Mr. Paul Aints vs. Winnipeg Goldeyes

This past Saturday evening, the Hubby and I went to see a baseball game at the new CHS Field in Saint Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood. We’re not really sports people, but this Saturday was a special event – it was the third annual Mr. Paul Aints game!

Photo of the CHS Field Jumbotron. Advertising is on the borders, the main central portion shows the Aints logo - beginning with a large red capital "A."

The Saint Paul Saints is the minor league baseball team in the Twin Cities, but on Saturday the team donned special jerseys and hats and became the Mr. Paul Aints. Minnesota Atheists and Foundation Beyond Belief came together to sponsor the annual atheism visibility event. Soles4Souls partnered with us to collect gently used shoes from attendees; the promotion was called “Leave Your Soles at the Gate.” We had our boxes filled by the start of the game! [Read more…]

Happy Atheist Moments

I’m an atheist.

Those words used to be difficult for me to say to people in casual conversation. I grew up believing that God is a fact, and that everyone believes in God. Even after I made a conscious decision that gods aren’t real (except for Thor. Thor can be real. As long as Thor is Marvel and Chris Hemsworth), even after being an Atheist On The Internet, those were some deep feelings to shed. And knowing that “atheist” is a naughty, eye-widening word for many people, a word that gives some a warped sense of justification to judge, that can also make it a hard word to claim in mixed company. But it’s gotten easier* and I find myself coming out as an atheist more often and in more types of situations. I’ve stopped minding that people might not want me – an atheist – around them and settled into the comfortable space of not wanting them if they don’t want me for such a crap reason.

[Read more…]

Thank you for your not belief!

Well, how lovely is this?

Minnesota Atheists, my local atheist organization, sponsor of Atheists Talk, receiver of my annual membership dues, promoter of volunteer opportunities, supporter of awesome conferences like the upcoming Secular Women Work, received a thank you note from Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota for our recent holiday donation. I like to imagine that the letter-writer had a good laugh at our dedication. Their reply certainly had me smiling.

A rote form thank you note from Children's Hospital to Minnesota Atheists. Relevant text is typed below this image.

Image shared with permission from Eric Jayne, Minnesota Atheists

Relevant portion of the text reads: “Please accept our heartfelt appreciation for your generous gift given in memory of not believing in Jesus to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Your support ensures that every child who comes through our doors receives excellent medical care in our family-centered environment.”

“We are grateful for donors like you who believe in our mission. Your dedication means that we can offer the best possible care to children and families in our region and across the country. On behalf of the Children’s community and the patients and families you have supported, thank you for your generosity.”

 

FTBCon3 is Up and Running!

We’re stocked up on Mountain Dew and Funyuns (no seriously…I’m going old school this weekend), I’m in my official FTBCon uniform:

Me in a bathrobe and slippers, big grin and hands on my hips

…all of the tech seems to be in place and opening remarks with Stephanie Zvan and Debbie Goddard are a go!

Debbie Goddard speaking in a Google Hangout

Treating the Brain: Skeptics Talk Therapy and Therapists just started at 5:30pm CST. A full schedule is located on Lanyrd: http://lanyrd.com/2015/ftbcon-august/

You can find the link to the Google Hangout (and YouTube from there) by clicking on the link in each Lanyrd event page, here:

Shows an Lanyrd page for "Treating the Brain" panel and a red arrow pointing to the "official session page" located in the right sidebar.

 

Other important links:

We hope you can join us sometime this weekend!

Atheism: It’s Not All About Atheism

This morning I was up early to do the live radio show, Atheists Talk. My guest was Keith Lowell Jensen, a stand-up comedian who incorporates atheism into much of his work. We spent a portion of the first section (about seven minutes) discussing his religious upbringing, when he started including atheism into his material, and the purpose of doing so. Then we moved on to talk other things like his new album, Atheist Christmas, Keith’s work with Stand Up! Records, his comedic style and influences, etc.

This did not sit well with Roger from Saint Louis Park.

[Read more…]

Secular Townhall: Ferguson and Beyond

Black freethinkers and atheists are speaking NOW about Ferguson and the black experience with the US justice system. Speakers include Donald Wright, Jenn Taylor, Raina Rhoades, Sikivu Hutchinson (writer at FTB’s Black Skeptics blog) and Kimberly Veal.

As a Google+/YouTube presentation, the entire conversation will be available to watch at any time, so please make some time.

Why I work late

Oy. Tonight was a long one. Deadlines aren’t always as flexible as one might hope, and science sometimes does not play by human clocks. But it’s all worth it for a chance to piss off the anti-science, pro-God set. One of my secret atheist coworker friends (we have a secret handshake okay no we do not but I’d totally learn one because who doesn’t want to be part of a club that has secret handshakes), gave this to me today:

2014-07-29 13.15.51

Text on a small scrap of paper says: “SCIENCE: The study and investigation of phenomena based on rigorous study and experiment, conducted solely for the purpose of pissing off those who think God did it all.”

Yup. As Fox News has known for years, science-ing is actually part of the Atheist Agenda. I do what I can. You’re welcome.

