When our forefathers gave their lives on the battlefields of glory to rid our new country of the stinking British, they didn't do it just so you could sit on your ass every Fourth of July eating barbecued ribs and swilling Pabst Blue Ribbon. They wanted you to viscerally remember the price they paid for your freedom. So when you're standing on the Burnside Bridge watching the fireworks display, you should remember that our fallen heroes of yore weren't "ooohing" and "ahhing" at the "rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air." They were running around screaming, "OH GOD! MY BACK IS ON FIRE!"

The best way to pay tribute to their ultimate sacrifice is by purchasing the biggest, scariest fireworks you can find, and blowing the shit out of something. And if you lose a finger in the process? Well, perhaps that might bring you one step closer to the true meaning of "patriotism."

Therefore, it is with great civic pride that the Mercury brings you this guide to the newest and most dangerous of explosive devices. Prices are included with each, as well as a handy rating system of severed fingers to denote their explosive capabilities.

Ahhh the beautiful butterfly. Perhaps nature's most exquisite creation. This deceptive firework celebrates the butterfly's beauty and grace by emitting a fountain of shimmering, sparkly sparks. However! There's a reason it's called the "Dancing Butterfly Surprise," because as the last of the sparks fall gracefully to the ground a barrage of jumping baby ground spinners leap out, and attack every spectator in sight, leaving everyone within a 100-yard radius with horrible seeping burns! SURPRISE!
Explosive Capability: ***

Sure, America may have successfully turned the Rooskies into a weeping, bankrupt country of alcoholics and mail-order brides, but that doesn't mean we are devoid of evil enemies! We should never turn our backs on the scourge of aliens that are constantly hovering above the atmosphere, biding their time before they attack our I-HOPs and administer clumsy anal probes! Make sure you are prepared with "Alien Abduction," which launches buzzing aerial UFO spinners into the atmosphere where you can shoot them down with your shotgun. Makes great practice! Explosive Capability: **

Tired of those rotten kids in the neighborhood heaving packs of firecrackers into your mailbox? Who isn't? Show 'em how the big boys play with "Wolf Pack Crackers;" a 20-lb. roll containing 16,000 of the loudest firecrackers allowed by law! HAW! HAW! That's right, you goddam babies. Run home to mama.
Explosive Capability: ***

Man, if the redcoats had used this baby during the war? Today we might very well be chewing crumpets, and curtsying to the Queen instead of slapping our legs in hilarity at big, dumb Bush. This multi-effects firework emits a fountain of white, silver, and gold starbursts that suddenly turn into a fiery rainstorm of vicious, snapping barracudas falling from the sky! Note: this firework has been known to devour a whole cow from skin to bones in less than two minutes. Use extreme caution.
Explosive Capability: ****


If you're anything like me, your fondest memory is those cherished moments with friends as you flush an M-80 down a public john, and laugh with innocent glee as the porcelain explodes, slinging shards through the air at speeds up to 100 m.p.h. And though now it is technically "illegal" to purchase the M-80, there're still loads of toilet-exploding fun to be had with its smaller stepsister, the M-88. (Especially if you stack them up, as we have in the accompanying photograph.)
Explosive Capability: *****

A favorite of underground militant groups! The next time those annoying FBI men try to force you into getting a driver's license, send them skittering off into the night with this aerial bomb. It not only flies 100 feet into the air, but it explodes with a thunderous bang loud enough to shatter the windows of government vehicles, and rupture ear drums packed with two inches of toilet paper. And even better? It's made right here in the U S A! Hurrah!
Explosive Capability: ***

Say all you want about the commies of Red China; they sure do know how to make fireworks. Though it has little to do with the celebration of our individual freedoms, "Monkey Violating Heavens" is a must for your backyard display. Glorious Chinese rockets swoop into the stratosphere where they explode with a piercing bang, upon which a shower of orange sparks take the form of monkeys performing a vast array of disgusting sodomy in the clouds. Might want to put the kids to bed before this one; it is SICK.
Explosive Capability: **


Can't find fireworks with enough explosive capability? Take a quick jaunt across the border to these fine fireworks stands.

Blackjack Fireworks (North Vancouver) I-5 to Hazel Dell exit--HWY 99 to N.E. 106th Avenue. Mustard-colored building, road dead-ends at HWY 205.

Pat Lydon Fireworks Sales North on I-5 to Clark County Fairgrounds, Front Lot (17402 NE Delfel Road)


Too chicken to blow them up yourself? Here are five legal fireworks displays for the faint of heart.

Portland Speedway: 9727 N MLK Jr Blvd.
Nothing says sophistication like a demolition derby and fireworks! July 3, gates open at 5 pm, $10

Oaks Amusement Park: Foot of Spokane St, Sellwood
Get all your redneck fun in one convenient place! Gorge yourself on cotton candy, ride the Spider, and compete with the fireworks for the the best technicolor "display." Roller coasters and rides open noon to midnight, fireworks at 10 pm, $2 gate fee

Fort Vancouver: 612 E. Reserve, Vancouver, WA
With more than 1,200 pyrotechnic toys and inventions, the Columbia River fireworks show is allegedly the largest this side of the Mississippi (bigger than that wussy show in St. Louis, for sure). 10 pm, free

Waterfront Park Blues Festival: SW Front; Harrison to Glisan
The blues can be such a downer; fireworks will pep you right back up! Fireworks right after the Waterfront Blues Festival, 10 pm

Lake Oswego: Public Viewing at Lake Grove Swim Park, 3800 SW Lakeview Blvd.
Last year, as an unauthorized side attraction to the main event, a couple of rabble-rousing teens shot bottle rockets at a woman in a canoe. When the cargo in her boat caught fire, she had to jump in the lake and swim to safety. She ended up suing the teens! Water ski show at 7:30, fireworks at 9:45.