April Fools Day

This is not an April Fools joke. It s a legitimate blog.

As you know, tomorrow is April 1, also known as “April Fools Day.”  I like a good joke as much as anyone, but I am not a big fan of pranking people on this date.  Maybe when I was 10 or so, but not now.  But, I was curious about the origins of the holiday, and how it is celebrated around the world.

According to Wikipedia AFD is not a official holiday in the US, or in any other country, for that matter (with the exception of Odessa, Ukraine for some reason), but it is widely recognized and celebrated around the world unofficially.  Some people love to play jokes and perpetrate hoaxes.  So, if you hear that President Biden has resigned and relocated to an assisted living facility or that James Dolan has sold the NY Knicks, or that China has “forgiven” the US’s debt, don’t believe it.  Those would most certainly be AFD jokes.

Even the media can be a willing participant.  One of my favorite AFD pranks occurred on April 1, 1985.  The Sports Illustrated” cover story that day was about a baseball pitching phenom named Sidd Finch.  At first, the story appeared to have credibility, as it was written by George Plimpton, an author of some renown, and published in SI.  Finch was presented as an unknown rookie pitching prospect in the NY Mets training camp.  (At that time Opening Day was later in April.)  So far, so good.  But, as one read the details of the story, particularly about his 160 MPH fastball, it became apparent that it was an AFD joke.

A few other famous, or infamous AFD pranks courtesy of CNN, (which many claim is the “fake news” network anyway):

1. Swiss spaghetti – On 4/1/57 a British tv show called “Panorama” claimed that the Swiss spaghetti harvest had enjoyed a “bumper year,” due to the unusually mild weather and the elimination of the “spaghetti weevil.”  This hoax was ranked the #1 AFD joke of all time by the Museum of Hoaxes.  (Yes, there is such a place.)

2. Toilet paper – On 4/1/73 Johnny Carson joked on the Tonight Show that there was a shortage of toilet paper. This hoax was credited with creating a real shortage as many listeners believed him and rushed out to “stock up.”

3. In 2015 Cottonelle announced it was developing “left-handed toilet paper.”  “It cleans just like right-handed toilet paper, only it’s made for (lefties),” touted one advertisement.

4. Google Gulp – In 1998 Google announced a drink called the “Google Gulp,” which, it said, would help one to “achieve maximum optimization of your soon-to-be grateful cerebral cortex,” [and it was] “low in carbs” to boot.

All in good fun!

Surprisingly, there are records of continuous AFD celebrations back as far as 536 BC in present day Iran. They celebrate the Persian holiday of Sizdah Bedar, which falls on the 13th day of the Persian New Year, (April 1). In addition, the Romans celebrated festivals called “Hilaria” on March 25 and the “Medieval Feast of Fools” on December 28. In certain Spanish-speaking countries, the latter is still a date on which pranks are played on people. Also, there is a reference to the holiday in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” which was first published in 1387.

Additionally, according to Wikipedia, a 1908 edition of Harpers Weekly published a reference to AFD in connection with Noah’s Ark. I think the article, itself, was likely an AFD joke, particularly since the story of the Ark and the Flood strains credulity.

Supposedly in 1561 a Eduard de Dene, a Belgian poet of some renown, published a humorous poem about a nobleman who sent one of his servants on “foolish errands” on April 1.

According to Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes, the Dutch popularized the day in the late 16th century.  By the 1700s it had spread over much of Northern Europe, and eventually to the US.

Nowadays, the holiday is celebrated differently around the world. Some examples are as follows:

1. UK – The April Fool joke is disclosed when the perpetrator shouts “April Fool” at the recipient.  Traditionally, April Fool jokes are to cease at midday.  After that time, anyone trying to prank someone becomes the “April Fool” himself.  These AFD customs are similar in other countries whose traditions were influenced by the UK, such as the US.

2. Scotland – AFD is called “Hunt the Gowk Day.”  “Gowk” is Scots for a foolish person.

3. Ireland – A common tradition is to give the “prankee” an important letter in an envelope to give to a certain person.  That person would ask the “prankee” to give it to another person, and so on and so on.  Eventually, someone would open the envelope.  The letter inside would say “send the fool further.”

