What are you doing for Carl Sagan Day this year?

What are you doing for Carl Sagan Day this year?

At HearYourselfThink, we’re doing a science book drive for kids for Carl Sagan Day 2015!

You can be a part of it by sending your new or very gently used science-themed children’s books to:

The Hear Yourself Think Project
PO Box 116
Ambridge, PA 15003

Or order your books online and have them sent to us. Here are some sites I found that have a good selection of quality books.

Books will be distributed by us in the community on Novemeber 7th at pop-up locations where we will spread the good word about Sagan Day (which is November 9th) and allow kids to pick their own books. Any books remaining or ones that arrive after the 7th will be donated to Reading is FUNdamental in Pittsburgh.

Carl Sagan

One of the greatest gifts adults can give — to their offspring and to their society — is to read to children.

Carl Sagan

RIF not only allows kids in need to select books of their very own but has teams of dedicated volunteers who read to children in their communities.

We think an important way to honor the life and legacy of Carl Sagan is to make sure that children are exposed to plenty of books that will spark their curiosity about the natural world and inspire a life-long love of science and discovery.

So don’t wait! Send your books today and help us spread the word far and wide about the #SaganDayBookDrive.

Dad Always Said,”Tell the Truth, Even If It Hurts”

Dad Always Said,”Tell the Truth, Even If It Hurts”

Hi. My name is Charlene. My father, born in 1922, lived through the Great Depression, was a member of the CCC’s and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He became a Democrat when he realized it was FDR and the Democrats who made sure people had enough to eat. He never forced his political views on anyone. He told me I could be whatever I wanted. He said, “Think about it, make a wise choice and vote.” He said, “If you don’t vote, you cannot express an opinion because it won’t matter anyway.”

Like him, I have not forced my opinions on anyone.

I’ve tried to live my beliefs. I am surrounded by the noise. I can not be quietly who I am. I can’t enjoy a dinner with family and friends without being bullied with right-wing talking points.

They back you into a corner until you’re screaming inside, “No!  I don’t agree with you.”

My father passed away a few weeks ago and my brother and his wife, my cousin whom I adore and his wife (one of my best friends) and I were having dinner in a restaurant and it was like Fox News was sitting at our table.

Normally, when I am in this situation, I try to change the subject because I have learned that old lesson that you never discuss politics or religion. We can no longer do this. Our world has changed. It is spiraling out of control in a downward direction.

That night I let a few comments go. They say them so matter-of-factly; like everyone thinks the way they do. They act like robots spewing out sentences whether they make sense or not.

When I tried to speak the truth that night, the two women just sat there like statues and the two men together ganged up on me; they got loud, red in the face, and double-teamed me with even more right-wing talking points.

They have always done this but they are much worse about it now.

They won’t talk about the tragedy in Newtown, CT because they can’t. There is no legitimate argument for what happened. All they can focus on is how our President “wants to take their guns away.” I tried to tell them that is not his goal and I heard the “slippery slope” story. Then, the Second Amendment came up and I said it had nothing to do with the subject or assault weapons and I got told I was wrong.

According to them, it has everything to do with it. They kept saying they had a right to own guns. Oh, by the way, my cousin works in a gun shop in Mercer County (the place where it was said that they “cling to their guns and religion”). He was bragging about how they sold more guns in the month of December, since the killing of those little children than they have all year.

I never said we didn’t have a right to own a gun. I sold my gun. I had a .22 that I used for target practice and for killing groundhogs that would not stay out of our garden.

I grew up with a father who owned guns. He kept them in a gun cabinet in the back bedroom. It was locked and we knew not to go near it. Dad was a lifelong member of the NRA. He was proud to be a member because back then the NRA was all about saving the environment and teaching gun safety.

He was not a gun collector. He was a hunter; a sportsman. His guns were never loaded and they were not there “for protection” as I hear so many say. He never had an assault weapon in his hands. He raised five children, three girls and two boys. He taught us all how to shoot and hunt safely. He actually taught gun safety courses for the NRA.

I don’t understand this “for protection” argument. Don’t we live in a civilized society? Aren’t we a nation of laws? Why do they act like we are living in the Wild West? According to their argument, we have no laws. Every citizen is the judge, jury and executioner.

One day, when Dad was 88 years old, I was visiting when the NRA’s magazine came in the mail. He had become blind so I asked if he wanted me to read it to him. He said “No, that’s junk mail.” He told me that the NRA is no longer what it once was; that he was ashamed to say he was a lifelong member. He said they did a “flip-flop” on their beliefs, and have become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the right-wing agenda. He said he wants nothing more to do with them.

I was thinking, what happened to “love your neighbor, don’t lie, don’t kill, etc., etc.?” Oh, that’s right, those are some of the Ten Commandments; they’re in the Bible the right-wing holds so high. What a perfect world it would be if we just obeyed one of the most basic parts of God’s holy word.

Recently, I have turned off the noise, sat quietly and heard myself think. I invite you to do the same. I’m sure there are others out there having the same experiences. We can no longer remain silent.

Think about the famous Mark Twain quote:

“A lie can travel half-way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

It’s time the truth got moving.