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

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

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Irish Elk
Monday, April 28, 2008  
Spring, sprung

I'm partial to the violets. Amy does justice to the forsythia.

The bun appears to be the same from last year, only bigger.
He has the same look about the eyes. He's waiting for the
vegetable garden to be planted, i.e., for the salad bar to open.

The annual baseball parade through town this weekend opened
the Little League season. The Single-A Astros played their first game,
against the Cubs. Our Astro proudly wears No. 4, Bobby Orr's number.

The Globe publishes a Little League father's report from the field.


Sunday, April 27, 2008  

Given to reading; fond of study;
better acquainted with books than with men;
learned from books.

Toshio: Shakespeare & Co., Paris

Andrew Cusack: Library of Congress

Michael Brendan Dougherty: My Desk

First Things: Safire's Devious Dictionary

NY Times: Where Greek Ideals Meet New England Charm

Henry Sotheran Ltd: Fine Books & Prints

Smart Set: In Praise of the Town Library

TS O'Rama: Local Castle's Secret Room * Beautiful Libraries


Friday, April 25, 2008  

Happy Birthday, Ella Fitzgerald




Sheila O'Malley is reading her way through Aubrey-Maturin.

Her review of Desolation Island features an excerpt from the battle
between the Leopard and the Waakzaamheid.

As she says: Spectacular.

* * *

Above: Speedy, Sloop of War, Attacked by Spanish Gun-Boats

-- From the National Maritime Museum




(n): small compact-bodied almost completely aquatic bird that builds floating nests; similar to loons but smaller and with lobate rather than webbed feet

"'There were so many boxes on the floor... indeed, there was so little room for me that I almost fell into the sea, at times.'

'Could you not have tossed the worst overboard?'

'The kind almoner had tied them down so tight, and the knots were wet; and in any case the worst, which sat upon three several ropes, held my grebe, my flightless Titicaca grebe. You would never have expected me to throw away a
flightless grebe, for all love?'"

-- P. O'Brian, The Wine-Dark Sea, 224

* * *

Above: Rollandia microptera



Happy St Mark's Day


Monday, April 21, 2008  

Boston Marathon 2008:

The men's leaders in Natick Center

The view from our vantage on East Central Street:

Eventual winner Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya is No. 1.


Sunday, April 20, 2008  

On to Montreal

Underdog Bs force seventh game on Habs.

Remarkable series!

The Globe's Dan Shaughnessy:

Those of us who've spoken English our entire lives are pressed to find words for this series and the numbing fury of last night's third period. There hasn't been a hockey game like this around here in many years. It brought back memories of the Old Garden and the Gallery Gods and Cam Neely and Raymond Bourque. Maybe even all the way back to Pie McKenzie and Derek Sanderson.

They've been ignored and ridiculed for many a year, these Bruins. You can't ignore them now.

UPDATE, 4/21/08:

Darren Eliot, SI: Bruins are back

Bill Simmons, ESPN: Some old emotions are Bruin


Saturday, April 19, 2008  

Memorial, Old North Bridge, Concord

It reads:

They came three thousand miles and died
To keep the past upon its throne
Unheard Beyond the Ocean Tide
Their English mother made her moan
- April 19, 1775

* * *

Happy real Patriots Day.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008  

A Jefferson Davis Gallimaufry

As a subject of hagiography (via Mr Cusack & Co.);

Captured wearing a dress;

As a quocker-wodger in a Thos Nast Santa print;

As depicted on Civil War pictorial envelopes in the
collection of the New-York Historical Society:

Given a warm reception by the traitor Arnold;

On a last ride with Old Nick;

Seeing the elephant.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008  

Bottoms Up!

Hillary bids for shot-and-a-beer vote in Indiana.


Here's mud in your eye!

Down the hatch!

* * *

The convivial maid above is from a gallery of

Boston brewery posters posted at Flickr

by the Boston Public Library.

(Via Obscurorant)

* * *

Daily Telegraph:

How Tory PM foiled kidnappers with beer

* * *

Will Glahe und sein Musette-Orchester:

Böhmische Polka

Happy music for happy people.


