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July 05, 2014


Typical 4th.
- wife cooking morning and afternoon
- mid-afternoon, pack up the food, and go pick up the pre-made stuff. Drive to show
- late afternoon, help set up the show. Happily, this year I didn't get to pound sand. (The mortars are arranged long boxes, surrounded by sand -- which needs to be compacted, so it holds the guns steady thru the whole show.)
- picnic with the rest of the fireworks crew.
- get gear on. All natural fibers, steel toed boots, ear and eye protection, gloves.
- wait for the sky to get dark. The crowd always wants the show to start earlier; the pyrotech in charge wants to wait for dark skies.
- 9:30, start show. Everybody running around frantically, reloading guns, firing guns. Trying to make sure that we don't go thru all the shells too fast or too slow. Not to mention avoiding any dead air -- which can be a challenge when a fuse won't loght. All this amid occasional showers of sparks, when a shell breaks low.
- 9:50, finish show, roughly on time. Congratulate ourselves on a job well done; and no injuries. (Just one guy who a couple people had to pound on the back a little, to put out the sparks on his shirt.)
Start breaking down everything and packing it away again. Especially the shell casings and other stuff which could be a fire hazard later.
- 11, finish packing, and work on finishing the leftovers from dinner.
- 12ish, head home. (Glad I'm not the one who has to drive the truck back to the yard before going home.)

Electrical shows are a lot easier to actually fire. But they take more time to set up, and lots more time to take down again -- mostly because every shell has a separate gun (no reloads), so there are lots more of them. Reload shows are a huge adrenaline rush, but less work overall.

Fascinating, wj. I didn't realize you did fireworks crew. Does it pay well? No injuries is always good.

I assume all natural fibers is because they don't melt the way polyester does. I had sort of assumed you'd be in some variant of firefighter gear, but that's a *lot* of weight and expense for a 20-minute show.

How did you get started doing that?

I believe that the licensed pyro gets a small stipend.

But the crew? Well, we get fed. And the college kids who are working on getting their own licenses get some of the required experience. (Some of my protective gear is significantly older than they are!) But mostly, we are doing it for fun. (Amazing some of the odd things people do for fun. This one helps me remember that, when I see someone doing something that seems inexplicible.)

I like this Marvin Gaye version, from a 1979 Holmes-Shavers fight. Complete with introduction by the inimitable Howard Cosell.

There's this famous version, from a time in our nation's fairly recent history that was even angrier and more FUBAR than today.

Here is a not-angry-at-all version, from (I think) yesterday, featuring a 17-year-old friend of ours in a red hat.

I was looking for the George Adams version, equal parts brilliant and eccentrically kooky, but couldn't find it, so here is his version of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game", from his recording that includes both the national anthem and a version of "America the Beautiful".

The 4th here was rain, rain, rain, but we needed the water, so no worries. Fireworks in our town were initially postponed until today, but then called off altogether, because they are launched from a barge and the seas were too rough.

Nice day today, though. Bike ride into town with my wife, lobster roll (her) and hot dog (me) lunch, a little hanging out at a local arts thing.

Now I'm gonna go grill some chicken. Have a great weekend, everybody!

For me, worked a few hours in morning, had a BBQ with my parents in the evening. Grilled chicken and slow cooked ribs that had been marinated for days. Pulled some weeds in my dad's garden (recent knee replacement has slowed him down, although not too much).

Didn't see any fireworks, but family and food, couldn't ask for more. Also pulled out some aged homebrew (Wee Heavy) we made around Xmas time...turned out well so that's a plus.

Also, thanks for the vid, DocSci (and additional versions, russell). It really can be a beautiful song, but sadly most of my exposure is from the versions right before the AFC/NFC championships and the superbowl.

I don't know why they are always butchered, but they always are.

This is fun
Rebellious renditions of the Star Spangled Banner

This may have been my last 4th as an American, so there is that.

lj - You're relocating? (Apologies if this has been discussed before and I missed it.)

Sometimes the price we pay for our freedoms celebrations is a bit high.

Just another day at the office.

I'm in Japan, but planning on taking the plunge. I've mentioned this a bit obliquely before, but with my father's passing, I'm pretty much set (not that he was opposed to it in any way, he was suffering from Alzheimer's so it wouldn't have made much of a difference either way)

Just another entry in the "only in America" category: Korean Polish BBQ at Maria's.**

Really. Not just Korean Polish, but BBQ? Where else are you going to find that?

** Which I only every heard about, here a couple thousand miles away from Chicago, because an add floated across the TV in the background.

No fire works. The community had a sand castle contest, a parade of decorated golf carts, the decorated dog show, an apple pie contest (with me in charge!) lots of games for the kids, and a hot dog picnic. Very sweet

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