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With the announcement of the iWatch, iPhone 6, and the recent launch of iOS8; I thought it would be a good time to review some of apples concepts videos from years past. As well as a few fan made concepts. From the awkward looking iTie to the almost spot on rendition of the iPhone 6, it’s all in the playlist above. Some of the predictions are hilarious, however; others that seemed far fetched in the 80’s are now a reality.

We’ll notice, Apple predicts it’s success, but fails to foresee the sales slump they felt during the 90s. We see the internet as we know it today, a literal “world wide web”. In the videos Apple sells it all time profit high short by about, $150 Billion dollars. They also thought they would sell 50 million macs by 1997. They were under by 50 million macs.

Perhaps the most entertaining prediction is, the Vista Mac. A Google glass like devices that… <<Read More>>

Compiled By:
Josh Martin 

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2014 in technology, Video Blog

 

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History of April Fools Day – Video Blog


Video Produced By: Jeremiah Warren

April Fools’ Day is celebrated in many countries on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other.
20130401-113417.jpgIn Italy, France and Belgium, children and adults traditionally tack paper fishes on each other’s back as a trick and shout “April fish!” in their local languages (pesce d’aprile!, poisson d’avril! and aprilvis! in Italian, French and Flemish, respectively). Such fish feature prominently on many French late 19th to early 20th century April Fools’ Day postcards.The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness is an ambiguous reference in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392). Many writers suggest that the restoration of January 1 by Pope Gregory XIII as New Year’s Day of the Gregorian Calendar in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, sometimes questioned for earlier references.

Origins

Precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria, held March 25, and the Medieval Feast of Fools, held December 28, still a day on which pranks are played in Spanish-speaking countries.
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In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392), the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is set Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two. Modern scholars believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote, Syn March was gon.[5] Thus, the passage originally meant 32 days after April, i.e. May 2, the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381. Readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean “March 32”, i.e. April 1. In Chaucer’s tale, the vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox.

In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally “April fish”), a possible reference to the holiday. In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1. In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as “Fooles holy day”, the first British reference. On April 1, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”.

In the Middle Ages, up until the late 18th century, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation) in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on April 1. Many writers suggest that April Fools originated because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. The use of January 1 as New Year’s Day was common in France by the mid-16th century,[6] and this date was adopted officially in 1564 by the Edict of Roussillon.

A study in the 1950s, by folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, found that in the UK and those countries whose traditions derived from there, the joking ceased at midday. But this practice appears to have lapsed in more recent years.

Source: Wikipedia
Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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What is the difference between breakdancing and Parkour? – History and Video Blog

The definitions:

Parkour: (French pronunciation: ​[paʁˈkuʁ]) (abbreviated PK) is a holistic training discipline using movement that developed from obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to quickly and efficiently overcome obstacles in their environment, using only their bodies and their surroundings to propel themselves; furthermore, they try to maintain as much momentum as is possible in a safe manner. Parkour can include running, climbing, swinging, vaultingjumping, rolling, quadrupedal movement, and the like, depending on what movement is deemed most suitable for the given situation. 
Parkour is non-competitive. It may be performed on an obstacle course, but is usually practiced in a creative, and sometimes playful, reinterpretation or subversion of urban spaces. Parkour involves seeing one’s environment in a new way, and imagining the potentialities for movement around it.
Developed in France primarily by Raymond BelleDavid Belle, and Sébastien Foucan, during the late 1980s, Parkour became popular in the late 1990s and 2000s through films, documentaries, and advertisements featuring these practitioners and others.
Parkour’s training methods have inspired a range of other activities, includingfreerunning and l’art du déplacement. Although their creators define them as separate activities, practitioners and non-practitioners alike often find it difficult to discern the differences between them.


B-boying or Breaking, also called Breakdancing: is a style of street dance that originated among Black and Puerto Rican youths in New York City during the early 1970s. The dance spread worldwide due to popularity in the media, especially in regions such as South Korea, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and Japan. While diverse in the amount of variation available in the dance, b-boying consists of four kinds of movement: toprockdownrockpower moves, and freezes. B-boying is typically danced to hip-hop and especially breakbeats, although modern trends allow for much wider varieties of music along certain ranges of tempo and beat patterns. 

A practitioner of this dance is called a b-boy, b-girl, or breaker. Although the term “breakdance” is frequently used to refer to the dance, “b-boying” and “breaking” are the original terms. These terms are preferred by the majority of the pioneers and most notable practitioners.

The History of Parkour

Trying to pinpoint the exact moment of the birth of Parkour is no easy task. In fact, it may actually prove to be an impossibility. Something as nebulous and indefinable as this thing we practice tends to defy classification. Already it boasts several names, in more than one language: Le Parkour, the Art of Movement, Freerunning, L’Art du Deplacement, to name but a few. And even if you do settle on a name, there is then the tricky little problem of what that name refers to – Is it a sport? Or an art? Or a philosophy perhaps? Or maybe it is better termed a discipline?


Truth is, there is no consensus on this. And – which really hefts a giant spanner into the works – you can’t just go and ask the founding father because this great movement is pretty damn far from being a nuclear family, 2.4 kids and all the rest. No. This child has had a whole host of surrogate step-parents influencing its development down through the years, the centuries, indeed even through the millennia. It has drawn on many sources, supped on inspiration from all over, and drunk from a hundred different cups as it has evolved – and by no means is this process over.
So where do we start in an attempt to get a grip on all this? Not at the beginning, because the gods only know where that was. Not at the end, because that isn’t even in sight. Seems the best we can do is to start somewhere in the middle, and give credit where it’s due to a certain little town in France.
The French Connection
To the south of Paris rest the sleepy, suburban towns of Evry, Sarcelles and Lisses, places no different from any other of the hundreds of satellites orbiting the French capital, save for one small fact: these places were home to a group of nine young men widely acknowledged as having crystallized a number of influences to create something then called l’Art du Deplacement, sometime in the 1980s. At the core of this group were Yann Hnautra and David Belle, who drove much of the early training and have since become known as the originators of the art. These childhood friends formed the group which called itself ‘Yamakasi’, a Lingala word meaning ‘Strong man, strong spirit’, and for over a decade they practised their discipline together and alone, reviled by the French authorities and seen as wildmen by the local public.
What style of dance is Parkour?
 
Parkour, as we have seen, is not something easily categorized. Perhaps inevitably however, as the community grew and numbers swelled, attempts to define and classify became commonplace. By nature an art that encourages freedom of movement and individual expression, it is difficult – if not impossible – to formalise a structured system that contains it whilst at the same time allowing for the subjective approaches of its practitioners. Matters were further complicated by the simple fact that David Belle – acknowledged as one of the gurus of Parkour – chose at first not to release any succinct and clear definition for others to refer to, and so the debates raged and schisms between the different perspectives ensued.
 
History of Breakdancing
 
Many elements of b-boying can be seen in other antecedent cultures prior to the 1970s. B-boy pioneers Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon and Kenneth “Ken Swift” Gabbert, both of Rock Steady Crew, cite James Brown and Kung-Fu films as influences to b-boying. Many of b-boying’s more acrobatic moves, such as the flare, show clear connections to gymnastics. An Arab street dancer performing acrobatic headspins was recorded by Thomas Edison in 1898. However, it was not until the 1970s that b-boying developed as a defined dance style.

Beginning with DJ Kool Herc, Bronx-based DJs would take the rhythmic breakdown sections (also known as the “breaks”) of dance records and prolong them by looping them successively. The breakbeat provided a rhythmic base that allowed dancers to display their improvisational skills during the duration of the break. This led to the first battles—turn-based dance competitions between two individuals or dance crews judged with respect to creativity, skill, and musicality. These battles occurred in cyphers—circles of people gathered around the breakers. Though at its inception the earliest b-boys were “close to 90 percent African-American”, dance crews such as “SalSoul” and “Rockwell Association” were populated almost entirely by Puerto Rican-Americans.

 
To most Americans, even to casual fans of hip hop, breakdancing was a fad whose moment passed before the end of the ’80s, tossed into the decade’s time capsule along with acid wash and decent John Hughes movies.

And in some sense, they’re right. Breakdancing burst onto the national scene in the early 1980s, fueled by a media obsession with hip hop, enjoyed a love affair with the spotlight that lasted a few years, and then fell out of the glare just as quickly as it had located it.
Breakdancing may have died, but the b-boy, one of four original elements of hip hop (also included: the MC, the DJ, and the graffiti artist) lives on. To those who knew it before it was tagged with the name breakdancing, to those still involved in the scene that they will always know as b-boying, the tradition is alive and, well, spinning.

Breakdancing seems so different from all other kinds of dancing that the first question people ask when they see it is: “Where did these kids learn to dance like that?” To many people, this dance seems to have come out of nowhere. But like everything else, Breakdance did come from somewhere, something and someone. In the case of Breakdancing, the someone is the great superstar, James Brown, and the something is the dance, the Good Foot. In 1969, when James Brown was getting down with his big hit “Get on the Good Foot” the Hustle was the big dance style of the day. If you’ve ever seen JamesBrown live in concert or on TV, then you know he can really get down. And when he preformed his hit, he did the kind of dance you’d expect James Brown to do. High Energy. This almost acrobatic dance was appropriately enough known as the lot of kids around New York City.

Compiled By: Josh Martin

Sources:

Wikipedia

Parkour Generations

NPR

Global Darkness

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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History of The New Jersey Shores Food and Boardwalks

Home Made Jersey Shore Video:

Tastes of the Jersey Shore

new jersey lobsters, new jersey crabs, old advertisment, old image, funny, crab suit

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By: Tom Wilk
From saltwater taffy to seafood dinners, the Jersey Shore has always offered vacationers plenty of options to satisfy any appetite. Author Karen L. Schnitzspahn takes a look at the foods that lined the boardwalks and filled the dinner plates at Shore restaurants in “Jersey Shore Food History: Victorian Feasts to Boardwalk Treats” (American Palate/The History Press; 2012).

“Food is a big part of the Shore culture,” she says, in explaining the inspiration for the book. A New Jersey native who lives in Little Silver, Schnitzspahn fondly recalls visiting her grandparents in Margate in the 1950s.

“I remember going to Hackney’s and ordering lobster as a child. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world,” she says. The Atlantic City restaurant accommodated up to 3,200 patrons and featured waitresses in lobster costumes at the Miss America parade and in promotional materials to highlight its signature dish.

Schnitzspahn shows how Shore cuisine has evolved from the 19th century to the present. An 1850 breakfast menu from Congress Hall in Cape May offers standard fare, such as scrambled eggs and fried potatoes. However, the first four items listed are unlikely to grace most breakfast tables today: beef steaks, mutton chops, fresh fish and tripe. “I think that was the European influence,” she says, as the breakfast offerings also included kidneys, liver and clam fritters.

Other popular dishes fell out of favor with the passage of time. Celia Brown’s, a Belmar drive-in, offered a pineapple with cream cheese sandwich for 20 cents in the mid-1930s. And restaurants were not above adding a side of hyperbole to their meals. “We make the best Chocolate Ice Cream Soda in the World or any other place,” Celia Brown’s menu proclaimed.

alan brechmna, 1979, atlatic ciyt, dip stix

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Schnitzspahn offers short profiles of Shore institutions, including Kohr Brothers ice cream, Max’s Famous Hot Dogs in Long Branch and the Knife and Fork Inn in Atlantic City. Interspersed through the book are 90 photographs and illustrations. Some demonstrate the visual element in marketing food and drink.

After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Atlantic City celebrated the occasion with a merry-go-round bar that made it stand out from other watering holes. The WindMill restaurant in Long Branch remains a landmark that creates a lasting impression with its white vanes.

To give readers the opportunity to sample Shore cuisine through the ages, Schnitzspahn has reprinted more than 20 recipes. They range from an 1873 recipe for mock turtle soup served at the West End Hotel in Long Branch to a recipe for funnel cake, the popular boardwalk snack.

“I like to eat, but I don’t consider myself a foodie,” says Schnitzspahn, who tried out some of the recipes with her two grandchildren, including one for blancmange from the 19th century.

Today, she sees the Shore adapting to keep up with culinary trends, such as the farm-to-table movement and the growing demand for organic food. “There are now more vegetarian options and vegan restaurants,” she says.

Schnitzspahn believes Shore restaurants can handle all tastes. “There’s something for everybody, whether you want to hold a meal in your hand or sit down to a spectacular five-course dinner.”

View A Slide Show of 1900s New Jersey photos here.

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History of the New Jersey Board Walk

atlatic city, 1942, us army airforces

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Nothing is more New Jersey than its boardwalks. Hundreds of thousands of visitors and residents enjoy the unique entertainment that these iconic wooden pathways provide along the Jersey Shore.

Many towns along the state’s 130 miles of ocean coastline boast a boardwalk and each one has its own individuality. Family-friendly, bustling, romantic or sophisticated, Jersey Shore boardwalk towns have dozens of distinct styles that appeal to all ages.

The boardwalk as we know it today – a raised promenade of plank boards straddling the sandy coastline – first appeared in Atlantic City in 1870, making it the world’s first. Today, it’s also the world’s longest.

Its initial purpose was pragmatic, intending to minimize the amount of sand trafficked into seaside hotels and train cars, but it wasn’t long before the boardwalk was inserted into the public consciousness as a symbol of good times and easy living.

New Jersey boardwalks are very distinctive. Writer Jeff Schlegel put it best in an article in the Washington Post, when he stated candidly, “With all due respect to Coney Island and Virginia Beach, no place in the country matches the breadth and depth of boardwalk culture found along the Jersey Shore.”

atlatic city, black and white, 1967, tram car

Click to enlarge

In addition to Atlantic City, Jersey Shore boardwalks offer something for everyone. The mile long boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach is a super family-friendly promenade with tons of rides and arcades for kids, a wide beach, restaurants, bars and even an aquarium.

To the south of Point Pleasant Beach is the Seaside Heights boardwalk that features the Casino and Funtown piers amusement parks. The mile long boardwalk is action-packed and one of the most popular and most visited in the state and is a magnet for young people. It’s full of game stands, rides, arcades and even a waterpark.

