The Enzyte Song (The Biggest Dicks Of All)

Well, it looks like “Smilin’ Bob” won’t be smiling much for a while.  The (Cincinnati) Enquirer reports that Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, the makers of Enzyte, are in court, accused of defrauding customers… to the tune of $100 million. That’s an awful lot of male enhancement.

James Teegarden Jr., the former vice president of operations at Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, explained Tuesday in U.S. District Court how he and others at the company made up much of the content that appeared in Enzyte ads.

He said employees of the Forest Park company created fictitious doctors to endorse the pills, fabricated a customer satisfaction survey and made up numbers to back up claims about Enzyte’s effectiveness.

“So all this is a fiction?” Judge S. Arthur Spiegel asked about some of the claims.
“That’s correct, your honor,” Teegarden said.

In their honor, I give you The Enzyte Song, or The Biggest Dicks Of All.

I once was meek and unassuming;
Walked around with storm clouds looming,
Awkward, sad; an isolated loner
I thought that I would be more happy,
Tell jokes better, dress more snappy,
Only if I had a bigger boner.

The TV said that I’d be smiling,
Witty, charming, smooth, beguiling–
Men in lab coats gave their solemn promise.
Studies showed I’d make more money,
Skies above would be more sunny,
If I had a Major League John Thomas.

Bob, Bob, Bob! Quit polishing your knob!
You always knew that Enzyte didn’t work.
Hey, hey, hey! We’re gonna make you pay!
That’s what you get for being such a jerk!

I sent away to get a sample
Knowing I’d soon be more ample;
Nervous, ‘cos of how much was at stake.
I knew that there was nothing less
Than all my future happiness
Dependent on a giant trouser-snake.

I took the capsules as directed,
Waited till the change affected;
Gradually, I realized, in shock–
Nothing changed; I still was geeky,
Shirt still wrinkled, shoes still squeaky,
Most of all, no difference in my cock!

Bob, Bob, Bob! Quit polishing your knob!
You always knew that Enzyte didn’t work.
Hey, hey, hey! We’re gonna make you pay!
That’s what you get for being such a jerk!

Now I hear they’re all on trial;
Records show, despite denial,
Lab results and surveys worse than iffy.
If customers weren’t satisfied
The company just simply lied,
And wrote “I’m so delighted with my stiffy!”

So, yeah, right now they must be bumming,
But surely they all saw it coming:
“The bigger they are, the harder they will fall.”
And in a twist a bit ironic,
No thanks to their useless tonic,
They’ve shown themselves the biggest dicks of all!

Bob, Bob, Bob! Quit polishing your knob!
You always knew that Enzyte didn’t work.
Hey, hey, hey! We’re gonna make you pay!
That’s what you get for being such a jerk!

Tip o’ the cuttle to Jake Young at Pure Pedantry.

Now, That’s A Lot Of Bull!

“Indian brokers at the Bombay Stock Exchange are calling on the authorities to bring in religious experts to change the direction of a bronze bull statue.

They say the posterior of the bull, placed at the footsteps of the exchange building, points towards the traders which makes it inauspicious.” Source.

Our observations of the world
We may distill and write as “laws”
These shape our understanding, thus
We see effects, and look for cause.

The tools of science guide our search:
We vary, systematically,
Alleged cause–does output change?
Or simply sit there statically?

We put our theories to the test
And really try to prove them wrong.
(Unless we do, how can we know
An explanation’s weak or strong?)

The power of coincidence
To make us see what isn’t real
Is just one thing we’re up against,
As stories in the news reveal:

On January 12th this year,
A statue of a bull was placed
Outside the Bombay Stock Exchange–
The steps, behind; the street, it faced.

The sculpture is a work of art
Expressing movement, form, and mass,
But brokers in the building want
To relocate the statue’s ass.

The bull’s hind end is magic, see,
And has the strange ability
To influence the world, and cause
The market’s volatility!

That’s right–it’s not the sub-prime stuff,
It’s not the housing market bubble,
But a bronze bull’s butt in Old Bombay
That must have caused the market’s trouble.

