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May 2004
image Bush is Lord has collected evidence to prove that "George W. Bush is indeed not only our nation's leader, but our spiritual lighthouse and embodied salvation." Well, if this is true, then does that make Cheney an angel?
Categories: Politics, Religion, Websites
Posted by Alex on Tue May 18, 2004
Comments (4)
image Thirty-two years ago the tiny town of Eucla, Australia, on the edge of the Nullarbor plain, became famous when a few of its residents first sighted the Nullarbor Nymph. The Nymph was a blonde, feral, half-naked woman who lived in the bush and ran wild with kangaroos. News of this wild woman quickly spread around the world. President Nixon was asked his opinion of her (reportedly his reply could not be repeated over the air), and the Loch Ness monster sent her a telegram. Sooner or later I'll have to put a fuller account of the Nullarbor Nymph in my 'Hoaxes Throughout History' Gallery, but for now you can read all about her at Dora Dallwitz's excellent site.
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Places
Posted by Alex on Tue May 18, 2004
Comments (1)
image Musicians will appreciate this. It's a little known instrument, popular back in the Middle Ages, known as the Tromba Da Gamba, or Knee Trumpet. According to Virgilanti (who managed to acquire one of these rare instruments): "It was gaining a lot in popularity by the start of the 17th century but encountered a bit of a PR problem in 1619 when, according to the story, the pope (presumably Pope Paul V) saw the instrument being played by a woman. He was shocked at the suggestiveness of the performance and made his displeasure very apparent. It wasn't long before most of the upper class throughout Europe regarded the instrument as crude and vulgar." (Thanks, Virge)
Categories: Entertainment, Folklore/Tall Tales
Posted by Alex on Tue May 18, 2004
Comments (2)
I should never have doubted that Andy Kaufman wouldn't return. He's now back from the dead (or the faux dead), and he's started a weblog. Among the things he's learned while away: alien abductions are a hoax, and he's Ann Coulter's twin. (via J-Walk)
Categories: Celebrities, Death
Posted by Alex on Mon May 17, 2004
Comments (0)
To be honest, the whole American Idol thing has completely passed me by. I've never watched a single episode of it (though I have spent some time listening to William Hung... I don't know why). But it didn't surprise me to read that American Idol's voting system is essentially a sham, highly vulnerable to manipulation by gamblers.
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Mon May 17, 2004
Comments (2)
Following up on the recent hoaxing of the Daily Mirror, the Guardian offers quick summaries of five other hoaxes that fooled the British media: the Diana tape affair, the Hitler Diaries, the British Leyland 'slush fund,' Martin Boormann alive, and the Zinoviev Letter.
Categories: Journalism
Posted by Alex on Mon May 17, 2004
Comments (0)
image It's common knowledge that personal ads take liberties with the truth. People are trying to sell themselves, and they're rarely going to do that by telling the unvarnished truth (same goes for job resumes). Which is why it's refreshing to see Esquire hosting Brutally Honest Personals. Kind of like an anti-hoax, you might say. These people don't hold back any punches. Though, of course, my naturally cynical nature immediately began to suspect that these ads may be erring too much the other way... inventing grim descriptions for comedy's sake. And are these people using their real name? Are they even real people? I guess the only way to find out would be to try and get a date with one of them.
Categories: Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Mon May 17, 2004
Comments (2)
Today's the day Andy Kaufman is supposed to return from the dead... twenty years to the day after his 'death.' But it's only 5 pm here in California. He has a couple of hours left to make an appearance.
Categories: Celebrities, Death
Posted by Alex on Sun May 16, 2004
Comments (0)
image In case you were confused, here's what you need to know about what badgers eat. According to Jeff, who sent me the link, the site derives from an episode of The Simpsons (one that I haven't seen). I guess you could also figure out the Simpsons connection from the logo at the bottom of the screen.
