Fooled Ya!

Be careful out there. Not everything is as it seems. Tricks, traps and smooth talkers are everywhere. Read on for some of the most famous cons ever.

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year.  It’s when I get to play some practical jokes on the family.  Nothing too serious of course, but all in good fun. I have to admit I am not nearly as good at this as my girls!  it’s especially fun with the grandkids, as they are not old enough to know what I’m really up to. Although in full disclosure I think they will never really know what I’m up to anyways! (That’s part of my charm!)To trick, or con someone, on a larger scale to me is morally unjust and legally inadvisable – but there is nonetheless an art to pulling off an effective con. Throughout history, there’s been some doozies – some are so outlandish, so conniving, and so audacious that we can’t help but be fascinated. Thanks to the internet and the digital nature of scams like phishing, it’s getting harder and harder to actually fooling people to follow your tricks. But once upon a time, cons were up close and personal. Special thanks to and for the stories – I picked some of my favorite hoaxes, impersonations and other tricks.  Enjoy!

Here’s some music to enjoy while you read (it will make sense when you read the last con)

Selling the Eiffel Tower

As is probably fitting, much of the life of Victor Lustig is unclear, including his name (when he was at Alcatraz, he was held under Robert V. Miller). Lustig was a famous counterfeiter, but it’s said his biggest swindle came in 1925, when he had documentation arranged identifying him as the “Deputy Director General of the Ministère de Postes et Télégraphes.” The premise was simple: Lustig set up meetings with scrap iron dealers and told them that the Eiffel Tower, then in desperate need of repair, was going to be demolished and its materials sold off to the highest bidder. All of the dealers were interested, but Lustig fixated on André Poisson, asking Poisson for a bribe in order to “award” him the materials. After securing the money, Lustig fled France but soon returned to try to perpetuate the same scam a second time…he went to jail.

The Man Who “Revealed” Howard Hughes

A writer of little regard in the 1970s, Clifford Irving concocted a literary scheme for the ages. He approached publisher McGraw-Hill in 1971 claiming that he had struck up a rapport with eccentric aviator and billionaire Howard Hughes, who had largely retreated from public life. Irving’s con was simple: He offered editors an autobiography of Hughes, one he would secretly invent out of whole cloth, and bank on the fact that Hughes would never come forward to debunk it. After netting hundreds of thousands of dollars for various publishing deals, Irving was dismayed to discover Hughes could indeed be bothered to come out of hiding and deny any knowledge of Irving or his book. In 1972, Irving and his wife and co-conspirator, Edith, pled guilty to conspiracy in federal court and conspiracy and grand larceny in state court. Irving went to prison for 17 months, but a book did materialize: 1972’s Clifford Irving: What Really Happened (later retitled The Hoax), in which Irving recounted the con in detail. Irving, who died in 2017, said he thought it was a harmless “joke” and that he would do it again if given the chance.

The Golden Gulch Gold Mine

The secret to good business for Ed Barbara, a furniture salesman in the San Francisco Bay area in the 1970s and 1980s, was irritation. Barbara became a well-known figure by peppering the region with annoying commercials. He also did more than just irritate: In 1984, Barbara declared he had a 50 percent interest in the Golden Gulch gold mine near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The site was said to be prepared to excavate gold worth as much as $93 million in the first year alone; Barbara’s company, Dynapac, Inc., sold shares, netting Barbara big profits.  It was a con, of course. A whistleblower, mine assayer David Fingado, disclosed the mine was meritless to CNN. Less than a week later, he was dead after a highly suspicious car crash (though the official report determined it was an accident. Barbara fled before being hauled back to New Mexico to stand trial on fraud and racketeering charges. He racked up guilty verdicts in 1988 but fled on bail and remained a fugitive until his death in 1990.

The NASCAR Driver Who Wasn’t

It takes guts and glory to drive on the NASCAR circuit. Alternately, you could just lie your face off and hope for the best. That was the strategy for L.W. Wright, who entered the Winston 500 race in Talladega, Alabama, in 1982 and who (falsely) claimed country music star Merle Haggard was a sponsor. Wright then went around in search of a race car and convinced several race veterans to part with money so he could get some wheels under him. All of it seemed on the level because it seemed preposterous anyone would lie about being a NASCAR pro. Wright performed poorly, completing just 13 out of 188 laps—enough for second-to-last place, because the car in last place crashed—and then disappeared in a haze of bounced checks and no real hint as to his actual identity.

