Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

02 August, 2007

Charlatans on State Street

Last week while wandering State Street I noticed that a new group of charlatans have joined the mountebanks over at Mimosa and opened up a new shop – The Psychic Gallery.



Just look at the prices:



For a mere $35 you can have someone look at your palm and give you a line of bullshit. Madison ought to take a page out of Philadelphia's book and ban fortunetelling "for gain or lucre". I saw nothing indicating that this was just all in good fun or strictly for entertainment purposes which means they're con artists, plain & simple. Just like some of the folks that Mimosa brings in. Check out their events calendar. The Goddess Akeeya will be here later this month to take your time and $95 and then give you a certificate verifying that you received "Seer attunement". Ooooooh! Want a picture of you being attuned for the photo album? No dice: "Please be aware, because of the sacred nature of the information shared, NO videotaping, digital recording, or otherwise allowed." Yes, watching a con artist at work is much too "sacred" to be documented. This charlatan is known at the "female John Edward", with Mr. Edward being a self-proclaimed psychic. He too is fraud, a con, and bullshit artist. These hucksters ought to be driven out of town with brickbats.
|| Palmer, 9:54 AM

34 Comments:

You are such an angry Skeptic, Palmer.
Blogger The Dulcinea, at 2:46 PM  
Yet ANOTHER store on State Street that I will never set foot in. How many palm readings do they have to do a day to pay the rent?
Anonymous arch stanon, at 7:47 PM  
D - is that an observation or criticism?

AS - I dunno but I'm sure it takes a lot of readings. I'll read your aura for cheap.
Blogger Palmer, at 7:50 AM  
I'm not a fan of anything that bilks people from their money. That said, I'm also concerned about laws designed to protect people from themselves.

In this specific case, I'm not too worried. If Bookworks -- where I always saw several other customers -- couldn't keep operating in that block, I doubt a palm reader is going to be able to make the rent.
Blogger michael, at 10:11 AM  
Hi Michael,
I am not a huge fan of laws that save people from themselves either. But fraud is fraud. And I agree with you that the store will probably close anon. At least I hope so.
Blogger Palmer, at 10:59 AM  
For you that posted this! Disrespecting a Goddess and the Devine in such ways is unacceptable. Before you ever do such a thing again think twice! You DO NOT understand who you are disrespecting and your little brain would not comprehend even if it smacked you right in the face. Let this be a warning to you. So if I were you, I recommend you shut your mouth.
Anonymous Angle ofApocalypse, at 1:33 AM  
What is "devine"? And unacceptable to whom? So, are you threatening me? I am disappointed to find that in 2008 that I am being accused of blasphemy. Are goddesses and devine things that sensitive that their minions must go around threatening people if they get their feelings hurt?
Blogger Palmer, at 6:03 AM  
I AM NOT THREATENING YOU. I AM NOT A MINION EITHER. YOUR ILLUSION IS AN INTERESTING ONE. CHOOSE CAREFULLY WHAT YOU FOCUS YOUR ENERGY ON, BOY.
Anonymous Angle ofApocalypse, at 7:14 PM  
Ooh! Now you're yelling. What are you going to do to me if I don't shut my mouth? What are you going to do if I keep saying that your goddess is a fraud and a charlatan who bilks people for their money? And what happens if I don't choose carefully in how I "focus my energy"? And what energy is that, specifically?
Blogger Palmer, at 7:07 AM  
This kind of judgmental thinking about the beliefs of other has historically led to witch burning, religious wars, the Third Reich, etc. America is supposedly a free country where no one is persecuted for their personal beliefs. Think about it.
Blogger TZM, at 10:27 AM  
:::sigh:::

I'm sorry that you feel this way. I'm sorry that somewhere in your life you've lost all hope and ambition in what is potentially out there. I'm sure many of these thoughts are based on the fact that you are a godless man.

Your thoughts are clearly yours and that is the wonderful thing that I have in my heart because I believe in a god/godess/higher power. God has given us the free agency to choose and forgiven everyone for the choices they have made.

But I think it would be wise to be careful not to slander anyone's place of business or one's choice of career in any way. If the location of Mimosa was for a realty company you'd be none the wiser and no blog or energy would've been spent on writing about it.

