Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The day when the Joker died

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Recently I had some spare time (yeah right) and I indulged in a old Film version of The Fledermaus (The Bat - to you English folks), with Peter Alexander featuring.  I always liked the music of Strauss and co and also the plot.   It starts with an historic event and the reason for the (in the play) coming action.  Seems two friends went partying and got drunk - then one left the other on a park-bench to sleep of the alcohol induced slumber, only to be woken up by school children and being made fun off -  all the way to his home.  The fact he still wore his "Fledermaus" costume from the previous nights Costume dance (Fasching's Ball) not helping him then.
So good chap that he is, he plotted revenge on his good (or not so good) mate.  So the play starts with setting the scene and then involving (and evolving) a complicated plot and several sub-plots of fake invites and people pretending to be people who they are not and a very memorable 'getting to prison' scene.  All this for the Fledermaus character to get one over his not so good mate, who left him on a park bench some time ago.  Hmm talk about revenge. Anyhow - lots of laughter and great music.

A most enjoyable time spent - thanks You Tube !
 Then I got thinking - if you tried this in today's times - you just might get arrested.

Hmmm you know - I used to enjoy Candid Camera. I used to be (and some say still am) a fun loving mischief creating kind of guy. I especially LOVED 1st April. Nothing better then playing a harmless trick on some unsuspecting person.
After all - to this day - there are still some people in Scouting circles who believe(ed) the underground newspaper (published on a Scout camp),  which run a story on my absence and late arrival by very proudly proclaiming that I would be honored by the Queen herself at Balmoral -with an OBM.  Truly!! Like as an Austrian Citizen I would e v e r have that happening - so gullible.
I also fell for some good ones - like the first year in my marriage and we had moved to Wellington and I knew it was prime earthquake country and had felt a few minor tremors already - only to be told via Radio, that any home-owners with cats ought to lock them up today as they where expecting a semi largish shake ( that would do no harm to people and buildings) BUT will upset the kitties and send them crazy and get them lost - so be kind folks and lock them up at home for their own good for the day!  Well we just recently got a much loved kitten and I heard the stuff on the news on the way to work, so rung my wife at her work  being totally concerned and related the story only to be asked what date it was today - 1 April -  and what has that got to do with it??  - 'till it slowly dawned - I had been had!!  :)
Ever since then I have been wary of news stories on 1 April - printed or otherwise.
There have been good ones - really good ones - totally plausible good ones.

And we are so gullible -- see below;

