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December 30, 2004


Every year, the Miami Herald runs a story like this one, reminding people that it is a bad idea to participate in the longstanding South Florida tradition of ringing in the new year by shooting firearms into the air, because -- and apparently not everybody down here is aware of this -- the bullets eventually come back down.

One year the Herald printed a letter to the editor written by a man who condemned the practice of shooting guns into the air as irresponsible, and suggested instead that people shoot their guns into the ground. Really.


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Not Frist

Why not just use firecrackers?

I live in Miami and believe me, the Cubans next door have their guns ready for tomorrow....

When Jed Clampett shot his gun into the ground he struck oil. Maybe the denizens of Miami would strike a croc or a mantee or open up a sink hole if they were to shoot their guns into the ground

Come 'n listen to my story 'bout a man named Jed
Poor Mountaineer barely kept his family fed
An' then one day, he was shootin' at some food,
An' up thru the ground came a bubblin' crude.
Oil that is! Black gold! Texas tea!

If this "shooting in the ground" thing catches on, how long do you think it would be before someone put a round into a gas main?

Warning! This post about to veer off topic:

Did anyone watch the Alamo Bowl last night? The punter for the Oklahoma team's name was "Farden". Of course the sportscaster dudes didn't spell the name, they just said it. Several times. I nearly made the wee-wee of mirth.

kb - Funny, in The Beverly Hillbillies, ol' Jed was using a shotgun, which would generally be safe to fire straight up. The small pellets fall with about the same force as rain. I have been thusly sprinkled many times while bird hunting. (Certain loads like "deer slugs" could be lethal however.)

But coincidentally the guy who sang "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", Jerry Scoggins, died a couple of weeks ago.

I live in Miami and believe me, the Cubans next door have their guns ready for tomorrow....

That mudstuffin... always concerned about gas mains. And wee-wee of mirth almost made me choke on my coffee.


Oh, uh...



Wow... this page just loaded a great ad:

I am nervous about this itching
I don't think it's just jock itch
Something about tight pants and a rash...
Genital irritation?


Miami is not alone in that tradition. Public service announcements have been running the last couple of weeks urging people not to "blast" in the New Year.

Sometimes I think it just gives some people an idea.

I'm going to ring in the new year immersed in a hot tub.


Mud, you are hilarious!

Step up to the mIc.


Darn Leetie

All I got was a lousy ad about a laser level and stud finder... nothing about genital irritation. However, recently my wife pointed out that absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, walk past the stud finders in the hardware store without going whoop! whoop! whoop! whoop! as if I'm the stud that has been found. She's right. I've tested it, straining with every ounce and fiber of my inner being to calmly walk past the stud finder without making a crack and broken into a squid eating grin as the whooping sound rises up in my throat EVERY SINGLE TIME! Hopeless... Pathetic...


"In most instances, the victims were minding their business blocks away from the shooting site."

Oh, come on. I'm just sure there's an editor somewhere around this paper...

You'll shoot your eye out!

Or in this case ... your toe.

Either way ... bad idea.

Stick with sparklers.

Well, if you can't shoot your guns in the air, and you can't shoot them into the ground, where in tarnation can you shoot them?!

qetzal - Spammers make great targets.

Well, you could limit yourself to shooting at another Miamian, provided they also have a gun... but then thats like every other day of the year. Shooting into the air is a refreshing change of pace.

Maybe everyone should just shoot at Ricky Williams?

When I was doing my "criminal defense attorney" thing, I represented a guy who, along with his father and uncle sat on their front porch and at midnight shot their rifles into the air! Had they been drinking??? What do you think? The attorney-client privilege prevents me from disclosing that info. Safe to say, however, no one was hurt, and I was able to keep him out of jail! They did lose their guns however....

Maybe they could all just throw knives in the air instead. That would be much safer...

I will quote comedian Jake Johansen (sp?): "Guns don't kill people, and people don't kill people. I think we can all agree it's those pesky bullets."

The wee-wee of mirth. I nearly made some myself.

