31 December 2014

Metal Detecting Post #125 - Volunteer "Archeology"

I recently did some volunteer metal detecting "archeology" at the Plumb House in Waynesboro, Virginia (with permission of course) and all finds were donated to the Plumb House Museum. One of the more interesting finds was this gag swivel for a horse harness. Though the Plumb House witnessed lots of activity during the Battle of Waynesboro, one source informs me this item was not military issue. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's unrelated to the BoW. Soldiers, particularly Confederates, often used their own personal items and improvised when necessary. Of course, it could also be post-war. An interesting artifact recovery, nonetheless.

The item is illustrated in a Pittsburg [sic] Harness Supply Company catalogue below.

More Wackyness From Wackydemia

Sounds like the tweeter has been learning very well in history class.
“lmao, [sic] all i [sic] just really dont [sic] have sympathy for the cops who were shot. i [sic] hate this racist f***ing country," Lynch continued.
Wackiness abounds. Oh yes, there is most definitely a common thread.

30 December 2014

Metal Detecting Post #124 - Mystery Coin ID'd

This is a follow up post to a previous one about what I believed (but wasn't sure) was a counter-stamped or counter-marked token or coin, dating to the early 19th century. To satisfy my curiosity, I sent images and details of the find to Mark Parker. Mark is a contributing editor to Western & Eastern Treasures Magazine and a recognized expert on identifying artifacts and relics. He had already responded with an identification several weeks ago, but I was surprised that my inquiry made the most recent issue of the magazine.
(Note: the value of this piece is inconsequential to me as I do not sell my finds. Mark always includes an estimated value for those who might be interested.)

29 December 2014

Staging Civil War Photography

From the American Heroes Channel . . .

26 December 2014

Colonial Furniture Finishing Circa 1775

Several years ago, I had the privilege of making a cyber-acquaintance in Don Williams. (No relation.) Don recently retired from his position as senior furniture conservator at the Smithsonian. He is now a neighbor here in Western Virginia. ("Neighbor" in the sense he lives in "neighboring" Highland County, about an hour and a half northwest of my home. I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge below the western slope at the eastern edge of the Shenandoah Valley, while Don's home is located in the heart of the Alleghenies not far from the West Virginia state line. We are both bona fide "mountain men." ☺)

Don's recent Christmas greetings brought to my attention the fact he's done a video with Popular Woodworking titled Creating Historic Furniture Finishes. As I occasionally do some woodworking and love refinishing old pieces of furniture, this news caught my attention. I assume the video will be available soon. Below is the trailer.

24 December 2014

Merry Christmas From Old Virginia

In the truest spirit of Christmas, I wish you peace and the gift of the Saviour. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." ~ Luke  2:14. May God have mercy on fallen man.

Please take the time to enjoy and reflect on this beautiful Sainsbury ad. 100 years ago today . . .

And the story behind the ad:

23 December 2014

Dr. Walter Williams On Progress

. . . in 1865, neither an ex-slave nor an ex-slave owner would have believed that such progress would be possible in less than a century and a half. As such, it speaks to the intestinal fortitude of a people. Just as importantly, it speaks to the greatness of a nation within which such progress was possible. That progress would have been impossible anywhere except in the United States of America. The challenge that lies before us is how those gains can be extended to a large percentage of black people for whom they appear elusive.
And Professor Williams, as always, demonstrates that wisdom comes with age and experience, not a college "education":
Older black people, who were raised in an era when there was far greater discrimination and who faced far fewer opportunities, need to speak out against behavior and excuses that their parents would have never accepted. Otherwise, the race hustlers, poverty pimps and white liberals will continue with the narrative that black problems are a result of racism and racist cops and condemn future generations of blacks to a lifetime of mediocrity.
More here.

