Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just another snarky Thursday

Dear Ones, there's so much to snark about that I scarcely know where to start. Today, along with the usual fare, I'm going to stretch beyond my normal subject matter and venture into the realm of True Religion and even pop music. Well, after all, as they say in the New Wage, everything is interrelated.

Prosperity preacher-ette a P.I.T.A.? Jury says no.
This week's Trial Of The Century is over, and the defendant has been cleared. Naturally, I refer to the civil trial of Victoria Osteen, wife of
prosperity preacher Joel Osteen. Victoria and Joel are co-pastors at Lakewood Christian Greed Clearinghouse Church, which is sort of in my neck of the woods, so it's pretty much been front-page news in these parts.

As most people know by now, Vicky got into a tiff with a Continental Airlines flight attendant in December of 2005. Perhaps she was taking that old Continental ad campaign, "We really move our tails for you," a little too literally. At any rate, the flight attendants apparently weren't moving their own tails fast enough for the Vickster when she demanded that they clean up some liquid that had been spilled on her first-class seat (her plane seat, that is).

Vicky was hauled into court by one of the flight attendants, Sharon Brown, who claimed she was assaulted by the pouty preacher-ette and suffered stress, anxiety, loss of faith, and hemorrhoids* as a result. To compensate her for her pain and suffering, she demanded ten percent of Vicky's net worth. That would have kept her in Ambien and Preparation H for the rest of her life!

Since Victoria is white and Sharon Brown is black, the race card was played in this trial, as you might imagine. I wasn't there to witness the original incident, of course, but I honestly don't see much evidence that the Osteens are racist. I do think our own Rev Ron summed it up best when he said that this seems to be a clear case of entitlement (Victoria Osteen, who apparently did throw a bit of a snit on that plane back in December of 2005) versus opportunism (Sharon Brown).

As for Sharon Brown's claim that the incident made her lose her faith, let me say, Sharon, that if your faith was based on belief that Victoria Osteen is a benevolent angel, I suggest that you find another faith pronto.

And as the Houston Chronicle's Rick Casey wrote in a piece last week:

Any person whose belief in God has been shaken because of a 20-minute encounter in which she says a minister of the Lord berated her, shoved her aside and elbowed her in the breast over a delay in cleaning up a small water spill in the first-class compartment, simply has not been paying attention.

Had she not noticed that (a partial list):

•Catholic priests molested little boys for years and Catholic bishops routinely covered up evidence, even transferring offending priests into virgin territory where they repeated their crimes? Nor were Roman Catholic priests alone. Other denominations have suffered similar scandals.
•Televangelists have been caught in scandals ranging from Oral Roberts' threat that unless the faithful coughed up $8 million God would "call me home," to Jimmy Swaggart's affairs with female prostitutes and Ted Haggard's affair with a male prostitute, to Robert Tilton's raking in an estimated $80 million a year accompanying prayer requests, while throwing away many of the requests without reading them?
•Both presidential candidates have felt compelled to denounce high-profile pastors after they said outrageous and hurtful things?

If faith in God required perfect preachers, organized religion would long ago have gone the way of, say, the Communist Party.

But I also think that if Vicky and Sharon really want to play this for all it's worth, they will have a public reconciliation, complete with tearful hugs, and will then go on to create a scam... er... a ministry about The Power Of Forgiveness, and heck, why not throw Racial Harmony in there too. That way it's win-win-win!

And since this was my idea in the first place, I get a cut of the action. Twenty percent. It's only fair.

PS added on Friday ~ I should clarify that even though I am not exactly a fan of Victoria Osteen (though her husband seems to be a nice enough guy), I think the jury made the right decision.

Damn! Another good scam op I didn't think of.
Speaking of religion, have you ever sat down to think about what might happen to your beloved pets after The Rapture? Of course, if you're a heathen like me, you won't have to worry; you'll be left behind with all of the other heathens and you can take care of your fur babies yourself. But if you're a born-again type who has pets, and you're worried about what's going to happen to them when Jesus comes back to take all the righteous home with Him, you might want to
take note of this ad on Craigslist, which Ron sent to me yesterday. "Yet another of life's worries eliminated by an entrepreneur with integrity!" he wrote.

