Good Morning America, I Love You



didyouthinkitwouldbeeasyThis is a weird fourth of July.  Perhaps we should have stayed at Chattanooga one more day, instead of traveling all day yesterday to get here today.  But we were away last week, and I just wanted to be home.

It didn’t give me time to prepare a fourth of July post, so I guess we’ll have to do with this.

My family will probably watch 1776 and The Patriot.  We’re aware both are flawed as to history, but both capture a feel we like on the fourth.

And then we’ll get Chinese take out.  This is a tradition that started 21 years ago (Marsh was in a playpen) when we moved to Manitou Springs and found that our front balcony faced the fireworks.  Because the house didn’t have a stove or refrigerator that worked, we didn’t have food in the house, and we got Chinese takeout, then sat down to watch the fire works.

For some reason, this because a tradition with the boys.  If we’re not having a 4th party (we used to, but lost the habit while living downtown CS) we have Chinese takeout.  Yeah, in a weird way it is oddly American.  I mean, now it’s fairly available in Europe, too, but it used to be — believe it or not — Chinese take out was an American thing.

Tomorrow I’d do a Liberty Con AAR, but for now, I’ll leave you with a link to a post by Nicki Kenyon taking out the (euro) trash.  It can’t be emphasized enough how little anyone “not of us” gets us.  I can’t even explain us to my family.

I wrote this (over at PJmedia) to try to explain to people here why I neither think we are a “nation of blood” nor a nation that requires no assimilation.  And why I think open borders are wrong, too.

Also, of course, we’re like nothing they’ve seen before or after.  If they don’t get that we’re different from their nations, they don’t understand us.  And they regard all we are and all we achieve as a sort of magic or perhaps an evil trick they don’t know how to replicate.  This fascinates about us.  I can’t find P. J. O’Rourke’s quote, so I’ll paraphrase: We’re a ravishing twenty year old woman.  They’re a pimply thirteen year old boy.  They love us and hate us.  They think about us all the time, and can’t understand that we barely notice them at all and then mostly with benevolent amusement.  Sucks to be them.

But we?  We’re the most fortunate of people in the most fortunate era the world has seen.

They ain’t seen nothing like us yet!

Spiritually we were slaves called out from among other nations.  We bled and died for a hopeless cause of Liberty.  We starved and despaired at Valley Forge and we’ve come through to the glorious day of freedom.

Many battles lie still ahead of us.  And we might very well lose that life, that fortune and the sacred honor we pledged to this endeavor.

Every generation must fight for and win Liberty anew.  It is our duty and our privilege.

But today we honor our fallen, give thanks to those who paid the ultimate price through the centuries, and celebrate our incredible inheritance.

Go and enjoy being an American.  And it’s okay to cry when they play the Star Spangled Banner.  I do.




145 thoughts on “Good Morning America, I Love You

  1. Happy Birthday, my fellow American! And to all of you others out there, either papered Americans, or Americans in heart and soul, Happy Birthday!

  2. My family will probably watch 1776 and The Patriot. … And then we’ll get Chinese take out.

    Well, ditto on 1776, but this year if we do a second movie it will be, for a change, Barry Levinson’s Avalon.

    The film opens:

    Sam Krichinsky: I came to America in 1914 – by way of Philadelphia. That’s where I got off the boat. And then I came to Baltimore. It was the most beautiful place you ever seen in your life. There were lights everywhere! What lights they had! It was a celebration of lights! I thought they were for me, Sam, who was in America. Sam was in America! I didn’t know what holiday it was, but there were lights. And I walked under them. The sky exploded, people cheered, there were fireworks! What a welcome …

    While many do a cook-out, there is something quite American about Chinese take-out

    1. Watching 1776 right now… and once again I need to express my gratitude to the people here for introducing me to bit.

      Might watch Independence Day or American Carol later. 🙂

  3. Happy Birthday Americans! Much better to think on liberty rather than appeasement. Blow up some good fireworks!

  4. People cry when I /sing/ the SSB. Sometimes they puncture their eardrums with chopsticks.

      1. Real men sing the SSB in the shower. Cause it’s OK to cry in the shower. Acoustics are better, too.

        1. So few set the BFO correctly when listening to SSB with the result that it almost always sounds a bit off by several cycles high or low. What? Not that SSB?

          1. Just remember, the SSB is set to the tune of a drinking song. It always sounds better when you’ve had a couple and start belting it out with gusto!

