Archive for the ‘Satire’ Category
Elk Grove Village, IL – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the primary professional organization responsible for establishing pediatric healthcare standards, has finally released updated recommendations on dosing of infantile spanking (IS) and corporal punishment (CP) in children.
“This represents a huge step forward for pediatricians and parents,” Head of Disciplinary Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Dr. Mort Fishman explains. “Until now, parents have had to call the pediatrician, make an appointment and travel to the office sometimes hours to days after the undesired behavior has occurred. Or they visit urgent care facilities and emergency departments. Sometimes they wing it.”
It is this “winging it” by many parents that has concerned pediatric medical professionals for decades. Since the discovery of CP almost accidentally in the 1930s when a Harvard researcher inadvertently dropped a heavy glass beaker on the head of a stubborn lab assistant, a number of children have overdosed. Some have suffered permanent injury. A few have even died. Researchers have long blamed the lack of pediatric guidelines and inappropriate extrapolation of adult dosing, shouting out the oft repeated axiom that kids are not just little adults. Recent studies have even revealed an alarming upward trend in the inappropriate use of home corporal punishment.
The usual suspects are frequently mentioned by pediatricians, researchers and public officials. “Anybody can publish anything on the internet,” Fishman, who co-authored the AAP paper, adds. “There are literally thousands of websites offering up unproven techniques, inconsistent dosing, and pseudoscientific mechanisms of action.”
Parent groups have also become a loud voice in the discussion of pediatric corporal punishment over the past several years, calling for more research and for guidelines for home use. Members of such organizations as Mother’s Against Time Out and the more influential National Spanking Society have raised awareness and millions of dollars with 5K running races, bake sales and van-based mobile spank clinics. Many pediatricians are giving credit to these groups for speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves and for pushing the AAP into action.
Dr. Fishman and the AAP hope that the new guidelines will help pediatric healthcare professionals to not only appropriately dose corporal punishment, but to better educate parents and other caregivers such as teachers, daycare workers and babysitters. As stated in the paper’s conclusion, “Empowered and educated caregivers can now confidently dole out safe and effective corporal punishment in a timely fashion without the need to clog up overburdened medical system.”
So are the new infantile spanking and corporal punishment guidelines useful for parents as well as pediatricians? They couldn’t be simpler according to Matt Stevens, a mechanical engineer and parent of 3 young children, one of which is kind of a jerk. “When one of my kids talks back or forgets to do a chore, usually Matty Jr., we have a handy flow chart taped to the wall by the fridgerator. After a few calculations, I know just how hard to smack him.”
But the responses to the new guidelines are not all positive. A vocal minority of pediatricians are raising concerns over the ability for caregivers without medical training to decipher the recommendations. Dr. Percival Boudreaux, academic pediatric hospitalist and discipline researcher, is one of the more prominent voices of opposition. “Is Timmy just being sassy or is he exhibiting stage 3 lollygagging? Is he a smart aleck or a wisenheimer? I trained in pediatrics for almost ten years and sometimes I can’t tell the difference!”
Zoo Knudsen / Knudsen’s News
Jandine Odenkirk sits patiently in a room at a clinic located just blocks from her downtown Baton Rouge Apartment, waiting for her doctor. Only instead of the typical sterile treatment room, uncomfortable examination gown and nervous pacing, Odenkirk is nestled in a warm bed and surrounded by soft lights and music. A doctor walks in, places a metallic band around her head and plugs the attached array of wires into a sleek black machine in the corner of the room. It immediately comes to life and within seconds a slow but steady stream of paper emerges which the doctor examines closely for irregularities or, as is usually the case, signs of improvement. The doctor smiles. Her brain waves look much better.
