16 June 2010

It's Lie

I think I just threw up in my mouth.

The majority of things listed in this very persuasive litany would be considered "PTS to the middle class" or "other fish to fry"  Seriously ... shiny cars?

"PTS to the middle class" means that your basic purpose as a spiritual being (i.e., being a Scientologist) has been thwarted by your urge to "keep up with the Joneses."  In other words, you're being too materialistic.  This phrase is used to justify onerous demands on members, ("Saving money for your retirement?  Don't be so PTS to the middle class!  Spend that money on your next intensive of auditing!") and the extreme asceticism required of org staff.  ("New clothes?  Don't be so PTS to the middle class!")

"Other fish to fry" means you should get with the program and stop wasting your time pursuing what you may actually be interested in.  For instance, when my wife and I took tap dance lessons in St. Louis, we were excoriated for having "other fish to fry."


"Its shiny cars, wistful eyes and roast beef for dinner.
Its questions and answers and 'I dont knows.'
Its finding true love and losing it and finding it all over again."
A more accurate version would be:
"It's keeping your old, beat-up car running, blurry eyes and skipping lunch to get your stats up.
It's questions, being sent to ethics and Qual until you stop asking them, and toeing the line.
It's finding true love, but suppressing your romantic urges for fear of doing lower conditions."
I fell for the PR bullshit back when I first cracked the spine on What is Scientology?  I believed the glossy pages and staged photographs.  I took the testimonials to heart.

I've been to the puppet show, and I've seen the fucking strings.  Don't believe the hype.

15 June 2010


I'm going wig shopping real soon.  The last wig I bought was this cheap "Biblical Character" wig and beard combo.  It's my go-to for when I play Manson:

Charlie reads poetry at Jim Martyka's Dead Beat Poet's Society, hosted by Write/Act Rep.

Brolesque Superstar-in-the-making Steak N. Shake debuts at Peepshow Menagerie

And Red has worn the beard as a terrorist:

Dizzy VonDamn! shows a little patriotism with the help of Red Snapper at Victory Variety Hour's The Wrong Show.

But I'm looking for something a little more sophisticated.  Something a little more ... Vincent Vega.

Red and Mr. Snapper give the Monday Night Tease audience a little Jack Rabbit Slim's action at The Quentin Tarantino Burlesque Film Festival.

When we first performed the act at The Quentin Tarantino Burlesque Film Festival, I wore a clip-on ponytail. My hair was long enough, it worked.  The second year my hair was too short, and I went without.  The number didn't really suffer for it, but Vincent Vega's silhouette is defined by his hair.  Am I right?

A fellow burlesque performer and professional wig-wrangler gave me the address of a wig store that should have what I'm looking for. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a men's black ponytail wig that doesn't look like complete shit.

Just one of the few commercially available men's black ponytail wigs.  They all pretty much look like this.

I mean, c'mon!

I've never gone serious wig shopping.  This will be a new experience for yours truly.  I'll be sure to blog about it.

More awesome Tarantino Burlesque Film Festival photos can be found on the Monday Night Tease website.

13 June 2010

The Great Busking Experiment of 2010

George Burns did it.  So did the Flying Karamazov Brothers.  Penn & Teller, Steve Martin -- even W.C. Fields did it.  My homeboy, Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards did it.  Busking.  It's a tradition as old as the bards and troubadours of yore.  The word "busk" comes from the Spanish word "buscar," to look for.  And indeed, I'm looking for something.

As you may know, I get paid to make funny and play my ukulele.

I feel that I've hit a certain plateau as a performer.  I'm not getting any better.  I do what I do, and people like it, but I feel I am capable of much more.

I know a guy who is a professor of math education at a very prestigious math college.  He recently went on sabbatical after becoming tenured.  Did he rest on his laurals? NO!  He took a teaching position at an inner-city high school.  That's right:  He bucked up and put himself in the thick of things.  Rubber meets the road time, for certain.  Boy howdy, was it tough!  An emotional roller coaster, as he tells it.  I respect this guy.  He didn't have to do it.  He didn't have anything to prove, except, perhaps, to himself.

I want to experience the oldest crucible there is for what it is I do.  I want to be made or broken by the street.  I want to hang 'em out there, put myself at risk, and earn it.  I desire the chaos of busking; the unpredictable.  I want to know I can be entertaining in the worst possible circumstances.  I want to make money from strangers--absolute and complete strangers--who didn't even know they wanted to be entertained by me.  I want to bring my talent and skill to the public at large and have my efforts recognized in the roughest way possible.

Assuming I survive the experience, and don't hang up my uke out of shame, I expect to emerge a stronger performer.  I expect a surge in confidence and ease on stage.  I expect to hone what I do to a fine point.  And yes, I expect to make some extra scratch.

I will journal my experiences here.  The beginning of this journey will consist of talking to buskers I know, getting a sense of how to go about doing this.  Yeah, yeah: take your uke out to a street corner and play.  Look, I believe in "know before you go."  A little preparation now should save me considerable trouble later.

