My Best April Fools’ Pranks Even in Dark Times, Keep Laughing
Because of the pandemic and its associated fears, April Fools’ Day might be the last thing on your mind right now. But personally, with the courthouses closed and more and more people huddled inside, I’m looking for levity anywhere I can find it! Remembering these April Fools’ pranks from years past got me chuckling, so I hope it does the same for you. Early Experiments in Pranking Even though I’m a serious lawyer, I’m also a bit of a prankster when the occasion warrants it. April Fools’ is definitely one of those occasions, but when I was a kid, just about any day would do! My little sister was my favorite target for practical jokes because she was so easy to fool. I took full advantage of that — which sometimes included taking things a bit too far. The best (and worst) prank I ever played on my sister happened when she was 8 years old. I found a rabbit skin and had the brilliant idea to tell her that Peter Rabbit was dead and there wouldn’t be any more Easter eggs. I really went all-in to make it convincing, even getting my brother onboard. To say she was heartbroken would be an understatement. My mother wasn’t happy when she found out I’d been waving a dead rabbit skin in my sister’s face! I got in real trouble for that one, and I actually still feel bad about it.
These days, the pranks I play on my sister are sillier than anything else. Last Christmas, for example, I spread her gift out over seven boxes. Six of them had random things inside, like Kleenex, a hard salami, and a box of cookies, but the last one was a nice piece of jewelry, so she was happy as well as annoyed. Now, my wife, Laura, gets the brunt of my pranking on April Fools’ Day! I make an attempt every year, but there were two years in particular that I really got her. The WordPerfect Buyout As some of you may know, Laura is a nut for the writing software system WordPerfect, which is basically an early ancestor of Microsoft Word. It’s a dinosaur at this point, but a lot of lawyers still like to use it, and Laura is one of them. With that in mind, I dropped the bomb one April Fools’ morning that Microsoft had bought out WordPerfect, and they were canceling it! Laura fell for it hook, line, and sinker, and she was not happy. I let her freak out for a minute, then said, “April Fools’!” with a big grin on my face. My Best Prank Ever: Backing the Browns I played this prank a couple of April Fools’ Days back, and it’s still the funniest one to date. To understand how I got away with it, you need to know that Laura isn’t a sports fan, and I’m into sports, and so are a lot of my friends.
My friend Dan is a Cleveland Browns fan, and Laura knew it. So one April Fools’ Day, I told her that when the Browns inevitably made the Superbowl that year, I promised Dan I would go with him and we’d be going all out — fancy hotel, limo to the game, the whole nine yards — to the tune of $10,000 a piece. Laura blew a gasket because of the way I said it, and I just let her yell at me for about 15 minutes before I walked away and broke down laughing. When I got it together, I told her to check the Vegas odds on the Browns making the Superbowl — they’re about 10,000 to 1! For some reason, she didn’t get nearly as big of a kick out of that as I did. Even with everything that’s been going on, I still pulled an April Fools’ Day prank on Laura this year — but how that went is a story for another day!
“Laura blew a gasket because of the way I said it, and I just let her yell at me for about 15 minutes before I walked away and broke down laughing.”
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SOMETHING IN THE WATER WHY ROB BILOTT TOOK ON DUPONT
Rob Bilott never should have agreed to represent Wilbur Tennant’s case.
property provided water for all the cattle and wildlife in the area. Since the sale, the stream had become frothy and discolored, and the animals that drank from it were sick, malformed, or dead, including 153 of Tennant’s 200 cows. When Bilott stumbled upon a letter from DuPont to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the real horror story began to emerge —one that went far beyond the boundaries of Tennant’s farm and into the drinking water of every American. The letter mentioned a mysterious chemical called PFOA, and Bilott requested documentation from DuPont to find out more about it. However, the company refused, so Bilott requested a court order. Soon, dozens of disorganized boxes filled with thousands of 50-year-old files arrived at Bilott’s firm.
The cattle farmer had presented evidence of the strange malady plaguing his cattle to lawyers, politicians, and veterinarians in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but no one took Tennant’s case seriously.
the mess of documents, but soon, his time as an environmental lawyer helped him see the bigger picture. It became clear that DuPont had orchestrated a massive cover-up regarding their use of PFOA. PFOA is used in the manufacturing of Teflon, and the company had knowingly exposed workers and the Parkersburg water supply to it. Bilott filed a class-action suit as a medical monitoring claim on behalf of the people of Parkersburg, and, as of 2011, a probable link between PFOA and six health conditions, including two types of cancer, has been found. Because of the medical monitoring claim,
But when Bilott saw the evidence for himself, it was clear that something was wrong.
The videos and photographs Tennant had collected showed cattle with patchy fur, growths and lesions, white slime coming from their mouths, and staggering gaits. Tennant told Bilott that the abnormal behavior and physical deformities had started after his brother Jim sold his property to DuPont, a chemical company with a big presence in Parkersburg. Jim’s property bordered on Wilbur’s, and a stream running from Jim’s
He was worried he wouldn’t be able to find anything incriminating or even conclusive in plaintiffs can file personal injury lawsuits against DuPont. So far, 3,535 people have. If it weren’t for Bilott and Tennant, the public might have never known the dangers of PFOA. DOYOUR PART TO KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL And Maintain Green Living Spaces for Everyone
Have you ever walked through a park and seen a plastic bottle or wrapper lying on the ground? If so, did you pick it up and properly dispose of it? You might not have realized it, but in that moment, you took a small step toward keeping your community — and, by extension, America — beautiful! April is Keep America Beautiful Month, and folks who celebrate aim to help each community in every state stay clean and green. Created by the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful, this holiday offers a perfect opportunity to roll up your sleeves and work
to better the place you live in. Here are three ways to show your appreciation for a green America this month.
jogging and picking up litter, which takes care of your health and keeps your community clean. Anybody can do it: Just throw on your running shoes, grab a bag, head out the door, and pick up any stray bits of trash you see on your morning jog or evening walk.
TAKE ACTION ONLINE.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world, it might be difficult to get outside and participate in a few community cleanup programs. But that doesn’t mean the public still can’t participate in Keep America Beautiful Month. April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and to celebrate, Earth Day Network is providing digital events for everyone around the world to take part in. Follow Earth Day Network’s social media accounts and stay updated on efforts to keep the Earth green or participate in an event yourself! For more information, visit EarthDay.org.
IMPROVE RECYCLING THROUGH EDUCATION.
An important goal during Keep America Beautiful Month is to spread awareness about recycling. There are various ways to educate those around you about recycling and encourage them to do their part. At work, for example, you can volunteer to lead a recycling initiative by printing off guides and fostering discussions on why recycling is so essential. At home, you can make a commitment with your family to fulfill the three R’s of recycling: reduce, reuse, recycle. To discover more ways to participate in Keep America Beautiful Month, visit their website at KAB.org today!
If you’re passionate about staying active and cleaning up your neighborhood, then this is the perfect activity for you! Plogging combines
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TAKE A BREAK
Few things change faster than the internet, and how we connect with the internet is constantly evolving. When it comes to wireless capabilities, fourth-generation (4G) networks have been the norm for 10 years. But 4G couldn’t meet demands forever, and there’s already talk of a fifth-generation (5G) network taking center stage. So, what makes 5G different from 4G, and how will it affect consumers and their internet-enabled devices? SO, WHAT IS 5G? A New Horizon in Wireless Technology
WHAT ARE THE BASICS?
Simply put, 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology that enables mobile devices like cellphones and stationary devices like desktop computers to send and receive data without being physically connected to a network via cables. As technology improves and more connection points are established around the globe, new network generations are “released” to represent significant advancements in speed and reach.
HOW POWERFUL WILL IT BE?
Consumers will notice the rise of 5G mostly with their smartphones. Apps and services that function using the internet will have fewer delays, faster loading times, more reliable internet access in remote locations, and more stable downloading and uploading capabilities. Experts predict that 5G will provide download speeds of up to 10,000 megabits per second, which is roughly 100 times faster than 4G. While it can take a 4G network upward of 15 seconds to download a simple 5-megabyte music file, a 5G network will be able to download an entire movie in less than two seconds.
EASY DEVILED EGGS
While the kids hunt for Easter eggs in the yard, whip up this easy deviled egg recipe for a hearty snack that’s sure to satisfy any craving.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp ground mustard
2 tbsp milk
Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste
These network updates are all about speed, but that doesn’t mean you should rush to switch your cellphone over to 5G. Many providers are still testing the service with select markets, and a full rollout of 5G isn’t expected until later this year. Check with your network provider about the options they currently offer and get ready to connect with the world like never before.
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
12 large eggs, hard-boiled
1/2 tsp dill weed
Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish
1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced
1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites. 3. In a small bowl, mash yolks. 4. Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. 5. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Lance’s Best April Fools’ Pranks
The Lawyer Who Took on a Multibillion-Dollar Company Keep America Beautiful
Easy Deviled Eggs 5G Made Simple
The History of Libraries in America
THE OLDEST LIBRARIES IN AMERICA A STORY OF MANY FIRSTS
A FEW MORE FIRSTS
What’s the oldest library in America? It’s an easy question to ask, but it has an unexpectedly complicated answer. Before the Industrial Revolution generated greater interest in public services, a library’s function and purpose varied widely. Several libraries in the United States claim to be the country’s “first,” but for different reasons.
During the 1700s, a few more “first” libraries were established. In 1731, Ben Franklin and a few others started the first subscription library in the United States. Members of subscription libraries could pay to buy books or borrow them for free. In 1757, 60 men founded the Library Company of Burlington in New Jersey, and Thomas Rodman received a charter from King George II to operate the business in 1758. The library still operates under that charter today. The Library of Burlington was the first library to operate out of its own building after a prominent resident donated the land in 1789.
COLLEGES AND THE CLERGY
Hampshire, at a town meeting. It was the first tax-supported free public library in the United States and in the world. Not long after that, the Boston Public Library, known as the “palace for the people,” became the first municipal public library in the country. The Boston Public Library was also the first library to have a space specifically for children. Out of all the “first” libraries in the country, these are the most probable progenitors of most libraries today — even if they weren’t exactly “first.”
Some believe Harvard University hosted the first library in the United States. Harvard was the first university in the United States, founded in 1636, and clergyman John Harvard seeded the library with a 400-book collection. Soon after, however, Thomas Bray, another clergyman, began establishing the first free lending libraries throughout the colonies to encourage the spread of the Anglican Church. Not surprisingly, most of the libraries’ holdings were theological.
BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE
In 1833, just as the Industrial Revolution was picking up steam, the Peterborough Town Library was founded in Peterborough, New
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