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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
September 2007
Dihydrogen Monoxide… Once Again
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 14, 2007
The dihydrogen monoxide prank has gained another victim. Jacqui Dean, a New Zealand politician, received a letter from a constituent asking her to look into the issue of the dangerous chemical known as dihydrogen monoxide. She promptly fired off a letter to the Associate Health Minister asking him whether it would be possible to ban the drug. The minister replied that dihydrogen monoxide "may have been described to her as colourless, odourless, tasteless and causing the death of uncounted thousands of people every year, and withdrawal from which, for those who become dependent on it, means certain death." However, he had no intention of banning it. American politicians, of course, have proven themselves to be…
Categories: Pranks Comments (6)
Flamingoing
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 14, 2007
I've found the new line of work that I'm going to go into: Flamingoing. Flamingoing involves offering one's services as a professional flamingo prankster. People pay you to place flocks of pink flamingoes on other people's yards. A note is left along with the birds, "You've been flamingoed," and there's a number the victim can call to find out who played the prank. Flamingoing, as a line of work, has been pioneered by two high school students, Emily Lohmeyer and Paige Prentice of Nevada Union High School. They charge $35 to "flamingo" someone's property. They're using the money they raise to pay for a trip to Europe.…
Categories: Pranks Comments (11)
Men’s Studies
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 13, 2007
Freshmen at Swarthmore College found in their mailboxes a course packet describing the "Men's Studies" department. Courses included: MENS 001. ESPN and Sportswriting Students will analyze the language conventions used in the analysis of sports. Readings and texts will include ESPN’s SportsCenter, Sports Illustrated, and the sports sections of various newspapers. MENS 025. Study a Broad An in-depth appreciation of women in our lives. Each week, a different woman from television, movies, or other media will be discussed. Due to instructor scheduling, this course may be taught by a different professor each week.…
Categories: Pranks Comments (7)
Tree Image in Tree
Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 13, 2007
A conker tree in Holdenhurst, Dorset was cut down. Inside one of the branches was found an image of a tiny tree. Tree experts say that the brown mark is caused by disease -- that the heart of the wood was beginning to rot. Personally, I don't think the mark looks like a tree. I think it looks like Jesus (wearing a tree costume). Link: The Daily Mail.
Categories: Pareidolia Comments (8)
Fake Holy Water Warning
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 12, 2007
Health officers in Britain have issued a warning to consumers to be on the lookout for fake holy water. From the BBC: The water is advertised as coming from the sacred well of Zam Zam in Mecca, the most holy city in Islam, and demand increases during Ramadan. The warning does not cover genuine Zam Zam, which is sourced from the Well of Zam Zam, located within the Masjid al Haram in Mecca. Councillor Audrey Lewis was concerned Muslims may be exploited into buying counterfeit Zam Zam during the holy month of Ramadan. She said: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia forbids…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Religion Comments (7)
Tank Limo
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 12, 2007
Terry Austin sent me a link to a company calling itself "Tank Limo" which claims to rent out a limousine built out of an armored personnel carrier. Terry says, "I can't tell if they're serious or not, but if they're not, they've done a lot of photoshop work." My first thought was that there was no way a tank limousine could be legal. I was living in San Diego when Shawn Nelson commandeered a tank from the National Guard Armory and drove it around the city, crushing cars and plowing over street signs, before the police finally managed to stop him -- and kill him. So,…
Categories: Technology Comments (14)
Rick Rolling
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 12, 2007
Sometimes I read things that make me feel really out of it. This article by Rene Guzman in the San Antonio Express-News was one of those things, because it describes a prank that apparently is wildly popular on the internet, and yet I'd never heard of it before. It's called Rick Rolling: Referred to as Rick Rolling or getting Rick Rolled, you click a juicy link -- say, a secret clip of a movie or videogame -- only to end up at YouTube with Rick Astley shimmying to his late '80s hit, "Never Gonna…
Categories: Pranks Comments (9)
Neiman Marcus Cookie Giveaway
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 10, 2007
