And the rockets red glare, the headlines lacking in flare…

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Mornin’ all.

Can you believe the year is half over already? You know what that means. It’s almost the 4th of July! I’m waving a sparkler, but I guess you’re just going to have to take my word for that.

I actually really love patriotic holidays. I am a hippie AND a patriot. I love my country. Yes, it’s a messed up blend of fever-dream-meets-bad-acid-trip at the moment, but I still think it’s worth saving.

I don’t want this post to be overly political, though. I mean it’s me, and I won’t be able to pass up taking a few jabs. You understand. But as far as actually addressing the issue with more than quippy snark? I’ll try not to. It’s a holiday, after all! We can get into the nitty gritty another time. For now, let’s just have some fun. And what do we do around here for fun?

*cue the full marching band for the catchy theme music* *cue the red, white, and blue go-go dancers* *set off the confetti cannon*

That’s right. We’re doing a super duper, ultra mega, eXtremerific…

* * * HOLIDAY HEADLINE ROUND-UP!!!! * * *

It just pulls at the heart strings to see the dancers finish in a sequined pyramid under a shower of red, white, and blue fireworks just as the founding fathers intended, doesn’t it? *wipes tear* Well done, ladies.

I haven’t done a Roundup in awhile, but it’s not that hard to explain. I look at large news sites and scan through the headlines. When one grabs me for whatever reason, I copy it as written and present it for you perusal. Sometimes they’re poorly worded, sometimes they’re just ridiculous, but mostly, they put a thought in my head I feel compelled to share. As always, the headlines are 100% true red, white, and blue blooded. I just add the apple pie for dessert. Ready? Great! Put down your fifes and drums and let’s take a look at the world one headline at a time.

– You’d Never Guess These Salads Are Vegan

Vegans always think other people can’t taste the difference because they’ve eaten work-around foods for so long that they can’t tell. I’m sorry, any of my vegan pals, but I can guarantee you that I 100% CAN tell that your fauxmatoes and tofucumbers aren’t the real thing.

– Jana Kramer Reacts to Husband’s Cheating Dealbreaker: It ‘Hurts’

Really dug deep on that one.

– US Says Border Wall Will ‘Avoid’ Historic Texas Cemetery

Can’t the wall just ‘avoid’ the historic Mexican border?

– ‘A Bad Idea’: Senate Republicans Warn Trump Over Mexico Tariff Threat

Trump had a bad idea? Nooo. Not Chief Baby Hands.

– Here’s What Melania Trump is Doing Today

Probably silently weeping every spare moment she gets, if I had to wager.

– China Warns Citizens Against Travel To The US

Can you blame them? Really?

– Why Financial Literacy is Being Taught In Schools Across America

Um, maybe because it’s just a good fucking idea that should have been happening all along? Just throwin’ it out there.

– O.J. Simpson’s First Tweet: ‘I’ve Got A Little Getting Even To Do’

Damn, just got a major sense of deja vu. Huh.

– Man Captivates Cows With Saxophone Serenade

Boy, Kenny G’s career really took a turn, eh?

– Woman Spreads ‘Hope’ To Tornado Damage Victims

The woman gathered pieces of broken houses to make cross necklaces she’s then selling. She’s literally taking the proof of her god’s intended destruction of peoples lives and turning it into jewelry to remind them that they were on her god’s hit list. And suddenly, the quotes around the word hope make sense.

– New Hampshire Installs First Historical Marker to Honor Computer Programming

BASIC was invented here. Bet you didn’t know we were wicked fahkin’ tech savvy up here, didja bub?

– Facebook To Unveil New Cryptocurrency

Hm, should I let Facebook have any role in my financial future? Let me weigh the pros and cons. On the one hand, no. But, on the OTHER hand, also no.

– Palestinian Leaders Reject Kushner’s Economic Plan

Wise move. The only thing worse than letting Zuckerberg hold your purse strings is letting a peripheral Trump do it.

– Great Jobs To Boost Your Income When Retired

I wish the headline was something more along the lines of, “Americans Vote To Pitch In A Few Extra Bucks A Year To Increase Social Security So Our Elderly Who Have Worked Hard and Served Our Communities Can Have A Comfortable Last Few Years Because People Are Sick Of Watching Their Grandmas Work Menial Labor Jobs Just To Be Able To Afford The Luxury Of Eating AND Buying Medication Every Single Week,” but that’s not the world we live in.