Don’t fret about your stocks and bonds
Investments now are clearly sound;
Just get the Mumbai analysts
To turn their magic bull around.

And once you do, please be assured,
The market will again be steady,
And we can deal with other things–
There’s far, far too much bull already.

Pareidolia

“Pastor Renee Brewster and her husband Bishop Winston Brewster are a very spiritual couple. But the site of their savior in a potato has reinvigorated their faith and their desire to help others.” (MyFox Orlando)

I did not make up that quote.

I mean, you have to be spiritual to see Jesus in a potato. Or tortilla. Or frying pan. Or oyster. (Or another oyster.) Or pirogi. Or grease stain. Or water stain. Or dog’s butt.

I mean, what other reason could there be, but spirituality?

(With deep and sincere apologies to Ira and George Gershwin…)

You say “potato”, and I say “Jesus”
You say “hey, wait—Oh, just look at the pieces!”
Right there in the bowl, he’s so wonderfully holy
Let’s call the guys at Fox!
You say “sandwich”, and I say “Mary”
You think it’s grand, which I think is just scary
But you need no urgin’ to see you a virgin
Let’s call the guys at Fox!

And Oh!—if we call the guys at Fox
We’ll make the news.
And Oh!—If we’re on the news,
There’s no way we can lose

So if you say “tortilla”, and I say “Jesus”
I promise I’ll see a real face in the cheeses
How lucky would we be, to be on the TV
Let’s call the guys at Fox–
Let’s call the guys at Fox!

Anthropocene?

Wow. Just… wow.

I knew that humans had left a large footprint on the planet, but I don’t think I ever really quite grasped the scale. According to the Geological Society of America, in the February issue of GSA Today (pdf), it could be argued that we have entered into a new geologic epoch, the Anthropocene. (I say “it could be argued”, because the scientific community is doing just that.) The actions of humans have had effects on a global scale–erosion due to agriculture and deforestation, changes in sediment dispersal due to both erosion and the damming of most of the significant rivers, increased carbon levels, accelerated extinctions and population declines, ocean chemistry changes, especially impacting coral reefs and plankton exoskeletons…

These changes are big enough and abrupt enough to serve as a geologic marker. A million years from now, future geologists (human or not) will be able to see our footprint. I just hope they aren’t using it as a cautionary tale–“this species, unlike the dinosaurs before them, brought their end on themselves…”

The scale of geologic time is vast
With all of human history a blink—
The march of continents, the ages past
The growth of life, the ice-caps swell and shrink

To mark the boundaries at this scale, we note
Some catastrophic change within the rock—
A comet’s impact kicks up ash, to coat
The planet’s surface, and to mark our clock

We humans, in the past two hundred years,
Have changed the earth is many different ways
With mass extinctions, global warming fears,
Oceans rising, rain forests set ablaze…

We see what comes from human and machine
As Holocene becomes Anthropocene

A Charge To Keep… (yeah, that’s the ticket…)

This painting, I do not think I am understating, is important to President George W. Bush. He even took the painting’s title as the title of his autobiography: “A Charge To Keep”. And… it kinda looks like him. Don’t you think? The real story of the painting, though… well, it’s all right here.

A noble horseman leads a gallant charge–
Full gallop, up a steep and rocky trail
The group he leads is small; their courage large,
And heart and God ensure they will prevail.

This painting is a message to us all,
The very spirit of the Lone Star State,
That when our cause is just, we cannot fall–
Serve God, and you need never fear your fate!

Except…the painting here depicts a thief,
Who only narrowly escapes the noose;
The story may be Bush’s true belief,
But his interpretation is… well… loose.

A realistic painting, but at best
For Bush, a diagnostic Rorschach test

Hat tip to Pharyngula

WILSON!!!!!!

Researchers at the University of Chicago (also reported in the New York Times) have explored the tendency to anthropomorphize–how we, especially when lonely, attribute human characteristics to our pets, to inanimate objects, and even to Our Invisible Friend.

The researchers designed three experiments to test their expectations that lonely people are more likely to make up for their lack of social connection by creating humanlike connections with gadgets or pets, or to increase their belief in the supernatural.

