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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, February 29, 2008  

WFB Remembered

This is my favorite picture of William F Buckley.

Sent me by John Cahill, it accompanies John Podhoretz' tribute.

(Thanks to Old Dominion Tory for helping find it in the archives.)

Here's another image, of two greats: Moynihan & Buckley

* * *

Buckley on NPR: How Is It Possible to Believe in God?

* * *

I wonder if the funeral will be in Latin?

The cascade of tributes to the late WFB has been voluminous.

NRO, of course, is the central clearinghouse.

And RCP has been very useful in keeping up with some of the best.

Here are a number worth noting:

Peggy Noonan

David Brooks

George Will

Charlie Rose

Time: David von Drehle

Time: Photo Gallery

TS O'Rama

Rod Dreher

Random Pensées

The New Republic: John B. Judis

Wall Street Journal

Mona Charen

The Nation: John Nichols

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr

Roger Kimball

NY Times: The '65 Mayoral Run


Wednesday, February 27, 2008  

William F. Buckley, Jr., RIP

I have just now been reading his memoir, Miles Gone By. "Cordially," he always signed his letters in the magazine, and he was, from all accounts, a very good-hearted man – as well as a great one. His contributions to the life of this nation truly have been substantial: may his legacy long endure.

WFB remembered:

National Review

The Corner (NRO)

New York Times

Washington Post

Times (UK): Daniel Finkelstein

The Spectator

Atlantic Monthly


Tuesday, February 26, 2008  

Happy Birthday, Buffalo Bill

In the Irish Elk household this week, William F. Cody rides again:

As rendered in fringed buckskin, felt and yarn on posterboard, subject of our daughter's third-grade biography project;

Subject, by coincidence, in the same week, of the latest American Experience, showing great minds think alike;

And someone who shares a birthday today with our youngest, the most enthusiastic new seven-year-old extant.

So we strike up the Wild West Cowboy Band to play a triumphal march for Buffalo Bill -- and to say Happy Birthday, Dear Neddy.

* * *

Dear Mr. Cody,

I have seen your Wild West show two days in succession, and have enjoyed it thoroughly. It brought vividly back the breezy wild life of the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, and stirred me like a war-song. Down to its smallest details, the show is genuine--cowboys, vaqueros, Indians, stage coach, costumes and all; it is wholly free from sham and insincerity, and the effects produced upon me by its spectacles were identical with those wrought upon me long ago by the same spectacles on the frontier. Your pony expressman was as tremendous an interest to me yesterday as he was twenty-three years ago, when he used to come whizzing by from over the desert with the war news: and your bucking horses even painfully real to me, as I rode one of those outrages once for nearly a quarter of a minute. It is often said on the other side of the water that none of the exhibitions which we send to England are purely and distinctively American. If you will take the Wild West show over there, you can remove that reproach.

Truly yours,
Mark Twain

September 10, 1884

* * *

Above: Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill, c. 1885


Sunday, February 24, 2008  

Louis Armstrong: "Tiger Rag"

From 1933.


Saturday, February 23, 2008  

Political Animalia

Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner:

For some reason, I can't think what, that story in the New York Times brings to mind one of the classic anecdotes about Disraeli. The background to it was that the Tory leader's principal political opponent, the 70-something Lord Palmerston had (as a writer in the Daily Telegraph put it a couple of years ago) "been caught with a chambermaid on a billiards table in a stately home in Suffolk" (as it happens, I've read other, marginally less colorful versions of what it was that Lord Palmerston had been doing, but let's just say that all of them would have been disappointing to Lady Palmerston). One of Disraeli's advisers then suggested that the story be spread around, to which the great man replied: "Good heavens, no! If this gets out, he will sweep the country!"

Those were the days.

* * *


Disraeli's Conservative Party as rogue elephant * 'Fun' Magazine, 3 May 1876

Via Mary Evans Picture Library

* * *

Re Times v McCain:

Stephen F. Hayes, Weekly Standard: All the rumors fit to print

Power Line: The Times upholds its standards

Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic:
Conservatives coalescing around McCain

NY Times:
Talk to the Newsroom: The McCain Article

NY Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt:

If a newspaper is going to suggest an improper affair by a presidential candidate, it owes readers more proof than The Times was able to provide.

