Discordian Hymnal #006: New Fool's Day Edition

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #006: Original Prankster by The Offspring:

Randi Banned on YouTube

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, March 30, 2009 | Published in

Apparently Randi has made himself some rather annoying enemies. The James Randi Educational Foundation has it's own account on YouTube. Or rather it did until some time earlier today. According to the JREF's website:
Our YouTube account has been suspended, which means all of the Randi Speaks and other JREF videos are temporarily unavailable. We're researching the problem, and will be back online as soon as possible. Thanks very much for your patience.
It's too early to speculate on exactly what caused this problem, but I've got a couple of quick guesses: 1) Flag bots hit the channel hard and tripped YouTube's automatic ban system 2) Someone filed a DMCA complaint which automatic suspends an account (ala the whole Thunderf00t - PCS saga). Either way the whole situation stinks to high heaven. If you want to complain to YouTube about how they are handling it then click here: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/.

Even more of importance, contact your favorite member of Congress and tell them that the DMCA is a complete joke with too many loopholes that can be misused for censorship.

Intermittens: A Magazine for Spags

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, March 27, 2009 | Published in

Are your standard webzines leaving you tired, listless, unable to walk your dog? Well, cheer up! From the people who brought you Black Iron Prison, it's Intermittens: a magazine for Spags! Marvel at the lushly design covers. Laugh at the meaningless of life! Ponder the workings of your pineal gland! So go out there and get your copy of Intermittens today! Operators are standing by!!!

Ok, enough of that. Several fellow Discordians have decided to gather assorted essays, clip art and interesting columns together in handy zine form. The third issue was just released today. You can read all three issues here: http://www.intermittens.org/

If you like it, go give the people at PrincipiaDiscordia.com some love. If you'd like to contribute to future issues there is a button to do so at the Intermittens site. Issues 4 and 5 should be out in the next couple of months.

Enjoy! Hail Eris!!


Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, March 26, 2009 | Published in

I... just... I have no words to explain this. It's just too surreal. You just need to see this documentary about "Objectum Sexuals", people who fall in love with inanimate objects. This clip includes a professional archer who fell in and out of love with her bow and then decided to marry the Eiffel Tower. All seven parts are on YouTube but I'll just post part one here.

(NOTE: The original video that was here was taken down by YouTube for copyright issues. Here is a slightly edited version of the show. Hopefully this one will stay on YouTube.)

Skeptics Acting Like Discordians

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Published in

If you head over to Skeptic.com, home of Skeptic magazine, you'll see that they did a very Discordian thing. A big group of them (including some of my favorite Skeptics like Dr. Eugenie Scott, DJ Groethe, Brian Dunning, Swoopy, and Jay Novella) got together and made a very long list. To be even more like the Discordians they then made this list into a Holy PDF, ready for distribution far and wide. Unlike the usually Discordian list, which usually includes ways to being a proper Discordian, their list is how to be a proper Skeptic.

It's entitled "What Do I Do Next?" and most of it is pretty good grassroots advice: help out skeptical organizations, learn about skeptical stuff, teach that skeptical stuff to others, investigate all bullshit claims, team up with other Skeptics to go fight crime, spread the word through your community, interact with the media, help out schools and libraries, get political, learn to use film, video, and the internet wisely; and talk amongst yourselves. All very good pieces of advise and stuff that I need to work on. I don't think I'm doing any of that besides using the internet to talk to myself. Looks like I've got a lot of work to do.

FTC Finally Does Something Right

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, March 23, 2009 | Published in

Looks like the Federal Trade Commission finally found the balls that Dubya hid in the basement of the Smithsonian. They are close to passing a rule that would ban commercials that use the phrases"results not typical" or "individual results may vary."

Updated guidelines on ad endorsements and testimonials under final review by the Federal Trade Commission—and widely expected to be adopted—would end marketers' ability to talk up the extreme benefits of products while carrying disclaimers like "results not typical" or "individual results may vary."

Instead, companies would be allowed to tout extreme results only if they also spelled out typical outcomes."

For a good part of the last decade, we have noticed a problem, particularly with consumer testimonials," said Richard Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's division of advertising practices. "The use of consumer testimonials had become almost a safe harbor for companies as long as they threw in some sort of disclaimer about results not being typical."

The tougher rules, the first update to the guidelines since 1980, are designed to make it easier for consumers to judge the credibility of marketers' claims. The changes would affect all forms of advertising and marketing, including blogs and company Web sites. The FTC could bring legal action against firms that don't comply.

