Hay bales
STRAWS AND STRIPES A new American flag on the hay bales west of Hwy 101 near Arata Lane.

Had a hard time deciding on a snapshot this week. The beautiful new American flag on the hay bales west of Hwy 101 around Arata Lane southbound? Or the large flag flying from Precision Crane Service further south? Or a picture of “Bertha,” standing 120 feet tall, dressed in red, white and blue tails wearing a top hat waving Old Glory while the song Wave That Flag played? The 120-foot-tall Bertha was a contender, but local patriotism won the picture contest.

Even without the Fourth of July fireworks in Healdsburg to celebrate, here’s hoping you dialed in the joy of the season and the reason this holiday is treasured in our 248-year-young country.

Fun facts: “Bertha” is the Grateful Dead’s affectionate name for their iconic skeleton graphic from the Skull & Roses album. The song, “Wave That Flag, appeared on the 1974 album, From the Mars Hotel. The Grateful Dead reportedly sold over 35 million albums worldwide. Their fan base and exceptional live performances keep the Dead alive today. 

Dead & Company plays in their Forever Dead series till Aug. 10 at the Sphere, in Las Vegas. John Mayer, virtuoso guitarist, is resurrecting the Grateful Dead’s music with a younger generation. John Mayer and Taylor Swift were once a thing. Mickey Hart and Bob Weir are still a thing. They are original band members, and still got it going on in Vegas with Dead & Co. The relationship and stage chemistry between Weir and Mayer is fan-fantastic. Some say, “John Mayer is Dead to me.”

The Sphere in Vegas immerses audiences in graphics as well as sound. Images are displayed on a 160,000-square-foot LED TV screen rendering graphics with 250 million pixels. Sound is produced by invisible speakers, almost 1,600 of them with 170,000 drivers. Reportedly, sound can be produced through the floorboards.

The Sphere seats 18,600 people and is 367 feet tall. Construction cost was approximately $2.3 billion. The fourth largest crane in the world was needed to erect its steel frame. The crane shipped from Zeebrugge, Belgium, and was then transported by 120 tractor-trailers to be assembled on-site, then shipped back. Open less than a year, the Sphere seems to be catching on. Its unique imaging and sound capabilities seemed perfect for the Grateful Dead’s iconic graphics and music, and a reason, if one is needed, to go to Vegas.

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