April Fool’s Day Plus One
Have you ever spotted the planet Jupiter in the night sky? Jupiter has been known since ancient times and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. Occasionally it can even be seen in the daytime when the Sun is low. It’s huge with 67 moons. Gallilei discovered the four biggest moons in 1610. Those are now known as the Gallilean moons.
So what does any of that have to do with April Fool’s Day? Actually, not much, but it’s sort of neat. On to April Fool’s now.
Life Discovered on Jupiter
I was looking at April Fool pranks yesterday to share with my Facebook friends, but when I came across this one, I had to save it for my blog. It’s a hoax pulled by AOL in 1996. On April 1st that year, when AOL subscribers logged onto the service, they were greeted by a news flash announcing that a “Government source reveals signs of life on Jupiter.” The claim was backed up by statements from a planetary biologist and an assertion by Ted Leonsis, AOL’s president, that his company was in possession of documents proving that the government was hiding the existence of life on the massive planet. The story quickly generated over 1,300 messages on AOL. A spokesman for the company later explained that the hoax had been intended as a tribute to the Orson Welles 1938 Halloween broadcast of the War of the Worlds.
Well, if any of you have read my Hollyhill books, you might understand why I snatched that story up. You might remember that Wes, Jocie’s champion whom she loved like a grandfather, claimed to be from Jupiter. Here’s a bit from Scent of Lilacs where readers first find that out.
Wes wasn’t your average Hollyhiller, maybe because he hadn’t been born there like most of the people in Hollyhill. He was what the locals called a “foreigner.” Jocie didn’t know where he came from. Not really.
When she asked, he always trotted out this crazy tall tale about being from Jupiter. His story was that he fell out of a spaceship as it was passing over Hollyhill, of all the rotten luck. Every time he told the story, he picked a different place to want to be dropped – a spewed-out volcano in Hawaii, the middle of a kangaroo herd in the Australian Outback, Disneyland in California. But no, he got Hollyhill in the middle of nowhere. Somebody forgot to turn on the magnetic seal on the spaceship, and when they went over an air bump, he fell against the door, and here he was. He was just hanging around till his fellow Jupiterians found the way back to pick him up.
Wes was a great character in my Hollyhill books. I had such fun eavesdropping on his Jupiter talk with Jocie through all three of the books. Jupiter people are just a little different, to hear Wes tell it. So you see that April Fool prank wasn’t a surprise to me at all. I knew Jupiter had signs of life already. After all, I’ve met Wes. LOL
Hometown Book Party Report
I had a great time at my Hometown Book Launch Party today. As always, people surprised me by coming. I always think I’ll make all these cookies and brownies and nobody will show up. But then they do come and I get to talk about books again. If you were able to be there, thank you for coming. If you weren’t able to be there, but wished you could be, thank you for that too. My grandson did rescue me by taking the leftover brownies and cookies back to school with him. He and his friends need the calories lots more than I do.
A Virtual Q & A Time
I am going to answer your questions, Sandi and Paula. Wednesday. So if any of you have something you’ve always wanted to ask but never have, now is your chance. I love the Q & A time of a talk the best, but sometimes it’s hard to get adults to ask questions. Today I told them to pretend they were 2nd graders and the teacher had told them to think up questions. I’ve talked to a lot of school kids. They always have questions. So be a 2nd grader and ask me a question. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll make something up. After all, I do write fiction.
So what’s your question?
As always, thanks for reading.