– Underwood ‘Speechless’ Over Cheese Sculpture

I think she’s just stunned that it didn’t also come with a case of crackers. I stand with Carrie on this one. Tres declasse.

– The Brief (And Bizarre) History Of Selfies In Space

I wasn’t prepared for the “bizarre” facts in the story, but you know me, I have to share. Brace yourselves. You know what they had to do to take pictures of themselves in space? These crazy mofos at NASA had to make…get ready for it…a special trigger that the astronauts can use through their thick space suit gloves. What absolute freaks.

– Police Arrest 70 Climate Change Protesters Outside New York Times

These idiots laid in the street and attempted to scale the outside of the Times building to get the NY Times to stop calling it “climate change” and call it a “climate emergency” every time they referenced the situation in print. Which would be a lot of times, BTW, since the NY Times is most definitely an ally to their cause, printing many deep dive articles over the years trying to alert the public to the dangerous situation. I’m all for peaceful protests, but these mugs literally protested an organization that is already on their side over meaningless semantic bullshit when they SHOULD be protesting Fox News, Congress, the White House, and all the other massive organizations who continue to deny the effects of humanity on nature. It’s petty ass bullshit like this that weakens a cause.

– 30th Horse Death At Santa Anita Park Prompts Officials To Boot Trainer

Silly trainer. You’re only supposed to push the horses to the brink of death in the name of entertainment. Dead horses don’t make money. Duh.

– Trump Delays Immigration Sweeps. Here’s Why California Police Say They Won’t Take Part

*police spokesperson walks out on stage**adjusts mic**clears throat* “Because it’s stupid.” *turns**walks off stage*

*sidebar*- Do you still have that warning button? You know, the one you push when I’m about to say something that has the potential to land me in hot water?

“Yeah.”

Good, because I’m reading this headline about an SUV crash, and the first half is all jokey and has a fun vibe, but then there’s a comma and everything after that is doom and gloom and I kind of have the urge to make a “well that Escalade-d quickly” pun, because, you know, Cadillacs and shit, and I just don’t know if it’s appropriate.

“Hm. Are there kids involved?”

Yeah.

*WARNING* *WARNING* *WARNING*

Got it. So no puns where kids are involved in a crash. Thanks for having my back.

– Sex Abuse Charges Against La Luz del Mundo Leader Are the ‘Tip Of the Iceberg’

But just the tip.

*WARNING* *WARNING* *WARNING*

…no sex abuse jokes either?

“NO!”

Hmph. Fun killer.

– What We Know About Those Buried At Tampa’s Forgotten Zion Cemetery

They worded this headline like we’re getting fast breaking news on a developing situation. Calm down, Tampa Bay Times. I don’t think anyone’s in a rush to scoop you on this one.

– Fact Check: Trump Makes 3 False Claims About Hispanics in Interview

Only three?

– Fish Eggs Can Hatch After Being Pooped Out By Swans

This is a thing you now know. You’re welcome.

– SpaceX Is About To Launch 152 Dead People’s Remains Into Orbit

Only into our own orbit? How are the remains supposed to be carried by the cosmic waves to other places in order to seed faraway landscapes with human DNA if they’re stuck in our own orbit? Has Elon Musk never read decent sci-fi??

– This Robot Fish Has Robot Blood

…soooo…oil?

– 40 Things No One Over 40 Should Have In Their Home

Oh shit. I’m over 40. This is absolutely relevant to me. Let’s check it out.

1. A dust ruffle

…aaaaand I was totally wrong. This is in no way relevant to me.

– Hospital Issues Warning After Five Cases of Children Falling From Windows

Holy shit. I can’t believe they even have to! If you have a child, close the windows on any level above the first floor, bring them in from the car every single time, don’t leave bare light sockets open, don’t put your baby in the oven to dry them off real quick after a bath, don’t pack Tide pods in their lunch bags, take off the necklace made of scissors when they go to run around with their friends..and above all else, if you’re out of Kool-Aid, never forget that bleach is NOT a good thirst-quencher. That’s Bethie’s Handbook For New Parents, available wherever common sense is found.

