James Arthur Ray “Spiritual Warrior” and promoter of “Practical Mysticism” Arrested and Charged in 3 Deaths

February 4, 2010

We’ve written about James Arthur Ray previously here and should add that our disgust for this class of New Age hucksters and con-men (and women) knows no bounds. We’re glad that criminal charges have been filed.

You don’t have to be a medical doctor to dispute his attorney’s claim that “no one could have foreseen” this possible outcome when you read the details leading up to these three deaths.

[After spending 36 hours in the desert without food or water, a buffet breakfast was served and 64 people were packed into a “Sweat Lodge” 24 feet wide and 4 1/2 tall for two hours. 21 people were taken to hospitals after this ‘re-birthing’ ceremony ended. Three people died.]

There is no indication that Mr. Ray put himself through the same ordeal he charged his clients $10,000 for.

People like James Arthur Ray are the moral equivalent of child predators in that they exploit emotionally vulnerable and intellectually weak-minded individuals who are genuine in their desire for self-improvement but lack the critical thinking skills to see through the con.

Let me be clear: these self-proclaimed gurus prey upon adults and no one has accused Mr. Ray of molesting children. But for me, personally, this is a difference without much of a distinction. Exploitation of the vulnerable is reprehensible and those who do it, knowingly and for profit, deserve the severest sanctions society can mete out.

A defense attorney might make the case that a child molester suffers from a psychological disorder but the James Arthur Ray’s of the world are simply greedy and have developed a good line of patter.

A measure of blame and complicity should also be laid at the doors of Rhonda Byrne (author of The Secret), Larry King, The Today Show and Oprah Winfrey for their uncritical promotion of Ray.

Let’s remember that when Winfrey turned on fraudulent memoirist James Frey (A Million Little Pieces) no one died as a result of his duplicity. Will Oprah take a public stand on James Arthur Ray?

State of the Internet 2009 by the Editors of FOCUS

February 3, 2010

The editors of FOCUS have produced their annual infographic on the State of the Internet for the year just past and it packs a great deal of information in a very compact space.

Although we have to gag over the self-reporting by bloggers, 75% of whom describe their style as “sincere.” Right. And pigeons are flying art critics who only poop on bad public sculpture.

FOCUS is a a site where you can find expert advice and read research briefs on a wide variety of business topics like information technology, sales, marketing, customer service, human resources, and small business ideas. If you need targeted info in any of these areas their site is well worth checking out. You can even ask your own question of their experts.

Plus, we have to give props to their graphic team for this cool design. Click on image for larger size.

5 Songs by Warren Zevon — “Enjoy Every Sandwich”

February 3, 2010

In the great rock pantheon lyrically there is mid-sixties Dylan, a half dozen songs by John Lennon, everything Tom Waits ever wrote, the complete Warren Zevon song book. . . and then, way, way, down below—just a tiny speck in the distance—is everybody else.
Although he’s best known by the general public for just three songs written early in his career, Werewolves of London, Lawyers, Guns & Money and Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, Warren Zevon left behind a body of work that is, IMO, unique in American popular music.
Lawyers, Guns & Money

David Letterman was a great fan and supporter. He had Warren as the sole guest on the Late Show for the night of October 30, 2002. Zevon died less than a year later on September 7, 2003, age 56.
Letterman: Is there something about life and death that maybe I don’t know?
Zevon: Not unless . . .unless you know how much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.

This is the close of that show and Warren’s last public performance, Roland, The Headless Thompson Gunner:

Suffering from mesothelioma and given a year to live by his doctors, Warren put together one last album, The Wind which is as good as anything he ever did. For this album he recorded a version of Dylan’s *Knocking On Heaven’s Door* that never fails to bring tears to my eyes; a dying man singing a song about a dying man.
Werewolves of London

Disorder in the House was written for The Wind, and recorded with Bruce Springsteen singing back up and playing a blistering guitar solo. It won Warren a posthumous Grammy. No rock song has ever used the words ‘davenport’ and ‘portiere’ to greater effect.
No other rock song has ever used the words ‘davenport’ and ‘portiere,’ period.
Disorder in the House

The title “Splendid Isolation” is taken from the name of the foreign policy pursued by Great Britain during the late 19th century, under the leadership of Benjamin Disraeli.
It goes without saying that it is the best rock song ever inspired by Benjamin Disraeli.
Splendid Isolation

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