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America, The Beautiful

In my daily life I generally pound my head on many-a-wall about the state of this country. About half the time I don’t like who the United States is, a forth of the time I have guarded indifference,¬† and the other fourth I like it. So in honor of the 4th of July tomorrow, here is a list of the good things:

  • National Parks: There are 384 national parks and they cover more than 84 million acres of land in this country. I think that’s impressive.¬† Plus they are stunning. So eat it, all you other countries with lesser national parks.
  • All The Cool Shit Happens Here: Even though foreign cinema has its gems, American movies are where it’s at. Also the Internet and personal computers were invented here. Flight, that trip we took to the moon that one summer, oh and Star Wars.
  • The Diversity: Ok, maybe this is kind of a cop-out but I am choosing to believe it is not. Even from state to state people here are so incredibly different and I love it! Even though it can often divide us (As it possible is doing right now), all of the different backgrounds, view points, accents, skin colors, regional social quirks, religions. All of it. It’s just so cool.
  • The Ability to Say Shit About Our Government: I think this is probably my number one. Even though you can do this in other countries, you can’t do it everywhere. I can say I hate the president. I can say I think the government is stupid. I can say that we need a full regime change. I can dream out loud about what I want for this country, and I will not be secretly executed, will not have to fear for my family or worry I’ll be arrested. I can burn the flag in public, I can scream at the top of my lungs staring straight at the white house or the capital building that this whole thing is BULLSHIT, and you know what they’ll do? Well… probably be annoyed and maybe ask me to leave. But! The people in charge, even though they are dicks, will also uphold my right to scream and burn and march around chanting stuff. (Yay!)
  • The Undercurrent of “You Can Be Whatever You Want To Be”: Sometimes it’s as if we live in a vacuum and that maybe the world is just like us, or at least the western world, and that is just really untrue. Inventors and entrepreneurs are not welcomed and celebrated like they are here. If you want to work for yourself¬† – make it happen. If you want to invent the next rocket to the moon – get a kickstarter. If you would like to create the next social media dynamo who is stopping you? Nobody.

What I’m saying is: I’m grateful for the things we have, especially the ability to change. And tomorrow I will celebrate this by eating grilled items and watching other people blow some things up to make pretty sparks in the sky. Happy Independence Day!

One year ago I made Kale Chips for the first time and they were very poke-y in my mouth but also very noms. Since then I’ve moved on to roasted kale pizza (super yummy). Kale wins all the games. You should give it a go if you haven’t already.


    • Yup. Tim Berners made the first connection from a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) via the internet to a server. A big accomplishment, but the internet existed long before that.

      It was created here in the US by a US Defense team in UCLA and Stanford. Started out as ARPANET back in 1969. The first wide area network. Several years later, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn developed the TCP/IP here in the US as part of DARPA as well. They are known as the “fathers of the internet”.

      • Thanks Kamel, I am so going to impress people with this new knowledge. Next time I hear someone mention T B-L, I’ll be all, yeah he made the first HTTP connection, but that’s not the internet!! (if I got that wrong, don’t tell me. I’m confused enough already)

  1. Amen to #4.

    Also, to #1. We’ll be checking TWO national parks off the lists for the honeymoon. I can’t wait!

    • Yay Laura! Which ones? I am very jealous. One of these days we WILL make it to the grand canyon goddamnit. It seems like every year we are thwarted!

      • Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons–I’ve never been to either!

        I haven’t seen this PBS series, but it’s apparently fantastic:

        • Your recommendation is seconded! I have seen that documentary and it is indeed fantastic. I think it is the only thing that has really, absolutely made me fall in love with the US. It also made me cry. And it taught me about John Muir, who is fascinating all by himself.

      • We were just at the Grand Canyon earlier this week! I’d seen it as a kid, but man, it really is something to behold. Definitely, definitely go. Being there definitely made me feel grateful to live in this country. Also, I’m from AZ, so I feel double proud of the Grand Canyon.

  2. Going to law school gave me a real appreciation for our system of government…the checks and balances, the Justices who don’t publicly express a political affiliation and who are appointed, not elected, term limits, the transparency of our political process, and the fact that we are the only country in the world whose films are not rated and censored by a government department.

    But of everything good this country has to offer, our government has a strangely unique policy that I believe is critical to our sense of freedom and also taken for granted in a massive way, is that if we are arrested, we are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    Even in sophisticated European countries (France and Italy for example), when you’re arrested and put on trial, you’re presumed guilty unless you can find enough evidence to exonerate yourself, and that evidence has to be convincing over and above the amount the state/police bring against you (and evidence that can be weighed in your favor or the police’s favor will, in practice, very often be weighed against you).

    I feel very patriotic about the system our Founding Fathers set up — in practice things aren’t perfect, of course, but I believe in the system and I’m proud to be an American citizen.

  3. I have worked with many clients and have worked with several co-workers that were not born in the USA. The common statements that I have heard is how wonderful they felt when they made it to this country. We forget and often take for granted that we didn’t have to run for our lives to get into this country. Those of us that were born here didn’t have to live in a camp where a sheet of plastic was regarded as a high end home roof. We didn’t need to run in the night to get to a boat that maybe 40 other people were boarding that maybe had enough room for 10 people. To risk life to get to this country. We forget that others before us came here with the promise of a better life. Even if they didn’t make their million, they lived in a country where they could say that they loved or hated a certain politician. We have the right to write what we want and we have the right to walk the streets without having to PROVE that we belong here.

    There are problems throughout this country and even with injustices, we have the right to speak out about them, we have the responsibility to seek improvements, we have the education and ability to be a part of the solution and we have the privilege of it all .

    Happy 4th of July, love you tons

  4. Yay! I’m coming to America (from the UK) for the first time ever this year an I am so mega excited! Whoop Happy 4th July everyone!

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Who the hell is she?


Seattle/Writer/Adventurer/Married to Kamel/Maker of many mistakes/Mom of 1 Gabriel and 1 TBD/Baker of things/Roaster of Vegetables/Maker of videos/Normal life photographer/Romantic/Irreverent/Honest

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.