By Amy Ryan
Updated June 30, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT
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Credit: A Capitol Fourth: Richard Termine/Capital Concerts

Traditionally, we celebrate July 4 by going outside, grilling animal flesh, and watching things explode, but if you’ve had enough of the crazy-hot, crazy-wet weather that’s plagued much of the country over the past couple weeks, we’ve found plenty of ways to celebrate the holiday… indoors.

A lot of specials on TV, of course:

-Sunday brings a live Prairie Home Companion special (PBS, 9 p.m.) that includes fictional big-screen PHC-er Meryl Streep (but alas, no Lindsay Lohan).

-On Tuesday, you can celebrate A Capital Fourth, in which such cuddly Americans as Jason Alexander, Stevie Wonder, and Elmo (pictured) watch fireworks in Washington, D.C. (PBS, 8 p.m.)

-Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, featuring similarly cuddly Nick Lachey, Lionel Richie, Liza Minnelli, and Bo Bice performing in New York (NBC, 9 p.m.)

-An American Celebration at Ford’s Theatre, a pre-taped variety show at the site of Lincoln’s assassination, featuring Tom Selleck, Kevin Nealon, Bush impersonator Steve Bridges, and Lonestar (ABC, 10 p.m.)

-The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, in which cannons fired over Boston during the ”1812 Overture” will fail to dislodge emcee Dr. Phil (CBS, 10 p.m.).

Nothing is more all-American than high school and second chances, so it’s your patriotic duty to support Amy Sedaris at the multiplex and see Strangers With Candy.

Correction: Nothing is more all-American than Johnny Cash’s American Recordings series. American V: A Hundred Highways, featuring some of the last songs he ever wrote or recorded, gets an A- from EW’s Gilbert Cruz.

Two fine non-fiction DVDs explore the American experience. The reissue of Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll, Taylor Hackford’s 1987 film about a tribute concert to the rock pioneer, now comes with seven hours of extras, including interviews with such colorful Berry contemporaries as Jerry Lee Lewis and the late Roy Orbison.

Why We Fight, by Eugene Jarecki (Capturing the Friedmans) looks at why the United States is often quick to rush into war.

Read Chad Millman’s The Detonators to learn the full scoop about one of the worst acts of foreign terrorism ever committed on U.S. soil, an explosive event that shattered windows on Wall Street and sent shockwaves across the country; Millman is writing, of course, about the bombing of the Black Tom munitions plant in New Jersey by German saboteurs in 1916.

For a lighter read, check out Robert Sullivan’s Cross Country, a chronicle of the author’s America-spanning road trip with his family.

Finally, if you’re too lazy even to leave your computer this weekend, you can still watch a live concert by the Who, to be webcast on Saturday from London at around 2:45 p.m. EDT. It costs 99 cents to watch the show at thewholive.tv, but the proceeds go to charity.

And if you can’t make it to Prescott, Ariz., or Mackinac Island, Mich., this holiday weekend, you can still keep up online with the progress of the World’s Oldest Rodeo and the annual Stone-Skipping Tournament, respectively.

addCredit(“A Capitol Fourth: Richard Termine/Capital Concerts”)

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