Today is one of the most annoying days on the internets…of course, I am talking about the April Fool “pranks” played on the “unsuspecting” public on the world wide web. It used to be fun, way back in the day of print magazines. National Geographic and Discovery Magazine had some spectacular ones.
<———You may remember this gorgeous fellow in the picture from Discovery Magazine.
Here is a link to NatGeo’s history of April Fool’s Day: April Fools’ Day Mystery: How Did It Originate?
For the eager prankster, nothing beats the centuries-old tradition of April Fools’ Day.
“A lot of people think [April Fools’ Day] is just obnoxious, and just wish it would stop,” said Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes in San Diego, California. (Read an April Fools’ Day Q&A with the Museum of Hoaxes curator.)
“But people who love pranks really love the day and refuse to give up the tradition. They’re the ones who keep it alive.”
Boese notes, however, that the number of pranks in the home and at the office has decreased in recent years in the United States, and has been replaced by large institutionalized media hoaxes, he said.
(Related: “April Fools’ Day Special: History’s Hoaxes” [April 1, 2003].)
April Fools’ Day Origins a Mystery
The origins of April Fools’ Day are shrouded in mystery, experts say.
The most popular theory is that France changed its calendar in the 1500s so that the New Year would begin in January to match the Roman calendar instead of beginning at the start of spring, in late March or early April.
However word of the change traveled slowly, and many people in rural areas continued to celebrate the New Year in the spring. These country dwellers became known as “April fools,” the story goes.
Mr. Boese does not think this is the case, but you can read the rest of the history of April Fools Day at the link.
I do have two places you can go to check out what internet pranks were pulled today:
(BTW, I remember that 1984 prank distinctly. A hairless hamster who eats roaches? Cool! But I didn’t remember that it used a litter box.)
With all that being said…I have a couple of cat stories for you.
Boston Boomer sent this to me last night. I don’t think it is a joke, because it seems fair to me that back in the middle ages, a monk who spent his days as a scribe, had a pet cat that wanted a little attention….Curious Cat Walks Over Medieval Manuscript.
This article was published on March 26th, so if it is a joke…its a damn good one.
Inky paw prints presumably left by a curious kitty on a 15th century manuscript.
While thumbing through the medieval manuscript in July 2011, Emir O. Filipović, a teaching and research assistant at the University of Sarajevo, discovered pages of the book stained with the inky paw prints of a cat and snapped a picture—something he planned on sharing with colleagues and students for a laugh.
“I never could have imagined the attention that those prints would subsequently receive,” Filipović wrote in an email.
Filipović sent the photo to fellow historian Erik Kwakkel via Twitter in September 2012, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that the paw prints saw a flurry of reblogging, retweeting, and sharing.
“It’s not very often that a researcher can come across curious things while sifting through monotonous and dull archival registers,” Filipović said. But the more time spent scouring manuscripts, the better the chances of stumbling across oddities.
One of my favorite history blogs is called Got Medieval, which takes a look at the Marginalia that is found in medieval manuscripts. Here is a little cat found in the margins that you tickle you…If You Give a Cat a Necklace (Mmm… Marginalia #30) — Got Medieval
If you give a cat a necklace, he’ll want to throw a party.If the cat throws a party, he’ll want to invite over all the dogs who used to chase him to lord it over them.
If he wants to lord his necklace and party-throwing panache over those dogs, he’ll have to hire some entertainment to play music to set the mood.
If he hires entertainment to play mood-setting music, he’ll have to go with the bagpipe playing fox, who is the only one available on such short notice.
If he goes with the bagpipe playing fox, his groupies the geese will come too. They go everywhere with him.
If the geese come, the owl will follow behind, but he’ll mostly keep to himself at a table alone.If the owl stays at a table by himself, they’ll probably call up the flute-playing monkey in hopes of cheering him up.
If they tell the monkey who plays the flute, he’ll come, but he’ll be totally disinterested in the cat’s party and only make things more awkward–for the owl and for everyone else.
If the monkey acts like he’s above the party, the cat will be filled with an impotent self-loathing.
If the cat is filled with an impotent self-loathing, he will forget he is anthropomorphic, throw his necklace away, and feast on the tender flesh of a mouse who just came to the party to get a cookie…
Why, heartless, foolish world, why did you give the cat a necklace? Now a poor defenseless mouse is dead and the king of the cats has forgotten how to sit at the table and use a knife and fork. And all because you gave a cat a necklace.
It’s either that, or we’ve got a medieval-version of the Goofy/Pluto problem on our hands here. While all the other characters are anthropomorphized animals, the King of Cats’ pet cat is still a non-anthropomorphic cat. Perhaps this is why the monkey looks so pensive. If there are non-anthropomorphic cats in his marginal world, is it possible that he is just a normal monkey, and not an anthropomorphic one?
Well, who would have thought the best damn party in the world would come from giving a cat a necklace….
I had to go to my neurologist in Atlanta today, so I won’t be around the internet much. Please be sure to share some pranks you may come across during the day…
This is an open thread.