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Happy Independence Day 2016

As we celebrate Independence Day 2016, it is good to think about those who contributed in a mighty way to the exploration of our new country. In the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, we read that on July 4, 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and the Corps of Discovery were west of the Mississippi River, in what is now Kansas, and camped near present-day Atchison.

Sierra Exif JPEG
A one-pounder cannon mounted on the bow of a boat, such as the one fired by Lewis and Clark on Independence Day, 1804.

Except for one man who was bitten by a snake (he lived), it was a good day for the explorers. They fired their small cannon both morning and evening. They took the time to eat some special foods that evening, and drank some whiskey. And I’m sure they toasted George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.

Among other foods, the men ate “buffalo beef” (bison), corn, and beans. In honor of the day, Lewis and Clark named two nearby rivers. They named one “Creek Independence” and the other “4th of July 1804 Creek.”

I don’t know what I’ll be serving for our 4th of July meal, but I do have a bottle of fine whiskey, and as the sun goes down, I will offer a toast to Lewis and Clark, and their courageous men. Happy Independence Day to you, too.










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Oh Say Can You See? Or Buy? The Daily News July 6, 2007

Are you following the stories about U.S. states banning the sale of foreign–made American flags? Five states have either forbidden or are working on legislation to ban the sale of foreign–manufactured flags in their states.

Minnesota passed legislation in May as follows:

H.F. No. 122, 2nd Engrossment – 85th Legislative Session (2007-2008)
Posted on May 21, 2007

(see beginning at line 127.29)
No person in the business of offering goods at retail may sell or offer for sale in this
state an American flag unless the flag was manufactured in the United States of America.
(ending at line 127.32) EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective January 1, 2008.

The Times of London ran this article, wondering at the draconian actions of Minnesota. The StarTribune (Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota) brings up the point of potential international trade violations, and Rob from Say Anything is dumbfounded by the attack on the individual’s rights, and turning flag buying into a criminal act.

What’s your take on this legislation? Should we ban the importation of foreign-made fireworks for government sponsored Independence Day celebrations? Then children’s bicycle inner-tubes or maybe televisions?

The U.S. Flag Code says it is a violation to wear clothes that look like flags. Of course, Marc Leepson is correct in pointing out that most of these American flag clothes are made in China. Does this mean you can’t buy flag clothing in Minnesota?

Flag code | | Times Daily | Florence, AL
girl-in-red-white-and-blue.jpgFourth of July revelers who plan to sport stars and stripes as part of their Independence Day clothing, beware: your patriotism may be in violation of the U.S. Flag Code.

Section 8 of the “United States Code. Title 4, Chapter 1” or the Flag Code, states, “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel,” and “It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like,” is among dozens of flag etiquette rules.

No matter; Americans have long been fascinated with taking the red white and blue beyond flagpoles and turning the flag into fabric. The American flag, once a potential hot-button for the Supreme Court, has now become a free-for-all consumer item emblazoned onto clothing and morphed into decorations.

“The Flag Code is a series of guidelines. Even though it’s in the Federal Code, there’s no flag police, you won’t get arrested for owning a flag T-shirt,” said Marc Leepson, independent historian and author of “Flag: An American Biography” (Thomas Dunne Books, 2005).

Urban Infidel did a walking tour of his neighborhood on July 4th, and took lots of photos of flags. Scroll down and click the “Here is my slide show” to see Brooklyn, NY decorated for the holiday.

Urban Infidel: Happy Birthday, America!
us-flag-in-window-sill.JPGYesterday I went out into my neighborhood in Brooklyn to take pictures of American flags. Being the day before our nation’s birthday, I thought there would be a show of patriotism. I was disappointed but not surprised that I walked for many blocks and could only find a handful including my own two. I even went back out with my dogs for a second trip to find more flags.

What I discovered was that the American flags that I did find looked like they had been up for a long time. Seemed to be only the old timers in the area, God Bless them. None of the new residents had any flags, nor did any of the ‘luxury loft’ condos have any either. You’d think that living under the shadow of the World Trade Center would have some kind of lasting effect.

This is a colorful story about a man earning and receiving the official title of Flag Man. It was bestowed by a former Mayor in the 1990s. At 85 Alex Kapitanski doesn’t appear to be slowing down much. > News > North County — Flag Man has been letting it fly for decades
the-flagman.jpgOCEANSIDE – Today, Alex Kapitanski’s flags will flank Main Street during Julian’s Fourth of July celebration, decorate the Oceana Senior Community in Oceanside and pay tribute to Independence Day at Cottonwood Creek Park in Encinitas.

