Take Care, Jen.

It was with a combination of rage and helplessness that I read Jen McCreight’s post about how she’s taking a prolonged break from blogging. There was some sadness too, but above all else was anger and disgust. Well, and there was a good bit of relief that she’s taking time to care for herself.

Continue reading “Take Care, Jen.”

Take Care, Jen.
{advertisement}

6 O'Clock BS – Carpooling

6 O’Clock BS – Today I learned about China.

I have a new carpool mate. I love carpools because I drive about 45 miles round-trip every day and sharing the ride (and the gas) is convenient. I hate carpools because you don’t always end up with the carpool mate you’d like. I like carpools because I get one to three additional cars off of the road, and that’s good for the environment and the roads. I hate carpools because I don’t get to listen to my atheist/skeptic/political podcasts.

My first carpool ever was with two young male professionals. One was laid back and casual, in that professional, don’t share too much way. The other lived for Jesus. He was young, hip, a bit of a goof and very friendly; we got along rather well all things considered. But he tried to get us to listen to bible readings (“It’s totally cool if you don’t want to, but it’s what I usually listen to during my drive and I think they make interesting stories and good conversation). He also believes in the whole “wife is to husband as husband is to god” family dynamic. His family believes that it is his wife’s place and responsibility to share her opinions and knowledge with her husband, but that ultimately it is his responsibility to make final decisions. He and his wife don’t use birth control; they believe that god will send them as many children as he sees fit. They’re up to four now. These are not ideas I can overlook in a friend, and when the carpool eventually ended it was a bit of a relief.

Continue reading “6 O'Clock BS – Carpooling”

6 O'Clock BS – Carpooling

6 O’Clock BS – Carpooling

6 O’Clock BS – Today I learned about China.

I have a new carpool mate. I love carpools because I drive about 45 miles round-trip every day and sharing the ride (and the gas) is convenient. I hate carpools because you don’t always end up with the carpool mate you’d like. I like carpools because I get one to three additional cars off of the road, and that’s good for the environment and the roads. I hate carpools because I don’t get to listen to my atheist/skeptic/political podcasts.

My first carpool ever was with two young male professionals. One was laid back and casual, in that professional, don’t share too much way. The other lived for Jesus. He was young, hip, a bit of a goof and very friendly; we got along rather well all things considered. But he tried to get us to listen to bible readings (“It’s totally cool if you don’t want to, but it’s what I usually listen to during my drive and I think they make interesting stories and good conversation). He also believes in the whole “wife is to husband as husband is to god” family dynamic. His family believes that it is his wife’s place and responsibility to share her opinions and knowledge with her husband, but that ultimately it is his responsibility to make final decisions. He and his wife don’t use birth control; they believe that god will send them as many children as he sees fit. They’re up to four now. These are not ideas I can overlook in a friend, and when the carpool eventually ended it was a bit of a relief.

Continue reading “6 O’Clock BS – Carpooling”

6 O’Clock BS – Carpooling

6 O'Clock BS: Praying on the Street

Last Thursday night I was approached on the street by four puppy-eager teens. I was getting off of my motorcycle and heading to the 19 Club, a gay bar one block off of Nicollet Avenue and a few blocks from downtown Minneapolis. The four kids were all clean-cut and smiling kindly. One of the girls stepped forward and asked me if they knew of anybody or anything that they could pray for, and if I’d like to pray with them. I asked them to pray for the wall of church-state separation, because it has been weak as of late and it needs all the strength they could lend to it. They looked bemusified as I walked away.

6 O'Clock BS: Praying on the Street

6 O’Clock BS: Praying on the Street

Last Thursday night I was approached on the street by four puppy-eager teens. I was getting off of my motorcycle and heading to the 19 Club, a gay bar one block off of Nicollet Avenue and a few blocks from downtown Minneapolis. The four kids were all clean-cut and smiling kindly. One of the girls stepped forward and asked me if they knew of anybody or anything that they could pray for, and if I’d like to pray with them. I asked them to pray for the wall of church-state separation, because it has been weak as of late and it needs all the strength they could lend to it. They looked bemusified as I walked away.

