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Just when I thought Dr. Oz couldn’t go any lower, he proves me wrong—with astrology!

I haven’t written much about Dr. Mehmet Oz and his promotion of pseudoscience lately—or even paid that much attention to him. Unfortunately, this week, that changed as Dr. Oz went all in for astrology. Yes, astrology. The backlash was epic.

I haven’t paid much attention to Dr. Mehmet Oz lately (or, as I like to call him, America’s quack). Indeed, the last time I wrote about Dr. Oz as the main topic of a post was nearly three years ago. (Believe me, I was just as shocked as anyone when I looked through my archives and this realization struck me.) Actually, on second thought, I did write about him when his featured guest was Donald Trump during the 2016 election, but that was more about Donald Trump than Dr. Oz, although together the two did seem to have quite the grifter bromance going on.

Ironically, given what I’m about to discuss now, the title was Dr. Oz promises to stop promoting pseudoscience. Should we believe him? At the time, Dr. Oz had had a bad year, having been humbled by Sen. Claire McCaskill when she called him to testify in front of her committee and basically called him out for his promotion of quack dietary supplements. The Wikileaks hack of Sony’s e-mails that year had revealed some of the inner workings of his syndicated TV show, mainly just how much the content of the show was driven by business, rather than medical, considerations, and an attempt at an “Ask Dr. Oz” promotion on Twitter under the hashtag #OzInBox had backfired, as people flooded the answers with hilarious mockery of his pseudoscience. But that wasn’t all. A group of physicians had written an open letter to the Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University complaining that Dr. Oz is faculty at Columbia. It made the news for a few days, but unfortunately it came from doctors closely affiliated with the astroturf group American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), which let Oz effectively paint its authors as industry shills and apologists (which, quite frankly, most of them are). More effectively, a then-medical student named Ben Mazer had persuade the American Medical Association to pass a resolution that media doctors should not spread medical misinformation. It was very clearly aimed at Dr. Oz.

So Dr. Oz was chastened at the time and promised not to spread pseudoscience any more. Did he stop? No, not really, but he did tone down his promotion of pseudoscience and quackery. Gone were the shows featuring psychic mediums (such as John Edward and “Long Island Medium” Theresa Caputo) as healers, faith healers, homeopathy, fear mongering about cell phones and breast cancer, and reiki. Anyway, since 2016, anyway, whatever woo Oz has been promoting on his show never rose to the level that I felt obligated to write a post about it.

Until now.

On Wednesday, I started seeing Tweets like this:

Actually, there was a Tweet before this, but Dr. Oz got so much mockery and criticism in return that his social media team took it down and replaced it with the Tweet above. Here’s the original:

Dr. Oz astrology Tweet

Both are pretty bad. The responses were epic. For example:

You get the idea…

So when the actual segments made their appearance on Dr. Oz’s website, I must admit, I had to watch them. I couldn’t resist. So I started with the first segment, the introduction.

Oz begins by pointing out how “we all love to look up and gaze at the stars,” which is something that’s largely true but irrelevant. Then he says:

Civilizations throughout history have looked to astrology to find meaning in everything, from the changing seasons to hour health. Now, I never studied astrology in medical school because it’s no longer considered to be based on science. But I am interested in learning more about it, and many of you believe the season of your birth can influence your health.

That’s nice. “Many of you” believe in ghosts as well. That doesn’t mean that ghosts are a proper topic for discussion on a show that claims to be about medicine. Oh, wait. That never stopped Dr. Oz before, given his having had psychic mediums on his show before. In any event, he introduces Rebecca Gordon, author of Your Body and the Stars: The Zodiac as Your Wellness Guide, who is described as an astrologist who’s been practicing for 15 years. Of course, if what you’re practicing is mystical, pseudoscientific nonsense, practicing it for 15 years is meaningless. All it means is that you’ve believed mystical, pseudoscientific nonsense for that long and made a career out of conning the credulous.

Gordon just lathers the woo on thicker. She goes on and on about how, even though horoscopes of the kind published in newspapers are directed at millions, people feel personalization, feel that the horoscopes are directed at them. Of course, that’s nothing remarkable, given that horoscopes are written vaguely and involve topics and predictions that could apply to virtually anyone. That’s a feature, not a bug. Indeed, there’s even a name for it, the Forer effect. The Forer effect is not a new discovery, either. Its description dates back at least to the 1940s.

