7.27.2015

dimland radio 7-25-15 show notes

Take Away 10 Points

I had to take 10 points away from myself, because I actually said to another person, "Well, it is what it is."
 
It makes me shudder even now as I think about it. Yeesh.

My Sister Continues To Do Well

I joke about my sister making me feel a bit like an under-achiever, but really I am quite proud of her. Her latest achievement is having been appointed to the Minnesota State Council on Disability by Gov. Mark Dayton.
 
10 points, Nancy. Next stop: the White House!

Missed Opportunity, But A Tasty Piece Of Chicken

Each week I stop by Popeye's and get a bite to eat. Recently, I encountered a chicken tender that appeared to be rat shaped. It was very similar to a piece of chicken a fellow had gotten at KFC which he claimed was actually a battered, deep-fried rat. It was tested and it turned out to be chicken.
 
I didn't have a camera, so I couldn't document it. I suppose I could have brought it to the attention of the store manager or taken it home to get a picture. I could have done something like that. I could have raised a fuss. Got a free meal maybe.
 
I ate it. It was chicken. And it was tasty. 

MN Twins Beat The Hated Yankees, But...

As I recorded the show, I noted that my MN Twins were beating the Hated Yankees by quite a lot. 10 - 0 at the time. The Twins did go on to win 10 - 1.
 
I noted that since moving into Target Field the Twins have not won a home series against the Hated Yankees. Well, they still haven't. The Twins lost the next two games against the Bronx Bombers.
 
Have I mentioned I hate the NY Yankees?
 
It Would Be Over...

Then I talked a bit about one of our less great Presidents of the Untied States: Franklin Pierce. Pierce was a handsome man and the son of a war hero, and that helped him along in his political career. As did having the very popular Nathaniel Hawthorne as a friend.
 
Hawthorne wrote a political biography of Pierce, something common in politics in those days, that was truthful, but very well worked to give the best impression of Pierce as was possible.
 
Tragedy had struck Pierce and his wife three times in their marriage. They had three sons. Each had died very young. The longest surviving son, Benny, was killed as the family traveled from Boston by train shortly before Pierce was sworn in as President.
 
The train had rolled into an embankment. All aboard survived save Benny, who was horribly crushed. It is quite likely that his mother, who had clung to her only surviving son, was the first person to see him after the accident.
 
I have a son the same age Benny was (11 years old) and when my wife and I talked about this tragic event we agreed it would be over. How does a parent continue their life after such an event?

Pierce was already expected to be a mediocre, at best, President. After this tragedy, he drank very heavily throughout his term in office and, when his term came to an end, his own party wanted "Anybody but Pierce."
 
New Horizons, Pluto, And SCIENCE YEAH!

In an attempt to bring up the tone of the show, I talked about how awesome the news about New Horizons' nine and a half years, three billion miles traveled, fly-by of dwarf planet Pluto. Science works, people. This is just more awesome evidence of science working.

ABC Would Set Up A Straw Man, What Would You Do?

ABC's series 'What Would You Do?' creates scenarios in public places to see how average Americans will react. The series, in part. challenges its audience to examine their own prejudices in various situations. Would people intervene? Would they look the other way? Would they act kindly or like jerks?

ABC decided to have an actor play an atheist upset and made uncomfortable by a Christian family (also actors) saying a prayer before eating their meal. The "atheist" confronts the family. "Save it for church!" she says.

This being done in Texas it's not surprising the real people speak up for the family. And so would I, for that matter. The family was within their rights to pray before a meal. Remember, I am an atheist. And atheists aren't concerned with private citizens saying a quiet prayer in public.

The problem is that ABC uses a straw man atheist. They create an image of an atheist that just doesn't exist. Imagine the producers doing this same scenario with instead of an atheist they use a Muslim, a Jew, or a Hindu as the "stop pushing your religion on me" patron.
 
Atheists would care if the family and the other restaurant patrons had forced the "atheist" to also pray, which seems a little more likely. That's when rights are violated. Atheists also care when government endorses a religion or pushes religious views on its citizens. "In God We Trust" and "under God" for instance. They also care when private citizens come knocking on the door to tell the occupants of the "good news." When's the last time an atheist knocked at your door to tell you what not to believe in?

The problem with the straw man created by 'WWYD?' is that, this being a nation with a majority identifying as Christian and not knowing very many atheists, their audience will have the negative image of atheists, already the most distrusted group in America, reinforced by this segment. One angry commenter noted that ABC stopped just short of showing the atheist eating a baby.

This unrealistic and negative portrayal of atheists is less likely to lead to the public saying, "That atheist is an asshole," but more likely lead to the public declaring, "Atheists are assholes."

That's just wrong.

Another atheist reacts.

Movie Recommendations: None
 
I ran out of time again this week, so you can watch whatever you like. 

 
Music heard on the show...

Dimland Radio opening theme song: 'Ram' by The Yoleus 
First ad break bumpers: 'One Step Ahead' by Split Enz & 'Second Guessing' by REM
Second ad break bumpers: 'One Day In Your Life' By 54-40 & 'Seconds' by U2
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

7.20.2015

dimland radio 7-18-15 show notes

They Can Hear! They Can Hear!

It's been a struggle going on for the last few years. My parents have been hard of hearing and their kids (myself included) have tried to get them to consider getting hearing aids. Mom has pretty much always been willing, but Dad wouldn't hear of it (pun!). So, Mom would suffer, because it didn't make sense for her to get them when she'd have to turn them off whenever Dad watched TV with the volume at 100. And Dad watches a lot of TV.

But, when I stopped by earlier in the week, I was in for a big surprise. They had both gotten hearing aids. I don't know what got Dad to change his mind, but Mom had finally had enough and told Dad she was getting hearing aids and he was taking her in to get them.


