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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

A delightful evening here in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor, especially considering that we’re sitting dead red in the center of August.  Loafing out on the porch, Ol’ Robbo thought he might provide you a few dainties on which to nibble as the sun goes down:

♦  Today was Ol’ Robbo’s second telework day of the new regime.  I think I can get used to this.  And yes, I’m finding it to actually be quite productive.  The question no doubt flies around the decanter, “So, was he wearing pants?”  Well, if you ask the Magic 8-Ball, you’ll only get the answer, “Reply hazy, ask again later“.

♦  I’m sorry, but as dearly as I love both Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, “Bringing Up Baby” is just not a funny movie.  “Holiday” is funny.  “Adam’s Rib” is funny.  But “Baby”? Just too manic and cutesy.  I don’t care what anybody else says. (I tried to re-watch it the other evening and couldn’t stick more than about half an hour.)

♦  Ol’ Robbo was excited to try out his brand new pair of running shoes this afternoon.  My previous pair was so old that I can’t even remember when I bought them.  They were so worn out that the heels were literally crumbling, causing my ankles and knees to corkscrew when I walked on the treadmill in them.  Not good.  I try not to fling my gold about more than necessary on personal items, but this purchase seemed to me quite justified.

♦  The consolation of having to go back to the Metro to commute to my new office is that I get a little extra reading time in.  Obviously, in such conditions one can’t get into anything too heavy or profound, so I’ve circled back round to my shelf of adventure stories.  At the moment, I’m revisiting H. Rider Haggard, specifically King Solomon’s Mines.  (I plan to read the rest of the Quartermain stories in turn.)  I half-hope that some SJW witnit will spot it and give me grief for my un-wokeness, but I’m not terribly optimistic.  These people are just too pathetically ignorant.

♦  Some fascinating conversations with Eldest Gel this week.  The other day we discussed God’s omniscience and existence outside of Time as it relates to Fatalism and Free Will. “Look,” she said in her direct way, “God knows what you’re going to do, of course.  But you’re still the one who makes up your mind to do it! Otherwise, you’re just a slave or a robot!”  Today, it was Schrödinger’s Cat.  I tried to suggest this was just a thought experiment, but she was having none of it. “The damned cat is either alive or it isn’t!” she said.  “It doesn’t matter at all whether you know it or not!  It’s like that tree in the forest – of course it makes a noise when it falls!”  It seems to me that a Gel who can avoid both the Scylla of Calvinism (and Islam) and the Charybdis of hipster quantum-theory navel gazing ought to go far.  Heh.

And yet this same Gel can’t seem to put her blasted dishes in the gorram dishwasher, no matter how much I rant.  Go figure.

Whelp, that’s about enough “filling up the corners” for now.***  Think I’ll toddle downstairs and see how my Beloved Nationals are doing.

See you in the Gardening Thread tomorrow.


***Spot the quote.  This ought to be an easy one.

UPDATE:  Ugh. Blown save.  Ol’ Robbo hates blown saves.




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

How about a little this and that?

♦  Ol’ Robbo is quite disappointed he wasn’t invited to Google Camp to discuss the impending Doom of the World with the High and the Mighty.  Not.  As the Puppy-Blender likes to say, I don’t want to hear another goddam thing about my carbon footprint.  When the people who keep telling me there’s a crisis start acting like there’s a crisis, then maybe I’ll listen.  Until then, they can STFD and STFU.  (You will, I hope, pardon my French.)

♦  And while we’re on politicks (which I seldom visit here), how much of an idiot do you have to be to allow yourself to be maneuvered into defending Al Sharpton, or denying that Baltimore is a hell on earth?  I mean, come on!

♦  Well, it’s getting on toward that time of the year again.  Middle Gel (now a sophomore) went back to campus yesterday (she’s there early because she got a job as a front desk monitor in one of the dorms this year), and Eldest (a senior) toodles off in (I think) two weeks. Meanwhile, Youngest spent a goodish time over the summah checking out various schools, and has decided she really, really wants to go to Miami of Ohio.  Fingers crossed.  At least it’s a terrific motivator for her to go flat out this semester.

♦  As I mentioned previously, my place of employment moved to a brand-new building this past week. (More on that as I settle in.)  I used to have samples of the Gels’ collective art work taped up all over my office walls at the old place, but that was from ten to fifteen years ago.  Somehow, it seemed appropriate not to repost it in my new digs, but simply to put it all in a file in my drawer.  I suppose it’ll be wedding and grandchildren pics soon.  (And they’d better be in that order, dammit!)

