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, October 30, 2009

Hello, dolly!

Well, Dear Ones, I bet you thought I was never going to let up on that James Arthur Ray "Sweatgate" story. And I haven't entirely, of course – the conversation is still alive and kicking on my Whirled – but I felt it was time to share a little bit of positive news. As you may know from reading a couple of my recent pre-Sweatgate posts on this blog, our friend Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale, (who also happens to be one of James Ray's friends and co-stars in The Secret), recently went to Russia to spread the good news to the Russians about the Law Of Attraction. He had scads of adventures and misadventures there, but one really good thing that happened to him was that he discovered an amazing Russian magic doll that has been kept a secret for centuries, until now.


And what better place to find a centuries-old secret than Russia? Russia, as Joe 'splains it, is "a land of wisdom and mystery, magic and miracles. It holds more secrets than you or I could ever imagine." I happen to agree with him on that point, and I even wrote a scholarly, meticulously researched piece about the mystical wonders of Russia. Actually, though, Joe says that his magic dolly may not have originated in Russia. He says it may very well have Buddhist roots, and since Joe is the Buddha of the Internet and all, I imagine he knows what he's talking about when it comes to anything about Buddhism. (Well, except when he doesn't.)

Joe's first wrote about his little doll, called Hochun or Hoshun (from the Russian verb, "I want") on his blog shortly after he got back from Russia. Hoshun can help make all of your wishes come true. Okay, the truth is that a single Hoshun can only help make one wish come true, and if you want help on another wish you have to buy another doll, and then if you have yet another wish you have to buy yet another doll, and so forth. [Note: See November 4 update below. ~CC] But that's no problem because Joe, who is always looking out for your well-being, has made special arrangements to help bring the magic of Hoshun into your life. He has teamed up with his buddy Pat O'Bryan to sell you as many dolls as you could possibly want. (If you follow the link to the magic dolly site, you have to watch the video. You just have to.)

But wait, there's more! You can, according to the PPS on the site, also buy "Hoshun Secret Clothing," coffee mugs, and more, "at a secret site you'll get when you order Hoshun." Hoshun's image is apparently so powerful that it works whether it's in the form of a dolly or a two-dimensional image on a mug or a piece of Secret Clothing.

Now, you may be wondering why Joe teamed up with Pat O'Bryan for something like this. After all, as Joe puts it, "Pat tends to be skeptical. He doesn't swallow woo-woo or spirit guides easily, if at all." And I'm pretty sure that's true, since Pat is normally a purveyor of strictly scientifical products such as (yes, you knew I was going to mention this, didn't you?) the amazing Psychic Demand method. But as it turns out, there is no contradiction between the magical aspect of Hoshun and Pat's hard-nosed skepticism. Pat, being the science guy he is, "saw the value of Hoshun as a 'brain tool' to install your intention in your mind." I know that may be a little too complex and technical to most of you, as it was to me, but you just have to trust these guys because they know how your mind works.

But how does Hoshun work? Well, again, it's pretty technical, but I will try to explain it in plain English. Hoshun doesn't have any pupils in his eyes when you first buy him, which means he is blind. But he is longing to see, and he'll do anything for the person who helps him see. That's you. You draw one of his pupils in – but just one, mind you – and you tell him your wish. Then with that one functional eyeball Hoshun watches you as you work to make your wish come true.

You also get some "breakthrough audios" with your Hoshun, created especially for you by Joe and Pat to support you in your efforts. I'm thinking it might behoove you to watch that video of Joe on the magic dolly site again, and there might be added benefits if you let Hoshun watch the video with you. Of course, with just one eye Hoshun's depth perception might be compromised, but it shouldn't pose much of a problem since there isn't all that much depth to perceive, if you catch my meaning.

Once Hoshun has his working eyeball and you have begun taking inspired action on your wish or goal, you're supposed to take your dolly with you as a constant reminder of that goal or wish. He will serve as an inspiration, silently cheering you on. Joe says Hoshun is working on a "psychological level, a mystical level, an energy level, and a metaphysical level." But I can't help thinking of that creepy wind-up doll in the commercial for the prescription antidepressant Pristiq. The depressed woman takes Pristiq and gets better, but apparently she still has to take the doll with her everywhere, even on family picnics. I find that pretty disturbing. (Here's the link, in case you haven't seen it. And if you're getting a bit of deja vu here, it's because I already discussed the Russian dolly a little bit in the discussion following one of my previous blog posts, and in my comment I also mentioned the Pristiq doll.)

So on you go about your business, working to reach your goal, while Hoshun peers at you with his single eyeball. I suppose it's up to you if you want to let him watch you shower or perform other private activities. If that's how you get your thrills, go for it. Once your wish is granted or your goal is reached, you draw in Hoshun's other pupil so he can really see your triumph. Then you think up another wish, buy another Hoshun (or print another picture of your Hoshun dolly, as the case may be), do the pupil-drawing ritual, listen to the audios, work on your wish by taking inspired action, and so on. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I am not sure what you are supposed to do with your first Hoshun once you bring another one into your home, or how you handle it if the Hoshuns get jealous of each other and start secretly plotting to cancel out each other's work on your behalf. Maybe Joe and Pat could sell a magic Hoshun harmonizer to help all of your Hoshuns work in concert for you.

Now, I know you may be thinking, "Gee, Cosmic Connie, this sounds pretty good, but it's unproven technology. Does this magic dolly really work?" I'm glad you asked. Joe says it does work, and he 'splains why:

Here are three reasons this secret genie works:
1. For one thing, just using him to help you be clear about what you want was eye-opening. He forced me to be clear. This alone is priceless. As you know, you can't have what you can't articulate.
2. For another, having Hoshun sitting near me was a great mental trigger. He constantly reminded me of my intention, or wish. I knew this was working on my unconscious mind. I also knew this was sending my wish into the 'well of the universe'. As you know, being reminded of your intention is how you get your hidden powers to attract it to you.
3. Finally, even if you are so skeptical that you think a "secret genie" is nonsense, then at least consider the power of the placebo. Studies prove that belief in a pill can help cure any disease. Think about that. There are centuries of built-up belief in this secret Russian wish maker. Even if you don't actually buy it right now, the hundreds of thousands of people who have believed in it have infused it with the power of a diety [sic].

Wow. That last item contains an absolutely amazing explanation of how the placebo effect works. Who knew?

I'm sure that by now you're almost convinced to buy at least one of Joe and Pat's dolls. But you might still be wondering, "How much of an investment am I going to have to make?" Once again, here's Joe:

When you consider that this secret genie will do anything you want in order to get his eyesight, he's probably worth thousands of dollars to you.

After all, anything that can help you attract what you want is clearly worth a lot of money, right?

How much?

I think we should sell Hoshun for $997.

But considering most people are worried about the economy right now -- I think they should get Hoshun to fix it -- we decided to offer you Hoshun for a very low, fair price.

You can have a Hoshun of your very own for only $39.99.

Considering this is like having a genie to do your bidding, I think the price is a steal.

After all, what's a secret magic genie worth?

"What's a secret magic genie worth?" asks Josef. I realize his question might be rhetorical, but I am thinking that maybe we should try to answer it anyway. Perhaps Joe's buddy James Arthur Ray could shed some light on that one.

If you follow the link on Joe and Pat's site, you can get your Hoshun magic right away via download.

I suspect that even though I have taken the time to patiently explain how the magic Russian dolly works, some of you may still be skeptics. In fact a friend of mine, upon hearing about Joe's newest scheme, wrote, "Just when I think he couldn't surprise me any more, he pulls something else out of his ass."

Little did he realize that where Mr. Fire is concerned, that may be more than just a figure of speech. But maybe we'll save that one for another time.

Update, 4 November: Although my contributors and I have kept this story (such as it is) pretty well updated via discussions in the "Comments" section, I'm bringing the highlights up to the front page.

The most important point, in case it isn't obvious from all of the discussions whirling around the Net (and here on my Whirled, for that matter) is that the Hoshun dolly picture that Joe and Pat are selling is not the actual Hochun doll that Joe says he was given by a Russian fan. (And apparently the person who gave it to him was indeed a fan of his, but by presenting the Hochun dolls to him she was also earnestly seeking a business partnership with Joe. At least that's what the linked message in the previous sentence would indicate. I'll have an update on that as verifiable information comes to me.) In any case, what Joe and Pat are selling is not the doll but a two-dimensional image of the Hochun figure. Moreover, at some point between the time I first wrote this blog post and now – one follower tells me it was the day after my post was published – Joe and Pat changed their offer, so your forty bucks will now give you the right to a "lifetime supply" (that is, unlimited printouts) of your wish-dolly figure. What a bargain, huh?

Yet even with this lifetime bargain addition, there has been a flurry of criticism about the dolly, prompting Joe and Pat to take corrective marketing action via emails and Tweets, including rare backup from Joe's sweetie, Nerissa (here and here, so far). There's even another blog post from Joe himself, defending the idea behind Hoshun; click here for that post. I know Joe's Superman defense will convince you beyond a doubt that the Hoshun scheme is indeed profoundly scientifical.

Finally, there is the issue that more than one person has commented on, which is that Joe and Pat are spelling the name of their dolly, "Hoshun." Some have speculated that this is merely a branding effort, while some think it's a short-term memory problem on Joe's part, and others think it could be a calculated attempt to avoid sticky issues with the Russian makers of the Hochun doll. In any case...well, behold the power of words and their deeper meanings. Is the operative syllable here, "shun?" Judging from the fact that there has been such an outcry against this scheme, and that even some of Joe's friends and admirers (e.g., Mr2020) think it is absurd, maybe words do carry more power than we think.

On the other hand, there's that first syllable...

