An American July 4th

My holiday, which began yesterday, has not started well. The last of the last-minute pre-departure things on my list was to bring in the wooden rocking bench that usually sits on my front porch. I have to bring it in because it could be a danger in the event of a hurricane while we are away. So I remove the cushion on the rocker, and reveal … a whole lot of bugs. It’s termite swarming season in Florida, and I have a sick suspicion I know what these are. So I call the bug people, and … they’re closed for July 4. But I’m not taking that in the house.

But it gets worse.

We were scheduled to leave Miami on American airlines on a flight to Boston with a tight but tolerable connection to a flight to Manchester, UK.

A few minutes after the Miami flight was due to start boarding, the gate staff announced that there was an air traffic hold in Boston and that we’d be so late there was no point boarding. Probably very late. There, I thought, went the connection. But a minute later they countermanded that and said we should board after all — the pilot had accepted an alternate route.

So we boarded, pushed back a little late, the pilot came on and said that the new route would delay us about 20 minutes, we’d be 40 minutes late in all. That meant a sprint in the airport, but it was do-able. And we did it.

We boarded the second flight, taxied out to the runway….and the pilot came on to say there was a problem with the temperature sensor on the engine, and we’d have to go back for repairs. So we limped back to the gate. And waited for the ground crew. Then waited for them to report.

And after an hour or so, they did: we weren’t going anywhere. So we all exited into the terminal. By now it was well after 9pm, so Boston airport was basically closed. There were no open concessions. There were no more flights out of Boston to anywhere. There were only a few gate staff there to rebook and hotel us all. And I’m traveling with two tired (but so far well-behaved) kids.

By about 11pm I had made it to the head of the line. And I’d started only about a third of the way into it. I’d had the sense to book new seats by phone, so I’d gotten three of the last seats on July 5th’s flight to Manchester — 24 hours later. We got our hotel vouchers, $45 in meals which were supposed to feed three people for three meals. And we went to claim our luggage, which had been offloaded from the plane.

Two of our bags were there. One was not. No explanation as to why. No one authorized to go hunting for the missing bag (mine, not the kids). So after a dispiriting search and queuing for surly baggage service — did you know only supervisors are empowered to give you a toothbrush? — we made it to the airport hotel around midnight. Only be told they only had smoking rooms.

The kids’ room wasn’t that bad. Mine smelled like the inside of a cigar. I didn’t sleep much, and I’m still having nasal flashbacks.

The next morning we go back to the airport to hunt for the missing bag. In due course — without setting any land speed records — the day crew admits they might have an idea where in the bowels of the airport it is hiding, and go off to find it. And they do. So now I have to take this bag back to the hotel to join its brethren, and then the kids and I can play tourist in Boston for half a day.

Which we do, and which isn’t bad, but would be a lot more fun if any of us had any energy, or if the kids didn’t feel they were losing a day with their grandparents. The kids are being great, but it can’t be easy for them. I did manage to contact the bug company, and they’re going to survey us for termite infestations. They did say that even if there are termites on the bench, those guys won’t move to the house any time soon, as they’ll have plenty to eat. I guess that’s reassuring, in a way.

And now I’m back at the Boston airport, posting this, ready to try again. The folks at check-in assure me it’s a different plane, so maybe we’ll actually get there this time. If I don’t post for a while, that’s a sign we made it.

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5 Responses to An American July 4th

  1. Mojo says:

    Think of it as an adventure. (I always hated it when my mom said that to me after yet another travel disaster but it’s much more fun from this end.) Seriously, I hope the rest of your trip goes more smoothly.

  2. zenseeker says:

    Happy July 4th to all of you. I just made a flash game where uncle Sam is seen throwing knives at Joe Lieberman called Back Stabbing Lieberman. Check it out at my site here: http://zenwire.com/flashmedia-lieberman.php. There are also other games there: bush rampage, bush-rice-terror, bush shootout, dancing bush and Blair and other political games as well. Feel free to comment for I plan to make more.

    Anyways, back to the meaning of July 4th for my kids.

