Millenium Bat Awards

Dear Readers, I’ve been thinking. And that should make you very nervous – almost as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. So far, I’ve wrought nothing but mischief with my thinking. This is a fair warning: I’ve been using the spaghetti between my ears.

There are so many awards given out each year – Nobel, Pulitzer, Booker, Sahitya Academy, Peabody, Oscar, Grammy – its a long list. For people that inspire others thru exalted performance. For people that set a high-water mark for human endeavor. For people who open new doors in the quest for knowledge. For people that are brilliant.

But what about the dumb & the batty, huh? What, no awards for them?? Isn’t that tantamount to discrimination? I’m particularly distressed that we don’t have awards to recognize charlatans, quacks & assorted purveyors of pseudo-science. So, I decided to rectify this grievous miscarriage of justice. IMHO, such people deserve awards ceremonies amidst fanfare. I decided to give out awards for those that are so batty that “batty” ain’t the word to describe them anymore. And the ones that bamboozle simple folk, because – well, their bam is just too easy to boozle πŸ˜‰

I announce the “Millenium Bat Awards”, the awards for the snake-oil selling crocodiles. I give out these awards only once in 1000 years, so pay attention. Winners have been selected for furthering the cause of science: their ideas are so bizarre, that their very mention will make sensible people say “YEWWW!”. I believe that this “YEWWW!” factor will send people careening towards genuine science.

What kind of bats-in-the-belfry ideas are high in “YEWWW!” factor? Take utter bunkum like the takionic headbands. For a mere $29.95, you can get a head or wrist-band that will counter your stress levels. Its the elastic equivalent of the happy pill, “Prozac”. Its energy is harnessed from “Tachyons that are not from the electro-magnetic spectrum. They are (drum-roll, please) Magneto-Electric!”. Gee, that sounds scientific! Thank God James Clerk Maxwell is dead. If he were alive, he’ll be so depressed that he’ll need a takionic wrist-band.

Now, for the awards – “Delirious Dingbat” and “Wonky Wombat”. There’s a certain hierarchy & a pecking order in these awards. DD is easier to get than WW. Sort of like the difference between Padma Shri & Padma Bhushan given by the Indian government. Only the “Padma” awards are for heroes. And mine are for crackpots. Indeedy yes!

I regret that I had to overlook a few stellar performers for these awards. Deepak Chopra – His accomplishments straddle several disciplines. Quantum Physics, Neurology, Philosophy, Logic, Statistics, Religion, Psychology. If we let him compete, he’ll win all the awards hands-down – so, in the spirit of competition, I had to drop this over-achiever. Tom Cruise – For his immense contributions to Religion & Philosophy. I was particularly moved by his latest Youtube video where he talks with wisdom (& without blinking, if I may add) about KSW, E-Meters & Thetans. But since the Church of Scientology relentlessly sues people for slander, I had to reluctantly drop Tommy from my list. And Dinesh D’Souza? Give that man a few more years, I say. He has tremendous potential. As it is, he’s just warming up.

I award Uri Geller the “Delirious Dingbat” award. Geller is known for his prowess in bending spoons – “Psychokinesis”. He would merely “stroke” the spoons for a few minutes & voila, – they broke into 2 pieces! Not to mention “Telepathy” – He could describe hidden drawings! Many people were hysterical, ecstatic or both & hailed their latest Messiah.

Ah, but there were a few flies in the ointment. Many magicians did the things Geller did, using simple “Parlor Tricks” – without claiming to be “Psychokinetic”. Noted skeptic James Randi was one of them. Nobel Laureate Physicist Richard Feynman, who needs no introduction, stated that Geller couldn’t bend his car keys πŸ™‚ Geller routinely used his “Telepathic” powers to predict the outcome of sports events – only to be routinely wrong. Geller faced a public denouement on national TV in Johnny Carson’s program: You see, he couldn’t bend Carson’s spoons. His tricks only worked on spoons from the Geller home πŸ˜€

In spite of all this, people believed Geller, more voceiferously than ever. Because he claimed to be a Juju man. And he is utterly believable, right? The fact that he once was an amateur magician can’t have a bearing on anything, would it?

