May 2007

I guess in the eyes of some this post is anti-religious bigotry. But as I’m somewhat religious, that characterization probably doesn’t suit me well. I’ve read a little about cults in the last few years since buying a copy of Seductive Poison, Deborah Layton’s excellent story of her experience in the People’s Temple. A close friend of mine growing up battled drugs for several years and has since joined a fundamentalist cult. Speaking to him on the phone several years ago, he sounded like a different man altogether, not for the better either; bitter, angry and perhaps a bit deluded. Cults are serious things. As opposed to what we call religions, I suppose cults are lead by charismatic leaders who demand the full amount of energy and resources they can get from their followers, who sacrifice what they have to provide a better life for the leader. Mainstream spiritual movements allow for a person’s familial and social decisions–right or wrong–to be made by the adherent and those who choose to walk away are less likely to be berated for their conscience decisions. Cults, like totalitarian regimes, require absolute loyalty and employ surveillance. Betrayal can have disastrous consequences.

Nevertheless, the other side of the coin in life is often humorous and to lighten things up a bit, I thought that I’d propose some excellent Scientology T-Shirts. Actually, these shirts would be best worn by ex-members, though maybe the summer line will have some designed for the believer to wear. We’ll see. It’s really about what’s in style in Milan. Here goes.

First up, this one is best for the disgruntled, excommunicated Scientologist who was lucky enough to realize his church’s beliefs were pulled out of L. Ron Hubbard’s ass, but unfortunate enough to have wasted perhaps a decade or two of his life in the cult:

I really think that is quite nice.

The on up top is really more of explanation for why someone would leave the Co$.

Next, we have a very swell design that really should be described as pop culture:

The next one seeks to make the cult of L. Ron Hubbard more accessable to those who are too poor to pay enough to learn the theological underpinnings of Dianetics:

And finally above, an ode to the man who was the inspiration behind losing all of your cash, going through psychological torment and likely having to attend counseling to handle the readjustment to the real world.

I hope you like them.

Today’s run was peaceful. It was my new regular one up to the Amtrak bridge that crosses the Hudson. The air was mild and the smell of the river was pleasing. Life is blooming all around us now. It’s green again! The deep greens of June will soon be upon us and the heat will come and diminish them a bit, but it’s still nice while it happens. The run helped to calm me and to bring some stillness to my mind and my soul. I am still feeling it some nine hours later. I guess there’s something chemical about it all. And there’s something chemical about all of life from digestion, to sex to smiling and laughing. It’s how one controls–with is mind and soul–those chemicals that can make the difference.

I’ve been reading about the cult Scientology recently As a curiosity I’ve been learning more about it, for it holds NO practical or spiritual value. It is worthless, an utter fictitious creation of a mad man bent on manipulating people for money and more so for power. L. Ron Hubbard has been dead since before Mookie Wilson hit a slow roller between Bill Buckner’s leg and is thus irrelevant as a sentient person. Nevertheless, these days the public sees the very public face of his creation, a paranoid smirking jackass named Tom Cruise.

Cruise himself would not be such a problem if it weren’t for his voiceferous pronouncements against the well-meaning though admittedly imperfect science of psychiatry. To Cruise and fellow adherents of his religion, man is more than chemicals (which I am bound to agree) so therefore a science that seeks to solve his problems by dealing with his chemicals undermines him. Instead of addressing the very real needs of the soul, this brainwashing cult instead pushes the gobblygook (sp.) of past lives and birth memories and a crackpot theory of “engrams” in someone’s head. It is reasonable to expect and want more from life than the bare reductionism of science, but to embrace nonsense with no historical, scientific or rationally based inspection is dangerous. It is what has lead to the proliferation of fringe groups and cults since probably the beginning of time. Cults engender group thinking, extreme isolation and paranoia. (more…)

It’s not my ideal weight. I would like to lose 25-30 lbs. more. Actually, I’m quite overweight, although I may not look it.

In June 2006 I weighed in at 224 lbs.

In November I was down to 219. I’m now lower than that. I was at my lowest weight in February when I got down to 207 after some diligent healthy eating and mindfulness practicing.

Right now I really don’t know what to say. I feel like I can do it and should do it. I don’t like being overweight. It’s kinda gross and I feel a lack of energy in comparison with how I felt in my early twenties. Let me tell you that it took a lot of focus and effort to relearn how to play hockey this fall and winter at more than 25 pounds above the weight that I had last played it at in high school. Nevertheless, ice hockey did help me to lose some weight.

