“A LifeGem is a certified, high quality diamond created from the carbon of your loved one [i.e. cremated remains — FmH] as a memorial to their unique and wonderful life.

The LifeGem diamond is more than a memorial to visit on the weekends… it is a way to embrace your loved one’s memory day by day. The LifeGem is the most unique and timeless memorial available for creating a testimony to their unique life.” There is another company out there sending out spam mail which supposedly sells you diamonds into whose natural flaws your loved one’s cremated remains have been injected.

These people are partnering with funeral service directors to offer their diamonds as part of their memorial services to grieving vulnerable easy marks.


Tonsorial Splendor:

//www.worldbeardchampionships.com/chevalier%20web.JPG' cannot be displayed]As someone approaching the thirtieth anniversary of hanging up my razor for good, this is close to my heart (no, in reality closer to my neck, I guess; my beard is not that long these days).

“The World Beard and Moustache Championships will take place in Carson City, Nevada, on November 1, 2003. A panel of distinguished judges will determine which beards and moustaches in seventeen separate categories merit their owners the championship trophies and the coveted world champion titles. Special prizes will also be awarded to the youngest contestant, the contestant who traveled the farthest to attend, and the people’s favorite. ” The site has a number of photos of stupendous facial hair (the Germans seem to have us covered) and links to the winners of past competitions.


S*c*i*e*n*t*o*l*o*g*ist’s Treatments Lure Firefighters

“For the past year, more than 140 New York City firefighters, some ailing from their work in the ruins of the World Trade Center, have walked into a seventh-floor medical clinic just two blocks from the former disaster site. Once inside, some have abandoned the medical care and emotional counseling provided to them by their own department’s doctors, and all have taken up a treatment regimen devised by L*. R*o*n H*u*b*b*a*r*d, the late science fiction writer and founder of the Church of S*c*i*e*n*t*o*l*o*g*y.

The firefighters take saunas, engage in physical workouts and swallow pills— all of which together constitute what for years has been known, amid considerable dispute*, as Mr. H*u*b*b*a*r*d’s detoxification program, one meant to wash the body of poisons or toxins. The firefighters are not charged for their trips to the clinic, called Downtown Medical.”—NY Times

*There is not really ‘considerable dispute’ about the merits of H*u*b*b*a*r*d’s program. The consensus is that it is quackery, plain and simple. If it works, it works as faith healing does, and at considerable expense to the patient in the sense that they must give up conventional medical treatments such as antidepressants or asthma inhalers. The paradigm of “sweating out toxins”, or otherwise purging them, has often been used in alternative healing regimens, with no believable basis. I watched a friend of mine, a medical student with two young children and what would have been a curable cancer if treated with a conventional oncological approach, die slowly and horribly because he would accept no treatment other than coffee enemas to purify himself and remove the toxins causing the tumor growth. Sheesh, a medical student! That wasn’t a S*c*i*e*n*t*o*l*o*g*y treatment but it might just as well have been. [thanks. abby]


War on terrorism has its own dehumanizing name…

…and they don’t even know how to spell it: “World War II had its ‘krauts,’ Vietnam had its ‘gooks,’ and now, the war on terrorism has its own dehumanizing name: ‘hajji.’

That’s what many U.S. troops across Iraq and in coalition bases in Kuwait now call anyone from the Middle East or South Asia. Soldiers who served in Afghanistan say it also is used there.

Among Muslims, the word is used mainly as a title of respect. It means ‘one who has made the hajj,’ the pilgrimage to Mecca.

But that’s not how soldiers use it.

Some talk about ‘killing some hajjis’ or ‘mowing down some hajjis.’ One soldier in Iraq inked ‘Hodgie Killer’ onto his footlocker.” —Raleigh News & Observer [via walker]


Outside Probe of Leaks Is Favored

Poll Findings Come As White House Softens Denials: “Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe a special prosecutor should be named to investigate allegations that Bush administration officials illegally leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday.

The poll, taken after the Justice Department announced that it had opened a criminal probe into the matter, pointed to several troubling signs for the White House as Bush aides decide how to contain the damage. The survey found that 81 percent of Americans considered the matter serious, while 72 percent thought it likely that someone in the White House leaked the agent’s name.” —Washington Post As Lyn Millett suggested in comments below, there seems to be serious Pulitzer-stalking activity going on here at the Post. As she also suggested, perhaps I was underestimating the potential for a public outcry: “This is a very simple story for the general public, which consumes millions of Tom Clancy novels, to understand: White House outs spy, harms national security, for political reasons. ”