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Friday, July 04, 2008

4th of July Letter to my Neighborhood

Dear Neighborhood,

I realize that this is the beginning of a 3-day-weekend celebrating the Fourth of July and our nation's glorious independance from a tyrannical oppressive country who is now actually being referred to by many borderline-journalists as the "Nanny State". I realize that this is the metaphorical equivelant of leaving Mommy's nest and celebrating by throwing a huge party that serves no purpose other than "let's break all the rules that have brought us down, regardless of the fact that some of those rules may have been put in place to keep us alive and/or healthy." I realize that this weekend is also another reason to grill hamburgers and/or drink beer for the simple reason of "it's nice enough to grill hamburgers and/or I enjoy drinking beer." I realize all of those things and despite my acknowledgement, something still needs to be said:

For fuck's sake - stop it with your half-assed fireworks.

For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of "fireworks", let me start off by saying that there are basically two kinds of fireworks in the world: real fireworks and fake fireworks.

Technically, the government sees more than two kinds, but all of their classifications still manage to separate these two groups of explosives from each other. Oftentimes I look to Wikipedia for help in these matters, and it certainly has not let me down today.

The U.S. government now uses the United Nations explosives shipping classification system. This new system is based on hazard in shipping only, vs. the old USA system of both shipping and use hazards. The BATF and most states performed a direct substitution of Shipping Class 1.3 for Class B, and Shipping Class 1.4 for Class C. This allows some hazardous items that would have previously been classified as Class B and regulated to be classified as Shipping Class 1.4 due to some packaging method that confines any explosion to the package. Being Shipping Class 1.4, they can now be sold to the general public and are unregulated by the BATF.

So what are these two categories (other than my previous description of real and fake)?

Class 1.3G (Fire, Minor Blast:Pyrotechnics) UN0335 Fireworks (Most Display Fireworks) Current federal law states that (without appropriate ATF license/permit) the possession or sale of any display/professional fireworks is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Although some large firecraker items may be called "M-80's", "M-1000's", "Cherry bombs" or "Silver Salutes" by the manufacturer, they must contain less than 50-milligrams of flash or other explosive powder in order to be legally sold to consumers in the United States.

* any ground salute device with over 50 milligrams of explosive composition
* torpedoes (except for railroad signaling use)
* multi-tube devices containing over 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition and without 1/2" space between each tube
* any multiple tube fountains with over 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition and without 1/2" space between each tube
* any reloadable aerial shells over 1.75" diameter
* display shells
* any single-shot or reloadable aerial shell/mine/comet/tube with over 60 grams of pyrotechnic composition
* any Roman candle or rocket with over 20 grams of pyrotechnic composition
* any aerial salute with over 130 milligrams of explosive composition

Class 1.4G (Minor Explosion Hazard Confined To Package:Pyrotechnics) UN0336 Fireworks (Consumer or Common Fireworks) Most popular consumer fireworks sold in the US.

* reloadable aerial shells 1.75" or less sold in a box with not more than 12 shells and one launching tube
* single-shot aerial tubes
* bottle rockets
* skyrockets and missiles
* ground spinners, pinwheels and helicopters
* flares & fountains
* Roman candles
* smoke and novelty items
* multi-shot aerial devices, or "cakes"
* firecracker packs
* sparklers
* Catherine wheel
* black snakes and strobes

Do you see the difference? DO YOU??

Your goddamned little bottle rockets and novelty crap do not deserve to be spoken of in the same breath as REAL fireworks than actually DO STUFF. When I hear the obnoxious sounds of *peeeeeewwwwww* *pop*, I do not go rushing outside so that I don't miss the grand finale of your performance. Because you haven't lit a REAL FIREWORK. Which means you're performing noise pollution and also seemingly dropping the IQ and property value of a 50-yard radius by about 5%.

Actually, there's one category of "fake fireworks" that I will allow as a substitute "real firework" as a token of good faith - SPARKLERS.

While some of you may misconstrue that as my admittance to being a "nansy-pansy" or other disrespectful made-up word, it is not. I am simply recognizing the sparkler as the best commercially-available substitute for a real firework for one main reason:

It looks pretty.

It you took your family to the park to watch a real fireworks show, the real reason you'd be watching it is because it's something to WATCH. The Japanese word for firework - hanabi - translates to "fire flower" because fireworks are as pretty as a flower and also made of fire. While occasionally there is an audible aspect to the fireworks show, like the sizzling crackle of a time-rain firework, it's not what makes the firework great. If you were deaf, you could still enjoy the fireworks show for what it is.

If you were deaf and in my neighborhood, all you would see is a bunch of people rushing around something and then there's some smoke. Occasionally you'd see a roman candle and a little ball of fire or two. Maybe someone went the extra mile and got a pinwheel that sparks around - if you were within 5 meters to see it during the 10 seconds it was spinning. But you'd still be able to enjoy a sparkler - a miniature barely-harmful version of the massive real fireworks.

Oh, and one more thing I'd like to say to you, my neighborhood:


You know why nobody has fireworks shows in the daytime? BECAUSE YOU CAN'T SEE THEM!!! So why in the name of all that is good and holy and chocolate-covered would you waste your purchases at this ungodly hour (unless you are a sun-worshipper, in which case it could be considered a godly hour) when nobody can see your barely-visible fake firework??

It's not even late enough in the afternoon for those of us who enjoy beer to have a buzz moderate enough to find your antics enjoyable!

So please, do the world (and especially the neighborhood) a favor and go the fuck inside and watch something on TV instead of annoying your neighbors and whatever that quip was that I made about lowering IQs and property values. The least you can do is wait until the sun gets the hell out of here (sorry, sun-worshippers) and then there might be a modicum of enjoyment in whatever it is you're pitifully making explode.

Plus, there's the added benefit that maybe it'll be dark enough for you to misjudge something and hurt yourself in the process. Darwin and future generations would applaud it.

Now let me get back to my burgers and beer.

Yours Truly,

Your pissed-off neighbor

P.S.: This is my open invitation of comments in agreeance, as well as an open forum for those of you who think firecrackers are the cat's pajamas to defend your inalienable right to make an ass of yourself by waking up your neighbors who finally had one day to sleep in.

(Thanks, Wikipedia!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further advances, the possibility of copying our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I daydream about almost every day.

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