22 December 2014

National Review Points Finger At "Academicians" Over Violence Against NYPD

Update: National Review weighs in with more culpability for academia:
A view of the West as enemy is cultivated in universities across the country as the cutting edge of moral thinking, with full rein given to a very un-academic manner of speech, replete with the colorful language of vilification. From these heights, the same attitudes inevitably seep into other venues, including textbooks for much younger students. The bulk of journalists and teachers do not believe in the full range of anti-Western ideology, but they accept it as an orienting guide. It is the only moral doctrine that they have heard with any frequency since they made it into the world of the talking classes. It is the only normative system they hear that makes demands on them with any vigor. They have nearly forgotten the quaint *notions they were brought up on as children, such as conscience before society, or guilt for having failed society; they have settled into a subculture where “conscience” is reduced to conscience against society and aggressive accusations about society’s guilt. And so, on issue after issue, year after year, the media speak in a language of blaming the West and identifying with anger against the West.
*And, I would add, American Exceptionalism.

End of update.
Yes, the responsibility for the assassinations of two NYPD officers lies with the individual who pulled the trigger.

That said, it’s no coincidence that the first execution of NYC police officers in years occurred on the heels of a months-long orgy of incendiary rhetoric from our political leaders, academicians, community agitators, and members of the media . . .
More here. Interesting, isn't it, when you juxtapose the video below (and reality) against these (just one example out of many) false accusations from 2009 at the History News Network:
We’ve seen a lot of the “Tea Party” protesters in recent weeks. . . .They seem, indeed, determined to whip the like-minded into a frenzy bordering on violence.

NYC protesters chant for dead cops December 2014

They got what they wanted, didn't they? For 12 years, I served as a Magistrate for the Commonwealth of Virginia. I had the honor of working with some of the finest individuals in law enforcement one could ever hope to meet; men (and women) who are underpaid for putting their lives on the line every time they put on a badge. Many of them are still my friends. I've also known officers callously killed in the line of duty. And I'm seething with anger right now. I am therefore restraining myself from much more I'd like to say about this whole topic, particularly when it comes to "academicians." So please note that I'm making no editorial commentary here. Just quoting others. Draw your own conclusion. But I do think it's very easy to see which side of the aisle is guilty of whipping "the like-minded into a frenzy."

20 December 2014

Honorable & Historic Military Statue Replaced By Flower Bud or, Everything Is Beautiful

Update: Kevin Levin correctly  points out that I failed to mention that the United Daughters of the Confederacy was involved in moving the Confederate statue in Reidsville, NC. Duly noted. I confess the oversight, though it was unintentional. Though it does need to be pointed out that approving the statue being placed in a cemetery does not necessarily mean the UDC in Reidsville approves of the Flowerbud-Squirrel-Bird-Nest-LED-Light thingy. But, if they do, then Squirrel Nut Zippers all around - on me! (Limit one per person for all the "officials" who gave their approval of the Flowerbud-Squirrel-Bird-Nest-LED-Light thingy.)

End of update.

Oh my, you just can't make this stuff up. The tree-huggin', awareness-is-a-buzz-word, flower-power, politically correct crowd have won another glorious victory. Where once stood a historic, solemn statue of a Confederate soldier will now stand:
The structure’s base is in the shape of a star. Out of the star comes a stainless steel shaft with what looks like a flower bud on the top.
Gallucci said the bud and the base will have LED lights. The city may choose to change the colors depending on holidays, seasons or events like breast cancer awareness month.
“This will have little maintenance involved,” Gallucci said. “Just birds buildings [sic] nests; squirrels doing things.”
"Just birds building nests" and "squirrels doing things" and "LED lights". Uh-huh. Okey-dokey. Sounds to me like the bird-brains have something squirrely cooked up. Just wait until one of the squirrels gets tangled and fried in the light wiring. PETA will be watching.

This would make a perfect SNL skit. Rejoice progressive historians, rejoice. This fits you perfectly. But maybe not. This circus even has the usual anti-Confederate crowd embarrassed:

(Pssst - I think the LED lights are bit much for even them. They probably would have preferred solar.)

But it's a beautiful thing. Or, as Ray Stevens would say:

Sing it children! I'm going to have to start drinkin' again.

