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

Friday, June 27, 2008

Woo Within Massage Therapy - My Opinion

A commenter whose career is in nursing recently asked my opinion on woo within massage therapy. I thought I covered this in the past but he said he couldn't find any posts in my archives, then I looked and all I could dredge up was this post on the retardedness that is acupuncture, as related to a co-worker.

So how pervasive is woo in massage therapy? Very. Oh, wait, let me rephrase that. VERY! It's fucking everywhere. From the schools that teach to the continuing education classes that are offered and endorsed by our governing body and college. It's a goddamn embarrassment.

You want specifics? When I was in school we were often told to uncross our ankles while lying on our backs getting a neck massage so the "energy" could flow properly. One instructor was very big on "fascial unwinding" which I never once felt or experienced - although I did wholeheartedly try, no bullshit. Still seems fucked up to me.

We were told that acupuncture to the hand and elsewhere could be helpful during pregnancy. I had an instructor in my clinic rotation say, and I'm not kidding, that, "people can bend spoons with their mind!". I called her out on that immediately, but still. Get a fuckin' grip.

The namesake of the college came to put on a course in "suikodo" massage, described as follows:
Derived from ancient Japanese healing traditions, Suikodo integrates meridian theory and modern neuroimmunoendocrinology in a completely novel way. The techniques themselves are simple to learn and use, but are effective at rapidly and gently alleviating pain, and stimulating the body's ability to heal.
Just in case you were wondering, yes, you did read "neuroimmunoendocrinology". Also in case you were wondering, some of my friends took the Intro to Suikodo course offered as an elective class during our second year and said that the instructor, Mr. Kikkawa himself, referred to the "Little Man" who told him what to do. To answer the obvious next question, no, Matt Roloff was nowhere to be seen.

After I graduated from college and started working, I realized that many of my fellow back-rubbers (although not all) to say?...ummm...fucking loony. I worked with a woman who didn't know what fucking compartment syndrome was, but she did sit still while looking at a picture of her cat, making strange hand gestures towards the image. She informed me that she was, "sending it reiki energy." I couldn't make that up - it's too damn weird.

Now I work with a woman who thinks psychic surgery is real and buys wholeheartedly into acupuncture (as does the physiotherapist), the previous workers at the day spa did ear candling until I freaked out and got them to stop, and I get course flyers in the mail from the various lecture circuit dumbasses (endorsed by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario {CMTO}), most of which are outlandish AND are a-ok to get me those wonderful continuing education units (CEUs).

I recently wrote about one of these flyers that dealt with some crazy motherfucker who talks to trees. I would strongly urge you to read that link there because the content is some top-shelf wingnuttery. As a matter of fact, it's beyond woo; it's well into genuine psychosis territory - all of it endorsed happily by my College.

I regularly get questions from my clients about a variety of pseudo-scientific shit. The most popular are chiropractic and acupuncture, but I get reflexology a lot, magnets on occasion, and the odd time I'll get to see someone with a fucking seed in their ear. I always try to use a gentle touch to steer the client towards the more scientific side of things and I really go out of my way to explain the method of finding out information from the world around us and how the quacks don't even come close to it. Generally, I'm fairly successful.

That being said, there's WAY too many weirdos doing damage in the world of massage, so caveat emptor.

(thanks to Katetbetrue (a self-described "murse") for the post request)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Huge Queen Fred Phelps to Validate Carlin's Popularity

And here I thought it was a bit of an overused ticker that finally brought the wrath of Joe Pesci down on George Carlin, but no, apparently it was God. Yeah, that's right, the perpetual assclowns of the Westboro Baptist Church are planning on picketing Carlin's funeral because he was a "potty-mouth comedian". What a bunch of cunty motherfuckers.

What sort of brain dead wastes of skin actually use the term "potty-mouth" after the age of six? I mean, you certainly don't have to swear up a storm like me or Denis Leary (or, apparently, Jerry Seinfeld[?]), but using terms as though you were in kindergarten is just pathetic. I suppose though, look at who I'm talking about....