          2. Don’t forget the rest of the SSB. We usually only sing the first verse, but the others are just as impressive. If I remember correctly, Isaac Asimov often sang the entire song just to remind people.

            Verse 1
            O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
            What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
            Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
            O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
            And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
            Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
            O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
            O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

            Verse 2
            On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
            Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
            What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
            As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
            Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
            In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
            ‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O long may it wave
            O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

            Verse 3
            And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
            That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
            A home and a country, should leave us no more?
            Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
            No refuge could save the hireling and slave
            From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
            And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
            O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

            Verse 4
            Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
            Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
            Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
            Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
            Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
            And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
            And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
            O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

            Man, I tear up just reading it.

            1. I was big on the third verse after 9/11.
              And, it is a shame that we don’t sing more of it on a regular basis.

          1. Of course Whether that is the port or starboard light depends on which tack she’s on . . .

    1. Go off key. Start at the very bottom of your vocal register. It’s the only way to keep the high notes working.

        1. Fellow soprano here. I hear you. Though my grandmother (musician) said the tune was rather challenging for the untrained due to the crane it covers.

        2. Sorry, but I won’t be clamoring to hear you sing, then. Sopranos make my ears hurt. I was never so disappointed as when I found out that my high school crush was a soprano. She had a decent voice, but the range it was in… *shudder*.

      1. I drop an octave at “oh say does …”, my range doesn’t encompass that of the tune.

      1. If you can’t sing the SSB “properly” then you’re not honoring the music’s origin in taverns. Either back off the operatics or get a brew or two in ya!

          1. Have to wear lace collars and powdered white wigs. And knee stockings, which would probably blend right in with the baseball theme.

            Note: The National Anthem does NOT end with the words, “PLAY BALL!”

            1. Or “…start your engines.”

              Some years ago I was sitting a local bar and had the jarring experience of hearing the tune mid-day or early afternoon. As I am not a sports fan[1] this was strange to me. My thought was, “It’s not the end of the broadcast day.” Yeah, I was used to hearing it at signoff, back when TV stations did sign off at night.

              [1] There is at least mild approval of anyone playing the Bears. Met too many too rapid Bears fans.

              1. Mission BBQ stops what they’re doing every day at noon, and asks their patrons to stand, then plays the National Anthem. Every day.
                If there’s one in your area, check them out. It’s very good BBQ, too.

          2. I think some of the best renditions I’ve heard were by choral groups

            with enough sense to distribute the range requirements.

    2. If I can get around to restringing my violin, we can get together, and I can accompany you while you sing. Of course, doing so would probably violate multiple Geneva Convention articles…

  5. The reading for today, because someone ought to.

    Blockquote>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. 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    1. Just watched the live stream from the Archives with the kids (NOT about to venture into town with five in tow today…). Keynote speaker was meh, and the actors reading the declaration were just ok, but…wow. Shivers up the spine from the power of the words, (unfortunately, not the delivery).

    2. Thank you. So much of that is – without edit or substitution – accurate today.
      And, yes, it always gets me.

    3. Aaaaaand you’ve just driven the SJWs and anti-religionists into a frenzy.
      self-evident truths
      unalienable rights
      the Supreme Judge of the world

      I’m proud of those old guys. Pure genius!

    4. Yes indeed. A few years ago I read the whole thing, out loud, for the occasion. (Credit to Larry Arnn of Hillsdale College for the suggestion.) I had a hard time getting all the way to the end, got choked up.
      It’s definitely good to read the WHOLE thing, and absorb its entire contents. The list of grievances is quite a list.
      For extra credit, find and read Jefferson’s draft. The changes are fascinating. Jefferson included a serious attack on slavery, which was deleted by the editing committee. He should get more credit for that.
      If I ever learn to read the whole thing without choking, I’m thinking of doing a re-enactment for the town celebration — come running up to the green in tricorn hat etc. and announce “I have here amazing news from Philadelphia!” That would be fun.

      1. Though even the Declaration is not perfect,

        “For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province”

        may sound nice, but the idea that Catholics are allowed to serve in the government (in a region with a hundred Catholics to one Protestant) is not quite the grievance they thought it.

        Ah, well, Charles Carroll signed it anyway. And before he died, Catholics could vote in every state and hold office in several (more than half, IIRC).

    5. As I re-read that, I had two thoughts:

      First, Sarah has more than once pointed out that Revolutions typically start when the monarch (or reigning power in general) is trying to reform things, and make things better. Usually such Revolutions trample on liberty and install despots.