Here's the deal: Out of the goodness of his heart, a guy who describes himself as an atheist, but a moral one and an animal lover to boot, will take care of your pets until their own end days – and all for only a small deposit of $50 US. "They will get adequate amounts of food, water, and shelter as well as plenty of exercise and socialization as I would imagine there will be a lot of pets that will be abandoned by Jesus the pet hater that will need to be cared for." The guy insists he's the real deal and that his ad should remain up on Craigslist, because it addresses a concern that is shared by over half the US population. If this site is any indication, the guy's right. And pet-rapture insurance may just be the next booming cottage industry.

I GOTTA find me a scam.

Duck and run... the Sun's gonna blow!
I'm afraid I have some really bad news, Dear Ones, and this might even cancel out your plans for The Rapture. The Sun – that big ball o'fire in the sky, not
the respected newspaper – is going to explode next July unless we stop it.

Here's the bad news. The good news is that there's still time to stop this event. By the way, the United States government, including the President, know about this, and they're not doing anything to stop it. Just thought you'd want to know.

Scientist Bob is at it again!
You may have already seen this, especially if you're on anti-self-help fraud activist
John Curtis' email list. Last week Dr. Curtis sent out an email saying, "Beware... you knew it was only a matter of time before someone would release a sequel to the The Secret!"

The reference was to a new New-Wage moviemercial and hustledork showcase, Beyond The Secret.

While as always I appreciate the updates from John, as well as the work that he is doing, I gotta say this: That "Secret sequel" train left the station a couple of years ago. After all, within months of the original DVD's release, not only was there talk from The Secret's producers about a planned sequel, but numerous New-Wage hustledorks were spewing products out of every orifice, and all of them claimed to reveal secrets that went beyond The Secret (thus, for all practical purposes, being sequels to The Secret). Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale, for example, released not one but two works called The Missing Secret. One was only about forty bucks. The other, released later by Nightingale-Conant, was $120.00 ("Activate the full power of the Law of Attraction using the critical 'missing piece' that empowers you to automatically and consistently get what you want!"). He also came out with something called Install and Transcend The Secret. And pretty much every "teacher" in The Secret has come out with at least one product vowing to tell you the secrets that The Secret left out.


As for this newest "digital snake oil," as John Curtis so aptly described it in his email, on first glance at the preview web site, it looks to be simply an outgrowth of "Scientist Bob" Proctor's infamous Science of Getting Rich scam franchise. But that's only because there's a big ad banner on the page that leads you straight to that particular scam page, which provides you with an opportunity to fork over $1,995 to Bob Proctor. In return I think you get a leatherette briefcase and a pile of papers, as well as a chance to bilk other people. Pass it on, man.

If you do a little digging, though, you see that Beyond The Secret involves more folks than Scientist Bob; nevertheless, it really is just another run-of-the-mill New-Wage joint venture, calculated to make a few hustledorks rich(er). Beyond The Secret appears to be an entire franchise, inviting you in with this claim: "The Secret gives you everything you want. Now you can go beyond The Secret!" Um-kay, but...if you already have everything you want, why would you be particularly motivated to "go beyond The Secret?"

Well, you should always want more, I suppose. That's the New-Wage way: always strive for more; otherwise, you're setting your sights too low and selling yourself short.

Anyway, here, from the "About Us" on one of the "link partner" sites, is the (unedited) scoop on the BTS franchise:

Colonel Kentucky (KFC) another example or maybe one of the most renown companies worldwide that being MacDonald's their systems are so well oiled its hard to believe but MacDonald's are the single largest prime real estate owners. I bet you thought they were just a fast food franchise well you’re right the guys who bought the franchises are the guys paying MacDonald's oodles of buckaroos so that they can purchase even more real estate. There are many such examples and this too I know.

Well you can’t afford to buy a MacDonald's franchise nor do you want to spend the rest of your life making hamburgers just to pay the bank back the money you would have to loan to purchase a franchise. You do however have access to a system that you can well afford, that will generate
passive and residual income for you just have a look at our BTS Wealth Creator and Pay It Forward income generators. Those of you who can’t afford to get on board we have a free trial membership at Pay It Forward, so that when you decide, or should I say, do attract the money necessary you will then be trained to continue and become financially free.

