30 April 2013

Southern Threads

I've blogged before about the history of Duckhead khakis and apparel - a company that traces its founding to 1865. Duckhead was started by two brothers who were Confederate veterans in 1865:
The Duck Head name goes back to 1865 when two brothers in Nashville, Tennessee. George and Joe O’Bryan bought surplus Army tents made out of a heavy, canvas-like material known as duck. Although it was not intended as a clothing material, duck proved to make sturdy work pants and overalls. These early duck pants became known as khakis which also made a success of the O’Bryan Brothers Manufacturing Company and created durable clothing staple for the last century.
Southern Heritage ~ Faded But Strong
I've worn Duckheads since the 1980's and still wear a couple of pairs I purchased over 20 years ago. I'm wearing a pair as I type this post. 

I also own a pair of bib overalls that I purchased over 20 years ago - Pointer Brand - another company founded and headquartered in the South with a great history and tradition. Their apparel is still hand-sewn and made in the good ol' U.S. of A. Enjoy their website video below:

29 April 2013

VMI Commemorates Stonewall Jackson Sesquicentennial Events

From the Stonewall Jackson House:
May 1, 2013-September 30, 2013 Fourteen Days in May: T. J. Jackson's Wounding, Death and Burial
VMI Museum

This special exhibit will open May 1, 2013 and run through September 30, 2013 at the VMI Museum. The exhibit will feature seldom seen items from the collections of both the Stonewall Jackson House and the VMI Museum related to Jackson's death. In addition to Jackson's bullet-scarred raincoat, the exhibit will feature his blood-stained handkerchief, greenery plucked from his casket and William Garl Browne's 1869 painting of Jackson. A surgeon's needle used in the amputation of Jackson's arm and a surgeon's kit owned by Jackson's doctor, Hunter McGuire, will also be exhibited. For more information about the VMI Museum hours of operation click here.

And, as is to be expected, those who don't believe Jackson is worthy of a holiday or commemoration chime in. These folks just don't like Old School, do they?

26 April 2013

Kent Masterson Brown's Southern Cross Documentary

Coming soon. I'm really interested in seeing Brown's newest video project on the Confederate
Battle Flag. Kent Brown isn't known to have fallen prey to political correctness like so many academic historians have. I recently purchased and viewed his documnetary about horses in the WBTS. It was very good and quite informative. I have to assume this new one will be done as well. Brown is a seasoned lawyer and respected historian and I can't wait to see his perspective on the CBF.

Here's what Mr. Brown's website has to say about this soon to be released production:
The Southern Cross: The Story of the Confederacy’s First Battleflag, will be completed in early May.  The fifty-six minute production chronicles the history of the design and creation of a flag that became the prototype for all of the St. Andrews Cross battle flags carried by Confederate armed forces.  The hand-stitched silk flag with gold painted stars was borne by the Fifth Company of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans through the Battles of Shiloh and Perryville.
I hope to view and review it as soon as it's available.

24 April 2013

More Brilliance From The Education Establishment

A Kentucky middle school has changed its dress code after a student was sent to the office for wearing a “Support Our Troops” T-shirt, a spokeswoman told TheBlaze. That school would be Mahaffey Middle School, which is actually located on the Fort Campbell Army base.
And, no, I'm not kidding. Maybe she should have worn one that said, "Don't Support Our Troops"? After this incident, the college educated spokeswoman responded:
We’ve incorporated patriotic T-shirts [into the dress code]
Now there's a novel idea. I suppose they got over their sensitivity toward offending the unpatriotic. You just can't make this stuff up. Remember, these are the experts who claim to know more about teaching children than parents. Right. Story here.

Metal Detecting Post #103 - More From One Of My Favorite Yankees

Great hands-on history! While I love digging into books, reading, and researching the history of our great Nation, there is absolutely NOTHING like "digging into" and touching something 150, 200, 300 years old that relates to our history. Our last artifact recovery video was way down south in the land of cotton - Louisiana. This video involves recovering some colonial era artifacts up north in Rhode Island, the home of  my fathers (some).

23 April 2013

Rebellion In West Virginia

During the 1960's colleges and universities witnessed lots of "sit-ins", wearing "provocative" clothing, protests about "free expression", etc, etc, etc. Many of those same people are now in academia and other positions of power in our educational system, yet they have no problem prohibiting "free expression" when it goes against the ideology of their worldview.  They have become the establishment. How ironic. But we seem to have a growing rebellion in West Virginia. I suspect the Scots-Irish blood is to blame . . .
A West Virginia teen who was arrested and suspended for wearing a National Rifle Association T-shirt to school returned to class Monday wearing the same shirt that got him into trouble.
Jared Marcum, 14, was joined by about 100 other students across Logan County who wore shirts with a similar gun rights theme in a show of support for free speech.

WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Will academia stand in solidarity? I kinda doubt it. If it had just been a Che Guevara t-shirt , then all would have been just peachy. Amazing. We shall overcome y'all. Story here.

22 April 2013

Metal Detecting Post #102 - Louisiana Relic Hunt

Below is a great video produced by Garrett Metal Detectors and narrated by historian and relic hunter, Steve Moore. As their link notes . .
The Garrett team travels to bayou country in search of Civil War history on the well-hunted 1864 Battle of Pleasant Hill. Steve hopes to find artifacts where several of his ancestors fought with Texas-based Confederate companies. Stay tuned in to the end for a brief tour of an impressive private museum of Civil War artifacts from the Pleasant Hill battle.
What makes this video all the more interesting is the personal ancestral connection Steve has with the battle. I know what that is like as I've recovered a number of WBTS relics from battlefields where my own ancestors fought and were wounded. The experience is beyond my ability to describe. This is a 25 minute video, but worth the time to view and admission is free! Grab yourself a cup of coffee, hit the play button, sit back, relax, and enjoy the film.

21 April 2013

Lexington Book Off To A Good Start

My book about Lexington and the Civil War appears to be off to a good start. The book is currently being offered at the following locations: Lee Chapel Museum Shop, the Old Court House Museum Shop, Washington & Lee University Bookstore, and the Waynesboro Heritage Foundation. Other shops are reviewing the book for consideration.

As previously noted, the speaking event for the Friends of the Preston Library on the campus of Virginia Military Institute went very well. While I was there, I also received an invitation to speak at the Rockbridge County Civil War Roundtable's meeting this coming November. I spoke to that organization back in 2006 when my book about Stonewall Jackson and his black Sunday school was published. My home is only about 30 minutes from Lexington, so I visit there quite often for both pleasure and business. 

As always, it was an honor to speak on the hallowed ground of "the Institute."

20 April 2013

Homeschooling Is Advanced Education

This is absolutely amazing. Let's hear more criticism from the "experts" - please.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
These posts may also be of interest: Here, here and here.

18 April 2013

Elvis & General Lee Still Beat The Yankee Stamps

Won't the U.S. Postal Service ever learn?

Kevin Levin recently posted his observations about some recent commemorative Civil War postage stamps, noting, as part of his observations, that ". . .  the war is being framed . . ." Yes, I think that's quite accurate but will it make any difference? The victorious side of the conflict has been "framing the war" since 1865 (of course, the losers have as well).

Whether or not the USPS is consciously pushing a certain viewpoint, I couldn't say and really don't care. But I recall visiting my local Post Office (mid 1990's I think) and seeing two displays of commemorative stamps or postcards, or something like that. One featured Confederate General Robert E. Lee, the other Union General Ulysses S. Grant. I wanted to purchase the Lee editions but every time I went into the Post Office, that display was empty while Grant's was always full. 

"What's going on here?" I thought to myself. "Must be an anti-Southern conspiracy and political correctness run amok." 

Hmmmm . . . so I did what any red-blooded Virginian would do and demanded an explanation. I asked the clerk:

"Hey, what's the deal here? Why won't you stock the Lee display? The only thing you ever stock is Grant, how come?"

The clerk smiled broadly and with her Shenandoah Valley drawl replied,

"If you want the Lee edition, you'll need to get here early on Mondays. They're selling out as fast as we stock them and we only get so many a week. I've only sold 3 or 4 of the Grant edition."

I was both disappointed and happy. Seems whatever the government wants, the public tends to go the other way - in a lot of cases anyway. Maybe the gubament wants us all to buy the Union focused commemorative stamps now being offered. Maybe they'll be a big hit - though if the Post Office's recent track record is any indication, I wouldn't put too much stock in that. 

But if they are a big hit, I still doubt they'll ever outsell the stamp that commemorated the descendant of Confederate soldiers - Elvis. That's right. Elvis is not only the King of Rock n Roll, he's also the King of commemorative stamps. The South dominates again.

Since the USPS is now losing $25 million a day, it's obvious the yankee stamps ain't helpin' much.

Maybe Elvis and General Lee could ride to the rescue.