4. Poland – Traditionally, April 1 is a day to play jokes and hoaxes.  The media participates as well.  Serious matters are to be avoided.  For example, supposedly, a treaty signed on April 1, 1683 was later backdated to March 31.

5. France/Italy/Belgium – The holiday is called “April Fish,” for some reason.  One common prank is to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without being detected. (Along these lines, in high school we used to put a “kick me” sign on a victim’s back, although not just on AFD.  Movie buffs may recall that this joke was played on McFly Senior in the movie “Back to the Future.”)

6. Sweden/Denmark – They celebrate on May 1 in addition to April 1. Many Danish and Swedish news outlets will intentionally publish one false story on April 1.

CONCLUSION

AFD can be fun, especially for kids. Even in the current PC era, a little harmless fun never hurt anyone.  That is especially true today as, in my view, many Americans are becoming increasingly humorless.

I recall some years ago my son told my grandson, who was six at the time and a huge Mets fan, that David Wright had been traded to the hated Yankees. To his credit, my grandson, merely shrugged his shoulders and asked “who for?”

I can remember being both the perpetrator and butt of April fool jokes in grade school and middle school. All in good fun.  I predict that some of you will be victimized this year. Be ready, and take it as the good fun in which it is intended.

Please tell me some of your favorite April fools moments.  Were you the perpetrator or the victim?   I promise you I won’t put it on Facebook (maybe).

PRESIDENT BIDEN’S PRESS CONFERENCE

Now we know why it took 65 days for President Biden to hold his first press conference. What we saw was painful to watch. What we saw was embarrassing to watch. What we saw was downright scary. No doubt, what we saw will frighten our allies and embolden our enemies. Politics aside, I actually felt sympathy and empathy for him.

For those Americans who watch the “real” news it was not that surprising. Some of us have seen worse. However, for those who get their news from CNN, MSNBC and the networks who habitually portray Biden in the best possible light you now have seen what the rest of the world has known for some time. Now you know truly “the emperor has no clothes.”

I don’t want to dwell on what Biden said so much as how he said it and the format of the presser, itself. For example:

  1. Biden’s comments were chock full of disingenuous statements, particularly with respect to the southern border. Essentially, he blamed the situation at the border on former president Trump, which is absurd on its face, and he glossed over the crisis he has created and perpetuated by his open door policy. Apparently, his “solution” to the non-crisis crisis is to (a) disperse illegals who have tested positive for COVID or have not been tested at all, throughout the US with a bus or airplane ticket, (b) put them up in luxury hotels at taxpayer expense, (c) alleviate the inhumane living conditions in the overcrowded holding facilities by transporting the overflow of migrants to Fort Bliss and other federal properties and (d) appoint co-President Harris, who has no background or expertise on that issue, laughs when asked about it by reporters, and is on record comparing ICE to the KKK, to fix it. Good luck with that.
  2. As Walt Frazier might say, Biden treated us to an array of fumbles, mumbles, and stumbles. For example, on several occasions he appeared to lose his place, and at one point he stated he had been in the Senate for “120 years.”
  3. He misstated and mischaracterized the purpose of the Senate filibuster, which he, himself, and his former allies, such as the late Robert Byrd, who was a very senior KKK member, employed many times. He tried to score a cheap political point by characterizing it as “racist” and a “relic of the ‘Jim Crow’ era.” If he were more familiar with the Constitution he would know that the Founding Fathers included the filibuster rules for a reason. The Senate is supposed to be a body that deliberates and debates matters unlike the House, which generally acts more quickly. (Some would say, rashly.) Biden should have been pressed on that issue, but, alas, he was not.
  4. It was clear that Biden, rather than speaking freely or extemporaneously, was reading from notes, or “cheat sheets” as he calls them, and yet he still was plagued by the aforementioned fumbles, mumbles and stumbles. A few times he lost his place, acted befuddled, and paused for several seconds until he found it. At one point he lost his train of thought completely and just stopped his answer in mid-sentence.
  5. It was clear he had a list of whom he was to call on for questions. No doubt, the questions, themselves, were preapproved in order to prevent Biden from being blindsided by a question he was not prepared to answer. Contrast that with all the other presidential pressers you have witnessed. Not surprisingly the aforementioned list did not include Fox News or any other “unfriendly” news outlets.
  6. There were no questions on important issues such as China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, how to get the teachers’ union to direct the teachers to return to work in CA and other states, election reform, the $5 trillion in bailout packages (both enacted and planned), or his tax increase plan, which is hanging over the country like a toxic pall.

