Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July, dear American readers. I hope you get a chance to eat something grilled, drink something brewed, and watch something sparkly. I plan to do this as well.

Last year I wondered aloud about fireworks-show hermeneutics. I wondered if the choreography and timing of a fireworks show is akin to the choreography of dance. This year, I found some links to fireworks effects terminology and a fireworks glossary. So now we have the foundational terminology in order to accurately describe a hermeneutics of fireworks. Perhaps if the practitioners of fireworks aren’t trying to “say” something, then there’s no need to interpret them. We can interpret the reactions of the audience (reader response) and so forth. But until fireworks has its Picasso, we’ll never know what could possibly be said by fireworks. What if the music used were Bulls on Parade by Rage Against the Machine? Would that be a different experience than watching shells burst to the 1812 Overture? Could we have an ironic fireworks show? What if all the shells exploded at once instead of in a finale (this has happened recently)?

How could we portray America via fireworks artistry? Maybe one municipality’s fireworks contractor could confiscate money from everyone in the crowd and then sell bonds to other municipalities to buy bigger fireworks and then pay only the interest on the loans with the crowd’s money… Would that better represent an American-style fireworks show? Eventually the service on the debt, from year to year, would exceed the “take” from visitors to the fireworks show. At that point, the fireworks contractors could just print some municipal money to buy back the bonds and keep the mess going for a few more years. Then, when the situation becomes absolutely untenable, the contractors could disallow private fireworks ownership and confiscate fireworks from everyone who buys from roadside stands. And then they could put on a show for a few more years with those fireworks. Eventually they’ll have to gather everyone for an ostensibly great fireworks show, and then just send in the contractor’s private army to arrest everyone and ransom them for additional funds. Eventually, people will stay away from fireworks shows, so compulsory attendance will be instituted. Home brewing of fireworks will need to be quashed. Schools will begin teaching children about the evils of private fireworks ownership and the good of municipal fireworks shows. Kids in the poorer parts of town will be imprisoned at a greater rate, and their ransoms will pay for the fireworks shows in the nicer neighborhoods. Ah, but surely this example is far-fetched. Surely no rational human being would pay admission twice in the first place. Or allow the renewal of the fireworks contractor’s contract from year to year. Surely the town’s aldermen would get fed up and audit the fireworks manufacturer. Surely the other municipalities would stop buying the bonds. Surely the imprisoned poor people would nullify jury verdicts. Surely…

Post-Yardwork Julep

Finish something worthwhile in the yard.

Take a shower.

Don boxers and a white t-shirt.

Take an ice tea glass and fill halfway with ice.

Add three fingers of gin.

Fill with cold orange gatorade to within one centimeter of the lip.

Add the juice of a quarter lemon, then jam the lemon down below the ice.

Stir and drink slowly while the ice melts slightly.

Dreher’s Latest

From Dreher’s Christianity’s America Problem

Business as usual is over, church people. There will be no “taking our country back”; you will be lucky if our country’s fast-emerging culture doesn’t take our faith away from our kids. Don’t you doubt it. If you have been the sort of Christian who equated Christianity with the American way of life, you had better rethink that, and fast.

It pains me to think about how quickly this happened. And we are trying to fight back with electoral politics when we won’t even use real wine in communion, or commune every Sunday, or chant the psalms every Sunday, or build Christian schools. I need to cuss about this.

Remix Alert: Flag

I’ve re-recorded the snare and hi-hat part and remixed the song “Flag” from last year’s 52 weeks project. It’s still not up to radio volume yet, so sharing it here won’t hurt the sales of my mega kanye-sized EP that will drop later this year. By “re-mix” I just mean that I completely rebalanced, eq’ed, compressed, cajoled, and prayed through a re-engineering of the song. This not a remix as in slow-it-down-and-add-rapping. I think this should sound better than the one on bandcamp, but the older mix has virtues too, I suppose:

Wasp Sipping Observed / Odd Frog Amidst the Yucca

I was in the backyard all yesterday doing yardwork; it was a pretty interesting day. At one point, a wasp flew into view. He hovered over the surface of the pool, then landed on the surface of the water with his wings raised in a V like Jeremy. Then the wasp quaffed deeply for about 10 seconds. I actually could see him drinking. Then he took off very skillfully, beating the wings but never touching them to the water. I had no clue that wasps could land on water and stand on surface tension.

I also removed a few yucca plants and found this guy:

Frog nap interrupted

A photo posted by barlowjon (@barlowjon) on

I think he must be some kind of tree frog, but I’m not sure. I carefully cut this blade of the yucca out and put it under the shrubbery. He stayed on it almost the whole morning. I had almost gotten so frustrated with the weeds in this yard that I was getting close to using some round-up, but seeing this little guy solidified my commitment to not use anything that could harm amphibians in the yard. I like the frogs, the tiger geckos, the anole lizards, etc. It’s amazing to have so many fascinating critters in the yard.