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The flight took off with 2 hours delay. One movie was mad city with Travolta (!) and Hoffman. Sucked, just the usual about Travolta playing an asshole, which is not difficult. The second movie was City slickers 2 which I didn't even try to watch. The plane circled endlessly before getting down on the airport. I saw another plane going down in a very dangerous way.
Immigration was easier than I expected. The "security officer" at the departure airport had already asked me so many questions that I thought I was flying to Israel. But immigration was easy - it just had the question why I was here (business / holiday), and what my hotel would be, and there I was, in America, which may or may not be the greatest country on the planet.
We took the airport bus and checked in at the Ramada Milford Plaza, 10th floor, as this was one of the cheapest hotels available from the travel agent (There is another - weird - reason which some may guess).
We later walked around at times square (nice!), and tried to go to the "Hello Deli" which is on the corner of David Letterman's show. But it was closed. We took a cab to chinatown & little italy; for some reason, it was impossible to find a noodle restaurant as the travel guides said. We ate in an italian restaurant, I had a tagliatelle with red clam sauce which had no taste at all, and tomato+mozarella which had no basil powder.
We took a cab "home" and completely forgot that I wanted to visit the "night court". (Do I sound like I watch too much TV ? :-))
Had a good breakfast nearby, went to the empire state building. Big waiting line for big price, so we went out. I bought a coffee on the street, expecting it to be bad - it wasn't. It tastes like german coffee, but I never drink any, so I'm not sure. We walked to pier 83 to have the "circle line tour" in a boat, which was absolutely great. You visit Manhattan from "outside", and the tour guide was wonderful, he knew everything.
After that, Martin walked "home" and I took a 4 min helicopter tour. It was my first time in a heli, and I love it. It's like in a flying car.
At the hotel I called Monica and she would pick us up a few hours later. We went to a deli where I had a pastrami omelette (I wanted to try "pastrami" as I had heard about this in movies). The taste is weird but not bad - I later realized the taste is like "Frankfurters".
Monica came and security wouldn't let her through, so I went down and told them it was OK. She looks much younger than I thought. She looks like 35 but should be between 40 and 50. PeeGee came shortly after that and had no problem with security. Monica found out that the scientology org was within view!!! I went there and had silly fotos made of me in front of the org, which I will detail only im e-mail. We walked to another scientology place and did the same. Then we went to have a drink (I was surprised that beer was rather good), and later walked to the place of another scientology critic, were we watched the video "secret lives", quite amazing. To see it on TV is much better than just reading the transcript. It is so... english.
We were too tired for the "night court" again.
We took a bus to an airport, and had breakfast there. Before I had only had a tea, which I took inside the bus. The driver yelled "no coffee inside my bus! Keep the lid on it!". I drank it anyway and didn't spill it. When coming to the airport there was a person who asked our flight number, and told us the terminal. Wow, that's "service" - i.e. we didn't have to look up our flight. I often noticed that businesses hire many people (at low cost!) to provide maximum service to the customer.
The flight was terrible. They asked $5 for "entertainment" which was the latest James Bond movie. We both refused, so we watched without sound. I knew it already, and Martin understood all without sound (I asked questions).
At LAX the weather was hot, like in Berlin in summer. We took a van to the hotel, and checked in. No one else was there, so we walked around, and Martin somehow got me to walk all the way up to Griffith Observatory.
Jeff was there when we came back. He declined to call Mike Rinder, who had left a message, because it was too silly to sort of "check in". Who is this Rinder guy anyway??
We went to "sizzlers" where we met Neal Hamel and Tom Collins and possibly more SPs.
Jeff later drove us to Universal to look at the place.
Martin wanted to go to the beach, and I asked Dennis to pick me up which he did (thanks!) and we chatted a bit, and I accessed my internet account. He had business to do and he drove me to a secret place where I also accessed the internet, and read a hilarious article in National Lampoon: Diarhetics - over 8,000,000 purged, with foto of people holding toilet paper rolls. I've been told that Moxon hates it. Sadly I forgot to make a copy.
The people kindly went with me to a mexican restaurant where I had an excellent burrito + rice 'n beans. (haha)
In the evening, there was a huge party with more than 12 people (rather 30 - 40). At a time where not many people where there, I showed some what happened if they looked for their own names.
