October 19, 2006
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - After four decades of bending spoons, halting clocks, reading minds, and penning metaphysical thrillers, Uri Geller is seeking a paranormal protege.
When I was little, I used to read these books about unsolved mysteries and paranormal things. They were full of stories about the Loch Ness Monster, the Bermuda Triangle, and Uri Geller.
I also used to like watching the shows that came on Fox that would show hauntings, UFO's, and Uri Geller.
I just realized that I've almost always been facinated by these crazy stories and conspiracy theories. I've also always been skeptical of them. Hm. I wonder where I learned that.
Anyway, Uri Geller. He's been debunked like a gazillion times, but he still persists with his fraud. I should point out that he has not submitted his powers to rigorous scientific testing. You can read some more about that on Wikipedia. (He's a fraud. I'm totally calling him out. Let him sue!)
What I love about this story is the means by which he is looking for his "heir"
"The format will be something like 'American Idol'. We will keep the performances that are most riveting and amazing," Geller told Reuters Wednesday, adding that viewers with "intuitive powers" will also be invited to call in and compete.
This is quality television. I wish they would make it happen in English and show it here. Maybe it could be on Saturday afternoons on the new CW network or something.
I love the call-in factor, too.
Ok, but get this:
Geller, 59, declined to elaborate on what supernatural skills the contestants claim to have, and whether clairvoyants -- who might be assumed to have an edge in predicting judges' votes -- are taking part. He described the prize, simply, as "huge."
"This is not a show where people have to prove to me that they are for real," Geller said, adding that he has no plans to retire. "I just want to be amazed."
I love it. It's the kind of event that I think should involve fire eaters, knife throwers, and feeding Christians to lions.
As for predicting the votes, everyone knows that is not how psychic powers work.
October 17, 2006
Ok. Let's ignore the fact that there are very effective ways to avoid turning to a life of crime and reproduction. And let's ignore the fact that she apparently has enough time and resources to invest in going on eBay to sell things.
Let's focus on the fact that CNN was apparently reporting this case because the woman was shoplifting with her child in the cart with her. I mean, they don't usually report every case of shoplifting, so this one had to be special for a reason and the reason given was that the child was in the cart with her.
That, I don't believe, really makes the case unique either. I am sure that lots of people shoplift in front of their kids.
But let's pretend that this isn't normal for shoplifters. Is it that much worse to shoplift in front of your kids?
I mean, if shoplifting is not worth mentioning on CNN, but shoplifting in front of your kid is so bad that is warrants national attention, it must be worse, right? At least worse in the eyes of the general public.
This is one of those things I really can't tell about. I can't tell if it's worse to shoplift in front of kids or not. I mean, shoplifting is already a pretty lame crime and if you're doing that, you're probably not a great parent anyway and the kids will figure out that you're a petty thief anyway. So, it really doesn't make THAT big a difference if they see you do it or not.
And when I think about it, a kid can be a pretty good cover for shoplifting. I mean, you could stuff things in its clothes and tell it to walk out ahead of you and if it gets caught, then it's really just being a precocious child and you can probably scoot by.
I guess people probably think it's even WORSE to use your child as a thief. but Oliver Twist is totally a famous story.
Who keeps track of what is more scummy than what?
October 11, 2006
TORONTO (Reuters) - An animal rights group called Tuesday for a North American theme park operator to cancel a competition in which people will try to break the world cockroach-eating record.
Theme park operator Six Flags Inc, based in New York, is staging the contest as part of a promotion leading up to Halloween in which it is also offering customers free entry or line-jumping advantages if they eat a live Madagascar hissing cockroach.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it had been flooded with calls from children, adults and even anonymous employees of Six Flags opposing the record-breaking contest and the overall promotion.
"Insects do not deserve to be eaten alive especially for a gratuitous marketing gimmick," PETA spokeswoman Jackie Vergerio told Reuters.
I agree that insects do not deserve to be eaten alive. In fact, insects do not deserve anything at all. Because they're insects.
1. to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation
2. to be worthy of, qualified for, or have a claim to reward, punishment, recompense, etc.
The word is closely associated with the concept of justice, which applies to the conscious actions of rational creatures. As insects are non-rational entities, concepts of justice simply do not apply.
Saying that insects do not deserve to be eaten alive is like saying that clouds to not deserve to be stirred about in the wind. While logically true, the statment is empty of any real significance.
