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The Burien Independence Day Parade - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
The Burien Independence Day Parade
Today was the annual Independence Day parade for my home town of Burien, WA, a sleepy suburb a few miles south of Seattle. Since Omaha is a political operative for the local Democratic machine, she was obliged to walk in the parade on behalf of her local senators and representatives, and my being the dutiful husband walked with her.

It was a fun walk, waving to people, throwing candy, seeing all the stores thrown open and offering their wares, or samples, or "introductory check-ups" for medical services, or whatever. The winery wasn't open-- it was Sunday, after all-- and there were new stores, including a hopeful "take home a pre-made ready-to-cook meal made with local and organic ingredients" store that wouldn't look out-of-place near a Whole Foods, but was somewhat weird in our more blue-collar neighborhood. There were pretty boys and girls, and lots of grizzled retirees, and families, and kids begging for candy thrown from floats and presenters.

The groups in the parade were political— Dave Upthegrove, Karen Keiser, Tina Orwall, Adam Smith, others, almost all of them Democrats... the Republicans in this town don't even seem to bother. I should go to a 33rd District Republicans meeting just to find out how dysfunctional they are; social and professional— The Masons (they run the world, you know), local clubs, local amateur theaters, fraternities (not the college kind); and educational— high school clubs and organizations. As well as the local police, fire, and emergency services. Oh, and our local Metro service, which is introducing a new firey red-and-yellow line of buses for rapid transit (photo down below). We'll see if it works, but I don't know why they touted it to Burien now— my town's not slated to get one of these until 2013.

Kouryou-chan and Yamaraashi-chan walked with us (what else were they going to do?) and handed out some of the candy we'd brought-- 40 pounds all told. Not all of it went into Kouryou-chan's mouth, I'm proud to say.

The weather turned ugly as we headed home, but we still made it out to a friend's after-parade barbecue, where there was more talk of politics, and much drinking of beer. I had to teach someone the meaning of the word "bandwidth." She was shocked to learn that all Internet traffic from the US to Europe and Asia goes by undersea cable; she'd thought it was all satellites by now.

Parade Route
Parade Route
That building on the left in the foreground is our new and nifty library and town hall. The building in the back? That's a condominium and retail space that's currently in limbo: the contractor has defaulted on his loan, and the bank that held the loan was recently seized by the Fed. The rates on both condos and retail space are way over current market, but the contractor is legally obliged to hold them there until the Fed figures out who holds the loan and the contractor can negotiate a loan payment scheme with the new holder. And according to one source I spoke with, so many loans across Washington are in this kind of freaked-out holding pattern right now that it'll be years before this building starts generating any revenue for the city. What a mess.

Belly Dancers
Belly Dancers
Burien is a small town, but it's in a very liberal district-- in some senses. We had a local adult bookstore, but it closed down, not due to legal issues but just not enough local business. We have a very high church density. And yet, we remain quintessentially Western Washington, mostly voting Democratic, very understanding of our neighbors, etc. Which explains why there are so damned many Yoga, Chiro, and miscellaneous outlets, like the belly dance school.

Skunkworks Fursuit and 24601
Skunkworks Fursuit and 24601
Although we're a Boeing town, the local high school robotics hobby team (which has won a few competitions) has taken the Lockheed nickname "skunkworks," complete with fursuit, as their own.

If you're a fan of musical theater, you might recognize the number 24601. The other high school has a big drama team and they put on Les Miserables this year. 24601 is Jean Valjean's prisoner number, as sung over and over by the villainous policeman Javert in the opening piece.

Zombies vote Democratic
Zombies vote Democratic
I have no idea why this guy was dressed as a zombie. He was the only one. But apparently zombies vote Democratic, as he was very happy to meet his local representatives and senator.

Protester at the Biker Bar
Protester at the Biker Bar
This woman was apparently unhappy to meet her Democratic (and democratically elected) representatives and senator, because she was giving the group a big thumbs down as it went by, shouting "Boo!" at the top of her lungs. She was outside Ernie's, the local leather-and-bikes bar for straight people.

