Thursday 31 March 2011

April Fools' Day 2011

It's that time of the year to get out your whoopee cushions, ink-leaking pens, and even prepare a couple of pie plates of custard or whipped cream to perpetrate some good natured mayhem at home and at work throughout this annual day dedicated to the silly. Be ready to contend with stuff that is normally just sitting there to be glued, nailed, stapled, or tied in some manner to render it fixed. Listen carefully for a suppressed giggle as the caller expresses their condolences at you being terminated from your job. Watch for the slight curl at the edge of the mouth indicating a hint of a smile as somebody tells you that your boss has just signed the papers to transfer you to some far-flung spot on the globe.

Yes, for one day, everything may be suspect. Members of your family, your friends, and your colleagues at work will all be a list of possible pranksters targeting your gullibility. However it doesn't stop there. Over the years newspapers, television, and radio have all taken advantage of this one day respite from being factual to pull the wool over our eyes in a comical profiteering from our naivety, and blind acceptance of any news without any critical assessment.

The Spaghetti Tree Harvest
From the web site the Museum of Hoaxes:

On April 1, 1957 the British news show Panorama broadcast a three-minute segment about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. The success of the crop was attributed both to an unusually mild winter and to the "virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil." The audience heard Richard Dimbleby, the show's highly respected anchor, discussing the details of the spaghetti crop as they watched video footage of a Swiss family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and placing it into baskets. The segment concluded with the assurance that, "For those who love this dish, there's nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti."
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest hoax generated an enormous response. Hundreds of people phoned the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this query the BBC diplomatically replied, "Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."
To this day the Panorama broadcast remains one of the most famous and popular April Fool's Day hoaxes of all time. It is also believed to be the first time the medium of television was used to stage an April Fool's Day hoax.
The full article goes on to explain that spaghetti was not widely eaten in Britain at that time. It was considered an exotic food and hence most people had no idea of its origins.

Google's Pranks
I pull a prank; that's one thing. However when the search giant pulls a prank, just about everybody on the planet knows about it. In fact, they rate their very own article in Wikipedia chronicling their exploits in pulling the wool over all of our eyes. (Wikipedia: Google Hoaxes)

Pigeon Ranking
Back in 2002, Google revealed that their page ranking system used pigeons. They had a "pigeon rank" system.

Jobs on the moon
In 2003, they advertised jobs for the moon. Yep, that's right, the moon!

Google is interviewing candidates for engineering positions at our lunar hosting and research center, opening late in the spring of 2007. This unique opportunity is available only to highly-qualified individuals who are willing to relocate for an extended period of time, are in top physical condition and are capable of surviving with limited access to such modern conveniences as soy low-fat lattes, The Sopranos and a steady supply of oxygen.

The Google Copernicus Hosting Environment and Experiment in Search Engineering (G.C.H.E.E.S.E.) is a fully integrated research, development and technology facility at which Google will be conducting experiments in entropized information filtering, high-density high-delivery hosting (HiDeHiDeHo) and de-oxygenated cubicle dwelling. This center will provide a unique platform from which Google will leapfrog current terrestrial-based technologies and bring information access to new heights of utility.

Google Romance
In 2006, they announced Google Romance.

Upload your profile – tell the world who you are, or, more to the point, who you’d like to think you are, or, even more to the point, who you want others to think you are.

Who you want others to think you are? [bursts out laughing] That's hilarious! They even offer a tour.

Google's calculator
[shaking my head] Everybody calls programmers nerds but they do have quite a sense of humour. Go to Google's main screen. Type in "2+2" then click on Search. You get as a result "2 + 2 = 4". Now type in "2 plus 2" and click on Search. You get as a result "2 plus 2 = 4".

What other amusing expressions? "a baker's dozen" equals 13. "the loneliest number" equals one, a reference to a song by Harry Nilsson.

Type in "the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything" and click on Search. You get "the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything = 42". "Huh?" you say? Hey, get onboard. This is an amusing reference to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

When I was a kid
When I think of this now, I have to roll my eyes, but it's true, I actually did this around the age of eight or nine. Either the night before, or early in the morning, I switched the salt and sugar. At breakfast, I would try to keep a straight face as Mom and Dad and my brother would all dig into their cereal to find it salty or possibly dig into something like scrambled eggs only to find it sweet. Gawd, was I funny? Gawd, was I brilliant? In the words of Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World, "Not!"

One more Charlie Sheen video!
The Gregory Brothers have come out with another Songify This and I thought there would be no better way of ending off an article about April Fools' Day then to show Charlie at his finest, but this time, set to music. All these buzz words, #winning, #tigerblood, or maybe #machete fit right into this mashup of celebrity meltdown with a beat.


Wikipedia: April Fools' Day

April Fools' Day is celebrated all around the world on the April 1 of every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1 is not a legal holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day that tolerates practical jokes and general foolishness. The day is marked by the commission of good humoured or funny jokes, hoaxes, and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, work associates, etc.

The Museum of Hoaxes
The Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time

As judged by notoriety, creativity, and number of people duped

The April Fool Zone

Fun & Harmless Pranks & Practical Jokes

Wikipedia: The Gregory Brothers

The Gregory Brothers are a musical group who characterize their music as "Country & Soul, Folk & Roll". Members include Michael Gregory on drums and vocals, Andrew Rose Gregory on guitar and vocals, Evan Gregory on keys and vocals, and Sarah Fullen Gregory (Evan's wife) on bass and vocals. They are most famous for their creation of musical viral videos, most notably the Auto-Tune the News series, which includes the "Bed Intruder Song". The three brothers, originally from Radford, Virginia, moved to Brooklyn, New York in the mid-2000s and met Sarah in the local music scene. The four formed a band in 2007.

Viral videos

The Gregory Brothers first became well known for a series of YouTube videos, Auto-Tune the News, in which recorded voices of politicians, news anchors, and political pundits were digitally manipulated to conform to a melody, making the figures appear to sing.

National television networks featured the Gregory Brothers' early political satires as early as the spring of 2009, but the group did not achieve mainstream recognition until the summer of 2010, when they released episode 12b of Auto-Tune the News, titled "Bed Intruder Song". "Bed Intruder Song," which featured excerpts from an interview with alleged crime victims Kelly Dodson and her brother Antoine Dodson, was viewed approximately 50 million times during its first six months online, making it the most-viewed YouTube video of 2010 (excluding major label music videos). Being largely non-political in content, it marked a departure from the Gregory Brothers' roots in political material.

Following the mainstream success of that music video, the Gregory Brothers have generally produced a mixture of both political and non-political videos. The Auto-Tune the News series has continued to focus primarily on political material, while many of the non-political videos have been given the new branding Songify This.

Google Search: April Fools' Pranks


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1 comment:

Unknown said...

i've had some good ones played on me ... didn't hear about the google one lol!

i think i'll hide tomorrow