Tag Archives: Memorial DAy

State of the Season 12 – Rock and Roll, Reading, and Remembering

Hello and welcome to any and all who find themselves here! As is customary for my every 13th post I look back at the last 12 for a retrospective of the previous “season” of this blog. Let’s hop to it!

Back on May 8th, I tossed the second of my four-part inspection of the T-shirt worn by Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. This was followed by the final two parts over the next couple of weeks. Ament’s shirt contained a list of names of bands and artists he and his bandmates feel deserve inclusion into the Rock Hall. Some I know and agree with, others I was less familiar with. In an effort to educate myself further on all these acts, I listened to a cut of each act’s discography and sought the best (or my favorite) of the bunch to feature.

“Waiting in the Wings of Rock and Roll – Vol. 2”

“Waiting in the Wings of Rock and Roll – On Being the Third Part of Jeff Ament’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Shirt”

“Waiting in the Wings of Rock and Roll – The Final Chapter”


“Never Forget Our Heroes” is my Memorial Day post that attempts not to remember fallen soldiers and service members, but those translators who have been forgotten by the US government in the mire of political bureaucracy. This came from a featured segment on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that I include.


“With a Little Help from My Friends” – I was committed to sticking to my original plan to release a celebration of The Beatles for the anniversary of their most famous album. I did so even in the wake of Trump pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement, and I am pleased that so many cities, businesses, and communities have all stated that they will continue to honor the international agreement on climate change mitigation. With a little help from my friends indeed.


“Da na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na That Man!” is a eulogy of actor Adam West. Fox Animation recently churned out a video compilation of his best moments as Mayor Adam West on Family Guy:

“Paul! That’s a person’s name!”


Indeed it is, Mayor West, and it is Sir Paul McCartney who is the focus of “Happy Birthday Walrus Man!” where I listed some of the best songs written and performed by McCartney over his career with The Beatles and Wings and on his own. He’s referred to as Walrus Man because he was the walrus! Don’t believe me? Well check, check it:


“Rowling Along the Reading Rainbow” is my thanks to J.K. Rowling for writing the book (series) that got me jazzed about reading. I’ll send another shout out to her for today right here and now: Happy Birthday to you and Harry!


“The Magical Mystery Tour is Waiting to Take You Away” – There’s that Walrus again. Expanding upon my fantasy book series fandom like a literary Bran the Builder, I next turned my attention to the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The featured picture is artwork of my favorite sequence from the books, the wildling attack on the Wall. Fantastic fantasy.


While the show, Game of Thrones, does not always nail some scenes like that battle, it has put together some excellent moments, including some that did not occur in the books. You may even call these moments “Epic! Badass” as I did. Enjoy these 10 scenes that may have fallen off your radar from the first six seasons of the show.


“Astronauts Without Borders” is a celebration of the docking between Apollo 18 and Soyuz 19 that took place in 1975. It was the first time two countries planned and enacted a mission to connect spacecraft in flight and kicked off a grand partnership between the scientific communities within the USA and the USSR/Russia that continues today as it always has – separate from politics.


“Nobody Exists on Purpose. Nobody Belongs Anywhere. Everybody’s Going to Die. Come Watch TV.” – Game of Thrones isn’t the only anticipated show that’s back. Rick and Morty made their long awaited return last night on Adult Swim, and Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon and company keep finding humor in the existential dread that surrounds us all. Props especially to Chris Parnell who manages to make us pity and laugh hysterically at the plight of pathetic Jerry whose name is dragged through the mud by even the wind.

Since next Sunday is six long days away, check out the Non-Canonical Adventures of Rick and Morty to help hold you over.


In addition to this recap, I’d like to wish the best to the family of Sam Shepard, who died from ALS on July 27. An actor on the stage and screen best known for his roles in movies like The Right Stuff and Black Hawk Down, but his true passion was as a playwright. Shepard penned 44 plays and won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama with his work Buried Child. He also co-wrote some film screenplays, was nominated for an Oscar for The Right Stuff, and even played banjo on Patti Smith’s unique cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. R.I.P.

Thanks for reading, watching, listening, and enduring some bad jokes in all along the way. I hope that I provide quality entertainment and ideally some education along with it; if I do, I hope that continues, but if I don’t, I hope it begins. Most of all, I hope you’ll check back in here next week for more fun.

Until next week,

Alex

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Never Forget Our Heroes

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. This holiday may be the unofficial start of summertime in America that allows us an opportunity to get together with friends and family for burgers and beer, as well as the harsh realization that no, it’s not warm enough to go swimming yet, but while it is good that we can observe this lighthearted enjoyment in the company of loved ones, Memorial Day has a somber reason for its existence. Memorial Day was created to recognize those who lost their lives in America’s military.

