The Fourth of July is tomorrow. One of my favorite holidays. America is by far the greatest country in the world to live in, and what better way to celebrate that than by grilling meat and blowing things up.
I have a big fenced in backyard and cool neighbors. Thus, most of the neighborhood descends upon my house for the festivities each Independence Day. My backyard will look like a battleground Thursday morning. Burnt grass, firework schrapnel and casings strewn everywhere, parachute men stuck in all the trees, and a general lingering aroma that would please Robert Duvall’s character from “Apolcalypse Now”.
One of my favorite parts of the day is the morning trip to the firework store with my soon to be seven year old son. The kid is downright giddy when we go. The whole experience is hysterical, starting with how shady the building looks:
Then, in the store, you know the stuff is insanely marked up and a frivolous waste of money … but something just takes over when you get in there and see it all, especially when you have a hopped-up-on-firework-excitement seven year old boy with you egging you on.
Another great part of the day is the brutal tongue lashing I get from my wife when I walk in the door with bags and bags of fireworks. I’m talking Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” levels of anger. I know its coming. I try and just block as much of it out as I can, lie about what I spent, take my punishment like a man, and let the anger slowly and painfully subside until people come over, when she’s forced to once again be nice to me.
Another fun part? Running away from lit fuses. Nothing like that rush of lighting the fuse and then darting away. Especially in hot dry weather like this, which makes for quick fuses.
And of course, none of this fun could happen without my trusty “launching pad”. Formerly a cabinet door, The Launching Pad has embarked on a new, much more exciting life as an accessory to ignite explosive devices.
But probably the best part of the day is when I unleash the “Victory Celebration” on the unsuspecting masses. One at a time, it launches 37 shells into the air that explode and send cute little parachute men floating down to the ground. The neighborhood kids GO CRAZY, it is outstanding. It looks like the Normandy invasion, except with kids running around everywhere, trying to catch the parachute men as they float back down to earth.
Quote of the Day …
“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.” ~ John F. Kennedy
Insane Fact of the Day …
Ohio is listed as the 17th state in the U.S., but technically it is number 47. Until August 7, 1953, Congress forgot to vote on a resolution to admit Ohio to the Union.
Should be a really quiet day for the markets. Outside of factory order data at 10 AM, we get no significant economic releases today. Bond markets close early at 2 PM. All markets are closed tomorrow in observance of the Independence Day holiday. And all market observers are kinda lying in wait for the battery of American jobs numbers that will be released on Thursday and Friday.
Stocks lost a little ground yesterday after Friday’s 278-point rally in the wake of an agreement by European Union leaders on fresh measures to tackle the euro-zone debt crisis. The economic data yesterday was mixed. The ISM Manufacturing Index fell to 49.7, below the consensus of 52.0, and the lowest level since July 2009. Readings below 50 typically are consistent with a contraction in the sector. A one month slip below 50.0 is not cause for great concern, but it would be if it stays below that level. On the other side of the fence, data on construction spending from the Commerce Dept was upbeat. Outlays for U.S. construction projects jumped 0.9% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $830 billion. That was the biggest increase of the year and was well above analysts’ expectations of a 0.2% rise. More positive news for the battered housing sector.
At the end of the day, everyone is waiting on the jobs data after we return from the holiday. Jobs numbers are driving everything right now. We’re pretty much at the point where consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the US economy, will not increase significantly enough to have any impact until we figure out a way to put more people back to work.
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