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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

There are suckers born every minute, but a lot more than usual this time of year

A week ago yesterday, The Daily Reckoning website opened with a couple of unusual articles, only the second of which found great currency on the blogosphere. It was quoted in blogs and forums from Serbia to Australia. Unlike the opening article, it wasn't directly related to the financial world, but then that's nothing unusual for The Daily Reckoning, where the editors tend to muse over things like their successful safari trip to Africa and which boarding school would be best for their children. I'll give the opening lines of the article and see what my readers think of it:

"In addition to the financial news, the political news was also worthy of comment. The little town of Ashford, Tennessee, held a special election yesterday, after its mayor died in a freak poker accident. He was playing poker with friends in an abandoned warehouse when the roof collapsed, killing him, the chief of police, the coroner, and the town's leading brothel owner, Ray Borvis."

There was enough to raise suspicion just from that much of the story. I tried to check to see if anyone named Ray Borvis lives in Ashford, Tennessee, and discovered that there is no such town, much less any person of that name. No news site covered the election, and all six hits for "Ray Borvis" were quotes of the original article.

Just to show how gullible people can be, this is the first website to point out the significance of the date upon which the article was posted, a whole eight days ago. And to make note of the sentences by which the first of the day's articles was set off. It opened with:

"What a remarkable day! We never thought we’d see the likes of it."

and closed with:

"What a day!"

The day in question? April First.

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