So, fuck this town, basically.

August 13th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in PSA | Whining - (0 Comments)

In which we’ve been trolled.

In the middle of the night, the apartment suddenly exploded with white dust.

IMG_20170813_015722

It was probably between 2:30 and 3 in the morning. We were still up and the lights were on. There were three fans running, so it was everywhere, instantly.

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My guess is that some asshat stole a fire extinguisher and discharged it into the box fan in our window, which was facing inward at the time to pull the cool air in.

IMG_20170813_015614

The shit is everywhere, and a lot of it.

Whoever you are: fuck you. You’re not funny. You’re a dick. There isn’t an inch of this place that doesn’t have to be cleaned now, and you’ve exposed us to a great deal of topical and inhaled bicarbonate soda, which is essentially harmless, or ammonium phosphate, which isn’t, for no fucking reason other than you’re a moron.

I was sitting right by the open bedroom window when you did it, too. And had I not turned away because of the odd noises coming from the other room, if I’d looked left instead of right, I’d have seen your punk ass. As it is, I didn’t, and you just walked off quietly while we freaked out because our home was filled with flying white powder.

You’re a punk and a twat and I sincerely hope your dumb unfunny ass woke up in jail this morning. This is not a fucking college dorm, it’s my goddamned home. So fuck you.

I’m basically ignoring the insane amount of cleaning I have to do and hiding out in the bedroom. I’ve ordered Indian food delivery, because it will be hours of cleaning before I can cook again, and I just don’t want to do it. It’s Sunday, it’s my day off, and I don’t want to tackle the sweeping, dusting, washing, wiping, mopping, vacuuming, and multiple loads of laundry YOUR DUMB ASS has caused me.

Oh, yeah, and in unrelated news, some other dumb asshat — one assumes, but I suppose it could be the same one — took the two largest tomatoes off our vines. We’ve had ONE FUCKING TOMATO this year so far. ONE. AND IT WAS NOT EVEN ENTIRELY RIPE.

So, if you’re not starving, literally actually going hungry, then fuck you. I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to that first ripe tomato of the year THAT I HAVEN’T HAD YET BECAUSE YOU JUST FUCKING STOLE THEM.

Tomatoes

I mean, what the fuck? Go fucking buy a tomato if you want one. At least it would already be ripe, you asshole. Why steal mine? And if you’re going to steal unripe tomatoes, TAKE THREE OF THE SMALLER ONES, MAYBE. BECAUSE FUCK YOU.

So, for today, at least, my attitude is this:

FUCK this town and fuck this neighborhood. Seriously. You’re all a bunch of bike stealing, dumpster burning, tomato raiding, prank pulling dipshits, PLUS your weather TOTALLY SUCKS.

In which I’ve read so much socially acceptable male-bashing bullshit online today, I just can’t even.

But I’m going to anyway, and it’s this: what if society was structured with women’s and men’s spheres mostly separate… for a reason? Maybe women domesticated ourselves, just like cats, deliberately.

Also, I’ve been out of school a long time, and don’t really remember how to structure a thesis, so this is a sloppy-ass brain dump.

It started with this diatribe (go read it, and come back) this morning, from a woman who appears to blame men for the fact that she’s never won an award for any of her books? She doesn’t say exactly, but random entities tell her ‘no’ a lot, and ‘sexualize’ (or gender) her, so I assume they’re men, because women are never imperfect unless a man makes them that way. The piece is well-written, quite, but I’ve never heard of her nor any of her published works, and as cream does rise to the top, couldn’t it be possible that she’s just not award-winningly brilliant? It’s not like women don’t get Man Booker and Pulitzer prizes, you know.

Then there’s this next one (click the image to read it). I generally like McSweeneys, but if you’re a man and you ever speak to a woman, compliment her, disagree with her, stand when she enters a room, hold a door for her, or ever make any social judgement mistakes, you’re a fucking monster:

The best thing about feminism right now is hating men and brutally mocking men and all things male, like when men hold open doors or breathe or make mistakes or exist, because by merely existing they’re ogres and hideous, and to brutally mock them is acceptable and widely celebrated and witty and clever, and it’s their fault that we’re not exactly like them with their qualities and leanings and abilities and ambition, because men and women are identical in all ways!

