Advanced Celebration of Liberty: Homemade Fireworks

War is hell, except for the awesome part at the beginning where it's CNN filming buildings blow up and the part where a soldier's courage teaches a nation about honor, starring Mel Gibson. The other good thing about war is how well it spreads patriotism. If you've got a good enough war going, you can have Carrot Top in a cheeseburger suit sing the National Anthem to kick off the daytime Emmy awards, and there will not be a dry eye in the house. Which is why it's too bad that the cabal of evil billionaire weapon manufacturers that run the country can only manage to start a new war every couple years. That puts the responsibility on my shoulders to rekindle the fire that burns in all our hearts for the Stars and Stripes, the spangled colors that never run. And that means homemade fireworks. Like last time, I'll take you through the Do's and the Totally Do's of modifying dangerous explosives, give you irresponsibly few safety tips, and walk you through a sample field test of your creation.

Tip #1: Legal fireworks are for gays.
No offense, entire world, but thanks to almost every single one of you being a hippie pussy, legal fireworks have been reduced to little tubes of spark-squirting mockeries of American Spirit. If you live far enough on the edge of civilization, you can drive to an Indian reservation to get decent pyrotechnics, as the white man's vagina has not yet affected the proud native people's safety regulations. Bottle rockets and firecrackers become illegal as soon as you leave their sacred casino grounds, but you'd be surprised how few sting operations the FBI is involved in to keep our dumb asses from blowing a couple fingers off. However, to reduce the amount of teepees and espionage you have to go through, I'll teach you how to build a device using fireworks you can buy without breaking any laws, depending on the flammability of your state. I failed political science and can honestly barely read, so I don't know how many laws you'll be breaking once you start tampering with or otherwise enhancing these fireworks, but I do know that I wouldn't want to be the cop arresting me while I'm holding an armful of irrationally modified things that shoot flaming balls. Of liberty.

My Raw Materials:
1. Tanks
2. Rubber Cement
3. Duct Tape
4. Welder's Mask
5. Ninja Mortar Rounds - Including a few of these in your creation is a good way to destroy any evidence.

6. Beer - Abraham Lincoln didn't kill the Germans so you could drink grapefruit juice on America's birthday.

7. Chicken Limbo - For ages 4 and up. Your parents help you put it together.

8. Barbie's Dream Car - I got this used, so I spent most of my construction prep time steam-cleaning the DNA out of this slut's back seat.

9. Batteries - I'm not MacGuyver enough to build something with wires and electricity and whatever, but sometimes I like to strap a few batteries on to play on people's inherent fear of exploding batteries.

10. Hell's Inferno - These big fountains cost anywhere from $80 to $150, and are usually less visually exciting than putting $20 worth of Safeway fireworks into a paper bag and lighting it. Even so, you should always buy one or two so people know you're serious when you leave the firework stand.

11. Toys - In addition to a cyborg and a Captain America, I bought a Jar Jar Binks 3D Adventure set. I told the clerk I had a retarded nephew to avoid any embarrassment.

Tip #2: Buy lots. And remember the rubber cement.
When shopping for fireworks, get a variety. Need will vary from user to user, but in most situations, you're going to want as many different colors of flames and sparks as possible. And you can never, I repeat never, go wrong by adding a few more pounds of random fireworks. Tanks are a must-have for all amateur pyrotechnists with their mini-rocket and three spark-shooters. They're not much, but strap their parts to a toy car, and you can create a speeding death trap for its tiny pilot. Rubber cement is the most important tool as it combines adhesiveness with complete and sudden flammability. Remember: sinister glue villains have invented a modern rubber cement that is tragically safe. You should only buy this if you need to construct a fancy thank you card for the delightful homosexual sex you were given. Make sure the rubber cement you use has devoted almost all of its packaging to caution you against buying it.

