Mrs Dr*T was unable to give an opinion, reminding me of (worringly!) Wellington Grey's excellent cartoon, "When Geek relationships get old".
Still, as my friend makes up a double digit percentage of the readership, I should oblige.
Anyway, I find myself in Ireland on business and being Irish, am reminded at the funny dichotomy (or perhaps not) that exists with Ireland being a *very* Catholic country and yet also being *very* superstitious (as Doreen Marron would be quick to tell you - there's something about the eyes).
Which brings me to today's Irish Independent, in which there is an interesting story regarding phone Psychics:
Premium-rate psychics vow to fight €60 call cap
RegTel (the Irish Phone regulator) has released a draft code of practice which will do number of things - 2 important ones, as I see it:
1. Limit the maximum cost of call to €60 (currently €90), with a warning given when €30 is reached (Approx 12 minutes).
2. Clearly state that they are for 'entertainment purposes' only.
That works out at an astronomical €180 per hour! Without being crude, I can think of many forms of 'entertainment' which (I'm told) cost a lot less.
Obviously, Ireland's major premium rate psychic phoneline operator (Irish Psychics Live) will fight against it. How are they supposed to give practical, sensible, life-predicting advice in 24 minutes? (NHS Doctors get about 8 mins, just for comparison). Obviously, it's the people's needs they worry for, not the profits. (Which just for completeness, were €2.6 million on a turnover of €5.6 million for 2006, with some individual bills reaching over €2,500 - just for entertainment, you understand. The population of Ireland is 4.2 million).
Honest people - helping people. And taking their money. And not helping them. Turning vulnerable people into vulnerable, poor people, with no benefit to show for it (but just for their entertainment).
In a 'strange-but-true-thankfully-it-kind-of-came-good-in-the-end'-type story, the New York Post ran a story about the jailing of Psychic reader Tammy Mitchell, who managed to persuade a high-flying city banker that he had "evil in his life", and got him to cough up about $500,000 to sort it.
As the Irish would say, she saw him coming.
The penultimate paragraph is excellently understated:
Mitchell has been busted at least four other times for allegedly swindling people from New Jersey to Florida.
With all this money to be swindled off naive psychic believers, it's no wonder that few have taken up James Randi's $1 million Paranormal Challenge.
Certainly in Ireland, you can make a lot more from legally scamming people, without the rigmarole of "truth" and "proof" to worry about.