Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th!

Do you remember being a kid and shooting off all kinds of fireworks? The 4th was always one of my favorite holidays and my parents would get us smoke bombs, firecrackers and other fireworks that we would play with for days. This all kind of stopped abruptly once when my brother blew his finger tips off after putting together some kind of firecracker concoction and it exploded in his hand. So, have fun but be careful. Or do parents let kids play with fireworks anymore?


Blogger Cham said...

I've never bought any fireworks in my life but last year on July 5th I was passing a fireworks stand with "Big Close-Out Sale" sign. I couldn't resist, everything was half-priced. So I filled up a bag of pretty colored fireworks, stuff that makes really loud noises.

I haven't had the opportunity to set any of the stuff off yet, but I must say, I am getting more mileage from telling some of my uppercrust friends that I am going to bring my bag-o-fireworks on our outings and light them up. The look of disdain is priceless.

PS: Some of the fireworks I bought are called "Sounds of the City". I don't see the point of lighting them considering I already have the regular sounds of the city going on all the time.

7:30 AM, July 04, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


You've really missed out--get those fireworks out and shoot them off. Don't let your friends put a damper on your July 4th festivities.

7:36 AM, July 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During my family's decade stint in Johnson City, there was a wonderful, beautiful fireworks display sponsored by Pepsi Cola every 4th. I am hopeful it still happens.

Although many people went to the heart of town to watch the display, many more spread out into the hills surrounding the city to watch. A local radio station played songs timed exactly to the fireworks display. It was truly a marvel. I swear you could hear the roar of the crowds echoing through the valley areas like rolling thunder. We always brought blankest to sit on and a cooler full of drinks and munchies.

Similar fireworks displays, many on a grander scale, happen in cities all over our country on this most glorious of days. In my mind, none will approach sitting on those hillsides ooing and
awing with my kids and dozens of families, watching the fireworks in Johnson City.

Happy 4th of July to everyone! And especially our military personnel, who are out there making sure we will have another celebration next year.

8:13 AM, July 04, 2008  
Blogger Marbel said...

I have fond memories of watching our neighbor's illegal fireworks from the backyard. My brother always had firecrackers, cherry bombs and such and never had any accidents that I know of.

Last year for the first time we bought some sparklers and a few other items for our kids. The favorite were some tanks that shot sparks. My son loved those and kept one that got a shot through it from another tank. This year we bought some more and I'm sure he's planning his tank battles for this evening. My daughter is happy with sparklers so far.

Even though I have seen many big fireworks displays, my favorite remains a small display my husband and I saw by a lake in Connecticut. I think that was the trip we figured out we had compatible traveling styles and set us on track for getting married.

Happy Independence Day! And yes, BR549, in particular to our armed forces, past and present.

8:36 AM, July 04, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have many fond memories from my mis-spent youth, "rapid uncontrolled disassembly" of plastic airplane models using firecrackers.

There's also an especially humorous incident involving a model rocket engine, an empty Pringle's can, and a pack of 1.5" firecrackers that we needn't get into. ;)

8:41 AM, July 04, 2008  
Blogger Zaplito said...

Once when we were blowing up models and lighting them with gasoline the fire went up my arm, caught my jacket and the gas can on fire. Forget stop, drop and role--I did the 100 yard dash in about ten seconds.

12:01 PM, July 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Happy 4th to you.

12:51 PM, July 04, 2008  
Blogger wormme said...

For the first time in a full decade, my family isn't getting together for a massive home fireworks show on Watt's Bar Lake. Sigh. I'm about to cry.

Missiles and mortars and volleys, oh my! The time we poured black powder on 10 sq. ft. of plywood and ignited it by Roman Candle. The duels! Roman Candles in one hand, garbage can lids in the other, and us NOT EVEN DRUNK.

The year the willowflies swarmed, and immolated themselves by the million. The time we filled balloons with propane, tied them to an inflatable shark, and shot...and shot...

I'm getting verklempt here. Sorry. At least I have the memories.

Along with tinnitus.

7:09 PM, July 04, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My history with fireworks:

When I was a kid, my father was Vermont State Champion trapshooter in the handicapped division. He paid me 25 cents for each box of 12-guage shells I reloaded for him, so we had gobs of Hercules Red-Dot shotgun powder around the house, as well as a subscription to The Shotgun News. I saw an ad in the Shotgun News for empty Mark II Pineapple grenade casings, so, being a kid, I ordered one.

It arrived, I filled it with Red-Dot, put in a model rocket fuse and sealed the opening with candle wax (melted in a pot on Mom's stove...I'm not using a lit candle because even though I'm really stupid, I'm not friggin' suicidal!).

I bury the grenade in Mom's tomato garden next door to our neighbors' house, a pair of elderly and wonderful French-Canadians. I light the fuse and run like Jessie Owens.


Mom no longer has any tomatoes, there's a crater big enough to bury our dog in the garden, Mr. Rouleau dashes outside his house screaming expletives in French and I take off into the woods to develop my skills in unassisted living for two days before returning home to one seriously p*ssed-off mother and a father who, when he learned of the calamity, wet himself.

