Robert E. Lee’s sword to go on display at Appomattox

Robert E. Lee, Civil WarOn 9 April 1865, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant met at Appomattox, Virginia, so that Lee could surrender his Army of Northern Virginia.

This momentous event effectively ended the American Civil War. With Lee and his army gone, the Confederate cause lost hope. General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered the Army of Tennessee on April 26, and in Louisiana General Kirby Smith surrendered his Trans-Mississippi Confederate forces on May 26. The last Confederate general to surrender was the Cherokee Brigadier General Stand Watie in the Indian Territory on June 23.

Now a new museum will open at Appomattox dedicated to the war and its conclusion. A centerpiece of the display will be Robert E. Lee’s golden ceremonial sword. Owned by the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, the sword will grace a branch museum it’s building at Appomattox. The museum is also building branches at the important Civil War sites of Fredericksburg and Hampton Roads. The Appomattox museum will open next spring.

The sword was the same worn by Lee during the surrender. Lee famously showed up in full dress uniform with his French-made golden sword at his side. Grant showed up unkempt and wearing a muddy uniform.

The sword has recently been restored with a new layer of gilt that has restored its original luster.

[Image of Robert E. Lee courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Bogota airport security restriction: no hand grenades (or any other grenades)

Bogota airport security

With airport security on the rise around the world, it isn’t surprising to see long, fairly exhaustive lists of what you can’t take on the plane. Who among us doesn’t know someone who’s lost a lighter or bottle of shampoo at the security line because of these restrictions? It just seems endless.

Well, it gets crazier than what you’re seeing here in the United States. A reader just sent me this photo today, taken at the Bogota, Colombia airport’s security checkpoint. Apparently, it’s important to itemize the types of weapon you are not permitted to bring on board.

Is this level of detail really necessary? I mean, who the hell would think axes, tear gas or a “Ninja Star” is acceptable for in-flight entertainment. Seriously, an effing sword?! This is nuts.

So, if you’re passing through Bogota, make sure you do not have a “Hand grenade or any grenade,” likely referring to the sort you’d affix to an RPG for an M203 grenade launcher. Those things can be expensive, and it would suck to have to surrender it at security.

[Thanks, PK]

Hezbollah theme park: an attraction designed with terror in mind


Are you always searching for a roller coaster that will make your hair stand on end? Well, if you really want to scare yourself, skip the traditional amusement park rides and catch a flight out to Beirut. There’s a “theme park” in town that will open your eyes wide and keep you looking over your shoulder.

Hezbollah has gotten into the Disney business.

Identified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, Hezbollah’s new endeavor isn’t doing a thing to change that perception. Called “Landmark for the Resistance,” the theme park celebrates the group’s military efforts against Israel. Enter the park, and you can wander among implements of mayhem and destruction, from tanks to machine guns … and you can even get some photo ops of the kids with their fingers on the trigger!

Designed and built by Hezbollah, Landmark for the Resistance cost a mere $4 million, a pittance compared to what it would cost to get an attraction up here in the United States. So far, the park’s been a success, one of the few in a country that has had trouble attracting tourists because of … well … Hezbollah.

Buoyed by the strong response, especially the smiling children, I suspect, Hezbollah has already committed to expansion plans. Look for a cable car wandering around the guns ‘n’ ammo soon – and a hotel and a restaurant.

Man uses snake as weapon in South Carolina motel dispute

Travelers face all kinds of nuisances at motels. Loud televisions, unsanitary room conditions and unexpected room charges all rank as typical inconveniences. But getting threatened with a four-foot long python typically isn’t a problem for guests – at least until now.

According to a BBC news report, a South Carolina man was threatened with a snake by another motel guest after a heated argument. Jeffrey Culp, the alleged victim, complained to his motel neighbor Tony Smith about loud music coming from his room. In retaliation Smith tracked down Culp, tapped him on the shoulder and thrust a four-foot long pet snake in his face, apparently leaving small scratches across the man’s lip. Mr. Culp, who told Smith he was deathly afraid of snakes earlier in the evening, was shaken up by the incident.

Mr. Smith, the snake aggressor, was arrested by police and charged with assault and battery. Future snake trouble-makers should take note: there’s a lesson to be learned. The next time you’re at a motel and wave your snake in someone’s face, don’t expect to get away with it.

Airline employee helps roommate get on plane strapped

A US Airways employee had the brilliant idea of helping his roommate bring a concealed semiautomatic handgun onto a plane yesterday. On the bright side, this would have meant one less gun on the streets of Philly. Now, both have been charged by the FBI.

Roshid Milledge, a customer service agent, switched bags with passenger Damien Young at the gate, so Young could bring his unloaded weapon on board the plane. He was moving to Phoenix and asked Milledge about the rules for transporting firearms. Instead of following the rules (how boring …), the customer service rep decided to elevate how passengers are treated by airlines and carried the 9mm gun through an employee entrance, bypassing security.

Another passenger, however, saw that Milledge looked “fidgety.” It didn’t take long for the authorities to find Young, who was comfortably on the plane, and bring him back to the gate (after the plane had begun to taxi).

Now, both Milledge and Young are in federal custody, and according to the Associated Press, neither seemed to be represented by council (yeah … smart).

So, what about all those other passengers on board … you know, the folks who didn’t blow off the rules? They were delayed several hours.

Yet another delay caused by airline customer service …