Sunday, December 30, 2012

Where you put the little "." can make a big difference

Saw this ad for CareFRESH small pet bedding on Amazon yesterday.

Ninety-nine percent is quite a big discount, even for Amazon. Maybe Amazon wasn't selling many bags at the list price of $1,599.00, which does seem to be a bit steep for 4.8 pounds, no matter how much you love your hamster. Although it is turquoise.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

According to Doonesbury atheists are winning "The War Against Christmas"

In case you've missed them, G.B. Trudeau's Doonesbury has been focused on the atheists' "War Against Christmas" since Christmas Eve December 24. The December 26 strip is my favorite so far: 

Snag in the gay agenda

If your gay agenda included the item "Get Married in Annapolis and use the Discover Annapolis Tours trolleys as transportation," you'll need to cross it off your list. At least the part about the trolleys. Matt Grubbs, owner of the trolley company, has decided to get out of his popular wedding service business. 

Grubbs' god apparently told him he isn't allowed to shuttle same-sex couples and their wedding guests on his trolleys. On the other hand, the State of Maryland told him back in 2001--long before it passed the law that will allow same-sex couples to marry beginning January 1, 2013--that he cannot legally discriminate in his business on the basis of sexual orientation. So Grubbs felt he had no choice but to go out of the wedding services business.

However, Grubbs is now pushing for a change in the law that would allow wedding related businesses to discriminate against--same-sex married couples? same sex couples whether they're married or not? anyone based on their sexual orientation?--if their bigotry is grounded in their personal religious convictions.

But whether or not the current law is amended to allow discrimination, same-sex couples marrying in Annapolis will need to find a mode of transportation other than a trolley. At least until a trolley service run by someone whose god (or lack thereof) allows the business to transport same-sex couples fills the void.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Isn't this special?

Saw this sign on the sidewalk in Ellicott City. I don't know about you, but I'd certainly want my reading to be special. 

I should find out what is being read though. My palm, tea leaves, Tarot cards, a new play, Fifty Shades of Gray?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Save $1 on diluted duck innards goo

Noticed this ad for oscillococcinum with a "Save $1" coupon in the December 2 issue of Parade magazine.

Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic non-remedy for the flu. Its "active" ingredient is water anas barbarae hepatis et cordis extractum, AKA duck liver and heart, that have been allowed to ripen for 40 days into a duck innards goo that's then diluted in water many times over so that the end result is one part duck goo in 102000 water molecules. In other words, the final product that is sold is water. And nothing but water. (So it probably, as advertised, has no side effects or drug interactions.)

The chances of water effectively treating flu is (I know some might find this hard to believe) none. Even if the water is packaged in tiny doses priced at about $1.50 - $2.00 per dose or $4.50 - $6.00 per day.

If you're going to pay that much for water that won't treat your flu, you might as well save $1.00 doing it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Groupon woo: Fancy schmanchy pricey enemas

If you believe that nasty, nameless, scary "toxins" are stuck in your body's exit tunnel, and they need to pressured into leaving, has Groupon got a deal for you! Fancy schmanchy pricey enemas!

According to the ad, "Certified hydrotherapists assist with internal cleansing sessions by massaging clients' bellies to drive out impacted toxins." Certified hydrotherapists! So you know that this can't be quackery. These are serious professionals who know how to give someone an enema.

"Over 60" of these bargain sessions have been snapped up already, so "the deal is on!" Hurry! You have only three days left to pay to have water squirted up your ass for no good reason.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Get FIT with Paranormal Woo at CCBC?

The Community College of Baltimore County is one of the Baltimore area's most shameful promoter of woo via its Continuing Education courses.

Because, really, nothing says "continuing education" like teaching nonsense to the community.

I've previously written about CCBC's woo-teaching continuing ed courses here, here, here, and here.

Among CCBC's September - December 2012 Continuing Education course offerings are an expanded list of courses in Paranormal Phenomena. Now, there's not just one class in Ghost Studies, there are three, plus "Paranormal Truth." Woo-hoo?

Wondering why the ghost hunting classes have "FIT" (Fitness) course numbers. Is there a lot of exercise involved in chasing (non-existent) ghosts?