      The American Revolution, however, seems to be different (and while many Libertarians would claim the Constitution instituted tyranny, and they may be in part correct, I have become convinced that it was also an attempt to preserve Liberty, and I’m convinced that our libertarian ethos might not have survived without the Constitution, for all its flaws)…in any case, I can’t help but wonder: to what degree was the American Revolution different because it started when British rule was getting worse, rather than better?

      Second, the phrase “Enemies in War, in Peace Friends” has always struck a chord in me — and this time, I realized something important: the funny thing is, we’ve fought the British twice, and are now friends; we’ve fought ourselves once, and when we were finished, the soldiers on the other side departed with their weapons; when we win a war against a nation, more often than not, we stick around to try to get the losing nation back on its feet — and if we don’t leave (such as in Germany and Japan) it’s usually because we’re providing protection to the “conquered” — and a certain number of the “conquered” also don’t want us to leave because they like us too much! As much as certain people like to accuse us of being a war-mongering nation (and sometimes, I have to concede that such people might, to some degree, even be right), we are also a nation that has taken this particular phrase to heart, possibly more so than any other nation I can think of.

      1. IMO the American Revolution was “different” because the Colonies pretty much were ruling themselves and the Colonial Governments (minus the Royal Governors) joined in the Rebellion.

        Basically England was making a major change in its Colonial Policies.

        Before, in general there was little over-sight by England over how the Colonialists ran their own affairs.

        The Colonialists considered themselves English but the laws they followed were mainly ones passed by the Colonial Legislatures not Parliament.

        So when the English Parliament decided to tell the Colonies “what to do” without input from the Colonial Legislatures, there was a definite “What The Heck” from many Americans.

        1. Yup. That the colonies had been largely self governing also was part of the cause of the revolution. After the French and Indian war (part of the massive Seven Years War) the British crown was in critical need of an infusion of money. The population of the colonies had grown to a size and wealth that it was believed that they could be taxed to help underwrite their cost to the crown. The upshot included the Intolerable Acts, which the colonies protested. George III and his government thought that it would behoove them to bring the colonies under better control. And so things progressed…with the British asserting greater authority and the colonists becoming less amenable.

  6. TCM has a great Independence Day selection at Noon (check your local area for time and channel) EDT:

    Devil’s Disciple, The (1959)

    LEONARD MALTIN REVIEW: (3&1/2 out of four stars.
    D: Guy Hamilton. Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Janette Scott, Eva LeGallienne, Harry Andrews, Basil Sydney, George Rose, Neil McCallum, David Horne, Mervyn Johns.

    Sparkling adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s satire, set during American Revolution, with standout performances by star trio (notably Olivier as General Burgoyne, who serves as Shaw’s mouthpiece). Shows how, in Shaw’s view, the bumbling British managed to lose their colonies. Screenplay by John Dighton and Roland Kibbee.

    Major Swindon: I can only do my best sir, and rely on the devotion of our countrymen.
    General John Burgoyne: May I ask, Major, are you writing a melodrama?
    Major Swindon: No, sir.
    General John Burgoyne: [sarcastically] What a pity! WHAT a pity!

    Major Swindon: What will history say, sir?
    General John Burgoyne: History, sir, will tell lies, as usual!

    1. A clip from an other production, of unknown provenance but same play:

      In which town ne-er do well Dick Dudgeon stands trial under the British misapprehension he is town preacher Anthony Anderson.

      Other great movies for this day:

      Moscow On The Hudson
      American Graffiti

      1. Ah – tracked it down. That’s from the 1987 production featuring Patrick Stewart as the Rev. Anderson, with Ian Richardson as General Burgoyne.

          1. The Patrick Stewart version is good, following the original play by G.B. Shaw more closely than the 1959 Lancaster production. The Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Lawrence Olivier is, while at points cute, is simply delicious.

  7. Today i will honor my direct ancestor who swore his life, fortune, and sacred honor…

    And a bit later, managed to pawn off on the government some useless swampland.

    1. HE sold DC to the government??? (It came from swamp and is returning to swamp.)

      I have a few ancestors that qualify me for the DAR. It is fascinating to learn more about their times and what we can about their lives.

      1. somewhere between a half and a third of the land used to belong to him- or rather the family- yes.

      2. My wife’s a DAR, and a Mayflower descendent.
        I know my father’s side of the family are all recent immigrants; no American slave owners there.
        Mother’s side may qualify for DAR, have to check the genealogy.