CONCLUSION

I would like someone to tell me one positive result of the presser, other than the fact that he actually held one. To me, there aren’t any. On the other hand, our fears and concerns were confirmed. How will the man we saw be able to stand up to Putin, Xi, Kim Jung-Un, the Iranian mullahs, any of the other various bad actors in the world? The obvious answer is, he won’t. As I said above, our enemies will no doubt be emboldened, and our allies, as well as we, should be worried. Very worried.

THE RUINATION OF AMERICA

Since the 2020 election I have tried to stay away from politics. I found it too upsetting, especially the controversial presidential election (putting it kindly) and the Georgia Senate races. I have blogged about these before. There is no need to rehash the results. At this point, it is what it is.

However, in view of current developments I cannot remain silent any longer. In my opinion, those in control of the government whose views I believe to be in the minority, appear to be bound and determined to force their radical agenda on the rest of us even if it means ruining the country. Furthermore, in Joe Biden they have found the perfect dupe to do so. I will demonstrate below.

Like most people who had been paying attention during the past year, once Biden won I could virtually predict what would happen. It’s not as if the far left radicals were keeping their agenda a secret. They were espousing it at every opportunity, on the news, in press conferences, and in debates. Also, their allies in the media and elsewhere were repeating it as well, Losing the majority in the Senate was the icing on the cake. Biden and the Dem Party are firmly under the control of the far left. Biden is either incapable of or doesn’t want to stand up to the radical far left in his own party, such as Bernie Sanders and the “Squad.”

Furthermore, with the support of the mainstream media and the tech moguls, they are now free to push their radical agenda with impunity. Anyone who dares to express a different viewpoint is branded a “racist.” With the Dems in control of the presidency and both houses of Congress as Chuck Schumer said, or rather threatened, “all bets were off.” What has occurred in little more than one month, though frightening, is not a surprise. As I said, the Dems were announcing their agenda all throughout the campaign. Many who voted for them and now claim to be surprised were simply not paying attention. They were focused on their own lives, worried about COVID, or just disliked President Trump so much they wanted him out at any cost. Many of those who were paying attention just chose not to believe they would actually follow through, at least not so quickly and decisively. I’ve lost track of how many of my Dem friends insisted that Biden was a “moderate,” despite all the empirical evidence to the contrary. Well, the Trump-haters got their wish. The “Big Orange Demon” is gone. But, as the expression goes, “be careful what you wish for.”

President Biden wasted no time in undoing as much of President Trump’s accomplishments as he could. For instance, in the first two weeks he signed no less than 28 Executive Orders. As we know, EOs are a convenient way for a president to implement policies without the approval of Congress. Every president does it, but Biden has taken it to a new level. Even though the country is in the midst of an existential pandemic he signed many of them the first couple of days as if he couldn’t wait to do so. This is the same Biden who criticized President Trump for using EOs as a tool to bypass Congress and the will of the American people and for “ruling by fiat.” Now, he is doing the same thing, except more so. By comparison, in the first MONTH of office President Trump signed a mere 12 and President Obama signed only 16. So, who is ruling by fiat?

