Thursday, June 29, 2006
Still no response from B&N. I wonder if my gmail email account is being picked up as spam? Wouldn't that be funny? At least there would be an excuse for B&N not to have responded.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Unfortunately, where the 54th failed, the ocean has not. In the late 1800’s the state of South Carolina received permission from the federal government to build jetties to help deepen the Charleston harbor. Unfortunately it also changed the way sand moved within the local area and Morris Island found the vast majority of its land, under water.
There was still a bit left above ground and over the years, it has, for the most part, been left alone. Unfortunately, living near the water has become big business in America and for awhile, it looked like Morris Island would soon be developed.
In stepped Mr. Bobby Gin, a developer who purchased the island for $6.8 million but has agreed to sell it to the Trust for Public Land for $4.5 million. With all that we keep hearing about people and corporations destroying the past to make way for the future, it is good to see that someone is willing to help.
The unfortunate part to all of this? Even with the SC State Conservation Bank giving $1.5 million to kick start raising funds, the bank still needs to come up with close to $4 million to cover all the costs in purchasing the island and getting it ready for the public.
I wonder if the same public that complains of the environment and history slipping away will step up and make sure that Morris Island is preserved.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
12,025 actually voted for County supervisor - the MOST powerful position in the county - 13.9% of the voting population or 7.9% percent of the total population. Yes this is for a primary but still that could mean the estimated voting population could be cut in half - if the Democratic party had not suggested that members vote in the Republican primaries as you do not have to register a specific party in SC.
In a state of over 4.2 million residents, there are 2.4 million registered and yet only 16% showed up for the primary. 384,000 people basically decided some of the major elections across the state, less than 10% of the total population.
With our status of being a Republican stronghold, many of the city and county Republican primaries will be the only contested vote. Many Democrats won’t even waste the money to run against the Republicans – and who can blame them when no one bothers to show up?
In my county, the County Administrator (think Mayor of the County – an extremely powerful position) and my County Councilman will have their elections decided today. So the future of the county is in our hands, yet I am willing to bet few will show up to voice their opinion.
I feel though, that this is more than an opinion to voice, it is more than a right when we take part in voting, it is a duty.
My father was career Navy, and along with my mother instilled that voting was a duty of a citizen. I can remember them filling out their absentee ballots in the 1980 election and the seriousness they placed in deciding who to vote for. The day I turned 18, I registered to vote as soon as school let out and was proud to do it. And since that day, rarely have I missed an election. When my son was all of three days old, the day he was let out of the hospital, we went together and voted. I was one of the youngest voters that day and 11 years later, often feel that way while voting.
But where is everyone else? What happened to the power of the Civil Rights movement or the women’s suffrage movement? All that energy and time spent fighting the establishment for the right to vote, now ignored. Is everyone hoping that the status quo will keep them safe and help provide what they need? Or is the care and desire completely gone?
When the drinking age was forced up to 21, it should have been a wake up call for the youth. They just sat there and complained but did nothing. MTV tried to Rock the Vote, it was more of a tremble than anything else.
Some groups still get it. Why is our policy towards Cuba still so strict? Ask the politicians in Florida. As long as the state is a swing state in the Presidential elections, you can bet that the national policy will stay the same. The elderly get it too. They always have and I guess it’s because with age comes wisdom.
Americans have cared and cared greatly before. But there has always been some sort of ralling wake up call. A need for a revolution, to keep the country together, to protect its borders or to make all men equal almost 200 years late, these are the things that have changed the course of a nation. Is there another call coming? Or are we going to continue with the current national attitude until it’s too late and the right is completely gone and we are the serfs and peasants our ancestors were so long ago?
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Day 10 –
I got a response from one of my emails! It looks like it’s from Barnes and Noble! I am so shocked; I am timid about opening it. I keep looking at my little Gmail inbox, trying to make it go away or disappear somehow. But it continues to beckon me, asking, pleading for me to open it. After 10 days, I am not sure I want to, I am a bit nervous of what it will say.
Oh well, here goes nothing, I am going to open it.
Nope, never mind I’ll surf the web for a bit instead.
I’m back and it’s still sitting in my inbox and now it seems to be taunting me. I wonder if this is all for nothing and the email is really just something saying, get a life and leave us alone. I am going to open it now and see what it says.
I lied. I opened up Foxpro which I don’t have the Gmail inbox set up in. I really need to stop being so silly. I just don’t want to be disappointed with some canned response.