Monday, November 19, 2012

In my inbox: Save $80 on diet woo!!

Wow! I can save waste $80 on this diet woo offer from Deals.

I note that "[s]ince HCG is found in human tissue it's perfectly safe to use." Because you know anything found in human tissue is always perfectly safe to use as a diet aid. Consider, for example, cancer cells. Oh, wait...

And look! "[T]he best part is no physical exercise is required." Sounds good for the couch potato set, but leaves me wondering what kind of exercise is required.

It's the "Silver Package"! Plus free shipping and no processing or handling charges! Hard to resist.

And just think of the possibility of losing 20 pounds in 20 days. Why my wallet will be thinner in no time!

Bastion of Sass is back!

My last blog post was in May. That's because my life, like I'm sure yours, has been blissfully woo, religion, and irrationality free.

(Pause. One. Two. Three....)


Yeah, right. Like I'll ever lack material.

My intention, at least at the present, is to try to blog
more regularly on the nonsense that assails me daily. In addition, I'll post about some of the more egregious or entertaining nonsense that collected in my "Stupid or Silly Stuff" file during my hiatus.

That's my current intention. Unless. Life.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Don't protest famed creationist commencement speaker; admire his tenancity in clinging to his beliefs

Emory University students and faculty are upset that renowned Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, will be this year's commencement speaker. Why the fuss? Because Carson's a creationist who denies the validity of the Theory of Evolution. 

In an op-ed column in Sunday's Baltimore Sun, acceptance of evolution with a lack of ethics and morality."

Weikart ends his column with:
Emory University graduates should feel honored to receive a commencement address from Dr. Carson. Aside from the obvious — his path-breaking surgical techniques and medical expertise that landed him a position at one of the most prestigious academic hospitals in the United States — his life story of overcoming poverty and his subsequent dedication to philanthropy are exemplary and inspirational. His willingness to courageously embrace ideas he considers true, despite the ridicule directed toward him, should count as another point in his favor.

Yes! Let's admire a man who despite the advantage of incredible intelligence and a good education, chooses to ignore science and reason in order to cling to a particularly anti-science and anti-education interpretation of mythology.

And, by all means, let's admire a man who adamantly believes in silly things despite ridicule. Because stubbornly refusing to change your views, no matter how ridiculous, is such a virtue.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

County commisioner to employees: No pressure, but come pray with me, monthly, in the County Office Building

Since Frazier has the right to privately pray, anytime, and anyplace, there must be a reason that she feels the need to ask 850 county employees to join her.

Some possible reasons:
  • Frazier is really lonely talking to herself--which is really what praying to a mythological invisible superbeing is.
  • Frasier is trying to promote religion as a leader of Carroll County government and pressure employees into participating in a religious practice in contravention of the First Amendment. But Frazier says there is "no pressure," even though the best way to show that she's not attempting to pressure employees to pray with her would be to not invite the county's employees to pray with her every month in the County Office Building. But really, rest assured, Frasier has no intention whatsoever in violating the principle of separation of church and state. She is quoted in The Sun as saying,"The Bible directs us to pray for our country." See? Nothing religious about that, right?
  • Frasier wants everyone to admire what a good, pious Christian she is. "Read my email in which I talk about my plan to lead employees in a group prayer. Admire what a good, pious Christian I am. Come witness me praying and setting a good example for you all."
  • Frasier is offering to share her special expertise in praying: "Let me lead you in prayer because you don't know how to pray on your own so I have to show you how to do it."
  • Frasier is concerned that Carroll County employees no longer have churches or other places of worship to pray in and believes that they cannot pray in their homes or anywhere else outside of the County Office Building. The County Office Building is the only possible venue for prayer.

Frasier contends that she has the right to use the County Office Building for religious purposes because "[o]ther groups use this same building for noncounty business." So, I'm sure local Muslims, Wiccans, Pagans, Rastafarians, and Pastafarians could start meeting in the building every month, and Frasier would have no problem with that. Some non-Christian religious group needs to test that. Soon. Really. And don't forget to request the use of the County's email system to invite 850 County employees to attend!

