Tag Archives: USA

I Must Respectfully Rant

Can we collectively take a knee for women everywhere? I don’t mean as a gesture of marriage proposal, but as a symbolic gesture of support akin to the National Anthem kneeling that has so many people riled up. There have been a few times that I have aimed to discuss that very topic and the debate over it, but while it is simple in premise and execution, in the current United States’ politically-polarized climate, I feel it is a contentious issue with some valid arguments to be made from both sides. Perhaps I will tackle it (teehee) in a future post – and I will say that legally it is not breaking any laws and is protected under the first amendment, and personally, I don’t have a problem with it, and were I skilled enough to be a professional football player, then I would be kneeling with Colin Kaepernick and the rest – but I will hold off on getting further in depth on that debate once more because evidently there is some misunderstanding that needs clarification first. To all my fellow males, both in positions of political and professional authority and out in the rest of the world: it is not okay to make undesired, non-consented advances toward women, nor is it all right to touch women anywhere unless they allow it. Got it? Are you sure? Because lately it seems that far too many of us really don’t comprehend this. And that is a serious problem.

They are different issues to be sure, but similar to the problem with police over-aggressiveness toward minorities, this is not simply a problem with “a few bad apples”. The worst offenders are a small percent of the total population, but there is a greater systematic fault in the manner of the population’s thinking. Too many of us do not understand the boundaries of what is appropriate and what is unacceptable. How can you know when you are about to cross the line if you do not know where the line is?

We can recognize that this problem exists and spans across our society, but how do we repair it? As with all problems, we start to solve it by taking what we know and using it to instruct us in learning more. In this case, we understand now (for the most part) how to properly treat each other, especially in regards to men interacting with women, so we apply that knowledge to the next generation. As Crosby, Stills, & Nash sang, teach your children well. If we can properly educate our children, the future will be better (that applies to soooo much more than this too). However, while this helps things get better down the line, how do we manage to make things better now?

Our current culture evidently has not made it explicitly clear to all as to what proper behavior is, so how do we correct the conduct that is improper within this era? I confess, I don’t really know how to do this. This is not my field of expertise to be sure, yet even I can see that there is no clear cut answer to rectify the wrongdoings of so many men from so many walks of life. Lately, the news has highlighted the exploits of a few notable politicians and celebrities who have made unwelcome advances toward women, but these are not the only men who have committed such heinous acts. It is also true that it is not limited to men, and while I do not wish to gloss over the number of women who sexually pressure men, like the issue of National Anthem kneeling, I do not want to distract from the main issue at hand. Furthermore, any shout of “women do it too; don’t forget that!” is not an argument as much of a diversion. Women have endured mistreatment from men throughout human history, and despite things being much better in the modern world compared to the past, there are still many inherent disadvantages presented to them that prevents equal treatment from their male peers. I fear that we as a society will not truly accept women as equal to men until we make changes that mark women as equal to men, like equal pay. Such an established level of official equality would force old-fashioned, wrongful thinking regarding females in the United States to update or fucking deal with it.

At least that’s the hope. Because whether you like it or not, the United States holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal. Women should have the same opportunities to succeed in life as men do, and they should not have to be humiliated or endure inappropriate behavior to achieve this. That part, at least, is just that simple.

Thanks for reading. Hit me up with any questions, comments, or suggestions at monotrememadness@gmail.com, and be sure to swing back here next week, and treat your fellow man and woman with the utmost of respect.

Yours most respectfully,

Alex

Advertisements

O-H-I-O! Rip His ****ing Head Off!

We are a mere five days away from the most important football game of the season. If you are a college football, this rings true for you no matter whom you support (although some teams do play earlier than Saturday). This is Rivalry Week, and there is no shortage of signature matchups with big stakes for the teams involved and beyond. To name a few, Auburn and Alabama once again face off with national title implications on the line; Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia-Georgia Tech and Florida-Florida State duke it out in cross-conference games; Northwestern-Illinois, Indiana-Purdue, Mississippi-Mississippi State, Washington-Washington State, and Oregon-Oregon State all battle for their respective states. All across the USA there are major meetings where the records are thrown out the window and the lofty goals of championships are set aside; these teams involved in rivalry games are focused only on winning the game that matters most and claiming whatever trophy and bragging rights they can earn with such a victory.

