I Shall Never Look At a Catalog The Same Way Ever Again

Dr. Crislip’s outdone himself.  He very nearly got me in trouble at work – riotous laughter in the call center isn’t strictly forbidden, but it draws attention.

I dare you to read this title without at least a chuckle: “Sky Maul.”

It’s the best takedown of the products in the SkyMall catalog I’ve ever read in my life, and that’s not just because I haven’t read many.  Even if I read thousands after this, it shall always be among the top 5.  It’s full of tasty bits, but here are the two I forced upon my coworker because they were just too good not to share.

After the segue into a truly hideous Lancet paper babbling about tattoos on ancient mummies and their correlation to acupuncture points, Dr. Crislip says,

“I think they all have it wrong. Look carefully at the location of the tattoo points. There mark the intersections of the webbing on Spiderman’s costume. These are not acupuncture points, but rather reflect the ability of both Ötzi and the Peruvian mummy to see into the future imaginings of Stan Lee. I think it makes as much sense based on the data.”

My darlings, no comic book geek and connoisseur of fine woo can read that and not die laughing.

And while I usually avoid quoting a writer’s closing remarks, preferring to leave those delights for the reader to discover, I cannot as a Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fan refrain from quoting his close in full:

I was originally going to discuss the Head Spa Massager, the X5 HairLaser and others, but the Aculife took me down many unexpected pathways and I am the slowest writer at SBM. They did have numerous cool gadgets and products on SkyMall. Me? I really want Voldemort’s wand and the One ring. Both work using the same mechanism as acupuncture and mummy medical tattoo’s. I have ordered them and soon I will be invincible.

I welcome our future Science-Based Medicine overlord! 

Is There No End to Inanity?

By now, the more perceptive of you may have realized I haven’t been writing about pollyticks lately.  That’s not because I’ve lost interest, it’s because I’ve been awash in a target-rich environment.  After so many hours of exposure to ever-increasing stupidity, day after day, my poor brain crawled out a convenient ear canal and ran away.  I’ve been luring it back by feeding it lots and lots of science, not to mention a heaping helping of Connie Willis.

We’ll have a nice roundup of political dumbfuckery later this week.  For now, suffice it to say that if a politician in this country has got an R after his/her name and is currently electable, he/she is probably batshit fucking insane, so deplorably stupid that no words have been coined which properly describe the horror, and the fact he/she has any chance at all of getting elected solves the mystery of why great civilizations fail.  Forget all those theories of environmental catastrophe, barbarian invasions and so forth: it was probably the because they let their politicians become as horrifically idiotic as ours.

You’d think this current election cycle would have sated my appetite for stupidity.  Alas, no.  It’s just caused me to crave a little variety.  IDiots are always good for a laugh, and watching ol’ Billy Dumbski nearly get expelled for not toeing the good Baptist line gave me the giggles.  Still, I wanted more.  So I went though PZ’s blogroll looking for new sources of entertainment, and came across a site called DC’s Improbable Science.

Parents: if you have ever thought of sending your kiddies to a Waldorf school, unthink that thought now.

In an article entitled “The true nature of Steiner (Waldorf) education. Mystical barmpottery at taxpayers’ expense. Part 1,” we learn that these schools are repositories of quackery of the first order.  We’re talking people who think the moon’s phase is important to crops, kiddies aren’t completely incarnated yet, and pigeonhole them based on “The Four Temperaments.”  Yes, just like the Four Humors, only in this case, even dumber.

Oh, and if you think your kiddies shall at least be taught to read, think again.  That, you see, would hinder their spiritual development.

As far as history class, well, you know, “‘The narrative thread for Ancient civilisations often begins with the fall of Atlantis’.”

You may remember the fear of being held back a grade because you were flunking reading, math, or science.  Well, kids in Waldorf schools have a whole other set of concerns:

To quote from The Age:

“One parent, who did not wish to be named, said she moved her son out of the school after a Steiner teacher recommended he repeat prep “because his soul had not been reincarnated yet”.

“I just don’t believe it is educationally sound,” she said.”

Ya think?

