Friday, March 23, 2012

Witches, Chiropractors, and Esperanto.. How Can It Not Be Good?

I often play dumb here on my blog, I also tend to take stances on issues that I don’t really support because I want people to like me. It’s part of a great effort on my part not to come off as a jerk. People don’t like know-it-alls. I want people to like me, so I play dumb. Sometimes I write something that is really intended more for comedic effect and may not necessarily reflect my true views on a subject… the real me is still a mystery. So, I figured I’d post about some things and how I really feel about them.

Yes, this does happen sometimes
1)      Ouija Boards: 

My opinion? Crap.

Confidence level? High

Look, how Hasbro keeps conning people into buying them is a miracle of the marketing age. It’s like the Pet Rock craze that overwhelmed America in the 70’s. Seriously. Demons (or ghosts) aren’t speaking to us from the other world. How do I know? Because I used to play with one, for months in fact, alone (movies have taught me since that was a bad idea) and in groups, I actually wrote down the answers to my questions.

After much investigation, let’s just say that I have reason to believe that they know a lot about baseball, like, a whole lot. Coincidentally, their encyclopedic knowledge of baseball seemed to end about where mine did. Yes, it (they, whatever) knew how many games the Tigers won in 1984, so did I, but it couldn’t tell me the lifetime slugging percentage of Roberto Clemente… wait, I might have been confusing the Ouija board with the internet. It probably isn’t supposed to know that stuff – still, if it serves as a conduit to the otherworld, then its populated with a bunch of people who sit around and read baseball statistics in their spare time.

The bottom line? It didn’t know anything that I, or the people I was with, didn’t. It gave crap answers and didn’t know how to spell. I’m guessing that has more to do with the people involved, the ideomotor effect, etc. I’m not alone in this opinion, and controlled experiments have demonstrated time and time and again that there is no unexplainable phenomena happening.

2)      Chiropractors:

My Opinion? Crap

Confidence level? Moderate

I hope I don’t get sued (I hear they’re litigious).  How can a group with the lowest efficacy rate of any health organization on the planet also have the highest level of customer satisfaction? I think it’s because they’ve convinced insurance companies into paying for back massages.

No, that isn’t true, I think it has to do with the psychological effects of having a person actually do something when you visit. Giving me a prescription for something isn’t the same as getting a backrub. Chiropractors tend to be much more engaged with their patients too, again, I think that’s a big deal.

Medicine is not a hard science, sometimes even people who don’t know what they’re doing can hit upon something that works, however, Chiropractic medicine simply does not work when compared to traditional medicine (beyond the placebo effect). Lots of data on this too, however, the data is muddied somewhat and it tends to overwhelmed by positive personal testimonies, huge lobbyist groups and a well-organized campaigns to win over people distrustful of traditional medical practices.

Well, that proves... something.
3)      Numerology: 

My Opinion? Crap

Confidence level? Through the roof.

It’s total crap, but it feels like it should mean something. I have a lot of sympathy for practitioners… but that doesn’t make it not be crap. Case in point, I write this on 3/22/12 at 1:12 p.m. (on my lunch break). Those numbers again, are 32212112. That happens to be a color in the RGB Decimal – a very pretty blue. Blue happens to be an interesting color. Blue symbolizes the Virgin Mary, the Virgin Mary is probably pretty unhappy with Michael Offut’s post about Atheism that he put up today (or yesterday, but today when I wrote this)…. Coincidence? Probably not. Wait, I mean, yes, its total crap. It was a coincidence. Anyhow, I hope you get my point.

4)      Esperanto:

My Opinion? Noble failure

Confidence level? Middle of the road

Unlike the other things I talked about, this isn’t something that has actual data to back up or dismiss the claims made. Esperanto isn’t something that really makes a claim. Esperanto is a language that was invented something like 130 years ago. All sorts of people have invented all sorts of entirely novel languages for a long time. They have conferences and everything, I heard one that was made up of pops and whistles that I thought was amazing. Doubly amazing because people can actually converse in it.
Just what the world needed - another language

Esperanto is different because it was intended to be a common language that people from all over the world could use, it was supposed to be easy to learn, easy to speak, and free from all the baggage that languages tend to pick up over centuries. There are universities that teach it, businesses that conduct their international affairs in it, and it has lots of people fluent in it.

Why is it a failure, well? It has just enough adherents to keep it from dying, but it’s no one’s first language, and there aren’t any places you can go and find yourself surrounded by it. It’s intention – to be the default language international persons would speak when conducting business – already has a language to fill that niche. English.

And there you have it, a window into my soul. Now you can start to really know me. You may disagree with me, but I'm just throwing out what I really believe. 


Bill Chapman said...

You are entitled to all your entertaining views, but I hope you'll allow me to correct you about Esperanto.

I've been using Esperanto for many years and I find it a remarkable success. Exactly 125 years ago Esperanto was just an idea in the mind of one man. Since then it has attracted a self-perpetuating speech community of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. It even has native speakers - I've met a few. It has certainly helped me on my travels. I have frequently been surrounded by Esperanto speakers, for example in Milan, Trieste, Hamburg, Plouezec in Brittany, Cuba, Buenos Aires. Don't knock it!

Rusty Webb said...