For the greatest of these games, the individual aspirations of each team are cast to the wind for a showdown at high noon this Saturday. For Ohio State and Michigan, the fiercest rivalry in the sport, the number of wins and losses do not matter. Year to year for each team, there is but one game in the entire season that matters – the remaining 11-14 are just bonuses if you win them. When Ohio State won the inaugural College Football Playoff in the 2014 season, they played some incredible games including major wins over Wisconsin, Alabama, and Oregon to round out the season that also featured critical wins like a shootout at Michigan State and a double overtime survival at Penn State. These are all awesome games for Buckeye fans, but compared to the one that took place on the fourth Saturday of November, they do not mean much. Even though the Wolverines were an uncharacteristically lackluster 5-6 coming into that game and Ohio State was a 10-1 juggernaut cruising along with their sights on the big prize they would eventually win, this was not a game either side took lightly, and despite the final score was a game that was decided in the fourth quarter.

Such has been the case for so many of the games in the lengthy series that began in 1897. From the first competitive contests in the 1910s, through the heralded Woody versus Bo Ten Year War, and to last year’s amazing game of the year double overtime thriller, the Ohio State-Michigan series has been the most compelling rivalry series for over a century. The past two years I have discussed the games that were celebrating their 10 year anniversary, with the fourth quarter comeback that the Buckeyes mounted in 2005, and the #1 versus #2 Game of the Century in 2006, standing front and center on this webpage. Today, I continue that trend with a look at the less outwardly thrilling but individually amazing effort put forth by Chris “Beanie” Wells in 2007.

A few days ago, Ohio State demolished their other historical rival Illinois, as has been the case for the greater part of the past few decades. The last time the Illini scored a win against the Buckeyes was in 2007, when they came to Columbus and eeked out a 28-21 win in an impressively upstart year for them. That was the first defeat the Buckeyes suffered that year, and coming in the critical eleventh game of the season, it seemed to knock the Bucks out of the National Championship running – they would go on to not only make it to that game for the second year in a row, but thanks to a smattering of chaos in the final week of the season, they made it in as #1! Aaaand that was worse for them than if they had been #2, but again, the other games don’t matter compared to the The Game. The Buckeyes went into The Game in 2007 with a 10-1 record, that “and one” still water-droplet-covered fresh. Michigan was 8-3, powering through a season bookended by dual losses. After the shocking starter where they lost to Appalachian State, followed by an annihilation from Oregon (both in Ann Arbor, Michigan), the Wolverines did not look great. Nevetheless, they were pretty good, and rattled off 8 straight wins, before falling once more to the other Big Ten weasels , the Wisconsin Badgers at always tough to play Camp Randall Stadium. In spite of all this, entering the game against Ohio State, Michigan hardly looked like the lesser team, and the matchup appeared to be fairly even.

And so it was. The game itself was classic Midwestern sports, with weather dictating the flow for all four quarters. Thanks to playing to his team’s strengths, Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel got the better of Michigan man Lloyd Carr for the final time before the great head coach retired. Chiefly, the team’s strength in lead running back Chris Wells. “Beanie” beat up the Wolverines on their soggy home turf by churning up 222 rushing yards in a rain-soaked contest that, like all football games, was truly determined by the battle between the offensive and defensive lines. The Buckeyes bested the blue weasels by keeping stars like Chad Henne and Mike Hart in check (along with the winds and water), holding Michigan to a field goal and grinding down the clock when the Ohio State offense had the ball. Some Tressel-typical tricky formations helped confuse Michigan’s defense and set up Chris Wells’ first touchdown of the day to send Ohio State to halftime with a 7-3 lead.

Shortly after halftime, Michigan was forced to punt once again, and the Buckeyes took the ball back all the way for the score… because of help from a block in the back penalty (the first of the game on Ohio State). Fortunately, Beanie was glad to be back from the half and didn’t make us wait too long to get the score anyway. Check it out here.

Such was The Game for 2007, Tressel topped the Wolverines for the sixth time (he would add three more wins in as many contests with the team up North) thanks very much to his inventive schemes, strong players, and of course, Beanie Wells. the Buckeyes seemed bound for Pasadena to face off against a Pac-10 team in their first Rose Bowl in 11 years, but the aforementioned chaos sent them back to the BCS Championship.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy Rivalry Week even though only half of us football fans actually will. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, send them along to monotrememadness@gmail.com.

