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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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Irish Elk
Friday, September 30, 2005  

Win it for Ellis Kinder

The best pitcher in the American League in the Summer of '49, with six shutouts and a record of 23-6, he vowed to win the last game of the season against the Yankees if given three runs. (He wasn't.)

"Old Folks" Kinder is best remembered today for his pre-Balco training regimen centering on distilled grains. Notes a review of Halberstam:

A mainstay of the 1949 team, Kinder arrived in Cleveland one morning so drunk that he had to be rolled through the train station in a wheelchair. That afternoon he pitched brilliantly in relief in both ends of a doubleheader against the Indians. ''Ellis did love a good time,'' his widow said.

New York sportswriter Arthur Richman had been friends with Kinder since 1946 when the pitcher finally reached the majors at age 32 with the Browns.

By 1949, however, [Kinder had] gone to the Red Sox and was one of the club's best hurlers…The pennant race came down to the season's last day at Yankee Stadium with New York and Boston tied in the A.L. standings and Kinder scheduled to pitch against Vic Raschi.

"Ellis was the heaviest drinker I ever met in my life," Richman says. "The more he drank the better he pitched. So the Red Sox players came to me--Vern Stephens and Al Zarilla--and they said, `Take him out and get him as skunk drunk as you can tonight.'

"We were out until five o'clock that morning and I finally brought him back to the Commodore Hotel, which is now the Grand Hyatt, and I took him upstairs. Joe Dobson was fast asleep in the next bed and never even heard us come in. I got Kinder in bed and said, `I'll see you tomorrow.'

"I didn't know how he'd make it the next day. He was only going to get a few hours sleep. When I saw him at Yankee Stadium, he was as sober as a judge and pitched one of the greatest games of his life.

"But the Red Sox lost, 5-3, and of course the Yankees won the A.L. pennant and Kinder was fit to be tied," Richman says.

"Kinder used to take me home with him to Jackson, Tennessee and he'd take me into a place and I'd say, Ellie how can you take a Jew boy into a KKK camp? He said, `It's the only place we can get a drink on a Sunday morning.'"

A convivial protégé on the Red Sox was pitcher Mickey McDermott:

Kinder, a big Tennessean, phoned Mickey one midnight to announce: "Congratulate me. I just got married."

Mickey asked, "But Ellis, what about Hazel?"

"Gosh," Kinder said, "you mean I'm already married?"

One more Ellis Kinder item, small but a favorite, from the Baseball Library: May 17, 1947: A seagull flies over Fenway Park and pelts St. Louis Browns P Ellis Kinder with a 3-pound smelt, missing him by a gill.

I think I shall toast Ellis Kinder's memory along with Big Papi tonight with a Smuttynose or perhaps some Wachusett Octoberfest.

* * *

UPDATE (10/1): Here's to Wells & Timlin!

With two games to go:

W L Pct. GB
Boston 94 66 .588 --
Yankees 94 66 .588 --

W L Pct. GB
Boston 94 66 .588 --
Yankees 94 66 .588 --
Indians 93 67 .582 1

* * *

UPDATE (10/2/05): As Steve M celebrates to Thelonious Monk, the dish here is humble pie, to Tex Williams.

* * *

UPDATE (10/3/05): Love that Dirty Water!


Thursday, September 29, 2005  

Charles Dillon Stengel, the Old Perfessor, was called to the Great Ballyard in the Sky 30 years ago today. Jeff Kallman offers a tribute.

Steve M will appreciate the particular Stengel photo the AP is running in anticipation of this weekend's Sox-Yanks series. How might Casey prognosticate this season's outcome?



ND: Mea culpa.

The program above is from the football game Grantland Rice called the greatest ever played: BC 19, Georgetown 18, Fenway Park, 1940.

Meantime, a happy Michaelmas to all denizens of Gasson's Rotunda, not least Thos Fitzpatrick.



You know a Red Sox fan by the bags under the eyes.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005  

The AL pennant race this afternoon:

W L Pct. GB
Boston 92 65 .586 --
Yankees 92 65 .586 --

W L Pct. GB
Boston 92 65 .586 --
Indians 92 65 .586 --
Yankees 92 65 .586 –



Tuesday, September 27, 2005  

Holy war declared?

