Volume 15   Number 11
November  2014
Board Members:

Richard Dewey

Vice President:
Henry Geist

Tim Bedient

Rebecca Beltran

Program Director:
Al Wendler

Members at Large:
Vici Duarte
Ann Marie
Eisentraut /
Bruce Stiles
Michal Otten
Anita Romanowski

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:

J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew


Anita Romanowski

Property Management:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Michal Otten

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:
Kathy Pettycrew

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Michelle Rose

Information Technology:
James Osborn

Odyssey of the Mind:
Brian Calaway

Lego League:
Brian Calaway

Girl Scout Troop:
Alisha DeCou

Book Club:
Roy Towne

Inquiring Minds:
Kevin Moriarty

Ted Talks:
Kevin Moriarty

Game Nights:
Bruce Stiles
Ann Marie

Immediate Past President:
Shelley Newman (2011)

President Emeritus:
Susan Sackett

President's Message

Good grief. There is so much going on, it's starting to get dizzying! This was yet another incredibly busy month for HSGP and this is going to take a while to summarize. But first, I'd like to point out that we again have significantly increased our social media presence with 914 followers on Meetup and 510 followers on Facebook! And our Facebook page is getting pretty busy with some very interesting discussions going on. Our dues-paying membership stayed level with 287 members at the end of the month but that is still impressive! It's bound to continue to go up as time goes by. We have much to be excited about as it seems that we keep showing the rest of the country what a Humanist group can do!

Below is a summary, as best I can manage, of all that we did in October. If you would rather skip to what's coming up or find out more about our organization, check out the rest of the newsletter!

Events in October

We started the month off with our new Ted Talks Discussion Group. The format is that the group picks which Ted Talks (or any public video) to watch and each is followed by a discussion session of varying length depending on what the group wants and reasonable time constraints. This sounds like an exciting addition to our list of activities that people can participate in and I am hoping to get to some of these. That might be a bit challenging for me due to scheduling conflicts, but I am hopeful that I will get to some. If someone out there is willing to set me up so I don't have to work anymore, that would do it. :) By the way, this event is hosted by Kevin Moriarty who also hosts our Inquiring Minds discussion group (see below).

Our HSGP Humanities Project is going completely nuts! This month they had ten outings and an in-house event! That is just amazing! I know that I can't do justice to the outings and won't even be able to properly describe most of them, but here is what I have. There was a music recital at ASU, two art exhibits (same exhibit, two nights), a night of storytelling about Arizona's first centrury, a lecture, a book review by the author with a Q & A, a film screening, a trip to the Anza Day festival in Green Valley, the annual Fall Festival of the Arts in Papago Park, and a panel discussion with community dialogue. I don't understand how they find all of these interesting events or how they find time to go to so many, but this is impressive to say the least. If any of this sounds interesting to you, keep an eye on our Meetup page to see what they're going to do next. The in-house event was a reading of the play "Speak of the Devil" which is a story about Robert G. Ingersoll. This was part 1 and part 2 will be in November. There was great attendance at this event and all of the readers did a fantastic job. Be sure to catch the second act!

The Inquiring Minds Discussion Group decided to probe the question "Do we really need to go to Mars?". I didn't make it to this one but I already know that this is a provocative topic even among our group. Knowing the people who typically go to these discussion groups, this had to be interesting. Would you go to a colony on Mars if you knew that it was a one way trip? Some people have already signed up to do just that. That poses some very serious questions. I wish I had been there for this one.

Our first Sunday speaker this month was our member, Richard Miller, explaining Lawrence Krauss' "A Universe from Nothing" in terms most of us could understand (emphasis on "most"). Richard did an excellent job with this and made it quite entertaining while he was at it. I gather that he spent many hours preparing this and we are grateful for the effort that he put into it. I have read the actual book and it was refreshing to see Richard's interpretation of it. If you want a more detailed summary of the talk, you can find it at A Universe from Nothing.

I missed Game Night again and, again it seems that I wasn't missed. Ann Marie tells me that this was the biggest turnout ever. This event is becoming quite a hit and I am excited to see where it's going. But we may have to get a bigger center just to accomodate this crowd alone! It's a great way to spend an evening, meet some neat people, and enjoy some great games and possibly some great conversation. It is well worth trying if you haven't already.

