TONIGHT! The Conspiracy Skeptic himself and our own pitiless podcaster Karl Mamer will be answering your questions LIVE(!) on Skeptically Speaking. Tune in to CJSR 88.5 FM in Alberta or listen live online at 8pm EST to hear Karl sweat under the intense questioning of one-woman good cop/bad cop Desiree Schell. Or call in with your own interrogations and/or heavy breathings. This is your mission! You know what you have to do!
Friday, August 27, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority has banned a magazine ad for a protective talisman, claiming the makers of the talisman can’t back up their claims. It’s a simple, coin-shaped pendant engraved with Hebrew glyphs, but manufacturers The Circle of Raphael say in their ad that it will bring wearers “angelic blessings”, grant them protection from seven angelic guardians, increase their luck in games of chance, open the doors of opportunity and good fortune, and grant them luck in their love lives. The ASA says that a few testimonials aren’t enough to prove The Circle of Raphael’s claims, so they have to retool their message to make it a little less specific. Well, never one to take the government at their word, I ordered one of the pendants myself. I could choose from silver or gold at $45 and $186 respectively. I went with gold, since I’m classy. I can’t say I’ve noticed any angels following me around, but I’ve been told angels are invisible, so that’s not really evidence of anything. I did, however, climb over my deli’s lunch counter and extend my hand toward their slicing machine, but a helpful employee pulled the plug before I could be mangled. I’d count that as protection from harm. And during my D&D game the other night, I rolled a natural 20 one time. Will I also become lucky in love? Only time will tell, but I’m optimistic. No woman could resist me in this douchey shirt I’ve unbuttoned just low enough to show off my magic pendant. More details here.
A German blogger has claimed he received a notice from the State Office of Criminal Investigation for linking to a picture of a painting of Jesus that may or may not depict the savior’s rock-hard dong. According to the blogger, he may be charged with criminal profanity. It’s a worrisome situation for a few reasons. One: Outlawing profanity is absurd. Two: It’s not like this guy was the only one linking to the picture. It made international news, since the painting was originally hanging in a church and had to be altered by the artist after people complained Christ’s abdominal section looked an awful lot like an erect cock and a pair of massive, succulent balls. This blogger didn’t create the painting, and even reputable news outlets showed it on their sites. And three: Even if this painting were an explicit depiction of the Holy Junk, how is that profane? Despite what those gnostic hippies would have us believe, the whole point behind Christ’s existence was his fleshy, human form. He was God as man, so God could sacrifice his flesh as man. And there’s no such thing as a fleshy man without a fully-formed package. (Minus the odd genetic freak, self-mutilator, or Ryan Seacrest.) If anything, Christ’s phallus would be a poignant reminder of all he gave up to save us from our sins. He washed us all in his blood, and some of that blood naturally flowed into his erect penis from time to time. Probably whenever Mary Magdalene indulged him in an after-dinner dance. More details here.
The story goes that three years ago, a 20-year-old motorcyclist was killed after being struck by a speeding driver on Lemon Tree Passage Rd. north of Newcastle in the U.K. Now, that young man’s ghost is cursed to seek its revenge upon those who would kill another with their reckless driving. But this ghost is apparently kind of an idiot, since his plan has backfired in the worst way. Local police have issued a warning to drivers after learning that many curious ghost-taunters are purposefully speeding down Lemon Tree Passage Rd. to conjure the motorcycle ghost and post video of his eerie glow on YouTube. Even scarier, these amateur ghost hunters run the risk of creating a never-ending loop of revenge spirits. When one of them inevitably slams into a tree, he’ll be forced to take out his ghostly wrath on anyone dumb enough to barrel down a darkened highway while pointing a Flip camera over his shoulder. If this second ghost succeeds, he’ll have created another ghost bent on seeking revenge against vengeance ghosts. And so on. Plus, it’s not like the original motorcycle ghost is putting on much of a show. The YouTube videos posted so far only show a little white light visible out the back windshield. Not scary at all. I guess rampant homophobia prevents modern motorcycle ghosts from donning studded leather and whipping chains around. More details here.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
A group of Ontario parents is demanding their local school district shut off all its wireless networks and go back to running cables to every classroom, citing a mountain of anecdotal evidence that the invisible signals are making their kids sick. It’s a cut and dry case, really. When these kids are at school, they suffer from headaches, dizziness, racing hearts, nausea, memory loss, concentration problems, rashes, restlessness, night sweats, and insomnia. On the weekends, all these issues go away. “I’m not saying it’s because of the Wi-Fi, because we don’t know yet,” said one concerned parent. “But I’ve pretty much eliminated every other possible source.” In other words, he’s saying it’s the Wi-Fi. Which makes perfect sense, because there’s no other opportunity for these children to be exposed to the kind of dangerous radio waves emitted by wireless network transmitters. Other than carrying cell phones, of course. Or walking around outside. Or going inside. Anyway, the point is this: there’s no other reason why children would feel worse in school than at home playing their video games and their Twitters. More details here.
