Fire in the sky: Fourth of July is here -- be careful with your fireworks!
Every yahoo in the neighborhood will be setting something on fire this weekend, so brace yourself. I personally am one of the few adults who actually likes to go to one of the big fireworks shows put on by the city or down by the beach. Nothing beats those giant blooms of fire in the sky. Here's a list of the local shows if you dare to brace the crowds.
If you are staying home and are thinking of loading up at a roadside stand, check out our colleague Josh Gillin's review of what the stuff looks like once it's set on fire. Surprisingly, the most expensive stuff doesn't give you the most bang for the buck, he says. But before you grab a lighter, keep in mind all the lost fingers and burnt houses that result from patriotic pyromania. Susan Thurston did a nice roundup of the biggest Tampa Bay area roadside stands. And Dalia Colon has you covered legally, taking a look at what will keep you out of trouble. I love her headline "What am I allowed to blow up?"
There are some good non-exploding options available for little kids. Such as those sperm-shaped paper packets called TNT Pop-Its, right, found in any grocery story or big box discounter. They are great for little kids to throw on the ground for a satisfying, non-lethal snap and a spark you can see at night. (Fun fact: When I stocked up recently, the cashier laughed when telling me that he's not allowed to sell those harmless things to anyone under 18. Do you realize how many of these you have to stick in your eye to even come close to hurting yourself?)
Glow necklaces and flashlights are also a good way to distract little ones from the sparklers, which you should be reminded burn at a temperature of 2,000 degrees and can melt some metals. If you break out the sparklers, make sure you have a bucket of water parked nearby for them.
Okay, I've now covered myself with enough warnings I can now admit I luuurve to see stuff blown up. Just be safe.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne
[Photo: Fireworks over Tampa Bay by LARA CERRI/ St. Petersburg Times]