Ah, the first day of April: The one day a year when you can’t trust ANYTHING on the internet.(1)
Every year as April Fool’s Day grows near, I think about potential tales I could tell about the neighborhood. I ponder writing a post that seems a little strange, but perhaps has just enough truth to it that it might be real.
But I always chicken out. Two reasons:
1. It’s a tricky thing to write a good April Fool’s Day story. My favorite “big media” April Fool’s story is the one that NPR broadcast in 2003: The Library of Congress was (supposedly) hurrying to copy various audio formats (like cassettes and CDs and such) “onto a single, easy-to-access format that is absolutely stable.”
However, the story continues (emphasis mine), “[T]hanks to a grant from the Smolian-Giovannoni Foundation, all of these audio formats are being transferred onto 10-inch wide, 78 rpm shellac disks — the one rock-solid format archivists have identified that works every time.”
It made so much sense to me. “You can’t trust those zeros and ones, man,” I thought. “They wander off! But a groove is FOREVER.” April Fools.
2. To date on this site, the Ravenna Blog has been occasionally silly, crafty, and even whimsical, but it’s never tried to pull one over on you.(3) As well-meaning and good-natured silly hoaxes might be, they can cause trouble.
Seattle legend Ivar Haglund was known for his pranks. Paul Dorpat, of HistoryLink.org, is not.(4) However, in 2009, Dorpat helped Ivar’s (the restaurant) pull one over on the city (and the Seattle Times, which publishes Dorpat’s “Now and Then” columns on local history on Sundays).
In August of 2009, a large billboard for Ivar’s was hauled out of Elliott Bay. Supposedly, this billboard was made in the mid-1950s and placed purposefully underwater at that time (and kept in place with anchors) to advertise the restaurant to divers. Plans for seven more were supposedly found in Pier 54, the current headquarters of the restaurant chain. A mini-documentary was filmed during the supposed discovery.
“Seattle historian Paul Dorpat [...] says he doesn’t believe the billboards are hoaxes,” wrote Seattle Times staff reporter Erik Lacitis in September 2009. Then, in November, Lacitis wrote, “So, OK, it all turned out to be a hoax.” Ivar’s Inc president Bob Donegan and Dorpat pulled one over on the city in true Ivar Haglund style. And then the Seattle Times executive director told Dorpat his “continued freelance relationship with the paper [was] ‘under review.'” Oops.
We’re no Seattle Times,(5) but I believe it is important that readers know that this place, this weblog of Ravenna neighborhood news, can be trusted. And it’s not worth marking a goofy holiday to wreck that ideal.
HOWEVER, I’m not going to let reasons 1 and 2 from stopping me describing the various April Fool’s Day posts I’ve considered writing. Coming up with the titles is pretty fun, actually (and happens the way the pros at The Onion start writing their stories).
Here are my Ravenna Blog April Fool’s Day Story Ideas That I Will Never Write About, in no particular order:
Rav-Eck Community Center and Ravenna School Apts to be sold back to school district, be turned back into school
Post accompanied by a picture of overcrowded Bryant Elementary students pressed up against the inside of a window the school.
Wedgwood Community Council finally realizes namesake boulder is in Ravenna, moves to rename it “Ravenna Rock”
While there are no official city-drawn neighborhood boundaries, the by-laws of the various community councils in Seattle DO have such things. The Wedgwood Rock is located south of NE 75th Street, clearly in Ravenna-Bryant Community Association territory. (Sure, this glacial erratic came through Wedgwood during the last ice age, but it’s OURS NOW.)
NE 65th St to be closed to ALL traffic, turned into dog park
We’ve fought about it enough, drivers, cyclers, and pedestrians: Now NOBODY gets to use it.
New Roosevelt Station night construction mitigation and safety plan includes glow-in-the-dark googly eyes on heavy machinery
This one nearly happened, sort of. Not long after our Northgate Link photo essay post went up, we had a conversation on twitter with the Archie McPhee account:
Should you need your own googly eyes, glow-in-the-dark or no, Archie McPhee has a nice selection.
Jeannie Hale declares self Laurelhurst Community Club president for life, invades Windermere
We’re not sure just how long Jeannie Hale has been president of the LCC, but we did find a Seattle Times article from 1996 where she was mentioned as holding the title.
Scarecrow Video to start movie delivery by drone
Hey, if Amazon can dream…
Roosevelt Way NE to be renamed Ravenna Way NE to further confuse local businesses
Do more people visit your restaurant if you say it’s in Ravenna and not next to Interstate 5 where it is actually located? </hyperlocalbloggerrant>
Driver still looking for a surface lot spot at University Village 3 days later
People, those parking garages are filled with parkings spots ALL THE TIME. Just go straight there and save yourselves the frustration. Besides, the view from the south side of Level F (Flute) of the new south building is quite impressive.
City readies plans to turn empty Roosevelt Reservoir into giant ball pit
Back in 2011, somebody fashioned a legit-looking Notice of Proposed Land Use Action sign and put it up in front of the long empty Green Lake Vitamilk pit. It read, in part, “one ground level ball pit pond containing 1,200,000 cu. ft. of rainbow plastic balls.” It wasn’t an April Fool’s Day prank — sign went up in August — but might as well have been.
And my personal favorite for last:
Roosevelt High School purchased by Hugh Sisley, closed
To be honest, I thought up around a dozen more involving Gentleman Sisley. But he seems to be a rather litigious sort of fellow, so I’ll be keeping the others to myself out of an over-abundance of caution.
* As far as I know.
(1) The rest of the days average 90-95% untrustable material. (2)
(2) This is based on my own personal experience, and not any actual “data” or “studies.”
(3) Knowingly, anyway. And if/when a fact needs correcting, I try to do so as quickly as possible.
(4) In his professional life, anyway. Or perhaps he’d refer to it as “storytelling.”
(5) I’m not quite sure what I mean by that. Perhaps just, “Not on your lawn in a bag at 6 AM.”