“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked, Part Three

8 June 2009

One claim to supposedly prove the views of 9/11 Truthers is that remains of nanothermite were found in the soil around Ground Zero. They support this claim by stating that a scientific paper on the subject, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe”, was published in the Open Chemical Physics Journal, which is an Open Access online journal published by Bentham Science Publishers. It claims to be a “peer-reviewed journal” whose aim is to “provide the most complete and reliable source of information on current developments in chemical physics”.

It is interesting to note that the chief editor of this publication, Professor Marie-Paule Pileni,  resigned following the publication of the article by Danish chemist Niels Harrit.

Among her reasons was that the paper was published without notifying her and that it deals on a topic unrelated to chemical physics or physical chemistry. Stating,

“I was in fact in doubt about them before, because I had on several occasions asked about information about the journal without having heard from them. It does not appear on the list of international journals, and that is a bad sign. Now I can see that it is because it is a bad journal”, says Marie-Paule Pileni and continues:

“There are no references to the Open Chemical Physics Journal in other articles. I have two colleagues who contributed to publishing an article which was not cited anyplace either. If no one reads it, it is a bad journal, and there is not use for it”, is the harsh verdict.

One thing that lends credibility to any scientific paper is when either it or the journal in which it appears is cited in other scientific journals and Open Chemical Physics Journal is never cited in other scientific journals. A journal’s reputation partly hinges on how often it is cited in other journals of the same venue.

Even on their webpage, listing their Endorsements, only one of the quotes provided even mentions Bentham by name. The rest only give their individual endorsements to Open Access Journals.

Now, what people seem to be misunderstanding about scientific journals is that they appear to believe that is something appears in a scientific journal, then it is an official endorsement by the scientific community that the conclusions of the published article. Actually, it is not.

What an article actually does is it puts the conclusions of the researcher out there for other members of the scientific community to read and attempt to either verify or disprove the conclusions presented in the article. If other researchers can replicate the experiments and come to the same conclusions, then the viewpoint of the original author can be considered accepted by the scientific community. If other researcher cannot replicate the results, then the paper and its conclusions are marginalized and eventually ignored.

That’s it. Just because something appears in a scientific journal does not mean that it it accepted as completely factual by scientists. It simply means that the article got through that particular journals peer-review panel. The fact that Open Chemical Physics Journal is never cited by other publications in the same field, does not appear on any list of scientific journals for chemistry and its own editor resigned after the article was published does not bode well for this journal.

If you want a better explanation of the Scientific Method and the role of peer review journals, watch this video by potholer54.

Okay, a few questions I have about the article, a complete copy of which I cannot find beyond the synopsis and I quote from it, specifically the portion detailing how the tested samples were collected

One sample was collected by a Manhattan resident about ten minutes after the collapse of the second WTC Tower, two the next day, and a fourth about a week later.

I’m no scientist, but this paper was published eight years after the 9/11 Attacks and its sample were collected over a period of a week by three different people. The samples were not collected by the authors of the paper, so there is not accountability for how the samples were collected and how they were stored between the time they were collected and when they were tested, which are topics that would come up in peer review.

There is no archive from the website itself for me to study and I’m not a chemist.

But, I think all the hoopla over this paper in the 9/11 Truth movement shows one reason why some real scientific journals oppose Open Source. People also oppose Wikipedia because it is Open Source where anyone can access it, so they doubt Wikipedia’s credibility.

So, let another group of chemists collect samples and test them. This is the replication phase of peer review. If another group of researchers can collect samples and achieve the same results, then we could have something to talk about.

This is one problem I have with the 9/11 Truth movement: it doesn’t matter if a real scientific journal details how the towers fell, showing documentation as how their conclusions were reached and it doesn’t matter if

    thousands

of engineers disagree with what the 9/11 Truth movement thinks. If just one group, consisting on a total of nine people tells them what they want to hear and those nine people write an article that appears in a self-proclaimed “scientific journal”, then they will go with the minority and discount what thousands of other experts say on the subject.

This shows the basic dishonesty of the 9/11 Truth movement. They only believe what they want to believe and will discount any opposing viewpoints. You could show them all the proof there is and they still won’t be convinced. You could build a time machine and take them back to the event itself and it wouldn’t change their minds.

I understand that there will always be people out there who won’t trust official explanations and sometimes that a healthy thing for a democracy. But, in the case of the 9/11 Truthers, it’s just sad and pathetic.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked, Part Two

6 June 2009

In the comments section for the first entry on this topic, someid4 wrote this:

All I can say is, you obviously have not done your homework!

Please tell me, If 9/11 was pulled off by guys in caves, like the government wants us to believe….. then which one of the guys in the cave got NORAD to “stand down”?

What about the thermite?

I feel so bad for the people who fall for this “false-flag” government deception….9/11 happened to bring about the “patriot act”….”homeland security”….PERIOD.

I must say you “de-bunked” 9/11 about as good as Glen Beck “de-bunked” FEMA camps……oh thats right, he DIDNT!

Well, if you had taken the time to watch RKOwen4’s videos, you would have seen his evidence debunking these pet theories of the “9/11 Truthers”.

Realizing that not everyone has the time or inclination to look for a debunking of their favorite theory, I have decided to do the work for you.

“NORAD Stand Down Order” Debunked

Dick Cheney Never In Charge of NORAD

Norman Mineta – No Stand Down Order

NORAD “Stand Down” Disproven

Claims About Thermite Debunked

Thermate Chemical Signatures Disproven

Columns Cut not by Thermite

“Molten Metal” Explained

No Pools of Molten Steel

So, it looks like one of us hasn’t done his “homework”, but that person isn’t me.

It was you.

I understand that there are some people out there making their money by selling books, DVDs, tapes, CDs, magazines, etc expounding the 9/11 Truth movement’s diatribe.

If more people realizing that the 9/11 Truth movement is full of crap takes money out of their pockets, then that’s just too bad.

Class dismissed.

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“9/11 Truth” Conspiracies Debunked

6 June 2009

I’ll always be amazed at how some people can take an event, seen by hundreds, even thousands, and tell us that what we saw wasn’t what really happened. There’s always some “hidden truth” behind it that only a select few know about.

