If you are older, you may not have heard it for a while. If you are younger, you may never have heard it.
Either way, on July 4, find The Stars & Stripes Forever and listen. You’ll want to conduct the band with abandon and smash the cymbals.
It’s a giant, jubilant march, with stirring lyrics which, for fun, you can also substitute for a duck song (Be kind to your web-footed friends…).
John Philip Sousa — Marine, musician, and bandleader — was returning to the United States from a vacation in Italy in 1896. It was Christmas Day and from the deck of an ocean liner, he heard the march in his head.
“Suddenly, I began to sense the rhythmic beat of a band playing within my brain,” Sousa wrote in his autobiography Marching Along, “It kept on ceaselessly playing … the imaginary band continued to unfold the same themes, echoing and re-echoing the most distinct melody.
“I did not transfer a note of that music to paper while I was on the steamer, but when we reached the shore I set down the measures that my brain-band had been playing for me, and not a note of it has ever changed,” he wrote.
The song repeats distinct melodies in sections, called strains, using different instruments to repeat and lead. So the song begins with a hearty introduction by the horns with great smashing beats on drums, followed by the melody. Woodwinds repeat, and later, the famous response of the piccolos. The trombones thunder in with a bold counter melody. Then, the entire band plays together — and, by then, we’re all marching.
While it is the official national march of the United States, the tune has also been adopted by soccer fans in the UK, sung as ‘Here We Go,’ once called a working-class march. Cartoon character Popeye fought bad guys to the song. Comedians invented the duck lyrics. The Grateful Dead played it to retire.
One strange Stars & Stripes Forever fact: Circuses in the early 20th century loved to fire up the crowd with march music, but they never played The Stars & Stripes Forever. This tune was a secret signal, only played when a life-threatening disaster was imminent. When they heard it, emergency personnel would try to quietly disperse the crowd, not always successfully.
The magical story of Romeo still tugs at Alaska’s heart
A magical thing happened in Juneau, Alaska, 18 years ago, and as with most magical things, some people loved it and some hated it. But it’s a true story of a solitary wolf who wanted to be friends.
His name was Romeo, a black wolf who is now a legend. He was a rare creature: Wild but friendly, alone and in search of friends, a player of games, a curious visitor and, ultimately, a target.
This story began in 2003 when Nick and Sherrie Jans were walking their dogs across a frozen Alaskan lake. Suddenly, a black wolf appeared. Jans wasn’t surprised. He had seen wolf tracks in the snow. But now their labrador broke free and ran to the wolf. While the couple held their breath, the dog slid across the ice toward the wolf … and then? Wolf and dog sniffed and bowed in that iconic canine way. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
During the next six years, Romeo visited his dog friends, appearing frequently, sometimes disappearing for weeks at a time. The humans didn’t feed him or touch him, but Romeo played with their dogs, dancing with them and chasing — and scaring up a controversy.
Not everyone welcomed a wolf in the neighborhood. Someone tried to trap him, another tried to poison him. Other human friends rallied to protect him.
Speculation arose that he was a wolf without a pack because his mate had been killed. Maybe his mate had been the pregnant wolf killed by a car around the same time Romeo appeared.
Whatever Romeo’s story — no one really knows — in September 2009, he disappeared and never returned.
Romeo’s friend Harry Robinson discovered that Romeo had been shot at point-blank range — easy to get close to a friendly animal. Robinson tracked down the killers, who were arrested, but given no jail time.
Sorrow and anger roiled the community. Jans, a wildlife photographer, and expert on the Alaskan wilderness, wrote a book, A Wolf Called Romeo, detailing the incredible story. (Web: nickjans.com)
Today, after a seven-year struggle, a memorial finally sits at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, where you can see Romeo, relaxed and noble and ready to play with your dog.
3 questions you shouldn’t ask a transgender person
It’s normal to be curious about transgender people and want to learn more about them. However, certain questions aren’t appropriate to ask and can make the person feel uncomfortable. Here are three to avoid.
1. What was your birth name?
Many transgender people don’t like to share personal details about their life before they transitioned, including their birth name. This may be due to an association with painful memories, or simply because they want to leave that part of their life behind and focus on being their true self. Be respectful, and use the name the person has chosen.
2. Have you had surgery?
Like anyone else, a transgender person likely won’t feel comfortable sharing personal details about their medical history. When you ask about a transition-related procedure, you’re essentially asking the person to describe their genitals. Consider how you would feel sharing that information in a similar situation.
3. What bathroom do you use?
Most people feel uncomfortable answering questions about going to the bathroom. For a transgender person, this topic might also be associated with experiences of harassment or even violence. In general, transgender people use the bathroom that matches the gender they live as or in which they believe they’ll be safest.
Before you ask a transgender person a personal question, consider whether it’s because you need to know certain information, such as their pronouns, to respectfully interact with them. If you’re asking simply because you’re curious, turn to online resources rather than put the person on the spot.
Dinner! Stop pillaging and come to the table
Pillagers, crusaders, explorers, and ninjas — those guys needed a good dinner to keep their energy high.
