July 4th, 2017

It’s still the Fourth of July!

[BUMPED UP: scroll down for today’s new posts.]

Actually, today is the real Fourth of July.

The holiday has two names: Independence Day and Fourth of July. The latter designates a specific date for the occasion, which keeps it from moving around the calendar too much as some holidays now do in order to accommodate the maximum number of three-day weekends. But this year we have pretty much a four-day weekend for the Fourth, because the real date falls on a Tuesday. So I hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves.

Here in New England we’ve had spectacular weather. Not too hot but just hot enough, and sunny most of the time. That’s unusual; I can’t tell you how many times the weather’s been lousy for these sorts of holidays, but this year is not that year.

I’ve done a few things over this Fourth of July weekend, but none of them have involved the traditional barbecue or party. Parties (except, alas, for political ones) seem to be few and far between in my life these days. How about you?

What I’m going to do today is go out for a walk and see the fireworks in the evening. Pretty low-key. The rest of the day—after I finish with the blog, that is—I plan to spend re-organizing my closets and bureau drawers.

Note the plurals closets and drawers. Now, that’s ambition. If I complete one single closet, I’ll be doing well, because this task always takes more time than I ever imagine it will.

What to keep and what to throw out, that is the question, and it involves a certain amount of trying on and mulling over and suddenly the sun is setting and the pile of discards is all too small. So far today, though, I’ve learned one thing: I have more dresses than I ever wear, since I wear so few. I just found a dress in my closet that I’d completely forgotten I owned, and have only a vague memory of buying—except that I remember it was on a huge huge sale and cost almost nothing. In fact, in recent years I’ve justified all my dress purchases (not an enormous number) by the fact that the store was practically giving the thing away—and that some day I’ll need a dress and don’t want to race out to buy an awful one in desperation.

But still, I’ve got a total of about ten dresses in there, and I might actually wear one a year if I’m lucky.

And then there are the earrings. Don’t get me started on the earrings. But it’s necklaces that are my special weakness. At least I wear them fairly often, because most of mine are casual enough to go with nearly anything. As I’ve gotten older (not old! surely not old!) my clothing needs have gotten so casual that if I don’t watch out I’ll be shuffling out in my bedroom slippers, like someone I know who shall remain nameless.

Actually, that won’t happen to me, because I don’t wear bedroom slippers. Instead, I have some very comfortable sandals dedicated to that task. So if I happen to walk out of my home in my sandal-slippers, no one will ever know the difference.

Happy Fourth to all!

19 Responses to “It’s still the Fourth of July!”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    “What to keep and what to throw out, that is the question, and it involves a certain amount of trying on and mulling over and suddenly the sun is setting and the pile of discards is all too small.”

    And that’s when the hoarder virus starts to find traction in the host.

    Today, I’m having a house cleaner in to do my floors and windows… I’ve moved the large blue recycling bin next to the front door so I can stuff things to toss out quickly. And forever.

    Don’t “consider it.” That’s what all the batshit hoarders do.

    When one cousin, who was a hoarder, finally dies it took his brothers and sisters three weeks to clear the house. Once they got rid of the towering piles that threatened to kill and crush them….

    As in this episode from CSI:


  2. Oldflyer Says:

    Happy Independence Day!

    There is never a shortage of rhetoric to commemorate the day. One could do worse than to review President Calvin Coolidge’s Independence Day Speech from 1926. “Silent Cal”. Some people thought he said little because he had little to say; it turned out that he said little because he only spoke when he had something meaningful to say–and that seemed odd.

    Certain passages stand out; here is one:
    “It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.”

    The complete text can be seen http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/speech-on-the-occasion-of-the-one-hundred-and-fiftieth-anniversary-of-the-declaration-

  3. J.J. Says:

    Neo: “As I’ve gotten older (not old! surely not old!)”

    Yes, not old, certainly not old. I say, as I wonder who that old man in the bathroom mirror can be. In my mind I’m not much over the magical Jack Benny age of 39. Yet, admitting to know who Jack Benny is puts the lie to that line of thought.

    Our day will not be as productive as yours. We changed the sheets on our bed, emptied all the waste baskets, watered all our planted pots, did some minor policing up of the rooms, and now my wife is busy preparing our meal of the day -macaroni salad, baby back ribs, and a red, white and blue cake. The weather is fine – sunny and about 75. Our daughter will join us for the meal and then we will play some games and/or read until the fireworks take place, which we will toast with a glass of champagne. The fireworks from the Space Needle in Seattle are always spectacular and well worth watching. Better on TV than actually being there. Something we have done in past years.

