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Last week high-school football player Kevin Hart announced at an assembly at his school, Fernley High, that he had been recruited to play at UC Berkeley, a Pac-10 school. It was exciting news for his school and was publicized by the local media. But then Hart's story began to unravel.

It became apparent that Hart hadn't been recruited by anyone at UC Berkeley. Hart initially explained that the recruitment had been conducted by a middleman named Kevin Riley, implying that the middleman must have conned him.

But yesterday Hart admitted that he had, in fact, made the entire thing up. In a statement he said, "I wanted to play D-1 ball more than anything. When I realized that wasn't going to happen, I made up what I wanted to be reality. I am sorry for disappointing and embarrassing my family, coaches, Fernley High school, the involved universities and reporters covering the story."

Kind of sad in a way. Links here and here.
Categories: Sports
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 07, 2008
Comments (9)
My 61 Memorable Games
A special updated edition of Bobby Fischer's book, "My 60 Memorable Games," is up for auction on eBay, and bidding has already reached $3,050. The New York Times Chess Blog wonders whether the book is real.

Giant Skeleton photo doing the rounds again
National Geographic has an article about the Giant Skeleton photo, which dates back to 2004. The article says it's now enjoying a revival. I'm even quoted, though I don't remember talking to National Geographic. However, it sounds like something I would say. It must have been a while ago that they talked to me. (Thanks, Joe)

BBC admits Lotto button is a fake
Viewers see a man press a red button to release the Lotto balls. But it turns out the button doesn't control anything at all. This was revealed when the guy hesitated before pressing the button, but the balls dropped into the spinning barrel anyway.

Private parking company issues fake tickets
"A private parking company will have to reimburse drivers who paid fake citations left on cars in free lots throughout the Bay Area... PCS employees left written notices that looked like government-issued tickets on cars that allegedly violated the posted parking rules or state laws." Wow. It's bad enough having real traffic cops issue tickets without a private company trying to get a piece of the action.
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Sports
Posted by Alex on Tue Dec 18, 2007
Comments (2)
In the summer of 2004 pranksters used herbicide to trace the outline of a giant phallus in the football field located inside Harman-Geist Stadium in Northeastern Pennsylvania. When the grass died, the phallus became visible.

Maintenance crews did their best to hide the phallus by painting it green, but eventually the paint wore away. And now the prank has succeeded in reaching an even wider audience, thanks to satellite technology.

Overhead satellite imagery of the stadium -- and giant phallus -- has shown up on google maps. You can see it for yourself by searching for the address "300 N. Cedar St., Hazleton, Pa." and then zooming in to see the stadium.

An interesting thing I noticed. One of the streets leading to the stadium is called Shaft Rd., which seems very appropriate.

The organization that does the satellite imagery says that it plans to resurvey that region in early 2009. Until then, the football-field phallus will remain on google maps.

Categories: Places, Pranks, Sports
Posted by Alex on Thu Dec 06, 2007
Comments (2)
image 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 phone and said, "Bill Henry isn't dead. He's sitting right here in the living room."

It turns out that the Bill Henry who died was an impostor, a man who had been falsely claiming to be the former Red-Sox player for decades. Even his wife of nineteen years didn't know the truth.

The real Bill Henry says, ""It's just amazing someone would want to live someone else's life. I say more power to him if it helped him in his career."

Links: chron.com; theledger.com; tbo.com (Thanks, Joe)
Categories: Identity/Imposters, Sports
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 07, 2007
Comments (3)
Elliot has posted an article about great golf hustlers. Read it and find out why, if someone wants to bet you that they can drive a golfball a mile, never bet that they can't.
Categories: Sports
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 29, 2007
Comments (6)
Newsgroper is a parody site full of fake celebrity blogs. To make sure that no one confuses its content with real news, it posts the warning "Fake Parody Blogs, Political Humor, Celebrity Satire, Funny Commentary" in the title bar of every page.

Apparently, this warning wasn't enough for MSNBC's Alex Johnson. In a piece about Michael Vick, he quoted from Newsgroper's fake Al Sharpton blog, presenting the following quotation as if it were something Sharpton really had said:
"If the police caught Brett Favre (a white quarterback for the Green Bay Packers) running a dolphin-fighting ring out of his pool, where dolphins with spears attached to their foreheads fought each other, would they bust him? Of course not," Sharpton wrote Tuesday on his personal blog.

Caught in the blunder, MSNBC quickly removed the quotation from the article and posted this correction:

image

To me, the self-serving correction is worse than the original mistake. The fake Al Sharpton blog isn't a hoax. A hoax is a deliberate deception. Since the Al Sharpton blog announces right in the title bar that it's a parody blog, it hardly counts as a hoax.

