Gut Rumbles

March 14, 2005

penn and teller

One of my favorite shows on television is Penn and Teller's Bullshit!. They frequently lampoon "conventional wisdom" on topics that I have blogged about in the past. They are good at it, too.

Tonight, they went after feng shui and bottled water, two of my favorite subjects. Feng Shui is allegedly a "science" that uses ancient Chinese formulas for centering your energy and achieving the perfect tao. For a price of about $7,000, an expert will come to your house and rearrange your furniture to achieve absolute harmony with the universe inside your abode.

They hired three such experts and put them to work on the same house (separately, of course). All three used the ancient "science" and precise formulas to come up with three different answers. They took identical twins, gave one a $150 Feng Shui haircut and the other one a $16 cut from a local barber shop. Strangers interviewed on the street couldn't tell the difference.

And people are actually pissing away that kind of money on this BULLSHIT.

The bottled water segment was even better. 75% of the people participating in a blind taste test picked New York City tap water as being better tasting than the bottled water. They also made up some fancy names, filled a bunch of bottles from the same garden hose in Los Angeles and offered a "Water Menu" at a restaurant. People who sampled the "different" waters agreed that the $7.00 a bottle stuff was better than anything else on the menu, they all had distinctly different tastes and ALL were much better than local tap water. More BULLSHIT!

I can't believe that people are gullible enough to fall for such bullshit, but they do, in droves, and bullshit sells for big bucks here.


Believe it or not, New York City water wins taste tests all the time. It comes down from the Adirondack mountains and is pretty good water.

The worst water I ever tasted was Valetta, Malta. Geeze, that shit was horrible.

Ask Jim about Galveston water. That sucks too, or it did when I was there in the 70's. I stuck to other beverages when I was stationed there.

Posted by: StinKerr on March 15, 2005 03:43 AM

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and...
those are the ones ya wanna concentrate on.

Do you think Mr. Mojo Risin' was just being nice about it when he wrote "People Are Strange", or did he use the word "strange" because "imbecilic dipshits" didn't rhyme?

I just wish this was as dopey as people get.
But, it isn't.
Not by a loooong shot.

Posted by: Stevie on March 15, 2005 06:08 AM

Hmm... maybe I should start bottling my tap water and selling it. Genuine New York taste-test approved double filtered grade A super-duper spiffywater. Only $5 a quart.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on March 15, 2005 08:15 AM

I just came back from New York City and as Stinkerr said the water there really does taste pretty good. It's the only thing I did not find expensive.

Posted by: Steve on March 15, 2005 08:17 AM

I love Penn and Teller. Thet have a new movie coming out that YOU would appreciate, Rob - it's called "The Aristocrats," and it's basically the history of the dirtiest joke on the planet, it's history and origins, and a huge list of A-list comedians telling it. Since the joke is a tradition amongst comedians, and is essentially an improv piece (other than the first few lines and the last two lines, which are always the same), the movie never gets boring. One of those ones you walk out of with sore ribs from laughin so hard.

Posted by: Steve on March 15, 2005 10:14 AM

I know an interior decorator who picked new furnishings for a nice home. He looked around and found the "perfect" lamps at K-Mart, of all places. He knew they were right but that the client would not accept something so inexpensive. So, he marked up a $35 lamp to $400, and the client loved them.

Posted by: Woody on March 15, 2005 10:32 AM

Right now Showtime is doing re-runs of Bullshit! The scariest episode from last season was about PETA. Those nut cases should be locked up.

One of my favorites was the one they called "Humbug!" about language and the First Amendment.

Season 1 is out on DVD, and season 2 is supposed to be out soon. It would be worth your while to check them out.

Posted by: frank on March 15, 2005 10:44 AM

Why is it that people are more than willing to pay a dollar for a pint of water yet bitch about the price of gas?

Posted by: Conspiracy Dude on March 15, 2005 11:16 AM

Both seasons 1 and 2 are on dvd and I've bought them both.

This is some of the best material I've seen this year. I'm half-way through Season 2 and I'm trying to savor each one - it's practically an event in our house when we watch a new episode.

Some don't like their style, but it fits me to a tee. If it weren't for the cursing, I think it should be required viewing in high school. People fall for too much sh*t these days.

Posted by: Schro on March 15, 2005 11:44 AM

Didn't you know that Evian spelled backwards is naive?

Posted by: Robert on March 15, 2005 04:09 PM

I was living in Detroit in the mid-70s, and Bob Greene had a regular column in the Free Press. I still remember the column he wrote about Perrier water, which was just being introduced. The headline was "Marketing Genius sells Water for $2.78 per Sixpack."
I laugh my ass off when I see people buying bottled H2O.

Posted by: John Cunningham on March 16, 2005 12:20 AM
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