If you're a longtime reader of Internet nonfiction, you might know that I like to celebrate our nation's birthday by blowing things the fuck up. And you also might know that you should never try this at home. In fact, it's safest if you stop reading right now. OK, now that all the pussies are gone, let's fucking do this. Supplies Most parts in this great country have strict anti-firework laws. I live in California, a state made entirely out of dried timber and gas stations. Our state is so flammable that we don't even wear ribbed condoms unless we're fucking fire extinguishers. A firework show in California is throwing a Pop-It at a friend and watching airtankers drop reservoir water on him until he's not on fire. So my government told me fireworks were illegal. But this nation was founded on telling unjust laws where to suck us on the dick. America demanded my celebration and it's not going to take a county or state line as an excuse for why I spent the holiday tongue kissing a picture of Hitler. I went to Vancouver, Washington, a land so moist no flame can harm it and so uninteresting that thermodynamics spends most of its time asleep. Vancouver became a firework capital since it's located a few minutes north of Portland, Oregon and everything good is illegal in Oregon. Portland's idea of fireworks is two lesbians arguing over a motorcycle accident. But not Washington. In Washington, they don't give a fuck. You can buy mortars and roman candles, and all you need for a full-blown federal explosives license is proof that you're not wearing a turban. Fireworks are so legal in Washington that you only go to an Indian reservation if you're out of amyl nitrate. For a few weeks out of the year, the entire city of Vancouver replaces itself with firework stands. When you get off the highway, children charge your vehicle and wave you towards tents. Barkers are calling to you, screaming why their explosives are the best and why their competitors are lying pigs. It's like an open-air market in Beirut. There's even a mass grave for all the bomb-sniffing dogs that ran there from across the country to panic in every direction and die. Picking the Fireworks that are Right For You A good firework stand should overwhelm your balls. Firework marketing is the purest form of masculinity. You'll see giant $300 fountains covered in titted monster trucks and ninjas called The American Face Fucker or Festival Corpse Rapist. You have to resist. These fountains are for people with a remedial sense of rad and more disposable income than imagination. What a savvy pyrotechnician is looking for is mortars. Mortars are cheap, two-stage fireworks that come with their own launching tube. The first stage is a simple detonation that pops it into the sky. The second stage is an equally powerful but prettier explosion of sparks. They're fun to use as directed, and perfect for screwing around. For example, a single mortar blows up hard enough to save you the trouble of twisting 20 firecracker fuses together. My personal favorite technique is to turn a mortar upside down and launch the tube five feet into the air where it floats hilariously over a 40-foot explosion that everyone has forgotten about. Washington has many signs about when it's legal to set off fireworks, but luckily I didn't see any about how. You can jam three mortars into the same tube and they will all fly up and report. Or you can forget the tube and throw them by hand, presumably at Spider-Man from your Goblin Glider. The thing to remember is that all fireworks are simply bundles of cordite and magnesium packed into a cardboard tube by sleepy Chinese children. It's not going to surprise you. Open flame makes it celebrate, and gluing 200 more fireworks to it is only going to make it celebrate harder. Besides mortars, look out for any fireworks designed to spin while nailed to a wall. These are an excellent source of strong dumbfire rockets, and you'll want rockets. Concept When constructing your own fireworks, keep the four M's in mind. M.obility - You can't expect liberty to come to you. M.urder - Because if your creation has no weapons, what's the point of any of this? M.erica - If you don't like it, get the fuck out. M.otherfucking Rubber Cement - It's so flammable. And it's glue! Construction When you have a good supply of explosives, go to your neighborhood Good Will to find toys. Every day, children donate their treasured memories to charity in the hopes that some screaming lunatic won't dress them in dynamite and melt them. But not everything has a happy ending, kids. During my trip, I found a remote-controlled truck, a karate trophy, a sad-eyed stuffed kitten and a Justin