The 9/11 Truth Movement is one of these. People are out there, speaking in front of audiences, writing books, appearing on braodcast media, etc. and expounding their conspiracy theories about the “truth” behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Even worse, these people are making money for themselves and furthering dark agendas of their own, using the 9/11 Truth Movement as a money-making venture in order to finance other projects or simply to make themselves wealthy.

There are always other people out there who do their best to debunk these conspiracy theories, but they don’t get nearly the same sized audience and the 9/11 Truthers.

If you are tired of hearing the shrill whines of the 9/11 Truthers and would like to hear the other side of the issue, I suggest that you pay a visit to the YouTube channel of  RKOwens4 and have a look at his debunking of individual conspiracy theories put out there by the 9/11 Truth Movement.

So far, he has only 1,807 subscribers, but he has fifty-six videos for you to watch, weigh the evidence and make your own conclusions.

Of all the parts of the 9/11 Conspiracies, the events surrounding the attack on the Pentago often come up, especially the theory that it was a missle, and not a commercial jet liner, that struck the Pentagon that day. Numerous videos on the channel debunk these claims, citing evidence that is readily availble to anyone who wishes to see it.

One claim that is debunked in a very powerful video is the one where it is said by 9/11 truthers that the WTC Towers both collapsed at free-fall speeds. In other words, they supposedly fell at the exact same speed as an obejct would have fallen after having been dropped from the top of the towers. The speed at which the towers were to have fallen has been claimed to be nine seconds. SO, if an obeject fell from the same height as either tower, it would have taken nine seconds to reach the ground. This is claimed to be the same speed that both towers collapsed. However, as the video clearly shows, using film footage of the collapses, the North Tower took 22.02 seconds and the South Tower 15.28 seconds. You can see the video below. I must warn you that it is a very difficult video to watch, especially the scene showing firefighters in the lobby of the South Tower.

Many of us feel traumatized by the 9/11 Attacks, which were the worst terrorist attacks to ever occur on US soil. That fact makes it so much more deplorable that people would use such a horrific day to line their own pockets or futher some sort of agenda.

On RKOwens4‘s channel, you will see individual 9/11 conspiracies challenged and exposed one at a time, citing evidence that is readily available to anyone, so you can look at the evidence for yourself, if you care to do so.

Only by exposing the lies of the 9/11 Truth Movement can we take away any kind of credibility that too many people have given them.

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Debunking Climate Change Deniers

4 June 2009

Here is a YouTube channel I only recently discovered: greenman3610

From his channel profile, we learn a bit more about him:

“Peter Sinclair is a long time advocate of environmental awareness and energy alternatives. An award winning graphic artist, illustrator, and animator, Mr. Sinclair runs Greenman Studio from his home in Midland, MI.

Mr. Sinclairs cartoons and illustrations have appeared in newspapers around the world, and his work has been profiled in numerous publications, including the New York Times, The Utne Reader, and HaAretz of Jerusalem.

30 years of writing and activism in the areas of energy and environment, including extended study in Nashville with Al Gore and the worlds leading climate experts, in addition to skillful creation of audio visual presentations, have made Mr. Sinclairs
presentation on Climate change and alternative energy one which has been called a must see!

Constantly updated information, made vivid with striking, clear graphics and animations, many derived from NASA, The National Snow and Ice Data Center, and top international sources, an expert knowledge of the issues of energy and environment, and an informal, good humored delivery, make difficult concepts easy to see and grasp.

No issue will have a greater impact on the new century than the decisions we make on energy and the impact of global climate change, and Peter Sinclairs presentation makes the critical points dramatically clear and immediate.”

I recently subscribed to his channel and I found the videos to be very well done, informative and present the information so that the average person can understand it. Sometimes, people don’t like Science because it often involves trying to understand complex information and the usage of terms few non-scientists comprehend. But, that is not the case with greenman3610.

He takes-on slogans that are used by people and organizations that deny humans are contributing to global warming or that global warming is even occurring. Each claim is taken in-turn and thoroughly debunked, without using emotional appeals or personal attacks, but with documentable proof from reliable sources, such as NASA. Greenman3610 makes no claim that he cannot prove.

Give him a chance.

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ArmofAllah: the Fake Muslim on YouTube

2 June 2009

YouTube user coughlan666 was recently accused of filing a DMCA against YT user fakesagan, resulting in his channel closure. Coughlan666 denies this and I believe him, since that is not the practise of coughlan666 to attempt to silence his critics through the DMCA. He will simply respond with a video of his own.

He was also accused by YT user ArmofAllah of DMCAing a video of his, which coughlan666 also denies and ArmofAllah appears to have accepted his denial.

This is just the latest bit of drama on YouTube, along with the votebotting, false-flagging and DMCAs flying-around the place as people lash-out against each other and try to get videos deleted or just make their lives difficult.

However, I became interested in YT user ArmofAllah for several reasons. On the surface, he claims to be a Muslim. His video that was DMCAd included his attacking coughlan666 from an apparently Muslim point of view and calling for coughlan666 to become a Muslim. While YouTube does have Muslim users, I don’t think that ArmofAllah is one of them. In fact, I think that ArmofAllah is a troll, more likely a sockpuppet account, of some one with a cursory knowledge of Islam and this account is being used to stir-up drama on YouTube and make Muslims look bad.

This is not an unusual occurance. Former YT user VenomFangX blamed Muslims for shutting-down his account by sending death threats to him and his family at their home. There is no proof, of any kind, that such threats were ever made.

Back to ArmofAllah.

I am going to lay-out my case as to why I think that this YT user is not really a Muslim and the account was only created for the purposes of stirring-up drama and making Muslims look bad on YouTube. Since the original video is gone, you can see clips of it on this video

  • Normally, when a Muslim mentions the Name of Allah, they include the acronym “swt”, which stands for “subhana wa ta’ala”, which means “his Name be praised” or “glory be to Him”;
  • the traditional Arabic rendering of the Prophet’s name is not “Mohammed”. this is an English rendering. the Arabic fashion is closer to the Arabic pronounciation and is “Muhummad”;
  • when the name of the Prophet is written or spoken, the words “peace be upon him” are supposed to immediately follow, or the acronym “pbuh” or the Arabic “salalahu alayhi wa salaam” or the acronym “saws” or (saws);
  • a rather minor point is that nowhere in the video does ArmofAllah quote the Qur’an (aka Quran) or any of the Hadith (oral sayings of Muhummad). I would think a Muslim would, at least, quote either of them once to bolster his point.

