Monday, April 01, 2013

Fool's Paradise

It's April Fools... but ya knew that... and I celebrated by staying abed until the literal crack o' noon.  I JUST now poured my first cup, have finished working through the overnight mail, and searched the vast EIP archives for this (from 2008):

Poisson d’Avril

It’s April Fools’ Day. But ya knew that. One thing you might not know, Gentle Reader, is there’s a web site that lists the “Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time.” Great good stuff there. Blog-Bud Barry, from whence I got the link, likes Number Five on the list…and I have to agree with him, being the language person I am (or like to think I am, anyway).

#5: San Serriffe
In 1977 the British newspaper The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement devoted to San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semi-colon-shaped islands. 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. 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.
I could see this particular hoax flying long and far in the USofA, given our woeful geographic knowledge. But it surprises me the Brits were taken in, what with the fact the British are very well-traveled (compared to us), and especially the blatantly obvious “Upper Caisse,” “Lower Caisse,” yadda, yadda. 
Also from the list… the first internet hoax, ever:
#12: Kremvax
In 1984, back in the Stone Age of the internet, a message was distributed to the members of Usenet (the online messaging community that was one of the first forms the internet took) announcing that the Soviet Union was joining Usenet. This was quite a shock to many, since most assumed that cold war security concerns would have prevented 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 that 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.
Who said Commies had no sense of humor?
The Wiki also has an impressive list of April Fools’ Day pranks… Also from The Wiki is this bit of trivia, with which I have personal experience, given I lived in Paris as a boy: “The April 1 tradition in France includes poisson d'avril (literally "April's fish"), attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim's back without being noticed.” You cannot imagine, Gentle Reader, the lengths young boys will go to just to attach a paper fish to another boy’s back (or girl’s…but not so much at ages 8 ~ 10). It’s pretty danged difficult to spend an entire day with your back to the wall, so to speak.
And then there’s this:
Happy April Fools' Day!
As expected, Google's Gmail rolled out a fake "custom time" feature, which purports to let users send e-mails into the past and consequently never miss important deadlines again. The new feature "utilizes an e-flux capacitor to resolve issues of causality," Google wrote.
"I just got two tickets to Radiohead by being the 'first' to respond to a co-worker's 'first-come, first-serve' email," a fake testimonial on the Custom Time site read. "Someone else had already won them, but I told everyone to check their inboxes again. Everyone sort of knows I used Custom Time on this one, but I'm denying it."
April Fools' Day is something that the Gmail folks take very seriously--the product's real beta launch was, in fact, on April 1, 2004.
Fun at the Googleplex… I use G-Mail but I missed the prank. Google must have taken “custom time” down by the time I rolled out of bed.
That was a few years ago... this year Twitter and The Tube O' You join the fun.

And then there's this...

From a tweet by Chris Kuc.

Yesterday was Mr. Hockey's 85th birthday and the Wings celebrated by wearing number nine on everyone's jersey during the pre-game skate at The Joe.  It's too bad they didn't honor Gordie by actually PLAYING RED WINGS HOCKEY, what with being humiliated on national teevee and losing to the Hated 'Hawks by the miserable score of 7-1.  Yesterday's game was an early one and I set my alarm for 1030 hrs to be sure I didn't miss anything.  I got up, opened the blinds, turned on the teevee, and put the coffee on.  Well, the score was 3-0 before the freakin' coffee pot had finished doin' its thing and it's a great good thing you weren't in the immediate vicinity, Gentle Reader, coz the combination of lack o' sleep, ZERO caffeination, and piss-poor play made Buck a VERY surly and foul-mouthed boy.  I turned the game off four minutes into the second when the 'Hawks went up by 5-0.  There are some things in life I just don't wanna see.

Gordie must have been proud.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.