"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
Hear a clip from the Guy Lombardo New Year's broadcast of 1946, from a page devoted to London, Ontario's favorite bandleader son. Long before becoming a New Year's staple at the Waldorf Astoria, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians were a hot dance band, as a selection of 1924 recordings attests.
For firing a gun in the air during a New Year's celebration, 12-year-old Louis Armstrong was sent to reform school, where he was taught to play cornet. Ken Burns et alreflect on the genius a round of blanks set in motion.
From the outstanding Power Line blog: Why Sammy Davis Jr went from campaigning for JFK to endorsing Nixon; a revival of smells and bells in European village churches; and the enduring question: What's the first thing that springs to mind when you think Aztec: human sacrifice, or bathing in corn mush? Plus: a link to an interesting-looking new online publication, the American Thinker
Wednesday, December 24, 2003 Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus
From the editorial page of the New York Sun, 1897:
We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
The Bull Moose Republicans, who describe themselves as founded in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt and dedicated to government accountability, economic opportunity, civic responsibility, and support for new Americans, have launched a new and improved website, complete with blog.
A commenter at the Bull Moose Republicans site reports being silenced for dissent at the Democratic National Committee blog. The headline, "Sad Day for Civil Discourse," refers to the squelching of non-party-line opinion at the DNC blog, but could, just as easily, to a national party's decision to title a website "Kicking Ass."
Elsewhere on the TR front, the newsletter of the Independent Online Booksellers Association carries an interesting article on one dedicated collector's 300,000-item trove of Rooseveltiana:
Lyall Squair produced a catalog of his TR acquisitions, housed in a black three-ring binder with the title, “The Theodore Roosevelt Library, 1961-1995” above a silhouette of his famous hero. It is arranged by category, and subdivided further by author, subject, or date. The largest category consists of “BOOKS ABOUT TR.” Although our main concern is ephemera, these books cross over due to their service to the larger collection, their inscriptions, etc. Let's plunge right in with some curious titles, such as The Teddysey (1907), Monkeys and Monkeyettes: A Reply to Ex-President Roosevelt (1909), the privately printed Who is Bashti Beki? (1912), and The Extraordinary Adventures of Theodorus Gunpowder (1915). Did TR: Hero to His Valet (1927) serve its author well?
Fah who for-aze! Dah who dor-aze! Sing "Welcome, Christmas" with the Whos of Who-ville, courtesy of the Center for Seussian Studies, which notes: The first version is probably more suited for simple caroling, and the second for more choir oriented activities. Then segue into the Grinch theme, before giving a ceremonial reading of the Grinch in Latin.
Plus: NPR's All Songs Considered2003 Holiday Show features the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping," Chet Atkins' "Jingle Bells" and Run DMC's "Christmas in Hollis" (which a local DJ notes isn't Hollis, N.H.)
Lionel Barrymore plays Scrooge in a 1938 radio presentation of the holiday favorite by Orson Welles' Mercury Theater, offered in Real Audio by Deming Radio in New Mexico. A minute-long station promo and a 1938 vintage plug for sponsor Campbell's Soup precede the show, but it's worth the wait. Barrymore's Scrooge was an annual Christmas institution on radio in the '30s and '40s, and you hear in his miser a near relative to Mister Potter. (Compare "Bah, humbug" to "Happy New Year to you – in jail!")
Plus: See brief bios of Alastair Sim here and here, and the Amazon page on Sim's Scrooge. And novelist Andrew Klavan writes of his (and my) two must-see Christmas films, the 1951 Scrooge and It's a Wonderful Life.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A top Vatican official said Tuesday he felt pity and compassion for Saddam Hussein and criticized the U.S. military for showing video footage of him being treated "like a cow."
Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Justice and Peace department and a former papal envoy to the United Nations, told a news conference it would be "illusory" to think the arrest of the former Iraqi president would heal all the damage caused by a war which the Holy See opposed.
"I felt pity to see this man destroyed, (the military) looking at his teeth as if he were a cow. They could have spared us these pictures," he said.
Oh, agony, agony, agony.
"Seeing him like this, a man in his tragedy, despite all the heavy blame he bears, I had a sense of compassion for him," he said in answer to questions about Saddam's arrest.