Tip #3: Come up with some kind of theme or goal for your firework.
Almost more important than the explosives is the materials used for your firework's base. Go to a local toy store or Good Will for inspiration. As you can see, I've chosen Barbie's Dream Car, a cyborg doll, Captain America, a tiny sombrero, the Jar Jar Binks 3D Adventure Board Game, and Chicken Limbo, a chicken-themed version of the seductive island game. My direction is vague at this point, but I have faith in my future self that he'd come up with something awesome. I also picked up a case of beer and a welder's mask, because I have just enough sense of safety to know that I won't have the balls to light 40 pounds of tampered bomb on fire before I've had 18 beers, and that after that, I want a thin piece of easily melted plastic between my face and the approaching fireball.



The first step was to remove everything in Barbie's car that didn't look like it was going to blow up. Driving to the dream mall on D-batteries might have worked for Barbie, but if I'm driving down the road of American pride in a pink car, it's going to do it on the tip of a flaming comet of rocket power. So I tore out the factory installed engine and replaced it with 28 rocket thrusters, one for every star on the flag, but not quite.



From what I've learned about rocket scientry, a rocket's natural instinct is to make a daring escape from the thing it's supposed to be shoving through the air. To discourage this misbehavior, strap all your rockets down with duct tape. Now that you've seen the intricacies of adding mobility to your creation, we'll move on to weaponry. For surface-to-air capabilities, I installed two fountains, three roman candles, and a mortar launcher to the rear driver's side. This will let any low flying aircraft know that if my celebration of our independence means knocking them out of the damn sky, SO BE IT.



Captain America once fought on the battlefields of WWII was an instrument of justice, but today he's a hood ornament in charge of manning the short-range missile rack and the front-mounted killer bee cannon.
I knew that if George Washington's corpse rose from the grave to cut down my cherry trees but then later bravely admit to it and then later try to eat my brain, he would not want to see exposed duct tape on my firework, so I hid it from sight with red white and blue streamers. More importantly, I placed the cyborg doll in the driver's seat and buried him up to his waist with Ground Blaster pebbles and flash powder I'd dug out of various fountains and Ground Bloom Flowers. I'm not sure why I gave him a sombrero filled with explosives, but historic dissertations will probably speculate that I was sending a message to Mexico's hats: you're at our mercy.



Advanced Multi-Staging

In general, a firework is more impressive if it goes through stages. For example, rocketing over to its enemy, destroying its enemy with a barrage of terror, and then celebrating by destroying the sky with a second barrage. To do this, you need to link your components together with fuses. You can buy fuse wire, but that seems like a good way to get on some kind of government database. So to avoid the retasking of satellites to watch your every move, use the fuses from inside tanks to chain together your devices. Knotting together a working fuse system requires patience and a delicate touch, and if you're not careful, half your fireworks won't go off. Also remember that fireworks are nature's tricksters, and when you think they're done and have your face within maiming range, that's when they decide to shoot off the rest of their payload.

Here's a tip on how to ensure that all your fuses are linked together: douse the entire damn thing in gasoline. Make it into a bonfire and no bomb shall be left behind. Just don't expect anything within 10 feet to remain alive.


Team USA!
I knew that America wasn't going to be satisfied with one little girl's toy converted into an engine of war, so I called in two other homemade firework experts. Since none were available, I settled on Joyce and Big Red. Their mission was to each create a firework that could engage in a fantastic battle with mine in the 3D Adventure world of nerdy mistake, Jar Jar Binks.

Joyce chose to create a firework using only the Batmobile, a knockoff Barbie doll, and a box of Monkey Drives. A Monkey Drive is a firework that drives forward for a couple of feet and then, for reasons known only to monkey automotive engineers, detonates itself. She painted a flag bikini on the doll, strapped four monkeys to her batcar, then sprinkled the whole thing with some loose fireworks she stole out of the cockpit of my amazing and much better supercar.

Big Red, on the other hand, purchased a fuzzy toy that chirps, dances, and gives birth to an egg. It was this egg from which he stole its unborn baby and replaced it with rocket-launched paratroopers for a multi-front assault. Then he stuffed the mother creature itself with just few enough fireworks that it would have time to scream before it died. The safety goggles and roman candles you see in his equipment were instrumental in the two of us firing flaming balls at one another after a few more beers.


