Friday, 30 July 2010

"Dear Cheap Viagra, from Science" (No. 22)

Just received another rejection for a job I really hoped to get, so somebody somewhere has to bare the brunt of my rage. The worst part of it is that the complete inability to change the situation leaves me feeling frustratingly impotent. So what a good time to get a relevant spammer on my blog...

"Dear Cheap Viagra
Hello. I notice you've been leaving quite a few comments on my previous letters. I'd like to say thanks for the feedback, but that would be dishonest of me as I'm not particularly grateful. In all honesty I can't think up a genuine response any more pleasant than 'I sincerely hope you die a hideous slow death in a ditch filled with the unspeakable fluids that the products you keep trying to sell would (if they worked) inevitably end up producing', and that seems a bit long winded if nothing else.
Seriously, is this the best way you can think of of flogging your merchandise? Posting unsolicited comments on a relatively unknown blogs? As the personification of an anthropomorphic concept that usually writes to other anthropomorphic concepts, I can't even be said to be male, let alone be in possession of a set of male genitals which are presently experiencing an inability to perform their primary function.
I can't say the same for anyone who reads this, but as I tend to write these for the benefit of the scientific community there's a good chance that it's true for them too.

Of course I jest. It's been proven many times that scientists are the best possible lovers in both a physical and mental sense, and therefore would never need any erectile-dysfunction medication, so either way you're wasting your time.

I am starting to wonder if all those emails I keep getting are from you as well? Do spammers have rivals like real businesses do? Or are you just one sad man with an inability to spell, sat at home in front a computer in a house filled to the rafters with bottles of non-brand name 'viagra' tablets which you obtained as a result of a massive clerical error on the part of an industrial delivery company? I like this possibility, as it make me thing that somewhere there's a pharmaceutical warehouse which just contains a used computer desk and an inflatable sex toy with your name on them.

Seriously, do you ever sell anything? And what is it you're actually selling? My first theory is that you're selling basically worthless tablets which contain no useful active components, and are flogging them to gullible people in the hope that the placebo effect alone will make them 'work'. If this is what you're doing, you've got a long way to go if you're going to rival the experts at this method.

Interesting side note, I've not come across any homeopathic treatments for erectile dysfunction, but surely there is such a thing? Given their 'like treats like' belief, it's probably something like a pill with the barest hint of lager (6 pints minimum), or maybe just highly diluted pictures of Gillian McKeith?

But if you are selling dud pills, I can't officially condone that. Unofficially however, despite my complete adherence to the principle of evidence based medicine, I'm willing to turn a blind eye to this, largely because the sort of person who would purchase 'viagra' from an internet spammer is exactly the sort of person who would be better off not reproducing. I can bring myself to tolerate your actions by classifying you as an agent of Darwin, so that's ok.

However, I am willing to acknowledge the possibility that you are in fact some sort of rogue pharmaceutical company, willing to produce genuine medications but selling them at rock bottom prices in an effort to topple the monopoly of the big Pharma companies. Sort of like a 'Wikidrugs' thing. If this was the case, I would understand the need for less conventional means of marketing, what with having to stay unnoticed by the 'Big Boys'.
Were this the case, I would be tempted to applaud your actions, except for one thing; WHY DO YOU ONLY SELL VIAGRA!? Seriously, you have the means to manufacture and produce high quantities of effective medicines and you think the main health issue facing society is 'not enough erections'? You could be getting generic antihistamines, anticoagulants, antibiotics etc. to people who need them! (And that's just the anti- medications).
But no, before all the sick people who can't afford the vital medicine they need can be catered for, men must be able to have erections! Not just impotent ones, but all men who may have even the slightest concern about their sexual prowess (which is all men, except the ones who are scientists of course).

Is it wise to flog powerful pills which have drastic effects on blood pressure and flow and exert an accompanying demand on the heart? And that's just the men, apparently it's even worse for women. Why would you want to reduce the act of physical union to something akin to those water-filled nodding head bird things? Just sterile repetitive motion that seems fun at first but quickly becomes tedious and pointless.

So, stop leaving me comments. And if you are producing genuine medicines, for God's sake (or the sake of the fictional deity of your choice) branch out a bit. Hay-fever remedies alone would sell well, surely, stop thinking with and about the penis.

Love and kisses

Science (BA hons)

e-mail: humourology(at)
twitter: @garwboy

Thursday, 15 July 2010

"Dear Gillian McKeith, from Science" (No. 21)

Seems like it needs doing, following the what looks like a 'Blaze of Glory' strategy adopted by Ms McKeith and/or her spokespeople following a rather pointless and potentially libellous Twitter faux pas (detailed here by the legendary Jack of Kent, someone who knows what they're doing in this regard).

"Dear Dr sorryImean Ms McKeith

Hello. It's me, the anthropomorphic representation of Science. I'm not sure how you'll react to this letter, as I confess to being somewhat confused as to what your general opinion of me actually is. You present and describe yourself as someone who works closely with me, but you treat any question or remark from my people with extreme hatred and bile, usually ending with legal threats and accusations of conspiracy ties. This is the sort of behaviour I find baffling; it's tantamount to spitting in Mick Jagger's face and calling him a washed up sell-out despite making your living as the lead singer of a tribute band called the Stowling Rones.

