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1,037 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Subject: OT/Humor: IT'S A MAN THING

>From tx.guns

About 2 weeks ago, I was looking around the Web for the BIGGEST sky rocket that
I could get shipped to me via common freight carrier. I
located a fireworks importer in Wisconsin who had this mondo sky
rocket--biggest thing I had ever seen--called a SkyDragon. These things are
48 inches tall and are mounted on a 1/2-inch wooden dowel. Pure aerospace

I plopped down a bunch of money and had him send me two cases of these things.
They arrived at the freight dock a few days ago and I had to
drive the van over to pick them up. Two boxes each 2 feet by 2 feet by 4 feet
in size containing 80 rockets each. The 'Class 4 Explosives'
sticker on the side of each box was a real bonus. I am gonna have to save them
for the scrapbook.

That night, me and the kiddos had a gen-u-ine rocket launch ceremony. I placed
one of these beauties in a liter-size glass bottle and the
bottle fell over. Hmmmm- this thing was waaay too big. I looked around the shop
for a pipe to set it in, but realized that the only dirt I
could drive the pipe into was in plain sight of my neighbor's house. I knew he
was a cool guy, but I didn't want him to call the cops. You
see- 'projectile-type' fireworks are totally illegal in this county. I was
surprised that the Buncombe County Sheriff Department wasn't
waiting for me at the loading dock when I picked these things up. Anyhow, I
finally rigged a launch pad by prying up one of the driveway drain
grates with a crowbar and sitting the stick into the deep pit. Looked sorta
like an ICBM silo with its hardened lid slid aside.

I asked which of my three kids wanted to light the fuse, but all took a few
steps back and politely declined. Chickenshits. Kids just aren't
made the same nowadays. They fulfill their danger quotient by shooting bad guys
in video games. About as far from real danger as you can get,
if you ask me.

I told the little weenies to stand back as I bent to light the device with a
Bic lighter.

The lady at the fireworks importer promised me that these things would NOT make
any noise. I told her that they HAD to be relatively quiet so
I could shoot them off in my neighborhood without causing 'undue alarm'. She
said I wouldn't have any problem. I emphasized the particular
legal problems I would have if there were any type of loud report at apogee. I
emphasized the fact that I lived right next to a National Park
and that any type of firework that was discharged or assumed to be discharged
on that property would get me sent before a FEDERAL judge right
before I got sent to the COUNTY judge. She again assured me I would have no

That lying @#$&*.

That rocket engine had a burn time about as long as any I had EVER seen, and
the ascent echoed off the surrounding trees. Diamond shock
pattern extended from the back end. It kept going and going and going. When it
hit apogee at about 1000 feet, the rocket disintegrated into a
huge shower of silent red sparks. Pretty cool, I thought......until the shower
of sparks burned out and suddenly transformed into a cloud of
extremely bright and loud explosions. The kids scrambled into the back door
'Three Stooges' style (ie: where all three try to get through the
same closed door at once) and left me standing in the smoking haze waiting for
the cops to arrive. The dogs that live along our street were
all barking their heads off at the apparition they had just witnessed in the
night sky....

That ended the fireworks test for the night.

The next day, my oldest son Doug and I decided we were gonna 'neuter' one of
the rockets so it wouldn't make any noise. I took him into the
closet where I store the gardening tools and he saw these two huge cases of
fireworks standing there. The kid went nuts. He wanted to open
BOTH boxes so he could see what all 159 rockets looked like lined up next to
each other. This kid has promise. I told him: "Since mom only
thinks I have a few of these things lying around, maybe that wasn't such a good
idea." He mulled that over for a few seconds, then gave me a
real big smile in agreement.

We pulled one of the rockets out of the box and re-locked the closet door.
He and I both sat down on the driveway and proceeded to take it apart. It was a
standard issue big-ass Chinese sky rocket. I bet they used
these to kill people 500 years ago. As I sat there taking layer after layer of
paper off, his brain was filling with the details of
construction. Tissue, cardboard, plastic, fuses...etc. Realizing that he was
mentally storing the design for some future project sorta made me
shudder. All I was thinking was the fact that this thing was probably put
together by a political prisoner in a hellhole somewhere who is
probably gonna get 'executed' so they can sell his internal organs on the
transplant market.

Probably not too far from the facts, but I managed to do a bit of explaining to
him from the standpoint of aerospace engineering regarding how
the thing worked. Doug is probably the only 4th grader in the U.S. who can now
describe the principle of thrust using a control volume model.

The rocket was pretty simple. It had a very large booster engine topped with a
warhead that contained the red sparkly things that exploded.

