Last Friday (Halloween) my rugby pard Pete wrote, "What, no Bunnyman this year?" He introduced the Bunny Man story to me a few years ago when he turned me on to a fascinating link on the Fairfax County Public Library website. I sort of took the ball and ran with it from there, publicizing it on the Western Suburbs rugby website and e-mails I wrote. (Here is my original article, taken from a rugby club e-mailing I did in, I think, 2002 or 2003.)
I see that the Bunny Man subject matter isn't on the Brigham's Blog archives on the old blog site, so I might as well explain it here anew.
For those of you NOT in the know about this shadowy character, the Bunny Man, all is explained on the links above. Suffice to say that it's a nationally-known urban legend. And the Bunny Man actually existed! We know that from Brian Conley's excellent detective work. But, a-ha!, I went one step further. I located and interviewed the actual sources for the story.
My daughter Julie, in her senior year, took a video production class which she really enjoyed - so much so, in fact, that she wants to someday become a filmmaker. So, casting about for a likely subject for a student documentary, she came up with our friend the Bunny Man. Great idea! I decided to help.
Knowing of Brian Conley's library article thanks to Pete, I then did some detective work and was able to contact Robert Bennett and his fiancee (now wife), who agreed to a phone interview in early 2004. (The Bennetts were the couple who were assaulted by the real Bunny Man in 1970.) I still have the audio. You won't get that because, as you know, once you put something on the Internet you lose control of it - and Julie may someday want to use the material for the definitive Bunny Man documentary.
But here's a Brigham's Blog exclusive - you won't see this anywhere else on the Internet: The Bunny Man hatchet. Yes, the actual hatchet, as hurled through the Bennetts' car window by the mysterious Bunny Man in October 1970. It was mounted on a plaque for them by friends along with a newspaper clipping of the incident with a little brass plaque which says, "Our Hare-Raising Experience - 1969." (The date is a year off.)
So that's it. The Bunny Man. Are you happy now, Pete?
I checked out another one of those Teaching Company lecture sets from the library; this one is the Symphonies of Beethoven. I'm familiar with them all, but have never heard them analyzed and discussed. The prof for this one, Robert Greenberg, is much more bouncy and entertaining than the one for the relativity lectures, as befits the subject matter. Whoo-hoo, 24 hours of lectures!
A reader send me in this website link of stunning nighttime photos of London. It's like the Peter Pan ride in Disneyland!
Last night I saw the alleged film "Two Thousand Maniacs!" (1964) by Herschell Gordon Lewis, a sort of redneck/neo-Confederate version of Brigadoon with gratuitious gore thrown in for good measure. When I heard "Rebel Yell" (the theme song), I knew I had to share it with you. (NOTE: That part where a cat yells is a sequence where a kid puts a noose around a cat's neck and chokes him...) Enjoy. I posted it on my Civil War reenacting website, but I am 100% positive the Rebs won't get the joke.
What isn't in Bram Stoker's book "Dracula?"
Nothing is scarier than trick or treaters wearing Mom jeans. One of the creepiest ads I have ever seen. Wait... you all know what Mom jeans are, right? My wife once used this phrase and I had her pointing out women in them in public so I'd know them when I saw them. I'm not sure what the male equivalent is, but I'm sure she'll tell me.
And while I'm casting around on snopes.com, here's one about refried beans that have always caused me to wonder. (Executive summary: No, they aren't.)
I bought a DVD of the excellent neo-noir "Memento" (2000) a few weeks back at a yard sale for $1 - one of the season's better purchases - and have been watching it again. What a great film! Chris Nolan's best, I think. It raises interesting questions about the nature of memory, grief and morality - lots of themes, there. Here's an analysis to help make some sense of what's going on. I do believe that this film is one of the cinematic masterpieces of the new millenium. Sammy Jankis... if you can't bear your reality, create a new one. Perhaps with the help of quantum mechanics and head trauma...
As is the case in many films, there are Burbank sightings - it's always fun to see my home town in the movies. At one point the protagonist is driving down Victory Blvd. (named in honor of the conclusion of World War I) on a section I used to drive frequently; I would recognize those store fronts a mile away.
