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November 2008
The site claims to reveal that Megan Fox will be starring in a new Wonder Woman movie. The site looks professionally made. Someone obviously put some effort into it. But according to, Warner Brothers has issued a denial, insisting that no such movie is planned.

So why did someone spend so much time creating the site? I have no idea. A really over-eager Megan Fox fan perhaps? Or maybe a studio was testing the response to the concept?

Categories: Celebrities, Entertainment, Websites
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 06, 2008
Comments (7)
My doctoral dissertation was partially on the subject of the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. I never finished writing the dissertation, but I did spend a LOT of time researching the moon hoax, and I always thought that it would make a great subject for a general-interest book -- using the moon hoax as a window on New York City and America in 1835.

Turns out I waited too long. Someone beat me to it. Matthew Goodman has recently come out with The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York (published by Basic Books). From the book description:

Told in richly novelistic detail, The Sun and the Moon brings the raucous world of 1830s New York City vividly to life—the noise, the excitement, the sense that almost anything was possible. The book overflows with larger-than-life characters, including Richard Adams Locke, author of the moon series (who never intended it to be a hoax at all); a fledgling showman named P.T. Barnum, who had just brought his own hoax to New York; and the young writer Edgar Allan Poe, who was convinced that the moon series was a plagiarism of his own work.
An exhilarating narrative history of a city on the cusp of greatness and a nation newly united by affordable newspapers, The Sun and the Moon may just be the strangest true story you’ve ever read.

So now I'll have to go to Plan B: the moon hoax of 1835 as the setting for a science fiction novel. One of these days I might get around to that.
Categories: History, Science
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 06, 2008
Comments (3)
I'm back from my European vacation. Thanks to Cranky Media Guy for minding the madhouse while I was gone.

I spent nine days in Germany and four in England. The purpose of the vacation was to visit relatives, but since I was over there I, of course, had to take the opportunity to drag family members around to visit various hoaxy stuff.

For instance, I found the approximate spot on top of the Reichstag in Berlin from which Yevgeny Khaldei, in 1945, took his famous shot of soldiers raising a Soviet flag. Khaldei's shot (below on the left) was actually posed, and Soviet censors later erased the multiple wristwatches on the soldiers' arms (evidence they had been looting). Khaldei also added smoke into the background. On the right is what the same scene looks like today. (Well, as close as I could approximate it. It's not possible to stand in exactly the same place where Khaldei stood because there's a restaurant there now.)

I next visited the town hall of Köpenick (a suburb of Berlin), in front of which stands a statue of Wilhelm Voigt, the so-called Captain of Köpenick. In 1906 Voigt, who was an out-of-work shoemaker, dressed up in a second-hand German officer's uniform, approached a group of soldiers marching down the street, and assumed control of them. He then led them to Köpenick, where he arrested the mayor, took 4000 marks from the treasury, and disappeared with the money. The incident became famous as a symbol of the blind obedience of German soldiers to authority -- even fake authority. Inside the town hall is also a museum dedicated to Voigt (a Museum of a Hoax, as opposed to a Museum of Hoaxes). On display is a German officer's uniform identical to the one Voigt wore.

Finally, in London I tried to locate 54 Berners Street, site of a famous prank in 1810. Author Theodore Hook had bet a friend that he could make any house the most talked-about address in London in only a week. His friend chose 54 Berners Street as the address. Hook won the bet by sending letters to tradesmen and dignitaries throughout the city, asking them to come to that address... on the same day. This resulted in a massive crowd gathering outside the house. Even the Mayor of London supposedly showed up there, having received one of Hook's letters.

I found Berners Street, but 54 Berners Street no longer exists. On the site now stands the swanky Sanderson Hotel. There's not even a marker to note where the hoax occurred. I was quite disappointed. People nowadays just don't value the history of hoaxes.

Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 04, 2008
Comments (7)
This is getting a lot of play right now. Les Justiciers Masques ("The Masked Avengers"), two Canadian radio personalities known for placing prank calls to world leaders, have struck again. This time they pretended to be President Sarkozy of France and managed to get through to Alaska governor Sarah Palin. For more than six minutes, "Sarkozy" engaged Palin in conversation about hunting from a helicopter and "Nailin' Paylen," the porn movie starring a buxom Palin lookalike, among other topics.

At the end of the call, they reveal that it's all a prank. Palin doesn't seem angry or shocked by that so the question is, did she know she was being put-on and just played along or did she think that it would be better not to get mad about the joke?

You can hear the call for yourself here.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Sun Nov 02, 2008
Comments (11)
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