Today is Evacuation Day in Boston, the day the British finally quit the city, giving up on the siege. Conveniently, it falls on Saint Patrick’s Day, so it’s Brits Out all around.
“Had Sir William Howe fortified the hills round Boston, he could not have been disgracefully driven from it,” wrote his replacement Sir Henry Clinton.
I thought this was interesting in this plaguey time:
Once the British fleet sailed away, the Americans moved to reclaim Boston and Charlestown. At first, they thought that the British were still on Bunker Hill, but it turned out that the British had left dummies in place. Due to the risk of smallpox, at first only men picked for their prior exposure to the disease entered Boston under the command of Artemas Ward. More of the colonial army entered on March 20, 1776, once the risk of disease was judged low.
How about Howard Pyle’s painting of Bunker Hill? (I can hear a Bostonian voice correcting me: “you mean Breed’s Hill?)
Can’t have been a fun time for British troops, half of whom were probably Irish recruits anyway. And what of the Dublin born Crean Brush, who met a sad fate for his Loyalism?
While imprisoned in Boston, Brush was denied privileges. He consoled himself with alcohol.
One of our most popular posts is on Fred Trump, outrageous, villainous, smiling agent of chaos much like his son.
But we never really thought about Trump’s mother. Mothers should be off limits maybe? Even Trumps have mothers. A hasty misreading of this Kellyanne Conway quote:
Got us to look into it.
Stunned to find Trump’s mother was a Gaelic-speaking immigrant from a remote Scottish island.
Hailing from the Outer Hebrides
She was raised in a Scottish Gaelic-speaking household with her second language being English, which she learned at Tong school where it was reported she was a star pupil. Mary attended the school up until the eighth grade. Her father was a crofter, fisherman and compulsory officer (truancy officer). According to one profile, she was “brought up in an environment marked by isolation, privation and gloom.”
Wow. She’s pretty much from the Iron Islands.
You can see her interviewed in 1994 on Irish television, RTé, here. She has an interesting accent. She speaks of her love of Irish and Scottish music.
She claims Trump is meeting Steven Spielberg?
Some classic coverage from the Hely Times archive:
Try this ancient pickup strategy at the pub!
as wonderful as
Look, I don’t want to turn this into another Astor Place riots, but I think there’s a healthy American vs. UK rivalry to start here.
The biggest Dylan fan I know says: “every time Dylan does something, ten years later it’s revealed to be genius.” Is the same true of the Coen Bros?
Even if I didn’t really like one of their movies, they are so good I assume that I’m wrong. I liked this one though, even though it was so so sad.
Listen to Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, and Oscar Isaac sing 500 Miles. Best I can tell they all did their own singing.
Who wrote “500 Miles”?
This song is usually attributed to Hedy West, who put together “fragments of a melody she had heard her uncle sing to her back in Georgia.”
Her father, Don West, was a southern poet and coal mine labor organizer in the 1930s; his bitter experiences included seeing a close friend machine-gunned on the street by company goons in the presence of a young daughter.
What is the meaning of this movie?
I’ll tell you one message I felt strongly: “pursuing great art requires great sacrifice. It’s tragic if the art falls short. You don’t get the sacrifice back. Maybe the sacrifice itself is still noble but it’s an awfully lonesome road.”
Also this could be seen as a movie about a man being punished by God for abandoning a cat.
This was a movie where the hero literally does NOT save the cat.
The two best units of art that emerged from Jewish Minnesota have to be the Coen Brothers and Bob Dylan, right? Both deeply fascinated with “the old, weird, America.” Is there anything to that?
What would Minnesotan F. Scott Fitzgerald make of this movie?
I saw it just around the corner from where F. Scott Fitzgerald died.
Will the movie revive interest in The Clancy Brothers?
Why is Justin Timberlake so good at playing lame characters?
Is it because he has moved in his life so far beyond the idea of coolness?
Consider this testimonial by Joe Jonas. Timberlake, who at least in his choices appears very smart, was at an equivalent point of fame and self-awareness TEN YEARS AGO.
How the fuck is some guy in a magazine or a newspaper supposed to review a movie like this?? Obviously everything you’d think of the Coen Brothers already thought of times 1000!!
That’s what I thought as I walked out.
Sometimes Anthony Lane cheeses me off but his review of this movie helped me think about it.
Marc Isambard Brunel was Isambard Kingdom’s father. He was born in France and served as a naval cadet, during which service he built a quadrant for himself.
During his stay in Rouen, Brunel had met Sophia Kingdom, a young Englishwoman who was an orphan and was working as a governess. Unfortunately he was forced to leave her behind when he fled to Le Havre [because of the French Revolution] and boarded the American ship Liberty, bound for New York…
…Sophia Kingdom remained in Rouen and during the Reign of Terror, she was arrested as an English spy and daily expected to be executed.
Meanwhile, in New York, Marc was sick with worry:
In 1798, during a dinner conversation, Brunel learnt of the difficulties that the Royal Navy had in obtaining the 100,000 pulley blocks that it required each year to fit out its ships. Each of these was being made by hand. Brunel quickly produced an outline design of a machine that would automate the production of pulley blocks. He decided to sail to England and put his invention before the Admiralty. He sailed for England on 7 February 1799 with a letter of introduction to the Navy Minister
Back in London, Marc was joyfully reunited with the now-freed Sophia. They had a son, Isambard Kingdom. Marc went to work on an idea for a tunnel under the Thames.
Marc’s helper in this project was 18 year old Isambard.
I’m stealing all this from Marc’s wikipedia page, which in turn seems to be stolen from a book called The Greater Genius? by one Harold Bagust. Q: is that the perfect name for the biography of a father?
A good way to remember the Brunels is the lyrics of Irish traditional song “The Humours of Whiskey,” found here.
Come guess me this riddle, what beats pipe and fiddle,
What’s hotter than mustard and milder than cream?
What best wets your whistle, what’s clearer than crystal,
What’s sweeter than honey and stronger than steam?
What’ll make the lame walk, what’ll make the dumb talk,
What’s the elixir of life and philosopher’s stone?
And what helped Mr. Brunel to dig the Thames Tunnel?
Wasn’t it whiskey from old Inishowen?
Was anyone ever uglier than Shane McGowan? Not criticizing, just saying.
MacGowan claims to have been introduced to alcohol and cigarettes by his aunt on the promise he would not worship the devil. In a 2007 interview with the Daily Mirror he told a reporter: “I was actually four when I started drinking. I just remember that Ribena turned into stout and I developed an immediate love for it.” MacGowan says he tried whiskey when he was 10 and continued to drink heavily thereafter.
The wikipedia page on Shane no longer claims, as it once did, that his dental troubles were at least partially due to attempting to eat a vinyl record of “Sgt. Pepper” while on LSD.
OK, wikipedia, gimme the tragedy:
On 30 June 1980 during a concert in the Cork Opera House Luke Kelly collapsed on the stage. He had already suffered for some time from headaches and forgetfulness, which however had been ascribed to his alcohol consumption. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
The subject of the song, btw?:
[Kelly] was dragged from his bed and hanged by British soldiers who decapitated his corpse and kicked his head through the streets shortly after the fall of Wexford on 21 June 1798.