4th of July and Beyond

Happy 4th of July to my fellow U.S. peeps! Drink up responsibly and don’t kill enjoy your family and friends with those homemade fireworks we all know you have stashed in your shed! As for me, I’m going to break open a new bottle of Bailey’s in a last-ditch effort at some much-needed tolerance, or at the least, some semblance of patience — which we all know is not my strong suit, with my noisemaker neighbors.

MY LIFE IN A NUTSHELL

 

 

Less Bang for Your Buck

So, growing up I loved fireworks and even as recently as a few years ago I enjoyed the act of going to the fireworks festival in town because it meant a fun, family evening with food, refreshments, moon-bounces, and of course the quintessential 4th of July entertainment of fireworks lighting up the night sky.

Now, however, I sit home with an absolutely terrified and traumatized dog and cat who cower in their respective corners under the bed shaking so hard, you’d think they were in below-freezing temps.  It kind of takes all the fun out of the celebrations. Oh yes, I drug them up with the calming supplements one can find at any pet store and I’ve even tried vet prescribed medication as well, but it seems nothing really cuts through their overwhelming fear.

And that gets me thinking about all of the wild animals snug in their beds, most likely with babies to protect, that must wonder just what the hell is going on during these cacophonous revelries and how it surely must make them feel as though their world and indeed, their very lives, are in danger of being blown out of existence.

Last night they had the fireworks show in my town and the owl that lives in the tree outside my bedroom window was frantic with his “hooting,” and I can only imagine why.  A sound that normally calms me each night and makes me smile into the darkness, instead made me extremely sad as it was obvious a severely distressed call on this particular evening.  Perhaps he was concerned for the lady friend he calls every evening when she did not respond or maybe he was just horribly afraid, like my own little critters cowering under the bed.

Not to be outdone by the professional fireworks in town, my lovely, considerate neighbors set off their own show well into the night so that just as the animals everywhere were able to calm down and relax and perhaps understand that their lives were no longer in danger, the sporadic noise of explosions hit once again, only this time severely close to home, sending them scurrying once again.

I read an article the other day that said people should be respectful and conscientious of their fellow neighbors on the 4th of July weekend as there may be Veterans with PTSD or other issues who could be traumatized by the extraordinarily loud booming of home-grown fireworks.  It’s yet one more thing I had never considered.  However, I can only imagine what it must be like.  And my heart goes out to those Veterans.

While there have indeed been cool advances in pyrotechnics to soften the percussive blow and allow for a quieter fireworks show, it apparently looks like companies in the U.S. aren’t going to be on board for making a meaningful change anytime soon, which is a shame. Nor will these festivals fall to the wayside because they are in fact, fun, family oriented evenings that so many enjoy (with good reason).  But is it really necessary for Joe Blow next door to set up professional grade fireworks in the middle of a suburban street to show that he’s somehow “the man” or has the staying power his wife and/or girlfriend needs?  Sparklers, yes, by all means.  My kids loved them and most kids do. Those cool fiery things that shoot off flaming sparks of varying colors and hiss and twirl, yet stay in one spot…those are downright nifty.  But to set off explosive material that makes the adjacent houses shake and the night sky right above flammable rooftops light up as if you’re at a professional show?  Those we don’t need, thank you very much.

So, to all of my American friends, enjoy your 4th of July. I sincerely hope you have a fun, safe weekend with friends and family.  But can we all just show a little consideration for our neighbors (both 2 legged and 4 legged) amid all the merriment?  It’s really not too much to ask.

 

4th of july

Independence Day

As myself and other Americans celebrate the 4th of July, let’s all take a moment to solemnly remember what the holiday is really about.  Sales.  Wait..what?  Yes folks, sales.

Because it seems that every notable and/or meaningful holiday is accompanied, nay overshadowed by a parade of sales with a varying degree of discounts to be had. Now July 4th apparently doesn’t rate as deep of a discount as say…Thanksgiving, but it is right up there with Labor Day and Veteran’s Day, so I guess that’s something.  And as we all flock (not me, I’m staying home) to the stores or car lots to take advantage of these “one day only, limited time, while supplies last, buy one get one, 30% off deals!” let’s rejoice with a resounding communal cheer:  “Yay independence!”

 

July 4th

British Invasion

I would like to bring up something that amuses me to no end.  Okay, okay, I’m easily amused.  What can I say?  Anyway, the U.S. is on the cusp of celebrating the Fourth of July—a holiday that reaffirms the independence our forefathers fought valiantly to bestow to their future generations after escaping the clutches of British tyranny— yet we sure do seem to copy a lot of their stuff these days.

It seems like every show, movie, and game an American station airs is some knockoff of a British version. We copied the “…Got Talent” series. We re-vamped Being Human (even though ours sucked). We re-imagined Sherlock Holmes and Family Feud and Life on Mars and House of Cards and The Office. We even got The Weakest Link from them! Is American originality so far gone that we must import all the good ideas from England? Seems like it. Can’t say as I blame the producers really. It’s good stuff we’re talking about here. After all, they came up with Doctor Who. Which by the way has garnered a significant American fanbase (myself included).

When we do try to come up something on our own, something patriotic, what do we get? Jersey Shore. Teen Mom. Party Down South. And a host of Bigfoot hunting, river monster seeking, Honey Boo Boo inspired reality show detritus.  Okay, so maybe our thievery isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all. The last thing we need is yet another show about the nation’s pride in gluttony (10 pound stacks of pancakes and banana splits made with a full gallon of ice cream). The list goes on too. Check out all that we’ve “created” based on a British template.

It’s not just media either. We welcomed their music with open arms, which is great because it rocks. The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, The Animals…there’s even this thing called the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, a genre of music specifically targeting British metal bands that have influenced American ones. More examples, should you be interested, are here.

And what about the food? Brits get a lot of grief about their food, but I don’t buy into that negative hype. In reality we’ve stolen their fish & chips with gastronomical glee and taking in a daily tea is becoming more and more popular each day with those who want to be “hip.” Scones haven’t quite made their mark on this side of the Atlantic yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were all the rage after this kale fad fizzles out. And I for one would welcome it. I love scones.

I can’t help but find it funny that for a country that once rebelled passionately against being anything at all like England, we sure are doing a hell of a  lot to mimic them now.

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