The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on December 30, 1986 · 19
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · 19

Atlanta, Georgia
Issue Date:
Tuesday, December 30, 1986
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THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION c SECTION Tuesday, Dec. 30, 1986 . ;f Sibley T5 Planting gardens in your dreams If you can't sleep after 2 o'clock in the morning, you are either a victim of death-dealing disease, a fugitive from justice or plain no good, a house guest once told me. (The smell of my coffee and the sound of my typewriter had awakened him at what he considered an inhumane hour.) "Well, don't think I like it!" I snapped. "It's an affliction." But I wasn't telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The middle-of-the-nights can be very useful and enjoyable, if you fortify yourself for them. There's always a shin-barking stack of books by my bed that I don't have time to read during regular business hours. I can always reach for one of those and with luck, it will be soporific enough to put me back under within the hour. Failing that, I can poke up the fire, make a fresh pot of coffee and tackle some nagging job of work . Once I knew a woman who cleaned out kitchen cabinets and mopped floors when insomnia hit her, but I have only rarely resorted to manual labor. I did, however, get up and man the sewing machine when my daughters were young and a special dress was urgently needed. In the months of good weather, it is pleasant to wander over the yard or sit on the back steps and look at the night sky and converse with my dog, Kazan, and my cat, Papa, neither of whom seems to sleep the whole night through. Seed catalogs are here But in January, nobody who loves the earth and the tilling thereof needs to dread wakefulness. The seed catologs are here! There are no weeds growing now. The sun is not going to blister your hide. You need not worry about blisters on your palms. Just plump up your pillows, turn up the electric blanket and luxuriate in those catalogs. It's possible you'll never get your order written, much less in the mail. But for the moment, you are a peerless gardener who can grow anything and probably will, come the spring. The other night when sleep eluded me, I mentally planted a peony hedge. What do you think of all white, single, golden-hearted peonies? The pressing need at Sweet Apple is going to be a thicker, taller hedge across the front to separate us from the stepped up traffic on the road. When Sweet Apple cabin was built, people were glad to live on a public road and carefully kept the space between the front door and the wagon ruts swept clean. Otherwise they'd never been able to keep up with who was going to Chadwick's store or why or when. Now, passing cars and trucks are less enchanting. Poking through the hedges So I poked through my seed catalogs looking for hedges or, more specifically, thickets, which V. Sack-ville-West sold me on years ago. We have one we thought fairly impenetrable, but we reckoned without road-clearing, utility-line-hoisting crews. Now you can see through my stand of dogwood, burfordi holly, ancient crape myrtle, snowball bushes and honeysuckle. So I am catalog shopping. Or I was until I lucked into the state Agriculture Department's Market Bulletin. There was a little notice on the back page to tell us fans that the tree seedling sale continues at the DeKalb County 4-H Club. Apparently, the sale started back in October when I wasn't noticing, and there's still a goodly supply of trees to be had for 40 cents apiece. I called the numbers given and learned that even residents of counties other than DeKalb may buy their choice of loblolly, white or Virginia pines, sawtooth, white or chestnut oaks, red cedar and white dogwood. All at 40 cents apiece and any number you want. (You can also get blueberry plants at $6.50 and crape myrtle at $5.) Tentative pickup dates are Feb. 3-5 at the DeKalb Extension Food Processing Center, 3590 Kensington Road near Memorial Drive and Interstate 285. Now all I have to wor ry about at 2 a.m. is, will I live long enough to see them grown? . j, nf .. .. Jf. . W -..- I I Tt-v." , a c - 4 ; WlliliRSIil! WILLIAM BERRYStaff The Rev. Stephen Cowart holds the ciphers of paper filled with numbers and letters solve to uncover hidden treasures. inree sneeis -"--. - , , he is trying to The pot at the end of the dirtier solution Breaking code said. , to be worth millions By Chris Wohlwend Staff Writer For almost a century and a half, they have defied the best efforts of obsessed men and women. The ciphers of one Thomas Jefferson Beale, Virginia adventurer of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, promise their solver almost 3,000 pounds of gold, 5,100 pounds of silver and $200,000 worth of Jewels. At today's E rices,: the gold and silver alone would e worth about $20 million. According ''. to his papers, -Beale nd his partners I amassed the fortune mining in the southern Rocky Mountains and, in 1819' and 1821, stashed it in his native southeastern Virginia, leaving the ciphers three simple sheets of paper filled with -numbers and letters and some other Eapers with a friend, Robert Morriss, in ynch'ourg. Through the years, the treasure, the ciphers and the mystery have drawn a variety of would-be solvers whose re search established that Beale was from a prominent 18th-century Virginia fam- ': ily and that his brothers owned f7xn acres along the James River and a gold mine in the Blue Ridge Mountains. . : ' in the 1860s, James Ward, a friend of Morriss' who inherited the ciphers on his death, succeeded in finding