Exiled from the Underworld

Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tonga

Saturday, April 30, 2005

April cannot satisfy the need for Poetry Month

Eliot was right:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

We need to attend to our responsibility for the consequences of our actions on this planet, but we are tangled more than is usual in the banal actions that make up our days. In the meantime, someone slips us an opportunity to ease out of the imposed prose restraints disguise significance. Poetry Month-- what a concept; what a conceit.

And I relish it. Taxes come and go; I lick the stamp and seal the envelope with a tongue sweetened by the words of Donne.

I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry...

Poetry needs more than one month, especially a month as short and fragmented as April. Then, too, April-- although ideal for mixing passion and poetry-- is somehow inadequately sharp and biting for some kinds of poems. John Betjeman needs a different season altogether.

"In Westminster Abbey"

Let me take this other glove off
As the vox humana swells,
And the beauteous fields of Eden
Bask beneath the Abbey bells.
Here, where England's statesmen lie,
Listen to a lady's cry.

Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans,
Spare their women for Thy Sake,
And if that is not too easy
We will pardon Thy Mistake.
But, gracious Lord, whate'er shall be,
Don't let anyone bomb me.

Keep our Empire undismembered
Guide our Forces by Thy Hand,
Gallant blacks from far Jamaica,
Honduras and Togoland;
Protect them Lord in all their fights,
And, even more, protect the whites.

Think of what our Nation stands for,
Books from Boots' and country lanes,
Free speech, free passes, class distinction,
Democracy and proper drains.
Lord, put beneath Thy special care
One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square.

Although dear Lord I am a sinner,
I have done no major crime;
Now I'll come to Evening Service
Whensoever I have the time.
So, Lord, reserve for me a crown,
And do not let my shares go down.

I will labour for Thy Kingdom,
Help our lads to win the war,
Send white feathers to the cowards
Join the Women's Army Corps,
Then wash the steps around Thy Throne
In the Eternal Safety Zone.

Now I feel a little better,
What a treat to hear Thy Word,
Where the bones of leading statesmen
Have so often been interr'd.
And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait
Because I have a luncheon date.

Somehow disconcerting, somehow comforting; some similarities jar me, superimposing one decade and decadent empire over another. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

So we learn, we read, we listen and speak. Those whose gifts include verse help us to capture and then release grief and delight, fear and love, reality and more-- and we are once again divinely human.

"Who are a little wise, the best fools be."

"The Snow Man"--another Wallace Stevens poem

Here's another Wallace Stevens poem in recognition of Poetry Month. I think that it's much easier to read this one now that spring is fully upon us.

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

From The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens by Wallace Stevens. Copyright © 1954 by Wallace Stevens. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Just Like Tom Delay's Blues

[UPDATE: I unwittingly omitted the links in the fifth paragraph that would lead you to Dan Froomkin's “White House Briefing” column (where I read about dissent within Calvin College) and to the Calvin College group website, Our Commencement Is Not Your Platform . I have corrected the omissions.]

Washington Post's headline story for today's paper:

GOP to Reverse Ethics Rule Blocking New DeLay Probe
January Change Led Democrats to Shut Down Panel

By Mike AllenWashington Post Staff WriterWednesday, April 27, 2005; Page A01

House Republican leaders, acknowledging that ethics disputes are taking a heavy toll on the party's image, decided yesterday to rescind a controversial rule change that led to the three-month shutdown of the ethics committee, according to officials who participated in the talks.

Dr. Frist's nuclear option is bombing; worldwide terrorism increased "sharply" last year but the State Department has let us know that it doesn't want us to know; Social Security likely will not be deformed by private accounts; there were NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION in Iraq (poor Charles Duelfer-- he's said it three times. Can he click his heels together and go home now?); Bush strolled hand-in-hand through the bluebonnets with Prince Abdullah but didn't get enough new oil to make his nose brown; our President doesn't believe in condoms, even as prophylactics, but takes a whore to the prom; John Bolton looks about as good a nominee for high office as Bernie Kerik; and Harry Reid keeps kicking sand back into the bully's face (Daily Kos has muchmuchmore).