Unfortunately it's the newness that frightens you. Change is inevitable in life. Change is what allows man-kind to grow and reach their full potential. Change also allows people to open their eyes to possibilities.

Since I've been to Mimosa bookstore I know that it is a fine bookstore. Though it's needs might not fit what it is that you require from a bookstore. Perhaps the local Borders or Waldenbooks would be a better choice in looking for books. Just veer from the spiritual/mysticism area.

Allow these people the opportunity to do their job, to do what it is that they enjoy rather than hinder them with your thoughts and words. If you choose not to speak to a psychic that is your choice you have the free agency. Just as others maintain the free agency to seek a psychic for advice or have photos taken of their auras.

I've noticed that you are a fan of Doctor Who. The one thing I've learned from watching that program for the whole of my life is that the Doctor does not tolerate close-minded thoughts. He embraces the possibilities of what is out there. And I'm sure if you've noticed but in recent episodes the Doctor has been referred to as a Christ-like/god-like figure which causes me to challenge you on what it is that you believe.

You watch X-files as well knowing that the whole of that series was based upon "The truth is out there".

Is what you speak the truth or is it just your opinion. I don't see how your thoughts are any different from those of fear-based groups like the Nazis. We both know what happened to the Nazis. Hitler failed.

You are entitled to your opinions but your actions were already forgiven when Christ died on the cross for everyone's sins.

Goddess bless.
OpenID Alademariposa, at 10:45 AM  
I am the owner of Mimosa and I wish to respectfully reply to your blogs. At Mimosa we hold the view that everyone's beliefs should be respected. This does not mean one has to agree with another's beliefs, nor does it mean that it is necessary to attack others because they believe something different than we do. It sounds like you believe that all psychics and readers are charlatans. There are many people who probably share your view for many reasons. Many in our world want to beleive only what can be seen and proved to human perception. There are many others, however, who choose to also beleive in what is not as tangible or visible to most humans. We really do live in a world of great variety at a time in history when we can communicate and travel easily and learn first hand about other cultures, religions and human beliefs. As people fully use this ability to travel and communicate, many begin to better understand things that their minds may have preiously been closed to. Some may even have an experience that further closes their mind and cements an entrenched opinion. But one thing is certain, there is an enormous diversity of ideas, beliefs, and practices in this world. Humans can fight about their differences forever, or they can shift to the view that it is alright to let each person or group of persons be respected for what is right for them. If such mutual respect went global, perhaps we could have real peace and happiness. What a blessing it is to live in "A Relative Freedom" which allows us to express our opinions without governmental and, hopefully, social repercussions. I celebrate that you have expressed your opinion in a forum open to feedback. You have every right to your opinion. And your right to this does not have to make me or my customers and their diverse beliefs wrong. I run a store which specializes in providing resources, merchandise, and learning experiences for many things which are not mainstream in either our culture or our world. I rejoice that this is possible and that the right to provide this is legally protected in many countries. Nobody is forced to come to Mimosa and no one is forced or tricked into spending their money on anything in our store. There are stores in our city and country which legally sell cigarettes, alcohol and firearms in spite of the fact that they can be harmful. Yet society upholds the right of people to have access to these items of choice. If this is supported, why should it not be alright for those who wish to purchase a psychic reading, or perhaps an energy therapy session. If someone believes in these practices, why shouldn't they be available. I respect the right of Atheists to believe there is no such thing as a God or Creator Being. I respect the right of some Christians to believe that non-Christians will go to a Hell. I respect your right to dislike what my store markets. This does not mean I agree with your opinion. If you believe all psychics are fakes, I can understand your compulsion to let others know. I am sure there are some charlatans in any profession, even very mainstream and accepted professions. This does not mean all or even a majority are fakes or charlatans. In my store, I watch the ineractions customers have with my psychic readers and ask customers if they are satisfied. I ask myself and my customers, "Did the reader's advice ring true?", "do the customers return?", "do they recommend our readers to others?". I screen all my presenters and try very hard to eliminate any that I feel are not solid and positive. I do, very quickly, get feedback if customers are not satisfied. We have had some instances of Psychic Reading customers whom we have advised to see a therapist or medical professional for issues that would be better served by those professionals. At Mimosa, we also have a policy of refunding anyone's fee if they feel completely unhappy with an event or a reading. Our readers are seasoned professionals with many, many satisfied customers. Our customers love our store and its products. What on Earth could be wrong with a person feeling more comforted, uplifted, protected, or served in any physical, emotional or spiritual way by something we sell or provide. If you don't like what we provide, don't come here, but why renounce anything for another if it serves them? Thank you for considering and, hopefully, respecting my opinions even though you do not have to agree with them.
Anonymous Mimosa Books & Gifts, at 3:23 PM  
TZM - way to overstate the case. America is indeed supposedly a free country where people are not persecuted for their personal beliefs. But you and I know that's not historically been the case. Having said that, I don't see of what relevance your observation is. A blog post suggesting that a community should drive out charlatans via opprobrium is most certainly not persecution.
Blogger Palmer, at 5:31 PM  
Alademariposa – I’m afraid you’ve read things into the post which are patently not there. I have most certainly not lost all hope and ambition in what is potentially out there. Just because I want something to be out there doesn’t mean it is, however. If Mimosa were a realty company I probably would not be writing about it – you’re right. But realty companies don’t charge people for psychic readings. If the realty company were to perpetuate fraud, I may very well write about it.