a solution to the second (or No. 2) sheet, using the Declaration of Independence as the key. According to No. 2, No. 1 tells the exact location of the treasure, and No. 3 lists names and addresses of the people involved. But that advance came more than a century ago, and there hasn't been a major breakthrough since. , ; Today's puzzlers Include computer , Experts kach-as Dr. Carl Harnnraytre-'i tired director of computer sciences'iorf Sperry Univac, who has utilized several f generations of computers in his efforts. Cryptanalysts from the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, such as Carl Nelson Jr., one of the people responsible for the tunnel dug in Berlin, Germany, to intercept Communist communications. And the Rev. Stephen Cowart of Dunwoody, an See CIPHERS, Page 7-C 'Platoon' will snap you to attention AfoWe Review By Scott Cain Staff Writer "Platoon" is a great war movie. If writer-director Oliver Stone never docs anything else, he will be remembered for this lacerating and impassioned drama, which is based on his experience in Vietnam and tells the story of warfare from the vantage point of ordinary foot soldiers. In his uniquely volatile way, Stone tells us that war at the front shatters a young man's innocence instantaneously. The first trip into the combat zone is a descent into hell from which no one can emerge unscathed. To be both a good person and a soldier is virtually impossible, he contends. To go to war and remain good is a rare achievement. More likely, Stone says, a soldier will find that murder is deeply satisfying. Stone deals in unnerving terms with the elusive nature of the enemy in Vietnam. When American "grunts" seize a rural village, aged women and skinny children appear to be harmless townfolk totally removed from the struggle, yet a search reveals an enormous cache of ammunition. An astonishing number of Viet Cong soldiers emerge from bunkers that clearly were not dug yesterday. The GIs are tempted to slaughter everyone in sight Adding to the horror, Stone concludes that the American effort in Vietnam failed because we spent more time fighting each other than fighting the enemy. "Platoon" Informs us that U.S. soldiers frequently died at the hands of l. - , ts, v; '4 Yk MT v wm Charlie Sheen and Keith David grasp hands in camaraderie. other Americans. The movie, which opens today in Atlanta, is narrated by Chris (Charlie Sheen), a naive volunteer of middle-class background. His first task is to earn the friendship of the lower-class draftees who make up virtually the entirety of the platoon. On his initial foray into the jungle, Chris' nervousness amounts to an ecstasy of fright and excitement When, through heavy mist he is the first to see enemy soldiers, he is speechless and paralyzed into inaction. The two sides sight each other, and a noisy fray ensues in which a buddy of Chris is mortally wounded and dies messily. The platoon is dominated by a scarred sergeant named Barnes (Tom Berenger), who is fearless but also genuinely evil The younger soldiers are in timidated by him, but they see that he is a warrior with a highly developed sense of battle, and many of them begin to emulate his bloodthirsty manner. . Barnes only counterbalance comes from another sergeant, Elias (Willem Dafoe), whose moral rectitude amounts to a miracle, given the trying circumstances. Chris feels that Barnes and Ellas are competing for possession of his soul. Until an eye-opening incident awakens Chris, it appears that Barnes will be the victor. "Platoon" contains perhaps 20 vivid characters. The actors, most of them unknowns, leap on these rich roles as if they were the opportunities of a lifetime. As Chris, Charlie Sheen looks like See PLATOON, Page 5-C (The age of the older woman in television has come in the '80s j .. ' By Nancy Mills :J Special to The foumal-Conitltutlon , ; Actresses never used to get any older than 39. And there was a good reason. It was a matter of professional life and death. Until recently, actresses over 40 were consigned to the acting scrap heap eligible only to play eccentric aunts or lovablecrochety grandmothers. But now, something shocking has happened. Tile viewing public is getting older and they want to see more women their own age. One of the most popular shows on television is "The Golden Girls," a series starring four actresses all way beyond 40. The most popular woman on TV is Angela Lansbury of "Murder, She Wrote." She's 61. Then there's 44-year-old Linda Evans of "Dynasty," 46-year-old Dixie Carter of "Designing Women," 53-year-old Kim Novak of "Falcon Crest" 41-year-old Priscilla Presley of "Dallas," 42-year-old Sharon Gless of "Cagney & Lacey," 44-year-old Katharine Ross of "The Colbys" and 40-year-old Loni Anderson of "Easy Street" TV series stars of the 1970s such as Farrah Faw-cett (39), Jaclyn Smith (38), Stephanie Powers (44) and Angie Dickinson (55) find themselves wrestling for TV movie and miniseries roles against such 1960s film stars as Ann-Margret (45), Lee Remick (51), Tuesday Weld (43) and Elizabeth Taylor (54). . "A few years ago, if you were 50, you were over the hill," remembers Doris Roberts, 56, who plays Mildred Krebs on "Remington Steele." (NBC is bringing the series back next year). "You were finished. Today, it's another story. About 10 years ago, the demographics were 18-49. Now they're 25-54. The networks have to look at things differently. A huge proportion of American buying power is in the hands of middle-aged women. ... "My "Remington Steele' role was originally written for a woman at least 10 years younger than me. See ACTRESS, Page 7-C

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