December 7, 2016

How Buying a Freezer Led Me to Rediscover the Fun of Cooking

chest freezerTaking a look at ourselves and confronting our faults is rarely easy. Even when we have been successful in identifying them, we aren't always successful in changing in the ways that would benefit us. I don't think this necessarily makes us hopelessly irrational; I think it reminds us that we are human. As such, we suffer from certain limitations. At the same time, being human means that we are sometimes in a position to improve ourselves and learn from our experience.

One of my many faults is my cheapness. Yeah, I suppose I could sugarcoat it and claim to be "fiscally conservative," but the reality is that I'm just cheap. I suppose there are some advantages of being as cheap as I am. I am able to save money for larger purchases when necessary, and I don't end up accumulating a lot of junk I don't use. But there are some downsides too. For example, I frequently have the experience of buying something that ends up being so useful that I kick myself for not buying it years ago. You'd think I'd have learned this lesson by now, but it has been a hard one for some reason.

December 5, 2016

The Bernie Sanders Revolution Must Continue

Bernie Sanders Our RevolutionI like Bernie Sanders, and I really wish he had won the Democratic nomination for president. I certainly did not agree with him on every position. I found some aspects of his message and the manner in which he presented it to be unappealing, and I thought he made some poor decisions during his primary run. Still, I appreciated the fact that he had a strong populist message emphasizing income inequality and the need for sweeping change in many important areas. More than anything else, I think it was this message that resonated with his supporters.

The presence of a clear, positive message that many found inspiring was something his Democratic opponent lacked. This became increasingly evident during her general election campaign, a campaign in which the core message seemed to emphasize the evils of Trump to the exclusion of nearly everything else. I would not say that this was the primary reason she lost, but I suspect it was one of many reasons.

I don't know how Sanders would have fared in the general election, and I put little stock in the polls suggesting he would have won. Sanders was never subjected to a Republican campaign directed against him. Had he been, I suspect the polls would have shifted. Still, it sure would have been nice to find out how he would have done against Trump.

December 4, 2016

A Christmas Sweatshirt I Might Wear

hail SantaOne of the many Christmas traditions I'm very happy to be rid of is the sweater. I have never liked sweaters. I just don't find them comfortable or particularly flattering when I put them on. I don't believe I have worn a sweater in at least 20 years. Growing up, I could almost always count on receiving at least one sweater as a Christmas gift. And then, of course, I'd have to wear it even though I would inevitably hate it. No matter how many times I made it clear that I was not a fan of sweaters, I would receive one and be told that I needed to wear it.

The Christmas sweater, usually a gift from my grandparents, was the worst. It would rarely fit and inevitably be covered with some sort of garish Christmas imagery. Even if it didn't fit, I'd have to wear it for fear of upsetting Grandma. Fortunately, it is was ugly enough, I would not be required to wear it outside the house. The point of an article of clothing one could only wear for a couple weeks of the year never made much sense to me.

December 3, 2016

Atheist Groups in Mississippi

USA Mississippi location mapAs the most religious state in the U.S., Mississippi can be an isolating experience for atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other secular individuals. But it doesn't have to be. We may be far behind many other states in several important ways, but we do have some local atheist, humanist, freethought, and secular groups here in Mississippi.

I periodically hear from secular people who recently moved to Mississippi or are in the process of moving and who are looking for active groups in their area of the state. Since I had trouble finding a list of active atheist, humanist, freethinking, or otherwise secular groups in Mississippi, I figured I might as well try to pull one together. This is a work-in-progress that I will plan to update periodically.

I have listed all the active atheist groups I'm aware of in Mississippi by city and/or county (you can see a map showing the location of the counties here). If I missed any, please let me know so I can add them. Also, if you are a participant in of any of these groups and have some information you would like others to know about your group, please let me know (i.e., I'd be happy to add a description of your group or other useful information here).

My hope is that this can eventually evolve into a secular resource directory of some sort for Mississippi. It would be awfully nice to be able to pass along some information about what is available in our state (or in neighboring states for those who live near enough) to those who are interested in connecting with other secular persons.

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