April Fool!

First, it’s just a fun story. But it was extra fun for me since I know one of the principals involved: Mark Mason, an on-air personality at KEX radio in Portland, Ore. Anytime I’m in Portland, Mark has me on his show, and it’s a blast to be there. Anyway, the story, from True’s 4 April 2004 issue:

Pet Peeve

The Oregon Humane Society was flooded with calls after the news broke on a Portland radio station: a new state law went into effect April 1 that requires pet dogs, cats and ferrets to wear seatbelts when riding in cars, or the driver will be subject to a $150 fine. No warnings, either: the state had already collected more than $89,000, noted KEX radio. Then the station put “listeners” on the air to say how they had been caught by the law, including one man who said his Seeing Eye dog “was taken into custody” for not being belted in. “You’d think people would realize it’s April Fools when we said a blind person was driving a car,” said host Dave Anderson, but the Humane Society reported that one of the calls was from the local sheriff’s office, who wanted to know if the report was true. “There are a lot of people very upset and angry,” said co-host Mark Mason. (Portland Oregonian) …Well yeah: they know what their politicians are like.

Now, consider that I’m 6 ft 3 in tall and nearly 200 pounds. Not a giant by any means, but I’m a pretty big guy. But next to Mark (and his then co-host, a “retired” basketball player from the Portland Trailblazers), I’m a shrimp!

Mychal Thompson, Randy Cassingham, and Mark Mason at KEX radio in April 2000. (Several readers have asked about my T-shirt: it’s a galaxy of stars made to look like Albert Einstein’s face. If that’s not cool enough, it glows in the dark, too. I got it at the Jet Propulsion Lab’s employee store.) Photo: Kit Riley.

2 Comments on “April Fool!

  1. That is so funny! The funniest thing about it is that I can imagine PETA trying to get that kind of law passed.

  2. Yes we do know what our politicians are like. (I think it’s safe to assume ours aren’t much different from theirs in this respect.) Still, people should pay more attention to the date.

    I remember shortly after I moved here in the greater St. Louis region when one of the radio stations said the Army Corp of Engineers, famous for their heroic efforts to keep cities safe from flooding, was going to temporarily reverse the flow of the river for some maintenance at one of the sets of locks and dams and that it would be a great photo op. You’d be surprised at how many people actually showed up with cameras to get pictures of the river flowing backwards.

    Incidentally, there was at least one occasion when the Mississippi did flow backwards for a while, but that took a massive earthquake.


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