Acceptable song content vs lyrics

Posted in Uncategorized on January 11, 2013 by Skeptical Bully

I woke up this morning to Kesha’s horrible pop-dance-abortion “Tik Tok” and it got me to thinking about censorship and how idiotic our current decency laws are.

 In this awful, brain-dead song are the following passages:

“Trying to get a little bit tipsy “

“Ain’t got a care in world, but got plenty of beer”

“Boys tryin’ to touch my junk, junk”

“Gonna smack him if he getting too drunk, drunk”

Aside from causing retardation, this song glorifies alcohol consumption, makes it kinda cute/silly that guys are trying to get their hands on some (in my opinion trashy) vagina and promotes violence (but only against drunk guys, how sexist!). Neat.

Yet when they air even a mild song like Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” they censor out the word “fuck” from:

“Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?”

Yeah, I get why they take it out, it’s a bad word and refers to the act of copulation but in the grand scheme of things, it is really any worse than the mindless crap and shitty values broadcast in Kesha’s song?

I understand that the word of the law says they can’t put use “fuck” on radio but shouldn’t the spirit of the law be considered as well? For instance it’s deemed acceptable to display statues with dicks out, paintings with naked men and women and other “obsene” material of artistic merit (some more than others). How about we as a society decide that there is meaning and worth in Alanis’ use of “fuck” despite it usually being a no-go on the radio and at the same time, admit that Kesha’s lyrics have the power to corrupt the young and dumb (honestly the only kind of people who enjoy her work) and censor her.

I’m not for strong censorship laws and wouldn’t want Kesha to be kicked off the radio just because she has horrible lyrics that make her seem like a trashy whore who gets molested at parties but I feel censorship is incredibly lazy when all that is cut out of songs are the easily identifiable and mostly harmless “bad words” when much more harmful content is accepted because the words used are deemed “safe”.

Come on people, let’s be mature about this shit, the word “fuck” alone in an otherwise good and decent song with an actual message will not corrupt the young but making it seem kinda ok for guys to casually try to finger you at a house party could actually, in the long run, make kids dumber and take sexual assault less seriously. I don’t think it’s likely but it’s likelier.Also, stop with the fucking lame teen dance songs on the radio when I wake up, how about playing some decent music for once instead of this insipid crap?! Kesha’s song references Mick Jagger so how about David Bowie and Mick Jagger singing “Dancing in the streets” (Not especially good but hilarious music video!) or some plain old Stones? Or Bon Jovi, his material has a very broad audience. Anything but shitty teenagers with no talent being put on a fucking pedestal in order to inspire other teens to become trash.

The case against Christmas songs

Posted in Holidays, Religion on December 24, 2012 by Skeptical Bully

It may shock some of you to know but I strongly dislike Christmas. I’ll give you a second to digest that surprising bit of trivia.

All better? Good. Now let me clarify that it’s not the religious nature of Christmas that I hate, I barely see any references to Jesus anymore since I don’t attend church or hang out in places where they erect mangers. There is the “War on Christmas” some right-wing Americans keep yelling about, accusing atheists of trying to kill one of their favourite holiday when really they’re just defending the First Amendment of their Constitution. Ironically, these right-wing groups are usually the same who will cram the Second Amendment down the throat of anyone who dares bring up gun control. Funny stuff.

No, my problem with Christmas is mostly esthetic. I didn’t mind the coloured lights and trees and plastic ornaments on lawns so much as a kid but the older I got the more they annoyed me until by my early teens I disliked them strongly. I like simplicity and functionality, my house is free of decorations except for the few pictures I’ve framed and since they’re all pictures I’ve taken it’s more about how they make me feel than purely esthetics. But Christmas decorations don’t serve any purpose except for the few adults whose happiness depends on them and of course the children who associate them with the upcoming gifts. To me they are displeasing to the eye and should only be tolerated if you have kids at home, hence why my house is the same year-round. Call me a pessimist for hating decorations of all kinds but… Actually I have nothing to add to that, just call me a pessimist.

But the music. The damn music!