I also want to add well wishes for the family of Terry Glenn who died in a car crash early this morning. He was a former NFL Pro-Bowler who played wide receiver for the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, and Dallas Cowboys, and The Ohio State University Buckeyes before that. A Columbus, Ohio native, Glenn had some shining moments in his professional career, but he led a frequently troubled life. Hopefully he is at peace now and his family and friends can find some.

Go Buckeyes!

Alex

We Got Him!

Media is tricky these days. It’s difficult to work out what is going on through the surge of sensationalism that dominates the news outlets we rely on for information. Even our most trusted sources can get swept up in screaming out something that they know will get heads turned towards them, even if that is not necessarily the something they should be shouting about, or if what they are shouting about it misses the mark of what they should be shouting about. Too vague? Certainly, but let’s look at a specific subject that he media has been obsessed with for the past few years: Donald Trump. Trump has always been in a good position of prominence and authority thanks to his family’s business prospering before he got into it. However, in the last two years, he has skyrocketed into the global public eye, which is understandable for a President of the United States, but he manages to capture headlines with everything he does  and everywhere he goes at every minute of the day. His mastery of the bullshit arts and utilization of the social media vehicle that is Twitter allowed him to dominate the coverage leading up to the last presidential election, and definitely played a part in helping him to get elected to that position. Now with a bigger soapbox than he’s ever had to shout from, the media struggle to keep up with all that old Donnie can blather out. Few have managed to consistently cover his crap and actually express how it is legitimately crap, and they have something in common: they’re comedic journalists who have all worked on The Daily Show. From current host, Trevor Noah, to former host Jon Stewart, to former correspondents and current hosts of therir own shows, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, and most of all, John Oliver, the Daily Show gang has nailed nailing down Trump’s insanity where traditional news outlets have failed. Those with a show of their own routinely rail into the toupee-touting toddler (prove me wrong Donald, I dare you!), as do other comedy hosts, such as Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien. However, nobody dishes out the “DAMN!”s like John Oliver and his crew on HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Certainly, having what Oliver once referred to as “dragon money” on his former constituent Stephen Colbert’s Late Show helps, but beyond the blatant overspending that Last Week Tonight  likes to show off (in line with the “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” philosophy) their entire staff has excelled at delivering quality current and investigative newspieces over their four seasons, and tackling Trump has been their forte, and nabbed them another Emmy in the same category Jon Stewart’s Daily Show used to dominate.

It’s a shame that last night was Last Week Tonight‘s last show until next season starts in February, Thankfully, Oliver and Co. went out with a bang, breaking down the dynamics of what makes Trump strangely successful, and why it is bad, as well as leaving us with one hell of a post credits callback clip. Enjoy it for yourself:

We may be stuck with a dipshit of an executive leader, but at least we have John Oliver to carry us through the remaining 3-7 years of it. If you need to catch up or get your dose of Oliver while you wait for next season, then visit the show’s YouTube page here for the featured clips of most of their episodes.

Thanks for reading and watching! Swing back next week for more something or other!

XOXO,

Alex

Don’t Do Me Like That

Tom Petty has lived up to his band’s name in the manner of his health situation and its impact on his many fans. The legendary rock and roller was hospitalized today after suffering cardiac arrest. The founder and frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Petty is a wonderfully weird personality. With elements of Bowie and Zappa blended with Southern Charm and American energy, Tom has offered his own quirky humor and powerful guitar to the world of music, becoming one of the most beloved acts in rock and roll for the last 40 years.

While he is not in a good place right now, Tom Petty has not officially been declared dead by any reputable source. I was distraught after hearing about his heart attack, and later death… until I double-checked on the early reports and found that they done goofed! Read this article in the Washington Post that highlights how even in today’s information age, one reported jump to conclusion can set off a chain reaction of attempts to get the next bombshell dropped that overtake the pursuit of the truth. It feels like a modern version of false death reporting like what happened quite famously to Mark Twain.

The roughest part about all this is that while Petty is still alive, he may not return to full strength. Rather than fearfully dwell on what may occur, let’s wish for the best to come and reflect on the best that has.

