Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
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"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

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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
Wednesday, May 31, 2006  


Somewhere Hughie Jennings shouts: the Tigers have baseball's best record.

Tiger links: Tributes to Wahoo Sam Crawford, Mark the Bird Fidrych,
Norm Cash &c at Tigers Central * 1935 Diary at TigerBlog * Bless You Boys * A pictorial celebration of the greatest players and moments in Tigers history, at Baseball Library * Gates Brown and his hot dogs * The Mayo Smith Society

Hold that tiger.



Battle flags of the Revolution

The flag of Sheldon's Dragoons, above, is one of the flags captured by Lieut. Col. Banastre Tarleton in 1779-80 that will be up for auction at Sotheby's (pdf). The Llamas will want to get in a bid.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006  

Genuflectorum Malleus

Bishop Tod Brown: Hammer of Kneelers

(Via the Inn)


Monday, May 29, 2006  

Memorial Day

In Holliston, Mass., flags on the green in front of the Congregational Church and on utility poles along the main streets pay tribute to coalition troops lost in the war. The display, inspiring and poignant, has become an annual thing.

"I hate to call it a tradition," said Robert Blair, commander of the local American Legion post. "That's a bad word for it. Call it a tribute."

As part of its observance of Memorial Day this Monday, the local American Legion post will place 2,849 flags -- each representing one coalition soldier who has died during the war on terror -- tonight at 6 on the First Congregational Church's common on Washington Street.

Local teens have helped prepare care packages for soldiers stationed in Iraq, but it has been adults who have been most impacted by roadside tributes of more than 400 soldiers' names posted on utility poles.

"Everyone reminds me of the ages -- they're so young," he said.

This is the third year of the roadside tribute in Holliston. Volunteers have had to scale back the number of signs, because to make one for each dead soldier this year would stretch over 55 miles of local roads.


A Chaplain's World War II Bravery Remembered

From the All Things Considered archives comes the story of Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Timothy O'Callahan, SJ, Jesuit chaplain aboard the aircraft carrier USS Franklin, as told by his nephew, Jay.

A listener writes:

"The storyteller described the terrifying conditions aboard the disabled aircraft carrier. He brought the hellish experience down to a personal level by retelling the imminently lethal circumstances that the priest had to overcome. I began to weep... I felt both agonizing sadness and admiration for this extraordinary ordinary man... I parked on the shoulder of the road to avoid menacing others with my teary-eyed driving."

(Hat tip: Scott Belliveau)


Friday, May 26, 2006  

'The Saint of Cheerfulness and Kindness'

Fr Nicholas at Roman Miscellany posts a sermon he gave at the London Oratory last year on the occasion of the Feast of St Philip Neri.

[H]is words were inscribed not in books but on the hearts of his penitents, he reformed Church and society through his ministry in the confessional, he brought the medicine of the sacraments to sick souls, and though he lived a life of deep contemplation, his was not an enclosed life and Rome was his cloister. St Philip’s life was a priestly life of charity and, of course, at the heart of that was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That’s why the priestly chasuble is a fitting symbol of this great saint of the Eucharist.

When my eldest makes his First Communion tomorrow, I hope St. Philip will be smiling on him.

* * *

Today's schedule at the London Oratory:

Our Holy Father, S Philip Neri--Founder of the Oratory

Friday 26th May 2006:

6.00pm Solemn Latin Mass (with orchestra)
Prelude: Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr' (662) Bach.
Heiligmesse Haydn.
Pangamus Nerio Wingham.
Ave verum corpus Mozart.
Prelude and Fugue in G (541) Bach.

* * *

On a sadder note, news has come of the passing of Fr Todd Reitmeyer, a friend to many at St. Blog's. A tribute is posted at Whispers in the Loggia. Requiescat in pace.


Thursday, May 25, 2006  

Edith Amelia, Baroness Wolverton

She was Britannia at the Devonshire House Ball of 1897.

