8.25.2015

everybody got a gris gris

Years ago, on Showtime's Penn & Teller Bullshit, Penn introduced me to the concept of a gris gris (pronounced gree gree). I'd never heard the term before. It refers to an idea that a person so wants to believe in that it may be next to impossible to get them to accept the idea is wrong. It was on the show demonstrating how recycling is bullshit that Penn talked about the gris gris and how everybody got one.

(Clarification 8/26/15: It was pointed out to me that a gris gris is a "talisman, a physical object." This is true, if a minor quibble. The definition I lay out in the previous paragraph was from my memory of the show I mention. I have re-watched the program and what Penn says is as follows:

"A gris gris is a voodoo amulet, something you carry or wear to bring good luck and ward off bad vibes. We have a saying around Bullshit: Everybody got a gris gris. What we mean by that is everyone believes in some crazy thing they just can't quite give up yet."

It appears my memory was pretty good.)

As you may be aware, Penn has lost a lot of weight in a very short time. 105 pounds in about three to four months, to be somewhat close to exact. He and his co-hosts of his podcast Penn's Sunday School had all gotten involved with trainer Ray Cronise and, with Cronise's strict assistance, they all lost a tremendous amount of weight in a very short amount of time.
Thin Penn. From People Magazine.
In fact, Penn's next book will be, in large part, about this miracle weight loss and he recently had Ray Cronise as a guest on the podcast to discuss this amazing feat. My skeptical red flag kept waving as Cronise kept referring to one source as the innovator of this weight loss program. (Penn calls it a cult.) He kept talking about a Dr. Fuhrman and his book "Eat To Live".

Now, one source for a weight loss program might be perfectly fine, but my red flag kept waving as I was reminded of the interview of cartoonist Neal Adams on The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe​. I forget the name, but Adams kept justifying his crackpot ideas (e.g. a hollow and expanding earth) to one specific scientist. A scientist who Adams believes has proven virtually all science disciplines to be wrong.

So, just today Derek Colanduno, host of Skepticality, linked to a blog taking Dr. Fuhrman to task on his seemingly crackpot ideas. Derek cryptically voiced his disappointment in a "prominent, well-known skeptic" who has bought into this "nonsense." Judging by what I've written so far, I'm certain you can guess to whom I think Derek is referring. But, I could be wrong.

Here's the blog post that Derek shared. It's written by Adele Hite. Hite is a registered dietitian who holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her post, she demonstrates how Fuhrman is wrong as she explains essentially that eating like giraffes, elephants, and gorillas makes sense... if you are a giraffe, an elephant, or a gorilla. (Kind of reminds me of when I heard someone say that socialism works just fine, if you're an ant. But that's politics, so I won't mention it.) She also shoots down the idea the broccoli has more protein than steak, explains how it's the essential amino acids we get from protein that we need in our diet, and that gorillas eat their own poop. (mmmmhhmm!)

Her post is a couple years old, so the information may have changed as science learns new things, but to this layperson (I'm also a cartoonist, but nearly as good as Neal Adams) what Hite has written and the sites she links to make sense. Penn's amazing weight loss appears to be based on quackery. Sure, he's lost the weight, but is he getting what his body needs?

To be fair to Penn, he has always been more than willing to admit when he's wrong. He can change his mind when given good evidence on which to base that change. And he would probably have no problem admitting this just might be his gris gris.

After all, everybody got one.

8.24.2015

dimland radio 8-22-15 show notes

Emergency At The Folks' House

My mom fell again. Nothing broken and only some bruising, but emotionally she was pretty worked up. She was down on the floor for about a half hour before Dad found her. He called me to come over to help. I was able to get there quickly and we eventually got her off the floor.
 
"Can't pretend that growing older never hurts." ~ Pete Townshend

Having An Effect?

I know there aren't many who listen to my show. I know I'm a pretty small fish in the pond of skepticism, but I still try to spread the ideals of skepticism where I can. My show and Facebook are where I do most of my skeptical activism, but am I having an effect?
 