Timberlake *NSYNC puppet. I also bought an inflatable Goofy basketball hoop to melt with roman candles while we tested the response time of local police. The first thing I did was prepare the Justin Timberlake puppet. It was a creepy used marionette, almost certainly taken from a grinning teen girl rocking back and forth in the center of a crime scene. Like that girl, this firework is going to kill everything close to it, so as it goes off I won't be able to stand close enough to work the strings. I did the next best thing by attaching rockets to each of the puppet's limbs. For a few glorious seconds, Justin would be a real boy. Working limbs is great if you're trying to dance, but I'm trying to tell America I love it. This thing needed to fly. I dismantled a few powerful ball-launching fountains to act as his jetpack. Out of politeness, I gave nearby friends 10 seconds to point out the irony of balls coming out of Justin Timberlake's ass before I made the joke myself. But the time for jokes was over. It was time for Jihad. I think the dynamite vest makes his smile look a little desperate, but I'm a patriot, not a fashion designer. M.obility I've glued together enough fireworks to know that Justin is more likely to lay down and burn while his limbs detach than he is to stand up and run. So I started building him a handicapped accessible vehicle. I started by yanking the insides of the remote-controlled truck out. When making a rocket-powered vehicle, weight is your worst enemy. It's why they use chimpanzees as astronauts instead of fat people. With a claw hammer and American spirit I yanked off the truck's roll bar and bed cover. Then I dismantled four tanks, four race cars, two flying saucers and five rotating wheels to scavenge rocket parts. Most vehicle fireworks have a few shitty cannon tubes linked to a shitty rocket tube. Far away from ground zero, light each part on fire to see if it's a rocket and in which direction it pushes. Why, with enough tiny rockets facing the same way, a toy truck could leave its whole life behind. Note: For many extra dollars, you can go to a hobby store and get model rocket engines. They trigger with open flame just as well as they trigger with an electric igniter element. That's not really in the spirit of American industriousness, though. Making a rocket out of a rocket is like letting a drifter impregnate your wife. You end up with a working baby, but now no one will look you in the eye or shake your wife's ungloved hand. I took the 25ish salvaged rockets and strapped them into the truck. I knew I'd never be able to rig a fuse to get them to go off simultaneously, so I emptied several fountains and a box of Cracklin' Balls into the truck's bed. It smelled like a gunfight. Any stray spark that landed in this would summon a vertical sheet of white flame, instantly lighting every rocket fuse for a one-truck radius. From this point on, looking directly at the truck added five inches to your dick, so I warned the women to avert their eyes and continue their cowering. M.urder I filled every hole on the truck with fireworks. It was almost more amoral than it was dangerous. On the hood, I mounted the karate trophy. It proudly proclaimed the truck as the third place winner in the 1997 NW Martial Arts Championships and helped partially block the roof's missile-battery. This would insure that several of the missiles would stay and explode on the cab itself, helping to ignite all the fireworks inside. Which is silly because it was covered in so many layers of rubber cement that a flame could throw a party on it from the bottom of a lake. Plus, its pilot was engineered for no other purpose than to wave and kick fire in every direction. In a move that should earn me the Nobel Awesome Prize, I twisted two rockets into nunchucks and put them in the karate trophy's third place karate hands. It wouldn't have surprised me at all if this act suddenly and magically improved it to second place. The giant roman candles I strapped to the side of the truck reload too slowly to be of any use in a firefight, but the text on them warns against using these products in a manner inconsistent with their labeling, and I want Justin Timberlake to know what he's doing is wrong. Plus, I think the coroner will get a kick out of seeing my smoldering corpse next to clear instructions on how I could have avoided it. M.erica Some might say that it's in bad taste to dress a Voodoo doll of a beloved musician in a dynamite vest at the center of a car bomb. But what would those people say if they heard he was also wearing an American flag? I'll tell you: it starts with U-S-A! and ends in 50 more U-S-A!s. That's why I added USA