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.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Been through another hurricane, of sorts

I'm thinking it's high time for me to blog about something besides Hurricane Ike, a topic that, as you may have noticed, has dominated my last three posts. I had a real wake-up call when I created a "word cloud" of my blog (see wordle.net), and the most prominent words were "Hurricane" and "Ike." (The other prominent word, as you can see, was "Schirmer," a reference to another natural disaster I've written at length about, and will again soon... I promise.)

Giving credit where it is due, I got the tip about word clouds from none other than Mr. Fire's blog. As you'll notice if you follow the link, the predominant word on his word cloud is "car." Who woulda thunk?

But before I wander away from my recent topic of choice, there's some good news regarding the Ike relief effort: former President Bush the Elder and former President Clinton are teaming up as they did for the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Here's the link to a news story about the Bush-Clinton Coastal Fund, and here's the link to the site where you can make donations.

On a more personal front, our dear friend's beach house on Galveston's devastated west end is still standing. The first floor, which contained the garage, patio and shower area, is pretty much gone, and there's damage on the upper level as well. Repairs will be extensive, but at least they will be possible.

But it will be quite a while before Galveston and the rest of the Texas coast, as well as large parts of Houston, get back to normal. Residents returning to Galveston over the past few days have been met with distressing sights (and smells). Galveston is, as the headline to a Houston Chronicle article poignantly understated it, "not the island they remember." Maybe it will be so again, someday.

Speaking of hurricanes, over the last weekend and for a couple of days following, I felt almost as if I'd been through another one.

I just don't know how I live with myself...
To add to past charges from Secretrons that
I'm a Nazi-type hate-monger, and from some skeptics that I'm intellectually dishonest and not a critical thinker, comes the surprising news that I'm a NewAge cultist hypocrite, and apparently a racist too. (I am not providing relevant links for this latest round of accusations, for reasons that will become apparent.)

Occasionally, for no good reason, I jump into online frays that end up making me waste a couple of days I'll never get back, arguing with people about things that probably don't matter much in the big scheme of things. You may have done this too. Sometimes these arguments end up in friendship or at least a deeper understanding between/among participants. Sometimes they end up in a truce. Sometimes they just fade away and raise their ugly heads in another way later on.

Anyway, I made the mistake last weekend of jumping into a brouhaha that was heating up on one of my favorite blogs. The actual topic of the discussion was politics, but it ended up being a rancorous exchange that ultimately got so heated that the owner of the blog reluctantly (but wisely, in my opinion) closed the thread to any further comments. I joined the exchange for what I have since acknowledged is a petty reason, and one that had nothing to do with the actual topic of the discussion: one participant whose opinion was clearly outnumbered had mentioned, presumably as a means of bolstering his arguments and his credibility, that his blog has ten times the Technorati authority that mine does. He added that the donations he'd solicited and received for blogging would enable him to pay his rent that month.

In my response, alas, I came across as being self-righteous and moralistic regarding the prospect of blogging for money. To make it worse, I made a couple of gratuitous remarks about this person's motives and even about some possible reasons that people were giving him money – reasons that he subsequently said were way off-base. It was, I admit, not my finest hour. I've had time to think about it and I realize, thanks in part to this person's response to my comment, that what was really going on with me at that time was a case of money envy.

I didn't, and don't, agree with the political and social points this person was trying to make during that discussion, but that was not the immediate issue for me at the time. Very simply, I was thinking: Wow, why am I not making any effort to make money from Whirled Musings? If HE can do it with his blog...

Even so, his comparison of his blog to mine was pretty much an apples-to-oranges deal; although our common ground is a disdain for the culture of the conspicuously enlightened, mine is mainly a humor blog, and his, increasingly, is an angry political rant blog. In both tone and purpose, his blog is far more serious than mine. At any rate, I intended to use the original discussion forum to post a public apology not just for my moralistic tone but for any inaccurate statements I'd made about this person and his blog, but as I said, the blog owner closed that thread off to comments.

The next day the angry-political-rant blogger presented his version of the controversy on his own blog. He viewed the whole affair much differently than several of the other participants, including the other blog owner, and that's putting it mildly. Regarding my little part in the matter, I tried twice to send a comment (and an apology, though apparently not enough of one) to his blog, but he wouldn't publish my comments. Privately I asked him why, and he explained to me that it was because he didn't want to open the door to more grief from "vicious NewAge attack dogs." After I sent my second comment he asked me to "please stop." So I have not made any further attempt to write directly to him, publicly or privately. I am not providing a link to his blog because I do not want to open him up to further vicious attacks. (He apparently blames me because he's been getting nasty private emails dissing him for soliciting donations for his blog.)

As for my alleged hypocrisy, this person has on several occasions said I am hypocritical because even though I make fun of New-Wage/selfish-help ideas and people, I live with and am in love with a man who has studied Buddhism and considers himself to be a Buddhist. Ron is not a ritualistic, strictly observant Buddhist and has never claimed to be in the time I've known him, but he is a Buddhist nonetheless, and Buddhists, in my accuser's world, are evil. They are part of what's wrong with our world today, along with liberals, Democrats and NewAge folks.