As with decorations, the music didn’t bother me as much when I was younger, I even sung in the school/village choir in fifth and sixth grade. As I got older my tastes in music developed and I became increasingly aware of the difference between good and bad music. I still have lots of music by some of the artists that I liked as a kid (The Beatles, CCR, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Elton John, etc.) while others are nowhere to be seen (don’t laugh but… Mariah Carey, Michael Bolton, some of the Dance Mix ’92 and ‘95 songs). Although I should add that I still like many of the Dance Mix ’92 songs, we listened to that tape a lot during roadtrips when I was young, great memories. Anyway, that’s beside the point, what I mean is that my music tastes are now pretty much set in stone, I know what I like and don’t and I definitely don’t like almost all Christmas music.

But this isn’t simply a matter of tastes, who TRULY likes Christmas music anyway? I know that lots of people play it during the holidays, tons of singers (some good, many bad) release Christmas albums every year but do people like the music itself or is it nostalgia? Or worse, is it possible that people just do it without thinking, by association, like Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” and crazy love-making sessions?

I would suggest that many people like Christmas music because it reminds them of a better time, a simpler time, when as children the holidays meant a long school break, playing in the snow with friends, going to bed later than usual, eating lots of delicious food and last but not least, presents. Or these poor souls may have just been brainwashed into thinking that it’s normal and expected behaviour around the holidays to play that crap regardless of its value.

Fortunately for you it’s pretty easy to test if people like the music itself or put it on for any other reason: Play it to them at some other time of the year and see how they respond. Obviously they will find it odd initially but if they truly enjoy the music itself I’m sure they’ll get over it and appreciate having it on. However if the subject claims that Christmas music should only be listened to in late December / early January you may have a nostalgic and/or traditionalist on your hands.

I have argued with people in the past that any decent soft rock or pop would be satisfactory background music at family gatherings for the holidays. In fact I suspect they would be much more enjoyable to everyone present except perhaps the most die-hard “little drummer boy” fans.

I’m not asking anyone to change their ways but think about it for a second and if you agree that Christmas music is god awful, even when performed by an artist you like, please do consider playing normal music for the next few days instead of the more traditional (shitty) stuff. A few suggestions instead of the usual crap, if you like this stuff of course:

- Classical music (Preferably non-religious but up to you)
- Adele
- Bryan Adams
- Coldplay
- James Blunt (I adore his work)
- Mumford and Sons
- Remy Zero (Not as popular as I feel they should be, good band)
- The Killers (Except “Boots”, curiously a Christmas-themed song…)
- Train

Finally, be safe during the holiday season, don’t drink and drive or I’ll kick the shit out of you!

Love,
An online badass but real-life nice guy.

P.S. I’m not saying that all Christmas songs are terrible (although most of them are), there are a few I like and would listen to at any time in the year, for instance Coldplay’s “Christmas Lights” is pretty decent if you like their stuff and Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun” is sweet and beautiful, even to me. I also absolutely adore Bill Nighty / Billy Mack’s “Christmas is all around” in “Love Actually” at the beginning of the movie (Word up Denise for showing me this movie!).

New (old) motto for the United States? I wish…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2012 by Skeptical Bully

I wish the United States would get rid of “In god we trust” and make “E pluribus unum” their official motto. It’s better for many reasons but most important (to me):

1. Latin! It could spark a drive for people to educate themselves, if only to understand what the phrase means and the etymology of its constituents.

2. It represents the idea that many (cultures, races, belief systems, philosophical views) can be united under one flag and live as brothers (and sisters). And there’s no better example of that anywhere on Earth (to my knowledge, on such a scale) than the US.

3. Lack of reference to a deity is much more inclusive. “In god we trust” was instated during the Cold war in order to distance the United States from the “evil” and “godless” communists. We’re in the twenty-first century now, isn’t it time to accept everyone, from godless to polytheist?
 
 
You will notice that item #3 is the one most relevant to this blog but the others fit in quite nicely too! 

#1:  I love education, I care greatly about my own acquisition of knowledge and skills and wish the same attitude on others.  I feel the world (and North America) would be much better off if everyone got just a little bit more education, understood reality to a great degree.  One of the first effects *could* be a reduction in pseudo-science as people would have the tools to sniff out the bullshit and tell scammers to fuck off!  And I wouldn’t mind if “modern religion” took their place in mythology beside Thor, Zeus and Mercury.

