Sorry - I couldn't find who drew this.
I was so distressed by this news from the Australian Vaccination-[Liars'R'Us] Network that I had to make a quick trip to the pharmacist for a Ventolin puffer in case laughter triggered an asthma attack. I haven't laughed so much since I heard that Mr William P O'Neill had done the world a favour by dying. (Meryl Dorey once allowed Mr O'Neill to tell lies about me on a forum she controlled and one of her best friends promulgated a piece of his fiction, so there is a connection.)
Speaking of which ... (3/4/2021)
Every year at this time I like to remember this wonderful piece of news.
And one last thing ... (4/5/2013)
I hoped it wasn't someone playing a cruel April Fool's joke when I saw this news in the Ottawa Citizen on April 1.
Yes, folks, the beloved William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group and its descendants has gone to the great cesspit in the sky, taking the Gutless Anonymous Liar with him. Sadly, he died quickly and not of cancer. I posted a message to his memorial guest book, but unfortunately some technical glitch prevented it from being published.
I will maintain my own memorial to him here by archiving his correspondence with me and also the wonderful messages he sent wearing his Gutless Anonymous Liar mask. It would be a tragedy for this valuable collection of literature to disappear.
A movie (4/3/2021)
It's a weekend of public holidays, COVID lockdowns and extensive traffic jams around my place right now, so if you are home, trapped by the road carnage and looking for something to do you could do a lot worse than watch this movie. Highly recommended!
Hello there. (3/4/2021)
I'll bet you didn't know this, but now you have been warned.
As a writer, I'm extremely envious of anyone who can make up stuff like this. I wonder what they would make of the Up Helly Aa festival in Shetland, but I suppose they would misconstrue the carrying of flaming torches and wonder where the pitchforks were.
Not mad, just bad and deceitful (3/4/2021)
I occasionally get asked why I call anti-vaccination liars "liars" and I always respond "Because they tell lies". The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines has given these creatures many new opportunities to practise the art of lying, but sometimes the lies are so transparent that sane people have to wonder if the liars have actually given up and are just going through the motions. Consider this, which is supposed to be a statement by the insurance company Allianz:
Stretching the bounds of generosity almost to their limits it could possibly be agued that the nonsense ringed in blue is not supposed to be actually part of the Allianz document but simply an explanation of the meaning of "caused by accident" in the policy glossary. I mean, even someone with the intelligence of a nematode can see that it's not using the same typeface, and the random inclusion of ALL CAPS is a very strong indicator of kookiness. This doesn't mean that people won't be deceived, of course, because they will not think beyond the source of the "document" as presented to them.
As similar and much more credible effort has been to produce a letter supposedly from health insurer Bupa saying that they do not cover bad reactions to COVID vaccines.
And here is Bupa's response.
Note that Bupa do not deny that the letter might have come from their UK office, but the lie was being told in Australia. I somehow doubt that the UK is so different that it could be true, but I've never met an insurance company that didn't want an excuse to avoid paying claims. Doubt benefit is being given, however.
Something new that's actually something old
I've written a lot of short articles and news items here over the last two decades. Each week a couple of these pieces will be randomly selected and displayed at the bottom of the week's update. They might not always still be relevant, but that's the way history works. Because I was exposed to nonsense from both religious people and atheists over Easter I decided to retain the otherwise ephemeral historical reminders for April 3, 2021.
Some random pieces of history
Religious madness (21/2/2004)
There was a story in my weekend paper about a group of religious believers who spend much of their time harassing people going in to certain shops. A quote from one of these people caught my eye and would have amazed me had I been the sort of person who thinks that there are limits to religious hypocrisy. The person was asked if he ever saw anyone from another religion working his territory and he said "I see missionaries once in a while. They always like to talk. They figure we're doing the same thing as they are. They ask you to read passages from the New Testament. You just ignore them. You can't chat with someone who's brainwashed". I will repeat that last sentence just in case you missed it. "You can't chat with someone who's brainwashed". This was said by a person who literally wears two hats at the same time because his religion tells him to. This is a man who approaches strangers in the street, asks them if they belong to a certain religious group, and if they say "Yes" he tries to force them to put on a fancy dress costume because his religion tells him to. This is a man who will not touch his wife in any way, not even just at the finger tips, from the moment she starts menstruating until she has undertaken a ritual cleansing seven days after her period has finished because his religion tells him that she is unclean. This is a man who allows his religion to tell him how he must be clothed on those few days when he is allowed to make love to his wife. This is a man who says that the only education required beyond high school (and maybe not even that far) is to read religious texts. And this is a man who has the effrontery and arrogance to say that other people are brainwashed. Breathtaking hypocrisy.
See everything that appeared in 2004 here.
Does atheism imply asense? (22/11/2014)
Before I go on, I need to make something clear. I am an atheist but that is not all of who I am. It just happens to be a part of me. Also it simply means that I live my life without a personal god, not that I'm totally opposed to all forms of religion or that I see atheism as something which needs to be necessarily proselytised at every opportunity. I object, as do most sensible people, to the excesses of religion or when religious beliefs and practices harm people, including members of the religious groups themselves of course.