PS added 13 November: Mr. Fire has discovered yet another money attractor, this time in Poland. And this one manages to be both idiotic and potentially offensive. Here's an analysis of the scheme from a new blog called MrFire'sPyre.

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81 Comments:

Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Wow! All those centuries of pent-up belief in these magical genie dolls... must be the reason why the Siberian people have long been known for their universally high level of prosperity.

I'd imagine that some folks will buy this latest Secret-themed scam. The thing that's really scary is that those same people are out there, driving cars and... shudder... procreating. We may well be doomed!

Friday, October 30, 2009 6:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Yakaru said...

Now, if he was selling James Ray Voodoo dolls with an extra supply of pins, I'd be interested.

Friday, October 30, 2009 6:56:00 PM  
Blogger Karl said...

Vitale is busy hammering the last few nails into his coffin of credibility. His mate JAR has finished hammering.

Friday, October 30, 2009 7:06:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

If Hochun is such a secret why did Joe post the address of the Russian site (which sells the real 3 dimensional wooden dolls) on his blog three weeks ago?
BTW, the real Mcoy, (or at least the real product) not Joe's rip-off download drawing, costs only 250roubles, about $10--and the site owners promise to give a percentage of that to charitable good works.

Friday, October 30, 2009 7:41:00 PM  
Blogger Frances said...

Hey! These remind me of the Soviet Leaders Matryoshkas I saw in Soviet Life magazine (now Russian Life)!

Here's a picture I was lucky enough to find:
Yeltsin to Lenin

What can I say? They DO give people the magical power of basic knowledge of Russian/Soviet leaders...

Friday, October 30, 2009 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Duff said...

If I may recommend a cheaper alternative, St. Jude candles sell for only $2.95 here:
http://www.mexgrocer.com/8560.html

St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes. I recommend lighting a St. Jude candle for each of the stars of The Secret--they need all the help they can get!

And just to bring in a non-snarky perspective, one can create a symbol (physical, mental, or verbal) to represent a prayer or intention for free, at any time, and with any materials whatsoever. As our native brothers and sisters have been saying about the James Ray sweatlodge, "don't pay to pray." And a good tarot reading or St. Jude candle can sometimes hit the spot.

Friday, October 30, 2009 10:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Lana said...

This is a joke, right? Right? RIGHT?

Friday, October 30, 2009 11:52:00 PM  
Anonymous J said...

I have been following your James Ray post for a while with great interest.
I was rendered somewhat speechless by this new scam of Dr Joe.
I dread to think what he is going to cook up next!!
As tempted as I was to get my own little magic Hoshun!!!, there's a point I'd love our friend Joe to clarify: he claims "There are centuries of built-up belief in this secret Russian wish maker" which is fine but how does Joe transfer all of this pent-up belief into, as he continue to explain: "Then, we hired a graphic artist to make our own Hoshun."

Perhaps I could make my own!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009 3:10:00 AM  
OpenID abalanceofhope said...

*shakes head sadly*

What can I say? The entire "secret" and positive thinking was once funny; now it's just plain sad. The level of greed and stupidity Mr. Vitale will sink to is beyond comprehension.

Hang your head in shame, Mr. Joe Vitale.

VITALE was the one that had us all believe in "the secret" that the fundamental principle behind any success is positive thinking, our thoughts and feelings, regardless of circumstances and events in one's life - such as religion and cultures. Now, he's actually promoting a product for 39 dollars that, if we believe in this product, will manifest things for us? Isn't that a contradiction to his teachings?

I'm just longing - ever so longing- for this guy Vitale to appear in Brisbane Australia. I'd love to be the one to ask the first question (and bring this doll crap up, as well as the green algae crap he was promoting) in his crummy seminar. Law of attraction / touch wood that this will happen. My oh my would I have a field day... -))

**** it, I think I'll send him an invite -))

Saturday, October 31, 2009 4:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Connie,

Amazingly good snark, as usual. I actually followed the link you provided to "psychicdemand" (thanks, it took me 10 minutes of washing my hands and my mouse to get the crap off of them) and I did find this one gem of advice that may apply to this fantastic doll also:

"PPS -- If you are not ordering this system [doll] because you are in fear -- fear of money or fear of being ripped off or fear of anything stopping you from ordering right now... I suggest you take control. Don't let fear be your boss. Show it who's boss. Who's in charge of your life, anyway? Fear or YOU?"

I mean, wow, that is just incredible advice. When I read it, I have a very hard time not clicking and buying everything this man has to sell.

How the hell does he sleep at night?

Saturday, October 31, 2009 5:09:00 AM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

I love a bargain but even though St Jude is up there as my favourite catholic icon along with Doubting Thomas, you can get postcards of Hochun--the closest equivalant to Joe's offering---from the Russian site at less than 50 cents (US) each.
And even the postcard is a physical product, not an endlessly replicable digital download.

Get those crayons out, Joebots, and study the arcane mysteries of the photocopier. The effort expended in DIY magicmaking might lead to the boomerang effect of a metaphysical breakthrough to the Trooth--except that would require some of that most reviled activity, discriminatory thinking.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 6:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Afghanistan is in desparate need of a vist by Joe.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 8:44:00 AM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Oooooh! Seekrit magical clothing from CAFEPRESS! But I'm gonna hold out for the TRULY MAGICKAL seekrit stuff from Zazzle! (All them Z's gotta mean SOMETHING!) Or maybe I'll cough up my yearly membership fee for the Extra Special Truly Enlightened Cosmic Beings Club, who gets to use Spreadshirt!

Saturday, October 31, 2009 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger savage71 said...

I wish I had thought of making a Joe Vitale Halloween costume this year. It would have been scarier than any goblins of vampires out there.

This whole thing got me to thinking just how gullible people can get. I pondered the notion of creating a scam too outrageous to be believed, and then wondered how many people would go for it.

My idea was this:

Go to Sedona, and claim to be a "Vortex Whisperer". Tell people that for some reason, the vortexes have disappeared. (Some other woo woo-ers may argue this, but stay insistent that it is true, and that you know your stuff).

Come up with something to sell people to help bring the vortexes back into harmony. Make sure you create a sense of urgency, and assure people that this must be done quickly, or else the world may be in big trouble. Then keep selling products to help people keep the vortexes clear and intact.

Also sell separate products that will allow folks to better be in alignment with said vortexes.

Unless of course Joe has already done this.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 2:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

OK... finally gonna start replying to the comments...

Ron wrote:
"Wow! All those centuries of pent-up belief in these magical genie dolls... must be the reason why the Siberian people have long been known for their universally high level of prosperity.

"I'd imagine that some folks will buy this latest Secret-themed scam. The thing that's really scary is that those same people are out there, driving cars and... shudder... procreating. We may well be doomed!"

Point well taken about Siberia, Ron. Not that the Joebots will care.

I noticed that Joe seems to really be exploiting the "secretive" aspect of the "Russian WishMaker," as well as the "Secret" (with a capital "S") connection. Which is not surprising; after all, the illusion of exclusivity is a hustledork's best friend. In the video on the sales site he says that Hoshun is such a secret that even most of Russia doesn't know about him. Folks in Moscow and St. Pete had never heard of Hoshun, he says. 'Twas only in the furthest corners of Siberia that Hoshun is known, and now, of course, Joe is bringing him to a breathlessly waiting world.

Ron, I am sure you're right about people buying into this latest scam. According to one of Joe's remarks on Twitter, sales started even before the site was up. Of course, we only have Joe's word for that. Still, I imagine he'll suck a few people into blowing (at least) forty bucks on Hoshun's "magic."

But I refuse to believe we are doomed, as long as my Whirled keeps spinning, as long as Rev Ron continues to rant, as long as Mojo and Yakaru and Duff and Disillusioned and Abalanceofhope and Lana and Savage71 and Karl and Dave and Francis and J and all of the other "naysayers" keep on "naysaying." We are no longer lone voices in the wilderness. As a matter of fact, we never were.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 4:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Burned By Fire said...

Connie - This is one of your best posts yet. I can't even tell you how many times I laughed reading it.

It's so formulaic... go to an exotic location (whether Peru, the Amazon, or Siberia) and find local customs or mythologies that you can repackage and sell to the unwitting American looking for spiritual assistance.

And like ablanceofhope said, this is completely contradictory to Vitale's supposed teachings that we are masters of our own reality, that we don't need external help, we just need to get clear.

But without the crutches like Hochun, or blue water bottles, or little "I love you" knicknacks, there's no marketplace beyond the book sales.

And savage71, you would not have been the only JV scariness out on Halloween... apparently Vitale and Pat O'Bryan are scaring someone out of thousands of dollars taking them for a ride in the mwah-mwah-mwah PHANTOM Rolls Royce tonight.

Connie - I see that Hochun's anatomy is missing other parts. What happens if, perchance, someone were to draw... perhaps... half of a sex organ on him?

Saturday, October 31, 2009 4:20:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Yakaru said...
"Now, if he was selling James Ray Voodoo dolls with an extra supply of pins, I'd be interested."

LOL, Yak. Perhaps a more appropriate totem would be a wax figurine of James, set in the hot burning sun to melt.

For the record, I do not wish James Ray any physical harm. I don't even necessarily want to see him put away in prison for the rest of his life, should he be charged with and convicted of any crime. The man is not a violent offender, after all. Admittedly, I've been guffawing with everyone else about the prospect of James in jail, but when I think about it, prison just doesn't seem to be the answer for people like him. (I feel the same way about Bernie Madoff and other scummy but nonviolent criminals.)

I think justice might be better served with a huge public apology from James, along with admission that he is full of crap and that most of his teachings are based on stuff he borrowed from others or pulled out of his ass (as Steve Salerno likes to say). This would be followed by liquidation of the great James Ray empire -- with all proceeds to go to the families of the dead and injured. And then he should spend the rest of his life atoning in some visible and measurable way for what he did. Perhaps a large portion of proceeds from his future earnings could either go to the families or to select charities or vicitms' funds.

