The "Dinner with Randi" was a fundraising event held between the end of the progam on Friday, and the trip to the Penn & Teller show.
There were about forty of us in attendance. Randi, Linda Shallenberger, Hal Bidlack, Andrew Harter, and Julia Sweeney moved between tables for each course to let us all get a chance to talk to them.
|Randi With Diners|
For the salad course, Mr. Randi was sitting at our table, where we talked about how the meeting was going so far. During the conversation, Randi mentioned that he might be appearing in an upcoming episode of South Park.
|Linda Solicits Opinions|
For the main entree, a nice steak and shrimp combination, we had Linda sitting with us, who scolded... errr... gently reminded me to take some pictures of the event. Linda also wanted to know our opinions of what to do for the next TAM. Las Vegas was a popular choice, and Linda told us that about 40% of the JREF membership lived in California. The issues with the hotel were discussed, and while they were annoying, the consensus seemed to be that many of them were correctable, including the addition of a high-speed internet connection. Overall, the Tuscany was a good choice for the cost and location. Linda was leaning toward Las Vegas for next year, but wanted to see the results of the feedback forms.
|Our Table Has Julia For Dessert|
For dessert, we had Julia. This was appropriate, I think, because she was the sweetest thing in the entire hotel. (Awwwww...)
|We Discuss Julia's Talk For Saturday|
We discussed Julia's talk for the next day, and the several projects that she was busy working on. Despite my protests, Julia had to move on much too soon.
|Andrew Is Serious About Education|
Andrew joined us for the eating-the-contents-of-the-butter-dish course. His priorities are in educating children, and has a new DVD out. We talked about this work, and he mentioned that PBS stations would be using some of his short material between programs in the near future.
|Hal Lets Down His Hair|
For the sucking-on-the-lemons course, Hal took Andrew's place at our table. We discussed his involvement in the JREF, and some experiences being both a skeptic and a Democrat in the Air Force, as well as being both a skeptic and a deist. South Park entered the conversation again, as Hal mentioned the twist at the end of the episode featuring the Mormon family, where the faith that had come in for a serious factual battering during the program, had its positive effect on that family highlighted as the lesson to be learned. I had seen the episode, and considered it to be a good skeptical and thoughtful ending.