I think someone should get seven buff gay dudes to dress in loincloths and have each man write one of Carlin's seven words you "can't say" on his chest. Then show up at the WBC protest site and get the gay dudes to go out and dance to techno music amongst the Phelps clan. That'd make the news for sure and it would be worth it to see the mild discomfort on the faces of the Fuckkles.

Or just get a large group of people to stand with the WBC cult and chant, over and over, louder and louder: Shit! Piss! Fuck! Cunt! Cocksucker! Motherfucker! Tits!

I'd show up for that.

(hat tip once again (this time to Amanda) to Skepchick as well as to Hemant over at The Friendly Atheist)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Islamic Men Have Mind Controlling Jedi Cocks

For another example (as if there weren't enough floating around) of Islamic retards trying to blame their inability to control base carnal urges on women, please take a read of this article from The Guardian. It really highlights the subtle, yet strictly enforced rules that these assclowns force on a population. I love the, "it's just a suggestion" line. Kills me. And soon enough, it'll kill several women, I'm sure. Just wait and see.

Now, I've written about this before, but I had to drop another post because this is a bit more under-the-radar, seemingly. Check out the first paragraph of the article:
Women in a northern Malaysian city ruled by conservative Islamists are being urged to forsake bright lipstick and noisy high heels in an effort to preserve their dignity and avoid rape.
Once again, it's the responsibility of the women in an Islamic city to temper their dress to keep the men under control. Apparently, Muslim men can't keep their tiny dicks from getting hard and turning into fucking Jedi masters, controlling their minds so they'll rape.

What the hell is wrong with Islam?

And I love this bit:
Couples caught sitting too close together on park benches are hunted down by the city's moral enforcers and fined up to £285 in the city's Sharia courts.
For sitting "too close". Anyone remember this article? Sound familiar at all? I thought so. Like I said, it's only a matter of time before some douchenozzle kills some woman for a perceived "crime" such as dressing too provocatively.

I will never tire of wondering why women put up with such bullshit as religion. Is there some sort of oppression complex that has been going around like some estrogen-linked flu since the dawn of time? Ladies, it's time for you to rise up and put an end to this crap. Tell the assholes who are trying to tell you how to dress to go fuck themselves. Twice.

(hat tip to the fab Jen and her Skepchick Quickies...which is sorta titillating in and of itself.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin - The Last Word

I thought this would be a fitting bit to post - it's Carlin's finish to the opening of his Life is Worth Losing special. Sums him up nicely, I believe:
I’m a rude dude,
But I’m the real deal,
Lean and mean,
Cocked, locked and ready to rock,
Rough, tough and hard to bluff,
I take it slow,
I go with the flow,
I ride with the tide,
I’ve got glide in my stride,
Driving and moving,
Sailing and spinning,
Jivin and groovin’,
Wailin’ and winnin’,
I don’t snooze,
So I don’t lose,
I keep the pedal to the metal,
And the rubber on the road,
I party hearty,
And lunch time is crunch time,
I’m hangin’ in,
There ain’t no doubt,
And I’m hangin’ tough,
Over and out . . .

George Carlin Dies...Goddammit.

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Freedom of speech, freedom of ideas and pointing out the ridiculous notions that pass for "common sense" were all parts of George Carlin's act. I was fortunate enough to see him live in Halifax several years ago and Carlin was as sharp as ever.

I am going to miss George Carlin and the world is a worse place because he is not here anymore.

A little bit o' George for you to remember: I'm sad.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Skeptic's Circle

Oh yeah, it's here alright. Go check out the newest Skeptic's Circle over at Ionian Enchantment. It's the greatest thing that's ever happened on the Internet*.

* - It's actually not the greatest thing. This is.But the 89th Circle is a close second, for sure.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You've Heard of the Simcoe County District School Board? Morons.

