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L. Ron Shredder 

I’ve got the voluminous writings, the long fingernails, the anti-psychotic medications. I’ve got the long hair, the unusual theories. I’m perfectly at home in rural mobile homes, and I’m willing to coerce massive fortunes out of people.

I am as prepared as I will ever be. 
Go ahead, worship me.

Go ahead. You can start now. … or now. Any moment here would be just fine. Did I mention I was the other person to see Battlefield Earth? I take Visa.

As Colin Rigley’s cover story describes it, the life of a living demi-god ain’t bad. In his latter days, L. Ron Hubbard lived in a ranch in Creston, making himself hard to find by the IRS, writing weird jazz, and engaging in day trips to Paso and San Luis Obispo in his motor home. 

The Scientologists get a lot of shit, primarily because they worship John Travolta’s volcanic chin cleft, which is the featured art on the cover of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, their guide to life. But are their religious beliefs any more unlikely than a virgin birth and a rise from the dead?

Don’t answer that, but do ponder some of the more mysterious aspects of the man’s death.

• He was found in a mobile home parked behind the house, with the air conditioner blasting, deep-freezer like.

• The deputies who responded to the call about his death said Scientologists wanted him cremated immediately.

• L. Ron Hubbard still has an office in every Scientology church, even though they don’t think he was a god.

• He was found with psych meds in his system, but the Scientologists say it was for allergies. (They don’t believe in psych meds.) A thought: Maybe he was allergic to being psychotic?

Here’s a tidbit that didn’t make it into the story. The Scientologists sent a very expensive-looking coffee table book about Hubbard and it conclusively proves that he liked to dress like Thurston Howell III, complete with a yacht, a little sailor hat, and a foppy neck scarf.

If that’s what it will take to get you to worship me, suit me up.

Go to the video, 
Part 1: Copped in the act

I have no idea what would make a former police chief key a guy’s truck, but former Atascadero Chief Richard McHale was scheduled to be arraigned May 28 on charges that he keyed a Ford Excursion in Cayucos. The SUV was actually vandalized many times, but McHale was arrested in relation to just one event, after the homeowner set up a video camera to try to catch the bad guy. I wonder who did it the other times?

They’re going for a misdemeanor, but you know that if they’d caught some anti-consumerist punk with the key in hand, they’d have had him for felony 
eco-terrrorism.

Go to the video, Part II: A man’s best friend

The other day the local paper of record had one of the wildest stories in recent memory, detailing an Atascadero plumber’s caught-on-tape sex acts with dogs.

Court records described a video of Bradley Brainard, dressed in women’s clothing, having imaginative sex with a chocolate Labrador and other dogs. The same video also apparently shows him having sex with an unconscious woman and includes shots of a child’s genitals during a diaper change, as well as a teenage boy in high heels.

The only thing more bizarre than the details in that story was the fact that Brainard gave the Tribune an interview on the subject, noting that he doesn’t have sex with dogs anymore and that he fell into it after a divorce. He hasn’t been charged, so you can bet that the paper wouldn’t have run the story if he hadn’t admitted it. But he did!

The writer did an excellent job of answering most of the obvious questions. The dogs, for example, are going to be OK (at least physically, I guess, but that sort of thing has to stay with you; he’ll probably never enjoy a good bone again). But one of the unanswered questions is why the police were described as saying they don’t intend to prosecute Brainard in relation to the unconscious woman and the photos of the kids. That decision seems even more bizarre than Brainard himself, if such a thing is possible.

Open letter 
to Wisconsin

I hear them moaning every day.

“Not another one from Wisconsin!” they wail in agony, like an elephant seal challenging a mate.

The judges from the 55 Fiction contest generally grow to hate all of humanity by the time they finish the more-than 1,000 entries, most of them sharing the same five pseudo-clever endings.

It was an animal instead of a human, or the subject of the piece turns out to be actually dead. The endings are too often the same. But this year, those judges seem to have focused their hatred only on the entries from the dairy state.

I hear the judges right now, near me, yelping with real pain after reading the lactose tolerant prose. Here’s my hope for them: Off Wisconsin. Off.

Shredder can be reached at shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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