Now we'll have to be careful about our side comments in their presence.

Pedantic Moment: Selective Service PSA & Nissan Altima Ad

Despite repeated attempts, I was not able to find the audio of one particular radio Public Service Annoucement (PSA) for the Selective Service. If I had, it would have made this Pedantic Moment more impactful and satisfying. You'll just have to take my word for it.

This PSA spends virtually the entire time trying to appeal to young men's sense of patriotism, love of home and family, to get them to sign up, but at the very end it states it's the law, so the young fellows really have no choice.

The Nissan Altima TV ad has a father and son in the Altima racing a school bus to school. The Altima wins! No shit as the bus has to make frequent stops along a daily route. The Altima had better beat the bus.

And it barely beats the bus at that!

Amy Tan Believes In Ghosts

Chipotle restaurants try to be different in their image. Their employees wear t-shirts with interesting sayings printed on them and their bags and cups have interesting essays written by famous people. I noticed one the other day written by Amy Tan about ghosts. She says she's one of the 42% of Americans who believe in ghosts. She does not site her source for the statistic, but it's probably about right.

She does admit that even if 100% of Americans believed in the ethereal beings that still wouldn't mean they exist. She has that bit right. She says her husband didn't believe until he heard one whistle at him in the shower. Now he sort of believes.

Tan makes a few claims in the essay: Her mother comes to her as a ghost and offers gifts of coincidences. And one of her ghosts, apparently Amy is visited by more than one, named his murderer and that person was sentenced to life in prison. That's quite a claim for which she offers no evidence.

I'm sure she's committing some fallacies in logic, but I'm not very good at spotting them, so I sent this on to the folks at the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast. I'll let you know if they respond. 

WIVB News & MUFON

My Facebook friend Cassidy is part of MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) and she and the group were featured in a three part series on a local news show in New York. Most of the time, local news shows are more interested in the mystery of such things than in plausible explanations, but MUFON was pretty good about keeping the stories grounded in reality.

MUFON may not be the most scientifically sound organization out there, but they do make a concerted effort to find prosaic explanations for UFO sightings. And they are not shy in calling out hoaxes.

The first part of the series dealt with two separate sighting events by locals. I give credit to MUFON as they were able to give plausible earthly explanations for the sightings. One explanation given after the report was sky lanterns. Cassidy gave me the explanation for the other sighting as being most likely a laser pointer.

The second part dealt with hoaxes. MUFON gets lots of them. The report tells us MUFON has identified over 3000 claimed sightings with evidence as hoaxes, with 2600 of them in the States. I speculated the the remaining 400 must have been from Billy Meier the notorious Swiss UFO sighter or hoaxer depending on how you look at it.

The third part dealt with the big question: Are we alone in the universe? To which the answer is a resounding - "We don't know!" And MUFON, to their credit, said as much in the report.

Overall, I thought the reports were pretty good and grounded. I would have liked more input from scientists, however. 

Movie Recommendations: None
 
I ran out of time this week, so you can watch whatever you like. 

 
Music heard on the show...

Dimland Radio opening theme song: 'Ram' by The Yoleus 
First ad break bumpers: 'The Beat(en) Generation' by The The & 'Beating My Head' by Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
Second ad break bumpers: 'Beating Of Hearts' By XTC & 'Beatle Boots' by Love Tractor
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

7.13.2015

dimland radio 7-11-15 show notes

Gone But Not Idle

The show has been away for a couple weeks, because of the Fourth of July holiday, but I was still busy. The company I work for started cleaning a new building (NASTY! More on that later.) and I posted five blogs.

The blog topics:

Never Founds: Lime Spiders & Black Flag

A special post for the Stuck in the 80s blog about George Hrab's podcast featuring his acoustic version of Yes' '90125.

Warehouse Find had two posts: Comic book artist Tom Sutton and his work on 'Werewolf By Night' & Abe Vigoda and my older brother's birthday.

NASTY NASTY Building

The janitorial service I work for started a new property, which is a good thing, but that building had been grossly neglected. I went on about just how bad the restrooms were to get cleaned up. The restrooms were thick with dust and the toilets and urinals were disgusting. There were 11 restrooms. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the restroom in 'Trainspotting' (see picture). A few of the worst restrooms were 2s, most were 3s, and one was a 5.

Not as bad as this, but close.
The rent must have been exceedingly cheap for the tenants to put with that quality of clean.
Yuck!

You Won't Accept My Claim Without Good Evidence! Open Your Mind!

I talked about skepticism and the open mind. I reminded listeners that skeptics (big S, little S, whatever) have open minds, they just require better evidence than anecdotes and other fuzzy evidence. I had a friend make the remark that the Skeptoid Podcast gets "smarmy and belittling" toward people who have beliefs and ideas unproven by science.

Ah, the arrogance.
 

Sharon Hill of Doubtful News wrote a nice piece about this open mind argument.

Movie Recommendations: An Honest Liar (2014)
An excellent documentary about the life and work of the world's best known (or most notorious depending on your bias) skeptic, James Randi. It profiles his early career in magic and as an escape artist through his work fighting the fakers. Much of the film's material was familiar to me, but still enjoyable. If you call your blood boiling watching Peter Popoff apply his con enjoyable.
We do get something unexpected in the final third of the film. Apparently, Randi is correct. No matter how intelligent or learned they are, anyone can be fooled. Even Randi. 

 
Music heard on the show...

Dimland Radio opening theme song: 'Ram' by The Yoleus 
First ad break bumpers: 'Guess I Must Have Been In Love With Myself' by Pete Shelley & 'And I Moved' by Pete Townshend
Second ad break bumpers: 'But I'm Different Now' By The Jam & 'Eye In The Sky' by Alan Parsons Project
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