The Fourth of July is shaping up to be bad enough, what with Stink Bomb Number One saying he’s going to be conducting a Personal Pan Pep Rally at the Lincoln Memorial, but now it’s looking like shooting off fireworks, an exciting but already-hazardous Holiday Activity, could be even more maim-y than usual, thanks to some over-calculations by our tariff-enraged trading partners in China, top suppliers of the fireworks your friend’s uncle spent his entire disability check on in Pennsylvania and transported across state lines into your neighborhood to sell out of the trunk of his car.
Here is a list of fireworks found in a recent communication from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, urging you to #CelebrateSafely, and admonishing us that “the thrill of fireworks can also bring pain.” The fireworks dealers involved are Grandma’s Fireworks, GS Fireworks, and Patriot Pyrotechnics/Bill’s Fireworks. The specific hazard is described below, and we quote:
The recalled fireworks are overloaded with pyrotechnics intended to produce an audible effect, violating the federal regulatory standard for this product. Overloaded fireworks can result in a greater than expected explosion, posing explosion and burn hazards to consumers.
Take a deep breath, here come the products! Duplicates have been omitted.
Rise In The East: The East is Red, and in a brutal totalitarian society it’s probably hard not to just make everything Motivational Propaganda so you don’t get in trouble, right?
Safe Cracker: A rare idiot-level warning on this label; NEVER CARRY FIRECRACKERS IN CLOTHING.
Angry Elf: The hard-working graphic artists in China can’t hit a home run every time, right? Sometimes you just put a skull on it and mark it delivered.
Mamba: This is a snake-looking item, the label claims WARNING-EXPLOSIVE, but one hopes it’s not those stupid things that you light and it lazily poops out a string of smudgy charcoal-foam.
Crazy King: Everything still reeks of Game of Thrones, and this reference to the legendary Mad King, Delirium Tremens, or whatever the name was, inspires Fear and Disappointment.
Bang: How can you argue with a name like “Bang?” What could be a better name for an exploding thing?
Crazy Robot Flowers: This name is sort of a bridge between the classic firework-product names evoking nature and the upcoming Robot Future, upheaving society and plunging the Earth into the Endless Darkness that follows The Fire.
Dragon Artillery (Assorted): This is more like it, a familiar Chinese decoration for the Artillery that blows up in your hand because you didn’t pull the fuse all the way out.
Small Festival Balls: The classic instruction! LIGHT FUSE AND GET AWAY
Frog Balls: Oy vey, more balls, hilarious! The frog appears to have lit something, but its frogleg-adjacent anatomy appears intact. Evolution!
Cock Rises! You knew after all those balls this couldn’t be far behind, right? In front of? Above? Beneath?
Sammy’s Best: This looks like the product design crew got tired and just fell back on an Uncle Sam reference with an empty, non-binding promise of being “best.” Be Best, everybody!
Catherine’s Catapult: Not sure who Catherine is, but she is the face of this item which will eject flaming, exploding balls of pyro into your swimming pool.
Heavy Bomber: Pretty straightforward, looks like a “Roman Candle”-type product, and if it’s overloaded with boom-boom as the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission informs us, the odds are one of the little bombs inside could explode before it pops out of the tube, upon which time Hell will be unleashed up your drunken party guests as the remaining flaming globs of explosive fly around your back yard in completely random trajectories.
Multiple Rocket: These are objectionable mostly because they resemble microphones. It’s easy to picture some fool holding one up to their face in that manner, right? Pow!
Talon: These look like megaton-dosage bottle rockets, and fireworks idiots love to let these fly right out of their hand. Hold my beer!
Block Buster: “Block Busting” is a classic racist Real Estate scam, but the odds of an overworked Chinese label designer making that a product name are slim, we’d like to think. It’s more likely this is simply an image of a black cat, derivative of maybe the most celebrated graphic device in all of fireworks packaging.
Special shoutout to our ever-vigilant United States Consumer Product Safety Commission for its diligent reporting on the Brand Names carried by GS Fireworks: Clown, Hairy Beaver, Sin City, and Universal. On to more dangerous products!
1.25” Artillery Shells: Somewhat prosaic, but maybe ‘1.25″’ is a remarkable size for Holiday Entertainment artillery shells? It’s notable that all three of the companies in this recall carried 1.25″ Artillery Shells, so perhaps it’s a solid product, when it’s not being recalled, of course!
Blast From The Past: This product features an Alex Ross-looking depiction of The Green Hornet and Kato, just saying, not accusing anyone of lifting Intellectual Property and copyrighted art for one package.
Born Hero 25 Shot Cake: The straight-ahead military option. We shoot fireworks over there so they don’t shoot fireworks over here.
Burning Aces 25 Shot Cake: There’s a Joker in the deck! Looks like somebody correctly favored the Heath Ledger version.
The Closer 100 Shot Cake: 100 shots is definitely a grand finale option to close out your pyrotechnic display, but the apocalyptic meteor-shower art foretells hours of sitting in the Emergency Room waiting for a doctor.
Clown Shells: This does nothing to relieve fear of clowns, and if one of these recalled items blew up in your face you might become a super villain.
Cock-a-doodle-doo 25 Shot Cake: This one is a real puzzler, a low-budget rip of maybe a comic book or a cartoon?
Crazy Labbits 36 Shot Cake: It’s a portmanteau of “lab” and rabbits, and one of ’em is smoking. Wow, KOZIK got ripped off!
