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.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Journey to Fantasyland?

David Schirmer, Aussie star of The Secret, is back home in Australia after what he describes as "a short but intensive visit to Orlando and Los Angeles." I had known he was in Orlando for a meeting with marketing greats Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer, but to my knowledge he hadn’t previously said anything about L.A. Some are wondering what he was doing on the Left Coast. My best guess is that perhaps he visited Disney World in Orlando, and was inspired to see the original Disneyland in the L.A. area (specifically, in Anaheim). Perhaps he wanted to pick up some astounding wealth and success tips from Mickey or Goofy, and cop a feel off of Snow White while he was at it. (Okay, that was a low blow even for me. My apologies to everyone.) But as I said, the Disney Theory is just a guess. I could be wrong, and probably am.


What is clear is that these days, Schirmer is still sharing wealth and success tips and stock trading advice via various web sites and blogs. For example, he teaches "the mind habits and money habits to achieve success" on his "7 Steps To Unlimited Wealth" site ("The time proven secrets that your teachers and parents didn't know or never taught you ... but should have!"). And any day now we should see the newest edition of his Indices Report on his Stock Market Index Report blog, which, incidentally, still proudly bears the Schirmer/Secret logo. Schirmer’s sig file for most of his promotional emails these days lists him as "David Schirmer, Private Trader/Financial Coach/The 'Aussie' Secret Teacher."

Notwithstanding the mounds of criticism Schirmer has faced, he still has his fans and defenders. For example, there is one member of The Gaia Community, an online gathering of the conspicuously enlightened. The tag line on the home page of The Gaia Community says it all: "Do you ever feel that everyone around you is asleep? Are you tired of waking up alone?" Hmmm….kind of sounds like a dating site, come to think of it. Anyway, there is one Gaia man who seems to be a true David Schirmer fan: Keith Leon of L.A., who describes himself as a Relationship Master (he and his lovely wife Maura have been featured on The Huffington Post). Here's what he says about his work:

My wife and I have a goal to become the inspirational couple of the century…so everything we do, every product we make, every business decision must be in alignment with this purpose, or we don't do it.

In the past…when people would ask us what we do for a living…we'd go into a big long detailed explination [sic] that would tend to take to [sic] long…and put people to sleep. If you asked us now, here's what we'd tell you.

Have you ever known anyone who stayed in an un-fulfilling relationship because they didn't want to be alone?

If I told you that my wife and I could take anyone and show then [sic] how to get exactly what they want in all of their relationships…do you know anyone who might benefit from that?

So where’s the Schirmer connection? Keep your shirt on; I’m coming to that. Keith Leon is listed on the Gaia site as co-author of a book called, Who Do You Think You Are? Discover The Purpose Of Your Life, which has a foreword by Jack "Chicken Soup" Canfield. As much as anything else, the book seems to be a tribute to the "teachers" in The Secret:

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Discover The Purpose Of Your Life! will take you on the personal life journeys of inspirational, self growth leaders Jack Canfield, John Assaraf, Dr. Joe Vitale, Dr. John Gray, Hale Dwoskin, David Schirmer, Bob Proctor as well as many other successful entrepreneurs, entertainers, educators and healers.

In all, 63 New-Wage luminaries are featured in the book. I couldn’t find a listing on Amazon at this time, but it is apparently for sale directly from Keith and Maura. And you can also get Who Do You Think You Are? as an e-book.

On his Gaia Community profile, Keith Leon lists his heroes, and the top three are: "My friend and mentor Jack Canfield, David Schirmer, and Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith.

My correspondent who brought this to my attention thought that perhaps Schirmer might have been in LA to visit Keith Leon. I still prefer the Disney Theory, but I admit that the Leon Connection is possible too. Anyway, my correspondent expressed the opinion that perhaps Keith might be well advised to do better research on the folks he interviews, writes about, and chooses as his personal heroes.

Today I received a rare comment – rare for this blog, anyway – from yet another Schirmer supporter. Actually this was a comment to one of my November 2007 posts. But I’m bringing it up here, since the November post is now in the archives. The remark came from Adrian Sherlock, an actor and independent film maker in Australia, and creator of super hero Damon Dark. Adrian, under the name straker2, has also come out in support of Schirmer on YouTube. Here's what he wrote to me:

My opinion of the Secret is that it is a very useful tool which I've applied in my own life to positive effect. My view of David Schirmer is that he seems to be a genuine sort of guy, if he's made any mistakes in the past, I get the impression he's learnt from them and is unlikely to repeat them.

David is, I believe the owner of the Aust branch of Bob Proctor's Life Success business. Mr. Proctor's teachings helped me out a helluva lot when I was a young man with a lot of problems. I've seen David Schirmer live and he teaches the material Bob Proctor teaches, so it's well worth the money to hear it. I know a lot of people are suspicious, cynical or distrustful of these type of teachers, and that may be understandable enough, but something you reject can't help you. And for me, that's the bottom line. I went to YouTube to find an audience for my film making, but I'm happy to support David Schirmer, I believe he's a decent guy.

While I am always happy to publish comments from "the other side," I had to point out to Adrian that even Bob Proctor (aka "Scientist Bob" on this blog) seems to have dissociated himself from David Schirmer. And while it is often true that, as Adrian wrote, "something you reject can’t help you," it’s also true that people are hurt all the time by blindly accepting the words and ideas of some selfish-help and New-Wage gurus. In fact, rejecting the ideas of some of these people is, in some cases, the most helpful thing a person can do for herself or himself.

As for Adrian Sherlock's impassioned defenses of David Schirmer on YouTube: it may seem a pretty big stretch to portray Schirmer as a hero who is being pummeled by the envious and the mediocre, but then again, Adrian's genre of choice is science fiction.

PS ~ Speaking of books about one's life purpose, Oprah has described herself as "over the moon excited" about her latest book club pick, A New Earth, Awakening To Your Life's Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle. She said that by sharing this book, which she describes as her "boldest choice yet," she is helping fulfill her life's mission: "to lead people to their higher selves." Uh-huh, the way she did with last year's endorsement of The Secret. Go get 'em, Queen O. And if her man Obama gets into office, perhaps we can expect New-Wage culture to be elevated to even higher levels of regard. Dave Barry for President is looking better all the time...