I participate in several atheist forums online, mainly because I often see things there which are interesting. What I also see are statements which make no sense at all and make the writers appear to be bigots or fools.
As examples, over the last few weeks I have seen people complain about how offended they are when someone says "Bless you" when someone sneezes, whining about the BBC using a rerecording of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" in an advertisement (if they had listened to the words they would know it is a cultural cliché and has nothing to do with religion), someone objecting to the fact that there is a Bible in a public school library (as the Bible is a fundamental part of the canon of English literature it should be in every educational library - what it teaches is irrelevant, what matters is the language that it is written in), and the latest is someone who is no longer going to let his children to listen to the Wiggles because they sing a song called "Uncle Noah". That's the long-running and internationally popular Wiggles children's entertainment group who appear on stage with a yellow spotted dinosaur, a huge dog, a purple octopus who wears a straw boater hat and a kilt, and a pirate with a feather for a sword. All of these were apparently acceptable to this parent before but his antireligious bigotry says that if they are going to sing songs about a fictional person called Noah then the show is unsuitable for his children.
A constant obsession with fundamentalist atheists is the existence of Jesus, and these people apparently believe that the entire edifice of religion rests on the existence of Jesus and if he didn't exist then all the following two millennia of belief and teachings can be disregarded. To people who might not be believers but who like better arguments against religion it's a diversion. We only know of Socrates through the writings of a few others, and there is even a school of thought that says he was invented by Plato to provide a vessel for conveying Plato's thoughts and methods of philosophical investigation. People who say that the teachings attributed to Jesus have to be rejected unless there is proof of a real historical person must apply the same principles to the teachings of Socrates.
Plato (and even Socrates) would understand this.
There are real battles to be fought against religion, but behaving like childish, obsessed, and virtually illiterate fools just provides ammunition to the other side. How can anyone be taken seriously when criticising people like Ken Ham or Ray Comfort if they make the same sort of idiotic and uninformed statements themselves?
As if that isn't enough silliness, I was notified today of a Kickstarter campaign to produce an atheist children's book. The promotion of this fundraiser says the following:
Like many of you, we grew up on fairy tales, fantasy stories and religion. But there really isn't anything out there for nonbelievers to share with their children. The books that are out there are boring. They aren't the sort of thing a child would ask to be read every night.
Children love fantasy, and they are quite capable of distinguishing fantasy from reality. Perhaps the author of this book thinks there is something bad about Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings, books by A. A. Milne and Lewis Carroll, or any other of the almost countless books that children have been reading and enjoying since printing was invented. But that's what happens when you see the world through glasses distorted by ideology.
See everything that appeared in 2014 here.
A bit of prehistory history (10/4/2021)
Back in October 2019 I mentioned that an egregious quack named Barbara O'Neill (that name - a coincidence?) had been stomped on from a great height by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission and could no longer be a professional naturopath. The outfit she worked for, Misty Mountain Health Retreat, nominally owned by her husband, had been a registered charity at one time with all that implies about tax fraud, sorry, avoidance, sorry, minimisation. I was reminded this week that two years before the HCCC had acted the relevant authorities had cancelled the charitable status. No more tax deductions for "donations", no more spurious claims of being a non-profit organisation working "to promote the prevention or control of diseases in human beings". You can read the ruling here.
Happy Birthday, Sam (10/4/2021)
Samuel Hahnemann, the inventor of homeopathy, was born on April 10, 1755, so it is only fitting that we should commemorate the date by looking at some of the things that he had to say about how healing is accomplished and wellness maintained.
Seeing as how I'm being all historical today, here's an extract from something I wrote a decade ago in 2011.
I must be told on a weekly basis that real doctors treat only symptoms, unlike alternative, holistic medicine men who treat the underlying causes of disease and therefore provide cures. (Strangely, I have also been told that there can be no disease or illness in the absence of symptoms, and when I mention four occasionally asymptomatic medical conditions that are close to me (type 2 diabetes, multiple myeloma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma) I usually get a response which consists of a pause followed by a repetition of the "fact" that symptoms tell the story.)
In the real world we know that doctors do address the underlying cause of medical conditions and only treat symptoms in the case of self-limiting complaints (antipyretics for the fever associated with colds and flu, ...) or to reduce distress (painkillers, salves and creams for rashes, ...). Treating the symptoms is just the first step before getting on with the real job of fixing the problem.
The form of quackery which is usually offered as the best example of treating the underlying condition rather than just the symptoms is homeopathy. When it is pointed out that symptom treatment is all that there is to homeopathy believers divert to rants about memory of water and Brian Josephson's Nobel Prize (for Physics in 1973, and I don't know what "theoretical predictions of the properties of a supercurrent through a tunnel barrier" have to do with medicine) and how the word "allopath" means real, bad doctor. They do not like it being pointed out that according to the inventor of the term "allopath" it means people who practise medicine according to the theory of four humours and, coincidentally, everyone who is not a homeopath. Do chiropractors, acupuncturists and naturopaths include themselves in the set of "allopaths"? They should. Here is what Samuel Hahnemann, the inventor of both the term "allopath" and the "science" of homeopathy had to say:
Medicine as commonly practised (allopathy) knows no treatment except to draw from diseases the injurious materials which are assumed to be their cause. The blood of the patient is made to flow mercilessly by bleedings, leeches, cuppings, scarifications, to diminish an assumed plethora which never exists as in well women a few days before their menses, an accumulation of blood the loss of which is of no appreciable consequence, while the loss of blood with merely assumed plethora destroys life. Medicine as commonly practised seeks to evacuate the contents of the stomach and sweep the intestines clear of the materials assumed to originate diseases.
