Monday, October 19, 2009

Get real: Jon Gosselin and the Balloon Boy

Patty here…

Eight is Enough

I don’t watch much TV and can’t remember how I stumbled upon the TLC show Jon and Kate Plus Eight. I do remember that after watching the eight Gosselin toddlers frolic around the room like puppies in a cardboard box all I could think about Jon and Kate was better them than me. The noise! The laundry!

Along with other viewers, I chuckled at the candid moments all parents experience when their child says something precious. For example, during dinner the kids were discussing the fact that they were part Asian. In a confidential moment with her blond-haired, blue-eyed mother, one of the little girls whispered, “We’re the only ones who’re Asian.” Sweet.

Then Jon woke up one morning and realized his window of opportunity for attracting hot chicks was closing. He wanted to be Peter Pan, not a husband with a testy wife or a father to a gaggle of rug-rats.

Now Jon and Kate are divorcing.

If you believe the tabloids, Jon has a girlfriend he says he loves but even so, he continues serial cheating, including a fling with three Las Vegas showgirls. (More issues with multiples). I guess he thinks his sexual escapades may position him for a spin-off show of his very own.

Mud is slinging. When TLC dropped Jon’s name from the title of the show, he had it taken off the air “for the good of his children.” TLC countered by filing suit for breach of contract. In a recent interview, Jon speculated about his future now that the show is over and the cash has stopped flowing. He said he planned to stay in television.

When I heard that I slapped my palm to my forehead and thought, Jon, Jon, Jon, I have only two words for you—Joey Buttafuoco.

Nobody wants to watch a chubby ex computer guy lock lips with the wild child whose father performed his soon-to-be ex-wife’s tummy tuck. Viewers watch the show because of the dynamic of those eight puppies and two exhausted parents waxing poetic about the trials and tribulations of raising all those kids.

Another What were they thinking? moment

If Jon and Kate weren’t enough to raise my blood pressure, enter the balloon boy. Richard and Mayumi Heene are parents of three young boys who chase tornadoes and hurricanes with their kids. They are also wannabe reality TV stars, having appeared twice on “Wife Swap,” and unsuccessfully pitched a reality TV show of their own.

Then one day they build a hot-air balloon shaped like a silver space ship. It escapes its tether. They call the police to report that their six-year old son Falcon is trapped inside the balloon. All hell breaks loose. The balloon sails for 50 miles, shutting down flights at Denver International Airport, leading the Air National Guard to mobilize. Then a shadowy blob appears to fall from the sky and the world collectively moans, The balloon boy is dead!

But wait! As it turns out, Falcon is not in the balloon at all but hiding in a room above the garage. Everybody breathes a big whew, until CNN’s Wolf Blitzer conducts an interview with Falcon. When asked why he didn’t come out of his hiding place when he knew people were calling to him, he turns to his father and says, “You said we did this for a show.”


Now the parents are facing felony conspiracy charges and could be sentenced up to six years in jail and a $500,000 fine. They may also be charged for the costs of the rescue attempt. Worse yet, they could lose custody of their children.

If you ask me, realty TV is out of control. I’m tired of real people acting like knuckleheads. The next thing you know, somebody will make me watch Tom Delay do the lambada on Dancing with the Stars.

Happy Monday!

Congratulations to our very own James O. Born!

His short story “The Drought,” from the anthology The Blue Religion, edited by Michael Connelly, won the Barry Award for Best Short Story. Jim received the award this past weekend at Bouchercon, a mystery convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana.


  1. hands are loudly applauding Jim's well deserved award. CONGRATS.

    Now, as to Go-Lo...

    Please do not confuse me with THAT Jon......that being said, I don't think it's reality TV, what it really is, is cheeper-to-produce-than-a scripted-series-TV. Further, it's tuned into let's act at our lowest base level on national the old joke about why a girl would appear in Playboy; because of the exposure.

    Conflicting reports about the alleged hoax....methinks it's a case of the Falcon and the Snowman........hey and didn't that thing look like something from an Ed Wood a Jiffy Pop bag?


    something else to keep in mind, for those in Jon's sitch....Why does a divorce cost so much? Because it's worth it.

  2. I've read a couple of Mr. Born's short stories and they are excellent. He has a good feel for begining, middle and end with a nice sense of irony.


  3. Way to go, Jim. Drinks for all! Jim pays.

    I find the Balloon Boy story inspiring. Here's what it inspired in me.

    Dear Random House:

    I know my new 'Lassiter' novel is late. You won't believe this, but the m/s floated away on a balloon. Just a second, Wolf Blitzer is calling. He's sooooooo willing to suspend disbelief I wish we could sell him a book. More later.


  4. Jiffy Pop bag. I love it! I wonder how much it costs to deploy the National Guard. Maybe Jon could loan the Balloon Boy some money from his divorce settlement.