    I was watching all the fireworks outside with my kids, and my 8 year old daughter asked me to explain what was Independence day all about. I gave her the story about colonial settlers under British rule and how we united with help to fight off the Brits and finally won our independence for the right to self rule. And when I told her that this is when our founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, and she asked me what was that? I did not remember most of the words, but incredibly my wife did and we utter some of those magic words together. I told her that when I was a kid and read those words, I thought that they were the most beautifully written words I had ever read. And I told her that the meaning and values of that document was why I love America so much; this was the country that taught me what it meant to be equal and fair, good and just. But I also told her that half of it is no longer true, and my son, a typical Nintendo kid, interjected: “You mean, like Bush.” I did not even have to reply or convince him, somehow he already knew. In a way I should be glad that even my kids can see what is going on, but somehow I actually felt sad. Sad because they don’t know the full weight and tremendous implications of those words written so long ago. Sad because they don’t realize the power of words and the actions they can generate; and those specific words were so powerful that countless men have willingly died through the eons in their fleeting attempt to manifest and live out those words and its ideals. And sad because I grew up in a world full of idealistic ideas and enthusiasm, teaching us to not only help and improve ourselves, but all of humanity and mankind as well. Reaching the moon and back was just a small sampling of things to come. I am what I am is because of these words and it makes me sad to realize that my kids will not have these words and the absolute belief and trust in those very words (inscribed by our founding fathers) to guide and instill in them a sense of justice and equality. They know the world is not fair and they will never expect it to be fair. I have always hoped the world will be so, but I can no longer say this with a straight face to my kids that the world will be this way when they grow up or if it will ever even get any closer to those ideals; just like the moon is no longer feasible to travel to anymore, there is easy money to be made elsewhere subjugating the people of this planet.

    After reading the Declaration of Independence at this site: http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/declaration.html, it struck me that I was wrong in telling my daughter that half of it was no longer true. I actually thought that most of it is no longer true. For brevity, skipping the preamble and just going through the grievances, I saw many justifiable grievances then that equally apply to now, the year 2006. Just read them for yourselves and see how many of them our government is guilty of or in the process of taking those very same rights away. I will mark the ones I feel they are guilty of.

    Guilty: He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    Guilty: He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    Guilty: He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
    Guilty: He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
    Guilty: He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
    Guilty: He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
    Guilty: He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
    Guilty: He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
    Guilty: He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
    Guilty: He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
    Guilty: He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    Guilty: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    Guilty: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    Guilty: For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    Guilty: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    Guilty: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    Guilty: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
    Guilty: He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
    Guilty: He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
    Guilty: He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
    Guilty: He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

    Ok that is enough for Independence day, and be sure to chech out all the political games at http://zenwire.com
    Take Care,
    Zenseeker

    Tags:
    Lieberman, BackStabber, Flash Game, virtual blood, independence, meaning of independence, idealism, lost innocence

    This is my first entry and happy July 4th to all of you. I just re-made a flash game where I made uncle sam throwing knives at Joe Lieberman called Back Stabbing Lieberman. Check it out at my site here: http://zenwire.com/flashmedia-lieberman.php. There are also other games therel: bush rampage, bush-rice-terror, bush shootout, dancing bush and blair and other political games as well. Feel free to comment for I plan to make more. Anyways back to the meaning of July 4th for my kids.

    I was watching all the fireworks outside with my kids, and my 8 year old daughter asked me to explain what was Independence day all about. I gave her the story about colonial settlers under British rule and how we united with help to fight off the Brits and finally won our independence for the right to self rule. And when I told her that this is when our founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, and she asked me what was that? I did not remember most of the words, but incredibly my wife did and we utter some of those magic words together. I told her that when I was a kid and read those words, I thought that they were the most beautifully written words I had ever read. And I told her that the meaning and values of that document was why I love America so much; this was the country that taught me what it meant to be equal and fair, good and just. But I also told her that half of it is no longer true, and my son, a typical Nintendo kid, interjected: “You mean, like Bush.” I did not even have to reply or convince him, somehow he already knew. In a way I should be glad that even my kids can see what is going on, but somehow I actually felt sad. Sad because they don’t know the full weight and tremendous implications of those words written so long ago. Sad because they don’t realize the power of words and the actions they can generate; and those specific words were so powerful that countless men have willingly died through the eons in their fleeting attempt to manifest and live out those words and its ideals. And sad because I grew up in a world full of idealistic ideas and enthusiasm, teaching us to not only help and improve ourselves, but all of humanity and mankind as well. Reaching the moon and back was just a small sampling to come. I am what I am is because of these words and it makes me sad to realize that my kids will not have these words and the absolute belief and trust in those very words inscribed by our founding fathers to guide and instill in them a sense of justice and equality. They know the world is not fair and they will never expect it to be fair. I have always hoped the world will be so, but I can no longer say this with a straight face to my kids that the world will be this way when they grow up or if it will ever even get any closer to those ideals; just like the moon is no longer feasible to travel to anymore, there is easy money to be made elsewhere subjucating the people of this planet.