Monday, April 14, 2008  

Tommy Holmes, RIP

He's pictured above circa 1947. The caption:

Casey Stengel called Braves right fielder Tommy Holmes the best leadoff batter he ever managed. The former Yankee farmhand arrived in Boston in 1942 and soon became a fan favorite. In 1945, he set a National League record by hitting in 37 consecutive games and led the league with 28 home runs.

-- From Boston Braves, by Richard A. Johnson.

* * *

From the Irish Elk archives:

A Tommy Holmes tribute (8/25/04)


Sunday, April 13, 2008  

For Boston

BC tops Notre Dame to win college hockey title.


US College Hockey Online


Boston Herald

Boston Globe

Inside College Hockey

Sports Illustrated


Thursday, April 10, 2008  

Ice Skating Priest

This great commercial for Stella Artois is not so far-fetched:

BC could end up playing Notre Dame for the college hockey title.

Put those beers on ice, indeed!

UPDATE, 4/11/08:

BC-Notre Dame it is!

USCHO has full coverage.

* * *

Inspiration against the Habs:

Bruins, the Bruins, what.

Plus: the kids' version.

Silly, maybe – but stuck in my head.

Captain Zuh-day-no! Captain Zuh-day-no!




The Great McCain Story You've Probably Forgotten

What an old anecdote about Mo Udall in the hospital
reveals about McCain's character.

Via: Real Clear Politics

Above: Morris Udall


Wednesday, April 09, 2008  

Around the Horn

Bill Buckner threw out the first ball on Opening Day at Fenway.

He received a standing ovation. Watch here.

The Globe's Amalie Benjamin writes:

He walked slowly, perhaps a remnant of those aching ankles and knees that marred his career. And as he walked, the fans cheered.

They stood, their ovation carrying him from the outfield through the infield to the mound, where he acknowledged them and clapped. They stood after that, still cheering, as he looked around, as he readied himself, as he threw a strike to Evans at home plate.

"I've probably never almost been in tears for somebody else on the baseball field," said Kevin Youkilis, who made a point to shake Buckner's hand. "I think that was just the most unbelievable thing. It shows how great of a man Bill Buckner is.

"There's not too many people that can do what he did today and face thousands of people that booed him, threatened his life. For a man to step out there on the field, it shows how much of a man he is.

"I tip my cap. I just wanted to shake his hand. Because that's a true man in life."

* * *

Happy 200th, Boston Archdiocese.

* * *

The Mets' new field loomed at the last Opening Day at Shea.

* * *

TS O'Rama recalls an uncle who had a cup of coffee with the 1927 Phillies:

He played three days in May; later he was managing a Class A minor league team.

What would it have been like to walk into the past, only the past wasn't the past? To feel the dust of the little band box in Philly whipping up on that May day?

The day after he left town part of Baker Field collapsed:

"...parts of two sections of the lower deck extension along the right field line collapsed due to rotted shoring timbers, again triggered by an oversized gathering of people, who were seeking shelter from the rain. Miraculously, no one died during the collapse, but one individual did die from heart failure in the subsequent stampede that injured 50.

* * *

The old Baker Bowl, pictured above, home to the Philadelphia Phillies from 1887-1938, was one of baseball's most eccentric ballparks.

According to Wikipedia:

When Baker Bowl was first opened, it was praised as the finest baseball palace in America. By the time it was abandoned, it had been a joke for years.

The park was nicknamed the Hump, the Cigar Box and the Band Box.

The right-field wall was only 280 feet from home plate and topped by a screen that reached 60 feet high:

Eventually a layer of tin was laid over the entire structure except for the upper part of the screen. The wall dominated the stadium in much the same way as the Green Monster does, only some 30 feet closer to the diamond; and because of its material, it made a distinctive sound when balls ricocheted off it, as happened frequently.