Or better yet, since "other groups" can and do meet in the Carroll County Office Building according to Frasier, local atheist groups, humanists, skeptics, pro-choice and gay-rights groups, and organizations like Americans United for Separation of Church and State should start meeting there every month. Because that would be an awesome way for Frazier and the other county commissioners to show that the County Office Building space really is a forum open to all, and that they aren't mixing their personal religious beliefs in with every resident's government.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Doggone it! Baltimore Humane Society promotes animal woo

Doggone it! The Baltimore Humane Society is now promoting woo. Its latest newsletter contained the following announcement:

There's a disclaimer: "The workshops (and Reiki in general) is presented only as a complement to traditional veterinary care to encourage more hands-on bonding time. It is not meant to replace traditional veterinary medicine."

However, the host of the workshops, The Animal Reiki Alliance, promotes reiki for more than encouraging more hands-on bonding time.

According to the Reiki Healing for Our Animal Companions brochure on the ARA website:
Reiki helps animals in many ways:
• Aiding in pain management for animals who
are ill or injured.
• Promoting relaxation and calm for animals with
emotional issues, anxiety, separation anxiety
or stress.
• Increasing the bond between human and
animal - a great way to ease an animal’s
transition to a new home environment or
to enhance training your pet.
• Bringing peace and comfort to a dying pet by
easing the transition into death.
• Facilitating other healing responses, including
reduced tumor sizes.

$125 seems like a lot of money to learn more hands-on bonding, even if the workshop does include an "attunement."

However,  if you want to spend even more on learning hands-on bonding, and you've already been attuned,  there's a Level 2 Workshop

Reiki must be super special since it apparently can promote hands-on bonding from a distance.

Unbelieveable! Psychic wrong regarding missing woman

Christine Jarrett disappeared more than 20 years ago. Two days ago, police found remains, now confirmed to be Christine Jarrett's, buried under a shed in the yard of the home she had shared with her husband, Robert Jarrett. Police had long suspected Robert Jarrett of his wife's murder, but lacked the evidence needed to charge him or the probable cause needed to search the property. Police have now charged Robert Jarrett with first- and second-degree murder.

According to The Baltimore Sun, at the time of Christine Jarrett's disappearance:
Worried friends hoping to find leads reached out to a local psychic, who told them she had visions of Jarrett willingly climbing into a light-blue car with an unidentified man. "She did not have her purse on. No woman goes anywhere without her purse," the psychic said, predicting that Christine was still in the area, within a 50-mile radius.
OK, let's give the psychic some credit. While the psychic was wrong about Christine Jarrett's leaving with a man in a light-blue car, the psychic was right about her still being within a 50-mile radius of her home. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Uphold the sanctity of divorce with SODA!

First the gays wanted the right to marry. Now they want the right to divorce! Will they never be satisfied until they have the same rights as straight people?!
"Maryland threatens the sanctity of divorce" by Ralph E. Shaffer sets out the compelling argument that same-sex divorce, an issue now before Maryland's highest court, the Maryland Court of Appeals, threatens the sanctity of the traditional, Biblical view of divorce--the severing of a marriage between one man and one woman.

Shaffer warns that without legal protection preventing gays from divorcing, straight couples will no longer file for divorce. And, in my opinion, that obviously spells doom for the entire institution of divorce! What dire consequences will straights not-divorcing have on the fabric of our society?

Shaffer urges the adoption of the "Sanctity of Divorce Act" (SODA) to defend traditional, God-approved divorce from the threat posed by same-sex divorce. SODA would go beyond allowing each state to decide whether or not to permit same-sex couples to divorce in that state, permitting states to nullify same-sex splits legalized by other states. Just the type of bold and noble legislation needed to save the sacred institution of divorce!

Help save divorce as we know it. Help save the American family by not allowing gays to divorce. Help save children from the stigma of having divorced, gay parents. Help save the U.S. Help keep God in divorce. Support SODA!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Baltimore Sun offers "more comprehensive" woo in lieu of news!