6 O’Clock BS: Praying on the Street

Unhappy Scientist

I was speaking to one of the women in our lab yesterday about what we would do if we weren’t in the jobs that we hold. She’s about 10 years from retirement and can’t wait to get out of the “science business”. She says she regrets being a scientist because she doesn’t like who it’s turned her into. She says that her work at our company has made her over-analytical, over-logical, over-ordered, over-skeptical. It’s colored the way she experiences her life outside of work: interactions with friends and family, her finances, her purchasing decisions, her child-rearing, the way she’s handled crises, and she says it makes life too difficult. It’s not her job that makes her unhappy, it’s being a scientist, being unable to be satisfied until she’s sifted through all of the details, asked every question, delved into every aspect of every situation.

In short, she sees the world through the lens of science and doesn’t like the view.

I don’t think that science went wrong. I think she went wrong with science. I know a lot of people who aren’t scientists. Science doesn’t make them happy, so they go into a different line of work. She’s not anti-science, and she’s very good at her job, but it doesn’t make her happy. I feel sad for her that she’s gone so many years in a profession that doesn’t fulfill her.

I talk so much about science appreciation, about the joy and excitement that being a scientist brings me. I share this here because it’s a different story about someone else’s experience with science, one that I hadn’t heard before. Nothing more.

Unhappy Scientist

What A Scientist Looks Like

Have you guys seen this website? I love stories, and the website This Is What A Scientist Looks Like is chock full of ’em. This description of the project is from the “Stereotypes” section.

This website is dedicated to changing the overwhelming stereotype that science is conducted behind closed doors by unapproachable old, white men. While some scientists do work in a lab, others spend their days traveling the world looking for rare insects, or underwater studying sharks, or up a volcano collecting rocks. Scientists enjoy food, dancing, music, and traveling. There are many women in science, and the number of minorities in the field is steadily increasing.

You can even submit a photo of your own!

These are a few of the photos from This Is What A Scientist Looks Like. Go visit the website to read about their fields of research and practice, and to learn a bit more about them as people.

What A Scientist Looks Like

Upcoming Show: Atheists Talk with David Silverman

Imma be on the radio again tomorrow! I’m actually pretty excited to sit in on this interview; we’re speaking with David Silverman, the current president of American Atheists. He’s going to talk about the upcoming Reason Rally in Washington D.C., which is an event that the Hubby and I are considering attending next March. From the Reason Rally website:

The intent is to unify, energize, and embolden secular people nationwide, while dispelling the negative opinions held by so much of American society… and having a damn good time doing it! It will be the largest secular event in world history. There will be music, comedy, great speakers, and lots of fun… and it’s free!

The three main goals of the rally are:

  • To encourage attendees (and those who can’t make it) to come out of the closet as an atheist, or at least a supporter of secular values.
  • To dispel stereotypes – there is no one “True Atheist” no matter what your pastor or parent may tell you. We will have non-theists from all political persuasions, ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds. We will show that there are atheists in every American demographic.
  • Legislative equality. We want to show the country that atheists can run for office and adequately represent theists, just as theists in office can represent atheists proudly and openly. We deserve a seat at the table just like theists, and we hope this rally can put our values in the radar of American voters, who may one day elect an atheist to public office.

The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey estimates that 12% of Americans identify as atheist or agnostic. According to google.com/publicdata there are 307,006,550 people in the United States. 12% of that is 36.8 million people who identify as atheist/agnostic.

That number sounds large, but it still seems pretty lonely being a non-believer when I’m outside of the internet or my close circle of friends. I feel a bit sad when I hear coworkers talking so freely about going to church on Sunday or going to a Bible study this or that evening, while I hesitate to share the exciting news that I’m a radio show host! because the next comment is “Really? For what?” And then there’s that sinking feeling when I realize that I’ve just shared a secular viewpoint that is not appreciated by the majority of people in the conversation. Also, there are the often innocently asked but ultimately silly or annoying or frustrating or laughable or offensive questions revolving around my atheism. Like the question I received from someone at work when I told them that I had visited Asissi, Italy. They looked confused and asked “But why? You’re an atheist. What did you do there?” 

