In which I treat this like a diary…

by Nathan Hamm on 7/5/2004 · 2 comments

There were many things yesterday that for some reason or another, I was unable to photograph. Let me tell you, humanity suffers as a result.

First, I was upset my cards were full when the A-10s did a flyover at Independence Hall. It was truly impressive to see these four beasts silently blasting straight for us followed by the roar of their engines.

Second, and much more entertaining, was the part of the day that proves we should all take Michele’s warning to heart.

Let it be known first that I am a habitual instigator. I always seem able to convince people to do things that are either unhealthy or dangerous. Last night was no different.

I had enough fireworks sitting around to qualify as a small explosives cache (God Bless South Carolina!) and we were determined to get rid of them. The most impressive of all was a $40 beauty that resembled a small mortar tube with little grenade shaped pieces with very long fuses that drop in the tube. Now, in theory one reads the instructions carefully with such an impressive piece of firepower. Our fine host did not though. He got it all right except for the direction the charge must face.

So, he drops this thing in, lights it, runs, and looks up. We hear the burning of the rocket… still in the tube. Shortly thereafter, the base of the tube blasts apart and sends send sparks, assorted flames, and a shockwave across the parking lot (and the neighbors’ cars). Car alarms go off. Angry people come out of their apartments. Our host sheepishly saunters back to the grill, saying “We’ve gotta wait a few minutes before we try that again.”

Luckily, the other eleven sailed up into the heavens and exploded as they were intended. There were of course horizontal bottle rockets, errant Roman candle fireballs, and firecrackers lit with fuses too short. But then, what do you expect from a bunch of men (one of whom even scoured the parking lot looking for unexploded firecrackers)? All but one of the women shook their heads in disapproval (and, unsurprisingly, that one is the only one I talked to the whole time).

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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michele July 6, 2004 at 5:34 am

At least no fingers were lost. Just a little dignity.

Mark Hamm July 6, 2004 at 5:27 pm

Our ‘mortars’ were similiar, though I think smaller. We were worried shooting them off somewhere in Portland but found a good area north of the 405 bridge along the Willamette. THere were a group of other there doing the same, so utilizing the safety in numbers approach, we did ours there. Must of been a good view from the 405! As we left we saw a firetruck using its lights to try to scare the others away but it didn’t work. We shouldn’t of worried as others lit their illegal fireworks from the roofs of Pearl district buildings until 4 in the morning.

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