    A quiet Independence Day, but one in which we always remember how fortunate we are to have been born in this land of the free and home of the brave.

  4. Molly NH Says:

    we had a family party, a cook out with only part of the family here… no cake. but Hood Ice Cream was on sale Neo only 199 !!! and the strawberry is delicious, silly me, should have bought a vanilla and the blueberry version too
    it would have been a yummy tribute to the red, white & blue. We did have miniature Old Glory decorating the mail box ! Love you USA, just like Trump does ! Happy Birthday ! from the whole blog !

  5. huxley Says:

    A year ago I sold my house, packed everything up into storage and moved out. Since then I’ve been living out of a few suitcases and it’s kind of a relief.

    In February I moved into some low-rent student housing and blew $500 on a bed, desk, chair and lamp from Amazon. Except for some clothes, a few books and my kitchen gear, I don’t miss my “stuff.”

    I will have to get serious about a real place to live but in the meantime, I’m fine.

  6. huxley Says:

    When I was younger, I used to wonder why older people often seemed over-dressed.

    I imagine the answers vary, but I am old enough to think, hey I paid some bucks for those nice shirts and so why not wear silk to the coffee shop…

    A friend once told me of a beautiful camel hair coat his wife bought him and he saved for a special occasion. Years later the special occasion arrived, he pulled the coat out of the closet and it had been eaten by moths.

  7. neo-neocon Says:


    I think there’s a lesson there: wear that beautiful camel’s hair coat!

    I’ve already downsized quite a bit from the days I lived in a large house. My place is smaller now. But I find it’s filling up with newer stuff. I’m nowhere near a hoarder, but I just want things to be more streamlined. I just need to figure out which stuff I’d miss and which I wouldn’t.

  8. huxley Says:

    Parties (except, alas, for political ones) seem to be few and far between in my life these days. How about you?

    My impression is people, even young ones, don’t throw parties much anymore beyond having a few friends over for drinks and chips.

    My theory is that people have less free time, especially with women working as much as men, and more entertainment options, so they’ve scaled parties back.

    A friend pointed out a new party style, in San Francisco anyway, which is to reserve a big table at a nice restaurant, have people meet there, then split the bill. My friend isn’t crazy about it because with appetizers, drinks, dinner and desert plus a good tip and taxes it’s easy to blow through $80 or more per person.

  9. Llwddythlw Says:

    I found this poem online, written by H.P. Lovecraft. I think it was written in July 1917 after the US had entered WWI. Happy 4th to all.

    Ode for July Fourth, 1917

    As Columbia’s brave scions, in anger array’d,
    Once defy’d a proud monarch and built a new nation;
    ’Gainst their brothers of Britain unsheath’d the sharp blade
    That hath ne’er met defeat nor endur’d desecration;
    So must we in this hour
    Show our valour and pow’r,
    And dispel the black perils that over us low’r:
    Whilst the sons of Britannia, no longer our foes,
    Will rejoice in our triumphs and strengthen our blows!

    See the banners of Liberty float in the breeze
    That plays light o’er the regions our fathers defended;
    Hear the voice of the million resound o’er the leas,
    As the deeds of the past are proclaim’d and commended;
    And in splendour on high
    Where our flags proudly fly,
    See the folds we tore down flung again to the sky:
    For the Emblem of England, in kinship unfurl’d,
    Shall divide with Old Glory the praise of the world!

    Bury’d now are the hatreds of subject and King,
    And the strife that once sunder’d an Empire hath vanish’d.
    With the fame of the Saxon the heavens shall ring
    As the vultures of darkness are baffled and banish’d;
    And the broad British sea,
    Of her enemies free,
    Shall in tribute bow gladly, Columbia to thee:
    For the friends of the Right, in the field side by side,
    Form a fabric of Freedom no hand can divide!

  10. Oldflyer Says:

    Huxley, I know my wife and I are often “over dressed” these days, particularly here in SoCal.

