In This Week’s Show, episode 178, we break out of Mike Pence’s gay-Grindr-cult by catching a ride on a plant-based energetic triceratops.
Now, grab a beer and help us test the god hypothesis — because, while Sirona (the Gaelic goddess of healing springs – apologies to The Knack) hasn’t struck us down yet, we are trying her patience!
Shea’s Life Lesson
This week I learned that you can use cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes, rice, and any joy in your life. You have no friends now, there is only cauliflower.
Jenn’s Actual Lesson
Did you know that Sirona is often affiliated with the Greek/Roman healer god Apollo? Also, in addition to the healing thing, her attributes include eggs and snakes. Because you know the old saying: an egg and a snake a day keeps…everyone? away.
But before we get to all that, let’s have a beer!
This Week’s Beer
Citra Pale Ale – Upslope brewing
BA Link: bit.ly/2HRgRQ7
BA Rating: 3.95/5
- Style: Pale Ale
- ABV: 5.8%
- Aaron: 8
- Jenn: 9 :)
- Shea: 9
- Steve: 8
This Week’s Show
Round Table Discussion
New patrons Steven and Matt.
March 29, 2018 by Highlander681
As of today, I have just finished the entire back catalogue. I am now bummed that I will have to wait a week between episodes. This is one of the most entertaining podcasts out there. Right up there with Scathing Atheist and Cognitive Dissonance. I will shortly be on my way to Patreon to support this truly amazing podcast.
Bigoted Nazi, mediocre podcaster, and (now former) teacher, Dayanna Volitich, who hosted white-nationalist podcast “Unapologetic”, resigned her teaching position – bit.ly/2uNbG1R
In the stupidest of updates: ridiculous Rocket Man is now running for Governor of California…
HL1 – Energy Healing And You – bit.ly/2IrrfOM
Good news everyone! Totes science-based website AUXX has discovered that you’re an energy plant… a plant of energy… green.
According to the website, “Science says that everything around us is energy, and we are also energy transformations. One study conducted at the Belfield University in Germany revealed that plants take in energy from other plants.” And if scientists say it, it must be true after all, this is why some people don’t feel comfortable when they are around specific people… Our bodies are similar to plants that absorb energy to nurture the emotional state. Which is a better explanation than, “you hang out with asshats who make you uncomfortable.” In fact, our spirit is energy, and there is nothing ‘supernatural’ but just manifestation of various energies in the world! A fact that, apparently, modern scientists ignore for fear of criticism by the scientific community. But how do you get the energy? Welp, there are 5 steps:
- Be Grounded and Centered, so you can see if anything is going on with your spiritual self. Bonus, it helps you give off energy and emotions to others… Shea, are you crying yet? I’m really trying to send you some crying…
- Rule 2, known as the Locutus Rule is “Do Not Resist,” to be in a non-resistance state, you should imagine yourself like you are a clean glass of water. This way the negativity will not get in you.
- Aura Space. Rule thee departs from the verby-ness of steps to tell you that each of us has an energy aura. If you do not have this space, you are vulnerable to other energies and thereby unsafe. No word on how to use, build or fix your aura. I guess just don’t fuck it up.
- Clean your energy. How? By imagining a golden shower. No really. That’s actually the step. They wrote that. It’s in the article.
- Get Back Your Energy. Presumably the actionable part of step 3, step 5 is all about getting your energy back. Because you can see other peoples energy around you, and that will block your energy, even though we’re supposed to be feeding off of others energy… so… to get back your energy, just imagine a golden sun several centimeters above you. Then imagine the golden trickling down the top of your aura space… yeah.
Note because we’re not woo-woo assholes: Articles like this one distort the findings of an actual scientific study about a species of green algae called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Research, published in the journal Nature Communications on the 20th of November 2012, demonstrated that — in addition to photosynthesis — this species of green algae, under sub-optimal growing conditions, can derive energy by breaking down and consuming the cellulose (the main molecule of a green plant’s cell walls) of other nearby plants, too. Where humans come into the picture is … unclear. Unless you’re a woo. Then people and algae are the same things… apparently.
HL2 – Facebook, Hold My Beer… -Grindr
While Zuckerberg sweats it out in his likely $200 gray T-shirt, another online entity has been caught—with their pants down? Red-handed? Everything sounds dirty. Anyway, the dating/hookup app Grindr is sharing the HIV status of its roughly 3.6 million daily users with two other companies.
