Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

A young Catholic woman went to confession for the first time in over a year. She could not wait to unload on her sinful ways.

“Father, I am not married, and last night my boyfriend and I made mad, passionate love.”

“Jesus will forgive,” the priest assured her.

“And, father,” she went on, “we continued on through the night. We committed fornication six or seven times last night.”

“Jesus will forgive,” the priest reassured her.

“What should I do?” the woman pleaded.

The priest advised her, “Cut a lemon in half and suck on the fruit for 30 minutes.”

“Will that atone for my sins?” the woman asked.

“No,” the priest assured her. “But it will remove that silly grin from your face.”

Friday Funny

Number 68 of a series

When politics and religion mix we get a double dose of funny. Fortunately it’s Friday again:

It’s not the first time Graham expressed his belief God had played a role in the results of the November election. He had tweeted earlier this month suggesting it was God, not Russia, that had interfered with the outcome.

In an interview Thursday, he said he doesn’t know if Russia hacked the election, and he doesn’t presume to know how God works. But he knows God answers prayer.

And, Graham said, “All I know is Donald Trump was supposed to lose the election,” according to projections of the results.

“For these states to go the way they did, in my opinion, I think it was the hand of God,” he said. “It wasn’t hacking. It wasn’t Wiki-leaky or whatever. It was God, in my opinion, and I believe his hand was at work, and I think he’s given Christians an opportunity.”

Yes, God certainly does work in mysterious ways. Maybe not as mysterious as the mind of Franklin Graham. And that is funny. So funny, is it, that I am still laughing.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 12 in a series

You know what I dislike? I’ll tell you what I dislike. I dislike it when I turn out to be so right that I get a cramp. Fortunately that’s not too often. But here is an instance that caused me considerable distress:

Expect President Trump to keep the Affordable Care Act until or unless a comparable replacement can be found. Raucous detractors of Obamacare will now face a unified Republican Party that will find affordable health care to be not so bad, now that they will be able to take credit for it.

Yes, that shoe has finally dropped:

‘Let Obamacare Fail,’ Trump Says as G.O.P. Health Bill Collapses

WASHINGTON — The seven-year Republican quest to undo the Affordable Care Act appeared to reach a dead end on Tuesday in the Senate, leaving President Trump vowing to let President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement collapse.

Mr. Trump declared that his plan was now to “let Obamacare fail,” and suggested that Democrats would then seek out Republicans to work together on a bill to bury the Affordable Care Act. If he is determined to make good on that pledge, he has plenty of levers to pull, from declining to reimburse insurance companies for reducing low-income customers’ out-of-pocket costs to failing to enforce the mandate that most Americans have health coverage.

What is happening is what was foreseen months ago, even as candidate Trump thumped his repeal and replace message to voters. Appeal for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is rooted in a considerable segment of voters for whom the main street path to health care is not working. Where these people were last November we may never know, but we know where they are today:

‘Don’t repeal Obamacare — improve it’: Republicans face wrath at town-hall events

After burning up seven years of congressional action and pushing forward 60 pieces of legislation to repeal the ACA, members of congress are coming to realize something. The primary job of an elected official is not to enact legislation, it’s to get re-elected. It’s been observed for 70 years in my memory that politicians acknowledge there is no point in having ideals if you are not in office to put them into action. Republicans in Congress are facing the reality they they can become ex politicians if they do not harken to the will of their constituents.

Currently the focus is on the Senate, this after the Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted in their own proposal last spring—a proposal which proved to be about as popular as the measles, for which there is also a cure. The Republican majority in the Senate is threadbare, and notable defections have defeated all attempts to pass repeal and replace legislation. As noted, there are not even enough votes to repeal the ACA, leading the President to his current stance—do nothing. We’ve seen a lot of that this year:

Counting the number of laws he’s signed, President Donald Trump has been more productive in his first 100 days than any president since Harry Truman, according to press secretary Sean Spicer.

“Despite the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats, he’s worked with Congress to pass more legislation in his first 100 days than any president since Truman, and these bills deliver on some of his most significant promises to the American people,” Spicer said at the White House daily press briefing April 25.

President Trump achieved this impressive record by shouldering the heavy load of his office and demonstrating impressive leadership. I’m joking, of course.