Here goes nothing; I’m opening up Internet Explorer, double clicked on the email to open it. Now I just have to go there. Unfortunately, my two sons are fighting and I have to go break that up.
With kids taken care of, I am going to read the email now.
Darn, I was wrong.
It was from Books-A-Million not Barnes and Noble. Still, it’s great to get a response.
So what did they say? Well, Mr. Rick Rupp, Merchandise Manager puts it nice and succinctly, what sells best for them is what they stock the most of, what doesn’t sell, they don’t put out a lot of or order.
When asked why, Books-A-Million might stock better than the other big chains, he responds, that he does not “presume to speak for my competitors…” but “We all make choices that are designed to achieve a wide range of goals and measures including meeting the needs of our customers.”
Makes perfect sense to me and I appreciate the super fast response by Mr. Rupp. Unlike the other book stores we have been talking about. Books-A-Million responds in one day, B&N, 11 days and counting.
I am still a bit confused though. Books-A-Million states that they order things that sell for them. You would think the same would happen with the other chains, yet one seems to be missing the boat. Are we, the Civil War enthusiasts actually the snobs? Are we the ones not shopping at B&N and therefore they are not ordering them because of us? Wouldn’t that be funny?
Friday, June 23, 2006
Below is my ongoing tale of adventure.
Day 1 –
As a “member” of the Barnes and Noble book program, I email media relations. I truly am happy about the type of service I get at B&N, so think I will get the same fast response. Can’t wait for tomorrow to read their reply.
Day 2 –
I remember that a friend of mine used to be a B&N manager, I email him – he responds quickly and informatively. I want to wait to post his response with the official B&N response.
No response from B&N, maybe they are just shifting through a lot of mail. Tomorrow I am sure to get a response.
Day 3 –
No response from B&N. Surely they have gotten to my email by now?
Day 4 –
No response from B&N but it is Saturday. Should not count it against them
I buy some books at Books-a-Million for my daughter. Apparently B&N doesn’t stock “My Little Pony” books either
Day 5 –
No response from B&N but it is Sunday, they should be resting. I wish I was, instead I am working around the house. If I was resting I would be reading some great books right now!
Day 6 –
No response from B&N, could it be they are resting up from the weekend? I had a busy one so maybe they did too! Hope they don’t have a hangover; they would never get to my email if they do.
Day 7 –
No response from B&N, Could be a busy time with books and stuff, I know they wouldn’t ignore a Civil War book reader, would they?
Day 8 –
No response from B&N, I check my sent emails just to make sure I did send out an email. Maybe I just imagined it, nope, I sent it.
Day 9 -
No response from B&N – I send a follow-up email and include my B&N member number just to prove I am a member.
I send an email to media relations at Books-a-Million, asking why they stock so much while others don’t. I include the emails I sent to B&N too.
You have to prove that you are “working press” with Borders in order to ask a question. I am sure I am not “working press” but try the process anyways. This should be fun. Yup it was fun – I got the following response within an hour:
“Thank you for registering at the Borders Group Media Center. At this time we are unable to approve your registration. Please note that full access to the Borders Group Media Center is restricted to credentialed journalists and the working press. If you feel you should be admitted to the site, please provide additional information about your media outlet.” Guess I won’t be asking them after all.
Apparently Borders only cares if you are press, everyone else, including consumers, don't matter.
At this time I think everyone hates the Civil War, except for me, but that could be debatable right now. I’ll post my friend's response next week when I finally admit defeat.
Thanks for caring book stores!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
What exactly is Juneteenth you may ask? Well, it's a celebration of the emancipation proclamation and the end of slavery. The "holiday" started in Texas shortly after the war and is now celebrated throughout the country, although not as big as it used to be.
Here in South Carolina, the small town of Lincolnville celebrated with an event that lasted through the weekend. As one organizer put it, they were trying to teach the younger generations the importance of their history.
I am glad to see that people are celebrating Juneteenth, remembering that at one time, they did not have the opportunity to do so.
Perhaps next year, we will see more people celebrating Juneteenth or at least a bit more people acknowledge its existense. For no matter what you feel about the causes of the war, this is an example of something good that came out of it. Something very good.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
The first one dealt with a new monument in La Salle County, Illinois where the county decided to build a new monument to replace their original. The issue came that not all the names from the original would make it to the new one. A couple of different reasons were provided, “we couldn’t make the names out” and “there is no record of this person being from our county” being the best.
Yesterday, it was reported that historian Mr. Arthur Webb was looking to create memorials in Memphis for African-American soldiers who fought in the Civil War. A concerned citizen has asked; why not include those who fought for the confederacy? The response, Mr. Webb is “only interested in honoring the contributions of black soldiers who he feels helped unite the country.”