I know that's not the way our justice system works, though. And more than likely criminal charges, if there are any, won't stick, while civil charges will probably be fought out in court for years.

Even so (to get back to Yakaru's original comment) I bet that at this point, a James Arthur Ray voodoo doll, with extra pins of course, would sell quite well.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 4:37:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Karl said...

"Vitale is busy hammering the last few nails into his coffin of credibility. His mate JAR has finished hammering."

Don't count Joe Vitale out yet, though. According to him, his "Rolls Royce Masterminds" are sold out for the rest of the year. (These are the sessions for which he charges $5,000 per person to ride with him and one of his buddies in his Rolls Royce Phantom, to dinner at a restaurant of Joe's choice.) As with his claim about the brisk sales of the "Russian WishMaker," we have to take his word that the RR Masterminds are all sold out, and we also have to take his (implied) word that every person who is participating is paying the full $5,000 (or $7,500 if they want an "exclusive" solo ride; he normally takes two people at a time). What is clear is that Joe will find some way to keep on making money, and more importantly, to keep convincing people that he is making lots and lots and LOTS of money. That idiotic little Russian dolly is probably just a drop in the bucket for him -- merely another cynically marketed gimmick to give him and Pat some cigar money so they can sit around with their other "Siglo" buddies in the Vitale Cigar Bar at Bruce "Quiverfull" Collie's Wimberley restaurant, dreaming up more silly schemes. (You know I'm right, Sigloids. Admit it.)

And we can't really say James Ray is down for the count either. He has backed off for a while from the public appearances, no doubt due to the advice of his lawyers and his new high-dollar PR guy (who is also a lawyer), but it's a pretty sure bet that they're all strategizing like crazy now, and it's anyone's guess what a glorious spin and creative defense they will come up with. (My guess is that they'll start by attacking the attackers, the best defense being a good offense and all that). Public opinion is very much against James Ray right now, but we should never underestimate the power of (1) The public's short attention span and memory; (2) A crafty PR team; and (3) A vicious legal team. Number 3 is a factor that the critics may need to be aware of. I'm just sayin'...

As for Joe Vitale, he and most of the other "Secret" stars are remaining more or less mum on this big news story (except for Joe's snippy remark to Duff McDuffee that "nobody knows what went on in that sweat lodge"). But if JAR somehow comes out on top, you can bet they'll all be cackling and crowing triumphantly, saying they have been vindicated, LOA "works" after all, and that the naysayers were wrong all along.

As for your original point about credibility, Karl, while to rational people it might seem that you're right, we have to keep in mind that in the New-Wage/McSpirituality biz, the standards for "credibility" are considerably lower than in the "real" world. That's why Joe can actually talk about the magic of Hoshun with a straight face, and why some people will actually believe him enough to send him forty bucks for a paper doll and some audio files.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 5:15:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

disillusioned said...

"If Hochun is such a secret why did Joe post the address of the Russian site (which sells the real 3 dimensional wooden dolls) on his blog three weeks ago?

"BTW, the real Mcoy, (or at least the real product) not Joe's rip-off download drawing, costs only 250roubles, about $10--and the site owners promise to give a percentage of that to charitable good works."

Disillusioned, now *I* am the one who is disillusioned. Are you implying that Joe's Hoshun is a cheap ripoff? :-)

I wondered exactly the same things you did. When Joe originally blogged about Hoshun/Hochun, he showed a picture of the little dolly that is sold on the Russian web site. I assume this is the same doll that his Russian fan gave him. So naturally, my first assumption, once I found out that he and Pat O. were cooking up a Hoshun scheme of their own, was that they were going to sell the actual dolls, along with their own proprietary garbage...I mean...infoproducts or other gimmicks.

I began to suspect otherwise when I saw there was no picture of the actual dolly on the Secret Russian WishMaker site, and I noticed that Joe didn't display a little dolly on his video. He just kept mysteriously alluding to the power of Hoshun but didn't actually say what it was.

And then...the fact that he said the whole shebang was instantly downloadable further led me to believe that maybe he wasn't actually selling the doll, but just a two-dimensional image of the doll.

But that makes sense. Even if he bought the real doll in bulk for a good price, he'd still actually have to be spending some money, and then there would be the time and money spent on shipping, and that would cut into the profits. So a cheap ripoff it is. And if it doesn't do well, or even if it does, it'll be back to the Vitale Cigar Bar for the Sigloids, to think up other ludicrous e-z money schemes.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 5:44:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Frances said...

"Hey! These remind me of the Soviet Leaders Matryoshkas I saw in Soviet Life magazine (now Russian Life)!

"Here's a picture I was lucky enough to find:
"Yeltsin to Lenin

"What can I say? They DO give people the magical power of basic knowledge of Russian/Soviet leaders..."

LOL, Frances. The Russians do love their little nesting dolls. As for me, I'd rather have an original Faberge Tsar Imperial Easter Egg. (Wouldn't we all?)

Saturday, October 31, 2009 5:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Duff said...

"If I may recommend a cheaper alternative, St. Jude candles sell for only $2.95 here:
http://www.mexgrocer.com/8560.html

"St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes. I recommend lighting a St. Jude candle for each of the stars of The Secret--they need all the help they can get!

"And just to bring in a non-snarky perspective, one can create a symbol (physical, mental, or verbal) to represent a prayer or intention for free, at any time, and with any materials whatsoever. As our native brothers and sisters have been saying about the James Ray sweatlodge, 'don't pay to pray.' And a good tarot reading or St. Jude candle can sometimes hit the spot."

Thanks, Duff. It's true that sacred or "lucky" objects have probably always been part of human history, and I guess ya can't blame Joe and Pat for wanting to make as much money as they possibly can off from the human fascination with magical trinkets. But their Hoshun scheme just seems particularly smarmy, even for them.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 5:58:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Lana said...

"This is a joke, right? Right? RIGHT?"

An unwitting one, perhaps. Actually, Lana, I seriously doubt that either Joe or Pat, his partner in this scheme, believes this hokey stuff. For them, it's just a way to make some easy money.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 6:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

J said...

"I have been following your James Ray post for a while with great interest.

"I was rendered somewhat speechless by this new scam of Dr Joe....

"...As tempted as I was to get my own little magic Hoshun!!!, there's a point I'd love our friend Joe to clarify: he claims 'There are centuries of built-up belief in this secret Russian wish maker' which is fine but how does Joe transfer all of this pent-up belief into, as he continue to explain: 'Then, we hired a graphic artist to make our own Hoshun.'

"Perhaps I could make my own!!"

Oh, of course you could, J, but it wouldn't be the same. Your Hoshun wouldn't be infused with that special magic with which only "Dr." Vitale can infuse something, and it wouldn't have those scientifical audio products to help you achieve your goal, and, worst of all, it wouldn't add a single kopek to Josef's bank account.

But don't let any of that stop you. :-)

Saturday, October 31, 2009 6:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

abalanceofhope said...

"...What can I say? The entire 'secret' and positive thinking was once funny; now it's just plain sad. The level of greed and stupidity Mr. Vitale will sink to is beyond comprehension...

"...I'm just longing - ever so longing- for this guy Vitale to appear in Brisbane Australia. I'd love to be the one to ask the first question (and bring this doll crap up, as well as the green algae crap he was promoting) in his crummy seminar. Law of attraction / touch wood that this will happen. My oh my would I have a field day... -))

" **** it, I think I'll send him an invite -))"

Thanks, abalance -- excellent points, all.

Joe's no stranger to Oz. I know that he has been to Melbourne in the past (more than once, I think); in fact, he said in an interview a couple of years ago that Melbourne is his favorite spot on earth, because the people are so wonderful. (Yet he didn't utter a peep on Twitter or on his blog during the awful bushfires earlier this year.)

It's anyone's guess whether he plans to visit Brisbane or any other spot Down Under any time soon, but I bet he'd gladly sell you a Hoshun or two, or a dozen. :-)

Saturday, October 31, 2009 6:15:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Dave said...

"Amazingly good snark, as usual. I actually followed the link you provided to "psychicdemand" (thanks, it took me 10 minutes of washing my hands and my mouse to get the crap off of them) and I did find this one gem of advice that may apply to this fantastic doll also:

"'PPS -- If you are not ordering this system [doll] because you are in fear -- fear of money or fear of being ripped off or fear of anything stopping you from ordering right now... I suggest you take control. Don't let fear be your boss. Show it who's boss. Who's in charge of your life, anyway? Fear or YOU?'

"I mean, wow, that is just incredible advice. When I read it, I have a very hard time not clicking and buying everything this man has to sell.

"How the hell does he sleep at night?"

==
Thanks, Dave, and I am sorry you had to get your hands dirty. :-) But I had to provide that link again because the Psychic Demand site is such a classic. You're right; much of the copy is easily interchangeable with the dolly copy. It's interesting that on the Psychic Demand site, you are admonished on the one hand to just forget about ordering the product if you're a skeptic or nonbeliever. Then elsewhere on the same page you are told that if you're a skeptic you need to ask yourself WHY you're a skeptic, implying that it's all due to fear, which you owe it to yourself to overcome.

It's just Joe's standard "hypnotic" marketing copy, in other words.

How does he sleep at night? you ask. By convincing himself that for the most part he's really helping people, I imagine. Mind you, I'm not saying that all of his products are crap or that they haven't ever helped anybody. But I seriously doubt that either "Psychic Demand" or the Russian Wish Dolly has been, is, or will be even remotely beneficial to anyone but Joe and Pat.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 6:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Oh, one more point re Dave's comment. This is a speculation/observation about New-Wage gurus in general; I am not specifically implying that it applies to any particular guru. It is possible that some of them are "able to sleep at night" despite making a career of fleecing people because in fact they have no conscience. I'm no clinician, but I believe that is known as sociopathy. Again, I don't have anyone specific in mind, but I thought it might be relevant in a general way.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 6:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

disillusioned 6:17 AM said...

