Category:
Politics

Gorbachev’s Pizza Hut Commercial

In 1997, Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union, made an ad for Pizza Hut. Political Scientist Paul Musgrave discusses it in a feature-length article in Foreign Policy magazine.

Since his involuntary retirement, Gorbachev has raised money for worthy causes, attempted to make a comeback in Russian politics, and, notoriously, made an advertisement for Pizza Hut. The ad would have become a footnote were it not for its long second life online, where it’s rediscovered every few years. There’s an undeniable voyeuristic frisson of seeing a man who once commanded a superpower hawking pizza.


Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 30, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Politics, Advertising, 1990s

Official White House Squirrel Feeder

Odd trivia: Rick Feeney is arguably the longest-serving White House appointee ever, having served as the Official White House Squirrel Feeder since 1949, when Truman appointed him to the post. Having never been replaced, he presumably still holds the role. Feeney was 5 years old when appointed, which would make him about 75 now. I wonder what would happen if he wandered up to the White House and insisted on being able to perform his squirrel feeding duty.

The story goes that his father (who was Truman’s administrative assistant) took him to the White House in 1949 to meet the president, whereupon Feeney informed Truman that the White House squirrels were skinnier than the ones in Lafayette Park. So Truman promptly appointed him to be the White House squirrel feeder, noting that the Senate was in recess so their confirmation wasn’t needed. Feeney was to serve “at the pleasure of the President.”

In 1974, when Feeney was 29, he noted that it was really time for someone to replace him, but no other Squirrel Feeder has ever been appointed.

More details at Southern Maryland This Is Living.





Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin - Sep 6, 1974



A children's book published in 2016 tells the story of the White House squirrel feeder. Available on Amazon.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 03, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Politics, 1940s

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence



An honest mistaken memory, or a deliberate hoax to cash in on the early glamour of the American Revolution? You decide!

The Wikipedia page.

History Channel account.


The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is a text published in 1819 with the claim that it was the first declaration of independence made in the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolution. It was supposedly signed on May 20, 1775, in Charlotte, North Carolina, by a committee of citizens of Mecklenburg County, who declared independence from Great Britain after hearing of the battle of Lexington. If the story is true, the Mecklenburg Declaration preceded the United States Declaration of Independence by more than a year. The authenticity of the Mecklenburg Declaration has been disputed since it was published, forty-four years after it was reputedly written. There is no verifiable evidence to confirm the original document's existence and no reference to it has been found in extant newspapers from 1775.[citation needed]

Professional historians have maintained that the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is an inaccurate rendering of an authentic document known as the Mecklenburg Resolves. The Mecklenburg Resolves were a set of radical resolutions passed on May 31, 1775, that fell short of an actual declaration of independence. Although published in newspapers in 1775, the text of the Mecklenburg Resolves was lost after the American Revolution and not rediscovered until 1838. Historians believe that the Mecklenburg Declaration was written in 1800 in an attempt to recreate the Mecklenburg Resolves from memory. According to this theory, the author of the Mecklenburg Declaration mistakenly believed that the Resolves had been a declaration of independence, and so he recreated the Resolves with language borrowed from the United States Declaration of Independence. Defenders of the Mecklenburg Declaration have argued that both the Mecklenburg Declaration and the Mecklenburg Resolves are authentic.


Posted By: Paul - Sat Jan 12, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Antiques, Anachronisms and Throwbacks, Confusion, Misunderstanding, and Incomprehension, Government, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Politics, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century

Macaroni woman of the year

Since I posted a few days ago about eggplants that looked like Richard Nixon, I thought it only fitting to also note that his wife, Patricia, had her own food thing going on. In 1970, she was named Macaroni Woman of the Year by the National Macaroni Institute. She also had her portrait painted out of macaroni by the artist Don Wheeler.

Redlands Daily Facts - Oct 1, 1970



Wilkes Barre Times Leader - Apr 14, 1971

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 01, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Food, Politics

Richard Nixon Eggplants

In May 1973, New York magazine ran a photo of an eggplant that looked like Richard Nixon. In 2017, the magazine's blog remembered it as "Maybe the funniest page New York has ever published."

But it turns out that there were quite a few other Nixon-resembling eggplants reported in the news in '73 and '74. For a while it was quite the thing to do. I think there are just a lot of eggplants that look like Nixon.

New York Magazine - May 14, 1973



Philadelphia Inquirer - Sep 6, 1974



Gastonia Gazette - Aug 15, 1973



Hartford Courant - July 24, 1973



Denton Record Chronicle - Dec 10, 1973

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 29, 2018 - Comments (3)
Category: Politics, Vegetables, 1970s

Flush Polling

Also known as Cess Polling. It's a form of non-traditional presidential polling that was started in Emmetsburg, Iowa in 1980. Voters were asked to indicate which candidate they preferred by flushing their toilet at the appropriate time. The local water plant then measured how far the water level dropped in the city water tower to calculate how many toilets had been flushed.

The tradition of flush polling continued throughout the 1990s, though I can't find any sign that it was used in recent elections.

Des Moines Register - Nov 4, 1980

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 20, 2018 - Comments (5)
Category: Politics

A long, awkward silence

With the Trump-Kim summit all over the news, this 1969 N.Korea/U.S. meeting seems timely:

Back then, an American and North Korean general sat across a table from each other for 11 hours and 35 minutes. For the entire time, no one took a bathroom break or ate, and during the final 4½ hours, no one even spoke. They just stared at each other in silence.



Palladium-Item - Apr 11, 1969

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 12, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Politics, 1960s

Top Ten Teen Idols of 1967



I would have liked to see the sample cohort of teens that voted in this poll.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 10, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Celebrities, Music, Politics, Teenagers, 1960s

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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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