If you're not familiar with the film, the protagonist suffers from trauma-induced anterograde amnesia. In the film, for the sake of the plot, it manifests itself as an inability to create new memories; impaired short term memory, in other words (although the wikipedia article for the condition doesn't describe this as a symptom). It's Chris Nolan's clever reworking of a fairly common classic film noir plot device, amnesia. (Mr. Arkadin, Fear in the Night, Nightmare, Somewhere in the Night, are just a few amnesiac noirs.)
Anyway, see it if you haven't. It's a lot of fun and certainly sustains repeat viewings.
I am now reading a collection of bizarre Edward Gorey stories; I got the book at my yard sale earlier this month from my pard Chris. You all know who Edward Gorey is, right? If you've ever watched "Mystery!" on PBS you've seen his art. (Here's a google assortment in case you haven't.) I was mildly surprised at this one, in an alphabetical tale in my book.
I'm still mulling over that EPR Paradox in my head (see yesterday's entry). That whole "spooky action at a distance" conclusion is deeply unsatisfactory. What it's saying is that for the most basic constituent parts of the world as we know it, reality is very much NOT as we know and experience it every day, with no adequate model or explanation to describe what's being seen in particle physics labs around the world.
I have the book "Where Did the Weirdness Go?" (about quantum mechanics) on library hold. Maybe reading that will help.
Enjoy your weekend!
It's difficult to briefly describe in simple English, and I'm not entirely certain I get it, but here it is: Two particles are alike, but have spin (a physical characteristic) in opposite directions. You can derive them from the decay of one radioactive particle that has no spin, and shoot them apart miles away. The moment you use a spin detector to identify the spin on one of them, you know that the other HAS to have spin in the opposite direction (due to the conservation of spin). And, experimentally, it does. But, like the old joke about the Thermos flask which keeps hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold, how does it know to do that? What information, influence or force is transmitted to the particle miles away that gives it the opposite spin? Weird. So weird, in fact, that Einstein coined the phrase "spooky action at a distance" to describe it.
The EPR Paradox caused me to phone an old friend at BYU whom I knew was a physics professor, who confirmed that, yes, the case as stated in the lecture was so and, no, he didn't have an explanation for it, either. He also mentioned something that the videotape prof only hinted at, that this kind of thing causes psychologists and theologians to speculate about the notion of human consciousness, that perhaps it's the act of conscious human observation that causes quantum waveforms to collapse to form reality as we know it.
Reminds me of a Star Trek - The Next Generation episode, where the ship is cast into an uncharted region of space where thought becomes reality.
A book is cited in the lecture notes for this lecture, Lindley's "Where does the weirdness go?" I'm going to have to track that one down.
You've heard of Schrödinger's famous cat, right? The wikipedia article is here, but, in short, with quantum mechanics it's possible for the cat to be 1.) Alive, 2.) Dead, or 3.) A quantum state between the two before the observation is made (which collapses the waveform and forces a real-world reality).
I also learned about the Copenhagen Interpretation, which attempts to make sense of the relationship between the quantum mechanical math and reality. Well, maybe not. If I understood the videotaped prof correctly, the strictest version of it maintains, supports and even insists upon the weird and non-intuitive results of quantum mechanics.
As I read somewhere, "The universe may not only be stranger than we think, it may be stranger than we can think."
But these weird and non-intuitive mechanics have real world applications... following wikipedia links I just learned about a quantum computer, which would use quantum properties (qubits) to process data much faster than classical computers. (Briefly stated, inside of counting bits of 1 or 0, a qubit - quantum bit - can tally a 1, 0 or a superposition of the two states.)
Now there's a phrase that illustrates the pace of change: classical computers. The first electronic computer was built only in 1941, only a lifetime ago. And now it's classical, like it's wearing a toga or sparring with Achilles or something.
Tiki 2.0. My Dad and I enjoyed Tiki 1.0.