Some of these EOs have had and will continue to have far-reaching negative effects on the country. Time and space limitations only permit me to discuss the most egregious. For example:

  1. Shutting down the Keystone Pipeline. This action, in one fell swoop, terminated some 11,000 high-paying union jobs and obviated our energy independence that we had strived for some 70 years to attain. I thought Biden was supposed to be a strong advocate of unions. I guess no longer. With the stroke of a pen Biden put us under the economic thumb of our enemies, such as the Middle East mullahs and Russia. The price of oil has skyrocketed and will continue to do so. You will be reminded of this EO every time you put gas in your car or pay your heating or air conditioning bill. Don’t be shocked if the price at the pump exceeds $4.00 per gallon this summer in some locales.
  2. Opening up the border. Unless you get all your news from CNN or MSNBC you have been seeing evidence of the crisis at the southern border on the news on a nightly basis. Migrants streaming over the border at the rate of hundreds of thousands a month, in some cases, wearing Biden tee shirts, unaccompanied minors being housed in facilities that are no more than boxes with bars on the windows with inadequate food, medical care, and toilet facilities, and minors as young as three years old unaccompanied by their parents. Who knows what abuses they have been subjected to by the cartel coyotes along the way from Guatemala or Honduras or wherever. Who knows how many have died along the way. Thanks to our “open door policy” in many respects the Mexican cartels are now virtually in control of our southern border. But, the worst aspect of this policy is that an unknown number of migrants who have tested positive for COVID or have not been tested at all have nevertheless been allowed to travel all over the country. How insane is that!? Some of them may very well end up in your neighborhood.
  3. Biden is so beholden to the teachers union that he continues to support its desire to keep schools in many areas closed, even though the science and supporting empirical evidence from private schools, other states and other countries has clearly shown that they can be reopened safely.
  4. Biden continues to advocate locking down the economy. Recently, he criticized the governors of Texas and Mississippi for fully opening up their states. He accused them of “Neanderthal thinking.” Imagine if Trump had said something like that. Yet, as I said, he is permitting illegals to enter the country and travel freely without medical screening in the midst of the worst pandemic in 100 years.
  5. He is going soft on Iran regarding the nuclear deal that Trump negotiated. God only knows what progress the Iranians have been making toward full nuclear capability.
  6. The next item on the agenda will be HR1, which among other things, seeks to relax voting registration requirements further including permitting 16 year-olds and felons to vote, expanding the use of mail-in voting without identification, and possible statehood for Puerto Rico. All this is designed to make the Democrat majority permanent.
  7. Finally, don’t be surprised to see a substantial tax hike at some point, even for the middle class. Somehow, someone will have to pay for all this federal government largesse. That someone will be you and me.

The Dems’ goal is to achieve all of their program without any input from the GOP, and they may just pull it off.

The foregoing is not a complete list. There have been many additional actions that will hurt the country.

CONCLUSION

Biden has continued to demonstrate a diminished cognitive ability. In some cases, the evidence is obvious, such as his propensity to stumble over words, lose his place, and forget names. In other instances it is more subtle. For example, Kamala Harris has been meeting one-on-one with other heads of state, a function traditionally in the president’s purview; Biden has not held one press conference at which reporters could ask him meaningful questions; and he has been working “short” days. Think back to the manner in which other presidents operated. This is not normal. Don’t be surprised if he does not last even one full term before being replaced.

I wonder how many Biden voters are now suffering from “buyer’s remorse?” How many of the aforementioned Keystone Pipeline workers voted for him? How many others who work in an energy-related field, or live near the border, or own or work in small businesses, or have kids of school age who cannot attend school in person or play school sports were mislead into voting for the “moderate” Joe? I am not trying to be callous or malicious; I feel badly for those people, but nothing can be done about it now. The list goes on and on.

The Dems now control the entire government for the next two years, and we are stuck with them. In my view, with their radical agenda, excessive political correctness, and cancel culture they are ruining the country. The latest example is their attack on Dr. Seuss, whose books have charmed and entertained generations of children. Dr. Seuss a racist? Really? Tell that to Michele Obama who enjoyed reading his books to children. I suppose the “woke” crowd now considers her to be a racist too.

Where will it all end? It is said that “elections have consequences” and “you get the government you deserve.” Well, we got it, and we deserve it. I fervently hope we can last until 2024 or at least 2022.