This is a weekend of BBQ, hot dogs, apple pie, baseball and fireworks as Americans around the world gather to celebrate Independence Day. While most of us aren't going to spend the day reading the Declaration of Independence (or even know it's first line by heart--join with me and shed a tear for the state of education today), the majority of Americans will celebrate "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" today surrounded by friends and family. This is a weekend plenty of Americans partake in strong drink, and I know the rest of the Masthead and BRBers hope that you and yours stay safe this holiday weekend.
Our beloved Texans have made the headlines this week, in ways we dislike, but that's been handled by what I shall term an "adjustment" of the roster. Unfortunately, the Astros have been undergoing some "adjustments" of the roster, too, due to injury and ineptitude. They're in the land of bean and cod this weekend taking on the Red Sox, before heading to the Cleveland to take on the Indians, and then Tampa Bay to challenge the Rays. The Houston Dynamo drew against the Chicago Fire last night, so they're off for the weekend, while the Houston Dash are off this weekend as well.
In US Soccer news, Clint Dempsey will not be wearing the captain's armband during the US Gold Cup. Instead, that honor will go to Michael Bradley. Dempsey is still dealing with the ramifications of his hissy fit during the US Open Cup, but he's handled his demotion with grace. The men open up their defense of their Gold Cup title next Tuesday in my neck of the woods. If they win it, they earn a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. The ladies will challenge Japan for the FIFA Women's World Cup title Sunday.
For those of us who like tennis, Wimbledon is here, and Serena Williams is doing the d@mn thing. U-S-A! U-S-A! Americans in action on Independence Day include John Isner (gentlemen's singles), Madison Keys (ladies' singles, ladies' doubles, mixed doubles), Bethanie Mattek-Sands (ladies' qualifying singles, ladies' singles, ladies' doubles, mixed doubles), Coco Vandeweghe (ladies' singles, ladies doubles), Madison Brengle (ladies' singles, ladies' doubles, mixed doubles), Mike Bryan (gentlemen's doubles, mixed doubles), Bob Bryan (gentlemen's doubles, mixed doubles), Nicholas Monroe (gentlemen's doubles), Claire Liu (girls' singles), Michaela Gordon (girls' singles), Kayla Day (girls' singles), Tornado Alicia Black (girls' singles), Caroline Dolehide (girls' singles), Francesca Di Lorenzo (girls' singles), Ingrid Neel (girls' singles), Usue Maitane Arconada (girls' singles), and Nathan Ponwith (boys' singles). Venus Williams, Denis Kudla, Lisa Raymond, and Jack Sock are still in the tourney, while Sloane Stephens, Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey, Lauren Davis, Rajeev Ram, Scott Lipsky, and Eric Butorac crashed out Friday. There's plenty of Americans to whet our appetite this weekend. It'd be nice if someone would rise up to eventually succeed the Williams' sisters as the face of American tennis, though.
In world news, Greece became the first developed nation in history to default to the IMF, and Greeks are going to the polls Sunday for a referendum on whether their government should accept the conditions of a proposed bailout package. The outcome of this decision can determine whether Greece remains in the Euro, and, more importantly (since Greece's economy has been a basket case for decades) whether the Euro really is sustainable long-term. That proposed nuclear deal with Iran has taken a backseat for most Americans behind more immediate events, but it's still in the works. Reddit is angry and closing down in protest. Tunisia is in a state of emergency. Ukraine is talking war. Shell is going to start drilling in the Arctic soon. Our army left some bacon in England. BP must pay. This looks like it's going to be awesome to follow. Finally, a legit reason for selfies. Robots are killing people in Germany.
In honor of Magic Mike, I bring you Nine Inch Nails' "Closer," a song heard in the film.
With that, Independence S.N.O.T. is open! Comment on happenings below, y'all.