  8. MomRed announced last night that we are having grilled bratwurst, per tradition, instead of the paella that had been planned. DadRed braved the hordes this AM to get brats and bunage [herbage, bunage, whatever]. I’m probably going to work on the Calexit story, in which a ticked off Green hacker and a hydrologist with a grudge decide to show the new government of the former state of California just what a river can do.

      1. I know what a river will do.
        It goes with the flow.

        Doesn’t matter how good the Army Corp of Engineers is, when a river decides to go somewhere, a river runs through it.

  9. Sarah, if I might make a recommendation for a great 4th of July film, give The Crossing a shot. It was a made-for-TV A&E film about Valley Forge and the battle of Trenton with Jeff Daniels doing a great portrayal of George Washington (I know, it sounds like a weird match, but he pulled it off). Not entirely historically accurate, but still a great patriotic film.

    It was great meeting you at LibertyCon! And thank you for signing my copy of “A Few Good Men.” I’m going to pick up the audio version and read it that way (As I said to you, I don’t really have much time to sit and read these days, but I can burn through audio books while getting other things done), so the signed copy is going on my writing desk. I love what you wrote: “Your Life, your fortune, your sacred honor, did you think it was a game?” Gives me chills, especially on the 4th!

    Both my mother and I are glad to be able to put a face and voice to the site and your books. Looking forward to future correspondence with you online and looking forward to seeing you at the next LibertyCon. Hoping at some point we’ll both be working with/for Baen!

    Take care, and enjoy the 4th with your family! Even if Dan hates Farscape, he still seems like a good man.

      1. We love you, too, Sarah! ^_^

        Oh, and before I forget, the three of us (My wife was there, too, but she’s shy) really loved the readings you and Dan did. Looking forward to the Julie Shackleford story. And even if you can’t do a southern accent when you read aloud, I could hear it loud and clear in the writing. And you got the description of the Auburn campus down pretty well. It’s a beautiful place to visit.

        1. even if you can’t do a southern accent when you read aloud, I could hear it loud and clear in the writing.

          Too often people think an accent is a matter of inflection when it has more to do with word choice, phrasing, allusion and imagery.

          OTOH, listening to an audiobook performance in which Temperance Brennan’s soft Charlotte drawl was rendered as a deep Alabama draaaaaawl out of To Kill A Mockingbird was all kinds of wrong, bless its heart.

        2. Why she even puts up with more-than-half-a-bubble-off-plumb Mythical creatures and such. Dunno where those silly accusations of intolerance come from. Alright, maybe I do know know where, but not how they might be properly justified.

    1. I had suggested we dine Chinese for lunch today, but evidently the folks running the (good) Chinese restaurant in town are also taking the day off. The (good) Mexican place was also closed. Heck, even a “bar & grill” type place was. Well, we’ll deal with this. Sure it ain’t NYC. On the other hoof, it ain’t NYC. Overall, a win.

      1. We got home yesterday from LibertyCon and racked out – didn’t get grocery shopping. Today, I have dinner for 6 people. Not a problem; what some folks call “prepping” is what most housewives call a “deep pantry”.

        I’m indulging, and making Greek psomi bread for dipping with Italian herbs, olive oil, basalmic vinegar, and fresh basil.

        Entree will be chili, with rice, a side dish of cheesy grits casserole, and green beans with bacon and slivered almonds.

        Dessert is either whipped cream with brandy and berries, or scones and russian caravan tea. Depends on if I feel like baking again.

        Because America. We take the best people, the best ideas, and the best food from every culture, and then we mix it up and make it even better.

        And then we’ll watch fireworks.

        1. America… where the Greek myth moves his “Japanese” (made in California, so maybe it is foreign?) car, then adds Irish whiskey to the Brazilian coffee on the American Holiday…

          1. It’s somewhat amusing how so much of the world complains about American “cultural imperialism”, while simultaneously ignoring that much of Americans engage in every day is a big jumbled mix of international influences.

            1. Some call it “appropriation”. I call it ‘Merica!

              And that “appropriation” is of three kinds:
              – That which is simply good and we say “Sure, I’ll have some of that!” (The smallest of the categories.)
              – That which is good, but Americans say “Well, maybe if you add a little hot sauce… and some shrimp….”
              – And the “You’re not going to eat that? Well, I’ll try it.”

              Some things are simply good and we bring them in wholesale. Some are good but we – intentionally or not – make them something a bit more American (like Chinese food or ‘Tex-Mex’) (and usually re-export them to the world). Some things are the dregs of some other civilization, or their outcasts, or the ones who don’t fit in, and we make them an essential part of who we are. This is America.

