Prankster repeatedly hijacking radio station broadcast with masturbation ditty

The UK's Office of Communications is pursuing a pirate radio prankster who has interrupted the Mansfield 103.2 broadcast eight times over the last month. He cuts into the regularly scheduled programming with the below tune from 1978, "The Winker’s Song" (1978) by Ivor Biggun. From The Guardian:

Tony Delahunty, managing director of Mansfield 103.2, said: “Some people have told me that their children have started humming the song in the car. “We have had calls from people who have found it hilarious, while some have raised their concerns, including our competitors, and a lot of people in the industry are aghast at how difficult it is to stop these people...."

“We are told by Ofcom who are investigating the matter, that you only need, and this is the frightening thing, a small transmitter and if you can get near where there is an outside broadcast or a signal and you can overpower that signal [and] you’re on the airwaves.”

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Why people name things, and themselves, "Zzyzx"

When I was a youngster, during the golden age of prank calls before caller ID, my friend and I found the name Zerba Zzyx at the end of the telephone book. We called Mr. Zzyx and asked if he realized he was the last name in the telephone book. Much to our surprise, he pleasantly told us that yes, he was aware of that fact, and hung up. (It wasn't one of our proudest prank call moments.)

Anyway, I hadn't thought about Mr. Zzyx for many years until I just saw this post on Weird Universe about "Zzyzx Road," just outside of Baker, California. Here's the origin of the road's name:

Entrepreneur Curtis Springer decided he wanted to be the last name in the directory, so when he opened a health spa at a natural springs in the Mojave Desert he called it Zzyzx Springs, so he could promote it as "the last word in health." By 1965 he had convinced the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to rename the road running to the springs Zzyzx Road. (It used to be Soda Road)...

Several movies have been named after Zzyzx Road, including the record-holder for the lowest-grossing Hollywood movie ever.

Sufficiently curious about any connection between Zzyzx Road and the Zerba Zzyx who I telephonically encountered in the 1970s, I did a Google search found this 1981 article from the Associated Press:

(Cincinnati) Roger Obermeyer wanted a way to make his name noticed in the city telephone book, so the advertising executive has himself listed as Zerba Zzyx, the last name in the directory. Read the rest

Prank bro learns that removing stop signs ain't smart

Charles Ross recorded himself removing stop signs for sweet, sweet YouTube views. He found an audience in the local police who pranked him back with a 3rd-degree felony charge. Read the rest

I wonder if my house sitter found the 'Snakes in a Can' yet

Whenever I leave town I put the can on my kitchen counter.

Loftus Three Snakes in a Can - King Deluxe Mixed Nuts Prank via Amazon Read the rest

Watch: David Bowie's first TV appearance at age 17 was a delightful prank

In November 1964, 17-year-old David Bowie (then Jones) appeared on BBC's "Tonight" to talk about his new Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men, a PR stunt cooked up by his dad. Bowie was already a veteran rocker, having played with The Konrads,Tthe King Bees, and The Manish Boys. From Wendy Leigh's Bowie: The Biography:

He might have been part of the Manish Boys, but inside, David had always seen himself as a star who stood on his own. So he was heartened when his father came up with a masterstroke.... John Jones swung into action and, applying his well-honed PR skills, along with David's input, concocted a cause designed to thrust David into the limelight....

Consequently, in November 1964, at John Jones's behest, the ever-obliging Leslie Thomas [a music columnist and former Barnardo's boy who'd previously written about the King Bees, also at John Jones's behest] published an article in the Evening News titled "For Those Beyond the Fringe," announcing the formation of a new society, the International League for the Preservation of Animal Filament, whose founder and president was none other than David Jones.

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Hollywood sign changed to Hollyweed!

Last night, a prankster used strategically-placed tarps to improve the iconic Hollywood sign to read Hollyweed! Well done! (L.A. Times)

This was a reprise of a 1976 alteration celebrating California's decriminalization of marijuana.

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The White House staff pranked Obama with snowmen

In a set of photos posted to his Instagram, White House photographer Pete Souza detailed a snowman-related prank the staff pulled on President Obama. Here's a photo of the snowmen in question:

In a later photo Souza writes:

Sometimes you gotta have fun. For the past three weeks, there have been four snowmen on display in the Rose Garden (see photo in earlier post). We’ve been joking that we should move the snowmen a few feet closer to the Oval Office every day to see if anyone noticed. Then we realized the snowmen were too heavy to easily lift. But finally this morning before the President came to the office, some helpful staff—I won't say who—moved all the snowmen so each one was peeking through a different window into the Oval. This photo was taken this afternoon as the President signed end-of-the-year bills.

Souza shared one more photo, noting, "Another snowman from yesterday. Yes he enjoyed the prank."

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Creepy clown heatmap: is your neighborhood next?

The creepy clown ebb and flow is currently in full flow, so Atlas Obscura has created the definitive creepy clown incident map, replete with dates, details, and outcome. Read the rest

An IRS scammer called me and I made him mad

One of those lame IRS scammers called me this morning.

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Fellow tricked by lung capacity tester

I love Grand Illusion videos, especially the host Tim, who demonstrates ingenious human-made curiosities. In this video, his friend plays a mischievous trick on him. Read the rest

Yes Men punk the NRA with "buy one gun, give one gun" program

At "Share the Safety," you can buy one of three Smith & Wesson guns, and the good folks at the NRA will send another one just like it to a lucky person in a low income, inner-city neighborhood, "law-abiding urbanites who will for the first time be able to defend themselves against those who prey on the urban poor." It's just like Tom's shoes! Read the rest

Qantas delays flight because of wifi network named "Detonation Device"

QF481, from Melbourne to Perth, was delayed last week because a passenger spotted a wifi network called "Detonation Device." Read the rest

Four sets of identical twins pull an epic NYC subway car time-machine prank

Improv Everywhere (previously) keeps on bringing the hits, but seriously, this one takes the cake. Read the rest

Man in bear suit gives co-worker a scare

How to have fun by turning friends into foes. Bonus points for the cameraman's Muttley laugh. Read the rest

RU Sirius's 1982 jams are well-suited for the Age of Trump

In 1982, Rochester, NY post-punk/dadaist/political musical group Party Dogs -- cyberculture pioneer RU Sirius (Mondo 2000, Reality Hackers) along with Matt Sabo, Pat Lowery, Hugh Edwards, and Kwashe -- recorded some catchy numbers that sat in the dustbin of reel-to-reel history. RU has digitized the dementia for online eternity and today releases the classic "President Mussolini Makes The Planes Run On Time," remixed for Super Tuesday by Phriendz. Enjoy!

Here's the full EP: Party Dogs

(photo by Eve Berni) Read the rest

Kickstarting a tool to block robocalls and tie up scammers

Roger Anderson, a telephony expert, developed the Jolly Roger Telephone Company to block and madden robocallers. Read the rest

Someone at the Chaos Communications Congress inserted a poem into at least 30 million servers' logfiles

On December 30th, someone using an IP address from the 32nd Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg sent a probe out to every IPv4 address with an open connection on Port 80, consisting of a poem exhorting the reader to "DELETE your logs. Delete your installations. Wipe everything clean, Walk out into the path of cherry blossom trees and let your motherboard feel the stones." Read the rest

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