Yesterday was July 4th and in the US it is a time of fireworks and eating barbequed meat (we had ribs and wings. The wife said they were too sweet, but she has never been a fan of sweet. It is kind of a knock against her). There are fireworks and the required listening to weird patriotic songs and the general overbearingness associated with the concept of American Exceptionalism. U S A! U S A!
Anyway… since it is the day after America went into a sticky sweet meat coma and alarmed all small animals everywhere with festive incendiaries, I asked my non-US friends (and foreign nationals living in the US) to send me some questions concerning July 5th. The day after.
Thanks this week go to TheMikeStand (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada), Justin Render (Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa), Chris Corrigan (Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada), and Lars Hinrichs (currently lives in Austin, Texas, USA now but grew up in Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany).
Here come the questions!
1. The Oatmeal reminds everyone in the USA every year to be careful about scaring their pets. How did your dogs do with the fireworks?
We went out to see the local fireworks and left my Mother-in-Law with the pups for the explosive festivities. So, by her report, the pups did really well. They were curious as to what the booms were, but were not afraid of them.
2. What is your personal record for number of hotdogs eaten in one day?
I am not much of a hotdog guy. When I was a kid I think I had like six or something like that.
3. Boating, Monster Trucking, or blowing things up. Which is the BEST?
Blowing up monster trucks. It's a twofer.
4. We can't give $17.76 in change anymore because we phased out the penny. Should the US do that as well?
Very possibly, but I’m not sure we ever will. We still use imperial units of measure, for goodness sakes, there is very little that could make us stop quoting prices of $19.99.
5. What, if any piece of clothing / decoration is the biggest abomination of the American Flag? (Excuse the grammar).
That jacket that Axl Rose used to wear… ugh
6. Does the 5th of July actually have any significance in the calendar, or is it just a day that's used to recover from the 4th?
It is just a day that follows the 4th. Nothing special there.
7. Now that all the fireworks are over, what do you do?
I just came to work, like a true patriot. I am feeding this economy! Now if I could just purchase a house at an insanely inflated cost and go more in debt so the banks can survive one more year.
8. After the US declared independence, do you think the Leave leaders had a plan?
Ooh, a misdirect. Number 1: Cameron started down this path to get the far right people to shut up and stop grousing about being part of the EU. He never expected the vote to go the way of Leave. A single up/down straight majority vote for something that significant should never have been proposed. That was idiocy. He should have made the referendum about whether or not the UK should do a longitudinal economic impact study for X millions of Pounds to investigate if the UK should leave. That would have taken the temperature of the populace and outlined both the positive and the negatives associated with leaving. It would have provided hard numbers to use as decision making tool. Of course, that would only work if the Uk were not “tired of experts.” Number 2: the people who orchestrated the Leave campaign did not have a plan in place or we woud be seeing one of them attempting to step into the power vacuum that Cameron left.
9. If yes, what the hell happened? Was THIS the plan?
There was no plan, because their campaign was one not of conviction but of mere opposition.
10. Why do Americans fawn over the Royal Family so much?
I. Do. Not. Know. Or. Think. I . Ever. Will.
11. What do you think are the biggest issues the USA has that the rest of the world just can’t understand?
Just how deep seated the whole racism thing is here. Slavery leaves very long and deep scars.
12. What was the most interesting July 5th in American history (other than Arthur Ashe becoming the first black man to win Wimbledon)?
That is kind of the biggest societal deal other than that, the voting age being lowered to 18 the year before.
13. Were fireworks safe in 1776 or was there a lot of cleanup you had to do on July 5th?
Fireworks were not safe… turns out they have never been safe, but in 1776 they were so unsafe that they had to be set off by 3/5th of a person (if you know what I mean.)
14. In Germany, a frequently used hangover cure is pickled herring. How were pickled herring sales in the USA on 07/05/1776?
Thyme and soot sales were up, but pickled herring sales were even.
15. How long did it take until people in Virginia knew that they were independent?
There are pockets of 1700’s redcoats to this day in Virginia… they propose laws concerning bathrooms.
16. Did Americans cry about being independent? Did they ask for a do-over of the referendum? Did the leaders of the independence movement resign right away on 07/05/1776?
There were a good portion of people in the Americas who cried pretty significantly about it. They didn’t really even ask for the first referendum, and the leaders of the colonial “Leave” party actually stuck around.
17. How were pets and cattle affected by independence?
They no longer had to pay the “ass, grass, or gas” tax.
18. What day of the week was July 5th, 1776?
19. How many Americans mentioned the topic of slavery on July 5th, 1776?
20. How did mapmakers feel about independence? Was July 5th a bad day for them because they had to re-label or re-draw stuff?
Only the map-makers who were in the middle of making a world map, or map of North America thought it was a bad day. All the other cartographers were ecstatic because they had job security for a bit longer.
… and one to grow on
21. Did Bruce Springsteen write his excellent song “Independence Day” on the day that we are talking about?
Nope. It was when he paid off his student loans.
This past weekend there were sparklers
Here’s a slo-mo vid of Q with some sparklers
Brexit is messed up
Super messed up
The hypocrisy of the Leave party claiming that their victory was an independence day is alarming
The independence day sequel looks terrible
More terrible than the first one
It is late
Have a great week everyone.