    Yet, I really don’t understand people who go to dinner, go to church, or whatever, looking like they were still wandering around the house. Attended a stage production in a lovely theater this weekend; much of the audience looked as though they just got up off he couch and headed out. I keep thinking that an occasion would feel more special if they made some effort to dress for it. I don’t even mean tie and jacket for men, or heels for ladies. Just a little something that looked like it took minimal thought.

    Oh, well; obviously old fashioned and out of step.

  11. steve walsh Says:

    Happy Independence Day! (belated)

    This was a different experience this year. My daughter and son-in-law had a wedding to attend on July 3 (daughter was a bridesmaid) so we skipped our usual trip to the Cape so we could babysit our granddaughter. This was not a hardship for us, quite the opposite actually. From what we heard everyone but the bride and groom were displeased that the wedding was held on a holiday weekend. Everyone but us that is.

    July 4 was spent golfing with my bro-in-law (wife’s brother) and son-in-law (father of the aforementioned granddaughter). It was a perfect day here on the Northshore of Boston – sunny, warm, dry, with a slight breeze.

    Afterwards the bro-in-law and his wife stayed around for drinks and dinner. It was a wonderful day. We didn’t talk or think much about the holiday – is that a bad thing?

    Today, back to work for a short week.

  12. Tuvea Says:

    We went from the sublime to the … well not ridiculous but … to the mundane perhaps.

    In the morning we went to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and visited the final resting places of some older relatives and family friends who were thankfully able to survive the wars of WWII or Korea or Vietnam.

    In the late afternoon we went to a Bar-B-Que where we enjoyed the bounty of the land helped kept free by those above.

    May God continue to Bless America and all who defend her!

  13. Dave Says:

    It has become a sort of tradition now that a newly elected US President killing a foreign adversary as a rite of power consolation. George W killed Saddam, Obama killed Bin Laden, and will Trump use the missile testing as an excuse to get rid of Kim as a sacrifice to solidify his power?

  14. Sarah Rolph Says:

    I also live in New England and am really enjoying this glorious weather!

    I went to the parade in Chelmsford, which has become my tradition. It’s very patriotic, most people wear red, white, and blue, and the parade features everything from the Cub Scouts to various flavors of military veterans–and people applaud loudly for the veterans, and stand in respect. Kids on decorated bikes, home-made floats, and lots of wonderful old tractors. The parade starts off with a whole bunch of fire trucks, all using their sirens and horns — an awful racket, I close my ears, but I guess the kids like it! The parade organizers were handing out little flags and I waved mine with wild abandon.

    There’s also an art show, and I was very impressed by the work. The art show is in the lovely old renovated building that was once the town hall and is now a community center. (And there is a road race earlier and other community events — most of the towns have something!)

    Then at home we just grilled some brats, very low-key. No fireworks. I never thought of watching them on TV — that’s a pretty good idea!

  15. Ymar Sakar Says:

    This is like how churches and members of human orgs talk about the messiah not being born on 25th of December. Nor was it 0 AD or 4 BC.

  16. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Can you imagine, the entire last 2000 years was begun based on a faulty calendar system. Before Christ. AD, Anno DOmini, in the year of our lord (or king or president or whatever humans used to count years popularly).

    Yet, the number was wrong. The Mayan calendar end is also off by about 2 years as a result. Not 2012. 2010. Look up the earthquakes.

  17. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Neo, Huxley, lesson is probably to put everything into vacuum storage, to save space and retain state save. Also why people bury gold, silver, and ammo underground. Caves of Qumran are our earliest record of the scriptures and other stuff they took out of the bible. Because the Essenes were a warrior monk paranoid survivalist community that didn’t bother having any gold or valuables, so nobody raided them.

  18. y81 Says:

    Hmm, now that we are empty nesters, we seem to go to more parties, if anything. It probably depends on your stage of life and whether you have lots of friends living nearby. Also, as I recall, neo is divorced, and lots of married people only invite other couples to their parties.

    That said, I went away with my wife to a resort for the long weekend, so we didn’t go to any parties.

  19. Big Maq Says:

    @huxley – not sure you’ll see this, but anyway…

    Your story on the camel hair coat seems much like those who would wrap their sofa in clear plastic covers, or overlay their carpet with clear plastic runners. I remember them aplenty in my youth.

    These were meant to preserve them, but it reduced the enjoyment of those items.

    Like Neo says, better to make use of it now, as will you ever get to enjoy those purchases later?

    Sometimes there is a false economy in some of the things we do.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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