– Sarah Ferguson Shows Off Curtsy As She Reunites With Prince Andrew

Ooooo look at her showing off a curtsy. All I’ll ever be able to afford is a handshake, or maybe an air kiss if I’m lucky, and she’s out there genuflecting like it ain’t no thing. These rich folks are so out of touch.

– 15 High-waist Bikinis You’ll Want To Wear All Summer

Boy, does your ad-targetting software need some upgrading, Google.

– Wild Crocodile Bares Menacing Teeth At Scuba Diver Who Gets Too Close

Um, it’s called smiling. Diver comes up with a camera, so the croc tried to seize his moment to become Instagram famous. Shit. Why you always gotta paint crocodiles in such a negative light? Pathetic.

– Pompeo Confirms Trump Sent Kim Jong Un Letter

You will never get me to believe that Trump can write. FAKE NEWS.

– Pompeo Confirms Trump Sent Kim Jong Un Letter

…unless…Do you…do you think maybe it was like a big letter “z” written in crayon on a piece of that learning-to-write paper they use in kindergarten? OMG I want to believe that’s what they meant so bad. The alternative is that someone pulling Trump’s strings conned Don into agreeing to butter up Kim more so that we can get some help bombing Iran because they are convinced the best way for the orange Cheeto to stay in office is to kill thousands of people for no reason whatsoever. I never thought I’d say this, but: Here’s hoping the figurehead of our country actually sent the leader of another country a purple crayon scribbled “Z”.

– How A Trump Tax Cut Helped A Billionaire Win Big

yay. lucky him. finally caught a break in life. good job. so glad things turned around for him.

– Florida Police Detained A Tortoise For Blocking The Road. He Got Away With A Warning And A Selfie

WOW. So this jaywalking road-blocking scofflaw gets off with a warning and a fun selfie with the cops, while the croc who was minding his own business in his own neighborhood gets blasted across social media for being “menacing” when all he did was smile into a camera?? This right here is the definition of media bias!!

– Pence: US ‘Not Convinced’ Downing Of Drone Authorized At ‘Highest Levels’

We sent a drone over there to spy on another country in their own air space. Frankly, them shooting it down seems fair, even if the “highest levels” DID authorize it. WE were spying on THEM. We got caught. They broke our camera and wagged their finger at us for trying to get one over on ’em. I’ve seen enough Spy Vs. Spy to know that’s just how the game works.

– How Prince Philip’s Pranks On Queen Elizabeth Made Her Laugh, But Also Backfired

If one of the pranks was not a whoopie cushion on the seat of the throne then Philip has forfeited his right to be king. FACT.

– This New Poll Finds Widespread Islamphobia Among Conservatives

You ever been digitally slow-blinked, Business Insider? Because that was legitimately my reaction when I read this headline.

– Hang Gliding From Texas To Canada For Breast Cancer Research

He’s not raising money. His goal is to “make people aware of breast cancer.” He’s got a bunch of volunteers to bring him supplies and donate hotel rooms along the way, but, once again- and I can’t stress this enough- he’s not personally raising any money at all for cancer research. He just wants people to know that THEY can raise money. And not just that, he’s convinced a whole lot of well-intentioned folks to give him free shit, to give HIM their money instead of donating that amount to cancer fucking research…I can’t even with this shit today.

– 7 Purchases You Should Never Make

I was nervous about being judged by another smug click baiter, but was pleasantly surprised to find the list filled with things like jet skis and hot cars. Apparently I can still make it rain for strippers and pick up some blow on payday without shame. What a relief!

– How The Cost Of College Has Changed Over The Years

It used to be nearly free, and now we expect 18 year olds to slap down the cost of a house before we’ll deign to let them learn at a higher level. No big mystery.

– Owner Of ‘Attack Squirrel’ Arrested After Chase

Oh no, guys. It’s even better than you think. The dude didn’t just train a squirrel to attack, he fed it methamphetamines to unleash the beast within, maximizing the force of the attack. A worthy contender for Florida Man’s crown approaches…

– Trump Declares Himself Winner In Democratic Debates

I mean of course he does. Did anyone expect anything else?

– Campbell: I Go Days Without Food, But I Don’t Starve Myself

Dictionary.com. It’s a wonderful tool, Naomi.

