Happy Fourth of July weekend to you, and you, and you and you!

Our weekend started with a bang at our friends’ Miles and Jay’s backyard barbecue and firework fest in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago.

We had a blast over drinks, hot dogs and our own firework display. That neighborhood is a bit chaotic with the amount of fireworks, and our poor dog Talulah hated every second of it.

But we had fun memorializing our nation’s freedom.

Enjoy some of these photos I took throughout the night.







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Benjamin Morris says: Lionel Messi Is Impossible

You know I love the World Cup. I did my self portrait this month to exhibit that.

In honor of today’s Argentina game against Belgium, take a look at this article about Lionel Messi … It seems to have changed my views on him. Some snips below.

In their Group F World Cup match late last month, Argentina and Iran were still deadlocked after 90 minutes. With the game in stoppage time and the score tied at 0-0, Lionel Messi took the ball near the right corner of the penalty area, held it for a moment, then broke left, found his seam, took his strike and curled it in from 29 yards. What was going to be a draw was now a win, and Messi had put Argentina into the Round of 16.

It was the sort of play that inspired the phrase “Messi magic.” But for those who only watch soccer when the World Cup rolls around, this was probably only the second (or at most third) goal they’d seen from the little man they call La Pulga (“The Flea”). Despite having 407 career goals in club and international play (including a record 91 in 2012 alone) and a record four Ballon d’Or (World Player of the Year) awards, until this year’s tournament, Messi hadn’t scored in a World Cup match since 2006.

Later …

By now I’ve studied nearly every aspect of Messi’s game, down to a touch-by-touch level: his shooting and scoring productionwhere he shoots from;how often he sets up his own shotswhat kind of kicks he uses to make those shotshis ability to take on defendershow accurate his passes are;the kind of passes he makeshow often he creates scoring chanceshow often those chances lead to goalseven how his defensive playmaking compares to other high-volume shooters.

And that’s just the stuff that made it into this article. I arrived at a conclusion that I wasn’t really expecting or prepared for: Lionel Messi is impossible.

It’s not possible to shoot more efficiently from outside the penalty area than many players shoot inside it. It’s not possible to lead the world in weak-kick goals and long-range goals. It’s not possible to score on unassisted plays as well as the best players in the world score on assisted ones. It’s not possible to lead the world’s forwards both in taking on defenders and in dishing the ball to others. And it’s certainly not possible to do most of these things by insanely wide margins.

But Messi does all of this and more.