In one experiment, the team found a correlation between how lonely people felt and their tendency to describe a gadget in terms of humanlike mental states.

In another experiment, the team made people feel lonely in the laboratory by asking them to write about a time when they felt lonely or isolated. Under those circumstances, they were more likely to believe in the supernatural, whether it be God, angels or miracles, than when they were not feeling lonely.

“If we made them feel lonely, they were also more likely to describe a pet, even if it wasn’t their own pet, as having humanlike mental states that were related to social connection, like being more thoughtful, considerate and compassionate,” Epley said.

The research further revealed that not just any negative emotional state produces this effect. “It’s something special about loneliness,” Epley said. Fear, for example, doesn’t increase reported belief in God, or how people describe their pets.

If loneliness depresses you,
Researchers say that what you’ll do
If no one’s there with whom to sup,
You’ll be inclined to make one up,
Conversing with a dog or cat,
Or maybe, in the lab, a rat.

When lonely, or in isolation
We use anthropomorphization,
Projecting human mental states
Like wants and needs, or loves and hates
On pets, or cars, or even God
(Explains a lot you might find odd!)

We do this when we feel alone
Or isolated, it is shown,
But not when we’re afraid or mad
And not when we are merely sad–
It’s isolation’s misery
That animates our company.

So Wilson, on the island beach
With human kind so out of reach
Became Chuck Noland’s only friend,
Through thick and thin, till (near) the end.
(In outtakes, we may yet discover,
Wilson also served as lover!)

But why a volleyball? The study
Says the reason for this buddy
Also works to give a god
A greater “humanlike” facade–
So why a ball? The truth, I feel,
Is: Unlike God, the ball was real.

So talking to a volleyball
Is not so crazy after all.

(Oh, and for the record, the application of their study to Wilson is their own idea, not mine.)

A Nautical Yarn…

Oh, my! I have found it! Ok, it’s not a knit brain or teratoma, but hey, I am not “the digital teratoma”, so I am happy as a cephalopod with a Mr. Potato Head to find this site, with patterns for knitting some of my favorite sea creatures! I am not affiliated with the site at all, but I hope I can send her a bit of extra business!

Had we but yarn enough, and time,
And knew to knit instead of rhyme,
We would sit down to purl and knit
The whole day through, and never quit;
A cute and cuddly cuttlefish
Or “Squid-a-licious”, if you wish
Two kinds of octopus, and more,
The cutest things beyond the shore!
A starfish and a brittle star;
A nudibranch (it’s so bizarre!)
A jellyfish, and seahorse, too
So many that I’d like to do
If only I knew how to knit
But I do not… so here I sit.

Dueling destinies

This past Friday, I found myself listening to NPR’s Talk of the Nation–Science Friday, and I was struck by a throw-away comment by one of the guests. The subject was the Messenger fly-by of the planet Mercury; a caller asked something about the effects of the sun’s expansion on the atmospheres of the planets. The expert noted that, although he was not an expert on stars, he knew that the sun would eventually expand to the point where it would likely engulf the inner planets. Of course, this would happen billions of years from now, so it is nothing to lose sleep over. It’s not as if the world is going to be transformed tonight into a lake of fire.

No, that view was on the other radio station.

I was driving along, with the radio tuned
To the lowermost end of the dial;
Through the static, two stations were both coming in
So I listened to both for a while.
First one, then the other, would drift into range
As the road, through the hills, wound around;
And I gradually noticed, the speakers on both
Were discussing the same common ground.
The topic today was the end of the world,
And both stations had stories to tell;
The first speaker told how the sun would expand
But the second was speaking of Hell.
The first station spoke of the Messenger mission
And NASA’s new triumph in space
With instruments measuring surface and core
And cameras detailing its face.
The craters and faults look a lot like our moon
But the temperature there can melt lead!
As the speaker continued, I found myself shocked
By the very next thing that he said:
He noted “of course, in a few billion years,
We know that the sun will expand,
And the Earth will be hotter than Mercury now—
We’ll be long gone by then, understand.”
Now, I know that our species is really quite young
When compared to the age of the Earth
And the odds of survival are frankly quite small,
So today is of infinite worth.
But to hear this astronomer matter-of-factly
Discuss how our planet would die
Was a sobering thing—even more so because
Of the evidence none could deny.
Now, the funny thing is that the alternate station
Was speaking of fire as well
And the punishment meeting each ignorant sinner
Eternally sentenced to Hell.
The end is not coming in billions of years
But when God calls us back to his side.
It could happen tomorrow, so live your life right
With the Bible alone as your guide.
Today’s not important; the whole of your life
Is just prelude to life after death
In Heaven or Hell, so your choice must be made–
It’s too late once you draw your last breath.
He was blatantly trying to frighten his listeners
But strangely, I wasn’t afraid.
A Bronze-age mythology doesn’t stand up
When there’s evidence there to be weighed.

