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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You'd Have Thought The Gods Would Have Helped Out...

Apparently, the gods hate Hindus. I guess one collapse with life-taking stampede just wasn't enough though because:
...this is the fourth time this year that lives had been lost - probably needlessly - during a stampede at a religious festival in India.
That's right, the fourth time this year. I haven't even zipped my dick in my jeans fly four times in the last decade, let alone been trampled to death. Damn.

This particular tragedy took place during the festival of Navaratra which is:
...a festival of nine days occurring during the month of Asin, or Aśvina (September–October). It usually ends with the dasehra, or daśahara, celebration on the 10th day. (from Britannica online)
Now, I don't want to belittle or make fun of people being injured. Really. It sucks balls that a bunch of people died and hundreds more were injured for no reason whatsoever. It does, however, raise a question in my tiny brain though about the effectiveness of the sort of "medicine" Douchepak Chumpra slings. I mean, if what he preaches is all that and a bag of sour-cream and onion Ruffles, why do I read this:
With no first aid available at the scene, people tried desperately to resuscitate the unconscious as others scooped up bodies and took them to hospital.
Right, to the hospital. So if Chumpra's silly Ayurveda was of any more use than, say, fake titties on a coffee table, people would actually use it in times of crises. I'm reminded of something someone said once: "People can believe in whatever nonsense they want, but it says a lot that in poor places, when the Red Cross tent sets up, it's always crowded."

Religion and poor planning claim more lives. Needlessly. Anyone still keeping tabs? There's really no point, so just go have a Coke and a smile. But, you know, thanks for the effort.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Matt Taibbi Slays the American Public with a Giant Sarah Palin Stick

I think Matt Taibbi's writing is fantastic. If I may present a small section of his most recent piece from Rolling Stone:
Here's the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.

And none of it matters, so long as you remember a few months before Election Day to offer them a two-bit caricature culled from some cutting-room-floor episode of Roseanne as part of your presidential ticket. And if she's a good enough likeness of a loudmouthed middle-American archetype, as Sarah Palin is, John Q. Public will drop his giant-size bag of Doritos in gratitude, wipe the Sizzlin' Picante dust from his lips and rush to the booth to vote for her. Not because it makes sense, or because it has a chance of improving his life or anyone else's, but simply because it appeals to the low-humming narcissism that substitutes for his personality, because the image on TV reminds him of the mean, brainless slob he sees in the mirror every morning.
Seriously, go read the whole thing. It's well worth it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jurassic Park - A Documentary

You believe the world's 12,000 years old?
"That's right."
Okay, I got one word to ask you, a one word question, ready?
"Uh-huh."
Dinosaurs. You know, if the world is 12,000 years old and dinosaurs existed, they existed in that time, you'd think it would have been mentioned in the fucking Bible at some point.
Bill Hicks
So Sarah Palin is not a palintologist. Ha! haha...oh, I kill me. No, seriously, I almost want to kill myself because of this. How can a complete gomer like Palin seriously be in the fight for the White House?
Palin told him that "dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time," Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said "she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks,"
Ok, so let's assume that that's true - why does she think the Earth is only 6000 years old and not that people are millions? I guess I'm trying to apply logic to a situation that neither requires nor would make use of it.

How is this race even close?! Do the Democrats watch television? Have they seen her try to answer basic fucking questions from Katie Couric? From Charlie Gibson? Jesus fucking Taylor, I'd be impressed if she could answer straight questions from patients in the severe head injury ward of Mt. Sinai. If Joe Biden doesn't kick her ass like it's a brand-spankin' new soccer ball in the VP debate, I'm going to have a really good cry at the state of the world.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sarah, um, Palin Explains Her, um, such as, Foreign Policy, er, Experience.

It's like she's a four year old trying to explain something she has no idea about. Seriously, compare this:
to this:Anyone see a problem here? Both stumbling and trying to talk intelligently about something they've not prepared for and don't know anything about.

...only one of them might be the Vice President of the United States of America in just a few short months because she's "a regular woman and a hockey mom". Fuck me in the ass with a barbed wire mitten - do real people vote for those sort of shitbag reasons?!

I thought Harper was bad (he is), but at least I'm not dealing with that horsepucky.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Skeptic's Circle #96

Are you kidding me? Again? Jebus H., it's like my life is slipping away in two week intervals. Anyway, here's the new Skeptic's Circle, hosted at Endcycle. Lots of good reading there to keep you kids occupied over the weekend.

Have the enjoyable times!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Religion Slaps Ontario Patients in the Face

I saw today that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario caved in to religious pressure. See, much like asshole religious pharmacists who think non-matrimonial sex is immoral and won't give out birth control or morning-after pills because of that view, some doctors in Ontario would like the right to be outright prejudicial towards their patients - and by "patients" I mean "them gays who want kids" and "them un-married impregnanted folks".

