Vote for One of Our Own!

Begin super-sekrit communiqué from our own RQ:

I just need your vote, via Twitter or Facebook.

As I may or may not have mentioned previously, my choir is planning a trip to Canada in the summer of next year, for the Canadian Latvian Song and Dance Festival (program here, that’s us on July 4th). So, one of the local breweries here (Cēsu alus, no comments) is running a competition for local groups of singers/dancers to win a rather large sum of money, which we, the choir, would put towards our trip next year – either for plane tickets, or for sight-seeing in Canada (since that costs money, too, and for the vast majority of choir members, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get to North America).

So, please, if you have a Twitter or Facebook account, go here and vote (Click ja to say you’re over 18, then click on ‘Balsot’ at the top, then look for Jauniešu kora SONORE dalība XIV Latviešu Dziesmu svētkos Kanādā, Hamiltonā and click Balsot again), from each account, every day (I’ll be putting out reminders until you’re all sick of me). Please. This would mean a lot to me and my fellow choir members, as it would reduce a lot of the stress and financial worry currently causing doubts in some members.
If anyone doubts our skill, I can re-post some of our music – and I’ll (hopefully) have new music/video after this weekend (amateur choir finals on the 29th).

Anyway, if you can help out, muchas gracias! *hugs*

End super-sekrit communiqué.

Right, simple enough. Let’s get ready to vote! First, a song for motivational purposes:

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Atheists Giving Aid Accepting Donations for Boston

If you wish to donate, please go here. Only read the first few paragraphs of the request for donations if you’ve got enough tissue to see you through – you’ll probably end up mingling happy and sad tears. Also,

Boston Atheists and the Secular Coalition for America (Massachusetts Chapter) has officially co-sponsored this campaign. They pledged $500 and will be doing the local groundwork to help up get these funds to the victims and their families. Thanks to Zachary Bos and all the people that help make the Boston area a great place for non-believers to live.

The Humanist Community at Harvard is also chipping in, as they do have a community member who has been directly affected and will need funds. Thanks to Conrad Hudson, Greg Epstein, and the folks at Harvard Humanists.

It’s good to see everyone coming together to get this situation handled. A few tear apart: many put back together. A lot of people are showing the best of themselves right now. A lot of people are showing why it’s good to never give up hope for humanity.

I’ve updated our main Boston page. Let me know if there are any other orgs helping out that we should be aware of.

Now is the Time When We Come Together

Rage settles to righteous anger. Shock becomes determination. In the aftermath of a disaster, we have our chance to rise to our feet, scrub our faces dry on a sleeve, and roll up those sleeves to get to work. We help heal the wounded, comfort the bereaved, fix the damage, and set things as right as we can.

If your faith in humanity wavered, remember: some people ran toward the blasts. The Red Cross had all the blood and funds it needed within hours. People all over the world stepped up immediately to do whatever they could. A few would rip apart: many will put back together.

We will come together and lift each other up. Fall seven; up eight. That’s us. That’s people.

I’ve listed as many resources as I could find. Let me know what I’ve missed.

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Halp! We Need Kittehs for Evelyn!

Our own Dr. Evelyn had quite a scare recently – some asshole broke in to her flat and stole her laptop. She wasn’t harmed, but she’s considerably shaken up and in need of an infusion of kittehs. Send her your cute kitteh photos asap! You can reach her at geokittehs at gmail dot com. We’ll take them all, the more the merrier. Someday, they may even achieve some fame as Geokittehs!

Misha imitating a boulder in a stream bed.

Misha imitating a boulder in a stream bed.

Attention Washington Peeps: Lawyer Recommendations Needed

Some of you may be aware that all is not happy families at my place of business. Now the family is broken, because they decided to fire my manager. Yes, the one who stood by his employees. Yes, the one who had just filed an ethics complaint. And yes, they did it for a reason that is very close to blatantly illegal, if not right over the line.

My manager is, shall we say, exploring options in pursuing legal remedies . He’d like your assistance in finding the right person for the job. Let me know if you’re an employment attorney licensed to practice in the state of Washington, and enjoy the challenge of taking on well-known multinational companies. If you’re not an attorney but have recommendations, we’re all ears. Send your info to dhunterauthor at yahoo.

Thank you for your help!

The giant gavel of justice at the Ohio Judicial Center in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Image and caption courtesy Sam Howzit via Wikimedia Commons.

