Weird ‘04 stories border on fiction

OK, so the Boeing Co. tanker deal was sordid and unseemly. It’s strange to contemplate that the in-production 777-200LR will be able to connect just about any two cities on the planet. It was odd that Boeing predicted it would sell 200 7E7s this year – and then didn’t. And this whole A350 thing from Airbus is a mystery.

But what were the really weird aerospace stories of 2004 – the ones that left us all wondering whether we’d been caught in some sort of “Star Trek” tachion flux and transported by undiscovered laws of quantum physics to some bizarro parallel universe?

Here are some of my favorites:

Modern art – In November, the Museum of Modern Art in New York reopened with an unusual item to grace the entrance to its architecture and design gallery – a fan blade from a General Electric GE90-115B engine, the same one that powers Boeing’s ultralong-range 777-300ER and 777-200LR.

The 4-foot-tall, twisted, black carbon-fiber blade “captures the whole essence of flight and technology,” museum curator Terence Riley said.

Actually, what it was intended to do was capture big amounts of air and scoop them into the jet’s engine, according to GE.

Pass the cocktail sauce – The government of Thailand blocked Thai Airways from ordering more than $2 billion worth of Airbus jets, including a half-dozen A380s, in a dispute over European Union rules blocking frozen shrimp exports from Thailand.

Shrimp are a big deal in Thailand, which claims to be the world’s largest exporter of frozen shrimp and prawns.

As the year winds to an end, negotiators have hammered out a compromise that could resolve the crustacean crisis and let the A380 order go ahead. But it’s got to be approved by the EU first, according to Reuters.

Lord of the Dance – RyanAir chief executive Michael O’Leary spoke to Boeing workers in Renton in October. I wasn’t there, and am I ever sorry.

The Telegraph newspaper in London had a reporter in Seattle that week. It said O’Leary (who is not related to the Herald photographer of the same name) started out by saying he’d promised Boeing brass that he’d watch his language.

“I promise I won’t say anything like “screw Airbus’ or ‘bleep the French,’” he said.

According to the Telegraph, the Boeing workers “were charmed by the Irishman’s apparent inability to take himself or RyanAir too seriously,” the newspaper said. “The airline industry is full of bull—-ers, liars and drunks. We excel at all three in Ireland,’ he told them.”

O’Leary “carried on for an hour, discussing the merits of cricket and baseball and why Guinness tastes like it does,” the Telegraph said.

He continued: “I can’t fly the bloody things. I can’t even turn them on.” But “I will do Riverdance,” he crowed, before launching into a high-kicking, arms-to-the-sides dance that brought down the house.

And if that weren’t enough, here’s my pick for the strangest story of the year:

Intruder alert! Intruder alert! – In October, alert airport security personal evacuated the terminal in the Australian resort city of Mackay when someone noticed an object humming and vibrating in a trash can.

It turned out to be what police officially called an “adult novelty item.” You know, the kind they sell at Lovers Package.

Let’s let the Australian Associated Press tell the tale:

“Cafeteria manager Lynne Bryant said her staff had been cleaning tables when they noticed a strange humming noise coming from the rubbish bin.

“‘It was rather disconcerting when the rubbish bin started humming furiously,’ she said. ‘We called security, and next minute everybody was being evacuated while they checked it out.’”

According to the news service, several hundred people, including passengers on two arriving and departing flights, were evacuated from the terminal for about 45 minutes while a positive identification was made.

Bryant said that “in retrospect, the humming sounded exactly like a vibrator – but it was better to be safe then sorry.”

“You can’t afford to take chances,” she said.

Indeed.

Here’s wishing you and yours a safe 2005.

Reporter Bryan Corliss: 425-339-3454 or corliss@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, March 11, 2019, rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019 according to a report released Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020, by the aviation consultancy To70, revealing the worst crash for the year was an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on March 10 that lost 157 lives. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, FILE)
US board says Boeing Max likely hit a bird before 2019 crash

U.S. accident investigators disagree with Ethiopian authorities over the cause of a 2019 Boeing 737 Max crash.

Paddywack co-owner Shane Somerville with the 24-hour pet food pantry built by a local Girl Scout troop outside of her store on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
An out-paw-ring of support: Mill Creek pantry feeds pets, day or night

With help from local Girl Scouts, the Mill Creek pet food store Paddywack is meeting the need for pet supplies in a pinch.

Kelly Cameron is the woodworker behind Clinton-based business Turnco Wood Goods. (David Welton)
Whidbey woodworkers turn local lumber into art

In the “Slab Room” at Madrona Supply Co., customers can find hunks of wood native to the south end of Whidbey Island.

Siblings Barbara Reed and Eric Minnig, who, co-own their parent’s old business Ken’s Camera along with their brother Bryan, stand outside the Evergreen Way location Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, in Everett, Washington. After five decades in business, Ken’s will be closing its last two locations for good at the end of the year. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Print it or lose it: Ken’s Camera closes after decades caught on film

The local legend, processing film photos since 1971, will close its locations in Mount Vernon and Everett at the end of 2022.

Store owner Jay Behar, 50, left, and store manager Dan Boston, 60, right, work to help unload a truck of recliners at Behar's Furniture on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. Behar's Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it's time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Behar’s Furniture in Everett closing after 60 years

“It’s time to move on.” The small family-owned store opened in 1963 and grew to cover an entire city block.

Katy Woods, a Licensed Coach, Branch Manager, and experienced Banker at Coastal Community Bank.
Coastal Community Bank Offers Classes for Businesses

To support local business owners and their teams, Coastal offers complimentary Money… Continue reading

Innovative Salon Products online fulfillment employees, from left, Stephanie Wallem, Bethany Fulcher, Isela Ramirez and Gretchen House, work to get orders put together on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at the company’s facility in Monroe, Washington. The company began including pay, benefits and perks to its job listings over a year ago, well ahead of the new statewide mandate to include a pay range on job postings at companies with over 15 employees. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New state law requires employers to give pay range in job postings

Washington’s new pay transparency law aims to narrow wage gaps based on race or gender — though some companies may seek loopholes.

Nelson Petroleum on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Egregious:’ Everett fuel company repeatedly broke water standards

Nelson Petroleum faces a lawsuit from an Everett Mall Way strip mall over discharges into a nearby wetland.

Mike Lane and son Dave Lane, right, in front of their family store Everett Vacuum with their popular sign and saying, “everything we sell sucks” on Thursday, April 7, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Suck it up — and shop it up — at Everett Vacuum

After 80 years on Broadway, the family-run store with the “Everything we sell sucks” sign moved to Hewitt Avenue.

Customers leave J. Matheson Gifts Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s longtime J. Matheson gift store finds new life in Seattle

Miranda Matheson had her mother’s blessing when she opened a new J. Matheson Urban Gifts & Kitchens in Green Lake.

Carla Fisher and Lana Lasley take a photo together with Tommy Chong during 210 Cannabis Co’s grand opening Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Arlington, Washington. Fisher and Lasley waited in line solely to get a photo with Chong. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Stillaguamish Tribe opens retail cannabis shop

More than 1,500 attended a grand opening on Dec. 10. The venture comes amid a boom in tribal cannabis stores.

Franco Montano works on putting together a wreath at his workshop on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Monroe man runs taco truck by day, makes 100 wreaths by night

Franco Montano, a former factory worker, started making the holiday wreaths in 2008. He has expanded into a thriving family business.