ribbons to Justin, his truck and his third place trophy. I then let someone's girlfriend decoratively curl it with a pair of scissors because America is a beautiful country and it's exactly what the real Justin Timberlake stylists do to his body hair every morning. I started to understand why our country gets involved in so many absurd conflicts. I was sitting on this sexy, invincible weapon. It cost more time and money than anything in my entire budget, and I will be Goddamned if I'm going to let it sit here and be wasted. I needed an enemy to use it on... any enemy. Meet Salsa. It wasn't hard convincing the world that something had to be done about Salsa. I tore out his insides and replaced them with mortar rounds, black powder and flammable adhesives. I gave him a bandoleer of H-E ammunition and a helmet filled with rockets to avoid interrogation. He was as close to a hand grenade as a kitty cat had ever been. And his eyes told me that he knew. Doin' It! Vancouver is a Dutch word meaning "holy fucking shit." On the Fourth of the July, perfectly legal bombs detonate in the sky in all directions. Horrible, whistling things skitter down every sidewalk. Service pets dart towards the country, leaving their owners to scream alone at a night that can't hear them. A smart man wouldn't have left his foxhole, but I don't be born American so I can have smart. I grabbed my 30 pounds of haphazardly fastened explosives and walked through the falling artillery. The third place karate trophy was the only part of me that wasn't shaking. I placed Justin on his truck six feet from Salsa. This would give the cat plenty of time to think about it while PFC Timberlake rolled forward, transforming into a sparking fireball along the way. I lit the master fuse in the back of the truck that led to the open-faced phosphorous sandwich it was carrying. I ran away, mindful of my form so I wouldn't leave a bitch ass silhouette when the blast atomized me. The rockets all went off perfectly. A jet engine erupted from what was previously only a truck! Unfortunately, I think Justin left the parking brake on. The truck barely budged as 25 rockets struggled to break free from their packaging tape prison. This ignited the multi-staged fuse system I built by carefully pouring rubber cement all over it, and that set off Justin's puppet limbs and jetpack. He sprung to life and acted quickly to complete his mission. With a swift kick and a fart-like jetpack malfunction, he jettisoned the truck's mounted guns. This was a tactical mistake. Not only was the truck still too heavy to move with the guns gone, it now had no long-range weapons that could reach Salsa. So now our country's greatest weapon was bleeding out while a cat insurgent mocked it from outside its perimeter. Justin was starting to look like a Nazi at an ark opening. Every half a second, forgotten ordinance inside him or his truck would pop, but none of it could reach Salsa. I had an easy decision to make. I could dress like a woman for a year before undertaking hormone therapy and surgically turning my penis inside out, or I could jump over that flaming IED and kick a fucking cat bomb into a fire for America. If Salsa could talk his last word would have been "Fu." He hadn't even reached the flames and a mortar round inside him went off. It was so impossible how quickly it went up that God threw an offsides flag from the sky. Every firework I pestled into him for 20 minutes went off in negative two seconds. Or so we thought. The fat bastard had somehow hidden a secret payload with a delayed fuse and tried to lure us in. That part was miraculously caught on tape. Just when we felt safe, there was suddenly so much animal fur in the air that somewhere in the distance Michael Vick got an unexplained erection. And like a cartoon duck, I blinked several times at the camera before falling into a pile of dust and a beak. My friends used a fire retardant garden hose to contain the sparking inferno that now covered the street. When the steam cleared, the truck was nothing but three tires and a finger painting. Justin was half of a black torso. Salsa was nothing more than particles in the air we were breathing. He tasted like victory and toxic campfire. We knew we'd be OK, though, because there was one survivor in this great celebration of America: Karate. That trophy was surrounded on all sides by mortars and fireballs. It was rubber cemented to something that burned so hot it no longer exists, and all that did was polish it.
Most rich kids just want to be pop stars.
How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.
It's easy to work the system and win these awards even if you don't deserve them.