    Reading the Declaration of Independence, and you can refresh your memory here: http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/declaration.html

    After reading it, it struct me that I was wrong in telling my daughter that half of it was no longer true. I thought that more of it is not true than true. For brevity, skipping the preamble, just going through the grievances, I saw many justifiable grievance then that equally apply to now, the year 2006. Just read them for yourselves and see how many of them our government is guilty of or in the process of taking those very same rights away. I will mark the ones I feel they are guilty of.

    Guilty: He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    Guilty: He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    Guilty: He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
    Guilty: He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
    Guilty: He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
    Guilty: He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
    Guilty: He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
    Guilty: He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
    Guilty: He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
    Guilty: He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
    Guilty: He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    Guilty: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    Guilty: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    Guilty: For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    Guilty: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    Guilty: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    Guilty: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
    Guilty: He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
    Guilty: He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
    Guilty: He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
    Guilty: He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

    Ok that is enough for Independence day, and be sure to chech out all the political games at http://zenwire.com
    Take Care,
    Zenseeker

  3. field-negro says:

    Well, it’s America’s Birthday, and the field-negro would like to say a few words in honor of the Birthday girl.

    Happy Birthday America. How old are you now? Is it two hundred and thirty one already? Wow, it’s been that long. It seems like only yesterday some of your great thinkers were preparing the Declaration of Independence, to free you from the tyranny of that King in England. You know the one, no not the King, the declaration; “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal..” Yeah that one. We know it wasn’t meant for every body, but it turned out to be a beautiful document after all. It is still so relevant today, and that’s where its beauty lies, it has stood the test of time, just like you.

    Hey, I know the first few years were rough on you, and I know what you did to the Indians just to get to this point. The massacre of women and children at Wounded Knee and the “Indian Removal Act” sanctioned by President Andrew Jackson, which basically insured the removal of them from your shores. Hey, at least you gave them casinos. The irony is, that everyone wants to claim that they are Indian now, because they can become wealthy just by proving that they have a drop of Indian blood. My people, on the other hand, weren’t so lucky, no casinos for us. But on the other hand, maybe we were lucky, because we didn’t get all the European deceases that were brought to your shores that wiped out so many of the Indians before a single shot was fired.

    But we did do a lot of hard work, and we were brought to your shores against our will. Because of the hard work we did, I think we contributed so much to making this the greatest economy on earth. Of course I know we won’t get credit for it, because you think we want some form of pay back or something. But we don’t, we just want to be treated equally, and given the same opportunities that our fellow citizens who don’t happen to look like us have. Hey, I think we have been really good considering how this issue of race could have turned out. Of course, the irony is, that the one man who advocated peace and doing things peacefully was killed by one of your own. We kept our calm after that too. But this is about you today, I wont go into one of these field-negro rants. Besides, you did eventually give us our freedom and even fought a war among yourselves to insure it. So for that, we are forever grateful.

    Speaking of wars, there has been twelve of them fought under “old glory”-wow, you must be tired-some were noble and necessary-like when you stopped that evil man in Germany-and some were not so noble-like the one we are bogged down with now. But you fought them nevertheless, so I guess they don’t call this the land of the brave for nothing. You fought for your principals and ideals, and you fought for your interest, and your freedom. And for that, I can’t blame you for going to war when you did . But your people are split on what we are fighting for now, and it’s tearing you apart. We are no more united as Americans, who happen to support different political ideas and beliefs. We are now red staters and blue staters who despise each other, and who scream at each other all day, on television, on the Internet, and in print. I know, because I am guilty of it myself.

