A Cautionary Ramble Concerning Scientology

Scientology is an elusive and bizarre “religion”. It has been the center of numerous controversies and scandals and is notable for its fervent and aggressive struggle to maintain its precarious public image. Most people who know of the “church” are aware it was founded by one L. Ron Hubbard and that it is followed by a great many celebrities, yet there is an unfortunate abundance of frankly horrifying and disturbing pieces to this confused organization that are important to be aware of.

Scientology has received a fair amount of attention in the media due to its outlandish propaganda and celebrity influence. Some of this coverage has been objective and some has been negative. Most media accounts are sensationalized and provide little information that actually protects people. This is why I feel it is worth my time to write this article, because people are being hurt by this organization and if I am able to inform anyone about things that can save them from any harm then I have done a worthy thing.

Scientology is centered around an intentionally vague and confusing spiritual belief system. It is not based on the explicit worship of a god, rather it is intent on the development of some abstract spiritual body and mind which all people possess. They claim all sorts of strange things about how our lives are affected by this spiritual body and offer means to achieve some twisted sort of enlightenment. They claim that their means of spiritual cultivation is based on legitimate scientific fact. Really it is based entirely on the pseudo psychological ramblings of L. Ron Hubbard as found in his many published books, essays and presentations. The foremost work in this ill-conceived collection is Dianetics. This book lays out Hubbard’s fundamental views of human nature and psychology. It suggests many farcical methods to improve oneself, of these the principal method is something called “auditing”.

Auditing is a warped form of religious confession, it involves the participant voicing things they are ashamed of or that are embarrassing or secret while connected to a device called and “e-meter”. These fanciful devices supposedly measure some sort of spiritual energy field. In all actuality it simply measures the electrical resistance between two low voltage conductors and the participant’s skin. The important thing to take note of with this auditing practice is the sensitive nature of the material is requires participants to discuss. It has been revealed by escaped members of the church that auditing sessions are secretly recorded and kept in a vast archive of individual’s most secret secrets. This is used to blackmail members who are uncooperative or who attempt to leave or expose the true nature of the church. This is only one of the more obvious measures the church takes to preserve itself and subjugate its members. This also stifles any legitimate information or insight being exposed from within the church.

It is easy enough to avoid directly involving oneself with the religious/spiritual aspects of scientology but that is only one facet of an immense extortionary establishment. There are countless scientology run operations claiming to offer all sorts of services from communication classes to financial accounting. All of these fronts will go to immense lengths to pressure you into turning over as much money as they can. If someone is offering a “free self help seminar” or some such similar program, class, session or group experience it is wise to question and act with caution especially before offering personal information and signing any documents or agreeing to any payments. Once you are in their space they will employ merciless psychological tactics to damage your judgement and create a sense of obligation and unworthiness. In another sense they will attempt to condition you to be predisposed to their bidding and will.

These claims may seem dramatic and unnecessarily condemnatory, I can only assure you of my conviction in all that I have said. I am not attempting to entertain, only to warn anyone who may come across this unfortunate cult. I encourage everyone to do some research and read the testimonies of those who have escaped scientology. One glance at  scientology’s official website and you should be able to appreciate the absurd nature of their organization. Please operate with sensible caution and protect others by warning them to stay clear of scientology and their related schemes. Let there be no more suffering at the hands of this delusional institution.

Stay the fuck away

Stay the fuck away.

A Case For The Moon

I am of the distinct opinion that space travel in its various forms and intentions represents the pinnacle of humanity’s enlightened achievements. No other endeavour has proved as challenging and profoundly rewarding as our tentative forays into the infinite expanse beyond our humble world. The accomplishments we have made in the pursuit of expansion and knowledge in space are incredible, yet all our efforts have been of a rather limited scope in contrast to the sheer enormity of the cosmos. We have barely begun to explore our solar system with any degree of depth and have not sent people any further than our nearest celestial neighbor. Though what has been accomplished is incredible and speaks to the absolute best our species is capable of, it is time to become bolder in our striving for the stars.

