The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Forty-two! Is that all you've got to show for seven and a half million years' work?

The new Skeptic's Circle is up over at Immunoblogging and can be checked the hell out right here. Go check it out over the long weekend and see what blows your skirt up.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Browne Leaves A Skidmark Of Shame

Goddamn I hate Sylvia Browne. I just had to put this up on my site after seeing it at the always great Two Percent Co. Sylvia Browne is such a horrendous douchebag - see, the woman says "my boyfriend was never found" and Browne's cold reading "skills" go immediately to water. Bodies lost in water are rarely found, good choice. Problem comes with the way the dude actually died...

I understand that people will always need to believe in psychics and other stupid shit, that's fine. Just, if you're going to believe in that crap, believe in someone who is GOOD AT IT. I'd give the nod to Max Mavin; he's amazing, looks the part, and won't steal your hard-earned money.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Power of Christ Compels You! The Power of Christ Compels You!

Well this is way too silly to not comment on. Seriously, the Vatican exorcist said that Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil. Oh, and Harry Potter is a gateway drug to Satanism. Oh, and all magic is evil and from the Devil (could someone pass this along to David Blaine so he'll fuck off with the "sitting on a pole for a month" gigs?).

First things first: the Vatican has an exorcist? Today? And he claims to have done over 30,000 exorcisms?! That means if the fucker did an exorcism a day, he'd have to have been working for about 83 years to do that many. Has anyone done the math on that claim, 'cause I'm a math 'tard and I did it in five seconds. I'm going to call bullshit on him.
God is Pretend
He says in the article that both Hitler and Stalin were possessed, also that the Devil can possess groups of people. He is quoted as saying, "I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler - and Stalin did. Almost certainly they were possessed by the Devil."
Hitler Playing Banjo
So because the current Pope was in the Hitler Youth, does that mean that at one point in his life, he was possessed by the Devil? I mean, he says that everyone was doing it and that he was against the Third Reich and all it stood for, but he still took part in the H.Y. He could have gone against them and probably been killed, but it would have been the moral thing to do if you felt the way he claimed to feel - so was it because he was possessed that he went through with the Furher's plan?

Is it possible that the Pope was possessed by the Devil?
Emperor Palpatine
I'm going to say yes.

How interesting...that brings up a point to think about - can the Vatican exorcist choose to perform his duties on a sitting Pope? That'd make a hell of a day on CNN. You thought white smoke took up a lot of air time. Wait 'til you see Pope Eggs Benny strapped to a four-poster bed puking pea soup and screaming, "LICK ME!! LICK ME!!" to a room of deacons.

I think I'd rather read a Harry Potter book than see that.

Archbitch of Canterbury Tows the Line

Well lookie here, the Archbishop of Canturbury has said that gays have to change their ass-loving ways if they want to get into the church. Set your phasers to "I'm going to die of not-surprise" and shoot me in the face, 'cause that's not a revelation in any capacity.

The only thing that is mildly different in this case is that the aforementioned Archbishop used to be fairly liberal-minded about this sort of thing. Now he's back-stepping a bit and towing the party line. I'll never cease to be amazed that people seem to be taken aback when religious people say ignorant shit about others.

I love the irony that no one on the planet is supposed to slag the church (any church), but they can slag whoever the fuck they want and say other folks are bad, horrible people who are driven by the "devil" to do evil deeds and that's perfectly fine.

Personally, I think gay people who have to be religious (and I don't think anyone has to be religious) should tell churches to go fuck themselves and they should start their own religion. Hell, it worked for L.Ron. Just make up some dip-shitty story about lip-glossed visions on mountains to the strains of Donna Summers or Cher and off you go! It's not like there'll be less proof for your religion than for the Church of England or Catholicism or anything. Hey, if fuckin' Scientology can gain religious status, anything can.

Again, personally I think everyone should tell all religions to go pound sand. They'll shrivel up and die a slow, painful death and we'll all be better off in the end. But being a realist, I know that that will not happen for a long time, and probably the belief in sky-daddies will be the end of our species (and probably the planet) over the next thousand years or so.

That being said, I think that everyone who finds this douchebags email address should send him a quick note with this picture attached:
Christina Aguilera finger
I'm sure he'll love it - probably not as much as if it were a picture of a 10 year-old boy, but still, it's the thought that counts. You may also want to include a "keep your stupid fucking religion out of our lives" comment along with this picture:
No Thumpers
Shit, that'd make my whole day.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Wednesday Double Shot

Droit

So CBC radio was on in the car the other day and a guy was talking about the Israel/Lebanon conflict. He made a great point about warfare and how recent dust-ups have changed how fightin' happens, specifically the change from nation vs. nation to nation vs. network.

See, Al Quesadea is a network as is Hezbollacks. Regular armies have very clear command chains with orders filtering down from above to the bottom levels and everyone is following the yelling from higher up. Networks however, use a general idea that everyone follows but no actual orders are handed out or issued. Small cells of usually 5 to 15 people (but can be up to 50 or so) do their thing and plan, set up, and carry out missions that parallel the general directive. The members mix with the general population and are mostly indistinguishable from them.

This is the problem that the USA got around in Afghanistan and why the war was handled so quickly. It is also the lesson they forgot immediately and reverted back to nation vs. nation warfare with Iraq, and the lesson Israel has yet to learn and one of the reasons why they're fucking up the Lebanon thing.

When you have an uncentered mass with tendrils all through a country, you can't bomb the shit out of the nation to get the network. That's like a doctor treating a patient with a brain tumor by shooting him in the fucking head. You must get in there gently and get close to the tumor, so close you can see it pulse with each heartbeat, then cut off its blood flow so it starves, then take it away from the brain and burn it. That way, the patient lives and walks away happy with the doctor for saving his life; not like the alternative where the patient is a big, hot bag of dead.

Gauche

Grigory "Grisha" Yakovlevich Perelman won the Fields Medal for mathematics the other day. He won for solving the Poincaré Conjecture, which is apparently a subsection of Thurston's Geometrization Conjecture...or something like that...something to do with the properties of multi-dimensial spaces. I'm so bad at math I once came fifteenth in a math bee when there was only six contestants. Go figure.

I can't figure though why Perelman is turning down the million-dollar prize from the Clay Mathematics Institute for solving the problem. I mean, the guy lives in Russia in his mom's house...and he lives off HER money! He's a doctor (well, Ph.D.) who could teach, but he had a "confidence collapse" a while back when someone said he looked like Rasputin and Killer Karl Krup had a kid.
Grigory Rasputin Killer Karl Krup
Guy needs to put down the scientific calculator and inflate his testicles.

Seriously though, I have nothing but awe (and a slight bit of annoyance) for this guy. He is obviously deserving of praise and the rewards that come with intellectual achievement, but what happens instead on our side of the Atlantic Ocean? Fucking Paris Hilton and Kevin Federline both release albums and are silly rich (ok, ok...KFed is Brit rich). Life is crazy crazy not fair. Crazy.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Oldie, 'Cause I've Been Slack

So I've been quite lax with the posting of late. We're painting our house so I have precious little access to the computer. That being said, I thought hey, why not post an old letter I wrote to Randi that got on the Swift newsletter? What a swell idea. So in that vein, here's a bit I wrote in the November 22, 2002 Swift on the retardedness of one John Upledger. I've edited it for continuity just a smidge....

I have to tell you about an article I read today about John Upledger. In case people don't know who he is, he runs the Upledger Institute which is a "complementary care and education" center. Mr. Upledger is the leading proponent of "CranioSacral therapy" — "feeling" the rhythm of cerebrospinal fluid and moving the skull bones to cure illness and aid the sick.

Now there are all kinds of faults with the whole CranioSacral therapy thing, but let's gloss over that for the moment. I'm a massage therapy student at a college in Nova Scotia, and generally the teaching is solid. In scientific and practically useful courses taking 2200 hours, many of these hours are spent in the school-run clinic treating the public under the supervision of our instructors. I am an extremely skeptical person, which comes in handy when the occasional pseudoscientific idea gets presented as fact in the classroom.

We receive at our school a tabloid called Massage Today. It is available free to us in our library. In the November, 2002, issue (volume 2, number 11) on page 4 there is a column called, and I'm serious, My Dolphin Mentor.

