Formerly Ad Orientem

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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.

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Irish Elk
Wednesday, June 30, 2004  

Mod, Rocker, Fogey: Here is the picture of WFB I was seeking, courtesy of John at The Six Bells, as accommodating an Innkeeper as you'll find.

Meantime, NRO offers Buckley's 1966 appreciation of the late Evelyn Waugh:

He was an impossible man, in many respects. At least as far as the public was concerned. Like J. D. Salinger and James Gould Cozzens, he simply refused to join the world of flackery and televised literature. On one occasion when he did consent to grant an interview to a young correspondent from Paris Review, because he was related to an old friend, Waugh thoroughly disconcerted the interview by arriving in his hotel suite, taking off his clothes, getting into bed, lighting a huge cigar, breaking open a bottle of champagne, and then uttering: "Proceed."


She left a hole in the world: A moving website tribute to Fern Holland, a young attorney who gave her life working for human rights in Iraq. (Via Harry's Place)



Search-engine queries that have returned this page: "Pipe smoking bluesmen" and "photos of scurvy victims." My favorite remains "how to make flowered popery."

Nom de Spam of the Week: Negating L Mythological

* * *

As Maine goes, so goes the nation? From Maine Today, this AP report:

Support for Kerry dwindles in latest quarterly poll

PORTLAND - John Kerry's double-digit lead over President Bush evaporated Wednesday in a new statewide poll.

Bush and Kerry were tied at 35.5 percent, according to the latest quarterly survey by Strategic Marketing Services. But when those leaning toward the candidate were added to those who intended to vote for him, Kerry had a slight edge, 43.5 percent to 41 percent. Ralph Nader had 4.5 percent and 11 percent were undecided.

By contrast, the marketing research firm's Omnibus Poll in March showed 51 percent intending to vote or leaning toward Kerry, compared to 38 percent for Bush, 4 percent for Nader and 7.5 percent undecided.

* * *

Meantime, as the Fourth of July approaches, the Portland Press Herald carries a report on the going fireworks trade in Seabrook, N.H.

Some years back I made a pre-Fourth pilgrimage to one of the border fireworks stores in Seabrook. Standing around in the front showroom looking rather disappointedly at the tame window-dressing selection of sparklers and snakes, I noted to the clerk that I'd come up from Massachusetts. He asked: "Are you a cop?" Assuring him I was not, I was shown past a curtain into a backroom with enough imported Chinese rockets, firecrackers and cherry bombs to keep a small armory in business. I left happy, and on the ensuing Fourth, nearly burned down my sister's wooden porch with a misfired skyrocket. (Tip to aspiring rocketeers: Orangeade makes a poor extinguisher.)

When I was a teenager, the pre-Fourth trolley trip into Boston's Haymarket and North End to procure black-market fireworks was a summer ritual. You'd hang around a certain playground, and a person would appear from an alley to take your order of so many gross of bottle rockets and so many bricks of firecrackers. Drive-through pyrotechnics?

* * *

Irish Eagle follows the Munster hurling final.

* * *

Is grad school a cult? Erin O'Connor comments on Chronicle of Higher Ed article by Thomas Hart Benton that makes the (not entirely) tongue-in-cheek analogy:

Benton is, not coincidentally, an English professor, and his question arises from his inside observation of the rigidly conformist culture that one so often finds, paradoxically, in programs aimed at training aspiring scholars. You'd think that graduate education for people who plan to be originators of ideas, posers of problems, askers of questions, and producers of new knowledge would emphasize qualities such as responsible creativity, intellectual independence, informed skepticism, and categorical refusal to be pressured--on any level--to adhere to the prefabricated intellectual and ideological tenets of any group. But Benton has noticed that this is not so, that graduate education (and I assume he is speaking most particularly about the humanities, where qualitative evaluation reigns supreme) often works by very different means, to very different ends.

One commenter responds: Grad school isn't so much a cult as it is a pyramid scheme…

* * *

Hillbilly swing aficionados will find here a wide selection of links and some fine vintage postcards: I'd like to have ordered the Blue Plate Special in this Amarillo diner to a backdrop of Rip Ramsay & his Texas Wanderers.

Meantime, here's "Texas Playboy Rag," one of several Bob Wills files at Vitaminic.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004  

Standing athwart history, yelling Stop

In what Armavirumque terms yesterday's other handover, the National Review's William F. Buckley has relinquished control of the magazine he founded a half-century ago.

The publisher's statement he included in the first issue remains as compelling today as it did on Nov. 19, 1955:

"I happen to prefer champagne to ditchwater," said the benign old wrecker of the ordered society, Oliver Wendell Holmes, "but there is no reason to suppose that the cosmos does." We have come around to Mr. Holmes' view, so much that we feel gentlemanly doubts when asserting the superiority of capitalism to socialism, of republicanism to centralism, of champagne to ditchwater — of anything to anything. (How curious that one of the doubts one is not permitted is whether, at the margin, Mr. Holmes was a useful citizen!) The inroads that relativism has made on the American soul are not so easily evident. One must recently have lived on or close to a college campus to have a vivid intimation of what has happened. It is there that we see how a number of energetic social innovators, plugging their grand designs, succeeded over the years in capturing the liberal intellectual imagination. And since ideas rule the world, the ideologues, having won over the intellectual class, simply walked in and started to run things…

Power Line reflects on the Buckley legacy.

I've been hunting for my favorite WFB pic, an image of him riding a Vespa through the streets of Manhattan that ran on the cover of his 1968 compilation The Jeweler's Eye. Anyone have a copy?


Saintly Relic Smackdown

The Holy Whapping has seen Ecclesia Anglicana's head of John the Baptist and raised him the head of St. Catherine of Siena (June 28 top).

Fr. Tucker is struck by the relation of the Holy Prepuce to the Rings of Saturn.

(And Matthew is right: the Daughters of Trent would make a very good name for a band. I'm thinking punk or surf, with plaid parochial-school jumpers, safety pins optional: the Belles of St. Trinians with electric guitars.)

The Museum of Hoaxes recalls the purported brain of St. Peter (which turned out to be a piece of pumice stone) in an article on the medieval relic trade.

The mummified body of Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier, minus a toe, is scheduled to be exhibited this December.

Till today, the remains of St. Francis Xavier seem miraculously well preserved, by this account. According to local lore, the body's hair and nails still keep on growing and have to be cut periodically. One toe is missing though, having been bitten off by an over-zealous devotee. Every ten years, the Exhibition of Francis Xavier is held, during which the body is laid out in the Sé Cathedral in Old Goa for all faithful to see. To avoid another toe-biting incident, it is kept in a coffin of glass. The saint's body attracts up to a million pilgrims, many from overseas and many non-Christian. For Goans living outside their state it is a matter of pride to return for the occasion. The next exhibition will take place in 2004, but there has been talk of the Vatican disapproving of the practice and considering a ban.