It should be noted that the word "NewAge" is intended to rhyme with "sewage." Actually I first heard that clever little bit of wordplay seven or eight years ago from a good friend of mine who was a refugee from New Age culture, as I had been. I've used the term myself. In recent years numerous skeptics have taken to using it as well. But generally I prefer my own neologism, "New-Wage."

But I digress. To make matters worse, hypocrisy-wise, I am civil to people who believe in some of the New-Wagey things I snark about. I am even quite friendly with several of them. My accuser has also made reference to my agnosticism, which I assume is still further evidence to him of my hypocrisy, or at least of my weakness and refusal to take a firm stand on issues. After a lifetime of questioning, wondering and alternating between belief and non-belief, I remain agnostic instead of atheist. Namby-pamby, wishy-washy me: I just can't bring myself to take a stand one way or the other about the existence of G_d. Though I find Christopher Hitchens engaging and provocative, I refuse to fall in with the Hitchens camp and declare that "religion poisons everything."

Interestingly enough, the person who has pointed out these egregious flaws in me has thrown in his lot with the G.O.P., God's Only Party, though he himself is a staunch atheist. He fully acknowledges that inconsistency, but it apparently doesn't bother him. At least the G.O.P. is largely Christian, and in his view, Christians aren't trying to tear the USA apart like the Buddhists, lib'ruls and NewAgers are.

By the way, the Baby Boom generation is also evil, and our provocative blogger apparently can't wait till they all die out, although, having been born in the very early 1960s, this person is technically a member of that generation as well. By most authorities, the Baby Boom generation in the USA consists of all people born between 1946 and 1964. Granted, this guy was way too young to participate in the "Summer of Love" in 1967 or, two years later, to go to Woodstock, and he's never been one of those loathsome critters known as hippies, but he is, technically, a Boomer, whether he likes it or not. So is his hero, our current President, who, though probably never a hippie, reportedly did at one time indulge in some of the recreational substances enjoyed by many hippies (and later by yuppies, who were also Baby Boomers).**

As for my racism, all I can figure is that it is guilt by association. This person is black, I am white, and presumably most of the other folks who disagreed with him on that original blog discussion are white as well. In his view, we were all ganging up on him and using him as a punching bag.

I confess to having a strange attraction to the notion that individual people are much more than their beliefs or their political parties OR their race (as it happens, my comment on that other blog had absolutely nothing to do with race). Accordingly, I have numerous friends who don't fit into my little demographic niche. But obviously my thinking has been clouded by that evil Buddhist person I live with, and by other nefarious influences around me. I thought, however, that in the interests of full disclosure, you should know what a weak hypocrite I am. You should further be aware that I have no room to criticize New-Wage/selfish-help stuff, when I am clearly so enmeshed in liberal/NewAge culture myself.

So if you still want to read this blog, read it at your own risk.

PS ~ In case you haven't read these older posts of mine, perhaps they will help explain why I remain "on the fence" regarding what I feel are life's larger questions:

Chopra, The Secret, and the unenchanted world

Yule blog

Not that any of that in any way excuses my weakness and hypocrisy. Oh, yeah, and my racism.

* Actually, Christopher Hitchens is a baby boomer too (b. 1949). And so, for that matter, is Sarah Palin (b. 1964), whom my accuser has spent time defending on his blog. Had she been a nominee of that party that is represented by an ass, I imagine he would have unleashed the full force of his borderline-misogynistic wrath on her. But since she's the member of the "right" party (in more ways than one), he lauds this "proudly American white woman." (My own opinion of Palin? She's one tough cookie and good for her for that, but she's in way over her head, and I find the prospect of a Palin vice-presidency ludicrous, and a Palin presidency (G_d forbid) scary to say the least. For the record, that opinion makes me a feminist harpy.)

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45 Comments:

Anonymous Lana said...

Sorry I missed the fun! :-)

I'm pretty sure I know who you're talking about. Such a brilliant mind, so passionate. The 60s was one helluva decade -- and he's a product of its radicalism and the counter-radicalism that was just as radical. Everyone who experienced it, including me, has that stuff embedded in their psyche. The current crazy climate seems to be stirring that old pot, big time.

Thanks for sharing about the incident. We'll probably start seeing more weirdness in the coming weeks. Where's my boots?

Saturday, September 27, 2008 1:07:00 AM  
Anonymous yakaru said...

I spent last weekend spending way too much time going through your posts on David Schirmer et al. If you start taking money for this blog, you wouldn't be able to write like that with a clear conscience.

Great work. Just great. Also nice to read such a disarmingly honest post.

Saturday, September 27, 2008 8:54:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Lana, you didn't miss much. You're right about the far-reaching influence of the 60s. And even though I make fun of Aquarian-age loonies, IMO the legacy of the 60s is not all bad by any means.

