April 1st April Fool's Day

Today we are allowed to goof on each other and not get in trouble. Okay, maybe we get in a little bit of trouble but it’s sort of worth it. The tricks should be harmless and something that everyone, including the person that is your victim, can laugh at. Of course, they will probably be aware that today is April Fool’s Day so it will have to be a pretty good trick to fool them. Oh, and today is our boss’s birthday, no foolin’! I know that’s pretty bizarre but then, so are all of us!

How to celebrate – Make a list of all the tricks you can play on people today. Keep in mind if anything unusual goes on it might be planned. Say Happy Birthday to our boss!

April 1st April Fools Day

One of the most loved, and hated, days of the year. Today is the day that we all try to fool somebody. Sometimes the jokes are funny and everybody gets a laugh, but others are taken more seriously and probably should be avoided.

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It is believed that April Fools Day may have begun as far back as the Roman Empire. Well, April Fools Day Rome if you really thought your Empire was going to last. However, it often appears that April Fools Day was celebrated every day in Rome as their Empire began to fall apart because of their leaders.

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And naturally there were the fools that filled the courts of Kings and Queens in the days before television and radio. These were men meant to make the King or Queen laugh and forget the woes they had trying to run their kingdoms. If a Jester was good, he might live in comfort inside the castle walls.  If he wasn’t so good he might not even last the day. The ultimate meaning of the fool- because quite often the joke is in the eye of the beholder, and if they do not behold it as you do, the joke’s truly on you.

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The worst fool is the person who sees themselves as something they aren’t. They not only fool others but often fool themselves as well.

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How to celebrate – Go ahead and try to fool someone today, just make sure it is harmless. Be wary of stories told today, try to catch someone trying to fool you before they can accomplish their goal. Keep count of how many people try to fool you today. Use that as your guide as to how many people you try to fool today.

March 29th Festival of Some and Mirrors Day

Magicians rely on it, business depends on it and people are delighted by it (Most of the time), Yes, it’s Smoke and Mirrors. Meaning, of course, that you don’t really know that what you are seeing is real or not.

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It’s sort of like the shell game though at least in the shell game you know the pea is somewhere. With smoke and mirrors, what you think is there may not be there at all! What’s more, it may never have been there in the first place.

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For example, you know the picture above is not moving but still as you stare at it you will see movement. It’s like when you go into a store and find an item on sale for $2.00 when the normal price is $1.49. What a bargain! It’s on sale so it must be a good deal… but wait, it really isn’t!

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And depending on the way you look at this smoke in a mirror your perception will change. It’s still the same picture, it’s your mind that causes you to see it in several different way. Sometimes this is called a mirage which can be very bad in the dessert. Actually, come to think of it, it can be a bad thing no matter where you are.

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So shake you head and clear your mind, and see what is in the picture above.

How to celebrate – See if you can create your own illusion. See how many things you can find that take your attention away from what you are trying to concentrate on. Looking like you are actually doing work but aren’t is a particular art of smoke and mirrors.

April 1st International April Fool’s Day

April Fool’s Day has been with us longer than you might think.  The Romans had a  Festival of Hilaria that was celebrated on April 1st.

 

Enthusiasts And Reenactors Parade Through The Streets Of Chester As Part Of Their Roman Saturnalia Festival Celebrations

 

In India the Holi Festival was also celebrated on April 1st

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and during the Medieval Days April 1st was known as The Feast of Fools.

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In fact, many of the Middle Ages kingdoms celebrated the New Year starting on March 25th and going through March 32nd.  Yes, I said March 32nd which was later changed to April 1st.  These kingdoms were thought to be foolish since everyone else knew New Years ended on January 1st.

The first written record of April Fool’s Day comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” in 1392. in 1508, French Poet Eloy d’Amberval mentions the first of April in his poems, though they are known as April Fish.  (I have yet to figure out how this relates.) In 1539 Flemish poet Eduard de Dene tells of a nobleman who sent his servants off on foolish quests every April 1st.  And in 1686 John Aubrey mentions “Fooles Holy Day” in his works, also taking place on April 1st.