It’s funny—the world-view that talks about Heaven
And promises souls will survive
Has to stoop to extortion and threats, like I heard
As I motored along on my drive.
The so-called “dispassionate world-view of science”
Has beauty, and greater appeal—
What’s more, in a contrast from mythical Hell
What is studied in science is real.
No threats of damnation, just projects like Messenger
Quietly getting it done—
Enjoy your Earth—only a few billion years
Till the whole thing’s engulfed by the Sun.

Matters Of The Heart (… in a jar)

It’s all over the news–researchers at the University of Minnesota have “created a beating heart in the laboratory“. Basically, they used the protein fiber matrix from one heart, stripped of muscle cells, as a scaffold upon which to grow a new heart, using a solution of cells from another rat. Yeah. I know, all this talk about hearts is so romantic. So, in a bit of a reversal from my previous position, I return to the romantic view of the heart as the foundation of love, with a trio of little verses inspired by the heart in the jar. I can see it now… the picture above, on the front of the Hallmark card, with one of the following verses inside…

I’m new at this game,

And I don’t know your name,

But I love you, whoever you are;

My heart may be true

But it’s also brand new

I grew it myself, in a jar!

I can feel my heart grow,

So I love you, you know, 

And not like a cousin or brother;

I will give you my heart–

Every bit, every part;

If you break it, I’ll grow me another.

My heart is yours; it’s in a jar
That sits upon your shelf;
It’s happy being where you are
And not all by itself.
You asked me for a souvenir
To keep while we’re apart;
I thought a bit, and it was clear—
It had to be my heart.
And now, although my heart may soar,
It is no longer mine;
A message that forevermore
I’ll be your valentine.

A rat cadaver’s donor heart
Is stripped of every cell
The protein fiber matrix left
Looks like a ghostly shell;
This matrix, in a sterile flask,
Is bathed in rat-heart goo
With both adult and baby cells,
And starts to grow anew.
In only days, the growing heart
May beat, or merely twitch,
Then work, at roughly two percent…

Like yours, you heartless bitch.

What the…Huck?

In case you were the one who missed hearing this story, it turns out that presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee really truly actually for-real is a Man of God ™. Whether speaking from his heart, or in a bid to outflank his opponents and capture the fundamentalist vote, The Huckster announced to a Michigan crowd Monday that he wishes to change the United States Constitution, to bring it in line with “the word of the living god”. Really, he said that.

When you think about it, though, it is not all that radical. What were his other choices? I mean, you could bring it in line with the word of all the dead gods, but frankly I don’t see that garnering a lot of votes. Or you could choose to have a constitution that draws authority from “We the People”. As someone much more gifted with words than I am put it, it would be a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

And who needs that?

There’s too much pollution in our constitution
As any good Christian can see;
Compare with the Bible, and anyone’s liable
To note that the two don’t agree.
And so, if we tell ‘em it’s just ink and vellum,
Not sacred like God’s Holy Word
The people might buy it, and let someone try it
Although it seems wholly absurd!
A nip and a tuck ‘d be just fine for Huckabee–
Really, I don’t like the odds–
He already said it; he’s ready to edit,
And substitute Man’s law with God’s.
This ludicrous scheming (I wish I were dreaming)
Must surely be nearing its end;
Voters, open your eyes, and say your goodbyes
To the Huckster’s invisible friend!

Verse originally posted as a comment on Pharyngula.