You know, I actually read elsewhere that there are native speakers of Esperanto - I suppose I should have taken that claim seriously... but I also had a lower degree of confidence in that claim. I've never met a speaker in real life. It probably skews my opinions somewhat.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

There is a common language used all over the world - English.
Agree with you on Ouija boards and numerology.

Gail said...

I like English and think it should be the language of our states...just because old immigrants took a great pride in speaking the language of the nation.

Loads of crap can be scary...I have scared myself with Ouija boards...but I have also have scare myself in the mirro.

Numbers are fun to play with and chiropractors do give a great rubdown.

I could argue, uh, discuss, the points of either side of these, except the English...Long Live that language!

Grumpy Bulldog, March Madman said...

I was trying to remember what book I read in the last year that had a section on Esperanto and competing languages of the time that were intended as "common" languages. I think it was called "Boxer, Beetle." Anyway, I think in part Esperanto and the like got crushed like that typewriter you mentioned in one post or like Betamax and HD DVD, a mixture of politics and money.

Matthew MacNish said...

Agree with all of these. Except maybe Chiropractors. They charge too much, but I can't deny that when I went to one for a week or two a few years ago, their adjustments made my back pain go away.

Anonymous said...

Many ignorant people describe Esperanto as "failed" - other ignorant people say that if human beings were meant to fly, God would have given them wings.

Esperanto is neither artificial nor a failure however. As the British Government now employs Esperanto translators it has ceased to be a hobby. More recently this international language was used to address the United Nations in Bonn.

During a short period of 125 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide. It is the 22nd most used language in Wikipedia, ahead of Danish and Arabic. It is a language choice of, Skype, Firefox, Ubuntu and Facebook and Google translate recently added to its prestigious list of 64 languages.

Native Esperanto speakers, (people who have used the language from birth), include World Chess Champion Susan Polger, Ulrich Brandenberg the new German Ambassador to and Nobel Laureate Daniel Bovet. Financier George Soros learnt Esperanto as a child.

Esperanto is a living language - see

Their new online course has 125 000 hits per day and Esperanto Wikipedia enjoys 400 000 hits per day. That can't be bad :)

Briane P said...

It takes a lot of guts to come out against Ouija boards and numerology. I hope you thought this through before you took such a bold stand.

I actually was laughing along with this until I saw you took on Esperanto. YOU MAD FOOL! DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MESS AROUND WITH PEOPLES' OPINIONS OF LANGUAGES?

I did that once. Almost exactly four years ago, as it turns out (NUMEROLOGY CURED MY SORE BACK AND I DARE YOU TO PROVE ME WRONG!)

I named Japanese The Best Language:

And that is STILL among the top 5 most-read posts on The Best Of Everything.

My favorite comment from that post?

"your a horrible person, and a dick. You have no respect and no knowledge of the history of the English language."

Oh, it went on from there.

Welcome to the dark underside of the Internet, Rusty. I'll pray for your soul, no matter what Michael's guests think about my doing that.

As for chiropractors? I agree with you -- but Sweetie swears by hers. I met him once. He's a pretty handsome guy, a pretty handsome guy who gets paid by MY insurance company to rub my wife's back. I should probably do something about that.

Andrew Leon said...

Well... I've never met anyone that speaks it. Nor have I ever heard of anyone that speaks it until this post. As far as I'm concerned it could still be a myth like the yeti. Or man walking on the moon.

Deborah Walker said...

*laughs* This is what happens when you raise your head above the parapet.

M Pax said...

Ouija boards aren't real? Damn. Just like Santa.

I figured out myself how to make my carpal tunnel better. OK, by accident. But no doctor or pill ever made me feel as better. I think they've proven mind over matter a lot in medicine.

lol on the numerology. I'm writing this at 2:26 p.m. Pacific time. What time are you reading it? What does that mean?

I went to some esperanto meetings with my grandmother. But we mostly just hung out and drank iced tea.

Brian Barker said...

@Andrew Leon

Not met anyone who speaks Esperanto ?

How do you know. Perhaps you should ask ?

Brinda said...

My opinions: I don't believe in ouija boards,numerology boards, and didn't even know what the heck esperanto is. Now I do. As for chiropractors, I visited one for a good 10 years for some back and neck issues. I got relief each time, but it was very temporary.

Cindy said...

I never took any of these things seriously. Some types of medicine just have the placebo effect. Wouldn't be surprised if Chiropractors fell into that category.

Tonja said...

People are always trying to get me to go to a chiropractor. It feels too risky to me.

Danette said...

You have certainly lost one reader based on your strong opinions on these important matters. I know I will never darken this blog with my presence again and I am sure others feel the same. ;)

You still haven't told me what book you want for winning the bet.

Stephen Tremp said...

I could use a chirpractor! When I had a real job and insurance it would pay for 20 visits a month for both wifey and myself. Almost makes me want to get a real job again. Almost.

D.G. Hudson said...

I agree with you on most of these points. I've tried the board, the chiropractors, had a numerology reading, but no Esperanto.

Some of these are just crutches that help people feel like they are doing something to improve their condition (chiropractors) or that they have some control over their life (Ouiji and numerology).

That's my take. People should trust more in themselves. Thanks for sharing your honest opinons.

Now have to go check out Michael O's post.

Melissa Bradley said...

Love these honest opinions. I have never used a ouija board, but it's funny that Hasbro makes one. It seems like it should be from some New Age company. And I have never even heard of Esperanto. Then again, until I worked at a travel store, I had no idea about many languages.

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