Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Excuses and Random Questions

Welcome to the AI for Thursday. This is the portion of the AI where I make excuses for not being prepared with a good question.

Now, I could tell you I’ve been super busy at my day job trying to finish a software release before the end of the year. I could say I’ve been traveling, and aside from a visit with the awesome Atlanta skeptics, my trips don’t normally revolve around skepticism. I could lament the fact that I had some friends pop in on me recently, and they demanded my attention like a bunch of children. I could even admit to spending my free time simply drinking booze and adjusting my nards.

I could tell you all those things . . . And they would all be true.

But you don’t want to hear that. It’s boring and you’ve heard it all before. Besides, if Rebecca finds out I haven’t posted anything recently because I’ve been paying more attention to my jimmies than to Skepchick, she might fire me. So keep it to yourself.

At any rate, now that we’ve gotten past the excuses portion, we move gracefully to the setup portion of the AI. This is the part where I tell a little story that then leads to the question.  Unfortunately, I have no story to tell.

It should be noted, however, that despite the fact that I have no setup story to impart, this is still the setup portion of the AI. And as it is such, I will now take the final turn, and transition to the question or questions. Please answer in full, and show your work.

Is James Randi a global warming denier? Is The Grinch live action movie better than the cartoon version? What the hell is wassail really? What would you name the recently discovered watery planet now known as GJ1214b? Which is darker, colder, and used less often, Fred Phelps’s heart or Oprah’s vajayjay? If Santa Claus left the North Pole on Christmas Eve with a Mayan calendar, and ran over Big Foot while he was using the Book of Revelation to wipe his ass, at what point would the History Channel proclaim it the Nostradamus Effect?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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45 Comments

  1. i would expect the preponderance of comments to be in response to the first question. i know i, for one, was definitely waiting for an opportunity to discuss this one here without hi-jacking some random thread. now i am wondering, who sides with PZ (that Randi’s clarification did NOT go far enough) and who sides with Phil (whose response doesn’t seem to imply that Randi did NOT go far enough in his clarification)?

  2. Wassail means essentially “good health”
    The act of wassailing is going around and well basically singing for your supper. It didn’t used to be about xmas it was just a more proper form of begging.
    I sing and wish you good health, you give me bread.

  3. 1) No, I think everyone really needs to take a step back and listen to what everyone is saying, then try to seperate the wheat from the chaff. It’s very difficult, and I don’t know where I stand. Right now, I’m leaning towards “The damage has already been done, and if we shut down al factories and cars, we’d still have some hell to pay. Global climate isn’t something that changes overnight.”

    2) It has Jim Carrey in it, so I’m going to avoid it like the plague.

    3) Wassail is a spiced punch, served very warm, which I will now rename “Physics Boy”. Served very warm, its Hot Physics Boy, and served cool, its Cool Physics Boy

    4) Planet Phelps (after Micheal, not Fred)

    5) The heart is colder and darker, but the vajayjay is used WAY less often.

    6) When they compare the height of the reindeer to the total perimeter of the egyptian pyramids, divide by the number of stones in stonehenge, subtract the number of fish in Lake Ontario, and bring to pi power, and realize its equal to the total number of steps on the Mayan Calendar divided by the length of the the Washington Monument in sumerian inches.

  4. A bit off topic but, both versions of the Grinch irritate me. Just because of the ending. At the end we see that the Who’s don’t need presents to be happy….but then they get all the presents anyway. I hate when stories do that. Have the characters learn some important lesson but then receive all the benefits of having never learned the lesson at all. In The Count Of Monte Cristo he learns that revenge is wrong…..but it’s AFTER he gets his revenge on everyone! In He’s Just Not That In To You, Jennifer Anniston’s character learns that she doesn’t need get married to be happy….but then her BF proposes and she gets married.

  5. @infinitemonkey:

    Effed up? Are you kidding me? It’s just not the holiday season until we dust off Oprah’s vajayjay, insert a Glade plug-in, hang lights on it, and sing carols around it.

    By the way:

    When they compare the height of the reindeer to the total perimeter of the egyptian pyramids, divide by the number of stones in stonehenge, subtract the number of fish in Lake Ontario, and bring to pi power, and realize its equal to the total number of steps on the Mayan Calendar divided by the length of the the Washington Monument in sumerian inches.

    Hilarious!

  6. In response to the Randi issue I can’t really make any judgment, I’m only aware of his position through commenters. But I’m very excited about the prospect of people realizing they might disagree with him on this.

    I think Skeptics can be guilty of hero worship and blind acceptance of what that hero might state. This is an opportunity for many to step back and assess a source we’ve always trusted.

    Personally I don’t trust anyone until I know what we disagree on, doesn’t change our shared views but gives me perspective on them.

    And now I will say something funny about Oprah’s vajay’jay….

  7. No, but he’s too close for comfort.
    I don’t know, I’ve never seen either. The book’s good though.
    It’s when a vampire loses the last bit of humanity and goes insane.
    Find out if it’s inhabited first, see if the inhabitants have a name for it.
    The first, I suspect.
    None of those are possible, so it’s a moot point.

