The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
Mule elected G.O.P. committeeman, 1938
Life discovered on the moon, 1835
Fake Photos of Very Large Animals
Actress who claimed she was kidnapped by puritans, 1950
Princess Caraboo, servant girl who became a princess, 1817
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
Boy floats away in balloon, 2009
Lord Gordon-Gordon, robber of the robber barons, 1871
What do the lines on Solo cups mean?
Win A Book, Contest #2
image I've received a free copy of David Wilton's new book, Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends, courtesy of Oxford University Press. So I'm having a contest to give it away. The book has just been published. I'm not sure it's even out in stores yet, but you can get a copy here... if you win the contest.

First, what's the book about? Wilton debunks all those stories about where words come from, such as 'is GOLF really an acronym for Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden?' or 'does SOS stand for Save Our Souls?' or 'was F**K originally an acronym meaning For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge?' You'll have to get the book to find out the answers. It's a lot of fun, and quite enlightening.

Here's what I've decided for the contest: urban legend haiku. I figure this is appropriate since it's a book about urban legends and language. Whoever comes up with the best haiku describing an urban legend (or a hoax, since this is the Museum of Hoaxes) wins the contest. What's 'best' will, of course, be subjectively decided by me.

If you need inspiration, examples of urban legend haiku can be found here or here. I'm not going to be a stickler about whether or not entries maintain proper haiku form (three lines: first line five syllables, second line seven syllables, third line five syllables), since apparently the idea that haiku must adhere strictly to this form is itself a bit of an urban legend. Keep it to three lines, but if the number of syllables isn't perfect, I don't care.

Here's my own rather weak attempt at a hoax haiku. It took me all of a minute to write:

Enclosed in glass,
Soon she'll be rectangular,
My Bonsai Kitten.


You'll have to do better than this to win the book.

The contest will end on Nov. 20, about a week from today (oh, and you can submit as many haiku as you like).
Update: And one more thing, submit your entries as comments. Don't email them to me directly.
Update: Okay, the contest is now closed. I need a day or two to review all the entries.
Categories: Miscellaneous, Urban Legends
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 12, 2004
Comments (143)
Furry wings outstretched,
Soaring through the starlit sky,
The flying cat of legend.
Posted by Myst  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  08:58 PM
From the book's cover, it looks like it deals with the proverbial "many Eskimo words for snow," which also happens to be my favorite "word myth." Based on no evidence whatever, many, many people have repeated the claim that Eskimos (which "Eskimo" group they refer to is usually not clear) have six, or a hundred, or a million different names for varieties of snow. It's become commonplace for linguists to try to dissect all the fallacies behind this belief (read almost any lingusitics anthology and you'll find something about this). To condense all the arguments and leave out all the fun, I'll just say that Eskimos tend not to have any more or fewer words for snow than anybody else (at least, no more than anybody else who is likely to see snow during 8 or 9 months of the year).

So, my Haiku is entitled, "Ten English Names for Snow":

Flakes, drifts, flurries, slush,
Blizzard, powder, crust, white stuff,
whiteout, ice crystals.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  08:58 PM
alligator, young, too young,
the sewer is my home now,
flushed by fickle hand
Posted by Scott W  in  Heart of the Land  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  08:59 PM
sandwich of ham, cold,
its journey interrupted,
mama cass is full,
Posted by Scott W  in  Heart of the Land  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:04 PM
coke and pop rocks fizz,
human head cannot contain,
mikey don't like it
Posted by Scott W  in  Heart of the Land  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:08 PM
syllables per line,
or so I've heard
Posted by Scott W  in  Heart of the Land  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:18 PM
Large footprints in the mud,
Hairy beast lumbering along,
Bigfoot is a' coming!
Posted by Myst  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:22 PM
chocolate razor,
straight pin, poison, tricky treat,
bloody bag of fun
Posted by Scott W  in  Heart of the Land  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:22 PM
Paul, I edited my post to make the explanation of a haiku clearer. It's 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:28 PM
coke in coke was true,
heroin trademarked by bayer,
but pot is still free
Posted by Scott W  in  Heart of the Land  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:30 PM
just trying to help,
Posted by Scott W  in  Heart of the Land  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:32 PM
And I guess you're right cuz I don't see what's off. Help?
Posted by Scott W  in  Heart of the Land  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:33 PM
Oh, yeah, I meant "gator"
Posted by Scott W  in  Heart of the Land  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:35 PM
thanks, Paul
Posted by Scott W  in  Heart of the Land  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:35 PM
Man that man is strong
holding Fluffy, smiling big
hate to clean that litter
Posted by Mike M.  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:45 PM
My beloved friend,
I wish to give unto you,
Money from the dead.

I know it isn't a hoax or or legend, I just couldn't resist picking on the Nigerian scammers! grin

This is way too fun Alex!!!
Posted by Myst  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  09:47 PM
new winnebago
was thirsty, got me a drink
"cruise control" my a**
Posted by Karen D  in  Reno  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  10:12 PM
She flirted with me
I drank up and followed her
They took my liver
Posted by Tom Noddy  in  California  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  10:56 PM
My Kodak reveals
reason for the funny taste
of my Oral B
Posted by Mike M.  on  Fri Nov 12, 2004  at  11:09 PM
The jackalope hops
Ever so merry and free
Across the wide plains.
Posted by Lauren  in  Windsor  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  12:02 AM
The ghost in a jar
Spooks people by the thousands
I wonder who's next?
Posted by Lauren  in  Windsor  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  12:05 AM
Want a haunted doll?
Painting, house, ducky, toaster?
For sale on EBay!
Posted by Krista  in  Ottawa  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  12:09 AM
Painting of weird kids
Hands against the screen door change
It creeps me out, man.
Posted by Jacob  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  12:19 AM
Bush is so stupid
So are all who vote for him
Their IQ is low
Posted by Jacob  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  12:24 AM
Scared, I reach for Spot;
his friendly licks comfort me.
Humans can lick, too.

(This is an urban legend where a college student hears noises in the night and is reassured by her dog licking her hand that everything is okay. She wakes the next morning to find her roommate murdered and her dog dead, and written in the dog's blood - humans can lick, too. Creepy.)
Posted by Krista  in  Ottawa  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  12:25 AM
Lemmings jump to sea
jump off the cliff to face death
they should be extinct.
Posted by Jacob  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  12:33 AM
Bill Gates is so nice!
I forwarded his email. . .
Now I'm very rich!
Posted by Jacob  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  12:39 AM
Oh, such a hot girl
But she left me with my doom
Curse you, AIDS Mary!

(The urban legend in question: that of AIDS Mary - a woman who, having contracted AIDS after being raped, now travels the country seducing and infecting men for vengence.)
Posted by Jason  in  Minnesota  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  02:11 AM
The fouled mayonaise
fed to unknowing victim
not for me thank you!
Posted by Sharruma  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  06:16 AM
Fire Fire Burning Bright
Put out with airborne buckets
frogman found dead in wood
Posted by Sharruma  on  Sat Nov 13, 2004  at  06:18 AM
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