I am now reading "Turned Inside Out - Recollections of A Private Soldier in the Army of the Potomac" by Frank Wilkeson. It's excellent. In fact, it is one of the very best solider memoirs I have ever read. Where was this book all my life? I've read parts of it before, however, as it's frequently excerpted in other books about the Civil War.
It's very hard-hitting and honest about soldier life. Here's an excerpt: The bones on the Chancellorsville-Wilderness battlefield and the jolly soldier from the 40th New York.
The title has reference to the common soldier practice of turning out the trouser pockets of the battlefield dead, looking for useful items. Reminds me of a Peter Dennis illustration I have in an admired book, here. I have seen many, many books about about the Civil War, but very few illustrations as honest as this.
I see Dennis does compelling World War II military illustrations as well - One, Two.
One of my readers contacted me about that roll of negative film I wrote about yesterday; perhaps I have a light leakage problem with my Pentax K-1000. Could be. I bought the thing in 1979 and have never done any kind of maintenance on it, and yes, I know light seals fade and crumble with time. I'm considering running a roll of color film (Kodak Portra - what the wedding photographers used to use - very nice skin tones and saturated color) though the Pentax and doing a quick and cheap develop/print job at COSTCO to see where the problem is, film or camera.
I have an employee who is also a professional photographer; he happens to be Chinese. He once told me that Fujicolor was very a popular roll film among Asian photographers because it rendered the green skin tones (that's what he said - green) that is "beneath" Asian skin in a pleasing fashion. That's what he told me. I'm not sure I understand it. Green skin tones? Anyway, he told me his informal rule is Fuji for use with photographing Asians, and Kodak for Caucasians. We didn't discuss race-based white balancing of digital cameras...
I'm in Pig Heaven these days as I just downloaded some new genealogical beta software that I'm wringing out. The whole philosophy behind its use is complex and too much to go into here, but suffice to say that it enables me to sync what I have on my database with the world's biggest (by far) genealogical database, that of the Mormon Church. And... and... I'm not sure yet. But this allows me to do very fast server-to-server-like index searches of millions of names and perform appropriate transfers and data synchronization.
The good part of this is that I might get new information about lines I'm researching. The bad part is that I become something like an Internet authority about these family lines. (What if I'm wrong? I could very well be passing on bad data.) And so on. The whole thing kind of makes my head explode.
Oh, by the way, from this new software I see my relative Philadelphia Cock is also known as Philadelphia Cook. Hmmm. By the way, one reader contacted me to tell me a relative of his was known as "Sex" (that's how she described herself to the census-taker) - Sextina. Another reader told me that a direct ancestor of his had the maiden name Annie Neville Stiff - she married John Cox. As you might guess, she used some names and not others as a married name.
I saw - or rather, fast-forwarded through, Frank Zappa's horrible film "200 Motels" (1971) the other night. Boring, tedious and unscripted, one gets the idea that it was meant to be seen while smoking pot. It's unwatchable - the worst rock film I've ever seen. But then, I am not a Frank Zappa fan. That attitudinal stance of his - you people are ignorant sheep - gets really old.
Last night my wife and I watched a fascinating hour-long documentary from Video Vault, "Please Vote for Me" (2007), from China. I figured, with our general election looming, it would be appropriate. The story: A classroom of eight year-olds, who are unfamiliar with democracy, vote for the classroom monitor. Bribery, a smear campaign, tears and helpful parents ensue. An excellent review is here. From it: "Whether intended or not, we see that democracy doesn’t necessarily equal freedom. To the contrary, it can facilitate a superb form of fascism which outright dictatorship is incapable of sustaining." Indeed. I should add that the ancient Greeks knew this.
I won't give anything away, but the classroom results don't speak well for democracy. But, this being communist China, I have to wonder if the events, as shown, are legit. After all, we learned earlier this year with the Olympics that what the Chinese showed us (CGI fireworks, a dubbed singing little girl) wasn't necessarily reality!
More Cedar Creek black and white film print images for your viewing pleasure:
X-Boy - This kid is holding what I think is a cavalry third brigade banner of the VI Corps, Army of the Potomac. That's the Heater House, which was standing during the 1864 battle, in the background.
