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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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
Thursday, July 31, 2008  

Apotheosis of St Ignatius

~ Baciccio, c. 1685

Today is the feast of Society of Jesus founder St. Ignatius Loyola.

Irish Elk seconds Fumare:

We should tip our glasses to his memory and to the continued renewal
of his illustrious order, the Jesuits.



Where Jigger Statz once roamed

Most kids want to grow up to be Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle or Reggie Jackson, but I wanted to grow up to be Jigger Statz. ~ Duke Snider

When he died at the age of 90 in 1988, Jigger Statz was remembered in the LA Times as "The Greatest Angel of Them All."

Jigger Statz, Holy Cross '21, was a "feisty speed merchant and fence climber" who starred for years for the old Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. In the days before Major League Baseball came to California, he was good enough to play in the big leagues, but preferred playing in California. Playing with a hole cut in his glove ~ he said it gave him a better feel for the ball ~ he was considered one of the best centerfielders in the game. He finished his career with more than 4,000 hits; only Pete Rose and Hank Aaron played in more professional games.

* * *

Jigger Statz has a typeface named for him. Font designer Wesley Poole explains:

During the spring of 2006, while creating this typeface, I was reading Praying For Gil Hodges, by Tom Oliphant, who grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. I grew up a Los Angeles Dodgers fan. My mother worked as secretary to the president of the old Triple A LA Angels Baseball Team. In 1952 when she was pregnant with me, she left the team. They gave her an autographed baseball and a puppy named Angel. That’s the dog I grew up with.

Toward the end of the book the author talks about Gil Hodges' favorite ballplayer, a slugger for the LA Angels, Jigger Statz. I thought, could it be? My mother died two years ago and I got the team baseball. Sure enough, the first name after the dedication to my mother was Jigger Statz.

* * *

A Triple-A farm club of the Chicago Cubs, owned by chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley, the old LA Angels played in a Wrigley Field of their own, which, like the Chicago model, had signature ivy on the walls.

This proved problematic for colorful Angels outfielder Lou Novikoff, the "Mad Russian of Baseball":

Lou "The Mad Russian" Novikoff won the Triple Crown in 1940 (batting .343, with 171 RBIs and 41 homers) while playing for the Angels -- thanks in no small part to his wife, Esther, who could be heard from her box seat behind home plate verbally abusing Lou during each of his appearances at the plate. Lou suffered from the worst possible phobia one could have while playing in Wrigley Field -- he had an incurable fear of vines. He would allow balls to sail over his head and hit the wall, retrieving them as they caromed back towards the infield. He later blamed his terrible fielding on Wrigley field's left field line, which he swore was crooked. He once stole third with the bases loaded because, he said, "I couldn't resist. I had such a great jump on the pitcher."

* * *


Steve Bilko homers at Wrigley Field, Los Angeles, 1956.

Children play among the ruins of Wrigley Field, "where Jigger Statz once roamed."

* * *

Above: Jigger Statz by Curtis Wright (2007)

* * *

If you think the name "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" superfluous, consider that the translation of "the Los Angeles Angels" is "The The Angels Angels."

The old Angels were nicknamed the "Seraphs." Their rivals, the Hollywood Stars, were nicknamed the "Twinks."

If John Cahill doesn't like this post I'll eat my halo hat.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008  

Angel. Strangers in the house.

Found in a Corbis search for Los Angeles Angels:

This pic of the Stooges with goon.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008  

Kid Ory: "Muskrat Ramble"


Monday, July 28, 2008  

Russ Gibson, RIP

The pride of the Spindle City was catcher for the '67 "Impossible Dream" Red Sox. He spent 10 years in the minors before making it to the big leagues. His first game in the majors, he caught fellow rookie Billy Rohr's fabled near-no-hitter.

The Herald's Steve Buckley writes:

Gibby was a great story-teller. A couple of years ago, talking for the millionth time about the Rohr one-hitter, he stopped in mid-sentence and said, “Here’s one nobody’s ever talked about. We found out that Lee Remick, the actress, was in the stands that day. About the fourth inning, Tony Conigliaro decides he wants to ask her out, and he gets an usher to take a message up to her.

“After the game, we’re all excited about the one-hitter, but we’re also waiting to see if Tony’s gonna get his date with Lee Remick. She sent a note to him that said, ‘Wake up.’ Tony just laughed.”

Rohr, who was on the 17th hole of a California golf course yesterday when he heard of Gibby’s death, said, “He was a rock. He was a strong, tough-as-nails guy. In those days, he was as chiseled as that jaw of his. He maybe didn’t have the tools that other players had, but man did he ever get the most out of his talent.

“When people ask me about Gibby, I just say, ‘He was a catcher.’ That’s what Gibby was. He was a catcher.”