A friend of mine posted the graphic you see below on my Facebook page...
 
 
It's typical conspiracy theory silliness. On the show I added a few paranoid tropes hauled out by believers in such unreasonableness.
 
My friend let me know that he engaged with a person through the internets who believes in the claims in the graphic. He said a little bit of me was speaking through him. He told me that he is a skeptical person, but that I am the master.
 
Well, I'm not sure about that, but it made my day.
 
One Of The 1,875,693 Things That Annoy Me

I realized the other day that road construction can annoy me even when I'm not driving. The shadow government that controls everything has determined it was necessary to invent the back-up warning beep sound and make sure every construction vehicle be equipped with the noise maker. So, when there is road construction going on outside my office, such as the case lately, I can have my day filled with beep beep beep...beep beep beep beep beep...beep beep beep beep.
 
How To Do Proper Product Placement

So, my friend, Scott Roberts, was doing some shopping at Target the other day. Back-to-school no doubt. He stumbled upon some very good product placement likely due to some guerrilla skeptical activism. He took a picture and posted it online (see below).
 
Someone had placed a Ouija board by Hasbro where another game was supposed to be on the shelf. The other game is called Utter Nonsense! I think we have some truth in advertising here.
 
Can we add homeopathic remedies and self-help books to this shelf?
New Blog Entry For Warehouse Find

Warehouse Find is the official blog of Nostalgia Zone, a comics and collectibles store I work for and for which I've been doing some blogging. I recently posted a review of sorts of the 1976 Western 'The Shootist'. I bring up something about the movie that doesn't make sense.
 
If you've seen the film or if you don't mind it being spoiled, here is that blog entry.
 
Wading In...

You probably heard about some lion having been killed in Zimbabwe. Apparently, a Minnesota dentist was the fellow who killed it. There was quite the worldwide uproar and shitstorm on social media. Some people even felt it was OK to post the dentist's home address online where someone might use that information to go too far.
 
I pointed out that I felt the posting of his address and having a former FB friend state she would be OK with his family being killed due to that publication was just as disturbing as the killing of the lion. I was encouraged to see so many of my FB friends felt the same way I did.
 
There was one woman in the comment thread who didn't get that the kind of tactics being used against the dentist were very dangerous. I think I got her to realize that although we may find trophy hunting abhorrent, we should not endorse that sort of mob justice, because the mob can turn on anyone. Even us.
 
At least, I think I got her to think about it.
 
Movie Recommendations: None

Another week with too much show to have time to recommend a movie. I'll do what I can to get one recommended next week.
 
Music heard on the show...

Dimland Radio opening theme song: 'Ram' by The Yoleus 
First ad break bumpers: 'Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good' by Don Williams & 'Angels Of Deception' by The The
Second ad break bumpers: 'Baby Have Some Faith' By 54-40 & 'The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill' by Husker Du
Closing song: 'Angler's Treble Hook' by $5 Fiddle

That's it! See you next Saturday night for Dimland Radio 11 Central, midnight Eastern on www.ztalkradio.com you can also download my show from the z talk show archives page. You can email your questions and comments to drdim@dimland.com

You can also go to my CafePress store and buy stuff with my artwork on it and have me do a portrait for you if you like. Find out more here and here.

8.17.2015

dimland radio 8-15-15 show notes

Another Hiatus

At about this time last year I took two weeks away from the show. One weekend was to take in the Replacements homecoming concert and the other was to scrub and wax the floor of a small supermarket in Osseo, MN.

This year the hiatus was to take in a Twins game on my son's birthday that first weekend and then to scrub and wax the floor of that same supermarket the following weekend. 
 
Incidentally, just before my new show aired, Z Talk's auto DJ was playing the first show back from last year's two week hiatus. And I talked about the scrub job and it took the same amount of time then as it did this year. There's something to be said for consistency.
 
What? I don't know. But something.

