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)."
Erik Keilholtz

Under the patronage of St. Tammany



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

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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
Monday, December 31, 2007  

Happy New Year!



The Apartment: Final Scene

With Spanish subtitles



Guy Lombardo & his Royal Canadians:

"Boo Hoo"



In the News

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto:

From an enemy that uses babies for bombs,

a jarring wakeup call (Via Llama)

* * *


NY Sun:

America's greatest sculptor

The father of history, made new

The face of empire

* * *

Howard Rosenberg:

Happy Birthday, King Kelly

* * *

The Telegraph:

Obit for the Obits editor

Damian Thompson: 7/7/07: the Church changed forever

* * *

Jonah Goldberg has a way with the Arkansan carny metaphor:

Presidential elections tend to be won by the more likeable candidate -- and Hillary is a lugubrious robot. Bill is an oleaginous carny, who, like her, dissembles with breathless abandon. But while Hillary has the lyrics down, she can't hear the music. "The Un-Inevitability of Hillary Clinton," National Review, 12/3/07

Huckabee is a brilliant, gassy, Hurricane Hippo of a carnival-stall evangelist who can turn phrases on a dime. In Arkansas, he's considered an even greater maestro of off-the-cuff cornpone schmaltz than Bill Clinton. "The Horror of Huck," NR, 12/31/07

* * *

USA Today:

Alice Roosevelt, 'the other Washington Monument'

* * *

The Times:

Tim Hames: Iraq, best story of the year

Daniel Finkelstein: How Huckabee thinks kangaroos were created

* * *

At top:

Newsboy, NYC, photographed by Lewis Hine, 1910


Tuesday, December 25, 2007  

"The Feast Of The Snow"

There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.

Never we know but in sleet and snow
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of earth is a raging mirth,
And the heart of the earth a star.

And at night we win to the ancient inn,
Where the Child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet,
At the inn at the end of the world.

The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flown;
The gods lie cold where the leaves are gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.

-- G. K. Chesterton

* * *

A very Merry Christmas to all! MCNS


Sunday, December 23, 2007  

Getting in the spirit

From IconNicholson:

The snowball fight game. Classic. Addictive.

* * *

From Public Radio Exchange:

Riverwalk Jazz: Hot Jazz for a Cool Yule

Retro Cocktail Hour: Christmas Special

(Free registration required)

* * *

From Musical Fruitcake:

Patsy Raye & the Beatniks' "Beatnik's Wish:"

Dig the Beat poetry slam with Herman Munster ("Ibbity bibbity canal boat") and a chick from High School Confidential who apparently gave elocution lessons to Hillary Clinton. ("Tomorrow is dragsville, cats.") Yes, that's Uncle Fester on the piano.


Debbie Dabney: "I Want to Spend Christmas with Elvis"

* * *

From Big Balls of Holly:

Two Charlie Brown Christmas songs: "Linus & Lucy" and "Skating"

* * *

From Ernie (Not Bert):

What Christmas looked like in 1957

* * *

From Freelancer's Lament:

Drunken Snowman

* * *

From NY World, Dec. 27, 1919:

Prohibition douses Xmas cheer

* * *

The Snowman's Raymond Briggs:

"Good old global warming!"

* * *

At top:

"Inside Snowman" by Charles Addams

From a gallery of Addams Xmas cards



Getting in the spirit

Butcher shop, Tunbridge Wells, Christmas 1908

Veer gallery: Jolly Good Times



The Rocket

The hockey scenes in this Canadian biopic about Maurice "Rocket" Richard capture the feel of 1940s newsreel footage -- the lighting in the old arenas, the goalies without masks. In the Montreal where he plays it's always snowing. The players in their Original Six sweaters look like the ones on the tabletop hockey game you had as a kid. Check out the second clip here in which the Rocket battles the Rangers' "Killer" Dill. It's the best scene in the movie.


Saturday, December 22, 2007  

Maple Street Penguins

In Sherborn, Mass., the penguins have returned to Maple Street.

They were out there today, clustered on their little snow peak



Boston Pops: 'Sleigh Ride'

Driving today along the snowy tree-lined roads in this section
of New England was like being in a Currier & Ives print.

This song came to mind. (That it's on the radio every five minutes helped.)



John McCain: 'My Christmas Story'

As a POW, my captors would tie my arms behind my back and then loop the rope around my neck and ankles so that my head was pulled down between my knees. I was often left like that throughout the night.

One night a guard came into my cell. He put his finger to his lips signaling for me to be quiet, and then loosened my ropes to relieve my pain. The next morning, when his shift ended, the guard returned and retightened the ropes, never saying a word to me.

A month or so later, on Christmas Day, I was standing in the dirt courtyard when I saw that same guard approach me. He walked up and stood silently next to me, not looking or smiling at me.

After a few moments had passed, he rather nonchalantly used his sandaled foot to draw a cross in the dirt. We stood wordlessly looking at the cross, remembering the true light of Christmas, even in the darkness of a Vietnamese prison camp. After a minute or two, he rubbed it out and walked away.

That guard was my Good Samaritan. I will never forget that man and I will never forget that moment. And I will never forget that, no matter where you are, no matter how difficult the circumstances, there will always be someone who will pick you up and carry you.

May you and your family have a blessed Christmas and Happy Holidays,

John McCain


Friday, December 21, 2007  

March of the Wooden Soldiers -- Finale

A holiday tradition at our house.

This clip is of the final battle against the bogeymen.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007  

Alastair Sim's "Scrooge"

Posted in installments at YouTube.


