Been There, Done That

commentary on many different thoughts

Month: July, 2014


If you’ve read “Gone With The Wind”, we have now reached the Siege of Atlanta.  The Union Army has completely encircled the city and is lobbing bombs into the middle of town.  The Five Points MARTA station, about in the middle of the city, sits where the bombardment was centered.

Interesting side note:  The Five Points MARTA station now sits on the site where the building housing the largest slave market in Atlanta once stood.  Ironic.

For the month of August, the city is primarily a hospital station and subjected to increasing loud noise constantly.  Food is scarce, medical supplies scarcer, and the heat is typical of Atlanta in midsummer.  Not fun.

More Hood

John Bell Hood, in command of the Confederate forces desperately attempting to defend Atlanta, is now fighting skirmishes at Ezra Church (on the MARTA Blue Line), at Decatur, at East Point (S5 on the Red Line) and at Macon (70 miles south of Atlanta, where all the refugees thought they were safe).

These skirmishes run through the period from the 22nd through the 3oth July 1864, as the Union Army gradually encircles the city of Atlanta.  Sherman’s headquarters are sited approximately 100 yards from where I now live.

This Date In History

Well not quite.  Call it 28 June and 28 July 1914.  On 28 June, a Serbian anarchist whose name I can’t pronounce, much less spell, assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo, Serbia, in one of history’s most memorable wrong-way driving incidents.  The chauffeur had been directed to use a particular set of directions to transport the Archduke and Archduchess to the railway station, but took a left when he should have taken a right turn (or vice versa).  The anarchist, who had been instructed to shoot the pair at a particular corner on the published route, got tired of waiting and wandered off.  He happened to be standing on a street corner heading for a pub when guess who happened to wander into his line of sight in the process of correcting a driving error?   The aftermath led to:

28 July 1914, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, setting in motion a tangled series of alliances which pulled almost all of Europe’s powers into a war none of them wanted.

100 years ago this month. The War to End Wars.

A Bit Late

A moment of silence please, as we honor the brave souls who, 70 years ago, attempted to call an end to WW II by assassinating Hitler.  20 July 1944 should be written in stone and blood in everyone’s calendar.

There are plenty of documentaries and movies (“Valkyrie” is only the most recent, and although Tom Cruise is scenic as Stauffenberg, the film takes more artistic liberties than are pleasing to a historian).  The members of the Kreisauer Kreis were primarily upper class members (military and political families) who had reached the end of their tolerance of the situation in Germany and attempted to do something about it.

The plot, as is documented, was bungled, and approximately  300 individuals, including the husband of a friend of mine, were executed.  If the spouses were not also executed, they were forced to watch the executions and then sentenced to concentration camps as associates of the conspirators.

So, again, a moment of silence to honor brave people who tried to do what they thought was right.

Movie Review

Had heard great things about a book and a movie.  “Ender’s Game”.  Orson Scott Card.

Haven’t yet read the book, but it’s on my list out of curiosity more than anything else.

Saw the movie the other night, courtesy Netflix.

Interesting concept:  Planet Earth, in the far future, was invaded by an ant-like species from distant places looking to colonize on a suitable bit of real estate.  Unfortunately for the ants, the real estate had occupants that fought back and (sort of) won.  That was 50 years ago.

Now, the Service is training kids through video games to fight the anticipated (pun intended) return of the ants.  And therein lies the tale.

I will not go into detail, as the film is worth watching for special effects and CGI, which are spectacular.  The moral of the story (and there is one) is worthy of consideration and pondering.  And any discussion would spoil the ending.

The kid who plays Ender is quite good, with just the right touch of adolescent angst mixed with adolescent delusion of omniscience.  Harrison Ford plays the commander to perfection, a mixture of Jack Nicholson and Indiana Jones-playing-Jack Nicholson.  Viola Woods is brilliant as the conscience-stricken second in command.  The rest of the cast is equally well-chosen although there are lots and lots of stereotypical parts.