That’s just a warmup, as Oz gets to the nitty-gritty, asking Gordon how horoscopes relate to our health. Her answer is, as you would expect, full of woo:

Well, we all have seen the drawing of the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci…The human body is actually shaped like a five-pointed star, with a head, two arms, two legs. And you also may have seen the drawing of the Zodiac Man, where you see Aries ruling the head, the first sign of the zodiac, Pisces ruling the feet, and all of the other body parts correlating to different zodiac signs. So the point is that your zodiac sign doesn’t just govern personality traits, and all of the zodiac signs live within you, and this is really about balancing all of the signs within your body.

It’s hard to relate just how utterly ridiculous this segment and explanation are. Just because the Vitruvian Man vaguely resembles the drawing of Zodiac Man, astrological signs determine the health of various body parts? It’s like something that a child would have thought up, except that most children would exhibit more skepticism.

It didn’t stop there, though. Oz had divided up the audience according to astrological sign, and then, with Gordon, launched into a survey of the various signs and how they relate to health. He started out with Gemini, because that’s his sign. According to Gordon Gemini rules the hands and the arms, as well as the concept of communication, which means that, astrologically speaking, it makes sense that Dr. Oz is a surgeon and that he hosts a talk show. I couldn’t help but notice that, even if this were true (and there’s no evidence that it is), it’s meaningless. It tells you virtually nothing. It makes no predictions about your health, tells you nothing about what sorts of health problems you might suffer from, suggests nothing about how to avoid health problems.

The closest she came to linking astrological signs to an actual health condition was for Taurus, because of the “neck of the bull.” Because of the stubbornness of the bull, the “stiff neck” if you will, Gordon claims that Tauruses can get too stuck in life, too stuck in their ways, and that the tension “also resides in the area of the neck” so that we can “get a stiff neck literally.” I must admit that I had a hard time watching after this rank nonsense, but I’m nothing if not persistent (even though I’m not a Taurus); so I soldiered on. Not surprisingly, the Tauruses in the audience agreed with this.

I’m not going to go through all the signs. You can watch the video yourself if you wish, or, if you prefer, Dr. Oz’s team has provided a handy-dandy slideshow that you can scroll through.

Perversely, though, I couldn’t resist seeing what Gordon would say about Leo, given that I’m a Leo. No, I don’t believe in astrology, but I have to amuse myself somehow, and making something about me is one way to do it. So here’s what she said about Leo:

So Leos are ruled by the sun, the center of the solar system. And Leos are the most creative sign, and they’re also a sign of leadership and creativity, if you think about the sun’s rays shining out to the world. So when the Leo becomes too exaggerated, peple start to puff their chest way out, pinche the shoulders back. And this kind of posture, an imbalance of posture can result in a lot of tension in the upper back as well.

In the slideshow, we learn:

Leos are ruled by the sun and thrive on shining their light to the world through creative expression and leadership.” When Leos feel that their leadership skills are being used effectively, they may puff their chests or hinge their shoulders back. On the other hand, an imbalance can lead to upper back problems in a Leo, such as tightness and tension.

I guess I’ve had the occasional back pain, but I am in my 50s. How many middle-aged guys who might be a little overweight, and a little (or a lot) out of shape don’t have some back pain every now and then? Also, while it’s very flattering to be told that, just because of when I was born, I’m “ruled by the sun” and bursting with creativity and leadership, unfortunately, I know that I’m not. Sure, I’m pretty creative in my writing, but as a leader I’m probably at best competent for mid-level leadership. Of course, I don’t aspire to much more because I’m far more interested in my science, surgery, and blogging; so I’m not unduly disturbed. Things are fine now as they are, at least, other than the difficulty in getting grant funding.

Oz’s segment ends with Gordon explaining how to strengthen your star sign, whatever that means. Basically, this involves standing on one foot, which leads Oz to stand on one foot with Gordon. Oh, and a Neti pot. Use a Neti pot. Annoyingly, both Gordon and Oz used a Neti pot as the segment ended, something I didn’t really need to see.

What this episode of The Dr. Oz Show tells me is that Dr. Oz has not changed. Despite his promise three years ago to stop promoting pseudoscience, he’s still at it, promoting pseudoscience every bit as ridiculous as psychic mediums, faith healers, and homeopathy. His show was also renewed at least through the 2020-2021 season, no matter how much ACSH’s President Hank Campbell briefly deluded himself a month ago into thinking that ACSH efforts got his show canceled.