Portrait photos of the costumed guests, including Winston Churchill's mother, Jennie, as Theodora, are in the Victoria & Albert Museum's remarkable Lafayette Negative Archive.

Other online image categories include Sitters from Princely India, Ethiopian Sitters, Sitters Connected with the Stage, and Sitters in Court Dress, in Military Uniform, and in Religious Garb.



Hard Luck Mulcahy

It takes a talented pitcher to lose 20 games in a season, the saying goes. Right-hander Hugh Mulcahy of Allston-Brighton, Mass., accomplished the feat twice, pitching well enough to lose a lot for some horrible Phillies teams, and even being named to the National League All Star team in 1940, a year in which he led the league in losses, with 22.

He was nicknamed "Losing Pitcher Mulcahy" by sportswriters because his name appeared that way so often in box scores. When he became the first big-leaguer to be drafted into the US Army in 1941 in the lead-up to WWII, he told the Sporting News: "My losing streak is over...I'm on a winning team now." He served for the duration, losing what might have been a promising career to the Second World War.

But "Hard Luck" Mulcahy didn't count himself unlucky:

Life seems to have dealt Hugh Mulcahy a tough hand: he pitched for an awful club, got tagged with an ignominious nickname, was the first major league World War II draftee, and spent four and one-half "prime" years in military service, effectively ruining his big league career. Unless, of course, one were to ask Mr. Mulcahy himself.

Now eighty-seven years old and living in suburban Pittsburgh, he prefers to view himself as a fortunate man. Fortunate to break in to the majors with the Phillies, where manager Jimmie Wilson straightened out his pitching delivery and where he became a workhorse and was named to the 1940 National League All-Star team. Fortunate to survive World War II, particularly the stint in New Guinea, where his outfit was ravaged by a tropical disease that nearly proved fatal for many of them. And fortunate, after his playing days were over, to secure a job in baseball as a respected pitching coach and minor league administrator. In other words, as Mr. Mulcahy sees it, a life blessed by a lot of good luck, not bad.

Hugh Mulcahy passed away in 2001, and as we approach Memorial Day, we toast the memory of this grateful, gracious man. (Hat tip: John Salmon)


Friday, May 19, 2006  

The Annual Lefty O'Doul Tribute

Since this year's salute coincides with the Sox-Phillies series, here is Lefty in Quaker togs, from a gallery of early Phils pics.

Lefty O'Doul actually started out as a pitcher, and in one dubious outing for the Red Sox in July 1923 he set a record for most runs allowed in a single inning, 13. He had better luck after switching to the outfield. In 1929, with Philadelphia, he hit .398 in winning the first of two batting titles, and set a National League record for hits in a season, with 254.

At Lefty O'Doul's restaurant, the barstools are made from baseball bats * He named the Tokyo Giants * An argument is made that he belongs in the Hall.

Past Lefty O'Doul Tributes: 2005 * 2004


Wednesday, May 17, 2006  

Après le déluge

The sun returns, and with it, breaking the grackles' backyard hegemony, a Northern Flicker to the birdfeeder.

A search on Flicker at Flickr returns not only woodpeckers but the Monkey & the Frug.

Duty calls re the yard, now approaching undeveloped wetland status after a week and a half of rain.

But first: a bit of "Blue Skies" and "Bye, Bye, Blackbird" from Josephine Baker, whose charms no doubt launched a thousand French postcards.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006  

"Get out the ark"

That's the general consensus around here. New England is experiencing the worst flooding in 70 years. The Globe's coverage includes lots of reader-submitted photos. Thank heaven for the sump pump.


Saturday, May 13, 2006  

King Oliver

Louis Armstrong called him 'Papa Joe’ and said no other trumpet player in New Orleans had his fire, notes Riverwalk Jazz in a tribute to Joe 'King' Oliver.

More on the New Orleans trumpet king who taught Louis Armstrong to play is at the Red Hot Jazz Archive, which has the above picture of King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band on its home page.

