Saturday, July 04, 2009


Well, kids, really, ever since I was introduced to the album way back in 1975, no Fourth of July celebration in my home (or at least in my head) would be complete without Stan Freberg Presents: The United States of America Volume 1: The Early Years, the absurdist ad man/comic genius's ne plus ultra masterpiece. Combine this with the audio recording of Sarah Vowell's uneven but compelling new book The Wordy Shipmates (with great voice work by everyone from Jill Clayburgh to Bill Hader, and a haunting theme written by maestro du jour film composer Michael Giacchino), and you've got an Independence Day celebration worthy of a hot-dog-eating egghead hermit like me. Just make sure to leave me time for the Fox baseball game of the weekend-- Dodgers vs. Padres, 1:00 p.m. PST-- and that's a recipe for a classic day.

To top things off, we'll be heading out to the Mission Tiki Drive-in for some family fun outdoor movie style. I just wish the feature was a little more immediately exciting than Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, but at least we won't have to wear the 3D glasses for this one!


(Taken from an actual label I once read when I was a kid.)

Just a reminder from Your Friendly Neighborhood Explosives Moralist that in California fireworks are not only illegal but also ridiculously dangerous. I can't imagine having to weigh the thrill of a couple of loud pops in the backyard against burning down 30,000 acres and a few dozen homes as a result, but despite all the pleading and warnings, several thousand jackasses will light 'em off anyway. Let's just pray that their luck (and ours) holds out.

Finally, a treat from the archives: The introductory segment from an all-day ABC broadcast commemorating the American Bicentennial, original air date, July 4, 1976, hosted by Harry Reasoner.

Fallen Arches, Oregon, Harry? I’ve been to Boring, Oregon, but never Fallen Arches. Damned East Coast media bias.


(Photo courtesy of dinerdog.)

Happy Independence Day, everyone! Who’s barbecuing?



Bob Westal said...

Hey Dennis -- not to get all technical on you, but "Safe and Sane" fireworks are still legal in certain portions of our great fact I can buy some and support a local high school sports team just down the block from me. Want some? :)

But, seriously, I discovered that Stan Freberg album, possibly before you even did (as a fairly small child I was crazy for comedy albums). Great, great stuff that only gets funnier as I get older. Freberg rules (even if the sequel album they did some time back really didn't).

Robert Fiore said...

My Fourth of July plans include fried chicken and the Complete Short Films of Buster Keaton. From my apartment window I can see Hollywood Bowl fireworks shows in the distance, and usually a couple of others. I used to have a pretty good view of Dodger Stadium fireworks shows too, until some bastard built an apartment house with an elevator shaft that obscures the view.

p.saga said...

Hey, Dennis, I'm in the middle of reading The Wordy Shipmates, thrilled to have formed an opinion of it so similar to yours. I'll have to try Vowell in audio form sometime.

A very happy holiday to your peeps! I enjoyed hosting an evening of musical comedy highlights from the Joss Whedon oeuvre under the stars, fireworks popping downtown and around the neighborhood. A thousand thanks for rekindling my enthusiasm for outdoor cinema!

Keith said...

Hope you had a great 4th!

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