As you may have already gathered, this isn’t your usual medical practice. In fact, it is much more than that. Odenkirk is one of a growing number of patients whose lives are being changed for the better by the Baton Rouge Sleep Bank™, which is owned and operated by Dr. Mort Fishman, DS. Fishman, a Doctor of Sleepology™ certified by the Certification Division of the Correspondence College of Tampa, a subsidiary of Sleep Bank™, saw a great need for sleep banking in Baton Rouge. “I’m proud, not only to call such a fine city as Baton Rouge home, but also to be able to provide such a life-changing service,” Fishman explains while Odenkirk undergoes her hour-long treatment process. “Before I came here people literally didn’t even know that sleep banking existed!”
Fishman has seen it all during his 5 years as a certified Sleepologist™. He says that fatigue is the number one cause of most medical complaints (See Table 1). Luckily, despite being ignored by more conventional doctors who only treat the symptoms of fatigue rather than the whole tired person, maverick scientists have been investigating treatment options for fatigue without the benefit of billions of dollars from the pharmaceutical industry because alternative treatments can’t be patented. Their tireless efforts eventually led to the discovery of sleep banking and ultimately to the patented process of Sleeptivation™, where banked sleep is transfered into the brain of a sleep deprived patient.
“It’s simple really,” Explains Dr. Fishman. “Most people are familiar with regular banks, where humans deposit and withdraw money. Many people may even be familiar with milk banks or even cord blood banks. This is exactly like that except instead of breast milk for micropremies or stem cells for cancer patients, we bank sleep.”
Here’s how it works. Just like with blood or plasma donation, healthy volunteers take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour of their time, usually on a weekend or day off, to come to the Sleep Bank™ and donate sleep. The process couldn’t be more easy. Volunteers are hooked up to the same machine as Jandine Odenkirk only the large black knob on the front is turned to “In” instead of “Out”. Volunteers are not monetarily compensated for their donation for a very important reason. “Studies performed at Sleep Bank™ regional headquarters in Boulder were troublesome,” Fishman reveals. “They discovered that non-altruistic sleep donation increased the risk of sleep rejection by over a quartile! It wouldn’t be right to take that kind of chance.”
When a fatigued patient, like Jandine Odenkirk, comes in for a Sleeptivation™ session, they are treated as well as they would be at any expensive spa, conventional or medical. Aromatherapy and Music Therapy are integral to the process, which also includes a 5-minute light massage and a glass of wine. The knob on the machine is then turned to “Out” and the patient typically enters a relaxed state almost immediately, with most actually falling asleep. “Several studies have shown that the process of Sleeptivation™ is more effective if the patient is asleep during it, but that is where our understanding of this complex science becomes less clear.”
Odenkirk, a 45-year-old executive with a history of stress and anxiety disorders, isn’t concerned about the science. She reveals, “I’m glad that top minds are looking into these questions, but what really matters is if it works. And, in general, I can usually say that I feel somewhat more relaxed after the treatment.”
Sessions can last anywhere from thirty to forty-five minutes, but Dr. Fishman has on occasion allowed them to go longer. “We don’t practice cookbook Sleepology™ at the Sleep Bank™. Sometimes a patient just needs a few more minutes.”
But I didn’t just take Dr. Fishman’s word for it, although he is one of only ten certified Sleepologists™ in Louisiana. I asked noted local skeptical blogger, The Red Stick Skeptic, his thoughts on sleep banking and Sleeptivation™. “It sounds like a typical set up for being fooled into thinking that a treatment works, when all that is going on is the customer is getting a nap and a healthy dose of placebo,” Red Stick Skeptic bellowed curmudgeonly. “And I’m sure it isn’t free either!”
To answer the question once and for all, I underwent a Sleeptivation™ session and couldn’t have been more impressed. As a dedicated investigative journalist who is lucky to get 2 to 3 hours of sleep each night, I know that sleep deprivation is a big problem, and sure enough I suffer from just about every symptom on Dr. Fishman’s list. After my hour of treatment, I felt relaxed and ready to face the rest of the day. I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone. Sleeptivation™ is the real deal.