What I remember most was a talk by attorney Dan Leipold. I think he is quite a presence in a court room, especially in front of a jury. He is kind of a big teddy bear - it is obvious that he's with the "good guys". He told us about some pending cases, and also explained the strategy that he is using against the scientologists. I'm sure that it will work 100% of the time :-)
Best looking party girls were Cathy Shipe (she looks very elegant) and Stacy Young (looks good too! I had expected her to be much older, i.e. like Vaughn - sorry!). Another partying girl looked great too but was staying in the dark. She had voluminous black hair so hiding was easy :-)
After everyone presented himself we went back to the hotel.
We had breakfast in the AngelZ cafe and planned for the day. I went with a few people to the CC at Franklin Avenue. The CC does not look as good as in the fotos. It is mostly hidden, and the foto they show can be taken only from the garden.
We behaved like ordinary tourists (i.e. no "$CIENTOLOGY KILLS" T-Shirt) and walked into the nice garden, then looked for a place to have a drink. I noticed Kurt Weiland chatting with people. He was wearing a shirt with vertical stripes that I would expect on a butler, but not on a manager.
"***" bought us drinks, we sat down, and a security guy asked us for our names, which I found rather amazing. Mine was "Dieter". He later asked whether my last name was "Ottmann". I mentioned my last name ("Lietershvantz") and they didn't realize where this name came from. Tsk, tsk. I guess if Kurt isn't doing the job, nothing gets done, huh? The security guy told us to leave because the place is only "for parishioners". While walking out I noticed LRH's office. In the garden we did a suppresive foto.
Outside, the first picketers were coming. We retrieved our signs and walked around. No scientologists attempted to "confront" us, no scientology-sponsored police to do arrests (the LAPD once got funds from the "friends of L. Ron Hubbard).
No incidents except the already mentioned cup, which may or may not have been thrown by the people in the house opposite the CC. One picketer kindly distributed bottles of water to all. (thanks!)
Somehow it was decided to get some food, and then to go to L. Ron Hubbard Way. I went into a van with other people (amusingly, we were all overweight more or less, except one person), and the driver went to "fatburger" and bought us food. The burger wasn't fat at all, nor were the fries. We ate the stuff near "Big Blue" (code word for the scientology complex), and later gave the rest to a homeless person.
The street was closed, and the order came - guess who? - Richard Alatorre, one of scientology's two arms in the LA city hall. Glenn Barton whined about having everyone arrested, and said "hi" to Priscilla Coates. I "served" him with an envelope, which contained a "Xenu" leaflet. If he did read it and is not OT3, then he must already have died from Pneumonia. (Unless of course, if L. Ron Hubbard was wrong).
Bob Minton and Stacy Young called the cops and it was announced that we could picket. Cops were standing downside the street, discussing stuff with Dennis. I used the opportunity to ask them how to identify an LAPD member and complained about people having LAPD-like uniforms? Answer: they have a badge on their chest. And yes, there had some.
A blonde woman was often walking up or down, between buildings. Don't these people have phones??? Other told me that yes, but they often need to make "meetings".
Worst memory was a girl whose age was at most 10. I don't remember what I said to her initially, but she answered "scientology is my life". This child's voice really broke my heart - this girl who had all her future before her, wants to give up her life for scientology. I didn't really know what to say, and all that got out was "please, please - take care about yourself", because I didn't want to scare her in any way. (I'm twice as tall as she was).
On the evening some of the people wanted to picket Universal. I originally wanted to go with them but the car was full. So I went eating a burrito instead. It was a good decision because it was raining. Later some went to Graham Berry's party - I declined, because I didn't believe I would be able to get away soon enough.
Some were then hanging around Grady's computer laughing about wgert's stupid post The Picket is Part of an Extortion Attempt.
This was the second actual picket day. We started by going to the "blue tarp" building where we watched a few scientology victims rearranging the tarp, while Dennis enturbulated them. While this sounds like fun for us, don't forget that these were probably RPFers or in lower conditions. We had a box of strawberries, that we gave to passers-by and to ourselves.