Fire-arms at New Years? Never heard of that. Although I certainly hear the fire-WORKs. A big thing in these parts in fact, lots of stands set up to help people bring in the new year.

In fact I have some one coming in to record an ad for fireworks in a few minutes.

I'm wondering if there is a safe angle at which you can fire into the air on New Year's Eve. If you shoot straight up, the bullet will climb but decelerate. Once it hits its zenith, it reverses direction (all thanks to gravity or, as scientifically "Earth Sucking Force"). By the time it hits the ground, it is more or less travelling at the same speed it was when it left the rifle. Needless to say, if it hit you on the head . . . ouch. So anyway, wouldn't there be a safer angle, say 30 degrees, at which to fire the rifle. By the time the bullet hits the ground (or little Janey walking home to grandma's house although why little Janey is out on the streets of Miami at midnight is a mystery) wouldn't the original lateral force have diminished as well as the vertical force from earth suck froce.

Of course, my point is, I think a slogan like "Think Thirty Degrees" would go over much better in Miami.

Boo ... take that one step further and have them shoot 30 degrees over the ocean ... aside from taking out an occassional sail, there would be no realcasualties, save for the random seagull ... and we all know that they're really just flying rats ... so who would really miss them anyway?

Just trying to help.

'busting a rhyme' ?-as the kids say

On New Years Eve, though I don't want to Scrooge ya,
Don't go firing like it's downtown Fallujah.
When that old clock stops reading eleven,
keep your hands off that AK-47
Just shoot at the ground, not windows,sky or plaster,
(but not on the dance floor,that's a hip-hop disaster!)

Remember that game you played as a kid when there was no on else around to play catch with? You hit a pop-up, dropped the bat, grabbed your glove & tried to catch the ball before it came down?

Maybe those mo-rons who insist on firing their guns in the air could adapt that game for themselves...

Your readers scare me... How many people are familiar with ricochet? Can't we just all use blanks?

BTW, we go through the same thing here in Phoenix every year. There is even at least one neighborhood where they tried setting up microphones to pinpoint the source of gunfire.

May I suggest that eveybody spam the Herald's damnable sign in page with crude and rude stuff. Maybe they will give up if enough of us do it.

Jeff ...

Nah ... cubans tend arrive in floating cars and row boats ... the 30 degree angle would clear them, no problem.

Wait...Punky, are you saying we should shoot sparklers into the ocean at a thirty degree angle to kill seagulls in order to celebrate the coming of a new year?


should all ballistics be forgot?
should we shoot in a straight line?
to get the greatest range, you must
make the angle forty-five!
(degrees,that is)

(for purely informational purposes,only)

Trystan, here in SC fireworks are legal, that's why you see so many stands near the NC border. For a while, heading up to NC, you could tell when you were near the border by the sudden proliferation of firework stands and video poker establishments. The video poker has gone, leaving some truly lovely buildings, but the fireworks remain. It's just that around certain holidays (4th of July, New Years, etc.) there are a number of stands that appear for a limited time. And sometimes it seems like I hear more fireworks on New Years than I do for the 4th.

As a Fort Lauderdale resident, but former Miami-Dade County resident, I can tell you that this is only one of the more horrifying "traditions" we have down here.

Driving without insurance - or even a LICENSE - is another. Shooting at other cars on I-95 for a perceived indiscretion is yet another.

But did anyone else catch the Key Quote in this story? It states "No holiday gunfire injuries have been reported since 1999, police say."

That's no INJURIES. That does not mean no gunfire. BIG difference.

As for fireworks, Susan, don't get me started. Would someone explain why (drunken) idiots need to set off (illegal) fireworks until, oh, two, three, four in the morning on July 4th?! Not only can I not sleep but one of my dogs isn't too fond of the practice either.

It's all fun and games until somebody loses a seagull.

Trystan: welcome to misanthropy. C'mon in, the water's fine.

christobol ...

Exactly what I am saying.

Careful not to hit the Cubans.

Happy New Year!

Flukey, you quoted Jake!! My favorite comedian!

Whatever happened to kissing to bring in the new year?