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Them cowboys just don't understand the Law Of Attraction

I'm on the run again today (The Day After Cosmic Connie Day), but I did want to note a bit of news from the entertainment world. Legendary country star Garth Brooks will be playing in Los Angeles tomorrow to raise money to help the "victims" of the 2007 San Diego wildfires. He's all over the news today, talking about how devastating the fires were and how he wants to help the victims and the firefighters and other first responders.


While that may seem like a noble undertaking on the surface, what Garth doesn't realize is that he is just perpetuating the whole victimology mindset. I guess he didn't get the memo that these people weren't victims. They attracted the fires. Or, at the very least, they failed to not attract them.

I guess you can't expect a simple cowboy to understand these things.

More later...

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

A fine way to celebrate Cosmic Connie day

Today is my birthday. I realize that in some parts of the world, it's already technically tomorrow, and therefore yesterday was my birthday. But it's still the Big Day in my neck of the woods. I truly meant to get to my blog earlier, but I've been spending most of the day doing fun and important things, such as standing in line at the Texas Department of Public Safety office to renew my driver's license, since it expired today. Nothing like waiting till the last minute.


Amazingly, January 24 is not yet an international holiday, and, as Ron pointed out on Steve Salerno's blog, Tony Robbins has not yet organized a spam email campaign around it. January 24 is, however, Beer Can Appreciation Day, and even though I don't drink beer or collect beer cans, my city is home to the famous Beer Can House. So there is a marginal Cosmic Connie/Beer Can Appreciation Day connection.

Anyway, even though today is almost over, I still wanted to do something to celebrate it with all of y'all. And so, just to ensure that this day is as special for you as it has been for me, I have decided to share some glorious news that came to me early this morning (okay, yesterday morning, for some of you). One of the commenters on a recent post of mine alerted me to the fact that David Schirmer, the Aussie star of
The Secret, has finally made his way to the good old U.S. of A. It seems that Schirmer is currently in Orlando, Florida to get some face time with world-famous direct marketing wizard Dan Kennedy and renowned retail marketing expert Bill Glazer. Schirmer tells us all about it on his January 24 blog post.
At the end of 2006 I won the international "Information Marketer of The Year" for 2006 for "The Secret To Wealth: Mind & Money Strategies" event we put on.* Part of that award was to spend one-on-one time with Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer in Orlando, Florida ... so here I am. I'll give you an update on how it goes after I return home.
Lucky Dan! Lucky Bill! There's no word yet from them on how they feel about getting to spend some quality time with Schirmer, but I'm sure they're tickled pink.

As for me, well... I can only paraphrase Chevy Chase's character in the 1989 movie, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, "If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more pleased than I am now."

Happy Cosmic Connie Day, and God** help us, everyone.

PS ~ Okay, I realize the picture is of a guy in a beer bottle costume, but I was in a hurry. No time even for bad Photoshopping today.

PPS added a bit later ~ One of my pals from Down Under pointed me to a November 2006 blog post by copywriter and marketing expert Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero, founder of the Red Hot Copy web site and blog. Lorrie had just returned from her second Info Marketing Summit with Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer. At that time she was apparently starstruck by The Secret – and apparently also by David Schirmer as a result of his association with the movie. Here's what Lorrie wrote:
Have you seen the movie, "The Secret"? What?! You haven't?! Go to this site immediately and watch... www.thesecret.tv It's a viral message that will change the way you look at things forever. I've watched it 7 times in the past 5 months. I'm sure there are many others who have watched it more. Anyway, the man who inspired it (and is also in it), David Schirmer was at the event with his lovely wife, Lorna. He actually won Info-Marketer of the Year (shocking...NOT). I really enjoyed talking with both of them about their future plans. They are truly changing lives.
One wonders if she feels the same about Schirmer these days... In any case, someone was definitely telling stories to Lorrie. Word has it that noted quantum physics expert Bob Proctor was instrumental in getting Schirmer into The Secret. Which is not at all the same thing as Schirmer being "the man who inspired The Secret." Anyway, as soon as I get wind of what's really going on in Orlando, I'll let you know.

* Some would say that it wasn't the event that got put on; it was the attendees.
** If there is One (or more). (I'm an agnostic, remember.)

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Manifestinfestation

This may be akin to offering a box of Teuscher champagne truffles to a chocoholic and/or alcoholic who’s trying to quit, but I’m going to venture out on a limb and suggest that if you are suffering from that newly-named malady known as manifrustration (thanks again to Steven Sashen**), I might have just the solution. I am going to suggest something truly groundbreaking: Instead of seeking Cosmic Relief in places such as my Whirled or Steven’s blog or any of a number of other places (see my "links" list for more suggestions), maybe you just need more of the same old crap that got you where you are now. It’s very possible that you simply haven’t experienced enough life-changing books or workshops or video clips. Perhaps, then, you need a serious overdose of same. Maybe that will finally propel you into a new dimension of awareness and unlimited health, wealth, and happiness.

Hey, it could work. Think of it as kind of a homeopathic (or homeopathetic) principle of "like cures like," except in this case you're not using minuscule doses of the pathogen; you're o.d.'ing on it.

My curmudgeonly pal Christopher Locke of Mystic Bourgeoisie just sent me an email alerting me to a new and exciting project that seems tailor-made for people whose deep-seated hunger for inspiration drives them to watch, promote, star in, or even want to make their own New-Wage moviemercials and miracle-infested TV shows. Now there’s an entire TV station devoted to all of your deepest desires for New-Wage and selfish-help enlightentainment. I give you…Manifest-Station TV!

Okay, granted, it’s an Internet TV station, and isn’t yet part of your local broadcast, cable or satellite TV lineup. But it’s just a matter of time, I’m sure. Besides, we all know that Internet is the future of TV. Or vice-versa. I get confused sometimes.

The current spokes-head for Manifest-Station TV is Neale Donald Walsch, who first became famous for gabbing with God, and to whom I paid loving tribute here in September of 2006. As it happens, that was also the post in which I first paid tribute to the emerging genre of "Spiritual Cinema." (I still think that concept opens up a whole new area for the adult-film business too, in the form of Spiritual Sin-ema. And I think I know just the person who could spearhead the movement (no, not me).)

