Sunday, December 30, 2007

January 2008 Calendar

January 2008
Activities of Interest to Freethinkers

Sat., Jan. 5, 7:00pm
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 6705 E. 54th St.

Sat., Jan. 12, 2:00pm
Secular Singers at Gail Storey’s house, 4630 S. Victor Ave.

Sun., Jan. 13, 1:00pm
Humanist Study Group at Randy’s, 6705 E. 54th St. Topic: “A Brief History of Disbelief” DVD

Wed., Jan. 16, 6:30pm
Atheists Meetup Social at The Hideaway restaurant, 1419 E. 15th St.

Sun., Jan. 20, 1:00pm
HAT Monthly Membership Meeting at Hardesty Library, 93rd and Memorial. Speaker: Marilyn Clarke on “Hot Air Gods”

Sat., Jan. 26, 11:30am
Food & Fellowship at The Local Table, 46th and Peoria.

Sun., Jan. 27, 2:00pm
Atheists Meetup at The Hideaway Restaurant, 1419 E. 15th St.

Questions? Call Randy at 622-6975 or Dan at 798-3629.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HAT Announcements, Nov. 2007

Since we ran out of time today, and since we reversed the usual order of business (guest speaker spoke first), I am sending the announcements, plus the other items of business, by this e-mail.

There were 14 of us at the meeting today: Karl, Sonia, Randy, Brian, Polly, Mary, Richard, Kimberly, Marilyn, Ron, Jan, two visitors whose names I failed to record, and myself.

The treasury was at $1391.44; membership stood at 32. (We picked up four new members today, bringing the total now to 36. The new members are Karl and Sonia Sniderman, Kimberly Burdick, and Mary Kay Maule.)

We have three events remaining on the calendar for this month.
(1) On Wed., Nov. 21, at 11:20 am is the ALGAE luncheon at White River Fish Market
(2) On Sat., Nov 24, at 11:30 am is our Food & Fellowship at The Local Table, 4329 S. Peoria.
(3) On Sun., Nov. 25, 2:00 pm is the Atheists Meetup at The Hideaway, 1419 E. 15th St.

November is the month we accept nominations to fill the offices for 2008. The current officers are agreeable to continuing on for another year. If anyone would like to place his or her name in nomination for any office, please e-mail me and I will see that you are nominated.

I had intended to see if there is any interest in taking a walking tour of the Keystone Ancient Forest near Lake Keystone (, but I will bring this item up at the next meeting.

Finally, the new Members Directory is ready. If you did not pick one up today, I will have them available at the next meeting.

Friday, October 26, 2007

HAT Meeting 10.21.07

There were eleven people present at today's HAT meeting: Bob, Ron, Brian, Larry, Phil, Audrey, Kimberly, Marilyn, Polly, Randy and myself. I reported our membership now stands at 30, and the treasury is at $1395.81

We had a surprise guest speaker at today's HAT meeting -- Phil Ferguson from Arkansas. We actually had two speakers at today's meeting. Our own Brian Hill reviewed the book Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism by Arthur Brooks. Next Phil Ferguson of Arkansas made a special trip to Tulsa to report on his activities.

Due to the length of today's programs, the usual poetry readings were postponed until next meeting.

While Phil searched the library for the equipment he needed, Brian presented his book review -- another excellent job by Brian. Some of the audience voiced some skepticism about the author's objectivity regarding his findings.

Phil had a remarkable presentation, complete with a Powerpoint presentation. His presentation lasted the better part of a hour. Phil had just recently attended the FFRF Convention in Madison and was still fired up from hearing Christopher Hitchens inspired speech.

Phil showed a Powerpoint presentation making use of the Brick Testament, a project of Brendon Powell Smith. It is Smith's goal to reproduce the entire Bible with illustrations created from Lego blocks.

The part of the Bible Phil chose to show (via Brick Testament illustrations) came from the Old Testament story about Lot and his daughters. You remember the story of the angst created in Lot's daughters when they realize that the only way they are going to get pregnant (and thus continue the line leading up to Jesus) is to get their father drunk and have sex with him.

Phil said that he is sometimes accused of taking passages of the Bible out of context. But he points out that when you read the pages before and after the questionable passage, nothing is resolved but more (sometimes embarrasing) questions arise.

Another video Phil chose to show was part of a gut-busting comedy routine by George Carlin. Carlin is known for his no-holds-barred critique of religion.

Following the presentation I asked Phil if he would be willing to come back to Tulsa for an encore presentation for the Atheists Meetup. Today's presentation was his third or fourth before other freethought groups. He said he would be glad to give the presentation again.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Freethought Weekend - 9/22-23/07

There were two events which made up this freethought weekend: the Food & Fellowship at Helen of Troy and the Atheists Meetup at Border’s.

Helen of Troy serves Mediterranean Food. When Jan said she did not know what the various seasoning were, the waiter was kind enough to bring her four small cups for her to sample each. I had the chicken in pita bread; Jan had the Chicken Shish-Ka-Bob. There were 13 of us all together. We had a room to ourselves in the back. It was a small establishment, and the staff were happy to see us.