Monday, December 17, 2007  

Teddy's Bears for Kids

The Theodore Roosevelt Association annually distributes teddy bears
during the holiday season to children in New York City hospitals.

If you'd like to contribute to this good cause, the TRA welcomes donations. Their mailing address: Theodore Roosevelt Association, PO Box 719, Oyster Bay, NY, 11771-0719.

* * *

The story behind the Teddy Bear * An original, at the Smithsonian


Wednesday, December 12, 2007  

Frank Sinatra: "Witchcraft"

Born this day in 1915.

(A tip o' the porkpie to Old Dominion Tory)


Sunday, December 09, 2007  

With sprigs of boxwood in their caps

This weekend they re-enacted the Irish Brigade's attack on Marye's Heights as part of a commemoration of the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Fredericksburg was one of the Union's most disastrous losses of the Civil War. Frontal attacks on Dec. 13 against entrenched Confederate defenders on the heights above the Virginia town led to nearly 13,000 Union casualties.

The Irish Brigade, in a gallant, desperate assault on Marye's Heights, lost nearly half of 1,200 men taken into the battle.

"The most glorious day in the history of our regiment in the Civil War was Fredericksburg, where the Old 69th in the Irish Brigade failed to capture the impregnable position on Marye's Heights, though their dead with the green sprigs in their caps lay in rows before it," Father Duffy of the Fighting 69th would write years later, after another war.

* * *

"You doubtless remember when we assaulted Marye's Heights, the soldiers of the Irish Brigade placed little sprigs of 'green' in their caps just before the order was given to advance to the attack. The Brigade had stacked arms in the street. A house near by was overgrown with an evergreen vine, box I believe, and each man of the Irish Brigade passed over it and pulling off a bit of the green stuck it in the front of his cap. In a few moments afterwards the word was given for the assault and very soon a number of the gallant fellows lay dead and wounded with the little green sprigs on their heads." -- W. G. Mitchell of Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock's staff (The Irish Brigade: A Pictorial History)

* * *

Confederate General D.H. Hill recognized the Irish Brigade advancing: "There are those damned green flags again," he muttered. At Marye's Heights, many of Cobb's Georgians were of Irish descent. A regretful murmur ran along their line as they recognized their fellow Irishmen who advanced, crossed the canal, and moved toward the wall. "What a pity, here comes Meagher's fellows," muttered Irish lips in Cobb's line, according to one listener. (Carl Smith)

* * *

Thomas Galwey, with French's Division in the first charge, described their advance thusly: "The Irish Brigade comes out of the city in glorious style...in the thickest of the fight where the grim and thankless butchery of war is done. Every man has a sprig of green in his cap and a laughing, half-murderous look in his eye. They pass just to our left, poor, glorious fellows, shaking good-bye to us with their hats!

They reach a point within a stone's throw of the wall. No farther. They try to go beyond, but are slaughtered. Nothing could advance further and live. They lie down doggedly, determined to hold the ground they have already taken. There, away out in the fields to the front and left of us, we see them for an hour or so, lying in line close to that terrible stone wall."

Some of their most touching tributes came from the "enemy." General Pickett wrote to his wife that his "heart was wrung by the dauntless gallantry of the Irish attack on Marye's Heights." The correspondent of the London Times, not a Union supporter by any means, wrote, "Never at Fontenoy, Albuera, or at Waterloo was more undaunted courage displayed by the sons of Erin than during those six frantic dashes which they directed against the almost impregnable position of their foe. . . .the bodies which lie in dense masses within forty yards of the muzzles of Colonel Walton's guns are the best evidence what manner of men they were who pressed on to death with the dauntlessness of a race which has gained glory on a thousand battlefields, and never more richly deserved it than at the foot of Marye's Heights on the 13th day of December, 1862."

Nearest to the stone wall was the body of Major William Horgan who, despite numerous wounds and a shattered jaw that kept him from calling out orders, had rallied his men by raising the hilt of his sword and kept moving forward until he finally fell dead only 20 paces from his goal.
(88th NY State Volunteers)

* * *


"Clear the Way" by Don Troiani.

* * *

Haunted Field Music:

The Irish Brigade

Songs of the Irish Union Soldier


Thursday, December 06, 2007  

Great Bars of the Western World:

McSorley's Old Ale House, NYC

As painted by John Sloan (1912)

NY Sun: Ashcan School inspiration

Ye Olde Evening Telegraph:

The oldest saloon in America


Tuesday, December 04, 2007  

"The American Churchill"

The Monarchist posts a handsome tribute to TR.



The Maple Leaf Forever

Assorted items on a Canadian theme:

The Monarchist notes a new allegorical figure of Canada that is a quite a departure from the traditional national symbol.

The 1905 Ottawa Silver Seven: They famously kicked the Stanley Cup across the frozen Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

The Montreal Maroons: World's Champions * Holders of the Stanley Cup, 1934-35

Where New England has its ubiquitous Union soldier statue, PEI has its Boer War Memorial.

The Monarchist on the Royal Ontario Museum:

Is this breathtaking architecture, or is this a weapon from space that has just crashed onto one of the city's heritage buildings?

Andrew Cusack:

The Crown in British Columbia

God Guard Thee, Newfoundland


"Queen of the Ice"

No. 2 of the Canadian Hockey Girl Series, 1903

From the National Archives of Canada


Saturday, December 01, 2007  

Uncle Earl: "Streak O' Lean, Streak O'Fat"

Sent along with this description:

Irish step dancing, Appalachian clogging...and kung fu.


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