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.

"Not anymore!"


 
Too soon?

    Lost among the hoopla of Bud Light-free backyard barbecues, fireworks (for those looking to get a jump on Independence Day), 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.

Some celebrate in their own way.

    Originally called Decoration Day, recognition of those who gave their lives in the recent Civil War was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868, by General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic (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.

    NOTE: Which, incidentally, was on the site of Robert E. Lee’s home.

"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.

"You know, Letitia, after we're done, I could use a hot dog."
"Oh, bless your heart! They haven't been invented yet."
"Well, kiss my grits!"

Told ya.

    NOTE:  For my non-American friends (and products of the Mississippi 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 San Francisco CVS), but I won’t (no sense cracking a book).  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.

"If'n we survive this thing, we'll get a three-day weekend!"
"Bless your heart, the Yankee Congress hasn't invented it yet."
"Well, you kin kiss my grits!"

Well, whaddya know?  Even the guys.

    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.  Suckers.), 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 out to honor those who had fallen.

    What seemed to many to be 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.

    But, if I think back really hard (you could take that 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.

Like this.  But, not as tasty.

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

"Those damn kids and their lawn dar....ooh.  Hot dogs."

    Ahhhhh, good times.

    So, when I get up tomorrow 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.

    It is then when I’ll remember.

    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.       

Back In My Day

     My original intention for this blog was to make millions offset the occasional serious post with some which were a little more lighthearted.  In essence I wanted the “nonsense” posts to outnumber the  “stuff” ones. 

    Well, sadly, there’s far too much in the way of serious goings on which compels me to throw my two cents in.  I still won’t make millions, you understand, mostly because hardly anyone reads these things, but at least I get to voice my opinion.  Then, having spouted off like a drunk uncle (or Trump) at the end of the bar, I’ll disappear into the Internet in search of the odd Karen video or an “Everything Wrong With [insert movie title here]” review.

    NOTE:  You should seriously check out the “Everything Wrong With” videos.  They’re pretty funny.

    In fact, the absurd comes at me so fast that, as soon as I decide on a topic, something equally ludicrous leaps into the headlines.  The good news?  I have no shortage of topics.  The bad news?  I have to decide which of these I’ll tackle.  That would work if I wrote a  column every day, but I try to keep these to once a week.  I mean, my two readers have lives to live, after all, most of which involves attending to things that  actually matter, rather than the insane ramblings of a “back in my day” old grump.

    Most importantly, I don’t get paid.

    To demonstrate what I mean, I had originally intended to write about my experiences with free online college courses at Hillsdale College.  Then, the androgynous lunatic Dylan Mulvaney wrecked Bud Light as a brand.

The title would have been
"Dude Pretending to Be a Chick On a Can of Clydesdale Pee Pretending To Be Beer.".

     But, then?  Something else equally crazy rears its deranged head.  Thus is the topic of today’s essay.  Don’t worry, I’ll get to it.  But, first, a word from our sponsor…

 

Cruex. 
Official sponsor of NCAA Womens Sports

    As the two of you who’ve read It’s Not Just a Job, It’s An Adventure, and my latest opus, Tony the Pony  know, I spent quite a bit of my life in the United States Navy.  Far be it from me to bore you with a rehash of events you probably haven’t read about, but let me say that this chapter of my life is one of which I am very proud.


Still available by the truckload on amazon.com

    To call it the most meaningful would not be an accurate statement, though.  Hands down, the birth of my two children was.  That they turned out to be wonderful human beings is a credit to their mother, despite her shocking lack of taste in men.

    My time in the Navy does come in at a solid number two.

    From service aboard two aircraft carriers to flying above the Arctic Circle on antisubmarine warfare patrol missions, I felt that I was a critical part of a national defense team.  Nobody would dare challenge us, I thought.  The men and women with whom I served had my back just as much as I had theirs.

"That look like a nice, clean, gas station to you?"

    For over twenty-five years, there was no doubt in my mind that the United States was an unquestioned, unchallenged superpower, especially after we outspent the Russians into oblivion.

    Yessiree, the big bad Soviet Union had almost overnight become the trailer park of Europe.