Anyway. In the email in which he sent me the link to Manifest-Station TV, Chris reminded me not to miss the video of Neale Donald Walsch "coming to life from his convincing pose as the Mona Lisa," as Chris put it. That remark, of course, inspired some more bad Photoshopping on this end. (Hey, I am in a serious time crunch these days. They can’t all be like "My Preciousss!")

Despite being the spokes-head, however, Neale Donald doesn’t seem to be the brains behind Manifest-Station TV. That credit belongs to three dudes in a basement, Ryan Bloom, Len Wright, and Glenn Brubaker. Here’s how they did it:

Using the Laws of Attraction and following our Emotional Guidance Systems, we have been able to co-create a blessed space – a central gathering place for those intending to raise individual and collective consciousness, ultimately bettering our world from the inside out. The journey from a non-physical idea to the physical manifestation of our television channel has been absolutely ripe with moments of exquisite synchronicity and jaw-dropping, blissful experience. If there is one thing that we have learned from this, it's that once the rules of the game of life are understood and followed, there is no end to the astounding joys unveiled through the process of deliberate creation.

These three guys definitely seem to be classic have-it-all advocates, as evidenced by the quotation at the top of their home page:

"There is nothing that you can not be, or do, or have."
~ Abraham

The Abraham in question, of course, is (are) the collective imaginary friends invented and copyrighted by Esther and Jerry Hicks. Oddly enough, the Hicks are missing from the stellar line-up of "messengers" featured on Manifestation-Station TV. But nearly everyone else making a buck in the New Wage world seems to be present and accounted for. Besides major luminaries such as Walsch and Deepak Chopra, and a sprinkling of "teachers" who were in The Secret, there are a few minor players such as Gary Renard, whom you’ve also met here previously. And there are numerous up-and-coming "stars" and wannabes as well. F’rinstance, there’s Nick Arandes, aka The Radical Kid:

Nick Arandes, author, trainer, coach and musician, affectionately know as The Radical Kid went from homeless to wealth, NOT by employing hard work at all, but by simply applying basic universal principles that transform people's lives. Aside from being the author of The Truth About Series at TheRadicalKid.com, many audio CDs, DVD programs and hundreds of published articles, Nick is also the founder of SuccessAndMiracles.com where every Sunday millions of lives are inspired worldwide as well as the highly acclaimed Manifesting Miracles Online Video Course at FulfillYourDreams.com transforming lives worldwide!

Thank Goddess that The Secret was right about its most important message after all: you don’t have to work your butt off to be rich! All you have to do is apply basic universal principles that transform people’s lives. The Radical Kid did it and so can you! (Hint: It apparently helps to have been formerly homeless, or at least to say you are formerly homeless.)

Featured too is Brad Yates, the King of Tap, who has also graced my Whirled (third item down, "Tapping and yapping"). Brad starred in his own little movie a while back. And I suppose a spiritual stable wouldn’t be complete without someone with a contrived-spiritual name, such as this woman who calls herself "Zen."

But the real star of Manifest-Station is, apparently, yours truly. No, they don’t mention me by name; nevertheless, at the bottom of the "About Us" page, the three Manifest-Stationeers offer their heartfelt thanks to me (yes, me):

Thank you (yes you) for participating in this co-creative worldwide offering. We thank you because the intent to change the world would not have the same impact without you and for this, please allow us to offer our deepest and most heartfelt gratitude...

Once again I am reminded of the credits that always follow PBS programs. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this here before, but I’ll do so again, since this is all about me. At the end of most PBS shows I see the names of the big oil company or car manufacturer or pharmaceutical concern that provided the main sponsorship for the program in question. Then I might see the names of a couple of philanthropic foundations and PBS stations and other nonprofit orgs. And at the end, almost invariably, I see this reminder: "Viewers Like You."

That always makes me feel pretty special, knowing that a host of unnamed PBS viewers – all the little people – actually like me. But it’s nothing compared to how I feel now that Ryan, Len, and Glenn are thanking me personally for being part of their wonderful co-creative worldwide offering. But let’s give credit where it is due. While they’re at it, they really should thank Chris Locke as well. Even if he is a curmudgeon.

** PS ~ Speaking of Steven Sashen, he's on a roll now. He has just alerted me to another entry in the growing Snarks' Lexicon: successhole. I think we've all known a few of those!

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Changing my Whirled

Just so y'all won't be too traumatized by the change, I wanted to give you a heads-up about a matter I have been seriously considering: changing the look of this blog. I'm really, really, REALLY tired of this template, and I know that long posts in particular are kind of difficult to read onscreen, even with the larger font size I chose.


I know there are hundreds of templates available for Blogger, and thousands of ways to customize those templates, but for now, I'm thinking of starting out very conservatively, using another existing Blogger template and just giving it a custom background. That much, I can manage (I think).

I know, I know... it's about frickin' time, right?

Anyway, here's what I'm considering.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm serving leftovers again...

Just a few snippets while I’m waiting on more information for a couple of other pieces I’ve been working on…

The word you may have been looking for
The Universe, or maybe it was just The Secret Word Genie, recently revealed a new word to Steven Sashen, who runs the delightful Anti-Guru blog. That brave new word is manifrustration, and it describes a phenomenon that I daresay has been experienced by most folks who have even a passing familiarity with New-Wage culture. Manifrustration is, among other things:

1. The unhappiness associated with not getting what you want after attempting to influence the universe with your thoughts
2. The displeasure that occurs when the manifestation "master" says you haven’t gotten what you want because there’s something wrong with you

There are several other definitions as well; click here for the complete list.

By the way, Jody at Guruphiliac beat me to this one by a few days, noting, "It’s too bad folks can’t un-manifest their money back out of the bank accounts of the con folk who flimflammed them." Any day now, someone is sure to discover an ancient secret, or develop a revolutionary technology, to do just that.

Beast meets West redux
Speaking of Jody, the other day he mentioned that Kalki and Amma, the MystiCouple at the head of Oneness University in India (a place we visited last November) may be under investigation for fraud, money laundering, and assorted other unsavory activities. Then again, they may not be. Jody received an anonymous tip and is still investigating the matter – or at least sitting around waiting for more information.

