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Really bad films and TV, Part 2

November 22, 2012

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Apologies to those of you out there (all 5 or 6 of you) who have been eagerly awaiting Part 2 in the series for what has amounted to about one month. I could offer up a litany of excuses for my tardiness, or I could simply own up to the fact that I’ve been a bit lazy lately with the blog. Sometimes life gets in the way and other things become the priority. With that out of the way, let’s go ahead and complete Part 2, shall we?

If you recall, in Part 1 of the series I criticized the political propaganda piece “2016: Obama’s America” by Dinesh D’Souza, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire. To read that post click here. With the U.S. presidential election now behind us, it’s probably a bit of an understatement to say that I’m elated this piece of awful, conspiracy-ridden propaganda seemed to have no impact on the election.

In today’s post, in what I intend to be the final part in this short-lived series, I’d like to refocus this away from politics and back to what a major theme of this blog is: atheism. Not just atheism with respect to gods, mind you, but atheism with respect to all supernatural claims. When I refer in the title of the post to “really bad films and TV,” those that promote, glorify, and otherwise lend credence to supernatural claims is what I intend to discuss.

Some of you may argue that a series on “really bad films and TV” would be incomplete without a few words about reality shows like Jersey Shore, Honey Boo-Boo, Real Housewives, The Kardashians, and other TV freak-shows. (Let’s just be honest and call them what they are, shall we?) But in my opinion, as much as shows like these seem to be a waste of time –and don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that they are– I believe that the harm they cause to society pales in comparison to the TV and film that I plan to criticize in this post. Sure, Snooki, The Situation, and others of their ilk are the television equivalent of car accident rubbernecking, but at least they and the story-lines they are a part of, however ridiculous and unbelievable, are physically plausible. I do realize that most of so-called reality television is manufactured. Best case, it’s an exaggerated version of reality, and worst case, it’s complete fiction. Still, no reality TV show that I’ve ever seen has made a claim that violates the laws of physics. The minute Chloe Kardashian is abducted by aliens or starts flapping her arms and flies herself to the moon, I’ll reverse my opinion. So, as much as I may be horrified by how much Pauly D happens to tan, it’s not what I’m here to deride.

In my opinion, the worst television out there, and the worst people out there who cause real harm to our society, are those who claim to have special knowledge, unavailable to you or I, about things that happen outside of the physical world. People who claim an ability to talk to ghosts, predict the future, understand the will of God, or otherwise purport a knowledge or ability that is unobservable or untestable by others are, by my estimation, the very epitome of fraudulence and deceit. (Note that a lot of so-called “holy men” –priests, ministers, shaman, clerics, etc.– fall into this definition too, and it’s not by accident.) Should it matter at all that some of these folks truly believe in their special abilities? Only insofar as it matters that a murderer or rapist truly believes that God or Satan is telling him or her to kill or rape, or that their actions are for the best. Ignorance, especially in such an enlightened time as ours, is not forgivable. Just ask the police officer the next time he pulls you over if not knowing the speed limit gives you a pass on that ticket.

You might now be asking yourself who I have in mind, so let’s go ahead and name names, shall we? My specific targets for today are: John Edward (the medium, not the politician whose last name ends in S), Theresa Caputo (a.k.a. The Long Island Medium), Sylvia Browne (the psychic made famous by Montel Williams) and Lee Strobel (author/filmmaker). The first three are are my TV targets, and the last one is my film target. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Strobel, he was the so-called atheist who, upon researching the subject, “followed the evidence” and became a devout Christian. He also wrote a book and produced a documentary of the same name called “The Case for Christ.” There are plenty of other people for which my criticism here would equally apply, but for purposes of keeping this post a manageable length, I’ll leave them out of it.

For sake of brevity, I’m also leaving off the Ghost Hunters, the Bigfoot Hunters, and all of the conspiracy theorists out there, including the particularly repugnant 9/11 conspiracy theorists. These people drive me up the wall –especially the lunatics in the “9/11 was an inside job” subgroup– and by leaving them out of today’s post please don’t infer that I think they are somehow any better than my targets. Yet, I must admit, however scientifically illiterate and dull they happen to be, they at least acknowledge the importance of using something that resembles the scientific method to lend credence to their claims. (Notice that they always try and convince you with evidence and by appealing to so-called experts. As crazy as they are, at least they’re trying, however poor their application may be, to back up their claims.) Besides, these folks don’t generally claim to have a special ability which makes them somehow better than you or I. They simply claim to be expert data interpreters and/or detectives, despite the little inconvenient fact that they always contradict the professionals. (If they didn’t, they’d no longer be conspiracy theorists, they’d be published, perhaps Nobel-prize winning, scientists.)

