Independence Day falls on Sunday this year. So when you're sitting in your personal house of worship thanking God for George W. Bush and his holy crusade to blow those Middle-Eastern heathen back to the Stone Age, remember that God doesn't think President Bush should have all the fun. Yes, God has a special plan for you, friend, and that plan involves blowing shit up.

Therefore you should celebrate the Lord's day and Freedom's day by blowing up as much shit as humanly possible. And if you're still not sure, remember this: Every time a lit M-80 is flushed down the toilet? An angel gets her wings.

The Mercury is pleased to serve God and our readers by publishing this annual review of the most explosive fireworks available by commercial means. Prices are included with each product, as well as a handy rating system of severed fingers to denote their explosive capability. Unfortunately, while Oregon's RIDICULOUS anti-fireworks laws may prohibit you from purchasing these babies in-state--nothing's stopping you from "running for the border," IF you know what we mean. WINK. WINK.

(Just in case you don't know what we mean, you should go to Washington to buy them.)


You want to please God, right? Well, do you think God will be satisfied with a 16-pack of Black Cat firecrackers? That won't get His attention! Try multiplying that number by 1,000 to make God sit up and listen! Chinatown Celebration makes a 40 lb. continuous strip of 16,000 firecrackers--and while the Chinese worship a totally different god than you and I, after two weeks of these babies still going off, you'll have the attention of God, Buddha AND that weird blue elephant with all the arms!

Amputation Factor: 1 finger


Finally! A racially sensitive box of fireworks! After all the crap the Native Americans have received from the honky, it's payback time. At the moment of explosion, the ghosts of the ancestors will fly into the heavens on mighty horseback, join together in a flaming circle, and with screams piercing the eardrum, rain down upon the helpless honky a never-ending firestorm of arrows and burning tomahawks. And as the white man cries out, "Why? Why?!?" The ancestors will say, "Because we were here FIRST, cracker."

Amputation Factor: 4 fingers


Calling all Hippies, Activists and Anarchists! Looking for something a little more environmentally friendly? Well here's a perfect gift for that special someone in the Earth Liberation Front; the Golden Pine Forest aerial explosive. An item of beauty and tremendous destructive power, we advise setting this baby off during your next "tree sit"--especially if you're about to be attacked by ill-mannered loggers. Simply light, and enjoy the unique shape of the mighty golden pine growing and exploding in mid-air. Then laugh in malicious glee as the razor sharp needles of this flaming tree come stabbing down from the heavens, blinding and impaling every logger in sight! (It smells nice, too.)

Amputation Factor: 2 fingers


Oh, yeaaaahhh! You know how it is! When me and my redneck buddies get together to knock back some brewskis and score some tail? That's What I'm Talking About! And when we're watching a Coors commercial and start rolling around on the floor in a homoerotic fashion? That's What I'm Talking About! And then on the Fourth of July, when we explode this monster box of aerial explosives in the middle of the street, even though we're stinking drunk off our asses and covered in lighter fluid? That's What I'm Talking About! And then when we're sitting in the emergency room, complaining of third degree burns, finger loss and alcohol poisoning, and we're in so much pain we can't even high-five each other? Well. That kinda hurts. But...That's What I'm Talking About!

Amputation Factor: 2 1/2 fingers


You're still mad about not getting sent over to "put a whack on Iraq," right? Happily, you can relive those glorious days of yesteryear by setting off these aerial explosives in your foreign neighbors' back yard. So what if they're not originally from Iraq? The multiple barrages of colored fireballs, showers of sparks, and sonic booms will have those interlopers running from the suburbs and back to wherever it is they came from. Remember, as the name says, freedom is not something you earn, it's something you "endure."

Amputation Factor: 3 fingers


The Mercury doesn't recommend this one. Unless of course, you're really, really angry at somebody. Here's how Untamed Retribution works: Set the timer for one hour, and then drive as far away as humanly possible. In the meantime, the explosive box will begin making "baby cooing sounds" to bring the victim closer. Then, it explodes. Phase One of the explosion sends a spray of extremely fine pieces of glass through the body of your enemy. Phase Two shoots a mixture of rubbing alcohol and lemon juice, causing an unbearable burning sensation to the cuts incurred from the broken glass. Phase Three covers him with dog feces, which is followed by Phase Four, taking a Polaroid picture of your enemy covered with dog feces which is then sent to all his friends. Phase Five splashes the victim with battery acid, Phase Six teases them about their clothing choices, and finally, Phase Seven unleashes a thermonuclear blast designed to put the victim, and everyone within a ten mile radius, out of their misery.

Amputation Factor: Nothing but stump.