    2. Well, “Chinese.” It’s a cuisine that’s been diverging for more than a century and a half, influenced by many factors such as availability of ingredients and selling to the round-eyes.

      1. The affect of the availability of ingredients, even in vastly more subtle cases, was borne home to me when a friend was explaining that when she moved to the US from Russia, none of her bread recipes worked because they were meant for different flour.

        1. Even moving from below the Mason-Dixon line to above, you have to be extremely careful about what flour you try to use for your biscuits. Because it’s not the same!

  10. Sort of down today, partially for physical reasons (nothing major, some of it variable chronic pain decades old), partially because most of my countrymen not only don’t know the ideals we fought for, but no longer care. It’s somewhat mollified by the realization that my ancestors who fought might not have cited the ideals chapter and verse, either; one likely was defending house and home from the hostiles while another might have seen a golden opportunity for an Irishman to have a go at the British. Why the others took up arms isn’t known. But they did. They fought and bled and were victorious, and today this descendant observed their memory by grilling burgers and hot dogs.

    We used to observe it by working. Occasionally my father grilled burgers on a home-made rig built out of welded galvanized pipe, an tire rim, and an old grill top, but that was rare. My father used to say working was how he celebrated his independence. There was always something to do on the farm. The sweet corn would be coming in about now, and that meant processing them under the huge black oak while the small pigs (you can’t keep them penned unless you have special hog wire with narrow strands at the bottom) rooted through the shucks. We blanched them there, too, on a homemade butane cooker that was like an industrial strength Bunsen burner, and cooled them in a clean galvanized trash can bought and kept strictly for that purpose.That kept the heat out of the kitchen.

    I have been paged. The cat has made his third trip in here to get me to come to the living room, and I guess I shall go.

  11. Slept in today as I know it will be a late night; coffee infusion is barely started. So I’ll clip from the blog…

    Now, there are some who choose to be here – and choose to not be Americans. To not subscribe to the idea of “American.” I firmly believe that these are a minority, no matter how loud they are, or how much face time they are given by a lopsided media. (To be clear, this minority includes both people that landed yesterday at LAX or JFK – and those who can, like myself, trace their “American lineage” back to that first Fourth of July or even earlier. Idea, get it? Not blood. Not place.) They have chosen to not be Americans – but, unlike other nations, we have not made the choice to eject them by force, “reeducate” them, or simply bury them (although many of us do encourage them to voluntarily relocate to a place more suitable to their mind-sets). Why? Because that is part of the American idea. Stay here, by all means, if that is your choice. While here, you do have to follow our laws – if any of these laws is in conflict with your culture, whether that culture is a product of Iraq or of Hollywood, that you cannot suppress or surrender, then you should leave. Immediately. Because we Americans will not tolerate your following those particular cultural notions for very much longer. For those differences that are not legally prohibited? We won’t throw you out – but we will point and laugh. And do our very best to ensure that your ideas do not ever supplant the idea of “America.”

  12. It was so cool meeting you and Mr. Hoyt at Libertycon! I hope I didn’t make a pest of myself, I was just really excited, if you couldn’t tell… *bashful expression* I’m going to carry my USAian badge in my wallet from now on, and I know I’ll be smiling every time I open it. 🙂

    PS: I don’t normally suffer too badly from allergies (to things other than sulfa drugs and aspirin, or mothballs, at least), but watching that Battle Hymn of The Republic video seems to have triggered a latent dust allergy…or at least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! *sniffles*

    Happy Independence Day, my fellow rebellious, infuriatingly (and inexplicably, from the Old World’s perspective) successful misfits and “rejects”! God bless you, and God Bless America! (dangit, there go those allergies again. I’m going to run out of tissues if this doesn’t stop…)

    1. Hopefully you are not allergic to minotaur/ox fur/hair, but since Chattanooga is not a place I am for very long or very often, I quite understand the precaution of stocking up on pseedoephredrine before the trip. It’s annoying enough acquiring the stuff in one’s home town, I do not care to attempt it out of state. I wonder, would the far more easily acquired methamphetamine work as a decongestant? I have no experience with that substance and would prefer to keep it that way, but the barriers have grown… though perhaps it might be better to look into cultivation of Ephedra sinica – and carefully NOT oxidize any extracts.

      1. If you get desperate, I ran across an article on how to synthesize pseudoephedrine from commonly available methylamphetamine. Admittedly, I read the article, but didn’t bother keeping a copy because the chemistry involved was WAY beyond my poor education on the subject. I’m sure your favorite search engine can find the article for you.