Despite heavily promoting the importance of sexual health and increasingly branding itself as the go-to app for healthy hookups and gay cultural content, it has been discovered to be selling very personal information to 3rd-party data collectors. In December, the company launched an online magazine dedicated to cultural issues in the queer community Grindr seems to have a shaky take on the importance of privacy. The Norwegian non-profit SINTEF discovered that companies Apptimize and Localystics, which reportedly help optimize apps (such as used by Grindr), were receiving users’ HIV status, along with other highly specific information like users’ GPS data, phone ID, sexuality, relationship status, and email address.
“When you combine this with an app like Grindr that is primarily aimed at people who may be at risk — especially depending on the country they live in or depending on how homophobic the local populace is — this is an especially bad practice that can put their user safety at risk,” says Cooper Quintin, a senior staff technologist and security researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”
Breaking update Monday evening April 2nd, Grindr announced, surprisingly, they’re going to stop sharing the info. Maybe, possibly, a “whoopsie”.
Hl3 – Theatre. It’s Acting!
A bizarre rescue attempt of ‘Jesus’ in a staged recreation of the crucifixion has shocked a 1000-strong audience celebrating Easter.
The drama unfolded during a performance of a biblical play — with the attacker barging on stage screaming “I am not going to let Jesus die.”
The video shows the moment the unnamed man leaps on stage in Nova Hartz town centre in south Brazil last night to launch his surprise defense of the Christian messiah.
He then slams the head of an actor playing a Roman soldier with a motorcycle helmet before booting the captor clear of “Christ.”
He said: “The man leapt up from the middle of the audience and no one guessed what he was about to do.
“Witnesses reported the attacker was shouting ‘he was not going to let Jesus die’ before he barged on stage.”
Actors then rushed to subdue the man who continued to lash out as fists flew.
Meanwhile, the actor playing Jesus remained calm and in character amid the chaos.
Shocked director Adriano Ferreira, who manages a company of 80 actors, said: “There are some things that are just inexplicable.
“We halted the play for a few moments, but as no one had been injured, we decided to continue with the staging.”
This Week’s Stories
Littlefoot’s Feet Were Actually Pretty Big.
(Land Before Time joke! Slam!)
You can be forgiven for avoiding a lot of news of these days. It’s generally a heaping pile of steaming sewage that makes one long for a good ole fashioned global super-plague. HOWEVER! Science is here to show us that there are still items of cool and interesting left in the world (that is until science itself is outlawed by Pence and his posse of Death Eaters).
So today I bring you a story of science(!), Scotland, sauropods and…footprints. (Couldn’t keep the alliteration going. Sorry.)
BBC News – bit.ly/2GPNkJJ
Scottish Journal of Geology – bit.ly/2ItA5eB
LiveScience – bit.ly/2GYq8sK
My story comes from the scenic Isle of Man, the largest and northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides (heh-br-DEES), off the coast of Scotland. The island has been occupied since the Mesolithic period (a hunter/gatherer site has been uncovered dating to the 7th millennium BC) and was at one time ruled by the Norse and was long dominated by Clan Donald and Clan McLeod (there can be only one).
But the meat of this story takes place long before the Mesolithic era, we’re going all the way back 170 million years to the middle-Jurassic. Surprisingly, considering how familiar we are with the term ‘Jurassic’ (thank you Mr. Spielberg–although it would technically be more accurate to have called the movies Cretaceous Park nerd snort), fossils from the middle Jurassic are extremely rare. Happily, a brand new dinosaur track site that has been discovered on this island is helping to fill in some fossil gaps.
A team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh, the Staffin Museum (a dinosaur museum also located in Scotland) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have studied and described this relatively recent find. It was supported by a grant from the National Geographic Society, and subsidiary funding from the Association of Women Geologists, Derek and Maureen Moss, Edinburgh Zoo and Edinburgh Geological Society. Led by graduate student Paige DePolo (WHOO lady scientists!) and Dr. Steve Brusatte of the Scotland School of GeoSciences, these fossilized tracks are considered globally important because of how few fossils we have from this time period.
Using drone footage and other cameras, the team faced some difficulties with studying the prints due to tides, winds and just generally rough Scottish highland coastal weather. The tracksite was also found in rocks that were slightly older than those previously found on the island (there was one previous dino tracksite found on the Isle of Skye), and demonstrates the presence of sauropods in this part of the world through a longer timescale than previously known.
