Sunday, April 18, 2010

"I'm so sick of that old queen-he never shuts up about me" says bender

81 and out of the closet
Professional sceptic James Randi has issued a press release telling all  another of the world's worst keep secrets. At 81 Randi has announced he is gay.
 And because no-one picked it up, or at least commented on it before now, therefore, according to Randi this proves that the paranormal doesn't exist in any form. There is an interview with Randi here.

On Randi's website (where you can apply for a special Randi visa card and donate $50 to Randi's 'non-profit' organisation) you can book for something called the Amazing Meeting , a seminar to be held, suitably,  in a casino in Las Vegas in July.

Featured guests include the world's most humourless man Richard Dawkins , author of the world's most unreadable book The God Delusion, and the crude and misogynistic illusionists Penn & Teller amongst a host of others who will get together and discuss all the things they don't believe in. Religiously. And do a lot of magic tricks.
Some forums you may not want to miss:
 Feminist Scepticism – Rebecca Watson hosts an interactive panel discussion with several activists and experts, covering topics such as the lack of women at sceptical events and how feminism is compatible with scepticism.

and one perhaps the former closeted Randi may be at :
Scepticism and Sexuality – Join JREF Challenge Coordinator Alison Smith and a panel of guests on a journey through the myths of sex that will take you through misconceptions about STDs, homosexuality, pregnancy, and even basic anatomy.

If that doesn't grab your fancy try this  
Learn to Juggle! – Do you want to learn to juggle? Join famous juggler Michael Goudeau in a hands-on training session that will leave you juggling like a pro.

 The only person missing in the stellar line-up is Christopher Hitchens. He'll be at the
Sydney Writer's Festival next month where he plans to tell us how he  is going to arrest Pope Benedict XVI.

Randi has kept some strange bedfellows, so to speak, over the years. He's a fellow of the Committee for Sceptical Inquiry, an assorted collection of academics and stage illusionists along with a host of well known names like science fiction master Isaac Asimov, Dawkins (has this man ever laughed in his life?) and Carl Sagan (always suspected of being an Alien). You can even book for lunch with Dawkins and Randi. Or you could stick pins in your eyes.
tSS once visited the late writer Arthur C.Clarke in Sri Lanka when Randi had just departed after staying with Clarke for 2 weeks. Clarke was considered a sceptic in public but in private he said he didn't know what to believe in. Although he did say he was glad to get rid of Randi who had landed on him and kept ogling the house boys whose warm smiles he mistook for invitations.

The local version, The Australian Septics boasts the superb writer Phillip Adams as a member. Adams was head of the Australian Film Corporation for decades and helped get off the ground the careers of thespians like Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. He writes a weekly column for Rupert Murdoch's personal favourite publication the Australian. Adams is also fascinated, in a strange schizophrenic fashion, with ancient Egyptian culture and in particular their beliefs in the afterlife. His house and country farm are packed with precious Egyptian antiquities including a sarcophagus.
charming bender

 But back  to the old and gay Randi . He's spent a lot of time attacking spoon bender Uri Geller over the years. Geller sued Randi once and lost but as part of the evidence introduced by Geller's lawyers were some phone tapes of some young lads discussing with Randi various payments they were demanding in a purported blackmail attempt .The boys claimed they had had sex with Randi. Randi says he was never charged, others say differently but it was in 1968 so who knows ?.

Lady Mary: 'stick it next to the Rodin'
tSS once attended a  dinner at Lady Mary Fairfax's house where Geller was a guest. Lady Mary asked her butler to fetch  the "best family silver" which Geller held aloft and bent within seconds. He announced that people should check their pockets and watches. Some watches had stopped, one guest who brought along a watch that had ceased ticking years ago found it had started again and 2 people found their house keys twisted in strange shapes. If it was a trick we couldn't see it from 3 feet away. Lady Mary had the bent silver with the Fairfax crest, framed and hung next to her Rodin statue.
Later we buttonholed Geller over drinks. As we pointed out who were the richest people in the room at his request, we asked the extremely charming bender about his contact with his critic Randi and he replied-"I'm so sick of that old queen-he never shuts up about me".
Sorry Mr Randi-everyone's known for decades.It isn't  news to us.

A funny little film : the late TV host Don Lane was a believer in Spiritualism and put the famous British medium Doris Stokes on the map-he throws a tantrum and tells James Randi to get off the set of his show.