If Kalki and Amma and gang are indeed engaged in fraudulent activities, the notion of their being investigated and perhaps even brought to justice is intriguing, to say the least – though I wonder how such news would affect those members of the conspicuously enlightened set in the U.S. who have jumped aboard the Oneness train. But I guess we’re getting ahead of ourselves a bit here. I noted with equal interest this comment from Gregory, a Westerner currently living in India (Gregory used to visit my Whirled, and would even comment occasionally, until he became frustrated by my profound shallowness):

this will have nothing to do with their innate criminality, and everything to do with if he has crossed (1) a politician, then (2) a police higher up, or (3) reneged on…[bribes]...

he has had charges against him that i know of more the ten years... and still goes on...

this is india, there is no justice system, only a power system…

An anonymous commenter gave further insight into the milieu that spawned Kalki and Amma and their ilk:

The masses are so incredibly stupid, you end up feeling maybe such idiots deserve such fraudulent gurus.

There are smoking saints, spitting saints, kicking saints, hugging saints, glaring saints, crawling saints...

And no doubt there are bleeding, puking, and crapping saints too. My guess is that things get pretty messy in India. While I don’t necessarily share the opinion that the masses are "stupid" – uneducated, poor, and desperate are not synonymous with "stupid" – I think the anon commenter makes a salient point. At the very least, the comment is a reminder that even though the U.S. often seems to be a hotbed of New-Wage madness, we obviously do not have a monopoly on silliness and irrationality.


Must-haves for your selfish-help library
First off, here’s a book that poses the question most of us have asked ourselves at one time or another: How Come That Idiot’s Rich and I’m Not? by Robert Shemin. How well it answers that question, I can’t say because I haven't read it yet. But you gotta admit the title is compelling, and the book does promise to teach you how to become a rich idiot yourself.

And for people who just can’t get enough of those inspirational books based on appealing but not necessarily useful allegories, there is The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John Davis Mann. I suppose I shouldn't call this a selfish-help book because it is, on the surface, not about selfishness at all. In fact it’s a parable about the virtues of giving in order to get; as the publisher’s blurb says, "Imparted with wit and grace, The Go-Giver is a heartwarming and inspiring tale that brings new relevance to the old proverb ‘Give and you shall receive.’"

I’m certainly not one to argue against the merits of giving. After all, I'm living proof of the rewards of giving; I write this blog for free and am richly rewarded every day. Further, The Go-Giver is not just a heartwarming parable; the authors also reveal something every business owner should know: The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.

So far the book has been lavishly praised by everybody from Marcy From Maui, Founder, Principal and Chief Fun & Abundance Officer of PowerfulIntentions.com, Inc. (you’ve met her here before), to Stephen Covey of The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People fame. Amazon readers seem to like it too, with the exception of one dour gent named Marc who gave it only two stars (there’s one in every crowd):

Specific examples please . . . ., January 2, 2008

By Marc E. Thomas "tax and commercial controversies"

Yes, I understand it's allegory. I've read a number of these books and there is no doubt they are well done, interesting, and offer a lesson. I'm a practicing attorney who has "given" (or written off) hundreds, thousands even, of hours of pro bono work in my practice with a genuine and unselfish purpose to help others. Clearly, this has not enhanced my financial success directly or indirectly---just the opposite. Fortunately, I didn't do it for that reason.

Like a lot books in this "genre," it would be very beneficial to understand the authors' financial status, independent of the sale of this book, not to mention some specific examples of real persons that achieved financial success of the "Pindar" sort, or at least in the neighborhood of a "Pindar."

And what would be wrong with that? The allegorical is imaginary. The underlying message, while admirable, in this day and in this time comes close to ringing hollow. Will there be a web site or newsletter providing proof that people following these five rules actually became successful financially, similar to the characters in the book? Will we understand the business, market, or industry, as well as the period of time, in which these successes took place and precisely how success was related to the five rules? Is this a probe for the authors' own business coaching or consultation business (no that there would be a thing wrong with that) so that we can expect specific examples of success from these rules? These aren't unreasonable expectations…

No, Marc, they're not unreasonable. But they are also expectations that most members of the authors' target market simply don't have. If the majority of readers suddenly started demanding "proof" or "evidence" or even "specific examples," the self-help industry would implode.

Schirmer taunting Rhonda’s lawyers?
David Schirmer, the embattled Aussie star of The Secret, seems to be saying "come and get me" to Rhonda Byrne’s legal department, who starred in a recent blog post here. Take a look at Schirmer’s new logo, which seems custom-made to create brand confusion. Then again, maybe his graphic designer just wanted to play a little joke on him.

Give ’em hell, Blair!
Finally, my friend Blair Warren has been having a bit of fun on the Warrior Forum with a perennially hot topic, the Law Of Attraction. One of the folks who responded to his remarks is Heather Vale, the "Dana Scully of Success," whom I briefly wrote about here last year (third item down). Go get ’em Blair.

That’s it for now…more soon. And if you are puzzled about yet another here-today, gone-tonight post on this Whirled, it's nothing to worry about. I'm just doing some...umm...editing.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Just call me "Pariah Carey"

So the other day I was lamenting the fact that I seem to have been shunned by the member(s) of Amazon’s "Anti-Scam Network," even though I’m kind of in their corner – at least enough to want to hear more of their stories, with the idea of getting to the bottom of some of the Amazon "gaming" that seems to be going on. (Here’s the link to my lamentation; see the third item down, "I’m feeling so rejected.")

The "nay" votes continue to come in; the comment I made a few days ago now shows that 3 of 19 people found it helpful, meaning that five more folks have voted it "not helpful."

In the interests of contributing something of more relevance to the conversation at hand, I wrote a new comment yesterday on a related thread, the topic of which is the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of "subliminal" material. Even though I acknowledged that there is some research indicating that some subliminal visuals might register on the brain, I was obviously not making a case for subliminal DVDs. At least it seemed obvious to me, especially since I also inserted some personal opinions and speculation that would seem to indicate I am simpatico with the prevailing opinion on that thread. So far, however, 0 of 3 people have found my latest remark helpful – which means that all three people took the time to vote me "unhelpful."

