On September 27th Doug Baker of Portland lost his German Shepherd Fremont, according to The Oregonian, November 30, 2003. After an extensive search that included placing newspaper ads, tacking up fliers, creating a website, writing hundreds of letters to veterinarians and animal shelters, and offering of a $1000 reward, Baker failed to find his dog. He then contacted Harry Oakes, a professional animal tracker.

When Oakes failed to locate the dog, Baker hired four psychics. Each psychic had a different scenario, but all claimed they had spoken with Fremont. The dog told one psychic that he was fenced outdoors with other dogs, the people called him "Pal" and "Chief," and that "he missed his home." Fremont told another psychic that he had been dragged into a car. The fourth psychic said there was a lot of junk in the area where the dog was being held. None could tell Baker where he could actually find Fremont. Baker also consulted a white witch who cast spells and gave him dream cards to put over his bed so he could contact Fremont through the spiritual world in his dreams. Baker paid up to $100 a session with each psychic.

Thanks to the Sunday Oregonian article, Baker received a tip from someone who had seen a dog matching Fremont's description running wild. With that tip, Baker found Fremont within two miles of where he had been lost. According to the veterinarian who treated him, Fremont had probably run loose for the 68 days that he was missingódespite the psychics' reports that he was fenced with other dogs.

According to The Oregonian, December 4, 2003, "Baker said that he wouldn't have found Fremont if it had not been for the hundreds of telephone calls from people who responded to the [Nov. 30, 2003, Oregonian] story."

Baker's total tab for finding Fremont: nearly $21,000.

From the James Randi's website (December 12, 2003), we learned of an interesting exchange between David Finn and eBay after Finn tried to sell his soul along with a printed title to it for $0.25 on eBay. Correspondence centered on 1) does the soul exist (if not, then eBay said there was "nothing to sell") and 2) if it does exist, it could not be sold because eBay does not allow the sale of human body parts.

Finn argued, "...if a purchaser chooses to believe in such a thing as a soul then it should be his right to purchase such an item."

In a letter to eBay, Finn wrote, "As to the argument that if the soul does not exist it should not be available for sale, I would then also assume that would disallow the sale of, for example, psychic readings, prayers, feng shui or astrology services, etc., all of which are as unprovable and improbable to be genuine as a soul. I notice however that you have listings for 'Healing' crystals, astrology readings and psychic consultations.

"You could of course say that the 'Healing' crystals, for example, are tangible objects. In that case, I would have to say that I also was selling a tangible object, as my offer was for a written title for my soul. I see no difference in selling a piece of paper representing my soul or selling a crystal holding alleged 'energies.' In my listing I at least made explicit mention that I was not claiming the actual existence of the soul, and that the belief of disbelief was the responsibility of the purchaser."

Randi's website (December 5, 2003) also alerted us to a new product for wine drinkers. The "Shooter Buddy," on sale at, claims to improve the flavor of your wine by duplicating the effect of slow aging. Here is what the manufacturer says:

The Earth's magnetic field helps create the great taste of fresh fruits...

The delicate magnetic alignment of the liquid particles is destroyed during the crushing, straining, pasteurizing, fermenting, and distilling used to manufacture liquid beverages, and much of the smooth natural taste is lost. The traditional slow aging process of wine and distilled spirits allows the particles to once again become aligned by the Earth's magnetic field, but this process takes years, and dramatically increases the cost of the finished product.

The Shooter Buddy quickly realigns the particles in your beverage by surrounding them with extremely powerful Neodymium magnets. These are the strongest magnets currently known to man. They're made from a combination of rare earth elements that create an extremely powerful replica of the Earth's magnetic field.

In as little as ten seconds, Shooter Buddy restores the natural balance destroyed in the production process, recaptures the fresh taste of nature, and duplicates the smooth mellow flavor generated by years of traditional slow aging.

The suggested treatment times for various beverages are given as:

Distilled Liquor: 10+ seconds
Wine: 30+ seconds
Fruit Juice: 10-30+ seconds
Milk: 10 -30+ seconds

All this for $29.95 for the "Junior" model and $49.95 for the deluxe "Senior" model.

This might be just the thing to go with your biodynamic wine! But aged milk? The test is, will it sour in just 30 seconds?

The Oregonian's Arts & Entertainment section, June 20, 2003, informed us that the Portland Alien Museum is now open. Actually, we knew that because the owners, theologian Lawrence Johns and dentist Stephen Hanns, had a booth at the McMinnville UFO-Fest in May where they sold items such as alien finger puppets and blue crystals to protect against alien abductions. The museum features a library, children's activity room, UFO art exhibits, a 3-D virtual reality "Thrill Ride," UFO paraphernalia, and a gift shop.

Speaking at the museum's opening, Clyde Lewis, investigator and host of KOTK's "Ground Zero," reminded everyone that the majority of Americans believe in UFOs. The Oregonian quotes Lewis saying, "This is a place where people can study and make up their minds based on the evidence." No word on whether the museum also carries literature skeptical of UFO claims.

The museum is located at 1716 NE 42nd Ave. in Portland. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for students ages 6 to 18, children under six get in free. The museum is open 10 AM to 6 PM daily.

Copyright (c) 2006 Oregonians For Rationality