Oh, and the fact that women appear to be less ambitious in the workplace? MEN’S FAULTS:

Alert! It’s entrenched, systematic sexism that women don’t care as much about devoting life and self to work, that we don’t have the identical values as men, that we make different choices and have different goals. Because companies make women less ambitious over time!

There’s no possible way that maybe we just don’t care about work like men do, oh no: anything men can do, we can do better. And if we don’t, IT’S THEIR FAULT, it’s their SEXISM that stops us from being exactly like them!

The pervasive, endemic male-hating is astonishing. Even from males. Here are two males discussing economic policy, taking a break to dis men:

The alt-right unequivocally hates women? Because it’s impossible that A.) the alt-right doesn’t hate women, or that B.) they treat women as equals, and bitch at them and berate them right back because women demanded equality, and they’re giving it to them?

I mean, I’m not defending the totality of “the alt-right,” whatever that really is, but if you want all the rights, risks, and responsibilities men have, it means you do not get preferential treatment because of your sex. It means when you fuck up, they’re gonna treat you like they treat each other when they fuck up. Because that’s what equality is. When you do dumb shit, they’re gonna mock the shit out of you, and you’re not gonna get a pass for being a girl.

And if you’re going to say that “the problem” is, in fact, in the way males treat each other, you’re still male-bashing. Men didn’t demand entrée into womens’ space, we demanded entrée into theirs. Now that we’re here, we don’t get to whine about how male society error-corrects for wrong behavior.

(I begin to think, here. Men didn’t demand that they be allowed to leave their work and come do ours, but they did engineer us out of it. They gave us stoves, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, laundry machines, easy-care fabrics, dry cleaning, blenders, microwaves, preservatives, and the pill. They basically took our work away from us, or at least reduced it a great deal — keeping a home is not trivial, but it certainly isn’t a dawn-til-dusk proposition anymore. They basically drove us into their sphere. So maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we do get to emasculate them so we feel more comfortable among them. Shit, I don’t know, but I’m betting compassion and accountability are probably key, rather than victimhood-as-identity, derision, and rage.)

It’s embarrassing that women demand rights but reject responsibilities, and yet bitches be doin’ it ALL THE TIME. This whole imbalanced, irresponsible, male-bashing ideology is part and parcel of the social fabric right now, and it’s driving me nuts. (Last night I told a male feminist that when a woman puts herself in a dangerous situation and something bad happens it’s her own fault more than anyone else’s, and he said he was too uncomfortable to discuss it. Just the idea that a woman could ever be responsible for her own choices freaked him out, and he’s a feminist. This is how insane it’s getting: to be a feminist is to demand to be absolved of responsibility for their own choices!)

Paglia — love her or hate her, she is a pretty solid thinker — talks about fighting for equality in college in the 70’s. The girls’ dorm had a curfew, girls had to be in by 11PM and girls were looked after and protected not only from the big bad dangerous world, but also from themselves. The boys could do whatever the fuck they wanted because, assumably, they’re hard to traumatize. Paglia says those girls, those women, wanted to take responsibility for themselves, wanted to make their own decisions and accept their own consequences. Wanted the right to make their own decisions, come what may.

Today as you read about the male gaze, and the modern feminist’s discomfort being looked at or spoken to, the vast number of consensual hook-ups she realized in retrospect were rapes, her perpetual fear of society, of being hurt, of being objectified, and her desire to be in spaces free of men, you can’t help but wonder if maybe this is why society was structured that way in the first place. Men and women for much of history had mostly separate spheres. Women had their power, men had theirs; women were spared putting up with masculine jock bullshit, and men were spared getting endlessly bitched at about hurts women inflicted upon themselves.

I did my fair share of fucking around, but now that I’m older, I’m no longer ashamed to say that I know very few women with truly high libidos. Most of us have very little if any use for dick that isn’t attached to a decent human being who is capable of feeling love and keeping his word. The sex positive movement sold me a crock of shit when it told me that I want and need and enjoy sex exactly like men do, because I don’t. I’m thankful for contraception, yes, but not for sex for its own sake on a grand scale. Out-of-context sex is, for most women, satisfying only on the rarest of occasions.

