The 4th - mine and others'

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The morning began with the patter of a steady drizzle on the roof as I snoozed in bed. It was a good soaking rain, much appreciated by my lawn.

As tempting as it was to stay in bed listening to the rain, I decided to bestir myself and head out to the taxpayers' "tea party" at Haikey Creek Park. I arrived about half way through the festivities. The rain continued, off and on, but there was a good crowd (300 is my guess), I saw a lot of familiar faces, listened to a few speeches, and had a Nathan's hot dog.

Shortly after I got home, the power went out, affecting several blocks, including the grocery store. It came back on, but I didn't trust it to stay on, so instead of working on the computer, I left it off and worked on laundry and housecleaning. There was another short outage about 3. I took a nap while the clothes were drying.

The power seemed stable, so I went back to work on my computer project -- upgrading the hard drive on the kitchen computer. My attempt to do a direct disk-to-disk transfer using Clonezilla Live had failed once the night before, so I tried it again, and again it failed. (It failed on the final fsync call.)

About 8 I decided to go try to see some fireworks. My family was visiting my in-laws in Arkansas, and I didn't have an invite anywhere, so I drove around to see what was open (Blue Dome district was completely shut down), wound up at 16th and Boston, and started walking towards the 21st Street bridge. As I got close to the bridge, someone called my name. It was Maria Barnes, the once and possibly future District 4 councilor. She waved me over, and I sat down to chat with Maria and her family as we waited for the show to begin.

The fireworks began at 9, before the sky had turned completely dark. Word was that the early start was to try to beat the storms that were on the way. About 15 minutes later, we saw a whole bunch of fireworks go off near the deck of the bridge and more shoot up and explode. End of show. Maria's husband James said he saw a fire truck headed toward the launch site. Turns out a mortar misfired and the electronics for the remaining fireworks were destroyed.

Heading back to the house, I saw thousands of people in lawn chairs in the parking lots on the east side of Yale between 15th and 21st, as if they were expecting a fireworks show. But the Drillers were out of town and Bell's, which always had a great display, has been gone for three years. As I walked down to the store to pick up a few items, I saw a few rogue rockets here and there, accompanied by lightning in the clouds, but no show.

I brought back a free Red Box video rental (thanks 918 Coupon Queen!) -- Gran Torino, starring and directed by Clint Eastwood -- and watched it as I folded laundry and Clonezilla did its work. It's a wonderfully multifaceted story. You can read it as a meditation on the meaning of manhood. We're presented with several models to consider: Walt Kowalski (the main character, a Korean war vet and retired auto worker), his sons, the Hmong, Latino, and black gang members, the young priest, and the young Hmong man that Kowalski reluctantly takes under his wing. There's another angle dealing with the clash of cultures. The corrosive spread of gangbanger culture beyond its ghetto roots is another recurring theme. I think at some point I need to watch Gran Torino with my oldest son, followed by a long discussion. (The language is a deterrent to doing that anytime soon.) The movie reinforces my growing conviction that enculturation -- attachment to a healthy culture -- is more important than education in preventing crime and poverty.


Elsewhere in the Oklahoma blogosphere:

Nothing worked out quite as David Schuttler had hoped, but he did catch video of the final barrage of the River Parks fireworks display.

Irritated Tulsan has posted a collection of memories of Bell's Amusement Park. Shadow6's first date story is my favorite.

Tasha Does Tulsa took advantage of the long weekend to catch up on her blog-stalking. (And many thanks for the kind words, Natasha.)

Laurel Kane had plenty of visitors at Afton Station, despite the rain, and she made it down to Tulsa to see a parade of Gold Wing motorcycles on their way to watch fireworks at the river.

Brandon Dutcher links to a paper by Neil McCluskey of the Cato Institute. Far from being the bedrock of American liberty, public education often been used to oppress local autonomy and individual freedom:

Today, following decades of district consolidation, the imposition of statewide curricula, and threats of national standards, all religious, ideological, and ethnic groups are forced to fight, unable to escape even into the relative peace of truly local districts. The result is seemingly constant warfare over issues such as intelligent design, abstinence education, multiculturalism, school prayer, offensive library books, and so on. When diverse people are forced to support a single system of public schools, they don't come together, they fight to make theirs the values that are taught.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 5, 2009 4:57 PM.

Happy Independence Day! was the previous entry in this blog.

Ken Burns seeks first-person Dust Bowl stories is the next entry in this blog.

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