Today, The Baltimore Sun announced, "Starting today, a more comprehensive horoscope column moves to the main news section, where it will appear daily."

Way to go, Sun. It's so nice to know you've chosen to use your ever-shrinking news pages to publish not just nonsense, but to publish more comprehensive nonsense. That's just the kind of "news" feature sure to enhance the knowledge of your readers and their understanding of important events. What a wonderful contribution to our community. And daily, too!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Concerns about County-sponsored Bible-based constitutional law speaker unfounded; hardly mentioned God at all

News that the Carroll County (Maryland) commissioners had funded, and asked County employees to attend, a seminar taught by Bible-based constitutional law expert David Whitney, the pastor of a Pasadena, Maryland church and a lecturer for the Institute on the Constitution, which coincidentally happens to be based in Pasadena, raised concerns among, and protests from, the finicky folks who object to the mixing of religion and government.

Whitney, unlike other scholars who could have been asked to teach a Maryland constitutional law seminar, understands the importance of The Bible in American law and government. According to The Baltimore Sun, Whitney said before the seminar was held on February 24, "We will be looking at the language of our founding fathers who wrote they were 'grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberties' front and center on this document. The Bible is the source of the authority that they looked to."

Any concerns about the improper mixing of religion and government were obviously needless from the start, since being a constitutional law expert, Whitney knows, full well, that teaching government employees attending a government-funded seminar about how God helped write the Maryland Constitution is perfectly OK, since that's merely a factual retelling of its history, and has absolutely nothing at all to do with his or any other religious beliefs.

The Carroll County commissioners also completely understand the issue of separation of church and state, and so obviously would not mix the two. Commissioner Richard Rothschild said, "It is perfectly appropriate to teach a course which factually explains the role God plays in our constitution."

Reports after the seminar also confirmed that any concerns about violation of the principle of separation of church and state were totally unjustified. As noted in another Sun article, written after the seminar, Whitney made only "a few" religious references including his making clear that "Our rights come from God, not the government."

Civil rights in short supply; gays haven't suffered enough violence for a full share

This week the Maryland General Assembly approved the Civil Marriage Protection Act which allows same-sex couples to marry, much to the distress of Emmett C. Burns, Jr., a member of the House of Delegates and Baptist minister. Burns knows, as Maryland legislators who voted in favor of the bill do not, that civil rights are in short supply and must be allocated to only the most civil rights-worthy minorities. According to Burns, gays and lesbians simply don't qualify for full civil rights since none have suffered the amount of violence blacks have.

It is unclear from Burns' comments why the many documented cases of gays and other sexual minorities being murdered because of their sexual orientation, including the murder of Glen H. Footman in Baltimore, don't qualify as points towards full equality for same-sex couples. (Note: Although generally not clear from the reporting, as Burns points out, all the individuals who are members of the GLBT community are "whites.")

While there are many scales for measuring the relative suffering of various minorities to determine if they qualify for martial equality and other civil rights, it appears that Burns may be using "The Bible Says Gay Sex is a Big Sin" (TBSGSBS) scale which requires all evidence of violence against gays to be excluded from the computation of civil rights eligibility. Use of this scale probably means that even additional murders of gays will not increase their civil rights eligibility score.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rapists will start disguising themselves as women if transgendered protected

The biggest concern about Baltimore County's proposed bill to protect individuals who are transgendered from discrimination based on gender identity seems to be the fear that if transgendered people are protected, men will start dressing as women, then enter women's public restrooms for the purpose of peeping at or raping women.

Apparently, the bill will provide, for the very first time, instruction for men on how to disguise themselves as women so they can enter women's bathrooms without notice, since obviously no man could possibly know how to do that now.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dead Poe may return to Baltimore, at least in spirit

Baltimore's Poe House and Museum will attempt to contact author Edgar Allan Poe March 3 and 4. That presents a bit of a challenge since Poe died in 1849, but it seems as though the Baltimore group of Poe enthusiasts will be up to the challenge, and poor Poe will not be able to sleep undisturbed in his grave in the Westminister Hall graveyard for at least those two days.

