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Myth-busting website Snopes.com revealed to be a hoax – according to Snopes.com

snopes - HOAXVisit Snopes.com, the myth-busting web site and you will discover that a lot of things you always thought were true were in fact LIES!

If you’re not familiar with Snopes.com, it’s a very informative website with a singular purpose: to validate or debunk incredible claims, warnings, and tall tales that circulate around the Internet. The site examines claims such as the infamous urban legend that told us that “for every person you forward this email, Bill Gates will donate $1 towards life-saving brain surgery for a five-year old girl named Tabitha.”

Just last week I discovered to my great relief that, according to Snopes.com, swallowing a watermelon seed will NOT cause a watermelon to grow inside you – unless, of course, you also consume Ortho plant fertilizer mixed with large doses of Miracle Gro potting soil, drink two gallons of water per day, and sit under a sun lamp with your mouth open for 30 minutes a day over two months. But even then, it probably won’t be edible.

Every day, people send me well-intentioned emails, passing along what they naively believe to be informative news alerts about some health scare or consumer safety risk. Almost always, these dire warnings turn out to be false – and I know this because I often verify the falsity of these ridiculous claims at Snopes.com – usually about 5 minutes after I’ve forwarded the well-intentioned dire warning email to 1,500 of my closest friends with an email subject line stating: Important dire warning: Pass this along to 1,500 of your closest friends! 

snopes - Big FootHere are just a few of the email tips I received in the past month, all of which turned out to be completely without merit:

  • Flossing your teeth with cat intestines releases pheromones that will make you irresistible to women – FALSE! (Although in fairness, I did become instantly irresistible to my cat, Buttons.)
  • Eating a diet consisting of nothing but broccoli and tuna fish for four months will enlarge your penis. – Totally FALSE! (Don’t ask me how I know, but I do. )
  • Using cell phones while fueling up at a gas station leads to brain cancer in mice – FALSE! (As to why mice were using cell phones at gas stations, well, that’s a question scientists are still hotly debating.)

We’ve all seen emails with claims that too much of this or that has been shown to lead to cancer in laboratory rats. After years of in-depth laboratory studies, it was recently revealed that the primary cause of cancer in all of those poorly designed laboratory studies was in fact laboratory rats.

snopes - lab ratPerhaps you’ve received an email informing you that the radiation from your cell phone can pop popcorn or that drinking your own urine can add ten years to your life. Whatever the incredible claim or warning, the odds are Snopes.com has tracked it down. [Author’s note: While it’s conceivable that drinking your own urine may add ten years to your life, this regimen is pretty much assured to ruin any chance of ever getting married. ]  In 90% of the cases, Snopes.com will prove with convincing evidence the tall tale is just that – a tall tale.

I can’t count the number of times I wished I had checked out Snopes.com. Like the time I stopped taking daily showers for three months because I was told that most soap destroys your resistance to germs and can lead to disease – this based on a helpful email forwarded by someone I’d never heard of to another person I’d never heard of to someone named Bert to my mother. And who wouldn’t listen to their own mother? But had I just checked out Snopes.com first, I would have quickly learned two important pieces of information:

First: that this “washing with soap” scare was a fabricated urban legend with no basis in fact; and Second: that my mother is an idiot. (And I mean that in only the most loving way, Mom.)

Thanks to Snopes.com, I no longer fear flesh-eating bananas from Costa Rica or poisonous rat droppings in my box of Special K cereal, which will cause my internal organs to dissolve. I no longer worry that downloading Elf Bowl to my computer will trigger a virus that will erase my computer’s hard drive on Christmas morning.

snopes - Elf bowl VirusSo imagine my shock when I found out this week that rumors were spreading that Snopes.com was itself a hoax. Snopes.com, true to its commitment to track down the truth or falsity of every Internet claim, conducted an in-depth investigation. Shockingly, Snopes.com concluded that in fact there was no credible evidence to support the existence of Snopes.com, and reported its findings at its web site, Snopes.com.

But interestingly, Snopes.com then conducted a further investigation and discovered something even more perplexing: Its subsequent study concluded that the alarmist claim by Snopes.com that it does not exist was itself just a nefarious hoax, and that Snopes.com was in fact real after all. It pointed to reams of statistical reports showing thousands of daily web site visits, to debunk claims that it did not exist.