  8. @infinitemonkey: LOL! i have always wanted something named after me. and though i was hoping more for a theoretical particle or a mathematical theorem, i will take it.

    @Sam Ogden: how does one get grandfathered into this family? i think i would prefer this one to my default family.

    @davew: i will have to say that on #1 i am leaning that way as well. i think PZ put it very concisely and i think he was pretty professional as well, despite what Randi has said. i don’t realistically expect PZ to await a personal written elaboration on a subject before he decides to voice his opinion on his blog. maybe @ PrimevilKneivel was on the right track, but then again, i can’t say that i am ever waiting for someone as important and sharp as Randi (or anyone, for that matter) to be mislead. i, for one, wish that no one ever got the wool pulled over their eyes. unfortunately, this is all too often the case. which is one of the reasons i believe getting involved in the skeptical movement is so desperately important.

  9. @Jen: As soon as I saw the long list of questions I knew this had to be my answer. But you beat me to it!

    Anyway, in order:

    1. I doubt it. Misguided perhaps.
    2. Not seen either.
    3. Never heard of it.
    4. Waterworld. By the way, if any of these planets we name are inhabited, the inhabitants are going to be really pissed off that we’ve named them something different to what they call it.
    5. I’d rather not think about it.
    6. More information is needed. Is this the geographic north pole or magnetic north pole? Is it Christmas Eve as in the 24th of December or Christmas Eve as in the Russian Orthodox Church? Is Santa on foot or on his sleigh? If the latter, which of the reindeer is pulling it. You clearly haven’t thought this AI through Sam.

  10. 1 – He says no, PZed says yes. I’ll let them duke it out.

    2 – The book beats them both. Books always do.

    3 – Mulled wine, caroling, or “good health”. All adds up to a bunch of off-key drunks hoping your nads are well.

    4 – Jacques, as in Cousteau

    5 – Between Stedman and best friend Gayle, Oprah’s VJ has probably seen a little more action. “Just slap the thigh and ride the wave in.”

    6 – 42

  11. @Skept-artist:

    That would be Trial by Jury with Bebe Neuwirth … and totally not the one that I’m talking about. Which would be obvious if you read the damn question. JEEZ WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!

    If you keep this up, I’ll get davew and sethmanpio to disagree on this and drag this thread well into the 500 comment range.

  12. I have insufficient data to say he is. Seeing that science is not a popularity contest, I feel the petition going around saying he is has some points. Besides, what influences Randi cannot possibly be known, therefore it’d be foolish for us to speculate what he believes.
    Oh, and aren’t there more pressing issues anyway, like what does Bill Maher think about vaccinations?

    Never saw the cartoon, only read the book. I’m a sucker for mindless comedy with rhymes…

    Apart from the obvious Earth 2 and Waterworld, I’d go with Pican.

    Either has the same amount of blood running through it.

    I don’t know.

    To say I was ticked off by JR’s original statement is putting it mildly. It’s not that he is skeptical of the A of AGW. It’s that he used such obviously bad reasons to come to that conclusion. We’d expected better.

  13. @Skept-artist: I’ll take Bebe Newirth for 2000, Alex.

    I like Jim Carrey movies (ducks behind the chiffarobe to escape the flying objects), except The Number 23 which was ridiculously bad, but the cartoon blows the doors of the live action Grinch. Two words – Boris Karloff. Nuff’ said.

    @Steve: Golgafrincham is good, but if it’s watery we might want to go with Squornshellous Zeta. The mattresses would be so happy. :-)

    Sam: “…and ran over Big Foot while he was using the Book of Revelation to wipe his ass…” LMAO!

  14. @Elyse: @Garrison22: Well typing out Bebe Neuwirth wasn’t as funny as what I wrote (which wasn’t funny in the first place.)
    But Elyse, I think we should get @Davew and @SethManapio to disagree and see what happens anyway. It’s really enjoyable. This place has been like Pharyngula with the comment count lately!

  15. @infinitemonkey & @Skept-artist:

    Time to whip out the old MS Clipboard.

    Stop calling everyone assholes – pasted
    Quit acting like a douchebag – pasted
    WTF does that have anything to do with – pasted
    Boobs – pasted
    Peanut grinder – pasted
    If you don’t understand the difference between [insert subject] and [insert a different subject], then you’re too stupid to read this blog. – pasted

    I think that should be good. The witty stuff I can fill in later accordingly.

  16. @Elyse: If you keep this up, I’ll get davew and sethmanpio to disagree on this and drag this thread well into the 500 comment range.

    I want it noted that I have not disagreed with @sethmanpio even once in recent weeks. I have so few things to feel virtuous about right now. Please don’t take this away from me.

  17. @Brian’s A Wild Downer: Dude, I am totally with you.

    That’s why when I was working at a mall and a Christian group came by and gave us some chocolates and a card for their church and said, “These are just a gift with no strings attached whatsoever,” I said, “Cool, thanks!” and threw away the card and ate the chocolates.