Tom Petty was my white whale as far as concerts were concerned. Many of my college friends are happily obsessed with him and his Heartbreakers – my friend Mike saw him six times, or was it seven? The first time for him and our other pals to partake in Petty’s presence was after our freshman year of undergrad. I had to skip the trip to go to the show because I was taking summer classes, and missing a chemistry lab is much rougher than one lecture. Either way, I wish I had been less responsible and had skipped. I did get another chance a couple years later when Mike and his cousin traveled into their homestate of New York to see him upstate. This time, family responsibilities prevented me from making it. When my friends said that Petty was making a stop in Cleveland on his Heartbreakers 40th anniversary tour my curiosity was again piqued. Then I saw that Joe Walsh was the opening act. In a classic “You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention” moment. This summer I finally saw him, with Walsh and all, and it was worth it. The highlight of the experience was to take my younger sister to her first concert ever. A concert put on by her favorite artist, no less. Years ago, I bought a CD of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits… and promptly lost it to my little sis. She played it on repeat so often that you could clearly see the tracks she preferred the most. Most starkly shining on the underside of disc was the middle track, her all-time favorite song, “I Won’t Back Down”.

This has now become a rallying cry urging the health rebound all of Tom’s fans are wishing for. Here’s hoping that he can make it happen; if anyone can, it’s this wacky sonofabitch. He may be a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, but his greatest honor is the admiration of the millions of fans like my sister whose lives have been brightened by his music.

Thanks for reading. Send any questions, comments, or suggestions to monotrememadness@gmail.com, and be sure to fly on back here next week, for hopefully some pleasant news.

Alex

Media Maelstrom

Houston, we’ve had a problem, and we continue to. It has been rough enough for the residents of Texas and Florida, not to mention the many others living throughout the Caribbean who have been affected by the recent hurricanes. Here in the USA, the pieces are still being picked up as another storm blows in. Thankfully, the early response for these and other storms has advanced greatly over the last century which has led to countless lives being saved by being able to leave or prepare for what’s to come. In that, the 24/7 availability of news and media outlets has helped. However, it has not been perfect coverage of such storms from the news – far from it, actually.

Today’s media, both televised and printed, but especially television news, has a nasty habit of presenting us with the spectacular side of a story at the expense of what is actually at the heart of it. Insofar as hurricane coverage (and any other natural disaster) is concerned, this approach is fairly formulaic in portraying the wake of the storm as something akin to a battlefield and painting the hurricane as the enemy force to be endured and defeated. The problem with this, is that is misidentifies what the real problem is, for it’s not a story of man versus nature, but man versus ignorance, in this case, man not paying sufficient attention to the need to maintain the natural spaces around him in order to provide himself with protection. Watch this video to see a more in depth discussion why it is vital we keep spaces such as wetlands, floodplains, and breakwaters in place for our own sake:

As you can see, there is more at stake with the sensationalized news coverage than misappropriating the true threat (climate change and overdevelopment), as poor media management can facilitate racism and purport myths.

Thanks for reading and watching. Continue to wish well for and help if you can those affected by the hurricanes.

Alex

“Let’s Roll”

It’s easy to say, “Never Forget”, and for those of us who witnessed any part of the news coverage or the actual attacks we will never be able to forget the horrors the United States endured on September 11, 2001. There are markers and memorials in the impacted areas in New York City, Arlington County, VA, and Stonycreek Township, PA that commemorate the people who died and the people who helped rescue those lucky enough to escape with their lives, so that everyone born after that date will forever be able to learn about the history of largest terrorist attacks in human history. Today, I would like to highlight a few specific heroes whose efforts 16 years ago helped to save the lives of many others in the hope that this will help us to continue to remember them and their sacrifices and contributions.

First, I want to salute a single individual named Todd Beamer. Beamer was a sales rep for IBM traveling for work from Newark to San Francisco onboard United Airlines Flight 93. United 93 was one of the four airplanes hijacked on September 11, 2001, and it appeared to be bound for Washington D.C. after the hijackers turned the plane southeast as they flew near Cleveland. The plane never made it to its target thanks to efforts of Beamer and fellow passengers, including Alan Beaven, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett, William Cashman, Jeremy Glick, Linda Gronlund, Rich Guadagno, Lou Nacke, and Honor Elizabeth Waino, as well as flight attendants Sandra Bradshaw and Cee Cee Ross-Lyle. They called their loved ones, prayed together, and then stormed the cockpit.

