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What I Watched Last Night

I've always wondered what transpires in the moments before certain people end up winning a Darwin Award, the official "salute to the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it."

After watching an early Tuesday morning episode of Stunt Junkies: Go Big Or Go Home, I now know.

This particular program featured Finnish nutcup Visa Parviainen trying to establish the record for sustaining horizontal flight at 120 miles per hour for more than five minutes. Parviainen participates in a skydiving activity called wingsuit flying, where people turn themselves into flying squirrels because sooner or later, the possibility of making a lasting impression on the ground below when parachutes don't open isn't good enough. For these folks, nothing spells excitement more than a surprise mid-air game of chicken with a corporate jet.

So how does Parviainen manage wingsuit flying at 120 miles per hour? By strapping jet engines the size of fire extinguishers to a pair of hockey boots, that's how. (I'm not sure where you'd get personal-sized jet engines; I thought maybe American Science and Surplus might carry them because they boast "Incredible Stuff, Unbelievable Prices!" but they don't.) The propulsion system is controlled by handle-mounted buttons built into the wingsuit's arms, which makes the whole getup look like something Q might have cooked up for James Bond in the MI6 workshop. Except I think it would have occurred to Q that trying to walk around with heavy jet engines strapped to your ankles makes you look like Frankenstein as well as increasing your susceptibility to Achilles heel issues.

Q probably also would have done something about having to sit there while the engines idle with the control button under each thumb continually depressed until you actually want the turbines to light up. This whole arrangement strikes me as being a real bitch if you had to scratch your ass really bad or something.

Anyway, since he's bad enough at rocket scientist calculations to be unable to figure out that it doesn't take long for personal jet engines to run out of fuel, Parviainen came nowhere close to attaining his record. In the 1:51 he was lit up, Parviainen didn't retain many of his navigational skills either, since he wound up in restricted airspace and had to get picked up by the film crew.

Back to the lab, Visa. Keep following that dream.

*

Take some time out of your busy day to enjoy the What I Watched Last Night collection.



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Posted on April 11, 2007


MUSIC - What FBG Duck's Mother Says.
TV - The Comedic LA Dodgers.
POLITICS - Wilmette Man Translated Nazis To Death. Heed His Lessons.
SPORTS - Tweeting Foles.

BOOKS - The Endurance Of The Rubik's Cube.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Charles E. Cheese Boo-tacular.


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