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I’m pleased and proud to announce that my friends at Patriots of the American Revolution (where I serve as the book review editor) have become sponsors of this blog. Please check out their excellent publication, which improves with every issue that’s published. Patriots has filled a gap in the market by making the story of the American Revolution accessible to the public. Welcome to Patriots as a sponsor of this blog!

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Welcome to The History Press as a sponsor of this blog! The Press published my book on the Battle of Brandy Station, and it will also publish the one that I’m in the midst of writing, which addresses the August 26-27, 1863 Battle of White Sulphur Springs. I have added the Press to the list of sponsors below, and am glad to it as a sponsor of this blog.

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I’m proud and pleased to announce that Gettysburg Magazine, which has published more of my articles than any other, has now become a sponsor of this blog. I’ve added a link in the “Our Sponsors” section of the links. Thanks to Publisher Andy Turner, and I hope you will support Andy’s fine publication.

I’ve also given the site a bit of a refresh. I hope you like the new look.

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Please join me in welcoming this blog’s second sponsor, Blue & Gray Magazine, published in Columbus by Dave and Jason Roth, who are long-time friends. I’ve added Blue & Gray to the sponsors list.

There is no better magazine out there for those interested in battlefield stomping.

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I wanted to take a moment to welcome the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop as the first official sponsor of this blog. Please visit the ALB website. And thanks to the ALB for agreeing to be a sponsor of this blog.

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One day last week, I got hit with an unprecedented barrage of spammers trying to sign up for this blog. In just over 24 hours, nearly 250 spammers signed up. It took me nearly half an hour to clear them out.

On a normal day, I will get three or four, sometimes five or ten. Even though this blog has been around since 2005, I have never, ever had anything like what happened last week.

In the hope of bringing it to a screeching halt, I have had to make adjustments. Specifically, I have had to disable sign-ups altogether and, for the time being, only those actually registered (101 people) are permitted to leave comments after logging in. For any of you who have tried to leave comments in the last week but have been unable to do so, at least you now understand why. I hope to change all of that later this week, as I’m hoping that being off the spamming radar for a week will help.

I very much enjoy the give and take in the comments, and greatly resent that the spammers have forced me to do what I did last week. I regret not being able to enjoy the comments, and very much look forward to them being open and available again in a matter of a few more days.

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I spent most of my youth playing baseball. There was baseball season, and then there was other stuff we did until it was baseball season again, like going to school. I played softball well into my forties.

Now that I’m about to turn 50, I am paying the price for that lifetime spent playing baseball. My right acromioclavicular joint (part of the shoulder structure) is filled with bone spurs and arthritis, and the bone spurs constantly irritate the surrounding tendons, which means that I have a perpetual case of very painful tendonitis that nothing helps. The only thing that will help is to remove the bone spurs that cause the irritation of the tendons. Considering that I’m right handed and was a pitcher for a part of my baseball career, this does not come as a huge surprise.

So, come Wednesday afternoon, I am having surgery to go in and clean all of that accumulated junk out of the joint. Assuming that there is no involvement of the rotator cuff–and the MRI does not show any–I should be out of the sling in about ten days and then onto about six weeks of rehab. My personal trainer has been working hard on strengthening my rotator cuff since this problem became acute in October, so hopefully, the physical therapy won’t be too bad as a result.

If the rotator cuff is involved–the orthopedist won’t know for sure until he gets in there on Wednesday–then it gets ugly. Really ugly. Then, I’m in a sling and sleeping in a recliner for six weeks with lots of thoroughly unpleasant physical therapy to survive.

So, my point is that having my right arm in a sling means that I won’t be around here much for the next two weeks for sure. Once I know how it went and am allowed to have some use of my right arm, I will update this. For now though, effective tomorrow afternoon, I fade to black for a little while. Wish me luck. In the meantime, I will miss my interactions here.

UPDATE: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7: I’m now five days post-surgical. The good news is that there was no tear in the rotator cuff, and the surgeon only had to clean out the bone spurs and arthritis. That’s very good news indeed. The bad news is that I’ve still got a pretty fair amount of pain, although I’ve managed to avoid taking any more percocet since bedtime on Saturday night (I really don’t like how they make me feel at all). I put in half a day at the office Friday and about 3/4 of a day at the office today.

I’ve now been out of the sling for about two hours tonight. It aches, but it’s tolerable. I hope to be able to put in a full day of work tomorrow, and I’m going to try to be out of the sling for much of the day while there.

Thanks to everyone for all of the good wishes and good thoughts stated here. You have no idea how much it means to me.

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An update to my blogroll was LONG overdue. I don’t think I’ve done one in about a year, and it showed. I deleted a handful of dead ones, such as Touch the Elbow, which faded to black for the SECOND time, and added a bunch of new ones, such as Dave Powell’s excellent Chickamauga blog (which should have been added long ago).

If anyone knows of other blogs that should be listed, please let me know, and I will be happy to consider adding them.

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I was shocked today to learn that this little old blog was named THE highest ranked Civil War blog on the Internet by Online Courses.net, which is quite an unexpected honor. I had no clue, and frankly had no such expectation of such an honor, given that I took a long hiatus from blogging and have significantly cut back on my posting frequency from the first four years of the blog. I’m very flattered to be given such an honor, and am humbled by it.

Congratulations to everyone else who made the list, which also shows me that I have some serious adjustments to make to my blogroll this weekend. More on that later.

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….And so 2010 fades to black as the lights begin to shine on 2011….

2011 brings the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and I’m sure that we will have many more interesting things to discuss as it plays out.

With thanks to Kevin Levin for a GREAT idea, I’d like to give you, my readers, the last word as the year comes to an end. Please feel free to share your final thoughts for the year here.

To all of you, I wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

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