Eric on The Road

Journeys into the offbeat, off the beaten path, overlooked and forgotten - by Eric Model

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The World as America Dreamed It (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

The Great American Hall of Wonders, including Ernest Griset’s “Far West,” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington through Jan. 8

Monday, July 04, 2011

Will And Kate Sample Canada's Native Fare (NPR)

From NPR News:

This week, Britain's Prince William and the former Kate Middleton are making their first official state visit as a couple. Canada is the nation with the honors, and on Sunday, the couple heads to a quieter corner of the country, Prince Edward Island. At a resort there, they'll sample some traditional islander fare. Guest host Susan Stamberg speaks with Joerg Soltermann, head chef at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, about what's on the menu.

Tony Blair celebrates American independence (CBS News)

From CBS Sunday Morning:

But the circumstances of independence are part of what makes America the great and proud nation it is today. And what gives nobility to the American character.

July Fourth: A Time when "Red" and "Blue" almost manage to come together for the Red, White & Blue

There are those (i.e.politicians, some in the media) who try to paint the U.S. as a place that is unified (or should be) in its outlook and perspective. Fact is rarely are we uniform or unified. However, for one day a year one starts to feel taht perhaps we might be more unified than we might otherwise think - that day: July Fourth.

Independence Day is a day of diverse celebrations throughout the land. But it is truly a day where be you in a "red" state or a "blue" state, you might actually feel some connection to those on the other side of the now large political divide. It really is a day of red, white and blue.


Though the Fourth of July is almost iconic to Americans, some claim the date itself is somewhat arbitrary. New Englanders had been fighting Britain since April 1775. The first motion in the Continental Congress for independence was made on June 8. After hard debate, the Congress voted unanimously (12-0), but secretly, for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain on July 2 (see Lee Resolution). The Congress reworked the text of the Declaration until a little after eleven o'clock, July 4th, when thirteen colonies voted for adoption and released an unsigned copy to the printers. (New York abstained from both votes.) Philadelphia celebrated the Declaration with public readings and bonfires on July 8. Not until August 2 would a fair printing be signed by the members of the Congress, but even that was kept secret to protect the members from British reprisal.

John Adams, credited by Thomas Jefferson as the unofficial, tireless whip of the independence-minded, wrote his wife Abigail on July 3:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Adams was off by two days, however. Certainly, the vote on July 2 was the decisive act. But July 4 is the date on the Declaration itself. Jefferson's stirring prose, as edited by the Congress, was first adopted by the vote of the 4th. It was also the first day Philadelphians heard the official news of independence from the Continental Congress, as opposed to rumors in the street about secret votes.


"The Big Ones":
* Washington, DC: Parade down Constitution Avenue, "A Capitol Fourth" concert with the National Symphony, large fireworks display over the Mall and a Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall.
* Boston: Turnaround of the U.S.S. Constitution, Chowderfest, and free concert along the Charles River by the Boston Pops highlighted by 1812 Overture, Stars & Stripes and fireworks.
* Mount Rushmore: Fireworks display at this patriotic setting.
* New York & Chiacgo: Large fireworks show sponsored by Macys.
* New York: Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island.

Some Unique happenings:
* The "Oldest Continuous Homecoming", Pekin, IN
* "The Oldest July Fourth Parade", Bristol, RI
* "Human Flag", Huntsville, AL
* Boom Box Parade (No live marching bands, Willamantic, CT
* "American Redneck Day", Centreville,MD
* World's Greatest Lizard Race; Lovington, NM
* Ducktonia 500; Sheboygan Falls, WI where they race
plastic ducks in the lagoon at Riverside Park. There is also a "Kiss
the Pig" contest.
* The Twelve Mile Lawnmower Races, Twelve Mile, IN

* And in Oatman, Arizona, they fry eggs on the sidewalk at
the annual Sidewalk Egg Frying Contest. Held at "high noon" on Old
Route 66 participants can only rely on solar heat to fry eggs on the sidewalk
during the course of 15 minutes of "cooking". There are also a variety
of "Old West" activities.

For more see:

For those who do not want to take the time to read or who want to hear the reading in someone else's voice:
* THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCEMorning Edition, July 4, 1997 - The Independence of the nation is Declared by the voices of N-P-R.