Sunday, July 4, 2010

The First Sunday in July

Happy Independence Day! The phrase "Fourth of July" conjures up images of barbecues and sparklers and Martha Stewart handcrafting her own red, white, and blue picnic table out of her own wood that she grew and cut herself. But "Independence Day" conveys so much more pomp and excitement that I think I'll use it. How often do we get to work pomp into our daily routine? Johns Adams said, "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." Johns Adams worked pomp into his routine, and I think I will, too. The guns I can make do without, and bells can be kind of annoying, but I'm all about the pomp, parades, bonfires, and illuminations.

Note to the reader: Non-history-nerds should skip this paragraph and just go onto the next. John Adams was not confused or mistaken; the second day of July is mentioned because that was the day the congress approved a break from the Crown. The actual Declaration of Independence was approved on the fourth, so that is the day we celebrate. (That crazy Jackie, she always sneaking off and looking something up…")

So, no more Happy Fourth of July for me. I am bringing Happy Independence Day into my holiday lexicon. People don't say to each other, "Merry December Twenty-Fifth!" or "Happy Last Thursday in November!" You don't hear reports that, "Local police will have DUI checkpoints at all major intersections on January First's Eve." Car dealers don't have Last Monday in May sales, and nobody says, "Have a good September Sixth Weekend." Not one single person in the country says, "Hey, have a nice Eight Days Beginning on December Second." I know celebrating Cinco de Mayo has gained popularity thanks to the fine people at Corona, but that's an entirely different case and completely understandable. Cinco de Mayo sound sounds more festive and fun than the Fifth of May. But I draw the line at dressing up for the Thirty-First of October or commemorating a civil rights leader on Third Monday in January Day. I just won't do it. So, join me, if you wish, in celebrating a spirit of independence, pomp, and celebration. Or, just have a nice First Sunday in July.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bang, Bung, or Binged?

We all know how to Google. We know that in the past we Googled, in the present we are Googling, and the future we will Google. Pretty simple. What's not so simple is Binging. If I searched using Bing yesterday did I Bung? That sounds dirty. Did I Bang? That sounds violent. Did I Binged? I guess that's okay as long as it is spoken out loud and not spelled out because spelled out it is the past tense of binge, which I did not do yesterday. If I sing today, I sang yesterday, and I have sung in the past, then I couldn't have singed yesterday because then I would have burnt something. So, did we Bang, Bung, or Binged? Or did we just stick with Google?

Monday, May 24, 2010

An Overdue Apology

I'm blogging! I feel like Bill Murray in What About Bob. Remember he was tied to the mast of a sailboat and shouting, "I'm sailing!"? Well, I am blogging! But, before I begin sharing random bits of my world with the rest of the world, or more likely, with two or three members of my family, I would like to get something of my chest and offer an apology to the following groups of people: My favorite writers, the shareholders at Barnes and Noble, and the clerks at my local library.

I apologize to my favorite writers because, while I love nothing more than to head to Barnes and Noble once a week to see which of you will be the lucky recipient of my sixteen-dollar contribution to the arts, I, like the rest of the world, have fallen on hard times. I have not been inside a book store since December of last year, and that was with a gift certificate in hand. The temptation is simply too great. But, writers, take heart, I will be back, and you will all be $16.00 richer. Or, in your case, Pat Conroy, king of hardcovers, you will be $24.99 richer. (I don't begrudge you this price. I know you put blood, sweat, and tears into every book, and it's worth every penny. And, by the way, Ann Marie McDonald, I think you might actually be under-charging just a bit.) In any case, rest assured that I am doing my part to promote your work by getting your books from the library and reading them in public places. I hold your books with the titles prominently displayed while I either laugh out loud (this means you, David Sedaris) or make a big show of looking very intelligent (this means you, John Irving). This way, people with money will see how satisfied I look and they will rush to the bookstore to get that kind of satisfaction for themselves. No, I'm not a hero; I'm just doing my part to help.

And now, to the shareholders at Barnes and Noble, I offer an apology for the part I played in the small dent you saw in profits last quarter. My B&N membership card is gathering dust inside the hollow depths of my wallet while my library card is getting more action than it has ever seen. I promise you, I will be back.

Finally, to the clerks at my local library, I am sorry to make you go grab books for me all the time, but the online service that allows me to click "reserve" and have books, especially brand new books, waiting for me at the front desk is too convenient to ignore. Besides, you often look sleepy and I think a brisk walk to the fiction section might do you some good.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I can begin blogging with a clear heart and a clear mind. Tune in for the next installment of My World at Random when I compare the past tense of Bing with the past tense of sing.