But this angry blogger, a radical in his own right, has taken a stance on the "it's bad" side. He resents any implication that there might be deeper things going on with him. On the one hand, I share his annoyance at people who are constantly trying to pop-psychoanalyze everything and everyone. On the other, he wants his words to be taken at face value, but even when I make an attempt to do this he yells at me that I'm getting it wrong, that I don't know him, etc. (I'm referring here to private as well as public communications.) So maybe I'm just too dense to understand what he's trying to say. I have found this whole experience to be immensely frustrating.

In the beginning I thought he and I were allies, and I actually encouraged him to keep up with his writing and blogging. He sent me a couple of his songs and I thought they were pretty brilliant. But after a while we parted ways because...well...because he just became more radical and I just couldn't agree with it all -- particularly his attacks on that evil Buddhist I live with. ;-)

But hey, thanks for sticking with me and with this blog. I appreciate it, Lana. And if you can't find your boots, you're welcome to borrow a pair of mine.

Saturday, September 27, 2008 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for the support, Yakaru. I honestly don't think there's anything intrinsically immoral about asking for donations for one's blog, although I have on occasion made fun of certain hustledorks who are already rich but still ask for Amazon gift certificates. For me it's not an issue of conscience, though, because I wouldn't change the focus of my blog just because I was getting money for it.

Anyway, I'm glad you've enjoyed the Schirmer stuff; there will be more soon. Thanks for writing!

Saturday, September 27, 2008 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Lana said...

I need to be careful about generalizing or sounding like a pop psychologist, but it may not be possible for him to perceive anything else. He's swimming in his own consciousness and it's all he knows (like that metaphor about a fish not knowing it's in water).

It seems that some people are able to swim around in the water, go up onto land to see what's there, fly in the air for a different perspective, and return to the waters with the appreciation and understanding that our world is so much greater than what we originally perceived. Then there are those who have never left the water, and don't care to. Or don't know they can. Stuck-in-the-mud types who truly believe that their view of reality is the only valid one. It's no wonder you get frustrated!

This analysis is just a theory, of course :-)

Dr. Lana de La Banana

Saturday, September 27, 2008 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, Dr. Lana D. :-)

On the one hand, you could say that this guy comes by his opinions honestly because of his experiences. In fact, the one thing he and I have in common is that we have seen first-hand how destructive New-Wage culture *can* be. You've seen that destructive, dark side yourself. This person, however, was apparently wounded more deeply than I ever was by these things. I can't even claim to have been "wounded," really, just profoundly disillusioned, and then annoyed, and now mostly amused.

In addition, his direct experiences with New-Wage culture (via his ex-wife and various smarmy "healers" with whom she was allegedly involved) occurred more recently than mine. So he has a way to go in the "getting over it" process.

And so, whether you choose to frame the situation in terms of swimming in one's own consciousness or not (and although I'm not comfortable using those terms, I do see what you're saying), I understand *why* his anger is deeper than mine. I just don't agree with his conclusions.

From my perspective, the difference between him and me is largely a matter of degree. To put it in the most simplistic terms, I believe that because he was hurt more deeply than I, he sees more harm and evil in New-Wage than I do.

And I agree with him that there are objectionable ideas and people in that culture. I just can't see throwing the baby out with the bathwater. He, however, apparently thinks there never was a baby in the first place and the bathwater is poison.

He has said to me, publicly and privately, that I don't really understand him, and maybe I don't. But I've tried, and for the most part I've based my efforts on things he has actually said, not on my own projections.

Maybe time will modify his anger, maybe not. I hope for his sake that he reaches a point of balance without feeling that he's losing his "edge." Right now, though, I think anger is one of the things that keeps him going (and once again, I'm basing that on what he writes).

Saturday, September 27, 2008 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Connie,

I can never understand why everyone has to wear a label. It is pretty much impossible to simply have your own beliefs and not cross swords with someone. In my case, I am a definite atheist, however, I also find many of my fiscal and constitutional ideals aligning with the elephants. All of my family, including my wife, are staunch believers, so I simply bite my tongue as I believe above all else in domestic tranquility. At the same time, I definitely think religion is to blame for most of what is wrong with the world today, and we would be better off without it. On the other hand, I think of Buddhism as the least of the bad...

I have no idea who the person is you are referencing in this post, but I would guess they are pretty darned insecure, or they would not protest so much. I agree with Lana that we are likely to see all sorts of weirdness between now and November.

Please keep up the good work that you do in snarking the newagers (or New-Wagers) and I would recommend paying no attention to those who can't appreciate your humor.

Saturday, September 27, 2008 2:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Hi, Dave, and thanks for your thoughts (and your ongoing support). I actually agree that organized religion has been a destructive force many times through human history, and continues to be so now. To that extent I am in alignment with Hitchens et al. But once again it's that baby-and-bathwater thing... not all religious people are bad, and many are quite good. Also, I think there's a difference between religion and spirituality, and the latter can and often does exist without the former. Still, even organized religion has also been a force for good at times.

