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Sunday, July 4, 2004

What's the Fourth of July without a little smoke, a little noise, and a lot of colored lights shooting off in all directions? The city of Santa Rosa banned all fireworks earlier this year, so folks around here just moved their celebrations out of town.

Fireworks have long been banned in the rural areas of Sonoma County (although that doesn't seem to stop the kids around my rustic neighborhood from shooting them off). So it's cities like Rohnert Park, where we found ourselves today, that get all the business.

There were so many people at Rick and Shirley's annual barbecue that I was a bit overwhelmed. Aiden did fine, all day long, but I had a few minor serial panic attacks. I found dark corners to hide in, though, and I managed to stay out of the line of fire when the water balloons started getting tossed around (with malice, I should add).

At least I got to see a few friends and most of the family. We've all been so busy that it's been hard to get together lately. I even got to hold my great nephew for a while, so it was worth all the trauma to get there and the trouble to stay out of people's way. I took my baked beans, and they were a hit. I'm told they were good, but they were gone by the time I got around to eating anything.

And the fireworks were just as loud, smoky and brilliant as ever. A police car showed up at the end of the court, made its presence known, and then moved on. I guess that means we were keeping things "safe and sane," as they say. It certainly made very little impression on Aiden, who slept peacefully through it all.

4 July 2004

Fourth of July.

He was awake a lot of the day today, though, looking around and trying to focus those big, bright eyes of his. I'm pretty sure he made eye contact with me a few times. I know he didn't recognize me, because it's been two weeks since the last time I saw him (and he wasn't focusing nearly as well then). He's bigger now, and taking more of an interest in the things around him.

4 July 2004

Aiden with his mom.

I'm glad I went, although about halfway through the day I wasn't so sure about that. There were just so many people that I didn't know, but once they started spreading out so that there was a little more open space, I did better. By the time we left tonight, after all the commotion was starting to die down, I was fine.

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How can you become a major league umpire and not know how the game is played? A's starter Mark Mulder hit two Giants with pitches, and no warning was given. Mulder was hit by a pitch later in the game and the Giant pitcher was ejected immediately, and then both benches were warned. After that, any hit batter would cause the pitcher and manager to be thrown out of the game. When Giants reliever Felix Rodriguez hit Eric Byrnes (who just happened to have hit two three-run homers in the game), he was tossed immediately. Later the umpires said that they determined that the two batters Mulder hit were hit unintentionally, but that when Tyler Walker hit Mulder it was intentional and therefore grounds for ejection. That's not how major league baseball works. If your guy hits two of my guys, I'm entitled to a little payback. I won't hurt your guy (and in fact Mulder was plunked in the backside and suffered far less than Barry Bonds, who was hit on the hand by a Mulder pitch). I'll just hit him and it'll be over. All this interference from the umpires only makes things worse. They should stay out of it unless they know what they're talking about. (And by the way, the A's won the game, 9-6, and the two teams won't face each other again this year. Maybe that's for the best.)

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One year ago: Fourth
"We are sometimes so pleased with ourselves and satisfied with the way things are that we forget that liberty and justice for all means something. Those are not just words. They're our guiding principles. They're the goals we still haven't quite reached."

Three years ago: A Declaration
"The courage of Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin, however imperfectly realized, should inspire those oppressed by despots and tyrants for as long as freedom for all remains a goal instead of a fact."

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