Our annual, glorious Fourth of July parade made its way through Pacific Palisades, California at the end of Sunset Boulevard this afternoon with the usual pomp, pols, marching bands, and military celebration, but a little less homegrown starpower and more overt corporate sponsorship than in recent years. With Grand Marshal Marion Ross from Happy Days competing with honorary mayor Love Boat captain and Christian patriot Gavin MacLeod competing in the explain-to-the-kids-who-they-are competition, we were a long way from the recent years of Pat Boone, Anthony Hopkins or even Steve Guttenberg.
The biggest star on the route was neighbor Carl Lewis, the 10-medal-winning Olympic athlete (nine gold), whom America has never really cottoned to after all these years. Carl sat alone in the back of an open-top Ford Mustang.
Ford, because the Buerge Ford dealership was the loud sponsor of the parade, with a July Fourth weekend sale-a-bration display at the corner of Sunset and Swarthmore, lots of Ford cars on route and mentions from the reviewing stands, and even a Ford-sponsored house party that dominated the block as the parade winds though a residential neighborhood near its end.
One of the Buerge family lives along the route and was praised in the local paper as the biggest single donor to this years festivities, so the advertising is understandable.
Meanwhile, with all the muscle cars, SUVs and Jeeps on display, gas was topping $5.14 a gallon at the Sunset Shell station.
Little controversy this year unless you count LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who took heat for among other things recommending that the city pay $2.7 million to a black firefighter who was fed dog food as a prank; and this year's contingent of right wing wackos, this one a Christian group led by Ronald Reagan, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and John Quincy Adams impersonators handing off the microphone to spout off about America as a Christian nation. At least they were followed by the Chabad and were more harmless than the hateful Minuteman morons who showed up along with John of the local "John and Ken" hate radio show in 2006. John had ridden in the parade before, but hasn't been back since he was booed down the route that year.