If George Lakoff's Strict Father/Nurturant Parent model holds, the nation's saying "Father doesn't know best." More to the point, the Democrats are taking the protection aspect of nurturant parent seriously.

As Mr. Zimmerman said,

When you're lost in the rain in Juarez
And it's Eastertime too
And your gravity fails
And negativity don't pull you through
Don't put on any airs
When you're down on Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they really make a mess outa you

The Republicans really are a mess right now, and on the brink of making things worse. They've misbehaved, blasphemed, and bullied the American people to the point that they've lost credibility even among themselves.

Dan Froomkin writes in the Washington Post that the White House selected a Christian liberal arts college as the beneficiary of a Presidential commencement speech, only to discover that all Christians aren't equally willing to define their religion in the meanest of terms. [John Burton Wolf, Minister Emeritus of All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, used to repeat the distinction between the religion OF Jesus, and the religion ABOUT Jesus. It seems that Calvin College knows the difference.]

Now the House Republicans, unsuccessful in blaming the Democrats for the failure to investigate the ever-slimier Tom DeLay, are beginning to smell mid-term elections in the air. Republican hopes for reelection are souring, with even the Republican-weighted Gallup Poll reporting that the electorate thinks that Congress stinks. Not that the public perception is on point or anything like that:

The vote planned for later this week will mark the second time in four months that House Republicans have changed a rule but then changed it back under public pressure because the changes were perceived as designed to protect DeLay.

Here's the fun part of the Post article:

Last November, Republicans rewrote an 11-year-old party rule that required a party leader to step aside if indicted, and instead made it possible for such a leader to maintain the party position. A grand jury in Austin was investigating the campaign finances of a political action committee created by DeLay and his political associates. After public objections to the maneuver, DeLay asked his party colleagues to rescind that change when they returned to Washington on Jan. 3 for the 109th Congress, and they did.

The next day, the full House approved -- on a largely party-line vote of 220 to 195 -- changes that Democrats contended would make it harder to launch investigations and would undermine their effectiveness. The ethics chairman at the time, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), broke with his party and voted against the rules package. Hastert later replaced Hefley as chairman. Republican aides concede that many lawmakers will be unhappy about having to vote again on ethics rules.

"This will be the second time that they went home and defended a change, then we pulled the rug out from under these guys," one aide said. "We went to them and defended the changes on the merits, and then made it look like the Democrats got their way. That's a tough position to put your members in."

Having to defend one's decisions is often difficult. That's part of politics-- you know, responsibility and accountability. At least this time the House Republicans won't be trying to defend the indefensible.

Alan Greenspin

Thank you again, Brad DeLong, for continuing to direct me to other great blogs. Via Professor DeLong, today I found Mark Thoma's tidy breakdown of more misdirecting statements from our Federal Reserve Chairman. Chairman Greenspan is always willing to accept the Oscar for Great Economic Performance, but wants us to believe that popcorn-crunching rendered us unable to understand his rôle when the economy goes Waterworld on us. Thoma (and DeLong) slow down the spin so we can get a little closer to the truth.

Blogging at Economist's View, Thoma writes:

What Did Greenspan Say and When Did He Say It?

Yesterday, in this post, I discussed a Washington Times editorial attempting to absolve Alan Greenspan of responsibility for playing a role in promoting tax cuts that led to the current budget deficit. Quoting from the editorial:

Mr. Greenspan told Mr. Sarbanes that the charge was "frankly unfair" because it neglected the Fed chairman's unambiguous endorsement of "trigger" mechanisms during the same testimony. "I advocated tax cuts" in 2001, Mr. Greenspan acknowledged Thursday, "but I also advocated triggers in the same testimony."

Did he advocate triggers? While that term is not used directly in his testimony, it is used in a CBS report noted below, the only report I could find explicitly discussing spending restraint mechanisms, and Greenspan does say:

… In recognition of the uncertainties in the economic and budget outlook, it is important that any long-term tax plan, or spending initiative for that matter, be phased in. Conceivably, it could include provisions that, in some way, would limit surplus-reducing actions if specified targets for the budget surplus and federal debt were not satisfied. Only if the probability was very low that prospective tax cuts or new outlay initiatives would send the on-budget accounts into deficit, would unconditional initiatives appear prudent. … Indeed, the current economic weakness may reveal a less favorable relationship between tax receipts, income, and asset prices than has been assumed in recent projections. … But the risk of adverse movements in receipts is still real, and the probability of dropping back into deficit as a consequence of imprudent fiscal policies is not negligible.

