Norwegian reader Bjarte Foshaug gives us disheartening news. I had always thought of the Scandinavian countries as being generally more rational than most other parts of the world, but I must reconsider that view after learning this. Mr. Foshaug writes:
Words can not describe how much I appreciate what you are doing. Sorry if this has already been brought to your attention, but things don't look too good in Norway at the moment. I have often seen my own country hailed as a beacon of enlightenment. All I can now say is that if the situation is even worse everywhere else, we are all doomed...
Canadian television has inherited a quack-in-drag - Dr. Bill Nelson - who we thought was out of business, but it appears that he's still selling his $20,000 machines - see first this Swift article and then this one, then go to tinyurl.com/cosyhz to see the latest... Yes, that's the same Nelson in all these places...
If you've any doubt that religion is superstition, consider the current condition of the real-estate market, and what a certain portion of Americans are resorting to. They may believe that religious faith can move mountains, but can a small piece of cheap plastic move a house? Yes, a lot of people think so, provided that the plastic is a figurine of Saint Joseph. As of the beginning of 2009, shops that sell religious charms, books, and various holy chachkas, are reporting booming sales of tiny statuettes of Joseph - the actual father of Jesus Christ and the patron saint of home and house sellers - both to real estate agents and to homeowners.
The proprietor of a Saint Jude Shop in Pennsylvania happily announced:
We have over 5,000 items in our store, and you know what the No. 1 item is? The St. Joseph statue!
Note: this piece is a little dated, but rather than let it go to waste, I thought I post it. My apologies for the delay. - Jeff Wagg
Has the National Broadcasting Corporation decided to abandon any pretense of rationality and reality? Reader and colleague Margaret Downey tells us:
I just watched [December 5th] a "how to sell your house in today's bad economy" segment on NBC's Today Show (in the 8:00 AM hour). The segment featured their "Real Estate Expert" Barbara Corcoran. She was asked questions by host David Gregory after a short film that highlighted "creative" ways people are trying to sell their homes.
The film showed people doing some creative advertising (no problem with that) and a man who held a sign on a street corner telling people about the apartment he was selling in the city. The other people they showed in the film clip advocated smudging, Feng Shui, house blessings, and exorcism.
Randi comments: This "smudging" woo-woo is the nonsense of wafting smoke over yourself and/or your possessions in order to "purify" them. Duh.
In this episode, James Randi answers selected user comments, spends some time explaining why 3X and 6x preparations are not truly homeopathic, and explores an unsolicited "professional" horoscope reading he recently received via YouTube.
Randi points out some interesting discrepancies in the reading.