Happy Memorial Day?

 


    I wonder how many of you say that without realizing the last Monday in May is really not about the unofficial start of summer?

    NOTE:  Okay, I’ll grant you that June, July, and August are pretty cold in the Southern Hemisphere, which sounds like a crappy deal for our friends down under.  Until you stop to consider they also don’t have Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

    NOTE FOLLOWING A NOTE:  That last sentence is sure to tick off both sides of the aisle.  You’re welcome.

    On the other hand, Australia does have Olivia Newton-John.  Well, did.  Well, they do have Steve Irwin.  What?  Oh, eff.  Forget it.  Mate.  

    Lost among the hoopla of backyard barbecues blissfully free of Bud Light, fireworks (for those looking to get a jump on Independence Day...and their neighbors’ nerves), trips to Jersey beaches (to watch the annual washing ashore of mob hits), and tropical storms (in Florida) is the true purpose behind Memorial Day.

"It's Clydesdale piss which identifies as beer."

    Decoration Day, recognition of those who gave their lives in the Civil War, was proclaimed on May 5th, 1868, by General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic (“Grand.”  Well, weren’t they all full of themselves?).  Planned for May 30th, it drew former foes together to plant flowers and otherwise spruce up graves of war dead from North and South alike at Arlington National Cemetery.

The only civil war in American history. 
 Unless there's a sequel, of course.

"That's kinda depressing."

    NOTE: Which, incidentally, is on the site of Robert E. Lee’s home.  Don’t try to tell me the North couldn’t be vindictive pricks.

    To be sure, women in the South were also “decorating” gravesites of their dead from the “Great Cause,” when they weren’t saying “Bless your heart” or “Kiss my grits.”  In fact, some sources state that those practices even predated the end of the war.  What’s more, some states in Dixie even had their own Decoration Days, mostly in May.

"Lemme ask you, you think Scarlett O'Hara would ever do this?"
"Right?  She's so full of shit."
"Bless her heart."
"Exactly."

 
    NOTE:  For my non-American friends (and products of the public school system), the American Civil War (or “War of Northern Aggression”-sheesh, those people can really hold a grudge.  At least they weren’t vindictive pricks, though.) took place between 1861 and 1865 between the “North” and the “South.”  I could bore you with the whys, whens, and whats about one of our most horrific conflicts (this side of a college campus), but I won’t.  Let’s just put it this way:  a lot of people died and the blue team won.  Oh, and it wasn’t technically a “civil” war.  Because, let’s face it, there’s nothing civil about getting your head blown off by a cannon ball.

"Hey, General Burnside, doesn't it bother you that some of the men are wearing what they call 'sideburns?' 
"Naw.  Could be worse."
"Worse?  How?"
"Well, I could be General Hooker."


    Decoration Day remained an observance of Civil War dead up until after the First World War.  Following one of history’s most idiotic conflicts (which didn’t end up being the “war to end all wars” after all.  Dumbasses.), it was decided that May 30th would be set aside to honor all American war dead.

    NOTE:  And those who lost their lives during peacetime in service to their country.

    The name, however, stuck until it officially changed to Memorial Day in 1967.  No matter what it was called, though, Americans throughout the nation took time to honor the fallen.

    What seemed to many a civic duty began to fade after Congress passed the Holiday Act of 1971.  An effort to consolidate some federal holidays into three-day weekends, it shifted Memorial Day to the last Monday in May.  The inexorable transformation from solemn tribute to summertime bacchanal had begun.

    I try my best not to be a crank about the avalanche of car commercials, barbecue tips shows, or “ABBA to ZZ Top-The Memorial Countdown of the 500 Most Popular Hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and Whatever the Frik We Call the First Decade of the 21st Century!”  It’s hard not to get caught up in the hype of a country poised at the brink of gloriously warm weather (sorry, Aussies) and summer reruns.  Hey, I like to walk around with my shirt off and scare wildlife like any other middle-aged guy.

    Still, I remember when Memorial Day used to be about the Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman.  Parades, wreath-layings, air shows, flag-raisings:  those were what I remember.

Or whatever the frik it is these nerds are called.


    But, if I think back really hard (that sounds dirty), I also remember my shirtless father (I’m still in therapy) incinerating hot dogs from Shop Rite on the grill while listening to Best of the Ventures on his 8-Track player.  All while we played fetch with our dog-using my little brother’s bathing suit.  With my little brother still in it.

"Okay, kids, who wants dogs?  Dad's charring them!"

    When we weren’t playing catch with the Lawn Darts, that is.

    Ahhhhh, good times.

