Saturday, March 31, 2012

Celebrate National Humor Month

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By Diane Forrest

April 2012 is the 36th Anniversary in the US of National Humor Month.

National Humor Month was founded in 1976 by best-selling humorist Larry Wilde, Director of The Carmel Institute of Humor. It is designed to heighten public awareness on how the joy and therapeutic value of laughter can improve health, boost morale, increase communication skills and enrich the quality of one's life.

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I was talking to my friend the other day who told me her daughter's anniversary was coming up.  I said, oh...what day? She told me it was April 1.  I said April Fool's Day??  Who gets married on April Fool's Day?  I mean really, after saying your vows all you have to do is look at your spouse and say.....April Fool's!!!!!
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I love April Fool's Day, and just generally having fun.   Some days we get so bogged down with work, school, kids, the economy, politics that we just forget to have fun.  So today, I am declaring April as Humor Month!  Ok, well I didn't declare it, someone else did, but I’m all for it 100%.  Some days we need to lighten up and enjoy life and turn that frown upside down.  My father is a great jokester.  In high school he was voted Most Wittiest.  He always makes us laugh.  Not just a little giggle either, I’m talking about at the dinner table where you laugh so hard  your ice tea shoots out of your nose!  Luckily my son takes after him and his humor has really saved him from a lifetime of grounding.  My father recently celebrated his birthday, he received several cards in the mail, but his favorite one was from his brother.  His brother's birthday was in February.  My dad sent him a card that said it could only be opened by someone who was wonderful smart handsome.etc. but. .it was glued shut.  Then, on the back it said...You didn’t try to open it did you??
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So when it came time to send my daddy a birthday card, my uncle took the card he got, scratched out daddy’s signature, and wrote his name...and sent it back!  Daddy loved it!
Sadly I didn’t inherit my father's comedic side, however I do have my moments, and it is so much better to make people laugh, than to make them mad or sad.
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Today is April Fool's day.  The earliest recorded prank is written in the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, in 1392.  Pranks are played all over the world, from simple ones such as sticking paper fish on the backs of unsuspecting folks, yelling April Fish, to sending invitations to folks in England and inviting them to the Tower of London to watch the lions getting washed which happened in 1698.

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I love reading the stories to see what fun pranks have been pulled, and hopefully get some ideas of my own. Below is a list of the top 5 pranks that have been pulled:

  1. The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest:  On 1 April 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."
  2. Sidd Fitch: The April 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated contained a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch, and he could reportedly throw a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy. This was 65 mph faster than the previous record. Surprisingly, Sidd Finch had never even played the game before. Instead, he had mastered the "art of the pitch" in a Tibetan monastery under the guidance of the "great poet-saint Lama Milaraspa." Mets fans celebrated their teams' amazing luck at having found such a gifted player, and they flooded Sports Illustrated with requests for more information. In reality this legendary player only existed in the imagination of the author of the article, George Plimpton, who left a clue in the sub-heading of the article: "He's a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd's deciding about yoga —and his future in baseball." The first letter of each of these words, taken together, spelled "H-a-p-p-y A-p-r-i-l F-o-o-l-s D-a-y — A-h F-i-b".
  3. Instant Color T.V.:  In 1962 there was only one TV channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in black and white. But on 1 April 1962, the station's technical expert, Kjell Stensson, appeared on the news to announce that, thanks to a new technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their TV screen. Stensson proceeded to demonstrate the process. Thousands of people were taken in. Regular color broadcasts only commenced in Sweden on April 1, 1970.
  4. The Taco Liberty Bell:  The Taco Bell Corporation took out a full-page ad that appeared in six major newspapers on 1 April 1996, announcing it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
  5. San Serriffe: On 1 April 1977, the British newspaper The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement devoted to San Serriffe, a small republic said to consist of several semi-colon-shaped islands located in the Indian Ocean. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. The Guardian's phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. Only a few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer's terminology. The success of this hoax is widely credited with launching the enthusiasm for April Foolery that gripped the British tabloids in subsequent decades.

These came from the website Check it out for more April Fool hoaxes.

For some ideas of pranks you can do at home check out this site: I particularly like the donut seeds!

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So check back all month we will be sharing other fun and crazy days to help lighten your day and put a smile on your face.  After all, Laughter is the best medicine!

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