The Saga of Balloon Boy

It’s almost been 10 years since we all sat glued to our television sets watching the saga unfold of the legendary Balloon Boy. If you don’t remember, in 2009, a big balloon was set free, and Richard and Mayumi Heene told authorities and news outlets that their son was inside the balloon.

The media took off running with it, and created a half day’s worth of drama, complete even with a climactic chase and reveal of the balloon in a field with no child in sight.

Apparently, this attention grab was just the jumping off point for the family in their mildly annoying quest for fame. A USA Today piece checked in on our little hero in 2014, 5 years after the balloon incident.

Somehow not disheartened by the criminal charges from the earlier situation, the Heene family announced what they called “the world’s youngest metal band,” sure to be sweeping the airways soon. “The Heene Boyz” as they’re so creatively named, have self-released three albums, and luckily for us, they have a song on YouTube. The track must have been the last chance to clear the noble name of the Heene family, and I’ve got to say, I’m not quite convinced; but at least he looks like he’s having fun, right?

How this video managed to slip through the cracks of the internet un-memed, I have no idea, but the epic journey of Balloon Boy should be an inspiration to us all. Richard and Mayumi went out and captured the true American dream, and showed that with a little hard work and dedication, we too can look stupid on national tv, and in the end, isn’t that all we want?



Life Comes at You Fast

Art-related crimes are not as popular as they used to be, but that didn’t stop two men from attempting a job that would make a great action-comedy movie. Two brothers from Girona, Spain were in contact with a buyer for a painting they possessed. The piece (pictured below) was by famed romantic painter, Francisco Goya, and was called “Portrait of Don Antonio María Esquivel.” But the painting was fake, and the brothers still intended on promoting it as the original and selling it for the same price that the original would have fetched.

The two brothers then made the mistake of thinking tmoneyhey were the only criminals in Spain that day. After trying to deposit 1.7 million Swiss francs in a Geneva bank, the two were promptly arrested and hauled off to jail. It was then that they realized they had been duped. All of the money was counterfeit.

To make matters worse, the middleman who introduced the brothers to the buyer charged a fee of 300,00goya0 dollars, and they borrowed money from a friend to pay him, with the expectation that their friend would get $380,000 in return the next day. So they paid the middleman $300,000 of real money, and sold a fake painting for 1.7 million in fake money. Now the middleman and the buyer are laying low after a pretty successful heist, and the art forgers owe their friend 300 grand in real money when they get out of jail.

I think the lesson in all of this is that “too good to be true” almost always is. And if you try to cheat someone, don’t be surprised when they manage to cheat you first. Life comes at you fast, and these brothers definitely got what was coming to them.

Meth’d Up in North Korea

In America, we often underestimate the prevalence of hard drugs, including methamphetamine. Today’s user isn’t always the skeleton looking twitchy person on the street, sometimes its the sales manager of a sporting goods store, or the head of HR at a hospital, or even your mailman. 13 million people in the US over the age of 12 have tried meth at least once in their lives. Still, it’s taboo to use or even talk about using it in most social settings. But apparently, in North Korea, it would not be uncommon for a upper-class businessman to offer a client a “nose” of methamphetamine after dinner. Similarly, the middle class citizens use the drug as a remedy for the cold, and the lower class uses it to curb hunger pains. Using speed is a drastic solution to these relatively mundane problems, but I’ll grant them that they probably haven’t seen the graphic pictures we were shown in school to give us a healthy fear of meth. Perhaps most interesting about North Korea’s twitchy habit is the substance itself. By direction of the government, factories in North Korea produce meth with a purity around 96-98%. This potency makes it a hot item across Asia and the rest of the world, including America.

Here, much of our meth is manufactured by amateur chemists in basements and garages across the country. We also get a lot from Mexican drug cartels, who often sell North Korean product. Now I’ll be the first to admit that importing meth does have some financial benefits, however, I suggest that in the future, you stimulate your local economy and only buy domestically manufactured meth.