I'm a patriotic man who enjoys blowing things up

original print date, June 7 2004

                  Paul Ryan

Note: This column is the one I wrote for this week's edition of The NewspaperTM - which employs me. Below is a screenshot of the original column, followed by the text of it in a readable form. Enjoy.

We all enjoy fireworks, don't we? If I were to tell you, my favorite reader in the whole county, about a certain "fireworks incident" I was involved in this week, you would understand, wouldn't you? Okay, good.

As I've already said, I love fireworks. It's a vice like any other. Some people smoke, some drink, and some gamble. My vice just happens to involve annoying my neighbors with loud explosions.

However, my problem is that I'm not satisfied with sparklers and little "snap, crackle, pop" fireworks. I like the big loud ones that screech into the air, go silent for just a second, and then knock you to the ground with a loud "BOOM!"

Unfortunately, those fireworks are illegal in Minnesota, unless you're some fancy-pants licensed pyrotechnic. Last Saturday, one of the officers from the police department in The TownTM - where I work - was kind enough to remind me that I am not, in fact, a fancy-pants pyrotechnic.

Stay with me, reader! I'm not the ruthless, hardened criminal I appear to be! I didn't accidentally blow anything up, or light myself on fire and run screaming down the street. I just lit off a few incredibly huge modest-sized fireworks. It was good old-fashioned fun.

If you live near the site, perhaps you saw my amateur fireworks show. You're welcome. It was my pleasure. If you were the people in the SUV who drove past me and shouted, "HEEEY MAN, YEAH WHOOOOO!", then thank you for your support.

My good time with fireworks - full of green, red, and blue sparks dancing in the sky - ended around 1 am, when a black and white squad car pulled up next to me.

"You aren't lighting off fireworks, are you?" asked the officer.

I looked in front of his squad car. The car's headlights were shining directly on a large cardboard tube with smoke coming out of it.

"Um, maybe. I . . . I dunno," I said, using as much tact as a 15-year-old caught holding a party while his parents were away.

I walked up to the squad car, and the officer explained that he had seen some flashes of light over the hill. I leaned down by his window and started to stammer again, trying to find a way out.

At that point, there was a moment's silence inside the dark car. Then there was a chuckle, followed by hysterical laughter. The officer had recognized me as the city's friendly hometown reporter.

"Boy, wouldn't this make a good story for the paper," he said. "Newspaper reporter arrested for illegal fireworks."

After thinking about it for a while, I realized it would make a great story for the paper. And so this article was born.

Luckily, I didn't get in trouble. Like most police departments, the one in The TownTM - where I work - is interested in keeping citizens safe, not locking them up for celebrating the birth of our nation. I was told to clean up the garbage and go home.

I was a little sad while leaving, not because I was laughed at, but because I never got to drive to the house of my editor and light off the "100-piece sonic shotgun missile silo" near his bedroom window. I guarantee the sound would have knocked him right out of bed.

I guess some joys will just have to wait until next year.

Haley Bonar
Similar to:  Sheryl Crow

Haley Bonar may have criticized me and made some outrageous comments (How is saying someone is hot slander or libel? Laura Ness was hot, wasn't she?), but that doesn't mean she can't make good music. And she writes some damn good music.

Bonar is one of the few acoustic artists I like. She uses her voice in a variety of different ways, my favorite being on this song, "Drinking Again". Give it a listen by clicking below. I guarantee you'll like it. You can also download the mp3 of this song, and a few more of her songs, by clicking on the "More Songs" link while it's playing.

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