Near the southern most tip of New Jersey Wildwood has a total of five amusement piers, dozens of carnival games, souvenir shops, food stands, waterparks and world-class roller coasters. This bustling boardwalk draws tons of visitors to enjoy all the amusements, the expansive beach and the many special events.

For those seeking a quieter setting Spring Lake offers residents and vacationers alike an unhurried and peaceful atmosphere that has made the town a highly-desirable destination at the Jersey Shore for more than 100 years. Along with its uncluttered beach, the two-mile long boardwalk is the longest non-commercial boardwalk in New Jersey and provides a unique atmosphere for all visitors.

So, when in New Jersey, don’t miss out on the unforgettable experience of visiting our state’s boardwalks.

Compiled By: Josh Martin

Sources:
visitnj.com
Philly.com
NJ.com

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in History, Music Video, Uncategorized, Video Blog

 

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History of Labor Day – Video Blog

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Compiled By: Josh Martin
Sources: Department of labor

 

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“The El Dorado Machine”, How Lidar uncovered the lost city of “La Ciudad Blanca”

temp9La Ciudad Blanca, or “The White City”, (also Xucutaco in nahuatl and Hueitapalan in mayan), is a legendary lost city in the Mosquitia region of Honduras. The city was originally sought by the conquistador Hernando Cortes for the rumors it held vast quantities of gold. It was also the supposed birthplace of the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl. The source of the legend is unclear; some claim it originates in the time of the Spanish Conquista while others claim to originate from the indigenous Pech and Tawahka peoples.

Over the years a mix of treasure hunting and scientific expeditions have yielded findings that have fueled the legend of the lost city.

One of the first documented archeological explorations of the region was performed in 1933 by archeologist William Duncan Strong for the Smithsonian Institution. The 1933 expedition included areas in the Bay Island Department of Honduras as well as areas in the Mosquitia region of Honduras and Nicaragua. In his field journal we recorded the existence of archeological mounds, among many the Wankibila or Guanquivila mounds on the banks of the Rio Patuca and the Floresta Mounds on the banks of the Rio Conquirre.

For centuries, explorers tried to find la Ciudad Blanca, a fabled city in the rain forests of Central America. Dense jungle impeded efforts to uncover it. On Talk of the nation, Douglas Preston told the story of a team who used light detection technology (lindar) to survey the iconic ruins from the air.

temp9The Latest expedition took a 21st Century Approach and seems to have been successful in finding the lost city, “La Ciudad Blanca”. Using a simple single engine airplane equipped with a modern laser called a Lindar; Douglas Preston and his team scanned the canopy of the Honduraian rain-forest.You’ll be amazed at what they’ve found. Listen to the “Talk of the Nation” video above for more information.

**UPADTE 05-08-2013**

The rain forests of Mosquitia, which span more than thirty-two thousand square miles of Honduras and Nicaragua, are among the densest and most inhospitable in the world. “It’s mountainous,” Chris Begley, an archeologist and expert on Honduras, told me recently. “There’s white water. There are jumping vipers, coral snakes, fer-de-lance, stinging plants, and biting insects. And then there are the illnesses—malaria, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, Chagas’.” Nevertheless, for nearly a century, archeologists and adventurers have plunged into the region, in search of the ruins of an ancient city, built of white stone, called la Ciudad Blanca, the White City.

Rumors of the site’s existence date back at least to 1526, when, in a letter to the Spanish emperor Charles V, the conquistador Hernán Cortés reported hearing “reliable” information about a province in the interior of Honduras that “will exceed Mexico in riches, and equal it in the largeness of its towns and villages.” The claim was not an impossible one; the New World encountered by Europeans had wealthy cities and evidence of former splendor. In 1839, John Lloyd Stephens, an American diplomat and amateur archeologist, went in search of a group of ruins in the jungles of western Honduras—and found the stupendous remains of the Maya city of Copán, which he bought from a local landowner for fifty dollars. Stephens explored scores of other iconic ruins in Central America, which he described in a lavishly illustrated, best-selling book; serious archeology soon followed. Researchers have since determined that, beginning around 250 B.C., much of Mesoamerica south of Mexico had been dominated by the Maya civilization, which held sway until its mysterious collapse, in the tenth century.

But the grand Mesoamerican cultures, which stretched from Mexico southward, seemed to end in Honduras. The regions east and south of Copán were inhabited by peoples whom early scholars considered more “primitive” and less interesting, and the jungles were so dense, and the conditions so dangerous, that little exploration was done. Nonetheless, rumors persisted of lost cities—perhaps Maya, perhaps not—hidden in rugged Mosquitia. By the twentieth century, these legends had coalesced into a single site, la Ciudad Blanca, sometimes referred to as the Lost City of the Monkey God. . . .

Sources: The New Yorker, Wikipedia.com and NPR.org
Compiled By: Josh Martin
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All About Louis Ortiz, the “Bronx Obama” – Video Blog (The Audacity of Louis Ortiz)


What if one day you looked in the mirror and saw the most powerful man in the world staring back at you? In this Op-Doc video, we meet Louis Ortiz, an unemployed Puerto Rican man from the Bronx, whose life turned upside down when he discovered his uncanny resemblance to President Obama.

tempThe first time I talked to Mr. Ortiz on the phone he said, “I’m so glad you called. I’ve been living in the Twilight Zone for the past three years.” That was the spring of 2011. In the week between that call and when we met in person, Osama bin Laden was killed. When I went to the Bronx to meet Mr. Ortiz, people were high-fiving and congratulating him. I knew instantly I had to drop everything else and follow him around.

Mr. Ortiz is a walking, talking image of Barack Obama. When people encounter him, they see the version of Mr. Obama they want to see. And when Mr. Ortiz looks in the mirror, so does he.

Ryan Murdock is a filmmaker who has produced for PBS’s show “Nova” and recorded more than 300 oral histories for NPR’s StoryCorps. This video is adapted from his forthcoming documentary “The Audacity of Louis Ortiz” and a recent episode of “This American Life.”

Source: New York Times

President Obama Impersonator Inspires Kickstarter ‘The Audacity of Louis Ortiz’ Project VIDEO)

While Democrats across the country are hoping for another White House victory in 2012, come November there will be one man from the Bronx hoping to see Obama keep his job even more, as his own livelihood directly depends on it.

Without a steady job and no health insurance to help with his multiple sclerosis, Louis Ortiz is “that guy” politicians are always promising to help find a better life.temp

But as filmmaker Ryan Murdock puts it, Ortiz also just happens to look like the most powerful person on the planet, President Obama, and since 2008 he’s been making the most of what he has to get the bills paid as a professional impersonator.

This American Life featured Oritz’s journey, which began with a young man floundering in mounting bills and playing in neighborhood pool tournaments to try and make ends meet. Then one day, friends pointed to a Daily News cover with Obama on the front, or as Ortiz describes a “dude with big ears” and suggested Ortiz capitalize on his uncanny resemblance to the presidential hopeful. After much contemplation, Ortiz shaved off his facial hair and coveted goatee and his extraordinary story took off.

As the one-time former field technician for Verizon who was struggling to find work, Ortiz told The New York Post, “Never in a million years could I imagine I could look like not just someone famous, but THE someone. It’s Obama. It’s history. The first African American president of the United States – and I’m a part of it.”

Murdock has been filming Ortiz’s story since May 2011 and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance his film, “The Audacity Of Louis Oritz” to document Ortiz’s unique story of what it’s like to struggle in America, as he continues to parallel the real Obama’s battle for the White House in the crucial months ahead.

Watch for the striking resemblance below:

Source: Huffington Post
For a full transcript from this american life click here

 
 

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A Breif History of Roller Coasters – Video Blog

As summer quickly approaches we though we would get into the theme park spirit. Enjoy our modern coasters, because it was a bumpy ride to create todays theme parks.

popular-mecanics-roller-costersImage Source: Popular Mechanics

Beginnings

Thompson’s Switchback Railway, 1884.

The oldest roller coasters descended from the so-called “Russian Mountains,” which were specially constructed hills of ice located especially around Saint Petersburg, Russia. Built in the 17th century, the slides were built to a height of between 70 feet (21 m) and 80 feet (24 m), consisted of a 50 degree drop, and were reinforced by wooden supports. These slides became popular with the Russian upper class. Catherine II of Russia was such a fan of these attractions that she had a few of these slides built on her own property. “Russian mountains” remains the term for roller coasters in many languages, such as Spanish (la montaña rusa), Italian (montagne russe), French (les montagnes russes) and Portuguese (montanha-russa). Ironically, the Russian term for roller coaster, американские горки (amerikanskie gorki), translates literally as “American mountains.”

There is some dispute as to who was the first to put this operation on wheels. Some historians say the first real roller coaster was built under the orders of James the 3rd in the Gardens of Oreinbaum in St. Petersburg in the year 1784. (The lawn where Catherine’s roller coaster once stood, at the Sliding Hill Pavilion, now sits vacant.). Other historians believe that the first roller coaster was built by the French. The Les Montagnes Russes à Belleville (The Russian Mountains of Belleville) constructed in Paris in 1812 and the Promenades Aeriennes both featured wheeled cars securely locked to the track, guide rails to keep them on course, and higher speeds.The first permanent loop track was probably also built in Paris from an English design in 1846, with a single-person wheeled sled running through a 13-foot (4 m) diameter vertical loop. These early single loop designs were called Centrifugal Railways.

Scenic Railways

In the 1850s, a mining company in Summit Hill, Pennsylvania constructed the Mauch Chunk gravity railroad, a brakeman-controlled, 8.7 mile (14 km) downhill track used to deliver coal to Mauch Chunk (now known as Jim Thorpe), Pennsylvania. By 1872, the “Gravity Road” (as it became known) was providing rides to thrill-seekers for 50 cents a ride. Railway companies used similar tracks to provide amusement on days when ridership was low.

Using this idea as a basis, LaMarcus Adna Thompson began work on a gravity Switchback Railway that opened at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York in 1884. Passengers climbed to the top of a platform and rode a bench-like car down the 600 ft (180 m) track up to the top of another tower where the vehicle was switched to a return track and the passengers took the return trip. This track design was soon replaced with an oval complete circuit.[5] In 1885, Phillip Hinkle introduced the first complete-circuit coaster with a lift hill, the Gravity Pleasure Road, which was soon the most popular attraction at Coney Island.Not to be outdone, in 1886 LaMarcus Adna Thompson patented his design of roller coaster that included dark tunnels with painted scenery. “Scenic Railways” were to be found in amusement parks across the county.

Growing popularity and innovations

As it grew in popularity, experimentation in coaster dynamics took off. In the 1880s the concept of a vertical loop was again explored, and in 1895 the concept came into fruition with The Flip Flap, located at Sea Lion Park in Brooklyn, and shortly afterward with Loop-the-Loop at Olentangy Park near Columbus, Ohio. The rides were incredibly dangerous, and many passengers suffered whiplash. Both were soon dismantled, and looping coasters had to wait for over a half century before making a reappearance.

By 1912, the first underfriction roller coaster was developed by John Miller. Soon, roller coasters spread to amusement parks all around the world. Perhaps the best known historical roller coaster, The Cyclone, was opened at Coney Island in 1927. Like The Cyclone, all early roller coasters were made of wood. Many old wooden roller coasters are still operational, at parks such as Kennywood near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Pleasure Beach Blackpool, England. The oldest operating roller coaster is Leap-The-Dips at Lakemont Park in Pennsylvania, a side friction roller coaster built in 1902. The oldest wooden roller coaster in the United Kingdom is the Scenic Railway at Dreamland Amusement Park in Margate, Kent and features a system where the brakeman rides the car with wheels. It was severely damaged by fire on 7 April 2008. Scenic Railway at Melbourne’s Luna Park built in 1912, is the world’s oldest continually-operating roller coaster, and it also still features a system where the brakeman rides the car with wheels. One of only 13 remaining examples of John Miller’s work worldwide is the wooden roller coaster at Lagoon in Utah. The coaster opened in 1921 and is the 6th oldest coaster in the world.

The Great Depression marked the end of the first golden age of roller coasters, and theme parks in general went into decline. This lasted until 1972, when The Racer was built at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio (near Cincinnati). Designed by John Allen, the instant success of The Racer began a second golden age, which has continued to this day.

Steel roller coasters

Matterhorn Bobsleds, the world’s first tubular steel roller coaster.

In 1959, the Disneyland theme park introduced a new design breakthrough in roller coasters with the Matterhorn Bobsleds. This was the first roller coaster to use a tubular steel track. Unlike conventional wooden rails, tubular steel can be bent in any direction, which allows designers to incorporate loops, corkscrews, and many other maneuvers into their designs. Most modern roller coasters are made of steel, although wooden roller coasters are still being built.

In 1975 the first modern-day roller coaster to perform an inverting element opened: Corkscrew, located at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. In 1976 the vertical loop made a permanent comeback with the Great American Revolution at Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.

New designs and technologies are pushing the limits of what can be experienced on the newest coasters. Flying coasters like Tatsu and electromagnetically-launched coasters like Maverick are examples of the latest generation of technologically advanced coasters.

Timeline of notable roller coasters

The roller coasters mentioned here are significant for their role in the amusement industry. They were notable for specific reasons, including:

  • First coaster of a specific kind, style, manufacturing material or unique technology; ground-breaking
  • First time a particular record-breaking threshold was crossed
  • Historical significance

1800 to 1899

1817
  • First coaster featuring cars that locked onto track: Les Montagnes Russes à Belleville (Russian Mountains of Belleville), Paris, France.
  • First coaster to feature two cars racing each other: Les Montagnes Russes à Belleville.
  • First complete-circuit coaster: Promenades Aériennes (The Aerial Walk), Paris.
1827
1846
  • First looping coaster (non-circuit): Centrifugal Railway, Frascati Garden, Paris.
1885

1900 to 1969

1902
1907
  • First use of lapbar: Drop-The-Dips, Coney Island.
1912
1913
1925
  • First coaster to reach 100 feet: Cyclone, Revere Beach, Revere, Massachusetts, United States.
1930
1959
1966

1970 to 1979

1972
1975
1976

1977
1979
  • The Beast: opened as the tallest, fastest and longest wooden coaster. Today it is still the longest wooden roller coaster in the world.