But I agree with you that it is possible to co-exist peacefully with people whose ideas and beliefs differ from yours. I suspect, however, that the angry blogger I wrote about feels that co-existing peacefully with the Evil Ones is just making the problem worse. He's definitely on the warpath now and the best thing for me to do is just get out of the way and keep doing what I'm doing.

Thanks again for writing.

Saturday, September 27, 2008 3:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Kalachakra said...

Please, where can I get some "vicious NewAge attack dogs."?
I bet they are cute when they do yoga between attacks! And I bet their upkeep is cheaper because they are vegans and don't require regular dog food.

Saturday, September 27, 2008 3:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Lana said...

Thanks for filling in more of the details. I don't know much about him except for several of his comments I've read on another blog we visit. He strikes me as a radical, angry right-winger with a lot of unfinished business.

I really do wish my magic wand was working. Not that he's asking for help (is he?), but it's hard to watch people suffer like that.

I'm still working through the pain I felt from watching Secretrons and A-H devotees harm and destroy the lives of others. I'm not sure that I'll ever get to the place of finding it amusing. That's not meant to be a slam -- I just can't imagine it!

And I should mention that for the past week I've been reading stuff about archetypal psychology, the development of human consciousness, and the like. I've been analyzing how the archetypal themes of the 60s affected me personally. So this incident struck a chord.

Well, onto the mundane duties of the day...

Saturday, September 27, 2008 5:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Lana said...

But before I go, I wanted to point out that a lot of people born between 1954 and 1965 identify with the so-called Generation Jones. I know I do.

Obama and Palin are Gen Jones.

Bush is a Boomer, yet Gen Jones voted him into office. I hate to admit that I helped put him there :-) I repent in sack cloth and ashes.

Check this out:
http://generationjones.com/2008election.html

I really like Obama's style, but not his politics. I like Palin's style, too, but no way Jose.

(Don't forget to vote for me!)

Saturday, September 27, 2008 5:29:00 PM  
Anonymous yakaru said...

Hi Connie,
Good to hear you wouldn't change your focus if you did start getting money for the site! I was concerned you might sub-consciously tone it down a bit if you did.

But mostly I was meaning that you couldn't put a price tag on the work you do here. I find it really valuable. William Blake said something about "the labour that is above wages".

Looking forward to the next installments. Thanks for your work!

Sunday, September 28, 2008 6:23:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Kalachakra said...
"Please, where can I get some 'vicious NewAge attack dogs'?

Oh, Kala, they're everywhere, and they're all trying to use the Angry Blogger as a punching bag. You have only to open your eyes! :-)

(BTW, he has on occasion called my own dear Ron a "vicious Buddhist attack dog," which I understand is a special breed of NewAge attack dog.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008 9:02:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Lana, you made some good points in your 5:06 PM comment. There are some aspects of New-Wage (or NewAge) culture that go beyond "amusing" and I didn't mean to make light of those (but I didn't take your remark as a slam). I know you're another person who's really seen first hand how these things can destroy relationships, businesses, etc. (I'm going to be telling another one of those stories on my own blog momentarily.) And even though I'm snarky/light-hearted here for the most part, I do see the "dark side" too.

Archetypes are a other whole fascinating topic, beyond the scope of this blog of course, but definitely relevant to...well, everything. :-)

Good points too re Generation Jones (and that's a very useful link you provided). I'm definitely voting for you.

Sunday, September 28, 2008 9:20:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Oh, and OMT, Lana: you asked if Angry Blogger was asking for help. The only help he's (consciously) asking for is help spreading the word about his blog, and assistance in spreading his messages about NewAge evil cultist liberals. And of course, he's asking for monetary donations as well.

Sunday, September 28, 2008 9:26:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for the clarification, Yakaru. I hear ya.

Sunday, September 28, 2008 9:27:00 AM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

As the primary focus of the subject individual's rage, I came to a point where I realized that even an expression of compassion would be twisted into a weapon, and that the fears that drive him now won't allow reason to interfere. Until it really hit me that the guy *chooses* a life wrought with enmity, his obvious pathology truly saddened me, as did what I believe to be the misplaced gentleness in Connie's responses. But kindness - even in the face of rage - is just her way. I think that if she ever publicly called someone a psychopathic asshole, her head would explode, no matter how certain she was of the truth of her statement. Probably why we're still together after all these years!

Ultimately, I had to come to the realization that if someone insists upon going through life like death sucking on a lemon, there's nothing I can do about it except to go on living my own life as best I can, opting for lemonade rather than kool-aid.

BTW - Having listened to some of the rabid one's music, the term brilliance doesn't come immediately to mind, but that's because his genre has never been particularly aesthetically pleasing to me (which he has always interpreted as a character flaw). And if there is brilliance there, it is being profoundly diluted in a sea of fear and rage.

