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April 23, 2010

Civil War - Ken Burns Style
For Christmas, we purchased the PBS Civil War Documentary Series 9-set CD collection, produced by Ken Burns. It originally aired on PBS in 1989, and has since been remastered for CD technology. This week, we completed watching all Cd's, hours of quality TV time like nothing I ever experienced. I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in history, the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, slavery, freedom or the development of the US as a nation.

Here are some highlights of what fascinated me when watching this series:
-Ken Burns is a master at making still photographs come to life by adding beautiful background music and true testimonials from diaries and memoirs read by actors.
-The average number of casualties at each battle (and remember - there were many over the 4 year period!) equates to the population of my home town.
-I've never seen pictures of the Civil War like this - to see a pile of amputated limbs (yes, real arms and legs) stacked in a corner, or a bloated body decomposing in a field, or the emaciated prisoners who needed another person to hold their head up - impacted me more than I can verbalize in this blog.
-I was amazed at the similarities of the political tension then as compared to now - my worst nightmare (besides losing a loved one to death) is to be at war in my back yard and this comparison fills me with dread.
-I never realized that the Lincolns lost a child while serving as President; sometime after Abe's death, Mary was institutionalized for the remainder of her life.
-The Confederates for all purposes should have won the war based on the experience and abilities of their leaders (mainly Robt. E. Lee, who was genius at military maneuvers). I had either learned or assumed that Grant was more successful than he was - in fact, he didn't serve a major role until toward the end and was drunk more often than not.
-It wasn't until the war's completion that civilians referred to the U.S. as a whole instead of made up of parts. The phrase "The United States are..." soon after became "The United States is..."

When the series ended, both my husband and I felt a mix of emotions: sad because such a visionary leader as Abe Lincoln was killed, happy that slavery was abolished but disappointed it was still another 100 years before the civil rights movement; heartbroken because there was such loss of life on both sides; depressed that the video was over; proud over our nation's heritage and the bravery of the people at that time.
4:18 pm cdt          Comments

April 22, 2010

Pet Peeve #1001
I get many calls at work from vendors wanting my company's business. Some of these vendors I want to do business with as well, and thus, I listen closely to voice mail messages for contact information.

Today I receive a message from someone I am just beginning a working relationship and she rattles off her phone number faster than you can say "I don't want your business after all." I had to listen to her message three times before I could grasp her actual number - granted, I'm assuming I have it correct!

Two things most people know very well are their own names and phone numbers. Just because YOU know this well, doesn't mean I do - next time, be sure to give this information slowly and repeat it. It just might mean the difference between a won or lost opportunity.
3:37 pm cdt          Comments

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