Old-school fake news
In 1875, the Associated Press reported a novel business enterprise being planned near Lacon, Illinois. A prospectus summed it up: "Glorious Opportunity To Get Rich!!! — We are starting a cat ranch in Lacon with 100,000 cats. Each cat will average 12 kittens a year. The cat skins will sell for 30 cents each. One hundred men can skin 5000 cats a day. We figure a daily net profit of over $10,000. Now what shall we feed the cats? We will start a rat farm next door with 1,000,000 rats. The rats breed 12 times faster than the cats. So we will have four rats to feed each day to each cat. Now what shall we feed the rats? We will feed the rats the carcasses of the cats after they have been skinned. Now Get This! We feed the rats to the cats and the cats to the rats and get the cat skins for nothing!" It was only a hoax dreamed up by local newsman Willis Powell but, legitimised by AP's coverage, the story bounced around the US for 65 years before the National Press Club finally debunked it in 1940. There's a moral here somewhere.
Did you know …
1. To prevent confused Alzheimer's patients from wandering away and getting lost, many German nursing homes have fake bus stops.
2. A "butt" is a unit of liquid equivalent to the volume of two hogs' heads. A buttload of wine is around 490 litres.
3. The city motto of Weed, California is "Weed like to welcome you". The slogan of Gas, Kansas is "Don't Pass Gas, Stop and Enjoy It".
You had one job
Paul writes: "Over dinner with friends, I couldn't help but notice this light switch apparently installed at a point that met the sliding door . I wonder whether other Sideswipe readers might have tales of their own tradie mishaps to share with readers.
Exit this way — funeral stories from a New Zealand funeral director …
1. "Dad was a staunch Catholic and insisted we go to Mass every Sunday. In our late teens, he was very impressed one Sunday morning, to find us in our best clothes coming back in just as he was getting up. He thought we'd been to early Mass ... We were actually returning from an all-night party. Sorry, Dad."
2. "This husband would fix anything for anybody. And like most such people, if a friend or neighbour asked him to mend something, he would drop whatever he was doing and get straight on to it. Which meant, of course, that his own family's requests for repairs were pushed further and further to the back of the queue. So, when their toaster conked out, his wife asked again and again if he would mend it. And each time, it got bumped to the back of the queue. Then she hit on a brilliant idea: In desperation, she gave the toaster to their next-door neighbour who, pretending it belonged to her, brought it to him – and had it fixed it on the spot."