That means no more Jared Fogle ads, no more body builders hocking diet pills, no more guys in Ferraris telling you how they made millions overnight in the real estate business. Late night cable TV will have to find a whole new batch of advertisers who will have to think of some other loophole to defraud people with.

Classic Skepticism: The Amazing Randi vs. Maureen Flynn

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, March 22, 2009 | Published in

Here's a classic clip of James Randi from an unknown television show back in 1991. In it he takes on "psychic medium" Maureen Flynn, the Jonathan Edwards of her time.

It's interesting to see an unedited cold reading like this. It's very telling when she asks for someone attached to the name Taylor,the third most common surname in the UK, and describes a spirit that died with something over his mouth (raise your hand if you know someone who died in a hospital with an oxygen mask on). It's funny to see all of the complete misses too ("Do you know James?" "No, sorry." "How about Doris" "No..." LAIL)

It gets more interesting in the second part when Randi confronts one of Maureen's regular marks clients who made the mistake of giving Randi a recording of one of her readings. The rationalization by Ms. Flynn and the other psychics in the audience are just stunning. You can almost see the fear of losing business in their eyes.

All Hail the Belief-O-Matic!

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | | Published in

If you've been hanging out in online religious circles then I'm sure you've seen Beliefnet's Belief-O-Matic several times over. If not, then go over there right now and take it. It's an interesting twenty question quiz that helps people figure out exactly what label they should wear on their chest spiritually speaking. The thing isn't exactly perfect (I don't like the wording on the divorce question, for instance) but it is a great starting to help you discover exactly what you belief in.

It's a pretty good diagnostic tool too. I've taken it many times over the last 4 years and it's been interesting to see how my opinions have on religion have shift over that time. The first time I took it I was 100% Liberal Quaker. When I took it six months ago, Nontheist was at the top of the list. When I took it 5 minutes ago it showed Secular Humanism. Universal Unitarianism, Neo-Pagan, and Theravada Buddhism have always been high on my list too. Not surprisingly Roman Catholic and Jehovah's Witness have always been at the very very bottom. I don't see them gaining any time soon either. Scientology is in the middle, which scares me.

So anyways, enough about me. Go over there and see what box you are supposed to be in. If you actually read this post then put your results in the comments.

Discordian Hymnal #005

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, March 20, 2009 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #005: All Rights Reversed by the Chemical Brothers:

Pope-Counter Pope

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, March 18, 2009 | Published in

Pope Benedict XVI (you know, the guy that thinks he is the only true pope) is currently in the middle of an Africa-wide tour. On his first day in the AIDS-ravished country of Cameroon he made the following statement:

"It (AIDS) cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem."

As a counter-point I, Pope Iason Ouabache the Skeptical make this statement:

"Automobile accidents cannot be overcome by the mandating of seatbelts in all cars. On the contrary, they increase the problem. Sure, the statistics show that traffic fatalities have gone down worldwide since the seatbelts have become wide spread. But we believe that the best way to prevent these deaths is to tell people to not drive at all. Or you may obtain a specialized license from the Holy Church of the Skeptic after you swear to never ever drive dangerously."
The other pope is currently unavailable for comment.

Creationists in... Canada?

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | Published in

Canada has a reputation for being fairly immune to the fundamentalist nonsense that tends to plague us south of their border. It looks like a particular fundie managed to slip through the crack and made it all the way to the top. Federal Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear recently has been saying some very odd things to the press lately. When asked if he believes in the theory of evolution, Goodyear said:

“I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate."

That should throw up caution flags for just about anyone. He was asked a valid science question and gave a religious response. I know of only one group of people who do that and they don't tend to like "materialism", as they call it. It doesn't help that he was a chiropractor by trade, a profession that had a very dubious history. When asked to clarify his position, he started doing the denialism tango:
“I do believe that just because you can't see it under a microscope doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It could mean we don't have a powerful enough microscope yet. So I'm not fussy on this business that we already know everything. … I think we need to recognize that we don't know.”
Whatever that means... There are already major scientists ready to descend from their "ivory towers" and rip Goodyear apart. He hasn't helped his case by slashing through the science research budget recently. Here's hoping that the Canadian branch of the Reality-Based community will win this battle.

Not What but Net Twit

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, March 16, 2009 | Published in

I have jumped on the bandwagon and signed up for Twitter. Or to be more accurate, I've had a Twitter account for almost a year now and I'm finally doing something with it. It looks like Twitter is where the "cool" people are migrating now that Facebook is being fascist and stuff. If you want to follow me CLICK HERE NOW. You'll see me post insanely interesting things like this:
I wonder if the guy who writes Doonsbury has stock in Twitter. Has anyone investigated this?