♦  I grow increasingly dissatisfied with Nexflix and its evident decision not to put any real effort into maintaining in its DVD library anything more than about five years old.

♦  I also mentioned the other day that I’m currently reading some John Buchan.  Several friends of the decanter have been urging me to do this for years, and I duly raise my glass to them.  Specifically, I’m working on the Leithen Stories, which might best be described as Old-School Tory adventures.  Crisply and cleanly written, and exciting on a small scale.  (I particularly like “John Macnab” which is all about poaching in the Scottish Highlands.)

Whelp, that’s about it.  Port Swiller Manor has been teased the past couple days by some very strong thunderstorms that just didn’t quite make it all the way here.  I’m hoping we finally get a piece of that action this afternoon.  (Happily, it’s my day off, so I won’t get stuck trying to commute in it.)



Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo notes that today is this blog’s 11th anniversary.

Maybe the thing to celebrate is not that it thrives but that it survives at all.   Twenty “hits” and one or two comments is a good day for me.  I can’t even remember the last time somebody actually “linked” me.   The retirees on my blogroll far outnumber those who are still active.

But you know? So what.  As long as I still enjoy hauling out the ol’ laptop and posting whatever runs across my braims, I’ll keep doing it.  Even if it means I’m essentially just typing to myself.

In the meantime, I do feel tremendous gratitude for those of you who stick around here and take those posts in.  And if there aren’t that many here?  It just means there’s more port and Stilton for the rest of us!

So charge your glasses, pray, gunn’ls under, and here’s to 11 Years with three times three and no heel taps!

MULTI-SUBJECT UPDATE:  Thankee, friends!  Thankee muchly!   I say that I do this simply because I enjoy writing, but any blogger who claims that is, in fact, a liar.  The knowledge of making any kind of difference (hopefully for the better) in somebody else’s life and experience with my blatherings far outweighs mere pixilated wanking.

Now for a couple of things.

First, a glass of wine with Melissa Kean who writes over at Rice History Corner and may be a first time commenter here. (At the very least, an infrequent one.)  Welcome!  For what it’s worth as a small historickal nugget, back in the days of my misspent high school yoot in San Antonio in the early 80’s,  Rice was considered the in-state choice for brainiacs and eggheads, a kind of “Texas Ivy”.  I dunno if that perception still holds true.  (For myself, in a class of around 660, I believe I was one of fewer than ten who went out of state.  But then, I was both a Yankee carpet-bagger and a weirdo.)  Oh, and I recall that their marching band was famous for its unconventional performances.  Is that still the case?

Several of you mention the aging factor.  I’d thought about that as well, but the truth is I still think of this place as fairly newish because I first started blogging with the formation of the Llamas back in November, 2003.  That’s ancient history!  Ol’ Robbo still yearns for a bloggy renaissance.  Those first heady days back in the earlies were such fun and so free-spirited.  Of course, the times are considerably different now, but I had hopes that the poisonous and censorious atmospheres of platforms like Twatter and FacePlant would convince folk to come back to the Blogsphere.  (WordPress, bless ’em, have never given me any flak whatsoever for the stuff I put up here.)

Browndog mentions a discussion in the morning thread over at the Ewok’s Place today about John Boorman’s original plan to do a Lord of the Rings movie back in the late 70’s which got kyboshed because of costs.  He wound up doing “Excalibur” instead.  Yes, I did see that, although I didn’t open up the linkies because work.  It’s not unreasonable to believe that had Boorman done LOTR, Peter Jackson maybe would not have.  And long-time friends of the decanter know all about what Ol’ Robbo thinks of Peter Jackson.  On the other hand, if Boorman had carried on through with the project and “Excalibur” hadn’t been made, would we have still got a young, nekked Helen Mirren?  I think not. Just sayin’.

Finally, did somebody say….Mélissa Theauriau??!!

Yes, indeedilly-didilly! ***


*** Another Llama blast-from-the-past.  And yes, I need to get to Confession anyway……





Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

It was back to the grindstone for Ol’ Robbo today after his week off, with the added feature that he set foot for the first time into his new work digs, into which his effects had been moved over the weekend.

I’ve been dreading this move since it was first announced some time last year.  Not only does the new building – and it literally is brand new – require a longer commute, the promises of all the gee-whiz architectural and technological innovations packed into it have for months filled me with a jaundiced cynicism and a foreboding of doom.