Tres Amigos - Don, Yours Truly, and Chris. Chris models what is called a frock coat, a more dressy coat, Don and I wear the simpler (and cheaper) sack coat.
The Federal Camp - That friggin' eyesore in the background is a digging operation belonging to a Belgian mining conglomerate, the expansion of which was a major area preservation battle.
Yours Truly - Out of focus. (Don took the photo.)
Corporal Olsen sews on his stripes - Don bought him these. I'm not sure he got the joke, but he is now the NCOIC of the Second Maryland Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Now there's something he can add to his resume!
Don takes a hit - A really cake-butted, slow-motion hit, moving softly to the ground lest anything become jarred.
The Dead - Eventually he made it to the ground and provided this moving tableau of a bloody battlefield tragedy so typical of the vast, horrific AMERICAN CIVIL WAR.
Having thus savaged my pards on a public forum, I'll close.
I see from reading the paper this morning that the complete set of Little Rascals shorts have been released on DVD... I'm not sure if this is a DVD production of the superior Cabin Fever VHS release from the 1990's I wrote about yesterday. As usual, buyer beware. Read the amazon.com reviews.
A friend lent me George Clooney's recent film "Leatherheads" (2008); we watched it last night. It was... okay. For a comedy, not very funny. I'm in the odd position of being able to state that the film doesn't meet the comic potential of the cover art, or even the premise of the cover art. The features on the DVD were mildly interesting - you know, the same old laudatory thing, "George Clooney was great! He was in the mud with us all the time, doing what we did, a total actor," etc. Every actor says that about every other actor.
Still, a major film about the early days of football is probably overdue. In one of the DVD features, one of the actors was describing a period football as being huge compared to today's. I can explain that. As the game was derived from rugby, so was the ball. And those early rugby balls looked enormous. Click here for a period photo of R.W. Poulton, an English rugger, holding one. That little crown on his jersey indicates that at the time the photo was taken he was playing for Oxford University. A good little bio of Poulton is here. He came to a sad end: "After seven month’s training, he arrived in Belgium as a Lieutenant in the Royal Berkshires and just after midnight on 5th May 1915, five weeks after arriving at The Front, he was shot dead by a sniper. He was just 25 years old."
I got my black and white film prints back from Penn Camera yesterday; a disappointment. The best image is here - my pard Don, me and my pard Chris at Cedar Creek, 10/18/08. Another good one is this one, of Chris in the company firing. Again, I took the mental note that lying dead in front of a company who is firing their muskets is an extremely unpleasant place to be! Here's another: At the sutlers.
Apparently the film was damaged, with perhaps some light leakage - there are odd gradients of light in many of the shots. (It's on the negative.) And it cost me $12 to get the roll developed and single prints made. This is why everyone has gone digital!
Oh, in case you don't know, a "goober pea" is Civil War era slang for a peanut.
Listening to incidental music is always fun. If you're at all familiar with the Tribbles episode, you know this music. But hearing it on its own, out of context, is an interesting experience. I once bought a cassette of recreations of those little dance band musical themes and cues which run more or less continuously behind the 1930's Our Gang shorts; they stand up well as music on their own. In fact, this is a nearly perfect collection of music. But yet, hearing them, you can't get away from the extra-musical mental images and associations of Spanky, Alfalfa, Wheezer, etc.
I am a huge Our Gang fan, by the way. Always have been. I started watching the old shorts re-run on TV before I went to pre-school when I was six or so. I recall that there was one kid in the playground that had a very husky voice; I used to assume he was Froggy - not knowing that the shorts were filmed 20+ years before I was born and the actor had died, in fact, fifteen years prior. (Fact: Billy "Froggy" Laughlin was the Our Gang star who lived the shortest life, being killed in an auto accident in 1948 at age sixteen.)