But it didn’t end there. Shortly after that study, yet another Snopes.com investigation was launched, aiming this time to determine whether or not the previous Snopes.com report – which had reported that the Snopes.com report claiming that Snopes.com was a hoax, was itself a hoax – was in fact a hoax or not. It appears that Snopes.com has been caught in an endless loop of claims and counter claims about its own existence. As a result, the entire network of Snopes.com web servers overloaded and crashed – that is, if we are to believe that those web servers ever existed in the first place. At present, it is still unclear whether Snopes.com is a hoax or whether this writer is simply experiencing a really bad acid trip flashback.

So how will I know what’s true anymore? Without Snopes.com, I won’t know whether I should refuse to accept anyone’s business card ever again because it could be soaked in a dangerous drug which will completely erase my memory.  I worry about whether I might be asked by a company’s customer service automated phone menu to “please press #-9-0” – only to end up accidentally turning over my credit card information to Bulgarian Internet scammers who will go on a shopping spree with my VISA card. (Thankfully, it only has a $125 limit.)

And how will I ever know for sure whether those two teenagers living in my house these past two decades really are my daughters and not aliens from another planet planted in my house for the sole purpose of driving me insane and paying for their college education? One can never be too cautious these days.

snopes - fake moon landingWithout Snopes.com to turn to for answers, I’m confused and nervous. But there are three things I now know for a fact:

First: There never was a moon landing. All of them were faked, on a sound stage somewhere in Burbank.  Neil Armstrong was really just a character played by Hollywood legend Burt Lancaster. (That’s Burt in photo at right.)

Second: Global Warming is a complete hoax fabricated by liberal environmentalists intent on making people use their brains. I learned this on the O’Reilly Factor.

And Third: For every person to whom you forward this blog post, Apple CEO Tim Cook will donate $10 to build a hospital for starving kids in Wisconsin.

Thank you for doing your part to save the starving kids of Wisconsin by spreading the word about View from the Bleachers to 1,500 of your closest friends. With a simple mouse click, you can do your part to save the world, one needy Wisconsin child at a time.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Jones - Profile at Safeco - TinyPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015


  • Thanks for uncovering the hoax of all hoaxes. I had a feeling Snopes was not doing the job when I …
    Rey Carr
  • Published On Jan. 29, 2015 by TEJ
  • This holiday season, give the gift of guilt

    Gift of guilt - scissorsWhat comes to mind when you hear the phrase, the spirit of Christmas? When I was young, my notion was so naïve. Like many children, I believed Santa and his reindeer flew around the world on Christmas Eve bringing presents to all the children. But then I turned 25, and I began to question this narrative. Eventually I realized Santa traveling the world with eight reindeer was, of course, a complete impossibility. He would have needed far more than eight reindeer even in the best of weather conditions.

    Now that I am older, I know, of course, that Santa doesn’t deliver the presents (well, not most of them anyway). People do. I have learned that the spirit of the Holiday Season is first and foremost about people buying gifts for other people – and the 2 A.M. Black Friday fight fest to see who grabs the last 60% off flat screen TV – you or that jerk with the mullet haircut in camo pants and a T-shirt that reads “Recall Santa. I didn’t get what I wanted.”

    As far as what to get others on your Christmas list, I’ve discovered – mainly from watching my relatives – that Christmas is about ensuring that the recipient knows damn well how incredibly thoughtful your gift is, compared to their lame attempt. Studies have shown that most gifts will be forgotten within 48 hours – never to be seen again until next spring’s garage sale – or re-gifted to a co-worker at the office Holiday Party. So why not get into the true spirit of the season by giving them instead a gift they’ll remember for a long time – the gift of guilt?

    Read More…


    • I'm getting everyone on my Christmas list a subscription to View From the Bleachers.
      Cynthia Clay
  • Published On Dec. 11, 2014 by TEJ
  • No, Grandpa, that’s not how you beam up. Let’s go over this one more time.

    Future tech - motorcycleI’m proud of my mother. At 93 years of age, she decided to tackle a computer for the very first time. Her bruises are healing. She even has an email account. It’s been a struggle, but after only a week of practice, she’s already figured out how to turn on her computer. Until 3 months ago, she had never heard of email or Google or Facebook. She’d never surfed the web, never watched a YouTube video of a cat riding a roomba.

    Today she sent me her very first email. She wrote, Dear Tim, I ma laerning ti sned emali but ti deos not thenw othew byrw kt wodh pcx; s93@m &m$k m1t8 btn%+. Love, mom”.  What a beautiful message.

