SYDNEY- David Beckham joining the Australian soccer team? A stapler sending tweets? It must be April Fools’ Day.
In keeping with tradition, media outlets, companies, websites and other jokers came up with various April Fools’ hoaxes on Thursday that ranged from the ridiculous to the absurd.
Australian pen maker Artline was advertising a new product in newspapers and on its website www.artline.com.au — a pen that remembers everything you write. “Forget the worry of losing the shopping list or the scrap of paper with that vital name or number on it,” read the Artline advertisement. “You can download it all later — as you wrote it, or in the typeface of your choice.”
Last year on April 1 the company unveiled a pen with microchip tracking so no one could pinch it.
The website HowStuffWorks.com came up with the “twapler”, which is a “stapler that automatically sends a message via Bluetooth or WiFi to a Twitter feed detailing exactly what you’re stapling at any given moment”.
“Whether you’re joining together a research project, tax forms or your divorce papers, the Twapler will send out a message for eager tweeters to revel in.”
Australian broadcaster ABC put out a spoof interview with an injured David Beckham in which the former England soccer captain said he was set to join the Australian national team, the Socceroos, as assistant manager and lead them to World Cup glory in South Africa.
Residents of the small Australian town of Murwillumbah woke up to the news in local newspaper the Tweed Daily News that “Avatar” director James Cameron had scouted local rainforests as a location for a sequel to the box-office hit.
April Fools’ Day dates back centuries, but its origins remain unclear. A widespread theory is that it dates back to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar with the term April Fool applying to those who were still following the Julian Calendar.
By tradition in most countries, people can pull pranks before noon on April 1 in the name of April Fools’ Day but become the fool if they do it in the afternoon.
Top 10 Fools' Day stories
1. Beckham mortified
A few days before April 1 in 2009, when shaking hands with a Royal Marine, England soccer player David Beckham was shocked when he found himself pulling off the soldier's arm. Poor Commando Ben McBean hollered in pain: "My arm, my arm!" But to the midfielder's relief, it was only a joke, he was holding McBean's prosthetic arm. McBean lost an arm and a leg while serving in Afghanistan. His cheerful spirits impressed Beckham, who gave the solder a hug and his best wishes.
2. Bush arrested?
In April 2009, an Internet portal invited its readers to make fake "news" stories. Hear this one out: reportedly former U.S. president George Bush was arrested by Canadian police for war crimes on his first day of visit to the country. Apparently Bush was involved in the torturing of prisoners held at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.
3. Helicopter hotel almost fooled everyone
Many media reported a piece of eye-catching news in April last year that a U.S. company converted a soviet Mil V-12 helicopter into a helicopter hotel. The amazing flying helicopter hotel will be launched for commercial operation. Although many people believed it to be true, a British reporter revealed that this was only a joke. He pointed out that photos in the commercial were products of Photoshop, and those of the inside of the heli-hotel were stolen from the promotion pictures of a hotel. Moreover, there are only two prototypes of Mil V-12 in the world, the helicopter has never been mass-produced.
4. Ivanovic to try badminton?
Serbian tennis player Ivanovic to try hand at badminton? Absolutely! Anything could happen on April 1. On April Fools’ Day 2009, the Serbian beauty was made jokes of. Foreign media claimed that at her sponsors’ urging and encouragement, Ivanovic may try her hand at badminton. Grand slam player changing profession was definitely a hit.
5. Pandas dyed bears?
According to a story in a Taiwan newspaper, giant pandas “Tuantuan” and “Yuanyuan” given to Taiwan by mainland China were dyed grizzly bears instead of pandas. Taipei Zoo said: “The story was not funny at all, it was a challenge to the newspaper’s professional ethics.”
6. Sarkozy to have legs stretched?
On April 1, 2008, The Sun said French president Sarkozy was not satisfied with his height and booked for a “height surgery” at a Swiss medical center. According to the Sun, Mr. Sarkozy was planning to have his legs stretched by five inches so that he could match up to his wife Carla Bruni.
7. Cheery Blair painted No. 10 gate red?
An April Fool story by the Daily Mail pissed off many British readers: wife of the then Prime Minister Tony Blair Cherry insisted on painting the front door of No. 10 Downing Street red! In all seriousness, the Mail said Cherry Blair broke the decades’ long tradition and painted the black gate red, for it’s the color of the Labor Party.
8. Olajuwon to come back?
Retired NBA star Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon “Hakeem the Dream” will come back and fill the vacancy at the Huston Rockets left behind by injured Yao Ming, revealed by ESPN columnist John Sheridan. But it is just another joke on April Fools’ Day.
9. Fairy remains for sale?
On April 1, 2006, Dan Baines, a British sculptor and illusion designer put on what he claimed to be the remains of a fairy on eBay for sale. Baines received hundreds of messages from credulous and fairy-loving readers, which took him several days to reply. Finally he revealed the truth.
10. Queen buys lottery?
Daily Post reported on April 1, 2004 that Queen Elizabeth walked her pet dogs on a lottery shopping tour, with photos. Of course it was all made-up, and the photo a fake one too. British media has a tradition of reporting fake news on April Fools’ Day.