How Do They Coordinate Fireworks

 Culture, Fun Stuff, General, Holidays  Comments Off on How Do They Coordinate Fireworks
Jul 032006

I found the following story on CNet about how modern day fireworks displays are computer controlled. You might be surprised to learn that many are still fired off manually.

By Natali T. Del Conte?
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy once reportedly said that you might be a redneck if your lifetime goal was to own a fireworks stand.

But these days, operating a modern-era fireworks production is much more like Hollywood in the sky. Orchestrating the shows that will take place over the next few days requires artistry, a fanatical interest in safety, and a healthy dose of geek, to boot.

Eric Tucker, the lead creator for the Fourth of July fireworks show in Boston that is broadcast on ABC, is planning a show that will be exactly 22 minutes and 32 seconds long. For every minute of pyrotechnical splendor, however, at least four hours of planning has been done ? and that doesn’t include the time it took him to test fireworks in Europe and Asia, as well as actually set up the firing equipment. He started planning nearly four months ago.

“It costs more than you think and less than it’s worth,” Tucker said. “I don’t talk about how much but it’s a very large production. It’s one of the largest in the country. There’s a lot of pressure every year to do it.”

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Ever Wonder Who Wrote Happy Birthday To You?

 Culture, Fun Stuff, Society  Comments Off on Ever Wonder Who Wrote Happy Birthday To You?
Mar 022006

No birthday party is complete without cake, candles, and a performance of “Happy Birthday to You.” The song is quick, painless, and everyone knows the words. But while the lyrics are familiar to all, their author remains a mystery.The timeless tune’s melody (aka the musical notes) was penned in the late 19th century by two sisters, Patty and Mildred Hill. Originally, the lyrics were different — instead of “happy birthday to you,” it was “good morning to all.” The sisters, both teachers, used their tune as a kind of classroom greeting.

As we learned from the urban legend experts at, nobody knows who wrote the words for “Happy Birthday to You.” In 1924, the lyrics were published in a songbook edited by Robert H. Coleman. First, they were just another verse. But eventually, thanks to radio and “talkie” movies, the birthday verse became its own ditty. Now it’s considered to be the best-known song in the world. And, irony of ironies, nobody knows who wrote it.

Before you start drawing comparisons to an unclaimed lottery ticket, know that people do collect royalties. Right now, the song’s rights belong to Warner Chappell Music, who remind you that if you sing their intellectual property in public, kindly mail them a check.