Winding down, I need to make yet another prediction. My prediction is that Republican lawmakers, who dominate both houses of Congress, will get an earful from the voters, and will get to work fixing well-known deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act—but not until next year. Check back with me later and see if I missed the mark, again.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

I keep reminding people they need to arm themselves for such eventualities. Nothing says “safety” like a gun on every hip. Let’s see how that’s working out:

Orlando Shooting: 5 Killed at RV Business by Angry Ex-Employee

A disgruntled former employee at an Orlando, Florida RV accessory business fatally shot five workers Monday morning before turning the gun on himself, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

The shooting was first reported around 8 a.m. at the headquarters for Fiamma, Inc. Once deputies arrived on scene, they found three men and one woman already dead, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said during a press conference.

A fifth man was transported to a nearby hospital where he died, according to Demings.

Authorities believe suspect John Robert Neumann Jr., 45, who was fired in April, shot himself just before deputies entered the scene two minutes after they were first called, Demings said at a later press conference.

By my calculation about five additional handguns at the scene would have been just about right.

Whole Cloth

I was looking for a title—something to call this. Help was on the way:

For example, a cotton shirt cannot be made until the cotton has been sown as seeds, then grown, harvested and woven, and from this fabric many types of garments can be made. Our baseline is like the cloth, a weave that runs through all.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 4248-4250). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

And that’s about the substance of this book. It has all the appearance of being cut from whole cloth—meaning it’s made up.

What got me onto this was something we covered 15 years ago for The North Texas Skeptics:

Before we get on to Wiley Brooks we need to talk about Ellen Greve. Greve is a former Australian business woman who now calls herself Jasmuheen. She is a New Age guru promoting avoidance of food. Her cult is said to have a following of 5000 world wide. At least one wiseacre has conjectured these may not be the same followers from one year to the next. Her followers tend to be claimants of the famous Darwin Awards.

Australian follower Verity Linn succumbed while attempting to follow Jasmuheen’s guidelines near Cam Loch in Scotland in September 1999. Prior to that in the summer of 1998 Lani Morris of Melbourne breathed herself to death, and Timo Degen, a German kindergarten teacher, did the same in 1997.

Yeah, people were dying under the false belief that, properly conditioned, a person can live without food. Interest in the subject picked up recently, and Greve updated her book. The previous title was Living on Light. You can still get a copy from Amazon from $1044 (paperback). The new edition is Pranic Nourishment, and I have the Kindle edition ($7.77). The much revised edition acknowledges the danger of actually practicing what Greve preaches.

March 2006 with Jasmuheen:

I feel guided to add additional points regarding caregivers …

At the end of the nineties an Australian women, Lani Morris, died in Brisbane Australia. Her caregiver said that she was experiencing many difficulties but refused to stop and that on day 7 she drank 1.5 litres of pure orange juice, consequently she collapsed into a coma and was later taken off life support. Her caregiver Jim Pesnak and his wife – a couple who were in their 70’s who I had never met – were arrested and charged with manslaughter and jailed. The court said that it was their duty to stop this woman from proceeding as soon as they noticed she had difficulty. At the time they felt that as a responsible adult it was her choice whether to go on or stop.

Personally I feel that the only caregiver we need is the Divine One Within and as I keep stressing, if its guidance and voice is not 100% clear and trusted by you then the 21-day process is not for you.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 2389-2397). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Obviously Greve does not completely shoulder responsibility for the multiple deaths of people attempting to follow her advice. We are  left to believe fault lies with the caregivers.

Make no mistake. The principles of chemistry and physics still hold. Greve’s wacko ideas have no basis in fact and seem to have been  pulled straight out of a fevered brain or drawn from half-baked New Ageisms. Without digging into the book’s narrative, I  will just illustrate with some excerpts. Start here, first paragraph:

I have come to understand that the process that I – and many others – have undergone to allow the body to be sustained by light; is about utilising photon energy to sustain us via a process like photosynthesis. Rather than take the energy from the sun as plants do we have developed the ability to tap into and absorb the Universal Life force or ‘chi’ energy directly into our cells. This occurs via mind mastery where command and expectation utilizes the Universal Law of Resonance where like attracts like. Because I expect the pranic forces to nourish and sustain me having undergone the 21-day process as outlined in the latter chapters, it does.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 206-211). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Greve means that literally, “allow the body to be sustained by light; is about utilising photon energy to sustain us via a process like photosynthesis.” No. There is no evidence anything like that has ever happened or can happen. The hard, cold fact is that Greve is a fraud. The signature attempt by her to demonstrate her philosophy ended catastrophically:

In 1998, she appeared in her first film, a six-part direct to video documentary called The Legend of Atlantis: Return of the Lightmasters. The Australian television programme 60 Minutes challenged Jasmuheen to demonstrate how she could live without food and water. The supervising medical professional Dr Beres Wenck found that, after 48 hours, Jasmuheen displayed symptoms of acute dehydration, stress, and high blood pressure. Jasmuheen claimed that this was a result of “polluted air”. On the third day, she was moved to a mountainside retreat about 15 miles from the city, where she was filmed enjoying the fresh air, claiming she could now successfully practice Inedia. But as filming progressed, Jasmuheen’s speech slowed, her pupils dilated, and she lost over a stone (6 kg or 14 lb) in weight. After four days, she acknowledged that she had lost weight, but stated that she felt fine. Dr. Wenck stated: “You are now quite dehydrated, probably over 10%, getting up to 11%.” The doctor continued: “Her pulse is about double what it was when she started. The risk if she goes any further is kidney failure.” Jasmuheen’s condition continued to deteriorate rapidly due to acute dehydration, despite her contrary insistence. Dr Wenck concluded that continuing the experiment would ultimately prove fatal. The film crew agreed with this assessment and stopped filming.

That was nearly 20 years ago. Greve continues with the nonsense to this day, as evidenced by the book. Fact is, a hot book (I purchased a copy) is strong motivation.

It’s also a hilarious display of the codswallop devoured by a sizable chunk of 21st century society. Examples abound:

According to Dr. Deepak Chopra in his book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, every atom is more than 99.9% empty space and the subatomic particles moving at great speed through this space are bundles of vibrating energy which carry information and unique codings. He calls this “thinking non-stuff” as it cannot be seen by physical eyes.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 222-225). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

First of all note the reference to the equally delusional Deepak Chopra. If we accuse Greve of making all this stuff up, she can fall back on pointing out she is merely quoting another authority, disregarding that the other authority is just as whacked out as she is. More:

When a Being is vibrating at a lower frequency, it permits many other forms of energies to mix and mingle with its pool of energy and its cycles. When this happens, the thoughts have a tendency to get confused which causes a being to experience frustration.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 315-317). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

This is excerpted from a more expansive paragraph, yet it is significant. “Lower frequency?” Where does she get this stuff? Assume it’s not Deepak Chopra. There are no facts relating to “beings” (people?), vibrational frequencies, “energy cycles” that back this up. She’s pulling stuff out of the air. It’s the very definition of “whole cloth.”

There are said to be seven cosmic planes – physical, astral, mental, Buddhic, atmic, monadic and Logoic.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 339-340). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Don’t you just love it when a writer puts down, “there is said to be…?” Gives you a lot of confidence in what you’re reading. No, it doesn’t. It gives you confidence that stuff is being pulled out of the air.

This is an interesting concept and one well explored by the Theosophists among others. The exact midpoint between the in and out breath is said to be in the year 2012, this date is the last date of the Mayan calendar and is foretold by the Hopi Indians and many other civilisations. This year marks a time of wondrous change with multitudes awakening to their true divinity.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 344-346). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Hopefully it won’t be necessary for me to post any more clips from the book. Evidence is that Greve is making stuff up.

I can’t leave off this topic without opening a look into a remarkable bit of self-delusion—something revealing. Items of this sort are dropped, almost randomly, through the book.

So since June 1993, I have existed on tea and water, then for pleasure tasted ‘white’ food (a potato phase due to boredom and lack of mind mastery) or the odd mouthful of chocolate and regardless of these indulgences I know that the only thing that nourishes and sustains me is Light.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 1453-1455). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

[Emphasis added]

I began to exchange my pure fruit juice preference for the odd cappuccino or the odd mouthful of chocolate just because I felt like the flavour of something sweet but I also learnt to transmute these things.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 2657-2659). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

[Emphasis added]

For me, as an absolute food purist for some 20 years, the process was extremely liberating! To be nourished from pranic energy and then be free to have a stage of tasting chocolate, or to have a potato scallop now and then through winter just for fun was fun!

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 2659-2661). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

[Emphasis added]

And more. The woman is eating. Is there another way to spell fraud? Let’s go further. Her claims about food intake are demonstrably false.

