A happy Independence Day. I hope you're all enjoying your freedom today.
I love my country and I still think it's the best country that has ever existed. I land squarely in the middle of the sanity meter in which one end wants to press system restore a thousand times so we're all living in 1950, and the other end wants us to erase every last vestige of capitalism so I'm sharing a pot of food and a cot in a field with the people who dig through the wrestling video pit at Walmart.
God bless you all, and may you always be able to say whatever the hell you want, you very insane people.
Anyway, it's been five years since I physically posted on the 4th of July. I've either skipped posting or a filed remotely from some sun-splashed happy land. But I decided this year I owe it to the readers to pay tribute to the Fourth in the form of cardboard.
In honor of the 13 original colonies that had their Declaration of Independence ratified by the Continental Congress 240 years ago today, I've selected 13 cards that salute something that is uniquely American.
This is stuff we created, for better or worse, on cardboard:
1. The American Revolution
Our very own revolution. At the very least, this made history class bearable.
American football. You know, the interesting kind. It was a heck of a lot of fun for a few decades there before the head injuries started.
Sprung from the minds that created 1930s American comic books, superheroes have practically taken over the U.S. entertainment industry. We need that feeling of invincibility, I guess. Takes our mind off of concussed football players killing themselves.
4. Rock n' Roll
My favorite American invention. When women rock it's even better.
5. Hot dogs
Created in Coney Island, which is why every 4th of July ESPN must gross everyone out with pictures of people stuffing their faces in a hot dog eating contest live from Coney Island. The hot dog is the only food that can repulse me and in the next breath I'm praising it because it comes from Ted's Hot Dogs in Buffalo.
6. The U.S. Army, Navy and Marines
I apologize for not featuring the Air Force here, too (no card). Geez, my dad was in the Air Force. Sorry, dad.
7. Bugs Bunny
An American icon that debuted in 1940. I probably watched more Bugs Bunny shows during my childhood than any other program. And I watched a lot of programs.
8. The Grand Canyon
I don't know how Allen & Ginter made one of the most spectacular natural sites in the world look so pedestrian. I doubt I'll ever go to the Grand Canyon because I do not like heights. But that doesn't mean I can't respect it from afar.
The first astronauts were introduced by NASA in 1959. The Apollo 11 crew, the ones who first landed on the moon, used the gantry to train and conduct tests.
The animal herders known now for centuries can trace their beginnings back to Spain and Mexico. But I don't know if there's anyone more American than a "cowboy" in the minds of people who aren't from the U.S. Yippee ki-yay.
11. The Sitcom
Also thought to have originated elsewhere -- on the radio in England -- the U.S. took it and ran with it in the 1950s. I wouldn't be half as semi-witty as I am if every other show in the 1970s and '80s wasn't a sitcom.
12. The Corvette
For my money (and, no, I can't afford one), the best-looking car, no matter what model, that has ever been made. The Chevrolet Corvette was first introduced in 1953 in New York.
Of course! I amend my rock n' roll statement. This is the greatest American invention.
I hope that made you feel at least a little patriotic.
Enjoy your freedom. Freedom from work, freedom from the diet. And freedom, too, from all that angry, weird stuff we read about online. Everyone, today, please have a beer and shut up. It's your right as an American.