"I love a bargain but even though St Jude is up there as my favourite catholic icon along with Doubting Thomas, you can get postcards of Hochun--the closest equivalant to Joe's offering---from the Russian site at less than 50 cents (US) each.

"And even the postcard is a physical product, not an endlessly replicable digital download.

"Get those crayons out, Joebots, and study the arcane mysteries of the photocopier. The effort expended in DIY magicmaking might lead to the boomerang effect of a metaphysical breakthrough to the Trooth--except that would require some of that most reviled activity, discriminatory thinking."

==

Excellent advice, Dis! Thank you. :-)

Saturday, October 31, 2009 6:49:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anonymous 8:44 AM said...

"I think Afghanistan is in desparate need of a vist by Joe."

Or at least Iraq. Perhaps he could spread the magic of Hoshun to these troubled regions to bring peace. But wait... remember Joe's "Attract Miracles" community? Aren't *they* supposed to be working on the peace thing for the whole world? I wonder how that's working out...

http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2009/03/all-i-need-is-miracle.html

Saturday, October 31, 2009 6:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

mojo said...

"Oooooh! Seekrit magical clothing from CAFEPRESS! But I'm gonna hold out for the TRULY MAGICKAL seekrit stuff from Zazzle! (All them Z's gotta mean SOMETHING!) Or maybe I'll cough up my yearly membership fee for the Extra Special Truly Enlightened Cosmic Beings Club, who gets to use Spreadshirt!"

Mojo, it sounds like you're all set for a product launch of your own. Mebbe you should do something with that Special Snoring Meditation you do. Between you and your Favorite Younger Sister, I bet you could come up with some killer YouTube vids. :-)

Saturday, October 31, 2009 7:30:00 PM  
Anonymous joshmo said...

OMG Connie, we really are seeing the rats come out the closet now. How much crap do they think the public is going to buy? The aussie guy is now trying to create a flock. Others have mentioned the David Koresh thing and honestly I see a lot of similarities. How far does a persons ego and delusion go before it gets seriously dangerous to other people?

Saturday, October 31, 2009 7:34:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

savage71 said...

"I wish I had thought of making a Joe Vitale Halloween costume this year. It would have been scarier than any goblins of vampires out there.

"This whole thing got me to thinking just how gullible people can get. I pondered the notion of creating a scam too outrageous to be believed, and then wondered how many people would go for it.

"My idea was this:

"Go to Sedona, and claim to be a 'Vortex Whisperer'. Tell people that for some reason, the vortexes have disappeared. (Some other woo woo-ers may argue this, but stay insistent that it is true, and that you know your stuff).

"Come up with something to sell people to help bring the vortexes back into harmony. Make sure you create a sense of urgency, and assure people that this must be done quickly, or else the world may be in big trouble. Then keep selling products to help people keep the vortexes clear and intact.

"Also sell separate products that will allow folks to better be in alignment with said vortexes.

"Unless of course Joe has already done this."

==
S71, that is one of the most brilliant scam-plans I've heard yet. The sad thing is that you would probably be able to convince lots of folks that it's for real.

As far as I know, Joe hasn't yet become a Vortex Whisperer, but he did try his hand at being a "wind whisperer" by redirecting Hurricane Rita in 2005.

http://www.mrfire.com/article-archives/new-articles/stop-rita.html

(And yes, I know I've mentioned this numerous times before on this blog, but thought it deserved yet another mention.)

As you'll see if you read the PS to the article linked to above, Joe implies that it was due to his efforts (and those of his many followers) that Hurricane Rita missed Houston and Joe's place in the Texas Hill Country. Never mind that the Hill Country was well out of harm's way anyway, and that Rita, while missing Houston, wrecked part of East Texas and Louisiana, and that some folks are STILL homeless as a result. Nice work, Joe.

But I think the Sedona vortexes are up for grabs, S71. Get 'em while they're hot.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 7:38:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Burned By Fire said...

"Connie - This is one of your best posts yet. I can't even tell you how many times I laughed reading it.

"It's so formulaic... go to an exotic location (whether Peru, the Amazon, or Siberia) and find local customs or mythologies that you can repackage and sell to the unwitting American looking for spiritual assistance.

"And like ablanceofhope said, this is completely contradictory to Vitale's supposed teachings that we are masters of our own reality, that we don't need external help, we just need to get clear.

"But without the crutches like Hochun, or blue water bottles, or little 'I love you' knicknacks, there's no marketplace beyond the book sales.

"And savage71, you would not have been the only JV scariness out on Halloween... apparently Vitale and Pat O'Bryan are scaring someone out of thousands of dollars taking them for a ride in the mwah-mwah-mwah PHANTOM Rolls Royce tonight.

"Connie - I see that Hochun's anatomy is missing other parts. What happens if, perchance, someone were to draw... perhaps... half of a sex organ on him?"

==

LOL, Burned... devious minds think alike. I had exactly those same thoughts about Hoshun's anatomical incorrectness. As for tonight's "Halloween Rolls Royce Mastermind" starring Pat and Joe, even Joe said on Twitter that it's going to be "spooky." I'm definitely thinking that it's going to be more trick than treat.

And you're right, of course, about the formulaic nature of the Hoshun gimmick. I am sure that Joe really had to dig for that "history" that he shared re the Hoshun character, especially the Buddhist bit. I also suspect that he's not exactly telling the truth about Hoshun being so "unknown" in most of Russia. But again, the Joebots aren't gonna question him.

I still think he ought to market that Joe'oponopono Bobblehead doll, or the Joe Buddha figure. But I doubt that I would get any royalties. :-)

Saturday, October 31, 2009 7:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

joshmo said...

"OMG Connie, we really are seeing the rats come out the closet now. How much crap do they think the public is going to buy? The aussie guy is now trying to create a flock. Others have mentioned the David Koresh thing and honestly I see a lot of similarities. How far does a persons ego and delusion go before it gets seriously dangerous to other people?"

==
Scary, isn't it, Joshmo? What's even scarier is that the Aussie, David Schirmer (another "Secret" star), is planning on coming to the US again in 2010, once again trying to make an inroad here. He's done enough damage in Oz, it seems to me.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 7:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Analpip said...

http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,77450,78185

I found that link very interesting and its so obvious that these guys all practice these methods. How many times have you been in a seminar when the guy up the front says "When is NOW the right time" thinking that no-one would even pick up that NLP techniques were being used. They parrot each other thinking they are good at it when its so bloody obvious.

That guy Schirmer is now saying something on youtube about starting a flock. A flock of what "wanking geese?" imagine it. That'll do well pffftt pffftt at least it will give everyone more fodder.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 8:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Good link, Analpip, and excellent point about LGAT cliches.

As for Schirmer's flock...you're right. More snarkworthy fodder.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 8:50:00 PM  
Blogger savage71 said...

One of the parts of this whole Joe Vitale Kewpie Doll thing is the way he states that the doll will do anything to be able to see.

Then you give it just one eye, giving it just a taste of sight, until it makes with the wishes.

So essentially, you are encouraged to hold something captive and demand that it give you your whims, or else you will prevent it from seeing.
(if this doll thing were real of course)

What a great role model for the kids.

Take advantage of someone's (or something's) bad situation, to extort what you want from them.

So Joe is selling Russian myths to Americans, I wonder if he was peddling magic jackalopes over there.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 10:54:00 PM  
Anonymous mojo said...

On a more serious note, while realizing fairy tales and myths and legends and whatnot fairly abound with unpleasant and sometimes downright horrific imagery, and at the risk of trying to impose my own sense of morality on other people, I just really don't like the idea of actively withholding something from someone--like their freakin' EYESIGHT!--until they give you what you want.

Maybe if the doll was some sort of evil possessed clown doll who tried to strangle me in my sleep I'd feel differently. But this doll has never done me any harm, so why should I be stingy with their eyeballs? So I can get myself a new car or something? Does no one else think--all joking and laughing aside--that this is positively horrific? What sort of moral lesson would I be learning from THAT? How to become BETTER at being monstrously selfish? I'm pretty good at that already, as is most people.

But hey! To paraphrase the ad copy, "I know I may be skeptical, but what do I have to lose?" Wait a minute, let me get my calculator...tap tap tap .... tap tap ... tap tap tap .... Here we go. One penny shy of forty bucks! THAT's what I have to lose! Yes, and one small sliver of my humanity, in exchange for convincing myself it's perfectly all right to allow another to suffer or want, so long as I, personally, am somehow benefiting.

SOLD!

PS: I think Dave was asking how anyone like that sleeps at night--well, one answer is here, at the end of this short video clip, when the film critic Jay Sherman asks The Simpsons movie star Ranier Wolfcastle (aka Ahhnold) the same thing...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIlpYLIiZLE

Sunday, November 01, 2009 5:14:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Savage71 10:54 PM wrote:

"...So essentially, you are encouraged to hold something captive and demand that it give you your whims, or else you will prevent it from seeing.
(if this doll thing were real of course)

"What a great role model for the kids.

"Take advantage of someone's (or something's) bad situation, to extort what you want from them..."

You hit it on the head, S71. Even as a hokey pretense, the underlying concept sucks from a moral standpoint. Some might say that we're all taking this way too seriously because the Hoshun thing is all in fun.

But wait... if it's all just in fun and not real, then...um...why blow forty bucks on it? You buy two or more of your favorite movies on DVD for that price.

Sunday, November 01, 2009 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

mojo 5:14 AM said...