* * *


Re the Obamessiah:

Margery Eagan, Boston Herald:
When backing Barack feels like joining a cult

Power Line: The Return of Sister Flute


Monday, February 18, 2008  

A Shout Out to Silent Cal

For Presidents Day * Courtesy of Steve M



Washington Pie

Mix and bake same as Cream Pie. Put raspberry jam or jelly between layers and sprinkle top with powdered sugar.

-- The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, Fannie Farmer, 1918

* * *

The tart is national with the English, as the pie is national with us. I never saw on an English table that excellent substitute for both, called the Washington pie, in memory of him whom we honor as first in pies, as well as in war and in the hearts of his countrymen.

-- Our Hundred Days in Europe, Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1892

* * *

Legal and Local Holidays in the United States.

FEBRUARY 22, Washington's Birthday. (George, not Booker), is remembered by thirty-eight of the States. On this day, in the public schools, are shown pictures of George Chopping the Cherry Tree and Breaking Up the Delaware Ice Trust, Valley Forge in Winter, and Mt. Vernon on a Busy Day. The Pride of the Class recites Washington's "Farewell to the Army," Minnie the Spieler belabors the piano with the "Washington Post March," and the scholars all eat Washington Pie, made of "Columbia, the Jam of the Ocean."

The Foolish Dictionary, Gideon Wurdz, 1904

* * *

Happy Presidents Day!


Sunday, February 17, 2008  

I Wanna Be Around

An excerpt from
Skylark: The Life and Times of Johnny Mercer, by Philip Furia:

Back in 1957, [Johnny Mercer] had received a letter from Sadie Vimmerstedt, a fifty-eight-year-old grandmother who worked at the cosmetics counter of a Youngstown, Ohio, department store. She had been outraged when Frank Sinatra divorced his first wife, Nancy, to marry Ava Gardner; when Ava Gardner left Sinatra, Sadie relished the fact that the cocky singer had gotten his comeuppance. Tearing several sheets from an old desk pad calendar, she wrote to Johnny Mercer, asking him to write a song about how "Frankie boy" got his just deserts for leaving Nancy. She suggested a title, "When Somebody Breaks Your Heart," and gave Mercer the idea of the lyric: "I want to be around to pick up the pieces when somebody breaks your heart." She put the sheets in an envelope and addressed it simply to:

Johnny Mercer
New York, NY

The post office forwarded the letter to New York's ASCAP office, and eventually it reached Mercer.

Although he was usually responsive to correspondents, Sadie's letter came at the low point of Mercer's career, when his confidence in his songwriting ability was at its ebb. With the success of "Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses," however, his creative spirits surged, and in 1962 he wrote back to Sadie Vimmerstedt, apologizing for not responding sooner but telling her he had written the song, lyrics and music, and had been waiting for a major recording artist to do it. "He said he didn't want to record the song until he got the best singer," Sadie Vimmerstedt said. "When he told me Tony Bennett was going to record it I got really excited." Bennett, coming off the success of "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," was the biggest star at Columbia Records, and his recording of "I Wanna Be Around" sold fifteen thousand copies the day it was released. Mercer explained to Sadie that he wanted to publish the song and split the royalties with her. He suggested she receive one-third, since she had had the idea for the song, and he receive two-thirds for writing the lyric and the music...

The song was a huge hit, and Sadie Vimmerstedt found herself a celebrity. She would write to Mercer about people coming into the department store to ask for her autograph and being interviewed on the radio in Cincinnati and Cleveland. "I'm getting to be very famous," she wrote to him. "You can't believe how, it's like a fairy story, a Cinderella story." Then she was invited to appear on network television, but after her experience in New York, she wrote to Mercer, "I'm
tired. I think I'm getting out of show business."