Before I get into some specifics on each of my targets, let me offer up two very important rules of thumb that will generally serve you well when assessing any sort of claim, be it natural or supernatural:

Rule #1: I call this the “UFO isn’t an AFO rule.” Essentially, an unidentified flying object is just that: unidentified. You don’t know what it is. There is nothing wrong with not knowing something. You should try your best to figure out an answer, but under no circumstances do you get to jump to an answer and assume that an alien’s flying the object (i.e. an AFO) unless you have evidence, and “faith” is the absence of evidence so it doesn’t count. Don’t tell me what you think, tell me what you know and can prove. Similarly, with respect to a whole host of other things like ghosts, miracles, Bigfoot, you-name-it, if you don’t understand something or can’t explain it, you don’t get to assume a supernatural answer, or any sort of an answer for that matter. All you get to assume is that you don’t understand it or can’t explain it. Sorry for being so repetitive with this explanation but it’s really important. (In logical terminology, failure to follow this rule is usually called an “argument from ignorance” since the arguer is ignorant of the facts or evidence.)

Rule #2: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” All of you have heard this before, probably thousands of times. So once again, at the risk of being repetitive and ultra obvious, I’ll simply say the following: if you’re going to make a fantastic claim like “John Doe can talk to the dead,” you better have pretty fantastic evidence to prove this, otherwise logic and reason dictate that I’ve got to go with the far more likely answer that John Doe is either delusional, deceitful, mentally deficient, or perhaps a little bit of each. We have countless examples of human beings exhibiting each of these qualities to various degrees. To date, we have absolutely zero evidence of human beings being able to talk to the dead. By the way, your evidence better be something much stronger than reciting back to me a personal experience. I don’t particularly care how uncanny John Doe’s reading of you happened to be. As Tommy Boy once said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “you can take a shit in a box and mark it guaranteed if that’s what makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, but you and I know that it’s the quality of what’s in the box that matters, not the words on the outside.” In other words, as much as I may happen to like and respect you as a person, I’m going to assess the content of your claims on their own merits. The fact of the matter is that for all of the mystics that have been studied, not one has been able to reproduce their supposed abilities under laboratory conditions. The great magician and well-known skeptic James Randi (a.k.a. The Amazing Randi) even offered a million dollar prize to anyone who could prove a supernatural ability in an experimental setting and guess what? Not a single person has yet to claim the prize.

While I may not refer to these rules by name while I make my arguments below, notice that they are implicit in how I think about issues like this. They should be implicit in how you think about things too. Failure to grasp these concepts can lead you to believe in all sorts of things… some common, like religion, and some more uncommon, like psychics.

And now, allow me to finish this post with some specifics about what makes each of my targets especially awful and harmful to the world.

The Mediums:

I’m lumping John Edward, host of “John Edward Cross Country,” and Theresa Caputo, of the reality show “Long Island Medium,” together because they are essentially different flavors of the same ice cream. Their recipes for reading subjects use the same handful of techniques, with a slightly different preparation. In the case of Mr. Edward, he identifies targets, or “marks” (so named because carnival workers used to physically mark their most gullible and wealthy targets with chalk) among a large audience of people who have come to see him, many of whom are hoping to be “read.” As you can imagine, most of his participants are eager and willing subjects, which as you’ll see in a second is important. Ms. Caputo, on the other hand, tends to read a person at a time. In her reality show, these readings are sometimes scheduled by appointment and at other times seem to be spontaneous. For example, in the one and only episode I happened to see (and mind you, that was one episode too many), she spontaneously read a cashier at a supermarket. Apart from this distinction with respect to the manner in which they read their subjects –or their victims, as I prefer to call them– their methods are 100% identical and rely on the same handful of techniques. In general, this collection of techniques is called “cold reading,” and those that employ them without having prior knowledge of their victim (hence the “cold” part), are called cold readers. (Warm reading, on the other hand, involves learning as much as you can, usually covertly, about a subject before you read him. Think Steve Martin in the movie “Leap of Faith.”)