Sunday, September 28, 2008 9:33:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Spoken like a true Buddhist attack dog, Ron! :-) Actually, spoken like the man of integrity that I know you to be. I've always leaned more on the side of giving Angry Blogger the benefit of the doubt, not necessarily out of kindness but because many of his observations about the influence of New-Wage culture have been in sync with mine. And yes, I have been moved by his personal story and, even knowing that there's "another side," I don't doubt he's suffered emotional and possibly financial damage as a result of NewAge manipulation. But I just can't accept the whole package he's peddling, and that seems to be why he has called me a hypocrite.

Sunday, September 28, 2008 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Lana said...

Curiosity got the best of me. I found the blog post and read through all the comments. Yes, I sacrificed watching a football game. (No biggie, the Cardinals lost.)

What an amazing discourse. You were pretty daring to wade in!

I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of Angry Blogger's wrath, that's for sure. Yet I do see how some people seem to purposefully inflame his passion (including people who really do know better). I think he makes a lot of good points, but then he insists on working against himself. Sabotages any good ground he makes. As I noted earlier, a lot of unfinished business going on.

I will stop playing the armchair psychoanalyst now. It's kinda disrespectful of me when he hasn't asked for it. (Maybe I'm hoping he'll read this? But then what?)

On another note: I wonder why some people feel moved to donate to a casual blogger (as opposed to an author or expert who is providing valuable information or insight that's hard to find elsewhere)? I guess it's all relative.

Sunday, September 28, 2008 6:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Lana, I don't know if "daring" is the word I'd use for my choice to participate in that furious online battle. I'm thinking more along the lines of the old saying about fools rushing in...

I've always thought Angry Blogger made some good points, but there are, obviously, points on which I vehemently disagree with him, and some where I think he's just overreaching (and over-stating).

When it comes to online exchanges, particularly where politics is involved, I think he brings out the worst in some participants, and vice versa. This is far from the first time such a thing has happened on the blog I mentioned in my post. I don't think he's welcome any more on that forum. And I know for a fact, because Angry Blogger has said so himself, that he's been "banned" from other forums as well.

As for why people donate to his blog... well, here's one spot where I got myself in "trouble" with him. I speculated that some of it was because people felt sorry for him. And what I was referring to was that they felt sorry for him because of his personal horror story with NewAge. But I didn't 'splain this in my comment, and I think he misinterpreted my comment as being somehow racist. In any case, he said I was wrong and that I didn't know him at all, etc.

I still think that at least some people might be moved by his story, as I originally was, and they might have horror stories of their own, and they might be prompted to donate as a result. In any case, it's clear that he strikes a chord with many, both because of his "skeptical" stuff and his "political" stuff.

He stirs up anger, no doubt, and as we all know, anger (against a common "enemy") has certainly been known to inspire people to reach into their pocketbooks. Some might simply be inspired by his passion. Some people might just be entertained by his blog and think, hey what the hell, give the guy a few bucks. (Kind of like tipping a sidewalk performer.) No doubt many folks, particularly in this very "interesting" election year, are struck by the demographic novelty of a black atheist who waves the banner of patriotism and has thrown in his lot with the Republicans.

However, I suspect that he's like many (if not most) bloggers, including myself, and is into blogging for ego gratification as much as anything. No doubt blogging also helps him make sense of his life and the crappy things he's gone through. He may very well say I'm wrong about these things too, but that's the way it looks to me.

OMT: I for one appreciate your insights, Lana, but I don't think he would. He's all about being taken at face value. He has seen the "evil" firsthand and is angry about it and thinks it should be stopped by any means necessary, and that's that. It's all perfectly logical. In his view, any attempt to analyze what's "really" going on (inside him) is just another distraction from the task at hand. It's just more proof of the muddled thinking (or non-thinking) of NewAge.

And the thing is, his suspicion of, or anger about, the tendency to "analyze the situation" is valid to a certain extent. After all, you and I have both seen how NewAge/New-Wage "leaders" and believers alike have applied their own pop-psychoanalysis tactics in order to detract from their smarmy actions.

And I myself have been thoroughly pop-psychoanalyzed by Secretrons, etc. about why I am so angry, why I hate myself so much, etc. etc. etc. So I can sympathize with Angry Blogger to a certain degree about being "analyzed." Still, because even the most logical and rational human is also an irrational animal, I think it's always useful to ask oneself what's *really* going on inside. I do that all the time with my own stuff. That's how I was able to rapidly come to the conclusion that the issue that prompted me to join the online fray wasn't politix; it was money. And I still have some BIG issues there.

I do have a feeling that if Angry Blogger were to read this exchange he would mock us both as a couple of confused NewAge white women who don't know what the hell we're talking about. And that's a very sanitized version of what he would probably say.

Monday, September 29, 2008 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Lana said...

There's probably a very fine line between being daring and being foolish :-) At least you know what pushed you.