And here's a link to the "Pay It Forward" page on the same site. ("100 Dollar Bills Racing through Your Hands daily and directly into your pocket ... Interested? Sure you are! Let our automated ... completely turnkey system do it for you! A 3rd Grader can do this and enjoy success." )

Click the link labeled "Your Cash Plan" (on the right-hand side of the page) and be sure to carefully study the Flash animation on the page. I don't know about this "Infinite Moneyline" system...it sort of sounds like a pyramid scheme to me, which I understand is illegal in some countries (the US, f''rinstance). But I'm SURE that there's nothing funny going on. After all, Scientist Bob would never be involved, even indirectly, in any dodgy deals, would he?

Mock Victor Hamstrung shows his true colors
Speaking of hustledorks, you may have seen Steve Salerno's
recent SHAMblog post on Chicken Soup co-creator Mark Victor Hansen, aka America's Ambassador of Possibility, who has an "endearing charismatic style," and whose latest scam is "Youngevity," or the art of tricking yourself into thinking you're younger, smarter, and better than you really are. (If you have trouble doing this, Mark will teach you how to do it if you give him enough money.) As Steve implies, Mark's site speaks for itself, but I think the man really shows his true colors in these two videos:

  1. Here's the video that Steve might like to forget, but I don't think he should. After all, Steve is not the one being exposed as as an arrogant a--hole.
  2. And here's a video where Mock Victor babbles on about his meeting with Esther and Jerry Hicks, who have made a huge fortune off of Esther's imaginary buddies, "Abraham." In this one, Mock Victor just can't say enough good things about the Hicks, adding that he and his brother are devoted fans, and that Jack (Canfield, his co-partner in Chicken Soup) is a raving fan of the Hicks' flights of fancy. Mock Victor gushes that a new (at the time) Hicks book that he'd just read "will zap you at the DNA level." Gee, all these guys are scientists. Who knew? He also reveals a money-visualization exercise that the Hicks shared with him, an exercise that he claims he's been doing, with terrific results. That exercise is astoundingly similar to one described by the Blunder From Down Under, David Schirmer, in The Secret. Lest we forget, here's a link to that classic...
    The Secret with David Schirmer

    And yet, amazingly, people apparently continue to give their money to Mock Victor. It must be his endearing charismatic style.

    And Melissa Etheridge isn't either. So there.
    By now almost everyone knows that pop singer, Broadway star and former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is
    a new daddy. See, all of those swooning Claymates were right all along: he's not gay!

    Well, on second thought...

    News of the birth got the wags going on numerous boards, including the Broadway World forum, where remarks such as this appeared:

    Wasn't he, and you know, all his psychomates, denying this a few months ago?

    Wow Congrats! Any word who the father is?

    Meanwhile, on the Clay fan discussion boards, the gals are nobly swallowing their disappointment over the fact that they or their lovely daughters or granddaughters were not the ones chosen to bear the Holy Child. And, speaking of losing one's faith, some are having great difficulty reconciling Clay's conspicuous Christianity with the fact that he and the biological mom, his 50-something record producer Jaymes Foster, are not married and conceived their child in vitro. That's just not the Lord's way, is it? This is from the moderator's guidelines for the Clayby thread on the Clayboard:

    This is not a thread about religion. Do not discuss religion in this thread. Do not say X must not be Christian, X is a bad Christian, a true Christian wouldn't do ABC. I know some of you will have a hard time with this one and we apologize however this is not the place to have a religious discussion or discuss someone's faith.

    But never mind; most of the church ladies have shelved their judgment and are busy knitting booties, both virtual and real, for the new arrival.

    BTW, since Clay's son was born at 8:08 AM on 8-08-08, there's both a Biblical and a New-Wage numerology angle here. Clay even mentioned it on his blog, and the Claymates picked it up and ran with it (and ran, and ran, and ran).