So I was perfectly willing to loathe the place as I stepped off the elevator this morning.  Imagine my confusion, then, when it all turned out to be…..really rather nice.

I had heard rumor that our offices were going to be mere shoeboxes.  This turns out to be false.  I believe my new room is a couple square feet smaller than my old one, but it is so light and airy that one doesn’t even really notice the difference.  (I still think that when I get ultra-busy and have mounds of paper stacked up all over the place that I’ll notice the difference, but eh.)  Similarly, to save space, the doors don’t swing open and closed but slide back and forth.  For a long time I took this as a clue to the new horror, but the fact is that it’s really pretty cool.  (Alas, they’re not automatic and there are no Star Trek sound-effects.)  True, the furniture is what you might call Discount IKEA, but it’s perfectly adequate.  And for some reason the acoustics of the room definitely enhance the quality of the sound coming from my radio.

So what the heck’s a curmudgeon supposed to do?

I guess I’ll just have to wait until all the little flaws start revealing themselves, which they certainly will over time.  Oh, yes.  They will.

Oh, I mentioned stepping off the elevator.  The elevators are going to be a problem.  In order to whistle one up, you tap in your desired floor on a keypad in the lobby.  The screen then directs you to one of the bank (labeled A through G).  Once you step inside the thing you’re trapped, as there is no internal control panel.  What could possibly go wrong?  Also, when an elevator is arriving at a floor, there’s no simple “Ding!” but a kind of sparkly theme, of which I’m sure I will get quite sick before the week is out.  It isn’t exactly Sirius Cybernetics Corporation-grade awfulness, but it ain’t far off.  (I’m sure that at some point in the not-too-distant future I’ll find myself muttering, “Go stick your head in a pig.”)

So since I can’t gripe about the new digs themselves, I have to fall back on the commute.  And even that is a challenge.  As I may have mentioned here before, the location of the new digs is such that Ol’ Robbo is abandoning his drive downtown and instead is reverting to taking the Metro.  On the one hand, this means I have to surrender my autonomy and my solitude.  On the other, what with the transit subsidy I get, I’m saving a considerable amount of dosh.  Also, I get to go back to commuter-reading.  (Today I started John Buchan’s The Leithen Stories.  The first is called “The Power House” and is all about the eeeevil machinations of a Globalist Cabal.  It was published a hundred years ago but seems pretty durn apropos these days too, what?)

And although my average commute time will be a bit longer than it was previously, there are also some advantages.  For one thing, my route from my home Metro stop back to Port Swiller Manor goes straight past the Ger-may Giyont and Total Bev, whereas previously I had to detour coming out of downtown to get to them.  For another, and this one may seem completely silly, because of the direction I take getting home from the Metro, I’m able to see the Moon rise in the evenings.

Finally, in large part because the commute is going to be longer, Ol’ Robbo was actually motivated to put in the paperwork for teleworking on Mondays and Fridays.  I mentioned this to Eldest the other day, and her response was a bit surprising.   “Good,” she said.  “I’m glad you won’t have to go in so much.  You’re starting to look kind of worn out.”

Yimminy, I’m not that old yet!  Am I?

That regime kicks in next week.  To celebrate, I may work in my jammies on Monday just because I can work in my jammies.  We’ll see.

(And related to that, although I can no longer enjoy my lunchtime walkies around the National Mall, I’ve no excuse whatsoever for not hitting the treadmill and rowing-erg at home on my non-commute days.)

Anyhoo, a definite sea-change in Robbo’s work life.  We’ll see what happens.




Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

This weekend Ol’ Robbo watched a new-to-him movie courtesy of Netflix, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2006)

I have no recollection whatsoever how this flick wound up in the ol’ queue, but there it was.

The movie is billed as a “mockumentary” of an attempt to film the impossible-to-film mid-1700’s novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne, at least parts of which Ol’ Robbo has managed to read with some enjoyment.  (It’s very hard work.  The thing wraps itself in layers which continue to fold, spin, and mutilate, and very, very careful attention is necessary.)


Ol’ Robbo generally enjoys mockumentaries, but frankly this one couldn’t hold a candle to the great Christopher Guest and his quintet of beauties.  There seemed to be no real plot arc, one idea being picked up and then tossed in favor of another, and in the end it just sort of stopped without any kind of conclusion.  (I watched it twice just to make sure I wasn’t missing something.)  There were bits and pieces of funny here and there certainly, but it it just didn’t really seem to sustain itself all the way through.