– This is THE Best Cherry Margarita

NO. Stop it right now! Cherries do NOT belong in margaritas. Margaritas are perfect and wholesome and everything good in this world. Keep your filthy tree balls out of my margaritas! #FuckCherries

– How To Prevent Sunburned Eyes

Blink.

– Stowaway Falls Into A Garden From An Airliner

And that, children, is how garden gnomes are born.

– Analysis: Joe Biden’s Soft Polling Underbelly Just Got Exposed

Why does this headline feel so uncomfortable? *shudder*

– Administration Forecasts 25% Decrease In Migrant Apprehensions At US-Mexico Border in June

…but…it’s July. We already had June. You can’t forecast something that’s already happened. Just when you think you’re at the bottom rung of the ladder of expectations, you discover there are still new depths yet to be explored.

– England Takes On USWNT

Putting aside the fact that England might not want to take on anything with the US this week given the history of early July, I love word games. Let’s try and figure out what USWNT stands for, shall we? United States Women’s Nut Tossers. Untidy Shellfish With Nasty Tentacles. Unruly Students Who kNow Things. Upstanding Sword Wielding Ninja Turtles. Unusually Smelly Wool Napkin Tuckers. …I could do this all day. Should I do this all day?

“NO!”

…Unwanted Silly Word Nerd Tomfoolery. *sniff*

– I’m Betting $523,111 On This 1 Stock

You fool. Everyone knows that $523,110.67 is the limit. Get packing for the poor house.

– CDC Warns Of Pool Parasites Ahead of 4th of July Weekend

They’re called “children,” and apparently they are everywhere.

– See How Bra Clasps Can Save A Turtle’s Life

It’s simple, really. Turtles don’t have thumbs. A young and irresponsible turtle couple that can’t get the bra off and gets frustrated and gives up after the mood is spoiled can’t spread life threatening STDs, now can they?

– Stores Encourage Shoppers To Bring Their Own Bags

Okay, Rip van Winkle. Thanks for keeping up with the grocery trend that began 20 years ago.

– Why Are Norwegians So Happy? In A Word: ‘Koselig’

Oh duh! Of course it’s koselig! Why didn’t I think of that?

– Could The Poo Of Elite Athletes Provide An Ingredient To Improve Physical Performance?

I am very disturbed that someone would even ask that question, and even more alarmed at the idea of someone actually using the knowledge to create a supplement. But…now that we’re here…I guess it would really depend on how much of the steroids permeate the digestive system, and if they would still be concentrated enough to provide effective performance enhancement, wouldn’t it?

– Trump’s Immigration Proposal Could Cause Millions Of Children To Opt Out Of Heath Benefits, Study Says

No no no no no no. Children do not “opt” in OR out of health benefits. Children do not choose anything. Stop trying to make it sound worse than it is. It’s already bad enough. You don’t need to shove the slant down our throats, CNN. That’s just as disrespectful to readers as when Fox does it. Shame.

– The Risks Of Crowdsourcing Kids’ Screen Decisions

I had absolutely no idea what was going on here. Turns out it was a bloviated opinion piece about a dad saying “no” to his kid downloading an app. I didn’t think it was such a slow news day. Guess I was wrong.

– Adoption Tax Credit: What The GOP Tax Credit Cut Means To Parents And Kids

It means that the unwanted children they claimed to be so hellbent on protecting pre-formation mean absolutely NOTHING to them once they pop out. It means they want to punish women for getting pregnant in the first place by making it harder for them to give up that unwanted child. It means they are intentionally standing in the way of those “little bastards” ever finding a loving, caring home because they’re spawn of sin. It means I fucking hate these blowhards in office and want some real change even more!!! GAH!! I still love you, America. But COME. ON.

*deep breath* We need a palate cleanser.

– Serial Toilet Clogger Sentenced to 150 Days in Jail, 3 Years Probation

Before today I didn’t know that fish eggs are still viable after traversing the digestive expanse of a swan, or that one could be jailed for out of control levels of fiber. We learn here, folks. It’s what we do.

“…that’s your palate cleanser?”

I mean, given the subject matter of the GOP post…uh…yeah. I think it’s a step up.

