I’m going to be on the radio tomorrow…

June 30, 2011

I’m going to be on the show “Lost in the Stacks” on WREK radio, 91.1 in Atlanta. I think that I will be on at noon, or during the noon hour, for a 15-minute interview about information ethics and (probably) conspiracy theories. I need to see how the interviews ahead of me pan out before I start shooting off my talker, since I’m not exactly sure how they are defining the issue of “information ethics.” But what the hell? I’m game for anything.


The Good Cat Spell Book Reviewed by a Cat (with pictures of cats!)

June 30, 2011

Oh hai. I iz Jesse, also known as Dr. Whitey-Cat, a very educated cat and new contributor to this thingy. Not only does I haz doctorate, I iz expert on homeopafee and iz member of teh Illuminati. I tellz you about dat later, if you iz good. I am here to appeal to the underrepresented skeptical feline demographic.

I haz sleeped on many grate books. I speshully liek Shakespeare and Chaucer. Dey iz just teh right size. I haz also sleeped on/rubbed against some very silly books. Recently I came across dis:

The Good Cat Spell Book by Gillian Kemp. I am sure she is very nice witch what loves her kittehs, but I fink she got into some bad catnip. Do ergot grow on ‘nip? Teh hole book is based on a faulty premise: cats iz magic, and by using dem in you spellz, you can harness der magic. See, cats IZ magic, but our magic iz a sooper seekrit. You no can haz our magic. You iznt magic. Also, she think you can find out stuff and do stuff using a kitteh, but here’s teh ting: we no care if you want to get you freak on wiff teh UPS guy. We lieks our hoomins; maybe we even wubs dem (maybe), but if it don’t affect us, we don’t care. Also, spellz to bond wif you cat? You no need spellz for dat; you need fish. Dats real magic!

Cats are believed to possess the power to bewitch people. (p. 1)


But people can bewitch cats, too. (p. 1)


A familiar is an animal companion who helps his person in their magical work. Your cat is your familiar because the pair of you loves each other. (p. 1)

If your cat haz speshul magic powrz, shouldn’t you be your cat’s familiar? Just sayin’. We iz NOT no one’s familiars.

As your familiar, bound to you by enduring love, your cat delivers your wishes. (p. 1)

Holy crap, I tink maybe I iz Teh Secret! But yes, we will fulfill your wishes if you wish to feed us, pet us, play with us, entertain us, do whatever we want, or get bited.

You and your cat’s patience and respect for each other will release and channel magic. (p. 1)

Yes, as a speesheez, cats iz known for our patience (I haz a sarcazm).

Cats of either sex symbolize the abundant, maternal essence we call upon for help. (p. 2)

???!!!11!!?? Look, lady, I may not haz any harbls (cuz teh ebil vet Dr. Mengele stoled dem when I was little itteh bitteh kitteh), but I iz sooper butch apex predator, and don’t you forget it! Don’t make me mount you (srsly, cuz I don’t want to make crazy kittens).

Cats’ eyes represent the clairvoyant eyes of inner intuition through which we see the truth to discover ourselves and our place in the world. (p. 2)

Inner intuition is way better than outer intuition.

If you look into their eyes you will see the true, clear sight of omniscience, the seed of divine knowing. (p. 2)

True. You may also see eye boogers, but don’t touch em: dey is omniscient eye boogers.

…[Y]ou can invoke the power of [Egyptian cat goddess] Bast to help protect your familiar from harm and to bring your cat a long and happy, healthy life in your care. (p. 2)

Oh, good. Go for it.

For thousands of years…the things [cats] have discarded from their own bodies have been used for magic. For some spells, you’ll need whiskers, milk teeth, fur, and claws that your cat has shed. Store them in a small “cat magic” trinket box until you require them for sorcery. (p. 3)

I already haz a “cat magic” box where I stores things I haz discarded from my own body. Help yourself.

Your familiar may be trying to tell you something through his behaviour, giving you clues you can follow to enhance your magic. (p. 3)

I AM trying to tell you sumfing: feed me, pet me, rub my belly, play wif me. When I perch on my food bin and howl in Siamese? A sooper subtile clue dat I has a hungry. I don’t give a hairball for your magic.

When your cat is lazing in a sunbeam, he may be trying…to tell you something or someone sunny is about to enter your life, to bring light and happiness to you. (p. 4)

Wow. Look, I iz a cat. I likes warm and I likes naps. Get your own sunbeam!

[Your cat’s behavior tells you what to wish for:] Wish it if you want it. (p. 4)

See, I am Teh Secret!

