Helium and Hot Air

From the Los Angeles Times:

Reporting from Fort Collins, Colo., and Los Angeles — The strange case of Falcon Heene took another twist Sunday when a Colorado sheriff said the boy’s parents had staged the runaway balloon saga as a publicity stunt to score a reality television show.

“There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that this was a hoax,” Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden said at a news conference in Fort Collins. Richard and Mayumi Heene planned the caper for at least two weeks, he said, and are likely to face felony charges.

The sheriff added that some entertainment media might have been complicit, but he refused to identify them. One outlet, he said, had already paid the Heenes in connection with the balloon launch.

Original DVD cover

The Heenes deny wrongdoing.

The plight of Falcon, 6, touched off a bizarre whirlwind of wall-to-wall TV and Internet coverage after he was thought to have stowed away on his family’s homemade balloon Thursday. Hours later, he turned up safe, saying he had been hiding in the family’s garage.


The trend may have started with Nadya Suleman, the California “Octomom” who underwent advanced fertility treatments and had octuplets. Her offspring will reportedly receive $250 a day to star in a reality show now being produced.

We remember Octopussy!!

Originally posted here

As for the Heenes, suspicious eyebrows raised once it emerged that his family had been featured on two episodes of ABC’s β€œWife Swap,” a reality show in which mothers from two families with distinctly different values switch places for two weeks.

Parents Richard and Mayumi — severe-weather enthusiasts who were recorded ordering Falcon and their other two young sons into a vehicle to chase tornadoes — were also reportedly trying to develop another reality series with RDF, the studio that makes “Wife Swap.”


But the story line began to fray when, hours after the ballon escapade, Falcon said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” that “we did this for a show” — a remark subjected to wide and sometimes outraged interpretation.

On Sunday, Alderden called that CNN comment “our first ‘aha’ moment.”


Whatever the outcome, children’s advocates warn that reality-TV producers and news organizations are exploiting kids from exotic backgrounds for higher ratings. In the “balloon boy” case, TV news was rewarded for sticking with the story: As the drama unfolded Thursday afternoon, the cable news networks logged ratings roughly double their usual averages, according to the Nielsen Co. Some of the coverage was deemed so critical it aired without commercial interruption.

From noon to 2 p.m., Fox News averaged 2.4 million total viewers. CNN had 1.7 million, MSNBC 768,000.

“What amazes me is how mindless the coverage is,” said Paul Petersen, who runs the Gardena-based advocacy group A Minor Consideration and was a child actor (son Jeff on “The Donna Reed Show”).


Many producers and journalists take different views of the Heenes and other recent celebrity-kid cases. Bart Feder, an executive vice president at CNN, said the balloon-boy story qualifies as legitimate news.

“This is what CNN does: It’s become the place people turn to when there’s something happening,” he said.


During the “Today” interview, when asked if he realized what a media firestorm his son’s disappearance had set off, Richard [Heene] said: “I don’t have cable, so I had no idea what was going on.”

And I’m Gina Lollobrigida. πŸ™„


Filed under CNN, humor, Media, movies, parody, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

50 responses to “Helium and Hot Air

  1. a product of our celebrity obsessed, sound byte, fifteen minutes of fame, hi mom i am on teevee culture.

    then again, the media did NOT have to cover the balloon (nor the runaway bride, not every missing blonde)

    • i wasn’t going to do a poster about balloon boy, but i did, just to point out the stupidity and laziness of the msm these days. they spent hours and hours on this crap, and then they use the excuse that everyone is just dying to see stuff like this. no, they’re watching wondering when the real news is going to come back on. the irony is that they were totally punked. heene and the production company knew that the news networks are stupid enough to cover a non-story like this, and now that their stupidity has been confirmed anew, they’re almost bragging about it! πŸ™„

  2. I first read “Heene” as “Heeze” and I thought “‘Heeze’ a kook? Nah, too easy.” So I looked again. It was too easy.

    It turns out that the Heezes are beneath even the reality TV folks I used to hang out with. In fact, “Wife Swap” is beneath them, too. I found no discussion threads devoted to the show, and that’s from people who think that “The Mole” and “The Apprentice” are great TV! So, no snarky observations from them.

    Finally, I went to JournalFen. They unearthed a real gem about the family.


