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All in Good Fun: April Fools' Day

No, the National Park Service is not really selling Washington's famed cherry trees.

It's April Fool's Day and so you should be suspicious of everything you encounter today. Open that can of peanut brittle carefully, look under that cushion before you sit down.

There's a long tradition in the U.K. of joshing with newspaper readers on April Fools' Day. I think the most inspired example is in the Guardian, perhaps Britain's most technologically cutting-edge newspaper. It announced today that it is ceasing publication and will switch entirely to Twitter. (Check out how various famous news stories would have been covered, including the start of World War II: "OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see for more.")

The Telegraph offers an environmental story on how swimming fish could be key to generating electricity. "The Environment Agency's Horizon Scanning Team found the nation's rivers are full of untapped energy in the form of fish migrating upstream."

The Express has the story of "Alberto," a motorist who has invented a special coating that renders cars invisible to speed cameras. "It is beautiful in its simplicity,” Alberto explained. “The plastic film appears completely normal to the human eye. But the flash of the camera reacts with molecules in the film and light is reflected outwards to make the car appear invisible in pictures.”

The Telegraph's Jemima Kiss has links to more spoofs.

When I worked in the Weekend section at The Post it was a hotbed of practical joking. How about in your household or workplace? Do you have any jokes planned for today? What are some pranks you've played in the past? Share in the Comments below.

Oh, and did you hear that Marion Barry is opening an H&R Block franchise?

By John Kelly  |  April 1, 2009; 9:10 AM ET
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This joke was played on me by my husband and son. I get to work very early. They called me shortly after I arrived and told me that my son's computer was acting weird. When he went to his school's Website, the screen went blue and all the icons disappeared (as in "blue screen of death"). At first I didn't believe them and asked if this was their idea of an April Fool's joke. But, they were so serious--particuarly my son, who really did sound like he was upset.

Posted by: mjbuffettfan | April 1, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The best prank I played (and quite possibly, the only one) was in 3rd grade. I asked the playground lady if I could go inside to use the restroom during after-lunch recess. Instead, I went into my classroom and hid all of the chalk. When we went back into the classroom, my teacher reached for chalk to write an assignment on the board, and lo and behold, there was none there. She checked the erasers (so cliche) and then the desks of the troublemakers. She didn't think to check my desk.

Posted by: LoveDC2 | April 1, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

When I was in college, there was an academic building with the same name as my first name, but with a different spelling (as in Janet Hall, if my name was Janette). For several years running I made a new sign to replace the one outside the building--Janette Hall. I used burgundy posterboard as the background and orange file folders, to match the signs (Go Hokies). The letters were block letters, so it was simple to do. About the time I graduated they changed the signage on all the buildings. More modern, but also would have been more difficult to spoof.

Posted by: janedoe5 | April 1, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Here's a great one from the couple who run the Cleveland Park listserv: D.C.'s new paperless parking ticket system. "Instead of receiving a paper parking ticket, drivers can check online to see if
they have a pending parking ticket."

Posted by: JohnFKelly | April 1, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Remember when the Times of London advised readers to ensure that their phones were taken off the cradles for the annual cleaning of the phone lines. High pressure air would be sent through the phone lines and if the earpiece was sitting on the cradle there would be damage. They reprised that a few years later in advising readers to disconnect their computers for the annual cleaning. The classic was in 1957 whent the BBC ran a TV story about the mild winter in Switzerland which allowed the spaghetti trees to bloom with a record crop. Readers wrote in to ask about how to get such trees. The BBC replied to "put a twig in a can of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

Posted by: shogun_5 | April 1, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I really enjoyed this clever, creative, and rather elaborate hoax: A flying hotelicopter?!?!? Seriously?!

Posted by: ljb6x | April 1, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

My wife has 4th stage cancer and has lost her hair. So today we posted this on our lotsahelpinghands site:
Well, we've decided to do something about the economy and the internet advertising slump. I am going to shave my head as well and we are going to seek sponsors. We will have their logos and message tattooed on our heads for a month. We are going to put a message up on I know, this is a European site, but I couldn't find an American one, and who knows, maybe these guys need some American exposures. And we can provide that...

How does this sound:

Advertisement Type: Other
Coverage: US
Advertisement Cost: $20.00
Duration: 1 month

Details: We will temporarily tattoo your logo on our bald heads. As we are mostly in medical facilities, you can target a captive medical audience. Great deal, get two heads for one!!!!
Um.... April Fools.
Hope you had a great day--let us know about your pranks because we need all the laughs we can get.

Posted by: deenalarsen | April 1, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

In related news, the tiny island nation of San Seriffe celebrated the fortieth anniversary of independence today.

New York's annual parade down Fifth Avenue had a record turnout as Bernard Madoff was this years Grand Marshall.

Posted by: TorstenAdair | April 1, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

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