Mr. Upledger begins by telling us about his first dolphin experience in 1954. He was in the Coast Guard, he said, and even though he was, "100+ miles offshore," he felt safe because there were dolphins in the water, "even when we had seen sharks in the vicinity earlier." Might I suggest he felt safe because he had huge guns with which his buddies could shoot sharks, on the metal ship?

Fast forward past "many positive dolphin encounters" to 1996, when at the Upledger Institute they started a "dolphin-therapist CranioSacral Therapy (COST) program." They floated a patient in about four feet of water with three therapists — one at the patient's head, one at their feet, and another at the pelvis — leaving one side open for...yes, "any dolphin that desired to join the process" (my emphasis). By his own admission, he never "experience[d] a dolphin's contribution as less than equal to our own."

It gets better. Upledger says that a dolphin named "A" initiated a friendship with him and that the mammal "would often lie very still in the water next to me while I was working with a patient. I could feel his presence even when we were not in physical contact with each other (my emphasis)." Might I again suggest that Mr. Upledger is feeling the water move because there's only four feet of it and he has a five hundred pound mammal breathing next to him. Call me skeptical if you wish....

It continues. Apparently "A" took a liking to Mr. Upledger and went so far as to place his blow hole under his hand ("lore has it that you must never touch a dolphin's blow hole"). I'll quote the rest of this because it's too good to miss:
"A" kept his blow hole under my hand for a minute or so. Then he began moving his body fore and aft again for a while before he left. During our contact, it felt as though his energy went through me. I felt empowered and I had an innate sense that I would be able to tap into this vibrational energy and use it in the future as it seemed appropriate.

He now uses "dolphin energy" on clients at his Palm Beach Gardens clinic. I wish I were making this up. He went to Scotland for a symposium and was working on a patient in front of an audience of other CranioSacral Therapists, and while he was in a "train-of-thought mode" he said, "I'm going to use some dolphin energy here." He said that the "therapeutic energy input increased significantly at this time." What exactly the hell "therapeutic energy input" is, I have no idea.

Apparently, the audio technician for the event told Upledger after this that, "as [he] applied the dolphin energy, the static in [the] recording also increased significantly." The same thing allegedly happened every time the dolphin energy was applied. Also, a lady in the audience ("a conservatively dressed woman who appeared to be in her 60's") told Upledger that, although she was skeptical of things like this, she too had heard the static in her hearing aid. To make things even better, a month after the symposium, Upledger said he got a letter from the lady who said that she "still did not believe in dolphin energy, but she also felt compelled to let me know that four days after the symposium, she discovered that she no longer needed her hearing aid. She said she could now hear a watch ticking in her once deaf ear."

Who needs more proof than that? A converted skeptic in a dolphin energy story! Come on people, what else do you need? Do you think the static would have "significantly increased" if Mr. Upledger had not announced to everyone that he was now using "dolphin energy"?

I'm telling this because it's difficult to maintain some semblance of scientific base in my chosen career. As I have read before, "massage therapy is a profession ripe with pseudo-scientific bullshit." I'm in no position to argue with that, but a difference can be made, one person at a time.

And back to 2006, I still agree with most of that last sentence, provided we ship Upledger off to friggin' Borneo or Afghanistan.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Really? 41? That's Better Than 40 By One!

I suck and I'm late putting this up, but the 41st Skeptic's Circle is up at Interverbal and the Awards Show can be seen right here. Apologies all around for being a late-ass punk.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Molestation? That's a Paddlin'.

I'm driving to work this morning, it's a beautiful day. Sun is shining and the wind isn't too hot - basically it's wonderful. I'm also, as is my daily habit, listening to CBC radio - today there was a bit on the news about a priest who had abused a bunch of kids that had a punishment suggested for him: defrocking, aka laicization.

The church was a bit hesitant to do that because, in their words, "Laicization is only for the most serious offences."

Well la-di-da. I suppose just plain ol' molestation is pretty old hat for those fuckers by now. If the priest had flayed the boy, jerked off on his pile of face-skin, ate his left quadricep in a stew, and then raped the skinless anus, THAT would most likely be grounds for immediate defrocking. As it stands, however, with just the molestation, not so much.

And you wonder why I'm a damn atheist...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Why Now?