The trick that PeTA is constantly trying to pull is to get us to grant non-rational animals the same moral considerations as all the rational critters out there of which there is but one known species: homo sapiens.
In saying "Insects don't deserve this or that" they're tricking us into asking, "Well, what do they deserve?" And, of course, the answer is that they deserve the right to vote, to be free from torture, to have warm beds and readily available food.
I'm mostly kidding there, but I would remind you that there is a movement in Spain to grant the other Great Apes (Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Orangutans - people are the fourth kind) the right to vote.
Here's where things get ugly.
If non-rational animals are granted to same or even similar moral considerations as rational animals, then we cannot say that there is any rational foundation for morality.
Animals can't choose to be good or bad. They don't know anything about good and evil. They just crawl on their bellies, sniff butts, lick the dirt, pick at each other's fleas, and jump through hoops for fish or whatever it is they do according to their nature as a member of their particular species. They don't choose to do these things because they think it's right or it's wrong. They just do it because they're snakes, dogs, sloths, monkeys, dolphins, bugs, or whatever.
But if we say, "Oh, it is morally good for snakes to crawl on their bellies and for dogs to sniff butts and for monkeys to pick at fleas," then we are basically saying, "That which is good is that which is natural for a thing to do according to its identity as a member of its species."
Unlike non-rational animals, the things that come "naturally" to us are products of our rational identities, which means that we can be quite inventive and do lots and lots of things other animals cannot do. But all of those things are perfectly natural to humans.
Humans can type. It must be good because we can type.
Humans can sing. It must be good because we can sing.
Humans can wage war. It must be good because we can wage war.
Humans can rob, cheat, steal, murder, rape, and torture.
See what happened?
By giving any moral consideration to the actions of things, like Madagascan hissing Cockroaches, that haven't the capacity for morality, we erode our ability to morally evaluate the actions of human beings.
PeTA is evil. Ironically, their efforts must be considered unethical by objective standards of morality.
So, go out and squash a bug today! Afterall, they don't deserve it.
October 10, 2006
So, I know you know.
What? You didn't know that they had stopped being friends?
Ok. Well, back it up. Here's what happened:
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were, like, totally BBFs. And then there was a party and Nicole Richie chose as the feature presentation the widescreen DVD version of Paris Hilton's sex tape including director's commentary and DVD video extras. Well, the movie was there.
As you can imagine, Paris was, like, totally mad about it and they stopped being friends.
They were so mad at each other that, like, they refused to appear on the set of their their television show, the Simple Life, and it was a big mess.
And then Paris went around showing her vagina to people, as if we hadn't all seen it at the party anyway, and got engaged like thirty times and started letting her friend Brandon Nobody call Lindsay Lohan ugly names. I mean, if I have ever heard a cry for help, hanging out with a gross, sweaty boy who does not understand the glory and wonder that is Lindsay Lohan is it.
(The fact that Lindsay's vagina has seen the light of papparazzi flash bulbs TWICE in rapid succession shall go unmentioned!!!!)
And Paris isn't the only one. I mean, Nicole Richie has been seen in Beverly Hills slashing tires with her pelvis. I mean, anorexia is, like, a classic cry for help -- behind engagements, sweaty boys calling L.Lo names, etc., etc.
So, basically, Paris and Nicole came on the news and said that they're friends again.
Rumor has it that they decided to be friends again after the producers of the Simple Life threatened to put them on an island in some kind of Survivor-type thing. Naturally Nicole and Paris sniffed at this idea collectively.
If there is one thing that Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton value it is their individualism and unique sense of... like, uniqueness.
Ok, but I totally think this renewed friendship is a scam and now I have proof.
Nicole Richie is no friend to Paris Hilton. If she WERE a friend, she would not have let Paris leave the house like this. And if she wasn't around when this was taking place, she surely would have been on her pink, jewel-encrusted RAZR-kick-reo thing texting the heeelllll over to Paris telling her to get her butt back in the house.
No, definitely not a friend. I'll bet Nicole is actually friends with that Nicky Hilton and they picked this outfit out for Paris and they are just laughing and laughing and laughing about it right now.
October 09, 2006
Well, of course the UN is in a tizzy about it. Dubya called it "unacceptable." Hell, even neutral pantywaist state of Switzerland condemned the test.
Condemning things isn't exactly neutral talk, Switzerland.
But so what?
I mean, Kim Jong Il has been acting like a crazy for years. In July, dude flung some missiles into the ocean. North Korea is also part of the Fidel, Chavez, Ahmenijad Axis of Diabolical Loons who hate freedom and free sounding things like "women" and "books."