Yep, it looks like I could be in serious danger of being voted off the island now, or at least having my comments hidden by default so you have to click on them to see them.

Since my latest comment gave consideration to both sides of the question regarding subliminals and the guys who are pushing them, I have to wonder about the affiliation of the folks who voted my remarks "not helpful." Are they Anti-Scammers who can’t accept me because I refuse to invoke Godwin’s Law and compare the hustledorks to Hitler? Or are they friends of the hustledorks, indignant because I questioned the expertise of their heroes? I’m thinking that maybe there are folks from both groups who aren’t big Cosmic Connie fans.

Well, I suppose I can handle being shunned by a few folks on Amazon. But I am seriously broken up over my rejection by a deeply spiritual group I wrote about recently (first item on the post): the followers of a lady named Kat and her imaginary friend Clara. I just got this comment in today:

Nora said...

Kat and Clara's site is a private, invitation-only site. Designed specifically to stay small, no-cost and bitch free, (yeah honey, I mean you) it's a close-knit group of people smart and open-minded enough to look past their own noses and accept that they aren't the center of the universe. Try it sometime.

I guess you can respond if you wish (your blog, your rules and all) but I won't bother to read it. People like you are why it remains invitation-only. (sucks being left out of the "in crowd" doesn't it?)

I think Rev Ron had the best reply to "Nora's" comment:

Somehow, I am reminded of the kids in high school who lacked both the personalities to be popular and the intelligence to be geeks, huddled together in the corner of the cafeteria and filled with pride at their decoder rings and secret handshakes.

More like elementary school, I’d say. Nevertheless, I have to say that it hurts deeply to be left out. Someone please send me an Amazon gift certificate, or even better yet, lots of money, to make the hurt go away…

PS ~ And here's a bit of synchronicity for you: Just as I was preparing to upload this post to Blogger, a private email came in, regarding someone else I'd written about a couple of months ago. (No, it's no one who is linked to or mentioned in today's post, the January 6 post, or the Amazon threads in question.) Here's that message, in part (I bolded certain words for emphasis):

I have researched this Minor League Pariah for months and the only positive feedback has been from his New Wage Group. In resonance, [this person] is one of the foulest criminal psychopaths since World War II. Even Hitler was more purely motivated.

Wow... must be something in the ethers, since, as I noted, this came in after I'd written today's post (including the title) but BEFORE I published it.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sunday leftovers

It’s going to be another one of those snippet days. I hate to snipe and run, but I'm in kind of a hurry.


Q is for "Quack"
"Every now and then," writes one of my favorite bloggers, a guy who calls himself
Stupid Evil Bastard (hereinafter referred to as "SEB"), "the makers of quack medical products and other woo-woo snake oil nonsense get a well deserved smack down." The product to which SEB has turned his attention is the Q-Ray ionized bracelet, formerly claimed to relieve pain and improve overall health and do all sorts of miraculous things.

The Q-Ray bracelet could be looked upon as part of a genre of "healing" jewelry that has been embraced by everyone from Hollyweirds to professional athletes, as well as numerous members in good standing of the conspicuously enlightened community. I blogged about a vaguely similar product line, the Q-Link products, in October of 2006. The Q-Link products supposedly protect the body from the evils of electronic pollution.

Anyway, the smack down to which SEB refers is the upholding of a September 2006 ruling by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that the Q-Ray ionized bracelet is…well… junk jewelry. Not that they put it in exactly those words, but that was the gist of their decision. Actually, I think the word "fraud" was mentioned too, come to think of it. Now the Q-Ray folks will have to forfeit about $16 million plus interest in profits back to consumers.

Could this be the beginning of a trend? Could the Q-Link products be next? Could it be that the Teslar watch (which is another New-Wager favorite, and which also supposedly emits "healing frequencies") – will be next on the FTC s--t list? It could happen.

On the other hand, if I know snake-oil types, the Q-Rayers will end up resurfacing with another product line sooner or later. You just can’t keep a good scammer down – not when hope springs eternal in the consumer breast for quick and easy solutions to troubling problems.

After all, as I’ve said here before and will say again, Kevin Trudeau is still going strong.

(Thanks to regular Whirled visitor HoHaHe for alerting me to SEB’s post.)

At least they’re not Jehovah’s Witnesses
Lately I've received several comments
to an older post I wrote about the hustledork moviemercial The Opus, which, despite promises of an autumn 2007 release, has yet to be released. The Opus, as you may recall, was hyped as being the greatest thing since The Secret, and in fact many of the stars of The Secret were slated to be in the "movie." Numerous hype-y promos were put up on YouTube. Apparently the producers are now in the process of paring down the "star" list, and you have to wonder who will make the final cut. Anyway, judging from some of the comments I've received recently, it would appear that there’s a sneaky PR campaign afoot by fans of The Opus's young creator, Douglas Vermeeren. Naturally, I welcome other points of view, but if I didn’t know better I would think these fans were trying to "convert" me to the Cult of Doug. At the very least they are trying to convince me that Doug is not a hustledork. Good luck with that, guys!

I’m feeling so rejected…
And speaking of hustledorks, I think I've been shunned by some of
the anti-hustledork folks on Amazon. I've invited two of them to be my "Amazon friends," and so far one has ignored me completely, and the other said that after getting death threats from one of the ’dorks in question, s/he doesn't know whether to trust me or not. These two seem to be part of a group that calls itself "The Anti-Scam Network."

As for whether I can be "trusted"... well, all you have to do is read my blog and see where I stand on Internet scammers in general, and on some of those you accuse of being scammers in particular.

In fact, I’ve written about Amazon shenanigans before – best-selling authors who are reputed Amazon "gamers," mysteriously disappearing critical reviews, and the like. I realize that some folks may have just read my blog superficially and noticed that I’ve mentioned certain names on numerous occasions; perhaps they just assumed my blog is a pro-hustledork forum. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened; after all, just last July a publicist working on behalf of one of those Amazon best-selling authors sent me a copy of the guy’s book so I could write it up on my blog. She did this because she noticed I’d written about him previously. Obviously, she hadn’t read what I’d written.