Categories: Animals, Entertainment, Websites
Posted by Alex on Sun May 16, 2004
Comments (4)
image Dawn writes in with a question: I was looking at this site: http://www.wayofthemaster.com/
and thinking it was one of these movie/tv promotions that you have been talking about, but it actually seems real. It's very strange. Has Kirk Cameron, the former teen heart throb turned into a Christian preacher or am I being gullible?

Yes, Dawn, Way of the Master is very strange, but I'm afraid it's quite real. This is one of those sites that you hope (or pray) for it to be a joke. You sit there as they tell you that if you don't buy their overpriced DVD, then someone you love will GO TO HELL, and you think, 'they've got to be kidding.' But sadly, this isn't another satire like Objective: Christian Ministries or Landover Baptist Church. These 'Way of the Master' guys are quite serious. As they say, truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Sun May 16, 2004
Comments (24)
While the British military is dealing with fake abuse photos, the Indian military is dealing with a growing scandal involving fake enemy casualty photos. Last week I noted the case of Indian army officers posted on the Siachen glacier inventing fake battles. Now there's another similar case (though in a different location) involving an Indian Colonel. According to the Statesman: The Colonel and a Major are allegedly responsible for filing a false report saying the regiment’s soldiers had killed five militants and asking for medals. Later, they sprayed tomato ketchup on three civilians employed by the army to “forge” a photograph.
Categories: Military
Posted by Alex on Sun May 16, 2004
Comments (0)
The photos of British soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners published by the Daily Mirror turn out to have been staged, as was speculated since the photos first saw the light of day. The board of the Daily Mirror has apologized for printing them and fired its editor, Piers Morgan. Tip-offs that the photos were fake included:
  • One soldier was carrying a type of rifle not issued to soldiers in Iraq
  • The soldiers were wearing the wrong type of hat
  • One of the vehicles shown in a photo was a type not deployed in Iraq
  • There was no sweat or injuries on the prisoner who had supposedly been tortured for eight hours
  • The people in the pictures looked like they were standing still and posing
The BBC also has an interesting, short article detailing other famous cases in which newspapers have been hoaxed, the most famous instance probably being the 1983 case of the Hitler Diaries.
Categories: Journalism, Military
Posted by Alex on Sun May 16, 2004
Comments (0)
I thought we had all seen the last of that 'states that voted for Bush have lower IQs' hoax. The American Assembler ended up with some egg on its face for publishing that chart in a form that made it seem as if it were fact. But now I've received a number of emails telling me that the same chart makes an appearance in this week's edition of The Economist. Apparently they even list IQ and the Wealth of Nations as the source for the data, even though that book is definitely not the source (I emailed the author of that book to confirm that the data doesn't appear in his book). I haven't had a chance to see this week's edition yet, but if this is true, all I can say is, 'What was The Economist thinking?'

Update (May 20): And now the St. Petersburg Times has written an editorial based on The Economist's erroneous data, proving that the tradition of fact-checking is as strong as ever in the media. (Thanks to Steve for catching this)
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Sun May 16, 2004
Comments (2)
image Lady Heather is a professional dominatrix, and this is her website. When she says 'My command is your wish,' you know she means it. Actually, she's a recurring character on CSI, which is one of my favorite shows though I haven't had a chance to see it in a while. Unfortunately you can only view her site for about two seconds before you're automatically redirected to the main site for CSI. Which is a pity. I think they should develop Lady Heather's Box a little more. (Thanks, Jeff)
Categories: Entertainment, Sex/Romance, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri May 14, 2004
Comments (2)
image Allied Chemical (motto: "It's a better world through chemicals") is the maker of fine food products such as Farmer Fred's Happydale Ham Spread, Farmer Fred's Happydale Ham Spread Loaf, and Farmer Fred's Happydale Ham Squeezy Spread. Oh, and they also make products for the military, but those are top secret. Definitely check out their mouth-watering recipes such as Farmer Fred's Pigriffic Pasta. Actually, Allied Chemical seems to be the faux front page for a music download service that represents independent artists.
Categories: Entertainment, Food, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri May 14, 2004
Comments (0)
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