Originally posted December 30, 2013
Mike Bohler recently was a guest once again on Karl Mamer's Conspiracy SkepticPodcast. The topic discussed this time was the 1919 Black Sox scandal, where some members of the Chicago White Sox were bribed to throw the 1919 World Series where the Cincinnati Reds downed the Chicago White Sox in eight games 5 to 3. This episode was a bit different as it focused on an actual nearly indisputable conspiracy rather than on a conspiracy that only exists in the minds of some folks' imaginations.
Karl and Mike give a decent overview of the events that culminated in the rigging of an entire Baseball World Series including the low pay of the players, the cruelness of the White Sox owner, and the fairly short window for a career for a ballplayer during that and really any era.
As is the norm with Karl's laidback style of interview, some of the most interesting parts of the episode are Karl just chatting with Mike and Mike telling stories about his dad who played some professional sports and other odds and tidbits. I will say some of the lack of background knowledge about the professional sport of baseball was a bit annoying to me. I am not a mega-baseball fan, but I follow the game. A few things about the lack of background knowledge of the professionalization of the game as well as the changes that took place after the 1919 World Series were missed opportunities. It did not make this a bad episode by any means, but how the game was changed to encourage home runs and the shortening of the World Series from 9 games to 7 would have added to things.
Mike also has his own Conspiracy podcast The Skeptics Guide to Conspiracy which is housed at the Dumbass Media Empire. I downloaded a bunch of Mike's episodes on his seven part series of the JFK assassination conspiracies onto a new podcast app Castro.*
So far, I am four episodes into the JFK series. I am impressed. Mike, as I have heard him as a guest, usually knows his material, but when speaking off the cuff he tends to speak in a bit of a disorganized manner. However, on his show I am not sure if he has a written script or just talking points but he is more clear in the information he wishes to convey. Also, Mike on SGC speaks a bit slower and lower in a more radio-man style, which is a nice touch.
While I have not finished the entire JFK series, so far the information about the assassination is organized in a clear manner, which progresses in a logical way. The first episode was the generational background on what occurred on that fateful day on November 22, 1963. The second episode discusses the Warren Commission Report on how it was formed, who was on it, and what were its general findings and conclusions. The third in the series discusses the reason for and the findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Also brought up is why Mike believes this committee was the flash point to the large belief that there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. The fourth episode covers Lee Harvey Oswald's connections to communism, the Soviet Union, and Cuba. So far, each episode was an enjoyable listen and I plan to listen to the final three episodes as soon as possible.
I would like to thank everyone who has taken time to read this little blog over the previous year. In many ways, it has been an exciting year for me with Skepticism. I finally met Karl Mamer, and I have been lucky enough to meet a couple other skeptics who do very good work contributing to the overall cause of skepticism. In all cases, Karl and others are just plain folks trying to do their bit in the fight against woo-woo, nonsense, poor media reporting, and dangerous health advice. Skepticism has seen some high points this year, particularly the heat coming down on the Burzynski cancer clinic, and it appearing Dr. Burzinsky's false hope factory might be shut down. There were other 'wins' throughout the year. Still, skeptics just being plain folk has its drawbacks too.
The internal strife within the community continued, and then depressingly continued some more. It seems to be the new skeptical normal which is irrationally inefficient, but as we are all human, it is all too inescapable. I have no expectation other than the coming years will be more of the same. I have no major plans or overhauls for this blog in the coming year. I do plan to try and blog more on newer or at least new to me podcasts, and focus less on the old standbys. I encourage the reader to take a chance on some new sites as you never know when you will run across a gem such as the Skeptically Challenged podcast. It is okay to make time to try something new and possibly miss a week of the SGU or Geological podcast. I swear. You won't die, and might find something as good or better. Finally, if you have a few coins left your pocket after holiday shopping give a few bucks to some skeptics. Whether it is the SGU, the JREF, Doubtful News, the Token Skeptic, or some other site, given that the majority of skeptics are not rolling in dough.
*Castro podcatcher is for iOS devices. It is very suited for and in the image of iOS7. While it is very pretty to look at and with a slick minimalist design, it is a bit too minimalist for me. I like having control of the speed of the play on the face of the screen. It's far from a bad experience, but for someone who juggles 15 to 20 podcasts at a time, it is not quite enough for me. For the time being, I'll be sticking with Downcast.