Monday, April 1, 2013

Can't Fool Me Again...

"Your shoe's untied."  When I was a child, we actually laced and tied our shoes so this was the most common April Fool joke in elementary school.  Based on my observations of today's long laces streaming and velcro closings, I don't think it works today.

Today is April Fool's Day.  I have never been fond of pranks or jokes at the expense of others, especially myself.  But some April Fool's jokes are so clever and non-threatening that I love them.  Here are a few of my favorites...some I remember and some I do not.  I found all of them amusing.

This is perhaps my favorite:

It was in 1957 that the British Broadcasting Corporation, (BBC) News reported a bumper crop of spaghetti. According to the spot on the news show, Panorama, the maligned spaghetti weevil had been almost eliminated, allowing for a bountiful spaghetti harvest. The story was accompanied by pictures of peasants pulling huge strands of spaghetti off the heavily laden trees. Surprisingly, BBC was flooded with calls from people wanting to plant their own spaghetti trees! They finally developed a reply, "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

Taco Bell:

The 1990s brought the days of corporate sponsorship of stadiums and other venues. In 1996 the Taco Bell Corporation sent out press releases and advertisements that they had purchased the Liberty Bell and would rename it the "Taco Liberty Bell." They would allow the bell to remain on display in Philadelphia half the time and would keep it at corporate headquarters the other half. Furious Americans began calling the park where the Liberty Bell is kept, as well as their Senators and Congressmen. Taco Bell immediately revealed that it was a practical joke.

The news even made it to the Presidential press conference that afternoon. Mike McCurry, then White House Press Secretary had an additional joke for the press. He said that Ford Motors had purchased the Lincoln Memorial and it would be re-named the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

Burger King
Burger King played a great joke in 1998. The company took out a full page ad in USA Today. The ad described a new product, "The Left Handed Whopper" designed for left-handed people. The whopper was made by rotating all the ingredients 180 degrees for left-handed customers. Burger King announced the next day the advertisement was a hoax. But for several days, people came in requesting the Left-Handed Whopper. Others requested the old "Right-handed Whopper."

National Public Radio (NPR) is not above a good joke. In 2004, All Things Considered informed us the the US Postal Service was beginning a "portable zip code" policy. Since the FCC had recently allowed customers to keep their telephone numbers when they moved, the post office would allow customers to keep their old zip code numbers. The program stated that the portable zip codes would put Americans in the demographic, not just geographic landscape.


A scientific newsletter, New Mexicans for Science and Reason, published an article in the April edition (1998) that the great state of Alabama was changing the value of Pi. According to the article, the state legislature had returned the definition to the "biblical" value of 3.0 rather than 3.14159. The real purpose of the article was to parody the legislature for its position on the teaching of evolution. News of the article spread quickly and the Alabama legislature was inundated with phone calls.


And this year, Google announced on the YouTubeblog  (here) that it will stop accepting videos after April 1, 2013.  According to the blog, YouTube was merely a contest to find the best video and after eight years it is closing the contest and erasing all posted videos.  The best video will be determined within the next ten years and Google will re-launch YouTube.  (BTW:  The demise of Google Reader on July 1 is NOT a prank.)

So watch out for April Fool pranks today.  And in the words of George W. Bush:
"There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it is in Texas, probably in Tennessee- that says, Fool me once, shame on, shame on you.  Fool me - you can't get fooled again."


Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Carolyn, I remember when I was in college in an old dorm, someone put plastic wrap under the toilet seat covering the bowl --during the night. When I (along with others) went to the potty the next morning, since we were sleepy, we didn't notice the plastic.. Guess who had a mess to clean up????? ha ha


Cicero Sings said...

A TV station in the Vancouver area put up a newscast that Stanley Park (one of Vancouver's atttactions) had been bought by a developer and they were showing all these plans as to how he was going to develop the park and they were some awful. People went ballistic and they quickly announced it was an April Fool's joke. We saw it on TV ourselves.

The Bug said...

My parents LOVED April Fool's Day. A couple of memorable pranks - my mom had us convinced that she was pregnant (my brother & I were in high school at the time); and one year my dad set all the clocks ahead one hour. We were definitely ready for school that day!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful compilation of April Fool's Day jokes. And, I love being reminded of George Bush's quote.

Arkansas Patti said...

Those were delightful. I loved the left handed burger most.
For some reason, you have stayed on my blog list but weren't showing up on my read list. I have fixed that--I think.

Ms. A said...

Never trust anything said on April 1st... or just because you saw it on the web.

Ruth said...

Those were fun. When Canada went metric in the 1970s a radio station ran a story on April 1st about a change to "metric time". That one sticks in my mind to this day.

troutbirder said...

Hilarious. I do remember the BBC joke from long ago...:)

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Betsy - Yes. That and short-sheeting were the most popular.

Cicero - That's a good one as well.

Bug - Funny parent pranks. Takes an enthusiastic person to change all the clocks.

Robin - I must admit I do miss the Bushisms.

Patti - Amazing how people will fall for that, isn't it?

Ms. A - Amen to that.

Ruth - Metric time...I love it.

Troutbirder - I remember only the Taco Liberty Bell, although I've heard the spaghetti one several times.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I was never good at April fools for me is just another day. I've tried to pull a fast one on a family member; but my face gave it away. :)
My google reader is already gone.
I've started using Bloglovin'. It seems to be ok, but not as great as google reader.

Jayne said...

LOL! Those are great Carolyn. Thanks for the laughs! I've already resorted to using Feedly, and am slowly getting used to being without my Google Reader, which makes me infinitely sad.