Without these terms following the Name of Allah or the Prophet, it seems more lilely that the ArmofAllah is really some one pretending to be a Muslim. Granted this job seems convincing to some one who has little real exposure to Muslims, but to some one who knows a lot of Muslims (like I do), it seems like either ArmofAllah is either a rather careless Muslim or is some one doing their best to pretend to be Muslim.

I will grant that none of this is definitive. But, in my mind casts serious doubt as to the identity of the ArmofAllah and his real religion

After looking at ArmofAllah’s channel, I became absolutely certain that he is not a Muslim. My points:

  • in a reply to a comment on his video “All back of the bus”, he makes quotes from the Qur’an.
  • [19:68] By your Lord, we will certainly summon them, together with the devils, and will gather them around Hell, humiliated.

    [19:69] Then we will pick out from each group the most ardent opponent of the Most Gracious.

    [19:70] We know full well those who are most deserving of burning therein. “

    I thought something was wrong when it appeared that the verses appeared to be copypasta’d from an online version and I found it here
    http://www.submission.org/suras/sura19.htm

    This translation was done by a Dr Rashad Khalifa, who claims to have found a numerical miracle in the Qur’an with the number 19. Rashad Khalifa also claimed to be a Messenger of Allah, a title normally exclusively reserved to those people that Islam says were actually Allah’s chosen Prophets. Furthermore, the translation is called “Authorized English translation of the Quran”. There is no “authorized version” and most Muslims are aware of this. there are good translations -such as Yusuf Ali or Pickthall – and bad ones, but no “authorized version” since there is no body that can “authorize” one. A non-Muslim might be impressed with the title claiming to be authorized, but not a Muslim. A Muslim knows better, or they should know better.

  • in the video title “You almost made a Muslim swear, but Allah forgives you.” points-out a serious breach of Islamic practise. While a Christian might tell some one that God forgives them or God has forgiven them, a Muslim would never say such a thing. Muslims believe that Allah forgives who He will and no person, besides the Prophets, can claim to speak for Him. To tell some one that Allah forgives them is blasphemy, when no person really knows if Allah forgives some one or not,
  • in his channel comments section, ArmofAllah makes this statement in reply to another comment where it removes all doubt from my mind

“Because Allah spoke to me and told me my path is true.

Peace “

    Christians claim that God spoke to them all the time. A Muslim cannot make any such claim and still be a Muslim. To claim that Allah spoke to him, ArmofAllah is claiming to be a Prophet and Muslims believe that Muhummad was the last of all prophets sent to humanity. Therefore, ArmofAllah is claiming to be the equal of Muhummad, Jesus, Moses and all other Prophets that Islam says that Allah sent to humanity.In Islam, ArmofAllah would be considered a heretic, deserving of death for such claims.

So, there it is, my case against YT user ArmofAllah.

I left out the fact that the very name of the channel “Arm of Allah” might be considered presumptuous by Muslims. It might be acceptable for a Muslim to claim to be the “sword of Allah” (sayfullah) or something similar. It might be considered quite blasphemous to actually be considered an actual part or appendage of Allah, such as calling yourself the Eye of Allah. Muslims just don’t do that sort of thing.

As pointed-out by YT user Vogter2100, ArmofAllah also has video channels where he uses the name PalmsofAllah. Which shows how decidedly unIslamic the channel is and how little the channel owner really knows about Islam.

Muslims have a bad reputation, on YouTube and in the media. I think that sockpuppet accounts like ArmofAllah just make the situation worse than it already is and I would hope that real Muslims would stand-up to people like this.

People like VenomFangX and ArmofAllah (who I truely believe is YT user Brett Keane) seem to like using Muslims to take the heat for them when they screw-up or as a way to divert attention away from themselves. Using Muslims as a whipping-boy, rather than standing-up for yourself, is cowardly in the extreme.

Update for 3 June 2009: the YouTube channels of ArmofAllah and PalmsofAllah. have been closed. Since the channels were not suspended, it appears that ArmofAlllah/PalmsofAllah closed the channels himself.

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My Thoughts on YouTube User VenomFangX

27 May 2009

If you ever wanted to make a list of the most contoversial YouTube users, you would have to include a young man from Canada who called himself VenomFangX,

Shawn (his real first name, which he openly admitted) is a devout Christian and Creationist. He made numerous videos expounding Creationism, borrowing much of his source material from convicted criminal and former minister Kent Hovind. While Hovind and Shawn may convince those without a scientific backbround, people with scientific educations find such “information” laughable and several YouTube users, posted videos of their own debunking the claims of Shawn, as well as ridiculing him. The most famous groups of video series posted in response to Shawn and other Creationists on YouTube include:

There are, of course, other videos posted by these and other users, but these are the most well-known. Shawn’s initial response to these videos was to attempt to get into “debates” with these posters. However, Shawn’s near-total lack of a scientific education made any sort of debate with him to be a waste of time for the people he challenged and VenomFangX even admitted in one of his videos to Thunderf00t that he simply wanted to try to get Thunderf00t to “get out of his scientific bubble” and get him to try to see the world and universe from Shawn’s perspective. In other words, he wanted to preach Christianity to Thunderf00t in some sort of attempt to convert him. He even asked his subscribers to send messages to Thunderf00t to pressure him into agreeing to watch Shawn’s videos and debate him. However, Thunderf00t rejected the offer.  Shawn’s attempts to contact Thunderf00t and earn his respect seemed to border on the level of an obsessed fanboy, which Thunderf00t found to be rather disturbing and insulting.

While Thunderf00t and the other YouTube users allowed comments and ratings on their videos by anyone, Shawn did not. VenomFangX closed his comments to “approval only”, which meant that only the comments he allowed would be posted and it gave the appearance that everyone who commented on his videos agreed with him. When this point was brought-up, he did not change his practise and he also disabled ratings, so that no one could rate his videos either and neither could anyone post video responses. As such, Thunderf00t nicknamed Shawn “Posterboy from Creationist Stupidity” (PCS) and Shanw has been called PCS by numerous non-Creationists on YouTube ever since.

