And that's about how long it took, once CNN and other networks got ahold of it.
I was at work when this story broke. I was blissfully unaware of it, until an employee -- almost tearfully -- told me about it. My first thought at the time, and very typical of my poker-faced self was, "if true, this kid's got morons for parents". The employee was not very happy with my comment, being a very-concerned parent herself.
That's okay; first instincts are oft-times the most accurate. Besides, my pet rock Seymour will tell you all about my paternal instincts, and seeming lack thereof, another time.
The whole "connected" world knows the story of "Balloon Boy": a claim by a "distraught" parent that his 6 year old got aboard his experimental weather/commuting balloon (pictured here, looking like a runaway Pillsbury DOHboy's hat), and got carried away in the winds toward...wherever the balloon was meandering (S/SE, as it worked out). A vehicle and aerial pursuit of the drift-away balloon by news, law enforcement and even National Guard resources...a vague report of "something falling from the balloon"...the balloon coming down about 55 miles from point of launch, only to be found empty...back to the previous report, and a massive search begun about half-way between launch and touchdown...and five hours later, a report that "Balloon Boy" was home and safe, after hiding in the attic for 5 hours.
A happy ending, right?
*Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzer* *Klaxons* *Lost in Space Robot shouting WARNING...WARNING...Suspension of Disbelief Necessary!*
Turns out, my first instinct was correct: Balloon Boy has real morons for parents. And self-interested scheming ones, too. It becomes more and more (unap)parent (see what I just did there?) that this was a stunt, hopefully intended to become a "launch" of a new TV show, an idea for which may have been shopped weeks, even months, in advance, by parents who'd done a couple of episodes on a so-called "reality" TV show and wanted more attention of the s(h)ame.
Rumor* has it that additional 'special effects', meant to enhance the drama of the balloon sequence, didn't quite come off. For example, an RC** squirreladactyl was supposed to begin attacking the balloon in flight, but the tail kept fouling the aft-mounted propeller, and it squirrelakazed a Fox 31 News van near Platteville, possibly at the behest of Anita Dunn and David Axelrod, but I digress.
At any rate, the Famdamily Heaney was seeking more in the way of publicity like that from Wife Swap, but wound up with the wrong kind: the authorities are lining up charges on the moronic portion of Famdamily Heaney. And search/rescue bills that have reached, and may surpass, $100,000. Add to that the legal bills, since Richard, the 'brainchild' of this stunt, has retained a local legal famehawg as his attorney. And eventually, the potential fines for conviction of any of the pending charges, which may reach $500,000.
But one aspect of the mission was accomplished: world-wide 15 minutes of fame for Falcon Heaney. He reacted by throwing up on one morning news show. Okay, so he's six and new at this. With parents like this, he'll get the hang of it.
On the other hand...the Famdamily Heaney may be in even bigger trouble than they know. After all, their "15 minutes" -- which ain't over -- eclipsed race fraudster Al Sharpton, the prez, Bela Pelosi, the Taliban, Al Qaida, AlGore, and Keith Olbermann's post-rectal drip (aka, his daily rant) in the 'news' cycle.
There'll be hell to pay for that.
Or a future MSNBC fraudumentary.
For me, the balloon had the single biggest, best, and most accurate line about the whole saga up to now, as it descended from suspended disbelief:
* unsubstantiated by the Fox 31 vehicle occupants, who were immediately set upon by black-suited, sunglass-wearing men from a black helicopter, and were forced to watch Keith Olbermann on a video, berating Fox, while the black helicopterians snatched the remnants of the squirreladactyl away to parts unknown...that from an anonymous source, allegedly on medication for a Bob Gibbs impediment...
** remote controlled
Labels: Balloon Boy, dumbass celebrities, endangered remote controlled creatures, humor, morons, news cycles, parody