        1. It is things like this which remind me I grew up in a different America. I first discovered Sudafed when it must have been a relatively new drug, about fifty years ago. The good Lord my Creator having apparently decided my nose should be of ornamental use only I was seriously prone to sinus headaches and my pediatrician gave the little red pills as a means of addressing this deficiency. Used to be, I could buy a bottle holding 100 as casually as buying Tylenol. Now? It’s simpler to breath through my mouth.

          1. I once got beached by a cold on a once in a lifetime dive trip. So I had a bottle of 500 in my dive bag for 30 years. Threw out ~470.

            The synthesis of 1-3-5 trimethoxyybenzaldehyde from mescaline is left as an exercise for the reader.

          2. Now? you have to wait for the background check to go thru. In some states it probably takes less time for a NICS check.

  13. And I also wish a Happy Independence Day to all and sundry!

    Odd thing – It seems I’m greeted with a “Happy 4th of July” more often and not. And when I reply with, ” Happy Independence Day! “, about half the time I get a slightly puzzled look and a polite smile. Is it that they don’t understand the significance of the 4th, or is it that the very idea of Independence is now outre and passe and superannuated cranks like me must be grudgingly tolerated until we shuffle off the stage? Or is it something else that I don’t yet see?

    1. Oooh, someone who can use ‘superannuated’ and doesn’t refer to the mortal “coil” – which only make this superannuated creature ponder the mortal condenser…

      Pa had a joke “Do they have the 4th of July in England?” to which the answer is that, yes, of course they do. The significance of date is not quite the same, of course.

      1. Saw a meme today with a scowling Queen Elizabeth II saying “Happy Treason Day, peasants!”

        1. Some years back during the first visit of the English Crown to America in history, she did say that they should celebrate the Fourth in England as well.
          She is reputed to have a very nasty sense of humor and if so, she has earned every snark of it.

  14. At National Review, they’re reprinting a column by Charlie Cooke, another immigrant, with a similar theme:

    Worth reading in full, but here was the part I thought really resonated with what Sarah wrote and the sentiments expressed here:

    “Being asked to explain why I love America is sometimes like being asked to explain why I love my fiancée. There are all the tangible things that you can rattle off so as not to look clueless and sentimental and irrational. But then there is the fact that you just do, and you ultimately can say little more than that…. I have spoken to other immigrants about this, and I have noticed that there is generally a satisfactory explanation — religious freedom, the chance at self-expression, the country’s size — and then there is the wistful stuff that moistens the eyes.”

  15. Just for fun, I threw up a free historical short story to celebrate Independence Day. Just on, not on Amazon (maybe next year in a collection or something), so sorry I can’t link it via elsewhere.

    Most modern American’s have never heard of Hyder Ali and don’t realize his fight against the British East India Company routinely made news in the colonies before and during the revolutionary war. Somewhere in the generations after Jefferson, American history forgot about him, but you can still stump some of your friends by asking them “Who was the George Washington of India?”

    Similar places and people as described in the story existed in 1776, although I took certain liberties with adding a fort where none existed and rewriting a bit of Hyder Ali’s life so he could meet the Virginian’s. I subtitled it as “somewhat historical”, so don’t nitpick details TOO closely. 🙂

    Also, the cover took me 5 minutes, so again, it’s just a fun free read with a different take on how the Declaration affected people around the world.

    Are you tired of the disclaimers yet?

    Anyway, here’s my pathetic blurb done with virtually no thought whatsoever:
    “Hunting Revolutionaries” – Halfway around the world, rushed into battle against the East India Company’s enemies, will the Virginian marines catch the Indian revolutionaries, or will it be the other way around?

    See, now I’ve done a proper job of selling a free story. Alma Boykin would be proud of me…

        1. Thanks for reminding me of my profile picture.

          It’s enough for anyone who knows me IRL to recognize me instantly, but not enough for anyone else to online unless they find a similar pic elsewhere. Hmmm… may have to load it into google images search for fun and see what comes up…

  16. Because some people apparently have no sense of self promotion:

    Being A Usaian
    I’ve been absent from here and most places online for the last two weeks because my job took me first to Dallas and then to Chattanooga, Tenn., this last for what we consider our “home convention” for science fiction and fantasy.

    Yes, we are aware it’s a three-hour flight from where we live to our “home con.” But it was the place they treated us right, the place where my fans from the East could come and see me most easily. We are contemplating a secondary home con in the West, trying to choose between LTUE in Utah and Cosine in Colorado Springs. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but that’s not the point of this post.

