Tag Archives: Roman

Nobody Exists on Purpose. Nobody Belongs Anywhere. Everybody’s Going to Die. Come Watch TV.

As exciting as it has been to have new Game of Thrones episodes to watch over the past two Sundays, it pales in comparison to the return of one of the greatest shows ever made. Rick and Morty returns with the long-awaited second episode of the even longer-awaited third season this Sunday on Adult Swim at 11:30pm EST. If you’ve read some of my stuff before then you know I’m a big fan of both, but where George R.R. Martin’s incredibly intricate world and detailed characters are my preferred option for fantasy, mystery, and speculation, Rick and Morty is a show with an unending universe, nay, multiverse of possibilities that always surprises with how delightfully strange, silly, and smart it can be. Among poop jokes and quick quips about random pop culture are some brilliant subtexts that call into question everything we take for granted. I’ve never seen a show so masterfully handle sensitive subjects like religion so succinctly in such a skewering manner as the B-plot of an episode that runs 24 minutes. 24 minutes! You can learn more about what is going on with that particular episode from Jared and the Wisecrack crew:

When it comes down to it though, I love Rick and Morty because it connects with me so well. Rick and Morty just get me, man. This is of course true for many others, and the show has been a major common interest for some of my best friends and I over the last three and a half years.

Rick and Morty has also helped me to sort out my own stance on religious belief. I have always been a spiritual soul (perhaps “soul” isn’t the right word for this, but I like the alliteration). I attribute this to a degree to my years of Catholic education, the latter nine of which were at Jesuit schools. The Jesuits follow the example of the founder of their order, St. Ignatius of Loyola, in seeing God in everything.  Between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere! Yes! Even between the land and the ship. Of course the previous sentence is a line offered up by Yoda to Luke to teach him about the Force, which should indicate where most of my sense of spirituality comes from. I do not identify as a Jedi on my census form; I still mark Roman Catholic when asked about my religious affiliation, but where once I believed in the whole truth of the dogma, then to most of it, then to some of it, and now to almost none of it that is not historical at its core (the Romans did some not so nice things to the people of Jerusalem; there was a dude named Jesus who earned some friends among these downtrodden folks; the Romans perceived him as a threat and encouraged his execution, etc.).

My continued education in science, theology, and philosophy – which remember all occurred at Catholic schools – really cast doubt on what had frequently been presented to me as “the way it is”. The teachers and professors who challenged me to challenge my own beliefs were my Bruce Hornsby. No one person or event brought about my shift from faithful to factual, but all played a critical role in my growth as a person and my understanding of the universe (or perhaps multiverse!).

My favorite scenes in Rick and Morty were some of the final pieces for my personal philosophy regarding life as I know it. The first time I saw the show was midway through the first season and I binged all six episodes that had been released at that point. The sixth and final episode I watched, “Rick Potion #9”, might just be my favorite episode yet. The ending of it is one of the finest wrap-ups I have ever seen in any TV show, and again it was all done in less than a half hour. With the world wrecked by his Cronenberg-like mutants, Rick portals himself and Morty to a universe where the two of them have returned things to normal and promptly died. Rick explains nonchalantly how there are infinite realities and encourages Morty to not worry about it, but it’s all too much for Morty to take and we see his wide eyes gazing around this new, yet familiar world in shock while Mazzy Star’s “Look on Down from the Bridge” perfectly matches the tone on the scene.

I knew I would love this show forever after this. I never expected the wild ending filled with hilarity and high-concept sci-fi, not to mention the use of one of my favorite band’s best songs to wrap it all together. It was love at first sight. What a show, and what an earth-shaking bolt of doubt sent to my core. On the one hand, it’s a cartoon telling fart jokes, but on the other it has got some things to say and they are not always easy to hear. Just two episodes later, in another round of what seemed to be senseless humor for the sake of it, Rick and Morty offered up the best line I have ever heard in my life. That is not hyperbole; Morty’s words to Summer in “Rixty Minutes” are my mantra now. They have become a truth that I live by, and they were part of a B-plot to a primary storyline that consisted of Justin Roiland’s freestyling improvisation that had been animated.

After learning that she was an unintended pregnancy that prompted the marriage of her parents and would not have existed had they not decided against the abortion they were considering, Summer plans to pack up and run away when Morty takes a break from Ballfondlers to give her the dose of reality that I have titled this post after.

My dad was never much of a religious man, but he told me he and his fellow soldiers would offer up their own prays of sorts at times during his tour in Vietnam. He quoted the old adage, “There’s no atheists in a foxhole.” It makes sense that our natural fear of death is easier to accept when you believe there is something waiting for you after your life on Earth ends. We even see ultra-cynic Rick experience this from time to time:

Gotta love those countless Schrodinger’s cats to represent uncertainty.

