And This Too Shall Pass

It's your own fault you know.
People write me all the time and ask “Dear Big Bad, can you please define “kurtosis” in a non-linear fashion?” The answer is always “no” but that doesn’t stop them from asking. So what should we talk about instead? The second most popular question I get is “Is it true you’re straight?” The answer to that one is always “define straight.” No, I’m kidding, the answer is always “yes.” Then they want to know if I’m sure. I end up pointing out that I’m just fat and ugly, that’s why women avoid me and I’m single. Then they understand. But, lately, I’ve become a little less fat, I quit smoking and I ventured out to see what the world has to offer. Starting New Year’s Eve I met someone. Just a couple of weeks after that I met her mom. Despite that awkward situation she called me again. And despite the fact that I’m a cynical fat bastard, she wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day anyway. All of this means that I’m having a better Valentine’s Day than these 20 whining hard bodies.

Neener neener neener.

So, since we did romance to death over the last week, let’s take a look at stupid and dangerous people. First, stupid.

A wanted criminal posted pics of himself on Facebook which made it really freaking easy for the cops to find him.

A wanted Sicilian drug dealer was found hiding in the U.K. after he posted a picture of himself with President Obama’s wax figure on Facebook this week.

Michele Grosso, 27, disappeared from his hometown of Taormina in 2008 as cops sought to arrest him for peddling drugs, The Guardian reported.

Four years later — after cops had apparently been following Grosso’s Facebook page — he was tracked to London. About two weeks ago he took a picture of himself posed with President Obama’s wax copy at Madame Tussauds.

That photo was published with other shots of him on London’s famous double-decker buses, posing at landmarks and, most importantly to police, at a restaurant where he waited tables. That led London cops, working with Interpol and Italian officers, to his not-so-secret hideout in an operation called “Big Ben” and deported him, according to The Telegraph.

He also posted messages on his page that seemed to allude to his drug dealing, The Guardian reported.

In 2010, he posted photos of himself building a snowman, writing, “Have you seen how beautiful it is here with the snow?”

A friend responded: “Why don’t you let me know where you are? Is it in case you get caught?”

Grasso was sentenced in 2011 to five years in prison for dealing drugs, though he was already on the lam, by a Sicilian court. Now that he’s been caught, he was extradited to Italy and will face new charges.

People always talk about how much money drug dealers make and I always laugh. It’s like a pyramid scheme. The dudes at the top make bank but everyone else waits tables – like this guy – or lives in mom’s basement. Drug dealing is a stupid way to try and make a living.

But while it is stupid and has it’s own dangers, it isn’t as dangerous as those predators who destroy people’s lives in the name of “psychic powers.” If you go to a drug dealer you have a pretty good idea what you’re getting; drugs. When you go to a psychic I know what you’re getting, lied to, but too many people skip past that and allow their lives to be ruined by these charlatans and mountebanks.

Fortunately for our amusement, not only are psychics frauds, they’re also stupid. Sally Morgan is suing critics for making fun of her. I’ll tell you why this is funny as hell in a minute.

Last week, Sally Morgan — a performer who bills herself as “Britain’s best-loved psychic” — sued the publisher of the Daily Mail for £150,000 for printing an article suggesting that she and other self-proclaimed psychics might be using trickery rather than mystical powers when they appear to talk to the dead.

Maybe the Mail’s article (by magician and former psychic Paul Zenon) really did damage Sally Morgan’s reputation so much that she needs the money. The irony is that just after that article was published, when the allegations that “Psychic Sally” was a cheat were front-page news, our organization along with peer organizations in the UK offered her $1,000,000 and the chance to clear her name, simply by proving her powers were real. Yet, she declined. Why?

If Sally Morgan is not a fraud, then the preliminary test we proposed to prove her powers should be easy. The test — devised by Professor Chris French, Simon Singh, and the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) — was based on the same routine she performs every time she takes the stage: looking at photographs of deceased persons and communicating with their spirits to learn their names.

Since 1996, The James Randi Educational Foundation has offered $1 million to any psychic who can prove their powers are real under fair conditions that prevent cheating. When challenged, many psychics have made excuses for why they won’t put their powers to the test, saying they don’t need the money or that they don’t want to use their powers for financial gain. Neither of those excuses can work for Sally Morgan, since using her “powers” for financial gain is her full-time job, and she’s telling a judge she needs £150,000 from the Daily Mail because Paul Zenon questioned her authenticity.

So what’s Sally Morgan’s excuse for turning down the chance to prove herself for $1 million? She never gave one, preferring instead to respond to the offer with the threat of a lawsuit.

When a celebrity “psychic” spends so much time and money trying to quash reports of fraud and silence people who question her claimed abilities… yet turns down a $1 million opportunity in order to avoid a simple test that could prove she’s on the up-and-up… It makes one wonder if even Sally Morgan believes that Sally Morgan’s powers are real.

Here’s why this is funny as hell, and not very well thought out by her; under British law she’ll have to prove harm. To prove harm she must first prove she’s not a fraud. Which will mean taking the very test that started all this for her.

Under the supervision of a judge.

As to James Randi, he’s always been a hero of mine. I write about his “Flying Pig Awards as often as the producers will let me.

Just FYI, Mr. Randi first put up his $1,000,000 in the 60’s. Not one person has even come close to claiming it.

And there’s a simple reason for that. Every single psychic is a lying piece of scum.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/25406532 w=500&h=281]

Lauri “In the city” from Owe Lingvall on Vimeo.

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Friday morning around 9:10!

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