#2:  The US is so very diverse but as we are currently seeing with the presidential election campaign, there are major groups within the country that hate each other.  Republicans vs atheists, republicans vs Muslims, republicans vs African-Americans, republicans vs Latinos, republicans vs women, republicans vs pro-choice people… And I could go on!  Of course I’m just exaggerating here, I wouldn’t normally make such an extrapolation from the tendencies I’ve noticed in the political spheres but you get the idea, people who all call themselves the same thing (Americans, or “HEY ASSHOLE!”, depending who you ask) sometimes have a hard time accepting the many cultures, belief systems and moral choices of its people.

But don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that any government should accept or make acceptable any belief or practice in order to respect a person or culture, for instance I would be appalled to see our governments accept honour killings as a righteous thing.  And I don’t want Christian AND Muslim AND Jewish prayers at my public events, I want none at all!  Make religious beliefs and practices part of your private life and shut the fuck up about god, any gods, when addressing your citizens because chances are that some of them will feel rejected by your narrow message of faith.

 
Of course, I’ve gotten a bit far from the original topic so let’s revisit it before I stop writing:  “In God we trust” is a stupid motto that, to me, says that your country is populated by ignorant people whose beliefs don’t line up at all with what we know in the twenty-first century.  It tells me that it’s a country with an identity crisis that, not knowing how to describe itself adequately, chose to associate itself with a “deity” in order to say “Hey, we’re on the side of God!  And not just any God, the Christian God!  So you mean communists better stay away!”.  Nowadays, considering the conflicts in the world you would be wise to replace “communists” by “Muslims” and “atheists”. 
 
And that’s the problem.  The opposite of that divisive official motto is the old de facto motto “E pluribus unum” which states, quite eloquently, that the United States is “Out of many, one“.
 
I wish it were so.

My apostasy request

Posted in Religion with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2012 by Skeptical Bully

Here is a letter I wrote to my city’s bishop in order to be removed from among the members of the roman catholic church to which I belong since being baptized as a baby. The reason for this letter is that when I asked to be apostatized I was asked to provide justification for this request along with my signature and that of two witnesses. Since they refused to accept my simple and neutral original request and want justification, I sent them the letter below:

_________________________________________________________________________________

Attention: Bishop ———-

I, (my name), born on (date) and baptized at the (name) church, am hereby communicating my request to be apostatized from the roman catholic church. My reasons are as follow:

I think the idea of a supernatural entity which judges our actions, thoughts and other aspects of our lives is horrible and in no way based on the physical reality to which we are exposed every day. Furthermore, I am insulted to be told that an action, gesture or word could offend this creature which, as far as I’m concerned, imaginary and invented by men in order to make up for not understanding the natural world, their own existence and the inability to accept their own eventual death.

I hate the manner in which religion, specifically abrahamic religions, treat homosexuality and people who have an alternate lifestyle from that preached in the bible. I know that not all religious persons discriminate or lack respect toward homosexuals but for someone to use their beliefs to justify harassment, and for that to be openly supported, is abhorrent and should be strictly punished. Even today, religious beliefs lead people to hate gay person who are innocent, in my eyes, of all crimes (except of course if the person is a criminal, naturally). The lack of acceptation of those who are outside the norm shows to what extent religion is not based on tolerance and the universal respect of humanity.

I consider it extremely hateful on the part of the clergy to hide and protect priests who have abused children sexually or otherwise. I find it especially disturbing that the catholic church’s highest authority, the Vatican, has released a direction advising the clergy on how to treat sexual crimes committed by priests and other persons [reference to the “Crimen sollicitationis” directive]. This guide should have been much simpler: Report the person to the civil authorities and let them be punished or treated in the manner considered reasonable by said civil authorities. Personally, I think it would be acceptable for a government to put to death those who severely abuse children, including sexual crimes, as their victims have themselves been deprived of their life by the abuser. Understand that I am not suggesting violence toward the clergy and/or pedophiles here but simply that I believe that any person guilty of a crime should answer for it in front of civil authorities, not religious ones.

I consider the clergy’s opposition to the use of condoms in Africa to be inhuman and repugnant, especially when you think of the extensive damage AIDS causes in that part of the world. Even if faithful persons often believe that contraceptive means are immoral, I find it hypocritical to preach this opposition when it could save so many lives and raise the quality of life of so many poor people. It’s especially evil to use spirituality toward people who are often ignorant about the nature of the disease and superstitious toward methods of protection available. A church that seeks to help the world and not just spread its message at any cost would understand that condoms are one of many solutions against this horrible disease.