In an obvious attempt to eliminate the counter-arguments of Thunderf00t and others, Shawn began to file DMCA complaints against over 150 individual videos posted on YouTube. For a time, these videos were removed and a shitstorm of controversy was the result. Shawn tried to claim that “a friend” had filed the DMCAs on his behalf, but this was soon proven to be untrue and Shawn was revealed as the filer of those complaints. This resulted in Thunderf00t calling for Shawn to either shutdown his account for six months or face criminal and/or civil prosecution for his abuse of the DMCA system. At first, Shawn tried to bluff his way out of it, along with encouragement from other Creationists, but eventually was forced to admit his guilt for filing the false DMCAs and lying in an attempt to cover it up.

After receiving this smackdown, Shawn was a bit quieter than he had been before. However, he soon began to find new ways to offend people.

For a few days, Shawn closed his account after claiming that people had obtained his personal information and had threatened his family. Shawn posted a video announcing this, saying goodbye to everyone. However, he did log-into his account over the next few days and eventually returned with a video consisting of clips from his supporters’ videos asking for his return. This bit of drama was derided by his opponents as nothing more than appealing for sympathy.

In one of Shawn’s earliest videos, he appealed for a video camera and soon received one from a supporter. However, in clips of many of his videos, Shawn revealed that he lives in a palacial home with expensive decor, which made such appeals to seem selfish. He was obviously not from a poor family, so was seen as having no business asking for donations of any kind. In my view, even if some one knew that Shawn is from a wealthy family, but still wanted to give him a donation, that was certainly the donor’s choice.

Later, after Shawn claimed to have lost his job at a video store – after having used the store’s equpiment to copy DVDs from Kent Hovind’s organization and playing the DVD “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” on the store’s television and giving-away copies of Hovind DVDs to store customers as a way of prostelytizing to store customers – Shawn posted a video asking for people to financially support him so that he could Preach the Gospel as a full-time preacher. Specifically, he asked for at least 500 people to donated $1 each. He said that he would keep $500 for his own use and give anything over the $500 to Sick Kids Hospital. Shawn began to receive donations of more that $5 from several people, including donations of $500 from a couple of individuals, which was far in excess of the $500 he had initially asked for. A YouTube user, ImSoCritical, posted a comment that Shawn should simply put the excess into a savings account to carryover into the next month, rather than giveaway the excess. This account is seen by some, including myself, to be a sockpuppet account that Shawn used to post supportive cooments to himself. Whatever the case may be, Shawn soon abandoned the idea of giving away the money he received in excess of the $500 and began to spend it on other things, whether related to his ministry or not. These expenses included paying for parking at the college he preached at, car expenses and video recording equipment.

When pressure was brought on by people asking why he didn’t donate to the hospital, Shawn’s reply was that he had asked for 500 people to donate $1 each, but he said that, since he had wanted 500 donors, he still had not reached his goal. This flew in direct contradiction of his initially stating that he wanted only $500 per month and instead counted only the number of donors. So, if he received, say, $1000 from 499 people, he did not feel obligated to give any money to charity until he had gotten money from the 500th donor. While he did end-up making donations to various charitable organizations, he did not donate any money to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, but instead to other Christian groups.

In response to apparently fraudulent use of the name of Sick Kids Hospital to raise moeny for himself, YT user UNFFwildcard posted this video.

UNFFwildcard’s video was posted both a response to VenomFangX and as a way to raise money for Malaria No More, whose goal; is to supply bed netting for people in Sub-Saharan Africa in an effort to combat the spead of malaria.

This same YT user published further criticism of Shawn here

as well as a Thank You to all YouTube users who have helped in the fundraising drive

Unlike VenomFangX’s donation drive, UNFFwildcard’s effort was fully transparent and you always knew how much money had been raised and exactly where it was going.

Not to let Shawn off-the-hook for what was apparently an an attempt by Shawn to get money from people without having to work for it, another YouTube user lordhathor began his own campaign to interrupt the flow of money into Shawn’s pockets and you can view his playlist here

When Shawn began his donation drive, he stated that he wanted to be a full-time preacher and the donations were simply to financially support him while he did that. He posted videos on his channel showing him witnessing to several students at a local college. This was obviously an attempt by shawn to justify his money-raising and show that he wasn’t simply freeloading on the goodwill of others. Howvever, lordhathor uncovered evidence through an interview with a Christian minister who lives close to Shawn that

  • Shawn was offered an actual job as a missionary with a local church, but turned it down;
  • Shawn’s response to the church that offered him the job that he wasn’t interested in it because he didn’t want to answer to the church’s authorities;
  • Shawn also was not satisfied with the salary offer from the church, since he was making more money than that through his donation drive on YouTube;
  • the videos that showed Shawn converting people to Christianity were actually faked and the people he was preaching to were already Christians and, in some cases, had been so for years;
  • despite Shawn’s claims that he wanted to be a minister, none of the college courses he was taking were related to that occupation.

You can hear the interview on this video

We’ll never know how much money Shawn raised or what he did with it. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter.

In the end, Shawn posted another video on his channel to say goodbye. In this video he stated, once again, that people – Muslims, in this case – had obtained his personal information and sent threats against his life and the lives of his family members. As such , he was shutting-down his channel and deleting all his videos.

He did this…for a few days.

Shawn then reopened his channel, sans videos, and stated that he was giving his channel and its 26,000+ plus subscribers to another YouTube user, known as GEERUP. GEERUP is known as a rather off-the-wall character on YouTube and had less than 2500 subscribers. Now, with Shawn’s subscribers, he has a wider audience. GEERUP believes in the New World Order conspiracy and posted rather strange videos on his own channel. To his credit, CEERUp does allow comments to be posted on his video and allows comments on the VenomFangX channel, which is something Shawn did not. Time will tell if Shawn’s subscribers remain with GEERUP or will tire of his rantings and strange behavior.

Did Shawn really receive threats agaisnt his life and the lives of his family from Muslims, as he claimed? Personally, I don’t think so.

