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October 2004
image Photographers strive to capture the perfect moment on film, and this comes about as close as any picture I've seen recently. The picture definitely looks real, though I don't know any details about it. When it was taken? Where? etc. (via J-Walk)
Categories: Photos/Videos, Sports
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 07, 2004
Comments (15)
A restaurant in Ohio raised some eyebrows when it began taking out full-page ads in local newspapers advertising the newest items on its menu: 'the pounder' horse steak burger, topped with four slices of cheese. At the bargain price of just $1.49. Wow. Turns out the ads were a hoax, engineered by an animal rescue group called Second Chance Horse Rescue, and designed by Barefoot Advertising. But although a horse meat restaurant would definitely clash with American tastes, it wouldn't be illegal... at least in Ohio. In Germany such a restaurant probably wouldn't have raised any eyebrows at all, since they eat horse meat all the time. And I have to admit, I once ate a horse meat bratwurst while I was in Germany. I can't remember it tasting any different from a pork bratwurst.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 07, 2004
Comments (13)
If you're one of those undecided voters who can't make up their mind whether to vote for Bush, Kerry, Nader, or HRM Caesar St. Augustine de Buonaparte, then here's a fifth candidate you might want to consider: Gay Penguin. As Gay Penguin's website explains, "Gay Penguin is a homosexual penguin. He is incapable of speaking, of signing laws and bills, and perhaps even incapable of abstract thought." His site then goes on to ask you to "Imagine a world where America has been ruled by a Gay Penguin since 2000." Gay Penguin also has a blog, though it doesn't seem to be updated very often (probably because of his inability to read or write).
Categories: Politics, Websites
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 07, 2004
Comments (8)
Great literature always is best read in its original language. No matter how good a translation is, it will never be able to perfectly capture the nuances of the original. I realized this when I read the Aeneid in Latin during high school, and that's why I'm now going to have to bone up on my Klingon so that I can read Hamlet in its original language. "taH pagh taHbe." Doesn't that sound better than 'To be or not to be?'
Categories: Literature/Language
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 07, 2004
Comments (4)
Sometimes I wonder how much the Ananova news service can be trusted, especially when I come across stories like this. Apparently a new church has opened in a shopping mall in Chile and has forged some unusual ties with local businesses. For instance, confessing your sins at the church will score you a coupon that you can use at the nearby McDonald's (hopefully your sins don't include gluttony). And the person who prays the loudest wins a discount at the Dockers store. It's so weird it has to be true.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 07, 2004
Comments (2)
image Britney Spears' wedding-night underwear is up for sale on eBay, nabbed by someone working on the catering staff at the house where she stayed. It's guaranteed to be 100% authentic, so I guess it can't be a hoax. Right? Not like her used chewing gum that was up for sale about a month ago. Better bid on this fast before the auction is pulled by eBay.
Categories: Celebrities, eBay
Posted by Alex on Wed Oct 06, 2004
Comments (11)
If you're a wanted criminal you may want to think twice about showing up to appear on a TV game show. British police created a fake game show, Great Big Giveaway Show, to which they invited twenty people on their wanted list. Seventeen of them were arrested. I guess no one can resist a chance to be on TV. (Thanks to Andrew Nixon for the link)
Categories: Entertainment, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Tue Oct 05, 2004
Comments (4)
How not to run a counterfeit money scam. a) Buy merchandise at Wal-Mart with fake money. b) Return merchandise a few days later and ask for your money back. c) get your fake money handed back to you.
Categories: Con Artists, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Tue Oct 05, 2004
Comments (3)
Here's a site that has created a flash-based hoax photo test. 10 photos in all. I only got 7 out of 10 correct. But then I'm not sure about some of their answers. For instance, they claim that this picture of a camel spider is fake. I don't think it's fake. Granted, the lens is positioned very close to the spider to make it look huge, but that doesn't mean the photo is a fake. I'm also suspicious of their info regarding the picture of a 'McDonald's Fried Chicken Head.' The picture is real enough, but I had never heard that McDonald's 'fessed up to letting a chicken head slip through the manufacturing process. I mean, if that was a real head, does that imply that McDonald's uses real chicken meat in their nuggets? Unlikely wink As for the picture of a 'worm removed from eye', I'm willing to accept that's real, if they say so.
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Oct 05, 2004
Comments (8)
image A picture purporting to show a scanned copy of the Michigan Absentee Ballot has been spreading around. Look at it carefully. It would definitely put the Florida Butterfly Ballot to shame. There appears to be no way to vote for Bush/Cheney, but if you decide to vote for Kerry/Edwards, you're really voting for Bush/Cheney. Is the ballot real? Apparently so. It was a ballot printing error, but was confined to one precinct and mailed out to only 69 people. Brad Wittman, from the Michigan Secretary of State's Office, was contacted by someone at Metafilter, and this was his comment:

The ballot printing error is confined to a single precinct in the City of Alma. Approximately 69 ballots containing the error were released to voters on Monday, September 27. On Tuesday, September 28, a voter called the clerk to alert her to the error. Arrangements have been made to send the 69 voters replacement ballots. The clerk expects to receive corrected ballots on Monday, October 4. In the meantime, a voter who received one of the misprinted ballots posted a scan of the ballot on the web. This has created far more interest (an outrage) than what is warranted.
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Oct 05, 2004
Comments (5)
Normally I ignore things like bomb hoaxes, but this one was too good to pass up. Security officials at Mackay Airport went on high alert and evacuated the terminal when a "rubbish bin started humming furiously." Upon inspection, they discovered a vibrating sex toy "emitting a lively buzzing sound" inside the trash can. A sheepish 26-year-old man stepped forward and admitted the device was his. He had thrown it away before boarding because he didn't want to go through security with it. "But instead of remaining discreetly discarded, it somehow managed to turn itself on."
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 04, 2004
Comments (5)
According to News.com.au an email has been circulating around Australia claiming that the town of South Morang has built a replica of the house where the Simpsons live. On the cartoon, Homer and Marge live on 742 Evergreen Terrace, and South Morang does have an Evergreen Drive. Apparently many Simpsons' fans have been spotted driving aimlessly around South Morang searching for the house. Unfortunately for these fans, the replica house doesn't exist. The email is a hoax. But if you're a Simpsons fan the place you should actually visit is Portland, Oregon, the boyhood home of Matt Groening, whose streets apparently inspired the names of many Simpsons characters.
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 04, 2004
Comments (16)
Stephen Eckett's book on Online Investing is full of practical info such as "how to import web data into a spreadsheet - quick ways to copy text from a web page - using more than one ISP - minimising connection charges - speeding up browsing - improving download speeds." Which is why it seems odd that the reviewer for The Daily Telegraph would declare this "the funniest book I have read for ages." Or that The Scotsman reviewer would declare "I laughed out loud on every page." Hmm. I think Amazon got their reviews mixed up. Specifically, I think they mixed up the reviews for The Life & Death of Rochester Sneath with Stephen Eckett's investing book.
Categories: Literature/Language
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 04, 2004
Comments (2)
Shea Cockrum thinks that extracting water from air is the solution to the world's water shortage. Honestly, I'm not sure whether he's a nutcase, or if his theories could actually work. He claims that he was extracting one or two gallons of water an hour from an "air well" that he constructed in his backyard consisting of buried PVC pipe through which hot air was blown. One or two gallons of water an hour, if he was really getting this, isn't bad at all. And according to Cockrum, this was just the beginning. His new system is even better. Like I said, I have no idea if this could be done... though I do know that an incredible amount of dew collects in my yard every morning, which is the only reason I'm reluctant to dismiss his theory out of hand.
Categories: Free Energy
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 04, 2004
Comments (43)
image One of the great things about having a website is that occasionally people send me free stuff, out of the blue. For instance, a British publisher named Harriman House sent me three copies of The Life & Death of Rochester Sneath by Humphry Berkeley. Since I don't have a use for three copies of the book, I've decided to give the two extra copies away.

But first, what is the book about? It documents a classic British public school hoax from the 1940s. Headmasters at elite British public schools such as Eton and Rugby began receiving letters from H. Rochester Sneath who described himself as a fellow Headmaster from Selhurst School nearth Petworth, Sussex. Sneath had many bizarre questions for his colleagues. For instance, he wanted to know how to deal with an infestation of rats, how to go about 'engineering' a royal visit, or whether it was advisable to provide special 'sex ed' instruction for the school maids. Remarkably, most of the headmasters believed that Sneath was a real person and responded seriously. Of course, Sneath wasn't real. He was the creation of Humphry Berkeley, who at the time was a student at Cambridge. When the hoax was exposed Berkeley was expelled for two years. This book collects together all of Sneath's letters and the responses he received. It's very short, taking about an hour to read, at most. But if you like British humor it's a classic, because Sneath perfectly skewers the pompous self-importance of the British upper class.

So here's what I have in mind. Since the book is about a school prank, post a description of a school prank in the comments section. Perhaps something that you participated in or have heard about. I'll choose the two pranks that I find the most amusing (and original) and send the winners a free copy of the book. Make sure that you include your email address in the appropriate box (though your email won't be publicly displayed... only I can see when people have entered email addresses, so that spammers can't harvest addresses from this site), otherwise I won't have any way of notifying you if you win. I'll let the contest run for a week before I choose the winner.
Categories: Miscellaneous, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Sun Oct 03, 2004
Comments (38)
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