Metal Detecting Post #101 - Battle Of Mine Run Finds

I had an absolutely wonderful time walking and exploring an area near the Battle of Mine Run (on private property) in Orange, Virginia last Saturday. The invitational Civil War relic hunt was sponsored by The Rapidan River Relic Hunters Association. The weather was perfect and there is nothing to renew your spirit like a gorgeous Virginia day in April. Throw in fellowship with like-minded men and the opportunity to learn some history, as well as recover and touch some history, and you have the makings for a memorable day. I took some video and may put something together in the future. I'm sssoooo far behind in planned posts.

L to R: Confederate Gardner, 69 Caliber minie, button back (most likely from a general service eagle button), another Gardner, and a 58 caliber minie.
The shaded yellow area is approximately where the invitational hunt was held.

17 April 2013

Joshua Chamberlain Must Be Spinning In His Grave

I'm glad there's no radical leftist indoctrination in academia, aren't you?

"Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, on a report detailing how identity politics have run wild at Bowdoin College."

More on this topic later.

16 April 2013

15 April 2013

States' Rights Winning Debate?

You wouldn't think so by watching Washington but . . .

State Governments Viewed Favorably as Federal Rating Hits New Low

Then again, should we be surprised? More here from Pew Research.

14 April 2013

"People In The South Are Telling The Truth More”

Or, another way of saying it:

"People in the North are telling the truth _______.” 

You fill in the blank. But first, pass the biscuits and gravy y'all.

Story here.

*I didn't get to those other posts as promised yet, but they're coming up soon, as well as one about my Civil War relic recovery adventure on Saturday.

13 April 2013

Progressives Hate All Kinds Of American Flags

As I've pointed out before, it's not just the Confederate flag that the left hates. They hate any flag that conceivably represents any opposition. The Gadsden flag is the nanny-left's latest target:
The United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association is fighting a New York town for the right to fly the Gadsden flag bearing the phrase, “Don’t Tread On Me.”

The veterans group had flown the flag, used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps since 1775, at the New Rochelle Armory, but the city council claimed it was an offensive Tea Party symbol and voted to have the flag removed.
And then there's this interesting observation:
“Using the City Council’s reasoning, they would remove the Stars and Stripes from flagpoles because both Democrat and Republican Parties, as well as most political candidates, use the Stars and Stripes in their campaign messaging,” said Richard Thompson, president of the center.
Sounds somewhat similar to the issues involving the Lexington flag flap, doesn't it? I would suggest we adopt the Smiley Face flag and only allow it to be flown, but then grumpy people would take offense.

Historian & Publisher, Stephen W. Sylvia's Latest Salvo

Publisher Steve Sylvia has another great editorial in the most recent issue of my favorite WBTS publication. Here's an excerpt:

I am always stunned by the ramblings and churlish musings of revisionists who differently interpret the valiant efforts of those [Civil War] veterans. Some choose to claim their postwar efforts were but a ploy to exonerate the South's evil addiction to slavery and conceal the war's sinister intent under the guise of an idealistic Lost Cause.
One such author accused the old vets of both sides of being racists seeking to doom the former blacks to a modern economic slavery. He ignored the basic fact that very few of the combatants of either side fought for or against that issue. Rather, they fought to preserve the union, they fought to gain independence, they fought to repel an invader, and they fought for vague concepts of youthful idealism and adventure. 

Steve's perspective is always so refreshing as he's not infected with the PC virus. He also produces a first class publication and is one of the unsung heroes of Civil War history preservation.  I'd recommend you read the rest of Steve's piece here.

11 April 2013

I Think Someone Is Lying

Tired of being subjected to “indoctrination” in his classes, he [Tyler Talgo] began recording some of his professors’ lectures to expose the utter lack of objectivity in the classroom . . . Talgo, a sophomore at USC, told TheBlaze that he has had problems with a number of professors at USC who try to “indoctrinate students with their political agenda.”
Lack of objectivity in the classroom! Well I don't believe it - that's not what academics and educators who have come here in the past have told us. Someone must be lying and I think I know who it is.

I would recommend other students start recording what their teachers are saying in class. Tyler's professor makes a clearly racist and sexist statement to his students:

Old white guys are stubborn sons of b**ches, they just are.

Yeah, well - thanks for the compliment there Professor, but let's leave my Mama out of this - ok partner?

This is what passes for education in America today, while "educators" and "historians" chase neo-Confederates and David Barton all over the internet. I'd try to distract others from what's really going on too if I were them. What responsible parent would want to send their kid into that kind of environment? More to come on this topic in another post soon.