What I do think happened is this:

  • people reported Shawn’s use of the name of Sick Kids Hospital for the purposes of his money-raising;
  • it became obvious that Shawn had given none of the money he collected to that same hospital and had no real intentions of doing so;
  • copies of the video were sent to the Hospital’s legal division, as well as Canada’s Revenue Service and the Toronto police and an investigation of possible fraud was launched;
  • since Shawn lives with his parents, they became aware of what was happening under their roof when they were contacted by law enforcement and/or Sick Kids Hospital as part of this investigation;
  • Shawn’s parents, whom he lives with, were unaware of what he was doing until this contact was made. Since Shawn is over 18, they are not responsible for him or his actions previous to contact. However, now that they became aware, they are now responsible to prevent any further misuses of the name of Sick Kids Hospital by their son while he lives in their home;
  • rather than face criminal and/or civil repurcussions for the actions of their son, as well as damage to their reputations in the community, Shawn’s parents forced him to shutdown his YouTube channel and close his website.

Shawn made one last appeal for people who still wanted to send him money via his Paypal account. It’s anyone’s guess as to how successful this will be for him. For most of us,”Out of sight, out of mind” is how we are and while some of his subscribers will want to help him out, I think that when enough time passes, Shawn will be forgotten by most of his former followers and the money will stop coming in, if it does at all.

Ultimately, here is my assessment of Shawn:

  1. Shawn grew-up in a well-to-do family and his parents indulged him with gifts of expensive items;
  2. Shawn became a Christian recently and became a follower/admirer of Kent Hovind;
  3. Since Shawn was doted-on by his family, he has a strong need for attention and admiration from people around him;
  4. Shawn does not like being criticized by anyone for any reason and reacts badly to it;
  5. Shawn also has a vindictive nature, looking for ways that he can strike back at his detractors with little risk to himself for his actions;
  6. Shawn is a coward and when caught doing illegal or immoral things, will try to bluff or threaten his way out of them;
  7. When Shawn does not receive admiration, he will try to gain sympathy from others. He will settle for people feeling sorry for him, if they cannot admire him;
  8. When Shawn’s parents told him that he had to earn his own money, Shawn attempted to use the job as a platform to garner followers for himself and converts for his religion;
  9. Shawn was always allowed to do whatever he wanted to by his parents and was upset that his employers would not do the same;
  10. Shawn does not like having to work for a living and wanted to find a way to receive money without having worked for it;
  11. Shawn will try to use either people’s admiration or sympathy for him to get money for himself;
  12. He views whatever money he gets as his own money and will be loathe to give it up to anyone for any reason that does not benefit him in some fashion;

Basically, Shawn is just a selfish little punk kid who never had to earn his own money and he discovered that some people would give him money if he asked for it. He’s a lazy piece of shit who doesn’t want to break a sweat on a job and would rather spend his days playing on a computer and living the same carefree life he did when he was a child. Because his parents indulged him, he expects the rest of the world to do the same and he just can’t stand it that we all don’t line-up to kiss his ass.

Finally, it seems that his parents may have realized what a selfish little shit they raised and have taken some belated action to rein him in before he ends-up in prison or the family gets sued. I hope that they sat him down and gave him a good talking-to about how he risked their family’s reputation for his schemes.

Now, I would view this all differently if Shawn lived on his own and appealed for donations from people without mentioning Sick Kids Hospital or any other legitimate charity as a form of leverage to get people to send him money. If he wanted to ask for money on his own and people gave it to him, then I really don’t care. People give money to fake preachers all the time.

But, his use of a legitimate charity’s name to raise money for himself so that he could continue a life of leisure without doing a bit of real work for it just burned me up.

Shawn isn’t even 25 years old yet. I hope the little shit grows-up before his actions land him in criminal or civil court facing real consequences for his nonsense.

He’ll be back, I think. When he’s not getting anymore donations and he feels a need for attention-whoring, he’ll come back to YouTube or some other forum and try to pickup where he left off.

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Scientology: Nearly 18 Months Into Project Chanology

26 May 2009

I remember when Project Chanology got started on YouTube in January 2008. An online group of hackers decided to have some fun at the expense of the Church of Scientology. In the beginning, it consisted of DDOS attacks against their assorted websites, prank phone calls, prank faxes and other things.

At first, I thought that these kids were in way over their heads. After all, the Church of Scientology had made a science out of destroying their enemies and had most of the media cowed. You couldn’t say a negative word about the Church in any form of media without receiving what the Church used to refer to as “Fair Game“, which included harassment, legal threats, lawsuits, picketing your home or place of business, etc. Peoples’ lives and careers have been ruined after they decided to take-on the Church of Scientology and the Church seemed very smug with itself.

I believed that a couple of things would happen:

  1. the Church would find and Fair Game a bunch of these kids, which would result in their lives being ruined and the whole group getting scared-off; and/or
  2. the group, called “Anonymous” would get bored, declare victory and stop.

At first, the Church tried to Fair Game their way out of it by claiming persecution and making unfounded accusations of terrorism and threats. Most of the media is well-aware of Scientology’s history of bullying tactics and few tears were shed for them, if any. A few of Anonymous were located and some faced legal action for their actions or the actions they were accused of by the Church. Some, in fact, did get scared-off. But, the majority stayed with it and more joined their ranks as Anonymous dropped the DDOS and other illegal actions in favor of street protesting. Fair Game worked, but not as well as the Church had hoped. For the most part, they seem to have abandoned Fair Game, as it only made them look worse than they already did.

In fact, Anonymous won the Public Relations war early on, as few people felt sympathy for Scientology, especially when they learned of the history of Fair Game, as well as other abuses committed either by the Church or its members. While people were quick to condemn DDOSing, they developed a respect for the sheer gutsiness of Anonymous for taking-on such a powerful corporation. Every action taken by the Church against Anonymous was quickly publicized on the Internet and public sympathy for the Church seemed to be nonexistant.

In fact, the media seemed to find its testicles and media personalities in broadcast media and print began to badmouth the Church, either criticizing it or simply making fun of it. It was as if the media had awakened to find itself suddenly aware of the sheer nuttiness of Scientology and how abusive much of its behavior had been in the past. Even counter-move the Church took against Anonymous only seemed to make their situation worse, while people cheered Anonymous as they picketed outside of Scientology establishments.