"On a more serious note, while realizing fairy tales and myths and legends and whatnot fairly abound with unpleasant and sometimes downright horrific imagery, and at the risk of trying to impose my own sense of morality on other people, I just really don't like the idea of actively withholding something from someone--like their freakin' EYESIGHT!--until they give you what you want..."

Exactamundo, as Wesley Snipes' evil character said in the 199O's Sly Stallone movie "Demolition Man" (a flick I really like, btw).

S71 above made that point too. Welcome to New-Wage "Ethics" 101. Your final will include a product launch centering around a ripped-off image.

And thanks for the link to the clip from "The Simpsons." Very apt. Come to think of it, the little interviewer character bears a striking resemblance to...um...he looks familiar...can't think of the name of the guy he looks like, but it's on the tip of my tongue... ;-)

Sunday, November 01, 2009 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I was thinking about one of the points made earlier by Burned By Fire (and to some extent, Duff), regarding the constant stream of New/Wage crutches...er...products. The real question, for those who actually might be attempting to take this scheme seriously, is efficacy. Does Hoshun work?

Joe swears on the WishMaker web site that he successfully put Hoshun in action in his own life (presumably he used the 3D dolly his devoted Russian fan gave him). He doesn't specify which particular wish he worked on that came true, but even supposing that a wish of his *did* come true, what evidence does he have that it was due to Hoshun? After all, if we are to believe his breathless, "my-hands-are-shaking" ad copy, Joe supposedly utilizes lots of different breakthrough techniques and products on a daily basis. He does his "clearing" and other stuff he peddles through his Miracles Coaching enterprise. He does his Ho'oponopono "cleaning." He has his magic gold dust that bears the name of a Hindu goddess. He's an expert in making the Law Of Attraction work in his favor (perhaps partly by thumbing through that magic Universe catalog he enthused about in "The Secret"). He's a practitioner of Mental Toughness. And then there are all those things he does for, presumably, his physical health, such as wearing a Teslar watch, scarfing down algae (in the form of a "stem-cell enhancement" supplement), and Goddess knows what else he's cramming down or up himself.

Most important of all, he is already wealthy and successful and world-famous. We know this, because he keeps telling us. So what, specifically, did Hoshun do to improve his life so radically that he got all excited and wanted to share the Russian secret with the world? And again, how does he know it was Hoshun? Hmmm?

It seems his own Hoshun -- and all of the other tools he uses -- couldn't keep his VP of Marketing (who helped get him what was arguably his biggest break before "The Secret") from splitting the Vitale Empire. Hoshun apparently also couldn't keep that un-named close friend and business partner he wrote about in a recent blog post from splitting either. Wha' gives, Hoshun?

It remains to be seen if Joe and Pat will continue their attempts to market this silly gimmick, given the overwhelming public opinion against the enterprise -- even from some of their loyal friends and fans. OTOH, they may still be able to convince a few followers that the critics are the ones who are full of b.s.

As Pat O'Bryan said on a recent Tweet:

"we call 'em 'the haters.' they're a bunch of losers who got their noses out of joint over 'the secret' and can't get over it."
http://twitter.com/patobryan/status/5296488543

And some people may actually believe Pat's assessment.

Sunday, November 01, 2009 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, does anyone going on an international flight have to have their body scanned?

Sunday, November 01, 2009 2:29:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anonymous 2:29 PM said...

"So, does anyone going on an international flight have to have their body scanned?"

You lost me there, Anon...

Sunday, November 01, 2009 3:48:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

BTW, I think I need to add something. Either I overlooked this the first time around, or it was added since I published my post, but apparently the forty bucks you pay for your Hoshun magickal dolly system will entitle you to a LIFETIME supply of fake ripoff images, so you don't have to buy a new fake ripoff image every time you have a new wish. Mea culpa, mea culpa. I grievously misunderestimated the generosity of Joe and Pat.

Sunday, November 01, 2009 3:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

And for those of you who haven't seen it yet, here is
the latest dispatch from the Whimperley Whine Bar: http://tinyurl.com/ybsfezd

Sunday, November 01, 2009 3:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not hoshun, it's hochun.

Here, see?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQa6tWPCe_g&feature=related

Cor, that was fun.

Sunday, November 01, 2009 4:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Lana said...

I'll say it again: Give 'em enough rope and they'll hang themselves.

Sunday, November 01, 2009 5:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual Selfish Help crap only contains a few limited ideas repeated over and over and over again because it makes good marketing to offer something simple for a lot of money. People want a quick fix to make them rich in a hurry and these people offer that opportunity with a very good dose of false hope thrown in. I think it is disgraceful that they have not been stopped before now. They are fake professionals trying to deal with peoples very fragile emotions with no conscience or qualifications. It is nigh time they were dealt a hefty justice. Incredible how a lot of these people also have family members who are either in the clink, been in the clink or should be in the clink.

Sunday, November 01, 2009 6:32:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anonymous 4:09 PM said...

"It's not hoshun, it's hochun.

"Here, see?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQa6tWPCe_g&feature=related

"Cor, that was fun."

Anon, you sound remarkably like my old pal HHH. Whether you are or not, thank you for the link to the delightful alphabet lesson. My ex-boyfriend from many years ago, the one who was fascinated with Russia, taught himself the language and the alphabet -- both the pre-Revolutionary and the post-Revolutionary versions. Apparently during the Revolution they either took away or added some letters to the Cyrillic alphabet.

As for the spelling of the Russian wish-dolly's name, Joe himself called it "Hochun" in his original blog post, but has apparently decided he prefers the spelling "Hoshun."

In any case, more than one person has written to me pointing out that Josef's Russian dolly does indeed have a Japanese Buddhist lineage, as I could easily have discovered for myself had I not been far too lazy to research the matter:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daruma_doll

I found these sections of the Wiki article particularly enlightening:

"Controversial aspects
"In the late 1990s, several groups of human rights activists claimed that the practice of making Daruma without eyes (and the practices associated with them) is discriminatory against the blind. Some media organizations and politicians eager to avoid negative publicity stopped showing eyeless daruma altogether. It used to be a signifying moment in an election to have the winner draw an eye, but this is no longer shown."

[See, even in Japan they are concerned about political correctness. Although it seems to me that if they did the eye drawing silently without making a big deal about it, the blind people wouldn't be the wiser for it, if you know what I mean.]

Then there's this...

"Time management
The daruma doll (or a printed version) has been used by various time management systems as a symbol for an uncompleted major task/goal. When you start a task you color in one pupil, and then put the doll/image where it can be seen so it continually reminds you about that task. When the task is completed the second eye can be filled in to denote completion."

==
Jeez, so much for that ancient mysterious Siberian secret, eh? As one of my email pen pals said, "What a putz."

Sunday, November 01, 2009 6:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Lana said...

"I'll say it again: Give 'em enough rope and they'll hang themselves."

But they'll still find some way to profit from the hanging.

Sunday, November 01, 2009 6:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anonymous 6:32 PM said...

"As usual Selfish Help crap only contains a few limited ideas repeated over and over and over again because it makes good marketing to offer something simple for a lot of money. People want a quick fix to make them rich in a hurry and these people offer that opportunity with a very good dose of false hope thrown in. I think it is disgraceful that they have not been stopped before now. They are fake professionals trying to deal with peoples very fragile emotions with no conscience or qualifications. It is nigh time they were dealt a hefty justice. Incredible how a lot of these people also have family members who are either in the clink, been in the clink or should be in the clink."

Well, Anon, that clink stuff may very well be true of some of the hucksters and their families. In fact I know it is. Even so, I am not for a moment implying that Joe and Pat have committed some jailable offense just by peddling crap. I simply think they should be called out on it. And apparently this is what is happening, and I'm far from the only one doing it.

It seems to me that this is a good example of letting the market decide. Their product will either be a success or a flop, depending upon how many people they can convince to fork over forty bucks for a paper doll and some audio downloads.

Sunday, November 01, 2009 7:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Rational Thinking said...

"Time management
The daruma doll (or a printed version) has been used by various time management systems as a symbol for an uncompleted major task/goal. When you start a task you color in one pupil, and then put the doll/image where it can be seen so it continually reminds you about that task. When the task is completed the second eye can be filled in to denote completion."

I suppose a simple "to do" list is just not 'symbolic' enough :-)

Monday, November 02, 2009 3:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole thing is quite shocking. These people should think about the people and the families that they are influencing before they start selling so much rubbish for so much money. None of it is very christian to me yet some of them are very vocal about their claims of being christian and understanding the bible. Its really pathetic.

Monday, November 02, 2009 4:12:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Rational Thinking said...

==
Time management
The daruma doll (or a printed version) has been used by various time management systems as a symbol for an uncompleted major task/goal. When you start a task you color in one pupil, and then put the doll/image where it can be seen so it continually reminds you about that task. When the task is completed the second eye can be filled in to denote completion."

I suppose a simple "to do" list is just not 'symbolic' enough :-)

==

A to-do list doesn't have the fun factor, RT. It doesn't have a cute little face and a roly-poly body, and you don't get to draw eyeballs on it. I guess you could draw eyeballs, though. Maybe you could put pupils in the little check boxes instead of check marks.

Monday, November 02, 2009 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anonymous 4:12 AM said...

"The whole thing is quite shocking. These people should think about the people and the families that they are influencing before they start selling so much rubbish for so much money. None of it is very christian to me yet some of them are very vocal about their claims of being christian and understanding the bible. Its really pathetic."

Anon, since neither Joe nor Pat has ever claimed to be a Christian (Joe's a Transcendentalist with a dash of pseudo-Buddhism, Vedic influences, faux-Hawaiian spirituality, etc., and Pat is into "Practical Metaphysics"), I suspect you have our Aussie pal David Squirmer in mind when you mention Christianity and the Bible. No worries; it's still relevant here, since, after all, David Schirmer was, like Joe, a star of The Secret. And they're both still getting all the mileage they can out of that.