It’s worth pointing out right away that there is nothing at all supernatural about cold reading. It’s something anybody can learn to do. To do it well, on the other hand, takes an incredible amount of skill and practice. To use the guitar as an analogy, anybody with two working hands can learn to strum a few chords, but not everyone will become Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix. When you reach that high of a level, it probably seems like the guitar is playing itself… And I expect that the same can be said for cold reading. If nothing else, we have to respect the skill and practice it must have taken these two to hone their craft. I’m sure both would claim some sort of divine intervention and would deny that they ever needed to practice their god-given talent; however, the truth is that they have both done this for a very long time, and can seem quite convicting to trusting people who don’t know what to look out for. And that is really the essence of my hatred for them: they prey on the weak and exploit their desperation and lack of knowledge. And unlike a magician whose job it is to deceive you while never revealing his secrets, the medium isn’t doing this purely for entertainment…he or she is claiming it’s all real! There are real and lasting feelings and emotions at stake here, and to pull at people’s heart strings for what amounts to an elaborate lie is, to me, a heartbreaking tragedy. Psychologists, counselors and other professionals who are trained, tested, and board certified are who should be helping people through grief issues, not frauds like Edward and Caputo.

With that as the backdrop, here is a list of some of the most important weapons in a cold reader’s arsenal. For sake of brevity, I’ve explained many of these at a very superficial level, but for any of you who are interested in learning more, a lot of good quality information can easily be found on the internet without much searching. Note that these definitions and explanations use my own terminology, so may be slightly different from what you may find elsewhere. I’ve tired to keep the language as simple as possible:

-Confirmation Bias: This is a well-known and well studied effect that all human beings fall victim to. As pattern seeking creatures who are inundated with all sorts of information every second, we’re forced to sift through all that noise and pick out the stuff that’s relevant. As it turns out, we end up ignoring a lot of things that contradict our preconceptions in favor of things that support them. Changing our minds about something takes a whole lot more effort than sticking to our guns. So what does this mean for cold readers? Well, if you’re the type of person who is likely to believe in something supernatural like a medium, or even if you aren’t but you’d like it to be true, you’re going to be extra sensitive to the “hits” and forget a lot of the “misses.” And remember when I said up above that it’s important that the audiences for Mr. Edward and Ms. Caputo were mostly eager and willing subjects? The more eager and willing the subject, the stronger the confirmation bias will be. The subject is, in effect, reading herself. All the medium has to do is throw out an idea that is somewhere in the vicinity of a fact and the subject will pick up on it, forgetting everything about the statement that was wrong and only remembering the tiny shred that was correct. Think about a statement like the following: “I see a short, old man with an angular face, bald, white hair, who seems to have a strong presence.” As you can see, there are at least 6 specific claims in there, but it doesn’t really matter if all of them are true. If just one or two happen to be right, and you’re the type of person who strongly wants to believe your father, grandfather, or whoever, is trying to communicate with you, you’ll pick up on the hits and forget about the misses. Hell, the medium could only have been right on one of these things, only a 17% success rate (assuming 1 hit out of 6), and if you want to believe it bad it enough, to you it’s an incredible 100% hit because you either forgot or failed to hear the part about him being bald when he wasn’t, or having an angular face when he didn’t.

-The Forer Effect (a.k.a. Barnum Statements, made famous by P.T. Barnum): This particular technique is fascinating. It turns out there are some statements that almost all of us believe about ourselves. I actually had this effect demonstrated on me while I was in college. I was in my freshmen psychology class where just the class before the professor had each of us fill out a complicated questionnaire with lots of seemingly random and irrelevant questions. On this specific day, she handed out to each of us what she said was a personalized personality profile. Each of these profiles had been built using the questionnaire from the class before. We each read our profile, and it was surprisingly accurate. It wasn’t 100% right, but upon being asked if it was upwards of 80 or 90% accurate, I and almost everyone else in my class raised our hands and said that it was. Then, the professor asked us to swap our personalized profiles with our neighbors. Upon swapping, we all noticed that we had all received the exact same personality profile. The profiles had been built using Barnum Statements. An example of a Barnum Statement is something like: “You’re a private person, but among your good friends you can be rather outgoing at times.” Or, “You’re trust is hard to earn, but once earned you are fiercely loyal.” In hindsight, I guess it’s not all that surprising that there are some qualities we all aspire to, but the effect was still astounding and most people I tell this story to have never heard of this effect before. As you can imagine, this is an incredibly effective tool in the hands of a skilled cold reader. For example, can’t you just imagine one saying something like this: “I’m speaking to your mother right now… I get the sense from her that she could be a stern disciplinarian and sometimes the two of you would butt heads, but she always had your best interest at heart and she loved you very much.” Now, who wouldn’t find meaning in a statement like that?