But let me end on a cautionary note. With today's euphoria surrounding the surpluses, it is not difficult to imagine the hard-earned fiscal restraint developed in recent years rapidly dissipating. We need to resist those policies that could readily resurrect the deficits of the past and the fiscal imbalances that followed in their wake.

In my view, he does add quite a bit of caution regarding slipping back into large deficits, cautions that, as noted below, were not reported widely in the press. So, as far as it goes, the Washington Times editorial is correct. He did talk about mechanisms to restrain spending and warned about the return of deficits.

However, it is also my view that this does not absolve him of responsibility. Consider the following quote:

…But continuing to run surpluses beyond the point at which we reach zero or near-zero federal debt brings to center stage the critical longer-term fiscal policy issue of whether the federal government should accumulate large quantities of private (more technically nonfederal) assets. … I believe, as I have noted in the past, that the federal government should eschew private asset accumulation because it would be exceptionally difficult to insulate the government's investment decisions from political pressures. Thus, over time, having the federal government hold significant amounts of private assets would risk sub-optimal performance by our capital markets, diminished economic efficiency, and lower overall standards of living than would be achieved otherwise.

Based upon this reasoning that the government should not accumulate large sums of private sector assets (held as loans to the public made through financial intermediaries), the Social Security Trust Fund was allowed to lapse.

Thoma first notes that the press generally let Greenspan off the hook for the growing deficit, and then nails their shared lack of accountability by quoting press pieces contemporaneously reporting the Chairman's 25 January 2001 speech. Thoma concludes:

Greenspan did warn about large deficits. But he didn’t warn about the bigger problem, congress allowing the Trust Fund assets to vanish. Because he failed to protest as the Trust Fund assets were used to fund deficit spending in other parts of government, he is not absolved of all responsibility for our current predicament.

Borrowing from Busy, Busy, Busy, the Shorter Greenspan:

"This forest has too much wood, and we can safely burn it in a campfire as long as we keep a large bucket of liquid nearby to douse the flames should the fire get too large. Gasoline? Yes, that's a liquid."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A small query regarding papal infallibility

I must admit that my religious heritage offers little incentive to explore the issue of papal infallibility. More precisely, I don't believe in it, have no reason to want to try to believe in it, and cannot imagine how thinking people support such a doctrine. Usually, "papal infallibiity" enters my thoughts only as the punchline to a joke (and no, I won't tell you the joke here. Maybe some other time and place).

In the discussions and speculation centering around the new Pope Benedict XVI, though, some curious numbers and facts have emerged. AMERICAblog reported that CNN's Popewatch 2005 coverage included the statement that they were awaiting the name of the 256th pope. Michael in New York wrote:

CNN's Fact Error: "Awaiting Name of 265th Pope" -- Nope, It's The 263rd Pope
by Michael in New York - 4/19/2005 12:29:00 PM

This confusion arises because Benedict IX held the office of bishop of Rome on three separate occasions in the eleventh century. Therefore, there have been 264 pontificates, if you will, but only 262 Popes counting from Peter to John Paul II. So whomever is named today will be the 263rd man to become Pope. Just one quick way to impress your friends courtesy of Americablog. (MSNBC makes the same mistake and Fox News avoids naming a number, at least on its scroll.)

In the comments section, Mike31 thoughtfully included more detail and a link to the Poperoll.
143. Benedict VIII (1012-24)
144. John XIX (1024-32)
145. Benedict IX (1032-45)
146. Sylvester III (1045) -- Considered by some to be an antipope
147. Benedict IX (1045)
148. Gregory VI (1045-46)
149. Clement II (1046-47)
150. Benedict IX (1047-48)
151. Damasus II (1048)
152. St. Leo IX (1049-54)

[I need to read up to find out what an antipope is/was, how one becomes an antipope, and how one could be simultaneously both pope and antipope.]

For now, however, I will stick with my original puzzle. Notice that Benedict IX was unpoped for part of a year (in 1045) and then reinstalled, and then again bumped from office (this time for a two-year period) until he was-- once again--reinstalled.

