And yet, thousands of good-hearted souls were apparently fooled by a Facebook post of a dog with a slice of ham draped over his eyes and snout.
Two days before Christmas, the photo was posted on Facebook by a man — equal parts grinch and troll, we suspect — who offered this description:
“This poor dog was badly burned and disfigured trying to save his family from a house fire. One like = one prayer. One share = ten prayers.
Many of the animal lovers of Facebook — and their numbers are legion — went on to like it, share it and leave comments voicing their best wishes for the pooch.
Perhaps it’s because the ham slice does look a little like bloodied gauze. Perhaps it was the prayer request that accompanied the photos. Perhaps Christmas spirit had a little to do with the outpouring of well wishes that followed the posting.
With many dog lovers, compassion kicks in immediately — reflexively, even — and long before their cynicism does.
(We’d only hope that none of the well-wishers went so far as to send any donations to the jerk who wrote the post.)
Stephen Roseman, a few days after posting the photo and desciption on Facebook, explained in a comment that it was all a joke:
“People, people this isn’t even my dog, I found this picture on fascistbook, stole it, and decided to use it in a prank to fool these religitards.
“So I did, and low and behold idiots left and right fall for it, and those that didn’t, seem to think they have a superior intelligence or something, for pointing out the obvious.
“Keep in mind, I never told a single soul to like this, that is their choice, I don’t give a f*ck either way.”
Apparently Roseman was trying to pull a fast one — not just on those sensitive and soft-hearted types who fell for the story, but on those more cynical ones who voiced the opinion that the story was clearly fake.
Roseman apparently has no use for either of those.
Fortunately, for him, soliciting prayers (and shares) under false pretenses is not a crime (a sin, maybe, but not a crime). So it’s likely his only punishment — assuming those death threats against him are idle chatter — will be losing some Facebook friends.
“I’ve literally lost count on how many death threats I’ve accumulated because of Ham Dog,” he said in a subsequent Facebook comment. “I’m not concerned, but rather amused, regardless, I’m armed everywhere I go anyways. I find it motivating…”
The prank has since been exposed and straightened out by Snopes.com and several news media outlets.
But not before thousands had responded, many of them voicing sympathy and passing on their prayers. Using his own, shares-to-prayers formula, the dog got 1.3 million of them.
We have only one of our own to pass along: That lo and behold (that’s lo, Stephen, with no “w”) Stephen Roseman might one day grow up.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 4th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, burned, disfigured, dog, dogs, facebook, fire, fooled, ham, hoax, house, like, pets, post, prayers, share, slice, snout, social media, stunt
According to her obituary, published in Saturday’s Connecticut Post, Norma Brewer’s dog contributed to her death — chewing off her boots and socks, leading her to succumb from hypothermia.
According to the obituary, this occurred while Brewer, who was 83 and in a wheelchair, was attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.
“There is suspicion that Mrs. Brewer died from hypothermia, after Mia ate Mrs. Brewer’s warm winter boots and socks,” read the death notice, which had been submitted to the newspaper by a funeral home.
Brewer, the death notice read, never realized her life goal of reaching the summit of the 19,341-foot mountain.
But, it said, she had made it to the base camp, where she died in the company of her daughter, her cats and dog “Mia.”
If all this is sounding a little too unbelievable to be true, that may be because it isn’t — not entirely.
While Norma did die, the obituary was a joke — one final prank (or was it?) from a woman known in life as quite a prankster.
She wrote it before she died, and left instructions for her children to get it published in the local newspaper — the same local newspaper where her father was once president and publisher.
Good one, Norma.
“It was just typical mom,” Donna Brewer, Norma’s daughter, said Saturday. “She always had stories, many of which were not true, but thought were funny.”
“People who don’t know my mother are bemused,” she added. “People who know my mother are laughing and saying, `Yeah, that’s Norma.’ ”
Donna Brewer said her mother died from a stroke and had been wheelchair-bound for more than a year.
