often the case in church architecture. Ultimately, what is the church building for? Lord knows the Archdiocese of Detroit didn't get a restoration memo when Blessed Pipe Organ--er, Sacrament--Cathedral got the by-now obligatory renovation. The overall effect is as though someone put a spoiler, blower and Firebird decal from a '78 Trans-Am on a Bentley. IOW, you immediately notice the additions, right down to the easily-moved seating. Moreover, the Archdiocese is positively giddy about the Cathedral's multipurpose possibilities as a hospitality center. Which is odd, given the fact Detroit has a superb de facto convention center.

And you thought it was a
domus dei. Silly layman....Not that it's all bad, of course--some real, welcome and necessary improvements have been made. But much of the connection with the past was severed in the "forward" movement's changes. The stained glass (beautifully restored) is the only obvious connection left.

And don't get me started on
L'Edifice Mahony, where the most-overtly traditional touches are placed with the entombed. Subtle. Not to mention Milwaukee's homage to Abp. Weakland (and perhaps Space Ghost), itself another multiuse venue.

In a way, it figures: when the Church mistakenly tries to stay with the times, it ambles along about 30 years behind. Architecturally speaking, it's wearing a bauhaus leisure suit--Proudly. In a country where people are seeking identity, the Church decided to downplay its own.


Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: A handsome website is devoted to a new book on the old Homestead Grays and Negro baseball in Washington, D.C. Read a review at Mudville Magazine.


New life for old altars: A Connecticut parish has given a new home to the 19th-century high altar of a closed Brooklyn parish. Making the arrangement possible was a consignment firm specializing in religious artifacts that has a remarkable supply of traditional altars and like church furnishings if your parish is in the market. (Via Dale Price and Amy Welborn)


Maureen Mullarkey comments below on Saddamite atrocities:

All of this leads me to a thinning patience with papal references to the culture of death. In John Paul II's lexicon, the phrase refers only to the West. And it extends to decent, conscientious married couples, committed to family life, who use non-abortive means of contraception . The term is never applied to regimes or cultures that need bulldozers to bury their mounds of innocents.

Why is that?



Rough Riders, Remington

Forget those Frenchified berets that make most servicemen look like pastry chefs at Au Bon Pain: 'Get the desert hat that helped us win.'

More great American campaign hats: Rough Riders, 1898 * American Soldier, 1903 * Robert Duvall

Hey, if the president and by extension the US are going to be given the cowboy label, why not embrace the look?


Today in History: 1898: US Marines land Guantanamo Bay.


Here & There

Diogenes at the Catholic World News blog mulls the Rite for the Celebration of Gay and Lesbian Covenants: The theatrical solemnity of the nuptial rite wobbles on a kind of high wire. The inherently unstable logic of a gay marriage means the liturgical pastiche by which it is ritualized is in constant danger of tumbling into Monty Pythonesque farce. The double entendres pop irresistibly out of the velveteen prose...One can imagine the concomitant atmospherics all too clearly: imperfectly suppressed giggles from the friends of the spouses and a strained effort at gladness on the part of their parents.

Mere Comments carries an Episcopal News Service account of the gay New Hampshire bishop that celebrates the profanation of sacred vows and sacraments: It was in New Hampshire, Robinson said, that he "answered God's call to acknowledge myself as a gay man. My wife and I, in order to KEEP our wedding vow to 'honor [each other] in the Name of God,' made the decision to let each other go. We returned to church, where our marriage had begun, and in the context of the eucharist, released each other from our wedding vows, asked each other's forgiveness, cried a lot, pledged ourselves to the joint raising of our children, and shared the Body and Blood of Christ."

