Weigh in: Would you like to fly in my beautiful balloon?

Over the years we've all seen some deliciously concocted stories about horrible and/or wonderful things that have turned out to be BS: The Runaway Bride, telling scary tales of abduction to avoid the altar when it might have been a bit easier to just say “whoa, uh, dude? No thanks.” There was that whole “send this chain email to every human on the planet and Bill Gates will give you $245 dollars for each person it goes to!” thing that was so pathetically and obviously fake it almost sounded like it could be true. George Bush was rumored to have an intelligence quotient somewhere above room temperature, but it eventually became clearly evident he was somewhere around the mid 50's – run Gee Dubya, run!

Short-term urban mythology, hoaxes written for the ADHD set, and my God the things we'll believe.

Today I found myself reading – again – about Falcon Heene, the offspring of parents Richard and Mayumi Heene. You know - Balloon boy. Simple enough story: family, the willing victims of a TV reality show in the past, do meteorology as a hobby (really?) and like most people they have a weather balloon in their back yard. Boy is reported to have climbed in, and said balloon then loosed somehow, soared to 7,000 feet or so across the Colorado landscape, followed by helicopters and cops on the ground and evidently NORAD, just to crash on the ground empty. Boy is later located hiding in attic of the home, everyone breathes a Baby Jessica sized sigh of relief. Boy says, on camera “you guys said we did this for the show.”

Kids say the darnedest things, damnit.

The WTF factor in this isn't all that high – it seems people are unapologetic in their addiction to television which depicts stupid people behaving stupidly and rudely, and this family serves as a very good example of the fodder we make of ourselves when someone waves a couple dollars in our faces and implies fame and fortune are at hand and states”You're gonna be on television!” It would appear these five words have the capacity to reduce the common American male or female into drooling, doddering imbeciles willing to do pretty much anything, regardless the fact they appear to be aware it'll look, sound, and make them seem utterly grotesque.

So while Little Falcon Heene was napping in the box in the attic and a few dollars were splayed about the area in terms of aviation fuel and manpower to look skyward for him, many additional pairs of eyes were glued to their Plasma and LCD's in HD while tampons and Kraft Food products (which contain very little in the way of actual food) and airlines (who love to talk about helping us fly but hate to actually do it I suspect) flash briefly across their screens all across the nation. In a spasm of epileptic colorful horror, godawful ads burn buzzword-driven pathways into our souls, forcing us to get on Expedia and buy a ticket to pretty much anywhere, knowing the journey will suck but compelled to go anyway.

So complex, but so easy. Having said it, though, I want you to weigh in: would you do it? Would you swap your wife, or let a nanny come discipline your unruly child, or try to marry some bachelor bus driver who is rumored to be worth millions of dollars, or strand yourself on a desert island and let hipster jerkoffs treat you like roadkill, or audition in front of bored, disaffected judges in hopes of being the next Celine although you know full well you can't describe what a note is, much less sing one?

Is there a limit? $10,000? $50,000? What? Is this fun? Is it serious? Do you care?

Me? Oh, boy – I gotta tell you I could sure use an extra few bucks right now, but...I mean, damn.

I cannot imagine parading myself and my wife and my kids around in highly-edited fashion, camera crews asking if they can tape me peeing, presenting only those worst family moments, all to make a few dollars at the complete expense of my current and future dignity. Just seems like a big “no!”

Your thoughts?

Until next time – Cheers! =^oo^=


  1. There's another question here that you missed - or maybe your mind doesn't warp in the same direction mine does...

    Who the hell names a kid "Falcon"? What IS that, really? What's next?

    "Here, I'd like you to meet my kids. This is Armchair and his little sister Swiffer. And the twins are Ladle and Pressure-Cooker-Jean ."

    Can you see that? Oh, I know it's all hip and environmentally conscious to give kids "nature names" like Summer and Sunshine. They'll hate their parents for those names, but by God they sound impressive when Mommy takes them to playgroup.

    Two of our neighbors have had babies in the past year. Smart people. Trevor is just over a year old and Nora is ten months. What's so hard about that?