The Post corrected the record in a news story Saturday.
Norma, as her obituary accurately noted, was the daughter of W. Raymond Flicker, former president and publisher of the Bridgeport Post, Telegram and Sunday Post (now known as the Connecticut Post). Donna Brewer said her mother often recalled watching newspapers come off the printing press in Bridgeport with her father.
Norma’s son, Raymond Brewer, said his mother’s prank “had more to do with the way she viewed the world. While life is serious, it shouldn’t be taken all that serious.”
He said her children went along with her last wish. “It was her way of having one last joke with the world,” he said.
Funeral services for Norma Brewer were held yesterday in Fairfield.
(Photo: Connecticut Post)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 2nd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ate, boots, connecticut post, death, death notice, dog, dogs, hoax, hypothermia, mia, mount kilimanjaro, norma brewer, obit, obituary, pets, prank, prankster, socks
A beagle named Sherlock, in the employ of KLM airlines, is recovering and returning items lost by travelers at an Amsterdam Airport — or so this video would have you believe.
But — no shit, Sherlock — the beagle is bogus.
Once again, advertising geniuses have duped the public, and the media, via the Internet.
I’m sure those geniuses don’t see it that way — just creative license, they’d say — but the story of the little beagle reuniting passengers with their lost items is a tall tale, aimed at giving you a warm and fuzzy feeling when it comes to KLM.
Earlier this week the Dutch airline posted the video on YouTube.
Three days later it had 3 million views. New outlets were writing about the amazing pooch who, through his powers of scent, was reuniting travelers with their lost items.
A day or two later, they were writing about him again — once they realized it was, if not an out and out hoax, a creative stretching of the truth.
The video posted on YouTube carried this description: “KLM’s dedicated Lost & Found team at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is on a mission to reunite lost items as soon as possible with their legitimate owner. From a teddy bear found by the cabin crew to a laptop left in the lounge. Locating the owners can sometimes be a challenge, so special forces have been hired…”
KLM managed to reach millions with the bogus beagle story, virtually for free — even before it appeared as a paid advertisement.
The advertising agency explained their creative process as follows:
“We were told that the members of KLM’s Lost & Found team sometimes track down passengers before they even realize they’ve lost something,” “We feel they are a bit like detectives. So to illustrate that KLM goes above and beyond for their passengers, we decided to involve a search dog.”
On one hand, you’ve got to admire their ability to get so much ink — I mean so many hits — without spending a dime.
On the other hand, should we really trust a company that’s pulling the wool, or in this case fur, over our eyes?
(Woof in Advertising is an occasional feature on ohmidog! that looks at how dogs are used in advertising. For more Woof in Advertising posts, click here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 26th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertising, air, airlines, animal, beagle, bogus, dog, dogs, dogs in advertising, fake, found, hoax, items, klm, lost, marketing, media, pets, returned, sherlock, travel, woof in advertising
With help from an Olympic luger, Twitter and a dog who is at least part wolf, Jimmy Kimmel has once again put one over on the news media.
Then again, fooling the news media has a very low degree of difficulty these days.
Kimmel conspired with 21-year-old luger Kate Hansen, under whose name the video was posted on Twitter and elsewhere.
“I’m pretty sure this is a wolf wandering my hall in Sochi,” she said in a comment accompanying the video on YouTube.
Pretty much every major news outlet quickly picked up the story Thursday, echoing the Olympian’s cry of wolf, and apparently forgetting the entire moral of that fable.
USA Today was among those setting the record straight today — generally in a humorous vein that didn’t focus on how any laziness on the media’s part might have contributed to being duped.
Hansen, who finished competing Feb. 11 and is staying at the Olympic village, tweeted the video with the hashtag #sochiproblems and #sochifail. The hashtag was commonly used by visitors to Sochi for complaints surrounding the Games, including some about stray dogs.
Kimmel came clean last night, revealing the set created in the studio to resemble the dormitory corridor, and the wolf-dog, named Rugby.