    At any rate, we now have something else for the Claymates to talk about, make banners and montages about, write poems about, agonize publicly and privately about, drive their poor bewildered husbands crazy over, and work into their fanfic for the next few years! (Warning, click that fanfic link – especially this one – ONLY if you are prepared for nausea. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

    Oh, and if you're wondering why I've singled out Clay Aiken, whom I actually think is a very talented young man (and I really don't give a rat's behind about his sexual orientation, or how good a Christian he is, or even whose egg was used to manufacture the kid), it's because Ron and I worked on what turned out to be a rather controversial Clay fan project a couple of years ago. During that time we gained insight into a "culture" that makes New-Wagers seem almost sane by comparison.

    That's it for now, Dear Ones. More tomorrow!

    * After the trial began, Sharon Brown apparently decided that Victoria Osteen did not cause the 'rhoids after all.

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Anonymous ValiumVeins said...

"... the art of tricking yourself into thinking you're younger, smarter, and better than you really are.."

Should I dare to mention this name again your insatiably talented guruish faithless leadergod David Schirmer is the cherry on the pie here. Hustledorks and newagers aside, whats going down with that guy?

I thoroughly enjoy what you right about all of these people, some stuff I agree on some I dont but thats ok too just keep it up!

Friday, August 15, 2008 1:55:00 AM  
Anonymous hhh said...

In the interview, that chicken soup guy says America is the greatest nation for two reasons- because you're the givingest nation both individually and collectively, and because you have self healp books.
Is that true Cosmic Connie?

Congratulations on knowing about 'the Sun', by the way. This is where a large proportion of our dimmest f--kwits get their daily thought allocation. 's very important, they wouldn't have any otherwise!

Friday, August 15, 2008 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous hhh said...

I've had an idea.
How about- 'Huckster of the Year' or 'The Connies', 'The Golden Fleece Awards' or sumpting?
And this years special award for mind mangling metaphysical gobbledigook goes to.....
I'd like to thank the academy, my parents, and the spirit of infinite light, and all my possessing entities without whom none of this would be possible, for gifting me this award blah blah puke.

You could get together with your fellow bloggers and form a judges panel.

Friday, August 15, 2008 4:48:00 PM  
Anonymous hhh said...

Brassneck of the year.
Most gratuitous use of the word 'quantum'.
Most abusive ashram.
Megalomaniac of the year.
Most ineffective healing gadget.
Most sued.
Most annoying '7 steps to' program.
Most bogus qualification.
Most followers de-programmed.
Most controlling guru.
Most profitable scam.

Just thinking out loud here

Friday, August 15, 2008 5:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

ValiumVeins, I have no problem with your mention of The Blunder From Down Under, because my thoughts were pretty much along the same lines... and in fact I added a few sentences about the similarity between Mock Victor's shtick and some of the stuff Schirmer has said. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog!

Friday, August 15, 2008 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

HHH, I don't know if America's greatness is in any way related to selfish-help, but I do know that the US is the best place for selfish-help hucksters like Mock Victor to make a buck.

Friday, August 15, 2008 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You may be on to something re those awards, HHH. I'll think about it... Thanks!

Friday, August 15, 2008 10:39:00 PM  
Anonymous hhh said...

Well, that skeptico guy is good on science, and funny. Radzik seems to be a good man for the gurus. That orac guy may be good for the quacks. You and salerno for the self help.
Just mulling.

Incarnation of the year.
Atlantean priest of the year.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 5:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG not a sequel to the secret, look what happened to AMERICA when the first one was released?

All those blunders from down under thought the banquet was much more interesting in the USofA and they took up residence there. Now they are all fighting it out in the law courts because they all seemed to have a focus on the $'s from the secret from the beginning.

I also thought that at the very least out of respect for the people byrnes had screwed over to make her gazillions she would let them take the crumbs from her table at least. If we are to see a sequel then where the hell is it? It's been a while and I'm sick of their bitching and crap.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 1:50:00 AM  
Anonymous hhh said...

Oh look, no one gives a sheep about my idea. What a surprise.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 5:29:00 AM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Awwww, MAN! If the sun blows next July, it's SO gonna mess up my plans for becoming eternally youthful!

Now I'm worried SICK about who's gonna take care of my pets after this Armageddon....what? Fifty bucks? My useless pets aren't worth fifty bucks! Guess I'll just put extra food and a really BIG dish of water out for 'em. I'm sure they'll be fine.

