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Ask The Fiddler #13: That Sinking Feeling

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Filed under: Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

What do you make of the sinkhole epidemic?

Mary in Ottumwa

Dear Mary:

Read fast, the End is at hand.

2013-03-19-sinkhole2-425

Depending on your interpretation, quite a bit of Bible prophecy refers to sinkholes. No doubt these gaping pits are sure signs of impending doom, brought down upon us by God’s disapproval of the Kardashians, super-sized colas, and parachute pants. One inspired blogger warns that we are in times prophesied by Isaiah, when you’ll just be moseying along and, whoa, a sinkhole opens up right under your feet.

But wait. Let’s look at this scientifically. Surely, sinkholes are happening because of all the stuff – oil, gas, water — we’ve extracted. It’s causing the earth to collapse inward. Well, that may be a common sense assessment but it’s not science. The bulk of scientific opinion claims fracking and drilling are not responsible. But folks who live where fracking and drilling have caused sinkholes tend to disagree. (more…)

Ask The Fiddler #12: Everybody Discovered America!

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Filed under: Fact or Fiction?, Urban Legends, You Decide

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

Much as I appreciate a holiday in honor of Columbus, I’ve seen reports that he may be getting undeserved credit. So, who discovered America?

Annie in Montpelier

Dear Annie:

This is a subject steeped in considerable controversy.

beach-425

There are those who contend that the real problem is, the whole thing is taught back-asswards. The truth of the matter is, as these contrarians see it, Native Americans discovered Europe. We’ll delve deeper into that matter in a bit, but first let’s have a look at some other contenders for the exploit attributed to Columbus.

It might be worth noting that boats without motors can be unpredictable vehicles. Over the vast expanse of human time, wouldn’t you suspect that a great many drifiting boats from afar inadvertently “discovered” America?

Further, there is the factor that might be called the macho double-dare. “Buddy, I’ll bet you ten conch shells and a bucket of whale blubber the world ain’t flat.” How many reckless young sailors set off to see what lay beyond the horizon?

And we can’t discount greed, the search for riches.

Lastly there is the incentive provided by barbaric hordes coming over the hill. How often in the violent history of mankind was it time to pack your shit and git, possibly sailing off for parts unknown?

The thing is, dang near everybody discovered America. A bit of research will reveal that, whatever your heritage, you can probably make a claim of relatedness to a discoverer of America. (more…)

Fiddle File #4

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


The Fiddle File #4

Here we go with another madcap roundup of hoaxes, scams and damn fool idiocy making the rounds these days. Take heed. Some of these fiddles may soon be showing up on your computer, phone or even up close and personal. Check it out:

Beverly Hills: Great idea, bust in on your buddy pretending to be armed robbers. A real hoot, until your buddy starts breaking noses.

Everywhere: Congratulations, you’ve won tons of money in an automated FaceBook lottery. Whoops, sorry — no money just lots of bad stuff loaded on your computer.

St. Louis: Here’s an airline ticket, please fly to St. Louis and I’ll give you $19,000 for that ring you advertised on CraigsList. You really don’t believe this story has a happy ending?

(more…)

Ask The Fiddler #11: This Health Tonic is a Real Pisser

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Filed under: Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

I’ve been reading about the health benefits of ingesting pee. The reports are mixed. What’s your analysis?

Vera in Pascagoula

Dear Vera:

You’re probably sitting there wondering what ingestion of urine has to do with flying reindeer. Well, we will get to that. But first let’s look at the pros and cons.

flying_reindeer-200I’ll have to admit, Vera, I’m kind of into alternative health stuff. If Deepak Chopra or Dr. Oz say “try it,” sign me up. But, honestly, if Dr. Oz announced that his next segment was going to be on the health benefits of drinking piss, I’m pretty sure I’d flip over and watch some more Cops re-runs.