* * *

Tony Bennett: "I Wanna Be Around"


Saturday, February 16, 2008  

Fire, brimstone &c

For Lent: Hugo Chávez' favorite capybara recipe

* * *

Above: Condemnation of the Jesuits, 6th August 1762

* * *

Iowahawk, channeling Chaucer, on the Archishop of Canterbury:

Heere Bigynneth the Tale of the Asse-Hatte

(Via Callimachus)

* * *

Miracle woman awakens from coma:

She was judged brain-dead. But her family was able to make her comfortable -- and when she showed signs of thirst, her husband didn't go to court to deny her water. Funny, that.

* * *

Monarchistic diversions from the Holy Whapping:

The Marquess of Baldacchino and other aristocratic titles of the Papal States

The Grand Voivode of Serbia and other aristocratic titles of Blessed Charles I of Austria

* * *

On politics:

David Carlin:

Can a Catholic be a Democrat? How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion

Mark Stricherz:

The Anti-Christianity Party

Why I am a Catholic Democrat

From an outstanding old anti-Catholic screed.

Imagine if the Know Nothings had talk radio in their day!


Thursday, February 14, 2008  

Valentine's Varia

From The Smart Set:

Love today is candy and flowers.

In the Enlightenment it was rams' testicles and Spanish fly.


Did Marie Antoinette's bosom inspire the champagne glass?

Or was it Madame de Pompadour's? Snopes says non.

* * *

"Altar Boy Gone Wrong" is the title of this Paul Sann essay on Irish-American mobster Deanie O'Banion, whose slaying in his Chicago flower shop in 1924 touched off a five-year gang war that culminated in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

O'Banion, who'd provided opulent floral arrangements for other gangsters' funerals, was given a fittingly grand send-off:

The carcass lay in state at the Sbarbo Funeral Home in a $10,000 bronze casket, with solid gold candlesticks and silver angels at either end. Forty thousand persons filed past the bier in three days and the funeral itself, ablaze in flowers and regal trappings, drew 20,000. The mourners included [the South Side rival who ordered the hit on him, Johnny] Torrio--"From Johnny," his floral tribute said--and Capone, and Angelo Genna, newly installed as president of the Unione Siciliana. O'Banion's forlorn lieutenants stood on the other side of the grave, weeping real tears in copious amounts. The choir boy gone bad was denied Catholic rites but the Reverend Patrick Malloy came out to Mount Carmel Cemetery without his priestly vestments and said three Hail Mary's and the Lord's Prayer. Father Malloy had grown up with Deanie in Little Hell; he would not abandon him at the end.

O'Banion's last resting place lay only forty feet from a granite mausoleum where a Bishop and two Archbishops reposed, so when Viola O'Banion built a tall shaft over his grave with the inscription, "My Sweetheart," George Cardinal Mundelein asked her to take it down in favor of a less ostentatious headstone. Viola did that, but she paid the deceased -- linked to twenty-five unsolved killings but never once arrested in such unpleasant circumstances -- the ultimate tribute. "Dean loved his home and spent most of his evenings in it, fooling with his radio, singing a song, listening to the player piano. He was not a man to run around nights with women. I was his only sweetheart . . . He never left home without telling me where he was going and kissing me good-bye."

* * *

Frank Sinatra: "My Funny Valentine"

* * *

Clip: Teddy Wilson: "Isn't it Romantic?"


Tuesday, February 12, 2008  

"A Farmer Remembers Lincoln"

Well, I was in the old Second Maine,
The first regiment in Washington from the Pine Tree State.
Of course I didn't get the butt of the clip;
We was there for guardin' Washington—
We was all green.

"I ain't never ben to the theayter in my life—
I didn't know how to behave.
I ain't never ben since.
I can see as plain as my hat the box where he sat in
When he was shot.
I can tell you, sir, there was a panic
When we found our President was in the shape he was in!
Never saw a soldier in the world but what liked him.

"Yes, sir. His looks was kind o' hard to forget.
He was a spare man,
An old farmer.
Everything was all right, you know,
But he wasn't a smooth-appearin' man at all—
Not in no ways;
Thin-faced, long-necked,
And a swellin' kind of a thick lip like.