I was over at SkepChick and saw that a terrible situation happened up here close to where I live. Some idiot took the word of a "psychic" who said an autistic girl was being sexually abused at her school - and the "psychic" was obviously full of grade A bullshit. Read about it here and then check out the letter I sent off the the SCDSB - if you care at all (and you friggin' well should), please do the same.
Simcoe County District School Board
Education Centre 1170
Highway 26
Midhurst, Ontario
L0L 1x0

Today I read the story of Colleen Leduc and her autistic daughter, Victoria. I was dumbfounded and amazed at the gullibility of the principal, vice-principal, teacher, and educational assistant; in this day and age, who gives credence to a random comment by a supposed "psychic"? If people believe in the accuracy of alleged mind-readers, that is their perogative, but to go to the lengths these people did is embarrassing to the highest degree possible.

Beyond that, the harm and cost to Ms. Leduc is near incalculable. She has now lost faith (and reasonably so!) in the people running her daughter's educational institution and as such, has to stay home with Victoria. If the "educational assistant" initially responsible for this debacle has not been let go, it is long past time.

In my opinion, the very least the Simcoe County District School Board can do for Ms. Leduc would be:

1. Issue a public apology to Ms. Leduc and Victoria.

2. Denounce "psychics" and vow to never again take the word of anyone regarding student welfare without the presentation of credible evidence.

3. As a tax-funded institution, the school should not be endorsing, let alone participating in, paranormal activities and as such, the school officials need to denounce the practice.

4. Place formal charges against the "psychic" for allegation of criminal activity as well as public mischief.

5. The Simcoe County District School Board, the "psychic" or both need to compensate Colleen Leduc for the time she is now forced to take off work because of the tremendous incompetence of everyone involved in this terrible situation.

Had one person demonstrated the basic common sense to question the allegation made by a "psychic" fraud, this ridiculous and embarrassing scene could have been avoided. Sadly, a worldview based in objective reality is obviously lacking in key personnel. Shame on you all.

Michael McCarron
(Big Horn tip to both Skepchick and Some Canadian Skeptic)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Psychic Kids" and A&E - Child Abuse on Television

I saw the commercial and was disgusted, but then I had the misfortune to see an actual episode and it turned my stomach. That sick feeling of watching some asshole hurt a kid with no one to help, or like a viewing of Jesus Camp. I'm talking about the new exploitation show on A&E, Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal.

I had hoped maybe the people at the top of a network would have a bit of sense - not much, but a bit - and not completely use kids to make a fucking dollar. These are children who believe - mostly because of their parents, who came across as clueless and helpless in the face of their child's "gift" - that they can talk to ghosts and in one instance, heal people.

The hosts are painful. The main guy is Chip Coffey, a "psychic" douchebag of the highest order who, on his MySpace page (hurry to shut off the annoying music) has this:
Following successful careers in traditional counseling, the entertainment industry and travel management, I became a full-time psychic and medium in September, 2001.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said "Chip Coffey is every bit as accurate as John Edward." InStyle magazine called me "a cross between John Edward and Dr. Phil ... a psychic who doesn't hestitate to tell it like it is." Fate and Fortune, a European magazine, featured a story about my visit to the ruins of the World Trade Center with the widow of a man who died there on 9-11.
I love that; "every bit as accurate as John Edward". Sooo...not at all, then? And in the Things That Make You Go Hmmm category, he became a "full-time psychic and medium in September, 2001"? What a coincidence - not. I think that should read, "Chip saw an opportunity in September, 2001 that he was too much of a heartless,greedy motherfucker to resist." It's hard for me to think about someone sinking lower than realizing their life's calling is to exploit people after a national (worldwide?) terrorist attack tragedy, but ol' Chip managed to do just that with A&E and Psychic Kids. And yes, he spelled it "hestitate" on his MySpace page. Asshole.