We Could Not Have A General Patton Today

I'm currently reading Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer. I'm enjoying the book very much as it focuses on an aspect of Patton's life that interests me, but I do wish it was a bit more in-depth. Regardless, I would still recommend it to anyone interested in military history and the life of General George S. Patton. Patton's familial ties to Confederate veterans is quite fascinating (Chapter One is titled, "Ghosts of the Confederacy") and had a significant impact on his view of history, as well as his role it it. (An extremely important and influential factor, despite what some think.) Patton's great-grandmother once wrote, "I am crying because I have only seven sons left to fight the Yankees."

As I had pointed out in a previous post, Patton was a serious student of military history. He believed (as I do), that the best way to study and learn history is by reading biographies, as he noted in a letter to his son:
To be a successful soldier you must know history. Read it objectively–dates and even the minute details of tactics are useless. What you must know is how man reacts. Weapons change but man who uses them changes not at all. To win battles you do not beat weapons–you beat the soul of man of the enemy man. To do that you have to destroy his weapons, but that is only incidental. You must read biography and especially autobiography.
One observation by the author that jumped out at me was a comment that someone like Patton could not exist in today's American military. (Due to political correctness and the feminization of our military.) What a shame. We could sure use one.

Here's a recent video from the American Heroes YouTube Channel which, among other things, explains how Patton earned his moniker "Old Blood & Guts."

16 December 2014

An Illustration Of Common Core's Nonsense

Leave it to the "experts" to make the simple complicated. Is there any wonder why more and more families are choosing to homeschool? Good Lord.

13 December 2014

Misusing Flags

One Civil War blogger correctly points out that this is misuse of the Confederate battle flag, but suggests this representation of the American flag is "art".

What am I missing here? It seems to me that the Confederate art is, at worst, "cheesy" while the depiction of the American flag is offensive and disrespectful and more aptly fits the description of "misuse." Hmmm . . .

11 December 2014

2nd Amendment Becoming More Popular Among African-Americans

Pew found 54 percent of blacks now say firearms protect people from being victims of crimes, compared to 41 percent who say they are a public safety risk. Just two years ago, only 29 percent of blacks said guns were a public safety boon.

“Over the past two years, blacks’ views on this measure have changed dramatically,” Pew researchers said.
That's an amazing stat with potentially huge political repercussions. More here.

09 December 2014

How Academia Views The Rest Of Us

I've uploaded dozens of posts about the arrogant, self-righteous, elitist, and less than honest attitude that permeates much of academia. While there are certainly individuals within the ivory tower cabal who are decent, honest educators and administrators, academia is, as an institution, completely out of touch with mainstream Americans. Academia believes, institutionally, that they are intellectually and morally superior to the rest of us. Moreover, many of them believe the rest of us are so stupid as to not notice or understand this delusional disconnect. That's because many of them live their lives in a bubble. Academics are, as a whole, subject to groupthink - politically correct groupthink. 

By now, most readers have read and/or heard the condescending, arrogant and deceitful remarks coming from MIT economics Professor Jonathan Gruber as he described his involvement with the recent healthcare reform legislation and implementation. Gruber gladly accepted hundreds of thousands of American taxpayer dollars for his work on healthcare reform while simultaneously characterizing the average American voter as "stupid." A textbook example of an academic elite. Gruber's condescending attitude toward the average American, e.g.: “the American voter is too stupid to understand”, is systemic within academia. In many ways, it defines "higher learning's" attitude toward the "great unwashed."