Dead Heat 100 Shot Cake: Hey a Death-themed vampire package, and the other one is either a zombie or a burn victim, jeez, they gotta watch the messaging.
Defenders 49 Shot Cake: OK, yes, that’s actually just some stolen Alex Ross art.
Don’t Panic Canister Shells: And here’s some stolen Joker art.
IT Canister Shells: This pretty much rounds out the clown—but not the art ripoff—category. It’d be funny to see some Ronald McDonald artillery!
Magical Roman Candle: Be advised, safety recall aside, this is another type of pyro that becomes inherently unsafe when dummies think they should hold one in their hand and aim at people as a joke.
Rising Silver – Flowers in Spring 25 Shot Cake: An old-school imagistic product name with typography via a confused all-caps AI!
Shrooms 100 Shot Cake: Seriously trippers, do not have shrooms and light shrooms, is that clear?
Sky Jam 96 Shot Cake: This is sort of a rare label because it’s showing the Suggested Serving.
Spider 25 Shot Cake: This label looks like it came from an ugly planet, a bug planet.
Sun Rise Crackers: This label looks to be inspired by those phone games where you click on candy and stuff, except this stuff will blow off your damn hand.
Thunder King Single Shot Salutes: This is of course a recalled and dangerous product, but we suspect the stuff with the most boring labels is the real-deal Value pyro.
Tommy Gun Single Shot Salute: Very straightforward gun analogy. China understands America.
Tsunami Alert 100 Shot Cake: No image available, but let’s imagine another hellscape, only with water, and that’s probably close.
Patriot Pyrotechnics/Bill’s Fireworks:
American Hero 88 Shot Cake: There’s probably a Civil War re-enactor out there who has issues with this art, but let’s just salute and march forward.
Dog Rules 30 Shot Cake: Welcome to my TED talk, “You Know What, Certain Manifestations of Chinese Copyright Infringement and Intellectual Property Theft Should Be Considered Protected Speech.” Thank you.
Bite Me 25 Shot Cake: Perfectly and serviceably vague. There might be a gum machine at the Wal-Mart with this same art.
Buster Sword 100 Shot Cake: It’s too hard to make out what’s going on here, but at first it looked like a Twin Towers image, so let’s move on.
Echo Of Freedom 25 Shot Cake: This is a good name for a Fourth of July firework, but it might also be some shade.
Man’s Best Friend Fireworks Cake: Why are there dogs on these packages? If there was a package that showed a dog shitting on the kitchen floor because it was freaking out from the neighborhood fireworks it’d make more sense.
No Fooling Around 130 Shot Cake: Not sure how long this Atomic Explosion Clown-Cloud meme has been around, but it’s completely on-brand for the Clown fireworks company.
Top Notch Fireworks 64 Shot Cake: This one is a little tough to make out, but it’s legit disturbing; there’s a Fog of War Hell-scape going on with the Statue of Liberty right in the middle, and a big dopey eagle is doing zero. C’mon, Baldy!
Dog Don’t Stop Barking Artillery Shell 24 Pack: Again, many dogs do a lot of stuff when they hear fireworks and barking is the least of your worries. It’s very telling that the one on the phone is wearing a thunder vest!
Wonder of Galaxy 100 Shot Cake: Another vague non-binding product descriptor, plus a rare typo.
Romantic Aliens 100 Shot Cake: There’s a minor strain of trippers working on some of these package designs, wouldn’t you agree?
Three’s A Charm Artillery Shell 6 Pack: Three’s a crowd, or Three’s Company, but OK, maybe with an Artillery Shell 6 Pack, three’s a charm.
Desperate Attempt 100 Shot Cake: Certainly a super-grim product name. Bummer, dude, fireworks are supposed to be fun! Maybe this is inspired by The Hurt Locker?
Monkey Business 100 Shot Cake: Monkeys are trending heavily in the Patriot Pyrotechnics/Bill’s Fireworks products, here we go . . .
Monkey Go Ape 100 Shot Cake: A mess of monkeys!
Monkey’s Revenge 25 Shot Cake: Monkeys get some payback!
Monkey Planet 100 Shot Cake: Stop the monkeys!
Horror Night Artillery 6 Pack: A Colonel Kurtz image would have been better, but sure, why not. On a thematic note in terms of naming products, they could just call all of this shit YOU COULD LOSE A FINGER. Fireworks used to be named stuff like “Shimmering Chrysanthemum” and “Silver Waterfall.” Now it’s MONKEY PLANET, FROG’S BALLS, and HORROR NIGHT, terrific.
Outcast 49 Shot Cake: The grimy video game-look does not play well as fireworks packaging.
Godzilla Roars 36 Shot Cake: Godzilla roars because it can’t find a lawyer who thinks it’ll pay to sue a fireworks company for implied endorsement, arroooo!
Double Nuts and Triple Ripples Artillery Shell 24 Pack: Some peckish stoner employed ice cream terminology as a name for this product, much in the way Gabe Kaplan entitled his 1974 comedy album Holes and Mello-Rolls. Is there a relationship?
Remember, our United States Consumer Product Safety Commission describes these products as “overloaded fireworks,” which “can result in a greater than expected explosion.” You want to avoid these fireworks because they will blow up MORE than you think they will, and nobody wants that, right? Especially those of you in the fireworks community who are in the age range of 25 to 44, you are a little over one-third of all the maimings and deafenings and got-yer-eye-put-outings! Sort of a Don’t Try This At Home shoutout to the age 65-plus category, though, way to keep livin’ on the edge, but stay safe, Americans and non-Americans both!