Another series of events began to take place. People who had either left the Church in the past or had been victimized in some way began to organize themselves via the Internet. Prior to Anonymous, this did not occur with much frequency. However, after Project Chanology got started, it began slowly and picked-up speed. Famous people like Jason Beghe left the Church and made public statements, past critics of the Church – called “The Old Guard” by Anonymous – became more visible and there was nothing the Church could do to stop them, aside from attempting to silence them. However, the Church learned that any action they took would quickly be reported on the Internet, as was the case in the recent arrest of Mark Bunker, whose charges were dropped and the judge publicly stated that no arrest should have taken place to begin with.

As I predicted in February 2008, many of Anonymous who started in Project Chanology dropped-out due to sheer boredom. The first few pickets drew hundreds, even thousands, of people around the world. But, when pickets became regular monthly events, they got bored with it and left. However, there is a hardcore membership that has stayed with it until the present day, even though many of the original hackers deride them as having polluted Chanology and turned it into a shadow of its former self. I do have to admit that I really enjoyed the protests that took place in June 2008 Operation Sea Arrrgh, where Anonymous dressed-up in pirate costumes. For the first few protests, Anonymous developed themes for each protest and the Sea Arrrgh motife was pirates, as a dig against the Freewinds, which is the Church’s flagship.

So, who won?

Well, Anonymous stated in their original video on YouTube that their intent was to drive the Church off the Internet. That failed. They also stated that they would destroy the Church in its current form. That failed, too.

However, comparing media coverage of Scientology post-Chanology, as opposed to pre-Chanology, the fear of the Church of Scientology had evaporated, for the most part. When Steven Colbert can publicly mock Scientology and suffer no retaliation from the Church of any kind, you know that things are different now. Decades of building fear have been undone by a bunch of kids wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Now, that’s pretty sad, when you think about it.

According to what I have heard, people have left the Church post-Chanology, now being aware of a support structure awaiting them when they leave High-ranking members have defected and more people are now aware of the history of the Church and its abusive practises. While the Church still has its celebrity members, it has taken a severe blow from which it is unlikely to recover anytime soon.

People have asked me if there was anything the Church could have done to prevent the negative effects of Chanology and Anonymous. To that, I say: Yes, there was.

What the Church could have done to prevent Chanology’s damage was the one thing they never though about doing. They could have done nothing.

Yeah, they could have done nothing. Their whole history consists of striking back at their critics. Hit hard, hit fast and keep hitting them until you destroy them completely. That worked in the past, so they tried it with Chanology. However, it didn’t work this time and only made their situation worse.

Instead of having security guards follow protesters with cameras, they could have ignored them.

Instead of hiring private detectives to track these people to their homes, they could have done nothing.

Instead of releasing Anonymous members personal information onto the Internet, they could have done nothing.

Instead of having Church members harass and attempt to intimidate Anonymous in the streets, they could have done nothing.

Every action the Church took against Anonymous only resulted in negative publicity for themselves and created more public support for Anonymous. While the Church claimed “persecution”, the public openly expressed support for the supposed “persecutors” and little for the Church. Nothing the Church did resulted in anything positive for themselves, aside from scaring a few kids with Cease & Desist orders or threatening lawsuits. A few scared teenagers doesn’t make a victory.

If they had simply ignored Anonymous from the beginning, they would not have been seen as bullies themselves. Instead of shuttering their establishments, they should have kept them open. Pictures of Scientology security officers phoyographing or videotaping Anonymous simply made the Church look creepy. While this may have worked in the past against the “Old Guard”, it was a foolish move against Chanology.

Even if I could build a time machine and travel back to January 2008 to show the Church what the end result of their actions would be, it wouldn’t change their minds. That’s because the way they reacted to Anonymous is the only way they know how to react to criticism. They cannot be any other way because they don’t know how, as compared to Anonymous who showed great adaptability in the face of changing circumstances.

As with biological evolution, the life form that can adapt to a chaning environment is more likely to survive that the one which cannot adapt. Anonymous evolved while Scientology did not.

Now, the Church of Scientology faces a French court and the future of the Church in France hangs in the balance. Other nations regard them as a cult and the Church is not recognized as a religion in some countries.

Decades of creating a public face, reinforced by celebrity members and having a private force of detectives and lawyers to silence opposition could not defeat a group of kids and it will not halt the rising opposition to the Church in Europe and the growing opposition to the Church in the USA, where it is seen as a cult of loonies by many Americans. On top of all this, previously unpublicized Church of Scientology documents have been released on to the Internet, via Wikileaks. These documents include Church courses for which Church members who wish to take these course are allegedly charged thousands of dollars before they are allowed to have these materials. Now, anyone can read them, for free, in the privacy of their homes and there is nothing the Church can do about it, aside from threatening Wikileaks with lawsuits of which Wikileaks has little fear.

While Project Chanology is still on-going, I will venture my opinion on who has come out on top:

  • Anonymous: mostly win
  • Scientology: epic fail.

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A Few Thoughts on “Professional” Wrestling

25 May 2009

When I was a kid, I used to watch Pro Wrestling.  I will also admit that I enjoyed it. I’ll go further than that and admit that I even fantasized about being either a pro wrestler myself or being a manager.

In my juvenile brain, I actually thought that the whole thing was real. The Good Guys were really good guys and the Bad Guys were really bad.

When I became an adult, I realized that the whole thing was an act. There was even a magazine (whose name I have since forgotten) that openly spoke about pro wrestling like it really is: a staged performance. I read about the Real Life drama that went-on behind the scenes and how various companies treated their employees (i.e. the wrestlers, valets and managers) and it was very disturbing to me to find-out how the real business of wrestling really is and always had been.

I stopped watching pro wrestling completely after I understood how it was all an act, that the results of the “matches” were determined beforehand and that there were really no bad or good guys, only actors playing their parts. I never told other people, even my own family or friends, to stop watching it. If they knew it was fake and watched it anyway, that was up to them and I didn’t want to interrupt their enjoyment of the spectacle.

It can be fun to watch, I know. But, while I enjoy movies and TV shows where the drama is fake and never attempts to pass itself off as real, I cannot bring myself to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy Pro Wrestling like I once did.

What took me by surprise was the actual cold-bloodedness of the business, in regards to the main actors themselves. Doing an online search for “dead wrestlers” brought-up several names of wrestlers and valets whom I had enjoyed watching when I was growing-up:

Of course, there are more wrestlers, managers and valets who died from such ordinary things like cancer and heart attacks. Some died due to homicide (e.g. Gentleman Chris Adams and Dino Bravo) and accidents are blamed for other deaths.

