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Sex/Romance
Pinder Sondhi's wife was upset to find out that all of her husband's guests at their wedding were actors. He had invited fake friends, relatives, and even parents. His parents were played by an elderly couple who had agreed to do the job on the condition that "they would keep whatever gifts they received in the wedding."

Plus, Sondhi had told his wife that he was a banker. That wasn't true. And he was simultaneously married to another woman. He lived with wife #2 during the week, and wife #1 on weekends. [Times of India]
Categories: Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 23, 2013
Comments (0)
The Proposal Rejection Prank is a perennial favorite. Back in 2005 I posted about how a couple had developed a routine they were performing at basketball game halftime shows, in which the guy would propose to the girl in front of the entire crowd. But instead of saying yes, the girl would break into tears and run away. It never failed to get a reaction from the crowds.

The PrankvsPrank duo recently performed the identical stunt at various locations outdoors. Their resulting youtube video currently has over 4 million views.

Categories: Pranks, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 18, 2013
Comments (0)

Woody Hayes
At a recent Ohio Coaches' Convention, Urban Meyer told an interesting story about legendary Ohio State University coach Woody Hayes. The story involved an interaction between Hayes's genitals and a turtle. Here's the story, as Meyer told it:

"So I guess Ohio State had lost the bowl game, so Earl Bruce brings in Woody Hayes. I had been there just a week and I'm thinking, 'Holy, this is Coach Hayes.' I'm sitting in the back. Coach Hayes was not healthy at the time, but stands up and starts laying into the coaching staff about toughness. That we have no toughness in the program. That's why we lost the game. On and on and screaming, this old guy pounding the table. He says, 'We have no toughness, and the reason is because you're not tough. No one on this staff is tough enough, and that's a problem.'
"He reaches down and grabs this box, slides the top and there was something in the box moving around. He reaches in and he pulls out this turtle. He reaches down, this turtle's snapping and he says, 'I'm going to show you toughness.' He unzips his pants and takes out whatever he takes out. The turtle reaches up and snaps at him. You see the veins and the sweat (on Hayes). He screams at the coaches, 'That's toughness! That's f'n toughness!' He reaches down, pokes the turtle right in the eye and it falls off. He wipes the sweat off his forehead and says, 'That's the problem. We don't have anybody in this room tough enough to do that right there.
"(One assistant) raises his hand and says, 'Coach, I'd do this. Just promise not to poke me in the eye.'"

Meyer insisted repeatedly that the story was true, and apparently some people believed him, because the tale began to circulate online this week and OSU began receiving inquiries about it. Finally the OSU pr office felt compelled to send an email to the media advising them that, despite what Meyer may have claimed, the story about Hayes and the turtle was just a joke. [Deadspin, Yahoo! Sports]
Categories: Sex/Romance, Sports
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 14, 2013
Comments (1)
Here's an example of a rumor that swept through an African community back in 1959. The story appeared in The Bakersfield Californian (Nov. 10, 1959).


Slave Girl For $7.14 All A Hoax
MOMBASA, Kenya (UPI) — Crowds of Africans who wanted to buy wives for $7.14 each have been told by the government that those stories about slave auctions were only rumor.

Local official W.P.M. Maigacho had to issue an official denial of the rumors after men from outlying tribes twice gathered in the town of Tononka, expecting to take part in a slave auction.

According to the rumors, native girls from a local mission were being sold for the equivalent of $7.14. The purchaser could take the girl to Mombasa and marry her, the rumors said.

I don't know what $7.14 would be in present-day money. Nor do I know what $7.14 would have been in East African Shillings, which was the currency in use in Kenya in 1959. However, one can assume it was a bargain rate for a wife. It seems like a strangely specific number. Why didn't they round down to $7.00?

Of course, perhaps this news story was itself a hoax — something dreamed up by a bored reporter in Africa. I haven't been able to find any other accounts of the rumor to verify that it occurred.
Categories: Sex/Romance, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Mon Jan 28, 2013
Comments (1)

Justin Young and Brian Bushwood, of the NSFWshow podcast, were intrigued by the success of the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey. They were particularly impressed with how many books were selling well for no other reason, apparently, than that they looked Fifty Shades of Grey. So they decided to conduct an experiment — to find out whether an ebook could succeed simply by resembling Fifty Shades of Grey.

They came up with a title for their novel, The Diamond Club. They also sketched out a rough outline of a plot:

When Brianna Young discovers that Roman Dyle, the man she built a relationship and a multi–million dollar company with, has gotten married to another woman behind her back, she embarks on a journey to realize her dreams of professional and sexual revenge for everything she had endured at the hands of Roman.Brianna seeks her romance from The Diamond Club, an exotic gathering of the Bay Area's most attractive and interesting people, from angel investors and airline pilots to world–famous chefs and dubstep artists.

