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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Literature/Language
Hoax Holocaust Memoir
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 03, 2008
The big news in the world of hoaxes, revealed last week (and already posted in the forum), was the revelation that Misha Defonseca's best-selling, non-fiction memoir of growing up in war-torn Europe turns out to be fiction. (Thanks to everyone who forwarded me links to the news.) Defonseca's memoir, Misha: A Memoir of the Holocaust Years (also titled Surviving with Wolves), describes how when she was a young child her Jewish parents were seized by the Nazis, forcing her to wander Europe alone until she was adopted by a pack of wolves in the Warsaw ghetto. The reality is that she wasn't…
Why do we encourage children to be gullible?
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 20, 2008
Tom Bell, in the Agoraphilia blog, asks an interesting question. Why does children's fiction promote credulity as a virtue? Children's fiction employs this trope so often that it fits a formula. A wise character tries to convince the protagonist that something wonderful will happen if only he or she will earnestly believe an improbability. Consider, for instance, how Yoda tells Luke to cast aside all doubt if he wants to levitate his x-wing from the swamps of Dagobah. "Do, or do not. There is no try," Yoda explains. Following the usual script, Luke resists, courting disaster, before he finally…
Quick Links: Feb 1, 2008
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 01, 2008
Dave, the forecasting pig "'Darke County Dave,' a local hog, will opine -- or oswine -- on America's economic outlook on Friday, the Ohio treasurer's office said. In his inaugural outing, Dave will choose between a trough of sugar or one of sawdust to gauge the the economy's future course at the event in Greenville, Ohio, northwest of Dayton." (Thanks, Gary) How to say "Mr. Rose Apple Nose" in Thai sign language "Sign language interpreters in Thailand have run afoul of some ruling party supporters by holding their noses to refer to the new prime minister." Big Gary comments: "Here's another of those 'awkward translation' stories, this one apparently true. I…
Loch Ness Monster Poetry
Posted by The Curator on Sat Jan 26, 2008
In the article about the Loch Ness Monster in the hoaxipedia, I've posted some Nessie haiku contributed by readers. I'm quite proud of my own contribution: Lurking in the deep, centuries old. Addicted to tourist sushi. But far more accomplished poets have also been inspired by Nessie. Glasgow's poet laureate, Edwin Morgan, included a poem, "The Loch Ness Monster's Song," in his 1970 collection Twelve Songs. Here it is: Sssnnnwhufffffl? Hnwhuffl hhnnwfl…
Quick Links: January 14, 2008
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 15, 2008
Nuclear Reactor in Garage A 22-year-old man was boasting on an amateur science blog that he had built a mini-nuclear reactor in his garage. His boasts earned him a visit from federal authorities who determined that he didn't actually have a nuclear reactor. But he did have some kind of strange experiment going on that, had it continued, "would have been a cleanup issue." (Thanks, Joe) Dead Man Cashing Check Scam "Two men were arrested on Tuesday after pushing a corpse, seated in an office chair, along the sidewalk to a check-cashing store to cash the dead man’s Social Security check." (Thanks, Gary) Facebook President Hoax
Fake is Japan’s Annual Symbol
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 17, 2007
The Japan Kanji ability assessment association has selected the Chinese character meaning "fake" as the symbol that best describes Japan in 2007. Xinhuanet.com reports: The result represented Japanese people's anger over the society's darkness exposed in 2007, including a series of financial scandals involving Cabinet ministers, the Social Insurance Agency's blunder of losing about 50 million pension records and some well-know food companies' forgery of production dates. My wife was recently thinking of getting a small tattoo, because she's always wanted one, but has never had the courage to get one. So I told her that if she got one,…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (2)
Spammed by the Disinformation Company
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 07, 2007
Authors love to read reviews of their books, especially positive ones. So, as an author, it's difficult to resist the temptation to periodically check out the Amazon page for your book, to see if readers have posted any new reviews of it. However, in Hippo Eats Dwarf I pointed out the danger of taking such reviews too seriously because so many of them are posted either by friends of the author -- or by rivals. In fact, I actually invited people to post fake reviews of Hippo Eats Dwarf. (You need to go to the early reviews to find the fake ones -- they're obvious when you see them.) Inviting people to post fake reviews…
What’s in a name
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 06, 2007
