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, April 29, 2009  

Segars and Tobacco

A cigar store Indian maiden made in Brooklyn, N.Y., circa 1875,

stands in the front parlor of the 18th-century tavern in Litchfield, Conn.,

that antiques dealer Jeffrey Tillou calls home.

~ Antiques & Fine Art



Charles & Camilla meet the Pope

Thought Mrs P would enjoy this.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009  

Little, Oglala renegade

Photographed by John C. H. Grabill, 1890

Via Old Pictures



Bumper Sticker Logic

Let me ask the driver of the car with the "Coexist" sticker:

Don't Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Zoroastrians by and large get along together just fine?

Isn't it primarily one major faith tradition that has problems in this area?

How do you propose to coexist with people who do things like this?

And to the driver of the car with the Texas village idiot sticker:

When Chimpy McStupid was president, did Air Force One ever buzz NYC, inducing panic in the streets?

What would you have said if it had?


Monday, April 27, 2009  

Ellsbury steals home!

Steve Buckley, Boston Herald: A dash into Sox folklore:

For those of you who have not seen Jacoby Ellsbury’s electrifying steal of home plate from last night’s Red Sox [team stats]-Yankees game, we are reminded of an old line from The Three Stooges: “Just turn on anything, you’ll get it.”

Turn on Comcast. Turn on NESN. Turn on ESPN. Heck, turn on your backyard sprinkler and, somehow, a vision will appear: The young, fleet-of-foot outfielder, dancing off third base, gazing at Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, watching every move, every twitch . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . and then dashing toward home plate as the packed Fenway house, jolted to the realization that something special is taking place before their collective eyes, roars in anticipation of what is about to happen...

George Lee:

It was as though a lightning bolt had come to life, put on a Red Sox uniform, struck the Yankees, and burned them to a crisp.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009  

BRUINS SWEEP HABS: Victory Dance Time

Via Hub Hockey



Bill Kauffman, Front Porch Republic:

"To Hell with Earth Day; Long Live Arbor Day!"

BURNED-OVER DISTRICT, NY–Once upon a time in America, schoolchildren celebrated a lovely little holiday called Arbor Day. The young scholars would sing songs about Johnny Appleseed, recite Joyce Kilmer into the ground, learn the difference between an oak and a maple, and bundle up against the spring chill to go outside and plant an actual tree. The planting, like Arbor Day itself, was both symbolic and practical, and a nice lesson in the ways in which conservation and renewal begin at home. Fittingly, Grant Wood, rooted in Iowa, made Arbor Day the subject of one of his best paintings.

But that was then, and this is now. Beyond its hometown of Nebraska City, Nebraska, Arbor Day has faded into obscurity; its historic date, April 22, will be given over this year to that dreary shower of corporate agit-prop known as Earth Day. The difference between Arbor Day and Earth Day is the difference between planting a tree in your backyard and e-mailing a machine-written plea for a global warming treaty to your UN representative.

* * *


Thomas Campanella: The Republic of Shade: New England and the American Elm

Saving the American Elm

Arbor Day Foundation



Daily Telegraph:

An Interview with Carole King

~ I associate her with Maurice Sendak



David Bowie: "I Dig Everything" (1966)

And for Ashes to Ashes fans:

The source of the spooky clown.

Photo above: Charlie Parker Gunslinger


Monday, April 20, 2009  

Happy Patriots Day: Sox 12, 0's 1

It's the socks, I tell you.



Happy Patriots Day!


Friday, April 17, 2009  

Bruins Hockey Rules: "Date"

~ Great ad.


Thursday, April 16, 2009  

National Hockey League Playoffs:

Canadiens vs Boston

Photographs by George Silk

From the Life Archive

What are the fans in the top picture thinking?

The lady in the fur coat at right? The couple in the front row?



Georgetown coverup

Or as the New Nixon slugs it: In Hoc Signo Vinces. Not.

The "IHS" monogram symbolizing the name of Jesus, a central component of the seal of the Society of Jesus, was draped by Georgetown at the request of the White House when President Obama spoke recently at the Jesuit university.

Julia Duin of the Washington Times writes:

When President Obama gave his economics speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday, several folks noticed something was missing.

