Clearing a few things up: I want to thank New Times for its interest in my life and what we at Elliptical Mobile Solutions are accomplishing. I believe it is important to show the public that the heart of American innovation is still alive in these tough times.
I have a few points I would like to clarify. The value of the company has skyrocketed (around 10 times, or more) since a successful sale to a government entity and successful patents.
I do not live with a girlfriend. I live with an investor who has been kind enough to allow me to live rent-free. I get $150 a month from my mom. I guilt her out of this by reminding her about how against Dungeons & Dragons she was.
I wish there were more mention about how awesome we think the people who help run the Society for Creative Anachronism are. Thousands of tireless volunteer hours are put in so guys like Bill and me can loaf about and "be rock stars." They make the SCA events possible and are the most important part of our group, but are the least visible.
The Spear has 1,400 parts, 282 types of parts. It was built in a garage after all. I misspoke and added a zero to the numbers of parts. The outer frame components have a 44,000-pound crush rating, but each is then part of a stressed aluminum frame, giving it even more strength. It is possible it is beyond even the figure I gave New Times, but we will have to destroy one to find out (I can't wait).
Simon Rohrich, Mesa
Every train has its Achilles', uh, caboose: It's about freaking time you guys did a story on the SCA here in Arizona, and the fact that you did one about Simon shows some actual intelligence.
Simon is a straight thug and the inventor of the phrase "militant geeks." A lot of the time, though, he rides too much on his reputation as a bone-breaker. He hurts one guy a year and the rest of the year everybody in the game is like, "Oooh, here comes Simon, and bam, bam." But we Romans have no fear, and constantly have to show the rest of the community that he isn't that mean.
Believe me, though, when I step on the field, the first thing I do is look for Simon, 'cause when he hits you and you're not aware of it, it's like being struck by a runaway train. But if you're ready for him, he falls just like all the rest.
Lord Leo, Roman Thunder, Phoenix
A well-wisher speaks: Simon used to work with/for me a few years ago at ValueOptions. He's a gentle giant, and I'd definitely want him in my corner. Glad things are going good for you, Simon.
Dennis Ward, Avondale
They are awesome as money-sucking leeches: Scientology's a "church" that believes there's no creator. That's one of the "secrets" you have to pay a few hundred thousand to find out [to be part of] this brainwashing cult.
Maybe they'll set up a used cigarette butt display in this "sacred" house (Hubbard was a chain-smoker), since he claimed cigarettes freed the body of radiation.
Bravo for this refreshingly comprehensive article, but neighbors of this House of Xenu should read the entire detailed, well-documented history of Hubbard and his group of loons in Russell Miller's The Barefaced Messiah.
It's especially telling that Scientologists don't have a clue that Dianetics was written before Hubbard lived in that house. They don't know a damned thing about the history of their own "religion," except what is necessary to mislead, lie, and coerce their way through life to keep Scientology working.
And what do they work at? Making money! Everything else is a false front to use as cover for their scam.
Some members are, no doubt, directed to make token efforts for Toys for Tots but, unlike other religious organizations, this cult does not hand out meals, help the homeless, or do anything of substance to help the communities in which they ply their absurd scam.
Most Scientologists are fairly harmless as individuals, but as a fake religion, they are awesome as money-sucking leeches. And they are good at brainwashing gullible, and sometimes vulnerable, people.
Beth Soosman, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Dianetics does, indeed, work: There must be some reason that Dianetics was on the New York Times bestseller list twice. Get a copy, sit down in a comfortable chair some evening and find out for yourself.
Missing from all the criticism is any indication that Dianetics doesn't work. It, in fact, does work, as millions of people around the world have discovered for themselves.
Yes, I'm a Scientologist and have been, going on 40 years. Those many years ago, I took the time to find out for myself, and my life has been the better for it.
Richard Haworth, Phoenix
Practice respect and goodwill: Historically, groups and their members have been demonized to justify discrimination against them. It would be helpful to us all, in the midst of these challenging times, to practice respect and goodwill for one another. This is America.
Tobe Daum, Cave Creek
Where's the "make money" mantra?: What we are missing in the New Times account is Hubbard's rejoinder to his staff: "Make money, make money, make money." Then there's the myth that Hubbard traveled the Far East "learning the secrets of life from an Indian Guru," when he was, in fact, busily flunking out of engineering school.
Chris Long, Columbus, Georgia
Stop hounding minority religions: You say that L. Ron Hubbard's religion is bad, yet you cast the first stone. We live in a country that was founded on freedom of religion, yet we get approached by people trying to save our soul.
My soul's fine right where it's at — in the arms of the gods and goddesses. That's right, I'm Wiccan, and I served in the Army for 15 months in Iraq.
"Good Christians" don't live by what Jesus said ("Love thy neighbor"); they try to save our soul from damnation. We are happy with our chosen faith. We are free to worship any way we damn well please.
You say Scientology is a "cult." Well, Webster's says a cult is a mass gathering of people in worship. That means every religion out there can be classified a cult.
I just wish people would stop hounding minority religions!
Lost Raven, Phoenix
Well, there's always "By their fruits shall ye know them": Anti-religious bigotry begins when people insist on having a strong opinion about a religion they have never bothered to study. It is a frightening unknown to them because they couldn't take the time to read a few of L. Ron Hubbard's books on the subject.
How can they form an honest opinion of the applied religious philosophy of Scientology without even knowing what it is?
Jonathon Barbera, Phoenix
They want to make one thing perfectly clear: Scientology's most important mission is to "Clear the Planet." That means convert every single human being to Scientology.
Members anticipate that 2.5 percent of humanity can't be converted. The plan for them? They should be "disposed of quietly and without sorrow" — a direct quote from the teachings of L. R. Hubbard.
Hubbard was a scoundrel, a liar, and a fraud. He doesn't deserve respect, reverence, or a museum.
William Buddusky, Casa Grande
We call like it like we see it: Seriously, New Times sure seemed to be afraid to say anything actually bad about the Church of Scientology in this story, instead making the neighbors seem like a bunch of Southern Baptists when some "coloreds" moved in down the street.
Mike Wells, via the Internet
Your workplace sounds like no picnic, either: A few months ago, I protested peacefully in front of one of the Scientology organizations. A few days later, an individual representing the Church of Scientology called my workplace and spoke to my supervisor claiming I was a terrorist.
I'm not a terrorist. I hadn't done anything illegal. I protested peacefully. Well, after a lengthy chat with my supervisor, I was fired.
What type of church calls your workplace and has you fired with false allegations? Thankfully, I found another job.
Any religion that asks you to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for a spiritual cause is not a religion, but a business organization.
I implore residents of Phoenix to take some time from your busy lives and research Scientology thoroughly.
Michael Tomasello, via the Internet
Soup Nazis?: People who publicly speak out against Scientology are very brave. Scientology will spare no expense on private investigators to check out a critic's background, and they're not above a little fabrication.
Scientology paid $60,000 for full-page ads in the New York Times denouncing Germany as a Nazi state because Germany treats Scientology like a business. It's doubtful whether Scientology has spent 60 grand on real charitable things like soup kitchens or housing the homeless in its history.
Bob Dobbs, via the Internet