On the other hand, the film’s about a 1700’s costume piece, so at least it had me there.

All in all, I think I’d give it two glasses out of five and probably wouldn’t bother again.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is just checking in this fine Monday Morning (if there is such a thing) to see if the world has got any more insane over the first few days of his summah hols.

Let’s just say I’m not surprised by what I find.

This is definitely one of those do-nothing vacations for me.  At the moment, Ol’ Robbo is ensconced at his in-laws, largely that they may indulge themselves in grandchildren.  Mercifully, they’ve learned over the years that the best thing to do with me on these visits is to leave me be in a corner somewhere and forget about me.  Thus left, I have spent the past few days wallowing in bottomless cups of kawfee, a few glasses of wine, and some good summah reading, mostly P.C. Wren (Beau Geste and Beau Sabreur) and Kipling (Puck of Pook’s Hill, which I’ve not read before).

Most of the rest of my vacay will be spent back at Port Swiller Manor doing pretty much the same thing, with the addition of my various chores about the house and mense.

All in all, pretty restful.

Speaking of glasses of wine, t’other day, Ol’ Robbo was questioning here why America’s manned space program hasn’t pushed on further out since the end of the Apollo Program but has instead frittered itself away in low earth orbit.  So it was with some amusement that I noted this story this morning:  Red Wine could be Secret to Keeping Us Fit for Life on Mars: Study.

Now Ol’ Robbo has always pushed the manned space exploration angle strictly from the comfort of his armchair.  Frankly, I’d be too terrified to ever actually go up myself.  (Heck, regular friends of the decanter are well away of the hard time I have just dealing with commercial aviation.)  But if they need middle-aged fellahs to follow up on this research?

Hey, NASA.  I’m your huckleberry!

Moar holiday posting later…..

(A glass of wine with Sarah Hoyt over at the Puppy-Blender’s place.)

UPDATE:  Finished off all the Wren I have with me.  Starting in on the Kipling, I suddenly remembered why I have the book:

As regular friends of the decanter may recall, one of the small hobgoblins that haunts the mind of Ol’ Robbo is a possible literary reference in the works of Mr. Evelyn Waugh.  In his Handful of Dust, poor old Tony Last repeatedly refers to a story he read as a child about a Viking longboat showing up beneath the walls of Constantinople.  That image has always appealed to me and I’ve wondered for a long time where it could possibly have come from.

I think it was the last time I mentioned this here that somebody suggested Puck of Pook’s Hill as a likely candidate, and it at least seems plausible.  In the story, two children meet Puck (yes, that Puck) in a quiet corner of the English countryside.  By the power of oak, ash, and thorn, Puck invites them to travel back in time to meet the various historickal persons who have crossed the same piece of ground.  (The first story, which I’m currently reading, involves a young Norman knight who came over with the Conqueror.  A couple days after Hastings, he has to deal with settling his authority on a Saxon manor.)  I’ll let you know if Norsemen are spotted in Byzantium.

Even if the story referred to by Mr. Woo isn’t in this book, I already find it’s raising themes which I’ve long known and loved in the works of other traditional Brit writers:  Merlin and the Pagan Times; Roman occupation; Arthur; the Saxons; the coming of Christianity; the Conqueror.  (And that C.S. Lewis chose to name the children in the Narnia Chronicles ‘Pevensey’ is no accident.)  And so on.  (Even Hy-Brasil, which I first learned of, of all fool things, from the Python movie “Eric the Viking” gets a mention.)  Ol’ Robbo loves to wallow in this rich literary and historickal tradition, probably even more so these days since it’s been almost completely wiped out from contemporary conscience by those who would establish their Brave New World.

To such people, I say Puck Off!

UPDATE DUEX:  Well, we’ve had a longboat adventure in which both a Norman and a Saxon participate, but they go to the Bight of Benin and fight gorillas for gold instead of Constantinople.  Perhaps we’ll get another chance later.  At the moment, I’m headed for Hadrian’s Wall.

UPDATE TROIS: Finished.  No more longboats.  It must have been some other source.  BTB, here’s a link to the two hundred (not single) Viking longboat attack on Constantinople in 860 A.D.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo noticed the ballyhoo this week over the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

The fact of the matter is that I was only four years old at the time of the first Moon landing, so have no clear recollection of it.  Thus, this is read-about-it history to me instead of lived-it history.