That "something" was an ancient monogram -- the letters IHS -- that symbolizes the name of Jesus. It was missing from a wooden archway above the dais in Gaston Hall where the president delivered his 45-minute speech.

The gold-lettered monogram appeared near a painting of three female figures -- symbolizing morality, faith and patriotism -- and decorative edging along the wall that spelled out the Jesuit motto "Ad majorem Dei gloriam"—"To the greater glory of God." Georgetown was founded by the Jesuits.

Some of them may have been turning in their graves in the cemetery across campus at the sight of the missing monogram which looked like a blacked-out space above a blue backdrop and a row of American flags flanking the nation's chief executive. Was Georgetown selling short its Catholic heritage, we wondered.

Julie Bataille from the university's press office e-mailed me that the White House had asked that all university signage and symbols behind the stage in Gaston Hall be covered.

The monogram is clearly visible in this photo taken at a panel on US-Russian relations held in Gaston Hall in December 2007. Here's a blowup from another photo of the hall.

Note the monogram is draped in this photo of Obama being greeted to the stage.

At the National Review blog The Corner David Freddoso writes:

Remember the episode in which John Ashcroft supposedly covered up the bare-breasted statue at the Department of Justice? This White House merely asks that all religious symbols be hidden before the president arrives to speak at a Catholic university.

The conservative student journal The Georgetown Academy writes:

If the White House did ask Georgetown to cover up all symbolism in order to create a more unified visual appearance, Georgetown very clearly failed miserably in carrying out their request. While no Georgetown imagery was present on the podium of the blue curtain backdrop, the Jesuit motto "For the Greater Glory of God and the Salvation of Humankind" was left intact and the gorgeous paintings epitomizing Georgetown's ideals remained unveiled. Mysteriously, the "IHS" was the only symbol above the curtain that was intentionally hidden, at least as far as anyone has made out thus far.

Is it not of enormous import that Georgetown is the first Catholic university Obama has spoken at since taking the office of President? Should this not be made clear? Why did the White House deem it appropriate to hide just these three letters? More importantly, why does Georgetown time and time again fail to advertise and promote its Catholic-Jesuit identity in situations like this? I mean, if Georgetown told the White House that it refused to cover up the IHS and religious imagery, would Obama's staff have cancelled the whole affair? I think not.




Irish Elk expresses its appreciation to Paul Lukas of Uni Watch who links here from his latest ESPN column. He's not down with the Boston Bluestockings, either.

Neither is fruitgirl. She comments at Red Sox Insider:

I agree…about the bad mojo on the new uniforms. Dump em ! Baseball is a superstitious sport, and we like it that way. Burn those awful yankee-looking new uniforms, and our troubles will vanish too. Also agreeing…on the BLUE SOX. What a travesty !! It is a horrible pox on our beautiful Red Sox team to wear those ungodly blue sox in a game. What was management thinking ? Do they want to know what we think ? Really ? Then I will ask around at the games and get quotes and opinions, like pollsters do - but I bet most fans hate them.

For those of you on Facebook a new group has been launched that has the right idea: Ban the Boston Blue Sox

Above: Yaz shows his true stripes, 1967.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009  

Tax Day

The Homeland Security setting for today is Mohawk.

Some Tax Day statistics:

* If you’re a 50-year old-with a college degree, you will pay approximately $81,000 over your working life just to pay the interest on the debt in the Obama budget.

* If you’re a 40-year-old, you’ll pay $132,000.

* And if you’re a 20-year-old, just starting out after college, you will pay a whopping $114,000 just to service the interest on the debt created by the Obama budget.

What's your Obama Debt Number?

Amy is chronicling the New Hampshire Tea Party.

Make mine Lapsang Souchong.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009  

BU Victory Rally



Commodore Bainbridge smiles

The Washington Post reports how the SEALS carried out their mission:

Soon afterward, two pirates moved to one of the hatches of the lifeboat and stuck their heads out. The third pirate advanced toward the captain and pointed his AK-47 straight at Phillips's back, the rifle touching it or inches away, the official said.

U.S. military observers thought that Phillips was about to be shot. SEAL snipers, who were positioned on a deck at the stern of the Bainbridge, an area known as the fantail, had the three pirates in their sights. The on-scene commander gave the snipers authority to fire.