1980 to 1989

1980
1981
1982

  • First coaster to operate vehicles in reverse: Racer, Kings Island.
  • First coaster to run stand-up trains: Dangai, Thrill Valley, Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan.
1985
1987
  • First coaster with six inversions: Vortex, Kings Island.
1988
1989

1990 to 1999

1992

Dragon Khan at PortAventura, the first roller coaster with eight inversions

1995
1996
1997
1998
1999

2000 to 2009

2000

Millennium Force at Cedar Point, the first roller coaster to exceed 300 feet (91 m) in height and the first to use an elevator cable lift.

2001
2002
2003
  • First complete-circuit coaster to exceed 400 feet (120 m) in height: Top Thrill Dragster, Cedar Point.
  • First coaster with a more than 90° vertical drop (97°): Vild-Svinet, BonBon-Land, Zealand, Denmark.
  • First coaster to utilize a vertical lift (not considered an elevator lift): Vild-Svinet, BonBon-Land.
2004
2008
2009

2010 to 2019

2010
 

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Top 20 April Fools Day Pranks – 2013 (and the top 100 pranks of all time) – Video Blog


Video Produced By: Jeremiah Warren

APRIL FOOLS: Tweets Will Shrink To 133 Characters

April 01, 2012 7:59 AM
temp9
Happy April Fools’ Day!

Rest easy, that headline was just a joke. You still have 140 characters to compose a tweet. Believe it or not: The productivity of the newsroom took a hit to come up with that fake headline. A whole host of people across NPR contributed a bunch of ideas. These were our 20 runners-up:

— NPR Blogger Wins Mega-Millions Jackpot

— Ford: All New Cars Will Have Air Bags For Cats and Dogs

— Citing Safety Risks, 30 States Outlaw ‘Driveway Moments’

— More Teens ‘Going Amish,’ Shunning Technology

— Facebook Adds ‘Meh’ Button

— Facebook App Lets Friends See Your Tax Returns

— Biden Out, Boehner In As Obama Shuffles Team

— House, Senate, White House Agree On Budget

— How Your Brain Is Like A Turkish Bath House

— Limbaugh, Olbermann Plan ‘Unity Tour’

— Scientists: Pink Slime Is Really Chartreuse

— Lady Gaga To Open Olympic Ceremonies With 20 Singing Kittens

— Penguin Brawls Reported From Shrinking North Pole

— Six Surefire Ways To Lose Weight Without Exercising Or Eating Right

— Internet Goes Down. Experts Advise: Reboot

— CPB Paid Clooney, Others For ‘I Love NPR’ Endorsements

— Men Of NPR: The Calendar

— Five Reasons Pink Slime Is Good For You

— NPR Listeners Demand: No More Stamberg Cranberries. Ever.

— R. Kelly Commissioned To Write New ATC Theme

At NPR, running a hoax story on April 1 is a long tradition. Back in 1992, Talk of the Nation ran a segment in which Richard Nixon — played by Rich Little — announced he was running for president using the campaign slogan, “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.”

Snap Judgment, a public radio show distributed through NPR and PRX, is also celebrating the holiday with a special edition, “Original Prankster,” described as “amazing stories about people who take the joke waaaaaay too far …”

One of our favorite hoax stories came in 2009, when All Things Considered reported from Belleville, Illinois where “the nation’s first farm-raised whales are being grown and harvested.”

Last year, All Things Considered reported on the “slow net wave,” a movement of people who savored slow, dial-up Internet.

Update at 12:23 p.m. ET: Weekend Edition Sunday’s April Fool’s Story:

You can read the show’s story on Beethoven’s 10th Symphony here.

If you’re hungering for more April Foolery The Museum of Hoaxes has a “Top 100” list.

Update at 4:18 p.m. ET: Getting Your Kid Into The Right School Just Got Harder:

Weekends on All Things Considered is weighing in with their own entirely plausible tale.

Meanwhile, here are a few more media pranks we’ve found from across the sea:

Amnesty for hosepipe owners as drought bites
From The Independent On Sunday in Britain: “People living in areas where the ban comes into force on Thursday are to be given the opportunity to surrender garden hoses at local police stations.”

Arsenal launches new fragrance that smells of Emirates Stadium
From The Sun in Britain: “The £23 perfume includes a whiff of oils in the players’ massage area, the fresh-cut pitch and leather from boss Arsene Wenger’s dugout seat”

A fine BROmance… Simon Cowell and David Walliams fool around in the park
Photos from the Mirror in Britain: “The boys found a ­secluded spot to lay out their rug, uncork their wine and enjoy a natter”

And finally, one from the BBC, curiously unavailable on their site anymore, says the Gothamist:

The Earth has exploded, killing everyone

Source: NPR.org

Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time

#1: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
On 1 April 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” More→

#2: Sidd Finch
The April 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated contained a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch, and he could reportedly throw a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy. This was 65 mph faster than the previous record. Surprisingly, Sidd Finch had never even played the game before. Instead, he had mastered the “art of the pitch” in a Tibetan monastery under the guidance of the “great poet-saint Lama Milaraspa.” Mets fans celebrated their teams’ amazing luck at having found such a gifted player, and they flooded Sports Illustrated with requests for more information. In reality this legendary player only existed in the imagination of the author of the article, George Plimpton, who left a clue in the sub-heading of the article: “He’s a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd’s deciding about yoga —and his future in baseball.” The first letter of each of these words, taken together, spelled “H-a-p-p-y A-p-r-i-l F-o-o-l-s D-a-y — A-h F-i-b”. More→

#3: Instant Color TV
In 1962 there was only one tv channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in black and white. But on 1 April 1962, the station’s technical expert, Kjell Stensson, appeared on the news to announce that, thanks to a new technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their tv screen. Stensson proceeded to demonstrate the process. Thousands of people were taken in. Regular color broadcasts only commenced in Sweden on April 1, 1970. More→

#4: The Taco Liberty Bell
The Taco Bell Corporation took out a full-page ad that appeared in six major newspapers on 1 April 1996, announcing it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial. More→

#5: San Serriffe
On 1 April 1977, the British newspaper The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement devoted to San Serriffe, a small republic said to consist of several semi-colon-shaped islands located in the Indian Ocean. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. The Guardian’s phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. Only a few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer’s terminology. The success of this hoax is widely credited with launching the enthusiasm for April Foolery that gripped the British tabloids in subsequent decades. More→

#6: Nixon for President
The 1 April 1992 broadcast of National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation revealed that Richard Nixon, in a surprise move, was running for President again. His new campaign slogan was, “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.” Accompanying this announcement were audio clips of Nixon delivering his candidacy speech. Listeners responded viscerally to the announcement, flooding the show with calls expressing shock and outrage. Only during the second half of the show did the host John Hockenberry reveal that the announcement was a practical joke. Nixon’s voice was impersonated by comedian Rich Little.

#7: Alabama Changes the Value of Pi
The April 1998 issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter contained an article claiming that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi from 3.14159 to the ‘Biblical value’ of 3.0. Soon the article made its way onto the internet, and then it rapidly spread around the world, forwarded by email. It only became apparent how far the article had spread when the Alabama legislature began receiving hundreds of calls from people protesting the legislation. The original article, which was intended as a parody of legislative attempts to circumscribe the teaching of evolution, was written by physicist Mark Boslough.

#8: The Left-Handed Whopper
Burger King published a full page advertisement in the April 1st edition of USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, “many others requested their own ‘right handed’ version.”

#9: Hotheaded Naked Ice Borers
The April 1995 issue of Discover Magazine reported that the highly respected wildlife biologist Dr. Aprile Pazzo had found a new species in Antarctica: the hotheaded naked ice borer. These fascinating creatures had bony plates on their heads that, fed by numerous blood vessels, could become burning hot, allowing the animals to bore through ice at high speeds. They used this ability to hunt penguins, melting the ice beneath the penguins and causing them to sink downwards into the resulting slush where the hotheads consumed them. After much research, Dr. Pazzo theorized that the hotheads might have been responsible for the mysterious disappearance of noted Antarctic explorer Philippe Poisson in 1837. “To the ice borers, he would have looked like a penguin,” the article quoted her as saying. Discover received more mail in response to this article than they had received for any other article in their history.

#10: Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity
During an interview on BBC Radio 2, on the morning of 1 April 1976, the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room. Moore’s announcement (which, of course, was a joke) was inspired by a pseudoscientific astronomical theory that had recently been promoted in a book called The Jupiter Effect, alleging that a rare alignment of the planets was going to cause massive earthquakes and the destruction of Los Angeles in 1982. More→

#11: UFO Lands in London
On March 31, 1989 thousands of motorists driving on the highway outside London looked up in the air to see a glowing flying saucer descending on their city. Many of them pulled to the side of the road to watch the bizarre craft float through the air. The saucer finally landed in a field on the outskirts of London where local residents immediately called the police to warn them of an alien invasion. Soon the police arrived on the scene, and one brave officer approached the craft with his truncheon extended before him. When a door in the craft popped open, and a small, silver-suited figure emerged, the policeman ran in the opposite direction. The saucer turned out to be a hot-air balloon that had been specially built to look like a UFO by Richard Branson, the 36-year-old chairman of Virgin Records. The stunt combined his passion for ballooning with his love of pranks. His plan was to land the craft in London’s Hyde Park on April 1. Unfortunately, the wind blew him off course, and he was forced to land a day early in the wrong location.

#12: Flying Penguins
On 1 April 2008, the BBC announced that camera crews filming near the Antarctic for its natural history series Miracles of Evolution had captured footage of Adélie penguins taking to the air. It even offered a video clip of these flying penguins, which became one of the most viewed videos on the internet. Presenter Terry Jones explained that, instead of huddling together to endure the Antarctic winter, these penguins took to the air and flew thousands of miles to the rainforests of South America where they “spend the winter basking in the tropical sun.” A follow-up video explained how the BBC created the special effects of the flying penguins.

#13: Kremvax
A message distributed to the members of Usenet (the online messaging community that was one of the first forms the internet took) on 1 April 1984 announced that the Soviet Union was joining the network. This generated enormous excitement, since most Usenet members had assumed cold war security concerns would prevent such a link-up. The message purported to come from Konstantin Chernenko (from the address chernenko@kremvax.UUCP) who explained that the Soviet Union wanted to join the network in order to “have a means of having an open discussion forum with the American and European people.” The message created a flood of responses. Two weeks later its true author, a European man named Piet Beertema, revealed it was a hoax. This is believed to be the first hoax on the internet. Six years later, when Moscow really did link up to the internet, it adopted the domain name ‘kremvax’ in honor of the hoax.

#14: The Body of Nessie Found
On 1 April 1972, newspaper headlines around the world announced that the dead body of the Loch Ness Monster had been found. A team of zoologists from Yorkshire’s Flamingo Park Zoo, who were at Loch Ness searching for proof of Nessie’s existence, had discovered the carcass floating in the water the day before. Initial reports claimed it weighed a ton and a half and was 15½ feet long. The zoologists placed the body in their van and began transporting it back to the zoo, but the local police chased them down and stopped them, citing a 1933 act of Parliament prohibiting the removal of “unidentified creatures” from Loch Ness. The police then took the body to Dunfermline for examination, where scientists soon threw cold water on the theory that the creature was the Loch Ness Monster. Instead, it was a bull elephant seal from the South Atlantic. The next day, the Flamingo Park’s education officer, John Shields, confessed he had been responsible for placing the body in the Loch. The seal had died the week before at Dudley Zoo. He had shaved off its whiskers, padded its cheeks with stones, and kept it frozen for a week, before dumping it in the Loch. Then he phoned in a tip to make sure his colleagues found it. He had meant to play an April Fool’s prank on his colleagues, but admitted the joke got out of hand when the police chased down their van. The seal’s body was displayed at the Flamingo Park Zoo for a few days before being properly disposed of. More→

#15: Metric Time
On 1 April 1975, Australia’s This Day Tonight news program revealed that the country would soon be converting to “metric time.” Under the new system there would be 100 seconds to the minute, 100 minutes to the hour, and 20-hour days. Furthermore, seconds would become millidays, minutes become centidays, and hours become decidays. The report included an interview with Deputy Premier Des Corcoran who praised the new time system. The Adelaide townhall was even shown sporting a new 10-hour metric clock face. The thumbnail (found at TelevisionAU.com) shows TDT Adelaide reporter Nigel Starck posing with a smaller metric clock. TDT received numerous calls from viewers who fell for the hoax. One frustrated viewer wanted to know how he could convert his newly purchased digital clock to metric time.

#16: The Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe
On the morning of 1 April 1974, the residents of Sitka, Alaska woke to a disturbing sight. Clouds of black smoke were rising from the crater of Mount Edgecumbe, the long-dormant volcano neighboring them. People spilled out of their homes onto the streets to gaze up at the volcano, terrified that it was active again and might soon erupt. Luckily it turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke. A local practical joker named Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano’s crater and then lit them on fire, all in a (successful) attempt to fool the city dwellers into believing that the volcano was stirring to life. According to local legend, when Mount St. Helens erupted six years later, a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, “This time you’ve gone too far!” More→

#17: The Case of the Interfering Brassieres
The 1 April 1982 issue of the Daily Mail reported that a local manufacturer had sold 10,000 “rogue bras” that were causing a unique and unprecedented problem, not to the wearers but to the public at large. Apparently the support wire in these bras had been made out of a kind of copper originally designed for use in fire alarms. When this copper came into contact with nylon and body heat, it produced static electricity which, in turn, was interfering with local television and radio broadcasts. The chief engineer of British Telecom, upon reading the article, immediately ordered that all his female laboratory employees disclose what type of bra they were wearing.

