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April fools, or not

It sounds clich, but truth always seems stranger than fiction.

Most people expect pranks on April 1, but there are real life surprises and unbelievable stories happening year-round.

Here a just a few of the outrageous accounts and laws that make it difficult to think they are not April Fools’ jokes.

An unworthy prize

According to, the 10 billionth song downloaded was “Guess Things Happen That Way” by Johnny Cash. Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Ga., downloaded it. For winning, Sulcer received a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card.

This is quite possibly the worst prize ever. Doling out around 40 gigabytes of iTunes music is like the Florida Lottery paying out winnings in gift cards that could only be used to buy more lottery tickets.

Mr. Sulcer, we hope you enjoy more entertainment than you would ever need in a lifetime.

– Joe Polito

Let sleeping bears sleep

Proving that people still have difficulty making smart decisions, it’s illegal for people in Alaska to wake a bear for a photo opportunity.

It’s hard to imagine what series of events prompted the law, and it’s even harder to believe such a law exists.

As tempting as it is to trump a friend’s Facebook photo with something more awesome – like you posing with a 7-foot-tall grizzly bear – it’s common sense not to poke any sleeping animal.

If it’s absolutely necessary to have an animal in a photo, try a nice rabbit.

– Emily Handy

Mutant fish

No, this is not a fairytale or a “SYFY” feature. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island, led by Terry Bradley, are experimenting with rainbow trout, a common fish found in stores across the nation.

But this particular type is not your typical trout.

The fish are engineered with physique in mind, boasting 15 to 20 percent more muscle than an average rainbow trout, according to National Geographic. One look at the fish and you would think it was using a Bowflex.

Other mutants are being engineered to have faster growth rates, immunity to disease and resistance to frigid cold waters. However, the fear is still the same with all mutants: if they are released into the wild, they could cause an imbalance in the ecosystem.

They could grow so bulky that they can’t escape predators, or predators will stop feeding on them.

– David Downs

Criminal Christmas

“The 12 Days of Christmas” is not just a song – it’s also a state law.

According to the Huffington Post, it’s illegal in Maine to have Christmas decorations up past Jan. 14. With the temperatures so frigid, it probably seems like Christmas goes well into spring.

But this law disagrees, forcing citizens to stow away their inflatable snow globes and snowflake lights early in the new year.

Good thing not every state holds true to this law or else Christmas lovers across the country may become criminals.

– Issa Luckett

Unusual minority

Self-proclaimed Confederates have stopped trying to reclaim the South and are now working on achieving minority status.

The Southern Legal Resource Center, based in North Carolina, has argued that since the South was once it’s own country, the option of “Confederate Southern Americans” should be on the 2010 Census.

For now, they’ll have to settle for writing in their “race.” Who knows? Maybe one day they’ll have their own scholarships, too.

– Emily Handy