Nice job with the argumentum ad Hitlerum. (This also goes out to tzm above.) If you can’t see how my thoughts are different than those of the Nazis then you should read about the Nazis or seek help with your thinking skills. Let me give you a few differences: I am not vilifying members of a particular race and I am not advocating genocide. Need I go on? How is it that you cannot see that calling someone a fraud is drastically different from being a Nazi? I suppose it’s just easier for you to invoke the Nazis and pop psychology against someone with whom you disagree than to actually respond to what they wrote.

I am only 35 so I’m not a storehouse of wisdom but I am old enough to know that change is inevitable in life. Why is it that you keep talking about “possibilities” and “potentials” on one hand and then talk with absolute certainty on the other? If you’ve watched Doctor Who then you’ve surely noticed how he lands on a planet with people screaming about a malicious deity or supernatural power. And what does he do? He shows how there’s nothing supernatural going on at all and that things have perfectly reasonable explanations. I must admit that I don’t understand your reference to The X-Files. There’s nothing incongruous about enjoying fiction that uses devices that have no basis in reality.

I do genuinely wish Madison would use opprobrium to drive hucksters out of town. And please tell me how it is that someone being nailed to a cross equals forgiveness? Perhaps you can ask your deity for a little help. I mean, if we have freewill, then your deity is sitting around watching and doing nothing while innocents are slaughtered in Congo at the rate of as many as 45,000/month. And you worship it.

http://www.theirc.org/special-report/congo-forgotten-crisis.html?gclid=CKrppv2Vl5ECFQlxOAodElV0OA

At least the murderers are forgiven, I guess.

Lastly you are incorrect to assume I’ve never been to Mimosa because I have indeed been there, though it’s been a couple years since my last visit. They carry many interesting books and what could one possibly have against singing bowls?
Blogger Palmer, at 1:45 PM  
Palmer, if you havent realized it yet you are a loser with a capital L! and a good day to you!
Anonymous Godd, at 3:17 AM  
Wow, Godd, I am in awe of your witty repartee. Did you have to get a PhD to come up with that comment?
Blogger Palmer, at 6:35 AM  
Ah, there's nothing like the ego of a staunch Atheist. I used to consider myself an Atheist and then I realized my certainity mirrored that of the followers of other religions. Are you positive that your beliefs are better, more valid, more logical than those found in other religions? But don't the followers of other religions feel the same way? Well if they're sure they're right, and you're sure you're right...who's really right? There is no right! People can think and choose to believe what they want. Deal with it.

I feel sorry for you even becoming angry over what other people choose to believe when it doesn't involve you. Look, you have something in common with religious fanatics! Of course you, and everyone else, is entitled to their opinion but why broadcast such negativity and blindness (blind in that you don't even acknowledge the existence of other views)to so many people? It's not an attractive quality in a human.