Alex Kapitanski of Oceanside has provided the flags for thousands of ceremonies, and the walls of his home are covered with photos and awards for his work. His title of Flag Man became official in the 1990s.
When some people view the star-spangled banner they remember a soldier’s sacrifice. Others see Old Glory and feel grateful for freedom and opportunity.

For Kapitanski, the hundreds of flags he raises at civic, military and scouting events are a way to share a spirit of patriotism.

After decades of service, the Oceanside resident has earned his official title.

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What? No “Independence Day”? You gotta be kidding me!

independenceday.jpgA few years ago, we started our own little Fourth of July family tradition—we would gather around the television and watch a televised edition of Independence Day with Will Smith.

Last night, with my chores and duties completed, I sat down in a comfy chair and turned on the television. There are a couple of things you should know: We get ten English-speaking channels on the rabbit ears, but only five are clear enough to watch.

I flipped on the TV and surfed the channels quickly (it doesn’t take long) and … what’s this I say. “No Independence Day? I can’t believe this.” I quickly surfed over to the four Spanish-language channels, hoping for a dubbed version … no dice. I went online … not at 7:00 nor 8:00 P.M..

Now what? It looks like a much quieter night than I had planned. But wait! There’s my prized boxed set of Firefly. Good ship Firefly—she never lets me down. So we watched “Objects in Space” and the “Additional Special Features” … all those out-takes, deleted scenes and interviews, and nifty insider info. Took me right up to bedtime, and the rain lulled me to sleep once again.

Today, it’s off to Amazon to buy my own copy of Independence Day. I don’t want this to ever happen again. Doesn’t anyone have respect for family tradition anymore?

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Happy Birthday to the USA

radar-image.jpgThe Texas gulf coast is socked in with heavy storms this morning, and from looking at National Weather Service’s radar for Houston-Galveston, I don’t see much hope of sunny skies for today. We didn’t buy any fireworks, but if there’s a break in the rain this evening, I know the neighborhood children (of all sizes) will provide a fireworks show for the rest of us to enjoy.

In the meantime, here’s a report from the U.S. Census Bureau that’s interesting and informative reading for Independence Day. Enjoy!

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Did you know …

I thought it would be fun to write an article on “little known facts about Independence Day,” or something along that line of thinking. But so far, I haven’t found any little known tidbits, but I’ll keep looking because I love to research.

I will share a joke with you this morning, though. I first heard this joke when I was very young, maybe seven or eight years old. My little girlfriend told it to me, and her mother was from Canada. I guess it stuck in my memory because not only did I get the joke, I guess I thought it was an insider’s joke, too.

What do Canadians do on the Fourth of July?
That’s the day they all go swimming.

Ironman Canada 2006

Flickr photo by oscillize “Ironman Canada 2006”

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Fireworks and The 4th of July

Fireworks and The 4th of July are quickly becoming another battleground between government and citizens’ rights. Fireworks are forever linked to celebrating the 4th of July, but some government officials want to outlaw the sale and eventually the right of citizens to own and light fireworks.

I wonder, if we can teach our kids safe-sex in school, funded by the taxpayer, why can’t we teach our kids safe-fireworks? It seems such a simple solution since it’s obvious we can’t stop them from experimenting with fire crackers and sky rockets.

Fireworks sales likely to blast off | – Houston Chronicle
“Every time we gain a little that’s gaining a lot in my opinion,” said Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack, who said he’s sought greater county control of fireworks for 18 years. “One of these days we want to see Harris County have the ability to outlaw the sale of fireworks, except for professional displays.”

This article in the Houston Chronicle shows how the thinking is moving on this issue. I think that banning ownership of fireworks rates up there with unfairly taxing tea, and might lead to a fireworks party in the future. Slowly our rights are disappearing, and the question is, which loss will be the last straw?

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Mother’s Day

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, the biggest day of the year for restaurants and flower shops. For a flower shop, Mother’s Day is like Christmas at Wal-Mart. It makes up a large portion of their annual revenue and their profit, allowing them to stick around for another year.

I’m wondering how to move U.S. flags into the Mother’s Day space. It seems to me that every mom needs a good flag. They need it for the upcoming holidays, Memorial Day, Flag Day, the 4th of July.

Hmmm … Just thinking!

Now don’t forget to call.