Don’t let anyone ever say TVFury doesn’t appreciate — no, love — America. Of course I hate that the 4th is on a Wednesday and I have to work Thursday and Friday, but that’s not really America’s fault, is it?
No big plans in New York City, although I hear Terry is planning a backyard barbecue where he’ll grill up some famous Vandrovec burgers while shooting off legal and illegal fireworks into the South Dakota sky, all while he dictates a 600-word story into a recorder about incoming cross country recruits for South Dakota State, which he’ll finally type up and send to the office while watching the Boston Pops performance on TV. Here, we’ll relax, go to a barbecue and maybe watch some fireworks from a friend’s balcony, where you can see three or four different fireworks shows while having three or four hundred mosquitos attack.
In honor of the Fourth, here’s a…I don’t know, grab bag, potpourri, random things grouped together, of Americana.
* To start things off, please rise, remove your caps, stop stuffing your face with popcorn for two minutes and 30 seconds and honor our country as Roseanne Barr sings the national anthem.
The old gal gave it her best shot. Things really went downhill on “rockets red glare,” when she begins to sound like an 8-year-old girl screaming, seconds after her beleaguered parents told her to “Please, honey, don’t scream.” Her singing wasn’t that terrible. I mean it was terrible. But she knew the words and belted the lyrics. If she had been a little kid singing poorly we’d feel pity or talk about how cute she was out there on the field. But Roseanne seemed to enjoy it, she reveled in her disaster like an American Idol contestant looking for two minutes of fame or a kiss from J. Lo. And the crotch grab at the end didn’t go over well.
* Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for Miss Barr’s performance. We had no idea that a comedian known for being controversial, one who, as best we know, possesses no musical background, would struggle singing the national anthem in front of 20,000 people. To make it up, please rise again, remove your caps — again — and honor our country as Enrico Palazzo sings our national anthem.
* The annual, increasingly revolting Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place in Coney Island again today. Back in Janesville I’m something of a legend when it comes to hot dog consumption. I wish that was a lie. People still remember the time I consumed like a dozen dogs at a softball tournament in Waseca, and still managed to perform admirably at third base. In high school, I disgusted a teacher’s wife by inhaling hot dog after hot dog at a booster club event prior to the baseball season. I obviously couldn’t compete at Coney Island, but if I did I’d like to think I’d walk in with a posse and a slightly below-average nickname — Ferocious, Dog Destroyer, Widow Maker, Minnesota Skinny — and would then disappear from your screen as I eat 5 while the winner chows down 75.
* The Revolutionary War gets lost in the shuffle a bit. Strange, since it led to the birth of a nation. But there aren’t any images from it, no pictures, movies or radio broadcasts. When we think of wars we think of the Civil and World War II and Vietnam, mostly. The Revolutionary War is behind those, somewhere ahead of World War I and the Korean War when it comes to general awareness and interest. And this goes for me, too. I’ve read countless books on the other major conflicts but only a handful on the one that started everything. David McCullough’s 1776 is one of the most famous and is, like all of his work, quite good. The book most people probably remember about the war? Johnny Tremain. Or did only seventh-grade students in Janesville read that in English class?
* Best golf holes in the United States. Which 18 do you have? Well, Dan Jenkins, the legendary sports writer, answered that question — in 1965. Check out his feature in Sports Illustrated when he profiled the best holes in the country. Part 1 is here, part 2 here. In 2007, Jenkins, now at Golf Digest, revisited the feature but updated it for modern times, as golf courses have undergone tremendous change since his original story. Check it out here.
* How about some Independence Day stories from The Onion, our greatest national treasure:
1. Graphic on how we’re celebrating this year.
2. Wikipedia celebrates 750 Years of American Independence.
3. The AV Club highlighted a New York comedian who went around the city reciting Bill Pullman’s heroic speech from Independence Day. This amuses me much more than it should.
* The Olympics are coming up and it’s time to again take a passionate interest in the performances of American ping-pong players and archers. I’ll question the tactics of long-distance runners and scoff at the idiocy of water polo coaches. I shouldn’t say this on the Fourth, but I occasionally find myself rooting against American athletes during the Games. I know, I know. Often times it’s gymnasts, perhaps because that sport is especially susceptible to outrageous, over-the-top homerism from NBC and the announcers, who can make a vault on a bum knee sound like the most courageous act since the storming of the beaches on D-Day. It makes you want to cheer for the Romanian, just so Al Trautwig will shut up for 15 seconds. The pending Michael Phelps-Ryan Lochte showdowns fascinate me, even though televised swimming remains one of the more boring sports to watch. Bunch of arms and legs and splashes and turns, each race looking exactly like the one before it. For the record, I’m Team Phelps.
Happy Fourth everyone. Enjoy working on the fifth.