I don't get where you're coming from, is the long and short of it. You want to be taken seriously as a scientist? Are you not familiar with the phrase that begins with 'Do unto others...'? I confess that I think that may be one of Religion's sayings. I usually hesitate to use anything he's touched, but to hell with it; he's always trying to take my stuff from me. Evolution? You swear I'd pushed a burning pile of it through his letterbox, the way he carries on about it.

I digress. I understand if you wanted to be respected as a scientist, but here's the catch; you have to earn it. You can't just buy scientific knowledge over the net in exchange for a few dollars and a return envelope. You claim you've 'studied' for many years, but that's not really how it's done either. Astrologers have been studying the stars for thousands of years, but they still seem to have no clue how they work, or even what they are. And if you are going to persist in dressing up in a white coat and wandering around wearing safety goggles on TV, I will be expecting some royalties (I invented lab-chic, you know).

So you need to really earn your stripes with study and, more crucially, understanding before you can call yourself a scientist. I've heard that your supposed 'university' got closed down? I would offer my commiserations, but I'm afraid I can't, as to me it was like having a boil lanced. It seems weird to me that 'professional naturopaths' were critical of it too, it's like Scientologists criticising Kabbalah for being 'too weird'. But don't worry, if you want a diploma of equivalent or even greater value to the one from your original 'university', there are many ways to get one.

But I confess I do find your belligerence, your attitude and your misunderstanding of the most basic principles of biology quite alarming. But seeing as I am Science, I feel duty bound to offer my help and expertise to help you, and I think I have stumbled upon a possible cause for all the aforementioned issues. Although my psychologists point out that a lot of your characteristics are almost textbook examples of the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, I have a different theory (and I think you've been in enough books as it is)

You have mentioned in the past how chlorophyll-rich food will oxygenate your blood. Ben Goldacre, one of my Illuminati, has explained in depth about how this is ridiculous as (amongst many other things) there is no light in your gut for photosynthesis. But I wonder if there is an exception for you? You seem to have the demeanour and approach of someone who has their anal sphincter in a permanently clenched state. I would be willing to believe that you have caused such a high level of pressure to build up in your intestine that the gasses that reside within it have been forced to undergo cold-fusion.

Effectively, you may have a small sun up your posterior. This would obviously be uncomfortable and damaging, hence your bizarre appearance and angry countenance. It would also explain why you think photosynthesis can occur in the intestine, as in yours it can. And when you first showed professional scientists your diploma and they told you you could 'stick it where the sun doesn't shine', that message would have been completely lost on you.

It all adds up. But if you would consider an intestinal solarectomy, I would happily point you in the right direction.

So please, consider this, I only mean to help you. You surely don't want another twitter-based debacle? I understand you tried to just get rid of something you produced, but people picked it apart and analysed it and criticised you for it. What sort of awful person would do such a thing? Don't know where they'd get such an idea from.

Enough with the massive hints, but please consider my offer. My door is always open to you. But leave your lawyer's outside, you've seen what happens when people bring them onto my turf.

Love and kisses

Science (BA hons)

P.S. That title next to my name is a joke, but then you'd know all about that.

email: Humourology (at)
twitter: @garwboy

Monday, 12 July 2010

The 'From Science' Letters, Volume 1.

Greetings all. Given the unprecedented popularity of my originally flash-in-the-pan idea of writing letters 'From Science', I've collected the series thus far in one easily navigable blogpost. if you're new to the seres, please peruse and enjoy at your leisure. If you're an experienced reader,please relive the classics. Or read them again and realise that they were crap all along, and vow to never read any of my output ever again. Your choice entirely.

And please, feel free to leave feedback and suggest subjects for future letters/articles, I'm think I've addressed most of the more obvious targets, but am happy to be proven wrong.

3. Dear Astrology, from Science (and not forgetting the incredible reply; 'Dear Science, from Astrology')

19. Dear Joanne the Tour Guide, from Dean (sort of a guest post, written from my actual perspective)

There we go, 6 months worth of pointless ranting. Here's to many many more.


email: humourology (at)
twitter: @garwboy

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Skeptical Vandalism: A follow up

So, according to my myriad sources, my blog about Skeptical Vandalism appears to have been more popular than usual, gaining me a great deal of hits, a number of Twitter retweets and followers and, best of all, my own personal internet Troll!

(assuming the cheeky tart isn't posting nonsensical woo-based scorn on other people's blogs... but she wouldn't do that to me, surely, we have a connection! ... ... I thought we had something special!!! Come back CC, I promise I can change!!!!! [To within a maximum of 1 standard deviation, of course])

However, an enthusiastic commenter known as Brainduck has pointed out the following on several occasions

About the 'natural health' magazine crap, and why it's in the brain research lab, doctor's surgeries, etc - it's part of the 'healthcare' package of
Please do encourage people to write to them & complain

Does this make it better or worse? The magazine provider is clearly just a business with no control over the actual content of the magazines (as they claim in an email interchange that Brainduck sent me), and I can easily envision a situation where an apathetic administrator just ticked a box next to any magazine with 'Health' in the title for the 'Health' package for establishments where 'Health' is the focus of what they do.