Elsewhere: A ceremony on Corfu is recalled that involves the parading of the mummy of St. Spiridion * Santa Caterina's head and thumb * Mummified Mother Cabrini * The stolen bones of St. Nicholas

Meantime, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, who may or may not be a Recovering Daughter of Trent, posts a list on Judging Dubiousness of Saints:

Subtract credibility points from any saint who:

-1 levitated
-2 flew
-3 performed significant actions after being dismembered
-4 performed significant actions after being beheaded
-2 is a Celtic saint associated with a body of water
-6 is a Celtic saint known only through being associated with a body of water
-1 is fun to draw
-1 has generated
ex ossibus relics in excess of a single normal human skeleton
-1 is a popular statuary figure in the front windows of botanicas
-2 has an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Saints which mentions the word “Antioch”
-2 is credited with the spontaneous generation of roses or rose petals
-2 after death or martyrdom, exuded water, milk, oil, perfume, or some other benign substance
-3 was granted specific favors at the point of martyrdom; viz., that women who invoke the saint during childbirth will bear healthy children, or that anyone who writes a Life of the saint will receive an unfading crown in heaven
-3 was the recipient of three or more miracles involving a significant discharge of energy
-4 performed numerically improbable feats (traveling in company with 11,000 virgins; simultaneously besting 50 philosophers in debate)
-5 had a run-in with a dragon
-5 is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (of whom there are nineteen)
-6 is first mentioned in martyrologies written several centuries after his or her supposed lifetime
-2 is mentioned in the Legenda Aurea
-7 is mentioned in the Legenda Aurea as a beautiful young virgin of noble birth who vows herself to Christ, is desired by a highly-placed official, and dauntlessly undergoes a long series of imaginative tortures interspersed with miracles before finally claiming the Palm of Martyrdom.
-8 appears to derive his or her entire existence from a medieval rhetorical trope
-9 appears to derive his or her entire existence from a misunderstood word or etymology
-10 appears to derive his or her entire existence from a typo
-15 is a member of the current lineup of the X-Men
— Subtract one additional point for each 10% of the saint’s life that can be mapped directly onto the folklore motif index.

It would improve the accuracy of this method to have a second weighted list of characteristics pointing toward believability: being mentioned in scripture or other early writings, being mentioned by contemporaries (esp. sober and authoritative contemporaries), being the author of thoroughly respectable early writings, having a detailed Life which is marked by great piety but contains no colorful anecdotes at all, etc. etc. etc.

Bear in mind that even the best of saints can have a few dubious characteristics. St. Teresa of Avila occasionally levitated during prayer. All sorts of odd legends have gotten attached to St. Nicholas of Myra and St. George. Poor old St. Oswald died by being hacked to pieces by Mercians at the battle of Maserfield, and between that and the confusion of the times that followed, he somehow acquired an extra head. Really, it could happen to anyone; and there is a preferred head, the one that was kept with the relics of St. Cuthbert. Oswald’s remains are positively staid compared to the five or six (or seven? I’ve lost count) heads that have been credited St. John the Baptist, every one of which is exceedingly dubious.

* * *

The Tyburn gibbet offered equal accessibility, after a fashion, but wouldn't be up to code today. Now, a Benedictine convent at the site where St. Edmund Campion and scores of other Reformation-era Catholic martyrs died must come up with £400,000 for handicapped lifts and ramps – or face closure. More: Thos Fitzpatrick * Bettnet * Patrick Sweeney * Inn at the End of the World



Last Game at the Polo Grounds

The adulizing Mr. Hiss, who no doubt curses the commonplace but probably doesn't go so far as to view a khaki suit with loathing, links to a remarkable poem by Edward Arlington Robinson.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.

Tell it, bruthah.

Meantime, Random Penseur recalls Stanford White and the old Penn Station.

* * *
The old Polo Grounds used to be directly across the river from Yankee Stadium. The Baseball Library has much more on the old ballpark at Coogan's Bluff.

Wondering: Had I lived in New York City a half-century ago, would I have been a Giants or a Dodgers fan?

Yankee Stadium continues to be listed with Fenway and Wrigley among the great old parks, but was stripped of its character in a drastic remodeling in the mid-1970s in which its distinctive wedding-cake façade was removed, save for a vestigial piece in the outfield.

David Ortiz & Co. visit the Bronx tonight.

* * *

A three-part series concludes today in the Washington Post on the inside baseball of moving the Expos to DC.


Monday, June 28, 2004  

Sir Arnold Lunn on the Latin Mass:

"If it is so," he said, arguing along with Evelyn Waugh and others for one (1) Latin Mass each Sunday in the larger churches, "that the Latin Mass is only for the educated few, surely Mother Church in all her charity can find a little place even for the educated few?"

- - From "The End of the Latin Mass," by William F. Buckley, Nov. 10, 1967

* * *

More recently, Cardinal Danneels on the Latin Mass, via St. Blog's own Todd Flowerday:

“When you have a parish Mass, you shouldn’t do it in Latin. You can do it perhaps for more intellectual people who have a certain culture, but I think it is very exceptional.”


* * *

Ave Maria University is backing off plans for a great greenhouse of a church, and university officials are in full spin mode.

* * *

Hocus Pocus: Did the magician's saying really derive from the Catholic Mass? Word of the Day * Online Etymology * Word Detective (item 14) * Museum of Hoaxes * Cecil Adams

* * *

Hotch Potch: A term evoked by the Novus Ordo, according this Latin Mass Society essayist.

* * *

The first Tridentine Mass celebrated in the Phoenix Diocese reportedly drew more than 1,300.

* * *

Just as the anti-popery sites tend to have the best images of historic Babylonian-scale papal splendor, the sedevacantists are the ones to see for pics of Catholic liturgical horrors, such as the Daktari-style nave altar, the heated baptismal font, the colorful dance at a recent papal youth-Mass, and the results of an apparent miscue at a Communion wafer bakery.

Well, this goes without saying.

(Tinfoil biretta tip: Mark Shea)

* * *

Meantime, back in full communion, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Acton, Mass., maintains a gallery of church renovation projects that is rather like a Hollywood Guide to the Stars' Homes for the Vosko-Friendly.

* * *

For a smells-and-bells restorative, Anglo-Catholic Central offers links to Anglo-Catholic parishes across the globe.



Via Michelle Fierro


Pro-US-imperialist historian Niall Ferguson is everywhere these days: Orating at Harvard * In the Atlantic * In the Washington Monthly

* * *

The tragic Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie are recalled at Otto-da-Fe. Companion materials (including an explanation of the cryptic "AEIOU" device) are available at Hapsburg.com.

* * *

Erik Keilholtz has been listening to country music and drinking Budweiser. Contra Erik, drinking Budweiser is rarely a necessity, other options typically being available. My taste for Hank Williams and Patsy Cline was cultivated here while drinking National Bohemian, and Miller was the default beer at my college bar, which didn't even offer Bud because Jimmy the owner reportedly had had a fight with the Bud distributor. Hereabouts, anyway, there's always Rolling Rock. Bud is rarely the only option: even at the good old Pleasant Café, where the three taps read Bud, Bud, and Bud, there are plenty of other brands in the bottle. Strike a blow for distributism, I say, and drink something else.

Erik also sets aside ethical qualms and listens to a little Spade Cooley, hillbilly swing king and convicted murderer, with whom I had been unfamiliar, and who sounds a bit like Bob Wills. Vitaminic offers several tracks.

* * *

RSS feed now available here. Thanks to the Random Penseur for the tech help.


