Monthly Archives: November 2008

Civil War reenacting

While anyone who spends any length of time talking to me knows my enthusiasm for that period in American history from 1860-1861, one of the things a lot of folks don’t know about me is that I’m also a civil war reenactor…yes, one of those folks who puts on multi-layers of authentic thick wool and run around on a battlefield shooting authentic replicas. And man is it fun! reenacting1

I blame it all on my friend Dr. Kevin Gray. I met Dr. Gray shortly after we moved to Florence, Ala in 1998. I attended a Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting with him and he learned I could also play a little on the drums. I’d been to a couple of smaller reenactments and had an interest in it, but I’d never known anyone before who was a reenactor. Within weeks, he had me marching barefooted in a cemetery for a dedication of a fallen black Confederate. In a little more than a year, I was fully equipped with all my own equipment, including a uniform, much of which was hand-sewn (in order to be authentic) by my Mom!

I attended several smaller event throughout 1999, but what really got me was the event in September of that year at Chickamauga. It hadn’t rained for months and a severe drought was in the area. Thus, afterwards, the event earned itself the nickname “Dustamauga,” because of all the dust created by twelve thousand reenactors.

That’s right. You read correct. 12,000. 12k. While there were a bunch of civilian reenactors there (doctors, families, etc. all period), there were roughly 5,000 Yanks and 5,000 Rebs. On Saturday morning we marched for about three miles up and down hills. After some time, and while still in column marching, we began to hear cannons and gunfire. Finally, we topped a hill and spread out in the valley before us was a line of solid blue, stretching from one end to the other.

reenacting2Talk about a time-traveling moment. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

Many reenactors live for that moment—that one moment when the excitement of the activity causes their mind to “time travel” back for just a second. Hard to describe unless you’ve been there.

One of the most frustrating things about reenacting, however, is when the “other side” doesn’t play fair. Most of the battle engagements are scripted and the commanders know when they’re supposed to do what and about how many men should die. The problem comes when the other side doesn’t die. I’ve seen battles where a line of about 200 men fire into another line across the way…and not a single enemy falls out. It’s things like that that cause the reenactments to lose their reality, not just for the reenactor, but for the spectator—who’s usually paid money—as well. reenacting9

What most onlookers don’t realize is the amount of time, energy, research and effort put in by most reenactors to get an authentic look. We’re talking even the type of stitching used in clothing is studied!

While I haven’t had the opportunity to get on the battlefield in some time, I’m itching to do so. Not only is it great fun, it’s great for families and it’s a history lesson to boot!


Filed under General

Dead projects

I’ve said before that writers should have a handful of projects going at the same time in order to avoid writer’s block (which I don’t believe in, of course), but after so many years, the “dead project” file begins to get thick.

I was recently reminded of a “dead project” when a writer emailed me to ask questions about it. Seems he was writing a book about Planet of the Apes and his work (Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: A Definitive Chronology) would include a section about comic books…and then about the comic projects that never made it to print. Part of my body of work includes a four issue mini-series entitled Planet of the Apes: Blood of the Apes (POTA:BOTA). Instead of setting the story in the tri-state area where the original movie was set, I brought the talking monkeys to the South and set my story in Memphis. Any of you who’ve read more than one of what I’ve written will realize that I attempt to tell my stories in the South, if possible.

Before I go on, let me add that as a result of his questions, I got to looking around at Ape stuff. I discovered that POTA:BOTA was included in an academic work: Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series by Eric Greene. It was published in 1996. I found out about it just a few months ago. Now, while POTA:BOTA only gets about a page and a half—the book is mostly devoted to dissecting the films—let me just say it was pretty cool to see something I’d written included in an academic work like this. I went on to find that on one Ape “fansite,” BOTA was listed as the #3 favorite Ape comic among fans. Again, pretty cool.

So anyway, I got to thinking about the Apes projects that didn’t happen.