David Aaronovitch at The Guardian describes what really was missing from the Baghdad museum: the truth: So, there's the picture: 100,000-plus priceless items looted either under the very noses of the Yanks, or by the Yanks themselves. And the only problem with it is that it's nonsense. It isn't true. It's made up. It's bollocks...Furious, I conclude two things from all this. The first is the credulousness of many western academics and others who cannot conceive that a plausible and intelligent fellow-professional might have been an apparatchiks of a fascist regime and a propagandist for his own past. The second is that - these days - you cannot say anything too bad about the Yanks and not be believed. More on the Baghdad museum-looting hoax can be read under "Articles of Note" at Arts & Letters Daily.


Monday, June 09, 2003  
Holy Foolishness

Fr. Michael Zampelli, SJ, co-presider, Mardi Gras liturgy

For optimum enjoyment, click on a sample of carousel or riverboat calliope music before proceeding to Dom Bettinelli's truly outstanding gallery of clown liturgy clips.

My favorite cutline: Sisters of St. Joseph in the mime troupe 'Faith-Filled Fools' stand around the quilt that was sewed together at an ecumenical prayer service recently when the Sisters declared their motherhouse property in Baden a nuclear free zone.

The subject of clowns receives an attendant airing here and here at the Catholic World News blog.

Who knew how widespread the Christian clown theme had become?

The "crucified clown" is explored artistically here and here.

A Mardi Gras liturgy at Santa Clara U. features lectors in carnival masks and an assistant campus minister as rolling juggler.

The Plowshares movement originated with a priest who dressed up as a clown to hammer missile silos, and who since has been immortalized, as it were, in a play.

A posting on clown clerics would be incomplete without Anglican Rev. Roly Bain, depicted here in action on the slack rope, in an unintended commentary on the current state of the Anglican Communion.

More Rev. Roly: At rest * As captured in oils * In collar

Elsewhere under the Big Top:

Did you know Willard Scott got his start playing Bozo? Give a listen to the Bozo March.

The late, lamented Brooklyn Bum is pictured at a website devoted to his inventor, Willard Mullin.

The pontiff appreciates acrobatics and has said Mass in St. Peter's Square for circus folk.

Fr. Jerry Hogan is chaplain to Barnum & Bailey. (Note: Site accompanied by music)


Odds & Ends: This Polka Mass does appear as traditional as advertised * The Benedictine sisters at Sacred Heart Monastery in North Dakota are llama ranchers * Thanks to Richard Chonak of Catholic Light for the smaller, faster-loading elk at upper left * The Harvard crew beat Yale to cap a perfect season * Cubs vs. Yanks at Wrigley was cause for dancing in the Sullivan living room


Friday, June 06, 2003  
Around the Horn

Whatever the outcome, bound for the Eliot Lounge

Roger Simon asks: If you ran the New York Times, who would you install as an op-ed columnist? LGF readers weigh in.

But the NYT itself comes through today with a stellar -- make that interstellar -- candidate: Bill "Spaceman" Lee.

From Tales from the Red Sox Dugout:

Bill Lee will never make the Hall of Fame. Not unless some slightly warped visionary decides to open a wing for the flakes, free spirits and characters who have spiced up the grand old game over the years...

He was the thinking man's flake...dubbed "the Spaceman" because in the conservative, buttoned-down world of baseball, he had an absolutely unique view of the baseball world. And he wasn't shy about sharing this perspective with anyone who'd listen. He once had his foot X-rayed and suggested to the doctor: "That loose thing's just an old Dewar's cap floating around."

The 1978 Red Sox blew a 14-game lead and ultimately lost a playoff game to the Yankees. When southpaw Lee was subsequently traded from the Red Sox to the Expos at the end of the season, he was asked if he was upset to leave. His reply: "Who wants to be on a team that goes down in history with the '64 Phillies and the '67 Arabs?"

When his friend and soul mate Bernie Carbo was sold to the Cleveland Indians, Lee went on an unofficial strike -- jumping the club and going home. He was finally tracked down by Red Sox president Haywood Sullivan, who informed Lee that he must dock him a day's pay, amounting to about $500. Lee's reply? "Make it fifteen hundred. I'd like to have the whole weekend."

