Tom, Dick and kitties

A movie star's obsession, an inept detective agency and taking care of the cats -- this week in TT.

Published July 1, 2005 3:03PM (EDT)


The Ongoing Public Meltdown of Tom Cruise

Megan Knight - 05:34 a.m. Pacific Time - June 27, 2005 - #11 of 158

It's All About Them.

I agree that there are some very fine lines between organizations like Scientology and some more mainstream organized religions. Personally, I know several people who liken their time in charismatic Christian churches to being in a cult, and they certainly display many of the same traits.

However, the blatantness (is that a word?) with which Scientology fleeces its members is pretty extreme. There are no secret versions of the Bible that you can only buy from a church for hundreds of dollars that I am aware of. Actually charging upfront for Bible study groups, or confession, is pretty rare. Telling people that they need to take an extra job so that they can afford to pay the fees for attending mass is pretty unheard of.

Yes, mainstream religions expect donations from their members, but they don't actually charge for services (except specific things, like weddings, and only in same cases), issuing invoices and handing out price lists. Scientology charges for things in the way medical facilities do.

Work Life

So, what do you do?

dalexander - 05:41 p.m. Pacific Time - June 27, 2005 - #164 of 171

The detective agency was bizarre in the extreme. It specialized in insurance cases, so we would dispatch our band of idiots with video cameras to try to catch people on disability doing things they shouldn't, like roofing their house or such. We advertised for people without H.S. diplomas because they could be more easily directed to do illegal things like trespassing and they were unlikely to realize they were being cheated on their hours.

The company was run by a paranoid lunatic who I never met. He would call on the phone like Charlie's Angels and give us directions. Additionally, he would arrange three-way calling and we would have to take notes on his conversations with the Mercedes mechanic and the fishmonger. His 21-year-old son, after being suspended for a semester from a pretty good university for breaking someone's jaw, was our in-house leader and chief operative. He would be sent to upscale places out on Long Island, where no one was supposed to notice a black man with dreadlocks down to his ass taking videos of fancy houses. Also, he would bring his girlfriend with him on surveillance. Once, a crowd of preschoolers surrounded the funny rocking van and an alert mom called the police. Our fearless leader leaps out, declaims to the crowd that he is not just any old pervert but is is fact an undercover operative. To prove it, he blows the cover of his undiscovered colleague up the street, which the target of the investigation, who was watching the proceedings along with the rest of the neighborhood, found very, very interesting.

Inside the office, there were three other report writers, plus myself. We would get illiterate notes from our operatives, write up reports and send them to be reviewed by the owner, who had a networked system so he could work from home. He would take them from the folder, rewrite them so they showed an extra couple of days surveillance that never happened and then send them back to us, so these fraudulent documents could go out under our names. We would also edit the blow job scenes out of the surveillance tapes and send them to the clients. In the winter, when we ran out of firewood, we would burn the stationery to keep warm. It was a hell of a place to work. I think they're out of business now, shockingly.

Private Life

Bad Thoughts V: "Go Cheney Yourself!"

Cat Lewis - 03:03 p.m. Pacific Time - June 28, 2005 - #7229 of 7242

When I was a kid with my first kitten, my mother bought me a book explaining how to take care of kittens. It was written for a child. I never forgot what it said at the end: "Always remember that your kitty trusts and depends on you."

To this day, that sentence haunts me. When I want to sleep just 15 minutes longer and Jessica is meowing and nudging me to get up and give her breakfast, when I am busy doing something and Benita (the fastidious one) goes to the box, sniffs, and then meows and glares at me to come and scoop it, and when I'm watching something good on TV and they still have dry food in the bowls but are begging for their canned food -- I remember that sentence and just have to get up and accommodate them.

It seems that PETA doesn't quite grasp the fact that animals and humans can and do love each other.

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