Elsewhere on the public radio dial: NPR reports on the legacy of ragtime composer Scott Joplin.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006  

The King of Swat

You can have your Barry Bonds. I'll stick with the Babe. The only juice he was on was fermented from hops and barley.

The Baseball Reliquary's shrine to the Bambino includes a sacristy box from which he was given the Last Rites when he was dying in 1948.

The funeral was on August 19 at St. Patrick's Cathedral with Cardinal Spellman presiding at the Requiem Mass. It was a very hot day in New York, and among the pallbearers were the Bambino's former Yankee teammates Joe Dugan and Waite Hoyt. "Christ," Dugan whispered, licking his dry lips, "I'd give a hundred bucks for a cold beer." Hoyt, nodding at the coffin, whispered back, "So would the Babe."

Other Ruthian artifacts in the Baseball Reliquary include a partially consumed hot dog from a Brobdingnagian eating binge in 1925, and a cigar butt dropped on the floor of a Philadelphia brothel on April 27, 1924:

That evening, a Yankee player observed Ruth sitting in a big chair in an upstairs room with a brunette on one knee and a blonde on the other. As the girls poured a bottle of champagne onto his head and shampooed his hair with it, Ruth smiled and exclaimed, "Anybody who doesn't like this life is crazy!" The next afternoon at Shibe Park, the Bambino, with barely two hours sleep, hit a pair of home runs.

* * *

Listen: "Pound Cake"


Tuesday, May 09, 2006  

TR's Libelous Mint Julep

Kentucky Derby weekend has come and gone, but I trust this too-long-deferred post still falls within the statute of limitations:

"What Teddy Sipped"

Steve M. first called my attention back in February to this entertaining WSJ piece on Theodore Roosevelt's libel suit against a newspaper editor who accused him of drunkenness.

TR testified he rarely drank, save for the very occasional mint julep, including one at the St. Louis Country Club from which he'd taken a few sips. This led the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to teasingly accuse the Colonel of perjury, as no one could fail to drink all of a mint julep mixed by the country club's amiable barman Tom Bullock.

(Bullock's drink recipes were later collected into a book, The Ideal Bartender, with an introduction by one George Herbert Walker, and dedicated: "TO THOSE WHO ENJOY SNUG CLUB ROOMS, THAT THEY MAY LEARN THE ART OF PREPARING FOR THEMSELVES WHAT IS GOOD.")

TR ultimately won his case, settling for a retraction and waiving damages. Meantime, Roosevelt's old White House steward was prevailed upon for his own mint julep recipe, which the WSJ recorded thus:


4 oz rye whiskey
¼ oz brandy
fresh mint
1 sugar cube
sliced pineapple, sliced banana, orange and cherries
• Gently muddle a few leaves of mint with the sugar and a good splash of water in the bottom of a glass (or silver Julep cup, if you have one). Add brandy and whiskey and then fill the cup to the rim with pulverized ice. Stir until the outside of the glass is thick with frost. Pile the top of the drink high with mint and fruit. Bully!

(Planter's hat tip)

Clip: "Listen to the Mockingbird"


Monday, May 08, 2006  

The enduring memory of my daughter's
1st-grade CCD mustering-out ceremony:

The song "I Belong to the Family of God"…on kazoo.


Friday, May 05, 2006  

"El Sismo" by Howell Golson

Happy Cinco de Mayo

The lime is in the Corona, and Los Straitjackets are on the turntable. ¡Arriba! ¡Ándale!

(Image via Every 5 People)

UPDATE: John at the Six Bells recalls Maximilian & Charlotte of Mexico.

I posted my own tribute to the doomed imperial couple last year.

This portrait of Charlotte is in the Library of Congress. Some of her letters & photos are at Rice University.

Maximilian's last words before he was shot:

"I forgive everyone, and I ask everyone to forgive me. May my blood which is about to be shed, be for the good of the country. Viva Mexico, viva la independencia!"


Monday, May 01, 2006  

Johnny Damon returns to Fenway tonight in pinstripes, so it is only fitting he be greeted with a Bronx cheer.


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