    “As if you needed another reason to despise the family of “Balloon Boy” β€” which is looking at criminal charges thanks to their attempt at infamy β€” but this music video from the fame-seekers shows off how mom and dad taught their three sons what it means to be men. Namely, that you can’t be “pussified.” Yes, this family has their own music video from their Wife Swap days. And yes, it’s filled with the F-word in a Buju Banton-style call for muder.
    Queerty reader Jonathan told us he heard the three boys using the word in the video. So we took a listen, and might have heard the word used around the 2:40 mark, but that’s definitely them saying “faggot” at around 2:52 β€” as they reenact a gay bashing murder scene.

    This family has quickly turned from potential victims to repugnant press whores.”

    JournalFen was repulsed.


  3. I really didn’t want this to be a hoax, because the idea that anyone would do something this absurd just to get on a reality show is … well, … pretty much proof that it’s time for Western civilization to fall and be replaced by something better.

    • when i saw the balloon, i wondered how it could possibly hold a child, and when i heard the family was on wife swap, i figured it was a hoax. then it was just a question of how long the idiots on tv would give these morons attention. now the talking heads will cluck about how horrible it all is, but they won’t mention that, without their complicity, the whole thing would never have happened. the heenes and the production company knew the msm would be all over this.

    • writechic

      I was hoping it wasn’t a hoax, too. Just the notion that young children were used this way is too disturbing for my tastes. I want the world to be better than that. (says, Pollyanna).

      Anyway, I saw an excerpt of Papa Heene throwing a glass of water or milk at a wife swap contestant because she wouldn’t let the family eat meat. He’s a big ol’ asshole.

      They’ve pretty much screwed themselves for life. Kids will be pitted against parents. Child Protective Services is now involved.

      The media behaved the way I expected them to. Ass clowns. I have higher expectations of parents.

      • they already used their kids by appearing on wife swap. sorry, but little kids should not be on reality shows. just my 2Β’

        • writechic

          I’m with ya, sister. J&K plus their litter turned my stomach after 5 minutes. I always watch lowbrow tv when I’m on the beach…but that was too low.

          • i’ve never watched j&k and their litter, and i refuse to watch the duggars or whatever the hell that cult is called. i don’t think pooping out baby after baby is a great accomplishment, and i don’t understand why it should get you on tv.

            • writechic

              Okay, but Pimp My Ride?

              (Happy to report I don’t know what duggars are.) πŸ™‚

              • i only know about the duggars, because tannerleah wrote about them, and i googled. they have something like 87 kids and keep having more. i think one of the offspring started having offspring, too. they belong to some kind of weird sect or something.

                • writechic

                  Someone should pimp their ride. A vehicle for 89 people would be bad ass…or I guess that’s called a plane. πŸ˜‰

                  • i might have gotten the number wrong. maybe it’s closer to 18 (she might have farted out a few more kids by now). however, you can get them, the j&k +8 clan, octopussy and her 14 rugrats, and the heenes together and put them on an island where they can have their own little reality island. pimp our island! that, i might watch.

              • Apparently, they’re all set to pimp their children.

                (Also, just to admit my ignorance, I had to look up “Wife Swap.” I only know the term as … ummm … something even worse.)

  4. I was @ work & missed the whole story…. or did I? Looks like I did not miss much.
    The media SHOULD be freaking out that congress approved $681 billion for the 2010 military budget- without blinking- instead they are chasing around some BS flying saucer hoax.

  5. This was NOT a hoax! The police determined this already by reading the families body language. That is good enough for me. Beats the hell of actually doing police work like, say, looking around the house for a kid that’s hiding.

  6. You don’t see gay men with their Asian adopted babies or lesbians with their turkey baster babies going on reality shows and exploiting their kids.
    Heteros should have to undergo psychological testing before they’re allowed to breed.
    And no more fertility clinics. If you want a litter, get a goddam Golden Retriever or a kitty.

    • “And no more fertility clinics. If you want a litter, get a goddam Golden Retriever or a kitty.”

      I think it’s time to concede that the fertility industry was founded by Dr. Frankenstein and put an end to it. Maybe, just maybe, some people shouldn’t have kids. Adoption is an option.

      Which brings up a pet peeve as I digress again … pro-lifers who tell mothers to put their kids up for adoption and then have no interest whatsoever in adopting any of the already-up-for-grabs kids, or any kids that aren’t babies, etc..

      Any questions as to why I got kicked off of a pro-life blogging panel? I was told that I did too much inward-pointing. I sort of thought of it as trying to remove the planks from our own eyes, but they didn’t appreciate that.

      • silly wickle! using logic and rational thought with illogical and irrational people!

        by the way, those same people are probably in the crowds protesting health care reform. they don’t care if those same babies get any medical care when they’re sick.

        • Actually, yes …

          They didn’t appreciate the Jim Wallis/Sojourners line “Life doesn’t end at birth,” either.