I tend to forget that a lot of people (and some would say, most people) aren't interested in what may be under the surface -- even though that's where most of the action takes place.

Yeah, I'm sure he'd think I'm a New Ager based on some of my woo leanings. And I could understand if he thought I was confused! I don't know how anyone can keep the complexities and questions of life straight.

I would love to go to the Origins: The Big Questions conference October 3-4. Now that's my cup of tea.

http://origins.skeptic.com/

Monday, September 29, 2008 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The three most prominent words on your image:

IKE, SCHIRMER, HURRICANE

All one and the same really. Good work.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 6:22:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Lana, you wrote:

"I don't know how anyone can keep the complexities and questions of life straight."

You and me both, Lana. I walk around in a state of perpetual bewilderment. I suspect that most people who think they have a real handle on the complexities are fooling themselves (and possibly their followers). And this goes for skeptics and "woos" alike.

That Skeptics conference does sounds fascinating -- what an impressive line-up of speakers. Wish I could go!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anonymous 6:22 AM said...

"The three most prominent words on your image:

IKE, SCHIRMER, HURRICANE

All one and the same really. Good work."

Thanks, Anon. The damage Schirmer has reportedly done may not be as public and dramatic as the damage Hurricane Ike did, but some of the results have apparently been quite devastating, in their own way, to many people.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous hhH said...

Why are there so many scientists writing about their opinion of God, yet so few who seem to have had mystical experience?
Why are so many people who have mystical experiences so bad at scientific thinking?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous mojo said...

I've been on the 'net a looonnng time (late 80's, so it's approaching thirty years! What a loser!), and I've lost count of the number of newsgroups and other communities blown apart when people veered off topic and start arguing politics. Add religion to the mix and the demise of the group is pretty much guaranteed if there's no form of moderation and/or getting people back on track of what the group (by established bylaws, not by what Mojo WANTS them to do) SHOULD be discussing. So I just don't do it. It's just too awful to watch.

Other people ENJOY discussing politics; I don't. To each his own. There's a BILLION places to discuss politics on the web, so why they have to invade, say, the Mojo Worship Society and then proceed to discuss something that does not pertain to worshiping me is beyond my pitiful ken.

As for blogging for money, the Craptacular has been shamelessly money-grubbing from day one--it's one of its dubious charms (although my Pirate filter on ITLAP day changed the phrase to "doubloon-grubbing" which I like even better)--but it's not like I'm making any sort of major living off of it. Then again I'm not into crazy marketing and monetizing like some bloggers are. As a professional writer I am all for writers being paid for their work, but I consider the blog to be fun more than anything. I have nothing against voluntary contributions, like tip jars or Google Ads, which cost the reader nothing unless they are so moved.

(Sites that charge subscriptions, on the other hand, had BETTER have content or services worth the money. I'm a toughie and a meanie, so usually they don't.)

On another matter, here's a link my Favorite Younger Sister shared, which may provide you with a new hurricane--one of rampaging hormones! I'm sorry--it's for a commercial product that has been investigated and sued multiple times this year (losing MILLIONS of dollars in the process in the past few months) for making various false claims endemic to the unregulated supplement industry ( http://tinyurl.com/3kbpqk ). So it's even on topic! And, to go on the record, I've never tried it myself, so I can't offer you one of my usual incredibly valid testimonials. But all that aside it's still an awfully amusing ad. Looks like Dreaming Bear has some competition!

It's a one-minute YouTube video, for those on slow connections:

http://tinyurl.com/46thyg

I tells ya, my hands were trembling when I hit "paste"!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous SHwedisH CHef said...

Schmurdy murdy gurdy heesh marurga schmoo politics. gamooda booda esh religionshmi krugle bork! bork! bork!
Marshmi gardle burgi new age skumbl. Ullna kulna schirmer ike bike urdle nurdle.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 4:29:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

hhH said...
"Why are there so many scientists writing about their opinion of God, yet so few who seem to have had mystical experience?
"Why are so many people who have mystical experiences so bad at scientific thinking?"

HHH, these are the questions from which the truly useful conferences and workshops spring!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Mojo, I haven't been online quite as long as you, but I've been on long enough to know better than to keep getting involved in the type of fight I was writing about. You're right -- politix will do it every time.

I hear ya about the money-grubbing...nothing wrong with it, really, and maybe I should try it.

As for Sebastian, the one big advantage he has over DB is that he is the silent type. And I like that in a phony sex symbol.

I can't vouch for Airborne, but I am a believer in Emergen-C, which is a different sort of supplement (and doesn't make a bunch of false claims, as far as I know).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

SHwedisH CHef said...

"Schmurdy murdy gurdy heesh marurga schmoo politics. gamooda booda esh religionshmi krugle bork! bork! bork!
"Marshmi gardle burgi new age skumbl. Ullna kulna schirmer ike bike urdle nurdle."

