Some random thoughts that occurred to me yesterday:
1. I love fireworks. And I love fireworks shows. I know a lot of people are of the mindset of “you see one, you have seen them all,” and I guess there is a fair amount of truth to that. But I have loved fireworks shows since I was young. Part of that probably had to do with going to the Omaha show was a big deal for us (time of night, location of show versus location of our neighborhood and the like). Part of that probably was I like to blow up stuff and my parents were concerned I may blow up myself and my younger brother. But part of it is there is a certain anticipation to what you’re about to see or possibly feel. Will the next shot be a concussion grenade? A star burst? A strafing effect, perhaps? What will the grand finale look like?
One of the things I’ve come to realize and appreciate is you don’t have to live in a big city to have a big-time show. Here in Emporia, Kan., the city, Lyon County, Emporia State University and the Flint Hills Optimists team up for what is traditionally a 30- to 40-minute, action-packed show. Last night was no exception. Plenty of oohs and ahhs came from the young and the young at heart. I work the event, giving traffic updates for KVOE. It makes for a long day — a long holiday — but it gives me a unique perspective on the planning behind the event. And it lets me see (well, hear) a lot of appreciation for the finished product.
2. Does basketball on Christmas top baseball on the Fourth of July? Not in my mind.
3. It has come to the point where I don’t truly have a Fourth of July until I watch the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest on ESPN. Talk about an over-the-top event. Honestly, it’s gross to watch everybody gorge themselves at top speed. But add the commentary and you suddenly have television that’s compelling, if only sometimes for the right reasons.
And because ESPN has recognized the unique draw of the event, it has given the contest prime billing on the Mothership instead relegating it to, oh, say, ESPN 2 Million. Which means we get another distinctly American tradition: player (I mean, eater) introductions.
Simply whetting our appetite for more.
4. Hate to end on a down note, but before the Fourth it was announced President Barack Obama would not affix the hate group label on Westboro Baptist Church despite petitions from over 360,000 citizens. The government says it’s up to private groups to make that designation, and I guess I get that. I also understand full well the Constitution grants us the right to freedom of speech, which as a radio “professional” I am grateful for every day. However, if there is a group that begs for that designation, it’s Westboro Baptist. Think of anything the church group (repeat: church group) has protested or stated, and try to say any of those statements were made in love. Try real hard. It doesn’t work. It’s sobering to call a church group a hate group, but that’s what you have.