The Knights Templars famously outlived their fellow humans in the 13th century. Most people lived to about 31, but the Templars lived into their 60s. Their leader, Jacques de Molay, lived until age 70, and he would have lived longer had he not been burned at the stake.
The Templar lifestyle was modest. They ate silently. Meat was limited to three times a week, according to Gastro Obscura. The other days they ate vegetables with bread, milk, eggs, or cheese, except for Friday when there was no dairy, eggs, or meat. All that was washed down with a cup of diluted wine.
Unlike the Templars who rode into battle wielding swords, the ninja of the 1400s was a stealthy assassin. He needed to remain thin and agile, yet strong enough to scale walls. A ninja might even have to wait days for his target, so he carried hunger pills — balls of rice, pine bark, and ginseng. A ninja could also send a message with food. For treachery, send salted fish. For arson, dried fish. To call for reinforcements, sweet cakes.
The Viking menu for rampaging and pillaging was full of salted fish (herring), berries, apples, honey, and to drink, mead or beer. On land, flatbreads and porridge of cereals complemented dinner. On the boat, they could carry dried fish or catch something along the way. All this in great quantities, according to natmus.dk.
At the turn of the 20th century, there were no dried foods. Antarctic explorers such as Ernest Shackleton were hardy fellows, but they did not dine in variety. The standard fare was pemmican: dried beef and beef fat. That could be mixed with sledging biscuits, flat flour cakes that look like square cookies, but with no sugar. On one rare occasion, there was a surprise. Shackleton saved a ‘Christmas pudding’ with his socks and brought it out on Dec. 25, 1914, to great fanfare.
Host an event they will remember, liven up your summer safely
Are you looking for a way to have fun with your family or a limited number of guests while following the safety regulations in your area? Whether you want to celebrate a special occasion or simply plan something out of the ordinary, take advantage of the entertainment and party rental services in your area to host an unforgettable event.
There’s a wide range of equipment and accessories available to rent for parties and outdoor gatherings. With options for every budget, you’re sure to find what you need to create the right atmosphere. Rent a projector and screen along with a popcorn or cotton candy machine to create the full backyard movie night experience. Alternatively, choose from an array of themed decorations, bouncy castles, carnival games, and more.
Entertainers for hire
Since the start of the pandemic, companies that offer entertainment services have relied on video conferencing platforms and other solutions to keep events fun and safe. Create magical moments for your guests with the help of various local entertainers including magicians, comedians, clowns, dancers, and ventriloquists. You can even book appearances from performers dressed up as well-known princesses and superheroes.
In addition, you can reach out to a company that organizes virtual events such as bingo and trivia nights to help create a memorable occasion.
Even though many things have changed because of the pandemic, you can still find ways to have fun. Contact an entertainer or party rental business in your area and start planning a special event to brighten up your summer.
Dogs can suffer in scorching heat
Dogs need walks every day, but be sure to protect them so they don’t get overheated or burned.
1. Look for shady and grassy routes. – You and your dog will both enjoy sunny days, especially if you make sure not to walk the dog on blistering hot sidewalks. If blacktop and concrete are hot enough to burn your feet, it burns just as hot on your dog’s unprotected pads. A walk shouldn’t be torture.
2. Bring water. – You and your dog need to stay hydrated. For long walks, collapsible dog water bowls are lightweight and the perfect way to give your dog a drink during the outing. If you can’t bring water along, be sure to immediately offer water after a walk.
3. Flat-faced breeds overheat easily. – According to BeChewy, French bulldogs, boxers, and pugs need extra care because their short snouts make panting less effective, thus overheating the dog. Senior dogs also need water and a cool place to rest and walk.
4. White dogs need sunscreen. – Dogs with short, white fur can get sunburned, and it hurts just as much as your sunburn. Apply sunscreen to their backs. Dog-friendly sunscreen is available.
5. Never leave a dog or any animal outside with no water. – When dogs drink, they lift water into their mouths with their tongue. A little saliva stays in the water bowl. So the bowl can appear somewhat full, but it isn’t fresh. Make sure dogs have fresh water at all times. No dog should be tied outside during the hottest days of summer.
Tips for overcoming shyness before a job interview
Job interviews can be stressful for most people. However, if you’re uncomfortable around others, the mere thought of sitting in front of a recruiter can feel positively overwhelming. If you don’t want your shyness to hold you back from getting the job of your dreams, the key is to be well-prepared.
The more prepared you are, the less stressed you’re likely to be. Indeed, you’re almost guaranteed to feel confident and at ease, during the interview, if you take the time to get ready for it. To take control of the situation and avoid being caught off guard, you should:
• Ask questions about the interview process
• Research the company beforehand
• Prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions
• Rehearse your answers with someone who can give you feedback
Lastly, on the day of the interview, make sure your shyness doesn’t come across in your body language. In other words, remember to smile, stand and sit up straight, uncross your arms and maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Doing so will help you exude confidence. Good luck!