In case you're wondering about the "Cosmic Connie" bit and might be questioning what is so "cosmic" about me, the answer of course is that I am not any more or less "cosmic" than anyone else. After all, the late Carl Sagan said that we are all, all of us, made of star stuff. But I like the alliteration of "Cosmic Connie," though that's not the main reason for the name. In case you don't know the back story of my ironic moniker, and assuming that this is something you find even remotely interesting, here is the whole boring story, in capsule form, which contains a link to an even more boring (and older, and considerably longer) story behind the story.
Why in the Whirled?
I began this blog partly out of boredom and partly as a distraction from some of the more serious things that were going on in my life at the time, like the fact that my mother was in the long process of dying. I was also inspired by reading and participating on a few other blogs that covered some of the topics I was interested in, e.g., New-Age (or as I like to call it, "New-Wage")/self(ish)-help/McSpirituality/pop-psychology/alt-health subcultures, and the scams and scammers that populate these subcultures. Most notable among the blogs that inspired me in the early days was the (now dormant and scaled-down) SHAMblog, written by author and journalist Steve Salerno, who was always supportive of my efforts and who remains a friend to this day.
As you may have discerned if you read my "cosmic" backstory, though, Whirled Musings was also, and perhaps primarily, a natural outgrowth of my long-standing hobby of making fun of the New-Wagers/selfish-help et al. subcultures -- a hobby that had previously come to fruition in my BLP (book-like product), Cosmic Relief: Honoring and Celebrating the Global Paradigm Shaft. Accordingly, my original intention was for Whirled Musings to be a humor blog, unlike Salerno's SHAMblog, which, though it contained its share of well-placed snarks, generally took a serious journalistic approach to these matters.
But Whirled Musings grew more serious too as the darker side of New-Wage/selfish-help culture became more glaringly apparent; the James Arthur Ray "sweat lodge" deaths in October 2009 marked a real turning point. And in later years, Whirled Musings grew more political as well, much to the intense annoyance of some (former) readers. I still try to be funny once in a while, and I am sure there are times I'm unintentionally humorous, but there are some serious messages as well in these hundreds and hundreds of pages.
For the most part, my blog posts (even the more serious ones) have been on the superficial side, but there's still almost always a deeper message or larger theme. Like me, my posts may be shallow, but they're shallow in a profound way. I've rarely broken any journalistic ground here, and haven't pretended to, although mainstream journalists have contacted me for help with major stories and features over the years.
And I have also covered a few topics that haven't been critically written about in many other places. You can see some examples of the latter on my 13th blogaversary post, from which, as you'll see if you follow the link, I borrowed some of the text above.
Here are a couple more posts on which I muse about the why of it all...
How does this blog define "scam" or "scammer"?
Good question, and it's one that I've been asked many times over the years. Some have asked if my only (or at least my main) criterion for determining that something is a scam, or that someone is a scammer, is that money was exchanged. In many cases that question has been framed as an accusation that I am opposed to making money and jealous of those who do. Some have even asked me if I think everything related to self-help and related industries is a scam.
The short answer to the accusatory questions is, "No, BUT..." Not surprisingly, I have a much longer answer as well, which I finally composed a few years ago after having been asked the same questions over and over for years.
Here's that answer.
And one more point: This isn't a conventional "scambusting" blog and doesn't in any way attempt to be comprehensive or encyclopedic. I choose my topics for a variety of reasons, but am always open to suggestions for new topics, or additional information about existing ones.
I strive for accuracy, but this is, above all, an opinion blog.
Contrary to the assertions of some critics over the years, I actually do research my subjects and I write informed, if often snarky or critical, opinions about them. In between those opinions are some actual facts. Occasionally I'll post something that is strictly satire. And because I'm a narcissist (though not a malignant one), and this is my blog, there are a few more or less "confessional" posts about my own life woven in between the posts about others.
This being a personal blog rather than a mainstream news outlet, I almost never interview the people I write about, but I do provide ample external links whenever I can, often to content created by the subjects themselves. (Do be aware, however, that I don't constantly check links, and there may be some links that are no longer valid, even though they most certainly were at the time the posts were first published.)
I make every effort to get facts right, and will gladly correct factual errors if they are pointed out to me. But keep in mind that all of the content I write here represents my own perspective. I have very strong opinions about many things, and I do not pretend to be objective.
Even so, I am always open to hearing from others who disagree with me (and those who agree with me as well). I'm easy to reach by public comments, email, or even social media.
I'm not in it for the money.
I am a writer by profession, but this blog, which as I mentioned above is a hobby, is not a moneymaker.
It's not that I have anything against making money, even with hobby blogs. Quite the contrary. And I certainly don't "hate" money, notwithstanding the go-to straw-man argument used by hucksters when they encounter critics -- so the numerous folks who have criticized me over the years for being a "hypocrite" because I ask for donations on this blog are definitely barking up the wrong tree.
In fact, for years I've been pondering ways to monetize my Whirled, and I even tried the free default version of Google Adsense for a few years (in which time I only made a couple of hundred dollars). But the sad fact is that Whirled Musings has never even come remotely close to allowing me to quit my day job.
The reason I am taking time to explain this is that in an ill-fated defamation lawsuit -- or flawsuit, as I like to call it -- that I was hit with a few years ago (along with a select few other parties), part of the plaintiff's gripe was that I was making a lot of money on this blog, and that it wasn't fair, because I was supposedly capitalizing on posting lies about the plaintiff. The complaint even said that I was actually committing consumer fraud, because I was supposedly making all this money from misleading readers about the plaintiff. The lawsuit demanded several hundred thousand dollars in damages. Well, not only was I not posting lies (and neither were the other defendants), but I was not, in fact, making anywhere near enough to give the whiny little plaintiff several hundred thousand dollars, or even several hundred dollars.
That lawsuit, by the way, was voluntarily withdrawn by the plaintiff, four months after it was filed, at the suggestion of his attorneys. The link in the previous sentence is to one of my own posts. But others wrote about it too.
- Here is one of several posts about the matter by one of my favorite blogging colleagues, and my co-defendant in this farce, Jason "Salty Droid" Jones. (Jason had previously been unsuccessfully sued by the same little whiner.)
- And here's another post by UK blogger Longdog, who has devoted an entire blog to the inanities of the plaintiff.
All of this by way of saying that I am not a source of easy income -- or any income at all -- for opportunistic lawyers.
That said, I do accept donations. I don't get them very often, but when I do they are very much appreciated. Here is a link for you to donate, if you are so inclined, or you can click on the "Donate" icon that currently appears on the right-hand side of every page of this blog on the Web version. There's also a donation link at the end of most of my more recent blog posts. If you are donating by PayPal, please specify that your contribution is a gift (as opposed to a conventional purchase, for which PayPal deducts a percentage).
(You will notice that the email address that appears on the Paypal donation page is not one of the Cosmic Connie addresses on my contact page. No worries. It's my husband Ron Kaye's email address, but it all goes to the same place.)
The point is that donations are always welcome. I even wrote a poem a few years ago to express just how welcome they are, and how much I hate begging for money, but will shamelessly beg anyway. Here it is.
If you have any other questions, comments, or suggestions about any of the above, or about anything else you see on this blog, let me hear from you. Here's that Contact link again.
Thanks for visiting my Whirled.
* This, the original and genuine Whirled Musings, is NOT to be confused with another blog of the same name, a travel blog, also on Blogger, that is quite a few years younger than this one, and that contains very few posts, and whose author has ignored my requests to change the name of that blog.