I do agree in that some psychics (or what have you) may be charlatans, but some are truly blessed with a gift. Just because you or science cannot [yet] understand such a phenomenon or deny that it exists does not mean it's fake. As far as I'm concerned....most if not all people in this world are blind. There is so much that exists in our universe that people simply cannot comprehend (people studying quantam physics are trying!) and some are afraid to even try. So, it's kind of funny that you're so pompous and sure of yourself on this topic as if you're actually the one human on this earth who knows all. But really, I think coming into a contact with a REAL psychic is one of the few ways to get a taste of this unseeable world. Unfortunately, you will never know because you are [openly] close minded.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:52 PM  
Wow, so much to comment on, Anon. Just because two opposing viewpoints claim to be right doesn't mean that neither one is. This is apparently something you have failed to deal with. People can think and choose to believe what they want. I said nothing to the contrary. However, your notion that all thoughts and beliefs are equal is BS. Some are better than others. Besides, just because a religious person is convinced of his or her beliefs has no bearing on whether they are true. If I am convinced that I have a million dollars in my savings account doesn't mean that my bank sees things the same way. Just because someone believes in Yahweh doesn't make Yahweh's existence fact. Why are you unable to accept the notion of discriminating between facts and fiction? Instead you seem to have given up. Just because you personally are incapable of certainty doesn't mean that certainty is implausible.

You needn't feel sorry for me. If you can't get angry over things that don't involve you, then it seems you don't have a conscience. If the only reaction you can muster to, say, the events in Darfur is some bullshit relativism that compels you to say, "Well, the people who are being raped and killed think they're right to say that the violence should stop and the perpetrators say they're right too. So they're both right. Genocide happens. Deal with it." then you are a sorry person indeed.

You are quite the hypocrit to say that I'm egotistical & pompous and to criticize me by saying I think something is right when you do the exact same thing. You are so incredibly sure of yourself that you know exactly what science doesn't. And spare me your more-enlightened-than-thou trope. You used to be an atheist but you saw the light of relativism. And now you're afraid to discern right from wrong and fact from fiction. Your mind is so open that your brain has fallen out. Is there anything you won't believe? Do you believe anything that comes by you? I'm genuinely curious to know. Do you have any ability left to discriminate amongst ideas? Or are you so cowardly that you won't stand on any principles other than everyone is right so no one is right?

And please do elucidate on quantum mechanics for me. I really want to hear what you think it is because your comment reminds of me Deepak Chapra who regularly invokes it to justify his Newage BS. Do you have any idea what quantum mechanics is or does its strangeness just happen to jive with your philosophy so you figured you'd co-opt it?

Since you claim to know everything, riddle me this, Batman: why is it that psychics are only able to ply their trade in front of paying customers and not in labs?

Finally - you're a human being. Look, you have something in common with religious fanatics!
Blogger Palmer, at 4:41 PM  
1st paragraph-
We're not talking about facts...we're talking about beliefs. A million dollars is phsycial...we can see it, touch it, yadda yadda. You cannot, or rather should not, tell someone that there god is false. I may agree with you and think the same...To try and convince someone that your (in this case, our) belief is right is, not only a waste of time, but rude, pompous, degrading and unaccepting of you as a human being. I just don't understand why you can't acknowledge the fact that the entire world will never, ever, ever think the same way as you. That is one, if not the most prominent, causes of war besides financial gain. People get upset and don't understand how others could possibly not see the way they do because THEIR way is the right way. You're doing the same. Regardless of how factual your beliefs are it is ignorant of you, too, to think others are wrong. You are not able to embrace differences...this doesn't make you the same as other religious fanatics?...So, it's not an issue of certainity...which I AM capable of. It's an issue of just accepting differences. Stop getting so caught up in whose beliefs are right and whose are wrong. It's beyond your control and the sooner you and others grasp this...the world will be better off because we can work on issues that are actually harming people.

2nd paragraph-
I do still feel sorry for you whether you think or I shouldn't. I'm a rape victim myself, I can relate and at the same time I can't imagine what's going on in Darfur. Also, people from my own culture have dealt with genocide (Bosnians). I am pretty sure I have more of a conscience than you, so good try, but no cigar. You're taking my words to the extreme and really, your whole argument is just so ridiculous and invalid...cause that's not me. So back to the point, the people commiting international crimes in Darfur are wrong, obviously. Did you know that murder and rape is a universal taboo? That's one thing all beliefs agree on...I would say that's pretty much a "no-no." What a dumb arguement...I can't get over it...lol. But, yeah, I don't think religions and cultures are going to argue over the point that rape and murder is wrong...but the point remains that those who are commiting the crimes THINK they're right. Sadly, they will continue to think this way and there's nothing we can do about that. Of course, there are things we can do to stop what's occuring, the factual, physical things going on.