As for the other points you make, I agree with you on the "rubbish" assessment, and so, apparently, do lots of other folks. In the case of the Hoaxshun wish-dolly, we're not talking about a whole lot of money, but even so, forty bucks is forty bucks.

Monday, November 02, 2009 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

As many of you probably know, even some of Joe's good friends and staunch supporters are snarking about Hoaxshun.

Here, for example, is stuff from Mr2020, who considers himself to be a good friend of Mr. Fire, though I wonder now how long THAT friendship is going to last.

First, the really funny bit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hV7JDz2Yo0

And then a couple of more serious blog posts, such as this one:
http://mrtwentytwenty.blogspot.com/2009/10/truth-about-hoshun-hochun-part-2.html

I made a comment to one of the posts before I snapped to the fact that the "real" discussion is going on here:
http://groups.google.com/group/dharmaville/browse_thread/thread/601d0f2c691e8654?hl=en

I noticed that one of the participants in Mr2020's forum is someone who once privately told my partner Ron that my blog is a little "scary" because of all the critical stuff it contains about Joe V. This person now seems to have had a change of heart. What a difference a little Russian dolly makes...

Monday, November 02, 2009 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

"you are encouraged to hold something captive and demand that it give you your whims, or else you will prevent it from seeing."

Wonder if the Magical Kubla Ken doll will cough up Amazon gift certificates if you squeeze it hard enough (and threaten it with condescension as punishment for noncompliance). Hmmm...

Monday, November 02, 2009 4:15:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Amazon gift certificates? Condescension? Why, Ron, whatever does any of that have to do with Joe?

Monday, November 02, 2009 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I just went back and looked more closely at the comments on Joe's original Hochun blog post. On October 26 someone named Maria wrote this:

[Maria October 26, 2009 at 8:06 am]
"Dear Mr. Joe! I was very happy to read your post about Hochun, because it was me who presented it to you in Novosibirsk. It was absolutly shocking for me! But the most shocking was two things – the first that I wrote in my Hochun-card to sell my Hochun in USA and now I recieved one order from your US reader who get to know about Hochun from your post! And the second was that after your visit in Novosibirsk it was publication of your interview in one popular magazin, and it was in the same issue in which my interview was published to! Is it .coincidence or the law of Attraction afoot?
And may be you remember I gave you a small commercial offer but it was in Russian. Now I would like to repeat my order in English. What email I can use to send you it?
Thank you very much for your film and books and sorry for my english"

Here's the permalink to Maria's comment: http://blog.mrfire.com/?p=1560#comment-109605

I also noticed that Maria's name had a live hyperlink: http://www.hochun.ru/
That's the link to the Russian Hochun site. So does this mean that the site and the company selling the Hochun doll actually belong to Maria, or was she just providing the link to be helpful? It's hard to tell from her English-challenged comment (though admittedly she writes English much better than I can write Russian).

But if I am interpreting her comment correctly, it appears that she has a wish to expand Hochun into the U.S. market -- and even went so far as to write the wish on a card and put it into a Hochun doll) -- and that she wanted to enter into some joint-venture deal with Joe to sell Hochun (the real doll, not a paper doll). I'm guessing Joe did not take her up on her offer...

Monday, November 02, 2009 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Hello! I'm Maria (the author of Hochun) and I'm sorry for my english :). I read your posts every day, and I'm really in shock from this situation! The truth is that I gave Joe several dolls Hochun when he was in Russia, in Novosibirsk, because I liked his books and films. And also I gave him an offer to cooperation. I created my doll three years ago and now I sell them all over the Russia. And when I got to know that Joe would visited my town I decided to offer him a cooperation. But I didn't know that He will take my idea and without any thanks will use my trade mark and idea for his own profit!!! There was no any letter from he though he had all my contact details, he was on my site, took some photo from my site and put them in his blog. It was absolutely shock for me. Especially when I saw his goods. He kills this idea, my Hochun is not only commercial commodity, it's a charitable project. I'm disappointed in Joe. I think that it is not legally. I work on this question now. What do you think about this?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 1:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks liek poor maria attracted someone who just took her idea and used it himself, thinking a poor hick from siberia would never find out. All you twitter people should start promoting maria's site: http://www.hochun.ru/ so maria will learn there are some good decent people in america, not just people who will steal from her.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 7:53:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

This is in response to "Maria's" comment above. First -- and my apologies to you, Maria, if you are indeed the real deal -- I have to issue a rather lengthy disclaimer, because I have not verified Maria's identity. There's no way to do this via Blogger's comments feature, since it comes from a "blind" email address. And, unlike the hyperlink in "Maria's" comment on Joe Vitale's original Hochun blog post (that link led to the Russian Hochun site), the link in the name on the comment above led to a newly created Blogger profile with no detailed information. It could be that "Maria" thought she had to create a Blogger profile in order to comment here. In truth it is not necessary, but perhaps that point would not be real clear to someone who is a bit English-challenged. And since commenters can only have one hyperlink in their name (and only one choice in Blogger's "Choose an identity" check list), Maria may have chosen the Blogger profile by default.

Admittedly the comment *reads* as if written by the same person who wrote to Joe's blog, but writing styles are rather easy to imitate, as any good professional ghostwriter or amateur satirist could tell you. So I have taken into consideration that this comment could very well be an attempt to "punk" your intrepid blogger, for whatever reason, or even an effort to bait me to see if I'll go screaming across the Internet with my latest "scoop."

Not gonna do it, till I have more proof.

Again, Maria, if you are the real deal, I apologize for doubting you. (But if this is you again, HHH (or one of my other puckish pals)...hey, good one.)

Disclaimers aside, Maria, here is my response to your comment. First of all, I am not a copyright or intellectual properties lawyer, although I know a couple of them who are licensed in the state of Texas, if you are interested. I am not in any way qualified to give legal advice, and this comment is not to be construed as legal advice. What I would suggest you do first is to once again write a comment to Joe's original Hochun blog post, stating what you just told me. That link is
http://blog.mrfire.com/?p=1560

Also -- and better yet -- write a comment to Joe's latest blog post in which he (and his partner Pat) defend their Hoshun scheme.
http://blog.mrfire.com/?p=1709

Let Joe and Pat know how you feel about their idea. They are really working overtime to promote this scheme, even though many people have criticized and made fun of them for it.

Joe may not publish your comments, as he frequently chooses not to publish anything that will challenge him or cause people to question his carefully scripted public persona, but at least you will be giving him an opportunity to offer his perspective. Perhaps you should write a private email to him as well; his email address is on his main web site.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anonymous 7:53 AM said...
"looks liek poor maria attracted someone who just took her idea and used it himself, thinking a poor hick from siberia would never find out. All you twitter people should start promoting maria's site: http://www.hochun.ru/ so maria will learn there are some good decent people in america, not just people who will steal from her."

Agreed, Anon. If the "Maria" we've been hearing from (both on Joe's blog and here) is the one who gave Hochun to Joe in the first place, and if she is the one who owns the site in question, this definitely needs to be publicized. Of course Joe and Pat will probably point to the fact that Hochun is an ancient tradition and no one owns the right to his image, etc. etc. etc. -- but it seems clear that their little paper dolly image was "borrowed" from the Russian Hochun that Joe was given by his Russian fan.

(BTW, it's interesting to see Joe and Pat working so hard to defend the "science" behind their little scheme, not just via Twitter and emails, but also via Joe's November 3 blog post.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I want to add another disclaimer regarding "Maria" above: In my first comment re Maria (11:26 PM), in which I quoted a comment to Joe V's original "Hoshun" post, I implied but didn't actually state the obvious: At this point I have not seen any proof that the "Maria" who wrote to Joe is indeed the person who owns the Russian Hochun site. Alas, I cannot read that site, not being literate in Russian or the Cyrillic alphabet. Obviously, anyone can attach any URL to their name, so the mere fact that the "Maria" who wrote to Joe provided a link to a site does not necessarily mean that it is that person's site. (It goes without saying that it doesn't even necessarily mean that the person's name is really Maria, or is even a woman. On the Net, anyone can be anything.)

Moreover, the mere fact that Maria claims the Hochun idea is hers does not prove it is. And, as I noted above, the comment to my own blog post could be an attempt by someone to bait me.

If the "baiting" theory is true, here's my response to past, present, and future master baiters: If something sounds too good to be true (and I mean "good" in the sense that it seems to add particularly potent fuel to my snarky fire), I am automatically going to look at it with skepticism. This is why, to name one recent example, I was so hesitant in the beginning about blogger Cassandra Yorgey's posts re the James Ray debacle.

I fully recognize that, like most of us, I have my blind spots and biases, and (also like most of us) I will automatically be more willing to embrace a piece of information that validates my p.o.v. That's why when I hear or read something "juicy," I generally put on the brakes -- at least a little bit -- till I know more.

However, I have published "Maria's" comment, and my own responses, replete with disclaimers and qualifiers, in order to open up a dialogue and find out more. So, Maria, if you are real, contact me privately:
cosmic.connie@juno.com
(There's also a live email link on the front page of my blog, under my profile.)

