Absence note from Mum (3/10.2020)
I'll be away from here next weekend doing my other hobby, standing in forests taking photos of rally cars. There haven't been many events this year because of the COVID-19 epidemic and this one is based in my town, so I had better be there. The local paper will expect a story and pictures and the deadline for the week's edition is Monday, so I'll be busy from when the cars start arriving on Friday until I can hit the "Send" button for the story, and I also have to update my rally web site. See you all in two weeks.
Here is what some of the roads look like. Good times ahead.
Pandering to food faddists! (3/10/2020
I was reminded of this joke when I saw that a well-known brand of vegetable oil based margarine now comes in a "Dairy Free" version (almost inevitably at a higher price). I checked the ingredients in my tub of table spread and the only way anything cow-like could have come near it would have been if the cow knocked down a fence and got into a canola field to chow down on the pretty yellow flowers.
At least no whales were boiled down to make it.
(Please note that I would have no problem if they had simply announced that the existing product was now free of any dairy content, but the company introduced another line at a different price.)
The madness not only continues, it escalates (3/10/2020)
Back in September I updated the continuing saga of überarchkook Solihin Millin and how he had been joined by another refugee from the asylum, Brian Shaw, in a continued legal attack on the instruments of government in Australia. Brian has taken it a step further and has issued paper accusing the police in the state of Victoria of doing dreadfulness.
A few points:
I look forward to this major development in Australia's jurisprudence, although I would hope that we don't return to the days when men convicted of treason were hung, drawn and quartered and women were burnt at the stake. Surely being forced to discuss the law with Sol Millin and Brian Shaw would be a sufficiently horrible punishment.
By the way, if you believe Wikipedia nobody has ever been convicted of the crime of treason in Australia. Some have been charged (for example the "Sydney Twelve") but the charges were later changed to other offences.
The Bus of Pestilence approaches (3/10/2020)
Now that COVID-19 restrictions on travel between states are being relaxed, plans are afoot to bring the Vaxxed II bus on a tour of my state, New South Wales. Locations have been announced where the bus will appear across the state, although unfortunately none of the places are near enough to me for me to either turn up and make a nuisance of myself or to campaign to keep the bus away. (The Council in the Local Government Area adjoining my local Council area has already announced that the bus is not welcome and will be refused entry to any Council owned or operated facilities,)
Of course a campaign like this needs lots of people to work on it to make it successful, and Meryl Dorey, occasional President of the Australian Vaccination-(we can't stop lying) Network is calling for volunteers. They have to be volunteers, of course, because there is no money left over after buying and painting the bus to pay people to sit there all day and tell lies. I was offered the opportunity to volunteer, but the locations listed so far are a very long way from where I live.
In accordance with the request at the bottom of the message, I am forwarding this to you all privatly (sic). Don't spread the word around unless it's to people you know or who might be interested. If you live in or near Grafton, Coffs Harbour or Port Macquarie you can privatly (sic) share it with your local Councils.
Confusion and chaos reign (24/10/2020)
I was supposed to be here last week but I wasn't. I came back from the rally on October 10 with 2,400 photos and I had to make some in-car videos of the roads used but an application of Murphy's Law to the battery in my action camera, a tyre that had all its air fall out while recording one video, plus a compulsory family birthday party meant that time evaporated. I had to update two web sites and write a story for the local paper so I've been as busy as a one-legged arse kicker (or one-armed wallpaper hanger if you prefer). You can go here to see some evidence of where I've been. I don't just do this web site. I'm a multifaceted eclectic polymath. Or just someone who retired from work and wonders how I ever had time for a job.
This weekend I was probably supposed to be at the Australian Skeptics annual convention but I'm not so I'm here, and I was supposed to be at another rally 500 kilometres from home next weekend but I won't be so I'll be here again. Then I'll be 600 kilometres from home in the opposite direction at another rally the weekend after that and not here. When I had a real job I used to sell and support time management software. Now I write my diary entries in pencil and keep an eraser handy. (To avoid confusing non-Australians I didn't say "keep a rubber handy".)
This week will be a bit like a wedding – something old, something new and something borrowed. Nothing blue, because this is a family web site and I don't work blue.
Sadness abounds (24/10/2020)
My skeptic world went into meltdown this week at news of the death of James Randi. Randi was one of the founding members of what could be called organised skepticism and was a massive influence and role model for freethinkers everywhere. I met him on four occasions – at the 2000 World Skeptics Convention, in 2004 when I was honoured to be a speaker at The Amaz!ing Meeting in Las Vegas, in 2010 at TAMOz in Sydney and in 2014 when he toured Australia with the film "An Honest Liar". (I interviewed him for Australasian Science magazine.)
