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Archive for July 4th, 2011

Good God I smart today – skull to tail.

You would not believe the amount of effort that goes into putting a show on.  I worked the whole day but with little ones and my physical condition I could not tear down – at some point I had to say “I’m sorry, I just cannot do any more.”  We started at 1:30PM and finally did a last walkthrough around 10pm.

Hey, buddy… did you just see a really bright light?

It was in the 90’s, it was humid, and the sun was oppressive.  I drank eight liters of Dihydrogen Monoxide, a Mountain Spew, three Dr. Poopers (diet), and a Sunny Deelight.  And never had to go use the litterbox once. 

Note:  Trade names have been changed to protect their corporate identities.

Missile Command and the Giant Dandelion of Doom

Did I mention how much effort is involved in this stuff?  There’s unpacking and setup of the tubes, unwrapping of the product, sorting, carting them out, loading strings, taping of buckets (open fuse ends), taping fuses to the frames, eating of pizza, walkthroughs and last minute checks.   I was a giant sponge – trying to learn as much as I possibly could by observation and instruction – I spent the day doing nothing more than having people say “Ok, now do this taping over here” and “help me do that over there”.   It’s one of those situations in life where you don’t want to f*** around because these things are dangerous.  They have classes where you can get certified to do a show and transport the stuff and I plan on doing that.  Until that time I can show up and help out but I couldn’t legally run a show or drive a truck to get it to a show – but helping out is very interesting and plenty.  I think I was exposed to only the scratched the surface of what needs to be done to do all that.

All sorts of rules like “Keep your cigarette on the opposite side of your mouth” and “No, you can’t sort the product next to the campfire.”  Rules almost as onerous as “You have to roll down the window before shooting rats from your pickup at the dump.”

No, there was no campfire and no one up there smokes cigarettes – only crack.

Red Willow

An interesting note:  When you cut yourself and you get the residue – saltpeter and sulfur – in your cuts the stuff burns and stings for like… forever.  Not bad, but enough to remind you that your skin suffered a breach.

But it was worth every bit of sweat, twinges, cut fingers, and screamin’ neck when I got to see my kids with ear-to-ear grins when the 5″, 6″, and 8″ shells started going off.  There’s this fierce out-on-the-bow-of-the-ship feeling you get when they go off.  When Cruel Wife went “ooooh” and “ahhhh” I got a big grin out of that, too.  I kept thinking to my self  “I was part of making that happen.”  Wonderful feeling of satisfaction.

Just part of the finale. Sorry I didn’t orient the camera horizontally.

Remember, the family is sitting as close as is safe to the things and they are going off nearly overhead so the boom is significant.  And when you are up in the enclosure thirty feet away they are setting off tests every now and then and the ground moves under your feet.  Obviously you can’t have family members in that area or where we unpacked and humped stuff around but I was able to leave and hang with the kids every now and then.

Cruel Wife picked me up a cane since I left the one I have at home.  So by the end I was getting around and letting the folks who were actually lighting the stuff off – I can’t move fast enough in my honest assessment – vie for the honors of touching off the 8-shells, and I just bounced from place to place.  Go hug the kids, talk to the wife, talk to the other family folks, drink some more pop.

That’s one thing I really appreciate about this crew.  Almost all of them are AA folks so I felt right at home.  Seriously nice bunch of people.

Wobbled up the hill and got up-close during the show.  Here’s something you don’t get to see every day.

2nd Act – Up close

When a 6″ or 8″ shell goes off at this distance you know something substantial just went off.  What is immediately obvious and subtle is that when they are going off overhead like that the entire surroundings light up but you don’t cast a shadow.  Very cool.

I hobbled over and talked with one of the firefighters, told him that years ago I was a firefighter and how we used to drive a truck out in front of the fire to get spot fires while crews tried to flank the fire, and I asked him how many gallons they carried in their truck.  He looked at me and said “Well, you know how it is – 300 gallons – just enough to kind of piss the fire off.”

We laughed about that one.  It’s only too true.  Any serious fire is going to require more than 300 gallons even with retardant foam.

Faint outline of our firefighter friends in foreground. Happy 4th folks.

Today’s Plan: Move slow, use the cane to steady things out, drink lots of water and pop, and remain drugged throughout.

Happy 4th of July, folks!  Just remember to educate the ignorant about what Independence Day is really about.  We didn’t break away from France for no reason.

Note:  I damn well know it wasn’t the French we broke away from.  It was the Scots.

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Here’s all your hopesy-changey at work:

That’s the good news. On the flip side, however, a country whose hallmark has always been a sense of irrepressible optimism is in the grip of unprecedented uncertainty and self-doubt.

You know what bothers me the most about that statement?  If it is actually true, then our true grit, that which made us such a force to be reckoned with, is gone.  I don’t think it is gone except for those who are naturally wired to piss and moan.  Dire straights like this should not be enough to dampen the celebration of Independence Day.  That’s what made the US great – intestinal fortitude – the desire to keep going on because, you know… it’s our “f*** you” attitude.  I’m talking about the attitude that says “We’re not giving up.  We may be beaten down but we’re still not giving up.”

Of course, there are a few things that might be cause for a case of the blues.  Enough to spoil the celebration?  Nah.

Well… maybe a bit bluer, but still not dampened, no.

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Could we please start hunting down and incarcerating “Star Chefs” when they do things like suggest Kobe Beef Sliders?

At $40/lb I’m not going to make sliders out of it.  I won’t even eat regular sliders.

In a world that is self-righting sometimes, it is recognized that bacon is the gateway meat.

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Oh, boo-hoo.

A Michigan inmate is suing Gov. Rick Snyder and the state over his prison’s ban on pornographic materials, claiming he is being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, the Detroit News reported.

In a handwritten lawsuit filed June 10 in US District Court in Detroit, Kyle Richards said the porn ban has “been used as a method of ‘psychological warfare’ against prisoners, in order to both destroy the morale of inmates and break the spirit of individuals.”

I want prison to be such a miserable awful place that you never want to go there again, you wuss.  If you come out humbled and broken it’s going to be better for society than if you are strutting like the cock of the walk.

In another heartbreaker, prisoner’s kin suggest that the term “inmate” is stigmatizing.

The family of a coldblooded killer serving 25 years to life in state prison for shooting a man in the head complains he’s being stigmatized — by the use of the term “inmate.”

The label “implies that our brother is locked up for the purpose of mating with other men,” claims Marie Domond in a lawsuit against the state Correctional Services Department.

Oh it gets better.

“It’s something that’s bothered me for a long time,” Marie told The Post. “I couldn’t understand why no one recognized that somebody being labeled an inmate, why they wouldn’t recognize that. To me it just sounded very wrong.

Does it sound as wrong as shooting a guy in the head with a gun?

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So much for my new Korean cookbook50 Ways to Wok Your Dog.

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I must have a power guantlet… I must have a power guantlet… I must have a power guantlet.

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Hey, he died doing what he believed in, so stop it with these kinds of remarks.

The motorcyclist, 55-year-old Philip A. Contos, likely would have survived the accident if he’d been wearing a helmet, state troopers said.

As long as someone signs a paper somewhere where they absolve the rest of us from the responsibility of paying for the rest of their vegetative lives if they are severely brain-damaged, I don’t care if someone wants to wear a weasel instead of a helmet.  Have at, folks.

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Fireworks pics tomorrow.

I’m going to bed, limpin along with my cane.

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