01 April 2009

Cheeky Quote Day! 1 April 2009

Writer Fran Lebowitz at Mercedes-Benz Fashion ...Image via Wikipedia



Photo of writer Fran Lebowitz.

April Fools Day AND Cheeky Quote Day: Blog Writer Wins Lottery!

In addition to the usual amusing quotes you have come to expect every Wednesday at The Social Poets...

And not one to let a holiday celebration like April Fools Day pass into oblivion without some historical commentary...

I spent some time over at the Museum of Hoaxes, chuckling over the many hoaxes people were actually gullible enough to believe. Be kind. These were our parents and grandparents! Imagine that. Some day your kids will be laughing at you while Karma stands to the side and nods his head in agreement with the philosophy of "what goes around comes around."

Featured today are quotes from American journalist Fran Lebowitz:

“Calling a taxi in Texas is like calling a rabbi in Iraq.”

“Polite conversation is rarely either.”

“Food is an important part of a balanced diet.”

“In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country of America, capitalism triumphed over democracy.”

From a man who has been making the world laugh for decades:

“Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.”
- Bill Cosby, American comedian

Even the math guys can be funny:

"To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself."
- Albert Einstein, math wiz, “ya think?”

***

Since it’s April Fools Day…

From the Museum of Hoaxes come some real grinners!

Drunk Driving on the Internet

Happened in 1994:

An article in PC Computing magazine written by John Dvorak 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, which is designed to prohibit anyone from using a public computer network (Information Highway) while the computer user is intoxicated. 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 bill is expected to pass this month."

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.

***



The Left-Handed Whopper

Happened in 1998:

Burger King published a full page advertisement in 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."

***



The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

Happened in 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."

For full length article go here.

Go here for the actual historical video, most amusing since in 1957 most of the world didn’t know a thing about spaghetti, except my mother who was born in New York City and cooked it regularly much to the chagrin of the locals in Maine who thought it was weird at the time, becoming converts later like most of America.

***



For today’s generation of typographers and designers, check out the previous cheeky generation of pranksters. Once in a while newspaper guys are actually funny!

San Serriffe

Happened in 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.

For the full length article go here.

Keep grinning through your work week!

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