-Slippery Language: Cold readers will structure sentences so that multiple interpretations can be perceived. They like using lots of modifiers and double negatives to confuse things. For example: “Isn’t it not true that your father was a quiet man?” I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep track of all those not statements. To me, an answer of Yes or No is equally understable, depending on how you read that question. The cold reader knows this, and structures the sentence in a confusing manner on purpose. Whether or not you reply with “no, my father was a loud man” or “yes, my father was very quiet and reserved,” the cold reader will take credit for being right. In the case of the first response, the cold reader would simply say “well of course, I said he was not a quiet man,” and in the case of the second response he’d say, “yes, I agree, thats what I’m getting.” Once again, the person being read is providing all the meaning here, and the medium is simply helping her along with purposefully deceptive language. If the medium is really speaking with your dead father, why is a straightforward sentence like “your father was a very quiet man” so difficult?

-Probability plus common knowledge: If you didn’t study math in college, I can forgive you for not having a depth of understanding with respect to probabilities based on multiple combinations. I think it probably suffices to say that most people are ignorant of the subject, and many outright hate math so avoid thinking about this stuff at all costs. By way of simple illustration though, here is one very curious probability fact that is quite counterintuitive: If you have at least 23 people in a room, the odds are greater than 50-50 that at least two of them share a birthday. You’d have thought the number of people would need to be way more than 23 right… Like maybe 180 or so? Nope. You’re probably making the common mistake of thinking of how many people would need to be in the room for 50-50 odds of sharing your birthday, not any two people in the room sharing a birthday. If you don’t trust me on this fact, look it up for yourself. If you google “birthday paradox,” you should find a satisfactory proof, if you are so inclined. And by all means, next time you’re in a crowd of 50 or so people, bet some sucker $100 that at least 2 people in the room share the same birthday. It will be the best odds you’ll ever get! (As you get close to 60 people, the odds of finding two people with the same birthday shoot up to around 99%.)

So, how can a cold reader use something like this? Well, if you’ve already told him that you’ve got a huge family, he could make a simple predication like: “I’m getting a feeling that 2 people share a birthday.” Just think of how amazed you’d be if you didn’t know this little trick. But the cold reader could even do something far simpler, mathematically. Say that he sees that you’re in your 50s or 60s. Well, odds are very high that your father, father-in-law, or uncle served in the military based on the stretch of wars the U.S. was engaged in while the previous generations were of fighting age. So, a predication like: “I’m sensing that an older male presence served in the armed forces” is basically a guaranteed direct hit.

-Hedging: Almost all cold readers, at least the smart ones, start off a session with a nice big disclaimer. Statements like the following are common: “Keep in mind that talking with the dead is very difficult… They are in a different place than you or I so communications can be hard to understand… I sometimes only hear bits and pieces, and sometimes nothing at all… They decide whether or not they want to talk, it’s not up to us as the living to dictate terms… They feed off of your energy and the more people in the room who believe and have faith, the better… ” You get the idea. Essentially, they’re covering their ass for when they make a mistake. They’re also shifting the blame onto the dead people if they decide they don’t want to talk today, or onto anyone in the room who may be a skeptic.

-Appealing to authority / preying on the weak: Perhaps the most repugnant of all the techniques in the cold reader’s arsenal is their ability to easily identify, and target, those who are the most vulnerable and in need of a reading. These people are looking for someone with an answer to their deepest questions, and the cold reader is more than willing to step-in and be that authority figure who has all the answers. Uncertainty sucks. A lot of people can’t deal with the prospect of living the rest of their lives not knowing whether or not Dad forgave them for the time they got pissed off and cursed him out just before he died. Knowing that Dad forgives you and still loves you dearly is comforting.