Anyway, I have nearly all the episodes worth having - carefully restored - on videotape, in the 1995 release that coincided with the disastrous feature film. The Our Gang shorts are timeless. I've played them for my kids and teenagers in Scouting who found them just as great as I did. I anticipate someday showing them to grand kids who will love them as well.
I spent some time recently and this past weekend atop tall ladders doing household repairs. The older and fatter I get, the less inclined I am to spend time atop ladders and roofs. The problem is that a woodpecker once went medieval on some wooden boards near the roof line of our home. This being 20 - 22 feet up, it's hard to repair. But I finally obtained use of a tall ladder and patched and painted the lower holes. The taller ones I haven't quite talked myself into, yet. It seems to be work for a guy half my age and weight.
When I was in the Marines I used to work atop ladders and telephone poles all the time with a half-crazy former Marine civil servant named Erv, but I never got to like it up there, atop a wobbly ladder.
Anyway, the cupola that holds my weather vane atop my garage has some rotting problems, so I rigged an odd sort of ladder arrangement to get up there to pull off the rotted pieces. The whole operation must have looked like something you'd see in one of those comical safety e-mailings: I backed a truck up against the base of the ladder, which I laid upon the garage roof. (The pitch is too steep for me to walk safely.) Then I shimmied up the ladder to the cupola to paint and make repairs. I also adjusted the N-S-E-W arrows, they're being slightly off direction.
Seriously, I am getting too old for this.
Watched a funky, late-period film noir over the weekend: "Cop Hater" (1958). Lots more female flesh in this one than I'm used to seeing from classic period (1940-1955) noirs. And who was the cop hater? That's given away by the production's tag line: "Cop Bait! She winks... she loves... she kills... and it's always a guy with a badge!"
Also watched a classic film last night: "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942), Orson Welles' production after Citizen Kane. Quite good; in fact, I find myself thinking about it now. Concerning itself with the fall of a great family, it reminded me of an excellent book by Thomas Mann I had once read, "Buddenbrooks." I see there's a new German film version currently in production... I always like it when I discover something new that I thought I would not care for, but do.
Finally, I'm still working my way though those twelve hours of Great Teaching relativity lectures. Last night's section was on quantum mechanics. If there is one single thing I have learned so far, it is that light is an exceedingly odd... thing. No matter what speed you go, the speed of light is invariant, and if you desire to perform an experiment to see it as an electromagnetic wave, you'll see it display the characteristics of an electromagnetic wave. If you perform an experiment to see it display the characteristics of a photon, or particle, it'll be that. Neither entirely or exclusively wave nor particle, it is a thing that strikes physicists and myself as an absurdity.
Interesting article here about presidential polling. What caught my eye was this: "A third problem is that an increasing number of Americans refuse to be polled. We can't know for sure if they're different in some pertinent respects from those who are willing to answer questions." Include me in this category. I've been telling phone pollsters to go fly kites for the past several months (I live in Virginia, a "battleground" state.) We get about four calls a week from these pests.
1.) I don't believe in polls.
2.) I refuse to have my time wasted taking them.
3.) I like to annoy the media.
My professional photographer friend Julio Zagroniz was at Cedar Creek over the weekend - check out his photos. He must have set the color on his Nikon to "vivid"; they're eye-popping.Speaking of eye-popping, check out the two Reb wimmen: Smudged face with blue eyeliner, Lipstick Lass. Nobody could tell they're female musketmen, nope. They don't stand out at all. Real authentic. As one guy said when the Rebs parked their cavalry behind our formation, "And again Civil War reenacting looks ridiculous!"
But forget the Rebettes. The very height of eye-popping has to be here, in a youtube clip from a French-Italian co-production, "Madame Sans-Gêne" (1962), with Sophia Loren. La Loren plays a washerwoman in Napoleon's army. Clearly, nobody has ever done as much for a peasant blouse as she. Boy, do I recall this cannon-shoving scene... I saw it when I was about sixteen; my Dad and I were up watching TV late one Saturday night when this came on. My jaw dropped and we both whooped. Anyway, that guy who grabs her from behind and gets slapped, whomever he is, has a special distinction in Hollywood history, I think.Here are some more Alexandria cell phone images for you:
Uppity brick - As I mentioned earlier this week, the City of Alexandria is in love with bricks. So much so that many of the streets are paved with them for that olde-tymey looke. Walk without looking down and you may find yourself doing the Colonial Shuffle.
