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.
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:
- 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.
- 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!
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.