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Where There's Smoke

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Many Angelenos seemed determined to take celebrating the Fourth of July into their own hands this year, and not just by perfecting their barbecue marinades. In East Hollywood, you'd never have known that some fireworks were illegal, as the air filled with crashes and pops, sparkles and smoke. M80s sat in the middle of the street, launching flashes of hot red, white, and blue close to the overhanging branches of palm trees. A friend who is a nurse flinched at each explosion, muttering nervously, "Oh, kid, move away from there faster!" Later, the Channel 2 news showed an aerial picture of a similarly bright and smoky Long Beach.

Blocks seemed to compete with each other for the best display. Another friend narrated:
"There's Edgemont!"
Boom! Crack!
"And then, over there, they're like, 'Edgewhat? Edgewho? This is how we do it on Normandie!'"

The fire department reported about 100 small fires. On the other hand, it was pretty, and the determination of the people of the Los Angeles area to express themselves at whatever risk of legal prosecution or personal injury is impressive if not entirely prudent.