I marvel, my darlings, positively marvel, at the sheer volume of utter bullshit human beings seem capable of swallowing whole.  I guarantee you: down a cocktail of magic mushrooms and LSD, write down the insanity that ensues, blend it with the contents of the newage and religion sections of your local bookstore, pick bits of it at random, and serve it up after having translated it from English to Swahili to Japanese and back to English using Babelfish, and you’d still find people who would wholeheartedly believe every incomprehensible word of the resulting mess.

People are weird.

Best Friday Dose of Woo Ever – or Should That Be Worst?

Orac occasionally reposts some of his classic Insolence, which is a good thing – especially when he reposts something so mind-meltingly five-alarm Woo that I wonder where it’s been all my life.  This bit of classic Insolence alternatively made me laugh, cry and howl.  I ended up starting silently at my computer screen in numb disbelief.

A taste:

Regular readers of this blog are probably aware of my general opinion about Reiki and other “energy healing” modalities. In short, they’re woo, pure and simple. Consequently, one might reasonably ask why I’ve never featured the woo that is Reiki in Your Friday Dose of Woo. There’s a simple reason for that.

Basic Reiki is boring.

Really, I mean it. In and of itself, it just doesn’t reach the level of sheer ecstatic nuttiness that I like to feature every week. Oh, sure, there’s lots of handwaving about “channeling the universal energy” through the healer to augment the life force of the person being healed. Certainly there’s lots of serious woo about being able to heal people at a distance or through laying on of hands. (And you thought Jesus was main guy known for this.) But, in its basic form, Reiki lacks something to put it truly over the top. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I found out.

It’s missing laser beams. No, really. We’re talking about Laser Reiki, which provides this promise:

If you loved the movie The Matrix, then you will love healing your life and changing your reality with Laser Reiki.

Now we’re talking! Personally, I did like The Matrix. I even liked The Matrix Reloaded. The Matrix Revolutions kind of sucked, though. Is Laser Reiki like The Matrix, or is it like The Matrix Revolutions? You be the judge!

It gets better (worse?) from there.  The shit some people come up with to ‘splain why their chosen Woo is ever-so-scientific is truly remarkable.

Quantum physicists in the audience, be warned: your heads might explode.  This cantina is not responsible for traumatic brain injury, damage to furniture, walls, or electronics, or cleaning costs for removing bits of brain matter and skull shards from any nearby surfaces, up to and including carpet, chair, pets and loved ones.

You May Think I Hate You After This

I assure you, I don’t.  I can prove it.  I’m warning you ahead of time, read Orac’s Friday Dose of Woo in increments.  Just nibble away at the edges of the burning stupid, then take plenty of antacid and digest for a bit before returning for more.

On the continuum of burning stupidity, this one’s roughly the temperature of the Sun’s core.  Here’s the appetizer:

What, you may ask, is “DNA activation”? Let international spiritual teacher, Soul Wisdom Psyche Doctor, distant healing specialist, co-founder of the Higher School for Conscious Evolution, and author of the Great Master (not to mention DNA practitioner) Toby Alexander explain why you should activate your DNA:

Most people know that DNA is the ‘blueprint of life’ and is located in every cell of the body. In addition to each chromosome’s 2 strand double helix of DNA, there are an additional 10 etheric strands of DNA available to each human, which have been de-activated and dormant since the beginning of recorded history. Each additional strand possesses attributes that permit the individual to perform greater human accomplishments. Scientists acknowledge that we currently only use 3% of our current 2 strand DNA. Thus we live in a society where people are sick, unhappy, stressed out, create wars, have “difficulty experiencing love, and are totally disconnected with the universe. Most people have to meditate for many years just to have a so-called ‘mystical’ experience, that’s how disconnected we are now. Imagine activating 100% of your 2 strand DNA, PLUS 10 additional strands! You will go from using 10% of your brain to becoming a multi-dimensional being with psychic, telepathic, and manifestation abilities beyond anything you’ve ever dreamed of. Plus, you will stop the aging process and actually start to rejuvenate to look and feel YOUNGER. This is the Original Divine Blueprint, what man USED to be. It has been written that Jesus had 12 strands of DNA activated. There have been children born throughout the history of humanity to raise the frequency of the planet that have more than 2 strands of DNA active – they are known as Indigo children. These are the incredibly intelligent, loving, and amazing children that are being mistakenly diagnosed as having A.D.D. because they are too smart to pay attention in class. Your DNA is your blueprint of life and is what controls every single function inside each of your cells. If you change your DNA, you really will change your life.