A girl in a car stopped to ask questions and I gave her leaflets. Because I was on the street while doing this, Deana gave me order to get on the sidewalk, which I obeyed, and I gave her the leaflet from there. This was turning into a big problem: she looked great, was not much dressed and provided a very interesting view of her wonderful body, especially because I was approaching her from the "wrong side" of the car. That's Hollywood! But I had to put away all these "male" thoughts and focus on her questions. A friend of her had been on the show at Universal and she knew it was a scam. She had an internet account and I told her to look for Lisa McPherson. Another one saved.
The place was not too good for picketing, and some of us went to the Elron life exhibition, which was also OSA central. It was easier to distribute leaflets there, and we also gave some of the excellent strawberries away to passers-by and to homeless people. And the entrance a beaufiful blonde was there to play receptionists. Funny, she looked like Jenna Elfman.
We then went back to the blue tarp building on Hollywood Blvd. At a time, two asians approached me for a "survey". The first question was something like "Do you have goals in life" (might be different, I don't really remember). Being rather tall and asians being usually small, I could look on their papers which said "World CARP organisation". This was ridiculous - Moonies trying to recruit on Hollywood boulevard, on a scientology protest - but a good opportunity to start a rant. So I mentioned that Moon is a criminal, and they said "yes he was six times in jail, but innocent each time" (Yeah, sure!). They again asked me to help with their "survey" but I then mentioned Hjo Yin (Moon's son) problems with drugs, and they said that the media is all wrong, and then went away.
We had food at a Thai restaurant. While I enjoyed the appearance of the waiter (beautiful girl), I did not much enjoy the food - sugar. IMO, sugar doesn't belong in food. I do enjoy chinese food or japanese food, but not Thai.
Back at the hotel, a "secret" guy (ex scientologist) was there, who had been there two days before. While he declined to tell his name and did not participate in the picket, he had lots of interesting information and leaflets - and today, he had a giant WWW.XENU.NET banner + instructions how to store it. (Btw, did anyone use his digital camera?). The banner was absolutely great.
We then drove to "Big Blue". It was again deserted. Some people noticed a sign at "our house" (a hotel-like house) not to go out. The absolute best was when we went with the banner in the front of the ASHO entrance. There we were - 30 people with a giant "xenu" banner, singing "Happy Bithday Elron" and laughing. Tom Klemesrud joined us later, and also Mark Ebner, who played "Shaft" and spooky music from his VW beetle. A girl yelled as us that we are all "SPs", which made us proud.
At around 4 or 5, word was out that the clams would not do anything, so we drove to the hotel and then went to Sizzler's for a good dinner.
Some went to a second (!) Graham Berry party, others were having a few beers sponsored by Geoff Burling.
After breakfast we made a quickie picket of "big blue", dropped a person off at the hotel and then drove to Hemet. No harassment happened. A car stopped, having seen my "$CIENTOLOGY KILLS" T-Shirt. They were fully briefed about scientology, Lisa McPherson, Xenu and racism in scientology. We made a few fotos, drove back, had a lunch nearby and said bye-bye to each other. Since I was suddenly alone at the hotel (Martin, Jeff and another were at the beach), I asked info about how using the bus.
(If you are fat and unhappy about it, skip the next paragraph)
Entering the bus in LA felt like being in the 3rd world. The people were obviously poor. "Taking the bus" and "being poor" seemed to be synonymous in LA. (not elsewhere). One girl had her baby with her - the girl was at most 10 years older. I thought "aha - so that's teenage pregnancy". A girl with nice hair was standing near me, she had beautiful long hair; I wondered if she had a brother "Bernardo" (most in the bus were hispanics) who would kill me if I would come too close. She later turned, showing another symbol of poverty - she had a moustache, i.e. she was sooo poor that she couldn't remove this facial hair. After some time I was able to sit down. My butt (that part is not overweight) took exactly the width of the seat; sadly, a woman right of me didn't, and she seemed to be angry at me for existing. I noticed that women in the bus (and in every bus I took later) loved to wear cheap gym pants, which allows the contents of the legs of bigger women to spread evenly. In other words, it is as ugly as it is confortable. On the left was an old woman who asked whether I was taller than "magic johnson". Assuming that he is a basket-ball player, I said "no", and she asked how tall I was, and I said 195. This answer did not satisfy her, and I told her to calculate it herself, in feet and inches. The driver at that moment told me to stand up (I was sitting at a place I shouldn't) to make place. The lady continued to talk with two other ladies about my size for 20 minutes. A big problem in LA is that when standing, I can't watch the street signs, so I had asked the driver to tell me when to get off.