The rest of the time, it results in disappointment, heartbreak, and fatherless children. And these things foment a culture-wide, seething hatred for men because the assholes took our word for it that the sex had no strings attached.

Isn’t it possible that maybe, just maybe, it’s not that men are universally hostile and predatory, so much that women are just not that into living in their sphere with them? Sure, we can have commutes and be head of household and earn a living and work for the weekend, but where’s the evidence that we’re thriving? Mostly we’re just doing it because we have to; and most women are saying that they feel unfulfilled, unhappy, and unsafe.

There are outliers, naturally. Always were, always will be. The Joans of Arc, the women physicists and researchers and astronauts and warriors and firefighters and visionaries. But when basically every female you know, just, you know, kinda feels like shit all the time? Maybe it’s because most of us don’t like living like dudes, doing dude stuff, having dude responsibilities. Being the breadwinner sucks ass, as far as I’m concerned. Let him do it.

We all know at least one man who is neither hostile or predatory, not under any conditions. So it’s easy to extrapolate that to say that most males are just normal human beings who’d love to protect and care for you, if you’d just stop telling them they’re all just one dark alley away from committing the brutal rapes they all carry in their souls.

Just stop it. If soldiers can be socialized to rape, then civilians can be socialized not to. Men, as a group, are no better or worse than women. Some are psychopaths, some are geniuses, most are normal and common and not about to rape you.

I know that for every woman who’d like to stop working, there are a dozen who can’t, because they have to pay the rent and the bills and keep the children well, and still others who enjoy — or believe that they do — their jobs and responsibilities it the public realm. I get that. But if women were happy with their lot in life as it is, why would there be this deep need to vilify and denigrate males?

…Now that men have basically engineered/invented us out of our sphere’s previous domestic work, maybe we should invent another one for ourselves. Running a household doesn’t take much time these days, since “a household” is rarely more than a few people and we have wall-to-wall dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, electric cookers, and can buy canned food from the store any day of the year. So maybe we should focus on, I don’t know, philosophy. Altruism. Eradicating world hunger. Maybe instead of living separately in little homes stuffed full of meaningless shit, we should all live together with less.

Maybe “women’s work” isn’t making dinner, maybe it’s figuring out how to make the most people fulfilled and happy on a global scale, rather than being as “ambitious” as men in corporate settings.

I really enjoy cooking, though.

Total convert here, guys.

May 15th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Gadgets | Health | PSA | Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which I’ve quit smoking!

I started smoking at 16. I’m 47 now. That’s 31 years.

I was down to smoking less than a pack a day, usually less than half a pack, but my lungs felt dry and tight. I was having difficulty breathing.

Every morning, I decided not to smoke. Every evening I smoked anyway, because the power of habit is massive. I’ve tried keeping my regular behaviors and just ditching the smoking part, but it’s hard. I’ve gotten up, put on my coat, grabbed my ebook, stepped outside and not smoked, just to keep up my normal routine, but it doesn’t really work. Before you know it, you’ve bought yourself a pack of cigarettes.

You need a substitute. And no, not for the nicotine. The gum and the patches are worthless; I’ve tried both. For the smoking.

Luckily, here in the future, we have such a thing! It’s called vaping.

A well-controlled trial has recently been carried out by Dr Grant O’Connell and colleagues working for the vaping manufacturer Fontem Ventures. They asked 15 smokers to give up altogether for five days, 15 to vape only for five days, and another 15 to mix vaping and smoking for five days. They measured the harmful and potentially harmful constituents in the urine, blood and breath of each group, and the results were striking. After five days, the vapers’ carboxyhaemoglobin levels—an indication of how much carbon monoxide they had in their systems—had dropped by 83%, which was an even bigger drop than in the cold-turkey cessation group, whose levels dropped by 75%. Even the dual users had seen a drop of 23%. The amount of carbon monoxide they exhaled had halved in both the vapers and the cessation group. Much the same was true for all the other biomarkers except, of course, for nicotine.

Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016

So I bought a Vuse at the corner gas station. It was a piece of shit and just as sketchy as the first ecig I bought a decade ago and it was so awful it basically drove me back to cigarettes. (The Vuse is by RJ Reynolds. There is speculation that they were specifically designed to drive smokers back to cigarettes. They taste bad and they’re incredibly inconsistent, delivering either burnt-tasting air or a massive hit of lung-scorching, scaldingly hot vapor. Each replacement cartridge costs at least as much as a pack of cigarettes, if not more.) The Vuse would be an acceptable experience only if you were a hard-core smoker locked in an airport or hospital for days with no other way to deal with your discomfort.

Then I bought this sciencey-looking little Pro Tank II for only $20 at the ecig store over on Lake Street, and I haven’t had a cigarette since.

Kanger 650mAh Pro Tank II

It screws together. The whole bottom section is a rechargable battery, with a button you push to send power to the coil; the tank is Pyrex and holds e-juice, which is vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol with flavorings and nicotine, and contains a coil, which is what actually heats up and turns the juice into vapor; and then the tip is the part you inhale through. There’s an utterly bewildering variety of these things, but all of them are basically made up of these three components.

An old Fairfield friend saw my interest in ecigs on Facebook, and kindly sent me his unwanted stuff (he’s discovered a favorite brand of tank, and no longer uses any of this):

Vaping stuff

That’s hundreds of dollars of equipment and ten flavors of juices! That he was just going to throw out! A Vaporfi kit, a Nautilus tank, an Aerotank Mega, a Halo Tracer kit, a second Vaporfi tank, and coils!

Now I have tons of everything. Batteries and chargers, tanks, tips. Most of the parts are interchangeable, too, so you can mix and match and make devices that look cool and draw, due to adjustable air flow rings on the nicer tanks, exactly the way you want them to. These are the two I’m into right now:

Vapor

I’m into the 6% blueberry and 3% cocoa flavors right now. (I hate even typing that because it sounds so douchey, but it is what it is! Blueberry! Cocoa! I’m a twat!)

I started with 18% juice, but I don’t think I need it. They tell you that nicotine is incredibly addictive, but I’m perfectly comfortable with 6% and 3% juices. I do have a tank loaded with the 18%, but haven’t used it much in the past two days.

I haven’t gone five days without a single cigarette in years. I’ve gone one, two days without a cigarette, sure; I’ve gone days only smoking one or two. But zero cigarettes? For five days? In a row? No, not in years.

With low-nicotine juice and a device that works well, one can enjoy the activity of ‘smoking’ almost to excess, and yet wake up in the morning feeling better than she has in years. It’s fucking wonderful.

While I doubt vaping is a zero-harm activity (after all, what is), it’s definitely lower harm than smoking cigarettes. It’s almost therapeutic-feeling; inhaling mist into dry, damaged lungs actually feels good. (Turns out that juice uses the same base used in asthma inhalers and nebulizers.) And apparently my carboxyhemoglobin levels have dropped by 83%.

Eighty-three percent.

The devices themselves probably last for quite a long time, being made of Pyrex and stainless steel. You have to replace the coil, the part that heats up, and the juice, but from what I can tell that’s much less expensive than 3.5 packs of cigarettes every week.

There’s a bunch of negative hysteria around e-cigarettes, but it appears to have been deliberately manufactured by pharmaceutical companies involved in nicotine replacement therapies and cigarette companies. The recent FDA regulation binge was brought on by these lobbies, apparently. Of course. Since so much money is generated by the luxury taxes on cigarettes, anything that threatens the market is worrisome… even if it’s a technology that is reducing harm and by extension probably saving lives.

The bulk of the evidence so far leans heavily toward vaping being much safer than cigarettes, and much more effective than NRT in helping people quit smoking.

E-cigarette studies, research and reports
E-cigarettes save lives
UK doctors urge wide promotion of e-cigs to help smokers quit
Smokers Urged to Switch to E-Cigarettes by British Medical Group
Vapers Helping Smokers to Quit

So, the take-away here is that we’re seeing research showing that vaping is much less harmful than smoking, and that if you wish to vape, you need to buy a decent piece of equipment and avoid shitty disposables made by cigarette companies. The vapor, even from low-nicotine juices, is so satisfying that you don’t even want cigarettes. Vaping is credited with helping tens of thousands of smokers quit.