Notre Dame's new president, interviewed by the Chicago Tribune, fires a shot across the Jesuit bow:

"In all of American higher education, Notre Dame has a distinct position. It aspires to be, and is, among the leading universities ... It is at the same time the only one with religious character, with all respects to our friends at Boston College and Georgetown," he said, referring to the more liberal Jesuit schools…"

It is possible that Fr Jenkins was quoted incompletely, or out of context. But word is Jesuits are none too pleased.

Wonder what the Whapsters make of this thrown gauntlet? Relics of the true St Flutius of the Hail Mary, after all, reside under Jesuit Ivy.

(Via Boston College Blog)


Friday, September 23, 2005  
Box-Cutter of Friendship

The Commissar's plan for a Flight 93 memorial suggests a particularly lethal design by Robert Trent Jones. (Arigato to Bama Beth and to Dale Price.)


Thursday, September 22, 2005  


Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? *

Sure, the Sox' current fortunes have the Royal Rooters wailing and Manhattan correspondent Steve M. smiling.

But this is all lead-up. Remember, the Yanks close out the season with seven games on the road, and the Sox, with seven at home. The Fates clearly have determined that all is to be settled by the three last games of the regular season between New York and Boston at Fenway.

And for the third straight fall, stress, bleary-eyed mornings and Sox-induced alcoholism await. There's no getting around it: Might as well set aside the heart pills and the IPAs.

* [http://www.acmewebpages.com/midi/over.wav]


Friday, September 16, 2005  

Hoya Saxa

Georgetown hosts an Ivy League school in football for the first time this Saturday when the Hoyas open their new home field with a game against Brown.

Georgetown lost to Holy Cross in Worcester last week in the Jesuit Super Bowl. HC plays Harvard and Fordham plays Columbia in other Ignatian-Ivy matchups this weekend. Meantime, BC plays Florida State. AMDG!

One of the Georgetown's earliest mascots was Stubby the terrier, above, a decorated hero of the Great War and "perhaps the most famous dog of his generation," according to the Georgetown athletic site:

The dog served 18 months on the front with his regiment in World War I, saving his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, locating wounded soldiers, and even catching a German spy by the seat of his pants. Such exploits made the front page of newspapers back home, and after Stubby's last battle at Chateau-Thierry, France, he was outfitted with a blanket with the medals and honors awarded him for bravery, with flags of all the Allied Nations of the war.

More on Stubby:

Preserved in the Smithsonian * Among the most celebrated of Georgetown dogs * Connecticut military hero


Tuesday, September 13, 2005  

I must have one of these bully t-shirts from the souvenir line that Nats blogger Ball-Wonk has created to "call on the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt to power the Nats to victory."

TR likely would approve, though truth be told, he wasn't a baseball fan, never once attending a ballgame in Washington during his seven years as president.

Said his daughter Alice:

"Father and all us regarded baseball as a mollycoddle game. Tennis, football, lacrosse, boxing, polo, yes - they are violent, which appealed to us. But baseball? Father wouldn't watch it, not even at Harvard."

This didn't prevent TR from being portrayed as a ballplayer by the occasional cartoonist or from speechifying at baseball fields like the old Orioles park in Baltimore. (Via the Maryland Historical Society.)

Around the Horn

* England has captured the Ashes in cricket. (Via Andrew Sullivan)

* You'd have to read a good many papers to find a baseball columnist in the mainstream media today as eloquent as Jeff Kallman. See his brief and gracious tributes recently to forgotten Cubs pitcher Bob Hendley, who courted baseball immortality one night 40 years ago, and to the late play-by-play announcer Chris Schenkel.

* George Will, hardball cognoscente, dishes Katrina demagogues a solid knock.



One Blogger's Boston

TS O'Rama recently did the Hub, and through his evocative travelog, even the lifelong Bostonian will see – and appreciate – the city anew.




