By Jennifer Gerlock
What’s the best April Fools’ prank you’ve pulled off?
Although April Fools’ Day origins are enshrouded in mystery, for the eager prankster, nothing beats the centuries-old tradition of playing practical jokes on unsuspecting family, friends and co-workers.
April Fools’ Day, also known as All Fools’ Day, is observed in most countries on April 1.
The odd tradition resembles festivals such as the Hilaria of ancient Rome and India’s Holi celebration. Most experts, however, credit Pope Gregory XIII, who, in the 1500s, gave the world the Gregorian calendar, effectively changing the New Year from April 1 to Jan. 1 — those slow to hear the news were outed as “fools.”
Of course, the real problem with explaining April Fools’ Day origins is that you never know when someone is trying to fool you with an explanation.
No matter. The real fun, as we all know, is executing successful pranks. We queried Frederick residents about the best April Fools’ Day joke they have played or had played on them.
“April 1, 2000 is the day I started my company, Octavo Designs. That probably explains why we are so goofy!” / Sue_Hough, Middletown
“One year, my mother and father burst into [both my bedroom] and my sister’s bedroom and shouted, ‘You’re late for school! Get up! Get up!’ Of course, we got up and put our clothes on and were running out the door and never even noticed it was Saturday, April 1st. I think we were both in elementary school.” / Eli_Roth, Frederick
“I can pretty much be told anything and I’ll believe it, at least initially. I was in Breckenridge, Colorado last April 1st and the entire front page of the local paper was bogus – like ridiculously bogus. The amount of reading I did before realizing I was being punked was just embarrassing. Nothing sounded right, but it was early and I had no idea it was April 1st. The main headline stated that Breckenridge was going to use mini zeppelins to float cyclists over sections of a bike path under construction – and I didn’t blink.” / Sean_Quill, Shookstown
“I haven’t but I wish I had pictures of what a friend of mine did to his co-worker! He built a wall over the door to an office. He even installed a working electrical outlet and put in a mini fridge. The victim, who thought it was hilarious, had to enter his office through a crawl space and wasn’t seen for much of the day. It took all night but my friend made an entire office disappear!” / Cathy_Gurski, Frederick
“My birthday is actually on April Fools’ Day. In the seventh grade, I was living in India and my birthday fell on a school day. I had asked a few of my friends to have lunch with me in the school dining hall. Our food was always sent from home. My brothers took the opportunity and filled the tiffin carrier with stones and leaves.” / Shabham_Samuel, Frederick
“I don’t think I have ‘pranked’ anyone or been ‘pranked.’ Wow! Maybe it’s time to live a little!” / Rona_Mensah, Frederick
“In 2004, I asked one of my closest friends to be my best man. After some discussion as to why I didn’t choose one of my brothers for this duty, he enthusiastically accepted and said he would be honored. April Fools! I then informed him that I had in fact already asked my brother Tim. I made it up to him a few years later by asking him to be the godfather of my first child.” / Delegate Patrick_Hogan, (R) District 3A, Frederick
“Early in my career, I worked in a place that had several radio stations of various formats in the same building. The operations manager issued an annual, fairly stern warning the last week in March, and again on the last day of March: ‘Be aware that April Fools’ pranks on the air will not be tolerated and are subject to disciplinary action.’ Well, he said, ‘on the air.’ A couple DJs from the various stations put our heads together and recorded a 30-minute ‘show’ in which all three of us … country, rock and Top 40 were ‘taking over’ and making the town one big party. In the fake show, we played the hardest of the rock, the hip-hoppiest of the Top 40 and the most classic of country .. the stuff that would be absurd on the other stations. After we knew the boss was in the building and the morning shows were finished, we had the engineers switch the building’s internal audio, which played one of our stations, to the fake audio. We recorded portions of our real shows and left the studios unmanned. When the audio switch happened, boss man went into every studio to put a stop to it, only to hear something other than the ‘big party’ broadcast … a twist we didn’t plan … but it made him even more confused. I’ve never seen someone more irate and red in the face – totally worth the write-up we got in our personnel files!” / David_Gunning, Frederick
By Nicole Peake
How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
Frederick is home to a number of establishments that embody the spirit and ambiance of the Emerald Isle. Names like Barley and Hops, Bushwaller’s and Magoo’s take their inspiration from the neighborhood brew pubs that continue to operate in cities and towns across Ireland.
Even if you’re not a fan of bangers and mash or fish and chips, Frederick’s Irish pubs offer pints and places to gather for Frederick’s “adopted” Irish brethren.
While Frederick isn’t necessarily Irish at its core (remember, this area was originally founded by German settlers in the late 1700s), we wondered how Fredericktonians commemorate the holiday. (After all, you’re not about to see Carroll Creek turn green like the Chicago River anytime soon.) From dressing up like leprechauns to staying home and eating the requisite corned beef and cabbage dinner with family, we query Frederick area residents about what they do on March 17.
I just recognize it by wearing something green.– Edgar Rossig – Frederick
I like to go and visit all the establishments downtown, the local brew pubs, and hang out and have fun. – Charles Zukus – Frederick
Usually, I gather the children at home and make corned beef and cabbage, and feast on that and maybe get some green bagels. – Rachel Wissner – Frederick
I don’t know – go out and drink green beer, I guess. – Kinze Levy – Frederick
Nothing special except spend time with my kids.. – Edward M. McCutcheon – Frederick
I don’t get in with all the activity because I don’t even have an Irish bone in my body. I don’t even do that [wear green]. – Bonnie L. Smith – Frederick
We can’t talk about what I used to do, but now, absolutely nothing but just enjoy the day at home with my family. We usually go out to eat [for dinner]. – Sandra Miller – Monrovia
I usually spend it in Ocean City, Maryland. They have a parade and some things to do on the boardwalk. There are a lot of people down there and a lot of things are open. – Cathie Deadrick – Monrovia
I don’t really do a whole of anything really. I pretty much watch other people have St. Patrick’s Day is what I do. –Jerry Fletcher – Frederick
Usually, we always aim to come into town to go and eat fish and chips at the Irish bar [Magoo’s]. We come early because it’s crowded so we usually come early to get seats. – Ana Maria – Frederick
Normally, I work on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s never been a holiday that I’ve ever been really excited or interested in. One year, we did corned beef and cabbage when I happened to not work, but I would have rather worked and made the money because there are lots of people who do like to go out and celebrate the holiday, so it’s profitable for me. – Meghan Burket – Middletown
Well, I will say that that is our background – Celtic. But, unfortunately, I do nothing for St. Patrick’s Day other than I’m a kindergarten teacher, and I dress up like a little leprechaun that day, and that’s pretty much about it. – Susan Burket – Middletown
Well, I will say that that is our background – Celtic. But, unfortunately, I do nothing for St. Patrick’s Day other than I’m a kindergarten teacher, and I dress up like a little leprechaun that day, and that’s pretty much about it. – Mary Anne Wampler – Frederick
Back in the day, there used to be a St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl in downtown Frederick. That’s not officially sanctioned by the city anymore, but back in the ’70s and ’80s, that was a very fun thing to do. These days, St. Patrick’s Day is really not that big of a thing for us. I don’t have much if any Irish in me, which I suppose doesn’t help. – Edwin W. Ferris III – Walkersville
Anything but drink. I hang out with my kids. – Jeff Hemp – Libertytown
By Nicole Peake
What type of business would you like to see open in Frederick in 2013?
“Frederick is a great place to do business” is a phrase you might hear bandied about by local government officials, the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, individuals from the City of Frederick Department of Economic Development and Frederick County Workforce Services.
Last April, the Maryland Senate passed the Lend Local Act, which subsequently became law this past July. The act is designed to funnel funds from the state’s deposits to community banks that would, in turn, lend that money to small businesses throughout the state of Maryland – including those in Frederick – to encourage business growth.
Market Square at Frederick, a new development adjacent to the Clemson Corner Shopping Center, is just one place targeted for the growth of new businesses in the city.
We felt this time of year was especially appropriate to ask Fredericktonians what they thought about the current business climate in our area as one year ends and another begins. Read on to discover what businesses are on wish lists for the coming year.
I would actually like to see a general market, someplace that people who live in downtown Frederick can go in and pick up things. We have to go outside Frederick and take our cars out and lose our parking spaces. Something like that in Frederick would help out a lot of people who live here; they have to get in their cars to go to Giant or someplace. A little general store would be ideal because it would fit into Frederick and the old town feeling of Frederick. – Lynne Erin Flanery – Frederick
One business: Trader’s Joe. It’s a grocery store that has an amazing, eclectic variety of foods with very good prices. It’s a joy to shop there. The closest one that I know of is down in Gaithersburg. I’d like to see Trader’s Joe come to Frederick. – Tyler Estler – Adamstown
The first business would be a business with jobs, one with work. It doesn’t matter what kind – just so that there are jobs. – Paul Newton – Jefferson
I would like to see a business that’s dedicated to lacrosse. I think it’s a very awesome sport and is growing quite rapidly in Frederick. Linganore was the first Frederick County high school team to win a state championship. I played for Walkersville, and I think that’s [lacrosse] lacking in Frederick. There are a lot of great things that could come here, but in my opinion, it would be a lacrosse store. – Benjamin Goldsmith – Walkersville
I would like to see Frederick food trucks happen. I think it’s a great business to open and very profitable right now. – Maggie Frey – Frederick
What I would really like to see open in Frederick is an L.L.Bean, a place that sells not only outdoor products but destinations and outdoor activities. We have the mountains and river here – a beautiful, beautiful area, and we should take advantage of it. – Francesca Contento – Frederick
I would like to maybe see the whole mall get upgraded, but in particular, an Old Navy. – Debbie Faragalla – Ijamsville
A good delicatessen with corned beef – I’d be happy. – Mollye Leibowitz – Frederick
More small bakeries and coffeehouses, maybe books and coffee combined would be nice – less franchises. – Sara Tresselt – Frederick
A boys and girls club to keep the boys and girls off of the streets. I think the way kids view positive role models in the city is a little bit distorted given what they deem is important in terms of material possessions. I feel a boys and girls club, which to my knowledge we don’t have in the city, should be an important part of the city, somewhere where kids can get structure and leadership, learn coping skills and learn to play with one another in a nonviolent environment. – Ryan Hedrick – Frederick
by Nicole Peake
“If you could make one change to the current U.S. political system, what change would you make and why?”