Facebook filled up with people's photos of themselves with Randi, so I might as well continue the tradition.
TAM2 in Las Vegas, 2004
At TAMOz in Sydney, 2010
I'd had lunch with him earlier that day but I wanted to talk to him after the film. I managed to be the last person in the line and our conversation was conducted with my brain telling me that it was almost midnight and the last train out to Boondocksville left at 00:18 and if I missed it I'd have to sleep on Central Station. I made the train with a couple of minutes to spare.
I suppose nobody should be too surprised when a 92 year old man who had survived at least one serious heart attack dies, but lack of surprise doesn't mean lack of grief. He was a small man in size but he has left an enormous hole in our lives and in the world of skeptical thinking.
Creative writing (24/10/2020)
I've written a lot of stuff over the years – hundreds of pieces about science for various publications, articles about motor sport way back then and again now, a plethora of things for this site and some blogs, articles relevant to business and IT practices for newspapers, a best-selling book about the Internet, … What all these things have in common is that they are non-fiction. Apart from the humourous little snippets I wrote for Quintessence of the Loon and the novel I've been trying to write for about five years I seem to have trouble making things up. This failing severely limits my ability to ever get a job doing PR work for the anti-science and anti-medicine community (my conscience prevents me from ever looking for work there, of course).
I've come across a couple of examples where imagination has been let run free, and I have to admit that I'm somewhat envious of the creativity.
I suppose attributing a change in mobile phone technology to Satan makes a change from saying it's all a plot by Bill Gates to microchip us all with the COVID-19 virus, but even all those years I spent studying psychology didn't prepare me for something as good as this. I'm going to get in first, though, and say that when 6G telephony comes along it will bring out the fact that the word "hexagon" is an obvious reference to how witches are going to put spells on us ("hex") to make us disappear ("gon" is a short form of "gone"). Oh, wow – it looks like I can make stuff up after all. I'll have to get that novel up into Word and get cracking on it again.
I'm actually not surprised at this because Jon Rappaport has been writing amusing fiction for many years. And by "amusing fiction" I mean "lies". Still, it takes skill to so comprehensively misrepresent reality as if it the truth is being told. Of course, if you believe that it's possible to live outside reality then anything else is possible. (He seems to think that the film "The Matrix" is a documentary.) Would you be surprised to find out that he's an AIDS denier? No, me neither.
Let's look at the evidence (31/10/2020)
I've had things to say in the past about the execrable anti-vaccination liar* "Dr" Sherri Tenpenny. This image sums it up.
* Yes, I know all anti-vaccination liars are execrable. I apologise for the tautology.
Paleo Pete's perennial performance (31/10/2020)
Some awards were announced at the 2020 Australian Skeptics convention. Congratulations go to Mandy-Lee Noble (Skeptic of the Year), Dr Norman Swan and the ABC radio program Science Friction (Barry Williams Award for Skeptical Journalism) and Dr Vyom Sharma (Thornett Award for the Promotion of Reason). A report on the awards can be seen here.
But there was another award – the Bent Spoon, awarded (almost) annually, is given to the proponent of the most preposterous piece of pseudoscientific or paranormal piffle of the year. To continue the alliteration, it went for the second time to Paleo Pete Evans, the first person to receive it twice since the award was first given. (Mr Evans won it in 2015 for his work endangering babies with bad diet advice,)
Then the fun started. One thing I've noticed over the years is that the believers in magic "medicine" have absolutely no sense of humour or irony, and reminiscent of Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination-[this week's lie] Network who was proud to receive the Bent Spoon in 2009, Mr Evans announced how honoured he was to have his achievements recognised. His fans then piled on with congratulations, all missing the point by so far that they would have been over the horizon (unless they also believe in a flat Earth, which is quite possible).
It makes the Bent Spoon award many times more enjoyable when the recipients take it seriously so I will add my congratulations to those coming from Mr Evans' fans. We need a good laugh in this terrible year and he has provided a welcome respite from the horrors of bush fires, floods and a disease pandemic. Thanks, Pete.
Problems for the Pox, Pestilence and Plague Bus (31/10/2020)
The Vaxxed II bus finally started its New South Wales tour, giving parents the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their contempt for their children by pointing to them and saying they are damaged and a disappointment. Most of us would not do that to our kids, but most of us aren't anti-vaccination liars. Horror stories of vaccine damage are being collected and videos made of the folks claiming to have been affected.
The best part, however, has been the reaction of local government bodies. Newcastle City Council refused to allow the bus to be parked on any council property, and when it managed to find a spot near a beach Council rangers made it move every hour (and even issued some fines for illegal parking). It finally ended up on a privately owned block of land which was nowhere near where anybody might go, so the damage was minimised. Blue Mountains Council reiterated its ban on the use of council facilities, but we will have to wait until early December to see if the bus turns up at Katoomba. As this seems to be the closest it might get to my place, I might just have to drive down the mountain and make a nuisance of myself if the need arises.