– Woman Barred From Texas Walmart After Eating Half A Cake, Refusing To Pay Full Price

Now, I didn’t bring this up because of the headline. Anyone who works for a bakery that’s also part of a grocery or retail store knows things like this 100% happen. The stories I could tell… No, I bring this up because in the article, they take the time to say, “The woman is not the first this year to be banned from a Walmart in Wichita Falls, a city not far from the Oklahoma border.” That is some next level padding for word count right there.

– Killing Wolves Was Supposed to Solve A Problem But Created Issue With Coyotes

Then they killed the coyotes, and the badgers got out of hand. They took out the badgers, and the possums carpe’d the diem. Their stint at the top was short lived due to the measured deployment of eagles, but the eagles soon fell to the drone army controlled by the bobcat cabal. The bobcat cabal got a little too chummy with the back stabbing raccoons, who eroded their ranks from within but left their own flanks vulnerable to cougars, who had been carefully plotting their coup from the deep, dark caves of the mountains. The cougars had a decent run, but were no match for the venom of rattlesnakes, and the snakes took the iron throne for a hot minute before they were George R.R. Martined by mongooses. And so it went until the only animals left were bunnies, who climbed over the bloodstained battlefield and screamed triumphantly into the first rays of a new dawn, “OUR TIME IS NOW!!”

Thus concludes an explosively good Roundup for Tuesday, July 2, 2019. I’d make it longer, but I’m really just stalling before digging in to tackle some real life challenges, and those are really niggling, sooo… Everyone have a safe and happy holiday weekend! Remember, any is too many. Grab a couch. Crash on the lawn under the fireworks. Sleep with your head in your friends’ toilet. Just please don’t become a drunk driving statistic!!

It’s about to get patriotic up in here…

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Mornin’ all.

I’m going to warn you in advance…today’s Musing will contain above average levels of both patriotism and sap.

“Hm. How much sap?”

Think Hallmark card written in cursive.

“Damn.”

That’s why I thought it was only fair to warn you. I’ll take no offense if you would prefer not to read about how great the United States of America is.

But, I think now more than ever is the time to really reflect on the fateful decision a bunch of fed up, over worked, over taxed farmers made to band together to kick the Redcoats the hell outta here and take control of what was then- and still is today- our responsibility.

OUR RESPONSIBILITY. Ours. No one else’s.

Have you read the Declaration of Independence? I think everyone is fairly familiar with the first paragraph and first sentence of the second. They’re pretty powerful.

WHEN, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s GOD entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.–

Even if you didn’t know the full bit, you’ve seen most of the preamble and start of the second paragraph on various Facebook memes. And why not? That’s some good and powerful writing, and boy did they know how to work up a crowd, eh?

But, do you really know what comes next? Because in all honesty, what comes next is SO much better. It’s a bit frilly, though, and muddled in old timey-ness. Maybe that’s why people overlook it.

That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.

I’d like to think they sent good king George a pot of aloe to ease those sick burns.

My favorite segment, pared down a bit to cut out the somewhat unnecessary frippery, is the line, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations…evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism…”

They just called their king an absolute despot. Consider the era. No one- NO ONE- called the king of Great Britain names in a public forum. It just didn’t happen. It wasn’t done. Not without the serious risk of head loss.

“…it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government…”

Coups happen. They’ve been done throughout human history. When Ugh got too big for his loin cloth, Egh rounded up the other cavemen and kicked his ass outta the top spot. So a rebellion was nothing new. But goddamn did they do it with flair.

And you also have to remember that at this point in time, we relied on Great Britain for a whole lot. They were our economy. Our military. Our lawmakers. Our back up plan in case the still largely untested New World didn’t pan out in the long run.

“Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies… To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.”

The main goal of the Declaration of Independence was to establish the United States of America as its own nation in every respect, especially in terms of global trade. We would need to be able to make our own deals, and until we were firmly established as our own nation, that wouldn’t happen.

Congress was smart enough to realize that if they only sent a copy of the Declaration to the king, nothing would change. The king would laugh, raise the stamp tax to teach the plebs a lesson, and continue to wallow in excess on the backs of his subjects. The demands would basically be swept under the rug.

To solidify resolve and prove just how serious we were, our congress sent copies of this document EVERYWHERE. Which makes this next part so damn good when you think about it. They proceeded to air the king’s dirty laundry. And they didn’t hold back.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Wikileaks, 1776.

