This Is Why Pseudo-Scientific Crap Isn’t Harmless

http://www.ktvq.com/Global/story.asp?S=2748281

I am–if not tolerant of pseudo-science, at least I don’t go after it too much. Sure, I gripe at my mother for using homeopathic crap,* and I yell at the TV like nobody’s business, and whenever somebody comes up with “Oooo! Look! A new mammal!” on various forums, I’m generally in the dog-with-mange camp, and if my chiropractor ever suggests that he’s anything but a glorified back popper, I’ll be out of there like a bat on speed. But in the grand scheme of things, this does not even move the radar. I am not fighting the good fight, I am, at best, grumbling at the enemy from the safety of my armchair. I do not go on and on about the horrors of pseudo-science–bar creationism–because I am just not terribly strident, and much too often I allow myself to lapse into if-people-want-to-believe-sloppy-thinking-it’s-their-business.

Which is itself sloppy thinking, and I ought to be ashamed. Because if we want examples of pseudo-science screwing people out of money, I can come up with dozens off the top of my head, and for killing people, we hardly have to dig. And nobody sits around saying “Well, if people want to kill their children, it’s their business.” Well, nobody decent, anyway.

This jackass sent tens of thousands of already traumatized people into panicked flight for the hills because he believes in mystic waves in the ether. Roads were blocked. Food and supplies couldn’t get through. People who have, by any measure, suffered far, far more than enough suffered even MORE. Undoubtedly people died as a result of this, either from fleeing or from the supplies being unable to get through.

Because one idiot never learned critical thinking and found a way to make money by claiming there are waaaaves in the ether.

Reading Richard Dawkins always makes me feel militant. Having examples like this fall from the sky makes me feel pissed. Screw it. No more sloppy thinking! I’m goin’ after the next bit of pseudoscience that gets in my way like a terrier on a rat, and if it makes me strident, well, life is tough all over.

*Longtime readers may recall that I tried this once. Having researched it, I’d be bloody impressed if even my okay results held up to a double-blind trial.

We….live….

Actually, not bad this time, no major crisis on our end, although our valiant cat-sitter found herself locked out after the landlady came in to open the pipes (to keep ’em from freezing) and locked the wrong lock behind her. But all’s well that ends well, the cat is fat, dumb and happy, we are laden with giftage (including Fiestaware! Uranium poisoning ho!) and all is right with my small corner of the cosmos.

And damn, it’s warm down here. 70 predicted on New Years? It barely cracked freezing in western PA, and you cannot heat that monsterous barn of a church on an artist’s budget, which means…well, ’twas chilly indeed.

And other than filling MORE print orders, and unpacking, and doing a truly heroic amount of laundry, I think I’m just gonna laze about until the New Year.

Off to the parental stronghold in the wilds of Pennsylvania! If I’m not back sometime next week, avenge my death.

P.S. I got my VERY OWN rubber chicken for Christmas. And James was given a small stuffed walrus and a container of honey mustard sauce, the symbolism of which should be obvious to all. We have cool friends.

Generally I am contemptuous of nativity scenes. Even without the religious overtones, I can only bear so much sentimentality, and even less shlock.

However, I may have to change my mind. Behold, the Chickenativity!

http://www.amerheritage.com/merchimages/christmas/Bigskycarvers/P1010013b.jpg
http://www.amerheritage.com/merchimages/christmas/Bigskycarvers/P1010050.jpg

The main site has a whole slew of other themes, including one charmer featuring baby Jesus as an infant hippo. http://www.amerheritage.com/salespages/bigsky/bigskycarver.htm

The real irony is that I don’t think there’s irony involved.

I don’t really believe in interrupting continuity on an epic comic (I mean, gag-a-day, fine, no problem) so this is just a quick Christmas doodle of Digger, Ed, and assorted cast members, on galleries rather than in the strip itself.

http://yerf.com/vernursu/ilikesocks.jpg

And Merry Christmas to all! Die Natalis Solis Invicti! Atheist-children-get-presents-day!

Y’all are cool, damnit.

It is entirely typical of my life that I spent a good chunk of the morning scouring the house looking for a rogue rubber chicken, while James questioned whether the rubber chicken had ever existed anywhere but in my fevered imagination.

“I know it exists!” I said indignantly. “I had it when I was out having coffee with Kathy, and she told me some tale of family tragedy, and I made the chicken look sad! You don’t forget a thing like that!”*

The errant chicken at last located, the last-minute print orders mailed, the last gifts sent out, I hereby declare myself On Holiday, and if anybody wants anything, it can wait until I get back.

Okay, except I have to get something for James, because in direct violation of the “No gifts for each other because we bought a tablet PC” directive, he got me something. AND WRAPPED IT. That bastard. He’s getting the best damn socks ever. (He loves socks. Minnesotans rapidly learn the lasting value of a good wool sock.)

*She thought it was funny, might I add. I’m not, y’know, a cruel person. Much.

There was definitely stuff I was supposed to be doing, but I wound up painting this instead. Having vowed that I had no time to work on any complex art, I was naturally immediately seized with the need to do some.

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/13440558/

It’s Kathy and Carlota’s fault. We were at the coffee shop, I was doodling on my tablet PC of doom, and…err…Kathy started it. (Okay, the hamster was mine. I will ‘fess up to the hamster.) It sort of started with the Skelt thing and then just kinda wandered into monsterville. Eighties hair band monsterville. I’m sure it was their fault. Definitely. No question. I’m not that weird.

Well, the triple espresso shot frappe couldn’t have helped.

And if I do the one with the yo-yos, that’s totally their fault, too.

‘Tis the Season

Well, having poked around a bit, and finally heard them recommended on NPR and by pagan groups who, like me, want to help out but feel a tad twitchy about overtly religious organizations, I made my charitable choice of the season and donated half a llama to a family in a developing country. (Because c’mon. Who doesn’t llove a llama?) If you’re looking for a charity, these guys have the enormously practical notion of getting livestock (and training in breeding and how to care for them) for people who need ’em.

I wish I could have afforded a whole water buffalo, but James has fond memories of llamas, so we went with that. You can buy shares of the animals if you can’t afford an entire goat, for example, and they do have a number of animals (including bees) that will not be primarily used for meat, for people who would prefer not to send an animal out to be eaten.

Kinda wish I’d have thought of this before this late a date, if I’d had enough forethought, I would have done a commission drive–I may still do that at some point, since they’re a year-round organization, and I think it’s an eminently practical approach to the whole issue. Worth checking out! (And next year, if they’re not careful, all those people I don’t know who to get gifts for may get a note saying that they bought someone an eighth of a goat…)

http://catalog.heifer.org/

Edit: It occurs to me–if anybody else has any good charities to suggest, shoot!

So does anybody know anything about this SheezyArt thing? I’ve poked at the site, and it just looks like a mini-DevArt. I’ve read two reports about it–one ban, one quit. Not a great track record. However, I’m always lookin’ to slap art somewhere…advertising, etc. Anybody have any experiences with ’em?