DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" ""> Good Morning: Wednesday, July Fourth |
Good Morning: Wednesday, July Fourth

Happy Fourth, everyone. Before you start firing gas-soaked bottle rockets into haystacks, a cautionary note. On this day in 1862, downtown Winona sort of got, well, flamey, and burned down, thanks to “raucous” revelers. But one store survived. Why? Well, if you want to sum up 19th century America in one sentence, this will do:

Hannibal Choate (kept) members of the fire department near his store by supplying them with whiskey, and his business was the only one saved.

Hannibal Choate: what a grand name. A young fellow grows into a name like that, you suspect.

Eight years later, during an enthusiastic patriotic stemwinder speech, Dr. Thomas Foster called Duluth – which seems to be’s city of the month – the “Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas!” Final Jeopardy question: who was the author who would use this nickname in a novel that castigated the blinkered Minnesota middle-class? (A writer we later embraced, of course, as One of Us.)

Weather news on this date in 1859, the temps slipped below freezing. In 1876, the ice finally vanished in Lake Superior. In 1936, the nightmare heatwave began in Minnesota, with temps surging into the triple digits. When it ended a few weeks later, almost 800 people had died from the heat. April may be the cruelest month for poets, but July is when the hammer hits the anvil.

We’ll be back in a while with photos of a local Fourth celebration. In the meantime – assuming you’re spending any time today in front of a computer – one simple question. See many flags flying today?

Posted in   James_Lileks's blog | add new comment

Taking a guess

I am going to guess F. Scot Fitzgerald..and I am not even going to google it to see if I spelled his name right...oh I am living on the edge! Happy Fourth and may we continue to dedicate ourselves to the Propositon that all men are created equal...

Anybody you know?

Sinclair Lewis, who else?

Would the writer be

Sinclair Lewis?

Zenith City

Well, Alex Trebeck - Who is "Sinclair Lewis"? His satirical novel "Babbitt" is set in the city of Zenith ("the Zip City"), in the mythical state of Winnemac (whose geography is Minnesotan)


Tons of them here in Kansas City. But, of course, this is, ya know... Kansas City. Land of yokels & rednecks. The number of flags may almost equal the number of pickups with gun racks. Even if you're not from here originally, you'll morph into a redneck yokel just by living here. A flag waving redneck yokel, of course.

Big Flags

On my way to work yesterday, I saw an SUV from NY with two full-sized flags mounted on either side of the back bumper. At 70 MPH they were whipping around impressively. I'll see many flags today--my tuba playing husband is in a parade this morning and he has a concert this afternoon.

"My Tuba-Playing Husband"

"My Tuba-Playing Husband" could quite possibly be the next reality television show on Fox...


Not many flags flying here in North Minneapolis. I was going to take the kids to Como this morning before it became too hot, but the husband stole the car to go golfing already.

Probably won't be out to check

In my tiny little bedroom community, the flags will be flying on Main Street, and probably in front of more than a house or two. Mine is certainly up, waving proudly, and sniffily dismissive of charges of jingoism, racism, nationalism, etc.

Small Towns

Flags line the streets in our small town and we are attending a parade in a Navy town just down the road from our little hamlet so lots of flags for us.


There are many flags flying today in my town...Nashville, TN.

This is the perfect holiday for ultranationalists

Take your flags, carefully fold them, and tuck them safely away until we're a REAL country again, and not a mockery of justice and peace.

A true patriot can enjoy all that's good about this country, while recognizing and standing against its trail of death, deception and self-delusion.

Think about it.

Flags in the Rain

Welcome to Deer Park, Texas! There are lots of flags out here, but they're all getting soaked today. It's been a rainy week, but it should clear out in time for the fireworks show on 13th St.


Thanks, Anonymous. In my whole life, I have NEVER encountered the idea that displaying the flag was a gesture appropriate only for the deluded. I guess I'll rove the neighborhood, looking for those who do not display the flag today, knock on their doors, and fall to my knees, begging them to enlighten me with their superior concepts of Real Patriotism.

And then they'll say, "¿Por qué estás arrodiada, señorita? Levántate, que no te ensucies los pantalones."

And from this day forward, I will celebrate July 4th as the day I became Enlightened, and I'll join the ranks of those who mock the masses from my lofty perch.