Since June 1993 I have existed on an average of 300 calories per day which covers the calorie content of sugar and milk in my tea.

Jasmuheen. PRANIC NOURISHMENT – Nutrition for the New Millennium (Living on Light) (Divine Nutrition Series Book 1) (Kindle Location 1473). Self Empowerment Academy Pty Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Hard information has it that an adult human cannot subsist on that daily energy intake:

“The basal metabolic rate of a human is about 1,300-1,500 kcal/day for an adult female and 1,600-1,800 kcal/day for an adult male.”

Now it’s time for me to pull stuff out of the air and make statements without citing any references. The above figures are likely for an active person. Walking, talking, grocery shopping. If you slow down, do nothing, lie on your back, look at the ceiling, you can survive on maybe 900 calories per day. The history of war prisoners held by the Japanese in World War Two bears out that an active person cannot survive on 900 calories per day.

Greve can claim to tone her metabolism to 100% efficiency, but there are some physical facts that cannot be ignored. A grown person, merely living, dissipates energy at 100 watts. That’s 8,640,000 joules per day. At 4184 joules per Calorie, that’s 2965 Calories per day, in conflict with the numbers referenced above. That means my estimate of 100 Watts is too high, but not by that much. In order for Greve to turn down her thermostat and only put out 300 Calories of heat per day, she’s going to have to be stone cold. She is definitely at odds with some basic physics in her wild-ass claims.

Bottom line, whack job of a book, a few people dead, money in Greve’s pocket, 21st century public not much better off than their ancestors from 1000 years back. That’s progress.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

This is about human cloning, and if that doesn’t clue you as to the title, then catch this:

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

So it was on the 6th day God made man, and that’s what this movie is about. It’s about The 6th Day. It came out nearly 17 years ago (2000), but I never got around to seeing it. It’s now on Hulu, and I continue to wonder what I ever did for old movies before I latched onto Internet streaming services. This was released by Columbia Pictures. Details are from Wikipedia.

You have to recall that, four years prior, the Scots stunned the world by producing Dolly, the first cloned sheep. And there was (still is) a big uproar. This is the future (actually 2015), and all manner of animals are being cloned, but, due to the disastrous result of an earlier trial, human cloning is strictly prohibited by law. And that’s the situation when star ($300 million a year) quarterback Johnny Phoenix gets his neck broken in a crucial play. Not to worry. His handlers have matters well in hand. In the ambulance ride to the hospital his heart is stopped, and he is subsequently replaced by a human clone, who retains all of Johnny’s memories and playing  skills, but without the broken neck messiness. All this is carried out secretly under the auspices of a corporation called Replacement Technologies (RT).

Arnold Schwarzenegger is Adam Gibson, who runs a helicopter charter service along with his partner Hank Morgan (Michael Rapaport). They take wealthy clients high into the mountains, leaving them to ski themselves back to civilization.

But Adam and Hank are required to take a drug test, which requires a blood sample and what seems to amount to a brain scan. Only, when the tests are submitted, the samples are switched accidentally. Then Hank takes out another party by himself, and on top of the mountain an unknown assassin opens fire, killing Hank and others.

Suddenly the TV screen (I’m watching this upstairs on the big screen) goes jerky and the scene jumps to Adam, waiting for Hank to meet him. Adam has figured that Hank is in on a surprise birthday party planned for him, and the meeting between  the two was intended to keep Adam in check while the surprise was being set up.

But Hank is a no-show (dead), and Adam drives to his house, intending to act surprised. Surprised he is, as he peeks in the window and sees a clone of himself getting fresh with his sexy wife Natalie (Wendy Crewson). Just then some assassins working for RT arrive to undo the mistake when the wrong person was cloned. We subsequently learn that the killing on the mountain top was carried out by a anti-cloning activists, but I only watched this through one time, and I never  figured out why there was a scheme to clone Adam and Hank. But it doesn’t matter. The story surges forward.

The assassins pursue Adam, while his clone hangs around at Adam’s house and makes time with Natalie. Adam kills two of the assassins during the chase, but it’s to no avail. Reliable RT Corporation quickly replaces them, and the chase continues. At a certain point Adam confronts the anti-cloning activist (Colin Cunningham) who killed Hank.