Also, off of Coffey's personal page FAQ, we a have this nugget:
Q: What abilities do you have?
A: I am a precognitive, clairprescient psychic, which means that I am able to forecast future events with substantial accuracy by tuning into messages that I receive from my spiritual partners in the Higher Realms. I have also been blessed with the gift of communicating with the spirits of those who have departed life, as we know it, here in the living world.

I have an advanced degree in Counseling Psychology and I am very well-versed in a variety of spiritual and metaphysical subjects. In 2002, under the tutelage of Patti Starr, I became a "certified ghost hunter" and, since that time, I have participated in a number of paranormal investigations. I frequently consult with both victims' families and law enforcement agencies on unsolved murder and/or missing persons cases.
Ok, full disclosure, I had to look up what, exactly, the fuck was meant by "clairprescient". Oddly, the word was not listed at Merriam-Webster, so I have to conclude that Coffey just made it the hell up. The douchebaggery just doesn't end.

If you were wondering who the hell Patti Starr is, she's this wack-job. Seriously, go there and read until you get to the part that says (emphasis all me, baby):
She presents an eerie PowerPoint program which consists of numerous photographs, videos and audio recordings of ghostly activity captured during her many investigations of haunted locations. She also reveals unsettling stories of her ghostly encounters! The evidence she presents will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat and make skeptics into believers.
Right, ok, so first of all, PowerPoint presentations are never creepy. Ever. In addition, if you have all that fabulous "evidence", Patti, why not show it to people who may actually corroborate it and vouch that it's not a...what's that term...? Blatant fraud? Yeah, that's it.

Lisa Miller, Ph.D is the intellectual on the show. She's the one with actual credentials, but apparently she has very little in the way of perception of objective reality. Dr. Miller's little bio thing from Columbia seems legit, but her focus on "spirituality" plus her acceptance of these kids' "psychic gifts" completely outs her as a woman living with delusions laying around in her brain like so many creepy Hummel figurines. That grown adults jump right to, "these kids are interacting with spirits from another dimension, so let's deal with those meanies", instead of starting at the obvious point of, "perhaps these are lonely kids who just need a buddy", staggers my feeble mind.

A review I read at puts it fairly well:
If these kids really are psychic and they are being terrorized by forces few can see, along the lines of young Cole, played by Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense, how horrifying is that? And if these kids are not psychic, but rather have taken having an imaginary friend to a new level, that would be a terribly sad, considering that the kids are at an age where they should have grown out of that stage.
That aside, the bigger question becomes "Should this material be on television even if it considers itself a documentary?" While exploring psychic children might help others who have similar issues, how will it affect the kids being featured? And is this entertainment?
Now, being the trained skeptic I am, I would not give the, "If these kids really are psychic" bit any weight at all, but whatever. The point is valid - if these kids have actual problems, then why the fuck are we watching them instead of getting them help? Why do you have some shithead confirming their delusions and digging them deeper into their, "I'm broken yet special" protective shell?

This metaphor is overused, but the whole thing truly made me feel dirty. It was watching abuse actually happen; adults who either knew better and didn't care or who are delusional themselves and were allowed to foist their craziness on kids who need professional attention. I believe the former because of something I read at the bottom of ol' Chip's page - his Legal Disclaimer which reads:
Please be advised that psychic readings cannot predict,
forecast , diagnose or provide information
with absolute certainty.

No guarantees or assurances of any kind are given
and Chip Coffey will not be held accountable for
any interpretations or decisions made by recipients
based on information provided during readings.

For entertainment purposes only.

For medical concerns, please consult with a physician.
For legal matters, please contact an attorney
I think he knows full well he's packed-full up to his goddamn eyebrows with shit. Shame on him, on Lisa Miller, and on the money-grubbing assholes at A&E - the Adolescent & Exploiting channel.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dear Charles McVety,

Where did you get that doctoral "degree" you love so much? I truly hope you are turned out someday so everyone can see the non-pious, fraudulent, sanctimonious motherfucker you are.

I'm so tired of these overly conservative (and Conservative) douchebags going around lying through their perfectly white teeth about stupid bullshit. Seriously, read that link.