They singled out three qualities their novel would need to succeed:
  1. a cover that looked like 50 shades of grey
  2. lots and lots of sex
  3. characters with trendy jobs.
They attributed their novel to a fictitious author, Patricia Harkins-Bradley. But they enlisted the help of their readers to do the actual writing. In this way, none of the authors had read the entire book, and there was little cohesion between chapters. So they could guarantee that the novel wouldn't gain readers on the basis of its great writing.

Finally, and this was a key part of the experiment, they asked all their listeners to buy the book, priced at an affordable 99 cents, in order to push the book into the top 10% at iTunes. Their theory was that once the book broke into the top 10%, momentum would take over, and people (who weren't listeners of their podcast) would buy the book simply because other people were buying it.


It looks like their experiment has succeeded. The book has been hovering around in iTunes Top 10 List. It's also available for the nook and kindle. Reportedly, it's already earned Young and Bushwood close to $20,000.

Similar literary experiments have been conducted before. Back in 1968, Mike McGrady and his friends at Newsday first proved that a crowdsourced book could become a bestseller with their sex-filled novel, Naked Came the Stranger.

And even earlier, in 1956, deejay Jean Shepherd and his listeners proved that publicity alone could create demand for a (non-existent) book — I, Libertine.
Categories: Literature/Language, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 10, 2012
Comments (1)
As I noted in my previous post, Mike McGrady, creator of the 1969 "Naked Came the Stranger" literary hoax, died recently. A little-known footnote to this hoax is that it inspired an x-rated movie in 1975. Here's the trailer for that movie. (It's pretty much safe for work.)

Categories: Literature/Language, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu May 17, 2012
Comments (0)
At the end of April, a news story was widely reported involving a jilted Polish woman, Anna Maćkowiak, who got revenge on her ex-boyfriend by pulling out all his teeth. Seems she was a dentist, and he made the mistake of showing up at her practice complaining of toothache. So she sedated him, and set to work. He woke up later with no toothache, and no teeth.

This got posted over at Weird Universe (though not by me), but it didn't trigger any hoax alarms in my head. But it should have. MSNBC reporter Erin Tennant was suspicious, did some investigating, and discovered it was all a hoax. Or rather, it seems to have been a case of satire mistaken as news. And it was that bastion of great journalism, the Daily Mail, that first published the story in English. More details from MSNBC:

when msnbc.com contacted police in Wroclaw, Poland, about the supposed criminal case, a spokesman said they had no record of such an incident.

"Lower Silesia Police Department has not been notified about such an event and is not investigating such a case," Pawel Petrykowski of the Provincial Police Headquarters in Wroclaw said in an email that was translated into English.

A legal adviser for Poland’s Chamber of Physicians and Dentists, which handles disciplinary matters, said the organization is not investigating and has never investigated any such case, and added that there is no dental practitioner named Anna Maćkowiak listed in Poland’s central register of dentists.

"No information about this kind of misconduct has been provided to the Supreme Chamber," the legal advisor, Marek Szewczyński, said in an email. "The Supreme Chamber is also not aware of any actions of this kind being taken by the Regional Chamber of Physicians and Dentists in Wroclaw, which would be the competent authority in case of a possible professional misconduct committed by a dental practitioner from Wroclaw."

Most online news outlets in Poland left the story alone. Polish television news channel TVN4 published an article mocking foreign media's coverage of the story, which it speculates began as a prank. "It appears that the article, written as a joke, began life on the Internet and has little to do with any truth," the translated article reads.

All the news reports about Maćkowiak published on news websites in the U.S. and elsewhere, such as Australia’s Herald Sun or New Zealand Herald, can be traced back to an article published in the online edition of Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.

The article, which has been shared on Facebook more than 75,000 times since it was published on April 27, appears under the byline of staff reporter Simon Tomlinson.

But Tomlinson said he does not know where the story came from and distanced himself from it when questioned about its origins.
"I've drawn a bit of a blank," he said in an email. "The (Daily) Mail Foreign Service, which did the piece for the paper, is really just an umbrella term for copy put together from agencies. My news desk isn’t sure where exactly it came from."
Categories: Journalism, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Wed May 09, 2012
Comments (0)
Late last week a strange story emerged alleging that Egypt's parliament was considering a 'Farewell Intercourse Law' to make it legal for Egyptian husbands to have sex with their dead wives for up to six hours after death. Why six hours? I assume to make sure the tender last moments are wrapped up before rigor mortis fully sets in. Though according to Wikipedia, rigor mortis begins after 3 to 4 hours, so that might be a bit awkward.

Naturally a lot of news orgs ran the story without bothering to do any kind of fact-checking. Then they had to backpedal after it became apparent there wasn't any kind of truth to the report.

TheAmericanMuslim.org tried to find the source of the story and traced it to a fringe Moroccan sheikh, Zamzami Abdelbari, who suggested (a while ago) that Islam might allow the practice. This recently inspired an Egyptian talk-show host to mention the idea. Then a pro-Mubarak columnist for Al-Ahram picked up on it, claiming it was an actual law that was being considered by the Islamist parliament. This provoked a TV commentary on the channel ON TV, which was then reported by the English website of Al-Arabiya. And this, finally, brought it to the attention of English-language news orgs that promptly ran the story. The whole thing was like an extended game of telephone.
Categories: Death, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 30, 2012
Comments (2)
Miss Travel calls itself "The #1 Travel Dating Site." But I'm not sure how many other travel dating sites there are. Is it the only one?

The premise is that if you're an attractive person (but most likely a woman) who likes to travel, they'll pair you with a "generous" traveler who wants a traveling companion (a rich guy). So it's like a high-class escort service, trading travel for "companionship."

The concept seemed a bit dubious to me, but as far as I can tell the site is legitimate. It's registered to InfoStream Group Inc., which is in the business of "millionaire & fantasy dating." They've had the site registered since 2001.

If you're an unattractive wannabe traveler, I guess you're out of luck.

Categories: Exploration/Travel, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 24, 2012
Comments (1)
UCLA Professor Benjamin Karney thinks that online dating site eHarmony is making fraudulent claims about the scientific basis of its business. He admits it may provide a helpful service by providing access to a larger dating pool and 'weeding out the freaks.' But the company also claims that it's using "scientifically proven" methods in order to predict "happier, healthier long-term relationships." And that, Karney insists, just isn't so.

UCLA Professors Say eHarmony Is Unscientific and its Customers Are 'Duped.' Here's Why.
laweekly.com

"If you're gonna make scientific claims, act like a scientist. Or don't make scientific claims," UCLA social psychology professor Benjamin Karney says, leaning forward in his chair in his office at UCLA's Franz Hall, his voice rising an octave. "Don't pretend!"...
On Feb. 17, Karney and four co-authors published "Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science," a secondary study that looks at established relationship science to critique dating websites that claim to have a scientific basis for matching singles, including eHarmony, Chemistry (whose methods are "almost crazy," according to Bradbury) and PerfectMatch and GenePartner (whose methods are "basically adorable," according to Karney).
Categories: Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 17, 2012
Comments (1)
The Fake Girlfriend industry is amazingly robust. I posted about some fake-girlfriend companies just a few months ago, and here's another one: Girlfriend Hire. For only $5, a real girl (or someone claiming to be a real girl) will pretend to be your girlfriend, or help you break up with your actual girlfriend, or do pretty much anything that doesn't involve physically meeting. (via Gizmodo)

Categories: Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 04, 2012
Comments (1)
As far as niche dating sites go, you can't get much more niche than SeaCaptainDate.com. It describes itself as "the only place for Sea Captains to connect with men and women who share a love of the ocean."



Now I'm willing to believe that there are niche dating sites out there, but SeaCaptainDate.com seems a little too weird to be real. Is it really just an elaborate joke?

I'm not the first to ponder this question. The site first attracted attention back in Jan 2011, when articles about it appeared on nerve.com, time.com, and howaboutwe.com (among others). These sites expressed some doubts, but overall leaned toward the site being real.

Most recently, jezebel.com weighed in on the matter -- and they too decided the site seemed to be real, since they managed to contact a spokesperson for the site who, in turn, connected them with a woman who claimed she had actually been on a date with a sea captain through the site.

Jezebel.com conceded that both the site rep and the woman could have been in on the gag, but noted, "if that's true, someone out there is trying really, really hard to make us believe that you can sign up to date sea captains on the internet. And that's a labor of love in itself."

However, I still have my doubts. Here are the things that have my hoax-sense buzzing:

1) The site is registered anonymously. This, in itself, doesn't mean anything, except that anonymity is the preferred method-of-operation of hoaxers.

2) The site was registered in 2010, but it claims that its business has existed since 2007. It explains that it used to be called AtlantisDate.com. However, I can't find any evidence that AtlantisDate.com ever existed before 2011. According to the info in the WHOIS database, atlantisdate.com was only created in Jan 2011, which is a bit odd if the site supposedly existed since 2007.

3) The gallery of sea captains who are members of the site doesn't seem to have changed at all since Jan 2011. So if the site is real, its member base is pretty static. Doesn't appear to be getting much new business.

4) Finally, check out the Sea Captain Date Song -- and listen to the lyrics:



There's a place to go
To find the lady of your dreams
And sail into the sunset
Where no one hears her screams

I'm sorry, but no real dating business would be making jokes about its members murdering women on the high seas.

The site credits the Sea Captain Date Song to "acclaimed songwriter and musician" Cole Gladis. Coincidentally, Gladis lives in Philadelphia, where Sea Captain Date also says that it has its offices. I'm guessing the entire site is a joke dreamed up by Gladis.
Categories: Sex/Romance, Websites
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 21, 2012
Comments (3)
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