The way I figure it, Mother Nature spent a hell of a long time designing a remarkable creature so efficient that it can dominate and wreck a perfectly good planet. Of course I’m talking about us, human beings. And that design doesn’t consider urine a keeper. We’re engineered to get rid of the stuff, when ya gotta go ya gotta go. (more…)

Ask The Fiddler #10: For the Artist, A Dog’s Life

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Filed under: Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

A friend has purchased a painting he claims was done by a dog. It’s nothing great, but still … I think he was scammed. Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Walt in Albuquerque

Dear Walt,

sammydogpainter-200A dog that paints pictures? Come on. It takes forever to get a mutt to sit, or quit chewing pillows, or keep its nose out of interesting roadside crap. Who could possibly believe dogs have artistic capabilities?

But then again. Look at it from the dog’s point of view. Would Leonardo do a chapel ceiling for a biscuit? Do you think Picasso would even pick up a brush knowing his masterpiece would earn nothing more than a chewy stick? Forget it. No smart dog is going to all that trouble for a cheap treat.

Well, a few, maybe.

Believe it or not, some dogs turn out paintings that sell for big bucks, a thousand and more. There is even a kit for owners who want to see if Jack Russell is the next Jackson Pollock. In several cases I noticed, profits go to support worthy causes. (more…)

Fiddle File #3

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


The Fiddle File #3

Here we go with another madcap roundup of hoaxes, scams and damn fool idiocy making the rounds these days. Take heed. Some of these fiddles may soon be showing up on your computer, phone or even up close and personal. Check it out:

Maine: Free groceries if you’re over sixty. Whoops, sorry, no free lunch, just hustlers phishing for personal info.

Everywhere: It’s called “pet-flipping.” Your dog is lost or stolen. Watch for it for sale on Craigslist and probably other classifieds.

Kansas: Pranksters toilet paper this guy’s house, he isn’t happy, shotguns the neighborhood.

Florida, California, Arizona, etc.: This one is called “swoop and squat,” the auto in front of you jams on the brakes, the one behind collides with you. One of several collision scams.

China: Fabricate a terrorist threat, win up to five years in a Chinese jail that probably lacks the comforts of home.

California: The water company employee needs to check your house for pollution. Hint: The public water company isn’t responsible for checking water problems inside your home.

Everywhere: You search for sites featuring Lily Collins. Your reward? A computer loaded with malware. Other dangerous searches noted by McAfee security firm, in order: Avril Lavigne, Sandra Bullock, Kathy Griffith, Zoe Saldana, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Jon Hamm, Adriana Lima and Emma Roberts.


Spotted a hoax or scam deserving mention in our next roundup? We’d be happy to hear from you at Art of the Prank. You might save some reader a heap of hurting (or give them wild ideas for their next fiddle).


Ask the Fiddler #9: Obamacare Spawns a Slew of Scams

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Propaganda and Disinformation

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

Have they set up the death panels that will be part of Obamacare, deciding who lives and who dies?

Rodney in Shreveport

Dear Rodney,

whitehouse.200Yes. And the panels are made up of radical liberal Democrats with Fu Manchu beards, dressed in white frocks, huddled over complicated charts, chanting and tossing chicken bones to decide the fates of vulnerable victims of Obamacare. Those victims will be mostly rightwing Republicans, of course. It is their fate to suffer from conspiracies.

Well, back here on planet Earth. Sorry, big disappointment, I’ve searched high and low and can find no evidence of death panels.

As best as I can figure, the whole crazy idea seems to be a mad-dog rightwing conspiracy theory concocted to counter a Big Mother Government health-nazi plot. Something like that. (more…)

Ask the Fiddler #8: Roadkill Cuisine: Scrambled Armadillo Brains, Anyone?

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Filed under: Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

Is there any validity to the Roadkill Diet or is it just another prank?

Susie in Seattle

Dear Susie,

From what I’ve read, the Roadkill Diet is a very effective weight-loss regimen. The author of a book on the subject, nutritionist Newton Garfield, lost an amazing 75 lbs. in three months, existing on delicacies such as scrambled egg white with armadillo brains, or squirrel noodle salad.

roadkilla-200It has been suggested that weight loss may be due to aversion, that is to say, dieters would rather starve than eat roadkill. True, there seem to be legitimate concerns about the safety of eating animals found dead on the road. However, Garfield states: “If you aren’t immediately sickened by the odor, odds are it’s safe to eat.”