So apparently, April Fool’s Day has been around for a very long time.  It is International, obviously, and is the one day when Fools are King. (Or Queen)

Do we really need to suggest how you celebrate this day?  Do whatever you like, to whomever you like.  Just remember to keep it nice because what goes around, comes round!

Oh, and just an aside here…it is also our CEO’s Birthday! Happy Birthday M!

 

Smoke And Mirrors Day

It seems we all love some form of magic.  We want to believe that someone is showing us something truly sensational and beyond the bounds of human comprehension.  The truth is, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Even the great Houdini was nothing more than an illusionist.  He was really, really good at it, but he tricked us into believing that he was doing something no one else could do.

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One of his more famous tricks involved being buried in a casket underground for a significant period of time.  Many others tried but failed, unfortunately fatally ending their acts.  So how did Harry survive when others failed?  Well, for months prior to attempting the trick he spent time learning to control his breathing.  Learning out to put his body into a state that it required, and consumed, very small amounts of oxygen.  He also chose an over sized coffin so that he could have the largest air supply available to him.  While others tried with small coffins that ran out of air, did no special conditioning prior to their unsuccessful attempts and even selected coffins that could not hold the weight of the earth piled on top of it, Harry had it all planned.  There was no magic.

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In another trick he was able to get out of a safe that was specifically built to hold him.  The trick here was to get the safe a day ahead of time pretending to need to stage it.  Well, stage it indeed his crew did.  They removed the springs in the safe and replaced them with softer springs, easier to manipulate.  He would have legitimate safe inspector come up to see that it had not been tampered with. (Nobody checked the springs because this was not an obvious, or easily done, job.) They would check the safe and Houdini himself and walk away satisfied all was on the up and up.  To reassure the audience he would also select a guest to come up with the safe people to check out everything as well.  The odd thing, that no one ever caught on to, was that the audience guest member would always be the last to leave before Houdini would be locked up in the safe.  This “Guest” was always a plant that slid Houdini the tool required to “spring” the lock and get out.  The safe was then covered by a curtain that allowed the sides to be seen so that no one could accuse him of going on or off stage.  Then hours would pass, long after the oxygen should have run out in the airtight enclosure.  The truth is, Houdini had been out of the safe within fifteen minutes of being locked up.  He would sit on top of the safe and wait for others to doubt anyone could survive this ordeal before revealing his great escape.

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His third great escape was one that had him, handcuffed, sealed in a crate and the crate lowered into the water. Houdini would first be handcuffed, making sure that only his “special” handcuffs were used.  They were real, and anyone trying them could not get out of them, unless you knew where the release was, which of course, Harry did.  Once he was in the crate, his crew would nail the lid down.  People would watch them, inspect the nails and verify that they were real.  They were, and equal to them was the nail trimmer that Houdini had inside the crate with him.  A boat would be brought along side with a crane and lift he crate up, moving out away from the dock slightly so the crate could be lowered into the water without interference.  By the time the crate hit the water, Houdini would already be free of the handcuffs and have started clipping away the nails he need to get out of the crate.  Now remembering he learned to control his breathing, he could stay under water for quite some time, when the crate was raised by the crane, Houdini would be sitting on top of the boards he had clipped away the nails from so that they would appear to still be in place.  The crate would be lowered onto the deck of the ship and while everyone paid attention to the Great Houdini, his crew would drive new nails in to replace the broken ones he had freed himself of.

It was all smoke and mirrors, and even Houdini told everyone that, though few believed him.  We see what we want to see, or in some cases, what a truly great performer wants us to see.  It is, more than often, not a true representation of what has actually taken place.

To celebrate: try learning a few card tricks to dazzle your friends!  Learn how to pull a rabbit from a hat! Run for a political office and try to make people think you are sincere!