From the Chairman

David Bloomberg

Well, I’m still here, but chairman is about the only office that didn’t change hands this year!

As Bob Ladendorf mentioned in his editor’s column last month, he decided to recharge his batteries instead of running for editor this year. So Wally Hartshorn has taken the reins. (Wally was actually REALL’s first editor, and did the first three issues before we had an election.) With Wally becoming editor, that left the Secretary/Treasurer position open, and I convinced Bob to take that. (That was before I told him how much work it entailed.)

Derek Rompot told me that he did not foresee having enough time to properly attend to the duties of Vice Chairman (it just wasn’t in the cards), so now Jim Rosenthal has been elected to that position – as well as being appointed to the Editorial Board, on which Derek also sat. Rich Walker had told me he would only serve on REALL’s board for one year when he was elected in 1998. Unfortunately, unlike politicians, he stuck to his self-imposed term-limit and did not run again. David McMaster volunteered for one of the remaining at-large board positions (see his introduction, below), but we still have one position remaining if anybody is interested. Other than myself, the only person who stayed put was Steve Egger, as one of the at-large board members.

Wow! Well, I’d like to give my thanks to Derek and Rich for the work they did this past year! I’d like to further thank all the Board members who have jumped into various new positions. It should be a fun year!

In fact, I’d say this was one of our most productive meetings ever. Besides the elections, we had our attorney present information on REALL’s incorporation as a non-profit organization. This is something we’ve been wanting to do since we formed REALL, and it is finally happening. This means that, among other things, once everything is final, you can deduct money given to REALL (as membership, for example) from your taxes (as always, some restrictions apply, void where prohibited, your mileage may vary, etc.). Also, REALL will be able to make purchases without paying sales tax, which will help make your membership dollar go that much further for us.

We also discussed having a high school essay contest next year. At least one other local skeptics group has had this type of contest, and I think it is a great way to both help our educational goals and gain some publicity. We will be needing some people to work on this project, so feel free to volunteer! We’re also looking for ideas on how to give a good prize, so if you know a business who would like to donate money as part of a prize, and get a little publicity as well, please pass along the information!

REALL E-mail List

Also at the May meeting, we discussed the REALL e-mail list that I set up. Basically, this list is for any announcements and discussion of topics related to REALL.

I’ve already sent out notices to everybody for whom I could find an e-mail address. So far, 11 people have joined. If you have not received such a notice, and you are a REALL member, you can join by sending an e-mail to (or by going to the Topica web site,, registering as a user, and doing a search for "REALL" to find the list – trust me, the e-mail way is easier).

So what will we use this list for? We can announce meetings, talk about topics of interest to skeptics, refer you to interesting web sites, etc. As events occur, this list will allow us to get information out to you faster.

So I hope you’ll sign up and join in the discussion. See you there!

This Month

Don’t forget, on Saturday, June 12 at noon, we’ll be playing Skeptic Jeopardy at Shakey’s Pizza & Buffet!

As I described last month, this will be a full-participation event. We’ll break up in teams, have some fun, and maybe learn a thing or two along the way! (Not to mention eating lunch, but remember that we each have to pay our own way.)

I have spent a fair amount of time making these answers and questions interesting and amusing, and I hope to see a lot of you there. I expect it to be a fun time and a good way to spend part of an afternoon!

New Board Member Introduction

David McMaster:

From birth, I was exposed to the technology/communications world, since both my parents were radio hams (Mom was in all likelihood the first female ham in Illinois) and worked for then-competing newspapers in Taylorville. This sort of environment nurtured an early appreciation for science and logical thought, and after a stint in the Air Force and college (simultaneously) in Mississippi in the '60's, ("may you live in interesting times" – and places) I enjoyed a career with Ameritech, mostly in the Engineering department. I retired from there, and spend my time with two businesses, one designing electronics/software (actually firmware), and the other designing and marketing equipment to the independent telecommunications industry. Both businesses are mostly work-at-home, thanks to computers. My interest in promoting critical thought has grown in proportion with the proliferation of junk "science," which is unfortunately often more entertaining to casual observers than the real stuff.

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