I suppose I didn't exactly endear myself to the anti-scammers when I wrote this comment on one of the discussion threads:

Anyone who has ever read my blog, "Whirled Musings," knows that I am not a big fan of most New-Wage selfish-help gurus and their products. And I'm always suspicious when I see evidence that critical reviews or remarks about these people and their products have been deleted by Amazon. I am sure there's some funny stuff going on with some of the Amazon "bestselling" authors, many of whom achieve their bestselling status through "working the system" using various strategies. Furthermore, I have no doubt that some positive reviews are "planted" and some negative reviews are unfairly deleted.

On the other hand, when I see some of the same people writing identical negative reviews over and over and over again for each and every book or DVD produced by a particular author -- or, for that matter, when I see these same people posting identical messages on numerous discussion threads -- it makes even legitimate criticism seem less credible. When you do this, you're doing the same thing you accuse the "scammers and spammers" of doing. And you end up looking like you're out to "get" that person, whether or not that is the case.

I'm really not playing devil's advocate here. I just think that there are enough genuinely objectionable things about these people and their products that it's not necessary to write the same criticism over and over.

I should clarify one point: I don't think it's wrong to try to re-post a piece of legitimate criticism if you think it was unfairly deleted. Heck, I think you should try to re-post as many times as it takes if you really think you have something important to add to the discussion. But to copy and paste a single negative review or critical message and put it on every page devoted to that author is just plain wrong. What do you gain from that, except another chance to get your comment deleted?

The New-Wagers might not fight fair, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't. Someone needs to take the high road.

So far my comment has been voted "not helpful" by 3 out of 14 votes. If I’m not careful I just might be voted off the island.

But the thing is, I'm interested in fairness above everything else (well, okay, since we’re being honest here, appearing clever has always been my top priority, but fairness ranks pretty high too). If the "Anti-Scam Network" folks have legitimate criticisms that are being routinely deleted by Amazon, shame on Amazon. I think people should know about this and I'll be glad to write about it. But if these critics are just copying and pasting a bunch of unsubstantiated claims, aren’t they doing some of the same things they condemn?

I can understand the frustration that might drive some folks to copying and pasting. After all, it does seem that legitimate critical reviews and comments have been "deleted by Amazon" – sometimes repeatedly. And perhaps the copying and pasting is just intended as an experiment, a means of trying to get a point across, a way of being heard briefly before being deleted once again. Furthermore, at least one defender of the alleged scammers is copying and pasting his own response to the accusations on numerous forums – and unlike several of the "Anti-Scam" comments, this guy's remarks have NOT been "removed by Amazon."

I’m trying to look at it from all sides, but I’m thinking that perhaps my own dear Rev Ron was right when he suggested to me that it was ludicrous for me to write of taking the "high road" on these issues. Maybe there is no high road here and it's all just too silly even for my consideration.

Still, I do find it kind of interesting, though we should always keep in mind that I am easily amused. I find it particularly interesting that some of the Anti-Scam folks are tagging most of the products they're dissing with the word "hustledork." Hey, Anti-Scammers, I happen to live with the guy who coined the term "hustledork!" That would be the aforementioned Rev Ron. I was in the room with him on the historical moment when he came up with the word back in the mid-1990s. I can almost narrow down the day and time, and I could, if I were less discreet, name the actual person who inspired the term. (No, surprisingly enough, it wasn’t one of the targets of the Anti-Scam folks’ ire.)

In any case, Anti-Scammers, I am interested in what you have to say. I am kind of like the late Alice Roosevelt Longworth, who was reputed to have said, "If you can’t say something good about someone, come sit here by me." I want to hear your stories, and if you want me to publish them, I will, and if you don’t want me to, I won’t. But remember, I’ll keep the forum open for views from the other side(s) as well.

After all, it’s only fair.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Shameless Schirmer leaps into the New Year

Well, Dear Ones, Christmas (or Winter Holiday, as the case may be) has come and gone. And I bet many of you are bursting with curiosity about whether or not David Schirmer, The Secret’s Wonder from Down Under, met his Christmas Day deadline for paying back the investors to whom he reportedly owes tons of money. This was a promise that he made last year, admittedly under some duress, to Ben Fordham on the Aussie show A Current Affair.

I cannot say for certain what’s going down in private deals right now, but I can tell you that from what I have learned so far…now, brace yourself! Be brave!…Schirmer did not meet the promised deadline.

Okay, okay. I know you are shocked and surprised and not a little disappointed, and you’re probably going to feel like shooting the messenger right about now, but I gotta tell it the way I see it – and what it looks like so far is that the people to whom Squirmer owes money, and all those who wish he would just finally decide to do the right thing, are currently realizing the truth of the old saying: "Wish in one hand and crap in the other, and see which one fills up first."

If I learn anything different, of course, I won’t hesitate to let you know.

Is Schirmer at all contrite for his alleged misdeeds? No, not that I can see. In fact, when he addresses the allegations at all, it’s still merely to deny them and claim that they’re mostly the product of a "scorned" ex-lover’s smear campaign. For the most part, and in the grand tradition of New-Wage gurus everywhere, Squirmer simply accentuates the positive and eliminates the negative – or at least willfully ignores the latter. Much like another Secret teacher who has completely glossed over certain matters (such as questions about his phony doctorate degrees that are illegal in his home state)*, Schirmer is moving ever onward and upward.

After an extended holiday, Schirmer seems to be back in action for the new year, with a new Wealth By Choice Ezine and a host of other goodies. In the Ezine, he talks about what an amazing year he’s had.

2007 has been an amazing year for me personally. I have laughed more, cried more, spent more time alone, touched and helped more people, questioned more, grown more, loved more and read more than any other year before.

It has been a time of sadness as my brother Jaime (36) passed away; a year of incredible adversity and even more amazing victories. This year I witnessed real miracales [sic] that few would believe or understand. I have gained much more wisdom and understanding and become closer to God than ever. What an amazing year…

I thank the many people who stood by me and us during 2007, thank you for your emails, letters, cards, and phone calls of support. Every single contact has meant an enormous amount to me, many of your kind words moved me to tears. Thank you.