Manhattan correspondent Steve M. reports on 9/11 from the grove of academe:

About a year ago, I mentioned on your site that my youngest daughter's school briefly put up the American flag on a school flagpole that had been vacant since the 1960s. After a month of faculty and student protests (oppressive symbol, racist, sexist country, etc.), the trustees voted to take the flag back down. The Calhoun School said, however, that they would fly the US flag on three federal holidays (when the school would be closed), and on September 11th. I walked by this morning to see how they are fulfilling that lame promise.

Answer: the sly boots, they have removed the flagpole. Like good liberals, they are making sure no one is offended. Very much including Osama. This at a Manhattan school where, by Thursday evening, September 13, 2001, you could not breathe because of the smoke and stench of death from the Trade Centre ruins.

* * *

Regarding the Crescent of Embrace planned as a Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania: Was the Box-Cutter of Friendship idea already taken?

* * *

The march & two-step accompanying the sheet music above may be heard by scrolling almost all the way down at Perfessor Bill's.

* * *

Advice for Bush-Haters:

"There is nothing patriotic about hating your country or pretending that you can love your country but despise your Government."

Who said that? Bill Clinton of course…

(Via OxBlog)

* * *

I like to think that if Dante were around today he would reserve a special circle in Hell for corporate trainers.


Sunday, September 11, 2005  

O beautiful for heroes proved

In liberating strife.

Who more than self their country loved

And mercy more than life!

America! America!

May God thy gold refine

Till all success be nobleness

And every gain divine!

* * *

Music for the day: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

* * *

It was a perfect infinity-blue-sky day, in sapphire September, the sort of day when flying is such a joy: Amy, a pilot's wife, recalls a friend she lost four years ago today.


Thursday, September 08, 2005  

Back Water Blues

When it rains five days and the skies turn dark as night
When it rains five days and the skies turn dark as night
Then trouble's takin' place in the lowlands at night

I woke up this morning,' can't even get out of my door
I woke up this morning,' can't even get out of my door
There's been enough trouble to make a poor girl wonder where she want to go

Then they rowed a little boat about five miles 'cross the pond
Then they rowed a little boat about five miles 'cross the pond
I packed all my clothes, throwed them in and they rowed me along

When it thunders and lightnin' and when the wind begins to blow
When it thunders and lightnin' and the wind begins to blow
There's thousands of people ain't got no place to go

Then I went and stood upon some high old lonesome hill
Then I went and stood upon some high old lonesome hill
Then looked down on the house were I used to live

Backwater blues done call me to pack my things and go
Backwater blues done call me to pack my things and go
'Cause my house fell down and I can't live there no more.

Recorded by Bessie Smith after the great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Listen to her sing it at Red Hot Jazz.

* * *

Jazz benefits for Hurricane Katrina relief are being planned in NYC and elsewhere.

* * *

Good Guy Awards go to our local auto mechanic, Warren, and his wife, who are putting up refugees from New Orleans, and whose generosity got them a mention at The Corner.

* * *

Walker Percy on New Orleans:

“Out and over a watery waste and there it is, a proper enough American city, and yet within the next few hours the tourist is apt to see more nuns and naked women than he ever saw before.”

-- Cited in an appreciation of the city by Ben MacIntyre in the Times of London.

* * *


On a musical note: How American popular music came to be politicized is described in a noteworthy piece in City Journal on Pete Seeger -- "America's Most Successful Communist."

On a non-musical note: The latest History Carnival is up at Clio Web and features links to some image sites that are arresting even if you don't speak French.


Sunday, September 04, 2005  

Chief Justice Rehnquist, RIP.

* * *

It occurred to me following a big family barbecue this Labor Day weekend that these sorts of events would go much more smoothly for me if we just stipulated at the outset that everything bad in the world is indeed the fault of George W Bush, and left it at that.

On hearing the news this morning of Chief Justice Rehnquist's passing, I thought of the neighbor at yesterday's cookout who observed, with some satisfaction, that if anything good had come of Hurricane Katrina it was the damage done to President Bush.