You want to take the deposed Iraqi strongman by the hand and say reassuringly, "There, there. Poor tyrant. Poor, poor tyrant."
"It's true that we should be happy that this (arrest) has come about because it is the watershed that was necessary... we hope that this will not have worse and other serious consequences," Martino said.
But the tongue depressor! Not the tongue depressor! Foul Americans!
He added: "But is seems to me to be illusory to hope that this will repair the dramas and the damage of the defeat for humanity that a war always brings about."
The Vatican did not consider the war in Iraq "a just war" because it was not backed by the United Nations and because the Vatican believed more negotiations were necessary to avoid it.
The news conference was called for Martino to present the World Day of Peace message, in which Pope John Paul took a swipe at the United States for invading Iraq without the backing of the United Nations.
Cardinal Martino, the Vatican's answer to Jacques Chirac, lends Church authority to Axis of Weasels venality. What next from the "Peace and Justice" wing this holiday season? Might oppressed Palestinian militants be invited to retake the Church of the Nativity?
As the Vatican takes the rumpled Iraqi despot to the nearest peace-and-justice shelter for a cup of hot soup, a few queries:
Is this a bishop's skull of the sort said by Athanasius to line the floor of hell? No, it's that of one of Saddam's victims.
Say, who's chairing the UN Human Rights Commission these days?
Where was the moral beacon of Turtle Bay recently on the question of anti-semitism?
To paraphrase the Power Line, these are the folks the Democratic Party – and the Vatican – wish to have final say over the defense of the United States? (Via Steve Anderson)
A man in his tragedy? I can't believe this stuff. Saddam is a genocidal maniac who felt no compunction about having men, women, and children thrown into shredders and then watching the results on videotape for his entertainment. I don't understand this impulse to excuse what Saddam did to his people. Where was Cardinal Martino's soothing and compassionate words for the Iraqi man who spent 20 years hiding in a wall to keep away from Saddam's executioners? Where was his compassion for the Kurds of Halabjah who were brutally murdered with poison gas? Where was his compassion for the hundreds of women raped and then murdered by Saddam's sons? Where was his compassion for the hundreds of thousands of Shiites killed by Saddam after the 1991 uprising?
So does Rod Dreher:
Cardinal Martino's compassion for the victims of Saddam is hiding in the same spider hole where the Vatican keeps its compassion for the child victims of pederast priests. People dumped on me for conflating the moral blindness of the Vatican on the war with the moral blindness of the Vatican in the sex abuse crisis. But I think the revolting Martino's comments clarify the link. These episcopal creatures refuse to see evil for what it is, when it upsets their view of the world.
And George Lee, on Cardinal Martino:
The man is Squalor Incarnate. He spent years and years as an observer at the UN and came away admiring it.
US armed forces have done more to bring about Peace and Justice than all the Peace and Justice Councils and Commissions ever will…
The mood of today's Boston GlobeLetters section, that barometer of "progressive" reader opinion, may be described as petulant: 1 * 2 * 3 * 4
Must have been a hard weekend for the local left-wing sociologist-gadfly who wrote this past summer:
US war on Iraq is a defining moment of the 21st century. The corporate-military state is meeting its democratic global opposition and the stakes could not be higher. This is less a conflict between the US and Iraq than between the US and democratic forces around the world.
How crushing to the hopes of the oppressed around the globe to see democracy's champion chivvied, as Anthony Blanche might say, like a stoat in a hole!
"Where his rule meant terror and division and brutality, let his capture bring about unity, reconciliation and peace between all the people of Iraq," says Tony Blair. "A wonderful Christmas present," says Ann Clwyd, MP.
"What's funny? How do I know? Can you analyze it? Can anybody? All I know is how to make people laugh." Stan Laurel
"Ask Stan." Oliver Hardy
See a tribute to a wonderful if widely forgotten holiday classic, Laurel & Hardy's Babes in Toyland, or March of the Wooden Soldiers, with an accompanying essay, "Revisiting Silas Barnaby;" plus a noteworthy site compiled by a pair of self-described freelance Laurel and Hardy fans.
