Playing With Fire

Hot dogs. Apple pie. And lots and lots of beer.

Ah, it's almost time for that Fourth of July celebration. But if you live in Los Angeles, you know there's one thing that probably won't be at your soiree: firecrackers.

With Los Angeles' propensity for total disaster, one screaming, flaming rocket could level all of the coastline, blind a school bus full of darling kiddies or make the police force believe it is under fire.

Fireworks equal danger in this city.

If you're like me and you're frustrated at not being able to get your hands on a package of sparklers, check out the virtual, do-it-yourself fireworks show on Aristotle Internet Access' Web site at http://www.aristotle.net/july4th/fireworks/show.html.

Choose from one of seven city skylines, from the White House to the downtown waterfront of Little Rock, Ark. Then, click on the picture to start the digital fireworks.

You have four buttons on the bottom of the screen to "launch" your rockets, and a selection of four fireworks colors to choose from. With Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" booming over the computer speakers, you're sure to feel ridiculously pumped for the celebrations.

Speaking of which, the site also offers a kids-only section (http://www.aristotle.net/july4th) complete with holiday-themed games such as Patriotic Crossword Puzzle and All-American Word Search. As a reward, the site tells you: "If you successfully complete all the Patriotic Games, you can print out a certificate announcing that you are an 'Official American Patriot.' "

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