Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
Amy Kane

"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)."
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Under the patronage of St. Tammany



Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem

He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

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

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Irish Elk
Saturday, April 29, 2006  

Better to be bold than right

That's the first law of academic job talk as set forth by BU historian Bruce Schulman in an engrossing cautionary tale of a history department interview gone horribly bad.

Schulman is included in History News Network's roundup of Top Young Historians making a mark on the profession at a young age.

* * *

The remarkable Lord Cochrane (above) was the real-life inspiration for Captain "Lucky Jack" Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, on which (as some astute readers have discerned) I've recently embarked. (Next stop, Desolation Island.)

Not having read any of the books on originally seeing the film Master & Commander a few years back, I had no opinion on the casting of Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, a point of contention in some quarters.

Now, listening to Patrick Tull's outstanding audio-book readings of the series, I picture Aubrey in my mind's eye as a young Robert Hardy from his Siegried Farnon days on All Creatures Great & Small, before he went on to play Churchill.

As for Russell Crowe, he'd make a fine Richard Sharpe – an observation, come to find, that also has been made before at the Llamas'. On the Sharpe front, I checked out an episode of the Sean Bean series that ran on PBS and found it pretty much unwatchable: Heavy metal guitars do not a Napoleonic War saga make.

I did watch Master & Commander again a few weeks back and still found it entertaining – just not the Aubrey-Maturin of my imagination.

* * *

I may have to try the Flashman series next on the recommendation of Man About Mayfair, whose fine blog is largely dedicated to staving off massed ranks of Dervishes and then dressing for dinner afterwards. Were my aftershave a website it would be Man About Mayfair.



Sibby Sisti, RIP.

XX Ks: Twenty years ago today, some of my friends decided to head in to Fenway for the game. Did I want to meet them there? Nah, not that night. I came to regret my decision.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006  

Jane Jacobs: RIP

Jane Jacobs' West Village

City Journal: Jane Jacobs Revisited

Lost NY

Berenice Abbott: Penn Station


Tuesday, April 25, 2006  

St Mark's Day

Daniel Mitsui has lots on the feast the medieval English went cuckoo for, while the Web Gallery of Art gives us the saintly lion.

Today's featured artist is Willie "The Lion" Smith, the musician's musician. Listen to a clip of his "Finger Buster."

And remember: Only in Kenya…


Friday, April 21, 2006  

Assorted Lynx

If you liked Monty Python's Minister for Running Upstairs Two at a Time, &c, you'll really like Matthew of the Holy Whapping's definitive list of papal nicknames. Among my favorites are Urban (VIII) the Guy Who Put Bees Everywhere, and Innocent (X) the Large Two-by-Four used to Whap People of Jansenism.

And while at the Whapping, be sure to check out Matthew's church drawings for his architectural thesis.

* * *

My thanks to Richard Waghorne, of Sicilian Notes, himself a gentleman and a scholar, for his kind words. We Scoop Jacksonians must stick together.

He points the way to an interesting new pro-democracy initiative on the Left called the Euston Manifesto. The statement also is given play at Spinning Clio. Less than impressed is Reason's David Weigel, who sums up the idea thus: "We're liberals, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't nuke Iran."

* * *

Elsewhere of interest

Giornale Nuovo: Remarkable graphics.

Soxaholix: A Red Sox blog described in the Wall Street Journal as "part Doonesbury, part Bill James, part graduate seminar in literature."

Chiasmus.com: Devoted to the rhetorical device Churchill and JFK used to such great effect.

From Old Books: Scanned images, engravings and pictures (via Doroty).

Conservative Home: Site of the Tory Diary.

Andrew Cusack: Czar & Son

Roger Kimball: On Muriel Spark

Padre Puffin: Cultural commentary from New York in which birettas, thuribles and sea birds figure.