Yes, we’re stuck with Dr. Oz for at least another three years. After his foray into some truly ridiculous woo this week, I might have to start paying attention to America’s quack again.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

61 replies on “Just when I thought Dr. Oz couldn’t go any lower, he proves me wrong—with astrology!”

According to Gordon Gemini rules the hands and the arms

So if I weren’t an Aquarius I wouldn’t have these pesky issues with my ulnar nerves? I’m confused.

I don’t know how many you people believe in astrology… Yeah, that’s right…that’s right, baby, I…I am a
Sagittarius. The most philosophical of all the signs. But anyway, I don’t believe in it. I think it’s a bunch of bullshit, myself. — Jim Morrison, after playing “Roadhouse Blues” at a concert ca. 1970 (some people say it was in Boston, but others seem to think it was Detroit).

I’m pretty sure most countries in Europe don’t offer these ‘innovative’ diagnostic procedures. Still our health-care is pretty good and I’m sure it is better than in India.

Just because someone has a medical degree, doesn’t mean he is immune for selling first grade bs. I suppose most MD’s in Europe or the US don’t believe in astrology.

From a 2104 New Yorker article Oz the Loon states: ““I would take us all back a thousand years, when our ancestors lived in small villages and there was always a healer in that village—and his job wasn’t to give you heart surgery or medication but to help find a safe place for conversation.” https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/02/04/the-operator

I would say he’s working hard towards that goal, back when life expectancy from the village healer was 30 years.

One of the best ways to show people that astrology is garbage is to secretly mix up the ‘predictions’ and get everyone to agree at how perfectly their (wrong) horoscope describes them… then show them the ACTUAL matches. For example: Was there a horoscope on the show that would have better suited Orac’s career and medical status? You can post it and describe how “I clearly should have been a Capricorn (or whatever).”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnum_effect

The Barnum effect, also called the Forer effect, is a common psychological phenomenon whereby individuals give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically to them but that are, in fact, vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. This effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some paranormal beliefs and practices, such as astrology…

And in fact, what you describe is exactly what Forer did.
From the Skeptic’s Dictionary:

Forer convinced people he could successfully read their character. His accuracy amazed his subjects, though his personality analysis was taken from a newsstand astrology column and was presented to people without regard to their sun sign.

I wonder if this information would kick off a new ‘illness’ called Zodiacal Dysphoria: the stress and nervous degeneration of being born under the wrong sign…. It would certainly require some cleansing and realigning of chakras, maybe some engram removal. This could be a whole new business model!

Born under a bad sign. Been down since I began to crawl. If it wasn’t for bad luck, you know I wouldn’t have no luck at all.

Any excuse to show that Albert got there first.

One of my earliest experiences that nurtured my inborn skepticism was a bit in MAD Magazine that contrasted famous people’s star signs to those of the equally INfamous! This was in the 60’s, mind you, but I’ve never forgotten it. I’m going to have to try to dig it up I think, to be able to give some examples as I can’t recall specific examples. It was along the lines of a certain sign was shared by Ghandi and Ted Bundy, for example.

I always remind people when they exclaim, “that’s MY sign too!” in a conversation, that while there are at least 8 billion people, there are only 12 astrological signs. The saddest thing is that many don’t even get the significance of that–they just look at me quizzically.

Quite a lot of interesting people share Ted Bundy’s birthday, such as Frances Hodgson Burnett, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Zachary Taylor (yes, the 12th President of the United States), Scott Joplin, Dale Carnegie, George Moscone, Colin Hanks, and Katherine Heigl, among many others. Guitarist Tony Clarkin (best known for his work with the band Magnum) and romance novelist Penny Jordan not only share the same birthday, but the same birthdate, November 24, 1946.

You only need 23 people for a 50% probability of two having the same birthday.

It is obvious why astrology is nonsense.

There’s an exercise I do every once in a while…take all the statements in a horoscope and break them into single sentences. Statements with and or or get two sentences. Mark them all with their sign or personality type or engram or whatever. Mix them up. Then take a personality test.

They never fail to get high but mostly equal scores on all types.

“The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars; but in ourselves that we are underlings” Golly gee, guess Dr. Oz never read Shakespeare!