The giant gavel of justice at the Ohio Judicial Center in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Image and caption courtesy Sam Howzit via Wikimedia Commons.

Crowdsourcing Foundational Freethinkers of Color

Here’s a sad fact: my shelf of pre-1930s freethinkers is overwhelmingly white, male, and Western (WMW). They’re excellent thinkers, of course, but variety is the spice of life. Not to mention, I know that not all freethinkers were WMW. The problem is this: there have been too many periods in history when WMW opinions were widely appreciated, so anyone not fitting that description was essentially shunted off to the side, ignored by all but a fringe.

I’m tired of them being ignored. I certainly don’t want to be part of the problem. And I don’t want to miss important freethinkers because I’m relying on randomly-Googled lists rather than utilizing my greatest resource: you. [Read more…]

One of Our Best Bloggers Needs You

Greta Christina is one of the writers I respect most in the world. She recently became a full-time freelance writer, and it seems the world has been out to get her ever since. Her father died just a few weeks ago – then she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer early this week. It’s not the worst kind of cancer a person can have, and hopefully was caught early enough so it can be cured with merely major surgery, but it’s going to sideline her for a bit. And this is at the beginning of her freelance career, which means no cushion built up. And this is freelancing we’re talking about – there is no paid sick leave.

So she could use a hand. Do you want to help out? You can donate to her directly, or buy her excellent book, or recommend easy entertainment to keep her from going mad during convalescence. I’m assuming things featuring cute kittehs are priority, but please try to grade things by humor: aww cute should be fine for the first two weeks, gentle giggles for weeks 2-3, ramping up gradually to chuckles and, eventually, when healing has progressed so far, gales of laughter.

And give her love. Lots and lots of love.

Greta Christina’s head, plus kittehs. I think her body is under that pile somewhere, but it’s hard to tell from the photo. Image credit Greta Christina, from 6 Things Cat Owners Dare Not Think About on Catster.

(A note to any religious readers: please respect the fact that Greta is an atheist. Please don’t tell her you’re praying for her, that God has a plan, etc. You’re welcome to believe those things, but we don’t, and don’t find them at all comforting. Thank you for understanding.)

Monday Music: Help a Choir Out

Some might be surprised to find out, but I sang in concert choir in high school. It was full of personalities, so to speak, and always had some drama going on. Most of us (self included) had voices of indifferent quality at best. And we were hormonal teenagers who were often too distracted to follow instructions properly, much less throw heart and soul into making wonderful music. But our director was an amazing fellow who took less-than-ideal ingredients and mixed them into magic. It was great fun. And there’s something wonderful about turning words into a rich, flowing sound that fills every cranny of an auditorium.

We could have used better outfits, though. Our men looked like cheap Vegas best men and the ladies looked like they’d just stepped out of a production of Macbeth, still holding the ladle for stirring cauldrons and cackling. New outfits weren’t in our stars, though – not a small town high school concert choir competing for microscopic funds against the football team.

So when one of our own turns out to be a member of a choir that’s looking to get new uniforms, of course I want to help! You can, too. They’re doing a sort of Latvian version of a Kickstarter, but in this case, you don’t have to donate dollars, just vote. You’ll need a cell phone, because this site texts you a code to use, and it’s in Latvian, so you’ll need RQ to guide you through, but it’s not terribly difficult.

First, a song for motivational purposes.

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O, Computer Geeks, May I Request Your Wisdom?

I’m emerging from my sickbed – well, sickchair – for a moment to request a favor from the computer geeks in the audience. Does anyone know of a simple and preferably free way to set up your television as a dual monitor? I’ve got me HDMI cable, and I’m happily playing content through the PC, but I’d like to have video playing on the teevee whilst still being able to work on the machine. Right now, what I see on the PC screen is what I see on the teevee. This makes working whilst streaming movies difficult.

I’m sure this is simple, but I’m rather muddled at the moment and don’t trust myself not to fuck it up without expert guidance. Thanks in advance!

In other news, I’ve taken this unexpected absence to discover the joys of nasal spray and contemplate the invention of a cuisine based on texture and sensation rather than taste. It’s been very exciting. Wish you were here! You would be greatly amused.

I think I just managed to sort-of smell an English muffin, and I might have detected one out of the forty or so spices in the chili soup, so I’m off for what promises to be a somewhat lively lunch. I’ll be back soon with actual, y’know, content. Just you wait ’til you see what I’ve got for the Sunday Song. You’ll never be the same again…