Now, of course, the land and climate was much different 170 million years ago. The scientists say this area at the time the tracks were made was actually a shallow, warm lagoon. About 50 separate tracks were studied, made up of sauropod and theropod types of dinos, and has helped create a picture of how these early dinos spent their leisure time. From the published paper’s intro:
“The site preserves an abundance of small sauropod manus and pes prints and several isolated and broken medium-to-large tridactyl footprints. The main site occurs on a single horizon of shaley limestone that formed in a lagoonal environment. The sauropod tracks are tentatively assigned to the ichnotaxon Breviparopus due to the narrow gauge of the trackways, the digital characteristics of the pes, and the ratio of heteropody observed between the manus and the pes. A theropod trackmaker is inferred for some of the tridactyl impressions with several indicative of the ichnotaxon Eubrontes. This new site strengthens the inference, originally based on a previously discovered locality near Duntulum (dun-tulm)Castle (Duntulm Formation) in northern Skye, that sauropods habitually spent time in lagoons during the Middle Jurassic.”
Mack’n on Cults
I’m going to dive into waters usually reserved for Jenn… crazy cults!
Stories have been circulating online alleging Smallville star Allison Mack is a leading member of a crazy ass sex cult. Mack, some of you right recall, played Smallville’s Chloe Sullivan, the plucky blond would-be reporter sidekicking for a young Superman. A tween-drama imagining of Kal-El’s upbringing in rural Kansas, the show often skated by on a Chloe, Clark, Lana, love triangle. Lana Lang, played by Kristen Kurek, is Clark’s high school love interest and the show’s token hot-chick. And as much fun as it is to think about Allison and Kristen being in a hot, kinky, sex cult together… that’s not what’s happened…
For her part, Kristen’s media people released a long statement amounting to “yeah, she took an Executive Success Program from NXIVM, but that’s it.” The empowering-women, self-help, career-building seminars are used for profit and recruiting women. Following the courses, Kristen’s team said she left the group well enough alone. Mack, not so much.
What are “Executive Success Programs” and NXIVM you ask?
First, we need to introduce you to the skeptical, humanist, non-violent, self-improving, energy healing, brain dead-pan, sales pitch, late-night info-docutainment group NXIVM (pronounced “nex-e-um”). Which is only partially a joke, you can find English, Spanish, and French documentaries — really, accidental mockumentaries — made by Mark Vicente, a filmmaker and former top Nxivm official.
The group’s nefarious leader, Keith Raniere, 57, a slender man bearing a resemblance to a young, and later plastic surgeried, John Lennon… but with creepy, Jesus-esk, sunk-in crazy-eyes. NXIVM is his crazy ass self-help group. Founded in Albany, New York in 2003 with co-founder and president, Nancy Salzman, who followers call the “Perfect,” — have long attracted controversy.
Raniere, known to his followers as “The Vanguard,” (against what, we may never know), a self-proclaimed activist, scientist, philosopher and, above all, humanitarian, described NXIVM’s philosophy as “a new ethical understanding” that allows “humanity to rise to its noble possibility.” The reality seems to be that it preyed on vulnerable women, who were “currently experiencing difficulties in their lives,” coaxing them into the fold with the promise of healing, overcoming emotional issues, and promises of success, only to ensnare them with massive financial debts (each session cost in excess of 5k) and threats to publicize incriminating information about them, including sexually explicit photographs, which were required to gain entry into the group.
Vicente, the filmmaker, and ex-member told BuzzFeed News that “later I began to understand it was the perfect recipe to have the women feel shitty about themselves and was, it seems, a setup for the kind of abuses we are now reading about,” he explained. “In my opinion, it’s what Narcissistic Abuse looks like. Difficult to see at first.” The programs, and if they stuck around for it, NXIVM and DOS (which we’ll get to) basically began a slow but steady curriculum of gaslighting, abuse, and what amounts to kidnapping.
But what abuses you ask?
Well, let’s get to the salacious bits eh.