International affairs is, in the public view, a lot of talk and bluster, but unless you're Israel and a couple of your soldiers got kidnapped, there really isn't a lot of action. I guess that's not too surprising because even if your actions are completely justified, people condemn you.
So, what difference does it make to North Korea that everyone doesn't like them setting up nuclear bombs? I imagine they don't really care much. They're used to being condemned. They know that if they just chillax for a second, then everyone will go chase a shiny bit of foil or something and then they can go back to crashing missiles into the ocean and reminding everyone that they want to turn the US into a "sea of fire."
Seriously. They said "sea of fire." Look it up.
My point is this: unless someone intends to actually DO something about North Korea or any of these other moonbats, then all this talk is really just going to embolden them because they know it's just words.
Update: According to the news this morning, North Korea is saying they'll abandon their nuclear program if yadda yadda yadda but if the US doesn't do what they want, they will launch a nuclear-tipped missile. Didn't we go through this same thing a little less than a year ago when we started sending them food and money? Looks like everything old is new again and N. Korea learned their lessons well.
ERIE, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A woman used her 4-week-old baby as a weapon in a domestic dispute, swinging the infant through the air and striking her boyfriend with the child, authorities said.
Chytoria Graham, 27, of Erie, was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and simple assault. She was held Monday in the Erie County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.
My regular readers will recall that bad parenting is one of my big pet peeves. I really think fewer people should have babies until they give more thought to what it means to be a good parent and dedicate themselves to the task.
But I had assumed that everyone knew that using your baby as a weapon is wrong. I had assumed that this went without saying.
Silly me. I didn't say it and here some fool has gone out and done it.
I realize that Ms. Chytoria Graham is probably not among my readership and so even if I had pointed this rather specific parenting guideline out this crime would not have been avoided, but I feel like I may have left a few too many things to the imagination.
Therefore, here is a list of things for which babies should not be used:
- Cutting board
- Ash tray
- Clay pigeon
- Translator for international treaty negotiations relating to nuclear disarmament
- Those things you kick behind the tires of your car to keep it from rolling away
- Regular conductor - electrical, orchetral, train, or otherwise
- Foot rest
- Bocce ball
- A lesson in the efficacy of "rythm" method of contraception
- Martini shaker
- Traffic signal
- Candy thermometer
- Tennis racket
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it's a start. Feel free to add to this list in comments. We are here educating the world.
October 08, 2006
One of the insurgents pretended to join the cylon's human police force and, during the graduation ceremony, detonated his explosives and killed a bunch of would-be police and some cylons who probably just did their robot voodoo and came back in new bodies.
After this happened, the new president (formerly the vice president who constantly imagined seeing some blonde lady all the time) and the former president (who was having visions of snakes at one point a while back) were discussing it. Actually, the new president wanted the old president to make a public statement with him condemning the practice of suicide bombing.
I question the tactic of suicide bombing from the perspective of someone who holds his own life as his primary value. I could understand it in a situation where life isn't worth living, but in all those situations, I don't know how a person would also have access to explosives and enough freedom to plot doing that.
More simply: if you can plan and execute a suicide bombing, there are undoubtedly more effective tactics you could employ that do not involve killing yourself. Why not plant your explosives on one of the traitors and blow him up? Suicide just isn't the only, final option to an individual in that situation.
But as a war tactic, assuming that there were some rational reason for the individuals who do it, I really don't see a problem with it.
When it comes to war, I think people should be very, very cautious to start one. But once started, I think people should shed all hesitation and completely and utterly destroy their enemies without mercy and by any means necessary.
If something is worth starting a war over, you should act like you mean it.
Also, can someone tell me why the hot guy on Battlestar Gallactica was allowed to get so fat?
October 05, 2006
And as you can tell, this gives me a chance to try embedding You Tube videos on my blog.
I've accused John Stewart of having a Liberal slant in the past (Sadly, I think that post is in the posts that were lost in the move back to MT from WP) and I still think that's true to an extent, but I don't think I gave the Daily Show enough of a chance to demonstrate its subtlety. They really do take shots at both sides of the aisle pretty regularly. And given Republican dominance in the government today, I'm sure it is far easier to pick on them than the Democrats.