#18: Man Flies By Own Lung Power
In April 1934, many American newspapers (including The New York Times) printed a photograph of a man flying through the air by means of a device powered only by the breath from his lungs. Accompanying articles excitedly described this miraculous new invention. The man, identified as German pilot Erich Kocher, blew into a box on his chest. This activated rotors that created a powerful suction effect, lifting him aloft. Skis on his feet served as landing gear, and a tail fin allowed him to steer. What the American papers didn’t realize was that the “lung-power motor” was a joke. The photo had first appeared in the April Fool’s Day edition of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. It made its way to America thanks to Hearst’s International News Photo agency which not only fell for the hoax but also distributed it to all its U.S. subscribers. In the original article, the pilot’s name was spelled “Erich Koycher,” which was a pun on the German word “keuchen,” meaning to puff or wheeze. More→

#19: The Sydney Iceberg
A barge towing a giant iceberg appeared in Sydney Harbor on the morning of 1 April 1978. Sydneysiders were expecting it. Dick Smith, a local adventurer and millionaire businessman, had been loudly promoting his scheme to tow an iceberg from Antarctica for quite some time. Now he had apparently succeeded. He said that he was going to carve the berg into small ice cubes, which he would sell to the public for ten cents each. These well-traveled cubes, fresh from the pure waters of Antarctica, were promised to improve the flavor of any drink they cooled. Slowly the iceberg made its way into the harbor. Local radio stations provided blow-by-blow coverage of the scene. Only when the berg was well into the harbor was its secret revealed. It started to rain, and the firefighting foam and shaving cream that the berg was really made of washed away, uncovering the white plastic sheets beneath. More→

#20: The 26-Day Marathon
The 1 April 1981 issue of the Daily Mail contained a story about an unfortunate Japanese long-distance runner, Kimo Nakajimi, who had entered the London Marathon but, on account of a translation error, thought that he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles. Reportedly Nakajimi was now somewhere out on the roads of England, still running, determined to finish the race. Various people had spotted him, though they were unable to flag him down. The translation error was attributed to Timothy Bryant, an import director, who said, “I translated the rules and sent them off to him. But I have only been learning Japanese for two years, and I must have made a mistake. He seems to be taking this marathon to be something like the very long races they have over there.”

#21: Bombs Away!
1915: On April 1, 1915, in the midst of World War I, a French aviator flew over a German camp and dropped what appeared to be a huge bomb. The German soldiers immediately scattered in all directions, but no explosion followed. After some time, the soldiers crept back and gingerly approached the bomb. They discovered it was actually a large football with a note tied to it that read, “April Fool!”

#22: Whistling Carrots
2002: The British supermarket chain Tesco published an advertisement in The Sun announcing the successful development of a genetically modified ‘whistling carrot.’ The ad explained that the carrots had been specially engineered to grow with tapered airholes in their side. When fully cooked, these airholes caused the vegetable to whistle.

#23: The Skyforest Orange-Bearing Pine Trees
1950: Motorists driving along the scenic Rim of the World highway near Lake Arrowhead in Southern California discovered that the pine and cedar trees lining the road had all grown oranges overnight. The transformation was the work of the residents of the nearby town of Skyforest, led by the cartoonist Frank Adams. They had crept out during the night and strung 50,000 oranges in the trees along a one-mile section of the highway. The fruit was left over from the recent National Orange Show in San Bernardino.

#24: Drunk Driving on the Internet
1994: An article by John Dvorak in PC Computing magazine described a bill going through Congress that would make it illegal to use the internet while drunk, or to discuss sexual matters over a public network. The bill was supposedly numbered 040194 (i.e. 04/01/94), and the contact person was listed as Lirpa Sloof (April Fools backwards). The article said that the FBI was going to use the bill to tap the phone line of anyone who “uses or abuses alcohol” while accessing the internet. Passage of the bill was felt to be certain because “Who wants to come out and support drunkenness and computer sex?” The article offered this explanation for the origin of the bill: “The moniker ‘Information Highway’ itself seems to be responsible for SB 040194… I know how silly this sounds, but Congress apparently thinks being drunk on a highway is bad no matter what kind of highway it is.” The article generated so many outraged phone calls to Congress that Senator Edward Kennedy’s office had to release an official denial of the rumor that he was a sponsor of the bill.

#25: 15th Annual New York City April Fool’s Day Parade
2000: A news release sent to the media stated that the 15th annual New York City April Fool’s Day Parade was scheduled to begin at noon on 59th Street and would proceed down to Fifth Avenue. According to the release, floats in the parade would include a “Beat ’em, Bust ’em, Book ’em” float created by the New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle police departments. This float would portray “themes of brutality, corruption and incompetence.” A “Where’s Mars?” float, reportedly built at a cost of $10 billion, would portray missed Mars missions. Finally, the “Atlanta Braves Baseball Tribute to Racism” float would feature John Rocker who would be “spewing racial epithets at the crowd.” CNN and the Fox affiliate WNYW sent television news crews to cover the parade. They arrived at 59th Street at noon only to discover that there was no sign of a parade, at which point the reporters realized they had been hoaxed. The prank was the handiwork of Joey Skaggs, an experienced hoaxer. Skaggs had been issuing press releases advertising the nonexistent parade every April Fool’s Day since 1986.

#26: The Predictions of Isaac Bickerstaff
1708: In February 1708 a previously unknown London astrologer named Isaac Bickerstaff published an almanac in which he predicted the death by fever of the famous rival astrologer John Partridge. According to Bickerstaff, Partridge would die on March 29 of that year. Partridge indignantly denied the prediction, but on March 30 Bickerstaff released a pamphlet announcing that he had been correct: Partridge was dead. It took a day for the news to settle in, but soon everyone had heard of the astrologer’s demise. Thus, on April 1st Partridge was woken by a sexton outside his window who wanted to know if there were any orders for his funeral sermon. Then, as Partridge walked down the street, people stared at him as if they were looking at a ghost or stopped to tell him that he looked exactly like someone they knew who was dead. As hard as he tried, Partridge couldn’t convince people that he wasn’t dead. Bickerstaff, it turned out, was a pseudonym for the satirist Jonathan Swift. His prognosticatory practical joke upon Partridge worked so well that the astrologer finally was forced to stop publishing his almanacs, because he couldn’t shake his reputation as the man whose death had been foretold.

#27: Diseases of Brunus edwardii
1972: The Veterinary Record, the weekly journal of the British veterinary profession, contained an article about the diseases of Brunus edwardii, which was described as a species “commonly kept in homes in the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe and North America.” The article warned:
Pet ownership surveys have shown that 63.8 percent of households are inhabited by one or more of these animals, and there is a statistically significant relationship between their population and the number of children in a household. The public health implications of this fact are obvious, and it is imperative that more be known about their diseases, particularly zoonoses or other conditions which might be associated with their close contact with man.

For months afterwards the correspondence section of the Veterinary Record was dominated by letters about Brunus edwardii, most of which offered new observations about the species. The article proved so popular that it was eventually published in a special edition by Whittington Press, although it was reported that the British Library later had difficulty deciding how to classify it, as fact or fiction. Brunus edwardii is more commonly known as the “Teddy Bear”.

#28: Wisconsin State Capitol Collapses
1933: The Madison Capital-Times solemnly announced that the Wisconsin state capitol building lay in ruins following a series of mysterious explosions. The explosions were attributed to “large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the Senate and Assembly chambers.” Accompanying the article was a picture showing the capitol building collapsing. Many readers were fooled—and outraged. One reader wrote in declaring the hoax “was not only tactless and void of humor, but also a hideous jest.” Nevertheless, in 1985 The Science Digest named this as one of the best hoaxes ever.

#29: New Zealand Wasp Swarm
In 1949 Phil Shone, a New Zealand deejay for radio station 1ZB, announced to his listeners that a mile-wide wasp swarm was headed towards Auckland. He urged them to take a variety of steps to protect themselves and their homes from the winged menace. For instance, he suggested that they wear their socks over their trousers when they left for work, and that they leave honey-smeared traps outside their doors. Hundreds of people dutifully heeded his advice, until he finally admitted that it had all been a joke. The New Zealand Broadcasting Service was not amused by Shone’s prank. Its director, Professor James Shelley, denounced the hoax on the grounds that it undermined the rules of proper broadcasting. From then on, a memo was sent out each year before April Fool’s Day reminding New Zealand radio stations of their obligation to report the truth, and nothing but the truth.

#30: Abduction From the Grand Guignol
1950: On Wednesday March 29, 1950, between the second and third acts of No Orchids for Miss Blandish at Paris’s Grand Guignol theater, actress Nicole Riche suddenly disappeared. Stage hands said she had been handed a note, went pale as she read it, walked outside, and then vanished. Unable to continue the play, the theater gave everyone in the audience their money back. The police, who suspected kidnapping, launched a massive manhunt. Her disappearance made headlines around the world. Some papers noted it was an odd coincidence that she had apparently been kidnapped while starring in a play about a woman who is kidnapped. Two days later, early on the morning of April 1st, Riche walked into a police station dressed in the same flimsy white negligee and furcoat she had been wearing during the play, plus a sweater she said some friendly gypsies had given her. She claimed she had been imprisoned for the past two days by “Puritans” who lectured her endlessly about her immoral lifestyle before finally abandoning her in a forest. The police were skeptical about her story since there’s wasn’t a speck of dirt or dust on her. Eventually Riche broke down and admitted she hadn’t been abducted by Puritans. Her disappearance had been an April Fool’s Day publicity stunt engineered by the Grand Guignol’s manager, Alexandre Dundas.

#31: Migrant Mother Makeover
2005: Popular Photography ran an article titled “Can these photos be saved?” about how to remove unsightly wrinkles from photographic subjects. They chose, as an example of a photo that “needed to be saved,” Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” photo taken in 1936 during the Great Depression. Lange’s photo is one of the most widely admired in the world. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe it as the Mona Lisa of photographs, and the Migrant Mother’s stoic expression is what makes the image great. Nevertheless, the editors of Popular Photography erased her wrinkles, softened her gaze, and removed her kids, transforming her from an iconic symbol of endurance into a smooth-faced, worry-free soccer mom. Their readers were horrified, not realizing the article was a spoof on the way magazines routinely touch-up celebrity images to remove blemishes and wrinkles. Hundreds wrote in expressing outrage at the defacement of such a classic image. To which the editors replied: Look at the date it was published!

#32: The Great Comic Strip Switcheroonie
1997: Comic strip fans opened their papers on April 1, 1997 and discovered their favorite strips looked different. Not only that, but in many cases characters from other strips popped up out of place. The reason for the chaos was the Great Comics Switcheroonie. Forty-six comic-strip artists conspired to pen each other’s strips for the day. For instance, Scott Adams of Dilbert took over Family Circus by Bil Keane, where he added a touch of corporate cynicism to the family-themed strip by having the mother tell her kid to “work cuter, not harder.” Jim Davis of Garfield took over Blondie, which allowed him to show his famous overweight cat eating one of Dagwood’s sandwiches. The stunt was masterminded by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, creators of the Baby Blues comic strip. When asked why he participated, Scott Adams noted, “You don’t get that many chances to tunnel under the fence.”

#33: The Derbyshire Fairy
2007: In late March 2007, images of an 8-inch mummified creature resembling a fairy were posted on the website of the Lebanon Circle Magik Co. Accompanying text explained how the creature had been found by a man walking his dog along an old roman road in rural Derbyshire. Word of this discovery soon spread around the internet. Bloggers excitedly speculated about whether the find was evidence of the actual existence of fairies. By April 1 the Lebanon Circle website had received tens of thousands of visitors and hundreds of emails. But at the end of April 1, Dan Baines, the owner of the site, confessed that the fairy was a hoax. He had used his skills as a magician’s prop-maker to create the creature. Baines later reported that, even after his confession, he continued to receive numerous emails from people who refused to accept the fairy wasn’t real.

#34: I Must Fly
1959: The residents of Wellingborough, England woke to find a trail of white footprints painted along the main street of their town. At the end of the trail were the words, “I must fly.”

#35: Big Ben Goes Digital
1980: The BBC reported that Big Ben, in order to keep up with the times, was going to be given a digital readout. The announcement received a huge response from listeners shocked and angered by the proposed change. The BBC Japanese service also announced that the clock hands would be sold to the first four listeners to contact them. One Japanese seaman in the mid-Atlantic immediately radioed in a bid.

#36: Discovery of the Bigon
1996: Discover Magazine reported that physicists had discovered a new fundamental particle of matter, dubbed the Bigon. It could only be coaxed into existence for mere millionths of a second, but amazingly, when it did materialize it was the size of a bowling ball. Physicist Albert Manque and his colleagues accidentally found the particle when a computer connected to one of their vacuum-tube experiments exploded. Video analysis of the explosion revealed the Bigon hovering over the computer for a fraction of a second. Manque theorized that the Bigon might be responsible for a host of other unexplained phenomena such as ball lightning, sinking souffles, and spontaneous human combustion. Discover received huge amounts of mail in response to the story.

#37: Dutch Elm Disease Infects Redheads
1973: BBC Radio broadcast an interview with an elderly academic, Dr. Clothier, who discoursed on the government’s efforts to stop the spread of Dutch Elm Disease. Dr. Clothier described some startling discoveries that had been made about the tree disease. For instance, he referred to the research of Dr. Emily Lang of the London School of Pathological and Environmental Medicine. Dr. Lang had apparently found that exposure to Dutch Elm Disease immunized people to the common cold. Unfortunately, there was a side effect. Exposure to the disease also caused red hair to turn yellow and eventually fall out. This was attributed to a similarity between the blood count of redheads and the soil conditions in which affected trees grew. Therefore, redheads were advised to stay away from forests for the foreseeable future. Dr. Clothier was in reality the comedian Spike Milligan.

#38: Operation Parallax
1979: London’s Capital Radio announced that Operation Parallax would soon go into effect. This was a government plan to resynchronize the British calendar with the rest of the world. It was explained that ever since 1945 Britain had gradually become 48 hours ahead of all other countries because of the constant switching back and forth from British Summer Time. To remedy this situation, the British government had decided to cancel April 5 and 12 that year. Capital Radio received numerous calls as a result of this announcement. One employer wanted to know if she had to pay her employees for the missing days. Another woman was curious about what would happen to her birthday, which fell on one of the cancelled days.