(Sleeptivation™ costs $200 per half hour but there are less expensive rates when sessions are bought in bulk packages of 10, 20, or 50. The Baton Rouge Sleep Bank™ also offers an unlimited lifetime membership for $15,000. There is also an at-home system which can be rented for $500 per day or $2,000 per week. These fees do not include consultation with a certified Sleepologist™. High quality cotton tee-shirts, with the slogans “You Ain’t Been Vated, Till You Been Sleeptivated™!” or “Perfect Health is 1% Perspiration and 99% Sleeptivation™!” are available for $20.)
Table 1: Symptoms proven to be treated by Sleeptivation™*
-difficulty maintaining homeostasis
-persistant production of saliva
-difficulty abstaining from cocaine use
-continued regrowth of body hair despite repeated attempts at shaving it off
-difficulty holding more than 5 to 9 objects in working memory
-difficulty reading without one’s glasses or contacts
*According to the International Sleepology Institute™
Baton Rouge, LA-Zombie scientists working out of the Zombie Division of Louisiana State University’s Department of Neurosciences announced today during a press conference held in the basement of Hodges Hall that the results of a year-long study of zombie behavior refute the widely held belief that zombies only eat 10% of your brain.
“These results will come as a shock to the millions of tasty humans that believe zombies only eat 10% of their victims’ brains,” Lead researcher and lumbering type zombie Greg Stinson explained while chained to the podium. “Even large percentages of zombies believe it. But this exhaustive examination reveals that we actually eat 30-40% of delicious life-sustaining human neural tissue when time allows, and that any uneaten portions usually are consumed by various animal zombies. And Native American zombies are known to eat all parts of the brain.”
Dr. Mort Fishman, a fast-running zombie neurologist, has questioned the 10% myth for years. He revealed from his containment structure in the Department of Neurosciences’ underground facility that the new study is a nice confirmation of the skeptical stance but that it is unlikely to change many of the superstitious beliefs about zombies that are so prevelant amongst humans. “Undead cranks and charlatans will likely continue to push zombie self-help books and unproven herbal remedies with pseudoscientific claims of boosting a zombie’s brain eating potential. I’ve learned over my many years as a zombie that anecdotes are more powerful than any scientific study. Also I’ve learned that brains are delicious and I would very much like to eat your brain.”
It may come as somewhat of a surprise to hear that in addition to my interest in skepticism and critical thinking, I am an amateur psychic. And while I would never claim to be as skilled as such luminaries of prognostication as Sylvia Brown or John Edward, I do possess certain abilities heretofore unexplained by western science. On the morning of January 1st I became overcome with images of what was to be. They were fleeting at times, and a coherent narrative was difficult to piece together, but some were more complete. I do not know from whence these visions of the future come, but I do know that they are not merely figments of my imagination or fatigue induced hallucinations. As I have mulled over them for the past few weeks, I have become increasingly confident in their accuracy. But I’ll let you, and history, be the judge.
Sure Bets-you can set your watch to these predictions:
1. A natural disaster will strike somewhere in the world causing great devastation and loss of human life.
2. A celebrity will die, likely one who is young and seemingly healthy.
3. A public figure, perhaps an athlete or religious leader who is held in high regard by many, will fall from grace amid scandalous circumstances.
4. A long beleaguered sports franchise will at last achieve the pinnacle of success by winning a championship contest.
5. A scientific breakthrough will revolutionize the practice of medicine.
Maybe Nots-but I wouldn’t take any chances if I were you:
1. The result of a successful media campaign, sorghum will overtake quinoa as the most popular cereal crop amongst pre-teens and adolescents.
2. The success of Avatar, the groundbreaking 3-D film directed by James Cameron, will lead to a short lived trend of bringing classic films back to the big screen in 3-D format, the first and last, of which will be the 2004 film New York Minute starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
3. Print media as we know it will cease to exist as more and more people turn to the internet for news and information, leading to the development of organic USB ports grafted directly into a users neuroendocrine system.
4. NASA will arrange for the shipment of all remaining copies of the Sarah Palin memoir Going Rogue: An American Life into space. A spokesperson for organization will describe the decision as “just the right thing to do”.
