where the writers are
the fourth and me


Two hundred and thirty four years ago a grand experiment was started. It is an experiment that the world had not seen that scale up to that point, and no other country can claim such a massive experiment. Two hundred and thirty four years ago ,fifty-six men had decided that the style of governing that had dominated the world for nearly a thousand years was way past its expiration date. This is very important to remember because this blog is only sort of about them. It is more about watching fireworks, the wonderful kaleidoscope which is America (admittedly, two hundred and thirty four years after it was founded) and New Coke and why it is better in some very key ways to Old Coke.

  The United States, right now, is a messed up country. We have a massive debt that, if represented by pennies would reach the moon, circle it once and have enough left over to use to actually buy things. We are a country divided into two equally stupid camps. The first camp has no problem with people like Glenn Beck who are offended by everything and cry at the drop of a hat. The second group follows the angst ridden and terminally offended moveon.org, which despite their promises of moving on seem to stay in place. There is a third group and they are represented by people who quite obviously have no concept of math. This is not about them, they are "special" and neither group is allowed to play with the sharp scissors. This is about the group of Americans I saw when I was at 4th of July fireworks.

  When I walked on the soccer field in sugarland, Texas it was a magical and wonderful sight.  There were women wearing hijabs. There were Latin Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, really every race you could imagine, the air was filled will just as many languages as colors of skin.  There were old Americans whose grandparents or great-great grandparents first came to the country, there were new American, sharing with their children why this day was so important and explaining how to weave it into the rug of tradition that they brought with them. There were even people who may have not been American on a piece of paper, but because of the smiles on their face and the warmth in the heart because of the day, they were no less American than Washington or Lincoln.  This moment was what 56 men risked their lives , by signing a piece of paper ,dreamed of.

 America is not perfect. We have a constitution which is flawed and encourages us, if not demands us, to elect a new village idiot every four years.  We aren't as refined as the British. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, is just a likely to know some who is related to someone who is related to yet another person who may possibly be middle class as he is to find someone who would openly admit buying one of the seven million copies of the Spice Girl's first album that were sold . It is that social snobbery that has allowed our uncles across the ocean to once rule an empire where the sun never set, it allowed them to take French words, say them in a funny manner and call it a new language, they even invented cricket...what a great civilization that can have so much time on their hands to invent such an odd sport.

The United States is the opposite. We were created by the wretched refuse of other people's shores. Were England was a country of nobility (all non-nobles were thrown off a cliff is I remember that movie" 300" correctly) we were a country that actively sought out the huddled masses , the homeless and the tempest tossed. We did then, and we do now. And when people speak of advancing their country they speak of creating a version of the "American Dream" and not the British one.  The French don't speak German because of descendants of these people. People listen to hip-hop and rick and roll while sitting atop a Ferris Wheel because of the inherent craziness of Americans  that was needed for anyone to think these were good ideas and not only think of  them, but pursue them, perfect them, and then have the whole world copy them.

  Yes my country has a lot of problems. However in the end the day, as we waited for the fireworks, we were all Americans.  We were able to put our differences to be one nation (under God, Gods, science, what have you) celebrate the liberty our country offers us and justice that keeps us safe from harm. I think we can find a way to do it the other 364 days of the year.

Josh is the self proclaimed unofficial spokesman for Generation X. He likes fireworks. He also likes baseball and apple pie. He is an annoyingly stereotypical American however since he signs our paychecks we won‘t complain.

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The Fourth

Happy Birthday, America!

Joshua, should I call you Josh? I think it’s interesting that you call yourself a stereotypical American because I see quite often Americans stress value in their individualism which is opposite of stereotype. So, to me, it sounds more stereotypical for an American to describe him or herself to be an individualistic American, especcially when nobody is asking for it. So, from that point of view, you are not a stereotypical American. I wonder if your experience in foreign countries make you say that.

I’m not a baseball fan, and if I see fireworks, I enjoy them, but I can live without the noises like most dogs. I feel sorry for pets on the Fourth.

But I’ll toast to Apple Pie! I like it heated with a piece of golden American cheese on top. And a cup of American coffee will be nice. But, hold ice cream, please. I like it hot.

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the best apple pie

The best apple pie I had was home made apple pie (took forever to get...oh but worth the wait) at a restaurant about a 30 minute walk from the forbidden city...oh why did I leave Beijing...what was I thinking...oh and it was only about $2...they hand made the crust and everything (should i be thinking about this at 2:30 am...probably not)

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Apple Pie and music

Yay, Apple Pie! And I love the following music. Julia Stein listed it in Facebook. Thank you, Julia. I have to post this before I go to sleep. It's "Stand By Me."


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Hi Joshua, I loved your

Hi Joshua,

I loved your description on the soccer field in Texas. I felt like I was there and I had a big smile on my face. And yes, if we could find ways to be more united “the other 364 days of the year,” we’d be in good shape—or better shape, anyway.

Technically I fall into the Generation X category, but I don’t like categories, so I don’t view myself in that way. But, I know where to come to read all about it :)

I love apple pie too, but I’ve never experienced it with cheese on top. Yum, a warm slice would go great with my morning coffee.


Keiko, Thanks for pointing me to Joshua’s blog. I also love the video that you posted. It’s one of my favorite all time songs. First it gave me goose bumps and then it made me cry—I guess I get emotional more easily these days. I saw “Grandpa Elliot” when I was in New Orleans. It made me miss being there so much. Every single musician in this video moved me and really touched my heart cords. Thank you for sharing it. It ties in nicely with Joshua’s blog.

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nice to meet you

Nice to meet you to Rebbecca (and thanks to Keiko for showing me her blog indirectly) I am really liking this apple pie idea and it is currently blowing my mind that in Beijing I could find fresh apple pie but in houston I can't

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American Dreams


If I go to Beijin, I’ll make sure to try their apple pie. They sell homemade apple pie there but not in Texas. Well, I think there is a market for homemade for many things. It can be more expensive, but makes us feel good. This subject is connected to “American Dreams,” I think. The term can be used in other cultures as a phenomenon even though they are not Americans. Japanese definitely use it.

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Stand by Me


Nice to see you here. Thank you. So, you are not-proclaimed but an official Generation X.

That music is my favorite. Yes, I agree. It comes from souls. Something wells up listening to their voices. The film is also down to earth. It makes me feel I-wish-I-were-there-because-I-belong-there kind of feeling. Whoever put it together is a genius. Let's replace American Dreams with this.