My last Scientology post for a while, I swear — watch an awesome undercover investigation video!

This is absolutely fascinating. Please watch it if you have a free half hour or so!

“The Big Picture” – hidden cameras in the Church of Scientology (CoS)

 (Part 1)

(part 2)

(part 3)

(part 4)

(part 5)

And if you haven’t read the Scientology documents that were recently released, you really should.  It’s madness.

How many Scientologists are there, really? They claim 8 million, it’s actually more like 50,000!

I know I’ve been posting a lot about the Scientology documents that were recently leaked, but this is fascinating. Scientologists claim that they number around 8 million, but in actuality, there’s more like 50,000 of them.

Read the facts here:

How many Scientologists are there? (Operation Clambake)

This website is excellent and has all sorts of juicy stuff about the cult of Scientology, including the following MP3 and Real Audio files. I recommend you download these scandalous clips immediately. One of them features the group’s nutjob founder, L. Ron Hubbard, making offensive racial remarks about African Americans, even going so far as to do a minstrel show-type impression. It’s quite sickening, just like most everything else I read and find out about LRH.

Index of sound files (Hubbard Audio Collection)

And just in case you’ve never read it, here’s a groundbreaking article about Scientology by Time Magazine from 1991, entitled “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power.”

Joanna Newsom


Far from your typically loud, sweaty concert event, Joanna Newsom played gorgeously last night at the Howard Gilman Opera House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). The formality of seeing her play in a classy theatre with symphonic stature makes just as much sense as if she were booked at a dingy club, because through her career the young harpist remains basically indefinable. In any setting, her atypical instrument of choice and shrill voice present a wonderful catalog, but this concert was a special treat in that she performed 2006’s Ys in its entirety backed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. Van Dyke Parks’ lush arrangements on the critically lauded album were a new step toward greatness for Newsom that year, and so it was that this performance was something mesmerizing to behold. Also accompanying her this evening were her regular touring band, and all these musicians together provided an incredibly rich platform for Newsom’s music. Indeed, the entire audience was enraptured by the powerful, layered presentation, and visibly moved during the most dense parts of the arrangement. It seemed a room filled entirely with dedicated fans as people leaned forward in anticipation of the album’s crescendos, emitting the high-pitched hoots of rock concert attendees, but remaining just reserved enough to be appropriately respectful. All forms of audience elation provoked grins of appreciation from the adorable Newsome.

After the moving performance of Ys, she came back on stage to play songs with just her touring band, having shed the formality of her floor length gown for a hot pink velvet party dress. Comparatively pared down, but entirely lovely in its own way, the second set contained songs from her first album The Milk-Eyed Mender, last year’s EP, and a few brand new numbers. Older favorites like ”Inflammatory Writ” were augmented as the backing band gave the waltz a more dancey flow, while the newer songs seemed to be quite vocally driven, as if Newsom is embracing her distinctive squeak more and more as her career progresses. The confident hiccups in “Colleen” were particularly endearing — amplified by a wide smile after each utterance — and truly celebrated her unique pipes. Some have described her voice as grating, and while it’s no lie that it can take some getting used to, here it was masterfully roped and executed.

The dazzling performance was made the more special by Newsom’s humility when she spoke to the audience. She sheepishly thanked every member of her staff and made clear her appreciation to BAM for having her. This represented the last full orchestral performance of Ys, and she talked of how that fact made her feel a bit of remorse and a longing to fully appreciate these moments. These conversations brought Newsom to a nicely relatable place for the audience, furthering the intimacy of the evening and making it feel incredibly special to have been there. The night ended not with the usual knee-aching, ear-ringing rattlement music fans must oft endure, but rather the immense satisfaction of having taken in a fine bit of culture.