1st APRIL 2017
HAPPY APRIL FOOL'S DAY
The origins of April Fools’ Day are murky, but the likeliest explanation is that it began as a way to mock French people who were slow to switch to the Gregorian Calendar which changed New Year’s from April 1 to January 1. These folks were labeled “fools” and some were sent on “fools’ errands.”
1: The Great Comic Strip Switcheroonie
April 1, 1997: When comic strip fans opened their papers, they discovered that 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."
2: The Frankfurt Zoo's White Elephant
April 1, 1949: A crowd of over 1000 people, paying a mark each, showed up at the Frankfurt Zoo to see a "snow-white elephant." Newspaper ads had said that the legendary animal had come all the way from Burma, accompanied by its handlers dressed in their traditional robes, and would be at the zoo for only a day before leaving for Copenhagen. And as promised, the crowd did get to see a snow-white elephant. But the next day they learned that it wasn't a genuine snow-white elephant. It was just one of the zoo's regular grey elephants painted white. However, the people of Frankfurt were willing to forgive the deception since it was the work of the zoo's director, Berhard Grzimek. He had become a hero in post-war Germany because of the passion with which he fought to save the animals of the Frankfurt Zoo, and he was known for being willing to do anything (including promising snow-white elephants that didn't exist) to lure people back to the zoo.
3: Write-Only Memory
April 1, 1973: The Signetics corporation issued a press release announcing their invention of a revolutionary new electronic memory that promised to "improve the quality of life for billions of people who are affected by computer data." As opposed to the common "write-and-read" or "read-only" memories (ROM), they had perfected Fully-Encoded 9046XN 25120 Write-Only Memory (aka WOM). Data could be written to the device, but never read back, thus ensuring Eternally Inaccessible Storage (EIS). Accompanying the press release was a data sheet (written by Signetics engineer John Curtis) detailing the chip's technical specifications. Write-Only Memory subsequently became a favorite inside joke within the engineering community, with engineers over subsequent years repeatedly trying to convince their managers of the need to purchase quantities of this vital component.
4: Big Ben Goes Digital
April 1, 1980: The BBC's overseas news service reported that Big Ben, in order to keep up with the times, was going to be given a digital readout. The segment included people's nostalgic reminiscences about the world's most famous clock, such as anecdotes about the day it stopped and when it chimed 13 instead of 12. Finally, the service announced that the clock hands, being no longer needed, would be given away to the first four listeners to contact them. One Japanese seaman in the mid-Atlantic immediately radioed in, hoping to be among the lucky callers. However, the BBC was shocked when it then began receiving a massive volume of calls from listeners who were furious that Big Ben was going to be meddled with. "Surprisingly, few people thought it was funny," admitted Tony Lightley of the service. The BBC had to spend several days apologizing to listeners for upsetting them.
5: One-Way Highway
April 1, 1991: The London Times reported 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 instantly doubled by the simple but revolutionary technique of making the traffic on both carriageways travel in the same direction. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays the traffic would travel clockwise. On Tuesdays and Thursdays it would travel anti-clockwise. The plan was predicted to easily gain the cabinet's approval. However, there were a few critics. One resident of Kent pointed out, "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." Despite the lunacy, the BBC Radio News fell for the joke and broadcast interviews with residents of Swanscombe who, when the plan was described to them, became irate over its implications.
6: King's College Choir Uses Helium
April 1, 2014: The renowned King's College Choir is not known for farce. This made it noteworthy when they released a video announcing that complex regulations had made it impractical to continue featuring young boys in the choir, and that they had been forced to find other ways to replicate the high pitch of the boys' preadolescent voices. Because the older choral scholars had vetoed the "surgical solution," the choir leaders had finally adopted a suggestion made by a colleague in the Chemistry Department — use helium. The video, demonstrating the use of helium during a performance, generated almost 1 million views on YouTube.
7: Blue Can Warning
April 1, 1996: Virgin Cola ran an ad in British papers announcing 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 reacted with the metal in the can, turning the can bright blue. Virgin warned that consumers should therefore avoid purchasing all blue cans. Coincidentally, Pepsi had recently unveiled its newly designed cans which were bright blue.
8: AND FINALLY...
ONE OF THE BIGGEST MEDIA HOAXES EVER BUT NOT 1ST APRIL BUT 30th OCTOBER 1938
"The War of the Worlds" is an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on Sunday, October 30, 1938, and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds (1898). It became famous for allegedly causing mass panic, although the reality of the panic is disputed as the program had relatively few listeners.
The first two-thirds of the one-hour broadcast was presented as a series of simulated news bulletins, which suggested an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. The illusion of realism was furthered because the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a sustaining show without commercial interruptions, and the first break in the program came almost 30 minutes into the broadcast. Popular legend holds that some of the radio audience may have been listening to Edgar Bergen and tuned in to "The War of the Worlds" during a musical interlude, thereby missing the clear introduction that the show was a drama, but recent research suggests this only happened in rare instances.
In the days following the adaptation, widespread outrage was expressed in the media. The program's news-bulletin format was described as deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast and calls for regulation by the Federal Communications Commission. The episode secured Welles's fame as a dramatist.
20 SONGS ABOUT FOOLS FOR APRIL FOOL'S DAY
1 Don't Laugh At Me Because I'm A Fool - Norman Wisdom (1954)
2 Why Do Fools Fall In Love? - Frankie Lymon And The Teenagers (1956)
3 I'm A Fool To Want You - Billie Holiday (1958)
4 (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I, Elvis Presley with the Jordanaires (1959)
5 Everybody's Somebody's Fool, - Connie Francis (1960)
6 Fool - Brenda Lee (1961)
7 What Kind Of Fool Am I? Sammy Davis Jr. and Anthony Newley (1962)
8 She's a Fool, Lesley Gore (1963)
9 Fools Rush In - Ricky Nelson (1963)
10 The Fool on the Hill - Beatles (1967)
11 Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin (1968)
12 Fool To Cry - Rolling Stones (1976)
13 Fool If You Think It's Over - Chris Rea (1978)
14 A Fool For Your Stockings - ZZ Top (1979)
15 What Kind of Fool," Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb (1981)
16 Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Diana Ross (1981)
17 Kissing a Fool, George Michael (1988)
18 Everybody Plays the Fool, Aaron Neville (1991)
19 Foolish Games,- Jewel (1997)
20 Lovefool - The Cardigans (1997)
When I was a lad at school around 13 years old, our Maths teacher used to call me Wol. At the end of the year as we were moving up a class I plucked up courage to ask why he called me Wol. He told meit was thename of the deslexic owl in Winnie the Pooh. With my Harry Potter glasses he said I looked like the Wise Old Owl in the Winnie the Pooh stories.
Being the vain person I am I took it as a compliment
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