Hansen appeared, via Skype, on the show as well, and said she has experienced some repercussions for the role she played.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 21st, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dogs, dormitory, frenzy, hansen, hoax, kate hansen, luge, luger, media, olympics, pets, prank, Sochi, twitter, video, wolf, wolves, youtube
Just when I proclaim this quite a week for wieners (dogs and franks), there’s more late breaking wiener news: The world’s oldest hot dog — possibly the world’s first hot dog — has been unearthed at Coney Island, CNN and others reported.
CNN posted a story about the “discovery” of a “140-year-old hot dog” after officials at the Coney Island History Project put an “ancient” frankfurter — bun and all — on display, saying it was unearthed during the demolition of Feltman’s Kitchen, said to be where the first hot dog was made.
“1st Hot Dog,” read a sign next to the display. To the embarassment of CNN and others who picked up the story — to be frank, they didn’t check the facts — it was all just a publicity stunt, aimed at creating interest in an exhibition this summer of real artifacts from the Feltman’s site, the New York Post says.
“The recent discovery by an amateur archaeologist of the ‘140 Year Old Feltman’s Hot Dog’ encased in ice along with a bun, [and] an original receipt from Feltman’s, … was a publicity stunt in the grand tradition of Coney Island ballyhoo,” said Tricia Vita, spokeswoman for the history project.
She said that the hoax was an example of Coney Island’s history of P.T. Barnum-type hype. Even though the ancient hot dog was said to be found “encased in ice” by archaelogists, the story was gobbled right up.
(It was Barnum, I believe, who said a sucker was born every minute. That rate has increased to about every millisecond, thanks to the Internet.)
“I was surprised in the beginning at how many people believed it was true,” Vita said. “But after reading all the buzz about it on Twitter and the Internet, I’m not really that surprised because people want to believe these types of things are true.”
Posted by John Woestendiek February 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 140-year-old hot dog, ancient, antique, cnn, coney island, coney island history project, feltman's, fooled, frankfurter, hoax, hot dog, joke, journalism, media, new york, news, oldest, publicity stunt, report, reporting, sucker, wiener
An email making the rounds depicts cats decked out in bright and dazzling designs — paint jobs, supposedly, that have to be repeated every three months (due to hair growth) and for which owners pay $15,000 or more.
While it’s just the sort of thing pet owners who see their dog or cat as accessories might do, don’t break out the brushes (or dyes), and don’t forget that the true work of art is your dog or cat exactly as he or she naturally is. The email, and the paint jobs, are bogus.
Unfortunately, a lot more people will get the email than will read this (those sorts of emails have way more than nine lives), and the artistically-inclined, yet otherwise idiotic among them might even entertain thoughts of giving their feline a new look — say something in a day-glo plaid.
But just in case somebody actually needs this warning, I’ll say it again: Don’t paint your cat.
A far safer route (for you and the cat) would be to just enjoy the spoof.
It all started with “Why Cats Paint,” a fuzzy tongue-in-cheek volume about cats who became accomplished artists, written by Burton Silver and Heather Bush and published in 1994.
That was followed in 2002 with “Why Paint Cats: (Ten Speed Press), a photo book of cats with brightly colored geometric designs on their faces and bodies, supposedly painted by 23 artists who use cats as their canvas.
Even more people fell for it than the first book.
According to snopes.com, author Silver won’t admit that the illustrations were achieved through computer imaging.
He told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, “We never comment on the techniques used to create our art, because that’s not the point of the work. We see our role as that of encouraging discussion amongst readers and provoking them to question their value systems.”
Silver, in addition to creating a beautiful book, and pulling off a darned good hoax, did indeed encourage discussion, as evidenced by the fact that, six years after the book was published, its contents are still clogging (1.6 MB) emailboxes boxes across the country.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 8th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: art, artists, book, burton silver, cats, heather busch, hoax, myth, paint, painted cats, painting, rumor, snopes, why cats paint, why paint cats