And if anyone here speaks/reads Russian (perhaps you, Disillusioned?), and can make sense out of that Russian Hoshun site, perhaps there is indeed something about a "Maria" on an "About Us" page.
Here again is THAT link.
http://www.hochun.ru/
Once again, I plead illiteracy. :-)

OMT: In a previous comment about the Russian alphabet, I remarked that some letters/characters were either added or eliminated after the Revolution. I didn't remember offhand, though my ex-boyfriend told me all about it years ago. I finally looked it up. The extras were eliminated:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_alphabet#Letters_eliminated_in_1918

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 1:59:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

There are four women featured as site owners on the hochun.ru site, Maria Mamantov, Project Manager; Tatiana Shelkumova, Project Manager; Maria Lantukh, Development; and Natalia Loser, Designer, all keen students of positive psychology. So two Marias, though I'd wait for 'Maria' to contact you, Connie before deciding whether she is legit.
One notable thing about the site is the generous puffery given to Joe's visit and the space given to promote his various writings. A generosity not reciprocated by Joe ripping off their ideas--no copyright on ideas of course but even Joe must be aware of the huge importance reciprocity plays in social cohesion and persuasion alike.
Joe being in the persuasion business, I think he's blown his spiritual cover and , with any luck, (I'm putting this wish into my own hochun dolly) whatever credibility he has left.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 3:16:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Disillusioned. I was just getting ready to post my own comment when yours came in. I appreciate your quick feedback. You make some great points about reciprocity (not to mention cross-cultural cooperation) -- matters that transcend copyright issues.

Regarding the translation of the Russian site... Sometimes I overlook the obvious, so someone please whack me on the head with a rolled-up newspaper. (But not too hard. I abhor violence. :-))

The first obvious thing I overlooked was that my ex-b.f., with whom I am still friends, can, as I've mentioned a few times, speak and read Russian. When that clue bus finally stopped, I was all set to climb aboard and send an email to him...when someone else suggested using Google's translation feature. Well, duh. Even though the finer points of language are, more often than not, lost in translation, the basics make it through just fine. Accordingly, here is the result of Google's efforts on the Hochun page:
http://tinyurl.com/yzs6wbk

If you follow the link that says, "I want the team" you will find [as Disillusioned pointed out] that there are not one but two "Marias." And in the "news" links to the right are a couple of mentions of meeting Joe Vitale.

I realize that Joe did indeed provide a link to this site on his original Hochun blog post, but it was the Russian version and I couldn't make heads or tails of it.

Of course, these new bits of info still do not necessarily mean that the person who wrote to *me* is one of those Marias, but at least it indicates that there's a Maria (or two) associated with the Hochun site. Moreover, as Disillusioned mentioned in an earlier comment, they sell a range of products besides the Hochun doll -- postcards and other products bearing Hochun's image.

And once again, Maria, if your message to my blog is authentic, I hope you understand why I am erring on the side of caution here. As for Joe & Pat, I *am* trying in my own way to be fair to them as well as to Maria.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 3:27:00 PM  
Anonymous DG said...

"What's a secret magic genie worth?" you ask?

David Schirmer has the answer apparently, he reckons it all comes down to how a person values themselves. Well shit yeah I really love myself Schirmer so for you, it will cost $1million per comment. Do any of these guys realise just how transparent they have become and just how desperate they obviously are? Time to get a new career girls.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 5:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Hhh said...

It's not me.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

DG wrote:
"...Do any of these guys realise just how transparent they have become and just how desperate they obviously are? Time to get a new career girls."

LOL, DG. However, as desperate as they are, they will probably always be able to find someone more desperate, who will buy their wares. Remember, the public has a short memory.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Hhh said...

"It's not me."

I finally figured that out, HHH, but thanks for popping in. I'm always glad to hear from you.

I am still trying to solve the mystery, as meanwhile the perps of Dollygate continue their desperation marketing. :-)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous hhh said...

I've just caught up with this small chapter in the saga.
Have I got this right?
Vitale went to Russia pushing his stuff. A nice lady with a nice little hochun business gave him a hochun and he took the idea home and teamed up with his associate to flog some hochun product. She is annoyed that he's used her ideas and graphics but now the Russian lady sees an opportunity and wants to sell him some of the genuine article.
OK.

Funny that he was immediately chewed over for dissing Russia.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009 1:13:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Hi, HHH. From what I can see, I don't think that is exactly how it happened. Just from what I have been able to piece together, it seems to me (though I still haven't verified everything) that the nice Russian lady offered Joe a business opportunity *at the time* she gave him the Hochun in Russia. Maybe something got lost in translation. In any case, at one point after Joe got home, he apparently sat down and played with his dolly and decided there was a way to make money off of it. He brought his buddy Pat into the scheme. I imagine that a few cigars were smoked, some booze was consumed, a graphic designer was hired (for pretty cheap, I'm guessing), audio files were hastily thrown together, and voila! The Joe & Pat Hoshun scheme was set into motion.

I have no way of knowing what, if any, communication transpired between Joe and "Maria" of the Russian Hochun site regarding this deal. All I have to go on so far are a public comment to Joe's blog -- which he has yet to answer publicly -- and one to my blog from a person claiming to be the same Maria who gave Joe the dolly in Russia.

Now, as for the matter of Russians chewing Joe out for dissing Russia (on his "Escape from Russia" post), I will concede that some of them did seem to get a little defensive. Again, in at least some cases, perhaps something got lost in (Google?) translation. Maybe translated from English into Russian, Joe's post sounded like he was being harsher on Russia than in fact he was. Or maybe the people who got defensive were reading it in the original English and just mis-read it. Or maybe some are just a little too defensive. After all, other sources, including the U.S. State Department web site, have noted that the consequences of letting one's Russian tourist visa expire can be unpleasant. And Joe *did* say that his post was not intended as an indictment of Russia or its people.

Even so, to many folks (and not just Russians) his post came across as being a bit on the whiny side, although he reassured at least one commenter that there was not one word of complaint in his post. (!) In addition, the original copy (subsequently deleted) appeared to paint an inaccurate picture of his recent separation from his VP of Marketing, whom he seemed to blame for at least part of his travel troubles. And others who say they are experienced in traveling in Russia have said that even given all of the inherent difficulties, Joe's misadventures seemed a little out of the ordinary. But that's a whole 'nother issue, discussed here in connection with the "Parting the rubes from their rubles" post.

As for Maria, the nice Russian lady, I am, as I noted yesterday, open to hearing from her. Although I personally am not a fan of visual goal-setting aids such as Hochun (as may be apparent from my snarks), I will say this: I think the Russian site is beautifully designed, the products are attractive, and from what I could discern from the Google-translated version of the site, the company is run by a young group of optimists who seem to have a genuine desire to help others as well as make money. So if anyone wants a Hochun, I'd recommend going to
http://www.hochun.ru/

And here's an English translation:
http://tinyurl.com/yzs6wbk

Wednesday, November 04, 2009 1:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nuanced telling of the tale. I have to agree, I thought it is a nice site with nice dolls, too.
And I'm not just saying that because Russia sells us all our natural gas.
What lovely Russians with their lovely dolls and gas.
That's what I want, a doll I can use to focus my intent on the Ukrainians not upsetting the Russians and getting us all cut off.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009 5:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I noticed that Joe took the time to Tweet recently about his visit to a Japanese web site that peddles a Japanese version of the Hochun doll. To me this seems like a painfully transparent ploy to deflect any potential bad PR (not to mention potential lawsuits) about him "stealing" from Maria, the nice Russian lady who gave him the Hochun dolls when he was in Russia. ("See, look, Hochun/Hoshun/Hoshii is a tradition that belongs to ALL.")

However -- all copyright and bad PR issues aside -- the fact remains that Joe and Pat have come out looking like buffoons, even in the eyes of some of their friends and followers, by selling a paper doll; never mind that their forty-dollar package includes some hastily thrown-together audio files. Consider the copy on the Russian wish-dolly website, and Joe's video where he goes on and on about the secret magic genie, and how it's a mystery from the depths of Siberia, etc. (And, Japanese lineage aside, he IS exploiting the "Siberian mystery" angle.) But in the end it all comes back down to SNARK CHUM: cheap, derivative schlock. And many, many people see it that way. To most folks, the issue isn’t even about a potential ripoff of sweet Maria’s idea. The issue is, simply, that Joe and Pat are marketing tawdry magic and trying to put a modern, scientifical spin on it.

Friday, November 06, 2009 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Shalini said...

Is this for real...where did this guy come from...and are there enough idiots in the world who believe in this crap...get real and get a second job..And now to add to my misery there is a new picture of a Jewish man counting coins...That's it...this is just plain weird...

Friday, November 13, 2009 8:38:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Funny you should mention the picture of the Jewish man counting coins, Shalini. I was just going to comment on that. Joe's latest "money attractor" is something he learned about in Poland -- a Polish money attractor, if you will.
http://blog.mrfire.com/?p=1691

He wrote:
"I learned that you can attract money if you hang a painting of a Jewish man counting gold coins in your home or office.

"My friend Andrzej Batko said he bought such a painting, placed it in his office, and it worked. I of course wanted one, too."

Apart from the fact that we don't know Andrzej Batko from Adam, and Joe didn't give any examples about how the painting "worked" for Andrzej, it seems that not everyone is enamored of such a highly stereotyped image of a Jewish person. A look around the Internet will tell you that much.

I'm not painfully P.C. or anything, but geez. What's next.... a Lawn-Jockey Money Attractor?

But never mind the unsavory implications. As Joe writes:
"But my theory is this: if it doesn’t hurt you to hang a painting or look at an image, then why not do it? When something is fun, adds to the positive energy for your desire, it has to be good."

Um-kay.

Also noteworthy about Mr. Fire's "Polish money attractor" blog post is his characteristically simplistic...I mean...hypnotic...writing style. Not only does it read as if written for six-year-olds, but, as he so often does, he tells the story as if he is the bearer of wisdom and inspired ideas, and the recipients of his advice (in this case, Polish shutterbug Grzegorz Syllain and Grzegorz's teenage daughter) are worshipful and childlike. ("They nodded in excitement" at his brilliant idea.)