We are going to miss Uncle Chet, though.

    So, when I get up Monday morning, I’m going to fly my flag before heading off to see the Memorial Day parade.  I’ll place my hand over my heart when the national anthem is played at the wreath-laying.  And hang on to every word spoken by a veteran from either the American Legion or the VFW.

    Then, I’ll go home to see if I can cook a hot dog better than my dad.

    Now that I think of it, I guess the saying fits:

    Happy Memorial Day!

    Still, never forget it should also be Blessed Memorial Day.

    Two things can be true at the same time, ya know.

    Like Joe Biden and Donald Trump can both be old geezers who suck.       

Happy Easter!

    If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'd know that today is Orthodox Catholic Easter.  And you'd know why.  I'm not going to educate you as to its origins.  If you want to know, go back and read my earlier posts.  Or not.  In fact,  you may not even be reading this now.  If not, who am I writing to?
"You think we can get Easter candy on sale?"
"Seriously, Greg?  You're still using that old joke?"
"Not funny?"
"Once.  Now, it's no better than when Al keeps using 'when the moon is in its summer house' joke."



"And Jupiter aligns with Mars!"


    


    Anyway...

    A month ago, I was talking to my wife about the early Spring holidays.  Me, being Roman Catholic, commented that MY Easter happened on March 31st which had something to do with the moon.

"A planet made of gas."

    If you don't know, like I said, earlier posts....

    She, being Jewish, remarked that Passover would be a week after that.

    Ball of gas thing.  Again.

    But,  Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, and others will observe Orthodox Easter today, May 5th.

    I'm not sure who all.  At any rate, it's all Greek to me.




   Then, she told me that Mexico will also celebrate on the same day.

   NOTE:  I swear I said this.

   "Huh,"  I commented, "I didn't know Mexicans observed Orthodox Easter."

    She stared at me and deadpanned,  "Cinco de Mayo."

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....................................

    So, for those who celebrate that, Happy Cinco de Mayo (it's pretty much an American excuse to get sloshed at places like Las Palmas).

    But, hey, fish tacos, salsa, and Dos Equis.

"Murica.  Ole."

   And to those Mexicans celebrating Easter today, I'm sorry, the chocolate bunnies have either been sold or put up for next year.





Out On a Limb

     Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'm going to defend Joe Biden (for perhaps the very first, and last, time).

"Thank you very much.  Who's Joe Biden?"

    Sure, he's a demented clown (as opposed to an orange one), but he's been taking quite a rap over his statement that his Uncle Ambrose was probably eaten by cannibals while flying over New Guinea during World War II.

    Absolutely, some of the memes are hilarious and I usually always chuckle or laugh out loud when I see them.  His critics are having a heyday with what they perceive is the latest gaffe from America's premiere Gaffe Machine.

One of my favorites

    The Scranton Pine Cone is known for saying the most outlandish things when he he isn't mumbling some incoherent bit of gibberish. 

    And this latest pronouncement by the Scourge of Corn Pop seems beyond the pale in its ridiculousness.  I mean, come on, cannibals?  In the 20th Century?  Yer kiddin', right?.

    The thing is, there actually were cannibals in the South Pacific during the war.  In fact, there were reports of cannibalism on New Guinea itself.  

  

"So, me and my mates were wondering what to make for dinner.  None of us had a clue, but then, wouldn't you know, special delivery.  It was like Door Dash."

    In fact in fact, when I asked Siri if there was cannibalism, my trusty (?) AI girlie stated "The government of New Guinea is discouraging the practice of cannibalism."

"As Prime Minister of New Guinea, I'm proud to tell you that my country is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Pacific.  Sure, someone may eat you, but you really should check out our waterfalls." 

   Wait.  WHAT!?  Discouraging?  You mean, like in the 21st Century??

    So, while people scoff at the latest from Joey, he may, in fact, have a point.  Uncle "Bosey" may have crashed his plane in New Guinea and, since his body was never found, he may have been eaten by cannibals.

    Unfortunately, anything that Joey from Scranton says is immediately questioned and ultimately ridiculed.  He, like Trump, is his own worst enemy.

"Quite frankly, I am a stable genius."



    However, his cannibal story may have an element of truth.

    After all, I suppose stranger things have happened.

    Like thinking little kids enjoy rubbing the hair on your legs in the pool.

"And I love little kids rubbing my leg, or sitting on my lap, or fetching me some...uh...anyway."








Happy Passover

      A good lot of you have already celebrated Easter.  Like weeks ago.  

"Weeks ago!?  You should have told me, Mr. Great Pumpkin!  No joke."