“In the case of addictions, where people find it genuinely very hard to resist temptation, harm reduction surely makes sense,” said Viscount Ridley. And I agree. Being against vaping because it’s not zero-harm is ridiculous. If we expected driving to be zero-harm, we’d never build another car again. But as far as risk management goes, vaping is safer than smoking by orders of magnitude.

In which I freak out. Seriously. Not even kidding.

I haven’t spent much time in chans or forums because they’re stupid, but even so I’ve seen countless nerds type “kill yourself” at each other, and sometimes it’s hilarious. In IRC it’s practically a tradition to tell chatters to go commit suicide — preferably immediately, by gun, and live via Skype. It’s typical shock-based online shenanigans and it’s funny.

BUT THEN THERE’S MOTHERFUCKING FACEBOOK, AND THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT EVEN KIDDING.

I’ve been ranting forever about the impossibly dumb shit people post about — the anti-vaxxers and the New Age hippies and the holistic practitioners with their weekend retreats and cooking classes or whatever — but after today, I think I really just can’t afford to look at Facebook ever again.

Because today on Facebook, I saw someone I went to university with tell somebody with cancer to do the Gerson “protocol” instead of taking his chemo.

Which is literally one person saying to another, “lol go kill yourself fgt,” only it’s not even mildly funny.

If you have the kind of cancer that would have chemo prescribed in the first place, you have a type of cancer that has a record of responding to chemo. (If your cancer historically doesn’t give a fuck about chemo, they’re not gonna recommend it.)

Chemo is demonstrably effective and does save lives. The evidence is literally everywhere, because basically everybody knows someone who has survived cancer through chemotherapy. Fuck yeah, chemo sucks. Fuck yeah, nobody likes it. But we do it when indicated because even though it sucks ass, doing chemo is much more effective against certain kinds of cancer than not doing it. People telling you that 2% bullshit are trying to sell you something.

Juicing, on the other hand, DOES ABSOLUTELY FUCK-ALL FOR CANCER*, and all the other wacky shit in the Gerson ‘protocol,’ like the no-salt diet and the liver injections, is actively fucking dangerous:

Between 1980 and 1986, at least 13 patients treated with Gerson therapy were admitted to San Diego area hospitals with Campylobacter fetus sepsis attributable to the liver injections. None of the patients was cancer-free, and one died of his malignancy within a week. Five were comatose due to low serum sodium levels, presumably as a result of the “no sodium” Gerson dietary regimen. As a result, Gerson personnel modified their techniques for handling raw liver products and biologicals. However, the Gerson approach still has considerable potential for harm. Deaths also have been attributed to the coffee enemas administered at the Tijuana clinic.

…A naturopath who visited the Gerson Clinic in 1983 was able to track 21 patients over a 5-year period (or until death) through annual letters or phone calls. At the 5-year mark, only one was still alive (but not cancer-free); the rest had succumbed to their cancer.

And forty years before that:

In 1947, the NCI reviewed ten cases selected by Dr. Gerson and found his report unconvincing. That same year, a committee appointed by the New York County Medical Society reviewed records of 86 patients, examined ten patients, and found no evidence that the Gerson method had value in treating cancer. An NCI analysis of Dr. Gerson’s book A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases concluded in 1959 that most of the cases failed to meet the criteria (such as histologic verification of cancer) for proper evaluation of a cancer case. A recent review of the Gerson treatment rationale concluded: (a) the “poisons” Gerson claimed to be present in processed foods have never been identified, (b) frequent coffee enemas have never been shown to mobilize and remove poisons from the liver and intestines of cancer patients, (c) there is no evidence that any such poisons are related to the onset of cancer, (d) there is no evidence that a “healing” inflammatory reaction exists that can seek out and kill cancer cells.

These idiots have been torturing human beings (and not curing cancer) for over forty years! And yet it’s the real doctors we hate?

Using woo and pseudo-science to scare people off an effective, proven tool like vaccines is one thing (because you’re likely to be far removed from the real-life results of your stance, alternately known as “other people’s dead babies”), but telling someone diagnosed with cancer to buy a fucking Vitamix? Seriously?! Someone freaked out and terrified and grasping at straws, you’re gonna give them half-assed off-the-cuff advice about shit you know nothing about and are UTTERLY UNQUALIFIED TO DISCUSS? HOW THE FUCK DO YOU EVEN SLEEP AT NIGHT?

