Poor July 5th.

il_fullxfull.356753869_6lioThe 5th of July is such a sad little day. Independence day is a tough act to follow – what with the revelry and fireworks and all. Many of us spend the day cleaning up a red white and blue mess – or we just take it easy while “recuperating” from the previous day’s festivities. I am pretty sure the signers of the Declaration of Independence were nursing some pretty serious hangovers. I mean, they had just committed high treason…I can think of no better reason to dip excessively into the Rattle-Skull.

Though we Americans may not find it as interesting a day as the one preceding, July 5th has its high points here and around the world. For example, July 5th is Venezuela’s independence day, marking it’s separation from Spain in 1811. On this day in 1954 Elvis Presley recorded “That’s All Right,” and thus proceeded to gyrate into rock and roll stardom. On July 5th, 1946, postwar Parisians caught glimpse of their very first bikini. Hello. On this day in 1975 tennis player Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win at Wimbledon and finally, Dolly the Sheep, the world’s first animal cloned from adult cells, was born on July 5th, 1996.

So maybe July 5th is not such a sad day after all – there’s lots to think about…lots to commemorate.

With compliments,

Keith

One of the Best Independence Days Ever

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 8.35.24 AMGood morning friends and a Happy Independence Day to you all! Today I would like to take a moment to commemorate the fall of the Rebel stronghold at Vicksburg – July 4, 1863. I am quite certain that the loyal citizens of the United States appreciated the significance of such a victory on such a day. Huzzah!

With compliments,

Keith

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The Americanist Independent: A Monthly Journal of United States History

Longstreet’s Beard

 

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On this, the anniversary of the Pickett-Pettigrew assault, I offer you a few words on unsightly faux whiskers:

You know, sometimes things are just plain ridiculous. I mean……asinine. Case in point – Tom Berenger did a fair enough job playing Confederate General James Longstreet in the Film Gettysburg. But the beard….really?????

Whoever did the hair and makeup for this film should be tarred and feathered. Or at least, never allowed to work in the motion picture business. I have heard that wretched looking thing compared to squirrels, beavers, brooms, coon-skin caps, and any number of other things that all would look equally ridiculous glued to a man’s chin.

My God people, did anyone think this thing looked like a real beard? Couldn’t Berenger have just grown one? It would have been worth the time. It is really really distracting.

But here is another problem. To a whole lot of people, the film Gettysburg is what the  battle – and those whoScreen Shot 2014-07-03 at 11.29.36 AM took part in it – looked like. So now, to my horror, when people think of James Longstreet – many of them think of Tom Berenger as Longstreet.

Don’t believe me? Take a trip to the battlefield sometime. You will find a very odd (dedicated post Gettysburg) monument to – James “Tom Berenger” Longstreet – beard and all. The power of the motion picture is simply remarkable – despite the sometimes hideous use of fake facial hair.

 

With compliments,

Keith

 

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The Americanist Independent: A Monthly Journal of United States History