Susan, there is a radio personality here in St. Louis who does a bit around the 4th of July featuring a character called "Three Fingered Larry". He does "commercial" advertising his newest fireworks. One of them is called "The Crackling Vasectomy."

Trystan, "...why (drunken) idiots need to set off (illegal) fireworks ...", the answer to that question is easy...because they can! That is what drunken idiots do best. Here in NC (very close to Susan's aforementioned temporary stands at the SC border), the drunken idiots kindly warn their neighbors when they are about to do something incredibly stupid. I'm sure you have heard their universal warning cry before...."HEY YA'LL, WATCH THIS". The real fun for me begins the next day. I get to watch the now sober idiots stumble around their yard looking for their missing appendages.

'It does not make sense for us to continue to do something that originated in rural America,'' Carey-Shuler said.

Originated in rural America? What is she trying to say? That rural Americans are all gun-toting idiots?

For all the years I have lived in rural America I have never seen this tradition. I only heard gunfire coming from a military training area or a firing range. The only time I have been threatened by gunfire was in a mall parking lot in Orlando (not rural America).

There are many other ethnic groups more prone to gun fire in the air.

I wonder where the tradition began. Did it start with arrows?

Although, unlike arrows, a bullet coming back down will tumble and lose speed to wind resistance.

are all firework stands (or just the ones in these parts) run by guys with 'Crazy' in front of their names?
'you don't have to be 'Crazy' to sell explosives, but it helps!'
one has the phone number xxx-BANG.

"Not like where you live"??? Huh... we have the same problem in Los Angeles.


I was bugged by that "in rural America" thing, too, but then I figured that he was assuming that it must have "developed" in rural America, where there is less to hit (all them woods and hollers, you know). It's still an ignorant comment (the practice is in fact, pretty universal in the third world and almost unheard of in "rural America"), but I don't think he was being offensive - just dead stupid.

Maybe he got the ideas from cowboy movies - come to think of it, people do that a lot in those movies - but they are shooting blanks.

Lynn, will bugmenot.com let you around the registration?

*BANG* i.

What happens when you go through security check at the airport? Do they check for nails?

In the fall of 2003, I tried to shoot at a squirrel (not really aiming at him) who was digging up the dirt from all of the flower pots on the veranda. I had my husband's antique Red Ryder bebe gun. I forgot to put the lever back in place before shooting, and it came back with much force and broke my thumb!(not my glasses)

By the way, more people are killed in America every year by "drunk" drivers than from by guns.


I'm really scared of the prick punch...

And btw, my wife doesn't find the stud finder joke funny. I'm the one that makes the stupid whoop! whoop! noises as if she hasn't heard the joke about a gazillion times already. She pointed out that I just can't help making the joke one more time... every time. I'm admitting that I just can't help myself. I'm pathetic. At least I can now jump away from the Prick Punch screaming in terror - two lame jokes for the hardware store.

Anybody else have a lame joke or stunt they can't help themselves from performing? ie. Opening up their hamburger and saying "Where's the Beef", blaming the fart on the dog, running naked across the tarmac screaming the words to the Preamble, etc.?

Yes, Writer's Cramp.
Whenever my ex-husband, his brother, and a 'couch potato' neighbor sat around the living room every morning for hours and hours, arguing about religion and the Bible, I would come in and reenact the scene from the book of Judges.(the one where Jael hides the evil captain that is fleeing from Deborra and the Israelites.) Jael gives him a warm bowl of milk and lulls him to sleep. Then she drives a tent stake through his cranium. I must say that my acting was so realistic that the guys changed the subject of their conversation. (I'm not going to honor them by referring to them as 'dudes.')

Any of you Seattle bloglits like to giggle every time you drive by Tacoma Screw on Leary Ave. in Ballard? I know I do...

Hey Slyeyes - He's my favorite comedian too. :)

SandyBeach - There's another Tacoma Screw in Kirkland (off 405 South). Yes, I do giggle each time I see it.

