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Pranks
November 19 was World Toilet Day. In honor of the occasion, activists in Switzerland held a "false-feces demonstration" outside the Bern train station. This involved placing hundreds of fake rubber droppings on the pavement. The point of this fecal fakery was to raise awareness about sanitation problems around the world. The Sun has pictures of the plastic poo.
Categories: Gross, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 21, 2008
Comments (5)
I swear this is a real news story. It's not from The Onion:

Silvio Berlusconi, the flamboyant Italian Prime Minister, played a practical joke on the German Chancellor today by jumping out at her from behind a lamppost when they met for an Italo-German summit in Trieste. Slipping away from the welcoming committee, the Italian leader hid behind the lamppost and emerged with a cry of "Cucu!" when Angela Merkel stepped out of her official car to enter the regional council headquarters where they were to meet. Reports said the German leader, who appeared amused, opened her arms and replied "Silvio!".

Bonus: There's video footage of this great moment in international diplomacy.
Categories: Politics, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 21, 2008
Comments (7)
Here's the claim, with accompanying picture:



ASU Track Team Convinces George W. Bush to Give the Shocker. For those of you who don't know what The Shocker is, Wikipedia explains:

The shocker is a hand gesture with a sexual connotation. The ring finger and thumb are curled or bent down while the other fingers are extended. The index and middle fingers are kept together (touching) and the back of the hand faces outwards (away from the gesturer). The gesture refers to the act of inserting the index and middle fingers into a vagina and the little finger into the unwitting anus, hence the "shock". Because of its explicit sexual connotation, the shocker is sometimes considered vulgar. Occasionally, the thumb may be positioned so that it may stimulate the clitoris. Mnemonic rhymes are used in order to remember its meaning, including "two in the pink, one in the stink."

True? I don't think so. Yes, there is a hand gesture known as the Shocker. And yes, that's Bush with the ASU Track Team displaying a gesture that resembles the shocker. But everyone (well, almost everyone) in the picture has their index and middle finger spaced apart, which makes the gesture "the pitchfork," which is the sign of the ASU Sun Devils.

Categories: Pranks, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 13, 2008
Comments (7)
Strange "educational" stunts perpetrated by school authorities appear to be a growing trend. We had:

1) The Fake Attack at an Elementary School. (Students were told there was a gunman loose in the area in order to teach them how to respond in case a gunman ever really was loose in the area.)

2) Your classmate has died -- but not really. (Students were told that one of their classmates had died in a drunk-driving accident in order to teach them about the evils of drunk driving.)

But a stunt recently played on kids at Edgware school goes to the top of the list for weirdness. The Harrow Observer reports:

Children from an Edgware school were made to believe aliens had landed in their playground by teachers and police.
After spending this morning bewildered by the unusual hoax, pupils from Stag Lane School in Collier Drive, quizzed police officers brought on to the site during a press conference to make the event seem more realistic. Forensic examiners had earlier analyzed an 'alien claw' they had 'found' on the site.
The aim of the day was to stimulate the children's minds and help develop their story writing skills.
After lunch the pupils were informed by the school's headteacher Elena Evans that it was all a stunt.
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 26, 2008
Comments (6)
Pranksters at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recently added the Eye of Sauron to the McFarland Memorial Bell Tower. The tower looks like it was designed to host it. The Daily Illini reports that those responsible for placing the Eye on the tower remain unknown.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 24, 2008
Comments (7)
A woman walking her dog in the Welsh countryside recently found an empty coffin sitting in the middle of a field. The coffin had a note in it: "Jump in, you're next."

No one knows who put the coffin there, but the likely suspects are local students since it's freshman week and there have been other pranks in the region, such as "a tree full of knickers and a young driver sticky taped into his car." Link: North Wales Chronicle
Categories: Death, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 19, 2008
Comments (4)
The Wall Street Journal's Ellen Gamerman has written an article about the resurgent popularity of pranks. But the pranks aren't aimed at making fun of anything. Instead, their only goal seems to be to introduce an element of the surreal into everyday life. Examples include:
  • "Freezing" events: people pose like statues in public places.
  • going pantless in subways
  • staging impromptu musicals in malls
  • pretending to be zombies and roaming city streets
  • crowds of people dancing to music no one else can hear.
  • identical twins on subways mirroring each other's actions

Not everyone is taken with the new pranks. Old-school prankster Joey Skaggs is paraphrased as saying, "the stunts lack a subversive, anti-establishment edge. Because of that, people are less likely to stop and think about what they're seeing -- or even care. 'The bar's been really lowered,' he says. 'There's a lot of junk out there calling itself pranks.'"