I do have vague recollections of being awakened at odd times of night to see various events associated with some of the later missions.  The last two I remember following quite closely.

And the other thing I remember very clearly after Apollo 17 and the end of the program was thinking, “Oh, well.  We’ll be going back again soon, I’m sure.  Then Mars.  Then who knows?”  Even at the tender age of seven, I had some historickal sense of the Spirit of Exploration, so I figured we’d simply carry on forward with what to me was, and still is, a completely logical progression.

Fifty years after Apollo 11, I’m still tapping my foot, glancing at my watch, and waiting….

Thus, all this celebration really kind of rubs me the wrong way, as it seems rather hollow.  Just what the heck have we done since then?  Fooled about in Low Earth Orbit with a flying dump truck?  Built a couple LEO “stations”?  Lobbed some unmanned probes here and there?

I’m not saying these programs haven’t had their benefits or been technologically marvelous in their own ways.  And I’m not even complaining here about NASA nowadays frittering itself away on things like Muslim-outreach and the Globull Enwarmening scam.  I’m just saying I’m disappointed we don’t have colonies on the Moon and Mars, asteroid mining, and a high-orbit space port for deeper space missions.  Because until we do have such follow-on achievements, the Apollo Program is really something of a blind alley, isn’t it.

To this end, I really think governments should take a page out of history and allow and encourage more private space exploration.  It is, as Captain Kirk would say, the Final Frontier, after all.  And it isn’t going to be conquered by gubmint bureaucrats, but instead by adventurers, people in it hoping to make a huge profit or else just doing it because they get a kick out of it.  (Absurdly enough, the movie Star Trek: First Contact nails this idea nicely:  Zephram Cochran’s self-interested quest to develop warp drive is the wave of the future, IMHO.  Ol’ Robbo likes to think whoever wrote that story-line had Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” floating around in the back of their mind, even if I really rather doubt it.)

Ah, well.

Maybe, just maybe, the current song and dance might kindle in others that same expectation I had back when I was a boy and still do.  And on the privateering front, I continue to be impressed by the advances being made by Space-X.  Moar, please!


**Could not resist the apropos quote, although the fact of the matter is I’ve never been a Jackie Gleeson fan.  I appreciate his talent, but his brand of humor was too broad for me.  It’s just a matter of taste.

UPDATE:  Speaking of NASA and humor, an oldie that has always made Robbo laugh:








Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

We all know that to hibernate means to pass the winter in a torpid or resting state.  It’s rooted in Latin hiburnare, meaning “to spend the winter”.

Ol’ Robbo found himself musing this afternoon that there ought to be an equivalent for this time of year, as this sticky, sultry heat invariably sends me into a torpor.  And by golly, there is:  Estivate.  (The Latin noun for summah is aestas.)

What a language!

UPDATE: My various teachers always insisted that using a new word in context is critical to understanding its meaning. Thus:  “Ol’ Robbo estivated for the summah in his basement study, provisioned with a large pitcher of G&T’s and the Aubrey/Maturin series of Patrick O’Brian, and did not reemerge from his restful hiding until the first cool fronts of early September announced the impending change in seasons from summah to fall.”

If only.

Well, I was going to commit a few random thoughts and observations to pixels here, but all that research seems to have drained my powers, so I’ll just let it go at that for now.

(Here’s hoping the thunderstorms and cool front being promised for tonight and tomorrow aren’t just a lie being made up by Big Weather to raise and then dash my hopes for at least a day’s relief.)

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As those lynx-eyed friends of the decanter who have been following Ol’ Robbo’s train of thought for the past two days already know, today marks the anniversary of the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg, culminating in Pickett’s Charge, called by some the “High Tide of the Confederacy”.

More about that in a moment.

Poor George. He never did recover from having his command destroyed.

Ol’ Robbo may very well finally get around to watching “Gettysburg” this evening, at least the last part of it anyway, because the staging of the Charge is really very well done.  I think I read somewhere that they used 5000 re-enactor volunteers for it, and I’ll bet every one of them had a blast.

My only real criticism of the thing, indeed of the whole movie, is that it is almost completely lacking in blood: Shells cartwheel soldiers over (in what I call “Dukes of Hazzard shots”) and bullets plink them down, but there’s simply no gore.  Also, when the two sides start clashing hand-to-hand along the wall, while the overall scene is impressive, if you start focusing on the actual individuals you’ll notice a lot of them just going through the motions half-heartedly.  (I suppose this was a safety matter as much as anything else, since most of them are insurance salesmen and dentists, not professional stuntmen.)  But ne’er mind, it’s still very impressive, as well as quite accurate in its details.