No, really. That’s what it was. An open tattling to all the other countries. Blowing the whistle. Revealing the wolf under the sheep’s clothing.

And it worked, but not really because of the “injustices” on the list. It wasn’t as if the leaders of other nations would look at the perceived offenses and find them all that unreasonable. The rulers would have looked at the list and said, “Yeah, seems about right. He’s a king and you are peasants. Duh.”

It wasn’t the king’s offenses that got other nations excited. It was simply the fact that peasants would dare publicly rebuke their king in such a bold and uninhibited manner. It said we were serious. There was no going back. Our congress chose this path and we were fully committed. That idea was what got other nations so excited.

The idea of a new trade partner that wasn’t England was appealing to them. Most of the world didn’t like Great Britain at that point. GB had spent the better part of a few hundred years plundering and conquering and warring. Most trade deals with Great Britain were the equivalent of a kid giving his lunch money every week to the class bully so the dude wouldn’t beat the snot out of them. Other nations wanted the things Great Britain could get, and they grudgingly got in bed with the enemy to make it happen.

Then along came the colonies.

Imagine being a foreign leader at the time who heard about a document just absolutely shredding the asshole you have to work with but totally hate. Nothing could have rallied the other nations of the world against Great Britain like the Declaration of Independence. Talk about a smear campaign!

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

Here’s a clever bit. Congress laid out the king’s offenses, then turned it around and said, “Hey, we tried to work with you, fam, but you just have zero chill.”

“A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

I’m guessing that when the rulers of other nations read the document to their rapt courts, this is the point where people put their fists to their mouths and said, “Oooohhhh I do believe the king hath been served.”

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Is it a perfect document? No. I don’t think such a thing exists. Times change. Attitudes become refined. Knowledge gives humanity a different outlook and the ethos of a society morphs with that new information. All you have to do is look at the last item on the list of grievances to understand this. “Indian Savages?” *cringe*

But you know what? It’s a pretty damn good way to start a nation.

And now, more than ever, I think we ALL need to read it. Understand it. Reflect on the meaning. I’m not calling for war. I don’t think we’ll get anywhere if we grab our pitchforks and storm the White House. Or Senate. Or the House of Representatives. Or whoever it is that you particularly hate or blame for the current state of our nation. I don’t think we need muskets to fix our problems.

I think we need to remember where we came from, though. I think we need to spend a bit of today not ignoring the problems, but embracing the idea that WE CAN FIX THIS.

We’ve done it before. We can certainly do it again.

And it’s worth doing! It’s worth the work. I’m sitting here telling you that I’m all for a political coup…

*I can’t stress this enough, I’m for a POLITICAL coup, not physical. I’m not advocating militias. I don’t think we need them, at least not yet.*

…and nothing bad is going to happen to me. I’ll say it right here. I don’t like the dude in the White House. I don’t like looking at his orange face. I don’t like watching his flap of hair waft in the breeze. I cringe at the words that tumble from his drooling maw.

And there’s nothing he can do to me for saying that.

I’m not going to be decapitated. I won’t be incarcerated until I release a statement saying good things about Honorable Leader. My family won’t be evicted from our home. I won’t be fired.

I don’t like him. And you know what? I’ve got a looooong list of “do not likes” from BOTH political parties. I’m overall pretty moderate, which means right now, I’m an equal opportunity shunner. I am disappointed in everyone in charge.

And, I’m very disappointed in us for putting them there. And keeping them there. And paying the fees to make sure they don’t beat the snot out of us instead of putting them in their place.

I love this country. I honestly would not live anywhere else. I just want us to think about what the Founding Fathers did, and maybe embrace our roots going forward. They weren’t perfect. I’m not even trying to claim they were. Hell, on a personal level, I probably wouldn’t have liked a single one of them. They certainly wouldn’t have liked ME!

But you don’t need to be perfect to have a good idea. You don’t need to be perfect to fight for something larger than yourself. You don’t need to be perfect to put yourself on the line to change things for the better.

And you don’t need to live in a perfect nation to love it.

Thus concludes my Patriotic Musing for Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Everyone have a SAFE and happy holiday. The Founding Fathers would be very disappointed in you if you drink and drive. Don’t make Ben Franklin sad.