Stake through the cranium... yeah, that and a prick punch might just chase them out of the living room. Maybe ya' shoulda' broken a thumb or two with the Red Ryder for good measure. Not so much funny for them, but I'm thinking you could have enjoyed it.

running naked across the tarmac screaming the words to the Preamble ---- who does that??

My favorite "jokle", that my kids wish I'd drop, is when someone mentions that something or someone drives them buggy, I say:

Know what drives me buggy?

Me horsey.

*slaps knee*

Cracks me up every time.

AH-HA! Slyeyes. You must not remember the words to the Preamble!

Cute horsey joke... My Father-in-law seems to be the king of those. He can't help himself when someone says:

Q: Whatcha up to?
A: Six feet four and a half inches, just like yesterday.

Q: Can I see the salt please?
A: *Holds up the salt shaker* See

Q: Where did you come from?
A: My mother, how about you?

Its predictable but comforting. I suppose dependable, but then we've argued for days about whether predictable and dependable mean the same thing.

Two grown men were arguing about whether or not there's (not theirs) life after death. An eight year old standing by, piped up with,"I'm just dying to find out!"

I never get much further than " Wheeee ! the people of the United States" before being wrestled to the ground and stuffed on a plane to Guantanamo. So it's more like a pre-frantic-gallop-followed-by-a-savage-beating than a pre-amble

Everytime my grampa drove past a cemetary he would say, "People are dying to get in there."

kat, at least you didn't shoot your eye out...

Writer's Cramp: I hope you stay away when he says, "Just pull my finger."

I'm sure I do stupid things (not quite at the tarmac level, but close) but can't recall them offhand. I'll have to go ask my wife.

After she pulls my finger.

Hmmm... Maybe Miami is like where I live. I live in Houston and we get the same warning on TV about not shooting into the air on NYE. Must be a Spanish thing. We have Mexicans, you have Cubans, go figure.

Personally I'd rather have Mexicans. Although their bullets hurt just as much, their food is MUCH better :-)

When it comes to random shooting of guns, I'm not sure any particular ethnic group tops good old Americans.

Couldn't they all just break dishes like the Greeks?

*serious* about 10 years ago there was a fireworks store in Ohio which blew up. Seems there was a brain-damaged young man whose friends prompted him to throw a match into the merchandise ,several people died.

Last 4th of July, a group of young 'ankle-biters' were shooting off fireworks. My youngest grandson kicked a Roman candle. It went into his loose tennis shoe. He had severe burns on the top of his foot. If I had been there, I would have burned the bottom of his little pants.(with him in them)

Hey Dave - where are we going to turn to for our federally-defined minimum daily requirement of humor? Poland? The Queen Mother? The Amway Corporation? Your withdrawal from the production of chuckleage is going to cause humor prices to skyrocket. The void you are leaving will cause many unscrupulous operators to flood the market with cheap, royalty-free, knockoff Humor. There will be a new black market - vicious cartels will be formed to smuggle in illicitly-produced sophomoric sarcasm manufactured in slave-like conditions in the jungles of Burbank! What's a laugh-starved Public to do?

From a news story about the tsunami, there is this suggestion regarding New Years celebration

"German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer urged people to give money to victims instead of buying New Year fireworks, and across Scandinavia there were signs people would do the same."

Must be a Spanish thing.

Nah. Detroiters do it, too. It's a big-city thing.

Someone commented on Fallujah--I'm living in Baghdad at the moment (really) and they set off fireworks at midnight on New Years. Didn't warn us first. This is not the place to blow things up for fun...people shoot back here!

>>Nah. Detroiters do it, too. It's a big-city thing.

round here we do it big wit dem 9's and 4-5's

Just wait 'til you-know-who REALLY dies... the safest place in Miami will be Gainesville...

This comment is from PirateBoy of the future.
(Gad, PB, you were so much younger back now!)

And, btw, in the 2011 World Series? Don't bet on the Yankees.

Take a hint from PB's excellent gambling advice from the future -- Save your otherwise-wasted sports-wagering dollars, and invest in armor. You'll need it, for example, if you visit judi's bathroom during Dadelike Shootings Time in the future.

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