If there was a website where a bunch of pr0n stars constantly updated their status would it be called Twatter? I bet someone already regged that name

I have just discovered the awesomeness of Sprite with orange flavoring from Sonic. I wonder if I could get a raise for this

Having a dream about Twitter and my blog is probably not a good sign.
How could you miss out on an opportunity like this??

The Most Important Technological Advances

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, March 15, 2009 | Published in

(Note: Most of this was hashed out in a thread at PD.com that ended up getting sidetracked by bullshit. I thought I made some good points and didn't want it to completely go to waste so I'm going to repost it here with some added context)

The topic was brought up on what was the most important technological advance in mankind's history. It is a rather tough decision to make. Things like the wheel, fire, agriculture/domestication of animals, urbanization, art, organized religion, geometry, clockwork, and fermentation were all extremely important prehistorical discoveries. Humanity wouldn't exist without all of these things. There were only a handful of developments in the 1 - 1750 CE that I would consider earth shattering. Off the top of my head: empiricism/scientific method, the printing press, the telescope, the microscope, Newtonian physics/calculus, and gunpowder. The Dark Ages really did set us back a lot.

Meanwhile, the time from 1750 until today has given us huge leaps in technology. Atomic theory, evolution, quantum mechanics, theory of relativity, germ theory, and genetics were all fleshed out in this period. Plus we came up with inventions like the combustion engine, the light bulb, rockets, turbines, computers/the internet, digital watches, vaccines/antibiotics, the telegraph, telephone, radio, television... I feel like I could go on forever here.

However, if I had to pick one single technological advance that shines head and shoulders above everything else, I would have to pick: Language. That is the single greatest advancement humanity has ever made. None of the advances (except for a few) would have even been possible without language.

Language is what helps us spread knowledge and information to our tribe mates, our neighbors and future generations. Because of it mankind doesn't have to go through the learning process anew every generation. Our descendants will be able to build on the knowledge we have already amassed, add to it, and pass it to future generations. And some of the biggest leaps have been thanks to new ways to spreading information: written language, the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, radio, television, the internet. Humanity would be not be humanity if we had never learned to communicate with one another.

Adam Carolla on Strong Atheism

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, March 14, 2009 | Published in

I'm sure most of you know comedian Adam Carolla from The Man Show and Loveline. He's a pretty funny guy and doesn't stand for bullshit on any topic. He does a radio show on the West Coast and did a great rant last year on religion, atheism, organized religion, and death. It's interesting because he is one of the few people I know how admit to being a strong atheist. Obviously, he's not a "trained theologian" but he does a good job of explaining exactly why he is a strong atheist. Enjoy.

Now Taking Applications

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Published in

You know what the big problem with my blog? Well, besides the fact that I have zero readers, of course. I don't have a good arch-rival. PZ Myers has had an interesting duel with everyone's favorite punching bag Ray Comfort lately. Drs. Steven Novella and Michael Egnor have been going back and forth for months now. John Loftus of Debunking Christianity now has his own stalker rival in the slightly insane JP Holding. Hell, even Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer have been going at each other lately.

So obviously what I need to do to get more readership is to attach myself to someone bigger... er, I mean find a worthy adversary that will help me hone my veritable wit. Let steel sharpen steel, if you will. I am now taking applications for arch-villain in the comments section. No shoving each other to get to the front of the line.

Billy Graham's Shiny Shiny Mirror

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | Published in

Here is an interesting quote from Billy Graham's March 4th column:

One characteristic of cults is that they strongly believe they alone are right in their beliefs and everyone else is wrong. Thus they reject the central truths of the Bible that Christians have held in common for almost 2,000 years and substitute their own beliefs for the clear teaching of Scripture.

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of irony meters suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Dennett at Ted Talks

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Published in

Here's a great video I just found on YouTube a couple of days ago. Daniel Dennett at TED Talks 2 years ago explaining the design of religion and giving a verbal smack down to Rick Warren who just happened to be in the audience. I'm a big fan of TED Talks and an even bigger fan of Dennett. He's easily my favorite of the "Four Horsemen of Atheism". Go read "Breaking the Spell" right now, fool!

ARIS is Here!