And just what was that brilliant idea? Well, it seems that Joe inspired the photog's daughter to set up a web site to sell an original version of the "Polish money attractor" painting, painted by her and her mom. Joe implies that he's not getting a penny from it. (At least, he writes that he told the girl and her dad that he didn't want a penny from it.) If that's true, maybe he's trying in some small way to make up for stealing his Hoaxshun dolly idea from sweet Maria in Russia.

But from the perspective of some folks, he's just digging himself into a deeper hole.

PS ~ This just in: This post is on a new blog, MrFiresPyre, which is the creation of someone who appears to have lots of inside info on Mr. Fire. The blogger, "BurnedByFire," writes very specifically about just how profoundly crass and exploitative Mr. Fire's entire "Polish Money Attractor" spiel is.
http://mrfirespyre.blogspot.com/2009/11/hiding-from-sniper-fire-mr-fire.html

Friday, November 13, 2009 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Burned by Fire said...

I wouldn't say I've got a lot of inside information on Joe. I have purchased products from him, Pat O'Bryan, and Mark Ryan. I attended an event quite a while ago.

I would say that I have one source that is close to the siglo people that I met at that event. This source has told me some things that are, well, unsavory at best. I am not going to go public unless I see evidence of it publicly, otherwise it is just hearsay that can easily be dismissed.

Well, I guess I just proved you right. I do have inside information. But, unlike Joe and company, I don't want people to think I am going to deliver the goods when I can't/won't.

None of the siglo people - O'Bryan, Ryan, Perrine, Hibbler, etc. - are going to be immune from my criticism. I will call them as I see them.

Anyway, as always, impressed with your blog and thanks for your comments and Ron's comments on my post about Joe's latest money attraction superstitious trinket.

Friday, November 13, 2009 1:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You seem like one of the good guys, BBF. And as for "inside information," I was going by your own statement that you'd met someone at a JV event who had inside info... so whether it's secondhand or third-hand information, I guess it's close enough, LOL.

I think you're taking the high road by not going public with a damning piece of information unless there is other public evidence of said info. That's pretty much my policy as well. I may get pretty snarky with my opinions -- some would say gratuitously so -- but they are opinions, based on the public statements and actions of my snargets. When I publish verifiable facts, I provide links to back them up.

Anyway, I'm enjoying your blog, and I thank you for your kind comments about mine. I look forward to reading your insights about others in the JV "circle of influence."

Friday, November 13, 2009 2:27:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Josef mentioned several times recently that he has been invited back to Russia, and it appears that he is seriously considering it. Maybe he will take his friend Pat O. this time, to really wow those Russians with some true Texas-style grace and charm. That should make for some truly interesting stories. But I have a feeling his traveling companion will be his life companion, Nerissa, who will no doubt do her part to protect him from some of those predatory Russian she-wolves.

But anyway. I'm thinking that perhaps, between now and the time he goes back, he will do a little homework and come up with some products that are tailor-made for the Russian market, and, more importantly, for the Russian heart and soul.

I'm going to throw out some free suggestions, just because that's the kind of loving, giving person I am.

Talking about the Law Of Attraction and one's own rags-to-riches story is all well and good, but to really touch the Russian psyche and get them to hand over the rubles, you gotta go deeper. Much deeper.

I found my inspiration today while thumbing casually through a book called "Rise of Russia," by Robert Wallace and the editors of Time-Life Books (Time-Life Books, 1967). It's part of a now out-of-print series called Great Ages of Man. In Chapter 5, "An Adamant Faith," Wallace writes:

"From their earliest pagan days to the present, Russians have been deeply moved by beauty in all its forms; in nature, in the innocence of children, in the courage of the old, in love, music and art. Beauty stirs in the Russian heart a feeling called *umilinie*, which falls just short of tears; in it tenderness, sadness and exaltation are combined. A man incapable of responding to beauty with *umilenie* is, to the Russian mind, dead to the world."

Russians also have a tradition of being easily attracted to what I like to call BSO's, or bright shiny objects, as Wallace's next two paragraphs imply:

"In the late 10th Century, according to the half-legendary account in the 'Primary Chronicle,' the emissaries of Grand Prince Vladimir of Kiev returned from Byzantium with the advice that he adopt the Eastern Orthodox faith. It is unlikely that the emissaries understood the Greek words of the service that they attended in the cathedral of Hagia Sophia, or had any real grasp of its religious meaning. What stirred and attracted them was the religion's beauty, the chants and the robes of the clergy, the icons, incense and architecture. 'For on earth there is no such splendor or such beauty and we are at a loss to describe it.'

"Although the account may not be correct in fact, it rings true in spirit. Vladimir's emissaries were filled with *umilenie*, overwhelmed by what they saw, heard, and felt – rather than by theological or philosophical ideas. In later centuries the Russians would fall into closely reasoned religious debates, but an outstanding characteristic of their faith has always been its deeply emotional quality."

*****

So there's the key exploitation-ready word and concept: *umilenie* (pronounced oo-mil-EN-yee). It comes from the Greek word, *eleos*, which can be translated as "mercy" or "tender compassion" or "love." There really is no equivalent word in English, and even Russians have differing views on exactly what it means, but the important thing is that there seems to be an agreement that *umilenie* is a very profound force indeed, and is therefore ripe for being utterly bastardized...um...I mean, made accessible to a waiting world... by Josef and friends. At the very least, the word could work as an inscription on custom jewelry or other trinkets, which could, of course, be accompanied by audio or video products 'splainin' the concept in a Joe-priatary way.

But wait! There's more! Read on...
==to be continued in next comment==

Sunday, November 15, 2009 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

More inspired product ideas...

There's a site, http://russian-crafts.com, that has all sorts of ideas for hypnotic magical trinkets beyond dollies -- Faberge-style eggs, music boxes, jewelry, refrigerator magnets, and the like. But I am thinking that the quintessential Russian product, a nesting doll, or *matryoshka*, could hold the most potential for a higher-dollar item to be marketed by Josef and the Sigloids. The nesting doll, besides being fun and infused with tradition, is such a powerful metaphor for "peeling away the layers" and getting to the truth, which is Josef's life mission, after all, isn't it? Granted, an onion is an equally powerful metaphor, but there's that perishability problem, not to mention the smell issue. (Not that there's not a smell issue with some of the "truths" Josef and friends deal in, but that's another issue.)

Of course a real doll, rather than a printout, would involve a little bit of actual thought and some real design and production work, which would imply the involvement of professionals who might want a cut of the profits. Still, it might be worth a shot.

I'm thinking the largest outside doll could be created in the image of -- who else? -- Josef himself, inscripted with one of his famous wise sayings, such as 'Money loves speed,' or 'Nobody knows what happened in that sweat lodge, and until we do we shouldn't judge,' in both English and Russian. There would be increasingly smaller Josefs nested within, each bearing a bi-lingual nugget of wisdom. (Rather than random quotes, they could be "five steps" or "seven steps" to whatever, based upon some of Josef's previous books.) And then at last, at the very center, you would find a representation of a turd....um... an organic sculpture (not a real one, of course; that would be crass. Just a representation of one.). But wait, there's more! You're not done yet. The tiny organic-sculpture representation would open up as well, and in it you would find one of those reusable laxative pills that has been through Josef's system. (Oh, I know the laxative pill was bought in Poland, but a little international touch couldn't hurt.)

Each doll could be accompanied by a Certificate of Cleaning, meaning it had been specially cleaned, infused, blessed, or whatever by Josef, and there would be a special Certificate of Authenticity for the little pill as well, stating that it had been through "the system," as it were. Also included would be a special audio, to be listened to while disassembling and reassembling the dolly. Price: $997, but IF YOU ACT NOW, you can get it for only $97.

The digital alternative: Hire the cheap-o graphic designer to create a series of pics to be printed out in progression, with the penultimate image being an organic-sculpture pic, and the ultimate being a picture of the little pill. Create a short study guide to help the user get the most of the printing-out and picture-reviewing experience, plus a special audio to be listened to while looking at the pictures. Sell the package for $47.

You're welcome, Josef and Patrik! (And to think that I came up with all of this without the benefit of pricey cigars and expensive Scotch.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

An anonymous commenter wrote to my blog but sent it to another post. I think it belongs here, though:

==Begin Anonymous comment==
Someone [Joe Kersey] wrote on [Joe Vitale's] blog...

Hey Joe,

I showed this blog post to my neighbor lady, who happens to be a nice Jewish lady who lived in Poland as a child. I thought she would appreciate it, but she said it was very offensive to most Jews, especially Polish Jews. She said it was an ugly stereotype, and that it represented a negative image, just like a painting of a black man eating a watermelon would be for most black people.

I know this wasn't your intent, but thought you might want to know that a lot of people wouldn't take it the way you meant it. I know, that's their problem, but there are a lot of Jewish people out there, and some of them might be following your blog (she said she was going to let her friends know about it).

All my best,
Joe

Reply

Joe Vitale

Joe, don't shoot the messenger. The custom is a Polish one and the business already exists in Poland. I'm just reporting on it.
..................................

Offensive? No, who would have thought that?

==end Anonymous comment==

My take: Joe wasn't merely reporting on the business practice; he seemed to be endorsing it as well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 9:28:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Look, as much as I DO believe in the Law of Attraction, this dolly system must be a real scrape-of-the-bottom-of-the-barrell for Vitale.

For $997 no, a measly $37 I can produce a 3D model of a Russian Magical Doll fo you. I could even create a program so that you could have you Hoshun on the lower right hand of your screen winking at you and pointing to its lonely eye to remin you that you have to take action.

Also, Free in the pack is a 3D paper model of the Hoshun that you can print and have sitting on the top of your desk.

Order now and you'll also get your free Hoshun Magical Doll Screensaver.
NOT!

Sadly Vitale has become the modern day Cough Mixture Salesman that roamed the west.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 8:02:00 PM  

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