"And he was a jolly old fellow—always cheerful;
He wasn't so high but the boys could talk to him their own ways.
While I was servin' at the Hospital
He'd come in and say, 'You look nice in here,'
Praise us up, you know.
And he'd bend over and talk to the boys—
And he'd talk so good to 'em—so close—
That's why I call him a farmer.
I don't mean that everything about him wasn't all right, you understand,
It's just—well, I was a farmer—
And he was my neighbor, anybody's neighbor.
I guess even you young folks would 'a' liked him."

-- Witter Bynner

(Via Poetry X)


Monday, February 11, 2008  

Song of Bernadette

One-hundred-fifty years ago today:

The Blessed Virgin first appeared to St. Bernadette at Lourdes.

"For those who believe, no explanation is necessary.

For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible."


Sunday, February 10, 2008  

"To Edmund Burke we raise our glasses up!

Damn the French, call the wench, bring another cup!"

That is the toast at the Cigarette Smoking Blog, and one to which we say, "hear, hear."

The exceptional Whig was cited last week by John McCain in an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

It is always good to hear a conservative invoke Burke, Andrew Sullivan commented afterward. I wonder how many people at CPAC have even heard of him?

Less than you think, was Fear and Loathing in Georgetown's guess. (Via Postmodern Conservative)

* * *

Eamonn Fitzgerald comments on McCain & Burke.

The speech before a sceptical, partly hostile, audience was a sincere conservative — but not a politically correct conservative — statement. When the Democrats unite on an opponent for the Republican candidate-in-waiting, and if America wants an honest, responsible debate about the war in Iraq, John McCain will be there. Clinton and Obama should consider brushing up on their Burke, just in case. Burke did say that, "A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman." Fits McCain.

* * *

Tertium Quid at From Burke to Kirk and Beyond comments on conservatives & the GOP:

The Republican Party is the heir to the Lincoln coalition of Free Soilers, "Conscience" Whigs, abolitionists, prohibitionists, Know-Nothings, subsidized railroad builders, public-works porkbarrelists, tariff-protected industrialists, corporatists, "bloody-shirt" wavers, and Unionists. It is not a conservative party in history and origin, unless you construe its greatest feat, the preservation of the American Union in 1860, to be essentially a conservative cause. (You can argue that either way, but the means, that is, the military conquest of the South and the emancipation of the slaves, were not conservative and would have been unthinkable in 1787.) This is the party that disdained the Democrats as "wet, Irish, and papist." I'm all three. I often vote for Republicans and will likely do so in November, but they are not my tribe.

* * *

Speaking of wet Irish papists, the Irish Burke used to be depicted as a Jesuit by the caricaturist James Gillray.

An example is above, "The Chancellor of the Inquisition marking the Incorrigibles."

Here's another: "Cincinnatus in retirement."

(Via Bridgeman Art Library)


Saturday, February 09, 2008  

Truck Day!

Can Spring be far off?

"Truck Day is like Groundhog Day for two reasons," said Kevin Carson, who directs the moving operation for New England Household and Moving. "First, it's a sign of spring in Boston. Second, it's the same thing every year, just like the movie."


Wednesday, February 06, 2008  

After Super Tuesday

Howie Carr, who's been carrying water for Romney, offers his take on the Dem results in the Bay State:

It was hacks over moonbats here last night. Hillary beating Barack means Mumbles and Sal took Cadillac Deval and Liveshot and Teddy to the woodshed.

Amazing. The people of Massachusetts finally awoke from their moonbat slumber. All those tubby dolts who were wandering zombielike through the malls last weekend in their 3XL No. 12 Patriots sweat shirts came out of mourning long enough to vote for the closest thing the Democrats have this year to an old-fashioned lunch-bucket Democrat.

So now we find out how much Ted Kennedy’s endorsement is worth, even in Massachusetts.

Election coverage elsewhere:

Real Clear Politics

Washington Post


The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder

The Telegraph (UK)

And left over from election night – and Mardi Gras – a little Dixieland:


Tuesday, February 05, 2008  

"I Love the Gov"

A 1952 campaign ad for Adlai Stevenson:

Clearly one of the best political jingles ever.

Wonder what she'd have done with "Get on a Raft with Taft"?

(If the player doesn't work try this link to the Real Player file.)