Divine Providence Steamroller: This old team logo suits Dale Price when he's in full fisk:Pardon me a moment--I'm checking my loads. Double-aught: Ehhhhhhxcellent. Pull!
Meantime, take a look back at Rhode Island's NFL champion team of 1928. (I still think the Pats should have built their new stadium in Providence and reclaimed that great old name.) Here's a pic of the team, via Brown.
We're all Cromwells now: According to a Tablet cover story by a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the American war on terror is the work of Christian fundamentalists in the US government who are the spiritual heirs of the Puritans and of the Scots-Irish who bred the Klan in the South and the Orangemen in Ulster.
Thus President Kennedy, whose America would pay any price and bear any burden to assure the survival and success of liberty, is a cousin to Ian Paisley, and proponents of pro-democracy military intervention in Iraq from Andrew Sullivan to Glenn Reynolds and on down the line are today's Cotton Mathers. So much for Neoconservatism as a grand Jewish conspiracy.
Sullivan has described the recent piece by Thomas Friedman supporting US involvement in Iraq as "Wilsonian."
Woodrow Wilson was a Scots-Irish Presbyterian! QED!
Where did the name Palestine come from? According to this history of the term, Palestine was a name imposed on the region in 135 AD by the Romans in a move to erase the name of Judea following a Jewish uprising. The name came from the Greek "Philistine Syria," after the biblical Philistines, who were not Arabs or even Semitic, but related to the Greeks.
A history of pro-life Democrats: The first of a two-part series in Human Life Review offers a useful overview of how anti-abortion Democrats came to find themselves in the political wilderness.
In a related piece published earlier this year in Commonweal, a Minnesota liberal describes how his opposition to abortion led him to leave the Democrats.
Undaunted, Democrats for Life have reinvigorated their website.
The procedure is gruesome, as anyone who has seen it, including Rashbaum, will attest. One of his former interns remembers watching Rashbaum do a D&E on well-developed twins one hot summer day. He intently leaned in closely and methodically pulled piece after piece of the fetuses out of the mother’s uterus, ignoring the attending staff’s whispers of horror — "It’s twins. It’s twins" — to each other. The intern reacted violently, running home, throwing up, and asking herself, "Is this right?" Rashbaum pisses people off with his cranky, despotic ways, but the other doctors are relieved he’s around to do a job they don’t want. "A person who is more concerned with what people think of him than of doing the right thing wouldn’t last," says a second-trimester-abortion provider who trained under Rashbaum. "He cares more about doing the right thing than what people think of his personality."
Husbands or boyfriends have been known to barge into his office and violently insist their baby not be aborted, to which Rashbaum replies with an equally violent, "Fuck you, Charlie, we can abort her." He won’t talk to them directly because, he explains, "I don’t treat men." But as Rashbaum talks privately to a patient about all the circumstances that brought her to him, he shows another side, one that can sympathetically navigate highly emotional waters. An unabashed atheist, Rashbaum nonetheless has compassion for the religious conflicts that arise when women are told by priests not to have abortions. Gratitude comes in the form of files that have grown thick over the years with thank-you notes and birth announcements. Small, elaborate, hastily scribbled, or formal, the letters have arrived in many forms but all echo a similar sentiment: thank you for helping us through the most difficult time in our lives. "He gets so involved," says Maria Rodriguez, his office manager of nearly 20 years. "He is always available. Always."
John Tesh? When you think PBS viewing audience you think Cambridge and Volvos and the Boston Pops and, all right, Pete Seeger and Peter, Paul and Mary. But John Tesh? During pledge week? John Tesh, the former Entertainment Tonight anchor-turned Yanni-Zamfir lounge pianist whose Muzak with Jack Handy lyrics is performed amid temple ruins and sun-washed Mediterranean villas, thus qualifying as "World Music?"
As it happens, PBS pledge-drive programming hereabouts has come to be dominated by self-affirming self-help personalities, greatest-hit shows for the long-in-the-tooth and, remarkably, Lawrence Welk. How many in the Sixties Generation would have been caught dead at the time listening to the favored polka-playing bandleader of Geritol-drinking Republican aunts nationwide? Now they're in their Sixties they do.
