Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thoughts on the Fourth of July

Happy 4th of July! I hope everyone has a safe and cool day and evening. So far, on the Central Coast of California, it is a quiet day, relatively cool at 7:30 in the morning, but we all know the heat is coming.

Fireworks are not allowed in the small town where I live on the coast, and for us, that's a good thing. Our Corgi is, like so many dogs, deathly afraid of the noise, and no amount of "tranquilizers" help him. Usually, we just take off in the car and drive up the coast until the noise from surrounding towns has died down, but we're hoping we don't have to do that this year. Because of our unusual heat wave that has been so prolonged, most of the 4th's celebrations have been cancelled due to the supreme fire hazard.

Nevertheless, many townfolks are upset and resentful that fireworks are not going to be allowed. It got me to wondering, what have fireworks to do with celebrating our day of Independence?

First, did you know that the original and correct day of Independence was actually July 2nd? July 2nd, 1776, was the day Congress voted for the Independence of the United States of America. However, when the document was sent to the printer on July 4th, he printed that date as the date of Independence, and consequently, July 4th has been celebrated ever since. ( The Document of Independence was not signed, sealed, and delivered until November, 1776.)

The following year, 1777, Congress authorized the use of fireworks to celebrate the 4th. However, for most of the remaining 18th Century, and even into the early years of the 19th Century, artillery salutes ran all day long. They fired off the explosives left over from past wars and skirmishes, until finally all the ammunition was gone, and the cannons began to age and fall apart, and fail to fire.

The Fourth of July was not declared a Federal holiday until 1941.

I wonder if the kids of today, or even the last 60 or 70 years, really know and understand what July 4th really stands for? Do they know about the war of Independence, about the sacrifices made by the people of the United States in those years in order for America to be free from dominance by another country? Do they even care, in today's world? Or is the 4th of July just another day to kick off a hot summer, with family fun, picnics, barbeques, hot dogs and ice cream? Oh yes, and sparklers, cherry bombs, fire crackers, and all the other fireworks that light up the sky with their beautiful arrays.

Today, our freedom and independence is taken for granted. We marvel at the stories of other countries, like Egypt in recent days, who fight for their independence and ability to have freedom of thought and action from their previous dictators. We oh and ah and sigh sadly at the words we read and the pictures we see of their wars, their dead and wounded, the sacrifices made by the families left behind, but does it really mean anything to US? We have become such a nation of greed, of complacency, of wanting what we want when we want it and we want it now, that I truly wonder if we actually respect those nations who are fighting for their freedoms and their independence, or if we merely watch our TV sets until we get bored with images of terror and turn to some insipid comedy that doesn't take any intelligence or thought to understand.

Maybe we should turn back the clock a little, and really give serious thought to what it took to give us this day, this 4th of July, where we could sit back and simply enjoy the freedom and the Independence we have. What do you think?

Until next time,
That's a wrap.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Frustration, Resignation, and Other Thoughts

I admit, I have been extremely frustrated over all this website building...stuff. Too many so-called "free" sites to supposedly help you build a website of your own offer little or nothing for "free," so you end up having to pay for a "premium" service. I didn't want to do this, especially since I am one of those terribly technologically challenged individuals, for whom "easy-to-follow-directions" are just so much Greek. So I've spend the last few weeks agonizing over WordPress, which I have been assured by many people is very easy to implement. I suppose it is, if you have a degree in Techological Engineering from Harvard. Or maybe I'm just really, really dumb in this area.

Finally, I just sighed and resigned myself to continuing, at least for a while, with Blogger. I went, once again, to the Pages part, and tried to add some pages to my menu. Voila! It actually worked this time. The other three or four times I tried, it refused to cooperate. Probably something on my end, rather than Blogger's, however. Of course, this is my first post on my "new" blog, Painted Words and Other Oddities, so I'm still not sure this is going to work the way I want it to. So now, I'm going to stop and see what happens.