Roswell, kitten neutering, Epsom salt, helium balloons

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Roswell Daily RecordToday is the 60th anniversary of the Roswell incident, the most famous UFO sighting in American history. Read more from MSNBC: The Roswell Experience. I was kind of obsessed with Area 51 conspiracy theories when I was a kid. I visited Roswell during the summer of 2001, a few months before I moved to Oregon.

My 4-month-old kitten Eli was neutered today. Poor little guy. He’s still drugged up on morphine . . . and not only is he out of it, but the gas anesthesia has apparently irritated his lungs. He is coughing, disturbingly, like a little person. Maybe he’d feel better if I bought him the Video Catnip DVD, which (apparently) is a video of birds, squirrels, and chipmunks specially made to encourage cats to stalk and attack the television. As long as Eli swallows his food and water properly and avoids aspiration pneumonia I think we’ll be all right.

same color illusionToday’s Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA is a classic optical illusion.

The World Series of Poker is down to the final table tonight. Tomorrow is the halfway point of the Tour de France.

Epsom salt is a magical (and cheap) substance. You can use it for anything! Since I am in the middle of the summer tennis tournament season, this advice about muscle injuries comes in handy: “If you do feel a strain to a muscle, then ice it for 15 minutes and follow that with a warm Epsom salt bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Epsom salts is magnesium sulfate which is a salt that can soak through the skin and helps with relaxing the muscle.”

Kent Couch balloon chair Now, here’s a story from last week’s offbeat headlines (actually from July 10), blown by the wind:

A 43-year-old Oregon man named Kent Couch floated in a balloon-powered lawn chair for nine hours, traveling 193 miles. He attached 105 large helium balloons to a chair that he equipped with instruments to measure altitude and speed, a GPS system and four bags that each held about 5 gallons of water. Here’s a quote from the AP story:

Couch is the latest American to emulate Larry Walters — who in 1982 rose three miles above Los Angeles in a lawn chair lifted by balloons. Walters had surprised an airline pilot, who radioed the control tower that he had just passed a guy in a lawn chair. Walters paid a $1,500 penalty for violating air traffic rules.

This story reminds me of the MythBusters episode where they tested whether a 4-year-old child can be lifted by a bunch of party balloons. Sava-O baby head whistle This myth was busted: “It would require such a large number of balloons (3500) to lift an average (44 lb.) 4-year-old girl just a few feet off the ground that there is no way the myth could have happened unintentionally.”

However, this guy Couch was using huge helium balloons.

And then there’s this report about a 1,500-pound wrecking ball that broke loose and eventually landed in the trunk of a car: “Wrecking ball snaps loose, bounces down street.”

In honor of the Roswell anniversary and The X-Files, I’ll leave you with this: “I want to believe.”

Well, OK, and I’ll share this creepy Japanese product before signing off: Sava-O Baby Head Whistle Necklace Disturbs for Life.

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