I mean, I know. I know. You’re not trolling, you really do believe in this stuff. You’re nice people and you have big hearts and you’ve dutifully internalized everything you’ve been told about “healing” (which is not the same as actual medical science, which is fine… until you’re dealing with actual disease) and you hardly ever truly contemplate the sources of these teachings. You honestly think you’re being helpful and insightful and open-minded and you pride yourselves on being alternative. Shit, a lot of you have undergone various numbers of years of training in these things, and make your livelihoods from selling your services to the worried well.

You’ve bought the conspiracy hook, line, and sinker, and you really do think that “natural healing” modalities are being suppressed by The Man because money. You haven’t stopped to deeply consider that “natural” not only doesn’t mean anything (everything that exists is “natural”), but that even if it did it wouldn’t matter because natural isn’t intrinsically better. Which is why we take aspirin, which is dosage-controlled, uniform, and well-understood, rather than willow tree bark, every example of which will vary wildly in terms of strength and effectiveness. It hasn’t really occurred to you that the vast majority of the time, Reiki and yoga and Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine and herbs and homeopathy and The Secret are fine because they give people a very deep and very needed sense of agency — I myself do Sun Salutes and eat kitcheree and throw I Ching on occasion — but that for actual life-threatening diseases, these approaches universally fail to produce measurable, repeatable results**.

Which means, in a nutshell, that they’re placebo. They don’t work. They don’t work because the Universe is orderly and full of laws, and regular ol’ unenlightened people only get cured when the cures actually work.

So you’re not malicious or even truly stupid, I know that, but I just don’t think I can stand it anymore. It’s not just the political nonsense; I can’t count the number of times some addle-headed creature I’m friends with (usually but not always from Fairfield) has posted some pseudo-scientific jargony bullshit on Facebook and I’ve replied with the appropriate Quackwatch or Snopes or Wikipedia link… and then gone back and deleted it ten minutes later, because these are nice people and their intentions are good and they’d probably be really hurt if I called them gullible addle-headed twats right on their own Facebook walls.

But the truth is that Reiki doesn’t cure anything, homeopathy doesn’t cure anything, and The Secret just make terminally ill people feel guilty for being sick. Making the worried well feel better is something, obviously, but it’s NOT THE SAME AS ACTUAL MEDICAL SCIENCE. We need to develop the discernment that allows us to tell the fucking difference between a healer-prescribed smoothie diet for your psychosomatic fibromyalgia and chemo-fucking-therapy for your actual cancer: The first does nothing, is not detectable, and operates only in the so-called sufferer’s head. The second is measurably effective in the real world. Which is what you need if you’re unenlightened and sick.

Most of the time, believing in bullshit is harmless. Most people, regardless of their Facebook posts, do get their vaccines before international travel, and they do take chemotherapy when they get cancer, so what they “believe” in between times is essentially irrelevant.

But man, these posts! I’m like, HOW DO YOU EITHER NOT KNOW (OR NOT CARE) THAT JOE MERCOLA HAS BEEN SANCTIONED BY THE FDA… MORE THAN ONCE? He sells diagnostic equipment as a breast cancer “cure,” for fuck’s sake! He lives in a multi-million dollar dwelling and repeatedly claims he’s not in it for the money! HE’S TOTALLY A FUCKING QUACK! JUST LIKE OZ AND JOHN OF GOD AND CHRISTIANE NORTHRUP AND EVEN CHOPRA! How do you not know that mercola.com and whale.to and naturalnews.com and acam.org are not news sources but stores, selling snake oil to the ignorant masses?!

Well, you do know. You obviously know, because you’re the ones buying all the pills and capsules and drops and teas and herbs and mushrooms and salves and books and tapes and retreats and seminars and cruises. You people are a multi-billion dollar industry. You’re making Oz and Oprah and Mercola and Chopra filthy fucking rich.

It literally takes only seconds, to vet anyone who’s ever been on Oprah for quackery, using an internet connection and a search engine. Seconds! I’d never even heard of this horrific and crazy Gerson therapy until I read that Facebook post, but I knew in less than 90 seconds that it was bullshit, and unsafe bullshit at that.