Assuming that Benedict IX was appropriately infallible while in office, did he remain infallible when he was out of office? Would it make a difference if, while out of office, he was replaced by an antipope?

Are antipopes infallible? What if only some consider him to be an antipope (which was apparently the plight of poor Sylvester III)? Would his stature as a contested quasi-anti-pope limit his infallibility, allowing the previous pope's infallibility to be continued, although with lower wattage?

On the other hand, if Benedict IX lost his superpowers while out of office, and regained them only when he returned to the Fortress of Solitude-- oops, I mean the Papacy-- what about his insights or pronouncements during his brief fallibility interludes? Are they doomed because they came during his downtime? If AgainPope Benedict IX were to ratify his out-of-office insights and pronouncements once he returned to office, would they become fully powered?

Perhaps I should direct this to Enkidu, the Resident Theologian at Majikthise. He wrote a nice post illuminating the more recent Benedicts, especially those whose voodoo the FreshPope Benedict XVI might be trying to channel.

Daniel at The Bonassus noticed the inanity that is CNN. His post yesterday:

Pope Coverage Inanity
From CNN.com's "Pope Benedict XVI" page, one of the stupidest headlines I've seen in some time: "Benedict a Popular Pontiff Name"

Really? Huh. I wonder how many there have been. I guess we'll never know.

Wonderful! Thank you, Daniel! Now, I really do hope that you get around to that infernal bookmeme. Sometime. Soon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

"The High-Toned Old Christian Woman"

In celebration of National Poetry Month, here is a short poem by one of my favorite poets. I thought that it was especially pertinent these days.

The High-Toned Old Christian Woman
Wallace Stevens

Poetry is the supreme fiction, madame.
Take the moral law and make a nave of it
And from the nave build haunted heaven. Thus,
The conscience is converted into palms,
Like windy citherns hankering for hymns.
We agree in principle. That's clear. But take
The opposing law and make a peristyle,
And from the peristyle project a masque
Beyond the planets. Thus, our bawdiness,
Unpurged by epitaph, indulged at last,
Is equally converted into palms,
Squiggling like saxophones. And palm for palm,
Madame, we are where we began. Allow,
Therefore, that in the planetary scene
Your disaffected flagellants, well-stuffed,
Smacking their muzzy bellies in parade,
Proud of such novelties of the sublime,
Such tink and tank and tunk-a-tunk-tunk,
May, merely may, madame, whip from themselves
A jovial hullabaloo among the spheres.
This will make widows wince. But fictive things
Wink as they will. Wink most when widows wince.

From Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens by Wallace Stevens. Copyright © 1954 by Wallace Stevens. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Book games

Philocrites invited me to play this game of self-disclosure, but I think that it is as much a game of self-editing. How to choose, how to choose…

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

The Compact Oxford English Dictionary II. I get to know the language and to wallow in its history. I love the OED for the evolution of ideas and words, for intercultural transactions, and an almost familial connection with the contributor scholars and the sources cited. Of course, committing the COED II to memory would be daunting, to say the least, but at least I wouldn’t have to try to read that micro-tiny print.

I have had the older (two-volume) COED for a long time, and grew up with the multi-volume non-compact set (which I inherited from my grandfather). The OED carries meanings of home and family connectedness as well as its value as a printed resource.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I am absolutely promiscuous when it comes to crushes on fictional characters.

The last book you bought was:

I just bought three new books a couple of days ago: Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer; and Physician-Assisted Dying: The Case for Palliative Care and Patient Choice.

The last book you read was:

Abel's Proof : An Essay on the Sources and Meaning of Mathematical Unsolvability, by Peter Pesic. Personalities, tragedy and loss, and epistemological mathematics. Fabulous book!

What are you currently reading?

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, by Harold McGee. The perfect head-tripper’s food book, and a lot of fun.

Five books you would take to a desert island:

1. Great Short Works of Herman Melville (Perennial Classics)—which has all of Melville’s short stories and three novellas, including Billy Budd. I love Melville; Billy Budd saved my life in the 1960s.
2. Sir Isaiah Berlin, The Proper Study of Mankind.
3. Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws. Law and government as both structural and procedural responses to power.
4. Wallace Stevens: Collected Poetry and Prose (Library of America).
5. The Most of S. J. Perelman.