3rd Paragraph
I'm not sure of myself at all. I said all people are blind...myself included. I don't know whole workings of the universe...and the world isn't black and white. I don't have all the answers to make this world a Utopia and you don't either. THAT is what I'm sure of. Hey you did a real nice job of being a know-it-all again, though. By like...saying I'm a relativist...I haven't labeled myself as such...and assuming I believe anything and that I don't stand on principles. You're a class act, buddy. I wish I was as all-knowing as you! I also wish I was the best person this earth as ever seen. Alas, I can only hope one day I can judge people as well as you and ignore my own flaws :( and complain/talk about world issues on my little blog so I can seem compassionate instead of actually doing something about it.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:43 PM  
I think I put my finger on what really bothers me about you...

First of all, I have to apologize about saying you should do something about Darfur because I don't know if, in fact, you have or not. But I hope so since you like to bring it up...

What bothers me though is that...the questions you gave me are rhetorical...I could say anything that science doesn't yet back up and you would shoot it down. Why even ask the questions?

I love studying religions, it almost became my major. I'm not a Christian, I was "born a Muslim" but am no longer one, I'm not Jewish...I don't feel like I'm part of any religion. I have come up with my own beliefs...but I love learning about what other people believe no matter how different it is from mine or how ridiculous it is to me, personally. No matter what, though, I respect what others believe. I don't thrive on putting them down to make my system of beliefs better or what have you. It's a shame because I really think if I knew you in person I would like to know what your [non]religious beliefs are...but they way you get your opinions across is so abrasive. I like to share my beliefs with others, but I feel you would be so eager to put them down instead of just listening. I love answering questions people have for me about what I believe, and hearing what they think...but being put down and degraded for them? Not so much...just seems like that's something you would do.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blogger Palmer, at 5:19 PM  
For someone who is so repulsed by my ugliness and negativity and you urges people to just deal with it when they disagree, you sure do come back often enough and leave a lot of comments.

Whether Yahweh exists or not is a factual matter. When a self-proclaimed psychic makes claims about their abilities, these are factual claims, not beliefs. I fully understand and accept that there will never be a time when everyone on this planet thinks exactly as I do. What have I said that indicates otherwise? I think the main disagreement we have is that you seem to unreservedly embrace all differences regardless of their qualities.

I would urge you to re-read your first comment: "There is no right!" "I feel sorry for you even becoming angry over what other people choose to believe when it doesn't involve you." You use generalizations and then when I come up with (an admittedly extreme) counterexample you solipsistically think it's about you and simply claim the moral high ground thusly avoiding having to address the issue completely. Either people can legitimately be angry over things which don't involve them or they can't. You personally don't get to pick and choose which things people can legitimately get angry over and those they cannot. You previously made generalizations and now you're making exceptions for yourself so I honestly don't know what to think.

Why are people blind as you said earlier? I readily admit that I don't have all the answers either. But just because we don't have all the answers about how the universe works does not imply that anyone on this planet has psychic abilities. We may not know everything but we do know that psychic abilities always fail when they come under scientific scrutiny. Yet you drag in quantum physics. Why?

Let me be very clear - I am certainly not all-knowing. But that doesn't mean I'm incapable of knowing anything and that every belief is thusly equal and right. Nowhere did I say or intimate that I as the best person this earth has ever seen nor do I ignore my own flaws. I'd have to check the logs but I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut that this is the only one of the 2470 on this blog that you've read...After a cursory look, I found that this is indeed the only post you've looked at. I now understand why you are such an expert on me.

If you're so offended by my post on my "little blog", then whey are you bothering to stoop to my level by hurling insults and, in general, being exceptionally intolerant of my opinions?