But it's still quite insidious, if you ask me (and if you've read this far I take it that my own rambling thoughts are of some inexplicable interest to you). I would wager that being included in packages sent out by DLT magazines is potentially quite a lucrative way of expanding your customer base. These magazines will be read by people who are logically concerned for their health and are therefore impressionable to such things as the 'amazing' (meaning 'utter bullshit') methods offered in Natural Health. If the publishers of NH are actually pushing to be included, isn't that just a more indirect version of the mediums targeting the bereaved? Basically, exploiting people's worry and fear for financial gain based on lies. I don't think that sounds too ethical, personally.

Also, is it wrong to single out NH for criticism when there are plenty of other candidates for misleading info? Well, I can't actually speak for them. I can't read Men's Health, as it usually has pictures of glistening 6-packs on the cover so I daren't risk picking it up in public (like most heterosexual males these days I have no problem with homosexuals at all, but this sadly does not extend far enough to make me feel happy about being perceived as one by friends and colleagues).
I have no interest in Kitchens or cake recipes, nor do I own my own home, so have never had the inclination to read magazines on these subjects. I am not a woman, so can't really criticise any publication written by and for those strange creatures, and so indifferent am I to Lorraine Kelly that I can't actually perceive any magazine with her on the cover. Seriously, it's like the Doctor Who perception filter, I can only recognise her out of the corner of my eye.

However, thanks to finding it in the Cardiff University Brain Research and Imaging Centre, I know exactly how massively packed with gibberish NH is. So I feel fine about slagging it off in full view of the public.

But BrainDuck asks us to write and complain. Why not? Here's my own personal email to them, feel free to link to this if you want to complain but can't be bothered to write anything out (I get that myself, a lot)

"Dear Sir/Madam
I recently discovered a copy of 'Natural Health' magazine while waiting to undergo an experiment at an advanced brain research facility. This unpleasant discovery led me to make an attempt to satirize the magazine on my inexplicably popular regular blog

Since then, it has been pointed out that the magazine is part of a 'Health' package supplied to GP surgeries and other health related establishments for patients awaiting their appointments to read. I have been presented with email dialogue between yourselves and the party who first alerted me to your role in the supplying of these magazines. As I myself am a Doctor of Neuroscience, my training and experience means that I also object to the inclusion of the publication 'Natural Health' and would strongly urge you to remove it from the Health pack you offer.
Although the magazine is titled 'Natural Health', it contains nothing recognised as factual by medical science, and indeed contains much information which, if taken seriously by a sick person, could lead to them neglecting effective treatments and worsening their condition(s). Although I'm sure you have nothing to do with the content of the magazine, I feel this does not excuse you form responsibility, in the same way that someone installing a cigarette machine in a lung cancer in a lung cancer ward is not actually responsible for what goes into cigarettes but is still causing palpable damage.

(I realise the last analogy is quite far fetched as it would never happen as it wouldn't be allowed, but the logic behind why it is not allowed the same logic by which I urge you to remove the magazine from your distribution)

I am certain that the negative consequences I have highlighted were not your intention. I also would not be surprised to hear they were something you have not really thought out. As a magazine distributor I am sure it was simply a case of a magazine with 'Health' in the title being included in a 'Health' pack, nothing more sinister. However, the damage that can be caused by this lack of forethought is still very real.

If you happened to supply reading material to synagogues, I would trust you would be aware enough not to include any literature produced by the BNP? Even if it was titled 'Facts About Jews'? Although you'd have no role in the creation and publication of the offending article, the scandal that would result would be monumental. There is less potential scandal in the inclusion of Natural Health in a health package (a damning indictment of scientific awareness by the public), but more potential deaths which is surely of some concern?

The title 'Natural Health' is clearly a very misleading one. Humans, given the required amounts of nutrients and other essential items, are 'healthy', and the vast majority of medicines actually work by assisting the natural health-restoring components of the human body. in contrast, almost none of the 'treatments' described in natural health have any basis in nature.

For example, a favourite remedy of the alternative medicine believers is Homeopathy, where small doses of substances that can cause the patients symptoms are diluted tot he pint where they aren't present in the water any more. This 'remedy' is made even more potent by striking it against a leather book. Such a process has no foundation in the natural world. Apart from water itself. And leather, of course, which is derived from cow hide. But why leather? I've never found out. Probably because cows don't get diseases? (Except for Mad Cow disease and Wooden Tongue and Anthrax and Tuberculosis and Foot & Mouth and Calf Scours and Neosporosis and Grass Tetany and Ringworm and Pink Eye and Anaplasmosis and Internal & External Parasites and many others).

I hope you will take my email under consideration.

Yours sincerely

Doctor Burnett

P.S. One of my critics has likened my objection to Natural Health magazine to Nazi book burning. Although originally I had no such intention, if you find you do have a surplus of Natural Health magazine you wish to dispose of I will gladly take it off your hands. Especially around the first week of November.

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