Dr. Walter Williams recently used the Jonathan Gruber revelation to illustrate much of this. Of course, Williams knows how academia works. He's worked in the belly of the beast for decades:
Dr. Williams has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, since 1980; from 1995 to 2001, he served as department chairman. He has also served on the faculties of Los Angeles City College, California State University Los Angeles, and Temple University in Philadelphia, and Grove City College, Grove City, Pa.
 As Williams points out in the recent article:
One little-noticed feature of Gruber’s speeches was the type of place where he felt comfortable talking about the use of deception and mocking American intelligence. His speeches took place at the University of Pennsylvania, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Rhode Island. Universities are home to the academic elite — people who believe they have more intelligence than and superior wisdom to the masses. They believe they have been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Gruber and his fellow academic elite have what they consider to be good reasons for restricting the freedom of others. [Emphasis mine].
The fact his comments admitting deception were welcome (even generating laughter) in a number of University settings also reflects academia's pervasive ideology of moral relativism - the ends justifies the means. Academics, along with some of their associates in progressive education efforts, used to come here and defend academia and the systemic fraud supported by political correctness. They no longer do - with good reason of course. They look like fools in attempting to defend the indefensible. I'd slink away into the shadows too. Cowards.

But I digress. Today's hearings even brought down the wrath of Gruber's political soulmates.
The ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee made GOP chairman Darrell Issa’s opening statement sound tame by comparison.

“As far as I can tell, we are here today to beat up on Jonathan Gruber for stupid — I mean absolutely stupid — comments he made over the last few years,” he began, staring angrily at the hapless professor.

“Let me be clear, I am extremely frustrated with Dr. Gruber’s statements,” Cummings continued. “They were irresponsibly, incredibly disrespectful, and did not reflect reality. And they were indeed insulting.” [Emphasis mine.]

These remarks by Congressman Elijah Cummins are spot on, with one exception - the part I highlighted. Gruber's offending remarks do, in fact, reflect reality - at least in regards to how much of academia view themselves in contrast to those outside academia and those not part of the ruling class elite, i.e., the "average American."

Keep all this in mind the next time you read some condescending, arrogant, "professional" educator, historian, etc., etc. lecture you on how you should interpret American history and how those who embrace a more traditional perspective of American history are "ignorant" (stupid) and who use history for political ends at the expense of the truth. Right.

No doubt they're laughing and mocking at how "stupid" we all are are as they sip their lattes in the faculty lounge or as they attempt to impress each other at the next academic conference, believing they've gotten away with another fast one.

More From Wackydemia - The Tea Party Are Like The Nazis

No, please don't tell anyone I don't have control over. We wouldn't want your parents (who pay my salary) to know about the garbage I'm filling your minds with.

And there's more. The student who recorded this accuses this "educator" of an anti-Christian bias:
“it’s very easy to see that he has a vendetta against Republicans and religion with an emphasis on Christianity.”
And this student correctly points out: 
“it’s wrong for him to use his position as a soap box for his beliefs, especially with young, impressionable students.” 
Right, but these folks don't do real well when they actually have to defend their beliefs with someone older and not so impressionable. Young impressionable minds which depend on the authority figure for a passing grade are low-hanging fruit, ripe for the picking. Unless, of course, the fruit records them. More here.

Of course, this comes as no surprise or shock. This whole attitude is systemic in academia. It's been documented over and over again, as in this talk given by Professor George Yancey titled "Anti-Christian Bias in Academia and Beyond":

And we've even seen the discussion and accusations spill over onto other Civil War blogs:
It is unfortunate that Christians are increasingly lampooned as science-hating mindless sycophants who have no place in a discussion about history. I’m not implying that that is what Levin was going for, but the feeding frenzy that ensued shows that he certainly left the door open for what passes as civil discourse nowadays. ~ Professor Jimmy Dick
Suffice it to say that the bias deniers who populate the latest version of the Flat-Earth Society only look more and more foolish with each denial. The gig is up and has been for quite some time.

08 December 2014

Metal Detecting Post #123 - A Bunch Of Bullets ~ Part II

Such avocational historians have not used the metal detector as a tool for looting sites or for monetary gain but instead have, in many cases, gathered and documented the location of their finds in a way that revealed the archaeological nature of vast sites . . . In fact, in many instances, if not for the work of these individuals who have shared their knowledge and worked with members of the professional community, evidence of significant military actions would have been lost to the consuming "progress" that has shaped the landscape of many towns and communities since the 1950's ~ From the introduction of From These Honored Dead.