A play at the plate against the Twins, Oct. 1, 1967


Sunday, July 27, 2008  
Grand Elk Opry

Minnie Pearl: Fifty-Cent Kiss

~ Opry Live, 1950s

* * *

The Carter Family: "Wildwood Flower"

~ Kinescope, Grand Ole Opry, 1950s

* * *

Bob Wills: Fiddlin' Man

Backing the king of western swing, the gum-chewing pianist,
the expressionless guitarist, and the giddy drummer make playing
with Wills look easy.
~ From the YouTube description

* * *

Stringbean: "Wake Up Little Betty"

haha the youth now think theys first sag they pants?....uh uh

He really poured it on. God rest his soul.
~ From YouTube comments

~ Via WFMU:

Murder in the Kornfield: The Life and Death of Stringbean


Saturday, July 26, 2008  

Minnie Pearl: "Jealous-Hearted Me"

~ With Pee Wee King & the Golden West Cowboys

~ Via El Diablo Tun Tun


"Papa Loves Mambo"

~ With Grandpa Jones

~ Via WFMU:

They Were Doin' the Mambo ~ Hillbilly Style


Friday, July 25, 2008  

Patsy Montana

The Cowboy's Sweetheart

(Via El Diablo Tun Tun)


Tuesday, July 22, 2008  

In praise of the striped stirrup sock

UniWatch is the time-suck blog of the world.

It's also the only one where this picture's focus would be the uniforms' number font.

Chad Finn's Touching All the Bases may be the wittiest of New England sports blogs.

His ombudsman: the startlingly un-photogenic Rodney Craig.

Above: Pudge Fisk, c. 1973


Monday, July 21, 2008  

Mademoiselle Yvonne

~ By Tommaso Juglaris, c. 1886

The Irish Elk is a confirmed procrastinator. First the panjandrum of the Roman Catholic Boys for Art, Sir Basil Seal, held forth on a defining characteristic of harem slave girl art, the bowl of fruit (the first thing to which one's eye is drawn in this painting). Then Llama Robbo weighed in with sirens, and the Maximum Leader with chaises longues. All the while the Irish Elk kept his powder dry.

Now, at last, here is this site's belated contribution to the latest RCBfA round of art appreciation, Mademoiselle Yvonne, who famously adorns a dining-room wall at Locke-Ober's in Boston:

The guardian of tradition in the Café, this young Victorian woman with goblet in hand whose draped form surveys the room, sets the tone for what has been Boston’s favorite establishment for over a century. Throughout it all, she has remained serene and composed, showing emotion only when Harvard loses to Yale, and as tradition has it must hide her disappointment behind a black crepe sash.


Sunday, July 20, 2008  

Totemic Baby Obama

We have a basket of magazines in the bathroom and for some time now, the early April edition of National Review with Baby Obama (above) on the cover has kept returning to the top of the stack. Go in the bathroom and there is Baby Obama staring at you in his Easter Island-like way. It turns out our seven-year-old has a fondness for the picture and keeps restoring it atop the basket, so he can contemplate it as he goes about his business. Why Baby Obama has this totemic appeal is unclear, but there it is.

* * *

Generate a Barack Obama quote.

To get in the Obama spirit I plugged in imagery from Babar's dream of the Good driving away the Bad. Here are some of the results:

"I think it's time we had a national conversation about spinelessness. We need to get past all the little discouragement pigs and recognize that we are our own best hope for overcoming long-nosed fear bats. We need elephants of hope, not cows of misfortune. Elephants of hope are our happiness. And we need to have change in spinelessness."


"These people haven't had happiness for fifty years. So you can't be surprised if they get bitter and cling to their little discouragement pigs and their cows of misfortune and their long-nosed fear bats. That's what my campaign is about. Teaching all the little people in this country that they can have elephants of hope."


Friday, July 18, 2008  

Jo Stafford, RIP

See the pyramids along the Nile
Watch the sun rise
On a tropic isle
Just remember, darling
All the while
You belong to me
See the market place
In old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
Just remember
When a dream appears
You belong to me

You Belong me - Jo Stafford


Wednesday, July 16, 2008  

They've taken the skeleton
Of the Great Irish Elk
Out of the peat, set it up
An astounding crate full of air.

~ "Bogland," Seamus Heaney


Tuesday, July 15, 2008  

Dream Field

The movie Field of Dreams came by its title over the director's objections:

Phil Alden Robinson (director of Field of Dreams) adapted WP Kinsella's Shoeless Joe for the screen, ruthlessly chopping it up, streamlining the many stories into one - Ray's journey to reconcile with his father. Throughout the entire time of filming, the project was called Shoeless Joe. Robinson was incredibly attached to the title, because of his affinity for the book, and his deep heartfelt wish to embody the work faithfully.