If there is one area where religion should stay the fuck away from, it's health care. But, of course, there it is, shoving it's nose in and demanding the respect it has never earned, can't back up, and has no business asking for.
(The) Ontario Medical Association asked the college to abandon the draft policy because..."We believe it should never be professional misconduct for an Ontarian physician to act in accordance with his or her religious beliefs."
Um, yeah, actually, it should be professional misconduct if some fantasy-prone doctor refuses to give a patient the care they require and need. As a doctor, YOUR beliefs and hang-ups have no place. If you don't want to deal with fertility treatments for two women who would very much like to have a child, then don't become a goddamn doctor.

You don't think it's morally correct to prescribe birth control to a 15 year old girl? Go be a massage therapist. I can't tell you how angry it makes me to see people in positions of power abusing it because of their irrational bullshit religious beliefs. Oh, and if you're thinking to yourself, "why don't the doctors just refer to an M.D. who'll provide the service?", here's a Rabbi with the stock superiority-complex religious answer:
"Referring is just a way of sloughing off your responsibility," Rabbi Reuven Bulka...said last week. "If you're opposed to these things, referring is the same as taking part in the evil."
Right, so just leave your patients high and dry with no option but going to Wal-Mart for some wire hangers. Thanks for nothing, Rabbi.

Finally:
Sean Murphy of the Protection of Conscience Project...is concerned that one clause remaining in the policy could hurt doctors who exercise conscience...: "college has its own expectations for physicians who limit their practice, refuse to accept individuals as patients, or end a physician-patient relationship on the basis of moral beliefs."
If you really can't bring yourself, as a doctor, to provide an abortion to a rape or incest victim, can't prescribe birth control, can't do fertility treatments for gay/lesbian families, etc, you need to at least give a referral to a doctor who will give these people the care they require. Your silly ass prejudices should not be the end of the road for your patients.

My lame "slippery slope" argument (which, I admit, is a shit tactic, but it is somewhat warranted in this instance) would be - where will this lead to? Will doctors eventually be able to refuse to treat AIDS patients? It is a "gay plague" you know. Will doctors be able to refuse gay/lesbian patients altogether because that lifestyle is "immoral"?

Religion needs to stay the hell away from health-care. Completely. All together.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lazy Post So You Know I'm Still Alive

Anyone catch John McCain on The View? The ladies did a credible job of grilling him, particularly Joy Behar, Whoopie, and Barbara. McCain tap-danced and lied, as is now expected, but I think the main reason it seemed to go so well is that Sherri "I don't know if the world is flat...I don't think anything came before Jesus" Sheppard kept her mouth tightly shut.

To end, I'll just post this hilarious bit from John Cleese - is anyone better than him? I think not. Here's his "The Scientists" podcast. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

95th Skeptic's Circle

Oh Bob...what can't you do? Seemingly nothing. There you are all Nostradamusy in your new Skeptic's Circle thingy, being the man once again.

I think I have a beardy Nostradamusy man-crush.

No, not really, but you should go check out the Circle. It looks awesome.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

UFC 88 - Holy Shit

So Rashad Evans took Chuck Liddell in the second round last night. Talk about KTFO. Jumpin' Jesus on a Ritz Cracker, that was fucking insane. I'll be amazed if Liddell's jaw isn't broken - but he did, apparently, show up at the post-fight press conference. Chuck's a game guy and the UFC's poster boy, so he'll make an appearance wherever Dana requests.

Man, I really don't like Evans though. I noticed last night again, as was also mentioned on the MMA blog Fightlinker, that Evans went to hit Chuck after his very clear KO. The ref stopped him, but that's really not the point. When Rashad kicked Sean Salmon's face into his occipital bone, he jumped on him and punched him again, then wound up to throw another but the ref tackled him off.

It's a sign of control and character when you know damn well that you've won the fight and you stop hitting the guy. I see people like Rich Franklin do it and it makes a huge difference in how people view both you and the sport. Think of Muhammad Ali punching George Foreman and then, arm cocked, watching as Foreman stumbled around and fell to the mat. There was no need for the follow up and Ali knew it.

Rashad Evans is a good fighter, but he's no Ali. He's no Franklin. At some point, he's going to have to recognize that who you are is just as important as what you can do. Mark my words, he's going to be wondering and whining pretty soon about why the fans don't like him. Two words, Rashad: Showboating douchebag.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Republican Ticket

Anyone else concerned at all with a would-be president who joked about bombing Iran by singing a re-written Beach Boys tune and repeated (several times, even after being corrected) the proven-false assertion that Al-Qaeda received assistance from that same country, plus a VP nominee who thinks the Iraq war is a mission from Jesus and likes that her daughter chose to keep her baby - but she'd like nothing better than to take that choice away from YOUR daughter, even if she was raped.

If these fuckholes win, I just may have to suck a tailpipe.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sarah Palin

Does anyone else immediately think of Harriet Myers? Why aren't a million people jumping on McCain to tell him he's a helmet-head for choosing a used-to-be-hot, anti-women's-rights, the-Earth-is-6000-years-old Creationist retard as a VP candidate?