The Trunk Scam

In the 1700s, Barbara Erni traveled in and around Liechtenstein toting a large trunk secured to her back. Living a nomadic existence, she would make frequent stops to secure lodging for the night. Each time, Erni would tell the innkeeper that her trunk contained her most valued possessions and to put it in the most secure room in the inn. The owners obliged, unaware that the trunk didn’t hold clothes or jewels—it contained a co-conspirator who would spring out of the trunk, scoop up any valuables, and then disappear with Erni in tow. The plot worked for 15 years until Erni and her partner were arrested in 1784. As a sentence for their crimes, the two lost their most valuable possessions: their heads.

The Record-Setting Con

In the late 1980s, pop music heralded the arrival of Milli Vanilli, an energetic song-and-dance duo that had a hit album, Girl You Know It’s True, and the Grammy for Best New Artist. Performers Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan certainly looked the part of pop stars, with model looks and sharp dance moves. They had come out of the Munich music scene and were signed by producer Frank Farian, who decided that a complete pop package would need something more—like singing talent. Farian masterminded a plot in which Rob and Fab would be the faces of Milli Vanilli while other vocalists did the heavy lifting. Farian later claimed he didn’t know the act would get as big as it did. After three number one singles and worldwide adoration, the band was subjected to more scrutiny, and Rob and Fab started demanding to do their own singing. Rather than allow that, a panicking Farian held a press conference where he disclosed the truth.

Bunch more if interested: CLICK



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!


Got Ya!

Making your kids laugh is fun. (they might think you’re weird but that goes along with the territory) And April fools Day is a great day to go for it!!!!!  :))))))) 

Today, April Fool’s Day, is a day for fun and laughter – and you’ll agree, we REALLY need some fun and laughter.  Along with the typical tricks we play on co-workers or spouses, I thought I’d share some fun ideas to “get the kids involved.”  I can remember one year that Jackie and I actually moved the girls stuff around into other rooms including all of the pictures off the walls while they were sleeping, so that when they woke up they were in “another room”! The girls  loved to prank us as well.  One year they buttoned all our shirts together in the closet!  That certainly made for an interesting morning, when I was trying not to wake up Jackie before work!

The art of a good prank is to surprise someone with an unexpected event that will cause a reaction that immediately turns positive when they realize it is a joke. Pranks should be harmless – both mentally (doesn’t embarrass or cause stress) and physically (shouldn’t hurt the person or property around them).

Here are some fun, silly and harmless pranks you can pull on the kids.

  1. Tape the light switch so they can’t flip it. For younger kids, used colored tape. For older kids, clear tape molded to the shape of the switch is best. Make them wonder why the light is not moving!
  2. Decorate a sponge as a piece of cake. Coat a sponge with icing, and let it sit out on the counter. See if your kiddos can resist taking a bite.
  3. Have a note or short story appear in the toilet paper As they pull on the roll, the message pulls out, toward them. You need tape, toilet paper, and an unknowing participant.
  4. A little scare never hurts… Dig out the old baby monitor, keep the “baby” side with you, and put the adult one where your kids are. You can whisper as they are alone in a room, or as they do something innocuous, shriek at them, “Someone’s watching!”
  5. Make these meatloaf cupcake muffins. They will look like delicious cupcakes, so the kids will think they are getting dinner for dessert! (Maybe have a few actual cupcakes waiting in the wings for dessert). Why would this be considered a prank?  It sounds delicious to me!
  6. Short sheet your kids’ beds! My grandmother did this to me once when I was growing up. I climbed into bed, and only had a foot or two of sheets.  I re-made my bed, laughing the entire time!
  7. This one’s a little scary – hide in the closet with a mask on then call the home phone or their cell phone and ask the kids to go in and get something out of the closet. Then, when they came in, jump out at them.
  8. Pour cereal and milk into a bowl and freeze it. Then, pour a little milk on top to cover up the prank, and then get your camera ready for some confused little faces!
  9. Choose a silly side of an argument and start arguing with your child. Start with something like, “Stop begging!  No matter how hard you fight, I just won’t allow you to go to school.”  It catches them off-guard and then they start automatically arguing the other side. No matter what they say, keep misquoting them and pushing your silly argument. This often works well for bedtime battles, because eventually they are just worn out by the ridiculousness!
  10. Blow up a few extra balloons and remove the pillow from your child’s pillowcase and slip balloons inside.
  11. Put things inside your kid’s shoes – toys, plastic bugs, marbles – whatever is just enough to get them to laugh.
  12. Pretend you are going to work in your PJ’s.  Just come downstairs, tell them you’ve decided to dress differently, and walk out the door.
  13. Put something silly in their underwear/sock drawer – spooky bugs, toys, or anything that will get a laugh.  Tuck it under clothes so when they get dressed, out it pops.
  14. Dress backwards – have someone help you button your shirt or blouse backwards.  Don’t say anything, and when they object, argue a bit that everything’s fine.

I’m sure you can come up with other ideas – just have fun today and get some laughter going inside your house. And email me with your own pranks…pictures welcome, too:






Thank goodness April Fool’s Day is coming up. I really need some diversion from the news these days. So, some innocent pranking is in order. At work (if you’re still working like we are) or at home. Let’s get started:  (top) If you have time and a budget for aluminum foil, this one is amazing. (row two left)Super Glue coins on the sidewalk where you can keep an eye out for people walking by. (row two right) Tape an air horn below a co-worker’s seat. Make sure others near her/him are aware of the potential for noise. (row three) The room full of balloons fake-out. (row four) Place a sheet of bubble wrap under a throw rug. (row five – three photos) The chicken soup shower. Probably don’t do this to your wife but one of your kids or a room mate works. They’ll eventually get over it. (row six) Another air horn trick. Securely tape it to the wall so the door handle will set it off. Again, warn people nearby. (row seven) Put a “sold” sign in front of your house. The kids or wife or husband as well as the neighbors will certainly be amused by this. (row eight left) Tetris fans—cover a wall with colored post-it notes! (row eight right) Tear off a corner of a dollar bill, attached to an April Fool note and let the fun begin. (row nine left)  Paint clear nail polish all over a bar of soap and let dry. (row nine right) The old “Kick Me” sign slapped on someone’s back never gets old and always works. (row 10 left) Not so much a prank as it is a fun surprise. (row 10 left) Soak an empty TP roll and mold it into the shape of a poopie. (row 11 left) Stretch plastic wrap across the toilet bowl and put the seat down. (row 11 right) Top off an older toothpaste tube with Mayonnaise…yuck!! (row 12, three images) Mess with your kids…freeze their favorite cereal overnight for your morning delight. (row 13 left) Replace the chocolate in those foil wrappers with grapes. (row 13 right) Make a pan of brown “Es” to share with the family. (row 14) Back to messing with your kids… suff some TP into the toe of their shoes. See if they think their feet grew overnight. (row 15) Cut some translucent paper in the shape of a milk spill, close the lid and wait for the owner to open the lid. It should work to startle them for an instant. I could go on and on with these but I’ve probably gone on to much already. Have a little fun! We all could use some about now.

Hope you are faring ok with your family during these unprecedented times.  As a “designated essential supplier” to many businesses and industries, we remain open and quite busy, doing our part working on your PIA (@%$) JOBS! and following all the proper guidelines for safety, distancing and cleanliness.  With April Fools’ Day just around the corner, I thought I’d share a little history, and some really fun pranks pulled from over the decades.  I remember years ago when the girls were very little, Jackie and I switched their rooms around while they were sleeping! (very fun to watch them wake up!) The girls in turn buttoned every one of our shirts together in our closets! Special thanks to, wikipedia and for the trivia. Enjoy, and be sure to send me some of your favorite pranks.

Although April Fools’ Day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563.  People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes – hence the name “fools”.  These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises.  There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.

In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences.  Here are a couple of classics:

  1. – In January of 1749, London newspapers advertised that in an upcoming show, a man would squeeze his entire body into a wine bottle and then sing while inside of it. The ad promised that, “during his stay in the bottle, any Person may handle it, and see plainly that it does not exceed a common Tavern Bottle.” The ad promised the show would feature other tricks as well, including communicating with the dead.  Legend has it that the ad was the result of a bet between the Duke of Portland and the Earl of Chesterfield. Reportedly, the duke bet that he could advertise something impossible and still “find fools enough in London to fill a playhouse and pay handsomely for the privilege of being there.” And apparently, he was right. The night of the show, every seat in the house was filled, but no performer ever showed up. Realizing they had been duped, the audience rioted.
  2. – On April 1, 1905, a German newspaper called the Berliner Tageblatt announced that thieves had dug a tunnel underneath the U.S. Federal Treasury in Washington, D.C., and stolen America’s silver and gold (this was before the U.S. built its Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, Kentucky).  The newspaper said the heist was organized by American robber barons, whose burglars dug the tunnel over three years and made away with over $268 million; and that U.S. authorities were trying to hunt down the thieves while publicly covering up the fact that the country had been robbed. The story spread quickly through European newspapers before people realized that it was an April Fools’ Day prank by Louis Viereck, a New York correspondent for the Berliner Tageblatt who published the joke article under a fake name.
  3. – On April 1, 1957, a news broadcaster told his British audience that Ticino, a Swiss region near the Italian border, had had “an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop” that year. The camera cut to footage of people picking spaghetti off of trees and bushes, then sitting down at a table to eat some of their “real, home-grown spaghetti.”  At the time, spaghetti wasn’t necessarily a dish that British people would’ve known about. That doesn’t mean that no one realized the segment was a prank—some viewers were upset the BBC had aired a fictional segment during a serious news program. But other viewers reportedly asked about how they could grow their own spaghetti at home.
  4. – In 1959, students in São Paulo, Brazil, who were tired of the city’s overflowing sewers and inflated prices launched a campaign to elect a rhinoceros to the city council.  The rhino’s name was Cacareco (Portuguese for “rubbish”), and she was already a popular figure in São Paulo when the students launched her campaign. The four-year-old had moved to the city from Rio de Janeiro when São Paulo’s zoo opened and was scheduled to return to Rio soon. When the students looked at the 540 candidates vying for São Paulo’s 45 city council seats and feared that none of them would address the city’s problems, they decided to make a point by asking people to vote for the popular rhino instead.  Cacareco won a city council seat with a whopping 100,000 votes, far more than any other candidate (the closest runner-up got about 10,000). Of course, she didn’t end up serving on the city council because the election board disqualified her. But she remains one of the most famous protest votes in Brazilian history.
  5. – Caltech has a long history of pranking other schools. One of its most famous pranks happened during the 1961 Rose Bowl football game in Pasadena, where Caltech is located.  The game was between the University of Washington’s Huskies and the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers. During the game, Washington cheerleaders handed out colored cards to the Huskies’ side and told them that if they held the cards up at halftime, the cards would spell “Huskies.” But when halftime came and the fans held the cards up, they ended up spelling “Caltech.” It was so weird and unexpected (Caltech wasn’t even playing in the game!) that the band on the field stopped mid-song.  It later came out that fourteen Caltech students had orchestrated the prank by breaking into the cheerleaders’ hotel rooms and switching the instruction sheets for the card stunt.
  6. – In 1969, Rolling Stone music critic Greil Marcus published a piece spoofing the trend of big name rock stars forming “supergroups.” One of the most popular supergroups in the ‘60s was Cream: its guitarist Eric Clapton was already famous for playing with the Yardbirds, while drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce were already known for playing in the Graham Bond Organisation.  Marcus penned a gushing review to a nonexistent bootleg album by the “Masked Marauders,” a secret supergroup he said was made up of Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. The fake review garnered real interest in the album, and Marcus ended up writing and recording the songs he’d made up; then Warner Brothers bought the songs and released the album. Two decades after the “Masked Marauders” review, Bob Dylan and George Harrison actually did join a supergroup with Tom Petty called the Traveling Wilburys.
  7. – In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour.
  8.  – Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, has a well-documented love of April Fools’ Day. In 1989, on the evening before April Fool’s Day, residents outside of London spotted a flying saucer that appeared to land in a nearby field in Surrey. Police officers went to the field to investigate the supposed UFO and were probably surprised when they actually found one. As they approached the flying saucer, a door opened, and a silver-clad figure walked out. The cops promptly ran away.  Little did they know, Branson was hiding out in the UFO behind his silver-clad companion, whose name was Don Cameron. The two of them had taken off in the flying saucer—which was actually a hot-air balloon—and planned to land in Hyde Park on April 1 as a prank. However, changing winds forced them to land a little earlier in Surrey.
  9. – In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.
  10. – and now for something very timely – In 2015, Cottonelle tweeted that it was introducing left-handed toilet paper for all those southpaws out there. The joke followed a 1998 stunt by Burger King about its new “left handed” Whopper.



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos. The next week there could be 15 logos. And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing. But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post. On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count. Just in the pictures area. Got it? Good.  :-))))  Have fun!!