* * *

The perennially woeful Phillies left the Baker Bowl in 1938 for Shibe Park, where their hard luck continued:

Thomas Boswell noted that the Phillies occupied [Shibe] park for thirty-two years without winning a world's championship. The field (and two of its predecessors) had long been torn down before the franchise produced a champion. "You measure failure," Boswell wrote, "not in seasons, but in buildings crumbled under the weight of defeat, parks that lasted longer than the lives of men and now are gone."

* * *

What, Otto Knabe Worry?


Monday, April 07, 2008  

Antonietta Gonsalvus

Portrait of a Girl Covered in Hair,

by Lavinia Fontana (1594-95)

See also:

Portrait of a Hairy-Faced Girl

Petrus Gonsalvus (1585)

Via Sights Within



Scrolling down the bookmarks

Above: Scene at Dubai World Cup

Terry Teachout attends William F Buckley's memorial Mass,
and mulls his own funeral music: Louis Armstrong, please.

The Beiderbecke Affair: on the Death of General Wolfe

Ss Exacto and Typo: Patron Saints of Graphic Design

Kirkbride Buildings: Historic Insane Asylums

Kenton Stufflebeam is my hero.

The Telegraph: Act's repeal could make Duke of Bavaria king of England

David Gelernter, Weekly Standard: Feminism and the English language

NY Sun: A Republic of Feathers

The Guardian: World's 50 most powerful blogs

Victorian Peeper: 19th-century Britain through the looking glass

The Telegraph: Who's the best Doctor Who?



Free Tibet

Tibet Online

International Campaign for Tibet

Government of Tibet in Exile

Support Team Tibet


Sunday, April 06, 2008  

Merry del Val: Cardinal, Fan

From the NY Times, Feb. 12, 1914:


Cordially Greets Giants and White Sox and Praises Athletic Sports.

By JOHN J. McGRAW, Manager New York Giants.
Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES

ROME, Feb. 11. -- The American world's touring baseball party, comprising the New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox, with a number of friends, had a private audience with the Pope at the Vatican at 11 o'clock A.M. to-day. It was an impressive affair, all the men being in full dress and the ladies attired in black. They assembled in the throne roome and were escorted to the private chapel, where all knelt.

Then the Pope entered, smiled beneficently, and pronounced a blessing on all present and their families. The Pople thanked the Americans for their visit, and in a short address praised the practive of athletic sports for the strengthening of the body and at the same time the practice of religion to strengthen the soul. After imparting the Apostolic Benediction, the Pope placed his hand on the heads of the children of James Callahan and then left the room.

Dr. Charles O. Hern of the American College interpreted for the Pope. After the audience the party was escorted to the chamber of state, where they met Cardinal Merry del Val, who spoke knowingly of baseball. He expressed the opinion that it was more interesting and spectacular than cricket, and said he was pleased at meeting the stars of the American teams. The Cardinal wished all a pleasant stay in Rome and a safe return. The party was then escorted to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum...

* * *

Todd Flowerday notes Pope Benedict XVI will be saying Mass at the new ballpark in Washington, DC, and wonders when a sitting pope last saw a major sporting event in person.

If Pope St. Pius X (1835-1914) never saw a baseball game, he received some of the greatest baseball names of the age in private audience, including a honeymooning Connie Mack.

As it happened, Pius' secretary of state, Cardinal Merry del Val, pictured above, was a great fan of the game.

From the NY Times, July 15, 1913:


Manager of Giants' World Tour Finds Papal Secretary Well Posted.

CHICAGO, Ill., July 14. -- Dick Bunnell, manager of the Chicago White Sox-New York Giants world baseball tour, is in Berlin, preparatory to returning to the United States. According to a cablegram to The Chicago Daily News, Bunnell told that paper's Berlin correspondent that he found baseball "fans" in a most surprising place -- the Vatican.

"Through friends," said Mr. Bunnell, "I was introduced to Cardinal Merry Del Val, the Papal Secretary of State, and I was astonished to discover that the Cardinal was an ardent 'fan.' Though he is a Spaniard, he is acquainted with the names of the big League teams and those of most of the players. He knows the relative value of the men, the standing of the teams, and is keenly interested in the coming of the players to Rome. He told me that he believed he baseball well enough to umpire a game.