    If they say they expect no reciprocity, they’d better mean it.

  18. 1.) No, just a person who didn’t do his research before writing a strong statement, and then instead wrote a follow-up while not stepping up to the plate and apologize for his prior words. I love Randi and all (he is the Skeptic Gnome King after-all), but he should leave the science for actual scientists.

    2) I’d rather my body go thru spaghettification from being pulled into the anti-vaxx singularity known to all as Oprah’s Vajayjay, than ever see the live-action Grinch movie.

    3) Planet Skepchick, where the waters turn into whatever alcohol they so desire.

    4) To make a metaphor, it would be like sticking a mini-fridge (Phelp’s tiny cold heart) into a meat-locker (Oprah’s vajayjay).

    5) When the Naked Archeologist realizes and claims to find that the North Pole was also the birthplace of Jesus and the even more startling discovery….that He isn’t a trinity, but a cuatro (father, son, holy spirit, and santa). History Channel airs part one which ends on tracking down Santa Jesus Ghost God who lives down in Southern Florida and goes by the name Stuart Saggybuns.

  19. @Tim3P0:
    I second naming it Planet Skepchick, since new information shows that the “water” world is actually made of Grey Goose vodka.

    At first, I wanted to name it Oprah’s Vajayjay, because I foresaw a future headline; “Probe investigating Oprah’s Vajayjay crushed by the pressure.”

  20. 1) Don’t think so.

    2) Boris Karloff beats Jim Carrey every FUCKING time.

    3) It’s booze (therefore worthy): http://tr.im/HYiF

    4) Kevin.

    5) For some reason, I think Oprah has a stable of young bucks that she wears out on a regular basis. Whereas Phelps’s heart is two sizes too small. Hate doesn’t take up much space.

    6) Sweeps week.

  21. 1. Nope, as he wrote an entry clarifying this. Just a simple mistake. Hey, he’s only human! (AFAIK anyway)

    2. NO!

    3. A drink that is sung about by Tom Servo and Crow T Robot.

    4. Either Vulcan or QuoNos.

    5. There’s a difference?

    6. Shoot, History Channel would declare a swarm of mosquitos in the Everglades as the “Nostrdamus Effect”!

  22. 1) I disagree with what Randi said, but will fight to the death for his right to say it. Well, I’d fight to a broken bone (um, no), a black eye (wait, no), I’d fight ‘til I got a hangnail (yeah). Anyway, freedom of speech and blah blah blah… So, denier no. Misspoke, maybe. Still skeptical, definitely. Gnome King, abso-fucking-lutely.
    2) I’ll just say that the ghosts of Theodore Geisel, Chuck Jones, Boris Karloff, and Thurl Ravenscroft (who had the coolest name ever, sounds like Harry Potter character) showed up at Jim Carrey’s door with an already shit-beaten Opie in a bag to ask why in the name of every Who in Whoville he was doing an imitation of Sean Connery throughout that film. Hrrumph.
    3) I’m not sure but ordering it at IHOP will get you stared at for a long time.
    4) There’s really only one choice. Atlantis.
    5) Oprah’s vag for sure. Phelps uses the hell out of his heart, it’s his brain that has atrophied.
    6) The day after St. Swiven’s day, as my mom used to say.

    And a little of topic, but cable channels don’t have to follow their names anymore. Haven’t for some time. Usually it will lead to a name change (Tru, Spike, or the lovely Syfy) but not always. I realized that the History Channel (which I used to call the Hitler Channel) wasn’t living up to its moniker when I saw they had a Planet of the Apes marathon. I’m waiting for the Food Network to show Soylent Green.

  23. 1. I fear the venerable Mr. Randi’s mind might be failing him just a bit. We’re all human, all fallible. I picture the SGU crew and others doing an intervention this weekend.

    2. Cartoon Grinch. By Far. Work of art.

    3. Tasty mulled wine that is only good for two servings. Then switch to real wine. Or heroin.

    4. Poseur.

    5. Figuring Oprah’s is used once a month, she takes it by just showing up. (yeah, gross, I know)

    6. They already did. And showed cave drawings to prove it.

  24. @Brian’s A Wild Downer: The Who didn’t learn any lessons though. It was the Grinch who learned the lesson. The Who (and now I am thinking of the band, but that wasn’t intended) already could have cared less about the trappings of Christmas and would be perfectly happy without them. It was the Grinch who failed to understand this in the beginning, but eventually came around after no one was saddened by the loss of said trappings, he realized what it all meant, that it was more about the joy of being with others than it was about the material goods. I always thought that was fairly obvious.

    The cartoon was better.

    @Jen: If that’s the ultimate question to which 42 is the answer, I’m gonna need to get my towel and electronic thumb device so I can hitch a ride off this planet. The intergalactic-psychiatrists will not be pleased.

    @Andrew Nixon: How do you figure? They probably have different names for the planets in our solar system. Doubt they refer to Earth as “Earth”.

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