Yes, but now it's W, isn't it, who's in a position to set the course of the Supreme Court for the next half-century.

Dame Fortuna's Wheel: spun by Karl Rove?

* * *

To the jurists out there: Has any consideration been given to a seat on the High Court for Chief Judge William Young of the US District Court in Massachusetts? His remarks on freedom at the sentencing of shoe-bomber Richard Reid were evocative of Gettysburg.


Saturday, September 03, 2005  

Fill the steins to dear old Maine as the Black Bears open the football season at Nebraska.

Clip: Stein Song by Rudy Vallee

UPDATE: Maine didn't do too badly.


Thursday, September 01, 2005  

New Orleans' mayor has issued a "desperate SOS."

Snipers reportedly have fired on a medical convoy.

Calls for help are being posted at the NOLA.com weblog maintained by the Times-Picayune.

Southern artist James W. Bailey posts on the destruction of cultural institutions along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Support Jesuit relief efforts.

Children's clothes and other items are sought by the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Baton Rouge.

Blog for Relief Day

Terry Teachout

Instapundit flood-aid links

American Red Cross

Catholic Charities



Margaret of New Orleans


This is how we marked Back to School Day in our neighborhood.

And this is how they are marking it in Beslan, one year later.

Yesterday I heard a vigorous welcoming speech by a college president who described among the great challenges facing our world today the battle between fundamentalism and modernity. That challenge, I think, was inaccurately defined. Beslan was not an assault by fundamentalists on modernity; nor, at the end of the day, was 9/11, or Treblinka. The most grand-scale and brutal of assassins have been very modern in their way. And a fundamentalist Sufi or Mennonite – or Southern Baptist, for that matter – may make mischief of one sort or another, but it is not fundamentalism, pure and simple, that detonates bombs in subways or in Balinese hotels. The threat we face today is something different, and I would invite readers to put it in better words.

* * *

Back at Granchester, amid the notched desks and the draughty corridors, the headmaster informs him sadly that the number of classical scholars is falling off and suggests that he shall combine his teaching of the classics with something a little more up-to-date:

“Parents are not interested in producing the ‘complete man’ any more. They want to qualify their boys for jobs in the modern world. You can hardly blame them, can you?”

“Oh yes,” said Scott-King, “I can and do...I think it would be very wicked indeed to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world.”

…[W]hen the headmaster objects that this is a short-sighted view, Scott-King retorts, “I think it the most long-sided view. It is possible to take.”

-- Evelyn Waugh's Scott-King's Modern Europe, reviewed in 1948 by George Orwell.

* * *

This week's Coalition for Darfur post excerpts an account by a humanitarian-aid volunteer:

What she dealt with daily goes beyond the pale...beyond the nightmares of most people; Children with all four limbs hacked off right above the knee or below the elbow. Twelve year olds who died in childbirth after being gang-raped by the Janjaweed. Women who gave birth to rape-babies who were then cast out by their families for shaming the family name, leaving only one avenue of survival for themselves and their children after the camps: Prostitution.

What is f**ing her up is the desperation, and the fact that she worked herself to death for over a month, and she still didn't really save anyone. Now that she's gone, it's like she was never there. Even the ones she helped keep alive, she didn't save. You try dealing with that reality.

* * *

On Katrina: Peggy Noonan * David Brooks * Via Real Clear Politics

American Digest: Snapshots from the Abandoned City


The City That Care Forgot

Today is Blog for Relief Day.

Irish Elk is participating by asking readers to consider making a contribution to the American Red Cross or to any of a number of other groups involved in hurricane relief.

Instapundit has put together a list of relief agencies to whom donations may be directed.

Terry Teachout, a New Yorker who has grown close to New Orleans while working on a biography of Louis Armstrong, is maintaining a comprehensive roundup of links to blogging coverage of Katrina.

