Leader Blues

Thursday, July 03, 2008

SPORTS>>Finally, some new pyrotechnics to liven up the Fourth

Tired of the same old pyrotechnics every Fourth of July?

I know I am.

I realize I’m probably behaving like a spoiled teenager, easily bored and always demanding something new, something to make me sit up and say, ‘Wow!’

Frankly, I haven’t seen anything innovative in fireworks since I was a kid. We’d all pile into the family station wagon, head to the drive-in, and wait for the show to begin. The first few bursts would inspire us with awe and delight. Then, it was 15 more minutes of the exact same thing, perhaps with a change from red to blue or from white to green.

The last time I saw fireworks a year or two ago I might as well have been back in that 1965 Impala wagon, with my head out the window, my expression of delight fading fast as I tried to stifle my growing sense of disappointment.

Now there’s hope! A new line of sports-themed fireworks are available this year and while I can’t swear they won’t be just another in a long line of pyrotechnic party poopers, at least it’s something new.

Flying Tiger: A facsimile of 14-time major winner Eldrick Woods with a fuse on the end of his driver. Often will explode off the launching pad and never looks back. Also known to pace itself early, perform some dazzling loops, then shoot ahead in its final stages. Marketers insist that, when the wind is right, you can hear the words ‘You da man’ trailing off behind a Flying Tiger. The first few batches of the item were damaged in production, but consumers are urged not to worry. The damaged ones work just as well.

The Rocket Rocket: Endorsed by Roger Clemens, this is marketed as an enhanced bottle rocket, a gadget which may have excited teens in the 60s, but merely makes them scoff today. The Rocket Rocket is alleged to go much, much faster and receives an extra boost of energy in its final stages when most bottle rockets would fizzle and fall. It is rumored that this item is propelled by possibly illegal fuels.

The Shaq Attack: Perhaps the least anticipated of the new fireworks entrees, this is a very big, but ultimately slow and plodding piece of pyrotechnics. It doesn’t move, just sends up an occasional spark. Critics maintain that the only marginal entertainment it provides is a rap lyric, but Consumer Reports complains that most of the words are inaudible and the ones you can hear don’t make any sense. Considered one of the safest fireworks on the market.
n Kobe Candle: This is an amazing display of flash and dash, yet early reports are that it is strangely unsatisfying. Pyrotechnicians report that the Kobe Candle is often enhanced when used in conjunction with the Shaq Attack and vice versa.

Demolition D-Mac: A variation on the M-80, this new item is explosive and pretty much unstoppable. When you light this one, just stand clear and watch it go.

Felix Fireball: This one won’t hurt you if it hits you, but chances are it won’t hit you. Inspired by former Razorback running back Felix Jones, this flitting darter will delight you with its serpentine slashing and now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t jitterbugging.

A-Rod Sparkler: Dazzling in its early stages, but ultimately disappointing. You keep expecting it to do more – especially toward the end — but it never does. Worth a look, though.

Federer Flame: Sleek, consistent and often awe-inspiring, this update of the Roman Candle is especially mesmerizing when launched from your lawn. Not as effective on clay surfaces.

Houston Howitzer: Currently a popular choice in the state of Mississippi, this ball of fire in a little package packs lots and lots and lots of noise, but early reports are that it leaves many viewers feeling empty, disappointed, even angry. People seem to either love or hate this new entrant.

The Petro Petrino: Beware this high flier in the unassuming package. Comes in a plain brown wrapper that is hardly eye-catching, yet unwrap it and watch the sparks fly!

If you really like fireworks, though, wait until the Houston Howitzer and the Petro Petrino hook up on Oct. 25 in Fayetteville.

Here’s hoping you had a safe, and not-too-boring Fourth!