Also a first for me was to see Hispanics. I've never seen one in my life, except on TV. There are lots of blacks and asians in Germany, but no Hispanics. (What americans see as "Hispanics" is also not available in Spain). I wonder what Hispanics community leaders think about the fact that on US movies & TV, they usually appear as drug dealers.
My destination that day had been the La Brea tar pits. The driver yelled "La Brea", I got off, and found out that I was not at "La Brea". (I very often got wrong, misleading or incomplete information in LA in the next days). Anyway, I walked and was there 20 min later.
The La Brea tar pits are exactly that: tar pits. "tar" is not just a UNIX command, it is a sticky, heavy liquid. These pits were deadly traps for animals for many years (the tar would be covered with leaves or with water), and excavations found millions of fossiles. Quite amazing, and it is still "active", i.e. tar coming out from deep inside. (You can smell the tar).
I waited an endless time for the bus, and went back to the hotel. We went to Dennis' place to listen to his music (nice), be harassed by his bird (less nice), went to a china restaurant (nice, but had almost no duck on the menu), went back to his place for something, and then back to the hotel.
Originally, that day was to be for DisneyLand, 'cause a secret sponsor had offered 5 free tickets. Sadly it turned out two days before that while they had said we would all go there together, Dennis didn't really like DisneyLand, Martin neither, Priscilla neither (but offered to drive me) so I would be there alone. My love for DisneyLand was not that big, so I went to the courthouse instead, where I also hoped to find some fun.
I went off the bus in the correct street, and asked a guy for the correct direction. He gave me the incorrect one. One hour later I entered the courthouse and started some research, to look for cases in which scientologists had been accused of fraud, libel and other activities that are needed to raise money and protect scientology.
Checking out a file at the courthouse is easy. Too easy. You fill out a form, wait a bit, and get the file. I did not even have to show an ID. Sadly, tampering with a file seems also to be easy, and I wonder how often court files have been altered by "ethical" scientologists. Sure, they risk to go to jail, but they would do it to "clear the planet", so I assume it would be OK.
I had two juicy files in the first room: 1. Donna Page vs. Exec.Software & Jensen and 2. Berry vs. Barton and others. Page sued Jensen for religious and racial discrimination, and Berry sued the 'new' "CAN", "CAN reform group", Chait, O'Meara, Barton, Hayes and Lippmann for libel. I laughed innerly when reading the first page of the complaint:
"... possibly the most egregious, outrageous, extensive and permanent defamation, invasion of privacy, etc, in legal history".
I wonder if every attorney thinks that his lawsuit is the greatest of all. IMO, this should be left to the court to decide, or to history itself. Berry asks for over 100,000 millions in damage. The core of his lawsuit is that he somehow discovered that Barton is the "CAN reform group". Berry mentions about 100 different libellous allegations, most of them having been posted on this newsgroup. While the lawsuit is somewhat overblown, it is a good start and Barton will have a bad time because he's not the smartest one, which was quite obvious to anyone standing near him in the last few days.
I later went to the microfilm room. A good looking black girl talked like black girls talk on TV (I love that! Maybe TV is somehow connected to reality!), and demonstrated me the use of the machine, and said "I will show this to you only once, so watch it carefully".
Many files seemed to be incomplete... for example, Cass Pool (today Cass Warner, Cass Sperling, Cass Gerson, etc...) seems to be part of a group of investors that were sued by Carl Day for something, but I haven't understood why. Isadore Chait was also sued either for stealing art or for not repaying a loan, but I was unable to understand it - the text in the complaint was ambigous, so I haven't taken any copies. The microfilm files were not getting me anywere. I also looked up one malpractice stuff against Megan Shields, but this seemed not to be related to her scientology delusions.
