Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
There’s A Theme Park About That Time The Union Tried To Use Dinosaurs To Win The Civil War
After a long weekend day drinking, floundering in swimming holes, and inner tubing in rivers — in between visiting the sights from which the city of Natural Bridge, Virginia takes it name — I decided to make a pit stop at Dinosaur Kingdom II in late August to learn about that one time the Union Army tried to harness dino-power to win the Civil War.
The premise of Dinosaur Kingdom II is what you might get if Jurassic Park was a two-hour Nickelodeon special drawn in the style of Ren & Stimpy and set during the Civil War. Designed by Mark Cline, a local artist and celebrity who also runs Lexington’s Ghost Tour, the alt-history parody park is remarkably affordable, uncrowded this late in the summer, and an utterly rewarding mindfuck:
For the low, low price of $10 for adults (and $6 for kids), entering the park means stumbling back in time to an alternate 1864 when, according to the tourist destination’s website, “them wacky Yankees is at it again! Tryin’ to use living dinosaurs as weapons of mass destruction against the South. But ole Dixie has more than a few tricks still left up her sleeve.”
As you make your way through the park, there’s a Ken Burns'esque documentary playing in a ramshackle theater, and in it Cline describes the Union’s failed attempt to reawaken a menagerie of dinosaurs they discovered frozen in a cavern. The plan? To use the prehistoric reptiles as beasts of burden, and, unsurprisingly, as devastating tools of war. Those dastardly Yankees!
"The Yankee troops wanted to use these dinosaurs as weapons of mass destruction against the South. It kind of backfired on them," Cline told VICE News in July. "And this is the story that was left out of most of the history books. So I'm trying to bring the story to light to make sure that history is told the way it's supposed to be."
And one of the ways history is supposed to be told, according to Cline, involves Stonewall Jackson tricked-out with a steampunk bionic arm doing battle with some misbegotten hell-beast in a graveyard.
The park also includes pterodactyl named Squak who was sent to steal a draft of the Gettysburg Address from a flummoxed Abe Lincoln. The latter is not just a real exhibit in Dinosaur Kingdom II — it’s also a scene from a comic based on the theme park, written and illustrated by Cline. The comic even includes a detailed breakdown of how Stonewall Jackson’s mechanical arm works. (Spoiler: There’s a crew of miniaturized Confederate soldiers inside. I’m completely serious.)
Okay, so Dinosaur Kingdom II may not be entirely accurate, but who cares? It has dinos squaring off against Union troops armed with muskets; bizarre slime creatures; a cowboy corralling a herd of brontosauruses; and informational panels at each exhibit with, well, let’s call them alternative history facts. If nothing else, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, especially if you begin the morning with the hair of the dog.
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Democratic Party staffer under fire for calling USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul a 'murder boat'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
'We are there to deter aggression' — Pompeo addressed CENTCOM on Iran mere moments before Shanahan announced his departure
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.