  2. My price? My student loan debt. Throw some low six figures at me, and I'll act like an unscrupulous harpy for a single 22-to-44-minute episode. (I would warn grandma first). However, I have no kids to give earthy or alliterative names, nor do I plan on having an entire litter at once, and I generally wear underwear when exiting limousines, so it probably won't happen. Sigh.

  3. One of the producers or whoever it is that looks for people sent out a blanket email to a bunch of roller derby leagues looking for a wife for that wife-swap show. And I briefly toyed with the idea of submitting an application. I know I could have probably gotten in - I'm adopted, play roller derby, am one half of an inter-racial marriage (clearly I wasn't married in Louisiana) and raised self sufficient, well adjusted (if a bit sarcastic) kids with common names.

    I know they would have swapped me with some hippy-dippy, no-need-to-shower-and-use-unnatural-things-like-silverware-when-you-eat chick, or some anal retentive control freak with racist tendencies.

    But the last thing I'm going to do is put a spotlight on my kids and allow some TV producers make my kids look bad all for the sake of some cash for me and ratings for them.

    Now if I were single? Sure, I'd let someone follow me around to witness the exciting life & times of Seoul Sister, but it'd be the most excruciatingly boring show ever, because all I do is eat, skate and surf the net. :)

  4. If the show was me going out in the wild tasting bear poop and acting like I knew what I was doing out there, barely skirting danger at every turn while I put myself between a rattle snake mom and her babies, then, hell yes! Sign me up! But, then again, I'd also like to be President. If it was a discussion of submarines, how they work, what they do, again, sign me the fuck up!

    However, when it comes to my loved ones, that choice is entirely theirs. And, insofar as those shitty shows that are basically just competitions to see how low our IQs can go before we actually self-lobotomize, I wouldn't go on one of those for...oh, wait. There's actual money to be made? Well, let's see... Okay, a million after taxes and I'll do a season of a reality show. There, I said it. I'm a slut. But not one of those gonorrhea fests where we find true love. I'd never do that. Couldn't. Ever. I'm talking just a follow-me-and-my-family-around-as-I-pee-and-pay-bills show. That, I'd do. A million. After taxes.

  5. Now, who wouldn't want to watch Smag pee and pay bills? I've seen some reality shows with a hell of a lot less going for them...

    I'm thinking I would do some of these things because they sound like fun, none of them for the camera, and only some of them for money.

  6. I doubt that anyone would want to watch me on television either. Especially not today, when I am a bit under the weather. I am boring on a good day and today is not a good day.

    We did go on an hour bike ride which totally trashed me. I am waiting for meds to kick in again so I can go to bed. Apricot brandy would be more fun but I can't do that any more. Darn!

    I can see it now - a whole half-hour, or twenty-two minutes between commercials, of me sleeping, sneezing, blowing my nose, and wandering the house mumbling to myself while looking for more aspirin and decongestants. Whoopee!

  7. O for fricken Christ's sake! Why the hell do people do these things to their kids? What a bunch a selfish, egotistical morons! Sorry, I can watch supposed adults do stupid ass things for money and laugh my butt off, but kids?? Just tonight, AFV's audience voted to give 10 grand to a mother who videotaped her crying 6 year on the can. He was crying because he had "runny poop and he was going to be on the potty until it was dark out". I can't believe this woman has reproduced. What the hell was she thinking? Oh wait....that was a stupid question......... To top it off, they had their poor, now 11 year old, there with them on the show who looked liked national TV was the last place he wanted to be. Idiots all. Now, if it was just me - sign me up - cash is always good.

  8. I'd do just about anything for a million. :)

    There's one reality show that sounds interesting (Amazing Race) but I never actually watched it. Maybe I'd do Survivor first season.

    P.S. it's simply unbelievable what you put together in a couple of weeks.

  9. I was going to say, no way! But on reflection, I'd let TV embarass me for the startlingly low sum of $50,000. Why so little? Easy. For $50,000, I could pay off whatever creditors need to be paid off, buy some cheap acreage in the middle of no where, and reinvent myself. I someone said, "Hey, aren't you that weirdo who was on that show?" I could say, "No, last time I was on TV was in preschool."