 

 

O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave…

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americanflag

Mornin’ all.

Last night was very long here, folks. As I sip my coffee, I’m assaulted by the acrid tang of sulfur which lingers heavily in the morning fog. Though the crashes and bangs that rang out into the wee hours are now blessedly silent, the echoes remain in the hearts and minds of those who bore witness, and those who desperately tried not to see or hear. The sun will rise and shine upon the fallout, highlighting the casings and burnt shells that undoubtedly pepper the land.

All over the nation this morning (or afternoon…yeah, probably afternoon for many), folks will rise, rub the grit from their bloodshot eyes, hydrate and carb-load like a champ, and prepare to jump into the fray once more.

Why?

Because four score and 159 years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. And if that’s not a reason to have a national weekend of partying, revelry, and tomfoolery, well then, I just don’t know what is.

Yep, it’s that day when we get to shoot colorful chemicals in the sky to celebrate kicking lily white asses back across the pond. It’s Independence Day!

I love the 4th of July.

And I don’t just mean that I live having a weekend of pop-bang-whizzy-bam, though regular readers of this blog will no doubt remember my fondness for the temporary tattoos of the sky. I love the day itself, the history, the connection.

When we were kids, the 4th meant camping. Fireworks. Fireworks while camping. Family. Picnics. Sand between the toes and lake water dreadlocks that dried in the sun. To a kid, that is the very definition of freedom.

As an adult, the meaning of Independence Day gives so much more depth to the holiday. We had enough bullshit, we drew the line, and we established our own nation. That kicks ass. Of course I’ll wave a flag! Who wouldn’t? A great thing about the 4th is that no matter your party affiliation, EVERYONE gets to be a crazed pro-‘Merican without repercussion or derision. How can that NOT be fantastic?

Chris-Christie

“Hello! I heard you talking about political parties, and I thought this would be an excellent time to pop in and tell your…”

Whoa. Hold the phone. What are you doing here, Christie?

“I’m letting your friends know that I’m running for the President of the United States of America!”

No. No no no. I did a candidate introduction weeks ago.

“I wasn’t running then.”

It’s not my fault you couldn’t make up your mind in time for this to hit the press. You missed your chance. Besides, it’s a holiday, not a time for you to campaign.

chrischristie2

“But…”

Nope. Not going to happen. If you’d like to hang around for the party, there are refreshments on the corner table and you’re more than welcome to celebrate with us. But you open your mouth to try and stump up some votes, and I’ll put you in a red coat with a “King George” name tag and you’ll find out how well that goes over in THIS crowd on the Fourth of July!

chrischristie3

*sigh* And stop moping.

Sorry, folks. I swear I had no idea he was going to do this. I wanted this post to be free from politics…modern day politics, that is. I know the problems of this nation are important and they won’t be fixed by ignoring them. But is it really unreasonable to ask that…

bobby_jindal

“Hello everybody!”

…*looks left* *looks right*…

“It’s me! Your friend Bobby Jindal!”

Uh…do I know you?

“Of course you know me. Bobby Jindal. I’m running for president!”

Oh boy, not another one. Look Bob, we’re trying to…

“It’s Bobby. Come on, you know me. I have a presidential campaign bumper sticker. You MUST have seen one of them.”

Can’t say that I have, but that’s neither here nor there. You’re interrupting what is attempting to be a patriotic musing to go with morning coffee.

“I love patriotism! And I heard you mention the problems in this country. If you give me just a moment of your time, I can solve them all.”

*rolly eyes* Bob. You seem like a nice guy, but there’s no way in hell you can solve all the nation’s problems. No one person can. And we’re not even talking about that today anyway. Now, if you’d like some America-themed refreshments, you can stick around and have some.

“Splendid! I love America-themed refreshments! However, did you know that many of these American treats are actually shipped in from other countries? Canadian hands are making the wheat for your red, white and blue cake. Our jobs….”

Bobby.

“…are being sent overseas, and you’re supporting these companies all while you claim to want to celebrate our nation.”

Mr. Jindal.

“Now, I don’t blame you. How could you know? That’s the issue we really face in this nation today. Obamawashing of…”

OKAY THAT’S IT. I’m sorry Bob, but you’re a pill. There’s the door. Don’t let it hit you in the ass on the way out.

