Mar 31, 2008 9:33 AM | 1
April Fools’ Day has never been a predictable day. Unlike other holidays with repetitive traditions, this time of trickery never plays by the rules.
Where’d it all start? Some say in France. When the Gregorian calendar was introduced, the New Year holiday was moved from March/April to January. Many forgot and continued to celebrate on the outdated date. So, they were the original fools.
Witness some elaborate pranks since then:
- In 1957, the BBC announced that Swiss farmers were enjoying a sudden bumper spaghetti crop and aired footage (see right). Many called in to find out how to grow their own.
- In 1992, National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation announced that Richard Nixon was running for President again. His campaign slogan was, “I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again.”
- In 1996, Taco Bell announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of citizens expressed outrage.
Read about more here. Or, borrow the book version of this website, Museum of Hoaxes, from your library for a great collection of cons throughout history.
Make the most of this holiday. It may be one of the last remaining ones with any surprises in store.
Just kidding about the world wonder thing. For now.
Mar 28, 2008 9:33 AM | 1
As you walk Brooklyn’s modern streets, have you ever wondered what happened here long before your time?
Here’s what made the front page of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a major Brooklyn newspaper from 1841 to 1955, on March 28, 1883:
- The Academy of Music was filled to capacity by speakers and supporters rallying for temperance.
- A representative from Shanghai gave an illustrated lecture, “China and the Chinese,” at Irving Hall (at the corner of Gates Avenue and Downing Street). It shed light on this “comparatively unknown land.”
- An article entitled “A Bad Youth” reports the arrest of an 18-year-old for lounging on the corner of Division Avenue and Second Street. His mother later accused him of stealing her shawl.
If you’re a history buff, or just looking for a fun read, check out Brooklyn Public Library’s website for full access to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from 1841 to 1902.
Mar 26, 2008 9:17 AM | 2
In January of 2006, a scandal erupted that everyone in the media from the Smoking Gun to Oprah was fuming about -- the liberties James Frey took in writing his nonfiction memoir, A Million Little Pieces. At the time, it was discovered that Mr. Frey had fabricated much of his criminal history as described in the novel, and fictionalized people, places and things throughout. So we decided to reclassify the book as fiction, and shelved the issue.
But recently, this same controversy has occurred and other authors, including Misha Defonseca, Margaret P. Jones (AKA Margaret Seltzer) and Ishmael Beah have been questioned about the veracity of their memoirs in The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Village Voice, among others.
As a non-fiction buff, I read to learn the truth about history, and the people and places in it. Discovering that some of this nonfiction is anything but makes me think twice about reading a title. Although after the myriad articles, stories and a million little pieces about Frey, his book still sold. So ultimately, it will be interesting to see if this "outing" hurts these new authors, or helps them.
Mar 24, 2008 9:43 AM | 2
March Madness has descended on the nation, and we’ve got basketball on the brain.
Did you know that UCLA holds the all-time record with 11 NCAA men’s basketball champion- ships? Or that Glen Rice of the University of Michigan scored a record 184 points in the 1989 NCAA Tourna- ment? Or that the Kansas Jayhawk wears shoes so it can kick its opponents?
If you can’t get enough college hoops, check out How March Became Madness: How the NCAA Tournament Became the Greatest Sporting Event in America by Eddie Einhorn and Ron Rapoport. Or click over to BPL’s basketball links. From fundamentals to the Final Four, it’s all right here.
Because now's the time to increase your basketball IQ. The next game isn't until Thursday.
Mar 20, 2008 5:21 PM | 12
Easter is around the corner, and Peep culture is in full swing! In honor of those sugared marshmallow treats – which are only available for the next few weeks – we’re proud to present…
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Peeps (But Were Afraid To Ask):
- Peeps were originally created by hand, a process that took approximately 27 hours per peep.
- Each peep contains just 32 calories.
- A peep will swell to several times its normal size when microwaved.
- All peeps are made at the Just Born candy factory in Bethlehem, PA. Click here for a tour!
Want more peep particulars? Check out this slideshow of award-winning peep dioramas at the Washington Post website, or hit up BPL’s stacks for a book on the history of candy-making.