Yes, the expected happens. Adam (aka Arnold Schwarzenegger) prevails and tracks down the evil doers at RT Corporation. Here the two  RT assassins are about to meet their doom, as the two Adam’s team up to unravel and destroy RT operations.

Everything made right, the two Adams figure to go their separate ways. Adam the clone prepares to open a cloned charter business in Argentina.

And that’s all hunky-dory.

On-par performances, top notch directing and cinematography. Some lame concepts.

Mentioned previously, my favorite Schwarzenegger is Kindergarten Cop. That has the appeal of the tough guy impregnater being run over by a bunch of pre-schoolers.

Robert Duvall is Doctor Griffin, the inventor of this technology, who unzips the entire operation when he sees what is being done to  maintain it.  And I am not going to mention all the ins and outs of the convoluted clone and replace schemes, because it was too thick for me to follow. There is a lot of silliness to castigate, however.

At one point, a cloning advocate gushes forth on the benefits. All the cloned fish that are feeding a hungry world. People, the standard way of making fish is to fertilize fish eggs, and this process produces more fish than people can eat. Malthusian economics is being abetted by people, who eat the seed stock and disrupt an environment that in the past produced 10 times as much bounty as is presently available from the sea. The idea that more farm live stock can be produced by cloning than by natural process defies basic economics. The only real reason you might want to produce cloned animals would be to provide exact matches for laboratory research.

Cloning reproduces the clones individuals fingerprints. No, it does not. Fingerprint patterns are formed by a random process that is not dictated by the genome.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 11 in a series

Somebody help me. I cannot stop. The story keeps getting better by the day, if not the hour.

Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!

Really. Really? Why? The meeting was about the adoption embargo. Yesterday’s ABC World News Tonight with David Muir has the word from press secretary Sean Spicer:

Note to Spicer: get in a room with your boss and figure out what the official story is, which is that the meeting had nothing to do concerning collusion with Russian intelligence gathering services.

Oops! How did that get in here?

Actually, as ABC reported, and as we all know by now, “The four pages of email setting up the meeting don’t even mention the word adoption.”

Additionally, we have Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow demanding to know how come the Secret Service didn’t get involved. Apparently the highly-paid Mr. Sekulow fails to notice that Donald Trump Jr. did not have Secret Service protection at the time. Apparently, also, President Trump is spending too much on legal representation and not getting his money’s worth.

David Muir goes on to report on a Washington Post poll that has 67% of Americans disapproving of the President’s use of Twitter. Full disclosure: I am not among that 67%. I love Donald Trump’s use of Twitter. I love it so much, I think I might just die if the President of the United States ever grew up and quit laying his soul bare in 140 characters or fewer.

There’s going to be a lot more on this. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

Stupidity continues to claim lives. The tragedy is world-wide:

On May 22, 14-year-old Lalsara Bika died from a severe cold-related illness contracted during her stay in isolation.

That is an excerpt from a larger item on CNN. Young Lalsara’s isolation was required by chhaupadi, a practice common to western Nepal. It requires women to be isolated during their menstrual periods. While this seems to be such a trivial thing to result in the loss of a life, I have in the back of my mind there are more extreme examples in this modern world.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 10 in a series

These are the best of times.

Somebody needs to stop me. I’m on a daily basis overdosing on schadenfreude. Jesus would not approve. Thank you, Mr. Trump. It’s the nicest thing anybody’s ever done for me. Thank you very very very much!

There are only so many ways to spell petty and incompetent, and President Trump does it best.

There will be more. Keep reading. And try not to laugh so hard. Jesus is watching.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

The topic for this week’s Quiz Question is famous quotes.

  1. Somebody first said famously, “There is no “there” there. Who said it first and what is it?
  2. When told that a certain person had died, the response was, “How can they tell?” Who died, and who said it?
  3. “If I owned half that dog I would kill my half.” Who said it?
  4. “It isn’t over until the fat lady sings.” Who said it? What was the inspiration?
  5. “Veni, vidi, vici.” Who said it first? What does it mean?
  6. “She makes you want to burn every bed in the world.” Who said it.
  7. “I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.” Who said it? Not Churchill as I first thought.
  8. “Gott Mit Uns.” You know what it means. Where was it famously inscribed?
  9. “If there is a God, He will have to beg my forgiveness.” May not be an actual quote, but what is the supposed origin?
  10. “I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.” Who wrote that?