Saturday 9: The National Anthem (2016)
... because it's 4th of July
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) An early handwritten manuscript of "The Star Spangled Banner" (complete with scratch outs) is preserved at the Maryland Historical Society. Today, much of what we write is preserved in The Cloud. Do you often write down your thoughts with pen or pencil? Or do you do everything on your laptop, pad or phone? Oh, my God! In this way I am becoming my late mother! She used to keep a small, spiral-bound notebook beside the phone in the living room. It's where she sat to watch TV, too. So if she heard something on TV, or someone mentioned something to her in a call, she'd make a note of it. Easy enough. Smart, too. But for some reason (lazy? wanting to save paper?) she seldom turned the page. Scribbled notations on a variety of subjects were crammed together. She could never find what she meant to remember. "I have it right here ..."
I look at the handwritten notes next to my "workstation" in the dining room. Titles of Margaret Sullavan movies available to stream are scribbled beside billing codes for my timesheets beside 800 #'s for fuck-if-I-remember. All on the same page. For pity's sake, Gal! Turn the page!
2) It's well-known that the lyrics were written by Francis Scott Key. Not so well known is John Stafford Smith, the British composer who gave us the music. He is buried in England's Gloucester Cathedral, under both the US and UK flags. Where is the nearest United States flag waving near you right now? If you stand in front of the post office, just around the corner from me, you can see three big flags, all at once. 1) Post office, 2) library, 3) war memorial.
This week's video features Lady Gaga singing The National Anthem before
the 2016 Super Bowl. She also performed it at President Biden's
Inauguration last January. When is the last time you sang it? I don't recall the last time I saw I sang it, but I know the next time will be at Wrigley Field on July 23, when my nephew and I watch the Cubs play the Diamondbacks.
4) Our second and third Presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4, 1826. OK, it's your turn. Share a Presidential fact. Here are two bits of trivia about my favorite POTUSes:
a. Tom Hanks is the third cousin of Abraham Lincoln.
b. John F. Kennedy unfailingly requested soup for lunch, regardless of the weather. New England clam chowder was his favorite, but he wasn't picky.
Because I am a nerd about these things, this will undoubtedly be my favorite response to check this week.
5) John Hancock said his signature on the Declaration of Independence was intentionally large so King George could see it without his glasses. Do you need glasses to read? Only for very small print. Mostly I need my glasses to see things at a distance.
6) The Revolutionary War still raged
during that summer of 1777. General George Washington allowed his
soldiers to celebrate with a double ration of run on July 4. Will you be
toasting the United States with an adult beverage this weekend? There's a bottle of Jose Cuervo in my kitchen that may get my attention.
8) Celebrity chef Rachael Ray says she considers mini-hamburgers, or "sliders," the All-American food. What will you be eating this 4th of July? I picked up some chicken salad at the deli counter. They make it with almonds. I love it.
9) The 4th of July is a highlight of the summer season. Have you yet suffered the traditional warm weather maladies: sunburn or bug bites? Not yet. (And hopefully I'll make it to Labor Day without either one.)