Our second Sunday speaker event this month featured Liberty Wildlife volunteers Claudia and John talking about Liberty's mission and day-to-day activities helping Arizona's wildlife that need to be rehabilitated for one reason or another. They brought five birds and a snake with them, all of which can never be released back into the wild and so are now presented for educational events, like ours, all over Arizona. This was a thrilling event that wowed everybody there. These folks really know their stuff and the birds, and snake, were amazing and apparently like all the attention. I learned a lot at this event and I've actually toured their facility twice before (I have a friend that volunteers there). This was quite a day. We had a row of kids sitting right up front and they appeared to love every minute of it. If you want to learn more about this event, you can find a great and detailed summary at Liberty Wildlife.

Our HSGP Book Club reviewed "Stuff Matters" by Mark Miodownik. This book is much more interesting than its title. The author explores the interesting properties of many of the most common, and some much less common, materials in our daily lives and describes the fascinating things that we take for granted, such as "Why is glass see-through?". This sounds like a book well worth reading for it's insights into the mysteries of material things. You can find a great review of this book on Amazon at Stuff Matters. Thirteen people attended and this was one of the few Book Club selections that everyone liked.

What else happened in October?

The short answer: a lot.

Our membership chair, Anita Romanowski, ran her third class on crocheting sleeping mats for the homeless made from plastic grocery bags! This program is really picking up interest as more people are realizing how wonderful this is. Everybody remember to save your plastic grocery bags and bring them to the center even if you won't be helping make the mats. Get them to Anita or we'll find a place to store them until the next crochet event.

Our Service Outreach Coordinator led another outing to St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance this month and has done so much more. Do check out her column to the right for details on what she and her crew have been up to. We are doing some fantastic Humanist things at HSGP!

Our Volunteer Coordinator, Michelle Rose, finished work on our new volunteer system using SignUp Genuis and it has been released and is being actively used for every event where volunteers are needed. This is already seen as an improvement over the old system and we are excited to see where it takes us. Yay Michelle! Again, remember that HSGP only functions with the work of volunteers and fundraising. And things are looking good in both areas.

Speaking of fundraising, our Fundraising Chair, Ariane Apler, is doing a great job planning for future fundraising events and held another planning session this month which I gather was quite productive. I didn't make this one but I have heard (and read) some of the outcome of that meeting and it sounds great! If not this month, then soon, you might see an article regarding fundraising in this newsletter as well.

Girl Scout Troop 1080, led by Alisha DeCou, met twice this month and, last I heard, were up to fourteen members already! They also ran fundraisers on our patio before and after both of our speaker meetings this month. This is looking like yet another great addition to HSGP and we are proud to host them. We are hoping that this takes off and becomes a trend in scouting as this troop is secular and so many kids from secular families would really benefit from something like this. Alisha is new to the Valley, and to us, and is already proving to be a great leader!

The Odyssey of the Mind group met at least twice this month as well. Led by Brian Calaway, this group went to the World Championships in Iowa last year and we are excited to see how they do this year. They have our full support. As I understand it, Brian gets help from volunteers, including parents, and even kids that aren't interested in the competition are more than welcome to participate in the activities. Let's see this grow!

Brian is also leading a Lego League event but, unfortunately, I don't have any official record of what they have been doing other than our calendar says that they meet every Friday at 6:00 PM. I did witness some of the robotics that had been created at one of their first meetings and if they keep that up, this is going to be amazing. I look forward to finding out more about what they are doing!

The column that I added a couple of months ago (lower right of the newsletter) has a contribution from Mary McPherson this month. I'm not sure where she found it (possibly the London Times), but it is an obituary worth reading. Do enjoy. I would like to reiterate that all members are free to contribute to this column. If you have something that you feel would fit, email me at the address below. All Humanist poems, prayers, invocations, inspirational quotes, etc. will be considered.

And now for the statement that only changes occasionally, (again, not this time). As always, we are interested in any feedback that you might have so please feel free to email me at humanist@hsgp.org or find out who your board members and committee chairs are, on the left side of this page, and talk to them! Enjoy the rest of the newsletter!

Richard Dewey
President, HSGP
Turn Business into Fundraising for HSGP

One easy way Humanists can raise funds for HSGP is by giving our business to businesses that return a percentage of the proceeds to HSGP. For example, Bashas', Fry's and Albertson's grocery stores will return a percentage of the money our members spend at their store's. Amazon will also donate a percentage of sales that are made through the HSGP link. But first you need to enroll in the program(s) of your choice for this to happen. See article at lower right for more information.

HSGP member and Professional Realtor Vici Duarte has announced that she is offering a similar program. Vici will donate 10% of her net commission to HSGP. If you plan to buy or sell a home, speak to Vici at any HSGP event, or contact her by email at viciduarte@cox.net.