Thursday, June 24, 2004  

New York correspondent Steve M offers an account of Tuesday Night at Fitzpatrick's with the New Criterion crowd:

There is a Brooklyn writer, said to be esteemed by New Criterion founder Hilton Kramer, who not long ago questioned the relationship between alcohol and joy. "Would all that many people really wish to consume vast quantities of a known central nervous system depressant if they were already high on life?" Jonathan Leaf, "The Uses and Abuses of Alcohol," in The Muse of the Bottle (Chas. A. Coulombe, ed., 2002)

Inspired by a recent Irish Elk suggestion, the aptly named "Tuesdays" gathering of
New Crit folk on Manhattan's Upper East Side was investigated on the designated day this week by your humble correspondent, as well as "child of scorn" Otto Clemson Hiss, and several other newcomers to this weekly event. The lovely bartender leapt at the mention of the magazine. She professed not to understand a request for stout, hinted that "porter?" did not clarify, then dished out as finely poured a succession of Guinness pints as any thirsty man could ever covet. Paler brews were also in good supply, and, Jonathan Leaf to the contrary notwithstanding, I think we novices arrived high on life and left in a similar state. While we congregated, naturally, at the Western end of the bar, the existence or nonexistence of neoconservativism was carefully reviewed, as were favorite passages about Carthage from Chesterton's Everlasting Man. Otto's exposition on St. Anselm competed reasonably well with a not quite as oldie by the Doors issuing from the jukebox. (The Doors were possibly a selection of jovial blogger Alexander the Great--entrusted with selections after Otto claimed not to know any post-1820 tunes.)

As more of
The New Criterion folk drifted in, things got serious. I was able to describe the Marxist Leninist reporter in Waugh's "Scoop" to our faithful bar custodian, Dawn Steeves. Waugh has this Red scribbler being perpetually rude to waiters, the better to raise their class consciousness. Dawn (who handles New Criterion "Special Projects") returned serve by mentioning the Chronicles magazine editor she once had to bounce mid-way through a Hilton Kramer talk in Chicago. Now I ask you: at what bar--outside of Rockford, Illinois--would one be even able to discuss Chronicles magazine, much less the proper way to eject said publication's representatives?

And when a patron from the Easterly, Blue State side of the bar strolled by with her newly purchased copy of the memoirs of William Jefferson Clinton, I had to borrow it for a moment. When I announced after a quick check that the index had no entry for "Broderick, Juanita,"
Criterion editor James Panero gave a knowing look, while heads nodded all around. Again I ask, where else in an American metropolis could one be surrounded by people who at once are so sage and have such well-mollified central nervous systems?

If you find yourself in a Red State state of mind while in Manhattan on a Tuesday evening, your really cannot do better than to visit Fitzpatrick's pub (85th Street and Second Avenue). Don't worry about the Elvish for "Friend"--Say
"The New Criterion" and Enter. A special surprise awaits.

Otto Hiss files his own report, plus some thoughts on morning-after remedies for a surfeit of conviviality. Armavirumque takes note.


Listen: "18th Street Strut," one of a number of piano rolls by Fats Waller at the Red Hot Jazz Archive, which also features piano rolls by Jelly Roll Morton * James P. Johnson * George Gershwin


Forgotten Alleys: In NYC and Boston (via Random Penseur).



In the Campaign of 1904

The New York Sun has a review of a new history of TR's early years as a state legislator in Albany, I Rose Like a Rocket: The Political Education of Theodore Roosevelt.

Bartleby.com features an extensive online collection of works by and about the 20th century's greatest Republican president.

The campaign sticker comes by way of the Llama Butchers.

* * *

Former US Sen. Edward Brooke (R-Mass.), pictured on the cover of Time in 1967 after becoming the first black since Reconstruction elected to the US Senate, has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Today's Globe ran a wire photo on page 3, but that's it. Brooke once was a figure of pride on the Mass. political scene, a history-maker as the nation's only black senator at the time, and a part of the Frank Sargent-Elliott Richardson-Leverett Saltonstall moderate-to-liberal state GOP pantheon that the old Taylor family-owned Globe quite appreciated. After losing his bid for a third term to Paul Tsongas in '78, in a campaign in which his bitter divorce became news, Brooke moved away and pretty much fell out of the public eye. His appearance at the White House yesterday answers that "Whatever Became Of" question.

And, hey, way to go, Rita Moreno.

* * *

The original Thugs were tame compared to today's Jihadists, as Andrew Sullivan's first and third items indicate.

* * *

Good to see old friend Maureen Mullarkey writing for the New York Sun.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004  

"Tobacco," a ballad published in D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, 1719:

Tobacco's but an Indian weed,
Grows green in the morn, cut down at eve;
It shows our decay,
We are but clay;
Think of this when you smoke tobacco!

The pipe that is so lily white,
Wherein so many take delight,
It's broken with a touch, -
Man's life is such;
Think of this when you take tobacco!

The pipe that is so foul within,
It shows man's soul is stained with sin;
It doth require
To be purged with fire;
Think of this when you smoke tobacco!

The dust that from the pipe doth fall,
It shows we are nothing but dust at all;
For we came from the dust,
And return we must;
Think of this when you smoke tobacco!

The ashes that are left behind,
Do serve to put us all in mind
That unto dust
Return we must;
Think of this when you take tobacco!

The smoke that does so high ascend,
Shows that man's life must have an end;
The vapour's gone, -
Man's life is done;
Think of this when you take tobacco!

* * *

The Indian Princess above comes from a fine gallery of cigar store figures at UVa.

* * *

Included at Chris' Pipe Pages is a scanned copy of the 1968-69 catalog from the Harvard Square tobacconist Leavitt & Peirce. I'd like to puff Famous Cake Box Mixture in one of the Fireside Churchwardens advertised on Page 8 with this evocative verse:

One foot away the embers glow
One foot you draw the smoke
Caress Churchwarden in your palm –
Are you a lucky bloke!
With a free package of one-foot pipe

Of Famous Cake Box Mixture it is said on Page 11:

Since the eighteen eighties,
Cake Box lightly has perfumed
The air of seventeen thousand towns,
It may be well presumed.

Elsewhere at the site, see this page of pipe oddities, including the magnetized dashboard briar, a briar you can whittle as you smoke, a Sir John Bull pipe that keeps puffing even if smoked in a gale, and an ooh-la-la peekaboo pipe with built-in French glamour girl.



Why I like the New York Sun: It assigns a staff obit of a 1940s New York Giants second baseman remembered for bolting to the Mexican League, and reviews a new biography of Howlin' Wolf.

More on Howlin' Wolf: Chess Records has a gallery of Real Audio files * The Howlin' Wolf Blues Society has been established in his hometown of West Point, Miss. * The authors of the new biography offer a few song excerpts * Bob's Blues Legends includes an mp3 of "Smokestack Lightning" * The Year of the Blues project features a tribute at its 52 Great Recordings section * LivinBlues offers an mp3 of "Killin' Floor" * Howlin' Wolf wallpaper * A vintage poster

* From an entry in the All Music Guide to the Blues:

In the history of the blues, there has never been anyone quite like the Howlin' Wolf. Six foot three and close to 300 pounds in his salad days, the Wolf was the primal force of the music spun out to its ultimate conclusion. A Robert Johnson may have possessed more lyrical insight, a Muddy Waters more dignity, and a B.B. King certainly more technical expertise, but no one could match him for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.

* Raising a toast at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1970.



Is Erik Keilholtz a Giants or an A's fan? Can it be the Bay Area's Hammer of Apostasy roots for both? That would be an unthinkable exercise in ecumenism, and I was prepared to urge Erik to offer reparation to the baseball gods at Lefty O'Doul's, except that old Lefty himself played for both the Giants and the Dodgers and managed both the SF Seals and the Oakland Oaks.