On the contrary, you could say a lot of things about science for which I would not shoot you down. Asking you what quantum physics has to do with self-proclaimed psychics, for example, is not rhetorical. However, I would add that it was you who brought up the epistemology of science, not me.

Like yourself, I too enjoy studying religions, although I highly suspect you have taken it further than I have. Still, I am unwilling to have you characterize me as close-minded and disinterested in hearing what others have to say. To this end, I would ask you to do something you have hitherto seemingly neglected: read other posts of mine. To wit:

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2005/05/hearing-gospelthis-past-weekend-i-was.html

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2006/04/new-jerusalem-amongst-satanic-mills.html

To be honest, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't read them in their entirety for a variety of reasons but at least scan the first paragraph of each. Please. If you're unwilling, then know that I paid money to go to a church so I could hear speakers talk about religion. Ergo, if you wish to continue to characterize me as being heinous and close-minded, then please at least do so when appropriate. If you want to say that I'm an asshole because I have never bothered to try the vegan lifestyle, then go ahead. If you want to insult me further because I have zero tolerance for people trying to put Intelligent Design into biology classrooms, then please feel free. Call me all the names you want, hurl all the insults you care to, and make fun of my predilection for blogging at will. Such attacks obviously make you a better person than I could ever hope to be. But do know that I do not blithely dismiss religion as something not worthy of study or that I do not understand that there's more to the enterprise of religion than belief in the supernatural.

The reason I chose Darfur for my example earlier was thus: I've written 5 posts which chronicle my learning of how the Rwandan genocide transpired and it is incredibly sad and dispiriting to hear reports of what's happening in Darfur.

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2006/07/we-wish-to-inform-you-that-tomorrow-we.html

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2006/07/shake-hands-with-devil.html

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2006/07/shaking-hands-yet-again.html

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2007/01/rwanda-killers-homecoming.html

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2007/01/god-sleeps-in-rwanda.html

These posts certainly don't make me in any way morally superior to anyone else; instead I offer them as proof that I really do have a conscience. The Rwandan genocide happened 14 years ago and I wasn't involved. Am I a bad person for being angry at the U.N., Bill Clinton, et al?

What I really object to in your comments appears in the first one:

"Well if they're sure they're right, and you're sure you're right...who's really right? There is no right!"

No, no, no - a thousand times no! Conviction does not determine truth. I used the term "relativist" because you wrote that. Just because someone has a steadfast belief in something, doen't make it true nor valid. When it comes to religion, I am tired of various religious people getting a pass when their ideas are so wretched. Jerry Falwell got away with saying horrible things and had John McCain give praise. If he didn't have the title of "Reverend", he would not have been asked to constantly appear on CNN and the like. The conviction of his beliefs do nothing to justify or make legitimate his ugly racism, homophobia, and general bigotry. Here in Madison, we have Bishop Morlino. I don't care about his religious convictions or his title, his homophobia should be repudiated at every turn. The same goes for Julaine Appling and the WFC. If your deeply-held religious convictions compel you to demonize and attack gay people or compels you to fly planes into buildings in order to get 72 virgins from a deity - your convictions are not worthy of one iota of respect from anyone. Beliefs are not always like wallpaper. People act on them - people kill for them.

A little girl died here in Wisconsin recently because her parents decided that prayer was better than medical attention. Another child died during a botched exorcism because of religious beliefs. Creationism is being pushed into science classes. Reproductive rights are being abridged because of religion. Stem cell research was stunted because of religion. The Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces sees his deity as being on our side and sees himself as delivering the gift of the same deity. Women are treated like cattle because of religious beliefs in certain parts of the world. Religious imprimatur shields the Pope who aided and abetted pederasts. And on and on and on.

What respect do I owe the belief of those parents who watched their daughter wither away and die? What respect do I owe to the notion that someone should be lauded and worshipped despite having aided and abetted numerous pederasts because they are a Christ's vicar on earth?

You wrote:

"No matter what, though, I respect what others believe."