To me the bible is a terrible moral guide and its god suffers from the worst flaws of humanity. Even if this god existed, I would refuse to respect it and would wish it a horrible death. I find more moral goodness in my everyday actions than in the entire bible. This book, as much as it can be used for good (and I do not doubt it) contains passages that can be used to support horrible things such as slavery, genocide and the subordination of women. I fail to understand why anyone would want to use such a book as a moral guide.

I support abortion and would not hesitate to suggest it if I made a woman pregnant and if neither of us wanted a child or weren’t ready to have one. I find it perfectly acceptable even if I consider that its use should only be used in the event of an “accident”, for instance if a condom rips during intercourse. [Note: I meant here that people shouldn't consider abortion a primary form of contraception, foregoing the use of a condom knowing that they could abort any unwanted pregnancy]

I do not want my name to be counted as a member of a set of beliefs that I hate and would oppose to my death. I prefer to live a life free of all superstition where reason and logic rule.

I do not by the present declaration intend to shock or insult, as in all areas of life I think the clergy features among its ranks a mix of people, good and bad, honest or not, and in no way do I intend to generalize and say that an entire group is immoral. I simply want to express my opposition toward a group of which I am currently a member simply because I was born in a family and province where in many ways it’s tradition.

Thank you for your attention, I am looking forward to receive confirmation that this request was processed successfully.

(My name and signature)

Signed in —————–, Québec, Canada on (date)

Witnesses

Name: _________________________
Signature: _________________________
Date: _________________________

Name: _________________________
Signature: _________________________
Date: _________________________

Ma demande d’apostasie

Posted in Religion on January 11, 2012 by Skeptical Bully

(English version of this letter and explanation to be posted at a later time, this is the apostasy request I sent my local bishop)

Voici une lettre que j’ai envoyé à l’évêque de la ville où je vis afin de me faire enlever des membres de l’église catholique romaine auquel j’appartiens puisque j’ai été baptisé lorsque j’étais bébé. La raison pour cette lettre est qu’on m’a demandé de donner les motifs pour lesquels je ne veux pas être membre de ce groupe religieux ainsi que ma signature et celle de deux témoins. Puisqu’ils ont refusé d’accepter ma demande tel qu’elle leur a été présenté et voulaient mes motifs, et bien je leur ai envoyé la lettre suivante:

_________________________________________________________________________________

À l’attention de Mgr ———————

Je, (mon nom) , né le (date de fête) et baptisé à l’église (nom de l’église), communique par la présente ma demande d’apostasie de l’église catholique romaine. Mes raisons sont les suivantes:

Je crois que l’idée d’une entité supernaturelle qui juge nos actions, pensées et tout autre aspect de notre vie est horrible et aucunement fondé sur la réalité physique à laquelle nous sommes exposés à chaque jour. En plus, je considère celà insultant de me faire dire qu’une action, un geste ou une parole puisse offenser une créature qui est, pour moi, imaginaire et inventée par l’humanité afin de combler un manque de compréhension du monde naturel, de sa propre existance et son inhabilité d’accepter sa mort éventuelle.

Je déteste la façon dont la religion, spécifiquement les religions abrahamiques, traîtent l’homosexualité et les gens qui ont un style de vie différent de ce qui est prêché dans la bible. Je sais que ce ne sont pas tout les gens religieux qui discriminent ou manquent de respect aux homosexuels mais qu’une personne utilise ses croyances pour justifier du harcèlement, et que celà soit ouvertement supporté, est abhorrant et devrait être strictement puni. Encore maintenant, les croyances religieuses poussent des gens à détester la personne gaie qui est innocente, à mes yeux, de tout crime (sauf si cette personne est un/une criminel(le), naturellement). Le manque d’acceptation de ceux qui sortent de la norme montre à quel point la religion n’est pas basé sur la tolérance et le respect universel de l’humanité.

Je considère celà incroyablement haineux de la part du clergé de cacher et protéger les prêtres qui abusent d’enfants de façon sexuelle ou autre. Je trouve celà encore plus grave que la plus haute autorité de l’église catholique, le Vatican, ai émi une directive afin d’aviser le clergé dans la manière de traîter les crimes sexuels des prêtres et autre personnel. Ce guide aurait dû être beaucoup plus simple: Rapporter cette personne aux autorité civile et les laisser se faire punir ou traîter de la façon jugée convenable par cette dite autorité civile. Personellement, je crois qu’il serait acceptable qu’un gouvernement mettre à mort ceux qui abusent gravement des enfants, incluant les crimes sexuels car leurs victimes se sont eux-mêmes fait enlevé la vie dès qu’une personne les as abusé. Comprenez que je ne suggère pas la violence envers le clergé et/ou les pédophiles ici mais simplement que je crois que toute personne coupable d’un crime devrait y répondre devant les autorités civiles et non pas religieuses.