5. The origin of Crop Circles, which by late Summer will become increasingly more common around the world, will be revealed as the work of Southern Nebraska Museum of Art and Fixin’s curator Ronda in Belvidere, Nebraska.
You’d Have to be Crazy’s-but isn’t that exactly what “They” would want you to think:
1. Because of a sudden shift in the planet’s magnetic field, August 9th will come after August 10th. This will cause widespread missing of appointments.
2. The Large Hadron Collider will gain sentience on October 4th. Its subsequent war on humanity, and goal of the total annihilation of every living organism on the planet, will be thwarted by an unlikely band of losers led by comedian Dane Cook.
3. Free will, a once treasured aspect of humanity, will become increasingly unpopular as more Americans are assimilated into a mysterious hive-mind, possibly by logging into iTunes.
4. Alien visitors from another galaxy will finally make their presence known to mankind. This historic event will be televised around the world after a reality television competition between world leaders decides who will make first contact. It will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest and judged by former President Jimmy Carter, Japanese Emperor Akihito, and Eugene Levy.
5. Cancer will be cured in late 2010. But not the cancer as we describe it today. The cancer of 2010 will actually be an entirely different affliction, possibly head lice, and it will succumb to a blend of both modern and traditional medicine, and perhaps ghosts.
Baton Rouge, LA-Experts in Traditional Chinese Medicine are warning acupuncture patients to seek out licensed practitioners after a string of grisly cases of apparent spontaneous human combustion.
“We aren’t saying that every recent case of spontaneous combustion is linked to the incorrect placement of acupuncture needles,” Kuang Zhu LAC, Chief of Applied Acupuncture in the Health and Wellness division of Vic’s Day Spa and Pet Grooming Center, explained in a press conference held today at their flagship location on Airline highway. “But in some cases, there is a relationship that is hard to explain otherwise.”
Zhu, a legally licensed acupuncturist in Baton Rouge for over thirty years, expressed concern that there are patients seeking out unlicensed and poorly trained practitioners that don’t charge as much per session. “These rogue needle wielding impersonators don’t fully grasp the power of acupuncture. With great ability to heal comes an equal ability to harm.”
Acupuncture, an ancient component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, involves the insertion of small needles into specific points on the body in order to influence the flow of life energy. These points are found along meridians, major pathways in the body through with our life energy courses. When life energy is obstructed, it becomes stagnant, and illness develops. Properly placed needles relieve this obstruction and improve our health. Needles placed haphazardly can, according to Zhu, lead to further obstruction, a worsening of one’s health, and ultimately a fiery death.
Zhu states that the phenomenon of injury by inappropriate acupuncture is not new. He has seen countless milder cases over his three decades of practice in the United States. But the worst occurred during his childhood in China. “Neighborhood gangs and even local police forces would use purposefully incorrect acupuncture as punishment or as an interrogation enhancer,” Zhu revealed. “Once I saw a body with the goshin needles still inserted in acupoints I did not even know existed. Oh, the disharmony! My childhood ended that day.”
But not every local acupuncturist supports Zhu’s theory that excessive and erroneous needle placement is to blame for the untimely explosions of Baton Rouge citizens. Frank Grimes, a local chiropractor who specializes in acupuncture, reminds us that correlation does not necessarily equal causation. “Yes, a number of the remaining body parts have been found with needles still in them,” Grimes admits. “But my concern is that linking acupuncture to spontaneous human combustion is akin to the claim that chiropractic manipulation of the neck causes strokes. Perhaps people already about to explode seek out acupuncture for symptomatic relief.”
At the heart of this issue for Zhu and his colleagues is the health of his community. He admits that acupuncture induced detonation is rare despite the recent spate, and that most people who receive acupuncture from improperly trained practitioners will at most experience mild stagnation of their Qi. “The majority of the victims of acupuncture fraud do not suffer from serious conditions. My main concern is that people with serious imbalances in their yin and yang might delay seeking out proper care just to save a few bucks.”