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Friday, April 1, 2016

The Writer's Life 4/1 - Fools

Here's a top ten of all-time April Fools pranks from, edited and pared by yours truly:
10. In 1980 the BBC reported that Big Ben, in order to keep up with the times, was going to be given a digital readout. The announcement shocked listeners, who protested the change. The BBC Japanese service also announced the clock hands would be sold to the first four listeners to contact them. One Japanese seaman in the mid-Atlantic immediately radioed in a bid.
9. In 2007, images of an 8-inch mummified creature resembling a fairy were posted online. The site explained how the creature had been found by a man walking his dog along an old Roman road in rural Derbyshire. The site received tens of thousands of visitors and hundreds of emails. Eventually, the owner of the site confessed the fairy was a hoax. He'd used his skills as a magician's prop-maker to create the creature. He continued to receive numerous emails from people who refused to accept the fairy wasn't real.
8. A barge towing a giant iceberg appeared in Sydney Harbor in April 1978. A local adventurer and millionaire businessman had been loudly promoting his scheme to tow an iceberg from Antarctica, saying he was going to carve the berg into small cubes and sell them for ten cents each. These cubes, fresh from the pure waters of Antarctica, were promised to improve the flavor of any drink.
7. In 1860 people throughout London received the following invitation: "Tower of London: Admit Bearer and Friend to view annual ceremony of Washing the White Lions on Sunday, April 1, 1860. Admittance only at White Gate." By noon a large crowd had gathered outside. They were disappointed to find that lions hadn't been kept in the tower for centuries, let alone white lions.
6. Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today in 1998. It announced a new menu item : the Left-Handed Whopper. Especially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans, the new burger included the same ingredients as the original, but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees. Thousands of customers went into restaurants to request the new sandwich, while many others requested their own "right handed" version.
5. On 1 April 1972, newspaper headlines around the world announced the dead body of the Loch Ness Monster had been found. A team of zoologists who were at Loch Ness searching for proof of Nessie's existence had discovered the carcass floating in the water the day before. Initial reports claimed it weighed a ton and a half and was 15½ feet long. Upon inspection, Nessie turned out to be a bull elephant seal. The zoo's education officer confessed he had been responsible for placing the body in the Loch. The seal had died the week before, and he had shaved off its whiskers, padded its cheeks with stones, and kept it frozen for a week, before dumping it in the Loch. The seal's body was displayed at the Flamingo Park Zoo for a few days before being properly disposed of.
4. In 1977 the Guardian published a seven-page "special report" about San Serriffe, a small country located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several islands that make the shape of a semi-colon. The two main islands were called Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. They did an in-depth series of articles on the history, geography and daily life on the idyllic islands.
3. During an interview on BBC Radio 2, on the morning of 1 April 1976, an astronomer announced that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime event was going to occur. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would reduce the Earth's own gravity. The man told listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation.
2. The best known public prank is the 1957 news show broadcast by Panorama. It was a three-minute segment about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland attributed to an unusually mild winter and the "virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil," with video footage of a family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and placing it into baskets. The show said: "For those who love this dish, there's nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti."
1. In Sweden, in 1962, there was only one television channel, and it was shown in black and white. The station announced that its "technical expert" was going to tell people how to view color images on their black-and-white sets. Researchers, he said, had recently discovered that covering your television screen with a pair of tights would cause the light to bend in such a way that it would appear as if the image was in color. All viewers had to do was to cut open a pair of stockings and tape them over the screen of their television set. Thousands fell for the hoax. Many say today that they remember their parents (their fathers in particular) rushing through the house trying to find stockings to place over the TV set.

Here's a bit of trivia I find surprising and interesting. For the first time since 1970, none of the NHL teams based in Canada will make the playoffs. I would have guessed, given the glorious history of the Montreal Canadiens, that it had never happened.

Then there are fools who sell books on the street. My thanks to the gentleman and lady who bought four between them. A guy asked for books on UFO's, and I mentioned that Hillary has promised to have the Area 51 files made public. "No, she won't," he said. He recently read a book that purports that JFK was killed not by Castro, the mob or the CIA, but by those worried he was about to reveal the files' secrets, which he'd blabbed to Marilyn Monroe. Just when you think you've heard every conspiracy theory, along comes another.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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