On the Next DR. Oz:

What a flat Earth means for your health.

If there’s no such thing as gravity, does it matter what you weigh?

What a young Earth means for an old you.

Is that ghost in your house affecting your ability to fight off infections?

Detoxify your way to better living and a clearer mind with chem trail enemas.

Distant chiropractic manipulation: The literal air guitar of medicine.

Homeopathic essential oils: What you do not smell is essence of iocaine powder; not smelling it cures death.

The only sign that matters to Oz is the dollar sign.

In case you’ve never seen it, you can view his house ( Celebrity Homes/ Dr Oz house Cliffside Park) : it is frighteningly spectacular. I have no idea what it’s worth but a million doesn’t go too far around here.

I understand that he bought another place in Palm Beach ( Variety) in 2015 for 18 million USD.
Perhaps to be closer to the Donald.

I think that sceptics should enlighten alties about how their heroes live especially because they are always instructed that SBM is money mad and doctors bilk everyone. So far I’ve seen Burzynski’s manor house, Mercola’s mansion, Wakefield’s estate and tennis club and Null’s holistic retreats, Paradise Gardens and the Villa. I haven’t yet found Adams’ actual home but there are photos/ videos of his extensive land holdings near Austin.
All of these are easy to find on the internet.

Adams almost certain has a bunker. Might be a nice bunker, but his paranoia level probably demands something that could survive a zombie apocalypse–and bunker types generally don’t publicize where they’ll be living at the end of times.
When I lived in Tucson, there would occasionally be a decommisioned Minuteman II silo for sale in the area which to me would be ultimate in survivalist tactics–all you needed was a spare million or so to pick one up–which would have been nice if even just for the fact that when it’s 110 outside, it’s a whole lot cooler underground in the desert.

Sorry I got that wrong. Maybe Adams bought this one that sold in 2016 for $1.5 million. Nice video of the inside obviously in need of some wiring and work.

re standing on one leg to strengthen your sign ..

I do that to strengthen my leg which I injured a while ago which still gives me trouble.
So I guess I am now more Aries as well? Won’t I get headaches?

Christopher Hickie said, “This is the dawning of the age of a quacky oz…..(sorry).”
.
I can see your fringed buckskin vest, paisley shirt, and bell bottoms from here…

Standing on one leg is what i used to do to improve my balance and the strength of my feet for my pointe technique.

My favorite rejoinder usually slows down astrology supporters when they rave about how accurate horoscopes are:

Pick a horoscope at random, read it aloud and say “1/12 of the people who die tonight had that as their horoscope when they got up this morning.”

It’s generally good enough to change the subject.

The subject of conversation may change but this tactic rarely alters anyone’s belief, be it astrology or any other irrational belief.

I think I wrote something yesterday about having an MD and a legit medical education and practice not being a universal inoculation against woo beliefs and quackery. Maybe Bill Gray will get his own TV show, if not a guest shot on Oz.

I follow the Ozian way when I pass through the supermarket checkout line and see his health (mostly diet) advice plastered across the cover of Woman’s World.

It’s never your’ fault when you pig out and become a candidate for My 600 Pound Life – it’s your thyroid, or that you eat at the wrong time of the day.

https://www.pressreader.com/usa/womans-world/20171030/283205853490164

I wish that pointing out the luxury lifestyles of the rich and quacky was enough to deter their groupies, but the disconnect is too strong in these folks. Antivaxers should’ve dropped Andrew Wakefield en masse after seeing how much unrevealed $$ he got from that attorney’s group to publish his “landmark” paper, and how he sneakily tried to secure a competing vaccine patent (conflicts of interest that dwarf anything vaccine advocates have been associated with) but they mentally chant na-na-na-I-can’t-hear-you and go right on worshipping their cult leader. Speaking of which, when have revelations about religious cult leaders living in luxury ever had much impact on their poverty-stricken disciples (try Googling Bhagwan Rajneesh)?

Oh Dangerous One:

Whilst I mostly agree with you-

the diehards and ultra fanbois may ENJOY vicariously participating in their gurus’ vast wealth and incredible digs ( Nullsters can even book a stay at his resorts or go to a retreat there) possibly they think that money is proof of how right and/ or righteous their chosen charlatan is. Perhaps that’s why the aforementioned loon brags about his fabulous NYC apartment with unsurpassed views river-to-river or posts photos of his estates. Of course, Mikey more cautiously notes how he lives simply in an old house on the land. Most of them talk about how charitable they are as well.