#39: Space Shuttle Lands in San Diego
1993: Dave Rickards, a deejay at KGB-FM in San Diego, announced that the space shuttle Discovery had been diverted from Edwards Air Force Base and would instead soon be landing at Montgomery Field, a small airport located in the middle of a residential area just outside of San Diego. Thousands of commuters immediately headed towards the landing site, causing enormous traffic jams that lasted for almost an hour. Police eventually had to be called in to clear the traffic. People arrived at the airport armed with cameras, camcorders, and even folding chairs. Reportedly the crowd swelled to over 1,000 people. Of course, the shuttle never landed. In fact, the Montgomery Field airport would have been far too small for the shuttle to even consider landing there. Moreover, there wasn’t even a shuttle in orbit at the time. The police were not amused by the prank. They announced that they would be billing the radio station for the cost of forcing officers to direct the traffic.

#40: The Spiggot Metric Boycott
1973: Westward Television, a British TV studio, produced a documentary feature about the village of Spiggot. As the documentary explained, the stubborn residents of this small town were refusing to accept the new decimal currency recently adopted by the British government, preferring instead to stick with the traditional denominations they had grown up with. As soon as the documentary was over, the studio received hundreds of calls expressing support for the brave stand taken by the villagers. In fact, many of the callers voiced their intention to join in the anti-decimal crusade. Unfortunately for this burgeoning rebellion, the village of Spiggot did not exist.

#41: Dogs to be painted white
1965: Politiken, a Copenhagen newspaper, reported that the Danish parliament had passed a new law requiring all dogs to be painted white. The purpose of this, it explained, was to increase road safety by allowing dogs to be seen more easily at night.

#42: Webnode
1999: A press release issued over Business Wire announced the creation of a new company called Webnode. This company, according to the release, had been granted a government contract to regulate ownership of ‘nodes’ on the ‘Next Generation Internet.’ Each of these nodes (there were said to be over 50 million of them) represented a route that data could travel. The company was licensed to sell each node for $100. Nodes would increase in value depending on how much traffic they routed, and owners would also receive usage fees based on the amount of data that flowed across their section of the internet. Therefore, bidding for the nodes was expected to become quite intense. Offers to buy shares in Webnode soon began pouring in, but they all had to be turned down since the company was just a prank. There really was a Next Generation Internet, but there were no nodes on it. Business Wire didn’t find the prank amusing and filed suit against its perpetrators for fraud, breach of contract, defamation, and conspiracy.

#43: An Interview with President Carter
2001: Michael Enright, host of the Sunday Edition of the Canadian Broadcasting Corpation’s radio program This Morning, interviewed former President Jimmy Carter on the air. The interview concerned Canada’s heavily subsidized softwood lumber industry, about which Carter had recently written an editorial piece in The New York Times. The interview took a turn for the worse when Enright began telling Carter to speed up his answers. Then Enright asked, “I think the question on everyone’s mind is, how did a washed-up peanut farmer from Hicksville such as yourself get involved in such a sophisticated bilateral trade argument?” Carter seemed stunned by the insult. Finally he replied, “Excuse me? A washed-up peanut farmer? You’re one to talk, sir. Didn’t you used to be on the air five times a week?” The tone of the interview did not improve from there. Carter ended up calling Enright a “rude person” before he hung up. Enright then revealed that the interview had been fake. The Toronto comedian Ray Landry had been impersonating Carter’s voice. The interview generated a number of angry calls from listeners who didn’t find the joke funny. But the next day the controversy reached even larger proportions when the Globe and Mail reported the interview as fact on their front pages. The editor of the Globe and Mail later explained that he hadn’t realized the interview was a hoax because it was “a fairly strange issue and a strange person to choose as a spoof.”

#44: Around the World for 210 Guineas
1972: In honor of the 100-year anniversary of Thomas Cook’s first round the world travel tour, the London Times ran a full article about Cook’s 1872 tour, in which it noted that the vacation had cost the participants only 210 guineas each, or approximately $575. Of course, inflation had made a similar vacation quite a bit more expensive by 1972. A few pages later, the Times included a small article noting that in honor of the 100-year anniversary, the travel agent Thomas Cook was offering 1000 lucky people the chance to buy a similar package deal at 1872 prices. The offer would be given to the first 1000 people to apply. The article noted that applications should be addressed to “Miss Avril Foley.” The public response to this bargain-basement offer was swift and enthusiastic. Huge lines of people formed outside the Thomas Cook offices, and the travel agent was swamped with calls. Belatedly the Times identified the offer as an April Fool’s joke and apologized for the inconvenience it had caused. The people who had waited in line for hours were, to put it mildly, not amused. The reporter who wrote the article, John Carter, was fired (though he was later reinstated).

#45: Bearskin Helmets Need Trimming
1980: Soldier magazine revealed that the fur on the bearskin helmets worn by the Irish guards while on duty at Buckingham Palace keeps growing and needs to be regularly trimmed:
The most hair-raising fact about the bearskins has been discovered by scientists recently. The skins retain an original hormone, which lives on after the animal has been skinned. Scientists call it otiose and it is hoped it can be put to use in medical research — especially into baldness.

The article quoted Maj. Ursa who noted, “Bears hibernate in the winter and the amazing thing is that in the spring the skins really start to sprout.” An accompanying photo showed Guardsmen sitting in an army barbershop having their helmets trimmed. The story was picked up by the London Daily Express and run as a straight story.

#46: Guinness Mean Time
1998: Guinness issued a press release announcing that it had reached an agreement with the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England to be the official beer sponsor of the Observatory’s millennium celebration. According to this agreement, Greenwich Mean Time would be renamed Guinness Mean Time until the end of 1999. In addition, where the Observatory traditionally counted seconds in “pips,” it would now count them in “pint drips.” The Financial Times, not realizing that the release was a joke, declared that Guinness was setting a “brash tone for the millennium.” When the Financial Times learned that it had fallen for a joke, it printed a curt retraction, stating that the news it had disclosed “was apparently intended as part of an April 1 spoof.”

#47: Internet Spring Cleaning
1997: An email message spread throughout the world announcing that the internet would be shut down for cleaning for twenty-four hours from March 31 until April 2. This cleaning was said to be necessary to clear out the “electronic flotsam and jetsam” that had accumulated in the network. Dead email and inactive ftp, www, and gopher sites would be purged. The cleaning would be done by “five very powerful Japanese-built multi-lingual Internet-crawling robots (Toshiba ML-2274) situated around the world.” During this period, users were warned to disconnect all devices from the internet. The message supposedly originated from the “Interconnected Network Maintenance Staff, Main Branch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” This joke was an updated version of an old joke that used to be told about the phone system. For many years, gullible phone customers had been warned that the phone systems would be cleaned on April Fool’s Day. They were cautioned to place plastic bags over the ends of the phone to catch the dust that might be blown out of the phone lines during this period.

#48: Tasmanian Mock Walrus
1984: The Orlando Sentinel featured a story about a creature known as the Tasmanian Mock Walrus (or TMW for short) that many people in Florida were supposedly adopting as a pet. The creature was said to be four inches long, resembled a walrus, purred like a cat, and had the temperament of a hamster. What made it such an ideal pet was that it never had to be bathed, it used a litter box, and it ate cockroaches. In fact, a single TMW could entirely rid a house of its cockroach problem. Reportedly, some TMWs had been smuggled in from Tasmania, and there were efforts being made to breed them, but the local pest-control industry was pressuring the government not to allow them into the country, fearing they would put cockroach exterminators out of business. Dozens of people called the paper trying to find out where they could obtain their own TMW. A picture of a Tasmanian Mock Walrus accompanied the article. Skeptics noted that the creature looked surprisingly similar to a Naked Mole Rat.

#49: Don’t Disturb the Squirrels
1993: Westdeutsche Rundfunk, a German radio station, announced that officials in Cologne had just passed an unusual new city regulation. Joggers going through the park would be required to pace themselves to go no faster than six mph. Any faster, it was felt, would unnecessarily disturb the squirrels who were in the middle of their mating season.

#50: The Sheep Albedo Hypothesis
2007: RealClimate.org posted about the work of Dr. Ewe Noh-Watt of the New Zealand Institute of Veterinary Climatology, who had discovered that global warming was caused not by a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but rather by the decline of New Zealand’s sheep population. The reasoning was that sheep are white, and therefore large numbers of sheep increase the planet’s albedo (the amount of sunlight reflected back into space). As the sheep population declined, the ground was absorbing more solar radiation, thus warming the planet: “It can be seen that the recent warming can be explained entirely by the decline in the New Zealand sheep population, without any need to bring in any mysterious so-called ‘radiative forcing’ from carbon dioxide, which doesn’t affect the sunlight (hardly) anyway — unlike Sheep Albedo.”

Noh-Watt also warmed of a potentially destabilizing feedback mechanism: “As climate gets warmer, there is less demand for wool sweaters and wooly underwear. Hence the sheep population tends to drop, leading to even more warming. In an extreme form, this can lead to a ‘runaway sheep-albedo feedback,’ which is believed to have led to the present torrid climate of Venus.”

#51: British Weather Machine
1981: The Guardian reported that scientists at Britain’s research labs in Pershore had “developed a machine to control the weather.” The article, titled “Britain Rules the Skies,” explained that “Britain will gain the immediate benefit of long summers, with rainfall only at night, and the Continent will have whatever Pershore decides to send it.” Readers were also assured that Pershore scientists would make sure that it snowed every Christmas in Britain. Accompanying the article was a picture of a scruffy-looking scientists surrounded by scientific equipment. The picture was captioned, “Dr. Chisholm-Downright expresses quiet satisfaction as a computer printout announced sunshine in Pershore and a forthcoming blizzard over Marseilles.”

#52: Smellovision
In 1965 BBC TV featured an interview with a professor who had just invented a device called “smellovision.” This miraculous technology allowed viewers to experience directly in their own home aromas produced in the television studio. The professor offered a demonstration by cutting some onions and brewing coffee. A number of viewers called in to confirm that they distinctly experienced these scents as if they were there in the studio with him. Since no aromas were being transmitted, whatever these viewers thought they smelled coming out of their tv sets must be chalked up to the power of suggestion.

#53: Thomas Edison Invents Food Machine
1878: After Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, Americans firmly believed that there were no limits to his genius. Therefore, when the New York Graphic announced in 1878 that Edison had invented a machine that could transform soil directly into cereal and water directly into wine, thereby ending the problem of world hunger, it found no shortage of willing believers.
Newspapers throughout America copied the article, heaping lavish praise on Edison. The conservative Buffalo Commercial Advertiser was particularly effusive in its praise, waxing eloquent about Edison’s brilliance in a long editorial. The Graphic took the liberty of reprinting the Advertiser’s editorial in full, placing above it a simple, two-word headline: “They Bite!”

#54: Washing the Lions at the Tower of London
1860: Numerous people throughout London received the following invitation: “Tower of London—Admit Bearer and Friend to view annual ceremony of Washing the White Lions on Sunday, April 1, 1860. Admittance only at White Gate. It is particularly requested that no gratuities be given to wardens or attendants.” By twelve o’clock on April 1 a large crowd had reportedly gathered outside the tower. But of course, lions hadn’t been kept in the tower for centuries, particularly not white liions. Therefore the crowd eventually snuck away disappointed. This prank had a very long pedigree. It had often been perpetrated (on a smaller scale) on unsuspecting out-of-towners, and an instance of it is recorded from as far back as 1698.

#55: FatSox
2000: The British Daily Mail announced that Esporta Health Clubs had launched a new line of socks designed to help people lose weight. Dubbed “FatSox,” these revolutionary socks could actually suck body fat out of sweating feet. The invention promised to “banish fat for ever.” The socks employed a patented nylon polymer called FloraAstraTetrazine that had been “previously only applied in the nutrition industry.” The American inventor of this polymer was Professor Frank Ellis Elgood. The socks supposedly worked in the following way: as a person’s body heat rose and their blood vessels dilated, the socks drew “excess lipid from the body through the sweat.” After having sweated out the fat, the wearer could then simply remove the socks and wash them, and the fat, away.

#56: IPO for F/rite Air
2000: By April 2000 the dot.com bubble was rapidly deflating. This didn’t deter hundreds of Dutch investors from lining up to buy shares in F/rite Air, which was being billed as a hot new technology company backed by supporters such as Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and George Soros. The announcement about the company’s IPO was posted on iex.nl, a financial web site for Dutch investors. It was reported that shares in the IPO could be reserved for $18 each by email, although it was said that analysts anticipated the stock soaring to above $80 on the first day of its filing. The company seemed like a sure thing, and almost immediately orders worth over $7 million flooded in. The orders didn’t stop coming in even after the newspapers had revealed the IPO to be an April Fool’s Day joke. F/rite air was a pun for ‘Fried air’ (i.e. Hot Air).

#57: Nat Tate
1998: A lavish party was held at Jeff Koons’s New York studio to honor the memory of the late, great American artist Nat Tate, that troubled abstract expressionist who destroyed 99 percent of his own work before leaping to his death from the Staten Island ferry. At the party superstar David Bowie read aloud selections from William Boyd’s soon-to-be released biography of Tate, “Nat Tate: An American Artist, 1928-1960.” Critics in the crowd murmured appreciative comments about Tate’s work as they sipped their drinks. The only catch was that Tate had never existed. He was the satirical creation of William Boyd. Bowie, Boyd, and Boyd’s publisher were the only ones in on the joke.

#58: Portable Zip Codes
2004: National Public Radio’s All Things Considered announced that the post office had begun a new ‘portable zip codes’ program. This program, inspired by an FCC ruling that allowed phone users to take their phone number with them when they moved, would allow people to also take their zip code with them when they moved, no matter where they moved to. It was hoped that with this new program zip codes would come to symbolize “a citizen’s place in the demographic, rather than geographic, landscape.” Assistant Postmaster General Lester Crandall was quoted as saying, “Every year millions of Americans are on the go: People who must relocate for work or other reasons. Those people may have been quite attached to their original homes or an adopted town or city of residence. For them this innovative measure will serve as an umbilical cord to the place they love best.”