MSNBC should retract their correction, and admit they're victims of sloppy reporting, not of a hoax. (Thanks to Cranky Media Guy for the link.)
Categories: Journalism, Sports, Websites
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 27, 2007
Comments (7)
I'm no expert on football, but I don't think this is a legal move. (via Funl)

Categories: Pranks, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 30, 2007
Comments (16)
One year ago I posted about an inventor, Lester Clancy, who had filed a patent for a ropeless jump rope. I noted that a jump rope that lacked a rope seemed to defeat the purpose of a jump rope. You might as well just jump up and down holding a pair of dumbbells. But now a company has come out with a commercial version of a cordless jump rope. They're calling it the JumpSnap. They claim that it's the "world's first and only patent-pending computerized ropeless jump rope."

The inventor of the JumpSnap is Brad LaTour. It sounds like there might be a patent battle brewing between Clancy and LaTour. Who first invented the ropeless jump rope? The major difference between the two inventions seems to be that the JumpSnap sports a computer that makes a swishing noise as you swing it.

Again, I think it would be a lot easier (and cheaper) just to jump up and down with some weights.
Categories: Sports, Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Jun 05, 2007
Comments (7)
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have announced that threats made online last week to plant 'dirty bombs' at NFL stadiums were a hoax.

The threat, dated Oct. 12, appeared on a Web site, The Friend Society, that links to various online forums and off-color cartoons. Its author, identified in the message as "javness," said trucks would deliver radiological bombs Sunday to stadiums in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Cleveland and Oakland, Calif., and that Osama bin Laden would claim responsibility.

The FBI, after tracing computers, have questioned a 20 year old Milwaukee man. Although the man has been released, he is still believed to have some involvement, and may be charged.

A statement has been made that fans: "should be reassured of their security as they continue to attend sporting events this weekend."

(Thanks, Stork and Robert.)
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Sports
Posted by Flora on Fri Oct 20, 2006
Comments (12)
Man Dives 50 Feet for 20 Dollars
$20 blew out of Mark Giorgio's hand when he was crossing a bridge. So he followed it.

Prisoners Train as Crocodile Handlers
Five prisoners from Darwin Correction Centre in Northern Australia are currently involved in an 11-week rehabilitation pilot scheme.

Mosquito Dance Track
The Mosquito anti-teenager device has theoretically already been used as a ring tone. Now it's being made into a dance track - 'Buzzin' - which mixes two tracks, one normal, and one using the Mosquito technology.

Chess Championship Split Over Loo Breaks
Viktor Kramnik of Russia has been accused of cheating during his multiple toilet breaks. He and Veselin Topalov are playing for the title of world chess champion and the bathrooms are the only area not under video surveillance.
(Thanks, Accipiter.)

Ethnic Games End in Cross-dressing and Gang Violence
After several contestants in the women's dragon-boat racing event were described as "big women with Adam's apples", it was found that they were men in wigs. Then a dispute over a wrestling final sparked off a violent brawl.
(Thanks, LaMa.)
Categories: Animals, Entertainment, Law/Police/Crime, Sports
Posted by Flora on Mon Oct 02, 2006
Comments (8)
Status: Real (weird news)
If standing on a wooden platform as people hurl giant dead eels at you is your idea of a good time, then sorry, it's too late. The giant dead eel tossing contest held in the English village of Lyme Regis for the past 30 years has been cancelled. A lone animal-rights activist spoiled everyone's fun by complaining that the contest was disrespectful to the dead eel. It sounds to me like the guy may have been joking. (He sent his complaint via an anonymous email.) But still, the town decided not to use dead eels this year. Instead they used boat dock fenders as surrogate eels. But everyone agreed that it wasn't quite the same. Yahoo News reports:
The practice, known as conger cuddling, is the annual highlight in the small coastal town about 155 miles southwest of London. The object of the game is to knock the opposing team off the platform by swinging a 25-pound eel at them. Crowds have flocked to Lyme Regis since 1974 to watch rival teams of nine men swing the giant conger eel — suspended in the harbor by a rope — and local residents said they are dismayed at the demise of their historic event.
Big Gary, who submitted this story, notes that a) nobody respects traditions anymore, and b) "a conger is a type of eel. The main distinguishing feature of congers is that they have pectoral fins, which are lacking or underdeveloped in most other eels (e.g. morays)."
Categories: Animals, Sports
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 31, 2006
Comments (12)
Status: Strange but real
image A strange photo can be seen on Yahoo! News Photo. It looks like this gymnast is headless, though, of course, that's just an illusion created by the angle of the camera. The gymnast is Katherine Coronel of Venezuela. The photo was taken by Martin Bernetti.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Sports
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 26, 2006
Comments (7)
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