Acowlytes! From the people who brought you Special One Drop Liquid and ShooTag (Froot Loop Central, that is) I present today for your delectation a new wonder of the modern age. Allow me to introduce, direct from Somerset’s Maperton Trust, the astonishing HELRU:

The Head Lice Repelling Unit (HELRU) is a small device using the latest technology to repel head lice from infesting children and adults.

“Awesome!” I hear you cry. “My head lice infestation is OUT OF CONTROL. I want a dozen of these things right now! But before I spend my money, how does it work?”

Ah yes Faithful Cowpoke, I have trained you well. It’s the very question I asked myself when I heard about this wonderful gadget. Fortunately for us, the Head Lice Control website has a comprehensive FAQ and our query is the first one on the list:

How does it work?

Without a comprehensive understanding of technology e.g. that used in space travel, it is not really possible to provide a very satisfactory answer.

That’s right, dear friends. Frequently Asked Questions are not necessarily Frequently Answered Questions. The technology that HELRU, uses IS rocket science! There’s no use us worrying our pretty little heads about all that technical stuff!1 Just fork out £19 ($US31.00) and trust them! They say it’s science, and, gosh, therefore it must be!2 One thing is for certain – the cash you’re handing over for the HELRU gives you much better value than what you get from a ShooTag. The HELRU’s effects last for a very decent 2 years! And it has much more entertaining testimonials as well:

Please forward another head lice unit as soon as possible, my previous one went in the washing machine and now my son has started to come home with unwanted visitors.

Ma’am, it only protects against head lice, not Scientologists.

Elsewhere in the Maperton Trust Universe (which is most definitely not the same one in which the rest of us reside), you can get a free online treatment for anything that ails you! It’s as simple as clicking a button.3

Yes, indeed, it does sound ‘incredible’. As in: ‘having no credibility’. But what the hey, all they want is an email address, what have I got to lose!4 Clicketty click!

The website counts down, during which time something is supposed to happen.

You know what, I have to confess I felt kind of ‘better’ afterwards. Not in a specific way, but a little more energized, maybe even a little happier… OH COME ON! Who believed me for even a second? The whole process is about as effective as putting Special One Drop Liquid on your CDs. I swear I could hear pinging sounds in my brain for the entire time. There is, however, a disclaimer (surprise!):

Not everyone ‘feels’ the effects of the treatment at the time it is being delivered. Sometimes no feelings are felt and no effects are noticed. Sometimes however, the benefits are only evident some time after the treatment has finished.

Righty-ho. So maybe I can expect a delayed effect. I fully expect it to kick in sometime this evening after a glass or two of the Quinta Ruban. Now that’s a proper special one drop liquid.


Via Professor Bruce Hood

  1. Perhaps the term ‘space travel’ is apropos in this context though; someone at the Maperton Trust is definitely on another planet. []
  2. Seriously, why don’t they just say it’s magic and be done with it? They have a picture of a unicorn on the damn thing for chrissakes! Why even bother with the pretense of science??? Actually, let me answer that question: They bother because they know that science works. They are trading on all the credentials of legitimate science (which they eschew when it doesn’t suit them) because proper science, done by proper scientists using proper scientific method, quite demonstrably has credibility. Unicorns, quite plainly, do not. []
  3. I wish I could give you a direct link to this wondrous resource, but this site must be one of the very last to use frames. Most people have figured out that frames mean far fewer hits on their pages and have abandoned them years back. That Maperton is stuck in teh intertubes Stone Age hardly surprises me. []
  4. I probably don’t have to tell you that you should not, under any circumstances, leave a real email address on a site like this. Usually – as is the case on the Maperton website – you don’t need to. It doesn’t even do a rudimentary check of address viability. So use this random identity generator and have at it! []

You know those daft motivational posters that have been well-and-truly pwned by Despair.com? Well, a guy named Douwe Osinga, who works for Google, has made a fun web time-waster called Auto Poster that allows you to make your very own inspirational pontifications to send to your friends and colleagues. Just as I am doing for you, dear Acowlytes.

The app draws from Google’s vast cataloguing of the cyberworld for its images.1 All you need to do is provide the wisdom. Auto Poster even thoughtfully chooses appropriate text colours for you!