I know a handful of people who think that they don’t know any atheists (hah!). Heck, I spoken to atheists who think they’re the only atheist they know!

If we can get a large enough number of people to the Reason Rally, not only do we have a fun time at a secular event with other non-theists, but we show the world that there are more of us around than they may think. We show them that people they know are atheists. We show them that we’re happy, healthy and not afraid or ashamed to tell the world that we don’t need a god to make us good, moral, upstanding human beings. We show them that we can know joy, exhilaration, peace and love without any sort of supernatural presence or interference. We show them that there is an entire group of us who are willing to fight to keep religion out of our government. And I imagine we’ll suprise the heck out of ourselves when we look around the mall that day and think…oh wow – there really are a lot of us!

So yeah.

Reason Rally. David Silverman. This Sunday, 9am on 950AM KTNF. You can listen to the show live or find us on iTunes under “Atheists Talk”.

Upcoming Show: Atheists Talk with David Silverman

New CUP Contest tomorrow!

Okay, I want to write about my week, so you can either bear with me OR if you just want to learn about tomorrow’s CUP Contest scroll all the way down to the last paragraph of this post.

START READING HERE FOR DRAMA! INTRIGUE! BETRAYAL! TOW TRUCKS!

This past week has been amazingly stressful, both in good ways and bad.

On Friday I drove eight hours down to Chicago to visit with my Mom. On Saturday we went to the Art Institute, enjoyed a lovely tapas lunch at Emilio’s, and went to Cirque Eloize that evening. After the show we ate a light dinner at Petterino’s and then came back to the hotel and packed. The next morning we got up early, I dropped Mom off at the train station and I headed over to meet Chicago cool cat and fellow blogger Jeremy and his Chicago cool cat wife, Tina. We puttered around snapping photos in a relatively famous cemetery called Graceland Cemetery, then battled the Mother’s Day crowds to have lunch at Marietta’s (phenomenal lunch and well worth the wait!). I’ll have more info and pics of the Chicago trip in a later post.

I left for Minneapolis at around 2pm, but immediately became stuck in traffic on I94 leaving Chicago. I survived that and stopped at the Belvidere Oasis for road snacks (i.e., junk food that can’t be justified in normal day-to-day existence), and then I made it four hours NW to Mauston, Wisconsin when my car broke down. My bought in February of this year/60-day bumper-to-bumper warranty expiring less than three weeks ago/NEW CAR broke down. When I stopped for gas in Mauston, the engine wouldn’t start again. I called AAA for a tow truck. When I went into the BP to let them know why I was blocking a pump, I was browbeaten into pop clutching the car by this horrific bully of a woman who mocked me for  calling for help when it was so obvious that all I had was a dead battery. We got the engine started and I agreed with her that I should just head for Minneapolis and not stop anymore.

But instead, the second I left the  BP gas station I drove over to a local KMart to buy a battery, just in case mine quit on the trip home. At KMart the car died as I was pulling into a parking spot. Not a good sign, but my first reaction was  joyous indignation as I thought “Ha! I knew that pushy b*tch was wrong!” But then I realized “Oh wait, my car is broke good, innit?” Still, I decided to replace the battery and try for home.

As soon as the battery was in, I started the ignition and the engine roared to life. I headed for Minneapolis, but made myself nauseous with worry for the next three hours. I tried all sorts of tricks to relax including listening to different kinds of music and podcasts to distract myself, breathing deeply and calmly, arguing with myself that even if I did break down I could call for help, and really a breakdown was just money and time.

None of that worked.

