I sent him a suggestion yesterday that he submit an essay to NPR’s “This I Believe” series. That’s a radio piece based on an Edward R. Morrow series of the same now where people describe their core beliefs. I suspect Mr. Randi’s essay might be pretty interesting, and a bit different from the usual tone of that segment.
So today I get a two line email: “Essay just submitted. Thanks for the suggestion. - James Randi”
Geez, he works fast. I’m hoping we’ll hear that on NPR some time soon.
Not only did you get to correspond with him, he took action on your idea. Closest I got to that is a brief note to Michael Shermer about one of his debates on evolution, and his thanks for the input.
Keep us posted; if you hear it on NPR, drop SDMB a line so that we try to get it online!
I chatted very briefly with Randi after a speech he made several years ago about gullibility and scientific method at Fermilab. Seemed a very cool guy, very open to new things. I will say, durring the open Q&A period after his speech, though, I got some very odd looks. Most people were asking about science, pseudoscience, or fraud in general. I asked him what type of entrails he thought worked best in a psychic surgery set-up.
(I was doing one at the time, although as a theater piece, not as a scam. Figured, I’d ask a guy who’d seen the ‘real’ thing!)
That’s awesome. I have a lot of respect for Randi and I hope that this gets his views out to a wider audience.
so…not only did he READ your email, but he also considered the suggestion you made AND acted on it!
And don’t it make you feel good!
Good for you for making it…and good for Randi for reading, acting, and responding!
Oh, come on. You can’t mention this and not include his answer.
I sent him an email that he responded to once, also!
He was looking for someone who had taped their $700.00 psychic reading session with Sylvia Browne, and I had recently read an article written by a woman who had had a session with her and felt completely ripped off about it. http://archive.salon.com/mwt/feature/2003/01/08/psychic/
He had already contacted her so I guess I wan’t all that helpful, but I was pleased he wrote back!
The internet can be a great equalizer in some respects. I had also once contacted an author of a book about premature babies looking for some outcomes information ( I had a “pre-viable” baby who lived and is thriving)- she not only wrote back but sent me two packets of outcomes information AND taught me how to find the information I was looking for myself. Rockin’!
Hmm, I think I may have made my suggestion too late.
Looking at the web site for This I Believe I see that Penn Jillette’s essay is coming up shortly. This might make Randi’s somewhat redundant, as I think they share many views.
Not that I’m complaining - Penn’s got an interesting take on things too. And I’m glad to have had a small interraction with Mr. Randi. Between that and once having had a letter published in the newspaper version of the Straight Dope, I think I’m doing pretty well in life.
I’ll also pitch in with a “me too”.
A while back one of his items in his weekly Commentary articles screwed up some historical facts, so I dashed off an email correcting matters. Led to a brief exchange of emails straightening the details out and he happily carried a correction in the next week’s piece.
Couldn’t ask for more and he stuck me as classily responsive to the (informed) feedback.
On two occasions, I’ve posted questions about a particular book on general reader boards and gotten back responses from the authors themselves.
Terry Pratchett used to hang out on alt.fan.pratchett. I don’t know if he still does, but several years ago, he responded to a message I posted and we wound up having quite a nice e-mail conversation. He’s a genius, IMNSHO.
Randi takes inputs where he can find them. In fact, he called * me* at my home twice. He wanted to know in what issue of Skeptical Inquirer a little investigative report of mine appeared on a dowser who blew through town with a wild tale about having been instrumental in capturing the Los Angeles Hillside Strangler.
He has responded to 2 of my e mails so far. he’s a good guy, if a bit busy, but he cares.
What issue was it? I have many years of back issues saved.
Randi and Penn Jillette are two of my living heros. I spoke to Randi on the phone about ten years ago. I called to ask him about one of his books that was out of print. He was very gracious to this lame, gushing fan.
I work just a couple blocks from his headquarters here in Ft Lauderdale, and I’ve yet to go check it out. I was so excited to run across the place months ago, yet I basically forgot about it. Hope it’s still there and didn’t get blown away by Wilma.
Damned if I know. It’s been 10 or maybe 15 years or so now when the magazine was still small size. It was in that part of the magazine in the front section, before the articles part.
This con artist came to town, managed to get a big article in our local paper about his self-described part in the Hillside Strangler case. He claimed that he did all this gratis, as a good citizen, but he was willing to teach others about dowsing for a fee and ran three days of night sessions in our local community center.
He claimed to have dowsed a map in the Federal Courthouse building and discovered that the Strangler was at a gas station. The FBI was called and they arrested him, finding articles of victims clothing in the trunk of his car.
I wrote the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division and the LA Federal Marshall’s office asking about it and sending along copies of the articles. The chief Marshall was unaware of any such activity at the court and the LAPD stated that there were two Hilside Stranglers. One of them was arrested at his place of business in Glendale and the other in Bellingham, WA. No gas station, no victims’ clothing and the arrests were by LAPD and Bellingham police, not the FBI.
I sent my results to the local editor, who did nothing about correcting their boner, and to Skeptical Inquirer. I later got a letter from Steve Allen about it and he apparently also took the local editor to task. I got an excited all from her about a month after the Inquirer piece complaining about Allen getting on her at my instigation for the original article.