Go now. Waste time. Post your efforts back here and make me laugh.

  1. Be warned – the images are selected via Google’s Image Search, and the intellectual property is likely to be reserved. Whatever the crap that actually means in this day and age… []

One of the great things about traveling is that it opens up whole new vistas of opportunity for Cow Scrutiny. This post is the first in what I think is likely to be a continuing riff, as I commence my long stay in the US. These posts will all be grouped together under the new Stranger in a Strange Land category.1

Of course, one of the first things a Stranger in a Strange Land needs is a guide. And when in Rome Los Angeles, the must-have accessory is satellite navigation. On my arrival, therefore, I was provided with a TomTom XL – the XL presumably referring to the ‘extra large’ screen that I requested (it actually doesn’t seem particularly ‘extra’ large to me, which is remarkable in a land where ‘extra large’ usually means ‘so big that a normal human can’t deal with it in any meaningful way’).

The TomTom XL is a masterpiece of irritating technology. The TomTom people have taken the miracle of Global Positioning and created a way to interface with it that is clumsy and frustrating. It is a breathtaking accomplishment. Never in my life have I sworn at an inanimate object quite so much.2 Of course, my hatred for it is amplified by the fact that it has a robot voice that pretends it knows more about the world than I do, and we all know how fond I am of that idea.

One of the ‘features’ of the TomTom system though, is that you can log in to the TomTom site and change the default voice (Female Moron #1) for one of hundreds of alternatives. Some of these are for sale and feature the professionally recorded voices of luminaries like Kim Cattrall and Burt Reynolds (I kid you not) or ‘humourous’ instructions provided by C3PO and SpongeBob. Why ANYBODY thinks this kind of thing is a good idea is completely beyond me, unless of course you opt to choose the voice of someone you really hate in order that your levels of rage and frustration from using the device can be amplified just that little bit more. The last thing I want to hear as I miss the exit to the freeway because the damn thing told me to ‘go straight on‘ when it should have said ‘take the right lane3 is Yoda advising me that I should have used The Force.

Most of the downloadable voices on the TomTom site are free, however and (Oh frabjous day!) are created by the TomTom community. Now the fact that a person is willing to even admit that they belong to the TomTom community is enough to indicate what kind of very special surprises might be in store here. Sure, there are pages of interminable ‘My Sister’s Funny Voice’ and ‘Me Doing Impressions of a Dalek’4 but there are also some gems. Such as the voice of Alan from the Macedonia Primitive Baptist Church.5

Hey hey! Christian navigation! That’s bound to be laff riot. A typical ‘instruction’ from Alan’s voice is:

God has blessed you on your journey. You have reached your destination.

Of course if God doesn’t bless you on your journey and you die horribly in a collision with a truck you won’t ever get that message, but hey, that’s how religion works, right?

My mind goes wild when I try to imagine Alan’s other instructions. OK, we’re coming to an intersection… Alan! Which way do I go?

At the next intersection, take your advice from Genesis 13:9: Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

Or, on approaching the entrance to the freeway:

You are about to enter the freeway. Let me remind you of Isaiah 35:8: And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

Yes, I can see it now. First traffic lights and Alan and the TomTom would be out the car window and into the LA River.

I’ve been here one week and already I can see the root cause of America’s road rage problems. What, with all the sugar in the breakfast cereals and celebrity voices directing traffic it’s a miracle that anybody gets anywhere in one piece.

  1. As if I don’t have enough categories already! []
  2. I mean, seriously. Operating systems don’t need to be like this folks. This is why we Apple fanboys bang on so much about how good Apple stuff is – it’s all in the operating system and the interface! TomTom people – just take a look at the Maps app in the iPhone. See how EASY that is to use? There ya go. []
  3. I’m not exaggerating – the TomTom frequently tells you to do something which is plainly not correct, and I have become convinced that it is maliciously programmed to do so. []
  4. Still not exaggerating. []
  5. Now, I didn’t even know there was a thing called the Primitive Baptist Church, but the words ‘primitive’ and ‘Baptist’ do sit quite comfortably together. []