I worried for the entire time up until I actually did break down again outside of Hudson, WI, which is about 40 miles from Minneapolis.  I was THIS close to making it home! It was about 9:30pm and night had fallen. I glanced down at my dash and saw that it was completely dark. I glanced at the road in front of me and was horrified to realize that my headlights had gone out. The only reason I was able to see was because the traffic behind me was illuminating the road and the tail lights of the cars in front of me were guiding my way. I pulled off the road just as the engine died. Alternator.

Aych eee double hockey sticks.

To make an already long story slightly less interminable: AAA came and towed me to Stillwater where some nice friends rescued me and put me up for the night.  

Monday was gray and depressing. I had left my glasses in the car at the repair shop and my contacts had conked out, so I spent most of the day with fuzzy vision, which gave me a headache. The car wasn’t ready until 2:30pm. So, many hours and $600 later I left Stillwater. I drove right to the house of some friends in North Minneapolis to relax and be around nice people, because I was so bummed out that I didn’t want to be in an empty apartment by myself. Who knows what kind of damage I could have done the Ben and Jerry’s container in the freezer at my place?

On Tuesday I had to go to the dentist AND I had a doctor’s appointment. Also, work got very…involved that day. The one bright spot was a crazy spring storm and an evening of drinks and gossip at the Independent with a friend.

On Wednesday work was very busy again, and I spent the evening doing laundry and cleaning the house.

So, you see…it’s just been an often crabby, sometimes enjoyable, busy few days.

But yesterday was pretty awesome. Work is crazy busier than usual, but I’ve taken on an interesting new project. After work last night I headed over to the Be’Wiched Deli in Minneapolis to enjoy dinner, drinks and conversation with the Minnesota Skeptics meetup group.

And today I felt like blogging. Woo-hoo!

START READING HERE FOR CUP CONTEST INFORMATION!

So, now that I’ve completely tricked you into reading about my personal drama by putting a misleading title on this blog post, allow me to announce that TOMORROW at 6pm I will post the next Close Up Photo Contest entry. I actually have the CUP Winners page up to date, so stop on by to read the rules, learn about past entries and take a gander at the current player rankings.

See you tomorrow!

New CUP Contest tomorrow!

My Response to an Anti-Choice Note

Someone wrote me this note in response to my “Defend Reproductive Freedom” and “Keep Abortion Legal” bumper stickers.  I decided to answer his or her questions to the best of my ability.

Original Note:

Sorry to Meddle, But isn’t it hyprocritical to be for abortion when you yourself are alive? What if u were the one that was aborted. What about adoption. America want to save the whales, but abort the babies. Very sad. [sic]

My Response:

Hello unknown person who left the honest note on my car,

I do not think you are meddling – I welcome your hard questions and will do my best to answer them.

It is not hypocritical to support a person or family’s right to have an abortion when I myself am alive. This is because people do not have abortions to prevent life, but in order to prevent unwanted, unplanned or unsafe pregnancies, which if carried to term would result in a lesser quality of life for either the parent(s) or the unborn child.

To your second point – if I were aborted, we would not be having this conversation. That’s pretty much all I can say about that.

Lastly, you ask about adoption. I think that adoption is a choice, and if that choice is not acceptable for a woman or family, I would not pressure them to choose it over another form of reproductive control. Just as I would never presume to tell another woman or man how to raise their own child, I would never be so bold as to dictate to a woman or man how to have – or not have – a child in the first place.

Being pro-choice does not mean being “for abortion”; abortion is scary and a choice of last resort for most women and families. Nobody wants to have an abortion, but sometimes that’s the best – or only – option available. In these cases I want women and families to have safe and legal access to excellent physical and mental health care, and to not have to carry personal or social shame around in their hearts and minds afterwards.

PS – I think that whales and unborn children should be saved when at all possible. I am very pro-living.

Thanks for thought-provoking note, and for not just vandalizing my car instead.

I just folded up a printed copy of the letter below and placed it under the windshield wiper where I found the original note this morning.  I wanted to also post it here because I worked hard on the damn thing and know that it probably won’t be received by the author of the original note, so at least it will be seen by someone.  Thanks for reading it.

My Response to an Anti-Choice Note