I drove past a whole block of them today, festooning the very wide traffic island of the presumptuously-named Key Route in Albany, CA.

Big deal, you say? That location is mere blocks from Berkeley.

I'm in a suburban

I'm in a suburban neighborhood in Littleton, CO, about 5 minutes from Columbine High and the new statue of David Deitz. I can see 5 flags (including mine) from my front door. Thanks to all service members past and present for my freedom.


Take your flags, carefully fold them, and tuck them safely away until we're a REAL country again, and not a mockery of justice and peace.

While peace is an admirable goal, we haven't exactly spent the last 231 years sitting around waving olive branches and singing "Kumbayah" with our international brethren. Were we not a REAL country during the Revolutionary War? World Wars I and II? How about Vietnam? When did that whole "mockery" thing start?

Sorry if that seems kind of touchy, but I lost a second cousin this week. He and all three of his brothers fought in Vietnam--one died of cancer in the 80s because of some of the chemicals he dealt with during the war. None of them regretted their service. I owed it to Ernie, and every other veteran from every war this country has fought (yes, even the current one), to fly that flag proudly today.

Tons of flags in downtown Fort Worth

Tons of flags in downtown Fort Worth, but there always are. For the holidays like today, though, we actually have a small group of residents who drive through the downtown streets in the wee hours of the morning, installing flags into small sockets in the sidewalk. 'Tis a beautiful sight.

There'll be fireworks here at 9:00 PM Central time, shot off from the minor league baseball field just across the Trinity River from downtown. We usually walk from my place to the courthouse, whose north lawn provides a great view of the action while looking across the Trinity and the Paddock Viaduct over the river.

I'll go right ahead and do

I'll go right ahead and do that... just as soon as you -

Take your [Che Gueverra T-shirt], carefully fold [it], and tuck [it] safely away until [you get a clue which countries have "freedom", and [which countries make] a mockery of justice and peace.
A true [hypocrite] can [take advantage of] all that's good about this country, while [pissing on it].
Think about it.

I knew the rhetoric sounded familiar

Congratulations, James, you've got either Zinn or a devoted disciple reading your blog. You can now die happy and fulfilled.

Because studies show that the more citizens fly their nation's flag, the more likely they are to commit genocide. It was the sight of all those fluttering swastika flags that motivated the Nazis, not powerlust, not Utopian aspirations, not racism, not arrogance, not sadism, and especially not pure unadulterated evil.

Me, I find that today of all days, as I wear a tee shirt with a sequin flag upon it and fly TWO small flags from my front porch, that I must fight this uncharacteristic urge to load up on grenades and automatic weapons and kill a lot of brown people, letting God sort them out later and all.

Wow, glad that flag comment upset you.

Nothing funnier than getting a bunch of mouth-breathers so upset about their beloved flags.

Not quite as funny are the folks who are so proud of America and its "values," yet they become livid at someone exercising her right to free speech.

Gotta love that good old patriotic hypocrisy!

Question for anonymous (coward)

In what golden-days past do you think the US was more a 'REAL' country than today? Seriously - give us a period in history to which you'd like to see us return.
Enjoy your utopia.
I'll enjoy the real world.

pooryoric, you don't exactly have your contact info posted

Hmmm, resorting to name-calling is generally for children. Nice job.

You ought to think twice before branding a complete stranger a coward, when you--as with most of us--remain hidden behind your online persona. That's life on the Web. Don't like it? Don't come here.

Though I'm not the original poster, my answer to your "real-world" question is pre-1600s.

Now launch into a God-loving, liberal-hating wouldn't be unexpected.

Informal poll:

Who do you think hates July 4th more, dogs or liberals?

"We are the Hokies. We will Prevail... We are Virginia Tech!" -Nikki Giovanni, April 17, 2007.

Informal Poll response

our 14+ year-old dog we had to put down at Thanksgiving absolutely hated fireworks and thunder. We were tempted to get some Canine chewable Valium for the first week of July.

Thankfully the 2 dogs we have now don't seem to mind.

What a Glorious Time to be Free!

Here's a little gallery presented to make a few of you gag (you know who you are) and to make most of you swell with pride (y'all know who you are).

Sorry I'm posting this a little late. I spent the 4th in deep East Texas. Life (and bandwidth) moves a little slower down there.

Recent comments

Ad Links

Who's online

There are currently 14 users and 195 guests online.