Before the anticlimactic seventh game of the 1975 World Series, Cincinnati Reds manager Sparky Anderson boasted that no matter what the outcome of the game, his starting pitcher Don Gullett was going to the Hall of Fame. Lee, the Red Sox starter, countered with: "No matter what the outcome of the game, I'm going to the Eliot Lounge." And he did.

He was the third-winningest lefthander in Red Sox history, but quotes like these are what got Lee elected by the Baseball Reliquary to its Shrine of the Eternals.

Sox-Pirates, 6.5.03

How diehard a fan is new Fenway Park announcer Carl Beane? He buried his father's ashes in the outfield, according to Herald reporter-blogger Cosmo Macero.

For baseball literati, the Elysian Fields Quarterly is a cracking good read. So is Mudville Magazine.

Pick your own flannels, browser-wise, at the elegantly-designed Bambino's Curse, which features a choice of blog skins. Scroll to the bottom and, at the click of a mouse, put the Babe back in Red Sox.

Dale Price recommends the Detroit Tigers Weblog, which offers sustenance to masochistic Michiganders, and links to a lineup of entertaining baseball blogs.

Feed a nostalgia for White Elephants and revel amid memories of the Mackmen at the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society, which offers a baseball-history smorgasbord appealing even to those who don't remember the heyday of Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Grove.

Willard Mullin, dean of American sports cartooning, whose ballplayer sketches I spent many a junior-high class trying to emulate (while pretending to take notes), is paid tribute here.


Thursday, June 05, 2003  

Near Najaf

They haven't dug up any WMDs.

Just tiny bones buried alongside children's dolls.

For which the US should now apologize?

Item: A MASS grave containing the remains of 200 Kurdish children has been discovered in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk, the Kurdish newspaper Taakhi reported.

"Citizens discovered on May 30 a communal grave close to Debs, in Kirkuk. But this is different from other mass graves discovered since the fall of Saddam Hussein's terrorist regime because it contains the remains of 200 child victims of the repression of the Kurdish uprising" in 1991, the paper said.

"Even dolls were buried with the children," it said.

Indications are the children were buried alive.

"Too bad we invaded under 'false pretenses,'" comments Instapundit.

Andrew Sullivan writes:

One reason I find some of the grand-standing over WMDs increasingly preposterous is that it comes from people who really want to avoid the obvious: more and more it's clear that the liberation of Iraq was a moral obligation under any circumstances. People say to this argument that if we depose one dictator for these kinds of abuses, where will we stop? But the truth is: very few dictators have resorted to imprisonment or mass killing of children. Saddam's evil was on a world-historical scale. Ending it was one of the most progressive things the United States and Britain and their allies have ever done.

Here's Lileks:

I read today of another mass grave discovered in Iraq. This one was reserved for children.

I repeat: this was a special mass grave for children.

The article said that dolls were found among the bodies. Which meant that the little girls were clutching their dolls when they died.

Or they dropped them in terror at the edge of a grave. The soldiers kicked them in.

And this from The Lemon:

Coalition Admits Iraq has no WMD, Agrees to Restore Saddam to Power

Saddam was gracious in accepting his former position and is eager to get things back to normal. In order to aid in the restoration, the U.S. has released a special "Lil' Ones: Most Wanted" deck of playing cards, listing all of the children that need to be rounded up and thrown back into Saddam's child prisons. U.S. leaders apologized, admitting they had no right to free Saddam's prisoners.

Saddam thanked the U.S. for the assistance, but insists that it is not needed. When he learned that coalition forces were filling in the mass graves they had exhumed, he said, "Don't worry about filling in mass graves, I'll fill them up myself."
(Via Relapsed Catholic)

Seriously, though, you read these accounts of Iraqi children murdered and imprisoned and you wonder anew at the aid groups that continue to blame the suffering on American-British military action meant to stop it.

Take the Irish Red Cross, which under the patronage of Irish President Mary McAleese continues to run a banner ad atop its page suggesting Iraqi kids had things carefree and gay before the war.