Worth watching once, if you can find it at the dollar movies or through Netflix.  Interesting moral and philosophical conflicts.  Let me know what you think.

A Bit More History

The year is 1812.  There is a war being fought all over the new nation called the United States, against its old enemy Great Britain.  (As an aside, the major reason that we won the War of 1812 was Napoleon.  The British were up to their armpits and beyond in the Peninsular campaign as well as battles in the rest of continental Europe and had only token forces to send West.)  Anyway, there is fighting all over, and one of our allies, at least here in Georgia, is the Cherokee Nation.  Led by lawmaker Major Ridge, they played a significant role in General (later President) Andrew Jackson’s victory at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (north Georgia).

The Cherokees, part of the Five Civilized Tribes, became US citizens through a treaty in 1817. Led by Major Ridge, they established plantations around Rome, Georgia (north of Atlanta) operated a trading firm and other industries.  They developed a written language (one of the few Indian languages in written form) and by the mid 1820s had a higher literacy rate than most other settlers around them.  They even established a constitution and a government with three branches, executive, legislative and judicial.

Then, in 1828, gold was discovered on Cherokee lands.  In 1830, President (formerly General) Andrew Jackson signed the order forcing all Cherokees east of the Mississippi to lands in Oklahoma and beyond – the Trail of Tears.  Many suffered disease, hunger, exposure on the westward trip, and between 2000 and 6000 (the numbers have never been verified) of the 16000 or more making the trip died en route.  On the other hand, the 2010 US Census notes that the Cherokee nation currently has over 314,000 members.

Shirttails and Shirt Tails

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (our local paper) runs a daily column called “The Vent”.  It’s a site where people can sound off in 150 words or less, and frequently posts interesting comments.  One of today’s caught my eye.

“When will the makers of men’s shirts stop making them 3 feet long?  Not every guy is 6 to 7 feet tall.”

Don’t know about guys, short, tall or otherwise, but I personally wish that women’s shirt (and blouse) makers would stop with this crop-top style.  Every single shirt I’ve bought in the last 10 years ends at the hipbone or above it.  There is nothing to tuck in.  And there is nothing less flattering to a woman of a certain age than a shirt that stops at the top of the hip.  Until about 3 years ago, my favorite store, Chico’s, did actually make some T tops that hung a bit lower.  Since they changed manufacturers, not so.

On the other hand – I take back my comment that there is nothing less flattering than a top cut too short.  And that is white breeches on a female above the age of 20.  Bring back rust-colored breeches and I may reconsider.

Vive Le Tour

Why have I given up on this year’s Tour de France?  My hero, sprinter  Mark Cavendish, crashed out on Stage 1.  Big disappointment for the Man from Man (he’s Manx).  Then my favorite to win, Chris Froome, crashed out on Stage 10 ((I think it was).  Leaving my last interest, the man-you-love-to-hate, Alberto Contador (NOT a team player) to crash out a couple of stages later.  Although I can’t stand the man, a broken shinbone is not something I’d wish on anyone.

So, after these, I have no more stake in the race except to wish all the remaining bikers a safe trip to Paris. The race ends Sunday.  The Italian has a commanding lead so far, and, barring disaster, should take home the winner’s share of the prizes.  Good luck to all.

Variation on a Theme

Another variation on what you can do with a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough!



Congratulations are in order for Pam Kimmel and her two marvelous boys.  Thomas, Midnight Special, was 3rd after dressage in Open Preliminary, and finished with a clean cross-country (and some rails in stadium) for a 6th place overall!  Even more impressive was that without the rails, Thomas would have won his division by .3!!

This is an earlier shot of Thomas (and yes, he really is that big – he clears 18 hands)


These are all 3 of Special’s kids – a while back.  The little guy on the right appears below all grown up.


Special Performance, (Star) Thomas’ younger brother (and shown at 18 months above), was 3rd after dressage in Training Horse.  He too had some rails and a clean cross country.  Phone backup 051

Both boys are out of Pam’s incredible mare Special Event.  Momma would have been as proud of her boys as we are.