A Flag Rant…

I’ve been thinking on this for a while, actually. And since this is my little forum here, I’m going to use it to vent a few things, ala Dennis Miller.

I really used to like Dennis Miller, back in the SNL days, back in the Rant days. Before he re-invented himself with Bush- style self-serving Republicanism as a knee-jerk reaction to 9/11.

We all had knee-jerk reactions to 9/11, but to suddenly switch over to addressing your angst and anger at the Democrats and liberals is just weird. There are real and terrible enemies out there, and we need to be able to form up together to address those threats. We can play politics later if we need to. First, we will ultimately have to form an alliance with other civilized countries to completely and utterly eradicate terrorism.

As in exterminate. Terrorists are well beyond the pale, and miles outside of the lines of anyone’s rules of engagement.

If you actually believe that you have a God- given right to rape, pillage and murder your way across the planet, you do not deserve justice of any sort. You need a bullet in the forehead.

Anyway. That’s not even the rant I had in mind when I started.

But speaking of mind-fuck stupid terrorists, that moron who did the damage in Charleston at the A.M.E. church so recently needs to leave the planet very soon. He’ll likely get a life sentence instead, though,  so that the good citizens of South Carolina can spend tons of money keeping his ignorant ass alive in prison. Bullet’s cheaper.

What really bothers me is the damage he did to the Confederate flag. All by his ignorant fucking self.

That flag has been hijacked and misused several times. Biker gangs, the KKK, and now the Boy Fucking Wonder.

It is simply the flag that a great many Americans fought and died under. Back when strong state governments were the accepted norm, and the idea of a stronger Federal government was considered to be totally left- wing. They weren’t called Radical Republicans for nothing…

Yes, it could be aligned with racism. But so could the US flag. George McClellan threatened Lincoln that if he released the Emancipation Proclamation, he would resign and take his entire staff with him. He would fight for the Union, but not to free slaves.

The entire world was racist back then. It was the main lens that people perceived one another with. The English hated the French, the French hated the Spanish, the Indians hated the settlers. Indian tribes hated one another. North hated South. Almost everybody despised the Irish, and everybody hated the Africans. The world was pretty damned dismal.

But we have evolved. That’s what it’s all for in the end…

If modern people actually knew Civil War history at all, they’d be really upset, because the unlaundered truth is often much uglier than they’ll ever know. Fort Pillow…the Crater…Lawrence, Kansas… the New York draft riots…but there’s also the 54th Massachusetts, and Frederick Douglas. And…the 21st Mississippi ( talk about a flag story ), and the CSS Hunley.

But we are led to believe… that the Yankees were totally the good guys, and the Confederates were all bad. Sorry, but no. Not even close.

We also prefer to believe that the colonists during the Revolution were all American patriots, and the British were all bad guys.

Nope. Sorry. It was actually about a 50/50 split with the colonists. And the War of 1812 was actually much closer. The British almost got us that time.

Just imagine what that would have looked like.

Evolution is often a bitterly painful process.

A two- term black president, overall pretty successful. And Hillary picking up speed. A progressive from Vermont on her heels, and Elizabeth Warren lurking in the bushes. Donald Trump! Donald is a dream come true for standup comedians… years and years of material… but he’s not entirely wrong on everything. He just doesn’t know how to talk.

What a great country this is…

But… we Americans prefer what little history we do know to be completely revised. Or better yet, completely non-existent.

So, in closing, just remember the only practical bit of advice that ever came from a history professor ( and I don’t know who said it), and I’m paraphrasing here…

If you didn’t learn your history lesson the first time, it will be back to bite you in the ass real soon…

Just watch what it does to Donald Trump over the next few weeks.

Thanks. Rant’s over.


Empty chair…

An old friend passed away today. From cancer.

Phil Moulton, a member of our old 21st Mississippi re-enacting company; better known as Pvt. Moulton.

He was from Southbridge and Holliston, Ma. He was a Harley enthusiast, and was a biker in the good sense. He and his brother Dan both left the 21st together, so as to have more time for riding.

I recall many a summer and fall night spent around the 21st’s campfire, many a mock battle, hundreds of company drills…and Dan and Phil are a permanent part of that landscape. They wouldn’t sleep in camp, not in a tent. They would appear in the early morning mist, for all the world looking as if they had slept under a bush.

Because they had. Ratty, dirty, unkempt. Hungry. Wet, mostly.

But those C.S. Richmond muskets were in perfect working order. Always.

Not that they came into camp for breakfast. They might chew on an old hardtack biscuit from their haversacks, or some apples they found in the woods. Some days, you might be able to slide them a pancake or two, maybe some bacon.

In re-enactor-speak, they were known as ” hardcore.” Authentic to a fault. As opposed to ” farbie”, the term for guys who had dry-cleaned uniforms, coolers of beer,  and frozen pizza warming on their fire grate. ” Farbie”, from ” far be it for me to criticize”…

Great days, those 21st Miss days with the Moultons, and everyone else. Some of the best ever.

Have a safe journey across the river, Private Moulton. As General Jackson said, we’ll all rest in the shade of the trees when we get there.


Published in: on May 21, 2015 at 9:29 pm  Comments (2)  


A conservative casualty estimate. There were many conflicting versions of events, and the Russians could marginally get away with calling it a victory simply because they stopped Napoleon from advancing any further.

September 7, 1812; the battle of Borodino. This is an event of great national significance for the Russians, akin to Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg for Americans. They can practically see the future of their country escaping drastic change by just a hair’s breadth.

Napoleon, by today’s standards, was a total nutjob. So were the Russians, of course; any day that these guys put troops in the field, they would probably lose 25,000 on an average. But that was OK.  Soldiers were considered the scum of the earth, and were expected to be more than happy to march in formation into a horrific death to please an emperor/ czar/ etc. They were easily replacable.  Many soldiers were conscripts, and they generally would rather serve in the army than rot in prison or be executed.

Napoleon was also considered to be a military genius, and his tactics were the practical standard well into the 1860’s.  He was especially fond of massed infantry attacks in column formations. They could move very quickly across open ground, but only the front rank could fire their weapons.  Artillery would rip huge gouges in the approaching columns, and if they could then be penetrated by cavalry, the formations would fall apart completely; but if they could manage to get across, then they would usually win the battle.

The Russians apparently make a huge deal out of the Borodino anniversaries. They have re-enactors. I am simply amazed at this. I can’t help but wonder who in the Russian economy can manage the disposable income to outfit themselves for this pastime. ( I speak from bitter experience.)  Putin, I suppose, all his staff, friends, family…that must be about a hundred  guys right there. But where do the rest come from?

Hmm…if the kids will work in the gulag for just a few more years, I’ll be able to get that snappy new shako hat I’ve been needing…

Actually, I understand this completely. I’m just glad to see that we’re not the only ones. Even if the kids have to double up in the gulag bunks for body heat…

Just kidding. They don’t have to do that. I’d send them sub-zero sleeping bags from LL Bean.

But then they’d have to work off the price of those too, so maybe another six months?…