Thursday, October 15, 2009

In Which I Muse On A Boy And A Balloon

So really, who's surprised there was no boy
Aloft in that great mylar sausage which
Went drifting just today? A mere decoy
Some cried, just to seduce us, just to switch
Attention from the issues of the day.
So Falcon Heene, son of a wife-swap team
Who also chases storms, betook to play
A joke of which a Cliff Irving might dream.
So what? We take diversion where we can
Amidst this vale of foolishness, don't we?
Now I, for one, felt envy; I'm a fan
Of soundless balloon flight. Had I been he
I would have been aboard, and prob'ly dead
From crashing down and landing on my head.


  1. Today we saw the death of journalism in America, and proof the tail is literally wagging the dog. Parents known to have a tenuous hold on reality claim their 6 year old child climbs into a weather balloon and launches it. To corroborate they rely on a sibling’s testimony. So the media goes nuts, launching helicopters and satellite trucks. Authorities, who probably want to first figure out what is going on, are forced to respond in force lest they look uncaring. So for 2 hours, the nation is held breathless as the balloon flutters across Colorado. The media crows how Australia and China are following the story. In the end, the child is not on the balloon, but hiding in plain sight. But no one took the time to step back and take a breath, and actually look into the veracity of the source. I have a feeling the whole world is laughing at our cable news run society. I, for one, feel nauseous.

  2. The whole thing is awfully ridiculous, Dan, I concur. The funny thing for me is how it even reached me -- and I don't have cable TV, don't tune in to any use except NPR in the evening, yet it still reached me. So the hype must have been tremendous indeed out there in the real world.

    Ah well, tomorrow's another day.

  3. It was certainly a ride. But now I just wish the government fines this family for them wasting our taxplayer money.

  4. Ha! Kay, if we started doing that the courts would be 300 times more backlogged and busy than they already are. But I understand the sentiment.

    Really, though, keeping people safe and rescuing our asses when we get stupid is one of the most legitimate functions government has.

  5. I need to write a sonnet for class.

    I'm completely blocked.

    I have no idea how you do this day after day.

    I find you rather inspiring.

    Also, watched the boy live. I knew he was hiding. I said underbed though, attic would've been a second or third guess I suppose. : )

  6. Oh my talk about an emotional rollercoaster, oops, balloon ride this was for me. I'm glad the little fella is ok; but I do hope this was not a hoax--that would be terrible. People as emotional as I simply can't take this kind of madness. I imagined what the family was going through thinking the kid was in the balloon, and cried when it landed with no boy, as CNN headline read that someone saw something fall from the balloon, with no further collaboration Anywhew, I'm just glad the ordeal is over.

  7. We are definitely all of us victims of the new news cycle on this one. When I was a kid there might have been a bulletin on the noon newsbreaks, IF nothing more important was going on, and then it would be on the evening news at 5 or 6 as a complete story, probably presented in a somewhat lighthearted tone as something that could have gone worse but ended well.

    I missed the balloon with no boy in it landing because I don't have TV, and had lost interest by then because one of my skeptic friends, the great John Walker, had already proven mathematically that there was no way the boy was in it. I thought immediately of 12 Monkeys where the missing boy was hiding in a barn. Turned out to be the right thought.

  8. Oh, and @Caryn, inspiration really is everywhere. I'm proof of that. Just think of the craziest or saddest or most heartbreaking thing that's on your mind at a particular moment and run with it. We all have lives full of drama and human interest if we just let ourselves see it.


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