Removing the warhead was as simple as giving a quick twist, and I assumed the
neutered rocket would fly higher without the payload. I was
correct. Doug and I did a daylight 'stealth' test and were able to add about
50% to the altitude attained the previous night. We decided to
modify four more rockets and put them aside in the closet for easy access. When
this was done, Doug had a jar full of stuff that came out of
the warheads including: 12 fuses about 3-inches long each, some paper, 4
plastic nosecones and a big handfull of these little black balls
about the size of 12-gauge buckshot that turned out to be the 'red sparkly
popper things'. It appeared that the outer layer was a simple
gunpowder coating designed to quickly burn off as red shower of sparks. I
surmised that the inner core had some kind of magnesium thermite
that gave off an intense white light and a loud bang. Pretty cool if you ask
me. Lots of energy packed into one teeny little ball.

I didn't want to see the popper thingies go to waste, so I told Doug we were
gonna put them in a hole in the ground and set them off. He gave
me another big smile.

It's amazing how kids think alike...even when separated by 30 years.

As I was digging a shallow hole with my hand, Doug asked if it would be alright
to put an army man next to these things so that "When they go
off, it would look like he was getting shot with a maching gun".
Dang....exactly what I was thinking. I agreed and he ran off to his room to
dig something out of the mess. He returned in about 3 seconds, out of breath
and holding a cheap plastic imitation of Robert E. Lee on
horseback and a Civil War cannon. I pointed out that they didn't have a true
machine guns in the Civil War, but we would overlook this for the
purpose of the demonstration. He handed me the action figure and I placed it
and the cannon next to a rather large pile of black beads from
which a few of the fuses extended. I figured that three inches of fuse would
take 2 seconds to burn, so I had at least that amount of time to
stand up and take a few steps back. I neglected to recount the night
before.....when the warhead ignited IMMEDIATELY upon reaching apogee.
Tricky Chinese. They had installed extremely fast-burning fuse in these things
and that fact totally escaped me.

I squatted next to Robert Lee and gave a short eulogy. Doug laughed. I took the
trusty Bic lighter and placed it next to the fuse. One flick
hand holding a lighter next to a pile of explosives.

There is usually a short but noticeable mental pause that occurs immediately
before something bad or really stupid happens. It is where that
little voice in your head says: "You dumbass."

The fuse burn time was in the 1/1000ths of a second range. The pile of little
popper thingy's immediately ignited into a tremendously
brilliant ball of fire. All I could think was ...""
Unfortunately, when they are viewed at ground level, these
little popper thingies become REALLY BIG POPPER THINGIES and have a tendency to
jump up to 15-feet in every direction from their point of
ignition. I instantaneously became engulfed in a ball of fire that sounded a
lot like being in a half-done bag of Orville Reddenbacher's

It was all over about as fast as I could snap my fingers. After the smoke
cleared, Doug started laughing his butt off. That meant I was still
in one piece. Doug does not laugh at dismembered limbs. He said I jumped about
10-feet, an action that I do not remember. I checked my clothes
for burn marks, and found none. He checked my back to make sure it was not on
fire. No combustion there. The driveway was peppered with black
holes where the concrete had been scarred from these things.

A close one. Another REAL close one. My mind ran the tapes again to re-hash
what it had seen. All I remembered was being inside something akin
to a 30-foot diameter........flaming dandelion. Whew.

We examined Ol' Robert E. at ground-zero.
Instead of a machine-gun peppering, he got nuked. He and the horse he rode in
on.......and his cannon too. One side was untouched, but the
other side was arc-welded. Real warfare. Doug examined it real quiet-like and
then started laughing again.

I assume he will remember the finer points of the lesson as he grows older.
When I now speak of 'almost being burned beyond recognition' he
will have a slightly better understanding of what I mean. I hope that this
vivid image tempers the knowledge he now has regarding rocket
construction. O well. After all, if your dad isn't gonna teach you how to get
your ass blown off, who will?

680 Posts
Man, that is some of the greatest stuff I have read in a while.....I would sure like to spend next 4th of July with you.....If you survive all those rockets and those wild expierments......
thanks for the laugh

1,913 Posts
That was priceless!!!

Try tying a GI Joe - no, a garage-sale Ken doll - to one of the other rockets and send him up, Slim Pickens-style!

Can I come and live with you???

391 Posts
You and your son are not a wimps; my kind of people. Your story is priceless, wonderful, and shall go down in All-Star father-son history. Do you think Tim Allen/Tool Time would buy your script?

4,082 Posts
And we wonder why fireworks are illegal in most areas. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
I too am suprised someone wasn't waiting on you when you picked the boxes up.
Very good story!

143 Posts
Great story! Made my day at work a little more enjoyable.
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