Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day 2016

Just a Reminder

Here in Iowa, a "zero percent chance" of rain often looks like this...

I'm not used to cool, rainy weather on the 4th of July, but that's what we got.

"Doesn't Mother Nature know there are picnics and fireworks scheduled for today?"

As you should well know, she don't care a whit for such things...


My Independence Day decorations include a wreath for the front door of my apartment...

...and a flag attached to my patio railing with an improvised "mount" that might look homely but which gets the job done.

"That does look pretty sketchy."

It works, and that's all that really matters...


Back in the days when
I used to travel to Philadelphia to play in the World Open chess tournament, I got to see many a spectacular fireworks show in Philly or, some years, down the road in Washington, D.C. (depending on how the dates of the chess tournament shook out).

One of my peak life experiences was seeing the huge 4th of July fireworks display in Washington with my fiancée (and eventual ex-wife) in 1988.

Nothing can quite compare to an awesome fireworks display with our nation's great monuments in the foreground. Truly awe-inspiring...

Thanks, TCM!

Original 1959 "one sheet" poster

Turner Classic Movies is celebrating Independence Day with a patriotic film festival of sorts today, including a pair of 1959 films I had not seen in ages and ages.

John Paul Jones was a favorite of mine when I saw it as a young kid because it had fighting ships in it, which were an interest of mine at that age.

Like most historical biopics this one took considerable liberties with the story of America's first naval hero (ably played by Robert Stack), but it was fun seeing the film again nonetheless.

Original 1959 "one sheet" poster

The Devil's Disciple is an adaptation of
a stage play by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw.

Like Shaw's play, the movie's plot is rather preposterous, but I liked the film because it features three of my all-time favorite actors: Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, and Laurence Olivier.

It will be fun watching the three of them elevate the rather silly material later this afternoon.

That's the Sweet Smell of Liberty, Your Majesty

From the perspicacious pen of Henry Payne, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

It is tough to pick a favorite from the many patriotic songs associated with America in general and Independence Day in particular, so I elected not to pick. Today I'm featuring five of my favorites, one each from the nation's wonderful armed forces bands. I love my country, and I love these songs.

For more information about a particular song, click its title. Clicking the name of the service band playing it will take you to that band's YouTube channel, where you can find even more of their marvelous music.

Today's first send-off is "The Star-Spangled Banner," performed by the United States Navy Band (whose arrangement of the song is designated the official one for all U.S. military bands by the Department of Defense), and paired with suitably patriotic images...

Up next is an instrumental version of "America the Beautiful" (using the concert band arrangement by Carmen Dragon) movingly performed by the excellent United States Coast Guard Band.

The next send-off is the jaunty patriotic classic "Yankee Doodle," splendidly performed by the United States Air Force Band.

Up next is a stirring performance of "God Bless America" by the President's Own United States Marine Band, the oldest of all of the service bands (founded in 1798).

And today's final send-off is our nation's official march, John Philip Sousa's rousing
"The Stars and Stripes Forever," performed by the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus.

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