Hmmmm… my book selections almost all indicate both word greed and ADHD.

Who are you going to pass the baton to (three persons), and why?

1. Elayne Riggs (Pen-Elayne on the Web), because I am fascinated by her community-building abilities and her pragmatism;

2. Daniel Geffen at The Bonassus, because he tempers his impressive erudition with whimsy, and writes thoughtfully about a spectrum of interests; and

3. P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula , because of his humor, his skill at cutting away sham, and his passion for his family and his work-- and he has a way to transform his entire blog into pirate mode.

Pulitzer Prize for Blogging (Part One)

Without assistance from bloggers like Atrios, Attywood, and Crooks and Liars , I would not likely know just how upsetting the news business is for our friends Michelle Malkin and the fellows at Powerline. This week, for example, found Ms. Malkin and the Powerliners knicker-knotted over the Pulitzer Prizes awarded on Monday. Fortunately, the Pulitzer Committee has yet to designate a Prize for blogging, so Ms. Malkin et al. have ample time to polish their craft.

[NOTE: There is so much to sort out here that I have split this post into two sections. I’ll do my best to get the second part out later today.]

As Ms Malkin’s blog headline shouts, there is “CONTROVERSY OVER PULITZER-WINNING AP PHOTOS". There is controversy, too, because she is among those who are creating the controversy. After displaying one photo of the twenty that collectively captured for the Associated Press the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography, she states the nature of the disturbance and thoughtfully links to all of her chums who are a-twitter over the pictures at issue:

Via LGF's readers, we are reminded that the Belmont Club first raised troubling questions in December 2004 (here and here and here) about how exactly the AP photographer arrived at the scene.

Also wondering at the time about the AP's relationship with the pictured terrorists and the related media ethics issues/disclosure obligations involved were Power Line and Roger L. Simon (also here). See also Mudville Gazette and Joe Katzman for background.

She follows by providing “a key post from John Hinderaker at Power Line on Dec. 25 [that]sums up the outrage and highlights the AP's admission that its photographer was 'tipped off' and had a relationship with the terrorists.”

Almost. The Key Post sums up evidence that Mr. Hinderaker might have been eligible for an IEP* during his school years, because he has difficulty reading.

First, the AP never “admitted” that its photographer was “tipped off”. The words attributed to the AP, as Mr. Hinderaker posted, were that the photographer “was likely ‘tipped off to a demonstration that was supposed to take place on Haifa Street’”, and that the photographer “‘definitely would not have had foreknowledge’ of a violent event like an execution.”

Notwithstanding the comprehension errors Mr. Hinderaker incurred translating English to English, one should note that the AP non-admission came not from an AP spokesperson, but from an unnamed source at the AP “knowledgeable about the events [that led to the photographed insurgent action]”. All of us should appreciate the fact that Mr. Hinderaker, a “lawyer with a nationwide litigation practice,” has no concerns about the hearsay nature of (in Mr. Hinderaker’s words) “this anonymous comment from an AP spokesman”, since it comes from a Salon article defending the AP. At least we know that Mr. Hinderaker trusts Salon as an reliably credible source.

Second, the AP never “admitted” that the photographer had a “relationship with terrorists.” On this point Ms. Malkin misstates Mr. Hinderaker’s post. I’m certain that she has never previously made such a mistake, and will want to correct her error as soon as possible. Mr. Hinderaker actually said that the Associated Press had a relationship with terrorists (in fact, his post of 25 December 2004 is titled “AP Admits Relationship With Terrorists”).

Unfortunately, this differs from his conclusion in his own post, which is that the “AP is using photographers who have relationships with the terrorists”.

Mr. Hinderaker agitatedly reached that conclusion after reading a comment on the Poynter Online Forum . Characterizing the comment as an email to Jim Romenesko (and I have no reason to doubt him), Mr. H cited “another AP spokesman, this time Jack Stokes, the AP's director of media relations.” Of course, it can’t be another spokesman, because there was no first spokesman.

The damning non-admission?