More here.

Alan Jackson & George Strait Have A Message For Brad Paisley

Here's a follow up to yesterday's post. Paisley isn't the real "Rebel" in all this - performers like Strait and Jackson are. Paisley is just conforming to current cultural trends and fads - apologizing for Confederate/Southern heritage. Though this song is a bit dated, it still applies to Paisley. The song created quite a stir when Strait and Jackson originally performed it. By the way, my youngest son who is much more knowledgeable about country music than I am is telling me I've come down way too hard on Paisley. (Another reader also sent me an email pretty much taking the same position as my son.) Their take on Paisley's last two songs are almost polar opposites from mine. However, as my son would admit, when we disagree on something, he usually has to come back at some point and say, "Dad, you know, you were right about that." ;-) I hope he's right this time - but I don't think so. Time will tell.

At a recent Diggin' in Virginia event, Relic hunter and collector Greg Toney chatted with historian and publisher Stephen W. Sylvia of North South Civil War Trader.

10 April 2013

Brad Paisley's Guilt Trip?

Hank Williams - A Real Country Artist
I can't quite decide for sure if country music singer Brad Paisley is projecting, on a guilt trip, attempting to feel relevant, or just wants to impress elites with his continual "I apologize for being a Southerner" type songs. Before his latest debacle, he had another self-flogging piece about how he was expanding his horizons outside of his "Southern Comfort Zone." Yes, I guess that makes him so, like, cosmopolitan.

It's all getting rather old - though I'm no fan of the cutesy, teeny-bopper style "country" music that Paisley produces. I prefer the gritty style of Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, or Hank Williams (Senior or *Junior) over Paisley's new school, pastel-styled stuff. But a sweet little puff piece from National Pravda Radio suggests the elites are warming to Paisley's efforts in seeking absolution :
. . . it shows how fraught racial dialogue remains in America. Not to mention religious dialogue: I'm waiting for the uproar over "Those Crazy Christians," a similarly soul-searching provocation that I suspect even my more devout relatives would get a kick out of.
Yeah, that's gotta impress the ruling class elites - America [especially in the South] is a country full of racists and Bible-thumping crazies. Sounds like ol' Brad's been taking classes at Bowdoin:

The school's ideological pillars would likely be familiar to anyone who has paid attention to American higher education lately. There's the obsession with race, class, gender and sexuality as the essential forces of history and markers of political identity. There's the dedication to "sustainability," or saving the planet from its imminent destruction by the forces of capitalism. And there are the paeans to "global citizenship," or loving all countries except one's own.

If Mr. Paisley has "issues", he should talk to his preacher. The rest of us really don't need to be subjected to his public self-flogging, guilt-projecting stunts disguised as music. My advice to Mr. Paisley is don't worry about what everyone thinks of your Southern culture and heritage. Just be a good man and the rest will take care of itself. Putting your Southern guilt on display in truly horrible music is demeaning and about as unSouthern as you can be. Man up.

NPR closes their kissy piece with this:

. . . he fully embodies a tradition while also laying it down on the psychiatrist's couch. The jury's still out on his therapeutic approach, but as a musician, he's at the top of his game.

I think I'll throw up and then go listen to some Hank Williams tunes. Sometimes I get sick and need therapy too.

*Just to be clear, much of HW JR's stuff is a little too gritty for me, but I do LOVE his attitude.

And The Indoctrination Of Students Continues

A professor at a public university in Texas is under investigation from school administrators for allegedly forcing students in her graphic design class to create anti-gun posters for a personal anti-gun campaign she had launched.
I've lost count of all the "anecdotal" evidence illustrating that, yes, the left wing politics of academia DOES manifest in the classroom; despite what some educators have come here and denied.

More here.

09 April 2013

Primary & Secondary Education Indoctrination - Anecdotal?

The worksheet in question, published by Instructional Fair, is entitled, “The Second Amendment Today,” and it allegedly proclaims that American citizens do not have the right to guns.
“The courts have consistently determined that the Second Amendment does not ensure each individual the right to bear arms,” it purportedly reads. “The courts have never found a law regulating the private ownership of weapons unconstitutional.”
 Story here.

Witnessing History - Horses In The Civil War & The Cross Of St. Andrews

When I was in Lexington last week, I stopped by Lee Chapel's shop and museum to sign some books.

