I’ve been sitting in my dad’s front yard watching the armada of fireworks going off both here and the place next door. Earlier today, he and my brother purchased something north of $150 worth of fireworks. (His neighbor: $500)
In Washington (state), fireworks (tax-free alcohol, unfiltered cigarettes, and casinos) are generally only available on the reservations since they are, technically, soverign lands not under the purview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacoo, Guns And Slot Machines (BATGASM).
In Texas, though, fireworks are available at numerous roadside stands. (And in the case here, they’re next door to a “knives and swords” vendor.) There are some nuances, however. For example, Harris County (Houston) outlaws them, so if you buy them in Montgomery (still Houston) or Liberty (suburban Houston) and take the wrong series of roads, crossing back into Harris County, you could be pulled over and have them confiscated. I think they resell them, or maybe take them home to their kids. The key point: don’t do it.
Anyway, the stands all have come-ons like “buy one, get 3 free.” This either means the prices have been inflated 4x above whatever is normally high — it’s hard to compare — or the “free” only applies to the mundane stuff. There’s one called “Excalibur” that cost $40 and includes 24 “artillery shells.” There’s a PVC “launcher” you set up very far away, put the shells in, light the fuse, and run like hell. It’s very important not to put the shell in upside down. I won’t mention why since my spouse might be reading this and she has a belief that fireworks are dangerous. These are not included in the “get 3 free” deal.
Another box set was named “Loyal to None,” priced less only to the “Megatron 3” (three being the third number that thou shalt count) and “Armada.” Its three externally distinctive features: a Jolly Roger on the cover; a big shout box proclaiming it has the maximum U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of gunpowder — 500 grams; and large warnings “This Device Shoots Balls of Fire.” Hey, we were already sold at the second one. One fuse and 32 shot balls of fire later, everyone was looking forward to the stands opening for July 4th weekend.
The overall fireworks display was… awesome. The one thing that I’m sorta concerned about is the amount of time I spent enjoying them, reeking of gunpowder from the plumes. This might make for some interesting conversation when I try to go through the airport tomorrow morning…
15:47 (1/1/2005) — The cul-de-sac was littered with the cardboard caps, tubes and papers from the fireworks. The PVC pipe used to launch the bottle rockets, but not the artillery shells, was jet black, as was the 1 foot ring of grass below it.
There were no issues with my gunsmoke-encrusted clothes in the airport. It appears they’re only concerned about X-raying laptops and shoes. (Yeah, I think it’s stupid, but at least it’s expedient.)