Remembering 9/11: 15 Years #NeverForget


On this anniversary, in the face of the upcoming election, I ask all of us to remember how important unity is, how important fighting for each other is–rather than against. It isn’t that we can’t argue or partake in educated–or, at the very least, adult–conversation about the ideas, the morals, the values that drive us. It takes being respectful, mindful of the fact that not everyone will think like us. This doesn’t mean we can’t come together, find a common goal, and work together to achieve it–while still maintaining our own opinions, our own moral code, our own idea of ethics.

Shake the hand of an American you don’t know today. Thank your chosen deity for giving you another day and choose to appreciate it by showing gratitude to someone else. Give something to someone else–even when you’re feeling your own sense of lack. Put someone else’s perspective ahead of your own, just for a second, and you’ll see the world in a whole new light–especially when you get a smile from the person you boosted today.

When so much of the world is centered on segregating us, breaking us down along ideological, moral, or any other check-boxes, think about what makes (or made) us all the same today–we were attacked for the things that we, as Americans, hold sacred: freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and a never-ending drive for equality among all people–even when all those above us can do is continually show us how “different” they think we are.

The destruction of this day should stand as a lasting reminder of what can happen when we choose to see ideologies before the people who hold them. We are all people, and we all feel the loss of those who suffered at the hands of fear and violence. Let us cooperate, let us compromise, let us try diplomacy, so that no more innocent lives–on either side of the fight–are lost.


In Memoriam | Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

Source: Variety

Thank you, Gene, for being a bright light and making us smile. Not only did I enjoy your performances in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryYoung Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles, but I really enjoyed your small stint on Will and Grace as Will’s boss Mr. Stein. The world will be a little less bright without you. Gene was 83 and died from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease.

May you be peaceful and happy, wherever you are.

Source: Gene Wilder, ‘Willy Wonka’ Star and Comedic Icon, Dies

In Memoriam | Scott Weiland (1967-2015)

Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, and Wildabouts Front Man Scott Weiland Dead at 48

On December 3, the world lost a bright rock ‘n’ roll light. Scott Weiland, famous front man for the Stone Temple Pilots (1986-2002; 2008-2013), Velvet Revolver (2002-2007), and the currently on-tour Wildabouts, was found dead, having passed in his sleep, on his tour bus just before a show in Bloomington, MN was scheduled to begin. The music world will definitely be a little more gray without him.

May you be peaceful and happy, wherever you are.

Here are two of my personal favorites from the Weiland repertoire.

With Stone Temple Pilots:

With Velvet Revolver:

Has anyone heard any of the new music from Scott and the Wildabouts? They released an album under that band name this year called Blaster. It includes a cover of T.Rex‘s “20th Century Boy”, which I find quite pleasing to the ear:

In Memoriam | Wes Craven (1939-2015)

Yesterday, the horror world lost one of the greats. Rest in peace, Mr. Craven, though your handiwork did little to pass on peace to the rest of us. It makes me too sad to know the darkest corners of your mind are now beyond quiet.

Source: Twitter
Source: Twitter

May you be peaceful and happy, wherever you are.

In Memoriam | Betsy Palmer (1926-2015)

Three days ago, the entertainment world lost an iconic and memorable actress: Betsy Palmer. Some may like to chuckle at her role in the 1980 campy slasher Friday the 13th, but that was just one light in a whole spectrum of work–said slasher coming 29 years after Palmer debuted on the small screen. Not only has she made several TV appearances since the 1950s, she’s also had major roles in several series, taken spots as a panelist on popular game shows, and has starred in several horror and non-horror films. She’s had a strong and prosperous career, even working up until the last eight years or so. Her most recent addition to the film world was Bell Witch: The Movie from 2007.

Source: Betsy Palmer Wikipedia Page
Source: Betsy Palmer Wikipedia Page

May you be peaceful and happy, wherever you are.

Please, feel free to read a more articulate tribute to My Lady Palmer from


In Memoriam | Riley B. “B.B.” King (1925-2015)

Four days ago, the music world lost a great talent and legend in his own right. And, like Ludacris said during the Billboard Music Awards tribute on Sunday, as long as we can listen to the music “Blues Boy” King will never truly be gone. The angels are singing with you now, B.B., while the rest of us are left singing the blues.


May you be peaceful and happy, wherever you are.

In his honor and memory, I present “Lucille” – the song I always think of when I think of Mr. King.

(From Dave Wessling)


In Memoriam | Leonard Nimoy (1931 – 2015)

Source: Twitter

I came to Star Trek and its far-reaching fandom much too late in life. My mom was more of a Star Wars fan, and the time I spent with my dad was not shared with his latent Trekk-iness. But, if there was ever a character in the science-fiction drama that I could relate to, it was Spock. He faced everything logically and did all he could to keep his emotions in check. In fact, he had to, it’s just who he was. That personality trait really spoke to me, and though, I’m sad he’s gone. I know he’s somewhere better.