But the humor on the show outlines a muddled set of principles. It's very free-wheeling and easy-going about pretty much everything. When it comes to specific issues, they seem to be categorically against the War in Iraq, for gay marriage, anti-drug war, pro-abortion, pro-gun control, anti-creationism... They just seem to be very "of the people" if you will and ridicule things that are absurd in the popular opinion.
But that show does crack me up and when they're right, they highlight the absurdity of those who are wrong with ruthless, hilarious efficiency.
So, check out the above videos in which John Stewart confronts the guys on the now-defunct Crossfire. He doesn't really get his point across as clearly as he needs to in my opinion, which is that those two boobs do a disservice to political discourse in America because they blindly spew partisan rhetoric. but Mr. Stewart does effectively hammer home a few good ideas.
I particular enjoy how he points out that his show is a comedy show and not a news or debate show and cannot reasonably be compared to such. I also like how he refuses to be lured into making partisan commentary on any topic in spite of that bowtie guy's repeated attempts to do so.
It's an interesting video, so check it out.
October 04, 2006
Well, I was talking again with one of my coworkers (You'd think I'd learn) and she told me that her husband believes that Al Qaeda is actually staging their terrorist activities as part of their financial strategy.
See, he says that Al Qaeda does things like bomb the USS Cole and the World Trade Center and night clubs in Jakarta or whatever because they are actually really sophisticated stock investors. When they do these things, they know which stocks will be affected -- or at least they make educated guesses -- and then they buy them up after an attack. THEN, just before they make their next attack, they sell it off and make a buncha money.
Of course, they can't be making HUGE investments yet, or else that would be noticed. I mean, the SEC requires that sales above a certain value be recorded publicly and if they were doing them through a huge network of dummy investors the volume would be recorded in the record and no such sales or volume changes exist.
But, I guess, he thinks that they're still penny ante investors at this point and intend to stage more attacks down the road in order to improve their balance sheets.
Now, even if I close my eyes to things like volume and SEC regulations that make this sort of plot unlikely, and say that it's possible this is being done, there isn't really any evidence to suggest that it IS being done.
This is kind of like proving the existence of God.
As an atheist, I have no burden of proof when it comes to the existence of God, because I am not the person saying it exists. Instead, people of faith are responsible for presenting the evidence that supports their case.
So, where's the evidence that Al Qaeda is deeply invested in the American economy?
We're talking about a gang of nomadic cave-dwellers. And yet he thinks they spend much of their time checking on their stocks and manipulating the economy for fun and profit through acts of terrible violence.
I'm not sure how at the moment, but I'm pretty sure there are less complicated, more efficient means of fraud that do not involve sending a couple of your buddies off to die in a big ball of fire.
October 03, 2006
The whole thing is a mess.
The man was emailing and instant messaging congressional pages and saying very inappropriate things. Pedophilia-type things. And when this came to light, he resigned immediately and went into rehab for alcoholism and mental illness.
And then it turns out that Republican leadership, Dennis Hastert, specifically, knew of these inappropriate communications but did nothing.
And then NOW Mark Foley's lawyer made a special announcement to the press the let everyone know that Mark Foley was molested by a priest when he was a young teen.
So? Is that supposed to excuse his actions? Distract us from his actions? What?
This whole thing is a big, hot, steaming mess.
The best remark I saw on the topic was on the Daily Show where I saw a clip from Meet the Press in which Newt Gingrich defended the reluctance to report Foley to the authorities saying that there was concern that the Republicans would be seen has gay bashing.
John Stewart pointed out that equating pedophilia with homosexuality between consenting adults is probably one of the things that leads people to think that Republicans gay bash.
Update: I saw on CNN that Foley has actually ALSO announced that he is gay.
I would pull a quote from the article that provides the citation and context of Bush's remark, but this article doesn't contain it.
In fact, the article doesn't indicate anywhere, apart from the headline, that Bush actually said that Democrats shouldn't be trusted to run Congress.
The closest thing is this:
"If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party, it sounds like -- it sounds like -- they think the best way to protect the American people is, wait until we're attacked again," Bush said Monday at a $360,000 fundraiser in Reno, Nevada, for state Secretary of State Dean Heller's congressional campaign.
But that's not a general statement about Democrats. That's a vague statement about some specific Democratic leaders.
I've told you that when a topic interests me, I rarely take one news organization's word for it. If I had time today, I would probably research this one since CNN's reporting on the event are so incomplete that they don't even support the headline they gave to the story.
It's just irritating when a news organization's desire to inflame partisan controversy is so plain and obvious.
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