I’ve been collecting stories from a genre called, “Someone fell for that? Really.” P.T. Barnum would be inspired. He said, “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.” (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

The first story comes from Florida where a sizable number of the snowbirds are Canadians. An enterprising mechanic advertised that he could refill their tires with Canadian air, for a fee, so the hotter Florida air wouldn’t ruin their tires when they returned home. Some snookered Canadians complained to the local cops, and the mechanic had to reimburse them and pay a fine.

The next story concerns Minnesotans in the 1930s. As it is told, radiators in those pre-antifreeze days had to be drained after every use in the winter. The alcohol mixture sold to make the draining unnecessary was unstable and flammable. Most people just drained the water out of the radiator. At the same time, Lake Superior rarely froze over in the winter. Early hucksters seized on the opportunity to sell “Lake Superior water from the lake that never freezes. Perfect for your car’s radiator.” Well perfect except for the physics of it all.

I’m not reporting on the Nigerian princes or Bernie Madoff here. I’m skipping the internet scams and people pretending to be the IRS. Just a few wacky stories to let you feel superior. One last one;

“Clouds are flat on the bottom over water,” said my former brother-in-law. Understand that in the land of 10,000 lakes almost every cloud is kind of over the water. I fell for this one and passed in on for years before a nephew studying meteorology gave me the truth about clouds. If you were one of the people I shared this with, I sincerely apologize. I believed it to be true at the time.

Is it any wonder that political fabrications fly so easily? Are some of the tall tale telling Republicans onto something? After all, Canadians got their air changed and Minnesotans bought water from a lake that never freezes. Heard any good ones lately?