More on Lefty O'Doul: An excerpt from an interview Lawrence Ritter did with him in 1963 for The Glory of Their Times * Lefty O'Doul Day at Seals Stadium, 1938 * O'Doul, right, with fan dancer Sally Rand

Via the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation, two from the early '50s: "Cakewalkin' Babies" by Turk Murphy's Jazz Band * "Oh! By Jingo" by Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band



Very good piece by David Brooks on the Democrats' lack of faith * Christopher Hitchens looses a most satisfying blast across Michael Moore's ample bow * Amy in N.H. buries a woodchuck * Dale Price addresses a priestly etiquette problem of some delicacy

* * *

Jonah Goldberg isn't having any "root causes."

* * *

Appropriately enough, given the tenor of recent headlines out of the Middle East, Turner Classics this past weekend aired the 1935 MGM version of Tale of Two Cities, which was really very well done. Turns out there's a reason the omnipresent French revolutionary hag named "The Vengeance" looks and sounds just like the Witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves: the actress, Lucille La Verne, provided voice and model for the Wicked Queen in the Disney cartoon. (See Great Characters)

* * *
Fr. Wilson enlists Good Pope John in the cause of the Old Mass:

Well, you might also call it the “Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII,” as he was the Pope who promulgated the 1962 Missal by which the Indult Masses are offered today. But calling it either the ‘Mass of St Pius V’ or the ‘Mass of John XXII’ is very misleading. Its form was pretty much set by the time of Gregory the Great (+600 A.D.), which makes one realize what we tossed out in 1969. Someday I want to walk into a VOTF meeting and ask them to agitate for the “Mass of Bl. John XXIII!”


Friday, June 18, 2004  

"Because I could." Somewhere, Lord Acton spins in his grave.

* * *

The Dallas Morning News will report this weekend that between 100 and 200 Catholic clergy around the world were moved from country to country after they faced criminal charges or serious allegations of sex offenses against minors. The findings come after an 18-month investigation by the paper. NPR has a preview.

* * *

The 1911 Collier's cover above is from MagazineArt.org, a visual database of 19th and early 20th century magazine cover art found via Michelle Fierro, whose Life in the Present site overflows with links to wonderful graphic art.

* * *

Not likely to happen – but it says here this GOP ticket wins a lot of votes in November. Meantime, doesn't Kerry's eventual pick for veep now come off as less than exciting?

* * *

Like a scallion: If you're the parent of a Veggie Tales-obsessed toddler, Madonna's decision to rename herself Esther is even more amusing. Next up: Britney Asparagus Spears.

* * *

Found in The Cellar, these Images of the Day: A remarkable storm pic * Home hit by meteorite * Baby wombat * Ham art

* * *

Movietone Portraits features vintage newsreels, including footage of Shanghai jazz in 1929, schoolboy rooters in top hats at an Eton-Harrow cricket match in 1932, and hot-pants fashion circa 1971. (Via Stephen Baldwin)

* * *

Shut up, he explained: Kerry "kitchen cabinet" member Fr. Drinan advises candidate on Communion controversy.

* * *

Cardinal Law's top administrator Bishop Murphy was a chief executor of the pederast priest shuffle, and when he allegedly withheld information from the government on an accused priest posted to a VA hospital, it became a federal case. Might he do time? No doubt many would argue he should.

Wonder if Cardinal Law's diplomatic immunity will play into this?

* * *

The New Republic editors revisit the case for war and say it was still justified on moral grounds. Contributor Thomas Friedman still hopes the Arab world can be tilted toward liberal democracy.

* * *

Junkyard Blog has put together a campaign ad that captures why many of us find the current crop of Democrats less than inspiring. (Via Power Line)

* * *

For summer reading, a Democratic presidential biography that is inspiring.



The webmaster of a site devoted to the old Washington Senators explained the rationale behind building the pages: My HTML instructor…emphasized what action one should take if one does not find a particular subject on the Web. "You have an obligation," he said,"to create a page for the missing subject."

It is safe to say Pib Burns has compiled the definitive Web resource on cryptozoology and philately, the place for stamps of the ogopogo, the okapi and the quagga.

The 1962 Australian stamp above comes from the section devoted to the Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger. I rather like this one from the Bunyip category.

* * *

Hold that Thylacine: Original Dixieland Jass Band (Real Audio) from 1918 via Vitaminic * Princeton University Band (mp3) via Ivy League Fight Songs



If you get Turner Classic Movies, each of the famous films in today's lineup is preceded by a classic Warner Bros. cartoon parodying it. I'd wondered why a Lon Chaney silent was running first thing this morning; I missed the Bugs Bunny before. Ted Turner is a prize horse's ass, but TCM might be the best channel on television.

No one did the Thylacine Yawn as well as Joe E. Brown, the "man with the air-cooled tonsils," as this 1935 trailer for Ring Lardner's Alibi Ike indicates. That's Fred Mertz playing the Cubs manager.

Joe E. Brown was a great fan of the old minor-league Hollywood Stars, who are colorfully recalled at Sports Hollywood. See also the page on LA's old Wrigley Field, which carries at bottom an outstanding collection of Pacific Coast League links; a remembrance of Fatty Arbuckle's Vernon Tigers, and the Harry Caray pearl of wisdom that tops the page of Greatest Sports Quotes.

A few of the latter:

"Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand."
-Wes Westrum, Mets Manager (1965-67)

"The last time the Cubs won a World Series was in 1908. The last time they were in one was 1945. Hey, any team can have a bad century."
-Tom Trebelhorn, former Chicago Cubs manager, after a loss.

"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on base."
-Dave Barry

"Football combines the two worst features of American life: violence and committee meetings."
-George Will, journalist, political commentator, 1994

I found out that all the important lessons of life are contained in the three rules for achieving a perfect golf swing: 1.Keep your head down - 2.Follow through - 3. Be born with money.
-P.J. O'Rourke


Thursday, June 17, 2004  

Keep the fir flying: Raise high the New England pine tree flag in honor of Bunker Hill Day, anniversary of the celebrated Revolutionary War battle, and in Boston and surrounding Suffolk County the Highest of Hack Holidays.

The pine tree flag captured for posterity by John Trumbull was carried by the minuteman above when the Battle of Bunker Hill was re-enacted a few years back in New Hampshire, which sent more men to the 1775 battle than all other states combined.

It might be noted that the evergreen and pinecone are favored symbols of pagans and Roman Catholics. (Conifer tip: Mark Shea)

In the spirit of the occasion: "Got My Mojo Working" by Pinetop Perkins via Texas Music Group * "Jump Steady Blues" and Pine Top's Boogie Woogie" by Pine Top Smith




On the Zeppelin front, Zadok the Roman turns up a useful volume from 1958:

Being answers to a large variety of questions on points of moral, canonical, liturgical and rubrical interest
by the late
Selected and edited by

Amongst the gems in this book is the question: Would a priest enjoying a portable altar indult, which included celebration in a ship, violate any grave law by celebrating Mass in an aeroplane? In the course of the answer we discover: There is no express prohibition against celebrating in aeroplanes. On the contrary, it was expressly permitted by papal indult as long ago as 1936, on the voyage of the dirigible Hindenburg from Friedrichschafen to New York, and the celebrant Fr. Schulte O.M.I., is said to have been the first priest to celebrate in the air.