So the inventor of homeopathy was against purging, cupping and other such practices (all long abandoned by real medicine) but this was because he held the philosophical position that nothing should be done to treat any underlying condition. Here is what you see on the first page of Hahnemann's masterpiece, The Organon of Medical Arts (and not just anywhere on the first page - it is in the first two paragraphs):
The physician's high and only mission is to restore the sick to health, to cure, as it is termed.
His mission is not, however, to construct so-called systems, by interweaving empty speculations and hypotheses concerning the internal essential nature of the vital processes and the mode in which diseases originate in the interior of the organism, (whereon so many physicians have hitherto ambitiously wasted their talents and their time); nor is it to attempt to give countless explanations regarding the phenomena in diseases and their proximate cause (which must ever remain concealed), wrapped in unintelligible words and an inflated abstract mode of expression, which should sound very learned in order to astonish the ignorant - whilst sick humanity sighs in vain for aid. Of such learned reveries (to which the name of theoretic medicine is given, and for which special professorships are instituted) we have had quite enough, and it is now high time that all who call themselves physicians should at length cease to deceive suffering mankind with mere talk, and begin now, instead, for once to act, that is, really to help and to cure.
So according to the inventor of homeopathy, no attempt should ever be made to do anything about any disease other than to treat the symptoms. Remember that the next time someone says that real doctors only treat symptoms. And remember that when someone calls real doctors "allopaths" in order to denigrate them that the only people practising allopathy today are the ones doing cupping, colonic irrigation, detoxification and other standards of the art of quackery.
Here are some other wonderful "truths" from Hahnemann's writing:
I spent some years at university studying linguistics and this appears to be written in a language that had its origins among people who live on deserts made up of small interlocking stones. The word for such deserts in the relevant indigenous Australian dialect is "gibber", and Hahnemann's work certainly looks a lot like Gibberish.
(Thanks go to Professor Edzard Ernst for reminding me of the birthday and providing the list above. I had forgotten to put the date in my diary.)
The plot thickens and other clichés (10/4/2010)
I was wondering when Morgellons could be drawn into the COVID conspiracies, now we find that there are threads in the masks. Who could ever have predicted this?
Holy holidays, Batman! (10/4/2021)
Speaking of clichés, the media have been reminding me that we are soon to enter "the holy month of Ramadan". I must check with my journalists' union to see if this form of words is mandatory, because I never see references to "the holy week of Passover", "the holy twelve days of Christmas", "the holy weekend of Easter" or "the holy smoke of Rastafarianism".
I like to celebrate Ramadan by having a ham sandwich every day for lunch, eaten of course during daylight hours. This year I am adding to the celebration by allowing my two daughters to dress however they like, associate with whoever pleases them, manage their own private and romantic lives, drive cars, eat what they want and vote in the elections coming later this year. My grandson will not attend a madrass during the holy month and nobody will attach explosives to him or teach him to hate anyone. After the holy month things will return to normal.
Obtained via umpteen iterations of copying so it's impossible to read where to find the artist. Sorry.
Brief one, because I'm all vaxxed up (17/4/2021)
I had my first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine yesterday and apparently these are the top side effects reported in the clinical trials:
That's three ticks from me, so I'm having a day of rest instead of doing lots of updating here. As the top side effect of a COVID-19 infection is being dead I'm prepared to put up with the inconvenience of the shot.
Liars gotta lie.
Sometimes, however, the lies are so transparent that you wonder how anyone could believe them. After I had my shot yesterday I found the object below on the floor of my car. It is obviously a 5G nanochip antenna that possibly fell out of the injection wound on my left arm.
And how do I know it's a 5G nanochip with an antenna on the end? Because someone posted a picture of one of these things to Facebook a couple of weeks ago (his was swimming in liquid) and said that it had been extracted from the vaccine in a syringe. The doctor who administered my shot yesterday used a syringe with a needle much too thin to transmit one of these, but he probably knew that I already had five of these tracking devices installed in my car by the man at the tyre shop who moved my tyres onto the new alloy wheels I bought a few weeks ago. Now that Bill Gates knows where I take my car perhaps he can help me solve the problem I have with Windows 10 Updates not installing properly.
Sane people ask "How can anyone believe this sort of rubbish?". I don't know the answer to that. Maybe there isn't an answer.
But what if … (17/4/2021)
… I'd been given the RastaZeneca vaccine instead. Would that mean I could listen to reggae music through my 5G implants? I know what would have been recommended to ease any pain at the injection site, and it wouldn't have been paracetamol.
Artist: MaDonna. Thank you.
Health food tip of the week (17/4/2021)
What more needs to be said?