As to the “High Tide” label, while there’s an understandable romance to the notion that the South was this close to winning the War, both the movie and the novel on which it’s based strongly take the Longstreet view that the Charge was suicidal folly and doomed from the start.  This view is certainly supported by Earl J. Hess’s Pickett’s Charge – The Last Attack at Gettysburg, which plots practically every step of the way in very dry measurements and figures, and shows clearly that the attack as carried out hadn’t a prayer.  Had it been properly supported with either re-enforcements or subsidiary attacks elsewhere?  Or had Lee called it off and maneuvered around to another position?  Who knows.

So what was ol’ Bobby Lee thinking?  The movie’s rather vague on the point, at least so far as his dismissal of Longstreet’s tactical objections goes.  Personally, I think it was a cross between arrogance and desperation.  (I don’t buy the movie’s hint at blind religious zealotry, nor do I think much of another theory that physical illness clouded his mental capacity.)   He’d got away with bold yet risky moves in other battles – most notably Antietam and Chancellorsville – so perhaps he simply felt an unexpected hammer-blow would panic the Yankees into collapse.  He certainly would not have launched it if he thought it had no hope of success. We’ll never know for sure, of course.

So that’s that.  And to cap things off, may I recommend Glenn Tucker’s High Tide at Gettysburg? It has a folksy style to it, but is clear and informative.

UPDATE:  Speaking of Civil War reenactors, Ol’ Robbo has been meaning to comment on the surprise sad news of the death of Tony Horwitz.  (He was only 60.)  I finally read his Confederates in the Attic within the past couple years, and also have his Blue Latitudes (tracing the voyages of Captain Cook) and A Voyage Long and Strange (about European exploration of North America). He was in the middle of promoting a new book, Spying on the South, when he died.  I haven’t read it yet.

At least from what I have read of his work, Horwitz was definitely liberal and I disagreed with some of his points, but he was also fair-minded and respectful and did not reduce complicated historickal moral issues to Lefty bumper-sticker sloganeering.

He’ll be missed.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Today is, of course, the anniversary of the Second Day of fighting at Gettysburg, and it seems fitting to Ol’ Robbo to keep up with my theme below concerning the movie about the battle which I still haven’t decided whether I’ll watch again.

For the reasons I discuss below, I believe the movie (and the novel on which it’s based) does an inadvertent disservice to its audience to the extent that said audience believes it to be anything like a full recounting of the Battle.  This is nowhere more evident than in its portrayal of the Second Day, which in the movie is confined almost completely to a depiction of the fighting at Little Round Top, and the actions of Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain therein.  (Bowdoin College and the Brunswick, Maine Chamber of Commerce both say Thank You!, by the bye.)

Col. Strong Vincent of the 83rd Pennsylvania, who recognized the importance of occupying Little Round Top and did so on his own authority., thus arguably making him the true hero of that part of the Battle. (You’re welcome, Vic!)

Not that I would argue that the movie gets much wrong about this fight (except that it sets the action in a forest and Little Round Top was clear-cut) or overstates its critical importance to the Union cause.  Rayther, by the time it’s over, one would think that Jeff Daniels won the entire Second Day of the Battle all by himself.  This simply isn’t the case.

The novel, at least, spends somewhat more time on Longstreet’s development of his attack against the Union Left, and discusses the Wheat Field, the Peach Orchard, and the Devil’s Den.  But neither novel nor movie have much of anything to say about the Confederate attacks along other parts of the Union line, including Ewell’s movement against Culp’s and Cemetery Hills and A.P. Hill’s probe toward the Union center.  Again, Little Round Top was a crisis that the Union managed to survive, but there were plenty others that day as well.  (This is where I always mention the emergency charge of the 1st Minnesota to plug a hole along Cemetery Ridge until reinforcements could be brought up.  They went in and suffered something like 90% casualties, but they held the line.)  The fighting lasted well into the evening, by the bye, and was nip and tuck right up until the end.

So there.

Of course, I’m indulging in nerdy quibbling here, and I suppose I really ought to be grateful that the movie was made in the first place.  As I remarked in comments below, it couldn’t have been done at all nowadays because although it clearly sides with the Northern Cause, it treats just about all the players on both sides with sympathy and respect.

And we certainly can’t have that now, can we?



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