My friend Kirke snapped this shot out of his Bondi apartment window yesterday…

Good morning Acowlytes all. Speaking of things that are so absurd that I couldn’t have made them up in my wildest flights of fancy, I ask you to cast your mind back in time to Sunday April 27, 2009. Can’t remember what you were doing on that day? Well then, you evidently haven’t been using your Special One Drop Liquid. If you don’t recall that particular milestone of scientific progress, I urge you to go back and refresh your memory before reading on…

…because I have been contacted by someone who quite obviously has a stake in Special One Drop Liquid. Entropy0 left this comment on that post:

Wow. What a glorious display of just how stupid and ignorant you all are. Attacking a product you’ve never even looked at with your own eyes, with infantile mockery and ridicule. A product someone had to find for you on the net. A product who’s operating principles you’ve demonstrated to be too stupid to understand. Not only have none of you morons ever tried the product you’re bashing (you kids obviously couldn’t afford it anyway), you’re all too dumb and insecure to have even tried the free tweaks you’re bashing. You are the same unevolved cretins who back in time, lambasted a surgeon with mockery and ridicule for being so silly as to wash his hands before surgery. How nice to see some haven’t evolved beyond their ancestors in hundreds of years. Luddites literally so scared of science, they prefer to revel in their own ugly ignorance and display it before the rest of the world; rather than try to understand the world better. I mean really! Aussies. Is there any race on earth stupider? Given that you people are known to chainsaw your own arm off to win a bet, it’s hard to imagine. Thanks for making me laugh in the middle of my day. LOL! Now go back to slapping each other on the back for squashing a bug.

Well, after the inevitable pinging noises in my brain settled down, I decided we should scrutinize some of Entropy0‘s points. After all, there’s nothing I like better than a good reasoned argument.[tippy title=”*”]OK, OK, I know I shouldn’t engage in Loon Bashing, but really, they bring it upon themselves…[/tippy]

First of all Mr 0 (may I call you Entropy?) infantile mockery and ridicule is not something I dispense lightly here on The Cow. Oh no, I save that for very special grades of stupidity – like Breatharians and people who believe their anus is haunted or that lizard men rule the Earth. What these things have in common with the claims of the purveyors of Special One Drop Liquid is that they defy the rational, normal commonsense with which we navigate the world.

Now, let’s examine some of your criticisms:

•I haven’t looked at the product with my own eyes.

No, that’s true. But I don’t need to try and live on nothing but air for a month to know that idea is an unparalleled piece of stupidity either. Nor do I need get myself bled to get rid of an illness, nor feel the need to sacrifice a goat when the moon eclipses the sun in order for the light to return. Why? Because I’ve made an effort to understand the world through rational thought. Unlike yourself.

•Someone ‘had to find’ the product for me on the net.

Er. No. Your implication is that I was looking for it. I could never have anticipated something as daft as Special One Drop Liquid in my most bizarre dreams. It was brought to my attention by someone as something I would find amusing, which I do.

•We ‘kids’ couldn’t afford Special One Drop Liquid.

Well first of all, that would have to be the first time I’ve been called a kid in forty years or so. I’m flattered. Oh, I see, it was meant to be condescending! Silly me. And I actually could afford to buy it, but the measure of my sanity (not to mention my robust financial situation) is that I choose to spend my money sensibly.

•I don’t understand Special One Drop Liquid’s ‘operating principles’ because I’m too stupid.

I don’t understand Special One Drop Liquid’s ‘operating principles’, that’s for sure. But it’s not because I’m too stupid – it’s because the claimed ‘operating principles’ defy any kind of cogent thought processes. Allow me to quote a small segment of the press release:

To ascertain the effect of the One Drop Liquid on any object, it is only necessary to initially stand the small bottle containing the Liquid on the face of the object.

So, to paraphrase: if I stand a bottle of SODL on an object, I will be able to ascertain from that act the effect of the liquid itself on that object.

Without even entering into any discussion of what Special One Drop Liquid does, this claim is manifestly absurd (well, except if the liquid does nothing at all I guess, in which case the proposition is self-evident).

•I and my readers are ‘too dumb to try the free tweaks we’re bashing’.