Slave office - This historical marker tells the sad tale of the human slavery business on Duke Street. Details here.
Tombstone at Christ Church - 1 - I like these old granite markers. 237 years old and it still looks great!
Tombstone at Christ Church - 2 - The melancholy little poem at the base of this one made me pause and think, entering as we are into "Autum":
Behold Fond Man
See here thy Pictur’d Life
Pafs some few Years thy flowry spirit
Thy Summers ardent Strength
Thy Sober Autum fading into age
& pale concluding winter comes at laft
& Shutts the Scene
And on that note I shall close. Have a great weekend.
I am almost finished with "Who Killed Homer? - The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom" by Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath. Not an especially easy book to read (you'll see what I mean in the link below), but a satisfying one. The authors savage the currently trendy and politically correct thinking found on university campuses that is keeping classics undergraduates from getting the real, undiluted Homer. Here's a funny excerpt.
I really detest that ridiculous academic tone commonly used in dissertations. It's guild-speak. I hear a mild version of it at work when engineers attempt to convince somebody that a $200,000 bill to upgrade some software is worth the money. It's truth-obscuring language intended only for the initiated. It is also the antithesis of plain, direct English. What's really maddening is that students and parents are footing the bill for tenured professors to generate this snake oil on a full time basis.
I checked out part one of a twelve hour set of Teaching Company videotaped lectures from the library. The one I'm listening to is about Einstein's Theory of Relativity, given by a physics prof from Middlebury College in Vermont. I'm half way though it, concluding with the special theory of relativity and moving into part two with quantum physics and the general theory. I can now say that I understand time dilation a lot better than I did. Hearing somebody explain it is far better than reading about it in a book.
Time dilation? It's a difficult and non-intuitive concept, and a result of relativistic equations. It's the phenomena where, if you leave earth and travel near the speed of light on a spaceship, you return to earth somewhat in their future, your not having aged as much. (An illustrative applet is here.) It's the bane of science-fiction writers. In fact, Gene Roddenbury came up with "warp drive" specifically to avoid dealing with it. He can't have the star ship Enterprise buzz around the galaxy at relativistic speeds... when the crew returns to Earth they'll find their families and Star Fleet commanders all dead or retired, etc. Who would enlist to serve under those conditions?
(Reminds me of the H.L. Hunley's reputation for killing its crews. Who would enlist to serve aboard her? One wag I know suggested renaming it the C.S.S. Funley in an a effort to generate enthusiasm. Another wag, my friend Don, wrote a stirring poem about the good ship.)
But I digress.
Also covered in the lectures is something I already knew: All motion and time is relative. There is no such thing as an absolute time anywhere in the universe. Now, I've worked for people who thought that their time was the only important one in the universe, but Einstein says they're mistaken.
Did Albert Einstein have any comments about Civil War reenacting? Indeed. He once said, "He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice." There are tons of hobbyists who love nothing better than to march around all day doing close order drill. Paugh.
Here are some more photos from last weekend's Cedar Creek event. I used Don's little Kodak point and shoot camera.
Black Confederate cavalry guy - A curiosity. You don't see those very often. I should have walked up to him and said, "Please explain."
Bob Szabo, photographer - Taking an ambrotype of some crackers, er, Rebs.
On the halt, Sunday battle - Moving some companies around. The guys with the red legs are the 14th Brooklyn. I once did some funny captioned photos for them using the Dead End Kids.
On the halt, Sunday battle, again - What guys in dark blue wool uniforms do in the sunshine while waiting for the battle reenactment to start: Hurry up and wait. It's as old as war itself.
Virginia Landscape With Reb Butt - The guy on the right is probably eating potato chips from his haversack.
Sleeping - 1 - I demonstrate my napping style during daylight hours.