The fact of the matter is that a cold reader would never even try to read someone like me who happens to be skeptical of his or her abilities. Only those who crave a connection with a deceased loved one are targeted. That is why I loathe these evil, predatory scum the most. The more vulnerable you are, the more money they will try to take from you. Many well-to-do targets feel no financial pain from this addiction… But for every well off middle-class person who lines the pockets of Mr. Edward or Ms. Caputo, there is another person living paycheck to paycheck, making decisions about whether or not to pay to see them on the off-chance they may be read, or to buy groceries to feed their children. I don’t know of anyone who keeps statistics on the number of lives these people have ruined, but even if it’s just one or two, it’s one or two too many. Based on the popularity of these so-called mediums, the odds good that there are thousands who’ve been victimized.

The Psychics:

I realize that I spent quite a bit of time on cold-reading mediums in my little rant up above, so I will do my best to dispatch with psychics in a relatively quick manner. To be honest, this type of mystic is a lot easier to dismiss because their claims are often made so far in the future that, when combined with the same hedging statements used by the cold reader, they render themselves almost completely useless. If someone told you that they were almost 100% certain that in 2015 your first of two future daughters would be born, but that predicting the future was very uncertain so if your path deviates even just a little bit from the one you are on today this daughter may never be born, would you ever give the prediction a second thought? Psychics are simply lazy, unskilled cold readers who make predictions so far into the future as to not even be relevant to any serious person. So, at the risk of arrogantly dismissing any of my readers who believe in psychics, I’m going to shirk my debunking responsibilities and simply say that these people are so laughable that they’re unworthy of further comment.

My favorite example of a psychic screw-up was made by Sylvia Browne, who was made famous by talk show host Montel Williams. If you do a YouTube search on “Sylvia Browne owned” you’ll find lots of examples of predications she’s made that have gone terribly wrong. My favorite wrong prediction is when she told a woman that her deceased boyfriend, whose body had never been recovered, wasn’t likely to be found because he was underwater. When the woman replied that her boyfriend was actually in one of twin towers on 9/11, Sylvia replied by turning to Montel and saying something along the lines of: “Well, Montel, there were lots of firemen in those towers so there was presumably lots of water being used…maybe he did drown.” Really Sylvia? Hopefully that story underscores why I beleive it’s not worth much time debunking someone as foolish as Sylvia Browne. And please police departments, stop using psychics to help you solve crimes! It’s not particular insightful that someone is sensing a missing body in the woods, under heavy brush and near a tree or a stream. That’s where people dump bodies, unless of course they happen to live near the East River.

The Professional Apologists:

An “apologist” is basically someone who attempts to support a religion or a set of beliefs through logical argument and evidence. So, if you’ve ever found yourself trying to justify your religious beliefs to an atheist friend, you’re an apologist. A professional apologist is someone who makes a career out of doing this. There are loads of professional apologists out there, as you would imagine. Just as there are atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late great Christopher Hitchens, all of whom sold lots of books attacking religious belief, there are people like Lee Strobel, William Lane Craig and Ray Comfort (a.k.a. The Banana Man) on the other side of the argument. (Comfort earned his nickname “The Banana Man” after trying to argue that the banana was proof that god existed because it tastes delicious, it’s easy to eat, it fits nicely in your hand, and its peel is the perfect wrapper. The problem, of course, is that the banana as we know it today was engineered by man to have all of these features. Naturally occurring bananas are starchy, ugly-looking little things that have none of the qualities that Ray so admires. This is the caliber of argument we’re dealing with here.)

To be fair, to present these atheists and apologists as two groups of people on opposite sides of an argument is a bit of a false dichotomy. These are not equal and opposite positions on a single issue. Much like the hammer and the nail do not have much of a rivalry, the atheist position is standing on much firmer ground than the apologist position. Usually, when I’m presenting two sides of an argument, I try to acknowledge the particularly strong and valid points of my opposition, even if I may happen to disagree with them. For example, politically speaking, I much prefer a financially conservative, limited involvement, approach to government; however, I’m more than willing to respect the more liberal stance that a government exists to form a safety net and to care for the least fortunate among us. There are equally valid points to be made on both sides of this political debate. With respect to religious apologists, the same can not be said.

