We Loved Them



Louisiana monument, Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania

I didn’t want to write this, I never did. I’m sure it will start a fight I don’t want and I won’t be surprised if it costs me some friends before it’s all over. For that I will be sorry but, whatever the price, I can remain silent no longer. Last night an angry howling mob in Chapel Hill, North Carolina perpetrated an egregious hate crime. They will say they did not, that it was for justice and to do away with our despicable racist past. It wasn’t and I’m going to tell you why. They chanted “Stand up, Fight back”. All right, I will.

First, let me say how much I sincerely admire the courage of Ms. Maya Little, the UNC student who openly defaced the statue with her own blood and faced the consequences of it, unlike the spray can commandos and the ones behind the curtains who will show you their ignorance but not their faces. Shame on every craven, cowardly one of you. Courage is a thing to be respected and I do, even the courage of my adversaries. In just the same way, cowards deserve no respect and I have none for them. Throughout my life it has been my experience that people become disdainful of things they can’t have, like my respect. They think it’s easier and safer than standing up for what they believe in, saying their piece and putting their name on it, in other words, acting like someone who deserves respect. What do you think?

There are forty thousand Silent Sams, give or take, who never came home from the war. Some are buried here in North Carolina, others were blasted into irretrievable fragments on battlefields all over the south, never to be seen or heard from again. Some are enshrined in family Bibles, their honored names bestowed upon their sons down through the generations while others, most I guess, are only remembered as part of some larger memory. No matter how their memories are honored, the bravery and fighting spirit of these men, men like you and me, is worthy of recognition and respect. It’s fine if you don’t want to believe me, I’m not here expecting to change anyone’s mind, just to speak my own.

It is a convenient argument to say that these forty thousand, as well as the almost three hundred thousand boys and men from other states who laid down their lives, did so to preserve the institution of slavery. This is not true, and it doesn’t take years of scholarly research to see it. You just have to be willing to look at something you may not like seeing. So show some courage and take a look. I’ll respect you for it.

There were a number of premises that aroused the south to war: One was slavery. True that, but it was more of an inducement for the union to go to war, and it wasn’t going to be enough to get the job done. All those hardscrabble farm boys who did their own chores every day couldn’t have cared less about the problems of rich people with slaves, just like most working people today. Jeff Davis needed something to motivate all those who didn’t care, but were going, like every footsoldier in every war in history, to be called upon to do most of the dying. In other words, Silent Sam. That motivation was provided courtesy of the Union Army, massing for an invasion that would and did bring terrible destruction to the homes and families of people all over the south. I submit to one and all that there can be no more worthy cause for a fight than the defense of one’s home and family and that, dear friend, is what Silent Sam was fighting for.

So they cast a statue and put it up on a pedestal in memory of the forty thousand, a symbol of their grief, the pain of their loss and their love. That’s right I said it: Their love. The symbolic meaning of Silent Sam, or any monument, is the meaning given to it by those who set it up and no one has the right to take that away, so I say the cowardly vandals need to check their privilege.

So now I want someone to tell me how a thing that was conceived and manifested from love can be a symbol of hate. Give up? I’m here to help. It takes a person who thinks everything is about them. It simply makes no sense to imagine the grieving mothers, wives, children and siblings of Silent Sam contemplating the downfall of their enemies while bringing this monument into being. Still this person has to believe Silent Sam represents how much these people hate him rather than how much they loved their honored dead. I love my family and you love yours and the love I bear them is no more or less precious than the love in your heart, whoever you may be. I think we could all think about this thing and gain some benefit from it.

I’m not blind, I know there is hate and injustice, I know that our country is filled with people who believe they can know someone just by looking at the color of their face. I know there is deep anger, I’m feeling it right now myself. But I’m not so angry that I will not enter into a discussion in the spirit of good will and with an open mind.

Yes, we loved them and we love them still, the forty thousand. We carry their names and their blood, they are part of us. I will only speak for myself in this matter, though I feel certain many others share my view. When I got up this morning and saw the wretched hateful thing those bastards did, not to a piece of bronze, but to me, it was like a part of me was murdered, violently and for no reason. Regardless of this, Bastards that they are, I will not hate them. Hate is for weak, intellectually lazy people who prefer to view people as stereotypes rather than as human beings. What kind of person do you want to be?img_20150916_142048

North Carolina monument, Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania

Godawful Monsters test game 1



Mephiston painted by Michael Counts

Howdy folks, Mephiston here.