One presumes that last clause excludes St. Joseph of Cupertino.

* * *

Only in Massachusetts? Perhaps only in Cambridge would the Republican candidate for state rep headline his campaign website: "Pro-Choice. Supports Same-Sex Marriage…A choice – not an echo – for Cambridge and Somerville."

* * *

Truth be told, I haven't read Ulysses and don't plan to in the near future. For those like me, the BBC offered on the occasion of yesterday's Bloomsday centenary a Cheat's Guide to what has been called the greatest novel of the 20th century, noting: [F]or all its renown and notoriety, it is a book that few have read and even fewer comprehend. Writes one commenter: "This book is the greasy pole of literature. You simply cannot get past page 10 without sliding back to the beginning and trying again to understand what on earth is going on."

Evelyn Waugh had no use for Joyce or Ulysses, notes Enoch Soames, who excerpts a Waugh interview with Elizabeth Jane Howard.

Elizabeth Jane Howard: When you were a young writer, were writers trying to shock their public?

Evelyn Waugh: The matter shocked them awfully, really, whatever you wrote. When I began writing it was a great period of shock and - it was the time of Joynson-Hicks, you know - and things that would now seem quite innocent were thought to be obscene. I don’t mean shocking in that sense, but there was a much more sinister influence which was to try and reduce prose style to gibberish. And it didn’t work with prose. What Mr Cyril Connolly has called The Breakthrough was in fact the break-up. In painting, architecture and poetry, in which the common man has a certain feeling of awe so he’s prepared to be bamboozled - they accepted what was offered. But when it came to prose the English common man knows what prose is, he talks it all the time himself and he wasn’t going to be taken in. And there were a lot of Americans, headed by one called Gertrude Stein, who wrote absolute gibberish. Then they hired a poor dotty Irishman called James Joyce, if you’ve heard about him - he was thought to be a great influence in my youth –

EJH: Was he, yes.

EW: - and he wrote absolute rot, you know. He began writing quite well and you can see him going mad as he wrote, and his last books - only fit to be set for examinations at Cambridge.

EJH: He didn’t always write gibberish, did he?

EW: No, you could watch him going mad sentence by sentence. If you read Ulysses, it’s perfectly sane for a little bit, and then it goes madder and madder - but that was before the Americans hired him. And then they hired him to write Finnegan’s Wake, which is gibberish.

EJH: Mm.

EW: Gertrude Stein happened to be a clever and amusing old gal. She was no booby to meet, and - I wasn’t one for going to salons very much, in fact I never went to her house in Paris; one heard about her house in Paris, and certainly all the most intelligent people did meet there - and then when she started putting pen to paper - gibberish.

EJH: Mm.

Meantime, at the Holy Whapping, Matthew writes:

Give me the real Homeric Odysseus (alias Ulysses) any day over some one-eyed fancy-pants literarily incomprehensible gobbledygook. (Unless it's T.S. Eliot, in which case, it's not gobbledygook because I like it, and it's good incomprehensibility, por eso.) Or give me Ulysses S. Grant, that genial alcoholic strategist: at least he knew how to party. Or even Cuchulain (a.k.a. the Irish Achilles), if you have to have a Hibernian. And when Cuchulain's incomprehensible, at least it means he'll totally flip out and hack your head off beforehand so you don't have to listen to any modernist blank verse while alive.

* * *

A transcript of Queen Victoria's condolences to Mary Lincoln is provided by Banshee at Aliens in this World, who also offers a personal Guide to American Catholic Church Architecture.

* * *

Nessie's exorcism by St. Columba is among the cryptozoological arcana at the Holy Whapping.

* * *

Hugh Hewitt asks: Could blogs be used for political dirty tricks?

* * *

A reporter "from away" goes to a Maine lobster pound and takes in the Sea Dogs.



Servants to Reason & the Pope: A new history of the Jesuits is reviewed at the NY Sun.

Elsewhere, NRO re-runs a Florence King column on favorite books that includes this blurb on Henry Morton Robinson's The Cardinal (1950):

The Cardinal opens in 1915 and traces Steve's rise from Boston parish priest to prince of the church. My favorite parts are the behind-the scenes accounts of how the Vatican works, and the descriptions of the Roman contessa's salon: a hierarchy of ecclesiastical guests, their rank denoted by the colors of their flowing capes and birettas (the book answers all the Protestant questions about vestments), soignée women kissing rings, learned Jesuits swapping bons mots, and Cardinal Merry del Val capping quotations from Horace while juggling oranges. That's what I call a party. It's enough to make me religious.

And this from Company Magazine:

Jesuit Ring Found in Maine

Emerson Baker, professor of history at Salem State College in Massachusetts, discovered a Jesuit ring during an archaeological dig this past summer in South Berwick, Maine. Such rings were brought over in very large numbers by Jesuit missionaries and distributed among those they were proselytizing. A handful of Jesuit rings have been found at sites of Indian villages and French trading posts in Maine, but this is the first to be uncovered at an English site.

“Jesuit rings from the 1600s are not that rare,” says Baker. “The rarity is its location at an English home.” The ring was found during the excavation of what is believed to be an outbuilding at the homestead of Humphrey Chadbourne, a fur trader. Bearing the “IHS” inscription, the ring was most likely dropped by a Native American, says Baker.
-- Portsmouth Herald


Wednesday, June 16, 2004  

What do you get when you cross Leonard Zelig with Tik Tok of Oz? Boilerplate, Mechanical Marvel of the Nineteenth Century, one of the celebrated Robots of the Victorian Era. Here he is atop San Juan Hill. Have your own photo taken with him!

I really like these sites. See also: Femopolis * 19th-Century Airships

Elsewhere: Penny Dreadfuls * The Slingshot, the "Great British Magazine for Young Chaps," from an age when England "never lost at cricket."




David Hisbrook writes:

I feel bad about Ronald Reagan’s passing, but let’s keep perspective. You heard the call for it here first – put Ray Charles on the ten-dollar bill. Can I get an Amen?


You can hear "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" and a batch of other great early Ray Charles songs referenced in "The Atlantic Sound," one of the programs of the public-radio show Let the Good Times Roll, hosted by Jerry "The Iceman" Butler.

* * *

Waxwing O. Confirm: Among the more colorful noms de spam in the junk-mail bin. Others: Angrier D. Wagged, Wigglier D. Signatures, and Tailwind G. Narrower.

* * *

Oh, the humanity! The new ZeppelinNT actually sounds like a great idea. Hope it flies.

* * *

Again, there is no obit like a Telegraph obit: I give you the late Earl of Romney.

* * *

Evocative of Richard III's Little Princes in the Tower and of Edward Gorey, this haunting account of the fate of the Lost Dauphin of France has bothered me more than anything I've read in the past week. (Via John at the Six Bells)

* * *

More, much more on Edward Gorey at Goreyography.

* * *

And a shot of Wild Turkey with a your Kipling, courtesy of Amy at Ever So Humble.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004  

In Saginaw, Mich., the diocesan cathedral's website greets visitors with a Casio disco beat.

But at St. Joseph's Church in Saginaw, a treasured statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, of great spiritual and cultural significance to the largely Mexican-American congregation, has been barred from the worship area as superfluous.