Those of you who continue to believe in your ridiculous “vaccine reform” nonsense are doing real damage. Infants are dying of fucking whooping cough now, because you think your feelings and half-assed, biased internet “research” equals real expertise. Well, you’re not fucking experts, you don’t understand most of what you read, and you’re not qualified to think what you think, period. I’m totally unqualified too, WHICH IS WHY I READ ACTUAL EXPERTS RATHER THAN FAME-SEEKING RETARDS LIKE THE ENTERTAINERS ON FUCKING OPRAH. You want to get involved in “vaccine reform”? Go get a BS in molecular biology, chemistry, biochemistry, or microbiology. Until then, shut the fuck up because you literally do not know what you’re talking about, regardless of your feelings. Seriously.

Those of you who tell people who are genuinely sick and suffering to turn their backs on the sum of human scientific and medical knowledge and let some unqualified, credulous woo practitioner direct their treatments ARE DIRECTLY CAUSING HARM by choosing not to vet your own goddamned idiotic beliefs! HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THIS AND FIND WITHIN YOURSELF A DEEP AND URGENT DESIRE TO CORRECT YOUR FAULT?

Yes, yes, karma, blah blah blah. Somebody may be “destined” to logon to Facebook, see a link, and fire their oncologist because they’re “supposed” to die an awful, unmanaged, hideously painful death at the hands of charlatans. What the fuck ever. I’ve read my scripture and damn right it’s my duty to at least try to stop the tide when it gets to the point it’s doing actual damage.

Listen. Any modality that blames the patient for not getting well is not medicine, it’s woo. And all woo does this. Sick? Stressed? Dying of cancer? It’s your fault! You deserve it. We were unable to cure you because there’s something inherently wrong with you, you didn’t try hard enough, you’re not pure. It’s your karma.

I just don’t know if I can deal. While I do learn a fuckton of (mostly useless!) knowledge looking up every second or third claim I see while scrolling down that Facebook feed, I just don’t know what to do when grown-ass adult human beings are posting Mercola and naturalnews.com claims as if the shit wasn’t all utter garbage, or when people are telling each other NOT to do chemo and let some fucking hippies inject them with liver extract and withhold sodium until they’re in a goddamned coma, or even just when people make claims about welfare fraud or the non-existent gender-based pay gap that I can disprove with a single URL.

I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO IN THIS BRAVE NEW WORLD OF SOCIAL NETWORKING. Do I tell you you’re a total fucking retard? Or do I scroll on by and let all that insular, awful, Dark Age-level “belief” in totally made-up stuff continue to snowball? What’s that old adage about just standing by and letting shit happen because it wasn’t your job to do anything about it?

The following random ER doctor’s blog post sums up my conflict perfectly in a piece about a young woman “treated” with Gerson who is probably dead now:

Most woo is harmless — but that’s because most woo is directed at chronic, ill-defined, or otherwise incurable conditions. Think chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. Wave a magnet at somebody, get them to do a lot of enemas and go on a special diet, and you get to write a book and go on Oprah and collect a lot of money. If the subjects of the “magical thinking medicine” think they are better from the intervention, then so much the better.

“But the really pernicious thing about allowing fantasy medical theories and treatments into the mainstream is that when they gain enough credence among the masses, they will tend to be used in place of real medical treatments that work.

Tons of so-called “alternative medicine” is placebo, and that’s fine. It’s fine because much of what ails us is psychological and we need the time, the attention, the touch, and the feeling of agency we get when we have capsules to take and exercises to do at home — these things help us feel like we’re doing something to combat our “illness.” But woo doesn’t heal actual maladies, people. There’s a huge difference, and I know we’re all smart enough to recognize this.

I got so much more satisfaction visiting a midwife — who scheduled 45-minute appointments, and listened to me and paid attention to me as a whole person — than I ever did seeing a gynecologist. But believe you me, when it turned out I had a fucking prolapsed fibroid cyst coming out of my uterus that was about to get infected and kill me, I went to a surgical gynecologist and not a nutritionist. Because I’m not a total fucking idiot.


