Whopper of the Week: Egan Acres Tree Farm
Miami discovers the pitfalls of mine-is-bigger braggadoccio.
"We've got an affidavit to prove it. Egan Acres Tree farm, one of the largest sellers of Christmas trees, sent the company organizing [Miami's] Holiday Village a certificate bestowing the title of 'tallest Christmas tree in America' on our [110-foot] tree."
" 'That's absolutely wrong. I guarantee it. We beat you by two feet, nine inches,' said Vito Serrao, owner of Strictly Custom Christmas Trees, which provided Newport [Beach, California]'s White Fir. 'I measured it myself. I went to the top in a cherry picker and dropped a measuring tape. We've got the record.' ... Calls made Tuesday to Egan Acres Tree Farm—the company that supplied Holiday Village with the certification calling our Norway Spruce the biggest Christmas tree in the United States—were not returned."
—Anabelle deGale, "With a 112-Foot Fir, California Unswayed By Miami's Claim of Tallest Christmas Tree," in the Nov. 27 Miami Herald.
"Newport Beach got the taller tree at half the price; it paid Serrao $100,000 for its tree. "
—Fermin Leal, "Tall Tree Tale Pits East vs. West," in the Nov. 28 Orange County Register.
Got a whopper? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.
Nov. 22, 2002: Dr. Janet Travell
Nov. 16, 2002: Fox News
Nov. 15, 2002: Manhattan's 92nd Street Y
Nov. 8, 2002: William Webster
Nov. 1, 2002: Harvey Pitt
Oct. 25, 2002: George W. Bush
Oct. 18, 2002: North Korea
Oct. 11, 2002: Michael Bloomberg
Sept. 27, 2002: Rep. Tom Tancredo
Sept. 13, 2002: Al-Muhajiroun
Sept. 6, 2002: National Republican Congressional Committee
Aug. 29, 2002: Eddie Joe Lloyd
Aug. 22, 2002: Larry Klayman
Aug. 2, 2002: Al Gore
July 26, 2002: Princeton admissions dean Stephen LeMenager
July 19, 2002: James Traficant
July 12, 2002: Maryland Lt. Gov. candidate Michael S. Steele
July 5, 2002: Hesham Mohamed Hadayet
June 28, 2002: WorldCom
June 21, 2002: Terry Lynn Barton
June 14, 2002: Tom Ridge
June 7, 2002: Former FBI Deputy Director Weldon Kennedy
May 31, 2002: Ari Fleischer
May 23, 2002: Condoleezza Rice
May 17, 2002: Robert Mueller
May 9, 2002: Karl Rove
May 3, 2002: Gen. Richard Myers
April 25, 2002: Donald Rumsfeld
April 18, 2002: George W. Bush
April 11, 2002: The Rev. Robert J. Banks, archdiocese of Boston
April 5, 2002: George W. Bush
March 29, 2002: Major League Baseball
March 21, 2002: Billy Graham
March 14, 2002: INS commissioner James W. Ziglar
March 8, 2002: Robert Zoellick and the U.S. steel industry
Feb. 28, 2002: Al Sharpton
Feb. 22, 2002: Olympic skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne
Feb. 14, 2002: Kenneth Lay
Feb. 8, 2002: Enron spokeswoman Peggy Mahoney
Jan. 31, 2002: Monsanto
Jan. 24, 2002: Linda Chavez
Jan. 17, 2002: George W. Bush
Jan. 10, 2002: Simon & Schuster
Jan. 4, 2002: The Associated Press
(Click here to access the Whopper Archive for 2001.)
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.