          • you mean…you mean…fetuses turn into actual children? oh my!

            • As Johnny Carson would say –

              “I did not know that”

              And here I was thinking what a lock on the delivery business the Stork’s have.

            • Yeah … I know that as a pro-lifer I’m sort of in the minority here at the Raisin, but I can at least understand the basic disagreement about when life begins. I have a view, pro-choicers have a view. But at least I understand why we don’t have the same view on abortion … I think fetuses are people, pro-choicers don’t. I get it.

              I find it hard to get my head around the idea that anyone looks at a 2-year-old and doesn’t think that s/he warrants care from pro-lifers. That doesn’t make any kind of sense.

              • i understand your point of view, too, wickle, and i respect it. i also respect very much that you can respect someone with a different perspective.

                • Well, I use the term “Consistent Life Ethic,” which is the official position of obscure minor Presidential candidate Joe Schriner. With Democrats, I disagree about abortion. With Republicans, I disagree about the land mine treaty, the use of “depleted” uranium, capital punishment, health care, nuclear weapons, etc..

                  I don’t get invited to a lot of parties. ; – )

                  • i’d invite you to my party, wickle!

                    i think we need more than 2 parties, because there are so many issues, and people no longer walk lockstep in a democratic or rethuglican philosophy. in fact, i wish they would do away with parties entirely and allow people to run for office based on their set of principles and ideas.

    • unstable people shouldn’t be allowed to own pets either. look at the loons who adopt chimps and make believe they’re human babies.

  7. Hey I have been totally forgot to check in here Nonnie… but The “boy in a baloon” story is our media hard at work, duped again, but hard to blame I guess.

    BTW I could see my kid totally doing something like that, not at my behest but because he is a total 6 year old boy. Made me go remove all the full helium balloons on the side of my house.

    How are things?

    P.S. I put the link back up on my FLOG since it crashed badly I had to redo it and now it’s back. Still not all fixed up and the broken one not yet shut down but one thing at a time πŸ™‚

    • Oh yeah I still can spell πŸ˜‰

      • sandy!!!!!!! πŸ˜€

        you must have been psychically pulled over here, because i was thinking about you just the other day and wondering where you’ve been. you made my day! πŸ˜€

        thank goodness for responsible parents like you who read the warning on the side of the giant mylar balloons and put them where the kids can’t get to them. (by the way, how long before some idiot politician pushes a new mylar balloon law? πŸ™„ )

        don’t be a stranger, sandy! i love when you visit.

        • Yeah, it was just one of the out of site out of mind things. My Flog got trashed on Yahoo! hosting and I had to move it to new hosting provider. And I was too lazy to recover most of the stuff. For some reason today was the day to fix the ‘Raisin’ issue and get some links back up!

          I have been doing boy stuff with my friend and cousin on a car related podcast. I’ll shamelessly plug it


          Don’t beat me up on the Adam Carolla part πŸ˜‰ but we have a lot of fun doing it but it’s very time consuming.

          Hope things are going well and you seem to have a lot of good material still so keep it up!


          • you mean you don’t sit around 24/7 thinking of the raisin? you wound me, sandy. πŸ˜₯

            i was over at the new site this afternoon. what am i missing about the whole adam carolla thing? i knew jay leno collected cars, but i didn’t know carolla is a car buff.

            • Yep, me, Adam, and the Weez (My cousin) are car nuts. Adam has a ton of cars but not my style for most of them. It’s cool for me at least I get to go to places meet people I like to chat with and enjoy the free cheese and wine now and again πŸ˜‰

              Somehow they stuck me with the term “The Professor” I guess it’s cuz I keep Adam honest, not sure. Clearly not as smart as the professor on Gilligan’s Isle… But you can call me anything if I can have some cheese πŸ™‚


              • so i take it you’re the ganz? very cool! did you get to meet christopher titus (i looked at the pictures)? i thought his show was hilarious. chopper looks like a sweetie. is he yours?

  8. I didn’t meet Titus, I only rarely get out to the guest portion of the show unless it is a Saturday since I have the day job. Most people are really nice that I have met, Alonzo, Tom Nelson, etc. Working on a bunch more.

    Yep Chopper is one of 3 pups I have, he’s my favorite but can’t let the others know…


  9. One of my guilty pleasures was watching Wife Swap, and I saw both episodes this guy and his family were on. So as soon as I saw this guy was the father of the balloon boy I knew it was all fake. I know it’s easy to say that now, but I just knew in my gut it was a hoax because this guy is a massive melodramatic cock canker.

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