Holy woo, Batman!

I swear I felt brain cells fuse from the heat of the stupid as I read on.  Some neurons seem to have actually vaporized on contact.  It got so bad I had to go clear out my work email’s inbox for a while, until things stopped steaming and molten bits of brain matter stopped dripping from my ear canals.

I’d planned to do a Dumbfuckery du Jour today, but nothing in politics came close to being that inane.  It’s all anticlimax from here.

And why am I tormenting you with this?  Because watching Orac spank someone that insanely stupid is an education and a pleasure.  Also, I had to explain why I haven’t got any nice geology outtakes from the trip ready for you yet.  The unmelted bits of my brain curled up in a fetal ball for protection and refuse to uncurl.  I’m putting them to bed with a book on glaciers, a friendly glass of Beaujolais, and a warm, purring, only mildly homicidal feline.  (I love winter.  The temptation to stay warm overcomes my cat’s innate violent tendencies, although only just, and I get to enjoy what so many other cat owners do: cuddles without the fang marks.)

I’d get my DNA activated, but if it’s anything like a cell phone activation, it means I’m stuck in a two-year contract with a large early termination fee.  No thanks, I’ll pass.  Unless, of course, a bunch of us can get together for a discussion about how we can use words like “quantum entanglement” to convince Mr. Alexander that we’ve fused our collective activated etheric DNA and shall hold his chakras hostage until he pays us

Newsflash: Sticking Burning Candles in Your Ear Could Be Hazardous to Your Health

Back in the late 1990s, someone babbled at me about ear candling for a great many minutes.  They waxed poetic over the health benefits of stuffing a candle in your ear and lighting it up.  I can’t remember why.  All I can remember is staring at them with my jaw hanging open and thinking, “Are you nuts?”

Needless to say, though I wasn’t a Certified Skeptic back then, and hadn’t even heard of science-based medicine, I gave ear candling a pass.  It sounded like the height of folly.

Over a decade later, the FDA’s caught on.  I ended up on their MedWatch page page after reading a post at Terra Sigillata about yet more prescription drugs being sneaked into yet more supplements. (Yes, manufacturers do this so that their “wholesome and natural” products will actually work.)   Just for S&G, I decided to see what other nefarious nonsense the altmed world’s been up to, and I came across an alert entitled “Ear Candles: Serious Risk of Injuries.”  I laughed and laughed and howled, “Well, no shit, Sherlock!”

The first paragraph is morbidly hilarious:

FDA is notifying consumers and healthcare providers of its warning not to use ear candles – a hollow cone about 10 inches long made from a fabric tube soaked in beeswax, paraffin or a mixture of the two – because they can cause serious injuries, even when used according to the manufacturer’s directions. According to advertised claims, a burning ear candle draws ear wax and “impurities” or “toxins” out of the ear canal. Other claims for ear candles include relief from sinus and ear infections, headache and earache, as well as improved hearing, “blood purification,” improvements in brain function, and cure cancer. FDA has found no valid scientific evidence to support the safety or effectiveness of these devices for any medical claims or benefits. FDA has received reports of burns, perforated eardrums and blockage of the ear canal which required outpatient surgery from the use of ear candles.

Anyone stupid enough to believe that sticking a candle in their ear and lighting it will cure them of cancer almost deserves a little blockage of the ear canal as an object lesson, except I can mostly forgive them – they’re desperate and scared and willing to try anything to survive.  The real stupidity comes from the dumbshits purveying this as a cure.  They’re either moronic or greedy or both.

And don’t even get me started on the parents taking their kids in for this treatment.  Really, don’t.  Let’s just say I have definite opinions regarding their fitness as parents, and those opinions aren’t flattering.

While we’re on the subject of “miracle” cures, there’s another great one at Terra Sigillata that’s really not to be missed:

FDA Warns Consumers of Serious Harm from Drinking Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS)
Product contains industrial strength bleach

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to take Miracle Mineral Solution, an oral liquid also known as “Miracle Mineral Supplement” or “MMS.”  The product, when used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health.

The next time some fluffy-bunny altmed worshiper asks me “what’s the harm?”, I shall be more than happy to inform them.