"Kent Couch: Helium Hero or Balloonatic?" | The Wandering Eye | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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"Kent Couch: Helium Hero or Balloonatic?" 

That's the provocative headline on a blog post in Great Britain's The Guardian newspaper about Bend's own Kent Couch, the gas station proprietor who flew

That's the provocative headline on a blog post in Great Britain's The Guardian newspaper about Bend's own Kent Couch, the gas station proprietor who flew a lawn chair attached to 150 giant helium balloons from Bend to Idaho on Saturday.

"His lift-off, achieved by ditching some of the 45 gallons of the cherry Kool-Aid drink he was using as ballast, was almost as audacious as his landing," blogger Paul Lewis writes. "When he'd had enough of sailing through the air, Couch took out a gun and started shooting balloons until he was headed earthward.

"Can you imagine? A clear blue sky, breathtaking Midwest [sic] scenery, and Couch, the floating man we all secretly want to be, casually taking aim with his ball-bearing pistol and, like a man without a care in the world, popping shots at his multicoloured balloons."

"Breathtaking Midwest scenery"? In Eastern Oregon and Idaho? Better take a remedial US geography class, son. Your copy editor, too.

"Between bursts," Lewis continues, Couch "would sip his coffee and nibble at boiled eggs, beef jerky and chocolate. What a guy.

"You might be thinking it's stupidity that takes the like of Couch skywards. This weekend sailors off the coast of Brazil discovered the body of Catholic priest Father Adelir de Carli, 42, who was last seen strapped to 1,000 giant party balloons in April.

"I disagree. These men may be fools, but they're enviable fools. In today's risk-averse world, there's something admirable about a guy from Oregon willing to gamble his life on a gust of wind, just because it feels good."

So what do you think, Wandering Eye readers? Was Couch's feat an act of heroism or balloonacy? Or something else entirely?

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