May 27, 2022
This week we have a new episode of MIRRORBALL to tell you about, but first I’m going to run a slightly-re-written PopCulteer item from six years ago, by popular demand (two people asked me to do it) and just ramble a little here because we’ve all had a rough week.
This is not the blog to talk about the tragic school shooting earlier this week, and it really sucks that two days later we lost Ray Liotta, Alan White (the drummer for YES, and The Plastic Ono Band) and Andy Fletcher (keyboardist for Depeche Mode). So I just want to get one thing off my chest: If you think that this week is the perfect time to post on social media that “there are no such things as assault rifles” I just want you to know that you are precisely the type of person who should have a golf umbrella inserted in your ass…and then opened. Now on with The PopCulteer…
The Memorial Day Shuffle (re-written from May 27, 2016)
It’s Memorial Day weekend, and while there is a ton of stuff going on, this is a holiday weekend that doesn’t really affect me that much. Let me explain.
When I was growing up, Memorial Day always meant traumatic and stressful running around for my family. My aunts and uncles and grandmother all had family buried all over the state. They were all hung up on making sure, each year, that all the graves were decorated. it was a major family obligation. The graves absolutely had to have new (plastic) flowers every Memorial Day, even though we didn’t have a lot of military folks in the family. By the time I came along the holiday had evolved from its original intent to honor veterans and had turned in a generic “honor all dead folks” day, an economic stimulus for florists and Chinese plastic flower factories.
While this was an obligation that my aunts and uncles were intent on keeping, they always had other things to do, so my dad and mom wound up doing the bulk of the Memorial Day heavy-lifting, and that meant picking up flowers in Dunbar to take to Clarksburg, taking my non-English-speaking and very excitable grandmother with them, getting flowers in Clarksburg to take to Shinnston, hitting up the florist in South Charleston to get flowers for the graves at The London Cemetary, buying supplies to make the flower arrangements for the vases in the Mausoleum at Cross Lanes…you get the picture.
My entire extended family felt an obligation to honor the dead, but they were perfectly happy to delegate that obligation, so it fell to my parents to do all the work. Rather than an obligation, my parents felt, deep-down inside, that it was a waste of time and money and also a huge pain in the ass.
As my parents apporached the ends of their lives, they made me and my brother and sisters promise that we would never put flowers on their graves and that we would end the nonsense of driving hundreds of miles to decorate the graves of people we’d never even met.
They basically granted us Memorial Day Amnesty so that we will never have to take flowers to any of our ancestor’s graves again. I still consider this one of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave me. They so hated doing the whole graveyard shuffle every Memorial Day that it would have been an insult to their memory to carry on this grand and wasteful hypocritical tradition.
Thus, free from such inane obligations, I get to enjoy a long weekend, and think fondly of my parents, instead of griping about having to run around throwing money away on plastic flowers and visiting with dead people that, in some cases, I didn’t really want to visit while they were alive. Many of them I never even met.
The best way to celebrate the memories of those you love is by living life the best you can and quietly thanking them for their part in making you who you are. It means way more if you do this while they’re still with us. Plopping plastic flowers on their graves is pretty much an afterthought for most people. If it makes you feel better, then do it. If you think it makes them feel better, somebody needs to explain this whole life/death thing to you.
Ultimately, spending time with the people you love, either at a cookout or watching cars drive around in circles, binging the new Kids In The Hall on Prime or whatever, is a better way to celebrate life than trudging around decorating graves. This holiday is for military families to honor the service of their loved ones. It’s not a mad dash to every grave you can think of.
Fresh Disco For The Living
Why mourn the long-dead when you can tune in for a new episode of MIRRORBALL on The AIR, PopCult’s sister radio station. You can hear these shows on The AIR website, or just click on the embedded player at the top right column of this blog, or scroll down to the bottom of this post on your phone.
At 2 PM, Mel Larch uncorks a new MIRRORBALL! The AIR’s showcase of classic Disco music presents a wild collection of classic Disco tracks from the classic era of people dancing their cares away. This week Mel has a mix of big Disco hits, and latter-day dance classics from the waning days of Disco in the early 1980s. She even opens the show with a vintage Disco tune that she discovered while watching Rocko’s Modern Life.
For one hour you can go back to the Golden Age of Disco, where the sideburns were long, the skirts were short and the dancing was endless.
Check out the playlist…
Quango and Sparky “Do The Boogaloo”
Oliver Cheatham “Get Down Saturday Night”
Tavares “Don’t Take Away The Music”
The Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive”
Hi Gloss “You’ll Never Know”
Freez “Southern Freez”
Earth Wind & Fire “Let’s Groove”
Womak & Womack “Teardrops”
Evelyn Thomas “High Energy”
The Three Degrees “When Will I See You Again”
Sylvester “You Make Me Feel”
You can hear MIRRORBALL every Friday at 2 PM, with replays Saturday at 9 PM (kicking off a mini-marathon), Sunday at 11 PM, Monday at 9 AM, and Tuesday at 1 PM exclusively on The AIR.
At 3 PM, we are honoring the request of Sydney Fileen and delaying her show for a week. She had opened her program with Depeche Mode, but following the death of Andy Fletcher, she has decided to re-work the episode to be a full-blown tribute to the late Depeche Mode keyboardist. We’ll run that next week, and in its place this week we’ll be playing her tribute to the New Wave bands of New Zealand. You can read about that show HERE.
Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Monday at 7 AM, Tuesday at 8 PM, Wednesday at Noon and Thursday at 10 AM, exclusively on The AIR.
Friday at 9 PM you can tune in for a 12-hour marathon of The Comedy Vault, presenting classic humor from Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, National Lampoon, Bob Newhart, Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford, Stan Freberg, The Bonzo Dog Band and more. You can also hear The Comedy Vault Mondays at 8 PM and Wednesdays at 11 PM, only on The AIR.
That’s what’s on The AIR Friday, and that is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back every day for fresh content and loads of our regular features.