I see your point, Chef, but I don't agree about urdle nurdle.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 10:40:00 PM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Connie wrote: "I see your point, Chef, but I don't agree about urdle nurdle."

WHAT? Wha-?!? Why, I NEVER--!! How DARE you SAY such a THING!

The urdle nurdle is what schmorgs krugle Ike lusty banana-fanna fo fusty!

Clearly such things are BEYOND YOUR BELIEF SYSTEMS! Whut ARE you--some sort of Feppy Harmonist?!?

STOMP STomp stomp huff huff huff

(I think that's how it's done. To steal a fun signoff from Bette Midler, I am....)

Trembling on the brink of a major lawsuit,

Your former friend (and now bitterest, bitterest enemy since I am utterly certain your urdle nurdle faux pas was a DELIBERATE PROVOCATION and NOTHING LESS)

Mojo

(do I really need to add a :-) ?)

Thursday, October 02, 2008 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Oh, Mojo, you know I was just gurbling. It's what I do best...well, besides sniking and snurffling.

Thursday, October 02, 2008 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Lana said...

Somehow I missed your comments about the conference and HHH's question.

"HHH, these are the questions from which the truly useful conferences and workshops spring!"

Bingo!

You also said, "I suspect that most people who think they have a real handle on the complexities are fooling themselves (and possibly their followers). And this goes for skeptics and 'woos' alike."

That's how I see it too. It's hard to debate or offer observations on most blogs because I KNOW that I don't have all the facts. Everything we're able to perceive is filtered and biased. It's a wonder anyone can understand anyone!

Sunday, October 05, 2008 4:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mary Anne said...

Connie, the guy you are talking about is sick!!! He is the reason I closed down my blog. Let's just say it got into the real world with me. He got very obsessed with me and I had to go to the authorities, since we actually live near each other. That's why I no longer blog on the the blog site you mention. I seriously doubt he knows the truth from what I learned about him. Just take his stories with a grain of salt, especially about his ex-wife. They are just ravings of madman.

You got out lucky Connie and doen't waste your time on that nut. I can call him a nut. What he tried to do to me gives me license to.

Sunday, October 26, 2008 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for your perspective, Mary Anne. Ron and I have heard from others who know this person, and we have also been told by them to take some of the stories with a grain of salt.

While I was always ready to lend a sympathetic ear (or e-mail "in" box) to this person, I always suspected there could be more to his personal story than he was telling, things that didn't put him in the most favorable light. I didn't doubt that his ex-wife may have been into things I myself consider pretty nutty, and it seems that the French homeopath he wrote about really is a charlatan who has probably done more harm than good; the French authorities apparently finally got wind of that. And I certainly agree with "Angry Blogger" that there's a lot of craziness and cultism in the New-Wage/selfish-help culture and industry.

But, as I said, there has to be "another side," a side we haven't heard yet. I'll spare you the details because this was private correspondence, but when I suggested to him that I thought there might be more to *his* story than he'd revealed, it did not go over well.

I'm sorry you experienced such a scary situation with him, but am somehow not surprised. I just think that it's too bad you felt a need to stop posting on the blog where the controversy I wrote about began, though I certainly can understand your decision. If it makes you feel any better, I believe this person is no longer welcome on that blog, and I for one haven't seen anything from him there since that last blow-up.

Monday, October 27, 2008 9:21:00 AM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Mary Anne - It's too bad you felt it necessary to disengage completely, but I can certainly understand your reasons for doing so. The "angry blogger" is obviously a very sad, frightened little man, who desperately tries to mask his fear and sadness by attempting to enlist others in his paranoid worldview. The fact that he goes so berserk when his fear is noted merely reinforces just how overwhelming that fear really is.

Unfortunately, people who live their lives enmeshed in such fearful delusions can be quite dangerous, especially to those whom they feel capable of intimidating. It is ironic that someone who struggles to maintain a "macho" image would have to resort to browbeating and threatening a woman, while simultaneously crying to the owner of the other blog that I was "threatening" him. Anyone who knows me also knows that I *never* threaten, even in cases where I might be tempted. But you were wise to enlist the authorities in your efforts to protect yourself from him.

Perhaps the greatest irony in this guy's case is that he claims to be a paragon of personal responsibility, yet his rantings are always focused upon how *others* have damaged his life, and never consider how his own behavior might have contributed to his dysfunction.

Our friend on another blog has apparently banned "angry blogger" entirely. I have gone to "angry's" blog once or twice, but haven't felt compelled to get into another pissing contest with him. Beyond the fact that it's a waste of time, it became obvious pretty quickly that the majority of responses he gets are from people who also see his lunacy, and his responses do a fine job of proving their points. I figure that others are doing a fine job, and my assistance isn't required. :-)

And Connie, while I applaud your attempts to give even the most lunatic individuals the benefit of the doubt, we both know that some - angry blogger included - simply aren't worth the energy it would take to make them all better. They're what I refer to as black holes of human need, and it is beyond the power of anyone to fill that hole.