If you have little ones yourself you may already have had occasion to visit the website of the Wiggles. Now, my kids like the Wiggles. I like the Wiggles.

But if the Aussie kid-show singers are going to put a link on their home page to a charity to aid children in Iraq, couldn't they steer clear of Care Australia's anti-war politics?

Following Care International's prescription on Iraq would have guaranteed their humanitarian services would continue to be required in that benighted country, now and well into the future.

These NGOs purport to speak in the name of the children -- but not, apparently, for those tossed into mass graves or left to languish for years in Saddam's kiddie jails. Does appeasing the warlords who cause famines and refugee crises insure the aid community stays in business treating the victims? It can seem that way.



Baghdad, April 12

The AP's Scheherezade Faramarzi writes from Baghdad: It's common to see a dozen curious children gathered around an American tank or armored personnel carrier, trying to make friends with the foreigners and using the thumb pointed skyward.

"It means 'OK.' It means we are friends," said Yousif Thamer, a 9-year-old third grader who lives in the poor neighborhood of al-Thawra in northeast Baghdad.

Nearly two months after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the presence of American troops here is greeted with mixed feelings. Many Iraqis resent the U.S. occupation, but they know that without the Americans they would still be living under Saddam's repressive rule.

It is the children who reach out most often to the Americans, running after their tanks and Humvees, whistling, clapping -- and sometimes booing them.

Photos: Baghdad * Baghdad


Top Times editors resign, and ScrappleFace has the story. More from Andrew Sullivan * InstaPundit * Romenesko * Mickey Kaus


Byzantines Gone Wild: Let Little Green Footballs handle the intro: Here's a Windows Media video that may traumatize you for life, showing the world's oldest terrorist getting some good, good lovin' from the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. If the Church Persecuted in the Middle East ever decides to mount a Linda Lovelace defense of its despot-o-philia, this kooky clip could be Exhibit A.


Kingdom's Leading Executioner Says: 'I Lead a Normal Life'

Saudi Arabia's leading executioner Muhammad Saad Al-Beshi will behead up to seven people in a day. "It doesn't matter to me: Two, four, 10 -- As long as I'm doing God's will, it doesn't matter how many people I execute," he told Okaz newspaper in an interview.

Al-Beshi describes himself as a family man. Married before he became an executioner, his wife did not object to his chosen profession. "She only asked me to think carefully before committing myself," he recalls. "But I don't think she's afraid of me," he smiles. "I deal with my family with kindness and love. They aren't afraid when I come back from an execution. Sometimes they help me clean my sword."

You know, the next time the local goo-goo church group is looking for a Muslim spokesman to counter misperceptions and stereotypes about Islamic society and the "Religion of Peace," I think they should invite this scimitar-wielding headsman. Nothing like a little person-to-Nubian swordsman exchange to dispel Western prejudices.


William Penn's Mao-jacketed heirs: FrontPage mag uncovers the Marxists' favorite Quaker front group:

While not Communist in name, they espouse and endorse every plank of the Communist party platform. They hide behind the religious shield of Quakerism and non-violence. Their background in the Quaker Society of Friends provides a Divine legitimization for card-carrying Communists and their fellow travelers. The American Friends Service Committee is and has always been committed to undermining Western democracy, propping up Communist regimes and working for the total disarmament of the United States in the face of her enemies. American Friends? Hardly. (Via Relapsed Catholic)


Wednesday, June 04, 2003  
Say it ain't Sosa


The scoop on Sammy? He was paying an anniversary tribute to Bill Cork. (What say you, Jim?) As far as Sammy's career is concerned, unfortunately, it looks as if cork can sink. Meantime: ESPN lists the biggest cheaters in baseball history.

Cubbies fans may console themselves with some rather fine Gabby Hartnett desktop wallpaper, and commiserate with the like-minded at the Cub Reporter and the Clark & Addison Chronicle.


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