Am I Blue: Blue is the Toughest Color to Create in Fireworks


All-American fireworks displays on July 4—American Independence Day—will honor the red, white and blue. But did you know blue is the toughest fireworks color to create?

“It’s harder to make blue. It’s all about balancing heat and the chemical compositions,” says Jim Souza, whose Pyro Spectaculars runs the Macy’s July 4 show, the nation’s largest. Nevertheless, blue will abound in this year’s main act: a dazzling American flag launched from the Brooklyn Bridge. Ever wonder how they make fireworks into shapes? Basic fireworks are spheres, Souza says. Cut one in half and you’ll find chemical “marbles” carefully arranged as, say, a smiley face or a star. When the fuse hits the explosive powder at the center of the marbles, boom! They shoot into the sky but maintain their original formation.--Parade

 

8 Old Wedding Traditions You Didn't Know Existed


If you're crabby like us, you bemoan the fact that some civilized wedding traditions—such as the receiving line—are rapidly vanishing, being replaced with new rites such as the bride and bridesmaids mooning the photographer. But not all good old-fashioned traditions were good. Gee, who misses the days when the local gals beat up the prospective groom?

It appears that a growing number of bridal parties are celebrating the joy and solemnity of marriage by mooning the wedding photographer. Hey, how you want to remember your wedding is your business, and if you and your friends are a cheeky crowd, well, bottoms up. Besides, showing your tush to the camera isn’t the strangest or most objectionable wedding tradition that the human race has dreamt up in the past few centuries. The integrity of the cup: The Abyssinians (now known as the Habesha People, who inhabit the Horn of Africa) had a ceremony involving wine, a cup and a hole. When two people married, the ceremony was quite normal by today's standards, with feasting, happiness, and seeing the new couple off to the conjugal bliss of their wedding night.—Mental Floss

 

S.D.'s Ocean Beach Weary of Annual July 4 Marshmallow Fight's Mess

It probably was cute when it started out. But the annual Independence Day marshmallow fight in Ocean Beach, Calif., near San Diego, has gotten bigger, messier and meaner, with some locals calling for the tradition to die.

Since the mid-1980s, residents of the Ocean Beach community of San Diego have enjoyed a unique Fourth of July free-for-all: a marshmallow fight after the evening display of fireworks. But the sticky, gooey mess left behind in recent years has increased calls to abandon the tradition. In that time, the spontaneous, leaderless event has gotten more aggressive, spreading from the beach to the main business street of Newport Avenue and then to surrounding streets. The mess left by countless marshmallows has been unsightly and substantial.—Los Angeles Times