Category Archives: Uncategorized

Interesting Coincidence in Richmond, VA

On our way up to Washington, DC and the Atheist Alliance Convention, we stopped in Richmond, VA for lunch. After driving around the downtown area for a few minutes, we saw a good area with restaurants and parked the car. The first thing we noticed after getting out of the car were these huge murals about religious freedom.

First Freedom Mural 1 - Richmond, Va
First Freedom Mural 1 – Richmond, Va
First Freedom Mural 2 - Richmond, Va
First Freedom Mural 2 – Richmond, Va

It turns out they were put up by the First Freedom Center which is a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote religious freedom including the right to not believe.

My Appearance on the Charlotte Talks Radio Show

I recently appeared on our local radio show “Charlotte Talks” along with Daniel Dennett and Ellen Johnson to discuss the recent rise of Atheism. Mike Collins was the host.

To listen to the show, click the link below:

Charlotte Talks Radio Show – Atheism: Charlotte Talks is a local radio show hosted by Mike Collins. On January 31st, 2007, they did a show on Atheism and I appeared along with Daniel Dennett (Philospher and author) and Ellen Johnson (President of American Atheists).

Here is my write-up of the event:

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Announcing CharlotteAtheists.com

I’ve just completed the new web site for the Charlotte Atheists and Agnostics group. It includes membership signup, event RSVP, discussion forums, links, books, news and more. Have a look at CharlotteAtheists.com.

Visiting a Game Auction at Winston-Salem

Me and my friend James took the short trip up to Winston-Salem to see a game auction.

We had a great time playing all the pinball machines there. Unfortunately, there was only 1 Electro-Mechanical pinball machine, an Amigo (see pictures). As we were trying to get it to work, somebody came by and gave us a hand. The machine was having trouble getting through its startup sequence. He was able to get it going after discovering a bad switch on one of the the player 4 score reels. Turns out this guy has been repairing pinball machines for 30 years…

Our favorite pinball was, by far, the Fireball Classic. (You can see it on the right side of the first picture) We were racking up tons of free games on it until our mojo ran out.

Luckily, I remembered to bring an extension cord. That way we could power up any game there. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring quarters!!! Not that we really needed them, but without them, we had to find and manually close the coin switch for each game. No problem really, but we got a good laugh out of it.

Bally Amigo Pinball MachineTons of Pinball MachinesJames Playing Cyclone

Pinball Auction, a set on Flickr.

Target Alpha Flyer From 1976

This is the original Target Alpha flyer from around 1976.
Target Alpha Flyer by Particle Man
Target Alpha Flyer, a photo by Particle Man on Flickr.

 

My First Pinball Machine: Target Alpha

Target Alpha Pinball MachineThis is my first pinball machine. I wanted an electro-mechanical machine from the mid 70’s and this one fit the bill perfectly. There is just something special about EM machines… simplicity, great look, mechanical sounds, real chimes, etc.

Manufacture by: D. Gottlieb & Co.
Date: November 1976, 4 players
Model number: 392
Production run: 7285
Theme: Outer Space
Design: Ed Krynsky
Art: Gordon Morison
Notes: A 4-Player version of Solar City, Convertible to Add-A-Ball

I’ll be posting more information later including pictures and small repairs I’ve done.

Why I Became a Vegetarian

The first thing people ask when they find out I’m a vegetarian is “why?” For a question that is so simple, the answer is usually difficult to answer in one breath. I grew up, like many Americans, eating meat as a normal way of life. Apart from momentary “awakenings”, I never questioned the practice of eating animals as food.

As I got older, I become more and more conscious of meat and it made me uncomfortable, but, even still, my sheer habit and history of eating meat for food was so strong that I was still able to continue eating. After a few months, though, I had to stop buying ground beef because it was getting too gross for me to prepare. Still, several years passed by while I ate sausage biscuits for breakfast and bacon cheeseburgers for lunch.

After a while, my moments of “consciousness” become too frequent to ignore and I started to reduce the amount of meat I ate at home and began ordering vegetarian meals at restaurants, if anything, just as an experiment to see what it was like. Around this time, I saw an investigative report on TV about the deaths caused by Mad Cow Disease. Part of the show went into explaining how the disease came about by mixing the remains of sheep, including brains and bones, into cows’ feed. (I later learned that this has been and still is standard practice in the USA…) There were several scenes that showed how the infected cows were disposed of including one showing a huge pile of discarded cows and cow parts (including disembodied heads). I knew then that I didn’t want to support any industry that involved so much waste and suffering.

Then I did it… I cut meat out of my diet completely and began my intensive self-education on vegetarianism. The more I learned, the more realized that there were few, if any, reasons not to go vegetarian (See “Why Go Vegetarian?”). Looking back on my life before being a vegetarian, I can’t even imagine how I could have ever eaten meat. I can’t even remember what went through my mind.

I realize now that the culture I grew up in only served to reinforce meat eating whether it was fast food TV commercials, old health education classes about the four food groups or just the simple habit and repetition of eating meat every day. With these powerful influences, it’s no wonder that many people never even contemplate the act and effects of eating meat. In our modern world, the killing of animals for food is done for us out of our sight and consciousness. People see meat only as “clean” food units without being confronted with the fact that it was once a living being.

I hope that this site will help you to consider the benefits of reducing the amount of meat in your diet or at least help you learn something that you didn’t know before.