(I kinda have to add "for straight people" since most of the leather bars I've been to haven't been.)

Little Princesses
Little Princesses
Someday, these little girls are hoping to win scholarships based upon the quality of their smiles. As I get older, I get more and more repulsed by the idea that some parents still think this is a good idea.

IFA 17 Float
IFA 17 Float
The IFA is a supportive fraternity for families who have lost a police officer father, mother, husband or wife to on-the-job violence. Does "Keystone Kops" really convey their message successfully?

Bandleaders
Bandleaders

The Band
The Band

There's still something impressive about convincing over a hundred young people to suit up in ridiculous clothing on hot summer days and march in synchronized patterns while playing high-quality music on archaic instruments. It just speaks to our deep need to be led by something, organized into something greater than ourselves. A marching band is just a small taste of what Becker called an "immortality project," creating something that, being bigger than you, must be capable of surviving without you, but with your imprint, your mark.

RapidRide
RapidRide
The RapidRide buslines, like "light rail without the rail," is going in to let people know about six new bus lines with their own lanes, their own queues, and traffic lights that can detect the buses and optimize timing for them. They actually drove this thing along the parade route. I don't know why they're touting it now-- my town's not slated to get one of these until 2013.


(Aside: I Am A Camera. This is not the Buggles doing a cover of a Yes song. Yes does a cover of this Buggles song. Given that the Buggles were made up of two guys, one of whom eventually went to Yes and the other went to Asia, things seemed to have worked out for what was nominally a one-hit wonder.)

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: The Buggles, I Am A Camera

9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
autopope From: autopope Date: July 5th, 2010 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
The Buggles weren't a one-hit wonder;in the UK they had something like four #1 hits in a row ... And if that's not enough, Trevor Horne co-founded ZTT, discovered Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and revolutionized music production (at least in the UK).
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: July 5th, 2010 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)
A #16 and a #38 according to everyhit.com - not quite one-hit wonder, but not far off.

autopope From: autopope Date: July 5th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's in the USA, yes?
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: July 5th, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, the UK. It's a useful site if you want, as I did at one point, to find all the #2s...

The Art of Noise had three top 10s and one top 20, and Horn has had lots of #1s as a producer.
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: July 5th, 2010 07:43 am (UTC) (Link)
The problem with satellites being the delay, presumably.
elfs From: elfs Date: July 5th, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, it's bandwidth. There's only so much earth-to-surface spectrum. Undersea fiberoptics can always be built up.
phred1973 From: phred1973 Date: July 5th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait Wait... What?

The Buggles went on to form part of the lineup of both Yes(one incarnation) and Asia!?

Damn - I learn something new twice a week - if I pay a bit of attention.

Yeah, didn't know this - but Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe are two of my favorite musical type peoples
creepingcrud From: creepingcrud Date: July 6th, 2010 01:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Trever Horne joined as singer on Drama while Jon Anderson was out of the band - I gather the Buggles were rehearsing a few doors down and the remaining members of Yes liked what they heard. Good album, that.

Geoff Downes has been doing Asia more or less continuously since, initially with the Wetton/Howe/Palmer "supergroup" lineup and then later with frontman John Payne, who then promptly got left in the lurch when the aforementioned Wetton/Howe/Palmer were looking to cash in on 80s nostalgia for some ready change. Interestingly, while the split was (I understand) less than amicable, there are now 2 "Asia"s, as "Asia featuring John Payne" is actively touring, continuing to perform the 90s material of the band. I find most of the original Asia material awfully trite and formulaic at this point, but I gotta say, they used to (possibly still) do pretty sweet versions of "Starless" and "Book of Saturday" from Wetton's "King Crimson" days.
phred1973 From: phred1973 Date: July 6th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, after reading Elf's post, I went on a 3-hour wikipedia chain binge.

Thanks!
9 comments or Leave a comment