Sleeping - 2 - I demonstrate my sleeping style during nighttime hours. Yes, that is a sleeping bag. Having paid my dues many, many times in the past with 19th C. blankets, I'm entitled. I threw my greatcoat over my head, but I'm not sure what part of my skin is exposed there. It was 35 degrees with a frost when we awoke. I was very happy I used the sleeping bag!
I had to walk from the West End of Alexandria the other day into Old Town; the stuff you pass by is interesting. So here, for your amusement, is a very limited cell phone camera tour of Alexandria.
Hooff's Run Bridge - This is a funky old bridge that was put up for the... oh, just read the text, okay? Suffice to say that in Virginia, creeks are also known as "runs." Odd, that.
1956 Chevy - I walk by this car often. Every time I do, I think I should put a card on the windshield saying, "Interested in selling this car? Contact me at..." but I don't have enough money for a car like this, which requires a loving restoration. I like the fender skirts.
Old Chevy truck - Just down the street from the Bel-Air is this old Chevy truck, which used to be an ad for the Hard Times Cafe, I think. Vintage trucks are very big in Virginny. (This is the South, you know.)
Marshall House - As if any more proof were needed, here's a plaque on a Holiday Inn which stands where the Marshall House used to be. Note: No mention of Federal hero Elmer E. Ellsworth, who was killed here first. (Read about that little fracas here.) Crummy Rebs.
Reb statue - Looking for more Confederality? Go to the intersection of Prince and Washington Streets, where you'll see this guy facing away, away, away down South in Dixie - standing more or less smack dab in the way of traffic. It's been hit by cars a number of times over the years, but always gets returned to its place. Virginia legislation exists so that the statue has to remain where it is. As it's apparently too difficult or bothersome to amend the law to move a statue, there it stands.
Few people know the statue is entitled "Appomattox."
Long, long alley - This thing must be like fifty feet long. Being in Alexandria, it features bricks. The City Council loves them olde-tymey bricks. Looks like something George Washington would be seen near. Anyway, whenever I pass this alley I think of a Revolutionary War take on a film noir cliche, where a desperate, sweaty guy in a waistcoat, tricorne and breeches runs down this, caroms off a trashcan and says, "Don't beat me, boys! I got the money! Just give me another day! Please!" and has the kapok beaten out of him by a goon squad.
I clearly watch way too many old films.
Alexandria National Cemetery - Did you know there's a national cemetery like the more celebrated one at Arlington in Alexandria? True. They just finished extensively straightening the stones and replacing the grass, all of it. Quite an operation. Took them many weeks. It's across from Hooff's Run Bridge.
...and that's the end of our photo tour for now.
By the way, a Reb officer's horse wounded a reenactor at Cedar Creek last weekend. The story is here.
Me and Cpl. Chris - I get a kick out of the expressions on our faces. It looks like we're shy one Stooge. Note also the cable and power lines over the camps, just as it must have been in 1864.
One friend wrote to say that as his workplace (the United States Army - go figure) blocks him from accessing blogspot, he can no longer read these little windows into my life. So I have to figure out how to automatically send him an e-mail when I "publish," so he can read my stuff via e-mail text. Or something like that. I don't know if that's working out or not.
I am close to invoking the old adage about old dogs and new tricks and going back to the blog via HTML page. But... I won't give up just yet.
The thing is, I need to figure out exactly who my audience is. I suspect it's people more or less my age. Younger folks expect data/information/blogs formatted somewhat differently than older folks do; they're much more tolerant with the severely clipped text message style of comms. I greatly prefer standard English and complete sentences. But everyone likes text on an HTML page, right?
I took my roll of black and white film to Penn Camera yesterday. I guess few people are developing rolls of B&W 35mm film any more - this has to be "sent out" (sub-contracted). It'll be a WEEK before I get Cedar Creek prints back. That seems like an eternity in the world of instant digital imagery I've become accustomed to. Not to mention cost... I think it'll be about $15 for 24 single prints. Color digital images are 17 cents a print. I CURSE the guy who took my little Nikon point and shoot from my luggage...
