Been There, Done That

commentary on many different thoughts

Month: May, 2014

Savannah UpDate

Last weekend at a dance comp in Savannah. Photos will be posted when they show up (as usual).

Anyway, missed the championship by – get this – one point. Had one of the panel of five judges given us one more point ….. I stand with Mongo (Blazing Saddles). “Don’t shoot, bullets just make him mad”. I’m resolved to get even!!!!

But we did have a great comp and a terrific time touring Savannah. If you’ve never been there, it’s well worth the adventure.

What was really fun was spending time at the beach on Tybee Island (gorgeous little beach town with terrific food – hit the Sting Ray for great local seafood). The weekend before we’d been wading in the Pacific (to Los Angeles for coaching), and this weekend in the Atlantic! The miracles of modern transportation.

More Movie Critic

On the other hand, just saw another recent release (fortunately on Netflix and did not have to spend a fortune in the theatre). “Pompeii”. If you want a swords-and-swashbuckling, visually entertaining, epic romance-with-gladiators, have at it! If you want historical accuracy, grit your teeth.

First off, the plot line is lifted verbatim from Bullwer-Lytton’s “The Last Days of Pompeii” (though uncredited – I guess it’s in the public domain). Second, the gladiatorial combat sequences are lifted from “Gladiator” (now THAT was a film!). Lastly, the really spectacular volcano eruptions and the destruction of the city are not accurate: the city was buried under meters and meters of volcanic ash, not lava (although lava makes for a much more picturesque destruction).

I will admit that the set designers did quite a marvellous job of recreating the city based on the current state of the excavations there. I visited the site over the winter, and it’s very close to what I imagined it would have looked like before the eruption.

One item for horse-folk: count how many different horses play the part of the heroine’s special pet!

And may your swash never buckle.

Film Critic

If you have not yet seen “The Dallas Buyers Club”, it’s well worth renting. Deserves the R rating, but a very telling piece of work.

I believe that it scored a handful of Oscars last year, including best actor, and I can see why. Well worth the watching – impressive movie and historically sound, especially the issues with the CDC and FDA (I saw this era from the health-insurance side and can vouch for the accuracy of the portrayal).

Casual Thoughts

Rode the train from the airport to my stop last weekend and spent a lot of time people-watching. The three affluent boys who plopped themselves down in the “reserved for handicapped and elderly” seats and didn’t move when an obviously elderly gentleman got on the train and had to stand. The gang-dressed youth who offered his seat to a very pregnant woman. The two girls in shorts that didn’t quite cover their private parts sitting spraddle-legged on the bench.

And the really rather frightening part: dozens of young (mid-teens) girls with babies in hand, on back, in strollers.

The one thing common to all of these individuals? They were all plugged in to electronic media and not one of them showed any kind of awareness of anything going on beyond their personal shell. Scary thought – what is going to happen when this crop of young ‘uns reaches a point where they’re going to have to think for themselves and associate with other folks?



Here’s my final cake for the first decorating class. Yellow cake with fresh strawberry filling. Took it to the studio and it vanished.


I’ve been taking some advanced decorating classes (the stuff we didn’t get in school) and here’s one of my creations.



Most motorists heading down I-75 note Lake Alatoona in passing at about exit 283. You are less than 30 miles from Atlanta at this point, and don’t you think General Johnston wasn’t aware of this. Sherman’s army executed another flanking move from Cassville, and Johnston was forced to withdraw and backtrack yet again to keep his army between Sherman and the city. And don’t think that the citizens of Atlanta weren’t vocal about this. The Atlanta papers screamed ever more loudly for ACTION!!!


Exit 283 on I-75 marks the spot where the army crossed the Etowah River, executing another flanking movement about 15 miles west to the town of Dallas (Georgia, not Texas). This part of Georgia is not nice – then, as now, it’s full of dense forest and underbrush, deep ravines and steep hills, a few farms, the small town of Dallas (which is still a small town) and lots of streams bordered with quicksand. All still there. Lots of mosquitos by this time of year.

And it started to rain. And rain. If you’ve ever heard of Georgia clay, believe what you’ve heard. It’s sticky and gooey and almost impossible to navigate. Not a lot of fun.

On a lighter note, if you get off I-75 at this exit, you can visit the ancient Etowah Indian burial mounds. Also the Booth Museum of the Southwest. Both well worth a visit. (And yes, it’s the museum of the Southwest and it has a remarkable collection of artifacts for a location this far from the Southwest.)

It Gets Messier

19 May 1864. Johnston is dug in at Cassville, defending the railroad. General Jefferson Davis (Union general, no relation) captured Rome (Georgia, not Italy). Sherman’s men have become experts at repairing (and tearing up, if it suited them) railroad tracks, and the line to Resaca is now functioning again. Resaca has become Sherman’s forward supply point.

Please note that as of this point, Sherman’s army was still (mostly) paying for what it took. According to contemporary records, yes, there was raiding and the occasional arson, but by and large the army behaved itself in North Georgia.

Another few miles

Further down I-75, round about exit 298, is the town of Adairsville. General Johnston pulled his troops out of Resaca, attempting to keep his army between Sherman and Atlanta. On 17 May 1864, Johnston came through Adairsville, but found it unsuitable for a defensive position. Following the railroad (which follows the lay of the land and parallels I-75) he withdrew to Kingston (also unsuitable as it’s a pocket valley) and turned east to Cassville to follow the railroad again.

The railroad, you will remember, was the Western and Atlantic line which ran from Atlanta to Chattanooga, and from there to all points north, and supplied what little provision Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was getting by then. Georgia was, and is, the breadbasket of the South. This railroad had to be maintained at any cost to keep the Confederacy operational, and Atlanta had to be defended for the same reason. Hence the conflict.