Masaru Emoto gets the “Wonky Wombat” award. Emoto is known for his New Age Woo Woo stuff of “Messages from Water“. He says that your thoughts have a deep impact & hence, positive thoughts are better. So far, I agree. But the dude went on to postulate how our “vibrations”, words, thoughts and music have a profound effect on the crystal structure of snow & ice. He took pretty pictures of these crystals & published it as a book to drive home his point.

Water must be a very impressionable & confused beverage that needs therapy. Water from city reservoirs formed ugly crystals – but when they heard chanting from a priest, they felt better & arranged themselves into beautiful crystals. It didn’t stop there. Apparently, water can read very well. Emoto typed a few names on a piece of paper & tagged it to ice trays. Pretty crystals formed when the name tag “Mother Theresa” was affixed – and ugly crystals when “Adolf Hitler” was affixed. Hey, I’m not making this up. Its all in his book.

Its unclear at this point if water from Japan (where Emoto carried out his experiments) can only read Japanese, or can do equally well with English or Spanish πŸ˜‰ Skeptics have challenged Emoto to do a double-blind study, where the experimenter won’t know what words the water was exposed to. They also want him to publish photographs of different parts of the ice specimen. I don’t know what his plans are, but I’m not waiting with bated breath. As Andy Warhol famously noted, Emoto got his 15 minutes of fame. And sold his books.

Albert Einstein once said, “The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the power of all true science.” I’m not immune to the allure of mystery. Mysteries give us the scope to think, to analyze, to imagine, to expand our knowledge. If someone can really exhibit paranormal powers, for e.g. – I’ll be blown away. But before that, I’ll ask many, many questions to ascertain the truth. And then, I’ll try to find out how it happens. For you don’t leave a mystery alone. The beauty of a mystery is in cracking it.


  1. Quote

    ROFL. The takionic bands are hilarious. There was a time when I bought into the Uri Geller fraud. Thanks for pointing us to the James Randi expose.

    As for messages in water, i wonder if water from Tamilnadu can learn tamil, water from Karnataka can learn Kannada etc. This could be an excellent way to imbibe language skills πŸ˜›

  2. Quote

    Sukumar – Thanks for your comment.

    We have to thank the tricksters for making lay-people aware of particles like tachyons! What gets me is, how they talk as if tachyons are needed for stability – tachyons themselves are highly unstable πŸ™‚

    The water from South India – Hmm. What a thought provoking question πŸ˜‰ I have an idea. Let’s borrow a leaf from Karunanidhi’s book & call it “Dravidian Water” and leave it at that. Deal?

    “Imbibing language skills” – you are killing me πŸ˜€ Perhaps Emoto can take your suggestion & publish pictures of people imbibing water from India – and breaking spontaneously into a Hindi song. “Le Jayenge, Le Jayenge, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge!”. That would totally revolutionize teaching languages.

  3. Quote
    Ganesh Vaideeswaran said January 31, 2008, 12:37 am:


    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ :). May you be blessed by the milk devouring Lord Ganesha for this laugh riot.


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    Hi Priya, As usual..your post is hilarious. When I came to Clearwater 5 years back, one of my American friends told me about the Church Of Scientology. I thought he was making it up. And when he told that there are millions of followers, I was shocked. About Tom Cruise and John Travota being super star followers of that religion)?), couldn’t believe that I was in 2003 and in USA.

  5. Quote

    Ganesh – Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

    For just $19.95, I can send you the idol of a milk drinking God. Shipping & handling extra – just $4.95 per piece. Milk not included, though. Hee hee hee – just kidding πŸ˜€

  6. Quote
    Priya Raju said January 31, 2008, 1:48 am:

    Vamsi – Thanks for your comment.

