I'd like to thank David Gehrig for another great presentation! While I thought both of his recent talks (The Bible Codes a couple months ago and Holocaust Revisionism last month) went quite well, he told me he felt more comfortable this time -- he said he didn’t have to worry about stepping on any toes or offending anybody because they misunderstood where he was coming from. Indeed, while we had pro-code folks at his first presentation, there were no Nazis or revisionists at this one. (This was good news for our Vice Chairman, Jim Rosenthal, because I had informed him that one of the duties of his office is to throw his body in front of the Chairman if a riot should break out.) This may explain why we’ve been through more people in that office than any other....
This month, we’ll feature another "David" speaking -- me. With the recent attention on urban legends (see "REALLity Check"), it seems appropriate to address this subject at our meeting. These stories can range from the amusing to the injurious, and I’ll address a wide variety of them, along with how they spread and why. I hope to see you all there.
A couple months ago, we received back a membership form from a long-time subscriber. On it he circled the part about the "benefits of membership" and asked what these were. A good question! So I thought I’d use a little space here to address it.
The main benefit of membership is, frankly, your support of REALL and all of our ideas and viewpoints. As a subscriber, you pay for your newsletter, period (actually, a recent look at our bills indicate that the $12 might not even quite cover a year’s subscription, but that’s another issue). Members, and especially Patron members, allow us to do more than just put out a newsletter. Members allow REALL to exist and to fulfill its goals, including continuing to provide information to the largest number of people possible. They provide our funding to send out press releases, meeting notices, pay costs associated with speakers when necessary, and, of course, run any special projects (like our high school essay contest). As a matter of fact, we recently have added three people to our roster of Patron members, and I will take any opportunity (such as this one) to thank them and all the Patrons for their extra generosity!
Ok, but what about the tangible benefits? Well, the most obvious one is that you can vote for the officers who lead REALL (or even be an officer, for that matter), and thus help to guide our path. But being a member also means having access to whatever special deals we might offer (such as our occasional Prometheus Books sales) and also to our e-mail list, where you can get alerts on news of interest and discuss some of the issues we deal with. Of course, now that we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, you can also deduct membership dues above the newsletter cost from your taxes.
I hope that answers the question for anybody who might have been wondering. I hope everybody always feels free to ask about anything they’d like to know, whether by calling, writing, or e-mailing.
Thanks to the work of our Vice Chairman, Jim Rosenthal, and the rest of our Essay Contest Committee (Dave McMaster, Malcolm Levin, Wally Hartshorn, and myself), this month we sent out letters, rules packets, and press releases for the First Annual REALL Student Essay Contest.
The contest is open to all Central Illinois high school students (except immediate family members of the Committee or REALL’s Board). We only sent out letters to schools in and around Sangamon County due to cost and time restrictions, but if you live in other Central Illinois areas (like Champaign-Urbana or Bloomington-Normal, for example) and would like to promote the contest at your local high school, please feel free to refer interested teachers or students to our web page (www.reall.org), which contains the full contest rules. Since all students who plan to participate must register by the end of December, we will soon know how many potential entrants we’ll have.
This is not some piddly little contest here. We’re giving away a cash prize of $250 to the winning student! I’m hoping we get a good response from teachers and students.
As we were going to press, the Chicago Tribune finally realized that the Illinois school science standards don’t contain the word "evolution." In the October 24 paper, this revelation was the front page story. The State Journal-Register had a small AP story on the 25th. I’ve already sent letters to both papers and a follow-up letter to State Superintendent McGee. We’ll keep you updated as things develop.