All of these apologists appeal to virtually the same old and tired arguments. A simple understanding of the two rules of thumb I mentioned at the beginning is sufficient to dismiss most of them. In particular, rule #1 is quite useful, since a majority of their arguments fall into a type known as a “God of the gaps.” In other words, if there is something science can’t explain or is unable to address –their favorites are the origin of the big bang and the “how can something come from noting?” argument– they will happily insert their particular God as the answer. The problems here are numerous, but a few of them should be immediately obvious. For one, appealing to a higher power tells you absolutely nothing helpful. If every time we didn’t understand something we simply appealed to God as the cause, then most of what we understand today would still be a complete mystery. Disease, for example, would still be caused by evil spirits instead of bacteria and viruses. Another problem with the “God of the gaps” argument is that it renders God increasingly insignificant as we inevitably learn more. As any high school math student can tell you, the limit of any infinitely decreasing number is zero. Third –and this is actually a huge problem that often goes unappreciated– pigeon-holing God into these tiny little shreds of unknown knowledge does absolutely nothing to bridge the gap between a God who simply set the universe in motion by creating the Big Bang, and the personal God depicted in all of the holy books who listens to prayers, cares whether or not you eat pork, cares who you sleep with and in what positions, etc. Argue with me all you want about what caused the universe to begin or who/what set evolution into motion, but at the end of the argument neither you nor I will be any closer to the answer, and you’ll not have done not one thing to justify your belief in the personal God of the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, or of Aesop’s Fables. Finally, you’ve also got that pesky little infinite regress issue to deal with. If God set the Big Bang in motion, then who created God? And if he always existed, why couldn’t the universe have always existed?

These problems are just the tip of the iceberg with the apologist position. If you are interested in a further review of any of them, let me know and I’d be happy to direct you to some good reading. The only other thing I’ll say specifically, purely because I was asked by a friend to comment, is that Lee Strobel and his claim –namely, being former atheist who became convinced when he researched the topic while working as a journalist– seems to me to be completely disingenuous. There are two likely explanations for Mr. Strobel’s supposed conversion. Either:

1. He’s full of shit and he knew all along, or secretly hoped, that he was going to turn into a Christian, but claims to have looked at the evidence with an open mind to help lend credibility to his arguments, or

2. He actually did look at the evidence but was too stupid to notice the direction in which it was pointing. Ignore my two rules of thumb from above and you can see how something like this may happen.

I have no particular stake in whether option 1 or 2 is right. I suppose option 2 is slightly more forgivable, but in either case, I see nothing remotely compelling about any of his arguments. Incidentally, if anybody would like to see a point by point breakdown of Strobel’s “The Case for Christ,” there is a fantastic critique on infidels.org. Here is the direct link. Its critique is so perfect, there is no reason for me to reproduce any of it here.

Whew…. I’ve said a lot here. If you stuck with me through this whole post, thank you! I hope it’s obvious to you, dear reader, that I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about all of this. If you’ve thought about this stuff as well and want to share your comments, I’d love to hear them.

It truly fascinates me to think that there are people who believe some of this stuff, and it also saddens me because I can see the harm that it causes to all of us. I’m not sure what the solution is to this cancer, but would welcome any ideas you have. Perhaps one remedy may be to invest in education, particularly science education, and to really make it a priority in this country. When science has failed you or you are ignorant of its most basic tenants, it leaves you unable to comprehend the world around you. As a result, maybe you’re more likely to jump to mystical answers… Again, I don’t know the answer here, I’m just speculating.

My wish is that we can begin to treat the people I’ve talked about here like we do the crazy people who mutter to themselves and defecate in their pants. It may be entertaining to put people like that on TV from a voyeuristic perspective, but for anyone to take them seriously truly baffles me. At the very least, we need to ignore people like Theresa Caputo and Sylvia Browne. At most, if they really are hearing dead people, we need to offer them the psychiatric help they need. And if they aren’t really hearing dead people but they’re scamming people and taking their hard earned money, we need to prosecute them for preying on people who are distraught and may not know any better.

Cheers,
~BLA

Today’s post was powered by Orval.

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3 Comments
  1. Maryann Malinoski permalink

    Just for the record, BLA, it’s Theresa Caputo!!!!

  2. Your Mother permalink

    Nice posting! Great read. I went through it twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I wonder whether there is any correlation between one’s political position and their tendency to believe in these psychics and ‘fortune tellers’. For example, are republics more likely to tune in to John Edward? Probably.

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