What I’m Celebrating Instead of America’s Birthday This Fourth of July

Introducing Goldberg Wonderland Day, the holiday for those who want more than just one-dimensional nationalism.

[new_image position="standard" id="null"]Illustration by Jean Wei[/new_image]

On the Fourth of July, most Americans (and Danes for some reason) will break out Old Glory, stock up on hot dogs and other mystery meat products, and head out to fireworks-watching picnics (or in my Brooklyn neighborhood, rooftop parties) to celebrate. But while the bulk of the country is out listening to patriotic music and reveling in wholesome nationalism, I’ll be sitting about 2,000 miles away, at a decidedly un-American bar in Reykjavik, Iceland, with nary a USA!USA!USA!-chanting expatriate within earshot. And that’s exactly the way I like it, because I am incredibly dubious of this nationalistic holiday.

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Meet the Pro Pyro Behind The Biggest Fireworks Show in The Country

He spends millions of dollars of other people's money to blow stuff up for your enjoyment.

His headquarters are in an old WWII munitions facility an hour's drive east of Los Angeles. Here he coordinates some of the grandest of fireworks shows, like the mile-wide aerial spectacle that will light up the New York City skyline tonight. Jim Souza, fourth generation pyro and CEO of Pyro Spectaculars, took a few minutes to school us on the difference between a "dud" and a "misfire," and shared some of the tricks of the trade that he stores deep in a vault in the desert.

GOOD: You guys do the Macy's 4th of July show and lots of other huge displays. How long does it take to plan one of those?

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Enjoy the Rockets' Red Glare But Holster That Gat

We may associate celebratory gunfire with jubilant Iraqi policemen after a big soccer match, but bullets also fall from the sky in the good ole USA.

Last 4th of July an eleven year old girl was gazing at the fireworks lighting up the night sky in Fresno, California when something hit her in the collarbone. Adults assumed she had been burned by an errant firecracker. Nope, an hour and a half later, emergency room doctors removed a bullet lodged in her chest.

"Celebratory gunfire" may be something we associate with jubilant Iraqi policemen after a big soccer match, but bullets also fall from the sky here in the good ole U.S.A. The city of Miami launched a public safety campaign in 2010 with rapper Pitbull aimed at keeping holiday revelry unarmed. "Bullets that go up have to come down, and they sometimes come down on people," said former Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito.

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The 'Wacky' USDA Ad Campaign to Get You to Separate Your Meat and Veggies

Three thousand people are likely to die from food poisoning this year. But will this naughty chicken be able to do anything about it?


This summer, the United States Department of Agriculture would like you to play it safe. The message: Keep that raw meat away from your fresh veggies. To spread the word, the agency has created a series of friendly video reminders. The stars: a chicken that acts like a dog, a pig talking it up in a sauna, and a lobster chilling on the couch.

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