Boston Maggie comments:

You know, the only way to describe this turn of events is..........poetic. To have the USS Bainbridge responding to an incidence of piracy is simply poetic.

The ship's namesake, Commodore William Bainbridge, one of the early heroes of the US Navy, at one point was taken prisoner with his entire crew by Barbary Pirates.

Aubrey-Maturin fans will remember him for another reason.

Bainbridge’s greatest achievement was his victory over HMS JAVA on December 29, 1812, off the coast of Brazil while captain of USS CONSTITUTION. Old Ironsides, the ship’s enduring nickname, is the oldest commissioned U.S. Navy warship. Berthed in Boston, Old Ironsides continues to carry a replica of HMS JAVA’s wheel, which was removed from the hulk following the battle and used as a replacement to Constitution’s own destroyed wheel. During the battle, Bainbridge led his sailors to victory despite being twice wounded.

Excerpts of his logbook account of that battle may be read here.


Monday, April 13, 2009  

The Bird, RIP

The AP reports:

BOSTON (AP) — Mark Fidrych, former All-Star pitcher nicknamed “The Bird” whose career was shortened by injuries, was found dead today in an apparent accident at his farm. He was 54.

Worcester County district attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said a family friend found Fidrych about 2:30 p.m. beneath a dump truck at his Northborough, Mass., farm. He appeared to be working on the truck, Early said.

The curly-haired right-hander was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1976 when he went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA and 24 complete games.

* * *

Jerry Green, Sports Illustrated, July 12, 1976:

Cuckoo Over A Rara Avis

A strange Bird with flamingo legs, a sparrow's countenance and Harpo Marx plumage stood on the mound and talked to the baseball:

"Flow, gotta flow now, gotta flow.

"C'mon, gotta keep down. Let it fly."

The soliloquy was accompanied by wing-flapping gyrations. When it concluded, the Bird did a double knee bend. He pitched. The batter swung at the fastball and missed.

"Great pitch, way to flow, in the groove," the Bird said to the ball when he got it back.

So it went far into the night, and when the game was over, 47,855 human beings stood and shrieked in unison, "We want the Bird! We want the Bird! We want the Bird!"

So the Bird came mincing out of the dugout in his stocking feet. He took off his cap and waved it. He waved it again. He blew kisses to the multitudes, and he bowed and nodded. Then he bird-stepped back to the clubhouse.

This all actually happened. There is no fiction about the Bird, the Tigers' rookie righthander whose real name is Mark Fidrych. This scene occurred early last week after he defeated the first-place Yankees 5-1, but there was as much excitement five days later when 51,032 showed up to see Fidrych shut out Baltimore for his ninth win in 10 big-league starts. Detroit, a city of sports deprivation, vibrated the way it had not since the days of Denny McLain. Donald Shoemaker of nearby Warren even named his newborn son Mark Fidrych Shoemaker.

Back in the clubhouse after his victory over New York, the Bird took his achievement in stride. He drank a paper cup of milk on the rocks and chased it with four beers.

"It gives my body a rush," said Fidrych in Birdese. "Any player gets a rush when he hears cheers from the stands. My mind's not that blank."

* * *

25 years later:

Steve Rushin, Sports Illustrated, July 2, 2001:

The Same Rare Bird



The Heck?!?

What in the name of all that is holy are the Red Sox doing wearing blue socks?

Commenters at the Red Sox website are unanimous in their disapproval. And rightly so.

If the fashion designers want to add a bit of blue why not return to the classic red-white-and-blue stripes?

The new road unis are fine, but in blue socks Boston looks like, perish the thought, the Yanks.

No wonder the Sox are off to a bad start: They're having an existential crisis.


Sunday, April 12, 2009  

A Joyful Easter!


Friday, April 10, 2009  

9/12/09 UPDATE:

Terriers are champs!

A win for the ages!

US College Hockey Online * Globe * Herald

* * *

"Go BU!"


Sing her praises loud and true!

We'll fight for our alma mater,

On to sure victory!

(Fight! Fight! Fight!)


Down the ice to score anew.

Our hearts are with you as you meet the foe;

We hail you, old BU.

The Terriers play Miami of Ohio for the national title.



