A request for advice

I was sent an email by someone requesting advice for their sister: she’s in a common situation, with an abusive spouse upon whom she is completely dependent financially…and she has kids. I’ve been asked what organizations she can turn to.

I’m an old guy in a long term stable relationship and have never had to turn to an external source for help, so I’m not much use. But I bet there’s expertise here that can provide good advice.

Meeting reminders for Minnesota people

This weekend, I’ll be speaking to Minnesota Atheists at the Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Avenue North, Roseville, on September 15th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Don’t worry, I won’t babble on for 3 hours (although I probably could), there will be other organizational stuff going on.

In October, it’s time for the gaudy, garish, spectacularly weird Paradigm Symposium, which has just released their schedule of speakers.

paradigm

I’m talking at 5:45pm on Friday, 18 October. I was disappointed to see that the schedule just lists names; I’d like to know what people are talking about. All I know is the guy before me wrote a book about the Mysteries of the Pyramids, and the guy after me wrote a book about A New Vision of Reality Merging Science, the Spiritual and the Supernatural. I can tell you my title, at least: “An analysis of the evidence for extraterrestrial intervention”.

Nice, neutral wording right? I will have a few words to say about pyramids and spirituality, so I’ll fit right in. It should be fun.

I also notice that of 20 listed speakers, one is a woman. That’s 5%. Not very equal, now is it? And now I’m torn: would I really be doing women a favor by insisting that more of them be given a voice at this event? I’ve written to Scotty Roberts mentioning this uncomfortable fact already.

That’s a very thorough suicide note

Yesterday, Martin Manley turned 60, and killed himself. Before he did so, he left a long, indexed web site with answers to any questions people might ask. He made the decision rationally: he despaired at the state of the world, particularly the violence and bloodshed, and decided that he’d just end it while he was still able to do so. (In case you’re wondering, no, he wasn’t an atheist.)

I have to respect his decision — it was his to make. When I look at his reasons, though, I think…he’s right, there is a lot of misery in the world, and it’s not going to end soon, but there’s also a lot of beauty and promise. I guess personally I’d see that as good enough reason to keep living. It wasn’t enough for him.

Do you know the person behind the tumblr “Creative Pooping”, who goes by the name Dallas Haugh?

If you do, please get in touch with him immediately and get him some help — he’s written what sounds an awful lot like a public suicide note today. Or it could just be a cry of despair. But he needs someone now.


The police in his hometown have been contacted, and I’ve heard one report that they reached him and found him safe. Everyone relax a little bit.

First, baseball. Next…the world!

I’m out at Midway Field with the Minnesota Atheists, and as you can see, we have seized control of the local baseball team.

20130809-194841.jpg

It’s the start of the fourth inning, and the score is 0-0. I think the problem is that Amanda Knief and Greta Christina are not cheering the team on — they were lured away to the concession stand by the siren call of fried cheese curds.

The atheists must win!

Remnants

Amongst the debris left over from last night’s late ruckus in my hotel room, I find in my possession many empty wine and beer bottles, a quarter of a fifth of vodka, one set of mysterious keys and a Shelley Segal CD. Look for me at the conference and I’ll return them to you.

Except for the clutter, the room is surprisingly tidy and undamaged. You atheists really have no idea how to trash a hotel room, do you?