Inside NXIVM, there was a secret group called DOS, founded in 2015, also known as “Lord/Master of the Obedient Female Companions” which astute listeners will notice does not acronym to “DOS,” an oversight that is never mentioned, talked about, or explained, anywhere. “Raniere has maintained a rotating group of fifteen to twenty women with whom he maintains sexual relationships,” the FBI stated in its complaint, citing interviews with eight victims. “These women are not permitted to have sexual relationships with anyone but Raniere or to discuss with others their relationship with Raniere. Some of the NXIVM curricula included teachings about the need for men to have multiple sexual partners and the need for women to be monogamous.” Victims told the FBI that the women, or “slaves,” had to perform “acts of care” for their “masters,” like carrying their luggage, making them food, and cleaning their houses. But the tasks took extreme turns, they said, with “slaves” forced to take ice-cold showers, perform planks, and remain celibate for long periods of time often as punishment for not answering Raniere’s calls or texts. The women were also all exceptionally thin, surviving on less than 1000 calories a day, as that’s how he likes ‘em. The women were often divided into groups of one master and six slaves. Each slave had monthly recruitment goals tracked in Dropbox and Google Drive… both places you can subpoena it turns out. The cult acted like a pyramid scheme in which each of the women, once fully inducted, were forced to go out and find more women to help “empower” by bringing them in as their own slaves. The women of DOS, Vicente described as “loyal and fanatically obedient to him. They were emotionally repressed, nutrition and sleep deprived, abusive to anyone who disagrees with Raniere,” he said. “They speak of him in hushed tones as though he is a deity. To me, they seem like religious zealots.”
Once in the group, the women who were chosen were directed to DOS. Bringing it back around to Allison Mack, the purported creator and operator of the group. Though no charges have been filed against Mack. Women desiring to be in DOS first did all the usual cult stuff, join the group, submit to nut jobs, etc, they would be taken to Lauren Salzman, a doctor who would do the initiation. Why a doctor? Well… The process begins with the recruits laying naked on a massage table while other women who have already be here and done this, hold down their arms and legs. Lauren then instructed them to say: “Master, please brand me, it would be an honor.” And then, Lauren spend the next half-hour searing Raniere’s initials into their pelvic regions with a cauterization pen…
So, now we’re moving into territory which is important to preface with allegedly.
Raniere was recently arrested in a villa near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He’s been charged with sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit forced labor. I couldn’t find any word on Lauren (aside from her not losing her medical license because the FBI etc found that she was doing the brandings “outside of her role as a medical professional”), the Perfect, or other high-level members.
According to the federal criminal complaint against Raniere, a woman referred to only as “Co-Conspirator 1” was a DOS master who forced other DOS slaves to have sex with Raniere. The court document also identifies Co-Conspirator #1 as an “actress” as well as being “Raniere’s direct slave,” and states that this person appeared in video interviews with Raniere and was mentored by him. Mack can be seen interviewing Raniere in a series of YouTube videos from 2017 hosted by a channel titled “Keith Raniere Conversations” and declares Raniere to be her mentor on her own website. Mack has not been charged with anything so far.
Next Week’s Beer
Cellar Blender – New Belgium
Style: Sour beer
Faith In Humanity Restored
Teen organizes pride parade for Pence – bit.ly/2uUPGlR
Mike Pence, a pure man who survives on whole milk and phobia, who has long voted against LGBTQ rights and nary cast a wandering eye at a penis, is now getting a big ol’ LGBTQ blowout courtesy of an 18-year-old girl in his hometown.
Erin Bailey of Columbus, Indiana decided to organize the festival as her final high school senior project and told Cosmopolitan.com that her first hang-ups were contacting city officials. “I was really afraid that they were gonna say, we don’t want this, we don’t want to upset the vice president,” she said. “But they were really supportive of it.”
On the GoFundMe page for the Columbus Pride Festival, which has so far raised $3,620 of its $2,000 goal, Bailey promises that there will be food, vendors, educational booths, entertainment.
A Pence spokesperson has released a statement in support of the festival:
Vice President Pence commends Erin Bailey for her activism and engagement in the civic process. As a proud Hoosier and Columbus native, he’s heartened to see young people from his hometown getting involved in the political process.
The project indicates that there are people who would like to wash their hands of Pence everywhere, but Bailey makes clear to Cosmopolitan.com that this is not about him. “I’m not doing this for him, it’s for members of the community,” she says. This is delightful.
The festival is April 14th.
Bonus Cat Video
Lil Bub Cuddles – https://youtu.be/5UT48IGlmjI
Storm & Shadow meet Finn, an extremly patient cat – https://youtu.be/P0SftPkgH30
Dune – A drunk Book Review – https://youtu.be/j6BrJ6mhDmc
A Very special message from Deadpopol – https://youtu.be/bI31WqFDxNs
Evolution of Game Controllers – https://youtu.be/xmIhDCBEkGU
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