State of the Season 5: Atomic Anniversaries to Haunting Music – Falling Back into the Groove

Hello and welcome to another thirteenth week recap! My congratulations to Kansas City on winning their first World Series in 30 years. Now can begin the decimating of their championship team from trades and better offers from bigger budgets that will return the AL Central to a place of chaos ripe for the taking by any of its five teams. Why not the messes that are Detroit and Cleveland? Such would please the Tiger in me and my Tribe of friends in northeast Ohio because like Lorde we’ll never be Royals. What we are now and forever is ready for fall and, though we don’t like to admit it, we are also ready for the onslaught that is that next season, because as much as we’d enjoy skipping over straight to spring we in the North are fully aware of the truth of the Stark words. Let us not talk of the winds of winter yet to come though (as some seemingly never will), but instead let’s remember the recent past as reflected in my previous 12 posts which date back to August 10th and a discussion on the significance of what happened 70 years ago.

“死のホワイトフラッシュ (White Flash of Death)” was my first post of the latest seasonal set. It was mainly taken from a paper I wrote in an Ethics and Morality course I took in college in which I discuss the dropping of the two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II and their justification according the Christian Just War Theory. My personal feelings on the matter are still mixed, but provided that there is truth to the flyers that the Truman administration claims the American military dropped in mass quantities on Japanese cities then I can cling to the small comfort that an attempt was made to spare some civilians. Although it doesn’t do much for the residents of Hiroshima which is listed as an example of what could happen to other cities. What is a comfort is that these tragedies are the only times a nuclear weapon has ever been detonated outside of testing. Not to mention they did end the war. Fortunately things are considerably better now in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which is more than some places closer to home are currently experiencing.


“A Golden Shower from the Andromeda Spouse” was all about the Perseid meteor shower of mid-August and why it’s called that. It may appear to be a few months too late, but the brilliant celestial event is an annual occurrence, as is the Taurid meteor shower which is happening now!


“Girl Power! The Best Songs Named After Girls Real or Imagined” should be a fairly self-explanatory title. It’s a list I made of my favorite songs about the ladies. Not all were written by men after a certain something either. The title picture is of a young Stevie Nicks who came up with “Rhiannon” for Fleetwood Mac, and also served as an influence for a number of male rockers when they wrote about their past loves.


“Summertime Satisfaction” was a cathartic piece that allowed me to sober up from the summer (and especially my evening at the German-American Festival) before it was over with a free-form poem. It was a much needed wake-up call to alert me that my age and experiences, or lack thereof, are factors that play into decisions to party it up in an attempt to recapture some former glory. I certainly had fun, and I’m likewise glad that I was responsible and didn’t drive home (if only my favorite football team’s quarterback had followed my example), however, be aware before you go wild on the weizen that there are consequences to sleeping it off on the couch of your coworker who still lives with her parents and who happens to be the niece of your boss’ boss. Also, little dogs can have big teeth. As nuts as the night before was, the next morning was something impressively unique.


Hey look! There’s that quarterback I was talking about. That’s from a picture I took at last year’s Ohio State-Michigan game of the first scoring play of the game. That was the game where J.T. Barrett, who ran into some problems this past weekend, suffered a season ending injury which propelled OSU’s third string quarterback, then almost unknown Cardale Jones, into the starting spot. All he did was go on to win the national championship and every one of his starts since. I hope he can keep it going this Saturday for all the reasons I laid down in “In All Fairness, Football is Better than Competition Cows”. In case my love of football, especially the kind played by the guys in scarlet and gray, was not made clear to you in any of my previous posts, it will be in that one.


“Challah Challah Bread Y’all” was released on Rosh Hashanah and gives some background info on the holiday to my fellow ignorant Gentiles. By that I mean, less than versed with every tradition (TRADITION!) of Jewish culture and faith, not obscenely ignorant like a skinhead. If you don’t know what a shofar is then get over there and check it out! Go on! You don’t want to be a meshugana, do you?


“Manka lle sinta mani sina parma, lle’re y’ nerd! Neeeerrrrddd!” is an appreciation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s introduction to Middle-Earth The Hobbit. I talk about the influence the book had on other books in fantasy and other genres. I chime in with a few words on my favorite aspects of it as well, including Gollum being Gollum, and Gandalf trolling trolls. Oh, and the title is a less than flattering declaration to the reader written in Elvish, but you’ll only be insulted if you read Elvish or pop it into a translator. I don’t read Elvish, despite many attempts to do so, but even if you decipher the title (which shouldn’t be too hard) know that I am envious of your acquired skill. I bet you know Klingon too. Qapla’!


“Ziggy Stardust and the Water on Mars With Headliner Bloodmoon” was a cavalcade of space spectacles and discoveries! Okay, it was about two things, but they were cool! I briefly touched upon the brilliant blood moon, and mainly wrote about the well timed announcement that Mars has liquid water on it and the exciting implications that brings. I wonder how that would have changed things for Matt Damon? Chuckle chuckle – I’m nowhere the first person to make a joke like that, but as tiresome as they now are, I bet Ridley Scott and company appreciated the free advertising.


“To The Unknown Joke” was a fake out to pay homage to the anniversary of the greatest variety skit show ever produced. I began by sharing some true facts about Bulgaria’s involvement in World War I, and after I had sufficiently sucked in any readers who stuck around long enough to get to the punchline I included the opening episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus entitled “Whiter Canada”, which was one of the crew’s early names for the comedy troupe. The line “And now for something completely different” wasn’t actually uttered until the second episode, “Sex and Violence”, and it was first said by Eric Idle, not John Cleese!


