And speaking of music now I am back home and I rushed to my CDs as soon as I got back looking for the most unamerican thing I could play on the stereo and I was looking for "Afraid of Enduring Freedom: A 'War on Terrorism'", by the Australian experimental group B'O'K', a really excellent sample-based CD, but I couldn't find it, I must have mis-filed it in my collection, so my second choice was what I'm listening to now, a Muslimgauze CD called "Zul'm", which I think means "tyranny" in Arabic. The album is dedicated to all the unknown Palestinians buried in a certain cemetary in Kuwait City. It's really fucking great music, lots of really great Arabic and Indian percussion. I think out of all the albums I own it's the music that is furthest from celebrating the United States of America, other than the previously mentioned one I was looking for and could not find, hidden in the depths of my music collection.

Today my first thought was to do absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, to just do what I would normally do and completely not acknowledge this 228th birthday of my fucked-up country. but a lot of friends were having parties and barbecues and it was a beautiful day and after all i don't really have a "normal" thing I do on sunday. So I went to 4 different BBQs. At the last one I burned myself firing off bottlerockets from a stupid little PVC tube contraption that my friend Reverend Phil made. Then I rode home through throngs of people sitting and watching the stupid city of Portland fireworks.

What was much more interesting is all the people having their own decentralized firework rituals, rather than just consuming the centralized downtown on the river fireworks. But still, this whole pyromaniac glee was pretty pathological, pretty american, and I just kept thinking of that word, "cowboy."

As I wound my way through all the pickups and SUVs that people had DRIVEN in order to get to the river and see shit blowing up, I rode by one truck with some people in the back and one woman shouted to me, "happy fireworks!" And I just marvelled at how that is what this day has become. It's not Independance Day. It's not even the Fourth of July. It's just "Fireworks." All the meaning leached out of it, nothing to it other than the ritual lighting of fuses and watching of the resultant explosions and loud bangs in the clear night sky. Wow.