    I appreciate that learning new technology comes more slowly to the elderly than, say, to an eight-year-old techno-dweeb raised with a cell phone surgically affixed to his thumbs. And it made me wonder: What sorts of new technology will be hard for me to comprehend when I’m my mother’s age?

    I can only imagine the conversation with my future eight-year-old grandson as he patiently tries to explain to me how to use the everyday tech tools of his generation…

    ************************************

    Grandson: Hey, Grandpa. I see you’re still having problems figuring out how to use some pretty basic devices. Didn’t you have jetpacks and 3-D printable holograms when you were growing up?

    Me: Surprisingly, no, Nathan. Things were less complicated in the 1960s when I was your age. Back then, we had not yet invented iPads or cell phones. Heck, as I recall, we were all pretty stoked about the recent invention of the Etch A Sketch. Hard to imagine, but people used to read these contraptions called books. So, yes, I could use a little help with these modern day gadgets.

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    • Love this story Tim and the jargon is fabulous. Less than 40 years from now hum... and it …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Oct. 28, 2014 by TEJ
  • Announcing a new and improved name for the Washington Redskins

    Redskin helmet - No IndianLately, all the media attention about the NFL has centered on the issue of domestic abuse. But long before that issue grabbed the headlines, another controversy had been building for months, even years: The often emotional debate over the name of the NFL team located in our nation’s capital: The Washington Redskins.

    A tiny fringe group of a few million annoyingly sensitive Americans, including 35 Native American tribes and more than 50 organizations that represent various groups of Native Americans, seem to think the term “redskin” is an offensive stereotype that stirs images of primitive, angry, bloodthirsty savages screaming menacingly and wishing to annihilate their enemy – in other words, acting like a typical Washington Redskins fan. And they are demanding that billionaire team owner Daniel Marc Snyder change the team name to something less offensive – say, the Washington Camel Jockeys.

    The list of suggested alternative names grows by the day. Some names that have been proposed include:

    The Washington Gryffindors, the Washington Slytherins, the Washington Hufflepuffs,… well, pretty much anything you can think of from Harry Potter. Also, the Washington Redhawks (which personally I would find highly offensive if I were a Blackhawks fan), the Washington Skins (not sure how our nation’s nudists would feel about this one) or the Washington Pigskins (which I would find highly objectionable, personally, if I were a pot-bellied pig).

    None of these names has generated much support, so naturally I came up with several much better ones. Tell me what you think: The Washington Lobbyists, or how about the Washington Cabinets? Or maybe the Washington Gridlocks? I thought about the Washington Senators – but then I realized I was too late. The Senators had already been bought.

    Read More…


    • Very reminiscent of one of the first articles we wrote for the law school newspaper in which we attempted to …
      james ellis
  • Published On Oct. 14, 2014 by TEJ
  • Study says a dark day in America – Blacks are getting happier

    happiness - black man - white manBLACKSBURG, VA – A newly released longitudinal study reveals potentially upsetting news for millions of white Americans. The shocking conclusions: Black Americans are getting happier – much happier.

    The study by the University of Pennsylvania, tracking the “happiness gap” between black and white Americans since the 1970s, reports that the gap has dramatically narrowed in recent years to the slimmest margin since the study’s beginnings. Fortunately for white Americans, they are, on average, still happier than their black counterparts – but not by much.

    Even more alarming is the study’s finding that while blacks’ happiness has progressively improved over the past four decades, whites’ happiness has steadily declined. A spokesman for the National Association for the Advancement of Non-Colored People (NAANCP) argues that there can only be one conclusion to draw from this study: that over the past forty years, blacks have been deliberately and systematically stealing happiness away from whites, without even asking permission or giving so much as a thank you kindly, leaving millions of white Americans outraged and nervous about their futures.

    happiness - obamaThe study’s researchers claim there are other plausible theories for why blacks are getting happier: higher income levels, increased educational opportunities, a significant decline in lynchings, and dramatic strides in career advancement, all of which have fueled greater optimism about their future. In fact, in most states, blacks rarely have to fear getting arrested simply for sitting next to a white person at a Denny’s (with the notable exception of Mississippi and parts of Arkansas). “Why are black people in such a hurry to have more happiness?” asked NAANCP spokesman, Ferry White. “They stopped being slaves a long time ago. What more do they want, anyway?”