But, seeing how many of these people had suffered drug addiction, alcoholim and steroid abuse, it makes me wonder if the public’s enjoyment of Pro Wrestling comes at too high a price. I mean, with all the pressure in the industry for wreslers to be big and muscular, steroid abuse became common and even retired wreslters, such as Hulk Hogan, talk about it today.

Aside from these people simply being dead, which happens to everyone eventually, most of the people I mentioned above died very young. Some of the wreslters I researched died in their mid-twenties, others died in their mid-forties. I don’t care who you are, but dying before you even turn 50 years old is a frakking tragedy.

Pro Wrestling is a multi-billion dollar business, with fans in the USA, Europe and Japan. So, my decision to not be a fan of this form of entertainment won’t put a crimp in their bank balances. There will alaways be other people willing to attend their shows or “matches”. Kids will still buy the dolls and fans will by the memorabilia by the boatload.

Unfortunately, for the wrestlers, most of them are locked into the business for much of their lives with no way to move up into something better. Some have tried their hand at acting in motion pictures, as Hulk Hogan did, but these movies are almost always horrible to watch and the wrestlers are almost always some of the worst actors I have ever seen on TV or the movie screen. Granted, the movies make a lot of money, but most of the wrestlers will never have a career as actors, no matter how much they might want it.

I saw a movie called “Beyond the Mat” which gave me further insight into the lives of several wrestlers, including a favorite of mine from my youth, Jake “The Snake” Roberts who is stuck wrestling on the small circuit, due to a falling-out with WWE owner Vince McMahon. Similar falling-outs happened with Koko B. Ware and the Ultimate Warrior, though for different reasons and I think the Ultimate Warrior may have deserved to get kicked-out of Pro Wrestling. Unless wrestlers invest and save their money while they are in the business, they won’t have anything to fall back on when they can no longer perform, as happened with Roberts. However, it is difficult to save anything when you spend so much of your money going to the doctor for repeated injuries which result in longterm problems later in life. Brett “the Hitman” Hart often speaks about how he lost so much of the time he could have spent with his wife and children, when he was out on the road working for the WWE and WCW. Hart and his wife divorced and I was sad to see that happen, especially after seeing his wife in the documentary “Brett Hart: Wrestling with Shadows“, which talked about Hart’s departure from the WWE.

Overall, my impressions are that the various wrestling corporations – at least, the larger companies, such as the WWE – are run by people who care little for the well-being of the performers. As long as they can perform, they’ll be kept around. When they cannot perform or something happens that causes some embarrassment for the company, they’ll be cut-loose, such as happened when Chris Benoit died and the WWE distanced itself from him when the details became public.

Thankfully, for the most part, wrestling companies have gotten away from encouraging racism – bad Arabs (e.g.the Iron Sheik, who is actually Iranian) and bad Russians (names too numerous to mention, but were usually Americans faking Russian accents) and evil primitive Africans (e.g. Kamala, the Ugandan Giant, also an American) – but they quickly found new marketing strategies when they included anti-heroes, like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and putting more sexually-suggestive content in the programs. WCW tried to counter this with more “family-friendly” content, but money talks and bullshit walks and the WCW foundered and was eventually bought by the WWE. The WCW just didn’t have the money and viewership the WWE did and still does.

The only pro wrestler, that I know about, to make it as a movie actor is Duane “The Rock” Johnson who has made several movies, some of which were pretty good. He’s also a pretty good person in real life, from what I understand. The one person making it does not cancel-out the dozen of people whose lives were cut short, whose lives have been negatively impacted by work-related health problems or whose marriages and relationships have suffered as a peripheral result of their involvement in Pro Wrestling.

One eye-opener is the Iron Sheik, who is now retired and making the rounds of the talk show circuit. He is very open regarding his own history of abusing drugs and names other wrestlers whom he had done drugs with. I don’t think many of those wrestlers are very appreciative of being metioned as having smoked crack cocaine with the Sheik in the past. But, he doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks about him or what he says. When I was a kid, I hated him for being a bad guy. But, today I have to admit that I really like him, if not for his views on certain issues, at least for being an honest man.

Despite my having been a fan of Hulk Hogan in the past, I was surprised when I discovered how many former associates of his now seem to despise him. Randy “Macho Man” Savage, “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and the Iron Sheik all seem to hate his guts, though I have never been able to find-out why. Maybe he was an asshole when he became so famous during his time as the WWE champion and he treated everyone around him like crap, I don’t know. It happens in the best of industries.

In retrospect, I won’t say that the time I spent watching Pro Wrestling was wasted. I enjoyed it before I discovered the Truth behind the industry. When I discoverd the real human cost to the very wrestlers I had cheered for and booed, the greed of the company owners and the backroom deals being made regarding match outcomes. The most disgusting discovery I made was that, as part of a storyline, Vince McMahon wanted to introduce an incest angle into a storyline by “revealing” himself as the true father of his own daughter’s baby, when Stephanie McMahon said no, Vince tried to establish the storyline with her brother Shane as the father and again she refused. Good for her. If Vince McmAhon had gone ahead with that idea, I think the WWE would have suffered a serious ratings drop, as people generally take a negative view of incest, even if it is in a make-believe environment.

I can understand how McMahon constantly needs to come up with new angles and storylines, as people always want something new and different and you don’t want to recycle old storylines too often. But, incest???

Still, McMahon is doing well for himself. He’s got the top-rated wrestling franchise in the USA and he’ll always have lots of money, unless he makes another bad investment like he did with the XFL and National Bodybuilding Federation. I heard that he eventually wants to start producing movies. Given his history of bad decisions outside of the WWE, I think he should stick with wrestling.

Pro Wrestling can be fun to watch. The pageantry and the spectacle can sometimes be breathtaking. As long as they stay away from stupid storylines, they don’t falter too much. If the industry would allow the performers to form unions, conditions might improve for them. Unionization would give the performers, at least, some sort of protection, as well as health benefits and unemployment insurance. The WWE works very hard to keep their performers from trying to form a union as Jesse “The Body” Ventura found-out when he tried to form a union within the WWE in 1984, only to be ratted-out by Hulk Hogan. This may explain why Hogan is disliked by some of his former coworkers.