While the exact date that Memorial Day was first observed is not easy to pin down, it is apparent that it became nationally prominent in the late 1860s following the American Civil War. Since then, Americans of all ages have paid their respects to their fallen military men and women in a number of ways. Typically parades, visits to cemeteries, and the aforementioned cookout with friends are common occurrences, yet today I am turning my focus to a specific group of aides to the American armed forces who deserve our thanks and are still living, although their lives are in serious danger and we need to help them to survive as they helped our service members to survive.

Since the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq began, there have been translators who have served as the necessary communicative link between soldiers and engineers working for the military and the native people. These translators have helped to save countless lives and now deserve to be returned the favor, however, this is far from the case as you can learn from this segment from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Translators, even if they were not born or even set foot in the United States, are American heroes and deserve the easy opportunity to become U.S. citizens. We should be fast-tracking these guys and their families on that course of action if they desire it, especially considering the imminent danger most of them are in. It is inexcusable, criminal really, to force them to jump through bureaucratic hoops to realistically attain the goal of citizenship. They deserve to be recognized for their service to America by being welcomed into America. We should be raising a toast of honor to these men and women on Veteran’s Day, not a toast of remembrance on Memorial Day because the United States government did not act as valiantly to serve and save them as they did to serve and save our soldiers and engineers.

The truly frustrating thing is that this episode aired in October of 2014 but things have not vastly improved in the application process. In fact, they have only become harder. Perhaps this is something your local representative should hear about.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please send them to monotremadness@gmail. com.

Alex

Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God

– Inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia

Happy Memorial Day everyone. There are many things that are on my mind today that I could talk about – such as the 38th anniversary of the release of Star Wars, or the 32nd anniversary of the release of Return of the Jedi – but what I really want to talk about is the history of this day that we enjoy by grilling, watching baseball, and spending time with family and friends. Oh, and drinking, drinking too. Yet while we make the most of the unofficial start of summer by dining outdoors with loved ones in lieu of working, this day should call our attention to those who are not around us who should be.

Originally, what we now call Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day, a day formed to commemorate the soldiers who died during the American Civil War by placing flowers on their graves. The Confederate states had their own day of remembrance for the fallen soldiers dressed in gray, and these two days eventually morphed into one day of appreciation for those warriors who made the ultimate sacrifice. 1882 seems to be the agreed upon year when the title was changed to Memorial Day and was meant to encompass the entire nation’s worth of fallen soldiers, however, the day was not widely recognized until after World War II.

Where Veterans Day is a day that is set aside to give thanks to all veterans for their service, Memorial Day is intended to pay homage to those who died in service of their country. I personally do not know anyone who has died in military service for the United States, but I do know of a few police officers and firefighters who have, and I believe they also deserve like appreciation for their sacrifices. I know that my dad, whose service in Vietnam I previously discussed in my Veteran’s Day post, knew many men who died in combat. Regardless of whether or not you know someone who has given his or her all for America or any other country, we should remember all who have for their sake, and the sake of the families and friends they left behind. It’s got to be harder for those folks to enjoy the nice weather while they grill up some burgers.

I am reminded of the most impactful part of my visit to Washington D.C. in 2010. It was my first and thus far only time in my nation’s capital, but the highlight was my visit to Arlington National Cemetery in nearby Arlington, Virginia. Specifically, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, otherwise known as the Tomb of the Unknowns, though it doesn’t actually have an official title. First opened on Veterans Day of 1921, the Tomb of the Unknowns is dedicated to soldiers whose remains cannot be positively identified. Most impressively, the tomb is guarded every second of every day by specially trained guards from the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the US Army. The guards change every half hour during public hours in summertime, and every hour in the fall and winter. They switch every 2 hours when the cemetery closes. The training and selection process is very intense, so much so in fact that the Tomb Guard is the second least granted title in the US Military behind only the Astronaut Badge, which is obviously very difficult to achieve as it requires a spaceflight.

In keeping with the theme of the Tomb of the Unknowns, I left the title blank for this post, but the title picture is one my dad took of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Savannah, Georgia in 2004 or 2005.

Thank you for reading. If you have any comments or questions then please direct them to the box below or send them to monotrememadness@gmail.com. I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day and took a moment to acknowledge their gratitude to those who died for their country’s ideals, especially those whose sacrifice was never officially known.

Thank you,

Alex