    The point of this post is that a friend had red/white/blue badge ribbons printed, with the word Usaian imprinted in gold and he gave them to my husband to distribute. [Editor’s note: for those of you not already familiar with Sarah’s Darkship books, this Christmas story will give you an introduction to the Usaians.]

    My husband, being himself, would ask people “Are you a Usaian?” Even though I know I have a lot of fans there, I was surprised at the number of resounding “Yes” and the people who sported that ribbon on their badge.

    So, what does being a Usaian have to do with my fans?


    Go ahead – read the whole dang thing. You know you want to.

  17. As to movies, I watched We Were Soldiers. (I recommend, btw.) I might watch The Patriot tomorrow. I have some more on my list that I consider “patriotic” that I will need to watch in the near future.

  18. I am in Eugene Oregon. I did not have the chance to tear up during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” as they did not play it (again). At the end of the fireworks, the family next to us did stand and sing it though. (Meant I was standing with one shoe on and one shoe off for a few minutes).

  19. Ain’t America Great?

    I woke up yesterday, listening to the birds singing, the sun shining through the window.
    No sound of explosions.
    No gunfire.
    No worries of anonymous government agents, or criminal gangs breaking down the doors and doing un-Godly things to me and my family.
    No gut-gnawing hunger from not having eaten more than a handful of grain for two days.
    No suffering from debilitating diseases that could be easily cured with a round of antibiotics.
    No need to bury a relative killed by violence of any kind.
    No need to worry too much about my financial future because I didn’t have a job, or access to retirement investments, or that I’m only employed by a boss who hits on me and there isn’t anything I can do about it.
    No need to fear the loss of my home because I didn’t own it or couldn’t afford the mortgage.
    Where the only major decision was whether to make pasta salad, or a fruit salad for the picnic later in the day.

    No worries at all.

    Ain’t America Great?

    * Quality of life results may vary. In general, good things come to people willing to work hard for them, and willing to defer gratification until later. Just because you may be born on the wrong side of the sheets, in a slum, a ghetto, a lawless gangland, or loveless broken family doesn’t mean you have to stay there. There are too many good and great men and women who have succeeded from just such ignoble origins; but it seems that only in America are their odds the best for doing so.

    1. “No sound of explosions”? “No gunfire”? Whatsamatter with your town? There are supposed to be ’splosions and fireworks and cannons going off on July 4th. 😉

  20. If your performance and mine were considered as reprisals each for the other we might get away with it. We should ask a Colonel — but Kurtz, it Kratman?

  21. Oh good grief!

    Not that there was any doubt, but Judge Posner IS a moron:

    Posner’s ‘Common Sense’
    It’s quite an achievement to make federal district judge Jed Rakoff seem reasonable by comparison, but that’s exactly what Seventh Circuit judge Richard Posner manages to do in this Slate dialogue on whether federal judges should be subject to age limits.


    I strongly disagree with the following: “that there is something to be said for each side of most issues; that careful distinctions therefore matter; that a decision that cannot be supported by reason is essentially lawless; that in the long run the fairness of procedures is as important as the substantive results; that being a good judge is not a popularity contest; and that protecting the rule of law requires eternal vigilance. . . .” I think most of what I’ve just quoted is flatly wrong. It’s not true that there’s something to be said for each side of most issues; that a decision must be supported by “reason,” whatever that means exactly, to avoid lawlessness; personally, I prefer common sense to “reason.”


    Posner argues that Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which held that racial segregation of public facilities did not violate the Constitution, “was ‘right’ for its time” because “[i]t is unlikely that the Southern states would have obeyed [a contrary] ruling, and beyond unlikely that the federal government would have attempted to use force to enforce the ruling.”

    Ditto for Korematsu v. United States (1944), which upheld an executive order by FDR that forced Japanese-Americans into internment camps. Yeah, the executive order proved “to have been mistaken” about the risk of Japanese-American support for a Japanese invasion of the West Coast, and indeed “seems never to have had a convincing basis.” “But I imagine,” writes Posner, that the motive behind the order was not fear of a Japanese invasion but a desire to demonstrate to the American people that the government would stop at nothing to defeat the enemy.” So if you’re “demonstrating . . . an absolute commitment to war and victory,” then common sense says you get a pass on forcing your fellow citizens into internment camps.

    Posner also invokes common sense in defense of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s notorious opinion in Buck v. Bell (1927), upholding a Virginia law authorizing the involuntary sterilization of supposedly “feeble-minded” individuals.