I certainly do not. I respect their freedom of conscience, to be sure, but I cannot understand how you can give such a blanket statement. The idea that, because someone believes something, it is thusly automatically deserving of respect makes absolutely no sense to me. This goes back to your comment about me shooting down any claim that isn't backed up by science. What is it about the belief in the supernatural that is so deserving of your respect a priori? How do you discriminate between beliefs which are worthy of respect and those which aren't? You wrote that you liked to share your beliefs with others. I think that's a human trait – we all do. Hence this little blog which you derided. There's certainly nothing wrong with sharing one's beliefs but it is certainly unreasonable to expect everyone to agree with you. And I'll say it again – just because someone has a belief doesn't mean that belief is automatically deserving of respect just by virtue of being held in that person's mind.

Please feel free to ask me about my non-religious beliefs, if you're so inclined. Being non-religious, all of my beliefs are thus. You would have quite a task ahead of you. I would say that I am not abrasive when approached by an inquisitive soul. Asking questions is a virtue, in my opinion. So I am in no way trying to be critical of you for being open-minded or inquisitive. If you want to think of me as a terrible person, go right ahead. But ask the owner of the Psychic Gallery about the emails we traded. Ask her how I replied to her threats to sick her lawyer on me and her accusations of endangering her children. If the following is just another instance of the atheist ego, so be it. I offer it anyway: I am a very open-minded person. Check out my music podcast at www.upthedownstair.net; come over sometime and peruse my music & DVD collections or my bookshelves (I have the Bible in 3 languages); ask my bi-racial girlfriend or my Chinese-American friend of 30+ years about my views on such things as race and tradition. Look around this blog for entries about the books I read, the food I cook, the activities I pursue, etc. If you were to, you would find that I engage a wide variety of ideas and indulge in a wide variety of cultures in various ways.

You have a standing invitation to my home. If you play your cards right, you can help me make quince marmalade.

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2006/05/saturday-morning-marmalade-putting-up.html

In return, I'd be delighted to feed you. Maybe some Polish food? From the 14th century?

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2007/06/ad-regalem-scutellum.html

I have no doubt that we could find much to talk about. The history of passenger rail in Madison?

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2006/10/madrail-part-3-passenger-rail-in.html

The state of polka music in Madison?

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2006/06/madison-is-not-polka-town.html

Racism in cartoons?

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2006/09/banned-looney-toons-3-goldilocks-and.html

How to judge the quality of jerky and smoked bratwurst?

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2008/04/omnivores-dilemma.html

Why Western women remove most of their body hair?

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2006/10/whither-pubes.html

The whiteness of indie rock?

http://www.upthedownstair.net/2007/12/didnt-black-people-make-any-great-music.html

Let's debate banning plastic bags.

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2008/02/ban-ban-on-plastic-bags.html

So, there you go. You are welcome in my home to interrogate me as you see fit.

Lastly, let me also say here that I was deeply saddened to read that you are a rape victim. I don't know what the protocol is for those times when a stranger reveals this via the Internet. A blog comment seems so impersonal and I fear that anything I say will come across as being insincere or hackneyed.
Blogger Palmer, at 5:21 PM  
There, that's better. My spelling was atrocious in the previous incarnation of my comment.
Blogger Palmer, at 5:21 PM  
I think we've gone on so many tangents that, for as much as one can begin to understand another from one blog, I have a totally false opinion of you. I've never been accused of what you've accused me of and probably will never be and I regret that I even posted my opinion...

Can I ask you though...is it really necessary to say "For a mere $35 you can have someone look at your palm and give you a line of bullshit."???...You're insulting a person who choses to do this and, whether they should or not, believes in psychics or at the very least is just curious. I just think it's rude. You might be thinking, "I'm not insulting the customer," but I think if a lot of people are told that they will just hear "bullshit" that it might embarrass them to at least check it out. Do you not agree a tiny bit? It's a personal choice and people who pay-up make a personal choice...and some may come out of it feeling like they have more insight. Here you are, though, calling it "bullshit" quite possibly insulting anyone who believes in it. I'm sorry, but I don't think it's right...

You did the same thing when you said "Newage BS." Now, I don't even know what Newage...BS is...but you potentially just insulted people who believe in that, too.

Anyhoo, I'd love to look at your other blogs...I was trying to but couldn't really locate them, thanks. By the way, I already have quince marmalade if you would just like some? I did notice earlier...the UK/US Harry Potter thing...I have two UK versions! We should try being best friends sometime
Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:32 PM  
Anonymous, for better or for worse, tangents are my specialty. I can't recall everything I accused you of and am too lazy to go back and look. I'm trying to enjoy a nice cup of tea and watch a documentary about the nutritional content of frozen dinners. I wouldn't regret what you posted. Personally, I'm glad you did. I enjoy a good bout of verbal/blog comment sparring.