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, March 9, 2009 | Published in

Trinity College just released their very expansive American Religious Identification Survey and the numbers show some very interesting trends. For instance, the domain of Catholics has shifted from the Northeast to the Southwest. It is speculated that the decrease in the Northeast is due to high level of education and the backlash of the priest scandals while the increase in the Southwest is caused by the recent influx of Hispanics who are historically very Catholic.

The number of Christians in general declined from 86.2% in the early 90's to 76% today with the biggest dip coming from mainline Protestant groups. Quite a few other groups had a decline as a proportion of the population too including Baptists, Mormons, Jews, and the generic category "Eastern Religions".

All of this means that the number of non-religious people in the United States has increased... kinda. While 12 percent of people say that they either believe in no god or are unsure about the whole matter, only 1.6% actually label themselves as atheist/agnostic. To me, this shows one of two things: A) the religious education in the United State is so poor that people don't actually know what they believe in or B) the "A" word still has a sharp stigma attached to it.

I'm always disappointed that there is never an irreligion category in these surveys. It'd be interesting to know exactly how many people identify themselves as Discordians, Subgenii, FSMists, etc. Then again, knowing those groups we'd purposely fuck with the survey takers to skew their data.

(USA Today has a very good article and various graphs and charts on this including state-by-state breakdowns. As always Indiana is exactly average in every category.)

Hail Alma Mater, Old VU

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Published in

I'm taking a slight detour for this post because I just saw that my alma mater has just been featured on one of my favorite site/blog, Mental_Floss. They put together a list 11 Unusual Majors Your College Probably Didn’t Offer and Vincennes University landed at numero uno!

1. Bowling Industry Management

Being a pin monkey may have been Homer Simpson’s dream, but you can make it your reality if you attend Vincennes University. The Indiana school offers the country’s only program in Bowling Industry Management and Technology, where students learn topics like pinsetter mechanics and lane care. The program’s site proudly touts its equipment, including a number of pinsetters and a Vacu-Jig drill machine.
Sniff. It makes me so proud. Go Blazers!!!

Discordian Hymnal #004

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #004: Comfort Eagle by Cake:

Right Where You are Sitting Now

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, March 1, 2009 | Published in

The guys over at the Right Where You are Sitting Now podcast decided to dedicate their 23rd (fnord) episode to the memory of Robert Anton Wilson. In the 2 hour long episode they spliced in quite a few of RAW's clips from various lectures along with interviews with Rev. Ivan Stang, Richard Metzger of Disinfo Corp, as well as chaos magicians Lon Milo Duquette and Taylor Ellwood. They cover everything from The Illuminus! Trilogy, e-prime, Aleister Crowley, Prometheus Rising, chaos magick, the future of counterculture, and of course, Discordianism.

I had never heard of this podcast before but I'm a big fan now. I don't know how I'll be able to fit yet another podcast into my busy schedule but I'll find a way.


Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | | Published in

I'm a huge fan of Fundies Say the Darnedest Things. I make several trips there a day because it is, IMHO, the best humor site on the internet. There is nothing funnier than watching fundies make fools of themselves. That's why I was especially disheartened to see this this morning:

It's been a good run, but the FSTDT archive is going into read only-mode effective Mar 1, 2009. Thank you everyone who has contributed to the archive over the years :)

Apparently FSTDT's owner Yahweh has decided to give it all up. She's taking the site down for good. But not to fear, several admins are working behind the scenes to bring it back to life. Distind has put up a temporary board to let everyone know what is going on. So far he has copied the entire database and is working on getting it uploaded to FSTDT.net. I'm hoping he improves the layout too. The current layout is sooo turn of the century. I'll post updates as I get them.

Crocoduck Fossil Discovered in Peru

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | | Published in

I'm sure many of you have seen the footage of bone-headed Creationist Kirk Cameron on the O'RLY Show saying that if evolution was true we'd find a crocoduck in the fossil record. Since we haven't found a crocoduck, that means that God wins. Well, it appears that Mr. Cameron will now have to eat his words:
The unusually intact fossilized skull of a giant, bony-toothed seabird that lived up to 10 million years ago was found on Peru's arid southern coast, researchers said Friday.

The fossil is the best-preserved cranium ever found of a pelagornithid, a family of large seabirds believed to have gone extinct some 3 million years ago, said Rodolfo Salas, head of vertebrate paleontology at Peru's National History Museum...

With fossils discovered in North America, North Africa and even Antarctica, Kepska said, the birds were ubiquitous only a few million years before humans evolved and scientists puzzle over why they died out. Some believe they are related to gannets and pelicans, while other say they are related to ducks.

I can't wait to hear what his reaction to this story will be.