Someone is going to get a nice Christmas gift. Sotheby’s will be auctioning off three of Norman Rockwell’s most popular visions of small-town Americana. “Saying Grace,” “The Gossips” and “Walking to Church” all appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.
“Of Rockwell’s 322 covers for The Post, the three images were particularly popular. ‘Saying Grace’ — a crowded restaurant with a boy and an old woman bowing their heads in prayer — was considered Rockwell’s masterpiece, topping a readers’ poll in 1955,” reported The New York Times. “’The Gossips’ was a finger-wagging montage of friends, neighbors and even the artist himself. ‘Walking to Church’ was another timeless favorite.”
“Sotheby’s estimates that ‘Saying Grace,’ on the cover of the Nov. 24, 1951, issue, could bring at least $15 million to $20 million,” reported the Times. “The painting hung in Kenneth J. Stuart’s office at The Saturday Evening Post and later in his family’s living room in Wilton, Conn. ‘Walking to Church,’ thought to bring between $3 million to $5 million, was in the bedroom of his wife, Katharine.”
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The following obituary for Johnny Ramone appeared September 17, 2004, on National Review Online.
By Steve Beard
Last July, I was shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of sweaty rockers at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip while they were complaining about needing a cigarette. We were all crammed in to see Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent blow the doors off the place. As everyone was grousing about the Los Angeles smoking ban, I could not help but chuckle to myself as I thought that if Johnny Ramone and Kid Rock joined them on stage, we would be at the one and only rock-n-roll Republican jam session.
Of course, everyone knows about all the Democrat rockers. Bruce Springsteen even wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times. How is that for rock-n-roll? All the hipsters have signed up to do fundraising concerts for John Kerry because, uh, well, he is not George W. Bush. It has been speculated that these concerts will raise upwards of $44 million dollars for the Kerry/Edwards campaign — becoming the rather absurd situation of rich musicians raising money for even richer politicians.
• A few snippets from NY Times: “For much of his career, he was under constant pressure to write favorably about the goals of his fellow Catholics, many of whom wanted a Northern Ireland free of British control, and though his work often concerned the violence in Ulster, he saw both sides of the conflict and avoided polemics in support of the Irish Republican Army. He said he was suspicious of extreme positions.”
“The accessibility of his work helped. It had references to Greek and Celtic legend, but was usually clear, often dazzling with images of nature, epiphanies of the soul. He wrote about bogs and rocks and streams and transformed them into the settings for the moral problems in a way that seemed to reach not only agnostic intellectuals, but also believing Catholics.”
“ In the 1984 collection, “Station Island,” he wrote: “The main thing is to write for the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust that imagines its haven like your hands at night, dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast. You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous. Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest.”
Seamus Haney, RIP.
I learned of Seamus Heaney because of Bono from U2. In one of my fave photos, Bono is shown at right reading the poetry of Seamus Heaney to Ruth Graham Bell (1920-2007) shortly after U2 won a handful of Grammy Awards in February 2002. This photo appeared in Billy Graham’s Decision magazine. The caption read: “After receiving four Grammy awards, Bono, of the legendary rock group U2, visited Ruth Bell Graham. Bono, a professing Christian, read to Mrs. Graham the works of poet laureate Seamus Heaney, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature.”
Ruby Washington/New York Times. Sinead O’Connor experimented with gospel, dipping into the repertory of the Soul Stirrers, Blind Willie Johnson, Mahalia Jackson and Nina Simone over the weekend at Alice Tully Hall.
• Old time religion in modern guise: Sinead O’Connor in gospel sessions at Lincoln Center (New York Times)
• Return of the Jesus Wars by Ross Douthat (New York Times)
• Why is it hard for liberals to talk about family values? (The Atlantic)
• Pope’s gay tolerance no shock by Kirsten Powers (USA Today)
• Can a horror film lead people to God? (RNS)
• How to keep Millennials in church? Let’s keep church uncool by Brett McKracken (Washington Post)
• Something happened on the way to Bountiful: Everyone sang along (New York Times)