Late Night Infomercials 

Last night, as I was heading to sleep, I flipped around the TV looking for something to watch. I don't generally watch a lot of random TV, as TiVo has kind of removed that from my life. But there I was, flipping from channel to channel, looking for inspiration and entertainment.

First I stumbled upon this wonderful little informercial for Sea Vegg, pills that contain sea weed/kelp. According to the creator of the product (Scott Kennedy), eating kelp is the reason that Japan is kicking our ass in math and science. Really. Kelp is the reason that all Asian people live so long! Here's the hook:

Humans cannot consume the seven rays of sunlight energy. Due to the miracle of photosynthesis, ocean plants consume both the Sun and the Sea. Healthy humans can then consume these powerfully potent plants which concentrate chemical energy from the Sun and the Sea. With Sea Vegg â„¢, you can feed your cells the most nutritionally potent and mineral rich family of plants on Earth.

See, we can't absorb the seven rays of sunlight energy! I'm assuming they mean the seven colors of the visible light spectrum, but, if i remember my science correctly, there's not really 7 "rays" -- it is a spectrum of wavelengths that changes gradually. So there's actually infinite rays! Where are my extra rays? Why do I get only 7? What a rip off!

Now, it's not to say there's not possible health benefits from eating kelp, just like eating any plant. It's quite possible that kelp's environment does give it certain benefits. But I just wanted to make fun of the informercial, as the guy came across as a borderline racist ("seaweed is why all Asian people look young ... it's a fact!") and I like to make fun of pseudoscience. Plus, when I tried to find any reviews of the product, everything I came across was written by either whack job super-hippies who claimed that it changed their lives, or by whack job religious nuts who didn't care what the science said, they'd seen it work first hand.

I think I'll conclude that Sea Vegg is a crock of shit.

Moving on, a couple of channels up the dial (ahh .. old timey TV vernacular) was Dr. Ho and his miracle massage system. Awesome, Dr.Ho! First, that's a pretty great name. Second, I love informercials when they get doctors on, as it's fun to guess what they are a doctor of and where they got the doctorate from. In this case, Dr. Ho is a Doctor of Chiropractic and Acupuncture. Rock on! So not really a doctor at all!

Now, I'm not going to knock massages or acupuncture. I love me a good massage, and I have no doubt they are helpful in making folks feel better. I know some people who swear that acupuncture works -- and it's possible that it does help in releasing tension in the same way a massage does. But as a health cure? Ehh .. the jury's kind of out.

I don't have as much contempt for Dr. Ho. He seemed like a nice guy. And he's Asian and looks really young, so he must eat kelp. That means he must be a genius! I take it back, I'm going to order me a double massage chair.

One last thing. On Dr. Ho's site, there's a link to testimonials, the usual "Nothing else worked, but oh lordy, your stuff makes me feel like a young hippie again." My favorite is this one though:

I want you to know I tried other massages with six electrodes thinking that six was better than two and nine volt batteries would last longer than the two "AAA" batteries. I bought the six electrode massage and tryed it,l was shock by the massager and put it in the return to sender box. l saw the DR-HO'S massager on MSN and I bought one to try because my kids started charging me for massages. WOW! I am hook on the feeling my DR-HO'S massager gives me. My kids have meet their match and I save money which gives me less stress. l bought the double massager so I would double my pleasure.The features I like the best are the Pocketsize, how long the batteries last,the timer,the massage modes,the electrodes are not in your way,the carring case,the relief I get from all and any pain I feel!!!

Glenn Contreras, Garyville, LA, USA

You know ... if I didn't already know what this person was talking about, I'd definitely think they were talking about a different kind of massager. Which makes the comment in the middle about the kids charging for massages make sooo much more sense.

In conclusion:

Dr. Ho!
Thumbs Up!

Sea Vegg = Crap
Thumbs Down!