July 6, 2008

"Man Flies To Idaho … In Lawn Chair."

All right. First off. I hate the headline. "Man Flies To Idaho"... but where did he start? Argentina? Florida? Indonesia? You have to read the article to find out. Answer: Oregon! Look at a map. A child could jump from Oregon to Idaho on a pogo stick. Second:
Using his trusty BB gun to help him return to Earth, a 48-year-old gas station owner flew a lawn chair rigged with helium-filled balloons....

Kent Couch created a sensation....
Now, this is really annoying me. His name is Couch and he chooses to fly in a chair. Fly in a couch.

32 comments:

Meade said...

Couch Flies Chair, Can't Stand Flying Coach

Corporate Contributions Cover Crazy Couch Costs

Zeb Quinn said...

A child could jump from Oregon to Idaho on a pogo stick

But not Evel Knievel on a jet-powered mototcycle.

Bissage said...

(1) Seen on a bumper sticker near you:

"BE ALERT! (America Needs More Lerts!!!)"

(2) So true. So very, probably, true.

(3) But most definitely, America needs more eccentrics.

(We’ve got some catching up to do!)

(4) Couch?

SOFA!

As in . . . sofa, so g o o d !

(5) Now, I could be wrong, but as Mr. Couch sails off into the blue, . . ., well, Professor Althouse seems a little moody . . . (it happens to the best of us) . . . but there’s a cure for that . .

And you can fly . . .
High as a kite if you want to . . .
Faster than light if you want to . . .
Speeding through the universe . . .
Thinking is the best way to travel.


(6) Aaaaah, enough of that silly stuff!

Let's get real.

Let's get down to Earth.

Let's get P.O.S.H.!!!

(7) Ha!

dbp said...

Two things: 1) Bend Oregon to Idaho is a pretty long ways, though the states do border each other. 2) Why to the directions between Oregon and Idaho begin from the center of OR and then go to the Idaho/Montana Border? I suspect that it looks for the center of each state: Or is pretty much a rectangle, so the center is where one might expect, but Idaho is oddly shaped so its "center" is on the edge of the state.

Beth said...

Everything that goes around, comes around. This guy is emulating an early Darwin Award winner, Lawnchair Larry, who ascended much faster and higher than he'd intended and ended up in the LAX flight path.

Ann Althouse said...

Google maps defaults to the center of whatever you put in.

George said...

'The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair' by George Plimpton is a classic profile.

Sadly, the aviator came to a bad end, years later.

dbp said...

Looking at the map (and being somewhat familiar with that part of the country) I would say that Couch ended his flight very prudently. The only places the wind could have taken him, past where he landed, are extremely rugged, deserted and not easy to get to.

George said...

Larry Walters.

reader_iam said...

Has the article been updated since you saw and linked it? (Or, were you reading in feed?) Because when I clicked over, the second deck of the headline, right under the main, states he flew from Oregon. And then the lede right away repeats all the information in both decks and adds more detail, including the specific distance traveled. It all looks very much right at the top and very standard to me. (In fact, I probably designed a front page or section front article like that countless times, back in the day, it's so boilerplate.) Or maybe I'm missing something?

Your last paragraph is hilarious. Wouldn't it have been great if a copy editor had screwed up and called him "Chair" and his form of conveyance "couch"? Hey, maybe one did! Who knows, these days ... .

GPE said...

Well, maybe the flight was a lark.

But seriously, I at first passed over the article, thinking it was yet another description of how much the service from the airlines had deteriorated.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

It would've been really funny if he had flown to Davenport.

Wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John K. said...

There's an Australian movie called Danny Deckchair that was inspired by Lawnchair Larry. As I recall, it was a very good movie, and had a happier ending than Lawnchair Larry's (as described by beth above).

Daryl said...

This guy is emulating an early Darwin Award winner, Lawnchair Larry, who ascended much faster and higher than he'd intended and ended up in the LAX flight path.

Larry survived, unharmed, and was fined $1,500 for violating FAA rules. That's all.

Chip Ahoy said...

Lawn Chair Larry is my hero. So is Couch.

John K. said...

Daryl said: "Larry survived, unharmed, and was fined $1,500 for violating FAA rules. That's all."

But then, I read, he offed himself years later with a gun. Also noted that a Brazilian priest tried a similar stunt just a few months ago and his body was found just the day before Couch embarked on his adventure. Sad. I'm sure there's a moral in there somewhere.

Jim said...

As a proud Oregonian and someone who has done most of that drive (from Bend to Idaho), it is not a 'pogo stick jump'. It is a long, high-speed (assuming you pass the one state trooper) drive.

Ann, do you consider Madison to Duluth a pogo-stick jump? It's only 15 miles longer than Bend, OR to Cambridge, ID.

reader_iam said...