Celebrating Our Dead

Today I had a strong urge to visit someone’s grave. She was a coworker who I worked with for about five years. She retired a year or two ago, and passed away in 2013. We shared an enjoyment of photography, and because we knew each other’s politics, we avoided discussions of that sort. She was a kind woman, always quick with a smile and a laugh. She liked to tell stories of her family and vacations. She was a hard worker, and knew how to care for all of the little details that keep a lab running. She was happy to teach what she knew, and taught me a lot of what I know about this place.

I don’t know where she’s buried, and as I toyed with the idea of seeking out her grave, reality began to intrude. I know that nothing exists after death. I will return to earth and sky and stardust, as did my coworker, and so I mused over this strong desire to visit “her”. I flipped through the logic: I don’t care about visiting her physical body – because eww. I don’t really want to drive a gazillion miles to find the physical cemetery in which she’s buried. I want to remember her contributions, the happiness that she brought me. I want to grieve that she won’t contribute anything new, and I want to mourn that I no longer have this particular source of inspiration physically present in my life. In short, I miss her.

Going to her final “resting place” – seeing the literal and figurative concreteness of her headstone seems like a good way to put firmly in my mind that she is gone, and standing in front of a grave perhaps gives me permission to indulge in a moment of reflection, joy and sorrow. Where else do we have to celebrate our dead after the initial ceremonies, the potlucks and goodbyes? Only among those who shared the experience of knowing them, or in our own minds – in those moments of quiet and stillness that come too few and far between.

*****

As a sort of related-aside: Cemeteries and burial grounds take up a lot of space on this planet. This is a funny thing to one who sees nothing inherently special in flesh and bones not connected by consciousness. As I was about to post this, I saw a link on Facebook about cool things to do with your body when you’re dead. I think I’d like to be a coral reef.

The Weekend of Unbelievable Fun: The Second Coming

Hey…guess what’s coming up fast? It’s The Weekend of Unbelievable Fun: The Second Coming!

mna-conf-aints-1

Image is an advertisement showing the Mr. Paul Aints logo with information about the baseball game and conference (detailed in text below), and a photo of the Minneapolis Skyline.

This will be the second year that I attend. Last year’s baseball game was a blast, and the conference had inspiring speakers presenting novel and timely information about atheism and the secular movement.

This year the Mr. Paul Aints will take the field again on Friday August 9th to play the Sioux City Explorers at Midway Stadium in Saint Paul. The party starts at 5pm with tailgating in the parking lot and the game begins at 7pm. The meetup description for the event promises between-inning atheist-themed antics (hmmm…devil worshiping in the infield and baby tastings, perhaps?), and there will be an auction of Mr. Paul Aints jerseys with proceeds to go to a local charity.

The next day – Saturday – Minnesota Atheists and American Atheists will hold their second consecutive Twin Cities-based regional conference. The conference takes place at the Ramada Plaza in NE Minneapolis, and the lineup is exciting (I’ve taken out the breaks in the list below – for the full schedule, visit mnatheists.org):

9:15-10:15 Hector Avalos: “How Archaeology Killed Biblical History”
10:30-12:00pm Breakout Sessions & Workshops
1:45-2:45 Greta Christina: “Coming Out: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other Do It, And Why?”
2:45-3:45 Amanda Knief: “Ten Legal Issues Atheists Need to Know”
4:00-5:30 Annie Laurie Gaylor: “The Religious War on Women”
7:30-9:00 All-Star Panel Discussion: Atheism and Religion: Confrontation or Accommodation – Annie Laurie Gaylor, Hector Avalos, Greta Christina, Amanda Knief, PZ Myers, and Kelli Clement. Moderated by Stephanie Zvan (Author of Almost Diamonds blog on Freethought Blogs).

The conference organizers did a good job of packing in a wide variety of topics in a few short hours – one day conferences are hard! I’m especially excited by the 10:30-noon workshops, which are being led by local atheists. Topics include science, family and raising kids in atheist households, treatment of (nonhuman) animals, mental health, addiction, and shame. For descriptions of the panels press the big red button on the frontpage of the Minnesota Atheists website.

If you’re interested in joining us, the information for signing up for the baseball game and/or the conference can be found at the MN Atheists website. The cost for the game starts at $10 and the conference starts at $30 (if you’re 25 years old or younger AND a student, you can buy a discounted conference ticket for $10). These are early bird prices, and early bird sign up ends on July 31st – in just three days! After that prices for the conference goes up to $40 (student admission stays $10).

And if there is any doubt that you’re going to have a good – and occasionally goofy – time, check out these lyrics that Paul Heffron and Jerry Rauser wrote for the Mr. Paul Aints game:

To the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game

(Verse 1)
Let’s all go to the Aints game.
Let’s all show who we are.
The big red A says a lot about us.
We’re here for fun, so please don’t make a fuss.
So we’ll root for the Mister Paul Aints team.
For they accept us by name.
So it’s hip, hip, hip, hip hooray
At the Aints ball game.

(Verse 2)
Let’s have fun at the Aints game,
Tail-gate party supreme.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks for all.
Under our banner we’ll all have a ball.
We will root, root, root for the pigs’ race.
In Pig’s Eye town there’s no shame.
For it’s one, two, pick up the pace
At the Aints Ball Game!