* * *

Clip: "Oh, Didn't He Ramble," by Kid Ory

Louis Armstrong on the jazz funeral:

And, speaking of real beautiful music, if you ever witnessed a funeral in New Orleans and they have one of those brass bands playing this funeral, you really have a bunch of musicians playing from the heart, because as they go to the cemetery they play in a funeral march, they play "Flee As a Bird," "Nearer My God Today," and they express themselves in those instruments singing those notes the same as a singer would, you know. And, they take this body to the cemetery and they put this body in the ground. While he's doin' that the snare drummer takes the handkerchief from under the drum, from under the snare, and they say "Ashes to Ashes" and put him away and everything, and the drummer rolls up the drum real loud. And, outside the cemetery they form and they start swinging "Didn't He Ramble." And, all the members, the Oddfellows, whatever lodge it is, they are on this side. And on this (other) side is a bunch of raggedy guys, you know, old hustlers and cats and Good-time Charlies and everything. Well, they right with the parade too. And, when they get to wailin' this "Didn't He Ramble," and finish, seems as though they have more fun than anybody, because they applaud for Joe Oliver, and Manny Perez, with the brass band, to play it over again, so they got to give this second line, they call it, an encore. So, that makes them have a lot of fun too, and it's really something to see.

Photographer Leo Touchet captures the New Orleans jazz funeral in a book and accompanying photo exhibition, "Rejoice When You Die."

Elsewhere: A brass band marshal at rest.

* * *

Random Penseur laments Katrina's cultural cost:

There are some wonderful museums in New Orleans: the D-Day Museum; the Civil War Museum (in a great Richardson building just off Lee Circle); the New Orleans Museum of Art; the City of New Orleans Museum; the State of Louisiana Museum in 8 historic buildings around Jackson Square; and the Mardi Gras Museum. The flood waters will not deal kindly with these places. The waters will erase our memories just as the diaries and letters home of the young Civil War soldiers will surely perish. The paintings. I can't even begin to think about the paintings. All of the ephemera will be just that, ephemeral and evanescent.

I include in this the great libraries at Tulane University and Loyola University, two of the many colleges in New Orleans. I assume that they are gone, along with their collections of rare books and prints.

And what about the parish churches and courthouses, with their centuries of records of births, deaths, wills, land transfers, famous disputes, and all the records that make up our collective heritage? Again, I assume they are gone.

You can rebuild a city.

You cannot remake a heritage.

* * *

A great American city is devastated; the birthplace of jazz, a vibrant multi-ethnic cultural mecca, lies under water, with thousands possibly dead, and a million displaced.

The response from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: Crickets.

* * *

Posted at The Corner, an e-mail from a New Orleanian:

"Imagine losing the following:
* Your home
* Your job
* Your possessions
* Your children's access to schooling
* Your economy
* Your culture
* Your city

"I bring all of this doom and gloom up to make one key point: I am, in some key ways, better off now than I was before Katrina came to town.

"You see, for years now I have tried to convince my children of one truth: The most important things in life are not things.

"I had, of course, intended to emphasize this point from the comfort of a chaise lounge under the beneficent breeze of a ceiling fan. To my irritation and dismay, I must now say this without the proverbial pot.

"We shall just have to wait and see whether my philosophy is able to withstand the rigors of a reality without. Although I shall miss air conditioning, I have reason to believe that I will pass this test.

"Just this morning my ten-year-old daughter came to me, and with her voice trembling, asked me "Papa, are we going to be all right?"

"My reply was "Yes, we are going to be just fine. I can lose everything I have with just a few exceptions, and they are your mother, you and your sisters."

"I write these words from the home of a friend in Houston, Texas, with very little to my name. I have, nevertheless, wealth untold.

* * *

Elsewhere: Katrina silences legendary jazz city * New Orleans' joie de vivre will lift city up from Katrina * Love pours out for a city submerged * New Orleans' tragic paradox

The Times-Picayune's James Varney writes:

William Faulkner…was first published in The Times-Picayune while he was living in the city and writing his first novel. He called the city, "a courtesan whose hold is strong upon the mature, and to whose charm the young must respond."

Now, in the 21st century, the courtesan cries for help. The response from young and old will decide if she lives or dies.
(Via Hugh Hewitt)

* * *

"Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?" Clips: Louis Armstrong * Billie Holiday


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