Maybe perceptions of the PBS viewing demographic bear changing. Or maybe a distinct segment of the Baby Boomers in the PBS clientele really does have a taste for vacuous John Tesh lyricism on inner children released to chase the spirit light.
Originally posted at Tom Fitzpatrick's as an over-long comment on the newly-released Boston parish rankings:
It might be said the Church did its job in the city very well, supporting generations of immigrants who thrived to the extent that they moved up and out. While St Monica's in South Boston now has only 50 people at Mass, the church in Franklin is busting at the seams -- they have something like 22,000 on the rolls at the town's one parish. The numbers are also high in North Andover, etc.
As has been said, if only they could take the grand old churches in the city and put them on wheels to move them to where the people are.
The beautiful churches downtown in Boston and Charlestown and Lowell and Lawrence were spared "updating" post-Vatican II because they were poor. Sadly, though, the obsolescence that saved these churches' architecture will now be the end of them. Might the taste and vision that inspired the great old urban churches be employed in the new ones built in the exurbs? Economy combined with modern tastes led to the pre-fab boxes -- what JF Power called the "chicken hatchery with silo attached" model of church -- built in the burbs in the postwar years. Why couldn't a more classic style be employed in new churches in the Franklins and North Andovers?
Sad to say, the numbers are horrible for the magnificent German Church (home of the indult Mass) and the jewel-like Our Lady of Victories in the South End. Both are at the very bottom of the rankings.
I like the idea of inviting in the FSSP or other orders to take over some of the beautiful old church buildings, though wonder if the finances and logistics would be do-able. I wish the Anglican-use congregation could be given the historic old St. Aidan's in Brookline, which currently sits in mothballs awaiting a developer.
The Oratorians' Novus Ordo Masses in Latin are noted for their beauty. Could Newman's order be invited to Boston to work their Brompton-like magic at some parish?
Bada-bing. Ching-a-ching. Hee-haw: Here it is: "Dominic, the Italian Christmas Donkey," by Lou Monte, via the Top 101 Xmas Songs. Wanting to keep abreast of the zeitgeist (but not having HBO), I ask: Was this song played on an episode of The Sopranos or something? What else accounts for its seemingly newfound popularity on the Christmas radio airwaves? I'd somehow managed to go 35 years without ever hearing this 1967 gem, but now it's stuck in my head (as it will be in yours if you click the link above).
UPDATE: Visitors seeking the lyrics to "Dominic the Donkey" can find them here.Buon Natale!
Etc… Last Sunday's column by Thomas L Friedman of the NYT should be clipped and sent to any and all friends on the Left: [T}his war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan. The primary focus of U.S. forces in Iraq today is erecting a decent, legitimate, tolerant, pluralistic representative government from the ground up. I don't know if the United States and its allies can pull this off. They got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things ever attempted abroad, and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot * On Howard Dean as conceited 15-year-old * On the Dennis Kucinich campaign: Yeah. They're serious. Just ask an ooky children's-story character and a host of furry woodland friends
From Best of the Web Today:Howell He Live This Down? Back in June, Salon (picking up an item from U.S. News & World Report) said that "GOP pranksters" were proving "that they are high school bullies in bad suits": Their plans for the 2004 race include sending "attack mascots" to Democratic candidate appearances to heckle and unnerve. They are proudest of their idea to send a Thurston Howell III look-alike to a John Kerry speech. Finally, we understand what this is all about. In a long profile yesterday of Kerry, the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat who by the way served in Vietnam, the New York Times reports that "like Thurston Howell III, the millionaire on 'Gilligan's Island,' he calls his wife 'Lovey.' ""Sarandonistas" is the new term coined by the Politburo, which also takes Michael Moore to task on God and national anthems
Learning to Love the Federalists: From the noteworthy Claremont Review of Books, a shot across the Jeffersonian bow in defense of the not-always-fairly-maligned party of "the rich, the well-born and the able:"
It was slavery, ironically, that drove the Jeffersonians to the very egalitarian rhetoric which has enshrined them as the protectors of American liberty. Edmund S. Morgan pointed out 25 years ago that the revolutionary resistance to "slavery" and "tyranny" were honed appreciatively on the revolutionaries' own consciousness of the slavery they had fastened on their African bondsmen. But Morgan failed to appreciate the degree to which the Jeffersonian rhetoric about slavery had a sharp class edge to it. For the prominence of slaveholders among the Jeffersonian critics of Federalism is more than an irony: slaveholding was, in fact, central to the preservation, not just of a racial hegemony, but of a ruling class among whites in the South after the Revolution, and that ruling class preserved itself in the face of revolutionary egalitarianism only by pretending that slavery had, in fact, created a kind of white egalitarianism. By equating the slaveholder and the rural farmer as "agriculturalists" and allying them together in a white racial alliance which ensured that enslaved blacks could never become the "equals" of whites, Jeffersonians like Randolph, Taylor, and Jefferson himself ensured the support of white farmers, who cared far more about keeping blacks in bondage than about levelling white elites. They looked, in other words, to slavery to preserve gentility; and then insisted that the presence of blacks made all white men, ipso facto, into gentlemanly equals.