Whenever I'm in Lee Chapel's shop, I try to buy something from them. They have a great selection of books, DVD's, CD's, prints, and souvenir type items. This time I bought Kent Masterson Brown's DVD, Unsung Hero: The Horse in the Civil War. I'm always interested in what Mr. Brown is up to. Though I've never read one of his books, I've heard him speak on several occasions and he's quite informative, as well as entertaining, as he shares his knowledge of the WBTS.

I'm not going to take the time to do a full review of this video, but suffice it to say, it's worth the time and money to watch it. The sheer number of horses utilized during the war, as well as the logistics involved in feeding and caring for such a number is overwhelming. It really is a fascinating facet of the war. It was also refreshing that this involved pure military history, not social history and all the other worn out discussions that are the more common fare of many CW blogs these days. I highly recommend Unsung Hero for those interested in cavalry operations and a somewhat different take on the Civil War.

While perusing Brown's website, I came across another video in the works. This one really piques my interest: The Southern Cross. I'm hoping this video will serve as some balance to some of the more negative material that's been published in recent years and look at the flag from a military and historical point of view, rather than a political and sociological one which, again, seems to be standard fare on many CW blogs and discussion boards. We shall see.

08 April 2013

Freedom Moves South

The move by Colt Competition into Breckenridge comes as the CEO of Colt Manufacturing in Connecticut has said there will soon be few good answers to keep his company in the state. Connecticut passed some of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws this week.

"Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal." And Texas makes them welcome. Story here.

Copperhead Screening For Civil War Chaplains Museum Benefit

I just received some information from National Civil War Chaplains Museum director, Kenny Rowlette regarding a fundraising screening of Ron Maxwell's latest moive, Copperhead.
We have concluded an agreement with Ron Maxwell’s organization to screen his latest movie Copperhead on Tuesday, June 4, at the Cinemark Movies 10 in the Candler’s Station Shopping Center in Lynchburg, VA.

The theatre will seat 346 . . . all tickets will have to be sold prior to the screening.  I will have more information on this at a later date.

Here is the trailer for the movie. Here is the Facebook page for the movie.

More details to follow soon.

05 April 2013

Leftist Bullying By Primary & Secondary Teachers

Yes, it happens.

"My teacher asked, ‘You know how you went down to the principal’s office?’” Backer recalled. “I said, yes, and he said, ‘I don’t give a s**t.’”

Bruce Backer, Benji’s dad, told FN they were taken aback by the incident.
“We were surprised that politics was being brought into the school during classes that had nothing to do with politics,” the elder Backer said. “We didn’t understand why there was a need to focus on Benjamin’s beliefs."

There was a "need" because much of education in America is about indoctrination. Yet one more reason to consider homeschooling. Story here.

Common Grammar Mistakes

For readers who are also writers . . . 

20 Common Grammar Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Makes

04 April 2013

Speaking At Preston Library - Virginia Military Institute

*Update: The speaking event at Preston Library on the campus of VMI went very well yesterday. Since this talk was scheduled for 3 pm on a Thursday afternoon, I really didn't expect to see much of a crowd. I was very surprised to see the lecture room all but full! I think there were around 50 people in attendance. I received a lot of positive feedback and was told it was the best attendance they'd had in a long time. I also stopped by Lee Chapel Museum gift shop and signed a bunch of my Lee's Maxims books as well as the new Lexington book. I was pleased to hear that Lee Chapel has already sold two cases of Lexington, Virginia and the Civil War. I'll put up a more detailed post about the event soon.

Link here.

02 April 2013

A Southern Icon - Coca-Cola

I absolutely love this old photograph. Believe it or not, there are still a few of these old stores and community gathering places throughout the South.

Hat tip to A Continuous Lean.

01 April 2013

A Fearsome Critter

The majestic Jackalope (Lepus temperamentalus) once roamed the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains here in Virginia and served as a bountiful meat source for many who lived in the mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. Hunted to extinction after the Great Depression, this specimen was killed by my grandfather in the early 1940's and today graces my office.

The females had the odd habit of sleeping belly up and could be milked without waking them. Their milk, besides being quite sweet and delicious, was also used for medicinal purposes. Males could imitate the human voice. Most folks in the Blue Ridge discovered early on that Jackalopes were fond of moonshine and could be easily hunted down by simply leaving a mason jar full of white lightning out on the porch, enticing the hapless creatures and resulting in their intoxication, thereby making them easy prey. But, sober, they could be quite aggressive if cornered and were known to occasionally run in packs and attack animals many times their size, including humans, thus earning them the description of "a fearsome critter."