You know what pisses me off more than anything right now? I realize that this is silly, but it gets my goat. Gene Simmons has a new TV show. Seriously, to quote the great Bill Hicks, "you don't have enough money, you fuckin' whore?"
Dog Gene
Why now? Just like goddamn Ozzy, now that they're old and no one gives a fuck anymore and they're too old and fucked up and avec family and stuff to be any fun, NOW they decide to share their lives. Great. I get to see some old rich guy hang out and be out of touch. Magic.

Want to impress me? Do a behind the scenes show with friggin' Justin Timberlake (just kidding). Even a show on AC/DC would rock ten times harder than anything to do with Gene now. The time for a KISS behind the scenes was the late '70s, not the 0's.

I know it's a small thing, but it's annoying to me. I never watched The Osbournes and I won't watch this.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I'm Back And Nothing's Changed

So after a week in the wilderness, I am back from being completely out of touch with any form of media. Having no news for a length of time really puts in perspective what is important, or, more correctly, how little some events effect us personally. That's not to say world events aren't important and that we should ignore them, but when it gets down to it, most of them have little to no ripple on my life. I like that.

I spent my week fishing. Here I am with four smallmouth bass on the dock of the cottage.
Mike w Four Smallmouth Bass

It's a nice place; for those of you who know Canadian geography, you go from Toronto to Sudbury and then keep driving north for five more hours. The mornings are amazing - here's another pic of the island across from the cottage at about 8:30 in the morning just after I went for a swim.
Coffee in the morning
Nice, eh?

So we'd get up and have some coffee and then fish for the day or just do fixer'upper projects. Got a nice tan and caught a lot of fish. I even learned how to fillet them on the dock. Feelin' pretty Grizzly Adams.

But, as I said, I'm back and I find out that Israel has bent Lebanon over the proverbial couch and is about to fuck it in the sandy a-hole (surprise) and that officials in London (with the help of Pakistan) have foiled a plot by - who else? - Islamic fundamentalists to blow up 10 trans-Atlantic flights.

It's only because I have to work today that they are not feeling the sting. They shall in the days to come, but right now I have to make some soup and crackers for my lunch. See, hardly effects me at all....

Friday, August 04, 2006

Week's Vacation for the Heathen

Heading to the cottage for a week's vacation. Far away from electricity and living in a tent for the next seven days makes internet access unpossible, hence, I shall return to my more-than-weekly bitchfest next Sunday! Enjoy the upcoming days and I'll think of you while I'm fishing!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Forty Days, Forty Nights, and the 40th Skeptic's Circle!

Well step right up to the Freak Show of the Mind! The 40th Skeptic's Circle is now up over at Daylight Atheism! Check it out and feed your mind....

Thursday Double Tap

Un

While watching my morning news here in online-land, I happened upon Ben Stein commenting on Mel Gibson's recent drunken meltdown. After the obligatory, "of course he's an anti-semite" and, "Oh god, yes, he'll work in this town again", he said this about Gibson's alcohol recovery:
If he's in AA long enough, God will come into his heart and change it

Really? Mel Gibson needs more religion? I never thought I'd see the day when a Jew would say that someone needs more Allah in their life. Oh...wait, sorry, more Mithra in their life. No? More Vishnu? Buddha? Not really a god, true. Amaterasu? Everyone needs more of her! No? Dammit...I never know which god they're talking about.

Why, whenever someone does or says something stupid, is the answer always MORE religion? How come no one ever steps up to say, "Mel Gibson needs to let go of his little superiority complex that his religion has inflicted upon him and start taking responsibility for his life"?

How can a guy who is rich and famous (and a former Sexiest Man Alive: 1985) be suicidal and depressed? Well like AA will tell him - he's powerless. Weak. Give your worthless soul to God and all will be right. AA is the fast-track to getting folks right where religion (in this case, Christianity) wants them: submissive.

Does AA help people? Of course it does. Does it help more people than not going to AA? Doubtful. The numbers show that of the people who attend a meeting, 9 out of 10 drop out within the first year. (www.rickross.com)

Stein also seems to imply that Hollywood (and everywhere) would be better under the control of the 10 Commandments. As I remember, the first three of the most commonly known 10 are:
(a) I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any gods before me;
(b) Do not make a sculpted image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above;
(c) Thou shalt not swear falsely by the name of the LORD (from Wikipedia)

So basically these first three are just intimidating language to scare primitive people into believing in the Big Spooky Man in the Sky. Why would anyone not of the Christian delusion look at the first three "commandments" and believe them when all they say is, "I'm bad, I'm the only one, don't carve a statue of me." Seems like God is a lot like Sean Penn in the 80's.