Qamar Mohammed Malik, a Pakistan-born engineer, submitted his CV to the Amec Group construction company, but was told that the company had no suitable vacancies. He then submitted a similar CV with inferior qualifications, but using a fake Welsh name, Rhyddir Aled Lloyd-Hilbert. This time he was told there was a job vacancy and was offered an interview. Malik has now filed a lawsuit against the Amec Group, accusing the company of racism. The company defends itself, saying that, ""Mr Lloyd-Hilbert" was contacted for interview with regard to the quality inspector vacancy and not Mr Malik because the former indicated he was about to move to Wales whereas the latter had a Reading address."…
Insulting Surnames
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 06, 2007
The Vancouver Sun reports that linguistics researchers believe that many common surnames began as insults. For instance, centuries ago a guy might have been nicknamed "John the Bastard," and the insulting epithet would become his last name, adhering to all his descendants (until someone eventually changed it): there is a whole category of names that are believed to have been given to children abandoned to orphanages - including the French name Jette (meaning "thrown out"), the Italian name Esposito (meaning "exposed") and the English name Parrish (meaning someone who was raised at the expense of the community.) ... Both the…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (18)
The Happy Endings Foundation
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 08, 2007
The Happy Endings Foundation believes that all children's books should have happy endings. Those that don't should be banned. The organization was (supposedly) started seven years ago by Adrienne Small after she noticed that her daughter seemed miserable after reading Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Mrs. Small plans to rewrite the Lemony Snicket books to give them a happy ending. Some upcoming events planned by the Happy Endings Foundation include a Halloween "fun and greeting" celebration instead of trick or treating. "Children will be encouraged to knock on someone's door and offer a smlie." Sounds fun. A few days later the…
Man hits head - Suddenly knows English
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 17, 2007
Cranky Media Guy forwarded me this article on Ananova.com about a Czech speedway rider who suffered a concussion during a race, was knocked out, and woke up speaking perfect English, with a posh British accent... even though he barely spoke a word of English before. His command of English only lasted for 48 hours, at which point his memory returned, as did his native Czech, and his English disappeared. CMG is skeptical. He says, "The Foreign Accent Syndrome mentioned in the last paragraph is a real phenomenon but that's very different from a guy who doesn't speak a language suddenly acquiring the ability to speak it, which I can't see could be possible."
Mayor Bans “I can’t”
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 05, 2007
In an effort to instill a can-do attitutde in his workers, a Russian mayor has "ordered his bureaucrats to stop using expressions such as 'I don't know' and 'I can't.'" Seems like a double-plus ungood policy. How should they respond if asked, "Can you say 'I can't'?" Link: cnews.canoe.ca
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (5)
What will J.K. Rowling write next?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Aug 21, 2007
At the Edinburgh International Book Festival crime-writer Ian Rankin recently announced that he had some inside intelligence about what fellow Edinburgh resident J.K. Rowling was planning to write next. This announcement was then printed in the Sunday Times: The Sunday Times newspaper quoted Ian Rankin, a fellow author and neighbor of Rowling's, as saying the creator of the "Harry Potter" books is turning to crime fiction. "My wife spotted her writing her Edinburgh criminal detective novel," the newspaper, which was available late Saturday, quoted Rankin as telling a reporter at an Edinburgh literary festival. "It is great that…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (14)
Author pretends to have book selected for Oprah’s Book Club
Posted by The Curator on Sat Aug 18, 2007
Author Bill Schneider claimed on his website that his most recent (self-published) novel, Crossed Paths, had been selected for Oprah's Book Club. He also claimed that Oprah had interviewed him on her show. To prove this, he posted a full, five-page transcript of the interview. Turns out none of this was true. A spokeswoman for Oprah Winfrey said, "He is misrepresenting himself and he has no relationship with Oprah's Book Club." Schneider, who also is director of the Office of Tourism for Provincetown, Massachusetts, now says he made "an error in judgement." The mystery here is…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (3)
Poe Toaster Revealed
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 16, 2007
RainOubliette has beaten me to the punch and already posted about this in the forum, but I've been getting so many emails about it that it obviously belongs here on the front page as well. For decades a mysterious figure has visited the grave of Edgar Allan Poe in Westminster Churchyard, Baltimore on the anniversary of Poe's birthday and placed three roses and a bottle of cognac on the writer's grave. The figure has become known as the "Poe Toaster." Now a man, Sam Porpora, has stepped forward who claims to have been the original Poe Toaster,…
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