* Unless you’re so sick you’re having trouble swallowing; then smoothies can be a good way to get nutrition inside you. But they won’t heal your fucking cancer. Because cancer is CANCER, not fucking scurvy. Of course life-long dietary influences must have a part in cancer-causing, but there is absolutely zero evidence that feeding people sugars is beneficial.
** Yes, I know modern science has and does and will prove that certain ancient modalities do work: the Neti pot, for instance, and Artemisinin. But Ayurved is also responsible for killing people with lead poisoning and traditional Chinese medicine prescribes toxic herbs too, and the wildly divergent dosages from one plant to the next… don’t even get me started. And the majority of treatments offered by either tradition, in terms of measurable results, are entirely indetectable. Which means they don’t actually do anything.

More reading:
Weighing up claims about cures and treatments for long-term conditions

I Don’t Know What to Believe, about evaluating scientific claims


Update: A few days later, someone else in my timeline solicited the medical advice of Facebook on the topic of an iron shot. Apparently she’s chronically anemic and her doctor recommended the shot to, I assume, alleviate this condition. She cancelled the appointment due to her concerns about “toxic” side-effects and is looking into woo iron supplements. Because at least they’re unregulated, arbitrarily dosed, and “natural.” *headdesk*

Fish.

July 13th, 2011 | Posted by administratrix in PSA - (2 Comments)

In which there are fish. (Click to feed them.)

Grand Opening

October 22nd, 2009 | Posted by administratrix in PSA - (2 Comments)

In which there’s local news.

Red Monkey downtown lounge opening Saturday. Ten TVs, a disco ball, VIP lounge, food, drinks and great vibe. 25 W. Alder.”

(3:52:19 PM) DslVelcro: hmm
(3:52:56 PM) mushlette: Ten TVs and a disco ball.
(3:53:00 PM) mushlette: WTF
(3:53:06 PM) DslVelcro: wonder what that is like
(3:53:20 PM) mushlette: it’s not even open yet and it’s confused about what kind of place it is
(3:53:33 PM) mushlette: Ten TVs = sports bar
(3:53:38 PM) mushlette: disco ball = hipster club
(3:53:45 PM) mushlette: both = Iowa
(3:53:51 PM) DslVelcro: lol

But zOMG, the menu [pdf] has portabello burgers on it! And caprese panini! And the place is on the very block I work on!

I’m totally going there ASAP, because no one loves disco balls and TEN GOBLINBOXES HANGING FROM THE CEILING IN CAGES as much as your intrepid narrator.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

August 24th, 2009 | Posted by administratrix in PSA - (2 Comments)

In which I’m bugging people I don’t even know.

I want to see this film. A lot.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Unfortunately, you gotta be an organization to get a copy – DVDs for individuals aren’t for sale yet.

So I bugged Sheila over at the paper, and she gave me the names of some unsuspecting progressive people in the community, and I found their email addresses on the ‘net and fired off a missive asking them to host a screening.

So we’ll see.

PSA: Data Safety

April 29th, 2008 | Posted by administratrix in PSA - (4 Comments)

In which I remind you to protect your data!

A co-worker just told me a story: While sitting in a restaurant with his wife over the weekend, his car was broken into. The thief got, among other things, his wife’s laptop, and on that laptop was a spreadsheet – unencrypted – containing their full names, SSNs, dates of birth, credit card numbers, the codes and online logins for all their credit cards, and all their account information. Their kids’ information – full names, SSNs, DOBs – was also included.

They drove like bats out of hell to a nearby rest stop, got on wi-fi with his laptop, and canceled all their accounts. But everything the thief would need to perform full-on identity theft for four people was in that spreadsheet.

The moral is this: don’t keep mission critical crap in unencrypted format on a portable machine! And if you must use a password database (which you should, since all of your online accounts should have different passwords), use an encrypted application and protect access to it with a very strong password — one with capped and lower-case alpha characters and numbers and special characters.

On the same co-worker’s advice, I use KeePass for all my secure information, and I keep it on a thumb drive. Once in a great while I print a hard copy and file it, but I don’t keep the info on my laptop.

Be safe, my babies. Because you really don’t want to spend an entire weekend – or two, or more – closing accounts, buying SSN protection, and then being financially crippled until your new checks and credit cards arrive.