    Yes, yes, I know, for some reason Orthodox Easter is still to come on May 5th, but I'm talking Easter Bunny Easter.  That Easter has been over for quite a while.  If you doubt that, you don't see chocolate bunnies at the grocery store, do you?  Also, if you doubt that, you're an idiot.

"What?  Even the Peeps?  Man, that sucks."
"Nice hat, though."
"Well, it's cold, but thank you."

     Recognized by Christians worldwide as the most sacred day in the year, Easter is a time to reflect on the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a carpenter's son from Nazareth.

     But, hey, did you know (okay most do), that Jesus was a rabbi?  That He, along with His followers, was in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, one of the most sacred days of the Jewish calendar?

    No, he wasn't Catholic, despite what Sister Mary Gregory of the Titanium Yardstick tried to beat into you.

     In fact, the Last Supper was actually a Passover Seder.

"Now just wait one damn minute, I think this is a chick."
"Well, she smells nice."
"Whatever.  Can I order a BLT?"
"Not until Sunday!  Jesus!"
"What?"

     To further blow your mind, the word "Easter" is derived from "Pesach" which is derived from "Passover."  Exactly why, where, how, what I don't feel like looking up right now.  Just trust me.  It's true.

     No, despite what Cecil B. De Mille would have you believe (if he wasn't dead), The Ten Commandments, while playing on ABC annually on Easter Night (God knows-no pun intended-when or where it's on now) is not an Easter movie.

     King of Kings?  Yeah.  The Robe?  Okay.  Ben-Hur?  Sure.  Ben Gay?



     But, The Ten Commandments?  Oy.     

     Passover is a Jewish (I think we've already covered that) celebration which commemorates the exodus (so THAT explains the book) of the Hebrews from Egypt, way back when Keith Richards was a  teenager.

     They were led by Charlton Heston, who if he’d only kept his trap shut, could have eventually become Pharaoh (or at least Vice-Pharaoh) and freed the slaves.  Along the way, he could also have bagged the hot Nefertiri (not to be confused with ‘Nefertiti.’  Who was in The Mummy.  But, she was hot, too).  Then, Ramses (aka Yul Brynner), inventor of the prophylactic, wouldn’t have donned the royal loincloth and bedded Anne Baxter.

Nipples not photo-shopped out. 
I know you zoomed. 
NOTE:  I made this "Extra Large."  You're welcome.

     But, noooooo, Moses just had to schlep out into the desert, raise some sheep, marry a shepherd chick, open the Midian chapter of the NRA, and meet God (who did not look like George Burns).

 

Gotta admit, Lily Munster cleans up pretty nice. 
She's no Nefertiri, though.

     Moses, heeding a divine call, decided to go back to Egypt to free the slaves.  Imagine Ramses’ chagrin when the “Big Mo” barged into meetings of the Pyramid Planning Commission, waved his stick around (double entendre intended), and ordered his BFF, Aaron, to turn goats into chickens.  And grass stains into dazzling whites.

"Nice beard."
"Nice babushka.  I'm gonna send you Trump, you know."

     Moses warned that a series of plagues would be visited on Egypt: frogs, locusts, boils (eww), bloody water, Donald Trump, irritable bowel syndrome (double eww), etc.  Each were meant to convince Yul Pharaoh to “let the people go.” 

"And I must tell you, my great-great-great-great-great-oh he was so greatgrandfather Imhotrumptekkhennaten designed the most excellent, if not breathtaking, of pyramids which were nothing like those loser pyramids in Central America-much better than that ridiculous step pyramid designed by a previous administration's builder, to be sure-present in all the world not unlike a thing of massive beauty to behold that have withstood the test of Time, Newseek, or any of the other fake news publications which seek to bring America down even though our great country had not yet
been invented."


     They were actually starting to work, too, until Ramses looked at the latest Gallup poll numbers.  Figuring he had to satisfy his “pro-slavery” base, his heart was hardened and he called the whole deal off.

     Moses eventually had enough of this crap.  He told Ramses that the first-born of Egypt would be slain in punishment for enslaving his people.  This included (cue dramatic music) the Pharaoh’s own son!

     NOTE:  I think this was true, at least according to the movie.  The film industry was pretty truthful sixty years ago.  Even though I still didn't think monkeys could fly, Hollywood wouldn't lie to me.

     The Hebrews, feeling pretty damned cocky, painted sheep blood over their doors.  They felt quite safe that death would “pass” them “over.”  (Get it now?).  Mostly because Death got wicked skeeved at the sight of blood.