HOWEVER I think that we might affect less entranced followers or those with doubts. Similarly when we expose how the unparalleled genius doesn’t know of what he** speaks or that he somehow never received an advanced degree from a real university or worked at any real places. Null claims that Wikip– has cost him speaking engagements and new customers: perhaps that’s why he continues to rant about it and sceptics nearly every day.

** and yeah, it’s mostly he

Oz quoted above: “But I am interested in learning more about it, and many of you believe the season of your birth can influence your health.”

Does it matter where on this planet you were born? Not just a south versus north hemisphere thing as the USA is starting its summer and Australia its winter. What about the tropics?

I was born near the tenth northern latitude. There are two seasons there: dry and rainy. So how would that affect stuff? Oh, this is me decrying the lack of geography education in the woo pushers.

Whackyweedia: “The Zodiac Man was used in medieval medicine to determine the correct time for surgery, medication, bloodletting, and other procedures. The foremost rule was to avoid interfering with a body part when the moon could be found in its corresponding sign.”

Perhaps Oz and his guests have taken to heart the various complaints about him succumbing to vulgar Orientalism and treating “ancient healing modalities of the East” as if geographical origin made them somehow less moronic. Now he is giving equal time to worthless European Dark Ages stupidity.

I’m surprised that, given the general level of erudition here (far surpassing that of your humble Rocker), no one has mentioned the precession of the axis. The zodiac is far different than it was in the days when the wise men of Babylon laid down the signs and dates. They had no way of knowing that the axis of the Earth wobbles like a slowing top, so the original twelve signs are each off by about a month now. In addition, the constellation Ophiuchus has wormed its way in to the zodiac, so now we have to cope with thirteen signs.
Thought you were a Scorpio? You’re a Libra now. And some of you were born under Ophiuchus, thinking that you were a Sagittarius.

Dave, you’d just confuse the poor dears by introducing yer acksherall astronomy into any discussion of this topic.

Have you ever seen the look on the face of an astrology believer when one explains that constellations are merely observational artefacts based on the position of the observer and that in many cases the relevant stars are actually further from each other than they are from here. Last time I did the bloke ended up looking and sounding like Nigel Tufnell in the “It goes to 11…” section from Spinal Tap.

My fate is determined by the distribution of dark matter. There’s so much more of it than stars.

just remember, neutrinos can see right through you (and most everything else).

More importantly, neutrinos may allow us to see further behind the cosmic microwave background. They not only see through us but will likely ultimately allow us to see. cf. PTOLEMY experiment being engineered.

More thrilling than zodiacal signs.

I like the calorimetric instrument test that they’re doing, but I wouldn’t bet on massive sterile neutrinos showing up.

My fate is determined by the distribution of dark matter.

I thought Mach’s pricinple would have implied the ICRF quasars, meaning that Heraclitus was right, but I’m awfully tired.

People always talk about da Vinci for anatomy stuff. What about Durer? He took caliper measurement off of several hundred living volunteers as he traveled around fairs and what not in his quest for a golden rule of human proportion. Personally I prefer Durer’s approach.

Maybe anatomy isn’t the right term, proportion. I don’t understand the mysticism people place on da Vinci. Vitruvian Man as the name would imply was based on the work of the much earlier Vitruvius. Vitruvius was of the opinion that there was only one ideal set of human proportions. Durer blew that notion out of the water with his measuring and art.

As one who has mainly lived and worked in fairly diverse communities, and who has succumbed to the charms of both my own gender and others, I can confirm that there is no ideal set of human proportions.
Durer did not proclaim that there was such a set, but if he had it’s a good bet that it would accompany white skin.

You’re all wrong. Just read Psychic Psmith’s horrorscopes;

Happiness so often resides in the little things. This week, those little
things make take the form of an unexpected compliment, a gold ball, or an
omelette made with a single, farm-fresh egg. Enjoy.

Taurus: 21 April-21 May:
Frustration this afternoon when your neighbours hold a userd-car auction in
their back garden. Complain in writing to your local council. And look
out for an exceptionally good price on an ex-rental Fiat Brava with very
few miles on the clock.

Gemini: 22 May-21 June:
As Pluto, wearing only a towelling bathrobe and a wry smile, walks in on
Mercury, who is just out of the shower, you can expect a week of minor but
somehow long-lasting embrassments. Oops! Lucky salted snack: Discos.