To address your question, Newage = New Age. Deepak Chapra, What the Bleep Do We Know?, crystals, pyramid power, CAM, etc. To tie this in with your question/comment about my $35 comment, I can tell you that I certainly did insult people. If the comments above do not suffice, then know that the owner of the psychic joint was quite taken aback. I don't think it's true to say that I get off on being rude or insulting people, not that I'm accusing you of that, mind you. What it boils down to for me is truth and the fact that I hate to see people give credence to claims on a willy-nilly basis. When I write about a large corporation making false and/or misleading claims, few people, if any, object. Most people love to hate on big corporations. But if I posit that a psychic or a small herbal supplement company does the same thing for the same reason ($$), then I am a bastard. What I'd like is for people to critically examine things instead of merely embracing that which confirms their preconceptions, prejudices, etc. As it is, people are free to visit psychics, if they want. And I don't doubt that there are charlatans out there that prosper by doing cold readings as well as psychics who genuinely think they have powers. It's just that psychic powers never stand up to scrutiny. I recognize that there will always be people who latch onto that which makes them feel good. There will always be a market for the likes of psychics. But I'm going to promote skepticism anyway, abrasive or not.

What blogs were you unable to find? Thanks for the offer of quince marmalade but I'll be heading to Chicago soon to guy more quinces and I have enough jams as it is for the moment. Enjoy the quince goodness. To be honest, I've only read the US versions of the HP novels but I have flipped through the pages of a UK version or two.

Can I start trying to be your best friend by asking a question? How did you stumble across my post? Were you referred to it by someone or was did you find it as a result of a search?

Take care
Blogger Palmer, at 8:46 PM  
I did indeed find it by a search. I was at Mimosa recently and saw that they have events...meditation and such or something, which I've recently taken an interest in. Soo, I was trying to find a list of their events and saw your post. I tried to find your other posts...but I'm not a blog/er newbie and couldn't. I read the first two you gave in your earlier response and they're very interesting and well written. Then again those are the kind of topics I love!

This put a smile on my face...

"I was a bit nervous to tell him that I am an atheist, but when I did so, he was very accepting and we just continued our conversation."

I love and admire that kind of response
Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:53 PM  
I mean I am a newbie.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:54 PM  
Thanks for satisfying my curiosity. If you need some help, I can probably give it as I'm an IT geek.

Did you end up finding a class?
Blogger Palmer, at 5:30 AM  
I did find a few, they all seem to be Buddhist oriented which I wasn't even looking for really. Sounds interesting nonetheless...

The women and body hair blog was kind of random but very interesting. Afflicted with being human...hahaha
Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:27 PM  
What kind of classes were you looking for?
Blogger Palmer, at 4:05 PM  
I guess just something focused on breathing, clearing the mind, and relaxing the body. Buddhist ones seem interesting, though. Any recommendations?
Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:03 PM  
A friend of mine is a Buddhist and does yoga. She highly recommends it.
Blogger Palmer, at 4:41 PM  
Palmer,

Yours is a curious blog. You have spent a lot of time and energy to not only offer your opinion on a topic that (by your own implications) you know little about or have the appetite to learn more about, but also to needlessly insult those who do.

This is of course your right, and your mission of the moment in this life, and I respect both your passion and the articulate way in which you express it.

I hope, however, that in the future you take as much time and energy to blog about something that inspires you, something that brings you joy. The human mind/spirit/heart/id whatever you wish is not at its full potential when attempting to grind another's beliefs under the boot heel of subjective opinion.

Beauty is all around us Palmer. Choose to call it whatever you like, attach any origin you wish to, but take time to find joy in something positive, rather than glee in critcizing others.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:21 PM  
Anon - if you had looked, you'd find that I write about a lot of things, not just charlatans. I would add that you have absolutely no idea about my mission of the moment in life.

Yes, there is beauty all around but that doesn't mean that everything should be above criticism.
Blogger Palmer, at 9:35 AM  

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