     So, they hung out while the “Destroyer” (depicted by a red cloud.  Special effects were kinda cheesy back before Industrial Light and Magic) went door to door seeking out Egyptians who won a lottery they hadn't reckoned on.

"Hey, you see that red cloud going door to door?
Should we follow it?"
"Couldn't hurt."

 
     The Hebrews sang songs, prayed prayers, and ate unleavened bread called "matzah" (because Dominos stopped delivering at 10).

"Then, when we're done, we can play a little game of 'Old Testament Yahtzee.' 
Would you like that?"

     When the day dawned and Ramses saw the mess (“Now, we’ll never get that blood out!”), he ordered Moses to pack up his shit and get the hell out.

     NOTE:  Ramses may not have said ‘shit.’

     So, Moses jumped for Joy (his sister-in-law) and convinced everybody to pack their toothbrushes and change of underwear.  He wasn’t exactly sure where they'd be going, though.  Unfortunately, Aaron had turned his map into an origami whooping crane.

"We should be headed here.  I think.  Damn Aaron."


     Bottom line, the Hebrews finally left Egypt.  Along the way, the Egyptian Army went for a one-way dip in the Red Sea, Edward G. Robinson talked a lot of smack, Aaron was forced to make some seriously effed-up looking calf, they all got jiggy with their bad selves at the base of Mount Sinai, Moses saw a wicked cool light show on the mountain, and had bread fall out of the sky for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (“So would it kill God to send us a nice brisket?”). 

"Yeah, see, Dathan doesn't think he's miscast, see?"


     They were finally allowed to enter the Promised Land after 40 years (the prior tenants had a wicked long-term lease).

     Since I’m sure I've put you to sleep by now, let me finish by saying that Moses wasn’t even allowed to enter with the rest of his people (he didn’t get his wrist stamped). 

     He had to watch while Joshua (played in the movie by John Derek.  Before he married Bo and died) led his people into...Canaan?  

At any rate, someplace the Iranians would get all hacked off about eventually.


     I think it had something to do with smacking a rock to get water.  Which was a mistake.    

     Because, as we all know, paper, not water, covers rock.     Now, since I'm probably in hot water with Christians, Jews, and more than likely Muslims, I'd better start packing for Purgatory.

     I'm sure I'll be spending a lot of time there.

     At least that's what Sister Mary Gregory said.



History of the World-Hail Caesar!

 NOTE:  I'll continue to post this disclaimer, even though it's been like forever since I posted anything pertaining to the history of the world.  Still...this, and the ones which preceded it, are merely what I can remember from Our Lady of Barnum Avenue and history class at Stratford High School.  I'll research some specifics, mostly dates and the most obscure of names (not for this one, though.  Because screw it), and I'll try to place historical events in their proper historical context.  Meaning, I won't have the Aztecs land on the moon.  Or...did they?  Trust me, some of this is true; however, don't use any of this nonsense to prepare for the History Advanced Placement Examination.  If you do, the only college you'll get into is Klown Kollege and you'll probably be confused for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joe Biden, or Sheila Jackson Lee.  Basically, I'm going without a net.  So, without further adieu (French word)... 

Hail Caesar!

    Sometime in the first century B.C., Julius Caesar had thrown his hat and olive wreath in the ring (using the slogan MRGA, "Make Rome Great Again") as undisputed leader of the Roman Republic.

NOTE:  As I believe I've mentioned before, I will continue to use the "B.C./A.D." convention instead of that goofy-ass, politically-correct "B.C.E./C.E." one.  Because...it...means...the...same...damn...thing.  Fight me.

    I don't know the exact year, mind you, but guarantee it was before 44 B.C., the year when Ole Julius was ventilated by a group of Roman Senators who were pretty hacked off that he had acted as a dictator.

"Uh, oh."


    Of course, what they didn't know was that their action would ultimately lead to Caesar's adopted nephew, Roddy McDowall Octavian, declaring himself "Princeps" which basically means "emperor."

"Yeah, way to go, Brutus.  Dumbass."

    Anyway, once Julius crossed over the Rubicon River with his legions, a state of civil war existed in the Republic.

Wrong Republic
    So, the esteemed fathers of the Roman Senate called the most famous general in all the land to stop the troublemaker, Pompey the Great (who was actually known as "Pompey the Limp" by Mrs. Pompey).

"Trust me, this likeness doesn't do me justice.  I look positively stoned."



 
   Caesar and Pompey fought like cats and dogs as Rome erupted into civil war.  After the fiercely fought battle of...Pharsalus...in Greece? (remember, I'm not looking anything up), Pompey fled to Egypt where he hoped to find friends in his struggles against his rival.  Well, that, and take a tour of the pyramids, which were wicked old even then.