The opportunities available in space are as limitless as space itself. Means by which to seize this opportunity have been available for considerable time now. Humanity possess technology able to perform things that had not even been imagined ten or twenty years ago. The last Moon landing of the Apollo program took place 43 years ago, the technology they used to carry out that astounding mission would seem laughably arcane to a child of today. And yet they did it, they went to the Moon. We have such a technological abundance that to carry out a mission similar in scope to the Apollo landings today would be a complete waste of our immense resources. We are now in an age when our extraterrestrial exploits must be grander and more ambitious merely to keep up with the ability of our technology.

Despite this new technological abundance and ability there are more fundamental constrictions to true large scale space exploration and exploitation. Even with the advanced systems we have today, moving significant amounts of material off the earth is a serious and demanding challenge. Developments such as a space elevator or laser propulsion system would make this task more easily accomplished but limitations will always be inherent. This makes the delivery of large volumes of resources an unviable option for space endeavours. Such restriction makes the establishment of large scale space colonies and vehicles or interplanetary bases seem impossible. Fortunately this is an easily circumvented problem.

The Earth possess incredible elemental resources that have allowed our species to flourish, but it has been established that transporting significant volumes of these resources is fundamentally problematic. The solution is simple, use the resources that are already abundantly available in space. We need not go far to find them, indeed we have already sent men to the nearest depository of raw useable materials in space. The Moon. If we are ever to explore more of our solar system and beyond we must use the resources of the Moon.

The moon is the perfect platform for humanity to begin its journey outward into the majesty of the universe. To get there we need not develop launch systems of any immense complexity to the ones we already have. Sending enough materials to begin extracting and refining the Moon’s abundance of useful resources will be infinitely more efficient and economic than sending those same resources from the earth. Aluminium, gold, cobalt, iron, palladium, platinum, tungsten, oxygen, hydrogen and helium-3, a gas that can be used in future fusion reactors to provide nuclear power without radioactive waste, are all present in the Moon. Using robotic construction equipment and next generation 3D printing techniques, support structures and large habitats can easily be manufactured. Lunar regolith, the dusty material which covers most of the Moon, can be manufactured into an impressively durable concrete like material or can be used to form the basis of huge solar panel installations. Indeed, between the helium-3 and solar energy potential, the Moon has the ability to solve the energy crisis. The Moon’s ⅓ earth gravity makes the launching of interplanetary craft all the more practical and efficient. Spacecraft can be constructed on the Moon primarily using Moon resources with more complex and specialized equipment being shipped from Earth. These spacecraft can then be launched using ⅓ the fuel that would be needed to propel them from the Earth. This allows for much more ambitious exploration and eventually the colonization of other planets in our solar system. As this becomes more achievable so too does the ability to reach other stars. While the technology for that level of exploration is still developing, the technology to utilize the moon has been present for quite some time.

This is not a fantasy, it is a hope and an ambition that is completely legitimate and reasonably achievable. The attitudes surrounding space travel are generally positive, as they should be for such a positive thing, but the politics are confusing and convoluted. Economics for the sake of economics leads to dramatic de-scaling of spaceflight endeavour and intention. Public interest is essential, for everyone who cares about space travel it is your duty to let your interest be known and your affirmation be clear. Without interest the hopes of humanity we be left to slowly crawl along, burdened by policies which give little regard to Human advancement. Given enough attention and serious consideration however, the clear benefits of this noble exercise will become apparent to all people and our potential for greatness will be swiftly be realized.

Once Upon A Quarter-Stack

Though planet Earth may be overflowing with a plethora of personality types, I like to think that a majority of folks can be properly categorized into one of five basic categories; the primary four sets are Quarter, Half, Three-Fourths, and Full “Stack” (or “Mast,” whichever terminology you prefer). At the bottom of the pile lies the “Zero Stack,” the absolutely abysmal antithesis of productivity and worth as a human being (but we’ll get to this one later).

As you may have already guessed, this is a measurement system for the value of one’s character, entirely based upon the visualization of a male erection.

A Full-Stack individual is well-to-do, though not indefinitely at the top of their game. This is to say, one achieves what they are able to, and offer no petty excuses otherwise – though Full-Mast can represent a brand of subjective “perfection,” it is also applicable to any case in which you “rise to the occasion.” Though not always achievable, it can almost always be reached if you’re willing to put in the effort. When one is at Full-Stack, they are anywhere between “good enough” and the absolute peak of their abilities. Their work is of quality, their health is generally in check, and their shits are smooth and leave minimal residue. They are capable of inspiring greatness in others, and stand as an almost casual testament to the complete and bursting quality of their proverbial personality boner.

Three-Fourths-Stack is but a smidge below this, commonly falling into the “mildly disappointing” crowd. Though being only Three-Fourths is nothing to cry about, it won’t quite get the job done. If you could grip this personality type in your fist, it would feel fleshy yet flaccid, almost there but missing the mark. And of the five classifications, it can be safely assumed that Three-Fourths is the least occupied. If one is not doing well (or exceptionally well, as both fall under Full), they are oftentimes dragged into the substantially lower subsections. Depression can be a beast, and doesn’t normally make pit-stops on the way to Rock Bottom (a zone that spans from Zero Stack to Quarter-Mast).

Half-Stack is where things start to become sketchy. This is the realm of true disappointment, letting others down, “dropping the ball.” When a fellow finds themselves at Half-Stack, they are probably not the first to see these flaws within their integrity.  Unlike Three-Fourths, it is usually very difficult to conceal the rickety standing of your behavior. In this sense, you are limp and unimpressive, incapable of penetrating the moist, mysterious, dangerous, and cavernous cooter that is life. Many other terms have already existed for this mentality, such as Half-Assed, Half-Baked, Half-Hearted, and Lackadaisical. If you could grip this personality type in your fist, its mass would hardly feel present against your palm.

Then there is Quarter-Mast. If the shameful grouping of Zero Stack were not to exist, this would be the most loathsome of mindsets. The individual who finds themselves caught in the world of Quarter-Mast is most likely delusional off the fumes of their own bullshit. All work is sloppy, all promises broken, all opportunities passed with no intention of ever fulfilling them. Strange and unfathomably ridiculous excuses are made to avoid responsibility, and livelihood becomes secondary to outdoing your last record of proximity to Rock Bottom. You will throw pizzas inside of your car and not know why. More often than not, each potential “plan” becomes side-tracked by another, increasingly unattainable plan, slowly working the victim into a position in which no goal is truly attainable. Every aspect of Quarter-Stack is comparable to hot, liquescent diarrhea. If you could grip this personality type in your fist, you would be crying.

And now, alas, we arrive at Zero Stack. This is absolute Rock Bottom. This is nearly going out of your way to be a person of the most garbage tier. The word “abysmal” hardly begins to describe the borderline malevolence lurking behind this outlook. A “work-night” would become a George Lopez marathon; children would become toothless welfare machines; charity money would become a private whiskey fund; the food pantry would become additional diaper storage. If you could grip Zero Stack in your fist, you would not be holding a penis. You would be holding next-to-nothing. It would be like aged menstrual blood and cornstarch had an illegitimate child with soggy sausage.

But let’s stop before we get ahead of ourselves. Let’s just take a break and boil down the point of this entire article, the heart and soul of what I am trying to communicate.

Franz.

Franz the Fool.

You’ve been displayed as an author on this website for a long fucking time, man. For the love of sweet baby Jesus Christ’s divine ejaculate, write a goddamn Gripe already, you subhuman Quarter-Stack fuck. I am sick as shit of looking at that un-clickable not-so-hyperlink that is your ridiculous fucking pen name. In the name of Christopher Walken’s left testicle, get some words on this page before I get my Full-Mast in your asshole.

And that goes for you as well, Austin (the unregistered, bitch-ass bitch who also signed up for this blog).

I’ll take this post down when the two of you get some shit up on here (or dip out), because I am tired of your procrastinating trash.

 

[UPDATE (1/11/15 4:12 AM) – Editor’s Note: Back when this digital rag was first created, I signed on a mongoloid who went by the handle of “Franz the Fool.” He was quite the fool. He had promised a rip-roaring post about a strange dude calling him and asking to have sex. This would’ve made for a great Gripe. And it almost happened (the Gripe, not the steamy dude-on-dude sex). But it didn’t (neither happened). Apparently, after writing about 80% of the Gripe, he adjourned for a fap, then closed the browser. Since he was using the “blue editor,” he lost the entire post. Rather than get saved as a draft like with the “classic editor,” it was supposed to have been saved as some sort of browser cache/cookie/wizardry, which is how the blue editor do. Apparently. BUT IT DIDN’T. It was gone. He didn’t write the Gripe again. Or anything else for that matter.