We are looking for other business people who might be interested in increasing their sales and then giving back to the Humanists. If you have an interest in a business, consider if you would like to offer a way to increase your business and support HSGP. Please contact Ariane at hsgpfundraising@gmail.com about setting up a similar program.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics
Nov 22nd
Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
Event:  Book Club

Please join us to discuss Levels of Life by Julian Barnes. This book was selected as an NPR Best Book of the Year.

from Amazon
In this elegant triptych of history, fiction, and memoir, Julian Barnes has written about ballooning and photography, love and grief; about putting two things, and two people, together, and tearing them apart; and enduring after the incomprehensible loss of a loved one. Powerfully rendered, exquisitely crafted in Barnes’s erudite style, this searing work confirms the author as an unparalleled magus of the heart.

HSGP will benefit if you purchase this book through the Amazon Smile program. Click on the image below.

Nov 23rd
Microfinance in the Developing World
Speaker:  Bruce Stiles

HSGP member Bruce Stiles has a hobby of reducing poverty in the world. Since April of 2013, Bruce has used the lending platform at Kiva.org to make hundreds of microloans, in over six dozen countries and on five continents, in order to help students to finance their education, and to help to improve the standard of living of entrepreneurs and other people in the developing world. Bruce has found microlending to be an ideal way to combine his desire to help extremely poor people with his love of asymmetrical financial outcomes.

Microlending is arguably a more efficient method of reducing poverty that simply giving away money, in that it has a much greater benefit to cost ratio. This presentation will provide a short overview of the developing world, an explanation of the benefits of microlending to the world’s poorest people, the mechanics of how microlending works, and an introduction to the Kiva.org website. SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Helping people to help themselves out of poverty could be addictive.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Doors open at 9:00 am for socializing with an optional breakfast available for a donation of $5. The meeting begins at 10:00 am.

Nov 23rd
OOTM Team Meeting
Event:  Children's Program
Odyssey of the Mind Team Meeting - During Sunday Speaker Meeting

Coaches Brian and Lorna will meet with the team to prepare their solutions for the new problems. There are only 10 Sunday Speaker meetings before competition, so let's get busy!!

Regional and State Champs last year, our team went on to World Finals in Iowa, where they did us proud!

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program.

More info:



Nov 23rd
Girl Scouts
Event:  Children's Program
HSGP has a Girl Scout troop! They meet twice monthly, following the Sunday Speaker and Odyssey of the Mind meetings.

If you have a child who would like to join Girl Scout Troop 1080, either contact Alisha or just come to the next troop meeting. Kids K through 12th grade are welcome.

Questions: Alisha DeCou at aztroop1080@gmail.com

The troop generally meets in the main room. When there is a board meeting, the scouts convene in the kids' room, library and foyer.

During Girl Scouts fundraising drives, tables will be set up showcasing their wares available for purchase or order after meetings. How convenient is that?

Nov 28th
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Live Music
Dec 01st
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Lecture + Lunch
Dec 05th
Event:  Humanities Project Outing: Lecture
Dec 07th
Event:  Children's Program
Dec 07th
Event:  Children's Program
Dec 12th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Dec 13th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Dec 20th
Event:  Solstice Celebration
Dec 27th
Event:  Book Club
Jan 10th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Jan 11th
Jan 11th
Children's Program:  Children's Program
Jan 11th
Event:  Children's Program
Jan 25th
Jan 25th
Event:  Children's Program
Jan 25th
Event:  Children's Program
Feb 08th
Event:  Annual Darwin Day Celebration
Feb 14th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Feb 22nd
Feb 22nd
Event:  Children's Program

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix is open to presentations on a variety of topics, many of which are controversial. Please note that the opinions expressed by our guest speakers do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or philosophy of HSGP.

Membership Matters

by Anita Romanowski

My goodness, can you believe it's November already! This is the time of year I miss most in New Jersey. With a bit of dread, I'm anticipating the frenzy of the holiday season; Halloween, Thanksgiving and end of year holiday preparation and celebration. Yes, even many of us non- theists do celebrate the holidays. Which prompts a segue into mentioning a couple of HSGP's end of year events:
November 1 - Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner. By the time this newsletter is posted, this event will have already taken place. A wonderful time was had by all.
December 20 - Solstice Celebration. Food, drink, door prizes, raffles, etc. Be sure to bring your checkbook as there will be many varied and sundry items for sale. More details will be posted on the HSGP home page at a later date.
Please start bringing any items you would like to donate to be sold at the Solstice party from now until December 19th.

For info on any HSGP activities, look at the Upcoming Topic and Events section on the home page of the website.