(big tip o' the horns to the always informative Canadian Cynic)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Love, I Love, I Love, I Love, My Calendar Boy

First off, apologies all around for possibly the gayest blog post title of all time, but the new Skepchick and Skepdude calendars are all ready to be sold to you right here. They've done a combo deal where you buy a six-month 2008 calendar with a full 2009 one for a low, low price. Oh, and if you get the Skepdude one, I'm Mr. September, '08.

I'm sure that'll be a selling point for all the jaded fucking bitter men who enjoy my foul-mouthed, anti-religion/pseudoscience rants, but hey, I gotta thump the tub. Go check 'em out!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Nike Religion - Prayer: Just Do It...Or, You Know, Don't

While driving today, I saw a bumper sticker that looked a lot like this:Nike Prayer
Hm. I thought about this image for quite some time because it seems to me that the message is rather unclear. I mean, are they saying that you should just shut up and pray because it's the thing to do? Are they ordering you to pray - and if so, what for? Is it a silent admission that prayer doesn't work, but a stern suggestion from On High to do it anyway? In addition, is it ok for God to use child labour to make stickers in South-East Asia? So many questions.

I vely confuse.

So what do I do? Well, I go to the Internets and type, "Why pray?" into the google-machine and what do I get as a first hit but a site all about why I should pray. Needless to say, I did me some readin'.

One of the first things it says is that God commands us to pray in the Bible in Philippians 4:6-7 which actually says this:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
So ask nicely and "make your requests known". That's weird though, see, because later in that same chapter, at 4:19, Paul says that God will get you whatever you need. Check it out:
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
See? If you need it, you'll get it. So that brings me to a bit of a question - what about those folks who really really really need, say, food? Or to be healed from cancer? Or to get out of seeing the Sex and the City movie. I'd think that those things would be well within the realm of possibility for the Creator of the Universe. Or Oprah and her damn "Secret".

I particularly enjoy reason number three on that page which is as follows:
(3) God intends for prayer to be the means of obtaining His solutions in a number of situations:

a) Preparation for major decisions (Luke 6:12-13)
b) Overcoming demonic barriers in lives (Matthew 17:14-21)
c) The gathering of workers for the spiritual harvest (Luke 10:2)
d) The gaining of strength to overcome temptation (Matthew 26:41)
e) The means of strengthening others spiritually (Ephesians 6:18-19)
It's likely that you all know my favorite is letter b. There's nothing like a "demonic barrier" to overcome. How does one know that a barrier is demonic? Dripping blood? Spinning head? Oh oh! Wait, I know! A flagrant and repeated crotch-stab with a crucifix!

But then I was confused again; it's sort of a natural state around the Heathen household. See, the original question was, Why Pray? What is the point of prayer when God knows the future and is already in control of everything. If we cannot change God's mind, why should we pray? Ok, but now at number five comes the awkward bit for those people who thought that their buddy Paul was telling the truth about "getting what you need".
(5) He has promised that when we ask for things that are in accordance with His will, He will give us what we ask for (1 John 5:14-15).

Sometimes He delays His answers according to His wisdom and for our benefit. In these situations, we are to be diligent and persistent in prayer (Matthew 7:7; Luke 18:1-8). Prayer should not be seen as our means of getting God to do our will on earth, but rather as a means of getting God's will done on earth. God’s wisdom far exceeds our own.
So, we're back to God's gonna do whatever the hell he wants and that's that. Doesn't that kind of beg the initial question again? This circular bullshit hurts the horns on the top of my demonic head. I think I need a little George Carlin - keep an eye out for this phrase: "And here's something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren't answered. What do you say? "Well, it's God's will." "Thy Will Be Done." Fine, but if it's God's will, and He's going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn't you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It's all very confusing."
Mmmm...Carlin-y goodness.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Aaaaaand We're Back - With Tiger Wine?