The following readouts are the official combat ratings for each of our fireworks. Each device will be rated on mobility, firepower, and liberty. Please note that since there's no way to put a price on freedom, each of their statistics will be expressed adjectivally instead of numerically.

Name: Miscarriage Launcher Jr.
Builder: Big Red
Pilot: Self-piloted living weapon
Mobility: Fatty
Firepower: Crafty
Liberty: Unexpressed

Name: Monkey-Drawn Bat Carriage
Builder: Joyce
Pilot: Stripper Barbie
Mobility: Adorable
Firepower: Monkey
Liberty: Low Cut Scoop Panty

Name: Fantastisuper Americar USA
Builder: Seanbaby
Pilot: Fiesta Cyborg
Mobility: Holy Shit
Firepower: Oh Holy Shit
Liberty: Eye of the Tiger



Chicken Limbo's Jar Jar Binks 3D Battle Platform
The stage was set for war. Since I'd forgotten to make up any rules, we were all confused as to go about the war. How far do we place them from one another? Who will tell our stories should none of us make it out alive? We finally decided that we'd place them several feet from one another, do our best to coordinate three simultaneous ignitions, and pray to whatever gods still listen to people this intent on suicide. Suddenly, Joyce lost her nerve after seeing the gasoline slosh out of mine as I placed it in the center of the street. She withdrew her Monkey-Drawn Bat Carriage from the battle. Big Red was braver, but realistic enough to question whether his airborne soldiers' plastic parachutes would stay unmelted long enough to come in and attack my Americar from behind. Well, god damn it, America deserved a good fight, so we decided to build an opponent powerful enough for us to face together: Chicken Limbo's Jar Jar Binks Battle Platform. It was a military station equipped not only with grenades, rocket turrets, and armor, but a standing army of NINE battle-ready monkey motorists. You could hear it in the sound of Miscarriage Launcher Jr.'s electronic chirping... this was a mission they weren't coming home from.



Seconds from battle, the once talkative egg-laying monster and Barbie's Corvette share a moment of silence. The soldiers in Jar Jar Binks' playset are anxious, but they have orders not to fire until they're sure the targets are hostile.
At the last minute, Big Red seduced a Monkey Drive away from the enemy compound to join our side. His plan was to use the sparks from its monkey rocket to light Miscarriage Launcher Jr.'s main fuse. My plan was to throw a match and try not to cry as I ran to hide.

Big Red's double monkey agent betrayed him and refused to light. And this was no time for someone to be crouching down and trying again. He screamed and giggled at the same time, evacuating the area as the Americar's 28 rockets were driving it straight into what, let's face it, was basically just a pile of gasoline-soaked fireworks on a Star Wars board game. Fiesta Cyborg's aim was perfect, and he hit the center of the traffic jam of explosive monkeys.



A lull in the action allows for Miscarriage Launcher Jr. to join the fight.
Once the Fantastisuper Americar USA had unloaded its full payload into the sky, annihilated the Jar Jar Binks Battle Platform, and had begun its painful transformation into oozing pink lava, Big Red finally got the balls to sneak up and light his fuzzy creature, who was happily beeping to itself as it watched the disaster. It still refused to light, so he kicked it into the center of the blaze where its internal organs were all obliterated at the speed of rad. Chicken Limbo finally made its move, and attacked our champions with its own melting body. But by this point, it was too late. The only thing making it out of this battle alive was our passion for the USA.


When the flames finally died, thanks in part to two buckets of water, you could barely make out a chicken and pink sports car in the charred and mangled remains. But do not avert your eyes, for this is a site where heroes were forged, where alliances were held together by bravery, and where a group of noble toys were fucking awesome for America.


Hopefully you've once again taken away some fun ideas to add the threat of death to your family's holiday, and remember: the real key to homemade fireworks is experimentation. I'm sure there's some sort of journalistic law that says to tell you to not try this at home, but chances are, if you buy a firework approved by your state's laws, there's nothing you can do with it to hurt yourself. That being said, gluing it with flammable adhesives to four hundred other fireworks just like it... well, at least film it so I have something fun to watch while your grieving relatives sue me. Good luck!

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The first couple pages of this article originally appeared in The Wave agazine.
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