State of the Season 8: Miniature Migrants through Cosmic Cruisers – Take a Deep Breath On Your Own Journey

Hello, hello, I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello! It has been over two years now that I have churned out some words with pictures, videos, music, and more on each Monday. The topics have varied, as has the quality here and there, but I am quite proud of the legacy that I’ve unceremoniously dumped onto the Internet every week. Hopefully my humor has brought a smile to your face at some point, and perhaps I may have actually scratched at saying something profound on occasion. I mainly write for my own sake, whether it be as a means to cope with the hectic nature of life that can seem increasingly overwhelming on an Earth that seems increasingly small and therefore increasingly important. However, if I have at any point over the life of this blog brought you joy, then I am made even happier by that and hope to continue to do so.

Today, as is tradition with each 13th post, I am looking back at the previous 12 with a summary of what was covered in it, as well as bonus information that I left out for one reason or another, usually because I forgot it. The past three months saw a lot of controversial and frightening events occur, and while I do not strive to be a source of current news or strong opinion, I found myself frequently focusing on how a certain scenario affected me. If you have differing opinions you are entitled to that, but please remember that so am I and everyone else. With that kinda sorta disclaimer stated, let’s look back at the world that was and very much still is.

“Little Birds, Big Impact” is the post that kicked off the month of May for my stand-alone entries. In it I discussed the annual migration of passerines, or songbirds, especially warblers through the northwest portion of my home state of Ohio and the impact they have on the surrounding area. I have enjoyed birdwatching since I was six or so, and the songbird migration has been a treat to check out every spring. This year I logged about 10 new bird species on my life list during the peak migration, half of which were warblers, the other half a mix of other neotropical passerines like yellow-throated vireo, and shorebirds. Since most of the migrants have moved further north, I have added first time Ohio sightings of pine warbler and yellow-breasted chats!


“Hwaet!” is another recycling of one of my college English essays. In this case it was a look at Old English words, such as the titular hwaet, which was used as a call to attention in stories like BeowulfBeowulf is the official epic of the United Kingdom (the USA recognizes Walt Whitman’s masterful Leaves of Grass) and the version that you probably read in school was translated from Old English by the guy holding the helm in the picture: Seamus Heaney. Heaney was an Irish poet and writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, and on May 16, the day this post was published, the HomePlace center that will serve as a museum memorial to him entered into its final phase of development.


“Thug Lit” is an appreciation for Sparky Sweets, Ph.D. and his fellows at Wisecrack who continue to churn out analysis of classic texts with a freshy fresh take.


“Gorilla gorilla gorilla” is my reaction to the Harambe incident at the Cincinnati Zoo that urged anyone from overreacting to it. I used the genus, species, and subspecies name for the Western lowland gorilla – the endangered subspecies Harambe was – as both a reference to the academic classification of his subspecies, and a representation of the sentiment that those were the main buzzwords being cycled around on all forms of media. How you perceived it could correlate to how you reacted to the situation. Now that some time has passed, it feels like the story that had so many up in arms on one side or another has been forgotten in favor for the next big story, some of which I’ll get to later.


“Operation Neptune” is one of my anniversary posts for this round, focusing on the D-Day invasion that took place 72 years ago.


“And Now Please Enjoy Our Stupid Show” was the immediate reaction to the Orlando attack. It made my minor troubles that weekend be forcefully put in perspective, and like the rest of you, I was emotionally battered and unsure what to do. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of John Oliver and his show, and I think that the opening address his team put together was one of the most moving pieces made by any program that I have ever seen.


“Cleveland Rocks!” is a much more cheerful post that celebrating the historic victory by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals that brought the downtrodden city its first championship in 52 years. LeBron James once made moving to a successful team to win a championship the thing to do for NBA superstars, but now he has made it moving back home to win with the team you grew up loving. We cannot forget the impact made by other players, especially Kyrie Irving, or for that matter, the fans who have stuck by their teams through so much strife. Drew Carey, Ian Hunter, and The Presidents of the United States knew it all along, but know the rest of the world can see that Cleveland truly does rock. At least until…


“If You Give a Bigot a Cookie…” is when I got political. It is not an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, except maybe as the lesser of all evils. I don’t actually think Clinton is evil, yet I am not enamored with her (or any candidate, really), however, I cannot abide having Donald Trump be our President. The man represents so much that will do nothing but make America the mess he seems to think it is. He would be more fitting running alongside George Wallace in the segregated Sixties than in this era, but clearly such racist, sexist, and all-around hateful sentiments sadly still exist.


“Cinem-America the Beautiful” is my praise for how great we already are as a country, and in celebration of our birthday I assembled a list of my favorite movies with the name of my nation in the title. My favorite of the films I highlighted is probably Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which has about as much Cleveland as Washington D.C. in it.


“Jersey Jaws” is another look at a somber anniversary. This time the infamous shark attacks along the Jersey Shore that occurred 100 years ago were the focus. The attacks still are studied today not just for their historical impact, but to try to determine which species of shark was actually involved, and if there were multiple.


“untitled [It’s going to be okay]” is my shortest post, and the only one that featured no original input from me. It is essentially a repost of a comic from Matt Inman, a.k.a. the Oatmeal, that tells a lesser known story of a young pilot named Gene Roddenberry who would go on to create one of the greatest popular culture phenomenons in Star Trek. However, while the timing lined up well with the release of the latest film, I meant it as another deep breath like my gorilla post, but instead of referencing one specific issue, it reacted to a number of occurrences, such as the latest attacks in France, the continued craziness of the Trump presidency push, and much, much more that I felt unsettling me from a comfortable position. Inman’s comic similarly attempts not to focus on Roddenberry’s life as much as his actions that we can all emulate. If you have not yet seen the comic, I encourage you to check it out here.


“Casually Going Where Many Have Gone Before!” is my more direct applause to Roddenberry and those who followed him in adding to his greatest work’s legacy by ranking the Start Trek movies in order of how much I like or dislike them. A special shout out to director/writer Nicholas Meyer who delivered the best that Star Trek has to offer in terms of films. If my post hasn’t provided enough of a trek through the stars, then check out this thorough glance at the whole mythology.

Thanks as always for reading! Stay tuned for more in the future, including an assessment of the state birds and how each state identifies with them; more lists of movies and music that define genres; forgotten (or at least lesser known) stories of science and history; and a glimpse at some of the most darling looking deadly creatures. If there is ever anything you want to ask, remark on, or suggest as a topic, feel free to email me at monotrememadness@gmail.com.

Peace!

Alex

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