Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Americana

So much celebrating!

We had a four day weekend -- now I'm looking forward to the coming weekend to recover from it.

Sunday, we gave Simon a tour of Chicago. You know Simon; he comments here sometimes. He'd been for a river tour that morning, and then came up on the El to meet us for Giordano's. You could see from his expression that he'd never had a Chicago style pizza before.

We showed him around the lab, and hiked over to the Metra for a super-swift (compared to the El) ride downtown. Then we all walked down Madison St. to Millenium Park. He seemed as fascinated by the bean and the band shell as everyone else, and we didn't warn him about the faces on the Crown fountain's impolite habit of spitting at people, so the spray took him by surprise. Then we wandered into Taste of Chicago, stayed just long enough to buy drinks and pick our way through the crowd for some country-music star, with a peak at Buckingham fountain and the lake, and made our way back up Michigan Ave. along the Magnificent Mile to the Hancock building, which is much better for going up than the Sears Tower.

Sunday was July 3rd, the day of our local community festival and fireworks. We saw jugglers, stilt walkers, magicians, and tumblers (the Jesse White Tumblers, to be precise, named after their sponsor, the Illinois secretary of state. Their tricks and flips and trampoline launches took them so high into the air that just watching gave us vertigo.) Ken got dogs from a hot dog stand, and I bought a toy that lights up and spins -- which I'm still playing with three days later, and everyone at the lab loved it too. Then the fireworks. What can you say about fireworks, besides "Ooh... Ahh!" They had some kinds we'd never seen before.

July 4th, we went to our neighboring community's parade. Everybody marched in this parade. Here's a sample from the program. (Yes, this parade had a program.)



58 North Suburban Peace Initiative (they were probably one of the chanting groups with "Down with Bush" signs.)

58a Warriors Drum and Bugle Corps

59 FAAM Youth Basketball Program

60 Amnesty International

61 St. Mark's Episcopal Church

62 Illinois Council Against Handguns and Brady Campaign / Million Mom March

63 Circ Estem and the Chicago Youth Circus (they rolled in on giant hamster wheel things, one person on the top, one person in the bottom)

64 Maxwell St. Klezmer band (tied for best music with the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, number 119.)

65 Women's Club of Evanston

66 Copia Records, Inc (apparently a hip hop label, featuring live rap and some awesome dancers.)


All in all, there were a hundred and twenty-something groups, including late entries like Senator Dick Durbin. Local business, political candidates and parties -- yes, both parties, but the Democrats got a lot more cheers. Also some military groups (U.S. Army recruiter, American Legion, and Bernard H. Baum, Brigadier Gen. (Ret.) marching all by himself), football teams, a drag racing club, a penny-farthing bicycle club, the Windy City Miata club, antique fire engines, a clown, a calliope, two bagpipe bands, Indonesian Performing Arts of Chicago (they were good!), and the Lawndale Lawnmowers Precision Drill and Marching Brigade. Yes, with lawnmowers. And a lot more that I can't really describe, but they were fantastic.

What flag waving Republicans need to realize is that the flag stands for all of that. The hip hop label, the peace protestors, the drag racers, and the gay and lesbian group that was sitting in front of us, with both American flags and rainbow flags on their lawnchairs. And this is the way to respect and celebrate it -- with a gigantic party!

They can't claim the flag for themselves. They can't tame the flag. They shouldn't try.

After the parade all that remained was more fireworks. We got the best spot in the house, closer than I've ever been before. Had to look straight up to see them, filling the whole sky. And while they didn't have as many crazy varieties as the ones the night before, they did have quantity!

What else can you say about fireworks? Here's the best description I can give you:























Happy 4th of July!

Don't forget to watch Master of Champions tonight!

1 comment:

Andy said...

I'll second all that about the flag. Whenever I hear that debate over what the flag stands for, I always think of Rick Rubin's American Recordings record label, the logo of which is Old Glory in distress. That's a somewhat controversial symbol, but it's hard to imagine American music without the likes of, say, Johnny Cash.

I'm glad you enjoyed the parade... drop me a line.