Michigander Dale Price is justifiably apoplectic. His commentary recalls Christopher Derrick's saying: "A liturgist is an affliction sent by God so that Catholics living in a time when there is no overt persecution need not be denied the privilege of suffering for the faith."

Mi Gente, a local Latino magazine, has covered the story extensively in its March and April editions.


Monday, June 14, 2004  

High Mass at Anglo-Catholic St Mary's Bourne Street, London, where the Order of Service for Solemn Evensong and Benediction last night ran as follows:

6pm Solemn Evensong, Corpus Christi Procession and Benediction
Stanford Canticles in B flat
Praetorius Salve Regina
de Severac Tantum ergo
Elgar Ave verum
Mendelssohn War march of the priests
Followed by drinks in the courtyard

Exquisite. (Via Holy Whapping)



The Dodgers were in town this past weekend, which brought to mind Hugh Casey, one of two tragic figures I've been said to resemble (the other being James Michael Connolly).

Casey threw the famous Dropped Third Strike in the 1941 World Series, and was a boozy sparring partner of Hemingway's, the Baseball Library notes:

Hugh Casey was on the mound in the ninth inning of Game Four of the 1941 Yankee-Dodger World Series. Brooklyn led, 4-3, with two out, nobody on, and Tommy Henrich at bat. Henrich swung and missed Casey's 3-2 pitch, but the third strike eluded catcher Mickey Owen, and Henrich reached base, beginning a game-winning rally. Owen became a famous goat, and baseball historians since have differed as to whether the elusive pitch was a spitball.

Casey, who relieved in 287 of his 343 games, led the NL in saves twice and relief wins three times. A loner, a tough competitor, and a heavy drinker, Casey became friends with Ernest Hemingway. At Hemingway's house during spring training in Cuba, the drunken pair once put on boxing gloves. Teammate Kirby Higbe later recalled, "Ernest would belt Case one, and down he would go. Case would belt old Ernest, and down he would go...The furniture [really took] a beating." At age 37, allegedly despondent over the breakup of his marriage, Casey committed suicide.

Casey took his own life with a shotgun on July 3, 1951, 10 years – almost to the day – before Hemingway did likewise.

You can Play Six Degrees of Hugh Casey here.

* * *

John Huston's splendid adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana was on last night, and required watching to the accompaniment of several cold ones. (Which explained the woozy head this morning: Once upon a time a direct recourse to a Bloody Mary would have been prescribed.)

We agreed that if the film were to be remade today, Bill Murray would be a natural for Richard Burton's defrocked Rev. Shannon and Susan Sarandon, for Ava Gardner's innkeeper. (Was Sarandon's Annie Savoy in Bull Durham at all influenced by Ava Gardner here?) For Deborah Kerr's itinerant portrait-sketcher, I'm thinking Emma Thompson.



Harvard beat Yale this past weekend in the 139th rowing of the annual H-Y Regatta:

At 5:38 p.m., Harvard senior coxswain Jesse Oberst was sent airborne by crewmates into the Thames River. At the same time, a broom was run up the flag pole at Red Top, the Crimson training camp, signifying their dominance yesterday in the 139th Harvard-Yale Regatta, the nation's oldest intercollegiate sporting event.

Perfect timing.

Harvard's varsity crew rowed the 4-mile upstream course in 18 minutes, 42.1 seconds, missing the course record (Harvard's 18:41.9 in 1995) by 2/10ths of a second amid arduous, choppy water.

Harvard swept all three races - varsity, second varsity, freshmen - for the fourth straight season and the varsity crew has now posted back-to-back unbeaten campaigns, the first time Harvard has accomplished that feat since stringing together three straight from 1974-76.

The Harvard varsity is pictured above collecting the winners' spoils, the shirts off their rivals' backs.

This year's Harvard crew is one for the books:

NEW LONDON, Conn. -- All around Red Top, Harvard's expansive rowing headquarters by the Thames River, are reminders of what its alma mater calls "the age that is past." Framed photographs of unbeaten varsities, books filled with lore, names of oarsmen long dead scribbled inside the clothing cabinets at the dorms. For every Crimson varsity that arrives here at season's end, the challenge is unspoken but unmistakable: Where is your place among all this?

Now comes a crew that has set the school's sports information people to rummaging through the archives to find the last one with similar accomplishments: back-to-back national championships by open water, two Eastern Sprints titles (also by open water), 17 straight regular-season victories, all but four of them by open water.

Not since the "Rude and Smooth" era of the mid-'70s has there been a Crimson boat to match what this one has achieved, Saturday after Saturday. Yet the question remains: How good are these guys?

Good enough that they're heading for Switzerland next week on the way to next month's Henley Royal Regatta to pull on red-white-and-blue jerseys and compete against some of the world's best national boats (including the probable US Olympic eight) in the World Cup in Lucerne.

"They're curious to see," says coach Harry Parker, whose last crew to test the top international waters was the 1968 boat that made the Olympic final. "As are other people."

Listen: "Fight Fiercely, Harvard" (mp3) by Tom Lehrer * "Yo-Ho" by the Harvard University Band * Via Ivy League Fight Songs


Friday, June 11, 2004  

The singing of the hymn "Jerusalem" and Mrs. Thatcher's eloquent tribute at today's memorial service for the late President Reagan called to mind this Tenniel illustration, from a Library of Congress exhibition on the historic relationship between America and Great Britain.

* * *

"We will bury you," Kruschev said. This isn't what he had in mind.

* * *

Ronald Reagan, in his own words: From the Goldwater speech to the "bombing begins in 10 minutes," lots of sound and video clips at NPR.

* * *

Charles Krauthammer writes today:

The second-greatest president of the 20th century dies (with Theodore Roosevelt coming a close third), and the liberal establishment that alternately ridiculed and demonized Ronald Reagan throughout his presidency is in a quandary. How to remember a man they anathematized for eight years but who enjoys both the overwhelming affection of the American people and decisive vindication by history?

They found their way to do it. They dwell endlessly on the man's smile, his sunny personality, his good manners. Above all, his optimism.

"Optimism" is the perfect way to trivialize everything that Reagan was or did. Pangloss was an optimist. Harold Stassen was an optimist. Ralph Kramden was an optimist. Optimism is nice, but it gets you nowhere unless you also possess ideological vision, policy and prescriptions to make it real, and, finally, the political courage to act on your convictions.

Optimism? Every other person on the No. 6 bus is an optimist. What distinguished Reagan was what he did and said. Reagan was optimistic about America amid the cynicism and general retreat of the post-Vietnam era because he believed unfashionably that America was both great and good -- and had been needlessly diminished by restrictive economic policies and timid foreign policies. Change the policies and America would be restored, both at home and abroad.

He was right.
(Via Power Line)

Andrew Sullivan offers much more in this vein, and writes: Rest in peace, Mr President. And know that after all these years, you were right - and all these people were clearly, emphatically, embarrassingly, wrong.

* * *

Lech Walesa writes today:

When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can't be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989.

* * *

Natan Sharansky:

In 1983, I was confined to an eight-by-ten-foot prison cell on the border of Siberia. My Soviet jailers gave me the privilege of reading the latest copy of Pravda. Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of President Ronald Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an "evil empire." Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, word of Reagan's "provocation" quickly spread throughout the prison. We dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth - a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us. (Via Andrew Sullivan)

* * *

Listen: "America the Beautiful" (mp3) by Ray Charles, who is paid tribute at Power Line.