Filming completed and the studio started to do test previews. Immediately, it became apparent to the higher-ups (ie producers) that the title was a problem. Audience members thought the movie was going to be about a homeless person. Ha!! Or, people with a bit more baseball knowledge thought that it was going to be a historical picture with Costner playing Shoeless Joe. There was much confusion going in. The title didn't work. It did for the book, but not for the movie.

So Larry Gordon, one of the producers, suggested a new title to Robinson:
Field of Dreams.

Robinson was horrified…

* * *

Yankee Stadium, site of tonight's All-Star Game, is in its final season.

The stadium gives way next year to a $1.3-billion replacement.

But the classic Yankee Stadium really was lost in the 1970s when the ballpark was renovated and its old character was removed with its copper frieze.

Here are a number of snapshots of the old ballpark.

Elsewhere: '64 Series * '56 Series

Above: Yankee Stadium during the 1939 World Series.


Monday, July 14, 2008  

Audrey Hepburn: "La Vie en Rose"

~ For Bastille Day.


Sunday, July 13, 2008  

Old Boys

The weight of half a century was back on their shoulders and once more they were only grizzled and humdrum Senators, lawyers, bankers and surgeons. But for a moment they had been collegians again and the loudest cheers given any crew at England 's famed Henley regatta were still ringing in the ears of Bow Oar Leverett Saltonstall (U.S. Senator from Massachusetts ), No. 2 Oar James Talcott (retired board chairman), No. 3 Henry Meyer (lawyer, of Boston ), Nos. 4 and 5 Henry Middendorf and his twin brother John (investment bankers, of Boston ), No. 6 David Morgan (chemical engineer, of New York ), No. 7 Louis Curtis (banker), Stroke Charles Lund (surgeon) and Coxswain Henry L. F. Kreger (lawyer, of Cleveland ), the Harvard varsity crew (below) that won at Henley in 1914 and went back intact this year to show the youngsters how they did it.

~ Sports Illustrated, "People," July 20, 1964

* * *


The 1914 Harvard crew at Henley 50 years later, in 1964.

Sen. Saltonstall is rowing in the bow seat.

* * *

"Harvard's Oldsters Good as New"

Sports Illustrated, June 1, 1959:

At Henley on the day of their victory the nine had been warned by their doctor not to drink the champagne offered by their vanquished foe. It was bad after strenuous exercise, said the doc. Captain Leverett Saltonstall, a man with a future in legislation, ruled otherwise, arguing that not to drink the champagne would be unsporting. Indeed, legend has it that next day the Harvards threw a party for two defeated British crews which emptied 102 bottles of the stuff, left their guests (with Harvard still upright) laid out stiff on the green lawn in perfect bow-to-stroke order.

* * *

Henley 1914:

Punts between the races

* * *

Henley 2008:





Wednesday, July 09, 2008  

Hot Off the Presses

Given the weather the picture above seemed appropriate.

(Via Vintagraph)

* * *

Scrolling through the Inbox to myself:

Panabasis: Dog in a kepi

AP: Woolly mammoth skeleton unveiled

Holy Whapping: Miracle of the Moose

Skippy Stalin: Christopher Hitchens takes the water cure.

Random Pensées: When classics and baseball collide

Llama Butchers:
If you dug straight through the earth, where would you emerge?

Riverwalk Jazz: Louis Armstrong's Revolution

USA Today: American elm makes slow return

Done With Mirrors: Newspapers' demise

Newly bookmarked on the left:

If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,
There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats

It'll Take The Snap Out Of Your Garters!

* * *

UPDATE, 7/10:

Scare Tactics: Satan's Baby


Tuesday, July 08, 2008  

Louis Jordan: "Caldonia"

~ From Swing Parade of 1946

Happy 100th to the "King of Rhythm & Blues"


Friday, July 04, 2008  

Happy Fourth of July!



Hairy Chin

Hairy Chin, Dakota, dressed as Uncle Sam for a Fourth of July parade or for a cornerstone laying at the state capitol in Bismarck, North Dakota. Two days later Hairy Chin died; no other Sioux would parade as Uncle Sam claiming it was bad medicine. ~ 1889

~ Denver Public Library Collection, Library of Congress


Wednesday, July 02, 2008  

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls...This is the great reward of service. To live, far out and on, in the life of others;...to give life's best for such high sake that it shall be found again unto life eternal.

-- Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Speech on the dedication of the Maine monuments at Gettysburg, 1889

* * *

On the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, Bowdoin College has launched an online resource dedicated to Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.

It was on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 2, 1863, that the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, commanded by Col. Chamberlain, fought the Battle of Little Round Top, which culminated in a dramatic downhill bayonet charge — one of the most well-known engagements at Gettysburg and in the Civil War, and for which Chamberlain was awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Digital Archive draws primarily from Bowdoin College's Chamberlain collections, offering documents, images and biographical information.

Resources include Chamberlain's letters to his father, wife and others, such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and King William of Prussia. Letters are presented both in text and in Chamberlain's hand.


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