Stick and puck

The 56th annual Beanpot Tournament opens to memories of the Blizzard of '78 30 years ago that stranded hundreds of fans for days in the old Boston Garden.

In the Globe, Rich Fahey, a former Garden concessionaire, recalls his experience being marooned at the Garden:

The late game meant I was required be at my post at Garden Concession Stand No. 5 in the West Lobby until well past 11 p.m., and wouldn't be able to check out until near midnight.

By that time, my Volkswagen Super Beetle had long since disappeared under the drifting snow...

The temptation to stay put in the Garden was strong. There was free coffee, leftover hot dogs, and popcorn. We knew where there was beer to be had. Card games had broken out all around the club. Really, what else does man need?

The Garden's skyboxes - spartan by today's standards - provided shelter for many of us for several nights, while others sought refuge in the Bruins' and Celtics' dressing rooms.

A 2001 article by Dave Hendrickson at US College Hockey Online collected more Blizzard of '78 reminiscences:

Boston Herald writer Jocko Connolly left the Garden on the MBTA trains that kept running long after their threatened shutdown. Although he didn’t get all the way home, he made it home where the train stopped.

“The train got to Dover Street and the [conductor] said, ‘We can’t go any further, so everybody off,’” says Connolly. “Foley’s Tavern was right at the foot of the stairs [of that stop] .

“So I went down into Foley’s and drank ‘till about three in the morning. There were some MBTA guys there who ran the station. So then we got a case of beer and climbed back up the stairs. They opened the booth, where it was warm, and we sat there drinking until the sun came up. It was great!”

First prize in partying, though, may have gone to the BU team, which would have to wait 23 days for its championship game, the only such Beanpot contest to take place in March.

“I remember getting on the team bus going back to BU,” says Terrier Sports Information Director Ed Carpenter, then experiencing his first Beanpot. “The bus stopped at Marsh Chapel, a chapel on campus. [BU coach] Jack Parker said, ‘We’ll leave it up to you guys if anybody wants to get off here and pray for the snow to end.’

“Well, everybody got off and walked across the street to the Dugout [a popular bar] . So much for Marsh Chapel.

[At] the Dugout, the feeling was just about the opposite of being marooned. Several years ago, Terrier forward David Silk described it best.

“By the time we came out,” he said, “the snow was gone and so were the seventies.”

* * *

Beanpot first round results:

Harvard 3, NU 1

BC 4, BU 3 (OT)

* * *

Lisa Altobelli, SI: '95 Beanpot: Best Game I've Ever Seen

* * *

Above: Jack Garrity, BU '50

* * *

UPDATE: 2/12/08

Great final: BC 6, Harvard 5 (OT)


Monday, February 04, 2008  

Hockey without the queen?

The Monarchist decries new hockey arenas in Canada that don't hang the traditional portrait of Queen Elizabeth.

Jeremy at Classic Canadian suggests that taking down the queen's picture jinxed the Maple Leafs, who haven't won a Stanley Cup since removing her portrait from their arena in the late '60s.

The queen is a puckhead, according to a TV sports producer who talked hockey with her at a Buckingham Palace reception:

When the queen approached Janssen's group, she asked one man what he did. Currency exchange. Yawn.

When she asked Janssen what he did, however, she became quite animated upon discovering that he broadcasted NHL games on Channel 5 in London.

"She said, 'Oh really,' and takes one stride forward toward me," Janssen recalled. "[Prince] Philip and I had to watch your show a few times," the Queen said to Janssen, explaining they had been honing up on hockey before a trip to Canada. During that trip Her Majesty was asked to drop the puck at a Vancouver Canucks game at GM Place.

"So, then she goes over and taps me on the wrist and says, 'but listen to this …,'" Janssen said. And the queen went on to explain to Janssen that after the puck was dropped, it was carried away by someone from the team. She inquired about the puck and was told that it would be put in a glass display case somewhere in GM Place.

"And she said, 'Surely I should be entitled to keep the puck. I came all this way to do this honor, surely I should be entitled to this souvenir,'" Janssen recalled the queen telling him.

"She turns to me and she says, 'I actually have two pucks here at the palace. Not bad for an old woman like me,'" Janssen said.