As you'll see when you read this article, some parks in China are selling what's termed, appropriately enough, Tiger Wine. People seem to think that it is sort of special and claim that it is, "a health tonic to treat conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism".

Maybe it's the skeptic in me, but where the fuck is the evidence? When people make claims like that - testable, specific claims - why don't the folks who are out there killing endangered tigers maybe throw together a trial? Oh, right, they don't care. They could not care less that: "trade in parts of the endangered species has been subject to an international ban since 1987, and has been outlawed in China since 1989."

China has, since 1980s, set up "Tiger Farms" to keep the population of tigers at acceptable world levels (although I doubt that was their motive). The Chinese also thought that they could end the ban on using and selling tiger parts because they could control poaching through conservation-friendly methods:
They (the Chinese delegation at the global Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) argued that this would prove to be the most sustainable option because it would satisfy the demand from traditional medicine practitioners without threatening the wild tiger population.
When the fuck did satisfying the demands of idiots creep into international discussions on endangered species? How does someone even keep a straight face?

Conservation Person: We need to stop killing tigers because they're dying out and only occupy 7% of their natural habitat.

Quack: But my customers like to eat them.

CP: Well they'll have to stop because we're going to lose tigers forever - you'll eat them into extinction.

Q: Tigers taste good in tea. Or wine...great wine.

CP: Do you have any actual proof that the tiger products you make help medical conditions?

Q: No actual data, but Kung Pow said his arthritis feels better. And Ming, she said her fingers are much less sore.

CP: Are you serious? That's it? Ok, you have to stop using tiger parts. Seriously.

Q: But they taste really good....

I can't believe I have to get angry about this shit.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Skeptic's Circle #88

Oh that's right, baby! It's the 88th Skeptic's Circle brought to you by the good folks (folk?) at Jyunri Kankei: Matters of Reason You could go have a burger or perhaps a cold cold beer, but there's reading to be done, people. Get your priorities straight, wouldja?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Jesus Didn't Tap?

Most of you know that I'm a big fan of mixed martial arts fighting (MMA). There have been a bunch of events recently, but I'm not really going to talk about that here anymore as I've set up a blog for just that over at Heathen MMA, so check that out if you're interested in fisticuffs and violence.

Here, however, I want to mention that one of the fighters I saw tonight had a company logo on his little banner called Jesus Didn't Tap. Now, for those not initiated into the dark art of beating someone senseless, one way for a person to win a bout is if you have your opponent in a hold (arm lock, choke, etc...) where they can't get out and are in too much pain to continue, they can tap on your leg, arm, body, floor to signify their giving up. That's the ref's cue to stop the fight and your cue as the winning fighter to let go.

So, that means that the whole Jesus Didn't Tap thing is retarded as a concept. Jesus, a possibly mythical character to begin with, was nailed to a giant cross and left to die a slow painful death. He probably cried. A lot. May have peed on himself. No one would blame the guy...geez, you're nailed to a fuckin' cross. Cut a brother some slack. Actually, I'll let the website speak for itself:
Jesus went through so much for us and didn't tap. He was beaten so bad that you could not even recognize him from head to toe, yet he still didn't tap. Not only did he not tap but he came back and defeated Satan by crushing his head to win after the beating he went through.

If he would have tapped we would be in hell. We would be in pain mentally and physically 24/7, but Jesus didn't tap for us, so we don't have to live a life of hell.

Jesus is the Champion
Um...anyone else a little weirded out by this? I certainly feel bad for the guy's daughter, no one wants to have to deal with that sort of challenge and you get through it however you have to, but I do have to poke a little fun at the idea and, specifically, the clothing line - don't you love the rap song? Yeah, me neither. all you other people, don't talk smack, 'cause I'll tell you right now, Jesus didn't tap....
*sigh* Why can't violence and mayhem just be the domain of the despicable heathens like me?

(Interesting side note: I love how at the bottom of the t-shirt page, there's the Jesus Didn't Tap logo second from the right, immediately next to Dramma Girl and a busty female silhouette. Very Christian.)