Saturday, April 1, 2023

Beware April Fools' Day Headlines




They’ll be the ones touting good news. 


Truth is, there’s an awful lot happening in our world these days––with the emphasis on AWFUL.


There’s no need for me to list a parade of horribles here, because each of you likely finds yourself in one way or another plodding through your days mired in the muck of it all. So much so, that even positive developments seem far too often inexorably linked to endless irrationality if not tragedy.  


If only that weren’t so. If only….


Anyway, in my thirteen-year tenure on MIE, this is only the second time my Saturday slot landed on April Fools’ Day, the last being in 2017.  So, in honor of the occasion I decided to take a shot at projecting a rather upbeat view of this non-public holiday celebrated in many parts of the world and dedicated to playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes.


Just to add a bit of perspective, this is what I had to say about the state of the world a half-dozen years ago today:


“Not sure there’s anything left to joke about at the moment. And not just in the US.  Greece is on the ropes (still), Brexit is punching itself out of its constricting EU paper bag (into suffocating plastic?), China is dancing (to its own tune), North Korea is looming (when not booming), Russia is taping and raping (not tapping and napping), and the Middle East is…well…just the Middle East.”


By the way, for those of you who don’t already know, playing pranks on a set day goes back to ancient Roman, Indian, and Medieval times.  Many credit the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392) for singling out April 1st, though some cultures adhere to a different prank-playing date, e.g., December 28 in Spain and Hispanic America. Others suggest that the US Congress should be credited with having established the ultimate “fool us all” day, as the Tuesday following the first Monday in November in a year divisible by four.


As for what is considered the greatest April Fools’ Day hoax of all time, I’m sure we all have our favorites—mine being a several decades ago completely made up version (see above second photo) of The New York Times—but according to a site listing the “Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time,” here’s the one it considers the greatest of all time (and here’s a link to the video broadcast):


#1 The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest


April 1, 1957: The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” Even the director-general of the BBC later admitted that after seeing the show he checked in an encyclopedia to find out if that was how spaghetti actually grew (but the encyclopedia had no information on the topic). The broadcast remains, by far, the most popular and widely acclaimed April Fool's Day hoax ever, making it an easy pick for number one.”


Enjoy the day, especially my granddaughter Rachel who’s about to leave single digits behind forever.  Much love.




  1. I thought spaghetti came from angels' hair salons!

  2. The only real April Fools are the ones who make it all the way through winter and don't have a smile on their face (especially after recent and upcoming events...)

    1. EvKa, the image you conjured up for me with that observation is a room full of Alfred E. Neumans. Thank you for that.

  3. Hello, Jeff and Happy Birthday to your beautiful granddaughter, Rachel. 💕🎂 Dave and Sue

  4. I remember a rerun of that BBC special on PBS in the early 60s. Too funny. Brilliant, really.

    PS: Your granddaughter is charming.