Internet Fount of Ideas for April Fool's Pranksters

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Did you hear about the genetically engineered whistling carrot that was covered with tapered air holes, so it whistled when it was cooked? How about the hamburger for left-handed customers?

If you haven't, you might want to turn to the Internet for a quick primer on hoaxes and practical jokes -- new and used -- as April Fool's Day approaches.

Stave off the gloom of world events for a day by playing a good joke on a friend, colleague or family member in honor of the 16th century French, who celebrated New Year's Day on April 1, long after the Gregorian calendar was introduced and the start of the year was moved to January 1.

Have a boss who loves his car? Swipe his keys and park the car on a different level in the garage to give him a bit of a scare.

Is the library just a little too quiet? Drop a dollar and when someone bends over to pick it up, tear a piece of cloth behind him, so he thinks he ripped his pants.

These and a wealth of other silly pranks can be found on the Web site April Fools R Us (http://www.april-fools.us/index.html).

The site also features the best hoaxes of the recent past -- such as the one by Virgin Atlantic last year, when the airline issued a press release saying it will start advertising its logo on the wings of butterflies, helped by recent laser beam image-transferring technology.

WHEN IN PORTUGAL...

According to that site, Scots devote April Foolery to spoofs involving buttocks, the English play jokes only in the morning and the Portuguese throw flour at their friends.

Wherever you may be, the Internet can be a font of ideas especially for e-mail and computer practical jokes.

Have a friend who recently graduated from college by the skin of his teeth?

There's a form on Prankbot.com (http://www.prankbot.com) that, when filled out, will send a fake e-mail saying the degree he worked for is now invalid because he didn't complete enough credits.

Prankbot also offers to send love letters, as well as a phony e-mail from the local tax department informing the recipient of back taxes that must be paid due to an error.

To generate an original prank e-mail, go to MailFool (http://www.mailfool.com) and it will send a note that appears to come from someone other than yourself -- perhaps a parent, boss, co-worker or another friend.

Some suggestions on the Web site include sending a confirmation that the recipient has been successfully enrolled in a fan club for a person or group she hates, or a request for a meeting coming from her boss.

The FreeSite.com (http://www.thefreesite.com/Seasonal_Freebies/April_Fools/) provides a host of free options for the fun-loving -- including a program that generates customizable fake error messages on the Microsoft Windows operating system and software that randomly changes the appearance of the cursor.

GENERATE A SCREAM

Think a little scream might liven up things at the office? Download the freeware program that simulates a realistic-looking Windows crash screen. If that's not dramatic enough, check out the program that makes the victim's computer screen go black.

More office pranks can be viewed on Lumpyporridge.com (http://lumpyporridge.com/pranks/), where certain programs will make a colleague's mouse slip uncontrollably or make a leering set of eyes pop up on a desktop computer.

Practical jokesters who require gag toys and other tools, can go to one of many gag gift shops on the Internet such as PrankPlace.com (http://www.prankplace.com), The Gag (http://www.thegag.com), or eprank.com (http://www.eprank.com).

Of course, on April Fool's Day itself, remember to pay close attention to popular news sites for possible hoaxes instigated by news organizations themselves or even by corporations.

Sometimes, the best jokes can be found in industry newsletters.

A case in point: The Denver Bar Association's newsletter, the Docket, reported two years ago that the Colorado Supreme Court was going to change the dress code for lawyers. Men would be required to wear blue blazers with the Colorado state seal on the breast pocket and women would have to wear plaid skirts.

The Docket reportedly received five calls from lawyers with questions regarding the new dress code.
 
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