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    • Love it but am a bit surprised at the disclaimer. I am currently seeking a worthy Hungarian to introduce you …
      Laurette
  • Published On Jun. 26, 2014 by TEJ
  • America’s worsening attention span probl – Hey, Pam just texted me : )

    attention span - frowny faceRecently I have noticed a disturbing trend. People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. In fact, if you’re like 85% of Americans under the age of 35, you lost interest after the sentence Recently I have noticed a disturbing trend. It’s an epidemic.

    For the 15% of you still reading, let me explain. Thanks to texting, people now spell the words U and B4 because they don’t have the patience anymore to take the extra two seconds required to spell out you and before. God forbid the word might contain more than two syllables, such as a word like, well, syllables. People simply can’t be bothered – too many keystrokes. And when was the last time you wrote a personal handwritten letter? Let me guess. President Clinton was still dating Monica, right?

    Thanks to Facebook, we have all become conditioned to posting micro comments on people’s “walls” which according to the Facebook Code of  Condensed Communication Conduct (FCCCC) must not exceed 24 characters. Say your family dog passed away after 18 years, and you decided to share your grief about your loss. Here is the response you would likely receive from one of your closest  friends:

    1)     In 1974: Hey, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear Golden Retriever Buster. I know that he was a family member to you. I hope you can be heartened in your time of grief knowing that he lived a good life. I hope you don’t mind but I baked you my homemade apple pie. I am always here for you. (This note would of course have been handwritten.)

    2)     In 1994: Hey, so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. What was his name? Anyway, imagine you’re pretty bummed. Would love to talk more, but gotta go – Monica’s soccer match. Can’t be late. (Sent by email.)

    3)     In 2014: Hey,  attention span - frowny face - small(Sent by iPhone.)

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    • Q. How many kids w/ ADHD does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A. Let's go bike …
      Peter Cohen
  • Published On May. 14, 2014 by TEJ
  • My wild “Hangover” weekend in Vegas

    Las Vegas - lineupI’m not much of a drinker. And I don’t really gamble. So naturally, I decided to go to Las Vegas for the weekend. What a bizarre place Vegas is. I must have had one hell of a weekend, because I barely remember a thing. It’s all still a blur. It was just like something out of the movie The Hangover – except without all the strippers, car chases, Bengal tigers in my hotel room, or getting the crap knocked out of me by Mike Tyson. But otherwise, the parallels with the movie were eerie.

    I decided to stay at the Hooters Casino Hotel – mainly for the pool. At first everything was fine – until I ventured out onto the strip and did something no sane tourist in Las Vegas would ever do: I made eye contact with the street hawkers. As a result of my reckless mistake, I was offered 27 invitations to strip clubs, a chance to ride a white tiger at the Mirage, and $100,000 of term insurance with an option to convert to whole life at age 65. I finally broke down and grabbed one deal that was just too enticing to resist: 60% off on linens at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

    I don’t remember much of what happened after that. But the next morning, I woke up to find a scantily clad woman in my bed – with a wedding ring on her finger. Oh, shit. Who was she? A cocktail waitress? A stripper? What had I done! I frantically put on my glasses. Oh… right. My wife came with me on this trip.

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    • Love the photos Tim and Michele. Too bad you don't remember your trip. I bet Michele had fun even though …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On May. 01, 2014 by TEJ
  • Common Courtesy Rules for the 21st Century

    courtesy - smiley faceLet’s face it. We’re all busy. Life now is much harder than it was back in the days before cell phones, the internet and Roomba vacuum cleaning robots. There’s barely enough time in the day to update our Facebook status, let alone find time to see if our kids remembered to make themselves dinner before putting themselves to bed.

    In a more primitive era, say around 1989, life was far less complicated. People had much more time to show appreciation and be considerate of others. But thanks to social media and 982 cable channels to choose from, our lives are much more hectic. Nonetheless, it’s still important to try to be polite – okay, maybe not that important come to think about it, but still something to think about when you’re not too busy admiring your own reflection in the window at Prada’s. Here are some common courtesy guidelines to ensure you extend every bit as much consideration to others as do, say, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

    Tip #1: Cell phone etiquette: One thing we can all agree on is how much fun it is to talk on your cell phone anytime, anywhere. But when using your phone in public, be sensitive to people around you.  When yakking on your phone to your buddy Eddie while watching a film in a crowded theatre, smile at the person next to you and whisper, “This will only take a minute. The game is in sudden death overtime.”