“What? You’re kicking me out!?”

I warned you. I told you I didn’t want your politicking today, and you wouldn’t listen.

Bobby-Jindal-2

“But Christie’s up there!”

And Chris is following the guidelines. He’s sitting there in the corner drinking his coffee and BLUEberry muffin in the firework tiara and red 2015 sunglasses like he’s supposed to.

“I can do that too!”

You had your chance and you blew it.

bobbyjindal3

*snap* Out.

“*sniff* Fine. I’ll just leave some campaign pins…”

OUT!!!

*door slams*

Yikes. And zip it, Christie. Not ONE word or you follow.

*quiet munching of patriotic muffins*

Okay. Any more interruptions? No? Good. Now, where was I?

Oh, yes. I was talking about wanting one day to be patriotic without having it crammed down our throats that we have problems. I get it, folks. I get that right now we’re a seething cauldron of problems and good intentions gone awry.

But what’s wrong with everyone just putting it all aside for ONE DAY, hoisting the one beautiful flag, and enjoying being a member of this melting pot? Donald Trump went on another rampage yesterday…

“Trump’s here!?”

Whoa, easy there, Chris. He’s not here. Relax.

“But…but…is he going to be?”

HELL NO.

“…are you sure?”

Stop peeking out from behind the curtain and sit back down. I didn’t mean to get you all verklempt. Deep breath, Relax. Easy boy.

“O…okay…I just…it’s just one of my triggers.”

I think we all feel the same, but jeez. Jumpy little bugger, aren’t you?

I just said Tr…uh…He Who Must Not Be Named to highlight my point. Some people take today to be a day of telling us what a shit hole we’re in. They think that by doing it, we’ll vote for them. I don’t know why. I don’t know what’s going on under Mr. Who Must Not Be Named’s comb-over. My guess would be “not much”, because I have to be honest. If any candidate is going to get a nod from me today, it’s the one that stands tallest and proudest under the stars and stripes. It’s the one that’s just as proud to be part of this big old problem as I am.

Look folks. I bitch about this country a lot. Not as much as some, and I certainly never feel like it’s hopeless. I bitch because I’m part of it, and I love it, and I want to see it better. That doesn’t mean that I’m not patriotic.

I have a saying I tell my kids when they’re in trouble. I say, “I’m yelling at you because I love you and I want you to be a good person. If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t take the time to care about how you turn out.”

I love this country. And I care about it enough to be upset when things are going wrong. So it’s not that I don’t want things fixed, or am too blindly patriotic and believe we’re perfect.

But one day. That’s what I want.

No, wait. It’s more than that. I fully believe that it’s what we all deserve. One day to simply wave our flag and be proud. We’ve got problems. We also do a whole lot right. Most of our people have food, hot water, access to medical care, even if it’s pricey. We’ve got roads through the entire country, and enough public transportation that we don’t have to cram people ten deep and five high on the train. Very few people are homeless per capita, and there are even services run by good and noble citizens to help many of those. When there’s a crisis, we come together. When there’s a natural disaster, neighbors help each other out.

Are we perfect? Hell no! Can I just be happy with the good stuff for ONE DAY?

Absolutely.

We’re worth fixing, America. We’re also worth celebrating. For all our faults and flaws, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Everyone always quotes the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. I can’t say that I blame them. It gets a bit wordy and boring in the middle, so the eyes tend to take in that impressive preamble and then scan down to see that John Hancock was, indeed, quite full of himself. But a lot of cool stuff happens at the end. In fact, it’s my favorite passage in our Big Three governmental documents (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights). It’s got some grammatical issues, and I don’t know if the rampant use of commas was a time period thing or if they just felt adding in a ton of extras gave an air of importance… All that aside, this is what founded our nation.

“We, therefore, the representatives of the united States of America, in general congress, assembled, appealing to the supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states;”

In modern terms: Piss off, Brits. We got this.

And you know what? In spite of our problems, I truly believe we still do.

Thus concludes a patriotic Musing for Saturday, July the Freakin’ 4th, 2015. I hope all my fellow Americans have a good day today…and remember, any is too many. If you enjoy your right to booze it up in celebration, take advantage of your buddy’s couch!