Sydney City Council passed a unanimous resolution saying that the bus could stay well away, and this prompted the following open letter from Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination-[Truth? What's truth?] Network. As is tradition, I have applied the Yellow Marker of Lying to the parts of it which depart somewhat from the truth.
This letter has been sent to all members of the Sydney City Council.
Open letter to Sydney City Councillors
RE: Decision to ban the Vaxxed Bus
On Monday the 26th of October the Sydney City Council unanimously passed a motion that purported to ban a bus tour by the "Anti-Vaccination-Risks Network". The motion was brought forward by Councillor Linda Scott. The team at the Australian Vaccination-risks Network were very surprised by this action. Our organisation was not contacted in any way by the Sydney City council and we were shocked that such a large professional council were so inept that they didn't even have the correct name of our organisation on the motion listed in the agenda.
Had the council contacted us they would have been made aware that the purpose of the bus tour is to document the stories of those families whose lives have been impacted by vaccine injury or death. The motion that was voted on did not mention the nature of the bus tour that is being undertaken, nor did the seven-minute discussion of the motion.
Sydney City Council prides itself on being an inclusive city. It is now obvious that the honour of inclusivity is only for those residents who don't talk about vaccine injury. It is a disgrace that councillors who claim to want equality and freedom put limits on those values when it comes to those who have been injured by a medical procedure.
We wonder what research and simple due diligence Councillor Scott undertook prior to introducing the motion if she was unaware of even the most basic facts? Councillor Scott's claims that the AVN is a conspiracy theorist network could be viewed as defamatory, malicious and potentially libellous. There is no basis in law to block the free movement of any person, simply on the grounds of personal belief and the reasons provided for these beliefs are unsubstantiated. This motion is clearly a bullying tactic aimed to censor the voices of the most marginalised members of society.
We would like to reiterate what the bus tour is about. We are here to listen to families and hear their stories and let their voices be heard. This is what that the council and government at all levels should be doing. The documentary that this bus represents is equal in this content and intent. It saddens us that we even have to do the work of supporting these families. If only Ms Scott and her colleagues could step up and provide the much-needed support to their constituents and community. It is a sad inditement on our society that this bus is even necessary. We will keep doing this much needed work until families are given the support and acknowledgment that they deserve.
Councillor Scott's privilege is that she can discuss her perspective, unchallenged and then use her position in Council as a means to shut down discussion of injuries sustained from vaccines, which is clearly discriminatory. We would like to point out that Councillors are not protected from liability.
The AVN was denied the right to representation at the council meeting. To rectify this, we would like to invite the Sydney City Council to hold a public debate on the issue of vaccination. The Council seems to truly feel that the scientific evidence proving vaccination safety and efficacy is overwhelming. We would welcome the opportunity for them to present their case in a public forum. Our representatives are more than happy to present the scientific information that we feel is very important for the public to be made aware of.
As the council has acknowledged, the vaccine choice movement is growing rapidly. We cannot imagine why such a debate would be declined in light of the views held by the Sydney City Council. A debate should be seen as the perfect opportunity to prove the Council's claims once and for all, in the name of pure scientific enquiry and in the real public interest. Failure to accept this opportunity will be seen as an inability to meet this challenge.
One of Ms Dorey's perennial tactics is to offer to debate people over the safety and efficacy of vaccines. When anyone is foolish or misinformed enough to attempt to do this they soon find out that she is not interested in any debate at all and will just stand there and tell lies. An example of this happened at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2011, where she came to a "debate" with a PowerPoint slideshow indicating that she had no intention of responding to what an expert had to say or even listening to it. I had warned the other speaker beforehand but he still expected that the normal rules of civilised debate would apply.
Predictably, Ms Dorey had a public whinge and meltdown about the horror of all this. If you have a spare 23 minutes and 40 seconds you might like to waste it listening to her raving about a "Hill to die on". I'm all in favour of anti-vaccination liars dying out. I just wish they'd get on with it. This is not a death threat!
The slider has been marked yellow for obvious reasons.
My friend Paul Gallagher had a lot more to say about this that I have time for, so you should go here and read his thoughts. It will be time much better spent than listening to Ms Dorey complaining about her disagreement with reality and truth.
The news isn't all bad (31/10/2020)
I'll just leave this here.