She den gives some false eteemologees of  “puss” (no is Egyptian) and “cautious” (no is related to “cattus”) and starts bibbling about the Egyptians:

Egyptian figures and paintings of the period show cats wearing earrings and jeweled collars, and thousands of mummified cats have been found in tombs and buried along the Nile. (p. 7)

Look, de Egyptians were great. Glad we domesticated dem. Did you know the pyramids was designed by cats, not aliens? Dey is artistic representations of the piles we make in our litter boxes. We didn’t bild teh pyramids, though. Phew, what a lotta work. But the Egyptians were teh original crazy cat ladies: see, we don’t like earrings; most of us don’t liek collars; and we HATE being sacrificed.

…[S]ince white cats often have one eye a different color from the other, they always have been considered magical and more capable than any other cat to predict good fortune. (p.10)

When I lived in a “foster home” wiff 200 cats (crazy cat lady), I knowed a Angora wif one green eye and one blue eye. He wasn’t dat speshul.

If your familiar is a white cat, it is believed you will have exceedingly good fortune your whole long life. Within twelve months after you acquire your white cat, someone in your close family will marry. (p. 10)

Nope. Why I care if your awkward second cousin finally caught a man?

A deaf white cat with blue eyes is said to be especially psychic because her impeded hearing is directed inward to her inner ear, psychic centre. (p. 10)

You no know what a inner ear is, do you?

And blue-eyed cats of any color are said to be especially magical because like blue sky over nighttime darkness, they symbolize divine eternity and immortality. (p. 10)

And white, blue-eyed cats who hear good and meow in Siamese iz the most bestest and most magicalest of all. Dat isn’t “believed” or “thought” or “said.” It’s teh truth.

You will have a male visitor if your cat washes his face with his right paw over his right ear. If he washes his face and left ear with his left paw, expect a female visitor. (p. 16)

lol. Do you know how many tiems a day we washes our faces (bof sides)? You must live in Grand Central Station!

Dere is a bunch of spells for tings cats don’t care about. Most of dese involve your cat and lit candles and sometimes burning stuff. Iz I the only one dat tinks dis is maybe a safety hazard? Den dere is spells dat encourage you to put lipstick on your cat’s pawsie to take his pawprint. You put lipstick on my pawsie, you hole house be coverd in pawprinz–bloody pawprinz!

After teh spellz comes “Felinodamancy: Cat Divination.” Here’s a example:

Seat your cat on your lap, and tell your familiar that you wish him to divine your future by answering a question…. Ask your familiar to respond by blinking once if the answer…is yes, twice for no. Alternatively, ask your familiar to purr an odd number of times for yes and an even number of times for no. (p. 62)

First, yu know how long we can go wifout blinking? Also, dats not how purring works. We purrz, den we go sleep. We don’t go “purr, no purr, purr, no purr, purr, no purr.” Unless you pet kitteh, he purrs; you stop pet, he stop; you pet kitteh, he purrs, etc. But den, you control how many tiems kitteh purrs and dats cheating.

To find out if you get wut you want, yu put treats in food bowl, den counts how many treats is left saying “I will get what I want” and “I will not get what I want” until “the last line spoken with the last treat gives you your answer.” I no care how many treats you put in my bowl, you will never get an answer. I leave no treats behind. I encourage yu to try though.

Dere iz a sekshun on reading your cat’s aura. I can see in teh dark; i no see no auras.

Den dere iz cat astrology.

If you have no idea of your cat’s day of birth, reading the following descriptions will help you determine whether your cat is ruled by an Air, Fire, Water, or Earth Sign, which in turn will help you deduce which is your cat’s most probable birth sign. (p. 75)

Dat seem kinda circular, but OK, we no know when my friend Gavin was borned.

But we fink maybe his sign is “Derp.” Anyways, we looked frough the descriptions and he fit every element and every sign and also he no fit every element and every sign. Weird. Dere is some real specific stuff though, like “Taurean cats have thick necks, a solid stature, and a particularly furry tuft between their ears” (p. 82). So, liek, no Siameses or Abyssinianses was born between April 20 and May 20?

In short, I give Teh Good Cat Spell Book dew claws down. I give it 2 whiskers (on a scale of alots of whiskers) because she lieks cats, but she no understand us. Here, haz some moar magic:

Stackable kittehs iz stackable

A stackable kitteh

Mysterious cat iz mysterious

Slightly out-of-focus cat is slightly out-of-focus

My visit to the TruthCon…in video form!