    Yes, Dark and Stormies for all.

    Paul, what a great idea. Random House can launch the new Jake in conjunction with your new reality show. Can we be on it, too?

  5. Paul, Random House [and the CA National Guard] called......they found the balloon.....but are perplexed...."where's the m/s?".........hiding in your actic

  6. I can only say congratulations, Jim, and thank god the award wasn't for the story you wrote featuring a mousy, deluded murderer named David Terrenoire.

    As for reality TV, I don't watch any of it except Pawn Stars on the History Channel.

    Think of a cross between Antiques Road Show and American Chopper, except the pawn shop family isn't a bunch of self-centered jerks.

  7. Methinks it's either hiding in his computer or in the archives of the University of Miami. I'm just hoping the m/s isn't a hoax. I'm ready for the next Jake.

  8. James O. Born10/19/2009 9:09 AM

    I used to see Jon and Kate every once in a while. My daughter was crazy for it. I figured it was better than watching a coupleof the network dramas so I was all for it.

    Thanks for the nod on the Barry. It was a thrill.


  9. Mousy? David, sounds like you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Perhaps Jon Gosselin will refer you to his lawyer.

  10. James O, wish we could have been in the audience when they announced your name. I bet women were throwing their underwear.

  11. Jim's fans don't wear underwear.

  12. the balloon boy even made it onto the early news in germany. i will never understand how they could have the nerve to influence their kids to that extent without any scruple. what they have done to those boys, for me, is the worst part of this whole thing.

    as for realityshows - i don't watch them, even though it is getting almost impossible to avoid them. they are on every chanel over here. even the music stations can't do without them any more.


    hurray for mr. b. for this award and hoping for many more to follow!

  13. James O. Born10/19/2009 11:49 AM

    There may have been pantyless women but, unfortunately, I was not there. I had sent my regrets and couldn't make it to Indy until Friday.

    I appreciate you thinking someone might be willing to undress. The only one I've ever had throw panties at me is David terrinore and once Dusty Rhoades was going to but he saw Jeff Shelby near by and went after him.


  14. Sybille, I can't believe German TV forced you to watch Balloon Boy coverage. I agree that the kids will suffer most. Already little Falcon has barfed during two interviews. He must be under tremendous pressure.

    David, no underwear? Not even one pair of Big Mac Work shorts? What a disappointment. Maybe Dusty scooped them all up before anyway saw them?

  15. First up, YAYYYY, Jim!!! Congratulations!

    So called 'reality tv' leaves me cold. Can't watch it without feeling ill or yelling at the tv set. It's not the set's fault. However, I am addicted to the odd tv show: NCIS, but am waiting for the new spinoff LA to gain some texture or better depth. Fringe is strange but interesting. Flashfoward because Rob Sawyer is a pal... The History Channel and The Discovery Channels are dangerous and one can lose HOURS watching end to end docs. Sigh. I'm still trying to catch up on books at the moment, that aren't research for the ice age. :-D

    Still have to get a copy of Jim's new Sci Fi novel...and am patiently anticipating the next Maisie and Tucker Sinclair... Hint hint...


  16. Marianne, I love the quirky characters on the original NCIS. Haven't seen the new version yet.

    I'm reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle at the moment. Anybody else read it? I'd be interested in your comments.

  17. Patty; NCIS:LA is still finding its feet and the cohesion between the characters is needing to stick more. However the lady agent is a real trick. Her antics make the show very watchable. Love Linda Hunt as Hetty character but she needs a bit more to play with scene wise. Over all, there's just too much reliance on tech that makes info magically appear and get solved. Also, the writers are trying to cover all character bases at once, so its not balanced quite properly yet. The original NCIS has better depth of writing. Still, I watch it to see what's going on - a good way to chill. :-D


  18. I'll give it a try. Chris O is easy on the eyes.

  19. I read Sawtelle. I have already donated the book to the local library's fundraiser because I do not want it in my home. I was enamored by the writing and story at first; about midway, I grew impatient; at the end, I felt betrayed. And, I must say, I continue to be a bit amazed by my strong reaction. I have affinity with both two-leggeds and four-leggeds. But those that peopled that book were not of a universe I believe in.

  20. Thanks for your comment, Sandy. I'm about 150 pages into the book and beginning to share your feelings. It's very ponderous. I keep wondering if this Hamlet set in a dog kennel.

  21. Here in CO, people are not especially impressed with the Heene's. At first everyone was simply happy the boy was okay, and just thought the family was a little (okay a lot) odd. Yesterday's Denver Post had multiple articles outlining the charges the Heenes are most likely facing and all of their recent attempts to get back on television.

    Mass media may have ceased to be a wonderful thing a long time ago.