In a Word . . . Pilo

It confused me still further as the distinguished Mick only deals in truth while she rarely does. It concerned a new line of socks which she insisted helped people lose weight through sweating feet. In 1988 one of her most audacious cons was published in the Soviet newspaper Izvestia. Of course it wasn’t true. I refer to Flora Pilo. Year after year. Upon my sole! So be careful out there today. She claimed there that then Argentine soccer superstar Diego Maradona was in negotiations to join Spartak Moscow, who were to pay him $6 million. That same year she conned the Financial Times into believing that agreement had been reached between the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and Guinness whereby Greenwich Mean Time would be renamed Guinness Mean Time for the year 2000. Flora Pilo is an anagram of April Fool. BBC viewers simply refused to believe it wasn’t true when it was exposed as another of her frauds sometime later. That arose through reading about one of her better-known frauds. Such as that 1992 story when she convinced the US National Public Radio that Richard Nixon, who had resigned in disgrace 20 years previously, was to run for president again, with the slogan: “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.”

Still, I would be tempted to doff a metaphorical hat to her for convincing the BBC’s Panorama programme to broadcast a story that because of a mild winter and virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. You would imagine that that most reliable of publications would have been alert by then to her big “fake news” history. She even supplied them with film of Swiss people pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees, which was broadcast. Damned lie. That was in the year 2000. She claimed that as a person’s body heat rose, blood vessels dilated, and the socks drew “excess liquid from the body through sweat.”

Afterwards the wearer could just wash the socks and fat away. I never understood how she gets away with it. inaword@irishtimes.com I used think her surname was spelled Peelo and that she must be connected to esteemed journalist Mick Peelo, the name being rare. Of course it was nonsense. Eventually, I discovered her surname was spelled Pilo. The FatSox scam.