# CCCXXI…Memorial Day, 2015…

On this Memorial Day of 2015, I thought I would drop in with yet another set of anecdotes from my youth.  From the time that I was old enough to remember until just about when my Dad passed away, I spent many a Memorial Day in the town of Atlantic Highlands, NJ (down the shore…not too far from Long Branch, where I was born).  The reason was very simple…my uncle Edward (my Dad’s brother) has his name on the Korean War Memorial in the center of town, as he was killed in battle.

Every year since I was a pup, my Dad (in his dress blues for marching in the parade that preceded it) would wait for his brother’s name to be called and would plant a flag in the memorial in honor of my late uncle.  After all of the names were called and flags planted, the mayor (or some other alderman) would then call for “Taps” to be played, to be followed and finished by a 21-gun salute for the fallen.

Back when I was young, I didn’t understand the significance of being there, year after year, to partake in a ceremony that didn’t involve me personally.  However, being that I’m older (and somewhat wiser), I now have a better understanding as to why I should be there…it was super important to my Dad and should be visited in the near future!

So, as you enjoy your barbeques and other festivities today, just remember…if it wasn’t for people such as my uncle and all of the other Veterans of Foreign Wars, you may not have been so fortunate to be celebrating what little freedoms you have left!!!!

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CXCI…Weekend From Hell, 1999…Part II

James A. Johnson:

For those that missed it last year…

Originally posted on Dal's Music Note$:

Saturday, May 22, 1999…After getting home at about 3 AM, due to the fact that, after we (my wife, brother and myself) met with the immediate family at the hospital and just congregated together in a diner, I had an early morning flight out of Newark Airport.  The plane was exciting, as I’d never been on a jumbo jet (very surreal experience for someone who’s afraid of heights), but the most exciting part was the 45 minute layover in another time zone (Chicago), which went very quickly and, when I’d arrived in Florida to collect my daughter Mena, the late afternoon “Floridian thunderstorm”…you know, sky goes black, pours for about 15 minutes and is bright and sunny again afterwards.  Early bedtime meant another early morning flight back to Jersey…

Sunday, May 23, 1999…Suffering from lack of sleep previously and the jet lag that followed my flight yesterday and the 3…

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# CCCXX…In Honor of my Dad…

Dadtribute

 

{The above photo is a combination of the newspaper clip that my Aunt Irene wrote one year after my Father’s death and a poppy from his American Legion post.  The date, however, is a misprint (it says “May 22, 1999″)}

“It’s been a year since you left us, my little brother, and the pain in my heart is as strong as it was the day you were gone.  You were always special to me because you were the youngest of my five brothers, and we were always very close.  You weren’t just my brother, you were everybody’s kind of guy.  Everyone who knew you loved you.  You were also the proudest Marine I ever knew, and your Distinguished Medal of Honor you waited so patiently for came six months after you left us.  But somehow I feel that you know we have it and treasure it.  God must have wanted a strong angel when he called you home and I know that whatever He wants you to do you will do it proudly and with honor.  When the sun comes out on a cloudy day I can feel the warmth of you smiling down on me.  I miss you little brother with all my heart,” written by my aunt Irene.

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My father, who was taken from us sixteen years ago today, was the greatest man that I have ever known and I am proud that he was in my life.  His presence in my life was unmistakable and his mark on my life is immeasurable.  I am honored to post this because it is indeed heartbreaking that he is no longer here.

I just hope that I can be half the man that he was…

RIP Frederick H. Johnson, 07/08/31 – 05/21/99…we love you and miss you always…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DAD \,,,\

# CCCXIX…For # 21, Back In The Pack…

In case you didn’t know, I have been an avid Timberwolves’ fan since their inception. So, it’s no surprise that I mention our center, Kevin Garnett, who was born on this date in our centennial year (1976).  However, I will mention that, although I have referred incorrectly of him as “Benedict Arnold”, he is now forgiven for wanting the team that drafted him to join the upper echelon of NBA champions.

His storied NBA career includes multiple All-Star Games, MVP Award (2004), Olympic Gold Medalist (2000) and champion with the Boston Celtics.  He is also a shareholder with the Serie A soccer team, A.S. Roma and I wish nothing but many happy more birthdays!