Je considère l’opposition du clergé face à l’utilisation de condoms en Afrique comme étant inhumain et répugnant, surtout lorsque nous pensons aux ravages que fait le SIDA dans cette partie du monde. Même si les personnes ayant des croyances religieuses croient souvent que les moyens de contraception sont “mauvais”, je trouve celà hypocrite de prêcher son opposition alors qu’elle pourrait sauver tant de vies et hausser la qualité de tant de pauvres gens. C’est particulièrement grave d’utiliser la spiritualité d’une telle façon envers des gens qui sont souvent ignorant envers la nature de cette maladie et supersticieux envers les moyens de protection disponibles. Une église qui cherche à aider le monde et non seulement répandre son message à n’importe quel prix comprendrait que le condom est une de plusieurs solutions contre cette horrible maladie.

La bible est selon moi un terrible guide moral et son dieu présente tout les pires défauts de l’humanité. Même si ce dieu existait, je refuserais de le respecter et je lui souhaiterais une mort horrible. Je retrouve plus de moralité dans mes actions de tout les jours que dans la bible entière. Cet ouvrage, autant qu’elle peut être utiliser pour le bien (et j’en doûte aucunement) comporte des passages qui peuvent être utiliser pour supporter d’horribles choses tel l’esclavage, le génocide et la subordination des femmes. Je ne comprend pas comment quelqu’un voudrait utiliser un tel livre en tant que guide concernant la moralité.

Je supporte les avortements et je n’hésiterais pas à le suggérer si je rendais une femme enceinte et que nous ne voulions tout deux pas d’enfants ou n’étions pas prêt d’en avoir. Je crois celà parfaitement acceptable même si je considère que son utilisation devrait être seulement en cas “d’accident”, par exemple si le condom déchire lors d’une relation sexuelle.

Je compte que mon nom ne soit plus compté comme faisant parti d’un ensemble de croyance que je déteste et opposerais jusqu’à ma mort. Je préfère vivre une vie libre de toute supersticion où la raison et la logique règnent.

Je ne cherche pas par la présente déclaration à choquer ou insulter, comme dans tout domaine je considère que le clergé compte un mélange de personnes bonnes et méchantes, honnêtes ou pas, et je n’ai pas l’intention de généraliser et dire qu’un groupe entier est immoral. Je veux simplement exprimer mon opposition envers un groupe dont je fais partie simplement car je suis né dans une famille et une province où c’est de plusieurs façons une tradition.

Merci pour votre attention, au plaisir de reçevoir confirmation que cette demande a été traîtée avec succès.

(Mon nom)

Signé à —————–, Québec, Canada en date du

Témoins

Nom: _________________________
Signature: _________________________
Date: _________________________

Nom: _________________________
Signature: _________________________
Date: _________________________

Sporting goods store franchise puts Power Balance in their holiday gift guide, I notice and take action.

Posted in Power Balance, Pseudo-scientific products on December 13, 2011 by Skeptical Bully

Before I start, I’d like to mention that I’m not one of those people who feels the need to report on the evils of the world every time I see one, I rarely feel it’s my duty to comment or get in someone’s face except perhaps through this blog or my Facebook profile. But a few days ago, I did the unthinkable: I wrote to a store’s customer service department to complain. And the answer pleases me to no end.

First of all, you should know that I value skeptical inquiry and rarely accept information unless I am presented valid arguments for it and it’s consistent by itself and as part of the world we live me. Tell me an implausible “fact” or explain something away using pseudoscientific terms and I will inquire until I either believe you or call bullshit on your story. Therefore, it will be no surprise to you that I absolutely detest Power Balance and their products. Power Balance is a company that sells silicone wristbands which it has claimed, sometimes indirectly in order to comply with laws, to improve strength, performance, balance and flexibility. The mechanism of action is “a frequency embeded [in the device] which reacts with the electrical field of your body”. “Ooooooooooh!”, right?