This is going to be interesting.

02 June 2010

I had to post this.

As you may recall, I publicly quit the Church of Scientology this year. (For those of you who read the preceding sentence and went, “WTF?!?” I’d encourage you to read the original post.)

Since nutting up and giving the Church of Putting the Beat Down on People a public kiss-off, I’ve had the pleasure of telling church employees what I really think about the organization they support with their sweat equity.

Recently, I received an email from “HAPI Pers Procurement.” Let me translate that into English for you: HAPI in this case does not refer to the Egyptian god of fertility and the Nile river. Instead, HAPI is the “Hubbard Academy of Personal Independence” in Edinburgh, Scotland. This is an “Advanced Org,” which means this is where one first begins to study Ron’s confidential material. “Pers Procurement” is short for “Personnel Procurement,” sort of the HR rep at a Scientology Organization. The person who signed the email is the “HCO Area Secretary.” “HCO” is short for Hubbard Communications Office, the section responsible for personnel, communication (letters, bulk mail, etc.) and ethics. This is the section I was second in charge of when I was on staff in St. Louis. The HCO Area Secretary, or “HAS” (Yes, they abbreviate abbreviations) is the boss.

How the hell did the boss of the HR department for an org in Scotland get my email address? I ask the HAS that very thing. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is an excerpt from Gillian’s email:

Dear Reader,

Have you ever been asked to join staff before? Perhaps you have been asked many times. Maybe you have thought about joining staff or have signed up already or have been on staff before. Wherever you stand on the subject, this letter is for you.


Overall, the staff member has the satisfaction of knowing they have made a real difference - that they are helping to put there what LRH always wanted - a saner planet.

Thank you for reading... If you would like to apply to become a Hubbard Academy staff member, please reply straight away!

Much Love

Gillian Brown
HCO Area Secretary
Hubbard Academy, Scotland

And my response:

Dear Gillian,

Thank you for taking the time to send me a blind, cold email. And points to you for guessing accurately my relationship to the email (i.e. "Reader.")

I have no idea how an org in Scotland of all places got ahold of my email address. Is it likely that the orgs are out-Admin on CF policy, and have been sharing lists like teenagers share mononucleosis germs? Given the state of the Church, I'd say that's more than likely.

Regarding your invite to change careers, I'd like to counter with such an offer myself.

Quit. Leave the Sea Org.

You've seen outpoints. I was Cope Off for two and a half years at St. Louis Org -- an idyllic Class V Org in the Midwest. If I have seen outpoints in how the church is run, I know you have. I've read the stories from credible witnesses (I recommend Jeff Hawkin's story) of physical and mental abuse at Int Base. I watched the Anderson Cooper series, and saw a journalist with better TRs than the Church's spokesperson expose the truth: The Church does not live up to its stated aims.

I'm not asking you to believe any of this. On the contrary, DON'T believe anything. Look, don't listen. But for God's sake, LOOK.

In the meantime, consider routing out of the Sea Org. Consider creating a life for yourself in an environment where the able truly can prosper. You will be surprised at just how much your work ethic and dedication to the task at hand will translate to great professional success in the much maligned "wog world." The perks: No one yelling obscenities at you, insisting you miss sleep to hit some arbitrary stat goal. No more suppressive targets on hare-brained programs. No more chicken-scratch paychecks. Merely the expectation that you do a good job, and the freedom to actually do it.

And by the way: The Bridge is available outside the church.

The next time you have one of THOSE Wednesday nights, when you know you're on the chopping block, and you find yourself compromising your integrity to push your stats up, think about this email. Freedom is yours, if you want it.
You're a Scot, for Christ's sake. Get your back up and throw off the tyranny of little men with little minds who bark orders from half a world away.
-- Andrew
PS - On the off chance some HCO terminal intercepts this email before it gets to its intended recipient, what I said above goes double for you. Are there no men in Scotland? Bring order, damn it.
I throw around a lot of Scientologese in this email, but I think you get the gist. (That’s right, I’m not defining jargon, thus endangering my reader with dreaded misunderstood words! Oooooooo. Per the tech, you should all start committing harmful acts towards me, thus justifying your urge to leave. Because that’s what happens when you go past a word you don’t understand. Also, you should be yawning.)
And the response I get from (ostensibly) the person in charge of the Hubbard COMMUNICATIONS Office? The person in charge of the Department of Inspections and Reports, the ethics top cop at the org? Brace yourselves:
Bugger off
And there you have it folks, one of the modern masters of communication.  The sad thing is, I don't doubt Gillian's sincerity and willingness to help others.  You don't put up with all the bullshit that comes along with the corporate climate of Scientology without having your heart in the right place.  I hope Gillian recalls my email during the inevitible "Dark Nights of the Soul" that come along when you're on org staff.