The politically charged climate of Campaign 2012 is approaching its climax. By now, you’ve most likely heard, seen and read about the drama and debates that are playing out on both sides of party lines. While the race for the presidency is drawing its fair share of attention, don’t forget about the local and state campaigns that are taking place.
There’s a curious website called “The Fed Up American,” www.thefedupamerican.com, set up to “exchange ideas, rant, encourage each other to educate ourselves, to watch what government is doing, and to be active in letting them know our views,” according to the site’s About Us page. As you read some of the comments and opinions expressed in postings on the site, the theme of “change is needed” underlies the commentary.
Inspired by this theme of change, we recently asked Frederick area residents and visitors to Frederick to weigh in on the current political state of affairs with the question: “If you could make one change to the current U.S. political system, what change would you make and why?”
“If you could make one change to the current U.S. political system, what change would you make and why?”
What I would do is set it up so that anyone can run for office for the presidency. It shouldn’t matter if you’re wealthy; everyone should have a fair chance. — Doc_Bevan – Frederick
I would make it more honest because I feel that the [system] just isn’t trustworthy. — Amy_Keen – Westminster
I would change identity for the voters where you don’t know who you’re voting for. All you know is you’re voting for what you stand for. Personally, I don’t involve myself in the voting process too much. I just feel like it would help to have a sheet of paper that would have all of their what-nots on and you could just check off what you want and it [a system] puts in your vote based on what you stand for. — Mike_Holland – Valrico, Florida
What I would change is a limit, if any, how much [contributions] companies and corporations can give to our candidates. Why? It makes it equal for both candidates. — Lloyd_de_Freijas – Gaithersburg
Get rid of Obama. Look at the last four years and how this country went down from the way it was [before]. — Ken_Rippeon – Frederick
I don’t really deal with the voting system. I don’t really vote very often; I vote in elections, but I’m not familiar with too many local politics. If I could change one thing, honestly, it would be bias in the media. There’s one channel that will show you more good things about Democrats and one channel that will show you more good things about Republicans. There’s the bias. — Samuel_J_Neubauer – Olney
I would change it so that there would be a sense of compromise. When I was growing up, we were taught the essence of politics was compromise. The whole political system has become too divided, and there’s no sense of compromising, giving up a little bit on each side. — Leslie_Hobbs – Hagerstown
I would change the funding of campaigns. I think we need public funding of campaigns because of the influx of big money, on the Republican side and also on the Democratic side. The average citizen, individuals like you and me, just don’t have the voice that democracy depends upon. Bigger pocketbooks have louder voices, and individuals just can’t counter that. — Roland_Hobbs – Hagerstown
By Caroline Nash
Match.com, eHarmony, OKCupid, Zoosk, Chemistry.com, Adult- FriendFinder.com, etc. The pool of online dating sites keeps growing! With Valentine’s Day approaching, I had romance on my mind.
Do Fredericktonians do online dating? While our community is growing, are we still small enough where people would avoid these sites? Or is our small size actually a catalyst for people to go the online route, feeling the need to branch out of the same pool of prospects?
By Caroline Nash
Photos By James Adkins
For this department, I imagined writing a snarky, humorous, light-hearted piece about a rather insignificant topic like “What’s your favorite beer?” or “Where was your first kiss?”
Instead, the question I decided to ask is, “Have you noticed an increase in crime where you work or live?” and this has elicited some interesting answers from sources. Some I spoke to were too afraid of retaliation to have their names published—much less their photos run—while others seemed to have a rather naïve notion of the risks.
A few even said they were too scared to sit in their backyards and anonymously report gangs walking the streets, intimidating the residents.