So, for tomorrow I’ll be running again across the Dunn Memorial Bridge, which connects Albany and Rensselaer, New York. The run takes me north about a mile toward the Amtrak bridge which carries passengers East-West. It’s a good run, slightly less than four miles or maybe exactly four. I’ll try to measure it out.

Tomorrow’s menu includes a tuna fish sandwich and a salad with smoked salmon in it. I think that diet is pretty lean with dark rye bread and green tea, which I find to be very relaxing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    I ran this afternoon. It’s the third day in a row I’ve run. The weather here in Albany, New York is clear and mild today. It’s gorgeous. I feel good, although I am very tired. I wonder if I’ll have enough energy to even clean up around my apartment tonight. That reminds me, I have a juicer to clean. I made a really tasty orange-carrot concoction this afternoon. I’ll have to make some for an eight-mile hike I’m taking tomorrow.

I’ll never forget this photo, as much as I try. It was taken at a particularly low period of my life, after I’d just been laid off from a job as a reporter. In the four months that I’d worked the job I’d gained about 15 pounds. Most of my days were fueled off of egg and cheese sandwiches from the Nice and Easy and coffee  from the Miner’s Diner in Herkimer, New York, not far from my bureau office. I’d then have pizza for lunch and cap off the tense day with a Fast Break, which is a candy bar made by Reese’s that makes the eater feel utterly worthless open biting into it. I did almost no exercising and after a 12-hour day some days I’d walk the dog and go to sleep in my lonely apartment. I went from a 34 to a 38. I’m somewhere in between right now. Okay, enough of the depressing stuff. I’m reading a fabulous book right now called The Mood Book by David Burns. Unlike a lot of books written about positive thinking,Burns’ book is more about recognizing negative thoughts, reclassifying them and reevaluating them for worth. Looking at this photo and looking at a photo of myslef from 2001 when I was in much better shape, I have a tendency to want to be mad at myself. Truly, I’ve not taken good care of me, physical and spiritual.

On the other hand, to what benefit is it for me to see that photo and castigate myself saying, “Paul, you’ve screwed up. You’ve let yourself go. You jackass”?

It helps me in no way. Human beings have souls and the soul works best when nurtured.

Rather, today, at 210, I can perhaps motivate myself in other ways that are more beneficial to my spiritual and physical well-being. Lately, I believe I’ve been taking the right steps. I’ll let you know more about it. After all, this was the point of this web log, right!

As I said in my last posting, I would be creating a picture of Xenu. Mine was done in MS Paint, the program that never changes, no matter what version of Windows you have. I think it looks pretty good. I was inspired by the rich tradition of Scientolology…I mean Scientology.

What do you think? Am I lacking in anything. Anyway, join my contest. Do your own rendering of Xenu. Scan it and send it to me at or I’ll put it up and you’re automatically entered to win.

My Xenu expresses the force and frustration that lingered within the being who expelled all of those innocent aliens to volcanoes.

Remember, as I said before, no Thetans can enter.

In 1987 the BBC, long interested in exploring the cult of Scientology (yes, it is a cult, thank you very much), produced a cartoon to detail what Xenu, the intergalactic leader Scientologists blame for creating this whole mess we’re in.

The BBC’s rendition of Xenu resembled a human being, although other versions, including one by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park, had a very distinct out-of-this world look.

As the West learned in 2006 after riots throughout the Muslim world left hundreds dead or injured, many adherents of Islam are loathe to see depictions of their prophet.

Seeing as the Church of Scientology neither confirms nor denies the existence of Xenu in their cosmology (recently, high-ranking stars such as Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini and Kirstie Alley had the gall to deny it), it is important for us gentiles to take a stab at depicting the leader who apparently banished Aliens from his overpopulated galaxy to volcanoes and then dropped atom bombs on them and then captured their souls and then indoctrinated them with false beliefs and then had them take to human bodies…phew, that was hard.

Anyway, I know Scientology believes in Xenu, although many are too scared to admit it. I’ve come up with a contest and I’m urging you to participate in it. The prize isn’t much, only $20, but well worth it. Here goes: submit a drawing or painting (scanned and emailed) of what you believe Xenu looks like to me at or Pretty simple. Just send it as an attachment. I’ll post all of the entries and choose them among a lottery. We’ll figure out how you can get your $20, which by the way, I have in an envelope. I’ll give you credit for the depiction so long as I can post it here on this site. Anyway, I’m gonna take a stab at it myself, although I am automatically disqualified from the $20.

So what are you waiting for? Just do it. Show me what Xenu looks like to you.

DISCLAIMER: Scientologists and non-Scientologists encouraged to participate. No Thetans.

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