Life as I know it… plus commentary

Jose, can you see?

with 4 comments

You’re all probably wondering what the number one rated TV show of last night was.  Here it is… Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show.  Turns out 8.52 million people watched the rockets’ red glare (note correct usage of plural possessive).  I can’t think of anything more anti-climactic than sitting on your Ikea couch and watching the images of someone else’s fireworks piped into your house other than watching Lake House and expecting Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock to be poignant.  How boring. 

The fact is you can’t get fireworks in LA anymore.  This all stems from the fact that everything in LA is built with matches and kindling and paper and kerosene.  It’s part of the building code… don’t blame me, blame the voters.

Now… if you’re with law enforcement, I have no idea how to get fireworks.  If you’re not with law enforcement, then I know how to get fireworks.  Nowadays, you get them off the internet from or from the back of Guido’s van on Fifth St.  But think back… remember when every church and Boy Scout troop sponsored a fireworks stand?  Remember Red Devil and Freedom and Wildcat Fireworks?

Before the world got so litigious (and maybe a little Jackass*-ish), we’d never have thought of watching fireworks on TV.  We’d ride with Dad down to the fireworks stand and beg him to buy the biggest assortment we could see.  He’d always get something more than we needed but less than we wanted.

The afternoon would start with snakes.  Remember those?  For the fireworks challenged, they were little black discs that caught fire when you lit them.  They has a tiny corona of fire that barely lit the edge but it’d produce this airy char that looked like a black snake was growing out it… if you’re six and highly gullible.  It was very exciting the first time you saw one, but you lit them to pass time when you were older.  And yes, the black marks on the sidewalk eventually washed away.

By an hour or so to sunset, you could light those twirling things.  What were those things called?  They were short cylinders wrapped in pinkish purple paper that would spin in place, turning red to yellow to green.  I even know for a fact that you could light them and throw them into ponds or lakes and they’d still burn for a while.

After dark the fun started.  Dad lit all these fireworks although you could do one or two after you turned 12 or so.  We had sparklers for everyone and we twirled them and wrote our names and threw them in the air and stepped on them in bare feet no matter how many times our Moms warned us.  There was always the pinwheel that got nailed to the tree and spun deliriously until it got stuck and had to have someone free it halfway through the burn but not til it etched a long dark char mark in the tree that lasted a few months.

The best were the cones… huge volcanic sparks that worked the best when our young dads figured out that putting them on ladders let the sparks burn longer & farther.  And after it was all done, we’d all walk into the house, squinting our way through all the neighborhood smoke, smelling like soot, and convincing ourselves that our family had the best assortment on the block.

I spent last night working, but I could see a few bottle rockets from my office window.  A few holdouts still remember the glory of the fourth.

*the TV show, not the personality trait


Written by arnold

July 6, 2006 at 12:34 am

Posted in Life in (near) LA

4 Responses

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  1. Dearest Kyle Dresbach-

    The French are good at playing soccer and I like their toast. I pick Italy to win; their salad drssing is better and they make better cars than the French. And if you were here I would throw you some bombs and lemonade. You are tight. I will miss you when you move.


    July 6, 2006 at 6:17 am

  2. Arnie, I love fireworks. My fam and I always go to Tahoe– we lie on the beach and watch them shoot over the lake. It’s flawless. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to watch them on t.v. – stupids.


    July 6, 2006 at 1:01 pm

  3. The ones that spun around on the ground–weren’t those called flowers??

    One of my favorite memories of July 4th is my dad using his lighter to light the fireworks, then having to skeedaddle to get out of the way before they went off.

    And Santa Ana still sells fireworks–I drove past a stand on my way to work the other day. 🙂

    Peggy C

    July 6, 2006 at 4:46 pm

  4. That wasn’t the front door slamming. It was fireworks.


    July 8, 2006 at 11:29 am

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