So why is more religion the answer? Hating Jews (or anyone else) is a symptom of being religious (Christian/Muslim). It seems like adding gas to a bonfire to me. By Stein's "logic", Hutton Gibson also needs more religion.

Do these people need Judaism? Why is that the correct path? Hell, as I write this , Israel is bombing the fuck out of Lebanon. And don't give me that horseshit about Israel having the "right to protect itself". When that sniper asshole was running around Washington a few years ago blowing people's heads off, no one suggested carpet bombing the state to "protect the citizens".

Back on topic: Mel Gibson needs WAY LESS religion. So does Ben Stein and pretty much everyone else - especially that retarded Elizabeth chick on The View. Boy is SHE annoying in her sanctimonious little pro-life way (like Bill Hicks said, "If you're pro-life, what does that make me?"). Take responsibility for your own life and no one else's, realize that your opinions and beliefs are just that - yours and yours alone, and most importantly: shut the fuck up.

Deux

How funny is this article?! "Oh my god! It's a miracle! The water started to flow! The statue is a miracle and it's going to be....what? Really? It's a pipe installed by the city? Oh.... Well, I guess we'll go grab a beer."

I guess JP2 wasn't such a badass after all. None of that "coming back from the dead" shit for him. I think it truly is beer o'clock.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pardon Me... Would You Happen to Have Some Grey Poupon? No, But I've Got a 38DD.

Let me be frank: I love breasts. I really do. They're fabulous. Basically, you've never seen them all - there's always differences that make every woman unique. Oddly enough, asses work for me as well.

Ok, apart from that, however, breast feeding is quite different. Coming as I do from a health field, I think breast feeding is natural and is why women have breasts in the first place. Yes, they attract donkeys like me but really, they're for keeping the little folks happy in the belly.

I was reading the paper (the National Post, Monday July 31st) the other day and there was a piece about a magazine called Babytalk that ran a feature article called Why Women Don't Nurse Longer. You can see the picture from the cover below.
Babytalk cover
So is this picture "offensive"? It seems that to some who wrote the magazine, it is "gross" and "disgusting". The quotes from the paper said things like, "I was shocked to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine", and "Gross, I am sick of seeing a baby attached to a boob."

Not to sound callous to these commenters, whoever they are, but go fuck yourselves. What sort of pictures do you think you're going to see in a magazine about babies with a feature on breast-feeding? Do you bitch at Field and Stream when they have a fucking deer on the cover?

How fucked are we as a species, especially in North America, when we think something natural like breast-feeding is "gross", yet someone like Pam Anderson is considered "hot" by most men and women? It's sad when unnatural, firm, fatty protrusions (like Pam Anderson's head...oh, and her tits) are more accepted in society than a baby getting its food from the intended source.

Fortunately, groups of (hilariously appropriately named) "lactivists" are taking control of the situation and holding public feeding sit-ins to raise awareness. It's hard to believe that some women need to be educated about the reasons and health benefits of breast-feeding. I can see men needing a tune-up, but maybe that's just my personal bias. Like I said, me loves the boobies. Oh, and the piece in the paper was accompanied by this picture:
Baby Feed
See, I'm a fan of that. A baby having some lunch (or dinner...whatever). I am for some reason reminded of a Hawksley Workman song:
I'm jealous of your cigarette
And all the things you do with it
I'm jealous of your cigarette
And how you wanna suck on it
And not me
All this time your talking noooo...

Can a man be jealous of a baby getting my desired anatomical parts most of the time? Of course I can.


I'll end this by reiterating that I'm a fan of breasts. I'm a huge supporter of a woman's right to breast-feed wherever the hell she wants (and no, not so I can stare like a creepy weirdo...I'll be too busy arguing with a religious douchebag to notice a kid-covered boob). People who are for whatever reason against the practice of breast-feeding need to re-evaluate what is natural and important in life.