Go Fourth!

Sure the Fourth of July is all about picnics, fireworks and probably America beer but we can’t forget the decorations found around town.

This tradition was started by our cross country rival publication the Pittsburgh Orbit and has inspired a need to showcase displays of patriotism in the Portland area as well.


I saw this display around 15th and Broadway in NE. It doesn’t explain itself but it makes good use of it’s window design, construction paper elements and symmetry to create an appealing, eye catching, festival of patriotism.


This is a good example of an interior flag decals. Others I’ve seen are faded and peeling off. If this doesn’t make you put your hand over your heart and mumble the Pledge of Allegiance, I don’t know what will.

USA Cart

At the tail end of my own shopping cart hysteria, I discovered this mobile can and bottle collecting vehicle chained to a sign at the end of our street. The decor it sports shouts a patriotic fervor that can’t be denied.



Flag waving sentiments were found within a backdrop of pole art when a cloth flag was affixed to a utility pole in North Portland. This banner may not yet wave like the song says but it does make for a grungy addition of American spirit to an old pole.


I like inflatable decorations of any kind, type or holiday so this Uncle Sam bear cub was destined to catch my eye and camera lens. The bear looks great in patriotic plastic. Here’s hoping he can dodge drifting fireworks sparks.


Faded glory for sure but this one harkens back to the days when we were all proud to be an America back when Lee Greenwood was haunting many a concert stage. While the stripes have long since faded on the flag, the bumper sticker offers up a historical record of there being yet another barber shop in Kenton.


Having made it to the Vernonia Friendship Jamboree on a bike camping trip last summer, I saw this banner decoration attached to a sale sign. Stars and stripes are never a bad way to increase traffic to whatever kind of sale you wish to advertise.

See also: https://pittsburghorbit.wordpress.com/2016/07/04/flag-post-a-very-orbit-independence-day-2016/



The Pittsburgh Orbit

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Since I started the Portland Orbit, I had the idea that other cities could have their own Orbit, but I didn’t consider how I could accomplish this. Once I started blogging, I spent all my spare time on the content of the blog so franchising became a forgotten dream. Then my old friend Will Simmons and I were emailing about something and he planted the seed of starting the Pittsburgh Orbit. I wrote him back and said, yeah, that would be really cool, no pressure or anything and he was hesitant, but the next thing I knew not only had he started the site, he was blogging like a fiend and the content was amazing to me.

Pittsburgh flood markers, a jaws tombstone and gum graffiti are just some of the topics Will has written about. Writing like a professor on some kind of academic steroids, his thoughts are far from stuffy, they’re alive, comical, sometimes sad but always engaging. If this is to become a west coast east coast rivalry I can only hope it remains friendly. Will is raising the blogging bar so high that I’m not sure my nephew John could high jump over it. The Portland Orbit recently posted a piece on a baby doll strapped to a car while the Pittsburgh Orbit ran an expose on a dead mall in suburban Pittsburgh. Baby doll vs dead mall, mono brow vs high brow, I don’t know, it could be a west coast/east coast thing, only time and continued writing will tell.

It was over ten years ago that Will helped me produced a video about Pittsburgh for a public access television series I was producing. Without much direction, Will stepped into a producer and TV host role with ease. He guided us to great material for segments then drove us around as the camera rolled and we got to know his city.  Will is the kind of guy who is always willing to help, has great ideas and loves talking about Pittsburgh.

We welcome the Pittsburgh Orbit to the blogosphere. There can’t be anyone more proud and excited to be reading the thoughts of Will Simmons on the city where he has been a long time resident, a place he now considers his adopted hometown. It’s going on 20 years, if memory serves me well, and much of that time has found Will, camera in hand, exploring his surroundings. The idea of him sharing his Pittsburgh enthusiasm with me and other readers means we’re in for some good reading. Whether you’ve lived in Pittsburgh, visited or even if you’re unfamiliar with the city but you enjoy absorbing curious culture about a specific locale, I know the Pittsburgh Orbit will provide enjoyment to anyone in any of these categories.

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Will Simmons takes Clown Art serious.

Watch the public access show about Pittsburgh featuring Will Simmons as an accidentally awesome TV host:

See Will Simmons in his musician guise from his days as a member of the legendary band The Hope-Harveys:

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