Fireworks, people. Let the pros handle them.

9:12 PM, July 04, 2008  
Blogger Sparks said...

I remember having bottle rocket fights with my cousins and other kids in the neighboorhood.

I remember getting caught by the cops and the cops handed the confiscated fireworks over to our parents. The cop left and my Dad handed them back to me and said, "the only thing you did wrong was get caught! Be more careful next time."

Now don't tell me ex-wife this, since she'll probably be on the phone with her lawyer, trying to discredit me as a responsible dad for the umteenth time, but this year, I let my 12-year-old son hold a roman candle and gave him a few dozen bottle rockets to play with.

If the ex knew that, she'd freak out, lecture me on how I'm not responsible... Sure, I'd tell her wear she can put it, and luckily the kids are learning to keep their mouths shut. :-)

And I did witness a kid lose part of a finger once trying to throw an M-80 into the air. That was stupid and I won't let me kids play with the "big stuff" like that.

3:36 PM, July 05, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Scott notes: "er, "rapid uncontrolled disassembly" of plastic airplane models using firecrackers."

We used to tape one firecracker on each wing of those balsa wood gliders and let them soar :-) Or when we had the extra dime or so for the planes with the red prop and thick red rubber band, we'd tape two firecrackers per wing. Great fun, almost as much as throwing handfuls of M-80s into buckets of water...

4:44 PM, July 05, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

@ Kevin M: [sprays screen with Coke] ;)

@ Mark: Sweeeeeeet. We most often performed our disassembly procedures on static models, but model rockets carrying firecrackers instead of parachutes were entertaining also.

And you can get a *lot* of firecrackers into a Pringle's can. Sadly, Pringle's cans are quite aerodynamically unstable when they come off the launch rail, but that's half the fun. They get up to maybe 15 feet in height, turn a few somersaults, and then the firecrackers start going off.

Ah, dem wuz da days......

6:50 PM, July 05, 2008  
Blogger wormme said...

As the joke goes, what's the last thing a Southern boy ever says?

"Here, watch 'is!"

It's getting so pyromaudlin here, I went to YouTube and searched "extreme fireworks". Oh yeah. There's plenty of world-class explosive stupidity on display. Check 'em out! Show some love to everyone who ever had more dollars than sense.


7:26 PM, July 05, 2008  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

Ahh, bottle rockets. My buddies and I figured out last night why you shouldn't tie six bottle rockets together and light them off all at once. Let's just say that they didn't all shoot off all at once or straight up as they were supposed to. The neighbors and people farther down the street weren't too happy with us...

9:10 PM, July 05, 2008  
Blogger Marbel said...

Looks like most of the folks with the fireworks stories (funny and horrifying) are men. Hmmm...

Cham, my kids tell me that fireworks don't "keep" so you should use them up. But then maybe they are just telling me that to get me to let them stay up later doing more.

We found a 1/2 price sale at a fireworks stand and did pick up a few more tanks yesterday, which we set off last night. Such fun.

9:31 AM, July 06, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sparklers are now Illegal where I'm from. So, we don't get to light many fireworks here

12:59 AM, July 07, 2008  
Blogger Eric said...

I love fireworks, but people can be really dumb, especially children. Even smart kids. There was a boy at my school who lit a cherry bomb he was getting ready to throw when a teacher yelled at him and asked, "What's that you've got in your hand?" Obviously not thinking clearly, the boy tried to "hide" the cherry bomb by putting his hand behind his back. It blew up, of course, and the doctors were barely able to save his hand (minus a couple of fingers).

Easy to say that the parents are always responsible, except there weren't any parents around. Even then (and this was in the North), cherry bombs were contraband, smuggled up from the South, and coveted by many boys who would sell and trade them to other boys -- none of whom would have even told their parents. I may be wrong, but think it would have been safer had they not been illegal. Less mystique. Parents could have bought them legally and shown their kids how to set them off responsibly. Instead it was all underground in the North, and still is.

Another friend, unable to buy "good" fireworks, decided to make his own by stuffing kitchen match heads into a tiny CO2 cartridge he'd drilled open. By his account he got "greedy" and tried to cram in one too many, when the thing exploded. They fashioned his finger stumps into what works remarkably well as a hand, but looks like a lobster claw covered with human skin.

Well, at least they're alive. Cars can be more lethal than fireworks.

10:02 AM, July 07, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

We used to buy M-80s and cherry bombs and lots of other stuff. No one in my crowd ever hurt themselves.

When I was 5 or 6 my father was lighting fireworks in the backyard and tossed the still lit match into the bag of fireworks in his other hand. The following show was spectacular but scared me to death. I ran inside and watched from the window.

4:28 PM, July 07, 2008  
Blogger Giraffe said...

I guy got killed over the weekend about 50 miles from here making a sparkler bomb. He meant to set it off out in the country, somehow it went off while he was making it.

6:18 PM, July 07, 2008  
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