#1: POTA: Sky Gods. Humans land at on the planet at a different time to find man extinct, and apes back on the bottom of the chain. Who rules, then, you ask? Tigers! Yep, talking Tigers. Would’ve been fun!

#2: POTA: Henry the Ape. Aside from the word play on the title, this was less developed than Sky Gods (which had a full four-issue plot) but consisted of a spoiled rich prince (Henry) who runs away from the kingdom/responsibilities.

Another project that I really would like to have seen published is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle story that turtlesindixieI’ve written and that Steven Butler was going to pencil and then Ken Branch would ink. (sample page is Steven’s pencils) The working title was Turtles in Dixie. The story brings the turtles down to Vicksburg, Mississippi where they get to tour the Vicksburg Military park, and run afoul of such villains as Armadillo-man (pictured) and Alligator-man.

There is a point to all this, though. I saw this all to suggest that even if a project isn’t “published” or doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away, hang on to it. You never know what could happen in the future. All those extras notes and doodles can turn into something somewhere down the line!

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Filed under Projects, writing

Gays Gone Wild

I gotta admit I’m not 100% surprised at all the violence (not being covered much on National television, btw, but good links below) that’s suddenly coming from radical homosexual groups across the nation, a reaction to the democratic process which shows that most Americans disagree with their lifestyle choices. I am surprised, however, that those homosexuals who aren’t of the violent radical bent, aren’t coming out against the violence and are instead letting them speak for the entire group.

It should be no surprise that the violence is aimed at Christian and Mormon groups, probably those most vocally opposed to the homosexual lifestyle. The vote results that have angered the gays, however, show that it isn’t just the Christians and Mormons who disagree with their choices, but the majority of the population.

I’ve said before but it’s worth saying again, I don’t hate homosexuals nor does anyone who I know and associate with. I think gays have made wrong choices, but I think that folks who use drugs make wrong choices, too. I don’t think that a druggie should be allowed to marry his bongpipe though.

All kidding aside, I’ve known and worked with those of the homosexual persuasion for many years. The first one openly admitted, I met as a college sophomore. Homosexuals make up a larger portion in the creative industries than probably any industry…okay, except maybe hair dressers.

And yet, I find it incredibly ironic that those who yell and scream and say folks like me are intolerant and bigoted are acting…well, intolerant and bigoted. And, recently, very violent. Why is it that they suddenly have absolutely no respect for the democratic process of the United States? Why is it that they think they’re better than the rest of the folks and have the right to tell the majority what to do? The United States has this process in place for a reason, and that is to serve the people. The people voted, the people spoke. Now, a very teeny tiny portion of our population is out to prove those people wrong…and they’re doing it with violence. Yeah, that wins over a lot of people.

I’ve always been of the opinion that, sure, they’ve made a dumb choice, but it’s their choice to make. But when they start trying to change laws to gain special favor (such as the so-called hate laws), then I get agitated. Why is the violence they are now committing not considered hate violence? It should go both ways.

Oh. And before I forget, my Mom reminded me that I haven’t updated the McDonald’s Boycott status. Well, the boycott is off. McDonald’s has withdrawn their support of the homosexual agenda. Many will claim it is because of the downturn in the economy. That’s okay. Whatever the “real” reason, McDonald’s has regained their senses and the boycott is off. I had a BigMac today. J

NOW, links to homosexual violence videos so you’ll know I’m not just making this stuff up! Keep in mind, some of the videos have vulgar language.

Gays “invade” a church service (news report)

Gays grab a cross from an elderly lady, throw it on the ground and stomp on it. Also, very loud and abusive intimidation of her.

53 year old gay man assaults husband and wife (77 and 76) and punch the husband in the face because they had a sign supporting Proposition 8 in their yard—their own private property!

News report of assorted hatred from gays:

Gay militants target Christians:

Vandalism before the vote:

Gays chase Christians (escorted by police) out of a gay neighborhood.

A little older. 11 Christians arrested for appearing at a gay parade. All of it caught on video!


Filed under Columns