But, until somebody finds a way to look after the health of the performers themselves, whether it’s physical or psychological health, there will always be a toll on the lives of the people who choose to make Pro Wrestling their career.

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Thoughts on the Movie “Greasy Rider”

24 May 2009

I watched a movie on Hulu, called “Greasy Rider”, which chronicles the story of some people who designed a process where an ordinary car can be converted to run on vegetable oil, instead of gasoline or deisel. Actually, there are several such people mentioned, but the car in the movie was driven by people from GreaseCar.com.

During the film, people who have designed similar cars are also shown, along with celebrity interviews – Morgan Freeman, Yoko Ono,  Noam Chomsky, etc – where people gave their thoughts on American dependence on foreign oil and how it affects our domestic life, foreign policy, health and the environment.

Unlike most alternative fuel researchers, there is no national body of people who collaborate on how to convert more cars to run on vegetable oil. When I mention vegetable oil, I don’t mean growing vegetables for the express purpose of turning them into fuel oil. I’m talking about using vegetable oil that had been previously used by restaurants and then discarded. So, they are using a fuel source that no one would miss if it were gone. In fact, they were able to drive their car across the USA without having to pay any money for the fuel they were using. Companies, like McDonalds, Wendy’s, the mom-and-pop eateries around the country, and all other burger chains and restaurants across the US pay other companies to come and take their used vegetable oil away and discard it. Sometimes the oil is used to make other products, but often it is dumped in landfills. The simple beauty of using the vegetable oil is that we discard millions of gallons of the stuff everyday in the United States, when it turns-out that we could be running our cars on it. In fact, the first deisel engine used peanut oil as a fuel source.

Of course, for the same reason the Big Oil companies bought-up the electric rail system in Los Angeles and have ignored the very idea of an electric car is that the big profits for now come from the petroleum industry and there is no profit for them at the moment in having the American driver burn used vegetable oil instead of gasoline. Let’s face it, if you had a car like that, you could fill-up your tank everyday without even having to pay for the fuel you were using. Most restaurant owners and managers would be glad to not have to pay a company to come and take the stuff away when they could give it away. All you’d have to bring with you in a pump to syphon the oil out of their storage tank and a filter to remove the particles that are in the oil after use. One guy in the movie used an ordinary sock, for G-d’s sake. Naturally, there is a small conversion kit that you’d have to install in some of these designs, which isn’t very expensivve and you’ll be saving loads of money by not having to pay for gas.

I saw the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which spoke about how General Motors designed the fully-electric EV1, which gave good performance and the technology already exists to prolong battery life. It was only GM’s reluctance to introduce such a car onto the American market, due to low profitability for the petroleum industry, which doomed the EV1 to ultimate failure. It was a good car, as good as any on the market today, but right now the big money is in Oil and the industry doesn’t want to give-up just yet.

As was pointed-out in the film by one of the interviewees, as long as the veggie oil cars don’t pose too much of a threat to Big Oil, they”ll be tolerated, even laughed-at, by the Big Car and Big Oil industries. But, if they are perceived as posing a significant threat to their bank balances, they’ll get stomped-on like insects under the Big Boot of the Oil and Automotive industries.

This is what pisses me off to no end: we have the technology and resources to end our dependence, not only on foreign oil, but on oil entirely. Yet, because a small group of people and corporations depend upon our addiction to petroleum, such technology will be kept under wraps and also covertly suppressed.

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Kelly McGillis Comes Out of the Closet

4 May 2009

Recent news reports that Top Gun actress Kelly McGillis has come out as a lesbian, finally confirming long-held rumors that have followed her for years.

By itself, this wouldn’t be so shocking to me. However, I only recently learned that Ms McGillis had been the victim of a rape back in 1982. Her attacker had been an escaped serial rapist who had gone on to commit more rapes in the years after the attack.

Curious to see if her attacker had received serious jailtime for the attack – he and an accomplise had raped McGillis and her roommate in McGillis’ apartment – I did a quick Internet search and discovered that he had recently received a 50 year sentence for raping two other women in 1996, fourteen years after his attack on McGillis. He was convicted of that rape, but since he was 15 when he committed the crime, he first was sent to a juvenile detention facility and then went to prison where he was released in 1991.

I couldn’t think of a defendant doing more harm to his own case than this one did in his most recent trial. He argued with the judge, accused the jury of having already found him guilty in the middle of the trial and even injected racism in the trial by comparing the trial to a lynching (the defendant is black) and that they would hang him if they could.

Yes, I would hang him, if I could. But, I’d hang him for being a serial rapist and not for any other reason. Notice that I didn’t mention his name in this blog, since he’s such a piece of shit that I didn’t want to include it here.

A common fear among rape victims is that their attacker will return and attack them again. Given that his received a sentence of 50 years this time, I hope that all of his previous victims can finally have some peace of mind.

As far as Kelly McGillis, I wish her the best now that she has admitted to herself her real identity. I understand that her movie career hasn’t taken-off as much as had been expected when she co-starred in Top Gun with Tom Cruise, even having to go back to waiting tables when her career foundered at one point. She also starred in The Accused with Jodie Foster and Witness with Harrison Ford, but no other big films that I know about and I don’t see her as having any lead roles in movies, with most of her work being done onstage.

The saddest thing I read in her bios is that Kelly actually believed that all the bad things that had happened to her during her life was G-d punishing her for being a lesbian. I wonder how many people live tortured lives because they believe something like that.

There was a series on Showtime, called “Queer As Folk” which I didn’t like very much and I only watched a few episodes. Overall, I thought the series was all about sex and I got very bored with it very quickly. However, there was one line that was said in the movie that I felt was very profound and I am going to repeat it here, since I think it is most appropriate:

” I think God appreciates it even more. Because He created you in His image. At least that’s what I was always taught. And since God is love and God doesn’t make mistakes, then you must be exactly the way He wants you to be. And that goes for every person, every planet, every mountain, every grain of sand, every song, every tear… and every faggot. We’re all His, Emmett. He loves us all.

Ted Schmidt, as played by actor Scott Lowell from first season episode #13,

My best wishes to Kelly McGillis in her future life and career.

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