If you answered “right!”, you should stop reading as you may get upset to find out that these devices, sold under a bunch of different brand names, are straight-out bullshit. They don’t do anything except trick the sucker wearing them into thinking that anything “extraordinary” they do is the result of the device. There is no link between the product and the effect perceived.

I won’t give you a detailed breakdown of the company, their product or history because Wikipedia would do a much better job than me so I’ll point you there first. Then I’ll invite you to watch this video:

Ok, so at this point you should understand that little silicone bracelets don’t do anything except relieve you of your hard-earned cash. But that’s just it, they sell these things at much higher prices than can be justified considering the materials used and yet people buy them! Instead of people refusing to pay that much for a little gimmick, they believe that for it to sell at that price, it must work. There’s nothing new in the idea that people will believe they’re getting something “better” if it costs more than the competition and/or what a “cheap” product that’s “not as good” would cost. I browsed the websites of two of the biggest sporting good stores I know and found Power Balance wristbands for 40$ each at both! I just bought “The Hangover” part 1 AND 2 on Blu-Ray for 35$, five bucks less! I don’t know about you, but I prefer the high-def comedies and leftover five bucks to a cheap wristband that doesn’t do anything.

Anyway, back to my story. Recently, I received a flyer in the mail from Sports Expert, a large sporting goods store franchise that operates sixty-two stores in Québec, they are part of the Forzani Group, Sportchek being a similar store in Ontario and other provinces from the same company. I usually throw flyers out as I walk back to my house from the mailbox but that day, for some reason, I felt the need to check on the great deals being offered. And I was not disappointed. Inside the holiday gift guide from Sports Experts, I found an item that surprised and shocked me, here translated from French:

“Power Balance: Silicone bracelet, technology that improves balance and flexibility”

WOW! I could not believe a store which made its name selling quality sporting goods would dip this low, going as far as adding this bullshit description to this overpriced piece of junk. So I wrote them a nice letter to let them know how I feel, copied below exactly as I wrote it (mistakes and all):

Hello, I just received a Sports Experts flyer for the month of December and while casually looking through it, I noticed that you sell “Power Balance” products. Not being one to accuse one of deceptive business practices without hearing their opinion, I ask you: Do you believe, in good faith, that this product has any actual repercussion on the balance or flexibility of the person using it beyond the placebo effect?

If so, would you agree to stop selling this item (and other such items) if, say, the company itself was found guilty of making false claims and forced to reimburse customers? Because that’s exactly the situation Power Balance is faced with in Australia after making unfounded claims regarding the efficacy of their product. Furthermore, this product is so utterly ridiculous in its claims and the expectations people have of it that I find it deeply insulting to anyone with half a brain.

Having been a loyal Sport Experts customer in the past, I am deeply troubled to see this sold by a company which I thought promoted health and physical fitness. Furthermore, the price asked for this product (39.99$ in this case) is ridiculous considering items just like these are mass-produced in China for cents each. In fact, a rival company of yours sells “Placebo bands” for a tenth of the price of yours and I suspect those may be manufactured at the same place “Power Balance” makes theirs.

I would be happy to receive an answer as to why these are sold at your stores and what plans are in place, if any, to discontinue their sale. Until this matter is resolved, I will stop frequenting this establishment and will publicize what I perceive to be a deceptive commercial practice via my website and groups with which I am in touch such as the Center for Inquiry.

These products are useless and are commercialized using deceptive terms I consider misleading to the layperson such as describing the band as being “technology which ameliorates balance and flexibility” when no such proof exists.

Worst of all, this type of product encourages people believe in magical cures instead of giving them sound advice on appropriate steps to take in order to better themselves health and fitness-wise. I urge you to do what’s right and distance yourself from this product and company. Profits aren’t everything, sometimes you just have to make a stand and do what’s right.

Thank you for your attention,
[my awesome name in original text]

I sent this out and waited. Six days later, today, I had almost forgotten all about it when I got a reply! The reply stated that they sold the bracelets as fashions items (as opposed to performance-enhancing devices) and that they do not make any claims as to the benefits of wearing them as there hasn’t been sufficient testing to support the ones made in the market. They told me that there had been “no findings in Canada regarding any deceptive marketing by Power Balance” or retailers. They agree that any references they made to the attributes of the product were “completely in error and contrary to [their] internal requirements regarding the sale of the bracelets”. Their website is now free of any references as to the beneficial powers of the bracelets and they have issued correction notices to be posted in each of their stores.

