10 Famous Americans Who Were Born on the Fourth of July

RuthBlack, iStock / Getty Images Plus
RuthBlack, iStock / Getty Images Plus

One of our favorite pieces of presidential trivia is that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, and James Monroe followed in their footsteps exactly five years later. However, there's only one president, who was born on the Fourth of July: Calvin Coolidge. Although they may not have been presidents, here are 10 other people who celebrate their birthdays on the same day as the United States.

1. Nathaniel Hawthorne // 1804

You no doubt remember Hawthorne from your ninth-grade English class: he wrote The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables, among other things. He also wrote a biography of president Franklin Pierce, whom he counted among his good friends.

2. Stephen Foster // 1826

Foster is sometimes called the "Father of American Music" because he wrote the tunes that have been frequently stuck in our heads ever since: "Oh! Susanna," "Camptown Races," "Beautiful Dreamer," "My Old Kentucky Home," and "Swanee River," to name a few. And, you'll notice he was born on the same date that Adams and Jefferson died.

3. Louis B. Mayer // 1882

The story goes that Mayer chose his own birthday when he came to America with his parents. He also chose his name, his birthplace, and his birth year—he was born Lazar Meir in a small town in Belarus, but by the time he became involved with the movie business, he was Louis B. Mayer, born July 4, 1885, from Minsk. You'd know him best as the third name in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, a.k.a. MGM.

4. Rube Goldberg // 1883

Reuben "Rube" Goldberg wasn't just the namesake for large-scale, complex, ridiculous contraptions. He was also a famous political cartoonist and won a Pulitzer in 1948 for a cartoon called "Peace Today."

5. and 6. Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren // 1918

Twin advice columnists Ann Landers (born Esther "Eppie" Pauline Friedman) and Dear Abby (born Pauline "Popo" Esther Friedman) grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. It's safe to say that they didn't celebrate many adult birthdays together; although they were very close in their younger years (they even had a joint wedding), a falling out caused the two to stop speaking to one another for years.

7. Neil Simon // 1927

The New York playwright won numerous Tony Awards and a Pulitzer for his comedic shows, including The Odd Couple and Biloxi Blues. In 1983, he became the only living playwright to have a Broadway theater named for him.

8. George Steinbrenner // 1930

It's fitting that the legendary owner of the baseball team formerly known as the New York Americans was born on July 4th, don't you think? (That would be the Yankees—a newspaper editor coined that name in 1904.)

9. Geraldo Rivera // 1943

The tabloid talk show host/journalist was born "Gerald" in New York City, but when graduated college and headed into the reporting field, he changed it to what his Puerto Rican father's side of the family called him.

10. Ron Kovic // 1946

Kovic is the Vietnam Vet who wrote the book Born on the Fourth of July, which was later turned into the movie starring Tom Cruise. During his second tour of Vietnam, he became paralyzed from a gunshot wound that caused a spinal cord injury. Upon his return to the U.S., he became arguably the most famous veteran peace activist.

This story was updated in 2019.

This Outdoor Lantern Will Keep Mosquitoes Away—No Bug Spray Necessary

Thermacell, Amazon
Thermacell, Amazon

With summer comes outdoor activities, and with those activities come mosquito bites. If you're one of the unlucky people who seem to attract the insects, you may be tempted to lock yourself inside for the rest of the season. But you don't have to choose between comfort and having a cocktail on the porch, because this lamp from Thermacell ($25) keeps outdoor spaces mosquito-free without the mess of bug spray.

The device looks like an ordinary lantern you would display on a patio, but it works like bug repellent. When it's turned on, a fuel cartridge in the center provides the heat needed to activate a repellent mat on top of the lamp. Once activated, the repellent in the mat creates a 15-by-15-foot bubble of protection that repels any mosquitos nearby, making it a great option for camping trips, days by the pool, and backyard barbecues.

Mosquito repellent lantern.

Unlike some other mosquito repellents, this lantern is clean, safe, and scent-free. It also provides light like a real lamp, so you can keep pests away without ruining your backyard's ambience.

The Thermacell mosquito repellent lantern is now available on Amazon. If you've already suffered your first mosquito bites of the summer, here's some insight into why that itch can be so excruciating.

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Happy Canada Day! What Exactly Is Canada Day?

bluejayphoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus
bluejayphoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Happy Canada Day! On July 1, 1867, the nation was officially born when the Constitution Act joined three provinces into one country: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canada province, which then split into Ontario and Quebec. However, Canada was not completely independent of England until 1982.

The holiday called Dominion Day was officially established in 1879, but it wasn't observed by many Canadians, who considered themselves to be British citizens. Dominion Day started to catch on when the 50th anniversary of the confederation rolled around in 1917. In 1946, a bill was put forth to rename Dominion Day, but arguments in the House of Commons over what to call the holiday stalled the bill.

The 100th anniversary of the nation's official creation in 1967 saw the growth of the spirit of Canadian patriotism, and Dominion Day celebrations really began to take off. Although quite a few Canadians already called the holiday Canada Day (or Fête du Canada), the new name wasn't formally adopted until October of 1982.

How to celebrate Canada Day

There are many ways to celebrate Canada Day. First: What's a patriotic celebration without a parade? Typically, parades are held in cities, towns, and villages all over Canada (though many of this year's event will be virtual, due to the coronavirus pandemic). The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have an established group called the RCMP Musical Ride. These 32 officers, who are rotated after three years' service, perform equestrian drills for the public throughout Canada.

Other Canada Day traditions that are gaining footholds are picnics, festivals, sporting events, and fireworks.

Many Canada Day events are planned all over the country, including Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, and Victoria (though, again, 2020 may look a bit different).

If you want to celebrate at home, why not belt out your own rendition of "O Canada"? You can find the lyrics here. And hear the French version as well.

This story has been updated for 2020.