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Hoaxes of Joseph Mulhattan
Satirical Candidates — I just finished writing a list of the Top 20 Satirical Candidates of All Time, which I've now added to the site. It seemed an appropriate time for it. I chose "Nobody" as the #1 satirical candidate. I thought it was an obvious choice. After all, how can Anyone top Nobody? But also on the list are the foot powder that won an election, Pat Paulsen, Stephen Colbert, Vermin Supreme, etc. What the list doesn't cover is mock political parties. The focus is entirely on candidates.
Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2008.   Comments (19)

A Year Without Lying — Cathal Morrow is embarking on an experiment to live for a year without lying. When he's done, he'll report the results in a book to be titled The Complete Kant. (The title refers to Immanuel Kant, who said that lying is always morally wrong.) Morrow doesn't seem to have a publisher yet for the book, though according to the Guardian, he does have a private equity company financing him for the year in exchange for half the profits of the book. (The book better be a bestseller if they…
Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008.   Comments (42)

Piper Palin gives one-finger salute — A picture (top) has been doing the rounds showing Piper Palin, Gov. Palin's six-year-old daughter, apparently giving a boy the finger. Yes, it's a hoax. In the original (bottom), which can be found on the Alaska state website, it's clear that Piper has two fingers raised.
Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008.   Comments (84)

Iranian Interior Minister Admits Fake Degree — Iranian Interior Minister Ali Kordan has announced that he is shocked, shocked to learn that his honorary degree from Oxford University is fake. The dodgy circumstances by which he obtained it eight years ago (via "an agency in Tehran for English-language affairs that represents Oxford University") never raised any red flags with him. Nor did any of the spelling and grammatical mistakes in the document (misplaced commas, the word "entitle" is misspelled, etc.) Kordan is, appropriately,…
Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008.   Comments (9)


The Museum of Fakes — The BBC reports that a 60-year-old Korean man has been arrested for running "a private museum stuffed with fakes." He bought cheap artifacts from flea markets and then displayed them as ancient treasures. He claimed one of his fakes was a "Koryo Dynasty celadon." All in all, he managed to earn $443,000 from this scam through ticket sales. Two things occur to me: 1) So people are assuming that most museums aren't full of fakes? The dirty little secret of the worlds of art and…
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008.   Comments (16)

Pareidolia Roundup: September 2008 — Coffee Stain Christ Four years ago Sam Marinos had a cup of coffee with his wife. When he was done he turned the cup upside down to allow the grounds to run down the side of the cup -- which is some kind of tradition in his family. He was then "stunned" to see that the grounds had formed what looked to him like the face of Jesus. He's now considering selling the Jesus cup on eBay. Drywall Jesus Omar Craddock was doing some work in a client's kitchen when he spotted the image of a face…
Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008.   Comments (29)

Will the sun rise for 36 hours on October 17, 2008? — A very strange astronomical rumor is circulating: Coming October 17, 2008 the sun will rise continuously for 36 hrs (1.5 days). During this time the US countries will be dark for 1.5 days. It will convert 3 days into 2 big days. It will happen once in 2400 yrs. We're very lucky to see this. Forward it to all your friends. This rumor appears to have come from India, so it means to say that the sun will rise for 36 hours over India, and the Americas will be dark for the same amount of…
Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008.   Comments (48)

Is Bank of America cancelling the majority of its customers’ credit cards? — This rumor is going around: BoA to close credit cards for approximately 60% of customers? "I work in Credit Department at BoA (Senior Level Credit Analysist Boa Bldg 3rd fl, Char, NC). We just received memo indicating that all BoA credit cards are being closed as of 10/1. Credit score and income do not matter, all accounts are closed as of 10/1." Executive VP Bank of America "This is true, but not as bad as he/she says. We are closing accounts, but only ones with credit scores under…
Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008.   Comments (29)

McCain wins debate that hasn’t happened yet — Apparently John McCain's campaign has access to the same time machine used by the Chinese journalists at Xinhua News who reported the launch of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft (including the astronaut's dialogue) hours before it happened. (See previous post.) McCain's campaign has been running an ad in the Wall Street Journal's online edition declaring that "McCain Wins Debate," which is a bold assertion considering that the debate will only happen tonight. Link: Washington Post
Posted: Fri Sep 26, 2008.   Comments (6)

Fake reporting of Shenzhou VII launch — China recently launched its third manned mission to space. Oddly, the Xinhua news agency reported the launch hours before it occurred. This would be understandable -- news agencies routinely prepare copy about major stories in advance of the event itself -- but the article included detailed dialogue between the astronauts: "One minute to go!' 'Changjiang No.1 found the target! ... "The firm voice of the controller broke the silence of the whole ship. Now, the target is captured 12…
Posted: Fri Sep 26, 2008.   Comments (2)

Students told aliens have landed — Strange "educational" stunts perpetrated by school authorities appear to be a growing trend. We had: 1) The Fake Attack at an Elementary School. (Students were told there was a gunman loose in the area in order to teach them how to respond in case a gunman ever really was loose in the area.) 2) Your classmate has died -- but not really. (Students were told that one of their classmates had died in a drunk-driving accident in order to teach them about the evils of drunk driving.) But…
Posted: Fri Sep 26, 2008.   Comments (6)

Writers are skeptical of $250,000 prize — An article in SFGate.com describes how the owners of FieldReport.com devised what they thought was a sure-fire way to generate interest in their literary site. They decided to offer a "$250,000 prize for whichever short nonfiction piece received the highest ranking from the site's users by Jan. 1, 2009. A series of $1,000 qualifying prizes would be awarded in the months leading up to the quarter-million-dollar payout." Problem is, no one believed them. "We got this dead-face,…
Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2008.   Comments (1)

Adventures in Astroturf — Margriet Oostveen describes in Salon.com how she composed phony letters-to-the-editor on behalf of the McCain campaign: The assignment is simple: We are going to write letters to the editor and we are allowed to make up whatever we want -- as long as it adds to the campaign. After today we are supposed to use our free moments at home to create a flow of fictional fan mail for McCain. "Your letters," says Phil Tuchman, "will be sent to our campaign offices in battle states. Ohio.…
Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2008.   Comments (4)

Eye of Sauron Prank — Pranksters at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recently added the Eye of Sauron to the McFarland Memorial Bell Tower. The tower looks like it was designed to host it. The Daily Illini reports that those responsible for placing the Eye on the tower remain unknown.
Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008.   Comments (7)

Phony 9/11 Photos — Recently the Delray Beach Public Library arranged an exhibition of photographs taken by 71-year-old Milt Goldstein. The pictures were taken immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and showed rescue workers searching for victims. Goldstein told anyone willing to listen how he had gained access to ground zero by buying an NYPD hat and jacket from a vendor on Canal Street. Goldstein was offering to sell individual pictures for prices ranging from $200 to $350. But it turned…
Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008.   Comments (5)

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