Beyond Nevermore announces: "The An Investigation Into The Beyond! Is 2012 The Year We Make Contact?"

According to the events page, the evenings will feature:
Controlled Experiments by a carefully selected group of the leading Physics, Mediums Paranormal Investigators, and “Ghost Hunters” practicing today, in an attempt to contact Edgar Allan Poe!
Oooh, a "carefully selected group" of the "leading" psychics, mediums, paranormal investigators and ghost hunters. Well then, I guess the odds are pretty darn good that Poe will be coming back, at least in spirit.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Mark Redfield, "a local actor and fan magazine publisher," whose part in the event isn't clear from the article or event site, says, "The idea really is to contact Poe. We're keeping an open mind about it, and hoping to have some fun." Redfield, who the Sun describes as "determinedly open-minded," is quoted as saying, "We want to give [the psychics] enough time to do the experiments. We're going to give them a chance."

I know all you skeptics are going to want to attend, even if at the end of the evening, you will be forced to admit that you've been wrong all this time, and spirits and life-after-death do exist.

However; if you are thinking of going, you might want to note the following warning to potential attendees on the event page:


Although the Poe House and Museum is taking every precaution possible, and will have a nurse stationed in the Hall at all times, for the physical and mental safety of the audience we are requesting the audience to remain seated and quiet while the paranormal experiments are being performed.
We require audience members who might experience a paranormal episode during these experiments to refrain from attempting to leave the Hall during the darkness. We strongly suggest that those patrons who suffer from heart conditions think twice about attending.
Edgar Allan Poe, scaring people to death, even more than 160 years after his own.

The sky is awesome; therefore, God.

A tweet from a twit:
I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the sky, and say there is no God.
And I can't conceive of how anyone would think that the mere fact that the sky is awesome is evidence of God.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

1 today + 1 tomorrow = 1 day

Maybe someone with a background in physics or higher level mathematics can explain this ad to me because I cannot figure it out:

Maybe it's just that the ad writer thinks that 22 hours is a day?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Silly support for NFL Ravens

On Monday, January 9, The Baltimore Sun published several letters written by fans to NFL Ravens players as the team prepares for the playoff game on Sunday. The Sun didn't say what criteria, if any, it had used in selecting the 14 letters it published out of the "about 100 received" at the time the article about the letters was written.

One letter struck me as very silly.

No, not the letter with the photo of the bunny wearing a tiny Raven's shirt. I thought that was pretty adorable and sure to encourage any Ravens player.

The silly letter was the one that said, "Do your best and God will do the rest," meaning, I'm guessing, that the writer thinks a mythological magical being with awesome superpowers who seems to have a fixation with sports, allegedly intervening during sports events and dictating the outcome of games, is going to help the Ravens in "the year of divine order." The letter advises, "Pray often." Stroking the bunny's chin is more likely to have an effect on the outcome of the game than praying to a made-up being. At least the bunny is real.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Oh noes, digestive woes woo!

This info, which I'm finding it hard to, um, digest, came from a local blog via Twitter:
Digestive Woes
11 January
Wednesday, January 11, 3:30 pm
9338 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD, FREE
Suffering from acid reflux? Indigestion? Gas & bloating?
Please join us at Ellicott City Pharmacy on January 11th from 3:30-5 pm for a free class on Natural Relief for Common Digestive Woes. Nutritionist and herbalist, Margo Gladding, will teach you how to get to the root cause(s) of your digestive distress. She will cover the health benefits of cleansing and detoxification, provide you with natural remedies that can optimize digestion, as well as present an overview of which foods to eat and which foods to avoid to help you feel your best. The class is open to 20 people. Please call the pharmacy 410-750-1951 or email to reserve your space. - Ellicott City Pharmacy - 9338 Baltimore National Pike, Unit # 11, Ellicott City Pharmacy, MD 21042.
Gladding's going to talk about the health benefits of cleansing and detoxification? Well, that should be a quick segment. How long does it take to say, "None"?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Not-so-psychic psychic spam

I really don't understand why none of the psychics who spam me can't foresee that the only thing I'm going to do with their spam is make fun of it.
Actually, I do understand. *smirk*