A national political nobody who was a small-town mayer in '06 and who only has two years experience as a governer, I'm expecting she'll get her tiny ass kicked like a narc at a biker rally in the debates by Biden.

Of course, McCain picked her because she'll get the Christian retards to vote for him(although it may, conversely, get those same Christian retards to assassinate him so she'll be President) and she's a chick so all the XX chromo Hillary dumbasses will vote for her. Plus the brainless idiot hicks who just "think she's hot" and "she'll look good on the TV box" will probably tick her name in the voting booth/rib shack.

I weep for our southern neighbors.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Stupid Reiki Bullshit, Among Other Things

As you may or may not have noticed, I've been on a bit of a blog break. I'm working and taking classes plus wife plus kid plus some semblance of a social life equals dropping something, and blogging was/is it. That being said, I'm still pissed about some things and I'm going to use this space to vent like a motherfucker from time to time - just not as often as previously. Apologies to all of the four fans I did have.

In a past recent post, I mentioned that I worked a trade show with a massage therapist and reiki "master". He self-identified as this and it was one of the titles on his business cards. It made me laugh, but at the time I was too tired to give a shit and argue with him because of a late-night drunken science-y geek fest with my chemistry professor cousin. Now, however, is the time to kick his ass.

Reiki is, as some of you may remember from my previous post on this subject, complete horseshit. It's practiced by self-deluded yet well-meaning ignorant soft-heads, as well as scamming twenty-four-carat douchebags. This particular guy was the former but a generally good guy. He was a standard issue Woo! (please always say that like Rick Flair - it just makes dealing with Woo! so much more fun) with a divorce in the past and a career change due to stress and not being happy. Then the dive into full insanity.

He was talking to a client and they started to blather on, completely seriously, about past-life therapy and reiki and energy and all sorts of stupid shit. It was hard not to give in to that watery-mouth, pre-vomit feeling. I decided to look up reiki again to give it another once-over here, but upon reading my last piece, I was satisfied that I had done it justice then. That left my only option now to be a curt little insulting asshole. Hooray! My favorite thing to be!

So check this out - it's from the FAQ at the Canadian Reiki Association's website:
Mikao Usui...become a Buddhist Monk. In 1922, he went on a 21-day retreat of meditation, prayers, chanting and fasting at Mount Kurama in Kyoto, Japan. While standing under a waterfall, he did a meditation designed to open and purify the Crown Chakra. This caused him to have a spiritual awakening on the final day of his retreat. A powerful light entered the top of his head. His awareness was expanded and he realized a great power had entered him. He intuitively knew he could now heal others without depleting his own energy, as he had when he practiced Kiko.
There you go. That's one style of reiki, right there. Some fucking wingnut stood under a waterfall getting hypothermia while trying to open his goddamn head and he emerged from his retarded stupor thinking he could heal people using his "energy". Is there any "alternative medicine" bullshit that didn't start by some whackjob just making some shit up? Seriously, I'm curious.

The FAQ then moves on to what you can expect to learn at each of the four levels of reiki instruction. This is way too good to pass up:
At Level Two, the focus is on learning the Japanese healing symbols and on sending Reiki from a distance (we must always get permission to send a distant healing).
Yeah, because you wouldn't want to heal someone without their knowing you are sending them the usually unwanted gift of perfect health. Fuckin' ungrateful bastards, not wanting to rid themselves of cancer....
Level Three ‘A’ Master Practitioner...This level can include meditation techniques, a Healing Attunement, the Hui Yin, the Violet Breath, Psychic Surgery, and Reiki Crystal Grids.
If you were keeping track as you read there, you may have picked up that they mentioned "psychic surgery". This is the mind-numbingly fucktastic fraud demonstrated here by none other than James "The Amazing" Randi:
See, totally fake and, as an added bonus, there's no way you could do this and NOT know you're a douchebag faker, liar, thief, and con artist. Now, I hope that the massage therapist (MT) I worked with didn't do this, but I can't be sure. He may have, in which case, he's a complete fucker. I didn't get that sense, but that doesn't mean it isn't so. He didn't talk at all about the "violet breath" or "reiki crystal grids", which is sad because those sound like Top Shelf Woo! to me.

I think, though, my favorite part is the last paragraph in the FAQ:
It is strongly recommended that you do not discontinue any medications or session plan your medical practitioner or other holistic healer has deemed necessary, unless you first speak with them personally. Reiki energy works in concert with all other forms of therapy. It is a wonderful complement to other treatments. We can all work together to get you feeling healthier, happier and more whole. This is the holistic approach.
This is the standard issue CYA statement that essentially admits reiki is worthless and that you should keep on keeping on with your conspiracy-laden, drug company pocketed, closed-minded Western (spit!) medicine because, you know, we're full of shit.

In my opinion, people who do reiki, psychic surgery, and the "violet breath" (whatever in the flying Virgin Mary's Vag that is) need to: