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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   mid-century tax policy and Scientology
Tuesday, May 26 2015
Some time ago, Gretchen bought me three avocados because she thinks I like them and they were on deep discount. Unlike Gretchen, I actually do like avocados, though not as much as I used to. But they can be slimy and overwhelming in large numbers (those greater than one) and I have difficulty eating that many in a reasonable amount of time. But for the last couple days I've been doing my best. This morning I made a sandwich that contained a quarter of an avocado, and later today I made my second pan of bean glurp in so many days. Bean glurp is a nice filler for Stand 'n' Stuff tacos, and I'm finding cubes of avocado work well in there as well. (I couldn't be bothered to make guacamole, which is actually a bit grosser to me than avocados.)
This evening after work at the literacy center, Gretchen went over to Susan & David's place to spend the night with their dogs while they were down in the City. Susan & David had made Gretchen chili and of course Gretchen would also be taking advantage of their HBO GO subscription.
Meanwhile, of course, I drank beer and smoked the crumbs of my increasingly-marginal marijuana stash. I started with a can Michæl (of Carrie & Michæl) had bought me in hopes of demonstrating that western North Carolina isn't a complete IPA backwater. It was Deviant Dale's IPA from Brevard, North Carolina. I think I've actually had Dale's Pale Ale, and it was really good. And I have to give Michæl credit; Deviant Dale's IPA was indeed superb.
In terms of entertainment, I tended to switch back and forth between watching videos on YouTube and scenes from Going Clear, the Scientology documentary prepared for HBO. There wasn't much new to learn from Going Clear, and it tended to drag a bit. When Sara Poiron saw a post I'd made about it on Facebook, she asked me how I could possibly sit through it (implying that it was a bore). "Marijuana helps," I explained. And marijuana did give me a good insight about how mid-century tax policy helped give the world Scientology:

My takeaway from watching Going Clear, the Scientology documentary, is as follows: without the pre-Reagan-revolution taxes of the 1950s and 1960s, there would have never been an incentive for L. Ron Hubbard to form a religion so as to evade taxes. And without that incentive, he would not have created Scientology. While Reagan tore the solar panels off the Whitehouse and really did sell arms to Iran to get money to pay war criminals in Central America, maybe we can thank him for there having been no major cults spring up since his revolution.

On YouTube.com, I kept playing and replaying the song "Falling Off the Edge of the World," my favorite song from a vinyl Black Sabbath album I'd bought entitled Mob Rules. I would characterize "Falling Off the Edge of the World" as perhaps the single best song from among all the songs on all the records that I wished I hadn't bought (Mob Rules has a lot of clunky Blues-based crap on it). It features Ronnie James Dio doing vocals much more impressively than anything Ozzy ever managed.
I wanted to know more about Ronnie James Dio, so I did some research and discovered that he was a bit older than I'd thought, beginning his musical career in the clean-cut 1950s and dying of stomach cancer in 2010. It's always poignant for me to hear a rock star famous for his subsequent rocking conforming to the stifling musical standards of his early years. Compare Dio's lead vocals in 1963 to those from "Falling Off the Edge of the World" and you'll hear precisely what I mean.


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