Regrettably, I have been unable to locate a copy of the recipe book and so cannot provide advice to the chef for preparation of owl curry or skunk stew. Other cookbooks exist, but they do not take the matter seriously.

Viewed statistically, there is no question that roadkill could be a major source of sustenance for many of us in this country. This is, after all, America, the land of bountiful abundance. We have a whole lot of roadkill. It is estimated that over one million animals die every day on our roads. (more…)

Ask The Fiddler #7: Your Parents’ Worst Nightmare Career

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Filed under: The History of Pranks

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler: Is it possible to make a career of pranking?

Vinnie in Cleveland

Dear Vinnie,

Of course it is. Fame and fortune await. Just get your mojo working. Need help? You’ll want to send for my informative booklet, “How to Prank Your Bank.” And, then, you’ll want to be prepared to spend five or ten years behind bars if something goes wrong.

To be practical, though, possible doesn’t mean probable. And pranking has a whole crazy carnival of meanings, as a look through the index here at Art of the Prank indicates.

So the wiser choice might be to consider pranking as a secondary calling. Establish yourself on some more respectable platform from which to leap. There are pathways through art, theater, literature and a host of other professions.

Personally, I favor archaeology and anthropology.

Piltdown-gang-425

(more…)

Fiddle File #2

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception, Prank Busters, Truth that's Stranger than Fiction

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


The Fiddle File #2

Here we go with another madcap roundup of hoaxes, scams and damn fool idiocy making the rounds these days. Take heed. Some of these fiddles may soon be showing up on your computer, phone or even up close and personal. Check it out:

scream-197Los Angeles: Quality medical care … The surgeon pranks your face while you are under anesthesia.

Tennessee: Children At Play… Torching neighborhood sewers.

San Francisco Bay Area: Clear the house, we’re from the government, inspecting for poisonous snakes (and stealing anything of value).

Disney World: Pardon us, we’re heading for the front of the line with our hire-the-handicapped helper.

Nationwide: You’re due a bundle in unclaimed cash, just give us all your personal info. Story is from Vegas but the scam is running around the country.

Colorado: It’s the old jump screaming from the closet prank. Bang! You’re d-e-a-d.

St. Louis: Here’s a tip … You’ll never see the whopping big tip the insanely generous customer scribbled on the bill.

Nationwide: Wrap your car with ads while we empty your bank account. This report is from California but it’s happening wherever the hustlers find a willing victim.

Florida: Flush with cash? Don’t invest in toilet fans.

Spotted a hoax or scam deserving mention in our next roundup? We’d be happy to hear from you Art of the Prank. You might save some reader a heap of hurting (or give them wild ideas for their next fiddle).

Ask The Fiddler #6: Hey, What’s That Sound?

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Filed under: Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

Do you hear a strange humming sound?

Charlie in Cincinnati

Dear Charlie:

Sure. My sources tell me it emanates from a secret enclave of chanting mystics hidden deep in the Himalayas.

But then, you could reasonably be a little suspicious of the sources of a guy who hangs out with the Art of the Prank crowd.

whsongs-200Well, there are plenty of other theories about the weird hum heard in many locations throughout the world. It has been blamed on everything from industrial or traffic noise to seismic disturbances.

As you might imagine, conspiracy theories abound. It’s space alien communication or government mind control experiments.

Any other ideas? (more…)

Ask The Fiddler #5: Acrophobic Seeks Advice

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Filed under: Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

I’m trying to make a good impression on this lady who is wild about mountaineers. Trouble is, I’m afraid of heights. Can I prank my way into her heart?

Vernon in Georgia

Dear Vernon,

Well, my fearful friend, have we got a mountain for you! It happens that in the strange but true file we’ve discovered what just may be the right molehill to meet your needs. It’s a genuine, certified mountain, reportedly the world’s shortest peak.

View from the Summit-425

Mt. Wycheproof, a granite outcropping stands 141 ft. above the surrounding outback plain in the Victoria region of Australia. The mountain is said to be five miles shorter than Everest. In comparison, you would be at a greater height crossing some bridges, for example the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, at 186 ft.