Their brave efforts to fight back against the terrorists who had killed the pilots led to the United 93 crashing into the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Todd led the charge to reclaim the plane, first calling on one of the plane’s seat phones and connecting with Lisa Jefferson, a supervisor at GTE Airfone who spoke with Todd about the situation and the passengers’ plan to retake the plane. She prayed with him and some passengers, then Todd checked with the group, asking if they were ready. When he was given an affirmative response, he said, “Let’s roll.” Sadly, all aboard perished in the crash, but their sacrifice ensured that no one else would suffer from another attack. Todd and the others on United 93 are American heroes and should be forever remembered as such. Thank you to them all.

 


All of us in the United States also owe a great debt to our northern neighbors who helped to safely redirect the flights that were already in the air after the attacks had begun. The attacks prompted the FAA (the United States Federal Aviation Administration) to ground all flights close down American airspace – the first time in history that such an immense action was taken. This left over 250 planes bound for US airports in the air with nowhere to land. Operation Yellow Ribbon was Canada’s response. Canada took in 255 airplanes at 17 of their airports in cities great and small, and at military bases. Canadian airspace was also shut down for departing flights, except those with emergency and military distinction.

The Canadian government and the airports with diverted planes helped secure lodging and meals for the passengers of each aircraft. The following year, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said,

9/11 will live long in memory as a day of terror and grief. But thanks to the countless acts of kindness and compassion done for those stranded visitors here in Gander and right across Canada it will live forever in memory as a day of comfort and of healing…. You did yourselves proud, ladies and gentlemen, and you did Canada proud.

To the entire nation of Canada, thank you.


Finally, a nod to astronaut Frank Culbertson, who was Station Commander on the International Space Station and took the title picture as ISS passed over New York City on the morning of September 11, 2001. Of the sight of the great smoke plume rising from the tower of the World Trade Center he went on to say,

“It’s horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point. The dichotomy of being on a spacecraft dedicated to improving life on the earth and watching life being destroyed by such willful, terrible acts is jolting to the psyche, no matter who you are.”

Culbertson also wrote a couple of letters in response to learning of the attacks which you can read here. Near the end of the final letter, he expresses hope that their mission can be a beacon of hope and cooperation for future harmony:

I hope the example of cooperation and trust that this spacecraft and all the people in the program demonstrate daily will someday inspire the rest of the world to work the same way. They must!

I know many of us wholeheartedly agree.

Thanks for reading and watching. As we honor our heroes and remember our fallen from 16 years ago, let us continue to do what we can to aid in the efforts to brace and heal in Texas, Florida, the rest of the southeast US, and the Caribbean islands affected by the trio of hurricanes currently impacting America. Good luck to everyone seeking shelter and to all aiming to help them find it.

Alex

Wonderful Whitson

Happy Labor Day everyone! Today in the USA we honor American workers with a day off for (most) everyone. On this 2017 edition of the day, I would like to pay special props to an American whose work is literally out of this world.

Peggy Whitson has been logging some major merits in her career as an astronaut for NASA. She recently returned to Earth via Soyuz capsule to Kazakhstan after working the past 288 days aboard the International Space Station. After her most recent stint in space, Peggy owns records for being the first two-time female commander of ISS, the oldest woman in space (57), the most practiced woman to take a stroll in space with 10 space walks, oh, and now she has spent more time in space than any other American. In total over three missions onboard ISS, Whitson has accrued 665 days in orbit, longer than any woman in history. There are a few Russian cosmonauts who have stayed in space longer, including Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin who returned with her.

Whitson is a biochemist who started with NASA in 1989. She has been conducting research on a number of things, perhaps most notably on antibodies in zero-G. She has been awarded numerous medals from NASA, including their Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2006, and even served as Chief Astronaut for a time. Originally hailing from Iowa, she now lives in Houston, Texas where NASA is headquartered. She said that any trouble she may have adjusting back to life with greater gravity is nothing compared to the hardships of those affected by Hurricane Harvey, which includes some of her fellows at Mission Control.

Whitson may no longer venture into the cosmos, but she is still planning on working at NASA on the ground for spaceflight missions, as well as some other projects in the future that may involve a certain red planet.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, then send them my way at monotrememadness@gmail.com. Float on back here next week for more fun.

Shine on you American Space Ninja,

Alex