So here we are approaching another July Fourth, which you will note is hardly ever called Independence Day anymore (many young folks believe “Independence Day” refers to another movie where Will Smith saves the world). I’m not sure who has saved the world more times, Smith or Tom Cruise, but if I were President Barack Obama I’d make sure both of them were included among those 300 advisers we’re sending to Iraq.  

I don’t know about you, but I conjure up a certain image when I hear the term “advisors.” Just how does that work? You’re an Iraqi general whose army is in the midst of getting its ass kicked and there’s an American adviser standing by you who keeps saying, “I told you to duck, dammit.” I picture American military advisers much like driving school instructors who caution that you just missed a stop sign. If our advisers are getting shot at, but are really non-combatants, maybe we should just send pacifists.  But I digress. About July Fourth.

It’s a day where American men take to their grills and burn perfectly good food. If you’re not sure what constitutes the difference between charred and burnt food, here it is — burnt food is what your husband cooks on July Fourth, while charred food is what costs $28 an entree in a restaurant. You have good reason to question my foodie credentials, but I’ll have you know that I occasionally shop in Whole Foods — it’s not every store that has a breakfast cereal named after a character in “Beowulf.”

Now that the Pope has excommunicated church members associated with organized crime, I guess my Aunt Millie will have to toss out her statue of St. Tony the Enforcer.  Is nothing sacred anymore? If we’re going to limit church participation only to the pure-at-heart, whose going to be left in the church besides those monks that make jellies and jams?

My train of thought keeps going off the track. Where was I?  Oh, July Fourth! Good Americans are never supposed to tire of fireworks. Frankly, I don’t see the big deal about shooting sparklers into the sky synched to the “Mamma Mia” soundtrack. What scares me is a future where some goofy kids are launching drones in a schoolyard at every adult who ever hollered at them for smoking pot and cursing the nearby neighbors.

Speaking of pot, I am squarely behind Councilman-at-Large Jim Kenney and his bill passed by City Council to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey insists he’s going to enforce the pot laws anyway. Apparently in Philadelphia, the police do such a great job of catching violent criminals that if they didn’t enforce the marijuana laws on the books, they simply would have nothing to do. 

And I know you’re not going to believe this, but leave it to Mayor Michael Nutter to find a way to disagree with Kenney, even on the decriminalization of marijuana. The mayor is concerned that enforcement of the law would place too much pressure on city police. According to Nutter, how can the cops determine if the amount of pot found on a person is less than an ounce? Here’s an idea — my wife has a cup that she uses for measuring the ingredients in her pizzelle batter. You can probably buy measuring cups at Fante’s on Ninth Street and save many otherwise innocent young adults from getting a criminal record.    

I think July Fourth is a good time for the pro football Washington team to stop using “Redskins” as its team name. I realize there’s a bunch of folks out there who think Washington is the more offensive part of the team’s name than Redskins. Our Native Americans are a proud people, and I for one can understand their anger at being wrongly associated with Washington owner Daniel Snyder. Snyder’s wretched team is more odiferous than a toxic waste dump. He hates the media so much that he placed the visiting team’s broadcast booth near a restroom where it is practically impossible to call the game. Visiting announcers usually make up entire plays because they can’t see the field, but they almost always guess right on the score when they say, “Redskins lose.” Snyder donated 3,000 winter coats to a Sioux tribe in an effort to show his abiding concern for Native Americans. Maybe he can change the name of his team to the Washington North Face.

Dick Cheney is making the rounds of the news shows again. You can recognize Cheney —  he’s the one who looks a lot like Dracula without the winning smile.  Cheney was wrong on just about everything concerning the Iraq War, but he thinks we ought to listen to him now based on the law of averages, or, as my mother used to say, even a blind squirrel can find an acorn.  Cheney’s apologists won’t let go of his miscalculation concerning the missing weapons of mass destruction. A Cheney fan points out that the missing item was there all along, just in neighboring Syria. So, Cheney wasn’t wrong about the WMD, he just invaded the wrong country! I feel better about him already.

Would you pass me one of those burnt hot dogs, please. Yes, thank you. Could I have a little aloe with it instead of relish and mustard? 

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