    What is a religion? What is a cult? I plan to write a post on that very soon. Please stay tuned πŸ™‚

  7. Quote


    Your blogs are thought-provoking yet witty! Need to coin a term for hilarious blogs like these… Like “HILARICLE”. Any thoughts?


  8. Quote

    “Hilarilog” – howw is it?

  9. Quote

    Rupi – Thanks for your comment.

    We’ll call it whatever you want. A rose by any name smells as sweet. And a gutter by any name stinks as much πŸ˜€ My posts are closer to the gutter than the rose, I think πŸ˜‰

  10. Quote
    pk.karthik said January 31, 2008, 5:16 am:

    ROFL ….Priya modety is thy name bu calling your posts as gutter….

    I feel bad that you have hurt the “SENTIMENTS” of scientologist by giving o Wombat or some bat award to Tom Cruise ..booh boh booh

  11. Quote

    Hey … cant decide the smell through computer. hehehe
    I just commended the way you write; not the content. Rupi

  12. Quote

    Karthik – Thanks for your comment.

    And your compliment πŸ˜‰ I’m ever so modest & unassuming.

    Ayam so sorry about Tom Cruise. Pardon me, my slip is showing. I didn’t know the Church of Scientology had sentiments. I know they have Thetans, Auditing, John Travolta & Inter-galactic warfare….now also sentiments, it appears πŸ˜€

  13. Quote
    Priya Raju said January 31, 2008, 6:32 am:

    Rupi – When I said “gutter”, you should have said “no, no, your content is smelly, er – smells like the attar of roses”. Not some smart-alecky comment about how smell can’t be transmitted via blogs.

    Sheesh! One has to fish so much for compliments 😐

  14. Quote

    No Awards for me ?*SIGH*

    *Looks at the bottle of vodka on the table, then looks at the glass*
    *Opens the bottle of vodka, looks at the glass and the gulps down the entire bottle in one go*


    Mujhe award nahi mila to kya hua *HIC* We will try next time okay? *HIC*
    *Pats himself on the back*

    Arey o gaonwalon! I am going to bend this bottle of vodka by just staring at it

    *Stares at the bottle for a moment*

    bloody bottle! #@$#&! Trying to act smart with me eh?

    *Curses the bottle*

    *The bottle begins to tilt*


    *Falls flat on ground*

    P.S: Loved the post ! The only thing is i was mostly ignorant about most of the stuff you wrote anyway, Ignorance really is bliss πŸ˜€

  15. Quote
    pk.karthik said January 31, 2008, 7:16 am:

    Priya ..Of course you wont believe the amount of sentiments included in that religion..the best being jumping on a couch and acting like a jerk (oops sorry messiah) πŸ˜‰

  16. Quote
    Priya Raju said January 31, 2008, 7:56 am:

    Jassi – Thanks for your comment. Hilarious πŸ˜€

    So, you want an award. How remiss of me – now, I’ve driven you to vodka. Let’s look at the good news first – Its not beer, which looks like piss, smells like piss, tastes like – whoa, hee hee. I wouldn’t know – ask Morarji Desai. Whew, caught myself at the nick of time.

    But you did make that bottle tilt & fall. You deserve an award. Just send me $99.95 by post. I’ll mail you the award. That money’s for shipping & handling πŸ™‚

  17. Quote
    Priya Raju said January 31, 2008, 8:02 am:

    Karthik – Oh, the “Sofa Jumping Because No One Can Save Katie Holmes Now” sentiment? Yeah, that counts πŸ˜€

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    why don’t you give “selfishness genius” award to Jerome Kerviel as he did massive fraud and collapse entire French bank Societe Generale. You know what since he didn’t gain anything, he will walk out from jail with in 1 year and he would land up in Harvard University or some top university, as a finance professer. πŸ˜‰

    Very nice post.


  19. Quote

    Subba – Thanks for your comment.

    Yes, I was stunned by what happened at Societe Generale. I mean, the stature of that bank is such. But Kerviel gained nothing? I have a hard time believing that. What about all the hefty bonuses that he collected by showing bogus profits?