I am sure all of you remember the movie Glory. At the end credits you see a granite monument of soldiers marching. I was in Boston a few years ago and walking out of the State House and towards the Boston Commons. I noticed a bunch of people standing in what appeared to be a bus stop with a large granite slab in back of them. It was the monument from the movie and no one even looked at it, it was just part of the scenery. I couldn’t even get a picture because no one would move.
My great, great grandfather once took my grandfather and his sister to the Plympton Town Green. There was a new memorial just put up, dedicated in memory of the town citizens who had fought for the Union. Not every soldier had died yet but the town fathers did not want to pay twice for engraving, so they put everyone’s name up at once. My GG grandfather found it funny that in honoring him; they couldn’t wait for him to die and wanted to show it to his grandchildren.
The above stories make me wonder if anyone really cares about what the monuments/memorials really stand for. If they did, would there be more interest, more dedication, and more emphasis on getting it right or would they just let it go as is?
So, are we honoring the men, the nation, the ideals with these monuments and memorials, or are we just trying to make ouselves feel better?
So it was with some confusion that I read a story on Fox News dealing with one Mr. Ted Junker of Wisconsin. It seems that Mr. Junker had served in a Nazi SS Unit before moving to America and feels that Hitler is just misunderstood. To help better educate the world or at the very least his neighbors, he is building a museum on his farm dedicated to the man who has been credited with starting a war that tore across the world for almost 6 years.
It sounds awful familiar to what we see in Civil War circles today. All those hard questions 140 years after the war that no one agrees with each others answer but sure are causing so much discord. Who started the Civil War? Why did it start? What about slavery?
It is now almost 61 years after the end of WWII and yet we all seem to know that Mr. Junker is well off the mark with thought process. What would have the Americans of 1926 think of our beliefs on the cause and start of the Civil War? Are we a bit off?
Monday, June 12, 2006
A few years ago, ESPN decided it wanted to put together a new bowl game and at the same time The Citadel was planning on rebuilding its football stadium. The NCAA had pretty much agreed to letting there be another game; they just needed to find the perfect spot. So ESPN got together with The Citadel and some state legislators and came up with a plan where the college would add several thousand seats to its stadium plans and ESPN and the state would, for the most part pay for the addition. There was just one small problem.
The NAACP still had a tourism boycott of South Carolina.
This boycott has been going on for years and almost everyone but the NAACP and the NCAA has forgotten about it. Why is there a boycott? In the simplest sense, in the early 60’s, SC put the Confederate Battle flag on top of the statehouse dome. Some say it was to honor the Confederate Soldiers of the state, others to protest the Civil Rights movement but for whatever reason, it had been flying for 30 years. So most (white) lawmakers thought it should continue while at the same time others found it offensive and divisive and wanted it down. While one group claimed the flag was about “heritage not hate” the other group claimed that the hate groups had taken it as a symbol of their own – corrupting the meaning of the flag.
After some tug of war, press battles and downright un-southern discussion a compromise was reached between the traditionalists (who wanted it up) led by Senator Glen McConnell of the Hunley fame and the “bring the flag down because it promotes discord” group led by Senator Robert Ford. The compromise saw it come off the dome and placed at a soldier’s memorial on the statehouse grounds.
Now during this time, the NAACP had been threatening a tourism boycott unless the state took the flag down. When the compromise was announced, instead of rejoicing they continued their threat stating that this was not good enough. When even Senator Ford said this was sufficient and they should be happy, everyone thought that would be the end of it, it wasn’t.
So, a state that depends heavily on the tourist dollar got hit with a boycott. I won’t get into the pros and cons of this but will say in the beginning it made a lot of press. The NY Knicks who had their preseason camp at the College of Charleston pulled out. The Family Circle Cup (at the time in Hilton Head, now in Charleston) saw the Williams’ sisters skip over the tournament. Tiger Woods needed to rest after winning the Master’s and could not come to the Heritage Classic. Politicians running for President would not stay at hotels in SC; they would stay in North Carolina, Georgia or houses of supporters. The NCAA decided that some championship level games (read bowl games) could not be played in SC but other things like baseball tournaments could be held.
And like many things, over time everyone seemed to forget about it, except for the NAACP and the NCAA. So just as ESPN, SC and The Citadel were about to implement the stadium plans for the ESPN Palmetto Bowl, someone reminded them that the NCAA still had a boycott and would not allow them to play it in SC. So, the Palmetto Bowl was scrapped just before becoming a reality.