The Claremont Review, which would win big style points here for its old American Spectator-style look even if it weren't devoting serious coverage to Fisher Ames, receives high praise from Power Line, which links to a Wm F Buckley review of Ann Coulter.
To those in the Boston area: At St. Mary's Chapel at Boston College, Monday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m., a Byzantine-rite Catholic Mass will mark both the Western feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Eastern evening vigil feast of the Conception by St Anna of the Mother of God; on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m., a Ceremony of Lessons and Carols will feature the Boston Boy Choir of the Archdiocesan Choir School.
Meantime, tickets are available for the archdiocesan boys choir's annual Festival of Carols concerts this month at St. Paul's in Harvard Square.
The case for the classical, powerfully and eloquently made by Fr. Jim Tucker:
Let me be explicit. I have no objections in principle to the vernacular in the Mass. I don't think Mass "facing the people" is from the Devil. I don't want to ban Marty Haugen music. I do not yearn to outlaw Communion on the hand or to force you to kneel to receive It. If a priest wants to wear those polyester horse blankets that pass for Gothic chasubles these days, more power to him. Altar girls, felt banners, and the banjo ensemble: go for it. You won't hear me screaming objections.
But here is what I do object to, and very strongly: the fact that, contrary to the explicit instructions of the Second Vatican Council, one can scarcely find a Mass in Latin, and even then it's often viewed with suspicion; that Mass ad orientem, though just as licit as it has always been, is so rare as to be practically non-existent in Latin-rite churches in this country; that Gregorian chant and the polyphonic heritage of the Western Church have been so universally replaced by songs of the present day (or from the 1970s) that people don't even have an option to worship regularly in the context of the traditional music; that the way that Communion has been received in the Western Church for over 1,000 years is now frowned upon or openly discouraged in some quarters; that vestments of more traditional design -- whether Roman or Gothic -- are disparaged or effectively banned for being obsolete and not up-to-date (as if any liturgical garment were "up-to-date"); that every modern option that has been introduced in the last 25 years is now obligatory for all; that every liturgical option that Bl. John XXIII would have recognized is now somehow retrograde and reactionary, even if current legislation continues to allow it.
I object to all of this. I object because these nasty tendencies have alienated two generations of Catholics from their birthright. The forms of worship that our ancestors practiced for centuries -- and in some cases for over a millennium -- have been forcibly pried from the Church, so much so that those once-common elements of Catholic worship are now as alien to millions of Catholics as Buddhist or Muslim worship would be to them. This is not an indictment of what has taken the place of those traditions. It is, rather, an indictment of the narrow-minded intolerance with which those traditions have been replaced and continue to be shut out of the Church's life. If the "contemporary liturgies" and the music of the St Louis Jesuits are as spiritually uplifting and relevant as their admirers say they are, then they really have nothing to fear from a widespread and permanent offering of worship according to the more classical forms of Catholic liturgical tradition. By alienating those traditional forms and making it burdensome to celebrate them, one merely succeeds in alienating the Catholics who prefer them and in fostering factionalism and a (not always unjustified) sense of paranoia.More
On a related front, the Dallas chancery, citing Latinos, puts the clampdown on Latin: Dale Price has been firing with both thuribles as he monitors the situation. See also Frs. Tucker and Wilson, and Bettnet.