Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Well, here it is again. Memorial Day. I was moved to revisit my post in re Memorial Day from lasy year, and find that little has changed. My son again played at the Memorial Day service at a local church, a service that this year was a little less blindly pro-military but still uncomfortably tilting toward hero-worship. I'm too much a believer in our American concept of a military that is subordinate to civilian authority, and consider it more than a little dangerous when "honoring" turns into "elevating."

There seems also the ongoing argument about what Memorial Day is "supposed" to be. Again was repeated the refrain, "This is not All-Saints Day," the implicating being that one is not "supposed" to be remembering non-military dead on this day. And yet the service in question tilts heavily toward honoring all those in or ever in uniform--there was the obligatory moment where all veterans in the congregation were asked to stand, and everyone else applauded. Well, this is Memorial Day, not Veterans Day, and if one is to be technical (as, evidently, one is), then one should stick to the idea that it's "supposed" to be about honoring those who have died while in service to their country...not those who served their country, came home, and died 50 years later.

That said, I have already devoted a certain amount of the day reflecting upon my parents...even though Mom was never in the military and Dad did his two years back in the '50s. I have decided to forgo the cemetery visit--I prefer to do my mourning in a more private way, and the place is just too darn populated on Memorial Day. I don't mind the deceased population; it's the living who are a little too much to take. We planted flowers at the grave on Saturday, and I will visit there at some other time, some more private time.

You see, every day is Memorial Day.

Ahead of Their Time

Yesterday morning I was on my favorite TV-listing website,, where A&E is heavily promoting its remake of The Andromeda Strain. Maybe too heavily. Somebody in Marketing got a little bit ahead of him- or herself. He's a screen print; you may click on it for a bigger view:

The sharp-eyed among you will note that the topmost banner tells me that The Andromeda Strain is "Premiering Tonight 9PM/8C." The left-hand banner tells me the same thing.But the banner atop the listings, just below the blue Zap2It field, assures me that it's "Premiering Tomorrow 9PM/8C" (emphasis added).

Clearly a mistake, but in which direction? A preponderance of evidence would cause me to think it was premiering last night (Sunday)...after all, two out of three banners agreed! But as luck would have it, I was on a TV listings site, and a quick search revealed that Box No. 3--"Premiering Tomorrow"--contained the right information.

This is what we in the trade term an Oops, and as has been previously revealed, there are few things in life so satisfying as evidence of the fact that one is not alone in matter how often the people with whom he deals on a daily basis seem to think he is.

That said...I'll be curious to see whether this new Andromeda Strain is worth the three banner ads, to say nothing of two nights of television. It's been several years since last I saw the 1970s feature film, but the last time I did I recall marveling at how well it's stood up over the decades. Of course the emphasis was on suspense and not special effects, which always helps. I'll record The Andromeda Strain, and may even get around to watching it (the upcoming two weeks will be a bearcat, so it's unlikely I'll watch anything before June 10 or so), but I'm dubious. It does not strike me as a story that's in need of "updating." If anything, it strikes me as the sort of thing that will have me checking to see if the original is on DVD...

...Turns out I was right: It hasn't even aired yet and I already checked on the original. has it for about ten bucks. Widescreen. Free shipping.