This is what happens when no one speaks up against hate groups.
For years the white supremacist hate groups latched on to the Confederate Battle Flag and what they thought the Confederacy stood for and no one said anything. So by the time the NAACP started looking at SC to bring the flag down, hearing groups of people try to claim “heritage not hate” fell on deaf and disbelieving ears. The flag had effectively become a tool of racism.
Mr. Mike Koepke at Mike’s Civil War Musings discusses the recent events at Antietam National Battlefield where members of the KKK and other various white supremacists groups got together to rally their cause. In this case it meant some 30 racists, 30 protesters of said racists and 200 law enforcement agents got to spend some time together on the battlefield.
Mr. Koepke puts forth that we should ignore the racists and they will eventually go away, unfortunately I disagree. They need to be shown that there is no place for their type of thinking in America and that no one agrees with them. History has a long list of whack jobs that were ignored at first only to cause major problems in the long run. Or worse, what would be the next item that they would ruin in their name? Could the actual battlefields be next? You may scoff at this but take a look at what has happened to the Battle Flag and think again.
What do I feel should be done? Two things, we should show up in force at the rallies voicing our concern and give them as much press as they want.
Yes they have freedom of speech but so do I. Whenever they show up, the protesters should show up in mass – not just a few. Time and time again the racists have a rally that almost none of their own show up too. Imagine if everywhere they go they are outnumbered 10 to 1. They will show an initial strong face, stating that this means nothing but after rally after rally after rally, most will eventually see that no one agrees with them.
I have often heard that “no press is bad press” but you just need to listen to Mr. Daniel Carver on the Howard Stern show to see where that is wrong. Mr. Stern lets this admitted racist have a huge market but no one takes him serious, they make fun of him. Not just while Mr. Carver is on the air but ongoing afterwards. It is amazing the amount of stupid things this guy continuously says and that he actually believes it.
To millions of listeners he is the spokesperson for the white supremacist movement and he comes off as an idiot. So instead of converting anyone, he is affirming how bad of an idea the whole racist movement is. After a while, the movement becomes just what the presenter is – a joke. And it is for these reasons I believe we should let them have as much press as possible – not to give them validation but instead to help seal their downfall.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
That’s right; I just held a book that was published in 1889. It is in pretty good shape for a book that is 117 years old; I would even call it beautiful. Something about holding the antique book is just mesmerizing. But it invokes a lot of questions.
The book – see the first question already? Andersonville Violets.
You have never heard of Andersonville Violets? Too be honest, that does not surprise me. It was written by Herbert Collingwood, the son of Captain Joseph Collingwood, Company H of the 18th Massachusetts. Although the book tells the tale of two men who cross paths in Andersonville and then again later in life; it is not a veiled attempt to portray his father. Joseph died long before Andersonville became a horror, shot during the battle of Fredericksburg. At the time, Herbert was but a small boy who would grow up without a father. Even so, he would do well in his life as a reporter, editor and author.
There is an inscription in it; I can’t really make it out. It seems to mention a birthday. It makes me wonder who wrote it, who received it, why did they think the book should be given as a gift? Did they like it, did they even read it or maybe just placed it somewhere to collect dust.
The style of writing is different than today’s novels. Remember how your English teacher tried to convince you that Shakespeare was just as relevant and hip today as it was in the 17th century? But you never believed what they said, did you? Yes, it is similar to that – a style that is just different than today’s style. Don’t expect to be reading an Updike, Heinlien, Gaiman or even a King. Let it be like your secret TV vice, you know that show you are embarrassed to admit you watch much yet like. No one would believe you do and if they found out, they would make fun of you. Mine is the Ultimate Fighter, let the teasing begin. This book is similar; it is good and smooth but not a classic. If other people read it, they might just think I have no taste.
More questions as I ponder. How many people owned this book? I wonder their stories, their thoughts, the reason it was given to the next owner. How did I end up buying it off of eBay?
Besides the connection with Collingwood, it has a special place in my heart. It was republished in 2000 with a special introduction, where we are mentioned. It was nice to see our name in print. Now I have both the 2000 and 1889 book. I’ve read it twice; both times thinking that it is a nice book.
I don’t know many of the questions the book has caused me to ask but I do know this, it is a special book. It is being put in a special place – right next to my favorite books on a top shelf where the kids can’t get it. At this point, who cares about all these questions or what the other owners thought, I have a treasure that they were foolish to give up.