Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"A man can't just sit around."

I love to read News of The Weird. Call it schadenfreude, but I enjoy reading about when something weird, embarrassing, or unimaginable happens to someone other than myself. Ok, yes, it's sad when the people do something stupid that kills them, but sometimes you just can't believe the level of stupidity required to do these things.

One of my favorite Darwin Award Honorable Mentions is Lawn Chair Larry:

(1982, California) Larry Walters of Los Angeles is one of the few to contend for the Darwin Awards and live to tell the tale. "I have fulfilled my 20-year dream," said Walters, a former truck driver for a company that makes TV commercials. "I'm staying on the ground. I've proved the thing works."

Larry's boyhood dream was to fly. But fates conspired to keep him from his dream. He joined the Air Force, but his poor eyesight disqualified him from the job of pilot. After he was discharged from the military, he sat in his backyard watching jets fly overhead.

He hatched his weather balloon scheme while sitting outside in his "extremely comfortable" Sears lawnchair. He purchased 45 weather balloons from an Army-Navy surplus store, tied them to his tethered lawnchair dubbed the Inspiration I, and filled the 4' diameter balloons with helium. Then he strapped himself into his lawnchair with some sandwiches, Miller Lite, and a pellet gun. He figured he would pop a few of the many balloons when it was time to descend.

Larry's plan was to sever the anchor and lazily float up to a height of about 30 feet above his back yard, where he would enjoy a few hours of flight before coming back down. But things didn't work out quite as Larry planned.

When his friends cut the cord anchoring the lawnchair to his Jeep, he did not float lazily up to 30 feet. Instead, he streaked into the LA sky as if shot from a cannon, pulled by the lift of 42 helium balloons holding 33 cubic feet of helium each. He didn't level off at 100 feet, nor did he level off at 1000 feet. After climbing and climbing, he leveled off at 16,000 feet.

At that height he felt he couldn't risk shooting any of the balloons, lest he unbalance the load and really find himself in trouble. So he stayed there, drifting cold and frightened with his beer and sandwiches, for more than 14 hours. He crossed the primary approach corridor of LAX, where Trans World Airlines and Delta Airlines pilots radioed in reports of the strange sight.

Eventually he gathered the nerve to shoot a few balloons, and slowly descended. The hanging tethers tangled and caught in a power line, blacking out a Long Beach neighborhood for 20 minutes. Larry climbed to safety, where he was arrested by waiting members of the LAPD. As he was led away in handcuffs, a reporter dispatched to cover the daring rescue asked him why he had done it. Larry replied nonchalantly, "A man can't just sit around."

The Federal Aviation Administration was not amused. Safety Inspector Neal Savoy said, "We know he broke some part of the Federal Aviation Act, and as soon as we decide which part it is, a charge will be filed."

A man can't just sit around. I love that.

I also love that they don't know exactly what law he's violated, but they're darn well gonna come up with something.

This is where those dumb laws come from.

Fast forward to last week when I read the following headline and immediately felt an overwhelming sense of deja vu:

Firefighters free toddler after he gets toilet seat stuck on his head

Updated: 9:00 p.m. CT April 25, 2007
LONDON - British firefighters said Wednesday they came to a boy's rescue after he got a toilet seat stuck on his head.

The toddler, 2 1/2, and his mother walked into a fire station in Braintree, Essex, on Tuesday saying the boy had put his head through a small trainer seat for the toilet and could not remove it.

"His mum had tried to get it over his head but couldn't budge it, so she walked him down here and asked us to have a look at it, and we went to work and we managed to get it off in no time," firefighter Chris Cox said.

"We simply put some dishwashing liquid on his head and ears and it slid off nice as pie."

He said the boy had been "very brave" and "toddled away as happy as can be" after his ordeal ended.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

I'm thinking brains do not grow on trees in the town of Braintree.

Now, allow me to assume you haven't committed my entire blog to memory and direct your attention to this entry from June 14th of last year. I'll wait.

Back? OK.

Have YOU ever had News Of The Weird happen to you?

Here's the news story I WISH would come true. I found this on MSN Money today.

The price of a mom: $138,095
A new report assigns a salary to a stay-at-home mother, based on the jobs she does in a normal week.

By MSN Money staff
What's a mom worth?

According to one new report, $138,095 a year.

That's the figure in a report by Salary.com, which calculates the wages that would have been paid a stay-at-home mom in 2007 if she were compensated for all the elements of her "job." That total is up 3% from 2006's salary of $134,121.

Moms who have jobs outside the house would earn another $85,939 for their mothering work, beyond what they bring home in existing salary.

The final salary was calculated by weighting the salaries and hours worked in each role.

Isn't that interesting? Right now, I'm in my damn jammies writing about toilet seats stuck on kids' heads and cereal by the handful out of the box.

Waiting for my paycheck to arrive.

So maybe a man can't just sit around, but apparently a woman can.


LilKnitter said...

This is a kickass blog, beyotch!

sharon said...

I want that paycheque too!!! I'm laughing so hard, my 6 year old wnat to know why!!! I love the mother of the year awards. Thank you so much for your reality!

Bezzie said...

Tell it sister!

Poops said...

I'm as serious as a heart attack here: if you were to sit down and pull together your bestest blog entries, organize them, and tie them together with some sort of grafting stitch, you'd have a bestseller on your hands.

Friggin' hell, yeah!

Disco said...

I LOVE the Larry story. So freaking funny I almost wet my knickers.

Anonymous said...

Dear PennyKarma,

You are my new Blog Crush. I don't know if that's a good thing for you or a bad thing. But I just snorted beer out my nose reading your latest.


Ed said...

How could you deprive the world of a photo that sees your ofspring wearing a loo seat? What sort of blogger are you? V Funny tho'.
Just as well that bloke was not alowed to fly jets. An F16 in the control of that retard!?

Kevin said...

OK, seriously. Any woman who has used schadenfreude not once, but TWICE on her blog is definitely worthy of the title "Hottest Blogger Ever." The prize is me. You can collect your prize at any time.