    You know, like Keith Richards.

    Well, when Pompey walked ashore, he was promptly beheaded by Egyptians who mistakenly thought he was an American.  They also hoped to curry favor with the presumptive new leader of Rome.

"Here you are, Dominus, the head of your rival, Pompey."
"Hey, Lou, he doesn't look too happy."
"Maybe if I close my eyes, he'll go away."

    Observation:  Backstabbing and beheadings had been going on in that region of the world for thousands of years, apparently.

    Well, wouldn't you know it, instead of high-fiving, back slaps, and passing out "All-You-Can-Boink" tickets to the next Roman orgy, Caesar executed every Egyptian responsible for murdering Pompey.

    As he explained it, (and I paraphrase), "What do you think gives you creatures the right to execute a Roman citizen?  Only another Roman can do that."

    Okay, this is the part where I apply the lessons of history to today...wouldn't it be something if an American president said the same thing to someone who murders an American citizen?

    After all was said and done, Caesar, having won the war, returned to Rome where he...well you know what happened.

    And it wasn't inventing Caesar Salad, that's for sure.


Public Service Announcement

    

"I want what I want and I want it now!"

    As some of you know, I work part-time at an Ace Hardware near my home (which goes without saying-it would be kinda silly to work a part-time job at an Ace Hardware in another state).

    NOTE:  Those of you on Blogger probably don’t know this.  I’m talking to you lot on Facebook, who may or not even read this.  Most do not.

    Anyway….

    We are also a U-Haul contract station.  Meaning, we rent trucks to the general public.  We don’t offer trailers because that would pretty much be a pain in the neck.  Our inventory is relatively limited and is not nearly as extensive as you’d find at an actual U-Haul location.  We’re just a hardware store, after all.

    Last Saturday, a gentleman came in expecting to rent a ten-foot truck.  Even though it didn’t have a ramp, he still wanted it because it is cheaper to rent than bigger vehicles (makes sense).  Well, since the two 10-footers we had were already spoken for, a reservation was made in his name for a fifteen-foot one the day prior.

    The understanding (according to him) was that, if one of the people with the smaller vehicles cancelled, he would be bumped down accordingly.  He just wanted to make sure he had a vehicle (it being Saturday, the trucks go like hotcakes.  If hotcakes had four wheels and ran on gas).

    The 15-footer accomplished that.

    Well, don’t you know, he was very aggravated when I told him no ten-foot truck was open for rental.  He proceeded to bitch, moan, and whine about how he was promised a vehicle (never mind he had one in his name already.  A slightly bigger one, mind you, but a vehicle all the same).

    Incidentally, no, he was NOT promised.  I informed him that we do not do Indian deals like that.

"Well, that's offensive."

    Whoa, whoa, whoa!  What makes you think I meant American Indian?

"Well, that's racist, too!"


    While I looked to see what I could do to help him, he refused to shut the eff up.  He went on and on about how poor his experience was and how we would register his complaint with “Big U-Haul.”  Every time I told him there was nothing available, he told me he was promised the smaller truck if it was available (according to my screen, it was not).

    We went round and round on this.

    Exasperated, I finally told him, “How many times do you need me to tell you the same thing, sir?”

    Once again, he whined how dissatisfied he was and how, when he was in management, this would never have happened.

    When I gently told him this was customer service, he yapped that he was in customer service.

    I began to answer him with, “Well, then…” but I stopped because I would have told him, “you would know we hate people like you.”

    I’m glad I didn’t give in, because that wouldn’t have helped the situation.

    Bottom line, after what seemed like endless grousing, he took his key and stormed out to the parking lot.

    Another customer I didn’t give a shit about.

    Okay, where does the “public service announcement” come in, you may be asking?

    Well, if the guy wasn’t being such an entitled douche, I would have given him the larger, fifteen-foot vehicle for the price of the ten-foot one.

    I’m all for expressing your displeasure when things aren’t going your way.  But, for God’s sake, do it once, shut up, and let me see if I can help you.  Quite often, I can.

    Don't take it out on the poor schmuck behind the counter.

    However, if you cause me angina, I will look at you and say, “There’s nothing I can do.”

    Remember this the next time you don’t get an expected result.

    Who knows?  You may be offered a good deal.

    Or get a fifteen-foot truck for the price of a ten.

   

Happy Memorial Day?

        I wonder how many of you say that without realizing the last Monday in May is really not about the unofficial start of summer?   ...