June 30, 2011

Tim Farley, or as I like to think of him, Novellatron 2.0, has created a vimeo site for the Atlanta Skepticamp. Below is the talk-version of my Skeptical Inquirer article:

All They Want is the Truth: TruthCon 2011 from Atlanta Skeptics on Vimeo.

If you want to see the vids as they appear (a couple hundred MB at a time), visit the site!

Check out Tim’s whatstheharm.net, an invaluable skeptical resource. More coming soon!


Sneak preview of things to come…

June 23, 2011

A month ago, I sat down with Richard Gage at a local 9/11 Truth conference. The organizers of the event put up the video of that interview today. Here is part one of three. You can find the other ones for yourself, if you are so interested.

The wearechange.org site is pretty interesting:

The interviewer, Bob J. Blaskiewickz [sic] teaches a course on “conspiracy theory” and “pseudoscience” at the Georgia Tech Institute of Technology [sic].  Though he has been challenged to feature one of the 1,500 + Architects and Engineers in either a live or Skyped debate of the evidence he has declined to test his knowledge in front of his students with any of the 1,500+ experts.  Gee, I wonder why….  Perhaps it is because if he were to attempt to defend the thoroughly discredited “official” conspiracy theory of the US government in a debate with a  representative from Ae911Truth.org, that he would be exposed completely, as having  little to no knowledge or understanding of the forensic evidence that he presumes to  debunk in his classes.

To his credit he did behave in this interview, though many of his questions were simply reciting long discredited arguments from fellow pseudo debunkers, such as Ryan Mackey or Jonathan Kay.  It remains to be seen whether or not any of the incredible forensic evidence that is brought forward in this interview or in the subsequent presentation of “Blueprint for Truth: The Architecture of Destruction” will ever find a way into any of the “Skeptical” Inquirer’s media catalog of magazines, podcasts, and videos online.

Apparently, I’m a complete bastard, but you don’t see it here. I did in fact invite a 9/11 Truther to my class, which works well enough for me. I’m pretty sure I told him that, but that’s fine.

The funny thing is that I turned in an 8,000-word article last week to Skeptical Inquirer, which will be edited down to 3,000. So, not every word can possibly be printed, but I will include a link in the edited version to this interview. You’re welcome. I just didn’t want anyone to think they had shamed me into including parts of this evidence–it is the bulk of the article I already submitted. I behave even when I’m not being filmed.



The 4:00 AM conspiracy!

June 23, 2011

Rives uncovers the truth about 4:00 in the morning in his TED talk.


Eve at Skepticamp: The Origins of the Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on TV

June 22, 2011

Last weekend, Eve gave her talk about the origins of a dirty words. Her journey into the seedy side of etymology was prompted by a number of glaring mistakes she encountered on skeptical sites. Her exact words, I think, were, “FUCK!”

Here is the video, which is the size of a house (a 314MB .m4v).

You can also listen to the mp3 podcast version, which is more hamster-sized.

This talk is explicit and NSFW, but it’s totally ok to listen to it in front of children, especially strangers’ children.

And a special thanks to Mark Ditzler at Abrupt Media for putting these together.


Students are awesome

June 20, 2011

I believe I may have mentioned this before, but my students in the WWII class put together a website about WWII in Atlanta.  The site is up and running, and I hope that you take the opportunity to look through it. It was a great experience for me, and I hope that my students got a sense of the history behind their city, state, and school.


Atlanta Skepticamp Talk

June 20, 2011


Mark Ditsler of Abrupt Media has taken my Skepticamp talk and turned it into a video. It’s about my visit to the TruthCon way back in February. This is a mega-file, hundreds of meg in .m4v format. Also, did I mention it’s really large? I may rip the audio later to have something more downloadable for you.

Enjoy downloading it!


The Week in Conspiracy: Father’s Day edition

June 19, 2011

This one goes out to all of you men who have spawned. Now stop. It’s getting crowded and people aren’t getting smarter.

Now, on with the conspiracy theories!

Conspiracy Theory of the Week

This week’s Gilded Trouser Nugget goes to Mike “Health Danger” Adams’ report on how Fairbanks, Alaska voted to remove fluoride, frikin’ fluoride, from their water. Now men’s precious bodily fluids will be safe from Grizzly Moms. They are always trying to steal our essence.


NOW Tim tells us!

June 19, 2011

Don’t start a blog.” Tim Farley (of whatswtheharm.net) gives his talk to Skepticamp Atlanta 2011.

Be ye warned, BIG DAMN m4v file! (More to come!)