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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Literature/Language
Patent The A and Patented Storylines
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 04, 2005
Status: Patent the A is satire; patented storylines is serious The Ecchi Patent Company claims to hold a patent on the letter A: The rights lie with us for all forms of the letter A, including, but not limited to, uppercase, lowercase, accented, Cyrillic, put in a little circle (e-mail users please note), in code, and in any form we may not have thought of already. Supposedly you need to obtain a license from them in order to use the letter A in any form: "we will soon begin prosecuting people who fail to purchase a license and continue to use the letter A." Of course, this is a joke. Unless…
Chris Elliott Falls for Boilerplate
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 02, 2005
Status: Hoax claims victim In my Gallery of Hoax Websites (which I created about four years ago, and which has since been superceded by the Hoax Websites category of the weblog), I list the website of Boilerplate, the Victorian Era Robot. The site details the history of a robot named Boilerplate who was supposedly created during the 19th century in order to replace humans in combat. I admit that the site had me going for a while, and that I only realized it was a hoax when I tried to check the bibliographic references, none of which referred to real books. It…
The Grafton Portrait of Shakespeare
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 28, 2005
Status: Art Fake (i.e. it's not Shakespeare) The National Portrait Gallery has reported that the Grafton portrait, long thought to depict Shakespeare as a young man, doesn't depict him at all. They don't know who the guy in the painting is. The portrait apparently served as the inspiration for the portrayal of Shakespeare in the movie Shakespeare in Love. So the Grafton portrait will now join the Flower portrait (revealed to be a nineteenth-century fake earlier this year) in the category of "portraits of Shakespeare that don't actually show Shakespeare." My hunch is that all…
Categories: Art, Literature/Language Comments (10)
World’s Longest Surname
Posted by The Curator on Fri Oct 21, 2005
Status: Seems to be true Charles Haberl e-mailed me with a question about the world's longest surname. Here's the main part of his message (it's kind of long): There's an bit of internet lore circulating around that the Guinness World Record for Longest Name in the world belongs to a Mr. Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffwelchevoralternwarengewissenschaftschafe rswessenschafewarenwohlgepflegeundsorgfaltigkeitbeschutzenvonangreifeudurch ihrraubgierigfeindewelchevoralternzwolftausendjahresvorandieerscheinenersch einenvanderersteerdemenschderraumschiffgebrauchlichtalsseinursprungvonkraft gestartseinlangefahrthinzwischensternaitigraumaufdersuchenachdiesternwelche gehabtbewohnbarplanetenkreisedrehensichundwohinderneurassevonverstandigmens chlichkeitkonntefortpflanzenundsicherfeuenanlebenslanglichfreudeundruhemitn icheinfurchtvorangreifenvonandererintelligentgeschopfsvonhinzwischenternart Zeus igraum Senior, who was born in Munich in 1904 and lived in Philadelphia for most of his life. Apparently he shortened his name to Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, and subsequently went by Hubert…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (37)
Is The Word ‘Dwarf’ Derogatory?
Posted by The Curator on Tue Oct 18, 2005
Status: Not to my knowledge. Since my upcoming book is titled Hippo Eats Dwarf, this brief article in The Sun caught my attention: PANTOS of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs are being censored — to outlaw the word DWARF. A shocked village drama group sent off for a script and found Dopey and his pals — played by kids — had to be called “gnomes” instead. Ray Lionet, 73, of the Coxheath Players in Kent, said the ban was to avoid offending short people. He said: “It’s madness.” I never thought the word dwarf was considered to be derogatory. I hope it's not, because it's way too late…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (36)
Is J.T. LeRoy a Hoax?