Today was the 100th anniversary of Neiman Marcus. The retailer celebrated by giving away free chocolate chip cookies in most of its stores, as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the $250 Cookie Recipe legend that has caused it so much trouble over the years. And if you missed the cookie giveaway, you can still download the recipe for its cookies free from its website. One of these days I'm going to have to try them out to see how they are. (via David Emery)
Categories: Food, Urban Legends Comments (1)
How to cure internet addiction
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 10, 2007
Here's a news story that's been making the rounds recently. This case is said to have occurred in Chengdu city, China: Jiang Ming promised his wife, He Ling, that he would not go on the internet any more and would spend more time at home. But he started to sneak into internet cafes again to have video chats with girls. "I was on the internet, and suddenly the arrow on the screen stopped moving, " says Jiang Ming. "Then I found that my right hand was on the mouse pad, and blood was shooting out." In court, the husband pleaded…
The Secret of Invisibility
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 10, 2007
This eBay auction offers a real bargain. For only $24.95 you can purchase the Secret of Invisibility. You will be rendered completely invisible. It's the same technique CIA agents use. But wait, there's more. Included in the price you also get the Secrets of Sexual Seduction, "guaranteed to bring women into your bedroom." Plus you get "2 cures for male baldness that really work;" "unusual methods to GAIN 4" - 6" in height;" "A method of losing weight without exercise;" AND "X Secret for Men. Grow 2 - 4 inches of intimate length permanently." I don't know. For $24.95 I…
Categories: eBay Comments (5)
Deceptive Sign
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 10, 2007
I saw the following deceptive sign blogged about on LAist: It seems to advertise a dozen roses for $4, but on closer inspection it's actually advertising a dozen roses for $10. A classic bait and switch scam. I wrote about some similar advertising scams in Hippo Eats Dwarf. My favorites were the Cleveland Finance Loan Company which enticed those seeking a loan with this offer: "Pay nothing til first payment." Dunkin Donuts offered: "Free 3 muffins when you buy 3 at the regular 1/2 dozen prize."
Categories: Advertising Comments (8)
Vicious attacks by girls increasing or decreasing?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 07, 2007
Joe Littrell alerted me to an amusing piece on slate.com which takes the air out of a Boston Globe story about the disturbing trend of "Vicious Attacks By Girl Cliques Seen Increasing." Jack Shafer points out that the article contradicts its premise in its own subtitle, where it admits, "Despite Police Statistics, Violence Causing Worries." In other words, police statistics show that girl-on-girl violence is decreasing, but the article tries to spin it the other way, presumably because a rise in girls fighting each other sounds more intriguing, especially when you can lead off with vivid descriptions of girls fighting such as this one:
Meerkat Takes Family Photos
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 07, 2007
Just yesterday my wife and I were oohing and aahing at some pictures at telegraph.co.uk of meerkats taking photos of themselves. The text told how an inquisitive meerkat, at Longleat Safari Park, had clambered up the tripod of a camera accidentally left in their enclosure. The meerkat had then "explored the controls and managed to take three family photos." The photo of the meerkat sitting behind the camera was really cute. Nope. Turns out it was a hoax. I should have known. When Amateur Photography magazine queried Keith Harris, head warden at Longleat, he responded:
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos Comments (5)
Two days ago I noted that I had posted an account of the "September Morn" controversy in the hoaxipedia, and I also said that I had my doubts about the role the publicist Harry Reichenbach played in the controversy. Well, I did some more research, and I've now been able to confirm my doubts. Reichenbach was just spinning a wild yarn. Some background: The story (according to Reichenbach) is that back in 1913 he was working at a New York City art dealer who was trying to sell 2000 copies of a little-known work of art that showed a young woman bathing in a lake. Reichenbach came up with the idea of staging a phony protest. He…
Categories: Advertising, Art, History Comments (7)
Florida man pretends to be Red Sox pitcher
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 07, 2007
Bill Henry used to like to tell his wife and friends stories about when he was a relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox back in the 1950s and 60s. He had a lifetime ERA of 3.26. When the Lakeland, Fla. resident died, the Associated Press ran his obituary. But Red Sox fan David Lambert noticed something wrong with it. The obituary said that Henry had been born in 1924, but Lambert knew that Henry was actually born in 1927. He decided to phone Henry's family (whose address he found in Major League records) to check the facts. Henry's wife picked up the…
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