The next day 20 of us assembled at Border’s for the monthly Atheists Meetup. I led off with the reading of a poem by Philip Appleman: “Last-Minute Message for a Time Capsule.” Discussion was lively, picking up with last month’s talk about what we can do to become more visible. I suggested we create a video and upload it to You Tube. This would be minimal as for as expense goes. Three people volunteered to work on this project. Beth has a camera which we can use. Noel has video software and volunteered to do the editing. Bob H. agreed to coordinate it all through e-mail. I will be in touch with this team shortly, sharing e-mail addresses.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Weekend Events

Our first event of this weekend was our monthly Food & Fellowship which this month was held at Billy Ray’s Barbecue on Southwest Blvd. I wonder if anyone else saw the sign which read “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” I can remember the first time I saw a sign with that message. It was in the Park Hotel in Amory, Mississippi, circa 1961. I could not understand why a business would want to refuse service to anybody. You would think a restaurant would want as many customers as they could attract. Then someone explained to me the racial implications of the message.

I’m not sure that Billy Ray’s has the right to refuse service to black people. Perhaps they are just pandering to the redneck element of society. Whatever the situation, I will not be choosing this restaurant again for our Food & Fellowship gatherings.

The next day was our Atheists Meetup at Border’s. The meeting was well attended with 18 people showing up. I began by reading a poem by Philip Appleman. The poem was “Fleas,” which contains the memorable lines “for God concocted pox to mock us,/staph and syph and streptococcus:/poems are made by bards or hacks,/but only God makes cardiacs.”

Then we began discussion. The question was posed: How to get the word out about our existence. One person suggested the possibility of low power radio. What would that cost? Some have heard that the cost is high; others that the cost is low. The potential audience for such a venture is unknown. What would be the reach? In other words, how far would the transmission reach? Another idea raised was to buy time on a commercial station. How much would an ad cost? Would any station sell ad time to an atheist group.

We are going to explore these questions and post the findings on the Meetup message board.

Following this meeting, six of us met at Panera Bread on 41st to have dinner and conversation. Joining us was Bob’s wife – Susan.

Next we traveled to Tulsa University for a speech given by Steven Smith. The speech was follow by a Q & A period. I think there were 6 or 8 of us HAT folks there. Randy said following the speech, “It’s not the speech I would have like to have heard.”

Sunday, August 19, 2007

HAT meeting, 8/19/07

Eighteen people attended today’s HAT meeting at Hardesty Library. Present were Brian, Randy, Ron, Bob H., Bob N., Polly, Kirby, Sharon G., Marilyn, Mary, Larry, Richard, Jeff, Bea, Keith, Gail, Jan, and Dan.

Randy read a poem of his choice and I did likewise a bit later. I had four items of business to present to the chapter. I read a letter from Grassroots Coordinator Michael Friedman regarding (1) Americans United’s First Freedom First Campaign (2) Jonathan Miller’s video series A Brief History of Disbelief, and (3) Dr. Stephen Frederick Uhl’s donation of two copies of his book Imagine No Superstition.

Next, I read a letter from Sarah Burgess, a First Freedom First Intern who is working to promote the film Jesus Camp. Her letter offered to loan us a copy of the film, plus a few other things, including a disposable camera. In return, we would have to send the film back after viewing, along with the petitions and camera.

Following this I read a letter titled “Tabling Material for Events.” The letter listed various materials which are available for free from the AHA. I will order some of these materials. We need to identify some upcoming events at which we can set up a table to distribute these materials.

Next, I read a letter from Dr. Stephen Uhl who is offering his book Imagine No Superstition for just a buck per copy. There were about a half dozen people who gave me a dollar for a copy. I will order a few extra copies just to have on hand.

Finally, Brian Hill gave his usual excellent presentation – a review of the book The WalMart Effect: How It’s Transforming the American Economy written by Charles Fishman.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

ALGAE Outcome

Nine people attended the ALGAE luncheon at White River Fish Market last Wednesday. In attendance were Gail, Keith and Bea, Dave, Sharon, Julia, John, and Dan and Jan. I found it a good opportunity to catch up on the lives of some of the members while enjoying some of the best seafood in Tulsa. (Confession: I had red beans and rice.)

Numerous topics were discussed including the Secular Singers. There was talk of holding the next rehearsal at my house, with perhaps each member choosing one song. This way, with just four or five songs, we should be able to get our rehearsal time down to one hour. We talked about improving the quality of our singing. There is no Secular Singers rehearsal set for this month, but we will resume in September. New members and “listeners” are always welcome to come.

Julia announced that she will be moving to Washington, D.C. She will be missed.

Another topic discussed was the loneliness of atheists.

We spent close to two hours at the restaurant in conversation. Many topics were talked about that are not included in this report.


Monday, July 16, 2007

HAT meeting, 7/15/06

Eleven people attended the HAT meeting on Sunday, July 15, 2007 at Hardesty Library. Those present were Marilyn, Glenn, Ron, Ken, Gail, Mary, Polly, Julia S., Julia K., Jan, and Dan. I reported that we currently have 28 members and that the treasury stands at $1396.82. Continuing with our tradition of poetry reading, I read “The Tuft of Flowers” by Robert Frost.

