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Picture perfect Fourth of July

A few notes from America’s birthday, 2004 …

The first note is a thank you to the wonderful people who are Music In The Mountains for allowing us to be part of this year’s season-ending Happy Birthday USA concert at the Fairgrounds Saturday evening.

The musicians and singers were at the top of their game under the direction of Paul Perry. The annual picnic concert was narrated by the Foothill Theater Company’s Philip Sneed, whose rendition of “I Am The Nation” sent chills up my spine … again. The atmosphere at one of the best fairgrounds in America reminds me why most of us have chosen our Small Town way of life.



It’s also the reason more than 3,000 people turned out for what was an absolutely picture-perfect night.

The next day, I drove a giant duck down Broad Street in Nevada City. The duck’s name is Whitewater Willy, and he’s the official mascot for our 49er Breakfast Rotary Club duck race that’s coming up in a couple of months. We enter the Fourth of July parade to spotlight our duck race fund-raiser and to showcase the good deeds of our five area Rotary Clubs that are filled with lots of good citizens giving back to their community. I had an easy job Sunday. Matt Weaver loaned us one of his Jeeps from his local dealership, and I had Willy in the back seat with the air conditioner on full blast. Unfortunately, it didn’t help Willy much. It must have been 200 degrees inside that duck outfit, and when we finally pulled his head off at the end of the parade route, I thought he’d melted.




All in all I had a better weekend than … say … 52-year-old Kirk Shults of Alta Sierra. It seems Shults had plans of his own for the Fourth until law and fire enforcement officials reportedly discovered some 200 pounds of illegal fireworks in his home and took him to jail. Shults reportedly told police that he was planning to take the fireworks – various rockets, cherry bombs, M-80s and M-100s – to the beach.

“Let’s see … I’ve got the lawn chairs, blanket, Frisbee, sunscreen, sodas … and … oh, yeah … 200 pounds of explosives. OK, kids. We’re ready. Hop in the car.”

Speaking of explosives … I got lots and lots of fan mail from last week’s column wherein I pretty much said I wasn’t going to pay to see Michael Moore’s latest effort to drag my country through the mud. While some of us were watching fireworks July 4th, others were packed into the Nevada Theater to see “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Moore’s award-winning (France just loves Bush-bashing films) documentary he hopes will run Bush out of the White House come November in favor of that other billionaire.

Many of the callers and letter-writers wondered how I could write a “review” of Moore’s film without having seen it. Most of them, of course, hadn’t seen it either, but that didn’t stop them from weighing in. They already knew they were going to love it.

For starters … the column wasn’t a review. I left that up to professional reviewer Roger Ebert, who prefaced his favorable review by saying he agreed with Moore that Bush’s presidency has been a disaster for America. I also said I already knew how the film would begin and how it would end, and that I’d read from several sources that it was filled with exaggerations and downright inaccuracies. I also wondered why I’d want to see anything made by a guy who refers to those pieces of camel dung who are cutting heads off in Iraq today as freedom fighters.

I also find it interesting that anyone who disagrees with the left-wing-loony Moore is referred to as a right-wing wacko.

My favorite letter was from the couple who moved to New Zealand and were glad they no longer had to put up with the “right wing wacko” publisher (me). What they don’t know is that I plan to go to New Zealand myself someday and start a newspaper. What a coincidence! Maybe I’ll look them up. Hopefully, the New Zealanders will still have a favorable opinion of Americans by the time I get there.

Then there was the telephone message from a guy who was screaming something about a rule that prohibits publishers from writing columns. “I’ve read lots and lots of papers and have never seen one where the publisher writes a column!” he yammered.

He’s right, of course. While I prefer to post my opinions on the Opinion Page with my name, photo, phone number and e-mail address, most publishers use their newspaper’s news pages to forward their own agendas. They disguise it as news. Why else would the San Francisco Chronicle have a front-page story telling us how radio shock-jock Howard Stern is going to turn the tide against Bush?

Who would have thought that the fate of our presidency would rest in the hands of a radio shock jock and a poster child for fast food?

Who knows? Two years from now, maybe Kerry will send troops to attack the world’s top tomato-producing country and we’ll be running around shouting, “It’s About The Ketchup!” linking him to his wife’s Heinz food fortunes.

As a matter of fact … that would be a great one for Moore to look into, as long as he’s now our official mascot for all that is just and righteous. How will Kerry create all those jobs he’s promising if Heinz continues to operate most of its business offshore?

Stay tuned.

ooo

Jeff Ackerman is the publisher of The Union. His column appears each Tuesday.


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