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Who was the real fool on April 1?


Fri, Mar 30th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Last week as I was checking my emails I came across an article The Old Farmer's Almanac had sent dealing with April Fools' Day. Reading the article, I was instantly transported back nearly 50 years ago when I was a pre-schooler playing on the sidewalk near our house. It was a Saturday, I recall, because one of the neighborhood boys, about 10 years older than me, was out doing some yardwork.

"Hey Charlie," he shouted, "why are you wearing a dress?" I looked down at my clothes. I wasn't wearing a dress. I was wearing what most youngsters wore in the late-1950s: Redball Jets, blue jeans, a sweatshirt, and a baseball cap. I was terribly embarrassed, just the same. I thought the world of Jerry Matheny, and didn't understand why he thought I was wearing a dress.

Jerry could see I'd bit hook, line, and sinker. Then he shouted, "April fools!" and retreated to the garage.

Puzzled, I walked into the house and asked my mother what Jerry was talking about. Since that time, I have always enjoyed April Fools' Day and attempted to dream up pranks to torment others and entertain myself.

But what's the history behind April Fools' Day, which just occurred this past Sunday? Thanks to OFA, read on, and become educated!

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the history behind April Fools' Day is a little gray, although many people agree the tradition began in 1582 when France switched to the Gregorian calendar and moved New Year's Day from March 25 back to January 1. Prior to this change, the New Year's celebration had lasted a full week, from March 25 to April 1. Those who were unaware of the change were called April fools.

In France, the tradition is for children to secretly stick paper fishes on the backs of victims and shout "Poisson d'Avril!" ("April Fish!"). Scots call the holiday "Huntigowk Day" and send people to "hunt the gowk another mile" - a wild goose chase. Worldwide, people seem to dream up mischief on April 1.

In New York City, there has been an April Fools' Day Parade on Fifth Avenue every year since 1986. Media hoaxer Joey Skaggs sends out press releases detailing each year's theme, and a bevy of camera crews and spectators arrive on the scene to secure a spot. Of course, there's no parade.

In celebration of the jests and jesters everywhere, The 2007 Old Farmer's Almanac reports on some of the most famous pranks played over the years.

Here are a few:

Cave of the treasures .....
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In New Orleans, injustice and disaster team up to make recovery difficult

Fri, Mar 23rd, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Editor's note: The author spent a week in February as a volunteer working with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), a non-governmental organization, working with disenfranchised populations in New Orleans.



"A societ ..... 
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Politicians and scientists should try a loveless marriage

Fri, Mar 9th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

The current administration has been, according to observers grounded in science, the most hostile and dismissive administration toward science and scientists ever. The Union of Concerned Scientists has catalogued the egregious episodes of ideologica ..... 
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It's time for Cheney to resign

Fri, Mar 9th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

It is time for Dick Cheney to resign his post and stand down as vice president. He is not fit to serve as the second highest official in the land, a mere heartbeat away from the presidency.

The trial of Cheney's chief of staff Lewis "Scooter ..... 
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Common Ground

Fri, Feb 23rd, 2007
Posted in Commentary



Let's face it - right now on the issue of global warming - there is going to be disagreement. There are people who don't believe that it is happening or that it is caused by human activity and there are the people who agree that global warmi ..... 
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The pause that refreshes *

Fri, Feb 16th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Our Root River has put up with a lot. One hundred and forty years ago when my great grandfather settled here, he perched a log cabin on the river's edge and built a mill. We've not let the river alone since: we've straightened it then twisted it, dr ..... 
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A flower has more rights than a landowner

Fri, Feb 16th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

I am one of two property owners who has not agreed to sell my land for the Forestville Trail.

On Tuesday night, the Preston City Council may begin discussing whether to use eminent domain to acquire 2 1/2 acres that I own five miles away fr ..... 
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Daylight savings saves more than just daylight

Fri, Feb 16th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Microsoft Corp. software gurus (or geeks, as many people refer to them as) have been doing a little hand-wringing as the monumental date March 11, 2007 draws nigh. "Y2K07," as March 11 has been referred to, is the new date the federal government has ..... 
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Personality and politics

Fri, Feb 2nd, 2007
Posted in Commentary

While certainly not new news, the personal image projected by politicians is a major factor in their ability to be believed and thus elected. Many may recall the debates between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon during the 1960 presidential campaign. P ..... 
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