The program was presented by Marilyn, who led us in a discussion of I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter. It is a fascinating yet difficult book to grasp. What does it mean to say that consciousness is an illusion? Does that mean it is less than real? Throughout the book Hofstadter speaks of consciousness as an illusion or a mirage. Take for example this passage:

One day when I was around sixteen or seventeen, musing intensely on these swirling clouds of ideas that gripped me emotionally no less than intellectually, it dawned on me -- and it has seemed ever since to me – that what we called “consciousness” was a kind of mirage. It had to be a very peculiar kind of mirage, to be sure, since it was a mirage that perceived itself, and of course it didn’t believe that it was perceiving a mirage, but no matter – it still was a mirage.
It was almost as if this slippery phenomenom called “consciousness” lifted itself up by its own bootstraps, almost as if it made itself out of nothing, and then disintegrated back into nothing whenever one looked at it more closely.

In other news, Glenn sought input from the group on what book might become the subject of the next Humanist Study Group.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Today's HAT meeting

At today’s HAT meeting there were 10 members and one visitor present. Members present were Dan N., Gail S., Larry H., Russ B., Mary C., Brian H., Ron McD., Marilyn C., Julia S., and Randy B. The visitor was Ken B.

I reported that we now have 27 dues-paying members. The treasury now stands at $1389.69.

Marilyn said she would be leading the discussion at the next Humanist Study Group as well at the next third Sunday meeting. The subject will be Douglas Hofstadter’s new book I am a Strange Loop.

Today's program was an excellent presentation by Brian Hill, who spoke on the book The War on Our Freedoms: Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism.

Among other books and web sites mentioned were The Jovial Atheist by Thomas Blaylock, Born Screaming in America by Bill Hicks, The Assault on Reason by Al Gore, and Just Progress.

As always, feel free to add your own comments to what I have written.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Minutes for HAT Meeting, 5/20/07

We began with announcements of future meetings. The Food & Fellowship gathering will be this Saturday, at 11:30 pm, 5/26/07, at Thai Siam on 31st. The Atheists Meetup will be next Sunday, 5/27/07, at 2:00 pm at Border’s on 21st St. We will focus upon the question, How does one talk with a Christian believer? These are the last two activities of interest to freethinkers this month of which I am aware.

And since, to quote from a Paul Kurtz document, “[w]e are engaged by the arts no less than by the sciences,” we next moved to the reading of literary selections. Randy read the poem “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats, followed by my reading of “Silver Jack,” an anonymous poem.

Attending today beside Randy and myself were Jan, Marilyn, Polly, Mary, and Brian. Today’s program was presented by Brian Hill. It was an excellent review of the book Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby. Brian spoke about the book for about a half hour and then answered some questions from the audience.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sex and Movie Night

It was good to see Bill & Sue Forney at Movie Night tonight at the Bradleys. We had a total of nine people there. I brought a DVD of Neil Young and Prairie Fire, and Gail brought a DVD about owls, but both of those DVDs would have to wait for another Movie Night. What we watched was The Education of Shelby Knox. This documentary tracked the (unsuccessful) efforts of Lubbock, Texas teenage Shelby Knox to bring sex education to her high school. A half-hour discussion (mostly about sex) followed the showing of the documentary. We also talked about NetFlix and the advantages of renting DVDs through that source versus a local DVD rental store.

Join us Saturday, February 3 for the next Movie Night. Bring you favorite DVD and we might vote to watch it.

Monday, January 01, 2007

January Freethought Activities

January 2007
Activities of Interest to Freethinkers

Sat., Jan. 6, 7:00pm
Movie Night at the Bradleys, 6705 E. 54th St. Feature presentation to be chosen that night.

Sun., Jan. 7, 1:00 pm
Either a Dennett or Dawkins DVD will be shown in one of the meeting rooms at Hardesty Library starting at 1:00 pm. This showing is being arranged by Nicole of the young atheists of Tulsa Atheists Meetup.

Sun., Jan 14, 1:00pm
Humanist Study Group at Hardesty Library, on 93rd near Memorial. Topic: Humanism and the science of happiness. Read the article at

Wed., Jan. 17, 11:20am
ALGAE (A Little Group of Atheists Eating), luncheon at White River Fish Market, 1708 N. Sheridan.

Sat., Jan. 20, 10:00am
Volunteer work at Food Bank, 1150 N. Iroquois, Tulsa. Call Randy (622-6975) or Julia (582-6322) for more information.

Sun., Jan. 21, 1:00pm
HAT Monthly Membership Meeting at Hardesty Library, 93rd and Memorial. Brian Hill will review the book Jesus in America by Richard W. Fox.

Sat., Jan. 27, 11:30am
Food & Fellowship at LaRoma’s Gourmet Pizza, 6027 S. Sheridan.

Sun., Jan 28, 2:00pm
Tulsa Atheist Rendezvous/Tulsa Atheist Meetup We will meet at Border’s Bookstore on 21st St. near BA Expy on the second floor near the computer books. Additional details will be posted later at and

Secular Singers will not meet in January.

Questions? Call Dan at 798-3629