              A radio station in the Coromandel reported (in the 1970's) that a couple of large killer bee swarms had been blown over from Australia (they did have in previous weeks some bad weather) and the best way to "contain" them was to tempt them down to something special.  The suggestion was to put honey on the letterboxes - thus the bees would be tempted with the nectar and settle there - rather then invading your house.  Then a bee keeper can come and collect said killer bee's.   A good number of people did do  just that - only to having to wash off the gooey mess later.
             Another prank involved an announcement that a beer truck had rolled over State Highway nr3 or whatever nr it was and that help was needed with uplifting said truck and if people could come with any containers and draw off the beer (to make the truck lighter) which they then would get to keep and take home.   Traffic chaos ensued for hours afterwards!!
           Color television wasn’t widespread until 1966, but some Swedes armed with nylon stockings tried to get it four years earlier. They fell victim to a hoax by Sweden’s Sveriges Television, which trotted out a “technical expert” to explain on-air — in thoroughly technical terms — how a thinly stretched nylon screen in front of a television would bend light’s wavelengths and produce a color image. The thousands who tried it learned quickly that there was no such trick — and were out a pair of stockings to boot.
           Virgin Atlantic made headlines with the “world’s first glass-bottomed plane”.
Images of the new aircraft were broadcast far and wide, with promises of a glass-topped aircraft to follow, so passengers could see the stars at night. The prank was bound to succeed because it was such an appealing concept and because if anyone was going to launch a glass-bottomed plane, it would be Richard Branson. “I’m thrilled to announce that Virgin has created another world-first,” Richard was quoted as saying.
            Burger King cooked up a whopper of a different sort in 1998, but that didn’t mean fast-food customers were any less willing to swallow it. In a full-page ad in USA Today, Burger King announced a solution for the 1.4 million left-handed customers visiting their restaurants every day: the Left-Handed Whopper. Burger King said all the condiments were rotated 180° to suit the left-handed burger connoisseur. Southpaws eagerly tried to order the burger the next day, but they had to wait in line behind right-handed folks equally caught up with making sure they got the correct Whopper. The thought that a burger is basically, you know, a circle apparently never crossed anyones mind.
          Do you remember Google and many of their pranks - the best I liked was the “You click. We stack. You get.” prank.  Google has long encouraged users of its Gmail service to archive, rather than delete, their e-mail. But paper archives too? That was the idea behind the 2007 launch of 'Gmail Paper', which promised to provide on-demand printed copies of e-mails for users. The massive costs of printing and shipping would be offset by advertisements on the back of each sheet, printed in “red, bold, 36-pt. Helvetica.” The hoax website lives on today. But paper lovers beware — there’s still no word on how Google planned to handle the Viagra ads and Nigerian e-mail scams that would undoubtedly clutter every shipment.
            The British media have a unique affinity for pulling April Fools’ pranks, matched only by the British publics unique ability to fall for them. On April 1, 1976, BBC Radio 2 astronomer Sir Patrick Moore gave listeners some bunk about how, at 9:47 a.m., Pluto and Jupiter would align in such a way as to temporarily reduce Earth’s gravity. Moore told listeners to jump at exactly that time to experience the once-in-a-lifetime effect. At 9:48, callers flooded the lines, eager to describe how they had briefly floated. News that Moore had played them no doubt brought everyone crashing back to earth.
       America was outraged when the fast-food chain Taco's took out a full-page ad in six major newspapers, claiming it had purchased the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell.  But no worries — they planned to leave it on display. The prank’s real victims were hapless National Park Services employees manning the phones at the Liberty Bell. Unaware of the media blitz, they spent their April Fools’ Day reassuring Americans that no, their national monument hadn’t been sold off to the highest bidder.
             Today - a fragile bridge (the Pepe bridge in the Coromandel) linking two communities was as announced in a "precarious" condition after a heavy truck drove over it and leaving a few cracks in the concrete thus making it unsafe to use so if people would be kind enough and use the 15 km round trip on the alternate route - and be aware of the traffic chaos!!

  So here is the thing - 
In both the last two items listed above - so many people so fell for the pranks, that they vented anger - and now we have retractions and apologies and more apologies and yet more fake apologies - to the point where it is UNSAFE to play any prank, any time, anywhere, on anyone -  let alone on 1st April (unless of cousre it is for entertainment on TV, some sad sick reality show - whats the latest - "you got spanked"????).   Major reason - seems people nowadays are afraid to up-set anyone.

Heaven forbid.
 I mean - we could upset some poor old fool of a soul.
We could even get sued.
Or worse - made fun off aka the Fledermaus.
Or worse still loose customers.
Or worse - they may hold a grudge.
Or worse - prank us next year
(actually that would be a bonus if they did)

The PC brigade (or nowadays often called the 'Anti-Fun-police') is getting stronger and stronger by the day and year.  We are now at a point where major media outlets no longer pull pranks on their faithful member/reader/viewer-ship.  There hasn't been one on TV-news for years.
I miss those practical jokes.
THUS - it is with deep regret that i have to inform you that

Today is the day that joker in the pack died.

Sadly  /  Buried / Forgotten

Readers digest always had a section called 'Laughter is the best medicine'.
Even the Bible had some good positive advice about laughing at ourselves and at others - indeed it is part of our human existence.

Time to resurrect the fun stuff.

A Lazarus moment

So I suggest we forget once in a while our stuffiness and lets have some harmless little fun.
Thus my question for you -  what harmless fun prank did you pull today???

I just know what to do next year for my boss who is often away from the office  :)   

Have fun
bear print

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unus ursus said...

This in from my in-laws down south in Dunedin - good story Jeff


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