During the 1952-53 season, when Maurice "Rocket" Richard of the Canadiens scored his 325th career goal to become the NHL's all-time leading goal scorer, the puck was gold-plated and sent to the future Queen Elizabeth. She had expressed an interest in career after seeing play at the Montreal Forum the season before.

Above, a photo from a Canadian museum exhibition on the Rocket shows Richard and his wife being presented to the queen during a royal visit to Canada in 1959.


Sunday, February 03, 2008  

From today's readings

God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.

-- 1 Cor 1:26-31

* * *

Clip: "Look Sharp! March"

* * *

UPDATE, 2/4/08:

The top article returned in a Google News search on Patriots hubris.

Already pulled from Amazon:

19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England's Unbeatable Patriots

Busted Tees: 18-1



Home run or nothing

Over the years I have taken different approaches to avoiding the over-commercialized and over-hyped spectacle that is the Super Bowl. One year it was Jewel in the Crown back to back on Channel 2; another, playing pool to an Andy Griffith marathon.

My favorite was the vintage Home Run Derby marathon shown on the old Classic Sports Network in the '80s. The series now has come out on on DVD and I have brought it home from the library this weekend.

Competitors include Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson. This was before steroids and before the likes of Manny Ramirez made $20 million a year. A very young Harmon Killebrew, seemingly just off the Idaho farm, the pride of the original Washington Senators, smiles like the cat that ate the canary at the prospect of making an extra $500.

The show has few frills. Conversation between at-bats tends to "That was a long one," "He got all of that one, boy," and "It's a home run or nothing on Home Run Derby." The venue is Los Angeles' old minor-league Wrigley Field. I wonder who lived in the houses right behind the ivied outfield fence -- they must have come out and found a Mickey Mantle-hit baseball or two on their back porches.

The series only lasted two seasons, ending when the earnest host, Mark Scott, passed away, in his mid-40s. Some aficionados maintain the show never Jumped the Shark; others say it did so when the feature matchup came to be Dick Stuart versus Wally Post.

It is true that five of innings of Bob Cerv versus Bob Allison -- which I watched yesterday -- goes a long way. So for backup this weekend we have the second season of Deadwood, and some Honor Blackman Avengers circa 1963.

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Above: Harmon Killebrew, 1960

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Pitchers and catchers report in 12 days.


Saturday, February 02, 2008  


Ned Ryerson wishes you a Happy Groundhog Day.

(With Portuguese subtitles. Bing de novo!)



The Sacred…

Company Magazine recalls Jesuit Alaskan explorer Fr Bernard Hubbard, SJ, the Glacier Priest.

He is pictured above in 1931 saying Mass before exploring the Aniakchak Crater.

Meantime, Karen Hall at A Little Battalion promotes the cause of Jesuit chaplain Fr Willie Doyle, SJ, the "saintly priest of Passchendaele."

Fr. Doyle, who deserves to be saint, long has been a favorite at this site and at the Inn at the End of the World.

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Samuel Gregg, NRO: End of the Jesuits?

Russell Shaw, Inside Catholic: Can the Jesuits be saved?

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Holy Cross Magazine: The Jesuit who brought Chesterton to Holy Cross

Inside Catholic: The Five Minute High Altar (Via Old Dominion Tory)

Damian Thompson, Holy Smoke: Readers' choice for Westminster: Fr Aidan Nichols



…and the Profane

As we don't subscribe to HBO, we're a couple years behind on the critically-acclaimed shows, and catch up with them finally on DVD - The Sopranos, Rome, and now, Deadwood. Great series. Man, do they cuss up a blue streak. (Language advisory)

The show's creator has acknowledged the profanity used is a deliberate anachronism:

[O]riginally the characters were to use period slang and swear words. Such words, however, were based heavily on the era's deep religious roots and tended to be more blasphemous than scatological. Instead of being shockingly crude (in keeping with the tone of a frontier mining camp), the results sounded downright comical (Milch says it "…made everyone sound like Yosemite Sam").

HBO now has a mini-series coming out on John Adams. Imagine if he talks like Calamity Jane!

Above: The real Calamity Jane hoists a pint, circa 1880.


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