There you go. The trip up and down would be a walk in the park, but it would earn bragging rights. Maybe there’s a rent-a-Sherpa on duty, you could get a picture

Yours truly,

The Fiddler


Remember our motto here at camp: “If you take advice from The Fiddler, you need advice.” Send comments and questions to: Art of the Prank.


image: rednomadoz.blogspot.com


The Fiddler is a creation of W.J. Elvin III

The Fiddle File: Scam Report

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


The Fiddle File

Here’s our latest survey of activity in the scamming industry, a thriving segment of the economy in these troubled times:

scream-197South Dakota: The computer security expert on the phone needs remote access to fix your computer. This one also reported from several other states.

Missouri: Victims of a tragedy need your donation.

California: You’ve placed an illegal order on-line. Send in your fine or face jail.

Illinois: In order to complete delivery, click here (a program then sucks up personal info from your computer)

Vermont: Your debit card is locked, give us needed info to have it released.

New York: We have your son and he will die if you don’t pay up now.

Georgia: Hey, you’ve got a flat (courtesy of the Good Samaritan who says he’ll fix it for you)

Everywhere: Pick up a few extra bucks and help your local pharmacist scam Medicaid


Remember our motto here at camp: “If you take advice from The Fiddler, you need advice.” Send comments and questions to: Art of the Prank.


image: excerpt of The Scream by Edvard Munch


The Fiddler is a creation of W.J. Elvin III

Ask The Fiddler #4: Shipping Question

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Filed under: Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

I have been away from home for a few months and I think it would be a real hoot to ship myself back in a crate marked “lawn furniture.” Will that be expensive?

Ronda in California

Dear Ronda,

It depends on the judge, or, worst case, on whether you plan a luxury funeral. You’re talking criminal charges or possibly death. Consider the case of Charles McKinley. He shipped himself from New Jersey to Texas and was detected at his destination, resulting in a year’s probation plus a $1500 fine.

Experts say a prank like this one could kill you. Due to rough handling and several other factors, there is some likelihood of arriving dead.

box-200On the other hand, there was a case a few years later where a prisoner in a German jail successfully shipped himself outside the walls and, as of the report we found, escaped. But his was a very short trip, he apparently had pals waiting outside.

One thing for sure, unless you are a tiny person you will have to use a private shipper. The USPS limits weight to 70 lbs. Costs depend on distance. I hate to be a spoil sport but, since the project is illegal and dangerous, it might be wise just to panhandle some bucks for a bus ticket.

Yours truly,

The Fiddler


Remember our motto here at camp: “If you take advice from The Fiddler, you need advice.” Send comments and questions to: Art of the Prank.


image: news.bbc.co.uk


The Fiddler is a creation of W.J. Elvin III

Ask The Fiddler #3: Another Space Alien in the White House?

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Filed under: Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler:

Can we expect to see another space alien in the White House as a result of the forthcoming presidential election?

Randy in Utah.

Dear Randy:

Your question suggests a belief that there has already been a genuine space alien occupant and of course a study of the speech patterns and manners of the younger Bush supports that thesis.

aliens9There is also photographic evidence of endorsement of both younger Bush and Bill Clinton by visitors from “out there.”

In the campaign for the last GOP nomination, Mitt Romney referred to Newt Gingrich as “Newt Skywalker,” perhaps he knew something. But Newt is not likely to try again.

My bet at the moment would be Hillary Clinton. She says that early in life she wanted to travel in space. That might be it, a serious clue. The lady is homesick. She says that at a tender age she wrote to NASA asking the qualifications for astronaut. At the time, she was told, “No women allowed.”

Well, let them try to stop her once she’s president.

As things stand, the field is still open, we’ll keep you posted.

Yours truly,

The Fiddler


Remember our motto here at camp: “If you take advice from The Fiddler, you need advice.” Send comments and questions to: Art of the Prank.


image: astro.wsu.edu


The Fiddler is a creation of W.J. Elvin III