Also celebrating this 19th of May are; late civil rights activist Malcolm X (1925-1965), journalist Jim Lehrer (1934), actor Daivd Hartman (1935), late astronaut Dick Scobee (1939-1986), the man behind…er, under…Chewbacca, Mr. Peter Mayhew (1944), and The Who’s mainstay Pete Townshend was born in 1945.

Late wrestling icon Andre the Giant (1946-1993), singer Grace Jones (1948), ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill (1949), famous father (and former Saint) Archie Manning was born in 1949, late rock icon Joey Ramone (1951-2001), AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd (1954), and former wrestling star Psicosis was born in 1971.

/,,,/ ROCK ON K.G. \,,,\

# CCCXVIII…Breithlá Sona do Enya!

In my countless years of listening to and experiencing the music from my eclectic collection, none have been spent more productively than when listening to today’s birthday celebrator, the multitalented and multi-lingual superstar known as Enya (1961).  Her music, while nothing short of spectacular, has been around since before most of you were born.

She sings in 10 different languages (some of the most amazing stuff you’ve ever heard), hails from Ireland, and (if you’re in a meditative mood) her music is mostly easy listening-type, melodically, because she is also an accomplished pianist and plays a lot of her own compositions, naturally.

Her eight studio releases, countless movie (soundtrack) appearances and calm, hypnotic voice is sure to evoke some pleasant memories…I know that, when I need to relax, I will pop in “Watermark”…just because that album is linear, for the meditating aspect.  Also, her album, “And Winter Came…” is a perfect and shining example of how a Christmas album should be done!

Also, I have done a Saturday Spotlight on her, as she is in my Top 25 Artists of All Time…a stellar 35 year, critically acclaimed career, so she is no slouch when it comes to awesome (and different) music!

In closing, and just because I don’t want to list anyone else in this post, La breithe 54ú sásta Enya…and many happy more!!

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CCCXVII…Saturday Spotlight, Vol. XXIV…”Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, Nightwish, 2015…

Upon discovering this group on Pandora.com, it filled me with a sense of wonder and amazement as to where this established symphonic metal goliath would be headed.  I mean, as a fan, following up the brilliant “Imaginaerum” was going to be a mammoth task.  One that, I must add as a fan, they have truly surpassed with their latest release, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”.

From the opening track, “Shudder Before the Beautiful”, which is an uptempo romp that could only be conjured by Nightwish, to the seventh and titular track, the album is a vast array of orchestral genius and vocal prowess that only Floor Jansen and Tuomas Holopainen can provide.  In this, their eighth studio release, they truly show why they are one of the masters of symphonic metal.

The coup de grace for this album though is the dystopian-inspired final track…a 24 minute romp through dystopia titled “The Greatest Show on Earth”, which is broken down in five parts and would have to be listened to, in order, to truly appreciate this band’s legacy.  From wall-to-wall, this album is a definite five-star masterpiece that leaves me…as I’m sure a lot of their other fans, as well…in hunger mode for more!

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CCCXVI…”More Than Happy”…

The above quote is from the master comedian who would have celebrated his birthday today, George Carlin (1937-2008).  It was actually, according to one of his skits, the punchline for his rant on words and phrases that are overused.  The exact punchline was, “More than happy…sounds like a serious condition…’We had to put Dave in the mental home…he was, ahhhh, more than happy!'”

It’s also how everyone should be today, as all of Mr. Carlin’s works can be absolutely hilarious.  From playing a Catholic Cardinal in “Dogma” to the countless stand-up works over the decades, George Carlin will forever be remembered (by me, especially) as the Greatest Comedian to ever live!!

We miss you, George and RIP…

Also born on this date were; former Yankee great Yogi Berra (1925), journalist Tom Snyder (1936-2007), guitarist Steve Winwood (1948), actor Bruce Boxleitner (1950), guitar great Billy Squier (1950), country great Kix Brooks (1955), and KISS drummer Eric Singer was born in 1958.

Actor Ving Rhames was born in 1959, famous scion Emilio Estevez (1962), actor Steven Baldwin (1966), skateboarding icon Tony Hawk (1968), actress Kim Fields (1969), actor Jason Biggs (1978), and late child star Sawyer Sweeten, who took his own life two weeks ago, was born in 1995 (1995-2015).

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\