“Blackbird Spying in the Dead of Night” was my second Mach 1 Day (this was the first) post in honor of the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager on October 14, 1947. In it I detailed some of the history of one of my favorite planes, the SR-71 Blackbird, a spyplane so fast it could and did outfly missiles. One of the most impressive vehicles ever created; the Blackbird is a marvel to see and I encourage everyone to check it out if you can. Unfortunately, there were few built and fewer left intact, so you’ll have to do some searching to find one on display, but it is worth it.


“It’s Gonna Be a Weird Week” celebrate the kookiness of the first musician I really got into: Weird Al Yankovic. If you really like Al and his sense of humor, then check out some of the videos he puts on his YouTube channel. My personal favorites are his calls to tech support that result in unconventional solutions to fixing his electronic devices. UHF may have flopped as a film, but this guy sure knows how to make a funny observation of the world and put it into a skit, or as I like to say, skitify it.

Hard Decision

Shopping Trip

The Mysterious Floating Orb

Tech Support

Tech Support #2


“13 Spooky Songs to Pumpkin Spice Up Your Halloween” was the most recent post and also one that jumped off a launching pad set up by a previous post a year ago. Where there I offered 13 movie suggestions for Halloween, here I provide 13 songs to get in the spirit (oooohooooohooooh!) of Halloween.

So that’s the most recent three months in review. I hope you enjoyed it, even when I phoned it in and pushed some late deadlines. You can look forward to more of that in the future I’m sure, but I’ll try to ensure its quality trash and not just trash. Next week will include a ranking of all the James Bond movies in honor of the release of the latest film, Spectre on Friday, and its promise to bring the series back to its roots. The movie should be a lot of fun and a major holdover for me until this finally comes out! In the meantime, feel free to occupy your time with some thoughts pertaining to the least liked of characters in that greatest of film series (despite its flawed prequels) and see what you can make of redditor Lumpawarroo’s screwy supposition that Jar Jar Binks is secretly the most powerful Sith lord in the galaxy.

It’s a fun premise, but I don’t buy Jar Jar as a big bad anything. He is big and he is bad at many things, but I think Lucas’ other recent films (as in from Phantom Menace on) shows his storytelling skills weakening considerably. Don’t forget Indiana Jones 4 and Strange Magic, that animated fantasy movie that most critics rank as one of the worst films of this year. He definitely did try to appease the fanboys with the prequels in many ways, such as by including Boba Fett’s origin; not to mention he did have quite a bit of attempted parallels with the Orig Trig, but they mainly were recycled lines spoken verbatim at terrible moments that just made us roll our eyes. Jar Jar is clearly a bumbling oaf built for comic relief and a vehicle for advancing the plot, but while he serves important to the overall story, his purpose is rarely one of his own volition. He is in the right place at the right time because he needs to be for the story. I’ll elaborate.

In Episode I he gets the most screen time and proves to be the common and necessary link between the Gungans who have cast him out for being a fool and the people of Naboo who desperately need their help. His greatest role from a character standpoint is of a sort of prodigal son who returns to his people and leads them to victory (of sorts) in battle as a part of the alliance formed with his new friends. The people of Naboo prove their respect for their aquatic neighbors and Jar Jar redeems himself with his own kind and even earns their respect. He is significant for being a bridge between Naboo’s two cultures. He begins as a klutzy dummy who no one would take seriously and ends as a hero to Naboo and the galaxy. It’s quite Biblical and would have been more appreciated had it (and the rest of the movie) been done better.

In the next movies Jar Jar features less, and I agree that this is probably due to Lucas having a “Why are they all angry with me?” moment. Even still, he serves the important role of proposing to give Palpatine absolute power and gets to hang with the Palpatine posse in public, and I’m sticking with this is Palpatine manipulating him and the rest of the galaxy. At this point Jar Jar is at least somewhat renowned for his role in rescuing Naboo from the Federation’s blockade (Palpatine’s first attempt at creating conflict that still kind of works) and Palpatine scores PR points for being seen with Jar Jar. He can plant whatever ideas he wants in Jar Jar’s mind and keeps the Gungan’s new found hero separate from them so that he won’t instill any future problems on their homeworld, whether it be intentional or dumb luck (he is insanely and frustratingly lucky, which does defy Obi-Wan’s line in Ep IV, but then George Lucas didn’t exactly keep in line with everything from the Orig Trig). Ultimately though, the reason why Jar Jar pushes for further empowering Palpatine is from a screenwriter standpoint. This is an extremely important event for the whole series and it can’t be presented by just any character. We need to see someone familiar say, “Hey, let’s make this guy a less restricted ruler and set everything bad that the audience already knows about and is anticipating in motion.” Plus, it allows us to hate Jar Jar for more than just his Jar Jar-ness. Now we have a reason to despise his stupidity and George Lucas might have thought that it would get him off the hook a bit for crafting a less than crafty character.

Even the last time we see Jar Jar – walking along Padme’s funeral procession – he serves as another familiar face we can empathize with  more than just some random guy. Jar Jar may be easy to dislike, but you know him and you know that his connection to Padme was important to the story and that she and he were instant and dear friends, so we recognize his genuine pain at her loss and it helps us to feel the hurt a little more effectively. Or wish that Darth Vader had decapitated him. It’s really Jar Jar’s best scene, although it’s helpful that he doesn’t speak in it.

It’s fun to jump to such a crazy conclusion and the evidence that guy dug up on Drunken fighting style is impressive, but ultimately it’s another out-on-a-limb idea that doesn’t match up – at least enough to paint Jar Jar as the main bad guy behind everything. Then again….

Thanks for reading! Be sure to drop a line at monotrememadness@gmail.com. Open 24/7/365.25! I take requests and will allow you to call me “Two-Sheds” even though I only have one.

May the Force be with you,
Alex
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