#59: Daylight Savings Contest
1984: the Eldorado Daily Journal, based in Illinois, announced a contest to see who could save the most daylight for daylight savings time. The rules of the contest were simple: beginning with the first day of daylight savings time, contestants would be required to save daylight. Whoever succeeded in saving the most daylight would win. Only pure daylight would be allowed—no dawn or twilight light, though light from cloudy days would be allowed. Moonlight was strictly forbidden. Light could be stored in any container. The contest received a huge, nationwide response. The paper’s editor was interviewed by correspondents from CBS and NBC and was featured in papers throughout the country.

#60: PhDs Exempt From China’s One-Child Policy
1993: The China Youth Daily, an official state newspaper of China, announced on its front page that the government had decided to make Ph.D. holders exempt from the state-imposed one-child limit. The logic behind this decision was that it would eventually reduce the need to invite as many foreign experts into the country to help with the state’s modernization effort. Despite a disclaimer beneath the story identifying it as a joke, the report was repeated as fact by Hong Kong’s New Evening News and by Agence France-Presse, an international news agency. Apparently what made the hoax seem credible to many was that intellectuals in Singapore are encouraged to marry each other and have children, and China’s leaders are known to have great respect for the Singapore system. The Chinese government responded to the hoax by condemning April Fool’s Day as a dangerous Western tradition. The Guangming Daily, Beijing’s main newspaper for intellectuals, ran an editorial stating that April Fool’s jokes “are an extremely bad influence.” It went on to declare that, “Put plainly, April Fool’s Day is Liar’s Day.”

#61: La Fornication Comme Une Acte Culturelle
In 1972 listeners to England’s Radio 3 program In Parenthesis were treated to a roundtable discussion of a few cutting-edge new works of social anthropology and musicology. First up was a discussion of La Fornication Comme Une Acte Culturelle by Henri Mensonge (translated as Henry Lie). This book argued that “we live in an age of metaphorical rape” in which “confrontation, assault, intrusion, and exposure are becoming validated transactions, the rites of democracy, of mass society.” This sparked a blisteringly incomprehensible debate, which eventually segued into an exploration of the question “Is ‘Is’ Is?” Finally, the audience heard a rousing deconstruction of the ‘arch form’ of the sonata’s first motif. Listeners seemed to accept the program’s discussion as a legitimate exploration of new trends in the arts. Thankfully, it was a parody.

#62: Freewheelz
The April 2000 issue of Esquire magazine introduced its readers to an exciting new company called Freewheelz. This company had a novel business plan. It intended to provide drivers with free cars. In exchange, the lucky drivers had to agree both to the placement of large advertisements on the outside of their vehicle and to the streaming of advertisements on the radio inside their car. Strict criteria limited the number of people eligible to receive a free car. Not only did you have to guarantee that you would drive over 300 miles a week, you also had to complete a 600-question survey that probed into personal information such as your political affiliations and whether you were concerned about hair loss. Finally you had to submit your family’s tax returns, notarized video-store-rental receipts, and a stool sample. The entire article, written by Ted Fishman, was a satire of the much-touted “new economy” spawned by the internet. Attentive readers would have caught on to the joke if they had noticed that Freewheelz’s official rollout on the web was slated to occur on April 1. But readers who didn’t notice this tip-off flooded the offices of Esquire with calls, demanding to know how they could sign up to drive a free minivan. The satire also went over the head of the CEO’s of a number of real internet start-ups with business plans similar to that of the fictitious Freewheelz, companies such as Mobile Billboard Network, Freecar.com, and Autowraps.com. Larry Butler, the CEO of freecar.com, later confessed to Fishman that he was so scared at the prospect of this new competition that he cried when he first read the article.

#63: M3 Zebra Crossing
In 2000 early morning commuters travelling on the northern carriageway of the M3 near Farnborough, Hampshire encountered a pedestrian zebra crossing painted across the busy highway. The perpetrator of the prank was unknown. A police spokesman speculated that the prank, “must have been done very early in the morning when there was little or no traffic on the motorway.” Maintenance workers were quickly summoned to remove the crossing, which was apparently not too difficult to do since the pranksters had used emulsion paint rather than gloss. The police noted that, surprisingly, they had received no calls from the public about the crossing.

#64: Total Home Remote Electricity
In 1999 executives at 130 major companies received a professionally designed package of information about an exciting new product: Total Home Remote Electricity. Forget wireless computers. This technology, created by Ottmar Industries of Switzerland, allowed electricity itself to be beamed wirelessly anywhere within a house. Simply plug one of the small “projectors” into a wall outlet, and a safe electrical “aura” would envelop the home. Then attach a converter to any appliance, and the appliance would be able to receive power at any location within the aura, even outside on the roof. “Did you ever imagine making toast on your roof?” the promotional material asked. Accompanying the ads was a letter that included a phone number the executives could call for more information. Reportedly, about 30 people called the number, including three high-level executives. But the number really connected them to the advertising agency, Hoffman york, that had sent out the fake ad as an April Fool’s Day publicity stunts.

#65: Y2K Solved
In 1999 the Singapore Straits Times reported that a 17-year-old high school student had one-upped all the major software corporations of the world by creating a small computer program that would easily solve the Y2K bug. The camera-shy C student had supposedly devised the program in twenty-nine minutes while solving an algebra problem for his homework. His family and a technology consulting group were reportedly forming a joint venture named ‘Polo Flair’ in order to commercialize the discovery. They anticipated achieving revenues of $50 million by the end of the year. Numerous journalists and computer specialists contacted the Straits Times, seeking more information about the boy genius and his Y2K cure. One journalist even wanted to know if the boy would be willing to appear on TV, despite the fact that he was camera shy. Unfortunately the boy and his ingenious program didn’t exist. Quick-witted readers would have noticed that ‘Polo Flair’ was an anagram for ‘April Fool.’

#66: Smaugia Volans
The April 1, 1998 online edition of Nature Magazine revealed the discovery of “a near-complete skeleton of a theropod dinosaur in North Dakota.” The discovery was referred to in an article by Henry Gee discussing the palaeontological debate over the origin of birds. The dinosaur skeleton had reportedly been discovered by Randy Sepulchrave of the Museum of the University of Southern North Dakota. The exciting part of the discovery, according to the article, was that “The researchers believe that the dinosaur, now named as Smaugia volans, could have flown.” In actuality, the University of Southern North Dakota does not exist, though it has been made famous by Peter Schickele who refers to it as the location where the music of the obscure eighteenth-century composer PDQ Bach was first performed; Smaug was the name of the dragon in Tolkein’s The Hobbit; and Sepulchrave was the name of the 76th Earl of Groan in Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan. This Earl, believing that he was an owl, leapt to his death from a high tower, discovering too late that he could not fly.

#67: Life Discovered on Jupiter
In 1996 AOL subscribers who logged onto the service were greeted by a news flash announcing that a “Government source reveals signs of life on Jupiter.” The claim was backed up by statements from a planetary biologist and an assertion by Ted Leonsis, AOL’s president, that his company was in possession of documents proving that the government was hiding the existence of life on the massive planet. The story quickly generated over 1,300 messages on AOL. A spokesman for the company later explained that the hoax had been intended as a tribute to Orson Welles’s 1938 Halloween broadcast of the War of the Worlds.

#68: Euro Disney Lenin
In 1995 the Irish Times reported that the Disney Corporation was negotiating with the Russian government to purchase the embalmed body of communist leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. The body has been kept on display in Red Square since the leader’s death. Disney proposed moving the body and the mausoleum to the new Euro Disney, where it would be given the “full Disney treatment.” This would include displaying the body “under stroboscopic lights which will tone up the pallid face while excerpts from President Reagan’s ‘evil empire’ speech will be played in quadrophonic sound.” Lenin t-shirts would also be sold. Disney anticipated that this attraction would attract more visitors to the theme park, significantly boosting profits which had been weak since the park’s opening. The Russians were said to be agreeable to the sale of Lenin’s body. But a controversy had erupted about the sale of the mausoleum. Liberal groups wanted to keep the mausoleum empty “to symbolize the ’emptiness of the Communist system,'” while Russian nationalists wanted to transform it into a memorial to Tsar Nicholas II.

#69: Corporate Tattoos
In 1994 National Public Radio’s All Things Considered program reported that companies such as Pepsi were sponsoring teenagers to tattoo their ears with corporate logos. In return for branding themselves with the corporate symbol, the teenagers would receive a lifetime 10% discount on that company’s products. Teenagers were said to be responding enthusiastically to this deal.

#70: One-way Highway
In 1991 the London Times announced that the Department of Transport had finalized a plan to ease congestion on the M25, the circular highway surrounding London. The capacity of the road would be doubled by making the traffic on both carriageways travel in the same direction. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays the traffic would travel clockwise; while on Tuesdays and Thursdays it would travel anti-clockwise. The plan would not operate on weekends. It was said that the scheme was almost certain to meet with the cabinet’s approval, despite voices of protest coming from some quarters. One of the protestors included a spokesman for Labour Transport who reportedly warned that “Many drivers already have trouble telling their left from their right.” Also, a resident of Swanley, Kent was quoted as saying, “Villagers use the motorway to make shopping trips to Orpington. On some days this will be a journey of two miles, and on others a journey of 117 miles. The scheme is lunatic.” Thankfully, the scheme existed only in the minds of the writers at the Times.

#71: Michigan Shark Experiment
In 1981 the Herald-News in Roscommon, Michigan reported that 3 lakes in northern Michigan had been selected to host “an in-depth study into the breeding and habits of several species of fresh-water sharks.” Two thousand sharks were to be released into the lakes including blue sharks, hammerheads, and a few great whites. The experiment was designed to determine whether the sharks could survive in the cold climate of Michigan. The federal government was said to be spending $1.3 million to determine this. A representative from the National Biological Foundation was quoted as saying that there would probably be a noticeable decline in the populations of other fish in the lake because “the sharks will eat about 20 pounds of fish each per day, more as they get older.” County officials were said to have protested the experiment, afraid of the hazard it would pose to fishermen and swimmers, but their complaints had been ignored by the federal government. Furthermore, fishermen had been forbidden from catching the sharks. The Herald-News received a flurry of letters in response to the announcement.

#72: Miller Lites
In 2000 Miller Beer announced that it had struck an agreement with the town of Marfa, Texas to become the exclusive sponsor of the phenomenon known as the Marfa Mystery Lights. These are spherical lights which appear south of the town each evening, seeming to bounce around in the sky. They’re variously rumored to be caused by ghosts, swamp gas, or uranium (though they’re probably caused by the headlights from the nearby highway). Miller announced that under the terms of the agreement the Marfa Lights would be renamed the Miller Lites. The local paper, which was in on the joke, printed the news on its front page.

#73: The Origin of April Fool’s Day
In 1983 the Associated Press reported that the mystery of the origin of April Fool’s Day had finally been solved. Joseph Boskin, a History professor at Boston University, had discovered that the celebration had begun during the Roman empire when a court jester had boasted to Emperor Constantine that the fools and jesters of the court could rule the kingdom better than the Emperor could. In response, Constantine had decreed that the court fools would be given a chance to prove this boast, and he set aside one day of the year upon which a fool would rule the kingdom. The first year Constantine appointed a jester named Kugel as ruler, and Kugel immediately decreed that only the absurd would be allowed in the kingdom on that day. Therefore the tradition of April Fools was born. News media throughout the country reprinted the Associated Press story. But what the AP reporter who had interviewed Professor Boskin for the story hadn’t realized was that Boskin was lying. Not a word of the story was true, which Boskin admitted a few weeks later. Boston University issued a statement apologizing for the joke, and many papers published corrections.

#74: The Musendrophilus
In 1975 the famous naturalist David Attenborough reported on BBC Radio 3 about a group of islands in the Pacific known as the Sheba Islands. He played sound recordings of the island’s fauna, including a recording of an alleged night-singing tree mouse called the Musendrophilus. He also described a species whose webbed feet were prized by inhabitants of the island as reeds for musical instruments. Unfortunately, the night-singing tree mice were merely products of Attenborough’s imagination, perhaps inspired by that old yarn about the Tree Squeaks, that North American species which lives high in the trees and squeaks every time the wind blows.

#75: World to End Tomorrow
On March 31, 1940 the Franklin Institute issued a press release stating that the world would end the next day. The release was picked up by radio station KYW which broadcast the following message: “Your worst fears that the world will end are confirmed by astronomers of Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. Scientists predict that the world will end at 3 P.M. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow. This is no April Fool joke. Confirmation can be obtained from Wagner Schlesinger, director of the Fels Planetarium of this city.” The public reaction was immediate. Local authorities were flooded with frantic phone calls. The panic only subsided after the Franklin Institute assured people that it had made no such prediction. The prankster responsible for the press release turned out to be William Castellini, the Institute’s press agent. He had intended to use the fake release to publicize an April 1st lecture at the institute titled “How Will the World End?” Soon afterwards, the Institute dismissed Castellini.

#76: Great Cave Sell
On an undetermined April 1 in the 1840s, a story appeared in the Boston Post announcing that a cave full of treasure had been discovered beneath Boston Common. It had supposedly been uncovered by workmen as they removed a tree from the Common. As the tree fell, it revealed a stone trap-door with a large iron ring set in it. Beneath the door was a stone stairway that led to an underground cave. In this cave lay piles of jewels, old coins, and weapons with jeweled handles. As word of the discovery spread throughout Boston, parties of excited curiosity-seekers began marching out across the Common to view the treasure. A witness later described the scene: “It was rainy, that 1st of April, the Legislature was in session, and it was an animated scene that the Common presented, roofed with umbrellas, sheltering pilgrims on their way to the new-found sell. A procession of grave legislators marched solemnly down under their green gingham, while philosophers, archaeologists, numismatists, antiquarians of all qualities, and the public generally paid tribute to the Post’s ingenuity.” Of course, the Common was empty of all jewel-bearing caverns, as the crowd of treasure seekers eventually discovered to its disappointment.

