Next twist: “Did I say fishermen? Obviously I meant space aliens.”

Gosh, they left out the juiciest part a couple weeks ago. Not mentioned in the linked Focus Taiwan story is the further claim, also only revealed once they got on network TV, that after the inexplicably murderous Taiwanese commercial fishermen rammed them on purpose, she floated over to their ship in the night on a surfboard and used their satellite phone to call the Coast Guard. One presumes she craftily presented her book pitch to incapacitate the homicidal sailors as they rolled around the deck helpless with laughter.

“Anybody can tell lies: there is no merit in a mere lie, it must possess art, it must exhibit a splendid & plausible & convincing probability; that is to say, it must be powerfully calculated to deceive.”
– Mark Twain in his Autobiography, Volume 3

“A thunderstorm made Beranger a poet, a mother’s kiss made Benjamin West a painter, and a salary of $15 a week makes us a journalist.”
– Mark Twain, opening the first story he filed for the Virginia City, Nevada Enterprise, 1862


15. Cashing-in period still active

Here’s a list I put together detailing the claims for the positive health aspects and even curative powers of bone broth. It took no more than five minutes to gather these from the first two pages of Amazon book search results for bone broth (more on the fingernails-on-blackboard sound of that phrase in a moment):

  1. “It is packed with amino acids which are known to improve various areas of health”
  2. “Use it for curing several medical conditions”
  3. “Reverse grey hair”
  4. “Bring back morning wood”
  5. “Improves quality of sleep”
  6. “Assists with the joints, the skin, hair, nails, and more”
  7. “Fight aging”
  8. “Boost beauty”
  9. “Reduce acne-causing inflammation”
  10. “Fight infections”
  11. “Prevent degenerative diseases”
  12. “Heal a ‘leaky’ gut”
  13. “Natural cure for tooth decay”+
  14. “Provides benefits for gas and bloating; reflux, heartburn, and GERD [um, GERD is reflux]; maldigestion of protein and carbohydrates; arthritis and joint pain; muscle aches and spasms; osteoporosis and osteopenia; allergies and food sensitivities; autoimmune diseases such as celiac, diabetes, Crohn’s, and multiple sclerosis”*

Gosh, from the looks of it, maybe bone broth is miraculous. Well, you can’t deny that to certain people’s bank accounts, it is.

Some of the supposed health benefits are related to problems that can occur in the malnourished, which is most decidedly not a problem many of their cash-heavy target audience have ever experienced.

Besides driving me to to the verge of irritation – which a lot of things do, so that’s nothing special – the chief problem I have with this trend is that I’ve always known broth to be prepared with meat and stock to be produced from bones. These books are talking bones, not flesh. Saying ‘bone broth’ is like saying ‘flaky cake crust’. Make up your mind: Call it stock, already a wonderful thing, or make it differently and call it broth. People who say it’s not the same as stock because it’s a lengthier process or adds seasoning haven’t read many stock recipes. Peddle your poorly-rationalised neologisms elsewhere.

+A fine of not less than US$5,000 for this author if I ran things because you cannot cure tooth decay by eating more calcium any more than you can cure a broken leg by not falling out of a tree again after you’ve fallen out of a tree and broken your leg. The world doesn’t work that way. Lotteries would be pointless if it did.

*Six months jail time for this author, with a two-year probationary period after release wearing an “I take advantage of the weak and infirm” signboard for sixteen hours each weekend at a local mall or other crowded venue. He’s still one level better than some, though.

Postscript: It just occurred to me that this post reads something like a Mike Pesca spiel. I don’t think my writing’s changed, but since Pesca was featured on This American Life several months ago, I have listened to every one of The Gist podcasts all the way back to the beginning and through last night. So maybe he has influenced me; that’s not a bad thing.

My Kickstarter project will be an invisible & completely silent horse potato detector

Because people really will believe anything:

As the Bio Ceramics collect odors, dirt and waste from your laundry, they need to be ‘recharged’ in order to make sure the pH levels of the laundry water continue to be raised.   To recharge Crystal Wash you simply put them in the sun for an afternoon.

I’m pretty sure they’ve optimistically infused sunlight with a power it does not actually possess. The reason I sigh a lot some days is that it seems there’s no collective memory, none whatsoever, past two or maybe three years ago.

On the bright side, it appears people are cottoning onto their scheme – in a negative and non-wallet-opening way, I mean. Since I first viewed that Kickstarter page several hours ago, they’ve at least removed the claim in one graphic that their device would “re-structure” water, a pretty good baby step toward what I hope will be an embarrassingly drunken series of stumbles that end in the  scrapping, or maybe even the crashing and burning, of the whole thing. Unfortunately, their project wasn’t in the Wayback Machine, so I can’t include that image here, but comments on Kickstarter verify it was there. I’ve added their current version to Wayback so I can, if I wish, note further changes as they make them.

In any case, consider the fact that when people of a commoner sense started examining their claims, they immediately got rid of the most blatant quackery that had been on their Story page for months, and then did not mention this deletion, or the reason behind the edit. This should tell you everything you need to know vis-à-vis the “Honest but perhaps a bit naive, or criminally fraudulent?” question that may have been floating around in your head.

I’m reminded of a relevant letter by Mark Twain:

Nov. 20. 1905

J. H. Todd
1212 Webster St.
San Francisco, Cal.

Dear Sir,

Your letter is an insoluble puzzle to me. The handwriting is good and exhibits considerable character, and there are even traces of intelligence in what you say, yet the letter and the accompanying advertisements profess to be the work of the same hand. The person who wrote the advertisements is without doubt the most ignorant person now alive on the planet; also without doubt he is an idiot, an idiot of the 33rd degree, and scion of an ancestral procession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link. It puzzles me to make out how the same hand could have constructed your letter and your advertisements. Puzzles fret me, puzzles annoy me, puzzles exasperate me; and always, for a moment, they arouse in me an unkind state of mind toward the person who has puzzled me. A few moments from now my resentment will have faded and passed and I shall probably even be praying for you; but while there is yet time I hasten to wish that you may take a dose of your own poison by mistake, and enter swiftly into the damnation which you and all other patent medicine assassins have so remorselessly earned and do so richly deserve.

Adieu, adieu, adieu!

Mark Twain

On a tangentially related note – gullibility the common thread – here’s a fun quote regarding the Keurig K-Cup ‘coffee’ system:

I don’t have one. They’re kind of expensive to use. Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.
– John Sylvan, inventor of the K-Cup (now with DRM!)

As to my horse potato detector, invisible and silent it may be, but I’ve been hearing it incessantly today inside my head. This post and this picture I just pasted together may quiet it a bit.

Horse Potato Wash