And then there's the inevitable attempt by corporations to co-opt the trend. For instance, Mr. Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere, was hired by Taco Bell to stage a "freeze" in one of its restaurants:

The stunt was later used in a viral marketing campaign for the restaurant's Frutista Freeze drink, and a video of the prank has been viewed 500,000 times online, says Taco Bell spokesman Will Bortz. "We thought it was brilliant," he says.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 12, 2008
Comments (10)
MSNBC reported a case a few days ago of a confused prankster. A delivery woman showed up outside the house of Joe Biden with a pizza:

After determining that no one inside had placed the order, the officer placed a call to "Chris," whose name was on the tag. "It's a prank?!" the officer asked incredulously. He then walked out of range of reporters to get some information from the pizza villain. There was a credit number on file, but no telling if it was valid. Or why anyone would target the Delaware senator at this time.

What "Chris" apparently failed to understand is that if you've paid for the pizza, it's not a prank to send it to someone's house. It's then a gift. I'm happy to accept all free pizzas people want to send me.

Related posts:
Pizza Delivery Prank Goes Wrong.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 25, 2008
Comments (3)
Small, round, orange stickers are appearing on objects all over downtown Appleton, Wisconsin. The stickers are stamped with the phrase "art object" and a price (ranging from one cent to $10,000). They're appearing on park benches, fire hydrants, store windows, etc. No one seems to know who's responsible for the stickers or what their purpose is. From the Appleton Post-Crescent:

Police Lt. Steve Elliott said putting stickers on public or private objects without the owner's consent falls under the same local ordinances governing graffiti. "Definitely, it is against city ordinances. If we were to see someone doing it, we would cite them under the graffiti laws," Elliott said Friday...

"They are also supposed to clean up the stickers and residue or pay for the cleanup," Totzke said. Elliott said police have not received eyewitness reports of people placing the stickers.
Categories: Art, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 18, 2008
Comments (2)
Police responded to an emergency call to find 26 cheerleaders stuffed inside an elevator:

The group of 14- to 17-year-olds was inspired to test an elevator’s maximum capacity while attending cheerleading camp at the university, The Dallas Morning News reported. When the elevator stalled en route from the fourth to the first floor, several girls panicked. The girls “managed to wiggle a few cell phones free to call for help,” the paper reported. Police and fire crew responded, but it took an elevator repairman 25 minutes to extricate the squad.

The fad of telephone booth stuffing (which this stunt evidently was inspired by) peaked in 1959 in the States. It was followed a few years later by a fad for stuffing people into Volkswagens. (Info from the Bad Fads Museum.) I didn't know kids today still did stuff like that. They're lucky it didn't end up as a case file on the Darwin Awards.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 11, 2008
Comments (8)
Customers at Apple's online iPhone store recently had the opportunity to buy a program called "I Am Rich." True to its name, it cost $999.99.

The program, created by Armin Heinrich, a German software developer, displayed a large red ruby on the iPhone's screen. And that's it. Nothing else. The product description read:

"The red icon on your iPhone always reminds you (and others when you show it to them) that you were able to afford this. It's a work of art with no hidden function at all."

Eight people actually purchased the program before Apple removed it from the site. One of them complained that he bought it thinking it was a joke, only to discover a charge for $999.99 on his credit card.

This program walks the fine line between a prank and a scam. The concept is kind of funny, but Heinrich is apparently keeping the money that people paid. I wouldn't find that funny if it was my money.
Categories: Pranks, Scams, Technology
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 11, 2008
Comments (13)
For more than two years someone has been dumping pantyhose near Geneseo Circle in Milford, Massachusetts. Residents report that new pantyhose appear three to four times per week. One day (the record, I assume) there were 43 pairs. From bostonchannel.com:

Most of the pairs of pantyhose are black and "queen sized," neighbors said. Some residents are considering using video cameras and walkie-talkies to catch the culprit.

I wonder if this is, in any way, related to Shoe Corner in Hanover Township, New Jersey -- the place where shoes keep mysteriously getting dumped?
Categories: Fashion, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 04, 2008
Comments (5)
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