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    • When I finally got to the end of your post, Tim, I had almost forgotten what I was going to …
      Drew Fisher
  • Published On Mar. 05, 2014 by TEJ
  • A brief history of the apology

    Apology - CortezLet me start off by apologizing for this week’s column – something I should probably do every week about this time.

    Apologizing is as old as mankind. The very first recorded apology took place in the Garden of Eden, when Eve apologized to Adam for goading him into taking a bite out of the apple. An ancient Greek translation of her apology roughly translates to: “Sorry about that, Adam. But you have to admit that I look pretty amazing now that you realize I’m naked, right?” 

    Anthropologists have found what they believe to be the earliest preserved record of an apology in a 17,000-year-old cave paintings in Lascaux, France. It appears to depict a dejected male apologizing to his female companion for failing to bring back a hyena for dinner. Or it might have been a small mastodon. Hard to say which. The brush strokes were early impressionist.

    Read More…


    • You forgot the pre-emptive strike strategy: "I'm the first to apologize if I have done anything wrong..." Ahh, how …
      Betsy Jones
  • Published On Jul. 10, 2013 by TEJ
  • World’s Oldest Person dies – AGAIN

    Medical experts are scratching their heads as another individual has mysteriously passed away this week. Newspapers the world over shared the sad news that the World’s Oldest Person has just died. This is the latest in a rash of similar news stories. Just last month, Besse Cooper, at the time the World’s Oldest Person, died quietly in her bed at a Monroe, Ga. nursing home. She was a spry 116 years old.

    Sadly, barely two weeks later, another sweet woman, Dina Manfredini, from Johnston, Iowa, who with Besse’s passing had become the reigning World’s Oldest Person, barely had time to enjoy her newly bestowed crown before she too passed away, at the age of 115.

    Dina’s heir apparent’s tenure as World’s Oldest Person was seemingly every bit as brief as Dina’s, because last week this shocking headline appeared:  Koto Okubo Dead: World’s Oldest Woman Dies at 115. The accompanying report described a frail, quiet Japanese woman who passed away peacefully in her sleep at her nursing home, barely having had time to thank the awards committee before she too fell victim to this unbroken curse.

    The passing of Koto Okubo opened the way for Ingrid Jørgensen, a retired school crossing guard from Trondheim, Norway, to win the coveted title of World’s Oldest Person at the relatively young age of just 114. Ms. Jørgensen is reportedly feeling rather uncomfortable with the news of her achievement, insisting it must be an accounting error. She claims her neighbor Heidi Fjelstad is several months older than she and therefore is the person who should be recognized, not her. (Norwegians are notoriously modest.)

    Until now, there has been scant evidence that any government leaders or world scientists have made any efforts to combat this outbreak, which cruelly appears to target only the very oldest and most frail among us. Lest anyone think the latest deaths are isolated coincidences, Nate Silver, the uber-statistician who correctly picked all 50 states in last year’s presidential election, places the odds that the current World’s Oldest Person will die within the next twelve months at 97.5%. Friends of Norway’s Ingrid Jørgensen have reportedly urged her not to put off her once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Greece until next summer.

    Millions of senior citizens are up in arms, arguing that this health crisis has been ignored for far too long. The AARP pointed out recently that the United States spends billions of dollars on wars in the Middle East but has invested almost nothing to try to stop the revolving door of World’s Oldest Persons falling prey to the Grim Reaper.

    Recent World’s Oldest Person honorees like Besse, Dina and Koto have tended to be shy about shining the spotlight on this global crisis. They tend not to complain, which may be in part due to the fact they’re deceased. But AARP representatives are urging Americans to fight for these helpless elderly victims and are asking people to write their congressperson to demand that they find a cure once and for all for this mysterious affliction that is targeting the most senior of our senior citizens.

    As one AARP spokesperson bluntly put it, “Our leaders must stop turning a blind eye as our World’s Oldest Persons continue to die off one by one. If we don’t do something about it, eventually all of us may suffer the same fate.”

    That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

    PS:  If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by sharing it on Facebook, posting a comment or giving it a.  Remember, for every person that shares this post, I will donate a dollar to the Tim Jones Foundation to find a cure to save our World’s Oldest Persons from meeting a tragic fate. So please share generously. 

    © Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2013


    • Oh!... sure Tim ... as if the throngs of helpless people suffering the same affliction every minute, although they …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Mar. 07, 2013 by TEJ