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 10, 2005
Status: Yes, he's a hoax J.T. LeRoy is either a) an extremely shy young man who, at the age of 13, while living a life of abuse and prostitution on the streets, met a psychologist who encouraged him to write down his experiences, which he did, thereby propelling him to literary stardom (now in his mid-twenties, LeRoy has three books, one of which has been made into a movie); or b) a woman in her late-thirties called Laura Albert who, for the past eleven years, has crafted an elaborate hoax to make people believe that LeRoy is a real person. Stephen Beachy believes that option…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (39)
Esquivalience Copyright Trap
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 07, 2005
The most recent edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) defines esquivalience as "the willful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities." However, esquivalience isn't a real word. It's a copyright trap, placed in the dictionary so that the editors can know when others are stealing their work. This was reported in last week's New Yorker. The editors of NOAD admit that they made up esquivalience: "An editor named Christine Lindberg came up with “esquivalience.” The word has since been spotted on Dictionary.com, which cites Webster’s New Millennium as its source." But, of course, if enough people start to use the word, it could become real. I think the most famous case of fake entries in a dictionary occurred…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (2)
Gulliver’s Erotic Adventures
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 22, 2005
A Russian woman, Neonilla Samukhina, claims that the original version of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels was far racier, containing numerous explicit sex scenes... and she happens to have acquired a manuscript of this early version. She published a Russian translation of it last week. The book features the hero of 18th century Irish author Jonathan Swift’s famous satire in physical encounters with tiny Lilliputs — who are only 15 centimeters tall — and in Brobdingnag, which is inhabited by 20-meter giants. No experts seem to be taking her claims very seriously. Obvious signs that it's a hoax are that she refuses to allow anyone to see the manuscript, nor will she allow…
Automatic Paper Generator
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 15, 2005
A group of MIT students wrote a computer program capable of creating "random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations." They then used this program to create a paper that they submitted to an academic conference: the World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, which sounds like a thrill a minute. The paper was accepted, which isn't really surprising since as the students point out conferences such as this are really 'fake' conferences "with no quality standards, which exist only to make money." The students hope to travel down to the conference (if they're still allowed to attend) and deliver a "completely randomly-generated talk."
Book Millionaire
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 14, 2005
Want to be a best-selling author making millions of dollars? Then sign up to be on Book Millionaire and your dreams could become reality! Here's your chance to finally become America's next Best Selling Author and Reality Show TV Celebrity!  We are scouting for the next group of candidates for America's hottest new reality show. Act now. Picture yourself featured on national television sharing your story, writing, book-to-be or book with millions of people showing you have what it takes to be America's next Best Selling Author and Book Millionaire. John Ordover brought this to my attention, noting that it looks like a scam, and I have to agree with him. On…
Springtime in Arkham
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 04, 2005
This should appeal to all H.P. Lovecraft fans. It's Springtime in Arkham, a collection of scents inspired by the world of Lovecraft. For only $155 you can buy the entire set, sold together as the 'Gibbering Madness Pack: More eternal evil than you can shake a stick at'. The fact that these are only available from April 1 to June 1 makes it all seem a little like an April Fool's day joke, but I think they're quite real. I'm actually tempted to buy the CTHULHU scent: A creeping, wet, slithering scent, dripping with seaweed, oceanic plants and dark, unfathomable waters.
Plagiarizing for Laura
Posted by The Curator on Thu Mar 31, 2005
Hundreds of blogs have linked to this in the past week, so I might as well pay it some attention, even though I'm doubtful that it's a hoax. The basic story is as follows: Some guy was contacted out of the blue via IM by a college student who wanted to know if he would write a paper on Hinduism for her. She had searched for people who mentioned the word 'Hindu' in their AOL profile and came up with him. To make a long story short, he agreed to write the paper for $75, but all he did was slap together a paper by shamelessly plagiarizing texts found on the internet, and then he blew the whistle…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (13)
Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 23, 2005
I received the following email from Joe Mason. Instead of summarizing it, I'll just cut-and-paste the whole thing: Amazon has a listing for "Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie". The book also has a homepage at http://www.hamsterhueypress.com/, and it's listed as being written by "renowned story teller" Mabel S. Barr. Hamster Huey is, of course, the fictional book written by "Mabel Syrup" in Calvin and Hobbes. It looks like somebody with a vanity press has ripped off the title (I don't think titles are copyrightable, so this may even be legal). This version of "Hamster Huey" certainly…
Categories: Literature/Language Comments (37)
Another Belle de Jour Theory
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 07, 2005
The Book Club blog has collected together more information than you'd ever want to know about the Belle de Jour blog, the supposed online diary of a London call girl that recently was published as a book. About a year ago there was a lot of speculation that Belle de Jour was really Sarah Champion, a 33-year-old music journalist. Now the Book Club blog is speculating that Belle is really a writer named Lisa Hilton.
Batman’s Greatest Boner
Posted by The Curator on Sat Mar 05, 2005
A series of scans has appeared on the scans_daily LiveJournal blog, apparently from an early Batman comic (Batman #66). It details a 'boner' made by the Joker, and his subsequent efforts to force Batman 'into a boner'. The word boner is repeated so often that it seems like it has to be a joke, especially when you read lines such as "Gotham City will rue the day it mentioned the word Boner!" Perhaps someone photoshopped the word 'boner' into an issue of Batman. But I don't think so. I think it's real, although I can't be sure since I don't have a copy of that…
Categories: Art, Literature/Language Comments (49)
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