Volunteering for HSGP Meetings and Events:

We need volunteers to help keep HSGP successful; so please consider volunteering! Volunteering is fun and easy. Using the SignUp Genius program will enable us to have an accurate and organized idea of who will be helping out. Simply log on to hsgp.org, scroll down until you see the SignUp Genius button in the left-hand column and follow the directions below:

The button will take you directly to the HSGP Volunteer Opportunities page. Select the event type for which you want to volunteer. You will be prompted for an Access Code, which is Reason2012. The first thing you will see is a description of the volunteer opportunities with some fair amount of detail. You can read through this to see what each task entails. Scroll down to the table, and be sure to select the correct date for the event for which are volunteering. Select your preferred opportunity and time slot and click the box. Finally, click on the "Submit and Sign Up" button at the bottom. You will receive an automatic reminder email.

If you have any questions, please contact Michelle at hsgpvolunteer@gmail.com and she will respond as quickly as possible.

Sign Up Now!

Welcome New Members:
Joe Blankenship
Pat Bauer
Shawn Touoli
Justin & Nicole Zimmer
Don & Anne Rothfuss
Ian Pettycrew

Member Announcements:
Nothing to report this month.
If you would like to have a personal event, i.e., anniversary, birthday, birth of child or grandchild, looking to carpool or request a social connection announced in this column, send me an email.

Also, please let me know if you have a change of address, phone number, or email. This information is for our records only and will not be published or shared. Anita Romanowski
Membership Chair

Anita Romanowski
Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Michal Otten

Volunteer Opportunities November 2014 - December 2015
  As a humanist, I truly believe it is important to get out there and serve our community however we can. I am excited to share that HSGP will be expanding our volunteer efforts to several new organizations in the Valley. Below are some of the organizations we will be volunteering with, as well as our tentative volunteer dates with each group.

  Lost Our Home Pet Foundation is an awesome organization that works to ensure that all pets have loving homes when families face major life challenges. They provide compassionate options when Realtors and the community find an abandoned pet. On November 22nd, we will attend an orientation and shelter tour from 2-4 PM. We will have a volunteer outing on March 28th.  

The Human Services Campus ( www.humanservicescampus.org/ ) offers comprehensive assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County. The campus is home to more than a dozen social services agencies. As such, they get lots of donations that can be difficult to keep track of – decorations, electronics, books, movies, etc. Knowing how organized many in our group are, I thought we could best help by sorting, cataloguing, and organizing several of their storage sheds. We will be tackling this task on December 6th and February 28th from 10 AM-1 PM.    

UMOM New Day Centers ( https://www.umom.org/) is the largest homeless shelter for families in the state of Arizona. Every night, they provide safe shelter and supportive services for over 170 families through a continuum of services. We will be preparing and serving brunch on May 23rd, July 25th, and September 26th from 9 AM-1 PM each day. If we have enough volunteers, we may be given additional tasks such as painting or sorting clothes for the community closet.

  St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization that serves two-thirds of Arizona's 15 counties. We have volunteered at St. Mary’s for over 2 years, and they have always been very welcoming to us. We are currently scheduled to volunteer with St. Mary’s January 24th, April 25th, August 22nd, and December 12th from 12-3 PM.

    I hope you all will join us to help make a difference in our community. These outings have all been posted on Meetup, so go ahead and sign up! 

If there is an organization you would like us to become involved with, I’d love to hear your suggestions! Please email me at Michal.Otten@gmail.com with your ideas.

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Tips and Hints #17

by Jennifer White

I would like to talk about the HSGP Humanities Project. I believe that humanities are a vital part of humanism, which is why a small group of us got together to form the Humanities Project. Here is the definition of humanities that I found on Wikipedia:

The humanities are academic disciplines that study human culture. The humanities use methods that are primarily critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element—as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences. The humanities include ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, religion, and visual and performing arts such as music and yheatre. Areas that are sometimes regarded as social sciences and sometimes as humanities include history, archaeology, anthropology, area studies, communication studies, cultural studies,

Scholars in the humanities are "humanities scholars" or humanists. The term "humanist" also describes the philosophical position of humanism, which some "antihumanist" scholars in the humanities refuse. The Renaissance scholars and artists were also called humanists.

Some secondary schools offer humanities classes, usually consisting of English literature, global studies, and art.

Human disciplines like history and cultural anthropology study subject matters that the experimental method does not apply to—and instead mainly use the comparative method and comparative research.