    You have had forty three men leading you as Presidents, from George Washington to George Bush; some of them left too soon, some of them can’t leave soon enough. You have assassinated a couple of really good ones, which makes me wonder about you sometimes, and you kicked one out for lying to you and doing nefarious things while you entrusted him to lead you.
    That was good. But then you tried to kick one out for having sex and lying about it. That was bad. All the people that have led you have been white and have been men. I guess that’s not really your fault, I mean it takes so much to get elected to lead you. Although I can’t help but think, that no matter how qualified or how much money a woman or a person of color had they could not get elected. Maybe I am wrong, but I think you have quite a few more years to go before we can get to that point. That hurts you, because you like to think of yourself as way past that stage, but believe me, you are not. Now I know it’s your birthday, and I should only be telling you the good stuff, but hey, what are friends for, I care so I am being honest with you.

    So let me give you some good stuff, because it isn’t all bad with you. This is the greatest democracy on earth, and your system of laws has been unmatched throughout human history. The constitution is a brilliant document, and the amendments pertaining to the bill of rights are great equalizers in a society that could have had so much more inequities. Of course, while the laws are almost perfect, throughout your history, many of the men charged to interpret and uphold them have been flawed. If they were not, we would not have gotten “JimCrow”, Plessy v. Ferguson, or Oliver Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka et al. would not have been necessary. We would not have gotten the many white men who walked free after lynching people of color, and burning their land and raping their wives and daughters. Still, I can’t blame you for all of that. You cannot control what is in the heart of your citizens. All you can do is create the frame work and put the things in place for men to live just and virtuous lives.

    But you are a contradiction. You are the most violent industrial nation on earth, yet many yearn to come to your shores. You still discriminate against many of your own citizens,yet other countries seek you out to show them the way when it comes to morality and fair and proper treatment of their own. You are a country of immigrants, and welcome your immigrants with these comforting words: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” But lately, we have learned that not all the huddled masses are welcome. Not if they happen to come from a certain country south of you. A country, by the way, who you happened to take some territory from when you were a lot younger.

    So Happy Birthday America, you are one heck of a gal, and in spite of some not too flattering things I might have said about you; I wouldn’t trade you for anyone else in the world.

  4. ed says:

    well! i guess i can stop worrying about whether or not I’M excessively wordy in MY posts!

  5. Baris CAN says:

    I was watching all the fireworks outside with my kids, and my 8 year old daughter asked me to explain what was Independence day all about. I gave her the story about colonial settlers under British rule and how we united with help to fight off the Brits and finally won our independence for the right to self rule. And when I told her that this is when our founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, and she asked me what was that? I did not remember most of the words, but incredibly my wife did and we utter some of those magic words together. I told her that when I was a kid and read those words, I thought that they were the most beautifully written words I had ever read. And I told her that the meaning and values of that document was why I love America so much; this was the country that taught me what it meant to be equal and fair, good and just. But I also told her that half of it is no longer true, and my son, a typical Nintendo kid, interjected: “You mean, like Bush.” I did not even have to reply or convince him, somehow he already knew. In a way I should be glad that even my kids can see what is going on, but somehow I actually felt sad. Sad because they don’t know the full weight and tremendous implications of those words written so long ago. Sad because they don’t realize the power of words and the actions they can generate; and those specific words were so powerful that countless men have willingly died through the eons in their fleeting attempt to manifest and live out those words and its ideals. And sad because I grew up in a world full of idealistic ideas and enthusiasm, teaching us to not only help and improve ourselves, but all of humanity and mankind as well. Reaching the moon and back was just a small sampling of things to come. I am what I am is because of these words and it makes me sad to realize that my kids will not have these words and the absolute belief and trust in those very words (inscribed by our founding fathers) to guide and instill in them a sense of justice and equality. They know the world is not fair and they will never expect it to be fair. I have always hoped the world will be so, but I can no longer say this with a straight face to my kids that the world will be this way when they grow up or if it will ever even get any closer to those ideals; just like the moon is no longer feasible to travel to anymore, there is easy money to be made elsewhere subjugating the people of this planet.

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