Picket Knowlege Report Los Angeles 3-23-02
24 Mar 2002

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Deville!"
Adventures in Hollywood

The entheta commenced before I even set foot in Los Angeles. A couple on the train asked me about my sign, which said, "L. Ron Hubbard: Phony War Hero Exposed!"

"L. Ron Hubbard," the gent said. "I haven't heard that name in years!" I gave them a brief rundown as to what the old fart's been up to lately, (nothing, still dead!) and a War Zero flier just as we rolled into Union Station.

I had no sooner emerged from the station, blinking in the sunlight, when my ride appeared. Classy ride, too; a towncar that once belonged to actress Ruth Norman, now owned by an SP.

We had some time to kill before gathering sinisterly at a Sizzler steakhouse, so decided to scope out the terrain. Good thing too, Hollywood Boulevard was closed off around Graumann's Chinese theater for the Oscars event Sunday night. Red carpet and equipment everywhere, giant gold effigies of the Oscar, news crews, gawkers, hawkers, punks, drunks, tourists, weirdos and street people jammed the sidewalks.

The Scientologists were busy leafletting the crowd at the Testing Center. Most people declined their fliers offering Free Personality Tests. What a scene!

Then we drove by Big Blue. Their lighted billboard was flogging the VM crap, invites to services (all welcome!) and, I think, Dianetics. We drove that big boat down LRH Way. I wanted to get a picture of the big sign on top of Big Blue, but it was covered up. They're doing some renovation on the center section.

We arrived at the Sizzler a bit early, but everyone else showed up on time. Jeff Jacobson was there, Bruce Pettycrew and Graham Berry, Magoo, her friend who is an ex-member after 20 years in the cult, Snefru, Tanya, and some videographers who were working on seperate projects made a pretty large group for the restaurant to handle, but we managed by stealing chairs.

Picketing commenced at the Hubbard Life Museum. Everybody had different fliers, mine were tailored to Hubbard's birthday and the picket location. I handed out Ron the War Zero. The monster XENU.NET banner was unfurled. Magoo had her red stopsign to match her devil horns. The Scientologists seemed rather anxious, clumping together like confused body thetans and peering out through the glass doors. Their security weenie stalked around importantly and impotently, while one woman kept scuttling from the front entrance to the building next door and back. Strained Scienos who had to walk past us on their errands had this air of constipation about them as they strove to ignore us.

Graham was wearing this Borglike headset with a camera on it to keep his hands free, very futuristic. There was quite a bit of traffic on the sidewalk, but nothing compared to the traffic further west around the Oscars site. We were thanked by many people, blessed by a few, cussed out by none. A tiny elder woman waiting for a bus refused my flier. "L. Ron Hubbard!" she spat. "I hate that man! I wouldn't spit on him!" An older gentleman told me that he'd taped a bunch of shows featuring Scientology and offered to send me some. I'd say LA has got their number.

The Scienos were In Hiding. One fellow was videotaping the picket from a hallway inside the building next to the main entrance. When I raised my camera in his direction, he scuttled off down the hall. And who else was lurking in there? None other than Gambino champion and high-priced Scientology shyster Elliot Abelson! He eventually came out to say some nasty things to Graham and Magoo. Abelson seemed furious. He stood on the corner glaring at us. Then he stood elsewhere glaring at us and watching us give interviews. He hung around out on the street for the greater part of our picket, a peculiar thing for a guy who's billable hours are exorbitant. Has he joined the cult? It seemed he was trying out TR-0 on us. He locked glares with me and was the one to look away first. It's the second time I've tried to melt his head with my powerzz! If looks could maim, we'd all be in baskets. No OTs there!

It was amusing to approach those leaving the Hubbard Museum, dazed tourists clutching reams of cult propaganda readily took our fliers as well, to balance out the information provided by Scientology. They seem to have accidentally omitted a lot about Hubbard's life, such as the truth.

Of course, no picket would be complete without a visit from the LAPD. Two cars arrived, and a female officer came over to listen to clam whining, but there was nothing she could do as we were obeying the law. She refused a cop info pack, stating that her job was to be "impartial." Impartial to criminality? The police all left after watching us for a few minutes.

After a couple of hours there, we decided to head on down to the Testing Center. Jeff and Tory's friend stayed behind to continue enturbulation. More foot traffic, more fliering opportunities. Outside were two strangely weathered-looking women handing out cult material. The Xenu banner was swapped out for more traditional signs. Another cult security weenie hovered around. I got to talk to several passersby, and induced a couple of punk rockers to take a flier by informing them that "Scientology Sucks! Hubbard was a lyin' ass bitch!" They enthusiastically agreed.

Another older fellow knew a lot about Hubbard, Parsons, Crowley, and the OTO. He was a mysterious-looking man with wooley eyebrows who asserted that Parsons was blown up when he turned the key in his ignition.

A slight, Asian man joined us for a while, happily haranguing the street in broken English with his assertions that Scientology is anti-Jesus, a cult, and evil. Then he seemed to get confused and started in on the Hare Krishnas. We had no trouble giving fliers to the people who accepted a cult flier. One would agree that looking at both sides just makes good sense in the wog world.

We picketed there for another couple of hours, then decided to do a pass through the Oscars milieu. Our cunning plan to get our signs filmed worked quite nicely, several network cameras turned our way. There was something really amusing about winding through the press of people; behind me I could hear murmuring as people began to discuss Hubbard and Scientology in our wake.

Walking back to the Testing Center, I was waiting on a corner for the light to change when I noticed a couple of guys toting clear bags full of crap from the Hubbard Life museum. I made sure they got War Zero fliers to fill in the gaps.

We made one more pass at the museum before parting for the Shrine Auditorium. Busses were being loaded. The Scientologists came out of the side door at a brisk pace, studiously ignoring our signs. One woman was wearing a white jacket with gold letters on the back, FREEWINDS. For some reason, she poked a bus tire and got smutch on her finger. She seemed confused as how to deal with it; she tried wiping it on the sidewalk, and when that didn't work, stared at it for a while.

Strange people, those Scientologists...

When we broke up to go to the Shrine (and me for the train station) our job wasn't quite finished. Bruce kindly gave me a ride, and as we were loading our signs into his car, we were approached by a man who spotted our signs. He's concerned about his sister, who has been in the cult for 35 years and is quite high up in the heirarchy. Her husband used to write for them. This man's concern was over an impending inheritance, which he made sound quite substantial. He wants his mother to put the sister's share in a trust fund, as he knows if there are no conditions, it will all go to the cult. He'd rather it benefit his nephew.

Our timing was perfect, I got to Union Station at 6, and the train left at 6:35. My sign attracted the attention of the conductor, (who had L. Ron confused with Ron Howard) a mathematician (3=cheese, lol, he loved that story!) and a guy who'd just done three years in prison who was going to visit his mom.

The ride south was uneventful. The train didn't run out of fuel or run over any bums on the rails, and I was home by 9.

This is true,
Chaplain, ARSCC

"Every week, every month, every year, every decade and now every century, Scientology does weird and stupid things to damage its own reputation." -Steve Zadarnowski

"Comparing Scientology to a motorcycle gang is a gross, unpardonable insult to bikers everywhere. Even at our worst, we are never as bad as Scientology." -ex-member, Thunderclouds motorcycle "club"

"$cientology sees the world this way: One man with a picket sign: terrorism. Five thousand people dead in a deliberate inferno: business opportunity.

$cientology oozes _under_ terrorists to hide." -Chris Leithiser


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