Live long and prosper.

In honor of Spock and another classic, George Harrison, whose birthday was the 25th, a thoughtful melody to send our best thoughts to those missing their loved ones this week.

(From reacher60)

In Memoriam | Lesley Gore (1946-2015)

Leslie Gore
Source: Yahoo! News


Pop singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, famous for the track “It’s My Party (and I’ll Cry if I Want To)” from 1963, passed away on Monday, February 16th. She was 68. Here’s a quote from the original article posted to Yahoo! News from Variety.

Gore’s partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson, told the Associated Press that she died of cancer at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.

See the original article in its entirety here.

Pop | Remembering #TheKing: Elvis Presley

Source: MeliSwenk
Source: MeliSwenk

Six years ago, I was taking a road trip from my then-home in South Carolina back to my mother’s house in Iowa. My best friend, who gracefully accepted when I asked him to drive me, offered to make stops anywhere I wanted along the way as long as we could stop in St. Louis to see the Budweiser brewery on the way back.

Without hesitation I retorted with, “Um, hell yeah.”

So, I made two requests: Graceland and Tupelo, MS. My mother is a huge Elvis Presley fan, which I didn’t understand until I hit puberty. Seriously. And, I hate to admit that. It makes it sound like Elvis only makes sense to hormonal women, and that just isn’t the case. I didn’t understand her lusting after him until after puberty, but his talent as a singer and musician never missed the mark with me. I loved his Christmas album before I ever loved Viva Las Vegas, and that was mainly for Ann Margret. Va-va-va-voom!

But I can’t say I didn’t feel something when we finally made it to the memorial and museum honoring Elvis’s birthplace. There were statues, a family car, and an extensive museum chronicling The King’s early life and rise to stardom. They even managed to maintain the very house Elvis was born in, outfitted with furniture from the time period–not the actual furniture the family lived with.

Elvis's Birth House /Source: MeliSwenk
Elvis’s Birth House /Source: MeliSwenk

So, on this, what would have been Elvis’s 80th birthday, I want to recount what happened when my friend and I took the tour of Graceland. Though the monument to his birthplace was stunning, it was closed when we arrived and felt rather, well, dead. It was just my friend and I wandering the grounds and trying to see inside the doors of the museum. Graceland, though, offered up a wonderful experience when we reached the Gold Records Room.

Source: MeliSwenk
Source: MeliSwenk

In this very room, a large group of people had collected with eyes glued to the walls, display cases, and a large TV mounted up into the left-hand corner of the room. The TV was showing old concert footage, and when Elvis began a rendition of “Amazing Grace” the entire room–which had been bustling with idle chatter and the movement of several bodies–hushed and all eyes turned to the big screen. For a moment, it was just us and The King, gracing us with his talent and his presence. It was the perfect moment and easy to get swept up in. Walking through his home, seeing the living room, the jungle room, and the room where he was last seen alive was an experience I knew my mother would never be able to have. Having these pictures and sharing them with her meant the world to me. I’m still planning on collecting them into a book and printing them off for her. I know she’d love it.

Remembering Elvis and his legacy in the music world always brings a smile to my face, and if you want to take part in that legacy, you can find Elvis albums on Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify for your listening pleasure! You can also read the TIME magazine feature about his rise to stardom.

Happy 80th Birthday, Elvis!!!

In Memoriam | Christine Cavanaugh (1963-2014)

Source: LA Times
Source: LA Times

Though you might not recognize her face, her voice would likely bring a smile to yours. Christine Cavanaugh, popular family-programming voice actress, famously lent her voice to the film Babe (1995) as the titular character. You might also recognize her as Gosalyn from Darkwing Duck (1991),  Oblina from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters (1994-97), Marty Sherman from The Critic (1994-95), Chuckie Finster from Rugrats (1991-2002) and The Rug Rats Movie (1998)and Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory (1996-2003) and multiple Dexter-related shorts. She will be missed and remembered through her extensive legacy.

Who are your favorite Christine Cavanaugh characters?

Today in History | Remembering #ChrisFarley

On December 18, 1997 the tragic death of Chris Farley was reported. To have such a large, energetic personality displaced by something as quiet and sudden as a drug overdose, well, at first, it just didn’t seem physically possible. Not even 40 years of age, just coming into his own fame, and this funny man would dance and jump around no more.

In honor of his big, bright life and quiet passing, here are 10 of the best Farley moments from Saturday Night Live and some of his more popular movies. Rest in peace, you China-shop bull, and just know that you’re still making us laugh.