Crux Fidelis/Pange Lingua ~

Good Friday (Gregorian chant)


Tuesday, April 07, 2009  

"The Blues Are Brewin'"

~ Happy Birthday, Billie Holiday



Opening Day


Wednesday, April 01, 2009  

"Zip, The ‘What Is It?’ Plays Host

to All The Other Circus Freaks"

New York World
April 6, 1914

The Armless Wonder Shows How Useful Are Feet, and Sword Swallower Samples the Knives.

It's seldom that an ordinary person dines with an armless woman, a sword swallower, a snake enchantress, a German giantess, a tattooed man, and Indian chief, a living skeleton, a 600-pound woman, two Lilliputians, a Somali warrior and the only "What Is It?" in captivity.

Perhaps it's the infrequency of such meals that makes a guest shudder when the snake charmer's nine-foot python sticks his nose two or three feet out of the punch bowl he's nestling in and tickles the guest behind the ear. It couldn't be one cocktail and a stein of beer.

One naturally expects to see the sword-swallowing lady eat a knife or a fork occasionally, so one is not surprised when she does. But one does blink a bit when the armless wonder reaches for the butter with her jeweled foot, or when the "littlest full-grown woman in the world" (weight, 25 pounds) steps from her high chair onto the table, picks of her skirts, hops over a piece of celery and grabs a salt cellar that she has had her eye on.

Nor would all these things have been seen yesterday afternoon in the Jungle Room of Healy's restaurant, Sixty-sixth street and Columbus avenue, if Dexter Fellowes, press agent for Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth, now at Madison Square Garden, hadn't decided that it was about time for Zip, Barnum's original "What Is It?" to have a birthday party.

All the Freaks Were There.

In deciding that it was Zip's sixty-fifth birthday, Mr. Fellowes didn't worry Zip a bit. Zip had just as soon be sixty-five as any other age. And if he isn't, or wasn't, he probably will be -- as was pointed out by Eddie Masher, the living skeleton, whose advertised weight is thirty pounds.

Anyhow, Zip gave the party, and everybody got there -- even if Cherry Davis, the fat woman, did break down a taxicab in front of the Garden, and Fraulein Brunhilde, the giantess, did show her temperament when the problem of transportation arose and a heartless man suggested that she be taken to Healy's in a giraffe cage -- which, as every one knows, has neck-holes in its roof. But the trip from Madison Square Garden was made in a motor bus.

When Mme. Maxine, the snake charmer, arrived at Healy's she said to the coatroom boy:

"Would you mind checking my boa?"

"Oh, no, madame," the boy replied, reaching for it.

From what the particular boy did right after he touched the live boa, it might be deduced that a good way to stop the hat boy nuisance would be for every diner-out to wear a nine-foot python around his or her neck.

And Everybody Tangoed.

After a boy had helped the living skeleton and a dozen porters had helped the fat woman upstairs, and everybody, except Running Jump, the Indian chief, had a cocktail, the dinner started. Running Jump had two cocktails.

After that Running Jump had beer. Later he had more beer. Finally he did a war dance. But that was after the giantess and Midget Barnett had tangoed, and the living skeleton and the fat woman had tangoed, and Mme. Maxine and Running Jump had tangoed, and Senorita Marie, the armless woman, and Djamah Ali, the Somali chief, had tangoed together too.

It was during this dancing that one learned how to keep cool, though exercising. The object lesson was Andrew Sturtz, the tattooed man. He had on a pair of trousers and a collar and tie. For the rest he wore his tattoos.

After Maude Clifford, the sword swallower, had gobbled a couple of forks and a knife, a reporter for The World asked her about this diet. She said:

"I swallowed my first sword when sixteen. I was thin then. I am well rounded now. I believe it makes me plump."

It might be mentioned that Princess Wee Wee, the littlest woman, sipped her cocktail and drank her beer like everybody else.

Of course, Zip made several speeches. He said, in full:

"Hunh -- hum -- hah!"

Or something to that effect.

Koo-Koo the Bird Girl dances while Zip plays the violin.

Top: Zip the Pinhead, carte de visite

Images: Charles Eisenmann Photos, Syracuse

* * *

From the Irish Elk archive: Zip the What is It, 4/1/08


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