    Before we became the trailer park of North America.  Another story for another time, though.

    Sure, once I retired, I lambasted those who came after me as softees who didn’t quite rise to our level.  (I really did use to say “back in my day.”). I mean, we didn’t have the internet, cell phones, or turn-down service in the barracks (oops, sorry, that’s the Air Force).

    That all said, I never doubted that, if the call came, the United States military would rise to the occasion.  Even though  I was no longer in uniform, the "youngsters”  had the watch.  We were leaders of the free world and those who challenged us did so at their peril.

    However, all services, including the Navy, have lately experienced recruiting shortfalls.  Apparently, a life of service is not as attractive as it once was.  Not nearly as many young men and women want to enlist or are even qualified to do so.  A serious dilemma, to be sure, one which the military desperately wants to address.

    One solution adopted by the Navy, one which causes me to doubt whether we can field a robust fighting force anymore, is to designate an active-duty drag queen as a digital ambassador for recruiting.  To Navy brass, doing this will surely boost numbers and polish a tarnished image.

"It's Not Just a Job," indeed.

    Don’t get me wrong.  I have zero problem with drag.  Good grief, it’s an art form which has been with us for a very long time.  Even though it’s nothing I am remotely interested in, if you want to play dress-up and belt out Liza Minelli tunes, go for it, my man.  Knock yourself out.

    But, a campus coffeehouse is not the same as the South China Sea.

    As the face of an armed service whose sole purpose in life is to break things and kill people, yeah, no, I’m Stevie Wonder.  I can’t see it.

"Betcher ass.  Who is this again?"

    Unless the Chinese, Russians, North Koreans, and Iranians are deathly afraid of a Sailor wearing pumps and a blonde wig cavorting with a broom on the mess decks of a nuclear aircraft carrier, this has got to be the biggest brain aneurysm in Naval history this side of the schizophrenic unform changes. 

"Hey, check out the caboose on this swabbie."

    I'm sorry.  That was an uncalled-for cheap shot.  Forgive me, Jesus.

"I'd love to, but you make it so difficult."

    You may not like it, but the world is a very dangerous place.  And people prepared to visit violence, not mascara, on the wolves out there is just an absolutely critical part of it.

    Facts trump (no pun intended) feelings.  All day, every day.

    Who does the Navy think this will attract?  The thousands of teenage drag stars out there who are itching to wear lingerie and stilettos under their Dress Blues?  Certainly not Kansas farm boys who will now think that the Coast Guard is the smarter way to go.

Drag

Not drag.
On a personal note, how crazy is it that this seems normal??


    Good grief, I never in my life felt that hollowing out of the military was being done by design.  I’m not so sure now.

    The biggest worry I have is…who is going to be afraid of the American military now?  Hey, be all kinds of woke and inclusive you want.  Feel good about yourself, cupcake, while those who protect you have become a joke.

    DO NOT get hung up on that this is a gay thing at all.  Homosexuals have been part of the world’s militaries for millennia.  They have served honorably and with distinction.  Part of what I was going to speak on about my Hillsdale college courses was that the Spartan military established and nurtured physical relationships with each other, to the detriment of wives they didn’t see all that often. 

    If you think that made them any less dangerous on the battlefield, tell that to the tens of thousands of Persians they slaughtered on the plains of Plataea in 479 B.C.

    I daresay not a single drag queen was in their ranks, though.

"Seriously, we had enough to worry about."

    In essence, I sincerely hope I’m wrong.  I’d love to be an old crank who just harps about the good old days.  In the past, I dispensed good-natured ribbing to those who followed me in service.  Even though I kidded about them being soft, I never really felt that way.  At no time did I feel this country wasn’t in good hands.

    However, it pains me to say that I’ve grown old enough to see my beloved Navy become an object of ridicule.

    Part of me yearns for “back in my day.”

"Yer darn right!  I'd love to remember where I was again. 
Speaking of, where am I?"


   

Happy Independence Day!

     Or "Fourth of July" to the rest of the world.     Yes, yes, sigh, I know.  Many other countries, other than the United State...