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artemis2050

The Meaning of It All

or, There and Back Again


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Till Human Voices Wake Us--Logan
artemis2050

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Might as well keep going with the Meeting. There were a lot more great speakers, even after the physics-induced high wore off.

I actually wound up sitting next to Dr. Stanley Krippner at lunch, who was the speaker to follow. He was a very nice man, thuogh he didn't say much. He was with a friend who was to handle his overhead transparencies and who was *very* nervous about the whole thing. *g* In the event, the transparencies went fine, as far as I could see. It was an interesting talk, and obviously one of great interest to me as a future medical professional, but it was unfortunate that his visual aids weren't really visible from where I was sitting--in fact, it seemed to me that very few people would have been able to read them.

The long and the short of it, though, is as follows: HIV causes AIDS. This fact is not in dispute. We cannot cure AIDS, so it behooves us to do our best to prevent it. We CAN prevent its transmission by the use of condoms. People who want to keep condoms from being used are therefore evil [rule 8]s.

That's really all you need to know about that.

He had some more interesting information that was probably of more interest to me than to most people, about genetic variations in cell membrane receptors that seem to make some people HIV-resistant, but enough about that.

Then there was Randi.

The first of James Randi's books I ever read was "The Truth About Uri Geller". I was twelve or thirteen. The book was an absolute revelation to me. I'd done a report on ESP the year before in school and I tried running all sorts of tests on my friends. Then I read this book, and you know what I realized?

Geller cheated the same exact ways *we* cheated.

Huh.

That idea, that grown-ups who were apparently perfectly serious about this stuff being real would LIE and CHEAT about their abilities, blew my tiny little mind. The next book I found was "Flim-Flam", and boy, that was even better. I never looked back.

Which is all to say, well...there were several hundred people there that day who really, really loved this guy just as much as I do. 'Amazing' is definitely the word. James Randi is funny and gracious and sweet and brilliant and I can't wait to hear that he's out of the hospital and back to his usual tricks.

And we were all lucky enough to have him doing tricks for us. He mugged and laughed and was stern and inspiring and clever and then he brought out Ed Lu and made him float above the stage, and I don't care how it's done, it was magic.

All of it.

So who could follow an act like that?

Laaaaadies and gentlemen, step right up, now taking the stage is our own not-so-gentle giant, the Stars-and-Stripes-clad, expletive-spewing, hair-raising and hair-free-flowing rock star of the convention...I give you Penn Jillette!

Like wow, man.

Penn does *not* need amplification. (Which he proved later on when there were technical difficulties during the panel discussion, but I digress.) I thought he was a riot. I understand there were those who were offended by some of the things he said; with all due respect, I think it's kind of silly to be offended by anything Penn says. He isn't a politician or a teacher or on a board of trustees, he's an entertainer. And a very good one, I might add. But love him or hate him, you do know what you're gonna get, and he gave it to us. I didn't take notes, I just sat there and enjoyed it. He got off a few one-liners and then took questions from the audience; I especially enjoyed his explanation of his daughter's name, 'Moxie Crimefighter' Jillette: "When she's sixteen and gets stopped by the cops--notice I don't say 'if'--she can pull out her driver's licence and say 'See! I'm on your side!'" Hee. Be very interesting, having Penn as your dad. He mentioned that his wife was on bed rest with their second child, so we certainly hope all is going well with them.

Okay, that's plenty for one chunk. Next up: Nadine Strossen, otherwise known as She Who Finally Convinced Me To Become a Card-Carrying Member of the ACLU, the panel discussion, and my very first night out on the town in Vegas.
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