Amy Kane: Backyard turkeys


Thursday, April 20, 2006  

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-- Robert Frost

Our corner of New England is awash in forsythias. Their blooms are beautiful but only last a short while. What signal is it that tells all to flower at exactly the same time? The one above is in our backyard. Photo-bloggers at Flickr capture many more.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006  

The 19th of April

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

-- "Concord Hymn," Emerson

* * *

Clip: "Yankee Doodle"


Tuesday, April 18, 2006  

100 years ago today: The San Francisco Earthquake


Monday, April 17, 2006  

Patriots Day

The bells in the First Congregational Church pealed today as the first runners in the men's race passed our vantage point in Natick Center, 10 miles into the Boston Marathon. I think eventual winner Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, who went on to set a course record, can be seen in the middle of this picture.

Meantime, the Sox won the annual Patriots Day game at Fenway on a homerun with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

The day began with the annual battle in Lexington.

The second of two holidays in a row was a fine day all around in the Bay State. Back to work in the morning, alas.


Sunday, April 16, 2006  

Happy Easter


Friday, April 14, 2006  


Mother, why are people crowding now and staring?
Child, it is a malefactor goes to His doom,
To the high hill of Calvary He's faring,
And the people pressing and pushing to make room
Lest they miss the sight to come.

Oh, the poor malefactor, heavy is His load!
Now He falls beneath it and they goad Him on.
Sure the road to Calvary's a steep up-hill road --
Is there none to help Him with His Cross -- not one?
Must He bear it all alone?

Here is a country boy with business in the city,
Smelling of the cattle's breath and the sweet hay;
Now they bid him lift the Cross, so they have some pity:
Child, they fear the malefactor dies on the way
And robs them of their play.

Has He no friends then, no father nor mother,
None to wipe the sweat away nor pity His fate?
There's a woman weeping and there's none to soothe her:
Child, it is well the seducer expiate
His crimes that are so great.

Mother, did I dream He once bent above me,
This poor seducer with the thorn-crowned head,
His hands on my hair and His eyes seemed to love me?
Suffer little children to come to Me, He said --
His hair, his brows drip red.

Hurrying through Jerusalem on business or pleasure
People hardly pause to see Him go to His death
Whom they held five days ago more than a King's treasure,
Shouting Hosannas, flinging many a wreath
For this Jesus of Nazareth.

-- Katharine Tynan


Tuesday, April 11, 2006  

De facto state holiday

Fenway Park celebrates its 95th Opening Day.


Sunday, April 09, 2006  

Wisconsin 2, BC 1

As that winning badger Bucky,
Turns out none's so stick-and-pucky.
Jebbie aeries are disconsolate
At Cheeseheads' cheering On Wisconsalot.

-- A clerihew in tribute to college hockey's champions.

Dave wins the wager!


Friday, April 07, 2006  

'Vision of St Francis Xavier,' Baciccio

The 500th Anniversary of St. Francis Xavier

The Jesuit saint, missionary to the Far East, was born 500 years ago today.

His body lies on display in the basilica in Goa.

He was sometimes depicted with Native Americans in feathered headdress, apparently due to artistic confusion over the term 'Indian.'

His statue is seen in the ornate retablo of Mission San Xavier del Bac, founded in the Arizona desert by Fr Eusebio Kino, a Jesuit from the Tyrolean Alps who introduced Christianity to the Pima Indians of New Spain. A photograph by Ansel Adams captures the mission's arches.


Thursday, April 06, 2006  

Mazel Tov to Mr & Mrs RP & Family on the happy arrival of BC2!

And a Happy Tartan Day to all and sundry!


Monday, April 03, 2006  

'Like a Wild Pitch'

Watching the pitching and hitting on game day,
my hair damp underneath my cap,
I hear the melody of bats.
Baseballs travel through space, full of voice.
Full of ghosts and sense-sound fantasy.
For a moment, a homer hangs in the air,
then sails past the old-timers.
Past the rookies.
The stadium can barely contain their youth.

-- Jilly Dybka

(Via EFQ)

* * *

Clip: 'The National Game,' by John Philip Sousa


Saturday, April 01, 2006  

Our new pet

His name is Charlie, and he's a two-toed sloth. He lived mostly in a box when we first got him. Now he likes to hang from the ceiling fan, and sleeps through it when the kids put him on low spin. He also likes to drink, mostly rum.


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