    1. the only time this guy should be allowed near a courtroom is in the defendant’s seat.

    2. I’ll actually agree with the “not something to be said for each side in many situations” bit. The idea that each side in an argument might have something in their favor is a progressive trope designed to force the Overton Window to the left through continuous compromise.

      Contrasting “reason” to “common sense”? Ummmmmm….. (Though, what the left calls “reason” is seldom recognizable as such, which makes his statement sound similar to something a lot of us might say.)

      He’s wrong on Plessy – right and wrong don’t necessarily hinge on enforceability (especially strength of will to enforce), though the wisdom of writing a particular law might. However, he’s wrong in a different way about Korematsu – the idea of moving foreign nationals who were citizens of an enemy country into controllable areas away from vulnerable coastlines is NOT an inherently bad thing, then OR now. What made the order troublesome was the ultimate inclusion of American citizens.

  22. I have been kept awake in part by the oddest (to me at least) part of the tale of the Usains and their myths. I suspect this is a contrast between my own silly stories that combine my love of country and of Tolkien’s Lost Tales with the discussion of Usains as new Jews.

    Do they every argue or brag of which of the Thirteen Tribes of the USA they were born of…

    Do descendants of the old men of the North: Mass, Conn, and Rode; hold themselves superior to those the three converts on the journey to the new world: Ham, Yorric, and Jersey. Are the sons of the two younger men of the middle, Penn and Del inclined to marry only among the four named matriarchies of Mary, Georgia, and the two Carolines (remembered from which part of the Old world, the North or the South, from which they came). Are those who followed the forgotten founder known only as the Virgin always adopted or does the name refer to some other purity.

    Such are the fruits of insomnia this evening.

  23. A tidbit from visiting the nation’s capitol yesterday….

    Did you know that on the Mall, just behind and to one side of the WW2 memorial a bit, is a small memorial to the signers of the Declaration of Independence? There is! It’s actually a small island in a large pond.

    There’s a problem, though. It has been neglected. The other monuments get landscaped and such. Not so much with this little island. Grass has grown up between the paving stones. The gilt in the signers’ signatures is corroding. The landscaping is full of weeds and the flowers and trees look awful. The fountains (on either end of the island, looking like wings, I think) in the pond appear to have been turned off – I’m not sure if permanently or temporarily. (A lot of the pond fountains and drinking water fountains along the Mall appear to have been turned off.) The pond was *full* of algae. In general, it looked awful.

    Here is the only monument (dedicated on the Bicentennial) outside the Archives dedicated to the document that recorded the Start Of It All, documenting the fundamental principles of this nation. It has a block noting the purpose and who dedicated it, and a block with the famous declaration of binding their lives, fortunes and sacred honor, and a block for each signer, with their signature, their name, their state, and their occupation. And it appears to lie in disrepair. (If I had a place to hang pictures, I would link them here.)

    What can or should be done?

    1. Oops. It’s their hometown, not their state, that’s on the blocks. My brain remembered “where they were from” and turned it into “state”.

      1. All the other monuments (except the big pointy one, which is closed until 2019 because of the earthquake damage) seem to be in pretty good repair. Except for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution Garden Pond.
        I’ve emailed the National Park Service about it.

        1. Wanna start some sort of petition? I’ll publicize it.
          Or we could organize a gang of rogue gardeners and beautifier, ala flash mob, and dare them to arrest us.

          1. That’s actually what I was thinking. We’ll see if I get anything from the official folks, and then figure out how to make a “flash landscape mob” happen. 🙂

            (That is as opposed to a “flash portrait mob” which is fewer people, and they’re all bunched tighter together.)

          2. Sarah, I suspect the likely response would be a flash mob of “antifa”… and they’d be allowed weapons.

  24. Re: P. J. O’Rourke quote

    Is this it?

    The Third World attitude toward the United States is also easy to understand if you think of it in terms of adolescence. The citizens of the Third World are in a teenage muddle about us–full of envy, imitation, anger and blind puppy love. I have been held at gunpoint by a Shi’ite youth in West Beirut who told me in one breath that America was “pig Satan devil” and that he planned to go to dental school in Dearborn as soon as he got his green card. In Ulundi, in Zululand, I talked to a young man who, as usual, blamed apartheid on the United States. However, he had just visited the U.S. with a church group and also told me, “Everything is so wonderful there. The race relations are so good. And everyone is rich.” Just what part of America had he visited, I asked. “The South Side of Chicago,” he said.

    from Give War a Chance (1992)

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