Words cannot express my gratitude for my incredible family and the amazing team (who spend most of their waking hours with me) who have all given so much to support me and in turn support you. Thank you , without them I would not be even writting [sic] this to you now.

All that’s missing from the new material is the kindly visage of the elder statesman of The Secret, Scientist Bob Proctor, who reportedly has recently taken legal steps to dissociate himself from Schirmer. But who needs Scientist Bob when you have a couple of young blonde cheerleaders (memo to Natalie: For Goddess’ sake, girl, get out while you can!), as well as a loyal and understanding wife, and an ambitious young dude who’s willing to do just about anything for you?

The ambitious young guy in question is Warren Henningsen, who is Schirmer’s current "team member of the month." Schirmer allows Warren to introduce himself via the Ezine:

I'm Warren Henningsen.
You may not know me yet ... but if you have watched The Secret and you've been trying to apply the Law of Attraction you will know me soon…

Hey, Warren, I think I know you. Weren’t you the guy who did bathroom duty for Schirmer a couple of months ago, shielding your hero when he was hiding in the boys’ room because he didn’t want to face that mean Kiwi journo, Robyn James? Yeah, I thought you looked familiar. If it wasn’t you, it was sure someone who looked like you. And if it was you, well, all I can say is that naming you team member of the month is the least Squirmer can do for you after making you face that fearsome journalist with all of her negative questions.

Warren seems unwaveringly loyal to Schirmer, and I really can’t figure that one out. Just listen to him:

I pinch myself every day. I am now the Global Sales and Marketing Manager of The Schirmer Group of Companies.

David Schirmer's knowledge of The Secret and how to use and apply The Law of Attraction is by far the best in the world.

He has shown me "How To Apply The Secret" ... I have watched and witnessed him think and talk about something and within a few days it happens ... it happens so fast at times it blows me away.

After many weeks of 'nagging' he finally agreed to run a one-day seminar on "How To Apply The Secret - Step by Step". My primary objective was and is to get him in front of as many people as humanly possible.

Well ... we've just arrived home after a whirl wind tour of New Zealand and Australia and I'm buzzing.

I've just witnessed lives changing before my eyes and I simply can't express how grateful I am for being part of such a truly awe inspiring experience…

As for the aforementioned Natalie, Schirmer loyalist and current editor of the Ezine, listen to what she has to say on what she has learned from her boss about the topic of "Desire":

If you are going to believe that you are going to achieve your goals and desires you must spend time in contemplation. The general recommendation is to spend a minimum of 30 minutes twice a day thinking about your desires. A more appropriate and helpful way of explaining that is to 'feel' your desires.

Use all of your senses to completely indulge in the experience and if you continue to do this regularly opportunities will begin to arise in your life, people will emerge and things will cause you to act in order for you to move closer to your goals.

There are times that it is best to err on the side of discretion, and sensing that this may be one of them, I will withhold comment.

Perhaps the most exciting news of all is that Schirmer and his lovely wife Lorna are helping to pass the wisdom of The Secret on to the next generation, via something called Youth Destiny Camp (YDC) 2008:

If you could teach your child the skills you learnt from The Secret To Wealth, Mind and Money Strategies, You were Born Rich, The Science of Getting Rich, or How To Apply The Secret ... and give them a head start in life ... in a fun learning environment ... WOULD YOU?

The one question that David has got asked more than anything else over the past 14 years as he has shared his Money Tree spreadsheet and basic wealth creation strategies is: "Why isn't this taught in schools?"

Our passion is to make sure that one day it is! Until then we endeavour to teach teenagers what most of us didn't learn at school about self image, money, prosperity etc, but should have.

And then there’s the upcoming "My Abundant Life" Seminar in March... and who knows what else Schirmer has planned for this year? The question is, does he have any idea what other people might have planned for him? We’ll just have to wait and see. Scuttlebutt has it that 2008 promises to be a very interesting year for Schirmer, perhaps in what is commonly believed to be the classic Chinese sense of the word.

For the time being, though, it seems to be business as usual at the Schirmer camp. He continues to get by with a small group of suckers seekers that he takes pains to make look like a much larger group, all the while attracting all of his "miracales" and, of course, fighting the enemies of truth and justice.

I am kind of curious about one thing: Why the heck aren't Rhonda Byrne and her legal vultures going after Schirmer for apparently co-opting The Secret "S" logo for his David Schirmer Group of Companies (as well as for those Secretploitation sites he maintains)? My guess is that’s one of the things that's coming next, if Schirmer doesn’t watch himself. And if what has happened to some other folks involved with The Secret is any indication, Rhonda’s legal eagles are going to make whatever might have happened with Schirmer and Bob Proctor look like a day at the beach.

* Re the phony illegal degrees: I'm assuming that most of y'all know who I'm talking about so there's no need to provide a link.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Naked New Year

I was feeling kind of beat up as the old year ended, having faced a deep personal loss that I’m not quite ready to blog about yet (and may not do so in this forum, since it somehow seems not quite appropriate). I decided that it might be therapeutic to get back to snarking as soon as possible.

I didn’t go out looking for anything snarkworthy, mind you; I rarely do. The snarkworthy things always come to me, and are still coming, despite the fact that I have apparently been abandoned by my favorite New-Wage spam service. I kinda miss that spam, but nevertheless the ethers are still buzzing with succulent snark targets. I’m like a lizard on a rock in the sun, just waiting for a juicy bug to fly within reach so I can stick out my snarky little tongue and… well, okay, not a perfect metaphor (or analogy, or simile, or whatever the heck it is). But you get the picture.

So anyway, I was sitting on the couch this morning, watching TV and reading the Sunday newspaper (I’m a bit behind), spending some quality time with the resident Feline-Americans, who were climbing all over me, trying to stick their butts in my face so I couldn’t read the paper. I found that The View was pre-empted by yet another holiday parade (didn’t they just have one of those things last week?). Just as I landed on the channel airing the parade, things were gearing up for a performance by Up With People... and, sorry, I’m just not up to Up With People right now.

