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Showing posts from July, 2009

Teacher, Teacher, Can You Teach Me?

I will tell you a story.

Once upon a time, because all good stories start with once upon a time, little Susie came home from school crying. She clung to her mother and sobbed. "What's wrong darling?" her mother asked. "Oh momma (sob) it's awful (sob) Mr. Jones told us today that dinosaurs were alive like (sob) 250 million years ago!" "Oh dear." says Susie's mother. Susie is so upset that she can barely continue "But you, Daddy and Pastor John always say that the whole world was made by God 6000 years ago!!!" (SOB)

So what's a distraught parent to do? Aside from assuring Susie that all of science is wrong that is? Well, the Alberta government has provided that solution in the form of Bill 44. Litigate! That's right, parents can now bring teachers in front of the Human Rights Commission when they make the mistake of saying something in the classroom that goes against their beliefs. Schools have always had their own opt-out prog…

The Biggest Douche in the Universe

Skeptics everywhere (and fans of South Park) will know the above as none other than John Edward. Psychic medium extraordinaire and top shelf asshat. John is famous for his show "Crossing Over" which featured him making contact with the deceased family members of a studio audience. A friend recently reminded me of how bad he is at what he does. By "what he does" I don't mean talk to the dead as he would have us believe. I mean cold reading. What is cold reading you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked. Cold reading is when the psychic throws out generalities or initials and hopes for a hit that they can build upon. They rapid fire guesses and make vague statements, inviting the subject to interpret them. For example, they may say "I see the name Marg or Maggie, some sort of M-G name." When there is several people in an audience then that is likely to resonate with someone. Also, people reveal more about themselves than they realize. The psychic can tell …

Would you tell?

I apologize. It appears as though I have been harping a lot on religion lately. Maybe that’s because I’m reading “God is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything” by Christopher Hitchens. It would be awesome to see him at TAM. But let’s discuss something else. How about some more about psychic abilities? I was telling my step father about how I’m quite certain that there are no people out there that are psychic. I cited the fact that Randi’s million remains unclaimed along with the many other challenges that offer monetary prizes. He disagreed and said that he still believes that there are psychics out there but that they are few and far between and that they prefer to remain hidden. Now if they are hidden, I’m not sure how he knows about them but I guess he just does.

So I asked him why these folks would prefer to remain anonymous. After all there is a lot of fame and fortune involved in letting the world know they exist. Not to mention the fact that they are selfishly hoarding a po…

The Jedi Teachings of Master Joe Nickell

As I've mentioned before, I'm very interested in learning how to become a paranormal investigator of the scientific kind. So to that end I attended a Joe Nickell workshop at TAM7. Mr. Nickell is in his forth decade of investigating mysteries. He is the only salaried paranormal investigator in the world. Sadly, he declined my offer to serve as his apprentice citing a lack of funds to pay me with but I would gladly do it for free if I could find a way to get to New York. I would love to tag along with him to even just one of his investigations.

I learned much from his workshop and took away many things to mull over. Mr. Nickellinvestigates with the goal of solving the mystery. This is in contrast to those he calls mystery mongers who try to find "evidence" to support their pre-existing notions such as those on the television show "Paranormal State" which I discussed in an earlier post. He talked about a case he solved early on. That of Mackenzie House in Tor…

Another notch in the TAM bedpost

Last year I was a virgin. I'm not afraid to admit that TAM6 was my first. I went in unprepared and nervous but I felt my way around carefully and breathed in every moment. Just like that my TAM cherry was popped and I was hopelessly hooked. This year I went in feeling somewhat more confident, I was able to break out of my shell and foster a closer relationship with my new love. TAM7 has left me heady and breathless and next year can't come soon enough.

I took away something from each and every speaker. Bill Prady was the keynote speaker. He is producer and writer for "The Big Bang Theory." Unarguably the best sitcom on television. Joe Nickell is the only salaried paranormal investigator in the world. I learned much from his workshop and bought two of his books thus earning me the honor of being Mr. Nickell's close, personal friend. Phil Plait (aka the nicest guy in the world) thinks I look like Felicia Day and that's okay with me. Michael Shermer, Adam Savage…