    “The Economist” didn’t have anything to say about that – just said that his supervisors have been fired too & how he learnt dark arts by being a manager himself.

  20. Quote

    Yes..he didn’t gain anything, thats what I red in
    He is very simple man, he devoted his whole life to judo and sailing but he didn’t buy luxury yacht yet πŸ™‚ May be as you said, he was a scopegoat as his managers wants to earn big money as bouns. One more thing if you notice, he is just resemble Tom Cruise.

  21. Quote

    Subba – Thanks.

    I read in a news report that he negotiated for a higher bonus with his bosses. And that’s when he thinks they should have found out. Perhaps when compared to vast sums that were lost, his bonuses were piddly.

    Yeah, now that you mention it, he does look a bit like Tom Cruise. Kerviel looks too stern, which ruins his looks.

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    You need not had to go too far to quote Tommys and Gellars. Dingbats and Wombats are abound here…who can “materialise” things out of thin air…..who can offer golden rings to CMs and the chamchas….and those who release advts in magazines with “real stories” (yes…stories…huh) on how the “deciples” “benefitted” from just the sight of the “mahaaan”……hmmmm…mera bharat mahaan ….aur mere bharat mein har koi mahaan hai…..#$@!@$!…..what Gellar…he can just bend a metal spoon…..Karviel can bring down an empire !!!!

  23. Quote

    Mahesh – Thanks for your comment.

    Yes, some god-men & god-women resort to parlor tricks to create the illusion of divine powers. Many are small-time crooks, not worth mentioning. I wanted to showcase a few people that appeal (sadly enough) to the educated people across the world.

    I guess some of your points are about Sai Baba. From what I know, his heart is in the right place & he has done a lot of good things to help people. Most recently, he has kindly agreed to clean up the Cooum in Chennai. Why go after someone who has done many positive deeds & gives solace to millions? Yeah, some sleight of hand could be involved in his conjuring up lingams & sweets – as illustrated by P.C.Sorcar. But looking at the big picture, I can’t bring myself to deconstruct a decent person. Please let me know what you think.

    If you think of big-time god-men or god-women that are dubious or evil or both – do let me know. Rajnish was totally kooky. I’m thinking of doing a post on him sometime.

  24. Quote
    pk.karthik said February 4, 2008, 4:04 am:

    OMG …..
    Priya are doing it again…I just hope Vinod Khanna does not read your blogs…..

    But on a serious note Priya ..I am not in favour of Godmen…..But I dont see anything wrong in people chasing such mean if it consoles them and gives them peace of mind….

    But they should take the onus when cheated as they visit these Godmen on their own accord they should not blame the govement and others for being foolish ….

  25. Quote

    Priya….I have high regards for Sai Bab for he has done much more than a goverment can do. Adopting 800 villages and supplying drinking water is no joke. I fall at his feet. But not for other gimmicks. Which are totally unnecessary, if you ask me. People have all the rights to go after someone in search of peace. But like Karthik says, it should be on their own. If people go after godmen to get ‘realisation’ (or thats what I have been thinking all these dayas !!!) why should be they be shown some illusions. Do people weigh the ‘godliness’ with such illusions? I really pity them.

  26. Quote

    Karthik – You are right. People should be on their guard. Too many people want to lean on others for emotional support. Instead of turning to family & friends, they turn to con-men/women. Such people always need an external crutch to function.

    And you say these people blame the govt for the godmen/women cheating them?? Yeah, nothing ever is their fault, is it? Not even their own gullibility & their failure to take precautions. Nothing ever is their responsibility & nothing ever is within their powers. Not even their own lives.

  27. Quote

    Mahesh – Yes, shocking for us. But many people (some with an MS or MBA or PhD) get all teary-eyed when they see Vibhuti falling from the photographs.

    Even genuinely nice folks have to resort to such crowd-pleasing gimmicks to prove their worth πŸ™‚ We think someone with the heart & ability to adopt 800 villages exhibits godliness. Others need lingams to be produced from thin air to believe that.

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