The humanities are the other half, with natural sciences, of what makes us human. Art, music, culture, literature, theater, poetry, philosophy, and all the disciplines that are encompassed by that term give us joy, and connection to the rest of humanity. They are the heart of humanism.

The HSGP Humanities Project exists to bring more of the arts to our community. We have a monthly meeting (2nd Friday of each month) at which we enjoy a presentation or participate actively in some aspect of the humanities. For instance, each February we have our poetry, chocolate, and wine event. People come to recite and hear poems, including some original work. We usually have a drum circle at least once per year. Sometimes we get together to create art, or view a film, or share our favorite music.

We work to find great speakers to give presentations at our Sunday Speaker meetings. Some examples of past speakers are Will Bruder, world-renowned architect and Paul Espinosa, well-known filmmaker of documentaries, many of which have aired on PBS. There have been several others, and more in the future.

We also look out for art exhibits, concerts, lectures, festivals and performances that are free or inexpensive, and post them on Meetup, Facebook, and HSGP.org for the enjoyment of our community.

The internet and social media make it easy to share all that the Humanities Project has to offer.

Check out this month's Bookworm report by clicking on the Humanist Rising Blog below.

HSGP Fundraising Activities

Flying Spaghetti Monster swag
We still have souvenir t-shirts left from the FSM dinner in a variety of sizes- so if anyone meant to get one but didn't they're still available for $12.50 each via the fundraising website www.hsgpfundraising.org/fsm-t-shirts/.

Save the Date: Saturday, January 17, 2015 to Sunday the 18th: Joint event with Camp Quest, Urban Camping Experience. Registration Information and other details coming soon!

HSGP Humanities Project Fundraiser
Books & Music Bookshelf

HSGP's Humanities Project has a Book & Music Bookshelf for your convenient shopping pleasure. Books, CDs and DVDs on the bookshelf are for sale at a great price. The deals are even better on the 2-for-a-dollar bottom shelf. The Bookshelf is located under the bulletin board near the entrance to the restrooms.

The prices on these items are so great that some folks are using it like a rental library: They buy a book for a super-cheap price, read it, and bring it back as a donation. The book goes up for sale again, and they "buy" another one! Cool!

Take a look at the Bookshelf next time you're at the Humanist Community Center and consider buying or donating to this fun new effort.

Human Inspiration

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
Attributed to Elie Wiesel

"People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad."
Attributed to Stephen King, The Stand

Quotes courtesy of http://www.goodreads.com

Programs to Support HSGP from Grocery Stores and Amazon

If you shop at any of the Bashas' stores (Bashas', AJ's Fine Foods, Food City), your local Fry's Food Store, or your local Albertson's HSGP can receive a percentage of the money you spend. In addition, when you shop at Amazon.com using our HSGP link, we receive a percentage of the sale.

To activate any of these no-cost-to-you revenue streams for HSGP, go to the HSGP Supporting Businesses page Supporting Businesses and follow the instructions for the program you want to use.

If you shop at any of the local stores that participate in this program, please consider obtaining and using an HSGP community support card whenever you make purchases. When we support our local merchants, they support us!

Susan Sackett, Certified Humanist Celebrant, would like to remind you that she is available for all your life passage ceremonies, including weddings and commitment ceremonies, baby namings, coming-of-age celebrations, funerals/memorial services, and even divorce celebrations! Special 10% discount for all HSGP members and their immediate families! Humanist Celebrant. Discounts for HSGP members! Contact her at Susan Sackett .

An Obituary printed in the London Times.... Absolutely Dead Brilliant!!

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend,
Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.
No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

-Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
-Why the early bird gets the worm;
-Life isn't always fair;
-And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (Don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (Adults not children are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.
Reports of a 6- year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment then their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot.
She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death,
-by his parents, Truth and Trust,
-by his wife, Discretion,
-by his daughter, Responsibility,
-and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
-I Know My Rights
-I Want It Now
-Someone Else Is To Blame
-I'm A Victim
-Pay Me for Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Have you joined our parent organizations? If so, you still must pay dues to be a member of HSGP - your enrollment in either of our parent organizations (American Humanist Association or Council for Secular Humanism) does NOT automatically include membership in the local chapter, HSGP. And conversely, if you join HSGP, you are not automatically enrolled in our parent organizations! Each is separate and must be joined separately. Why not join all three today? Humanism depends on your financial as well as emotional support!
HSGP is a Chartered chapter of the American Humanist Association and also a chapter of the Council for Secular Humanism.

American Humanist Association
1777 T. Street
Washington, DC 20009-7102
Council for Secular Humanism
Box 664
Amherst, NY 14226-0664