I also signed on another author, the Austin named briefly in Mack’s Gripe above, yet he never even signed on/set up his profile. I had poked and prodded at both of them to write something, anything, everything. It never happened. So now they’re gone. The Quarter-Stacks are gone, I repeat, the Quarter-Stacks are gone.

Even though Van Lobster had intended to take this post down, I deemed it too funny to just get rid of. SO IT STAYS.]

Orion Flight Test

This is the first of what will be many writings concerning space travel. I am utterly captivated by the beautiful endeavor that constitutes our species foray into the cosmos. Suffice it to say that I find spaceflight, especially manned spaceflight, to be one of the most significant undertakings of the human race. NASA’s current focus regarding manned spaceflight has almost entirely concerned the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and its accompanying heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System. On the morning of December 4th 2014 a day from this posting, the Orion capsule will be launched on its first unmanned test flight Exploration Flight Test 1. The capsule will be launched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV heavy rocket and complete 2 orbits with an apogee of 3,600 miles and a return velocity of 20,000 miles per hour. This test will provide critical data concerning the heat shield and landing/recovery systems. This is a great moment in history as this is the first flight of a crew rated space vehicle intended for beyond low earth orbit exploration since the Apollo program in the 1960/70’s. A live broadcast of the launch and flight activities will be aired on NASA TV available to watch on NASA’s website. If you are an American citizen you deserve to know where your tax dollars are being spent. The space administration is a civilian program that belongs to all Americans and whose discoveries are the heritage of all mankind. I encourage everyone to check out this incredible mission and to engage in all the astounding things underway in the space community.

Exploration_Flight_Test-1_insignia

Of the Many Neglected Things, I Write About Pipe Organs

Pipe organs are musical instruments that produce sound by driving pressurized air through pipes controlled by a keyboard. Each pipe can only produce one note so pipe organs tend to be exceptionally large. The more pipes the more variety of sound, the larger the pipes the louder the sound. As such a well equipped organ that is intended to fill a large area with sound will be utterly immense by instrumental standards. Indeed the pipe organs are the largest musical instruments ever constructed. Pipe organs were invented by the ancient Greeks and were adapted for use in cathedrals and churches by later western cultures. The majority of remaining pipe organs are still found in cathedrals and churches. Pipe organs are special instruments. Each one is unique due to the difference in structure, materials and location between them. They can possess the aural qualities of multiple orchestras with different sections of pipes emulating instruments such as violins, trumpets, oboes, cellos, flutes and clarinets all from a single mighty instrument. The beauty and complexity of this sound cannot be truly matched by any other instrument. Electronic organs have served to replace the easily damaged and expensive genuine articles and as such have hugely contributed to the decline of pipe organs across the world. The distinction between an electronic organ and a true pipe organ is similar to the disparity found in film regarding the use of computer graphics over practical effects. Pipe organs are irreplaceable and precious things that can provide an unparalleled musical experience. But they are endangered. As it was said, the majority of pipe organs reside in cathedrals or churches and are reserved for religious use. There was a time in America when organs gained a wider popularity and were built for secular enjoyment, unfortunately many of these organs have been damaged, destroyed, sold for scrap or otherwise lost. The few that do remain receive little public attention and no significant assurance of protection. The largest pipe organ ever built was the Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This inspiring musical engineering achievement was severely damaged by a construction worker during renovations to the hall it is located in and was not repaired. The cost of repairing and maintaining the organ was deemed to high and the organ remains abandoned. The largest functioning organ is the Wanamaker department store organ in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This majestic instrument has survived due its peculiar location inside of a department store which is now owned by Macys. The organ is played twice daily and is the focus of several annual music festivals. These national treasures deserve respect and care as do all pipe organs across the world. It is my belief that pipe organs symbolize one of the greatest musical achievements of humanity. I hope that future generations have the privilege of experiencing the powerful and enchanting tones that only a real pipe organ can create. In this time of change and transformation it is important to embrace new ideas, but equally important to retain the success of the past. Let the noble pipe organ be recognized for its awesome ability and have it serve as an example of our species’ incredible power to create divine implements of expression.