Posts Tagged ‘4th of July’

Happy 238th Birthday, America!

July 4, 2014

240px-Fourth_of_July_fireworks_behind_the_Washington_Monument,_1986

And, a belated Happy Resolution of Independence Day.  July 2nd, 1776 was the day that the Continental Congress passed the Resolution of Independence.  The Declaration of Independence was signed and dated on July 4th, 1776.  Bet you didn’t know that. Neither did It until I looked up Independence Day on Wikipedia.

 

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Television’s Intellectual Ghetto is Still Somewhat with Us

July 1, 2013

Thank goodness!

The term “intellectual ghetto” was originated by TV critics years ago.

Since the inception of network television,  Sunday has been the main day for the networks to broadcast  their “prestige” programs.  Fortunately,  the tradition is being continued by CBS, which has been running two great magazine programs, CBS News Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes for decades. CBS News Sunday Morning has been on the air since January of  1979.  60 Minutes, which is more investigative, went on the air on September 24, 1968. Wikipedia tells us that in 2002, the program was ranked number 6 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.  It is also credited with being the most successful program in the history of television.  I’m glad.

On this weekend before the 4th of July, Morley Safer repeated a compelling and engrossing piece with historian David McCullough.  I’ll have more on that. Stay tuned.

WWII Thoughts on the 4th of July

July 4, 2011

On this, the most patriotic day of the  year, I reflect on the most patriotic time of my life, World War II.

I was eleven when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  The nation immediately united behind  the war effort.  With 14 to 16-million Americans in the armed forces, just  about  everyone had someone  in potential harms way. Not so now. Few have a friend or relative in the  services. A relatively small minority is bearing  the  sacrifice as the rest watch.

My late sister Betty and brother-in-law law Jack Gibson during world War II.

Both my brother Elbert and brother-in-law Jack Gibson were drafted.  Jack, a machine-gunner, was wounded a few days after landing  at  Normandy, and awarded a Purple Heart medal.  My sister Betty made her first trip out of the South when she took trains to Wisconsin to see Jack a few days before he went overseas.

My late brother Elbert in Germany, 1945

Elbert, who was younger than Jack, was drafted near the war’s end. He was in the UK, heading for France when Germany surrendered.  He drove a Jeep for a lieutenant around Germany looking for the lieutenant’s German relatives.  Before he shipped overseas, my mother decided she and 13-year-old me would visit him in Joplin, MO, where he was getting  Signal Corps training.

What an  adventure that was for untraveled me. The railroads had every car that would roll in service. With gasoline rationing, you took a train or bus, especially on  a long  trip. When we boarded the train in Columbus, there was only one seat available. I had no seat from Columbus to Birmingham, sitting in other folk’s seats when they would go to the restroom or to smoke.  We did get seats when we had lunch in the  diner, my first  diner experience. I loved it.

13-year-old me

There  were no hotel rooms available in Joplin, but people in private homes rented rooms to visitors like  us.  My mom and dad did the same  thing, renting out a room to Ft. Benning soldiers and  their wives. One couple had a little girl. She was meaner than any boy I knew, and I couldn’t  hit her becaused she was a girl.  Wanting to keep their room, her parents tried to make it up to me by taking me to a movie with the three of them. It helped.

Keeping everyone involved in the war effort, we were encouraged to buy war  bonds and stamps. Kids like me would buy dime stamps and put them in a book that we could cash in or use toward buying a $25 bond when the book was filled. Folks also saved and took tin cans, old tires and scrap paper to collection centers to be recycled  to make things for the armed forces. Just  about  everyone I knew did it. As a Boy Scout, I remember riding  in the  back of a truck, going door to door to pick up scrap paper people were saving.

Yes, it was a very different time and a very different war. Today, people do respect and support our troops, even though most are war weary and want  us out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.  But, there is definitely not the involvement and  the  sharing of the sacrifice as there was then.

Maybe Ray Stevens Doesn’t Think “Everything is Beautiful” Anymore

July 7, 2010

When we decided to attend the Ray Stevens concert at Hiawassee, Georgia last Saturday, July 3rd, it was because I could remember his country music novelty hits of the 1970’s, songs such as “Everything is Beautiful” and “The Streak,” and that it would be a night of fun nostalgia, and a highlight of our 4th of July weekend in the Young Harris area. It was, but it also was something else. 

After the opening act, a twangy country band, which I thought would never end, there was a 30-minute intermission used to hawk Stevens' CDs and to sell hot dogs and hamburgers, and to go to the restroom. I used that occasion to pull out my cell phone and take this shot of the sound and lighting control booth. The Georgia Country Fair music hall was anything but fancy, as you can see, but it held a lot of folks, and the sound and lighting were first class.

 The huge music hall at the Georgia Country Fair (that’s the name of the place; the fair was not being held) was almost sold out.  I thought people there were folks who remembered Stevens’ heyday.  I didn’t realize that Stevens is hot again and got that way by latching onto the lucrative right-wing media circus. He has made some totally unsophisticated, puerile videos against healthcare reform, “We the People,” and illegal immigration, Come to America,” that, after getting publicity from Fox News interviews, have gotten millions of hits on YouTube.

He didn’t do those numbers during the Saturday night concert. He made some reference to the country being in big trouble, which got whistles and cheers from some in the audience, but said he was not going to get political during the concert. Besides, he said, “You know where I stand politically, anyway.” (I didn’t. After a Google session, I now do.) Then he continued with his non-political comedy routine, which got a lot of laughs from a lot of people, including me.   

He had a fine band, and when he did his big hits from the past, like “Ahab the Arab,” “Shiners Convention,”  “Misty” (which won a Grammy for him), and, of course, his biggest hits, “Everything is Beautiful,” and “The Streak,” he performed with a freshness that made them seem new, which is quite a feat when you consider how many times he has done those numbers in the last forty years.  He is a very talented musician, having studied classical piano and music theory at Georgia State University in Atlanta. (He is a native Georgian and grew up in the Atlanta area.)  He also has a creative mind and, in my view, is a good folksy comedian.  I wouldn’t put him in the humorist league with Garrison Keillor or the late Will Rogers, but he is self-deprecatingly funny. 

I said he sang his old hits with a freshness that made them seem new, but I did get the feeling that when he sang “Everything is Beautiful,” it was a perfunctory performance, and that he really didn’t mean it.  I think, since he now identifies with the Tea Party folks, maybe he doesn’t anymore.   

 

This is what my iPhone camera captured back on Row “P” where we were seated. The bench seats sort of reminded me of the time I went to the Grand Old Opry at Opryland at Nashville. I guess country music fans like thinly padded bench seats.

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Happy 5th of July

July 6, 2010

Since I promised to try to post  something each Monday, I’m having to knock this off to get it in just under the wire since the day is almost over.  I spent the 4th of July weekend visiting with some new friends and touring the Young Harris – Hiawassee area of north Georgia.   I just got back this afternoon and frankly I’m  too tired ( driving up to north Georgia and having a lot of fun can use up a lot of energy) to do anything ambitious like giving you my impressions and showing some pictures I took while there, but I’ll start working on it tomorrow.  I will tell you this.  I attended the Ray Stevens concert. It was a hoot. He is amazing. More, coming up.