Were you aware that a seven to sixteen foot diameter meteoroid hit Earth's atmosphere earlier this month and burned up over Sudan? This puppy was moving at eight miles per second. It happens like this two or three times a year, but this one was news because it was the first such body to be observed and tracked prior to arriving at Earth. Details here. They gave it a boring name: 2008 TC3. I bet if they called it, say, "Destructron" or "City Blazer" the press would have been all over it.
Speaking of naming things, some of you are aware the musket I use in Civil War reenacting has a name: "Reb Killer." I had to laugh when my friend Don revealed the name of his: "Facilitator." We also appointed my pard Chris a corporal at Cedar Creek. Don bought his stripes. So he is now the NCOIC of our little three man unit. What he says, goes - in a Montessori sort of way.
And yes, in the Civil War the chevrons point down as in the British Army.
A minor disagreement broke out at the event. My pard Don, being an old salty Navy man, wanted to wear an anchor somewhere on his uniform and so purchased a Ninth (IX) Corps Army of the Potomac corps badge. Phooey on that, I say. When I think of IX Corps, I think of General Burnside, a well-known loser. (Burnside's notorious bridge at Antietam, the Battle of Fredericksburg - what an idiot.) I'm a Second (II) Corps man through and through. The 81st Pennsylvania, the 110th Pennsylvania and the 1st Minnesota, my former reenactment regiments, were all II Corps. Much more respectable war record. So if I feel compelled to bedeck myself with a Corps badge, I'm choosing the familiar and much-loved club sign. Perhaps Cpl. Chris will select yet a third - and we can each represent an entire army corps.
(The question naturally comes up: What corps was the historical Second Maryland, Army of the Potomac in? Burnside's IX Corps. But I refuse to wear that!)
By the way, here's a pictorial representation of Union Army corps badges. These were the forerunners of today's U.S. Army unit insignia.
I see that back in August the Fredericksburg press once marveled at the fact that you, the public, could have touched the "rough" fabric on Larry Sangi's uniform. (What a thrill!) As an insider, I can touch Larry himself. My brush with Greatness.
We'll try this for a while. If it doesn't work, back to the old format, where I'm just adding to an HTML page.
I am beat. Attended the Cedar Creek battle reenactment on Saturday and Sunday, which means that I lost sleep, schlepped up and down hills all weekend long and spent large amounts of time standing around in the sun; consequently I'm sunburnt. I feel like I've been through a wringer - worse than I used to feel on the Monday after rugby matches, even. (Loss of sleep is a killer.) But... it was fun. It was my pard Don's first Civil War reenactment event back in fifteen years. We were hosted by the 15th New Jersey, whose commander, Larry Sangi, has been a friend of mine since 1984.
No photos yet. I brought my clunky old school Pentax K1000 35mm camera (what a pain to get in and out of my haversack on the run!) and I won't get pictures back until later this week. I used a roll of black and white film my daughter had left over from high school photography class.
Oh, I encountered a nun impressionist on Sunday. Had to have a photo.
The battle on Sunday was pretty lame. There were large numbers of both Yank and Reb cavalry present, and at one point the Reb cav complained that the Yank cav guys were being "too aggressive" (as told to us) and sat like bumps on a log in our rear, making the whole affair look ridiculous. Then somebody got injured and the whole thing ground to a halt for about twenty minutes while we waited for the wounded guy to be hauled off on a golf cart. (Which one of the Rebs shot at.) At this point, tired of pointlessly being run up and down hills and expending black powder after an hour, my pard Don and I decided to blow. The battle then lurched back on; we watched part of it from the sidelines on the walk out, and Jonah's Flying Camp then departed.
I'm sure most of you are aware that there are commemorative stones from various states and organizations within the Washington Monument, but have you ever seen them? Here's a link where you can view them.
Note the "Deseret" one, above, given to the memorial committee before Utah became a state and was known as "Deseret" (by the folks who lived there, anyway). It's one of the more ornamental ones.
Check out this photo. I feel the same way. About both of them!
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