Ruthanne: Not this weekend, baby. This is an area--the Greater Quad-Cites Area, not just Davenport or the Quad Cities--that looooooooooves its fireworks. So help me, this is an area where you can see fireworks displays something like 8-9 months a year--and if I'm off, it's not by much, relatively speaking. My personal favorite is the beautiful display in December, when colors skip off the snow like water droplets in a sizzling cast-iron skillet.

So you can pretty much the peril someone trying to pull Couch's stunt would face.

It's Sunday. Haven't heard the pops that have been a persistent background sound since, oh, round about Tuesday. It's the first night since Thursday without a display (at least, that I know of; where I'm situated, it's so easy to catch glimpses that I get lazy about checking the paper for official notice).

Yet, I swear, the smell of pyrotechnics are STILL lingering in the air ... .

Well, I suppose that could be neighborhood.

Jennifer said...

I don't know if I'd call that flying in a lawn chair. With that giant contraption, he may as well have used a couch.

It's much more interesting when the giant contraption is fleeing an exploding volcano from an island stocked with uncut diamonds and a highly alphabetized and organized citizenry.

peter hoh said...

Would our blog mistress prefer that Couch fly in a sofa to Davenport?

As for traveling furniture, here's something from our local Art Car parade.

Same sofa, in a photo.

peter hoh said...

Oh, dear. I see that Ruth Anne beat me to the pun(ch).

reader_iam said...

OK. Now coming back to this, I'm somewhat wondering if Althouse isn't returning to and playing with extending the theme of examining literalism, "blurbism" and those who demand immediately gratifying, thesis-driven blurts.

No worry. I did say "somewhat."

---

Until just a few years ago, I still had a Davenport bequeathed to me by someone who was so proud to have, in later life, after years of work, acquired a couch that would have been so called in her girlhood days (shockingly, to me, since it's now striking me anew) in the early 1900s. I got the reference. It's the "striking anew" which inspired the deflecting response.

reader_iam said...

To Ruthanne, that is.

Not that my response wasn't reflective of my own experience, in another arena. Because it was, and is.

AllenS said...

Couch covered about 235 miles in about nine hours. If he tries an even longer, overnight flight, may I suggest a futon.

bearbee said...

The story is analogous to a current political campaign. Use those around you to raise you up then shoot them with a BB gun when their usefulness is at an end.

As for traveling furniture, here's something from our local Art Car parade.

If it's a gas saver than its truely inspired.......a dream come true for the coach potato needing snackies from the supermarket.

The Larry Walters story

And, of course, The 5th Dimension

Bissage said...

Mr. Couch should have looked into getting some sponsors.

I’ll bet the Idaho State Department of Agriculture would have popped for a product placement.

Meade said...

Mr. Couchpotato Head! Good one, Bissage!!

Pogo said...

The only trouble with American eccentrics like this is their frequent demand for attention and rescue.

I'd have been impressed if he had had insurance to cover the forseeable "Couch balloon trip ends in disaster" headline that usually accompanies these bonehead stories.

You want to climb Mount Hood blindfolded and nude? Fine, but don't be calling on your cellphone when the toes go blue. Go out like Amelia Earhart, you wimp.

peters said...

For much of the length of the Idaho-Oregon border, it's true that a child from Oregon could pogo-stick into Idaho (though why the child would want to do so is another matter). The child probably should avoid the Hells Canyon section, however, or be prepared for one very long drop and probably not much of a rebound.

Cedarford said...

Pogo - The only trouble with American eccentrics like this is their frequent demand for attention and rescue.

There is a cadre of attention-wanters as you describe, and another cadre of stupid people doing risky things who don't give a shit if they endanger others in rescue attempts.

But I remember that 1st lawnchair guy well because I was in junior high and he was an instant hero as soon as we young guys saw photos of him 3 miles up in a lawnchair photo'd by a commercial jet airliner. His plan was basically "Why the hell not, its a free country! I'm going for it! I'll go up as my buddies watch, shoot some balloons out and walk back to the house and we'll all crack some frosty ones!"

That it didn't work out that way doesn't make him the same sort of attention-whore as a female environmentalist pole-sitter blogging her own website as she "saves the living, breathing trees that surround us". Or some asshole that proclaims how noble he is as he walks backwards across a state "to raise awareness (of how wonderful he is!) and cure cancer.

His unfortunate suicide happened later and appears unrelated to him becoming a UFO. Larry Walters was basically a good-natured, mainstream American truck driver that had a dream. Accepted the risk thinking it was only his risk..and went for it. And mainly succeeded.

John K. said...

That sounds like a good assessment of Larry Walters, Cedarford. I thought his story was hilarious, that he basically shot up like a cannon and kept climbing to about 50 times higher than he'd planned for. But when he finally got down, after being stuck up there for hours and hours (the beer and sandwiches he took up with him presumably left untouched), he replied to a reporter who asked him why he'd done it, "A man can't just sit around." "Mainly succeeded" is about right.