Thursday, June 10, 2004  

At Fenway, April 2003

Ray Charles, RIP: Plenty of brief sound clips at Rhino Records, which offers his complete Atlantic R&B recordings from 1952-59, and his 50th Anniversary collection, among other titles.

Clips: "I Got A Woman" * "What I'd Say" * "It Should Have Been Me" * "(Night Time is) The Right Time"

His version of "America the Beautiful," famously presented at the 1984 GOP convention that re-nominated President Reagan, is rendered along a 9/11 theme at his site.



The Indian Peace flag of 1803, above, presented by the US government to friendly Indian nations. The sentiment returned.

* * *

Ragtime pianist "Perfessor" Bill Edwards writes: In the early 20th century, musicians in New Orleans took many pieces from the popular liturgy and adapted them for funeral marches and subsequent celebration parades back from the cemetery. Listen to his playing of "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

* * *

'Were we fools then, or are we dishonest now?' Roger Kimball at Armavirumque links to a "chrestomathy of bile" drawn from the "mountain of vituperation Reagan called forth from journalists and academics."

* * *

Reagan's brand of conservatism is unique to America, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge write in a useful article at Opinion Journal:

Traditional conservatism was based on six principles: a suspicion of the power of the state; a preference for liberty over equality; unashamed patriotism; a belief in established institutions and hierarchies; a pessimistic, backward-looking pragmatism; and elitism. This was the creed that Burke shaped into a philosophy in the 18th century--and that most famous conservatives, from Prince Metternich to Winston Churchill, understood in their bones. Mr. Reagan's conservatism exaggerated the first three of Burke's principles and contradicted the last three.

If Reaganism had been merely a more vigorous form of old-style conservatism, then it would have been more predictable. In fact, Mr. Reagan-- who began his political life as a New Deal Democrat--took a resolutely liberal approach to Burke's last three principles: hierarchy, pessimism and elitism.

The heroes of Burke's conservatism were paternalist squires, who knew their place in society and made sure everybody else did as well. Mr. Reagan's heroes were rugged individualists, defined by the fact that they do not know their place. He packed his kitchen cabinet with entrepreneurs who built up businesses out of nothing and he worshipped the cowboy. He kept a bronze saddle in the Oval Office and--rather magnificently--rushed to appoint Malcolm Baldridge as commerce secretary when he discovered that he liked going to rodeos.

* * *

Society-page writing in the age of terrorism:

"This is not a drill!" members of the Capitol Police Department screamed. "There is an incoming aircraft! You have one minute!"

Among those chased out of the building were former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr.; former Vice President Dan Quayle; Dr. Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations; former Attorney General Edwin Meese III; Richard V. Allen, a former national security adviser; Kenneth M. Duberstein, a former White House chief of staff; Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of the News Corporation; Tom Korologos, a Reagan White House aide and longtime Republican lobbyist who was recently an adviser in Baghdad to L. Paul Bremer III, the top American civilian administrator in Iraq; Bob Colacello, a Vanity Fair writer who is working on a biography of Mrs. Reagan; and Margaret D. Tutwiler, a former Reagan White House aide who became the State Department spokeswoman in the first Bush administration and the ambassador to Morocco in the second.

* * *

Speak softly and carry big stick: From a collection of Mexican lobby cards for Ronald Reagan movies.

* * *

Listen: "Powhatan's Daughter March" (streaming Real Audio) recorded in 1909 by Sousa's Band



Driving home the other night I saw a wild turkey much like this one by Audubon, who was featured this week in the New York Sun, and who was not the lost dauphin of France.

Listen: L'amour ca n'a l'air de rien * Rugissement Du Tigre * Doin' the Raccoon * By Grégor et ses Grégoriens



Books &c

Under the heading of "History for Fun," Erin O'Connor has put together a list of history books, historical novels and biographies that are well written and that don't require background in the subject to enjoy. She invites reader submissions to the list and has received quite a few. The idea for the reading list comes from Random Pensées.

* * *

Take the ultimate vocabulary test, via the sesquipedalian Enoch Soames, who mopped the floor with me. (Don at Mixolydian Mode also scored well.)

* * *

The mammoth Theodore Roosevelt Cyclopedia has been placed online. Some entries chosen at random from of the entries, chosen at random from Section J-J:

though a man whose views and thories had a profound
influence upon our national life, was perhaps the most
incapable executive that ever filled the presidential
chair; being almost purely a visionary, he was utterly
unable to grapple with the slightest actual danger, and,
not even excepting his successor, Madison, it would be
difficult to imagine a man less fit to guide the State
with honor and safety through the stormy times that
marked the opening of the present century. Without the
prudence to avoid war or the forethought to prepare for
it, the Administration drifted helplessly into a conflict
in which only the navy prepared by the Federalists
twelve years before, and weakened rather than
strengthened during the intervening time, saved us from
complete and shameful defeat. (1882.) Mem. Ed. VII,
424; Nat. Ed. VI, 373.

JESUITS IN AMERICA. Inspired by a fervent
devotion to their church and religion, which was akin
both to that of the early Christian martyrs and to that of
the most warlike crusaders, these early Jesuits were
among the pioneers in the exploration of the New
World, and baptized and converted to at least nominal
Christianity scores of tribes from the Bay of Fundy to
Lake Superior and the mouth of the Mississippi. They
suffered every conceivable kind of danger, discomfort,
and hardship; they braved toil and peril like knights
errant of the Middle Ages, and they met the most
terrible deaths with cheerful, resolute composure. At
one time is looked as though they might build up a
great empire in the interior of this continent, with
converted tribes of Indian warriors as its buttresses; and
yet the fabric which they so laboriously reared proved
unsubstantial and crumbled without in any way
fulfilling its promise. Most of the Indians whom they
had converted lapsed into heathenism, and most of the
remainder remained Christians in little save the name.
The lasting services they rendered were less as pioneers
of Christianity than as explorers and map-makers.
(Independent, November 24, 1892.) Mem. Ed. XIV,
289-290; Nat. Ed. XII, 249.

JEWS—PERSECUTION OF. The lamentable and
terrible suffering to which so many of the Jewish
people in other lands have been subjected, makes me
feel it my duty, as the head of the American people, not
only to express my deep sympathy for them, as I now do, but at
the same time to point out what fine qualities of
citizenship have been displayed by the men of Jewish
faith and race, who having come to this country, enjoy
the benefits of free institutions and equal treatment
before the law. I feel very strongly that if any people
are oppressed anywhere, the wrong inevitably reacts in
the end on those who oppress them; for it is an
immutable law in the spiritual world that no one can
wrong others and yet in the end himself escape unhurt.
(To Jacob H. Schiff, November 16, 1905; read at
Carnegie Hall, New York City, November 30, 1905.)
The Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the
Settlement of the Jews in the United States. (N. Y.
Cooperative Society, 1906), p. 18.