Oh, would they be the things like: A piece of blue paper placed under a vase of flowers will improve the sound of music played in the same room? Or: Tying a reef knot in the power cord of my music system will improve the sound?

Just to prove I’m not ‘too dumb’ (or perhaps to prove that I actually am) I tried both of these things. As I expected, there was not one whit of noticeable effect on my music. So how are you going to explain that, eh? (let’s just forgo the old pseudoscientific party-line that my ‘skeptical vibes’ stopped the effect from being activated – it’s the lamest get-out-of-jail-free card of all time).[tippy title=”†”]And I will point out here that I am a very experienced sound engineer, and eminently qualified to assess any ‘effect’ on the music that might have been taking place.[/tippy]

There is no reasonable explanation that you can offer that these things would work, and there isn’t one on the Special One Drop Liquid website either.

•I and my readers are ‘the same unevolved cretins’ who would not have scoffed at medical hygiene in previous eras.

Ignoring the rather desperate and sad name-calling (of which you seem inordinately fond – excellent debating technique sir!), the conjecture is unprovable and irrelevant; show us proper science behind the absurd claims for Special One Drop Liquid and we will believe it! It’s simple.

•I and my readers are Luddites.

Do you actually know what a Luddite is? Let me quote from Dictionary.com:

Lud·dite (lŭd’īt)
1. Any of a group of British workers who between 1811 and 1816 rioted and destroyed laborsaving textile machinery in the belief that such machinery would diminish employment.

2.One who opposes technical or technological change.

Now I assume you are not accusing me of being a 19th century mill worker, so you must, somehow, think I am a person who opposes technological change. If you’ve bothered to read any of The Cow you will know that’s an absurd and erroneous claim (except when it comes to robots, it goes without saying). Mr 0 – I am not opposed to technology or change. What I am opposed to is ludicrous piffle that poses as science.

•Australians would chainsaw their own arm off to win a bet.

Aside from demonstrating your incredible gullibility (the chainsaw bet is a much-loved yarn, pal) you are using the most pathetic of ad hominem attacks: damning one person on the basis of a racial stereotype. Nice work.


On a serious note, Cowpokes, people like Entropy0 confuse, frustrate and sadden me. It is plain that unlike the Steorn swindlers, or the ShooTag crooks, Mr 0 and the sellers of Special One Drop Liquid are not fully attached in this reality. His tendency to name-calling and ad hominem vilifications is a measure of his inability to fully engage with the lack of any real rationality in the claims of a product like Special One Drop Liquid. I find it hard to take his vitriol personally (like I most certainly do with the badly-educated Melissa Rogers from ShooTag).

It makes me wonder what a strange world Mr 0 inhabits, where things like turning up the corners on a curtain in a room or placing CDs overnight in the freezer have magical effects on music quality. Is he just deluded and imagining the effects? And does that actually matter if he thinks the music ‘sounds better’? Has he ever bothered to try a blind test, where, over a series of trials an impartial person randomly determines whether or not to place blue paper under a vase in his ‘listening area’? And if he did, and found that he actually couldn’t tell the difference, how would he respond?

Your task for today is to try one of the methods for ‘improving’ your music suggested on the Special One Drop Liquid site. They’re all pretty simple and cost nothing at all. If your music sounds better – or even different in any way at all – make sure you let me know.


*OK, OK, I know I shouldn’t engage in Loon Bashing, but really, they bring it on themselves…

†And I will point out here that I am a very experienced sound engineer, and eminently qualified to assess any ‘effect’ on the music that might have been taking place.


In an attempt to exact revenge on all those tacky tourist traps throughout the world that have erected maquettes of the Eiffel Tower in order to ‘frenchify’ their businesses, Gallic architects are contemplating the construction of a replica of the Sydney Opera House beside the river at Gennevilliers, in the north-west of Paris.

I propose that they take this concept even further by declaring the area ‘Leetle Owstrellia’ and erecting an Outback Steakhouse, an Ettamogah Pub, and Leyland Brothers World II.

In my vision, rugged-but-handsome-stockmen would roam the precinct offering parched visitors a cold one, and sundrenched maidens would hand out lamingtons on every corner.

Only in this way will Paris ever come to know the true Australia.

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