#77: MITkey Mouse
On April 1, 1998 the homepage of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced some startling news: the prestigious university was to be sold to Walt Disney Co. for $6.9 billion. A photograph of the university’s famous dome outfitted with a pair of mouse ears accompanied the news. The press release explained that the university was to be dismantled and transported to Orlando where new schools would be added to the campus including the School of Imagineering, the Scrooge McDuck School of Management, and the Donald Duck Department of Linguistics. The fact that the announcement appeared on MIT’s homepage added official credibility to it. But in fact, the announcement was the work of students who had hacked into the school’s central server and replaced the school’s real web page with a phony one.

#78: The Venetian Horse Hoax
The citizens of Venice woke on the morning of April 1, 1919 to find piles of horse manure deposited throughout the Piazza San Marco, as if a procession of horses had gone through there during the night. This was extremely unusual, since the Piazza is surrounded by canals and not easily accessible to horses. The manure turned out to be the work of the infamous British prankster Horace de Vere Cole, who was honeymooning in Venice. He had transported a load of manure over from the mainland the night before with the help of a gondolier and had then deposited small piles of it throughout the Piazza. Perhaps he should have been paying more attention to his wife while on honeymoon because, evidently tired by his constant hijinks, she divorced him a few years later.

#79: PETA’s Tournament of Sleeping Fish
In 2000 the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) warned that it planned to sabotage the bass fishing tournament in East Texas’s Lake Palestine by releasing tranquilizers into the lake before the tournament. Their announcement stated that “this year, the fish will be napping, not nibbling.” State officials took the threat seriously and stationed rangers around the lake in order to stop any tranquilizer-toting PETA activists from drugging the fish, and numerous newspapers reported the threat. Eventually PETA admitted that it had been joking.

#80: Moscow’s Second Subway
In 1992, the Moskovskaya Pravda (Moscow Truth) published a special March 32nd edition in which it announced that the winds of capitalism transforming Russia would bring further changes for the residents of Moscow. Plans had been finalized to build a new Moscow subway system. Of course, there was nothing wrong with the city’s current subway. But in the spirit of capitalism, the second system would be built to promote “the interests of competition.” The paper had changed its name for that day to the Moskovskaya Nye-Pravda, or Moscow Un-Truth.

#81: Weeping Lenin
Over the years numerous statues of the Virgin Mary have been known to miraculously start weeping, but in 1995 an Italian statue of Lenin in the town of Cavriago joined the club. A huge crowd gathered to witness the milky white tears rolling down the statue’s metal cheeks. The crowd remained for hours until the tears were eventually revealed to be a prank.

#82: Maradona Joins Soviet Soccer Team
In 1988 the Soviet newspaper Izvestia reported that the world-renowned Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona was in negotiations to join Spartak Moscow. The Spartaks were to pay him $6 million to play on their struggling team. Izvestia later admitted that the story was an April Fool’s day joke, but only after the news was disseminated by the Associated Press, which then had to publish a red-faced retraction. The AP had believed the story because it was the first time in modern memory that a Soviet newspaper had published an April Fool’s day hoax. The sudden display of humor was attributed to Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost, or openness.

#83: Diamond-Encrusted Grenades
During the 1990s stories of the ruthlessness of Russian gangsters became increasingly prevalent in the news, but apparently just because the gangsters were ruthless, that didn’t mean they weren’t fashion conscious. In 1996 Itar-Tass announced that a military factory had begun manufacturing diamond-encrusted grenades, which it was selling to Russian gangsters concerned about dispatching their enemies with style. “The use of such a grenade will leave your one-time rival in a sea of beautiful sparkling gems rather than in a pool of blood,” the article noted.

#84: Viagra for Hamsters
In 2000 The Independent reported that Florida researchers had developed a Viagra-like pill to treat sexually frustrated pets, including hamsters. Veterinarians were said to have greeted the news with derision, but the article pointed out that there are few things as sad as a pet suffering from feelings of sexual inadequacy, noting that “It’s not unknown for a guinea pig to sit in its cage thinking, ‘I haven’t had sex for months. Am I so unattractive?’.” Owners were instructed to simply grind the pills up and sprinkle them in the pet’s food. Laying some newspaper down on the floor once the pills began to take effect was also advised. The pills were to be marketed under the brand name Feralmone.

#85: Kokomo Police Cut Costs
In 1959 the Kokomo Tribune, based in Indiana, announced that the city police had devised a plan to cut costs and save money. According to this plan, the police station would close each night from 6 pm to 6 am An answering machine would record all calls made to the station during this time, and these calls would be screened by an officer in the morning. The police reportedly anticipated that the screening process would save the city a great deal of money, since many of the calls would be old by the morning and would not need to be answered. A spokesman for the police admitted that “there will be a problem on what to do in the case of a woman who calls in and says her husband has threatened to shoot her or some member of the family.” But in such a situation, the spokesman explained, “We will check the hospitals and the coroner, and if they don’t have any record of any trouble, then we will know that nothing happened.”

#86: Killer Bees Attack Arizona
In 1994 residents of Glendale and Peoria, Arizona woke to find yellow fliers posted around their neighborhoods warning them of “Operation Killer Bees.” Apparently there was to be widespread aerial spraying later that day to eradicate a killer bee population that had made its way into the area. Residents were warned to stay indoors from 9 am until 2:30 pm. The phone numbers of local television and radio stations were provided. On the bottom of the flier the name of an official government agency was listed: Arizona Pest Removal Information Line (For Outside Operations Listings). The first letters of this agency spelled out “April Fool.” Few people got the joke. Radio and television stations received numerous calls, as did the Arizona Agriculture Department. Many worried residents stayed inside all day, anxiously watching out their windows for the pest-control planes to fly overhead.

#87: Telepathic Email
The April 1999 edition of Red Herring Magazine included an article about a revolutionary new technology that allowed users to compose and send email telepathically. The company developing this technology was Tidal Wave Communications, led by Yuri Maldini, a computer genius from Estonia. Mr. Maldini claimed that he had developed the technology from the encrypted communications systems he had helped the army put in place during the Gulf War. At the end of the article the reporter recalled a moment when he asked Mr. Maldini how big the market for such a product might be: “Mr. Maldini falls silent. He stares vacantly for several moments out his office window and then says, ‘I just sent you an email with my answer.’ Upon returning to our office, we find the response waiting: ‘It’s going to be huge,’ reads the email. ‘Simply huge.'” Red Herring received numerous letters from readers admitting they had been fooled by the article.

#88: Bank Teller Fees
In 1999 the Savings Bank of Rockville placed an ad in the Connecticut Journal-Inquirer announcing that it would soon begin charging a $5 fee to customers who visited a live teller. The ad, which appeared on March 31, claimed that the fee was necessary in order to provide, “professional, caring and superior customer service.” Although the ad was a joke, many customers failed to recognize it as such. One woman reportedly closed her account because of it. The bank then ran a second ad revealing that the initial ad was a joke. The bank manager commented that the first ad ironically “commits us to not charging such fees.”

#89: Asterix Village Found
In 1993 London’s Independent announced the discovery by archaeologists of the 3000-year-old village of the cartoon hero Asterix. The village was said to have been found at Le Yaudet, near Lannion, France, in almost precisely the location where Rene Goscinny, Asterix’s creator, had placed it in his books. The expedition was led by Professor Barry Cunliffe, of Oxford University, and Dr. Patrick Galliou, of the University of Brest. Supposedly the team found evidence that the small village had never been occupied by Roman forces. They also discovered Celtic coins printed with the image of a wild boar (the favorite food of Asterix’s friend Obelix), as well as a large collection of rare Iron Age menhirs (standing stones) “of the precise size favoured by the indomitable Obelix whose job as a menhir delivery man has added a certain academic weight to the books.”

#90: Belgium Divides
The London Times reported in 1992 that formal negotiations were underway to divide Belgium in half. The Dutch-speaking north would join the Netherlands and the French-speaking south would join France. An editorial in the paper then lamented that, “The fun will go from that favorite parlor game: Name five famous Belgians.” The report apparently fooled the British foreign office minister Tristan Garel-Jones who almost went on a TV interview prepared to discuss this “important” story. The Belgian embassy also received numerous calls from journalists and expatriate Belgians seeking to confirm the news. A rival paper later criticized the prank, declaring that, “The Times’s effort could only be defined as funny if you find the very notion of Belgium hilarious.”

#91: Augusta National Goes Public
The May 1990 issue of Golf magazine had good news for golf enthusiasts. It reported that Augusta National, the elite private golf course where the Masters tournament is held, would begin allowing public access to its course at certain times. As a result of this report, both Augusta National and Golf magazine received hundreds of calls from eager golfers inquiring about playing privileges. But the report was an April fool’s joke, despite its placement in the May issue. Golf magazine was forced to publish a retraction, reaffirming that Augusta National was still a private club open only to members and guests.

#92: LA Highways Close for Repairs
In 1987 a Los Angeles disc jockey announced that on April 8 the LA highway system would be shut down for repairs for an entire month. This was alarming news in LA where it’s necessary to use the highway to get almost anywhere. The radio station immediately received hundreds of frantic calls in response to the announcement, and the California Highway Patrol reported that they were also flooded with calls throughout the day. The station later admitted that it was stunned by the intensity of the public reaction to the hoax. A representative from the California Department of Transportation called the station’s managers to share their opinion of the prank. Reportedly “they didn’t think it was very funny.”

#93: Eiffel Tower Moves
The Parisien stunned French citizens in 1986 when it reported that an agreement had been signed to dismantle the Eiffle Tower. The international symbol of French culture would then be reconstructed in the new Euro Disney theme park going up east of Paris. In the space where the Tower used to stand, a 35,000 seat stadium would be built for use during the 1992 Olympic Games.

#94: Tomb of Socrates Found
In 1995 the Greek Ministry of Culture announced that during excavation for the Athens metro system, archaeologists had uncovered what they believed to be the tomb of Socrates near the base of the Acropolis. A vase containing traces of hemlock (the poison used to kill socrates) and a piece of leather dating from between 400 and 390 BC were found in the tomb. The news agency Agence France-Presse immediately issued a release about the story. What it didn’t realize was that the Greek Ministry was joking, forcing the news agency to issue an embarrassed retraction a few hours later.

#95: Chunnel Blunder
In 1990 the News of the World reported that the Chunnel project, which was already suffering from huge cost overruns, would face another big additional expense caused by a colossal engineering blunder. Apparently the two halves of the tunnel, being built simultaneously from the coasts of France and England, would miss each other by 14 feet. The error was attributed to the fact that French engineers had insisted on using metric specifications in their blueprints. The mistake would reportedly cost $14 billion to fix.

#96: Boston Globe Price Cut
Readers of the Boston Morning Globe in 1915 could have purchased their papers for half the cost on April Fool’s Day, if they had been alert. The price listed on the front page had been lowered from “Two Cents Per Copy” to “One Cent.” But almost 60,000 copies of the paper were sold before anyone noticed the unannounced price change. When the management of the Globe found out about the change, they were just as surprised as everyone else. The new price turned out to be the responsibility of a mischievous production worker who had surreptitiously inserted the lower value at the last minute as the paper went to print.

#97: Providence Closes for the Day
Carolyn Fox, a disc jockey for WHJY in Providence, Rhode Island, announced in 1986 that the ‘Providence Labor Action Relations Board Committee’ had decided to close the city for the day. She gave out a number for listeners to call for more information. The number was that of a rival station, WPRO-AM. Reportedly hundreds of people called WPRO, as well as City Hall and the police. Even more called into their offices to see if they had to go into work. WHJY management later explained that it had never imagined its joke would have such a dramatic impact on the city.

#98: Soy Bomb Lands Record Contract
Viewers of the February 1998 broadcast of the Grammys were surprised when a semi-naked man with the word ‘Soy Bomb’ scrawled on his chest danced out onto the stage during Bob Dylan’s solo performance. The man (who was definitely not supposed to be there) was quickly escorted away by security guards. But a few months later, on April 1, Rhino Records proudly announced that it had signed Soy Bomb (as he was now known) to a two-year, six-album recording contract. Soy Bomb’s first album would include covers of popular classics such as ‘Dancing Machine’ and ‘You Dropped a Bomb on Me.’ A spokesman for Rhino Records commented that they had been moved to offer Soy Bomb a contract because the experience of watching him dance had been for them “kind of like
when you eat too many Whoppers and you feel a little nauseous,
but you’re so happy you ate them.”

#99: Virgin Cola’s Blue Cans
In 1996 Virgin Cola announced that in the interest of consumer safety it had integrated a new technology into its cans. When the cola passed its sell-by date, the liquid would react with the metal in the can, turning the can itself bright blue. Virgin warned that consumers should therefore avoid purchasing all blue cans. The joke was that Pepsi had recently unveiled its newly designed cans. They were bright blue.

#100: The British Postal Address Turnabout
In 1977 the BBC gave airtime to Tom Jackson, General Secretary of the British Union of Post Office Workers. Mr. Jackson was up in arms about a recent proposal that the British mail adopt the German method of addressing envelopes in which the house number is written after the name of the road, not before it (i.e. Downing Street 10, instead of 10 Downing Street). Jackson spoke at great length about the enormous burden this change would place upon postal employees, insisting that “Postal workers would be furious because it would turn upside-down the way we have learned to sort.” His comments elicited an immediate reaction from the audience, many of whom phoned up to voice their support for Jackson’s campaign. What the audience didn’t realize was that there were no plans to change the way the British addressed their mail. Mr. Jackson’s diatribe was an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke.