"I believe the Cardinal became acquained with baseball largely through Bishop Kennedy and Mgr. O'Hern of the American College. Through them he became interested in Charles A. Comiskey of Chicago, who, in a quiet way, has aided many charities. When the ball teams come to Rome they will certainly meet with success, as the games have influential backing.

* * *

While baseball had the Vatican's blessing, some in Rome had been wary, according to the Long Island Star-Journal of Feb. 1914:

In Rome, Pope Pius expressed the liveliest interest in baseball to a delegation of baseball dignitaries from America and laughingly regretted that the Vatican grounds were not big enough to permit an exhibition game for his benefit. After asking innumerable questions and having the fine points of the game explained to him by the experts, the Pontiff turned to Cardinal Merry del Val and ordered him to introduce baseball in all Catholic clubs where it was not already played.

Prior to this meeting, authorities in Rome had been alarmed by a too faithful translation of the vivid language (e.g., "Doyle died at the plate.") used by American baseball writers in describing the game to such an extent that they feared that any game between rival teams would outdo in horror and brutality anything that the old wall of Rome ever witnessed in the days of gladiators.

* * *

Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930) was a remarkable figure who rose at an early age to the highest councils of the Vatican. Two items from Time Magazine in the '20s describe the cardinal who never -- as was widely expected -- became Pope himself:

"Del Val's Jubilee" (July 6, 1925)

"Merry del Val Jubilee" (Jan. 7, 1929)


The cardinal's Litany of Humility is posted by Tea at Trianon.

Zadok the Roman discovers a Merry del Val holy card.

The cardinal in stereoscope.

Print out your own Merry del Val holy card -- in Latin.



Ben Hur: the Chariot Race

Charlton Heston, RIP.

Planet of the Apes: Final Scene


Friday, April 04, 2008  

Robert Kennedy:

Delivering news of King's death

A remembrance at NPR

Hear RFK's speech


Tuesday, April 01, 2008  

Zip, the What-is-it

Born in 1842 as William Henry Johnson, Zip the Pinhead was one of P.T. Barnum's biggest stars in the 19th century, performing as "The Man-Monkey," "The Missing Link," and the "What is it" -- the last what an incredulous Charles Dickens reportedly asked on seeing him at the Barnum Museum.

Sideshow chronicler J. Tithonus Pednaud writes at The Human Marvels:

When P. T. Barnum recruited him in 1860 and transformed him into Zip, Barnum shaved William’s head –except for a small tuft on the top of his head – and dressed him in a bizarre fur suit and then pitched Zip as a missing link. Barnum claimed that Zip was ‘found during a gorilla-hunting expedition near the Gambia River in western Africa’ and he also claimed that Zip was the member of a ‘naked race of men, traveling about by climbing on tree branches’.

Zip dove into his character. He would never speak during a performance and would only grunt when addressed or questioned. Legend actually has it that Barnum paid Zip a dollar every day to keep quiet and in character. By all accounts Zip earned that dollar by acting like a complete and total madman...

Many of the things Zip did during his lifetime hints that he was highly intelligent. First, and perhaps most convincingly, he maintained his public character 24 hours a day for 66 years. In 1925, Zip became a real hero as he saved the life of a drowning woman during a break from a Coney Island Dime Museum.

His manager through much of his career, Captain O. K. White, helped him save money and Zip died a wealthy man...

Rumor has it that on his deathbed, his final words to his sister were, ‘Well, we fooled ‘em for a long time’.

* * *

Currier & Ives lithograph

Currier & Ives lithograph

Harper's Weekly, 1860 presidential election

In a fur suit

* * *

NY Times, April 6, 1914:


Barnum's "What Is It" Is 65, a Phrenologist and the Press Agent Have Decided.


One Grunt His Only Contribution to the Conversation -- Hat Boy Balks at Snake Charmer's Boa

* * *

NY World, April 29, 1926: Zip Grins In Death, Mask Off At Last

* * *

Image: The funeral of Zip


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