Here's your scam--and unlike those idiot Millerites of a century or so ago, you end up looking like a hero instead of a looney. Start a movement to get everyone together to think Good Thoughts and "attract" the sun into NOT blowing up next July. Sort of like that hurricane lady, only instead of calming tropical storms you can calm stellar explosions.

You can also take a page from Blair Warren and sell magic sun-explosion-preventing rocks. (Another of your links I should have thanked you for!) Thus keeping with the fine self-help tradition of just ripping your schtick off from other people. Or as I prefer to call it, "standing on the shoulders of giants", or however that one goes. (It all just kind of mushes into one big vat o' poo after a while, don't it?)

I KNOW this will work, because I myself am the proud possessor of the world's first "make the sun rise every morning" rock. Every evening I meditate and praise my rock for doing such a good job, and sure enough the next morning it works again! And I'm open to joint ventures and affiliates, so long as I don't have to do any work...

The great thing about selling "keep the sun from exploding" rocks is, unlike those other SCAM rocks YOU can offer a money-back guarantee. "If the sun explodes at ANY TIME during your ownership of this rock, merely ship it back to us postage due (That's RIGHT! We are so confident of our rocks WE PAY THE SHIPPING!) and your money will be cheerfully refunded. No questions asked!"

Now the next big question that demands resolution: if the sun explodes ... what will happen to Clay Aiken?

Sunday, August 17, 2008 6:16:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 1:50, I don't know what happened to the official Secret sequel either. Maybe Rhonda just lost interest after all of the squabbling, or maybe she's still so busy raking in the dough for the first one that she decided a sequel is unnecessary.

To me, and to quite a few other folks as well, it seemed obvious from the very beginning that The Secret was mostly about the money. Even so, I do think that the other people who played a major part in the original DVD's success deserve their piece of the pie, no matter what their motives were. I imagine that will be hammered out in the courts.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 5:48:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

HHH, I think your idea is a fine one. Maybe the problem is that not enough folks have seen it yet. I probably need to put it out in the display area rather than just talk about it here in the back room.

OTOH, I didn't get too many responses when I held that "MystiCouple" contest last year. Maybe the indifference of the masses is something we just have to learn to accept...sigh...

Sunday, August 17, 2008 5:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Another brilliant idea, Mojo. I'm thinking that I probably need to give Blair a cut of the action too. (Blair, are you in?)

And in answer to your big question: Nothing will happen to Clay if the sun explodes, because the Claymates will shield him with their bodies. Well...on second thought, Clay will be instantly obliterated, but not because the sun exploded. (Oh, bad, bad Connie.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008 5:58:00 PM  
Blogger Mary Anne said...

I can tell you what happened to the Secret sequal-Byrne got sued!

I envy you Connie for getting to see so much of the Victoria Osteen trial. I knew she was a nut from the get go. I even told my mother, who loves Joel, she was a psycho. She has that crazed look in her eye all the time. I would not want to be alone in a room with her.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 6:14:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

"I would not want to be alone in a room with her."

Most guys would probably enjoy the opportunity - for 24 hours, after which, all memory of the experience would be erased from her consciousness. :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008 1:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Mary Anne, you're probably right about the reason for the delay in the release of the Secret sequel. And now there's another lawsuit to add to the growing list -- the one filed by Rhonda's original Web strategist, Dan Hollings.

I quite agree with you about Victoria Osteen, though I still like Joel and his s--t-eating grin.

Sunday, August 24, 2008 4:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Ron, I have a feeling that 24 hours would be way too long, and that a guy might want the experience erased from *his* consciousness as well. OTOH, Joel does, as I believe I've mentioned, walk around with a big grin on his face all the time...

Sunday, August 24, 2008 4:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Schirmer was exposed on Australia Television last night as being a FRAUD, a LIAR and a CHEAT. We've all heard about this for a long time but this time he is gone. His previous employee had enough of the lies and is speaking out. It appears that the Schirmers have milked millions of dollars off good people and when they ask for it back they just make promises and never pay. In the meantime they have been boasting about flying first class, living million dollar mansions, driving luxury cars, buying artwork, making million in a day, being some hocus pocus gurus ALL LIES.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008 6:51:00 PM  

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