Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Fool Us Twice...
Justin, I totally agree with you, mostly about being gods, but also about the decline of April Fool's Day tomfoolery amongst us. The most I've seen all day are silly FB statuses that NO ONE is falling for:
Michael was offered a job teaching at a private school in NC... He's probably going to take it.
Morgan is moving to LA! WOOOO!!!!
Duncan was just informed that he's on the shortlist for the Pulitzer Prize this year!! OMG
John joined the Peace Corps and will be in Somalia for the next two years. Sorry if I didn't tell you in person, but I didn't have time to tell everyone individually before I ship out next week.
But where's the fun? Are we really entrenched in our electronic lives that we can't take a moment away from our computers to actually get some pranks going? In hopes of inspiring a little April Fool's Day cheer, here are some of my favorite hoaxes in history (courtesy of The Museum of Hoaxes):
The Left-Handed Whopper
1998: Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."
Nessie Is Dead
1972: On March 31 1972, a team of zoologists from Yorkshire's Flamingo Park Zoo, who were at Loch Ness searching for proof of Nessie's existence, found a mysterious carcass floating in the Loch. Initial reports claimed it weighed a ton and a half and was 15 ½ feet long. The zoologists placed the body in a van and began to transport it back to the zoo. However, the police chased down their truck and stopped it under a 1933 act of Parliament prohibiting the removal of "unidentified creatures" from Loch Ness. The body was then taken to nearby Dunfermline for examination. The discovery of the carcass received worldwide media attention. The British press dubbed it "Son of Nessie." But upon examination, Edinburgh scientists identified the creature as a bull elephant seal from the South Atlantic. The next day John Shields, Flamingo Park's education officer, confessed he had been responsible for the body. The bull elephant seal had died the week before at Dudley Zoo. He had shaved off its whiskers, padded its cheeks with stones, and kept it frozen for a week, before dumping it in the Loch and then phoning in a tip to make sure his colleagues found it. He had meant to play an April Fool's prank on his colleagues, but admitted the joke got out of hand when the police chased down their van.
The New Value of Pi
1998: The April 1998 issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter contained an article claiming that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi from 3.14159 to the 'Biblical value' of 3.0. Soon the article made its way onto the internet, and then it rapidly spread around the world, forwarded by email. It only became apparent how far the article had spread when the Alabama legislature began receiving hundreds of calls from people protesting the legislation. The original article, which was intended as a parody of legislative attempts to circumscribe the teaching of evolution, was written by physicist Mark Boslough.
The Taco Liberty Bell
1996: The Taco Bell Corporation announced it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
So come on peeps, let's keep this wonderful tradition going! Oh, and I was going to take this opportunity to announce that I am, in fact, pregnant. But... I don't think anyone will believe me now.
Oh well, there's always tomorrow.