I wasn’t in the game yesterday evening but I watched it from the shelf with a bunch of my pals from Kenny’s wargaming hall of fame. I’ve got to say it was pretty good, more balanced than I expected.


Hall of Fame members

Welcome to the neighborhood


The mat is 4’X4′, just the right size for a 28mm intimate encounter. Captain obvious just called to remind me to say it’s made of 1/2″ interlocking play mat. I love this stuff. It takes paint beautifully, it doesn’t slide around and you can build it up from below to get a smooth terrain contour. I built this one up with an earlier experiment I called Flapjack landscaping. It’s basically cut up yoga mats. There are spaces with no support but the mat is pretty well stiff enough to span a small gap.

The little black rectangles represent open graves. These graves were not excavated from above, but undermined by, you guessed it, Godawful Monsters! The hill has been turned into a warren of tunnels and pitfalls, sort of a bit of home court advantage.

Meet the Teams


The Monsters: This font really isn’t sending the message I’m trying to put out there, but here they are anyway. They’re all reaper minis, they carry a good selection at my local game store and they’re a fair price. They make the game a bit more complicated because there are so many different ones, and they all have positive and negative characteristics but they will make the game more interesting and unpredictable as my collection grows.



The Yellow Yokels: These guys are teenage boys learning the trade, sort of. They hit on a 5 or 6, not so good, and they get one die to roll in close combat, also not so good. They pass a morale, or nerve, test on a 5 or 6, once again not so good. I guess you could say these guys are, well, not so good.


The Red Yokels: These guys are veterans. Not old campaigners, they’re farmers and such, but they’ve been in a couple of fights and they’re tough. They hit on a 4, roll 2 dice in close combat and keep their cool on a 4 as well. Much better.


The “Don’t call me a Yokel”s: Officially these guys are called Rangers and it’s OK to call ’em that. They hit on a 4, but get an extra 6″ on their range because they have rifles. They also stay frosty on a 4 and they get 3 dice in close combat. That’s why you only get two of them.

The officers vary from game to game. Their basic skills, shooting and close combat, remain the same but players roll for their leadership ability, which affects their nerve and the nerve of others near them.

The Yokel miniatures are from Galloping Major and are of excellent quality but are only available in a very limited range. The Rangers are from Warlord, also great quality and a good variety of army options.


The Battle. Well, some of it


We’re getting ready for some action here. Notice the Yokels are in a mixed unit. Smart.


Here’s Gug chasing down a couple hapless Yokels. Good times.


The Yokels are looking pretty good here, except for the fact that they are about to die a horrible death. They fought their way up to the entrance of the place they would really rather not go but that is no victory, especially since they are the only Yokels left on the board.

It’s really pretty close, closer than it looks, but the real winner is me. The game ran pretty smoothly, my wife and friends made good suggestions and asked pertinent questions, so it should be a much better game next time I run it. Anyway, there you go. Be on the lookout for Godawful Monsters vs. Roman Legionaries (Republican and Imperial), Gauls, Ancient Britons featuring Boadicea, Carthaginians and more. Thanks for stopping by.

The best thing about Digital Photography



I’ve got to say I really like digital photography. It’s easy, convenient and loads of fun. There’s no guessing how your shot came out, no waiting for developing or paying for prints you may not want. Really the list of things to like is damn near endless but, since I did title this article “The best thing about Digital Photography” it would behoove me to pick one thing and put it out there. So here it is:

The best thing about digital photography is how affordable film photography has become since the advent of the new medium.

I had to take my camera to the shop a couple weeks ago because one of the batteries leaked and made a big mess. The guy at the shop told me it would be $45.00 to remove the battery and try to get it going, but no guarantee that he could. HOWEVER, he could sell me this camera body, shown above, which is two models newer and still accepts my lenses, for only five dollars more than I would pay for the uncertain, (think doubtful) outcome. So good.

You can get your photos on a disc, which is convenient and better than a contact sheet, so I can publish them easily here or elsewhere. As you may have surmised, though, I’m interested in doing some hand made photos. There’s a community darkroom here in Asheville where you buy a membership that allows you access to their facilities as well as classes, workshops and exhibits. I haven’t joined yet but I plan to soon. And the picture of my camera? I shot it with my phone.