    However, if there was slime, body functions, nudity, or anything else more than just simple embarassment, it just wouldn't happen. No fear factor, no eating worms or sitting in a box full of grass snakes, no making out with some stranger. Some places, you just don't want to go.

  10. Oh, yeah, Claina! Survivor One, to me, was like my idea of the best vacation EVER! I totally would have done that show and probably for free. Imagine it - a tropical isle with no electricity (no cell phones, tvs, laptops, righteous!), surrounded by water (advantage: me), really roughing it (which I so know how to do), and 12 other people to play with all day long! Let's do it right now! Someone rent an island!

    How long ago was that? My son and I were so into it, we'd make fish and rice every Thursday and eat it sitting on the floor in front of the tv while the show was on. We enjoyed planning it every week, what kind of fish we'd have for Survivor Night.

    I was into Bret Michaels' Rock of Love Bus. Me and Bret Michaels were born on exactly the same day, a fact I never knew until I started watching the show and it was in his tv guide bio. The only other person I know born on my birthday (but not the year) is Mr. Rogers. This explains so much.

    I couldn't look away from ROLB, it was like watching an accident happen in slo-mo right in front of you. There would always be a moment in the show when Bret would make the rounds of the room of women and do one of those let-me-massage-your-back-fillings kiss on every single one of them! I felt my gorge rise every time I saw it. I pitied #30, let me tell you, because she had to also kiss #1-29.

    On the third season of ROLB (look, he's just got really high standards in women, okay? this might take awhile) there was a girl who was a germophobe and she refused to kiss him after everyone (I think she asked him to gargle with Purell) and the look on Bret Michaels' (THE bret michaels, yo!) face as he was being TURNED DOWN by a chick was just priceless!

    He didn't pick her - he picked the former playboy playmate with DD implants who backstabbed everyone to win. shocker.

  11. I do like reality, and some even on TV. But the Heene family is in for big trouble. Those boys will most likely be on TV again....and maybe something along the lines of Cops! And I don't think they'll have on the uniform.

  12. More news on the Heenes...


    Seems the police are casting a wider net now. Dear old Dad saved all his e-mails discussing how they were planning to pull if off. I say this chump deserves the Moron of the Month Award.

  13. I'd say he's clever like a fox and this whole thing - the hoax, the coverup, the accomplices - all part of the inevitable book, movie, tv reality show deal. I just read today where these two prize parents met in acting class.

    After a while people forget why you were infamous and just remember you as famous. Two words: Tonya Harding.

  14. Ahhh, yes. The evil plan unfolds.

    And to think, they all did it "...for the show."

    Heckuva job, Heene!

  15. That was 10 or 11 years ago. My friends would get together and watch Survivor every week as well. It was nice when it seemed like it might actually about getting food, shelter etc, and then alliances came around, but even that was interesting the first time around. I still remember Richard, Rudy, Susan. I think I started watching Survivor 2 but never really continued.

    Amazing Race has a very cool concept - you race around the world, usually (or maybe always) with a partner. It would be a pretty cool experience.

  16. I wouldn't mind making a mint on a reality show but they wouldn't take me because I couldn't help giggling...

    As for making one of my daughters sit in a box for hours at age six while her name would be called all over the place --I can just hear the "Oh, mother!" and see them roll their eyes...and then give me a lecture about how embarrassing a mother they have been inflicted with! (I bet those three boys including the balloon one are painfully embarrassed, no wonder the boy called Falcon --how embarrassing is that!-- kept on vomiting while being interviewed.)

    I too have watched Amazing Race, and it is indeed a cool show.

  17. Does anyone know what the other kids' names are? I'm going to pretend I don't care enough to google it.

    How about Chicken and Turkey? ;)

  18. Put this family between a few pieces of bread you got a sandwich! I know the father's name is Richard - maybe his middle name is Mayo?

  19. The kid names are the WORST. Yes, I've always wanted to name my children after birds of prey...what's the other two named? Hawk and Eagle? Ridiculous.

    The funniest (and by that, I mean the most pathetic) part was when the kid was puking his guts out on morning television cuz his daddy made him lie. And then the dad keeps on talking like his son isn't just dry-heaving next to him! What an ass!