Several brave Iraqi photographers work for The Associated Press in places that only Iraqis can cover. Many are covering the communities they live in where family and tribal relations give them access that would not be available to Western photographers, or even Iraqi photographers who are not from the area.

Insurgents want their stories told as much as other people and some are willing to let Iraqi photographers take their pictures. It's important to note, though, that the photographers are not "embedded" with the insurgents. They do not have to swear allegiance or otherwise join up philosophically with them just to take their pictures.

So, some local individuals who live in communities that might be less than open to strangers (parallel to someone with a New England accent trying to mingle with the locals in rural southwestern Oklahoma) are able get information from and pictures of other local individuals who just might see themselves as people with a different version of their circumstances. Or, as Mr.Hinderaker and Ms. Malkin creatively imagine, “several Iraqi photographers who work for the AP” equals “the AP” equals one specific (although, at the time of the discussions, unidentified) photographer in Iraq.

Visually, the Malkin-Hinderaker Equation would be

(several Iraqi photographers who work for the AP)= AP = one photographer

Mathematics is not their strong suit, either.

Part Two to follow...

* Individualized Education Plan, mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Friday, April 01, 2005

Holy Day of your idiot opens those

April Fool’s Day warrants special observances. In our home we take this day seriously, annually renewing our dedication to folly. I eagerly anticipated opening up Google this morning, hoping to see the marvelous decorations noting this day. After all, this is the seventh year that Google has created special holiday pages; since the beginning of this year, memorable Google homepages have marked both widely- and narrowly-observed holidays.

For instance: on 1 January 2005, the multicolored Google logo floated over its shadow, which cleverly carried the colors of the original letters but transformed the word “Google” into the numeral “2005”; the Valentine’s Day masthead replaced the first letter “o” in Google with a heart-shaped bouquet of red roses; International Women’s day on 8 March mutated the generic second letter “o” into the ankh-ish symbol for woman (♀); and on World Water Day , 22 March 2005, the Google logo appeared only half-filled with blue water (the upper half of the word drained of color), which was dripping into a pot below.

Even Vincent van Gogh’s birthday got the holiday treatment.

Because this year April Fool’s Day comes so soon after Purim, I still retain residual giddiness from last week the way Rosie O’Donnell retains water. [You remember Purim, don’t you—the original, pre-Pen-Elayne Esther-gen Day? ] Imagine my dismay this morning upon registering the fact that Google obviously does not worship at the same place that I do.

Still, Google’s Translate feature affords some small entertainment for the goofy. Play with this ladder translation:

April Fool’s Day
Tag Des April Dummkopfs (English to German) →
Jour de l'avril d'imbécile (German to French) →
Day of April of imbecile (French to English) →
天4月蠢人 (English to Chinese BETA) →
Day in April fool (Chinese to English BETA) →
Giorno nello sciocco di aprile (English to Italian) →
Day in the fool of you open them (Italian to English) →
あなたの愚か者の日はそれらを開ける (English to Japanese BETA) →
Day of your idiot opens those (Japanese to English BETA).

Proof again that translation is an art, and that Google Translate is less an accurate translation tool than a low-art amusement.

For real fun let your inner idiot direct you to open the Museum of Hoaxes’ splendid page, "The Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time." The Museum commemorates an international cast of inspired pranksters, honoring the brilliance of Burger King’s marketing the “Left-Handed Whopper” and the too-believable hoax that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi from 3.14159 to the 'Biblical value' of 3.0.

Ninety-eight more stations of the double-cross await the true believer.

While you’re online, don’t miss:

Rox Populi’s guest blogger Michelle Maklin, who sports a fetching new hairstyle for the occasion;

Jesus' General, the Patriot Boy, getting "Cornered" at National Rebuke Online;

Pinko Feminist Hellcat descending into Barbie-dimension pink while railing that there is no draft, that hateful liberals target Ann Coulter, and much more;

The American Street’s World Nut Doily, “Faux Press for Freaky People”;

The Heretik, who found the Burning Desire of Laura Bush;

That Colored Fella’s Weblog, where La Shawn Barbarella amply illuminates why God Made Me Popular for a Reason.

UPDATE: I looked for the obvious at Google, and missed the truly inspired promotion for the Google Gulp!