We didn't fool many of you this April 1, but we did manageto suck in a few horrified and/or outraged readers for ourannual April Fool's page.
Tradition dictates that we lampoon a prominent figure. Lastyear, it was to be the pope, but he died on April 1, so wefell back on our old favorite, the president. Over theyears, we've exposed him as being bald, claimed that heleads a secret life as a brain scientist, and reported thathe has converted to Islam.
We decided to go easy on the poor guy this year, and did nomore than compare him to a chimpanzee. Surprisingly, thiselicited only a smattering of outraged letters, not thefifty or sixty that used to come rocketing in over pastjokes. They were, however, as always, hilariously humorlessand thoroughly fooled. Here are a few samples:
A nice, hot flame:
"By depicting YOUR PRESIDENT and a chimp in the samearticle,you have insulted me and millions of other trueAMERICANS. To hell with your worthless pseudo-intellectual,faux-science web site and radio show. It was much betterwith Art, and Whitley is a poor replacement. You url isdeleted from my favorites. Oh yeah, your books suck also."
Our reply: The tradition of lampooning the president onApril Fool's Day goes back on this website to the Clintonera, when we used to receive similar letters from Democrats.
Another outraged former reader:
"How much more can you prove that you hate President Bush!Your placing his picture next to the chimp is obvious. Whynot your picture? Don't we have enough hate in this world? Ithought you were suppose to be a very 'spiritual being.'Goodbye, I've had enough. Don't bother to answer as you arenow on my spam list."
Our reply: We'll try anyway. As both are human beings, bothare being complimented by the comparison. Our intention wasnot to insult either man, but to flatter them both.
He won't join after all...
"I have been meaning to join your site for a good while now,but have kept just kept lurking. Lately you have letpolitics and people become your 'whipping boys.' Comparingchimps and the president as you did goes a little to far forme. I wish you luck if thats the way you want to go."
Our reply: As both are human beings, where's the insult?
Duck you sucka!
"I'm a subscriber for the last 2 years and I've seen quite afew off the wall news stories, but the last 5 today arejokes. It looks like you've been hacked and someone played ajoke on you? I can't imagine any other reason for theseridiculous stories." (He soon figured it out, to ourdisappointment.)
Our reply: We strive for accuracy in our reporting, and canassure you that these stories are thoroughly researched andcompletely true.
The face theft story caused a few double-takes.
"I'm sorry, I'm an avid fan and subscriber but is this a joke? I love this site but sometimes it's too much."
Our reply: As a person who has experienced face theft myself(on a bus in Chicago, no less) I can assure you that it's nojoke. It's why I was forced into radio. -Whitley Strieber
The misfortune that befell the Leirs' parakeet was ofconcern to others, too:
"I can't believe a parakeet swallowed a tiny ufo. How dumbam I that I didn't even realize there were ufos thatsmall...am in complete shock here. This might explain a fewthings that have occurred in recent history though. Ithought perhaps it was just a phase my cat was goingthrough, like feline menopause or something. Like when shestarted sleeping more, eating more and drifting across theceiling more, glowing a pretty shade of almost red. Iprobably should have taken her to the vet ages ago but sheseemed content enough bumping against the light fixtures andswatting spider webs...."
Our reply: You think you're in shock. The poor Leirs areliving in a tent.
If you read our website regularly, you know that every storystarted with a grain of truth. We reported onchimpanics andtheir wildantics. We talked aboutface thieves,and presented a newcure for avianflu.
We also followed our tradition of posting a story about UFOresearcher Dr.Roger Leir (who is a good friend with a good sense of humor).
NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.