03 December 2014

Metal Detecting Post #122 - Civil War Battlefield Archeology

I was recently told about a book that I'm really looking forward to reading. From These Honored Dead - Historical Archeology of the American Civil War is right up my alley of interest regarding the War Between the States, archeology and artifact and relic recovery using a metal detector. I just received my copy and quickly turned to the index to see if there were any references to metal detectors in the book. A quick glance revealed there appear to be several dozen. I find that quite fascinating as the book is authored by two academics and there is still a chasm of distrust between relic hunters (aka, "amateur" archeologists) and professional archeologists; though some progress in bridging that chasm has been made in recent years thanks to the efforts of individuals like Dr. Matt Reeves of James Madison's Montpelier. There's actually a chapter in the book discussing Matt's efforts at Montpelier and the tremendous success he's had working with avocational detectorists in recovering and saving Civil War artifacts there. Good stuff.

The publisher of the book (University Press of Florida), has this to say about the book:
Separating myth from fact, From These Honored Dead uses historical archaeology to uncover the truth in the many conflicting memories of the American Civil War that have been passed down through generations.

By incorporating the results of archaeological investigations, the essays in this volume shed new light on many aspects of the Civil War. Topics include soldier life in camp and on the battlefield, defense mechanisms such as earthworks construction, the role of animals during military operations, and a refreshing focus on the conflict in the Trans-Mississippi West. Supplying a range of methods and exciting conclusions, this book displays the power of archaeology in interpreting this devastating period in U.S. history.
There's even a chart comparing the performance of various detectors/detectorists:

Interestingly enough though, is the fact that just about all of the reference books published to date which identify Civil War artifacts recovered from battlefields, have been written by relic hunters who used metal detectors in the recovery of those items. (I hope to write one myself one day which will feature not just WBTS artifacts, but 18th & 19th century artifacts recovered here in Virginia.)

In skimming the pages of the book, I see that it will likely provide quite a bit of fodder for posts. For example, just on the first page of the introduction, one reads:
. . . the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor for what was to become differentially known as the American Civil War, the War of the Rebellion, the War of Northern Aggression, the War for Southern Independence, and so forth.
Wow, that will really come as a shock to some folks. And there's this:
In Union, Yankees, Southerners, and immigrants to the society that their contest spawned have literally gone to the moon and have established a framework for human freedom that is the envy of the world. [Emphasis mine.]
Can anyone say, American Exceptionalism? More heartburn for the bubble dwellers.

I'm sure I'll be posting a lot of comments about this book and, possibly, a full review at some point. 

(Also, I hope to post a full review of Kent Masterson Brown's new documentary on Daniel Boone very soon. Sorry for the delay Kent!)

02 December 2014

A Milestone Not Unnoticed Here

Kevin Levin points out the fact that South Carolina Senator Tim Scott's milestone achievement has largely gone unnoticed (or, more accurately, intentionally ignored) by a certain crowd. A valid observation, though I think there's more than Scott's party affiliation behind his being dissed by ruling class elites and the left. Senator Scott is also a born-again Christian and Tea Party favorite - anathema to the left. But the milestone did not go unnoticed here. I posted something on this in 2012.

It's good to see other folks catching up. 

And, for those interested, there were actually a number of other "milestones" in the recent November election. For example:
Last week’s midterm elections were a collective milestone in the history of the party of Lincoln. In direct contradiction to the notion that the Republican Party is predominantly older, white and male, this election cycle yielded a new crop of Republicans with a highly diverse array of backgrounds, experiences and 
demographic characteristics. 
Take, for instance, the election of Mia Love, who will take office in Washington this January while laying claim to a number of historic firsts: the first Haitian-American to serve in Congress, the first black Republican woman to serve in Congress and Utah’s first black representative in Congress. In her victory speech, Love commented on how her election defies the claims of many in the national political scene, who suggested that there was no way an African-American woman could win office in Utah, a state where 91 percent of the population is white.
More here.