For me, this time of year is “for the birds”

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) perched on a camera

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) looking for birds. — photo by Steve Byland


For those of you that know me, you understand what a bird watching nut I am. I set my alarm extra “extra” early, whip down to the office to check on your PIA (pain in the @#$) Jobs and then head out to enjoy the fresh waterfront air and the return of millions of migrating birds to our north coast area. So far I’ve witnessed dozens and dozens of species return to nest, feed and rest up, before making their flight north to Canada. Without a doubt, my favorites still are the yellow tipped bent beak Yappaloo and the Canadian Green Breasted Canvas Back Longneck Moorehead Loon. So take my advice, before you break out the fertilizer or dig into the gardens, take a day or two with friends and family and enjoy the sights and sounds of hundreds of “one of a kind” species of birds and water fowl. Hope to see you lakeside (if you can find me in my KHT cammo gear).

Where To Go: Thanks to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, recommended birdwatching is divided into seven specific “loops” stretching from Ashtabula to Toledo. Here are just five of our favorites. (special thanks to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website for this info –

Ashtabula Loop: Tucked in the extreme northeastern corner of Ohio, this section of the Lake Erie Birding Trail features the least developed shoreline on the trail. Five sites are featured on this loop, and one of them, Conneaut Harbor, has produced in an inordinate number of very rare birds. The total species list for this loop is 313, and two of those – Red-necked Stint and Black-throated Sparrow – have only been found in this region.

Cleveland Loop: This loop is the most populous region on the trail, (28 sites) as the city of Cleveland and neighboring areas are the most developed locales on Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline. Every type of habitat found along the lake occurs on this loop, and some of the sites are among the most famous birding hotspots in the Midwest. The total species list for this loop is 356, and a remarkable 12 of those have only been recorded in this region. Be sure to visit Whiskey Island and the Edgewater Cleveland Metroparks area (go to for events and guided tours.)

Huron and Lorain Loop: The section of Lake Erie between the Huron and Lorain encompasses the “bottom of the bowl;” the southernmost curve of the lake. The fourteen sites in this region offer some of the finest birding in Ohio. The varied habitats include a power plant’s warm water outlet, sandy beaches, expansive woodlands, marshes, and reservoirs. The total species list for this loop is 325. Slightly inland are Oberlin and Wellington reservoirs; magnets for ducks, plus scoters and long-tailed duck are regularly found. Findley State Park and Vermilion River Reservation are two sites that offer excellent woodland birding, and massive restored wetlands at Sandy Ridge Reservation have become famous for wetlands species such as bitterns, rails, and Sandhill Crane.

Sandusky Bay Loop: The most prominent bridge along Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline is the State Route 2 span over massive Sandusky Bay. Historically, the bay was ringed with mixed-emergent marshes and prairie wetlands, most of which have been destroyed. However, large marshlands are still protected and provide some of the most important bird habitat along Lake Erie. Sandusky Bay and vicinity is a very important stopover area for migratory waterfowl. The total species list for this loop is 313, and three of them – Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Magnificent Frigatebird, and Ancient Murrelet – have only been found in this region.

Lake Erie Islands Loop: The East Sandusky Bay Metropark is an assemblage of four contiguous but separately named parks that total about 1,200 acres. Huge numbers of waterfowl use the area in migration, including counts of Tundra Swans that can number into the thousands. Ohio’s Lake Erie islands are part of a limestone archipelago and feature seventeen islands, not all of which are accessible. Three of the readily accessible islands are featured in this loop (Kelly’s Middle Bass and South Bass) offer a very different type of adventure than birding the other loops on this trail and one should set aside at least a full day to explore them. The total species list for this loop is 294, and two of them – Great Gray Owl and Baird’s Sparrow – have only been found in this region.

What To Look For: chickadees, tufted titmouse and cardinals, great horned owls herons, hawks and crows, male red-winged blackbirds, hardy eastern phoebes, fox sparrows, bald eagles, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, red-shouldered, cooper’s and red-tailed hawks rearing their young, great horned and barred owl owlets. From the high bluffs of Huntington Reservation, one can witness fantastic numbers and diversity of diving ducks, grebes and loons as they prepare to push north towards nesting grounds. Riding nighttime southerly winds, the first waves of warblers, sparrows and thrushes arrive on the north coast stopping in Ohio only to refuel before continuing their journey north. Others like orioles, grosbeaks and tanagers return to begin their nesting cycle while common grackles, mourning doves and American woodcocks.

For more information, visit:,,

Be sure to give me a call and let me know how your trip went.

Oh, and if you’re reading this on April 1, 2016, April Fool!!