A Dimland Radio Look At Sports

I gave a bit of a go over of the Twins' game. It was a dramatic win for the home team. It was also a big night as the 1965 MN Twins American League Champions were honored. That was pretty cool even if there was that family who couldn't tell the difference between 4 and 5. They were milling about row 4 (our row) when they were supposed to be in row 5. Their mistake was perfectly timed to interrupt my enjoyment of the announcing the biggest names of the 1965 team.
 
Oh, well.
 
Correction: I said on the show that the Twins had won a three series against the Cleveland Indians. I misspoke. It was the Texas Rangers.

Never Found Live Bonus Week

As I was away from the airwaves (well, intertubes), I had a week of Never Found in the 80s posts on the Stuck in the 80s blog. There was a theme: Each post included a video of a Never Found playing live.
 
I featured the following:

The Jam
 
Yet Another Blobsquatch

How many decades has the hunt been on and still the best images of an alleged bigfoot is that 1967 film by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin. Two fellows who were determined to film a bigfoot and did so on their FIRST TIME OUT! Good work, boys!
 
And, at best, that film is inconclusive. There are no zippers visible, but then again there isn't anything really very visible on the creature or man in a costume. (Which do you think Occam's Razor and I prefer as the more likely explanation?) Hell, I don't see the breasts that are supposedly pendulously swinging about. I also don't see any rippling muscles.
 
That's the thing about these bits of evidence. The object in the picture is close enough to the camera to be suggestive and far enough away to be frustratingly lacking in detail. Hence the term blobsquatch.
 
So, a tourist in North Carolina captured a blobsquatch on video recently. There are a couple of issues with the footage other than being blurry. The biggest problem is the guy, who just may be videoing the biological find of the century, feels it necessary to turn the camera away from the blobsquatch to get a look at his dog. What the hell?!

The Credibility Gambit

So, what skeptics are told when given such lousy evidence is to consider the credibility of the claimant. Are they honest, down-to-earth people not prone to telling whoppers? As if their being honest can turn shit evidence into gold. But the best their good credibility can hope to do is let skeptics know the person believes what they are claiming. That's it.

Ok, so maybe this isn't a hoax, but that doesn't make it a bigfoot, a ghost, the Loch Ness Monster, aliens, or whatever they are claiming.

Furthermore, when a skeptic considers the credibility of a claimant who has a history of being a con man, as in Roger Patterson's case, if the evidence is considered really good by believers (but not by scientists or skeptics), then the believers do an about face on stressing the credibility of the claimant. Then they say skeptics are engaging in ad hominem attacks.
 
Which is it? They can't have it both ways.

Movie Recommendations: Creep (2014) and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

Blumhouse Productions
 
I hadn't recommended a movie in quite a while, so I gave two recommendations this week.
 
First, was the low budget, indie thriller called 'Creep'. 'Creep' consists of only two characters and is a variation of the found footage technique. It follows a young man who answers an ad for a videographer to video a dying man for one day before he gets to ill to leave a message for his yet to be born son. Or is that really what's going on? The dying man is alternately awkward and menacing. He gets pretty creep, in fact. And then... No, that would spoil it.
 
20th Century Fox
'Kingsman: The Secret Service' is a slick big budget spy film. It's stylish and a bit over the top. Quite a bit, at times.
 
It stars Colin Firth as a gentleman spy who recruits a young ruffian in whom he sees potential. Samuel L Jackson also stars as the villain who wishes to save the world from global warming by... No, that would spoil it. 

Music heard on the show...

Dimland Radio opening theme song: 'Ram' by The Yoleus 
First ad break bumpers: 'She's On It' by Beastie Boys & 'She's Calling You' by Bad Brains
Second ad break bumpers: 'She's In Parties' By Bauhaus & 'She's Tight' by Cheap Trick
Closing song: 'Angler's Treble Hook' by $5 Fiddle

That's it! See you next Saturday night for Dimland Radio 11 Central, midnight Eastern on www.ztalkradio.com you can also download my show from the z talk show archives page. You can email your questions and comments to drdim@dimland.com

You can also go to my CafePress store and buy stuff with my artwork on it and have me do a portrait for you if you like. Find out more here and here.