Monday is a holiday in the U.S., in case you weren’t aware. (Everyone IN the U.S. is acutely aware, which is why, by lunchtime Friday, nobody was left working. Except for me, that is. Boo hoo.) Independence Day is the main patriotic celebration in America, and we commemorate it by eating barbecued anything and festooning things with flags and watching baseball and exploding things. The last part is a given; by dusk on Monday, the still of every neighborhood will be broken by the thunderclap of civic fireworks displays or the fart-like crackle and sizzle of cheap explosives purchased at roadside stands just across the state line. The “good stuff” is always, for some reason, only sold in the next state over, no matter where you are. And it’s always wrapped in yellow, with red and blue designs slapped on the label that haven’t changed since the 1930’s.
I’m not that cynical about the 4th of July; I enjoy the pomp and the barbecue and the baseball and, yes, the fireworks as much as anyone else. (It’s also the day before my birthday, so I can indulge in the illusion that the celebration’s really for me) There’s something comforting about a good old-fashioned fireworks show, the kind where everyone in town assembles at the high school football stadium, fills the old bleachers, and then waits for what seems like an eternity for the people running the show to be satisfied that it’s dark enough. That tends to be somewhere around 9:30 pm, by which time people in the stands are ready to mutiny, especially after a day marked by constant consumption of whatever beer was on discount that week.
I’ve had a lot of good memories come from 4th of July fireworks shows: the time we were driving from North Jersey back home to Pennsylvania and the sky above the Parkway and Turnpike was aglow with flashing explosives from every town along the way; the year we hung out with friends in San Pedro at the Friendship Bell (the one in “The Usual Suspects”) and ended up in an extended discussion about chupacabras; a great traditional small-town-style show at the high school in Santa Fe, New Mexico (that’s some shaky cell phone video of it above); the year we moved from Long Island but spent one last 4th of July on the beach there watching the big Jones Beach boomers across the water; and the really spectacular display they did at Veterans Stadium after the Phillies played on Independence Day most years. That last show was always pretty amazing for its relentlessness; every time you thought you’d seen the climax, they’d start it up again and build to yet another crescendo, ultimately seeming to just light whatever was left in one massive building-shaker.
The ultimate explosion at the Vet, however, wasn’t on July 4th and wasn’t a fireworks display. It was this (warning: at the 1:17 mark, this one suddenly becomes, for a second, audibly and hilariously NSFW in a stereotypically Philadelphia way):
But I trust that they won’t be blowing up any buildings for the 4th this year. That’s fine with me. A small, colorful display will do the trick. As long as there’s barbecue, baseball, and beer, even the cheap stuff wrapped in yellow will do.
The fireworks COULD also represent a celebration of this eventful week at Nerdist. Observe:
1. Chris started things off early with a French studio’s slick CGI tribute to The Rocketeer. It’s good enough to make you want more.
2. Chris posted a clip from Web Soup taking off from a guy on the street saying he has a company, “Bella Mafia Quackafella Records Incorporated,” that makes “space movies” that involve “Butt Naked Wonder, Big Brother Thunder, and the Master Blaster to cut off the little boys’ wee-wees… all you men gonna be pregnant with babies.” Jonah wrote the sketch with Wade Randolph, April O’Neil and Steve Agee guested, and it was funny.
3. Remember last week’s podcast with GeekDad? Mindy did, and followed up with links to all the projects he discussed. Get working on them.
4. Pixar, in the wake of mostly disappointing reviews for Cars 2, gave everyone hope with a trailer for Brave. It looks like you want a Pixar movie to look.
5. Pogo, with visuals by contest winner Reed Gauthier, made an absolutely stunning video, featuring music composed entirely from sounds from The Wizard of Oz. Unique and amazing.
6. The Podcast welcomed Chris’ G4 co-hort Alison Haislip, who’s on that show that just wrapped up with those people singing and more bald women than any other show. Not Alison, though; she has a full head of hair. And a Jersey accent, which the guys made fun of, and which I didn’t notice, because I pronounce some of those words the same way, having vestiges of Jersey and Philly accents. “Water” IS pronounced “wood-der,” right?
7. Tuesday, 6/28, was Tau Day, and we had a video here that set Tau — double Pi — to music. We are agnostic as to whether Pi or Tau is the real circle constant, mostly because I don’t know and don’t particularly care.
8. The “First World Problems” meme prompted one guy to do a rap about it, which Danny posted here.
9. Matthew G. examined the continuing influence of Twin Peaks, especially Angelo Badalamenti’s soundtrack, which I noted was played at my wedding. Because it was. It was new then.
10. Harry Hanrahan’s latest video epic involved movie bridge explosions, 15 in all, set to the 1812 Overture. Every movie should show a bridge blowing up, even if it’s not germane to the plot. You’d agree to go see a rom-com if it had a bridge explosion.
11. Anjeanette was intrigued by three-way chess. I can’t even play two-way chess, or at least I haven’t tried it since I was, like, 12, which is longer ago than I would like to admit at the moment.
12. What did we do Tuesday night? Oh, nothing. Just the taping of a TV pilot. I posted some of the pictures I took, once I regained consciousness, which wasn’t easy. And we all agreed not to mention who the Super Special Secret Guest was, at least until we’re good and ready.
13. Kyle posted a clip of Neil Gaiman on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. More awesomeness.
14. Someone did Shaun of the Dead in 60 seconds in claymation. Why wouldn’t he?
15. Becca saw this trailer someone created out of the trailers for the two “f–k buddies” movies, No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits, and I had to post it here. Some of you remembered that there was a Seinfeld plot that also echoed the general idea.
16. In conjunction with the new Transformers movie, Kyle suggested five other potential movie franchises based on cartoons based on toys. Wait, do cartoons based on cereals count? That was a thing before they were banned in the 60’s. A Linus the Lionhearted movie featuring Sugar Bear would be interesting.
17. Weird Al sang the theme from Conan, the lyrics of which involved a disturbing camping trip. A funny disturbing camping trip.
18. Popular Science blew stuff up in slow-motion HD to show off a Phantom v641 camera’s capabilities. Also to show Jell-O and mayo exploding. WHICH WAS GREAT.
19. A guy built a pancake batter squirter out of Lego, which… see there? I got that right — the Lego people say the plural of “Lego” is “Lego,” which doesn’t seem right, but who am I to argue? Anyway, pancakes and Lego, two great things that go great together.
20. SPOILER We found SPOILER a slick SPOILER infographic about Doctor Who’s companions and SPOILER it mentioned that thing that happened SPOILER in the last episode that some of you SPOILER hadn’t seen but SPOILER some folks did not SPOILER notice that I’d SPOILER warned you. SPOILER. So, SPOILER.
21. Ooh! A new Hostful Podcast! I LOVE those guys! Oh, by the way, “Zenith of Moments” is NOT a thing. Yet.
We’re done here, so it’s time to get going on that long weekend, if you’re in the U.S. If you’re in Canada, you’re already partly through your long weekend, but I hope your Canada Day was a good one. If you’re anywhere else, maybe you aren’t getting extra time off, but any weekend is a good time to enjoy your burrito. Or blow it up.