Source: Museum of Hoaxes

 

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The History of Easter, the Easter bunny, and Easter eggs- Video Blog


Video Produced By: History Channel

Easter Bunny

temp2The Easter Bunny or Easter Rabbit is a character depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs. The Easter Bunny is sometimes depicted with clothes. In legend, the creature carries colored eggs in his basket, candy and sometimes also toys to the homes of children, and as such shows similarities to Santa Claus, as they both bring gifts to children on the night before their respective holiday. It was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Frankenau’s De ovis paschalibus (About Easter Eggs) in 1682 referring to an Alsace tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter Eggs.

Rabbits and hares

The hare was a popular motif in medieval church art. In ancient times it was widely believed (as by Pliny, Plutarch, Philostratus and Aelian) that the hare was a hermaphrodite. The idea that a hare could reproduce without loss of virginity led to an association with the Virgin Mary, with hares sometimes occurring in illuminated manuscripts and Northern European paintings of the Virgin and Christ Child. It may also have been associated with the Holy Trinity, as in the three hares motif,representing the “One in Three and Three in One” of which the triangle or three interlocking shapes such as rings are common symbols. In England, this motif usually appears in a prominent place in the church, such as the central rib of the chancel roof, or on a central rib of the nave. This suggests that the symbol held significance to the church, and casts doubt on the theory that they may have been masons’ or carpenters’ signature marks.

Eggs, like rabbits and hares, are fertility symbols of antiquity. Since birds lay eggs and rabbits and hares give birth to large litters in the early spring, these became symbols of the rising fertility of the earth at the March Equinox.
Rabbits and hares are both prolific breeders. Female hares can conceive a second litter of offspring while still pregnant with the first. This phenomenon is known as superfetation. Lagomorphs mature sexually at an early age and can give birth to several litters a year (hence the saying, “to breed like bunnies”). It is therefore not surprising that rabbits and hares should become fertility symbols, or that their springtime mating antics should enter into Easter folklore.

Eggs

The precise origin of the ancient custom of decorating eggs is not known, although evidently the blooming of many flowers in spring coincides with the use of the fertility symbol of eggs—and eggs boiled with some flowers change their color, bringing the spring into the homes. Many Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day typically dye their Easter eggs red, the color of blood, in recognition of the blood of the sacrificed Christ (and, of the renewal of life in springtime). Some also use the color green, in honor of the new foliage emerging after the long dead time of winter.

German Protestants wanted to retain the Catholic custom of eating colored eggs for Easter, but did not want to introduce their children to the Catholic rite of fasting. Eggs were forbidden to Catholics during the fast of Lent, which was the reason for the abundance of eggs at Easter time.

The idea of an egg-laying bunny came to the U.S. in the 18th century. German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the “Osterhase” (sometimes spelled “Oschter Haws“).Hase” means “hare”, not rabbit, and in Northwest European folklore the “Easter Bunny” indeed is a hare, not a rabbit. According to the legend, only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter.In 1835, Jakob Grimm wrote of long-standing similar myths in Germany itself. Grimm suggested that these derived from legends of the reconstructed continental Germanic goddess *Ostara

Theological significance

temp2The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith. The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God and is cited as proof that God will judge the world in righteousness. God has given Christians “a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. Christians, through faith in the working of God are spiritually resurrected with Jesus so that they may walk in a new way of life.

Easter is linked to the Passover and Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper and crucifixion that preceded the resurrection.According to the New Testament, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning, as he prepared himself and his disciples for his death in the upper room during the Last Supper.He identified the matzah and cup of wine as his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed. Paul states, “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed”;this refers to the Passover requirement to have no yeast in the house and to the allegory of Jesus as the Paschal lamb.

One interpretation of the Gospel of John is that Jesus, as the Passover lamb, was crucified at roughly the same time as the Passover lambs were being slain in the temple, on the afternoon of Nisan 14. The scriptural instructions specify that the lamb is to be slain “between the two evenings”, that is, at twilight. By the Roman period, however, the sacrifices were performed in the mid-afternoon. Josephus, Jewish War 6.10.1/423 (“They sacrifice from the ninth to the eleventh hour”). Philo, Special Laws 2.27/145 (“Many myriads of victims from noon till eventide are offered by the whole people”). This interpretation, however, is inconsistent with the chronology in the Synoptic Gospels. It assumes that text literally translated “the preparation of the passover” in John 19:14 refers to Nisan 14 (Preparation Day for the Passover) and not necessarily to Yom Shishi (Friday, Preparation Day for Sabbath) and that the priests’ desire to be ritually pure in order to “eat the passover” refers to eating the Passover lamb, not to the public offerings made during the days of Unleavened Bread.

In the Early Church

temp2The first Christians, Jewish and Gentile, were certainly aware of the Hebrew calendar, but there is no direct evidence that they celebrated any specifically Christian annual festivals.Christians of Jewish origin were the first to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Since the date of the resurrection was close the timing of Passover, they likely celebrated the resurrection as a new facet of the Passover festival.

Direct evidence for the Easter festival begins to appear in the mid-second century. Perhaps the earliest extant primary source referencing Easter is a mid-second-century Paschal homily attributed to Melito of Sardis, which characterizes the celebration as a well-established one. Evidence for another kind of annual Christian festival, the commemoration of martyrs, begins to appear at about the same time as evidence for the celebration of Easter. But while martyrs’ days (usually the individual dates of martyrdom) were celebrated on fixed dates in the local solar calendar, the date of Easter was fixed by means of the local Jewish lunisolar calendar. This is consistent with the celebration of Easter having entered Christianity during its earliest, Jewish period, but does not leave the question free of doubt.

The ecclesiastical historian Socrates Scholasticus attributes the observance of Easter by the church to the perpetuation of its custom, “just as many other customs have been established,” stating that neither Jesus nor his Apostles enjoined the keeping of this or any other festival. Although he describes the details of the Easter celebration as deriving from local custom, he insists the feast itself is universally observed.
Source: Wikipedia

The White House Easter Egg Roll

temp2Since 1878, American presidents and their families have celebrated Easter Monday by hosting an ‘egg roll’ party. Held on the South Lawn, it is one of the oldest annual events in White House history. Some historians note that First Lady Dolley Madison originally suggested the idea of a public egg roll, while others tell stories of informal egg-rolling parties at the White House dating back to President Lincoln’s administration. Beginning in the 1870s, Washingtonians from all social levels celebrated Easter Monday on the west grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Children rolled brilliantly dyed hard-boiled eggs down the terraced lawn.

Soon a concern for the landscape led to a bill that banned the rolling of eggs on Capitol grounds. In 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill into law. The new edict went unchallenged in 1877, as rain cancelled all the day’s activities, but egg rollers who came in 1878 were ejected by Capitol Hill police.
Source: White House.org

Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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History of St. Patrick’s Day – Video Blog

St. Patrick’s Day in the United States:

temp2
St. Patrick’s Day, although not a legal holiday anywhere in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognised and celebrated throughout the country. It is primarily observed as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture; celebrations include prominent displays of the colour green, feasting, copious consumption of alcohol, religious observances, and numerous parades. The holiday has been celebrated on the North American continent since the late eighteenth century.

Saint Patrick Himself:

20130311-090303.jpg Little is known of Patrick’s early life, though it is known that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest.

In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop, to Christianise the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish church.

Wearing of the green:

denver-st-patricksOriginally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick’s Day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase “the wearing of the green”, meaning to wear a shamrock on one’s clothing, derives from a song of the same name.

The first festival:

temp3The first Saint Patrick’s Festival was held on 17 March 1996. In 1997, it became a three-day event, and by 2000 it was a four-day event. By 2006, the festival was five days long; more than 675,000 people attended the 2009 parade. Overall 2009’s five-day festival saw close to 1 million visitors, who took part in festivities that included concerts, outdoor theatre performances, and fireworks. Skyfest forms the centrepiece of the festival.

The topic of the 2004 St. Patrick’s Symposium was “Talking Irish”, during which the nature of Irish identity, economic success, and the future were discussed. Since 1996, there has been a greater emphasis on celebrating and projecting a fluid and inclusive notion of “Irishness” rather than an identity based around traditional religious or ethnic allegiance. The week around Saint Patrick’s Day usually involves Irish language speakers using more Irish during Seachtain na Gaeilge (“Irish Language Week”).

As well as Dublin, many other cities, towns, and villages in Ireland hold their own parades and festivals, including Cork, Belfast, Derry, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, and Waterford.
The biggest celebrations outside Dublin are in Downpatrick, County Down, where Saint Patrick is rumoured to be buried. In 2004, according to Down District Council, the week-long St. Patrick’s Festival had more than 2,000 participants and 82 floats, bands, and performers and was watched by more than 30,000 people.

Christian leaders in Ireland have expressed concern about the secularisation of St Patrick’s Day. In The Word magazine’s March 2007 issue, Fr. Vincent Twomey wrote, “It is time to reclaim St Patrick’s Day as a church festival.” He questioned the need for “mindless alcohol-fuelled revelry” and concluded that “it is time to bring the piety and the fun together.”
United States

Source: Wikipedia
Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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Colorado Rejects Googles Driverless Car Proposal – Video Blog

Video Produced By: ABC News

**Update**

DENVER – Automated cars won’t be allowed in Colorado this year after a state Senate committee rejected a bill to allow driverless vehicles.

The Senate Transportation Committee decided against the bill to make Colorado at least the fifth state where automatic cars are legal. The cars are under development and are touted as safer than human-operated vehicles.

The bill would have stated that automated cars must still contain licensed drivers, and that the cars would have to have an override switch so they can be driven manually if needed.

Source: The Associated Press
automated car
DENVER – Cars without drivers could be possible on Colorado roads – but first lawmakers have to change state law to make them legal.

The state Legislature is poised to do just that under a bill up for its first debate in a Colorado Senate committee this week. The Transportation Committee will consider whether Colorado should become at least the fifth state to change the law to specifically allow automated cars.

The driver-less cars are developed in California by Google. Colorado’s proposal would state that automated cars must still contain licensed drivers, and the cars must contain an “override switch” so they can be driven manually if needed. The “drivers” in automated cars would be allowed to text or type.

Source: The Associated Press

 

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2012 LA Auto Show — Mazda Press Conference – Video Blog

Video Produced By: Mazda USA

By David Undercoffler

November 29, 2012, 1:13 p.m.

The family sedan marketplace has become a brawl, with Honda’’s Accord, Nissan’’s Altima and Ford’’s Fusion all newly redesigned and looking to unseat Toyota’’s Camry as the best-selling car in the U.S.

Mazda joined the fray Thursday with the introduction of the 2014 Mazda 6 sedan at Los Angeles Auto Show.

LA Auto SHowThe car will be available with one of two new engines, gas or diesel, both designed for efficiency and foreshadowing company plans for future models.

““Our Los Angeles announcements are only tips of the iceberg,”” said Jim O’’Sullivan, president and chief executive of Mazda North America. “”The best is yet to come.””

The gas model will go on sale in January. It features a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine making 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. It routes power to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Mazda says it doesn’’t yet have fuel economy ratings, but expects to be the best in the segment. That means Mazda 6 will have to beat the 27 mpg city, 38 mpg highway rating of the current non-hybrid leader, the Nissan Altima.

In the second half of 2013, Mazda will offer the 6 with a 2.2-liter turbo-diesel engine. The company has yet to release horsepower and torque figures, but the diesel will be available with the same manual and automatic transmissions as the gas car.

Both models will have an available system Mazda calls i-ELOOP, a regenerative braking system that stores captured energy in a capacitor, rather than a battery, and electric motor. Mazda says this allows the system to be smaller and lighter, further enhancing the car’s efficiency. The energy this feature captures will be used to power electrical functions such as air conditioning and the stereo.

Other options available on the 6 will include an in-dash TomTom navigation system, alloy wheels, LED lights, and a Bose stereo system.

Mazda also used the L.A. Auto Show to show off a more powerful engine option on the 2014 CX-5 crossover SUV. It’’s essentially the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder unit that will be in the new 6 sedan, and it makes 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque.

It will be available only with an automatic transmission on Touring and Grand Touring models. Fuel economy will be rated at 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway for front-wheel drive models and 24/30 for AWD models.

By adding this more powerful option to the CX-5 lineup, Mazda addresses one of the few complaints we had when we tested the crossover in April. That model had the smaller 2.0-liter engine, making 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. Its handling was easily the most engaging of the segment, but engine sacrificed power in the name of efficiency.

The 2014 CX-5 will go on sale in January. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Source: Los Angeles Times
Compiled By : Josh Martin

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Automotive, current events, Video Blog

 

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History of the Christmas Tree – Video Blog

WordPress no longer allow History channel video content, please click here to see a brief video: History Channel

How It All Got Started

Long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.

In the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on December 21 or December 22 and is called the winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.

The ancient Egyptians worshipped a god called Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death.

Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. In Northern Europe the mysterious Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder.

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.

It is not surprising that, like many other festive Christmas customs, the tree was adopted so late in America. To the New England Puritans, Christmas was sacred. The pilgrims‘s second governor, William Bradford, wrote that he tried hard to stamp out “pagan mockery” of the observance, penalizing any frivolity. The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against “the heathen traditions” of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.” In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the 19th century, when the influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy.

In 1846, the popular royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Unlike the previous royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at court immediately became fashionable—not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The Christmas tree had arrived.

By the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the U.S. It was noted that Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling.

The early 20th century saw Americans decorating their trees mainly with homemade ornaments, while the German-American sect continued to use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn joined in after being dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought about Christmas lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. With this, Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country and having a Christmas tree in the home became an American tradition.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Center tree is located at Rockefeller Center, west of Fifth Avenue from 47th through 51st Streets inNew York City.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree dates back to the Depression Era days. The tallest tree displayed at Rockefeller Center came in 1948 and was a Norway Spruce that measured in at 100 feet tall and hailed from Killingworth, Connecticut.

The first tree at Rockefeller Center was placed in 1931. It was a small unadorned tree placed by construction workers at the center of the construction site. Two years later, another tree was placed there, this time with lights. These days, the giant Rockefeller Center tree is laden with over 25,000 Christmas lights.

Source: History Channel

Compiled By: Josh Martin

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in History, Holiday Articles, Video Blog

 

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