Most everyone remembers Victor Hugo’s classic horror novel “The Hunch Back of Notre Dame”, the story of a deaf, disfigured bell-ringer in Paris’ most famous cathedral who stalks, rapes, and murders a fiendish gypsy girl named Esmeralda. If not the novel, then you might remember the animated Disney adaptation, in which Quasimodo commits his heinous deeds with the help of several singing animals. Either way, it’s a terrible tale, and the only thing in which our children may find some nightly respite is the promise that these nightmarish characters were simply the fictional illusions of Hugo’s syphilitic mind. Well, bad news, light sleepers. It looks like Quasimodo may have been based on an actual person. Newly discovered memoirs written by a British sculptor hired to work at Notre Dame during the time Hugo would have been writing his novel make numerous references to a stone carver called “Le Bossu”, French for “hunchback”. No word yet on how many gypsy girls this monster raped and murdered, but the diaries do suggest that the man was a bit of an antisocial type. This may be because he was constantly reminded of his irreversible disfigurement via cruel nicknames, but it’s also possible he was simply a lunatic. Anyway, the moral of the story is this: shun the abnormal. More details here.
Studies have shown that dark chocolate is better than placebo at reducing blood pressure, but new findings suggest some people just can’t stand the stuff. Patients given tomato extract pills were more likely to complete their assigned course of treatment than those assigned dark chocolate. The main complaint about the chocolate treatment was its disgusting taste, which some study participants described as “unpalatable”. This flies in the face of research I’ve conducted while standing in line at Bed Bath and Beyond. The impulse buy shelves are lined with row upon row of candy bars, candy dollops, and candy dildos bragging of their luxuriously high cocoa content. Like everything in Bed Bath and Beyond, this stuff wouldn’t be there if people didn’t want it. Case in point: the pyramid of chicken-shaped back scratchers clogging the path to kitchen wares. So why are so many people buying dark chocolate if they find it so disgusting? The only reasonable answer is that humans are irrational creatures whose whims and tastes can’t be predicted or controlled. This also explains the popularity of UGG boots. More details here.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
BuzzFeed has posted a gallery of the fifteen gayest pictures of the pope. This is not one of them.
The Livingston, Louisiana school board is making no secret of the fact that they would like creationism to be taught in their schools. At a recent board meeting, members discussed whether the Science Education Act passed by the state legislature last year could be used to shoehorn in some religious teachings. It absolutely can, of course, since that was the entire point of the bill. It allows Louisiana teachers to fully inform their students of all aspects of the creationism vs. evolution debate by telling them that evolution is wrong and Darwinists will rot in hell. It’s called “teaching the controversy”, and it’s the only thing that will save this country from oblivion. The odd part of this story is how blatant the school board members have been in their arguments, since most creationist educators try to couch their beliefs in vaguely sciencey terms like “intelligent design” in order to not look like Constitution-trampling zealots. Not these folks, though. Board member David Tate said, “We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in creationism. Why can't we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?" He makes a good point. Which is why it’s such a shame that literally seconds after making this statement, Tate and the rest of Louisiana’s residents were covered in a tsunami of BP oil, then their bodies were ripped to shreds by hurricane-force winds as punishment from God for their rampant sodomy. More details here.
Santa himself emailed me to explain he isn’t trying to sue the Vatican or the pope directly. Instead, he’s looking into ways law enforcement might better protect children from priests’ wandering extremities. Santa’s laid out a few ideas in his press release on the matter, which you can read here. It seems AOL News misreported some of this story, which is probably less surprising than the fact that there’s still an AOL News.
Santa also took offense at my questioning his goal of combating the commercialization of Christmas by donning the name and visage of a North Pole slave driver and manufacturing tycoon. He points out that the Santa figure is based on the historical St. Nicholas, who was definitely no secular, capitalist mascot. This is true. However, I’m reluctant to cede my point, since St. Nicholas is depicted throughout European folklore as carrying a giant sack meant to store naughty children he’s kidnapped. This seems to run counter to Santa Claus’ admirable work as an advocate for children everywhere. But perhaps this is just splitting hairs.
Santa Claus, an ordained bishop of the tiny Apostles’ Anglican Church, says the Vatican hasn’t done enough to curb the raping of children by clergy, and he’s willing to take the pope to court if things don’t change. But while most of us are decidedly anti-child rape, it’s difficult to take this threat seriously. For one thing, it’s difficult to see how Santa Claus could sue the Roman Catholic Church, since he isn’t a child and has never been raped by a priest. Also, he’s a man from Lake Tahoe who legally changed his name to “Santa Claus” because he has a long white beard. If every man with a long white beard changed his name to “Santa Claus”, then every December, our malls would be overrun by hobos. Well, more hobos. Oddly, Santa Claus says his mission in life is to combat the commercialization of Christmas, which should be focused on celebrating the birth of Christ over rampant consumerism. But he’s chosen to do this by invoking a character known to run a North Pole sweatshop where indentured elves are forced to manufacture goods year-round. Mixed messages. More details here.
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