JIU JITSU. Yesterday afternoon we had Professor
Yamashita up here to wrestle with Grant. It was very
interesting, but of course jiu jitsu and our wrestling are
so far apart that it is difficult to make any comparison
between them. Wrestling is simply a sport with rules
almost as conventional as those of tennis, while jiu jitsu
is really meant for practice in killing or disabling our
adversary. In consequence, Grant did not know what to
do except to put Yamashita on his back, and Yamashita
was perfectly content to be on his back. Inside of a
minute Yamashita had choked Grant, and inside of two
minutes more he got an elbow hold on him that would
have enabled him to break his arm; so that there is no
question but that he could have put Grant out. So far
this made it evident that the jiu jitsu man could handle
the ordinary wrestler. But Grant, in the actual wrestling
and throwing was about as good as the Japanese, and he
was so much stronger that he evidently hurt and wore
out the Japanese. With a little practice in the art I am
sure that one of our big wrestlers or boxers, simply
because of his greatly superior strength, would be able
to kill any of those Japanese, who though very good
men for their inches and pounds are altogether too
small to hold their own against big, powerful, quick
men who are as well trained. (To Kermit Roosevelt,
February 24, 1905.) Mem. Ed. XXI, 535; Nat. Ed. XIX,

* * *

Ayn Rand, "consummate flibbertigibbet," is defenestrated:

The author of 'The Fountainhead' and 'Atlas Shrugged' simply won't go away - but she should.

At the close of the last century, Modern Library, the prestige publisher, announced its list of the 100 best novels of the 100 years, as chosen by a panel of top writers and scholars. Not a single work by Ayn Rand made the list.

Then, turning the contest into a national parlor game, Modern Library invited ordinary readers to submit their choices. A quarter of a million responded, and presto! Rand's magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, scored No. 1, and three more Rand novels appeared in the top 10.

This news might have brought a contemptuous smile to Ayn Rand's stony face, but for one thing: Her chief competitor was L. Ron Hubbard, who landed three titles on the public's top 10. Hubbard, a marginal writer of science fiction, founded Scientology.

This outcome pretty well settles the enduring question of whether Ayn Rand was an important writer, or whether she was simply the goddess of a great American cult whose erstwhile members include such powerful men as Alan Greenspan. Whatever her status as a writer, as a charismatic spell-caster, Rand ranks up there with Rasputin and Aimee Semple McPherson.



If you enjoyed John Candy's brainwashed Tom Tuttle from Tacoma reciting the Little Red Book by rote in Volunteers

You'll love Maoist Movie Reviews:

"Shrek 2" (2004): A radical attack on class, nation and gender oppression…Gender bureaucrat enemy of the people "Fairy Godmother" lives a life of dogmatism following the scripts in "Cinderella," "Snow White" and such books that she keeps in her library. Living off the exploited workers, and selling hocus-pocus to the people like many other unproductive sector flim-flam artists we can think of today, Fairy Godmother spreads her poisonous visions of the future everywhere and lords over even the king himself.

Seeking to appropriate the sexuality of the king's daughter for her son, Fairy Godmother does her best to spread speciesist propaganda against ogres, one of which already married the king's daughter, thus making her unavailable to the Fairy Godmother's son. The evil speciesist propaganda finds fertile grounds in the king's mind and most of the people of the kingdom.

Highly class conscious characters including Pinocchio watching television immediately see through the pigdom's entertainment media, get off the couch and rush to help their compatriots locked up while filmed for a cop show. Once out of prison, our heroes rely on a toiling baker to launch on all-out assault on the bastion of reaction, the castle taken over by Fairy Godmother's plotting.

Using the past to serve the present as Mao instructed artists, the directors of "Shrek 2" rattle off cultural references like machine-gun fire. Making Godzilla sounds and tearing down Starbucks on the way to the castle, our heroes arrive in time to do battle with the Fairy Godmother…

* * *

"A Bug's Life" (1999): Disney and Pixar's "A Bug's Life" has as good side and a bad side. The good side is that it portrays the successful collective struggle of the apparently weak oppressed and exploited (in this case, an ant colony) against the apparently strong oppressors and exploiters (in this case, a band of grasshoppers). So it could be used as a parable about the struggle against u.$. imperialism. The bad side is that it never directly ties its oppressors (the grasshoppers) to the biggest oppressors in the real world, the imperialists.

* * *

"Men in Black (1997)": We have no complaints about the acting or the editing, but the script is bourgeois propaganda…

Here is a species that can speak various languages instantly, fly space ships from distant galaxies, shoot advanced weapons we can only dream of and use a universe of energy contained in a marble-- and the WIB wants us to believe that the super-cockroach has not learned to synthesize tofu and that it would actually need to eat a humyn on the way back to its galaxy for food? That may fly in an imperialist country like the united $tates full of bought off bourgeois people ready to buy any excuse for capitalism and war-mongering--even without the use of memory-zapping devices—but we are sure most of the people in this world won't be taken in. All of this is not much different than the stories that the pre-galactic bourgeoisie told us about communists in order to justify capitalist profit-first, survival-rights-second ideology. The directors of "Men in Black" are just scamming us in order to justify the rulers' future rights in intergalactic patents and border control. However, we are confident the capitalist system won't be in use by other more advanced species, so thankfully, this is a work of science-fiction after all.

(Via Mixolydian Mode and Hatemonger's Quarterly)


Monday, June 07, 2004  

"One day in 1977, Ronald Reagan asked Richard Allen, who would become his first national security adviser, if Mr. Allen would like to hear his theory of the Cold War:

'Some people think I'm simplistic and being simple. My theory of the Cold War is that we win and they lose. What do you think about that?'

"'I was flabbergasted,' Mr. Allen now says. 'I'd worked for Nixon and Goldwater and many others, and I'd heard a lot about...detente and the need to 'manage the Cold War,' but never did I hear a leading politician put the goal so starkly.'

"'Governor,' I asked, 'do you mean that?'

"Mr. Reagan replied, 'Of course I mean it. I just said it.'"

- Reagan speechwriter Peter Robinson, via Hugh Hewitt

* * *
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

"As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner: "This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality." Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.

- Ronald Reagan, Brandenburg speech, 1987

* * *

Hammering the Wall * On Horseback * At the Eire Pub in Dorchester * Iconic photo

* * *

He described America this way: "Uncle Sam is a friendly old man, but he has a spine of steel." [T]hat described Reagan as well as anything. Peggy Noonan, via The Corner

* * *

Clare Boothe Luce famously said that each President is remembered for a sentence: "He freed the slaves"; "He made the Louisiana Purchase." You have to figure out your sentence, she used to tell John Kennedy, who would nod thoughtfully and then grouse when she left. Ronald Reagan knew, going in, the sentence he wanted, and he got it. He guided the American victory in the cold war. Under his leadership, a conflict that had absorbed a half-century of Western blood and treasure was ended — and the good guys finally won. Peggy Noonan, Time 100 profile of Reagan, 1998

* * *

One measure of a leader's greatness is this: By the time he dies the dangers that summoned him to greatness have been so thoroughly defeated, in no small measure by what he did, it is difficult to recall the magnitude of those dangers or of his achievements. So if you seek Ronald Reagan's monument, look around and consider what you do not see.

The Iron Curtain that scarred a continent is gone, as is the Evil Empire responsible for it. The feeling of foreboding -- the sense of shrunken possibilities -- that afflicted Americans 20 years ago has been banished by a new birth of the American belief in perpetually expanding horizons.
George Will in the Washington Post. See also Will's Newsweek essay, "Reagan's Echo in History."

* * *

The Sophisticated Left's view of Reagan * Of W

* * *

Wall-to-wall Reagan coverage: National Review * Weekly Standard * Opinion Journal

* * *

The Post's coverage compared to the Times': If the Post had a national daily edition, I'd subscribe.


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