Monday, October 27, 2008 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Y'know, Ron, for a "Buddhist attack dog," you sure sound like a reasonable fellow! :-) You're right that there are times when efforts to "reach out" are basically a waste of time and energy. It just takes me a little longer to learn these lessons, I guess.

Frankly, I couldn't help thinking about "Angry Blogger" a few times when you and I were watching the Lord Of The Rings trilogy over the weekend. What prompted those thoughts were certain scenes with the creature Gollum, who tried so many times to harm the "Hobbitses" -- and yet when he was cornered he would cringe and claim that he meant no harm; it was always the fault of "that fat Hobbit," or "the Precioussssss." I guess in this situation, you're Sam, who was suspicious of Gollum from the very beginning, and I'm Frodo, who tried to give Gollum the benefit of the doubt until the creature finally bit his finger off to get the Ring.

Monday, October 27, 2008 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Well, Gollum at least had the Ring to blame, where our "macho" friend sees most of the world as his "ring." Truth is, he placed the ring on his own finger.

Sure, he's had some tough breaks, but so has everyone else. The real trick is to deal with those breaks and move on, rather than allowing them to twist you up inside for the rest of your life.

Monday, October 27, 2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Mary Anne said...

Well, it is illegal in most states to threaten another via mail, telephone, in person, or "electronic media." Seems "angry blogger" thought he was safe threatening me this way. The local authorities thought different and it was not the first time "angry blogger" has brushed up against the law. I have a feeling it won't be the last at the rate he is going.

I actually just ignored the guy on the "other site" until he kept squashing other posters with his bullying behavior. I just wanted him to look at the data and give me his opinion, not some regurgitated speel. He never had an original thought! It was just so annoying and boring.

I also thought the host of the "other site" was encouraging the "angry blogger" to get more traction out of his blog. Nothing like a bigot to get the juices flowing. More drama equals more page hits and more traffic. I thought they were both using each other. The "good cop/bad cop" game of blogging for attention.

It just seemed like it was all not worth it for me in the end. I love a good debate and exchange of ideas, but not at the risk of my physical safety. No blog debate is worth that to me.

From my experience, no matter how many times he states to the contrary, the owner of the "other site" enjoys a lot of the heated exchanges on his blog. I belong to other forums where this stuff does not happen and we have civilized discourse. I know it can be done and have seen it done many times. There are no excuses for allowing that type of behavior.

I know I am not the only one who had to pull out of that "other site."

Monday, October 27, 2008 4:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mary Anne said...

I forgot to mention, "angry blogger" calling you a "hypocrite" is the pot calling the kettle black. His hypocrisy is what disgusts me the most about him. He goes to government hospitals (paid with my tax dollars) and complains about universal healthcare! He lives in a liberal area and uses those very same tax paid for services to moan and groan about the big government. If he buys into the whole small government agenda, he should move to Nevada or Arizona. Oh, they would not give him the free services he uses in California, such as Medical! Talk about a hypocrite. He should just look in the mirror. He has no place to be talking about others' hypocrisy.

Monday, October 27, 2008 4:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You make several good points, Mary Anne. In the past, Ron has had many of the same gripes regarding "that other blog," and even quit participating himself for quite a while.

While I can't speak on behalf of the "other blogger," he has in fact written on several occasions that he welcomes controversial comments (and commenters) if they actually have points to make, no matter how distasteful some may find those points -- as long as they don't engage in gratuitous profanity, ad hominem attacks, etc. Of course there were several times that he and his participants had differing views on what constituted "ad hominem attacks."

He does seem to be a big believer in the lively exchange of ideas, and I believe this is why he tolerated Angry Blogger's stuff for so long. But after a while it really did get out of hand and became too much even for him, so I think he's kind of imposed new rules for civility on his blog.

But again, I don't fault you for taking the actions you did. It's always better to err on the side of caution in these cases.

Monday, October 27, 2008 5:01:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Ron wrote:

"Well, Gollum at least had the Ring to blame, where our 'macho' friend sees most of the world as his 'ring.' Truth is, he placed the ring on his own finger."

Excellent point, Ron.

Monday, October 27, 2008 5:02:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Mary Anne wrote:

I forgot to mention, 'angry blogger' calling you a 'hypocrite' is the pot calling the kettle black..."

That comment came in after I'd posted my response to your last comment. Yes, those are some of the very thoughts I've had about him too. Of course he is a veteran (or says he is) and as such is probably entitled to veterans' benefits. But still, those are government-sponsored entitlements.

Monday, October 27, 2008 5:20:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Just glanced at whack's blog this morning, and he's really over the top in his obsession with Obama. Freud would have a field day with this one! Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more! :-)

Friday, October 31, 2008 9:27:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Kind of like the Orc in that scene in Lord Of The Rings...wrinkling his nose, sniffing the air and saying, "Man flesh!" :-)

Friday, October 31, 2008 10:58:00 AM  

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