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On the dimly luminescent side

Last night we suffered City Park’s mosquitoes for what soon became the worst fireworks show either of us had ever seen. As we walked back toward the car, serenaded by occasional arrays of explosions I assume had failed to go off when they were supposed to, we agree that if we ever stay in town for Independence Day, we’re going to Coralville.

Mitigating our disappointment somewhat is the fact we were given a glowstick by the Ron Paul campaign. K wore it as a bracelet while we were there, then, when we came home, I made it into a collar for Jane, and she enjoyed for a while being a small, self-propelled, luminescent flashlight. I am suitably impressed that some intrepid volunteers hand wrote on the side, in marker, “www.ronpaul2008.com.” Kudos to Ron Paul’s volunteers for not being completely invisible!

Ever been to a bad fireworks show?



Abilene (and this is strange for such a right-wing town with a patriotic streak a mile wide) has consistently put on clunkers. This year, we didn’t even brave the mosquitoes.

Last year, when we did venture out, we were rewarded with perhaps 12 minutes of lame half-explosions, one at a time, until the grand 4-showering spark Finale.

I never went to see a fireworks show until I was 12 or 13. Instead, we had big family shootoffs. (Also, because my dad ran a fw stand in West Memphis when I was a kid, I had years’ worth of bottle rockets and firecrackers at my disposal for years.) Then, I took to going to dad’s in the summer where we couldn’t do the big shootoffs; instead, we went to see the Statler Bros. and their fw shows in Staunton, VA. Not long after, my great uncle got rich and began hiring fw companies to do displays—thus ending the shootoffs, mostly. But in all that time I don’t remember being as disappointed as last night.

Perhaps apropos of Abilene, the local Jaycees sponsor the fireworks every year, but their fundraising for it has also been troubled for as long as I can remember.

we watched them on t.v. they were really good. except the sound track had major, major problems that sent me into conniptions… and, thus, the very, very impressive fire display that shot up into the air from three places (two off the roofs of very tall buildings) was slightly off. the explosions, tho, were really pretty.

a recording of celine dion singing the national anthem kicked things off…

i wonder if they spoke to hillary?

Especially if the cameras were far distant and the production was live, it wasn’t the soundtrack displacing the sight from the sound, it was physics. Light being faster than sound, you know…

Hillary was in Iowa. What’s up Celine Dion passing as an American citizen, singing our anthem?

The local news channel tried to do the “Live Fireworks Show thing” and botched it horribly.

They went to the “Live” location, but the audio was coming from the camera and included a few gossipy old women talking about who had really put on weight recently. They then went silent, or tried to, and succeeded in a loud humming/buzzing sound.

Then, the fireworks started, and all you could see were these tiny little sparks in the upper corner, a sign that someone had not zoomed or panned correctly. They fixed that, then brought up the sound track, which had been playing, so with a loud pop, the explosions were accompanied by some country song about half-way through.

And a grand time was had by all.

well, more than physics, the soundtrack sounded like it was an old tape and that was dragging something awful at certain points and it sounded like cat’s claws on chalkboards.

That of course is different. You know, they could’ve done some TV magic by installing microphones near the ‘works, thereby using a closer sdtk than the cameras. That way the audio & video would be much more closely synced.

Some of the fireworks we saw last night—the ones that went off, that is—had a distinctly broadcast static sound. Lots of small explosions made me think inexplicably of turning radio dials. I wonder if that could’ve been the scratchy you heard?

At our fireworks show they always insist on playing classic rock over a really crappy PA system that sounds like it’s on its last leg. In July 2002, I remember they had some kind of patriotic audio collage about heroes and such instead of classic rock…But the real hallmark of this year’s fireworks was the number of times we exclaimed “Is that it?!”

If we’d been in Cedar Rapids, we would have watched the fireworks while recovering from the warm glow of the Hill & Bill show, in which case we’d probably have been subjected to the Celine Dion song, too.

This song, anyway.

Two good bad ones:

1) A West Texas waterpark – where the year before’s finale had been “Born in the USA” (surely no one had listened to the lyrics) – the first shot landed back in the stockpile and set off the whole show simultaneously at ground level.

2) A So Cal beach a few years ago, where a wealthy, benevolent resident’s show was launched from a barge in the ocean into the 100% fog coverage above. Thick as irony. 0% visibility. Sounded amazing.

Welcome, capn. I thought fog made everyone reschedule; guess not…

I went to the fireworks in Cody, which were pretty good, although I have only rarely seen fireworks on the 4th, as I went to camp for about a million years, and we didn’t have them there.

What amused me the most, though, was watching the fire trucks try to find all the little fires that got lit in the canyon by falling embers from the fireworks. It’s like a whole other show, albeit a somewhat alarming one for those of who have previously only ever seen fireworks released over water.

No firetrucks were involved in IC, but the mystery of the show is solved. (Blandly, I might add.)