Am I crazy to feel that perhaps I made a valuable contribution to the skeptical world in my own, small way? If you think I didn’t change anything, please keep in mind what the original flyer said and compare that to what the online version of the same exact flyer (except in English) now says:

http://www.sportsexperts.ca/en/promotions/holiday-gift-guide

Hint: Check out page 19, item seven of the holiday gift guide
Update: The link no longer brings you to the gift guide but when it did, instead of listing all the potential benefits of the bracelet, all it said was “Silicone wristband”.

Yup, “Silicone wristband” 40$. Who the hell would pay forty dollars for such a thing with no perceivable benefits when you can get a wicked “Weighted hula” for 30$?! I know my friend Megan would go for the hula in a heartbeat and I must admit I would do the same because, honestly, without the bullshit description which some people are naive enough to believe, nobody without prior knowledge of the item and its claims would pay that much for what I consider to be a very unattractive bracelet.

I’ve replied to the email to ask if my actions were directly responsible for this correction or if it had already been noticed before but I haven’t received an answer yet. Still, I’m pleased to think that maybe, just maybe, I spoke up and someone listened.

By the way, I couldn’t find Power Balance products at all on the Sports Experts website today aside from the holiday gift guide. I can’t say for sure but I’m pretty certain it was listed in there at the time I wrote the original message just as it is on the Sportchek site (which has no description for the item at all, perhaps but not necessarily as a result of my message to their common boss, the Forzani Group).

As much as I hate that they still sell the damn things, I’m grateful they took action and corrected this unacceptable situation. For this, I thank them and hope they someday see the light and decide to stop selling bunk “fitness” devices.

I behave rudely to a stranger and somehow feel fine about it. Justification below.

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2011 by Skeptical Bully

First, I would like to tell you a bit about myself and the way I perceive the world.

I’m awesome and the way I perceive the world is from the best possible point-of-view; that of my awesome self. And therefore it follows logically that I would look down upon those who behave unethically or without consideration for others. For instance, I get pissed off almost every day on my way to work when someone takes the right side of the lane highway exit ramp even though both turn right, because there tends to be less of a build-up on that side, then decide to cut in front of me as soon as they’ve made the right turn so they can take the next left. Am I the only one who thinks that this is fucking rude and dangerous? It happens all the time and I never give those people the right of when even when they’re pretty much turning into me because I feel such behaviour should be discouraged.

Tonight’s little event is similar in nature in that it involves motor transportation and an asshole. I was walking out of my car near a coffee shop close to my house when I see a car approaching in a trajectory that spelled “dickwad” in my mind. You see, this particular Tim Hortons doesn’t have a drive-through (spelled properly, how refreshing right?) and so, some people think they can just park right in front of it, parallel to the side of the building and almost directly in front of the door, in order to get in and out quicker.

But there’s a problem! That’s not a fucking parking spot. And there are literally hundreds of them as this Tim Hortons is located in a parking lot! Google Maps (Funny note: The Google Streets view of the store shows an SUV parked exactly where I described)

Anyway, I’m getting pretty sick of people who feel they somehow don’t have to park in a designated spot like us common people so as I was walking toward the store and saw the man get out of his car, hurrying for some reason; I assume that he meant to get in before me. So I did the only logical thing, I hurried in, didn’t hold the door for him (twice!) and took my place in line. As shitty as I am at reading body language, I could tell he was upset with me but he said nothing and thus, I didn’t have to point out that he’s a dick. Strangely enough, I almost got the impression that he was trying to intimidate me or get me to let him go ahead of me in line as instead of standing behind me, he stood to my left. I took this as another reason not to show him any good will.

And thus ends my rant. I know it’s rather uneventful but I like to express my views on such things and I hope that it makes people (the few who read this) think about their behaviour and how people perceive it. I’m pretty sure this man took me for yet another young man without manners but he would be quite mistaken to think so, it was in fact quite difficult for me to act in such a way but I did it because I felt he deserved no reward for his selfish behaviour.

Note: I realize that if the person was physically handicapped, that would have been a dick move on my part. However, I had a glance at the guy as he got out of his car and if he could move with such celerity yet be struck with a handicap… by golly, that would be miraculous! And we all know what I think about miracles, right? They’re fucking bullshit.

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