So I hopped on over to one of the UHF channels, where an episode of Cristina’s Court had just begun. Today’s case featured Robert Burck, aka The Naked Cowboy, v. his girlfriend Cindy. The Naked Cowboy makes his living by singing and showing off his body in New York’s Times Square and on the Internet. I missed the first part of the segment, but from what I gathered, The Naked Cowboy had moved in with his g.f. some time ago, but is now enjoying such success with the nekkid singing gig that he wants to move himself, the gal, and her kids into a mansion. The catch? He wants cameras in every room, 24/7, for an ongoing Internet reality-show thing. His woman, on the other hand, is not completely supportive of that idea and thinks she has a right to some privacy in her own home. What a lot of nerve.

It was, in a sense, a classic case of the right to freedom of expression versus the right to privacy. These are important issues, and thank Goddess for Cristina, ever the impartial judge. "He is who he is!" she gushed about Cowboy after hearing the case, going on to explain that "Naked," as she called him, represents freedom of expression in America, a freedom that apparently includes every American’s right to be naked, or something like that. (She failed to mention that along with that right goes a grave responsibility: to only appear in public naked if one looks good that way. America, do you want to see Rosie O’Donnell or Drew Carey nekkid?)

The Naked Cowboy is one of those who, presumably, does look good nekkid, although I don’t really know if this is true because – and I know some of you will be as disappointed as I was – he isn’t actually nekkid. He wears a pair of briefs.

Never mind, though. Cristina likened Naked to an innocent child who does what he does and is what he is without giving a darn what people think. Her eyes were brimming with lust admiration as she went on and on about Naked’s uniqueness, suggesting that his gal Cindy really shouldn’t be cramping his style by insisting on a little privacy at home.

To her credit Cristina did ultimately rule for a compromise, deciding that both parties were right in their own way. Yet when making her comments about cameras in the home as just part of the new wave – the way things are now, a tool to help Naked continue to evolve into who he is, etc. – she seemed to completely miss the point about Cindy’s right to privacy in her own friggin’ home. If I understood correctly, however, Cindy will insist on one completely camera-free room, to which she can retreat whenever she wishes, and she said that she bets Naked will be sneaking in there from time to time as well to get away from it all.

At the end of the segment Cristina asked Naked to sing. He shed his overcoat, picked up his gittar, and sang an autobiographical ditty in a fake Western drawl. Turns out that not only is he not really nekkid, but he can’t sing worth a hoot, which isn’t really all that important, I suppose, in light of his other marketable skills, such as muscle development and looking good nearly nekkid.

"But how is this relevant to the subject matter of your blog, Cosmic Connie?" you may be asking. You would understand if you had heard Cristina – and "Naked," for that matter – waxing rhapsodic about personal growth and development and being true to one’s self and so forth. In fact you woulda thunk you were at some sorta selfish-help or New-Wage seminar instead of a televised court trial. Oh, Gawd, now I’m writin’ in a fake Western drawl. Sorry ’bout that, podners.

In any case, I’ve written about nekkid men here before. Surely you haven’t forgotten Dreaming-Bear Kanaan, as much as you might like to. The main difference between The Naked Cowboy and Dreaming-Bear is that at least The Naked Cowboy isn’t overtly claiming to try to raise people’s consciousness.

On second thought…. Well, I’ll let you come to your own conclusions, or to Naked’s Conclusion. I leave you with this wrap-up of his autobiography, The Legend Of The Naked Cowboy:

My perfected life story will be accepted, respected, revered and never challenged or second-guessed by anyone. People worldwide will admire the skill, intelligence and freedom that my goals have delivered to me. They will know only of the open-mindedness, the challenges met, battles won, hearts won, attitudes changed, message of love, desire for acceptance and obsessive dedication delivered; the self-sacrifice of all one has, had or would have for the purpose of achieving one’s goals, desires, mission and destiny.

My life story will be among the world’s all-time best sellers of motivational and self-help books. They will start landslides of effort among all that read them and live their principles. They’ll know and recognize the unselfish and determined effort to be a communicator or success and accomplishment to humanity. They’ll recognize sacrifice for gain, great sadness and deprivation for gain, freedom in thought and acceptance of the true meaning of purpose despite hardship. In essence, a destined communicator of will and its ability to overcome any and all, bit by bit, with the entirety in mind, body and spirit. A loving message communicated worldwide by one determined man in the human condition with the truly exciting realization that this fortunate condition is determinable only by oneself and his desire to do so.

They’ll find this loving message: that no limit can stand in one’s way unless allowed; that all inhibitions and limits are self-imposed; and that we all live in an undaunted realm of unlimited possibility.

My ideal day will be engrossed with exciting bright colors and sounds and feeling of exhilaration. These will all be complimented with soft, delicate, peaceful and serene sounds, sights of elegance and calmness and feelings of passion and tingling. Every fiber of my senses will be refreshed, sight, sound, taste and feeling. My mind, body and spirit shall remain in complete unity with all else for eternity. On my ideal day I will not forget to thank God, my loving creator, who has truly blessed me, for the courage, the discipline, the dedication, the drive, the ambition, the stamina, the might, the character, the personality, the audacity, the imagination, the values, the conditioning, the environment, the genetics, the freedom, the liberty, the riches, the right, the resources, the purpose, the spontaneity, the vision, the obedience, the ingenuity, the charisma, the belief systems, the technology, the family, the desire, the talent, the flexibility, the strength, the balance, the congruence, the assistance, the wisdom, the power, the attitude, the love, the grace, the kindness, the generosity, the sincerity, the friendships, the guidance, the help, the opulence, the serenity, the intelligence, the wit, the simplicity, the experience, the principles, the endurance the latitude, the faith, the complexity, the integrity, the beauty, the elegance, the manners, the states, the syntax, the metaprograms, the communication, the character traits, the commitment, the understanding, the empathy, the paradigms, the leadership, the magic, the fuel, the action habit, the rapport, the anchors, the charm, and the happiness with which I have created this life of my dreams. All praise and honor to our wonderful, loving God who nurtures our deepest, truest intentions.

On that note… Happy New Year to all of you, and all praise and honor to the wonderful, loving b.s. artists who have provided and will continue to provide such rich fodder for my Whirled.

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