It’s important to separate belief from fact. This is something that is easier said than done, but it is critical to ensuring that we do not take what is objective and muddle it with what is subjective. Facts can be proven as they have evidence that can be observed and replicated to back them up. Belief is what we choose to accept in the lack of evidence. Some beliefs can be disproved by established facts, i.e. global climate change is human caused and happening; there are hats. Belief in a deity or deities, or belief in an afterlife get tricky because these are not things that able to represented directly by scientific data. We step more within philosophy and the utilization of logic, especially in regards to what has been seen and what is most likely to be less false, but not necessarily more true.

Enjoy the continuing new season of my favorite television show on today, and enjoy your life and share it with others regardless of their beliefs. One of my friends questions the validity of the moon landing and I still speak to him. My oldest friend with whom I have made many great memories graduated from the University of Michigan and I still hang around with him. The point is, we are all different in less important ways yet have so much in common in what really matters. Religious belief can be helpful to help one find peace in the everyday, as well as for healing someone who has endured trauma. As long as religion promotes living in harmony with your fellow man, then it can do tremendous good. Many hospitals are managed by faith organizations, even more schools offer a better education in some areas (mine included), and mission work throughout the world helps to provide both by treating illness and educating populations without proper health care or formal schooling available. As long as faith does not become a banner of hate or blind following, it can help bring humanity closer to itself. Kindness is key, and ideally we can carry on with it without the need of enticement of eternal happiness.

Thanks for reading and watching! Portal back here next week for the quarterly recap in the State of the Season. As always, send any questions, comments, or suggestions to monotrememadness@gmail.com.

Don’t trip along the way,

Alex

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Aloysius’ Amalgamation of Time: How Our Current Calendar Came to Be

Happy Leap Day! I hope that you enjoy this once-every-four-years event that is a 29th day in February however you best see fit. Just make sure that you don’t refer to it as an extra day.

This day isn’t truly extra time, but an accumulation of the time one 365 day period does not cover for a full rotation around the sun. One such solar year is actually 365.2425 days, which is understandably difficult to represent on a calendar with full days. Since it is tough to tack on about a quarter-long day to the end of each year we let it roll into one whole day and throw it into the shortest, shittiest month every four years. Problem solved, right? For the most part, yes, but it is not entirely that simple. I’ll allow some men more well-versed on the subject to explain in more detail just how this day works and how it came to be.

SciShow – “Why Do We Have Leap Years?”

It’s Okay To Be Smart – “Why Does February Only Have 28 Days?”

Those wacky Romans! Always waging war and building their society. Even though the fall of the Western Roman Empire occurred 1540 years ago (the Eastern Roman Empire/Byzantium Empire’s fall occurred 563 years ago), the impact of the Romans is still felt in modern times. The planets of our solar system (except Earth) are all named after Roman deities (and the constellations and moons for Greek mythological beings); water is transferred over great distances, roads are a thing, and other general infrastructure exists; and of course, there’s this calendar business.

The Romans were not alone in this endeavor of course, as it was Pope Gregory VIII who put forth the modern model we use today in 1582. I guess he did so from his seat at the Vatican, so technically you can still chock this up as a Roman action, but it’s not quite the same as actions of Julius Caesar, a.k.a. The Notorious Caesar Salad. (Caesar salad is actually named after its creator, Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who ran a restaurant in San Diego, California. Apparently he was running thin on green ingredients on July 4th, 1924 and whipped together the salad with what he had on hand and it took off.)

Nonetheless, while the calendar is referred to as the Gregorian Calendar, it was not concocted by him like the Caesar salad was by chef Cardini. That credit belongs to Aloysius Lilius as explained here.

How Stuff Works – “The Modern Calendar: Where did it come from? Stuff of Genius”

So the reason we have this day every 1460 days is because of an Italian professor in the 16th century improving upon the calendar utilized by his ancestors centuries earlier. Someday in the future we’ll have to make a marginal adjustment to keep things neat, but that is not nearly as pressing of a matter as getting Leo an Oscar addressing climate change.

Thanks for reading! Make the most of your Leap Day and the rest of this Leap Year. If you have any questions or comments (not to be confused with questionable comments) then submit them below or drop me a line at monotrememadness@gmail.com. Have a wonderful day, especially to my friends Brandon and Nicole who are getting married today so that they only have to celebrate their anniversary every four years. Smart and economical guys!

Hoohiwahiwa!

Alex