Quintessence Nook (31/10/2020)
I'm sorry, but I'm a bit late this month with the looking back 20 years to see what was happening in Quintessence of the Loon in October, 2000, but that just reflects how we all felt in that month once the excitement of the Sydney Olympic Games had dissipated. Nobody quite knew what to do with themselves and we spent most of the month reminiscing about how it felt to drive around Sydney with almost no traffic (it was even sometimes possible to get cars out of first gear during the Games period, and there were rumours of drivers actually reaching the posted speed limits). Conversation at social events returned to discussion of house prices, and we eventually all remembered what we did for a living and how to get to work. (Of course, in these COVID-19 times when everyone is working from home we are facing another future when nobody remembers how to get to the office.)
October 2000 saw QotL paying attention to alternatives to medicine, many (most?) of which are not only still with us but are clogging social media outlets even as we type.
The Paleolithic Diet Page
There are diets and there are diets. Here is a place where you can find out how to eat like a wombat, an Australian marsupial which is legendary in the dieting business because of the way it eats roots and leaves. You have to be very careful, because I have found out that sometimes you can be tricked into eating things that are actually neolithic, not really paleolithic. How gross!
(Relevant to Paleo Pete above!)
I was down at the reikist the other day having my chakras attuned when the conversation turned to a paradox in the balance of energy flow of the universe. Here I was getting things aligned and harmonised, but I was probably only replacing the lost energy and karma which my car had used to get me to the attunatorium. I still had to drive back home, and things could get even worse if I got stuck in front of a road rager at the lights or behind a Volvo anywhere. It all seemed so wasteful and useless, and we decided to worry about it later. Actually, we did a bit more attuning and decided not to worry about it at all. Then I found this site, and my problems are solved. Now I can get attuned distantly. I am a bit worried that the clairvoyants have suggested that distant reiki might not have all the vibrations, but I am sure the wrinkles can be ironed out.
Unfortunately it appears that this site has suffered from frequency drift and I can't tune to it any more. I'm surprised that the clairvoyants there didn't predict this problem.
Dr Bruce Goldberg – The Hypnotist
Dr Bruce used to be a dentist, but he got tired of flossing the fangs, mercurising the molars, drilling the dentine and excising the incisors so he took the obvious next step for a dentist and became a hypnotist. You might not think that there's a connection between hypnotherapy and dentistry, but the link is plain. A hypnotist looks closely into your eyes, tells you to relax and be still, and then makes your spirit float around and go somewhere else. A dentist looks closely into your eyes, tells you to relax and be still, and then talks to the nurse about his BMW as if you are somewhere else. Dr Bruce is a very good hypnotist, too, because not only can he heal things but he can make you live forever. He can see into the future and even send you there. He must have confidence in his healing powers, because his patients would be mightily annoyed if he future progressed them and they found out that they weren't going to get well.
The Herb Farm – Equine Iridology
I have spent a lot of time around racehorses. They are are delicate animals, so delicate in fact that the merest hint of the weight of my money on their backs can cause them to run slower than usual. Like most gamblers, sorry, track investors, I like to go down to the saddling enclosure to check out the withers, hocks, fetlocks, gaskins and croups, and after I have inspected the jockeys I look at the horses. I must admit that I have never paid much attention to horses' eyes, except for those times when one of the animals gives me one of those superior, baleful looks to remind me that when I am walking home because I don't have bus fare, he will be riding in an air-conditioned van. Not to mention how each of us are going to spend our retirement years. Things are going to be different now that I have found this site, because I will be able to look into a horse's eyes and see the true condition of his crest, poll, chestnuts, dock, sheath, ergots, stifles and coronets. Then I'll be the one smiling when the winnings are handed out.
Gone, in the same way that my money disappears at the track.
Parasites Within You
There used to be a saying "You are what you eat". Here's living proof that if you are not careful, you are what is eaten. You know how head scratching is contagious, and your scalp gets itchy just hearing about a lice outbreak at the kids' school? Well, this site will make you itchy on the inside. Just think, as you lie there in bed tonight and you feel your legs twitch a little before you go to sleep, that it might not be just some nerves firing off at random but a host of small animals relocating themselves within your body. That gurgle noise you hear from your stomach when it's dinner time is really crowd noise as creatures gather for the feast. I will have to stop now, this is making my skin crawl. At least, I think it's my skin that's doing the crawling.
This site won Loon of the Month. The citation read:
|Loon of the Month|
|With such quality, it was always going to be difficult to choose a Loon of the Month from among these fine curers of all that ails us. As the month progressed I kept thinking about it. I was attuned early on, but the brain transplanters made me change my mind. I looked into the future and thought I could see the answer in a horse's eye, but after I chewed it over I got some relief from the urine therapists. I decided I had seen the light and then the herbal sensations people made it all too hard again. Finally, I had to go with the parasites. The idea just kept gnawing at my brain until I gave in.|
Gone down the gurgler. And I don't mean whatever makes your stomach gurgle.