Cancer: 22 June-22 July:
An important meal on Wednesday evening could lead to crucial developments
of a personal nature, or just to a nagging stomach-ache. May I recommend,
with the fish, the Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Sauvignon? Lucky condiment:
pepper.

Leo: 23 July-23 August:
Tuesday looks promosing financially, as Mars cashes his Giro in Leo. Invest
heavily in petrochemicals and/or Heartstruck Magic Boy who will be running
out of trap four in the second race at Wimbledon[1] on Friday and is
certainly coming into form.

Virgo: 24 August-23 September:
Awkwardness on Thursday Morning when the postman asks if you would mind
putting a wash on for him. Probably best to decline as politely as
possible and point him in the way of a place where he can get his machine
fixed. Otherwise, certainly draw the line at ironing.

Libra: 24 September-23 October:
You have more creative energy running though you at the moment than you
know what to do with. How about channelling some of it into a large public
sculpture or into designing and building a new hostpital? The sky really
is the limit.

Scorpio: 24 October-22 November:
Fruit looks set to play a key part in your week, and so does a 60-watt,
mini-candelabra-style, screw-in light bulb. It’s all the fault of Neptune,
the planet of healthy living, rising in Aquarius, the sign of irritatingly
hard-to-find household goods.

Sagittarius: 23 November-21 December:
Confusion tomorrow when the tray in your CD player suddenly begins to leak
apple juice. Luckily it’s still under gurantee. And the apple juice will
keep for three days if refrigerated. Lucky shampoo: Wash & Go 2-in-1.

Capricorn: 22 December-21 January:
Apologies to Star Trek fans. Last week’s entry for Capricorn (“Expect a
nasty Spock this week”) should, of course, have read, “Expect a nasty shock
this week.” Many thanks to those who wrote in.[1]

Aquarius: 22 January-19 February:
How exciting yoru chart looks at the moment, with the Sun absolutely
beating down on your love-angle and with Neptune, Mars and Uranus forming a
tripartite quark in your 15th node. Lord knows what it all means though.

Pisces: 20 February-20 March:
Lively Piscean divorcee, mid-forties, interested in gardening/walks/eating
out, would like to meet Meg Ryan. (Join the countless readers who are
taking advantage of Psychic Psmith’s Astral Love-Loop – where the
star-crossed cross! Write now for a free listing and win a tea cosy signed
by June Whitfield.

I like to see my neighbours have a used-car auction in their back garden. My neighbours just have a balcony, just like me. No back garden in sight.

Yeah. I have heard you guys complain about how the general public’s science literacy tends to stop at like Galileo, and people tend to be unaware of more modern stuff. The same thing goes on for art majors when we hear people say that Leonardo da Vinci was the greatest artist of all time. It is a WTF moment for us. It ignores a lot of artists who came after. Many who had a better sense of color and many who were better at realism (if that is your thing). It is actually very hard to say who the greatest would be of the artistic canon. They tend to be good for very different reasons.

It’s hard to compare. The artists that are part of the canon worked at different times and places, meeting different demands, working for differing compensation, expressing different concepts,facing different restrictions, having different materials available, and living different lives.
Ask yourself, who among the following was the greatest: Praxiteles, Leonardo, Picasso, Cassatt, Dali, van Gogh, Freud, Cellini, Holbein the Younger? – far too difficult for me to judge.

One bit of good news from this past week’s California primaries – Travis “79 different vaccines” Allen came in a distant fourth in the governor’s race voting, and will be sitting out the general election fight between Gavin Newsom and John Cox (who got nearly three times the Republican vote that Allen did).

Apparently you need to appeal to more than the loony antivax fringe in order to get ahead in California politics.

Chaucer is jumping for joy in his grave to see the Canterbury Tales made relevant again.

With us ther was a DOCTOUR OF PHISIK;
In al this world ne was ther noon hym lik,
To speke of phisik and of surgerye,
For he was grounded in astronomye.
He kepte his pacient a ful greet deel
In houres, by his magyk natureel.

or in modern English:
With us there was a DOCTOR OF MEDICINE;
In all this world there was none like him
To speak of medicine and surgery;
For he was instructed in astronomy.
He cared for and saved a patient many times
By natural science and studying astrological signs.

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