Other non-microfilm were also not interesting, e.g. scientologist crashes his car. Some files are also in other courthouses; I also frequently got wrong information about where a file is to be found. The big hit was Monsanto vs. HeathMed, about which I already wrote. The pathetic attempts of Megan Shields to display herself and her cult leader in a positive light are quite amusing.
I was unable to get a file from *Dorothy* Barton vs. Scientology. It was said to be an "odd file", and when I went to the "odd file" counter, it was said that the case had been dismissed and on microfilm. I had enough so I went home.
This time I took the subway, which was faster then the bus, and stopped at the corner of Wilshire & Wester, exactly what I needed.
Looking up court records seems to be the perfect job for PIs... I've heard that some (e.g. Larry Zilliox, the guy who exposed Garry Scarff) are hired to search for dirt on political opponents.
I watched some TV and later we had a dinner at Sizzler's.
We had planned to go to the Getty center. First we hang around the TV to watch the latest trash. It was called "Jerry Springer". People were beating up each other because there had been some extra-marital affairs among 5 different people, but I didn't understand the exact details, especially because of the numerous "beeep" sounds.
In the meantime I also had another bus ride, to a post office (which I believed to be far away, but wasn't). The (black) driver was funny - his line was "get them out, let them in", and he repeated it at each stop.
I called the 800 number of the airline to confirm our return flights. It was successful after almost 30min of "waiting" music.
We experienced once again the "LA advice". The bus driver had promised to tell us the correct exit to change buses; he didn't; Martin noticed it anyway. The first bus stopping was asked "Do you go to the Getty center"? He said "no" (it was the correct bus line). The next one did.
After being there and waiting for 30 min, a person told that the waiting time was 2 hours. I had enough and left.
In the return bus ride, the driver suddenly started to yell "praise the Lord" and yell "Halleluja".
On my way back to the hotel, I decided to go shop for "american" food. I bought spam, snapple, mountain dew, twinkies (legendary because of the "twinkie defense") and clamato. I also bought "smoked baby clams". I liked all except the spam (which I ate in after getting back to germany).
In Germany people had told me to go shop for clothes. I asked the hotel manager for a mall, and she described me the directions for the "Beverly Center". Sadly this was too near Beverly Hills, so prices were too expensive. There is no reason to pay more than $10 - $15 for a T-Shirt.
We had a "dinner" at a Taco Bell. I didn't really like it. The Burritos are not very good, any you can't even get a beer.
This was the last day... I started the day by having a swim in the pool and a breakfast. I then walked around a bit but found nothing in the area, so I watched TV, the Sally Jesse Raphael show. It was about people who had a bad time in their youth because they were fat and bullied. Martin came to the room later and alerted me of yet another Jerry Springer show. It was even worse trash than the day before - a dim bulb sort of guy found that his "girlfriend" was actually a guy. Another guy found out that this guy (the "girl") was also cheating on him, so a fight started. Another segment had a guy come in in diapers.
We had a 2nd breakfast as the AngelZ cafe while we waited for the shuttle to take us to LAX, where I had an excellent japanese (!) noodle soup. On the flight we saw a science fiction movie about a guy who was naturally conceived who infiltrates an elite group of genetically engineered people. The second movie Mrs Brown was about a guy whose job was to serve Queen Victoria after her husband had died. It was predictable: she didn't like him, but gradually they'd get along and become friends, so I stopped this crap after 15 min and listened to rock music instead. The third movie was a US remake of that french movie with a guy from the jungle, with that funny-by-disney-standards actor from "home improvement". Newspapers, food and drinks were excellent. I looked up german stocks in the IHT. Cool! The DAX was close to 5000. The 12 german bankers that secretly control all anti-scientology operations have done their jobs. While I sold most at 4500, there is still a rest unsold that will help pay this vacation.
(At the time I write this, the DAX is at 5100)
Tilman Hausherr, in March 1998
Unless credited otherwise, all pictures on this web page are the property of Tilman Hausherr and have been taken in March 1998. If you are one of the primary subjects on a picture you can ask me for a print, and you can also make as much copies as you want, as long as all published copies have the text ("Copyright Tilman Hausherr 1998"). For everyone else: you may not reproduce the image in any way. If you do want to use a picture, send me an e-mail; I will usually grant permission to most people critical of Scientology.