Where do I begin? Well, the Amaz!ng Meeting puts me in personal touch with quite a large number of folks from all across the world who share with the JREF a skeptical point of view in regard to the charlatans who happily fleece anyone who comes in range of their nonsense. This crowd is of well-mixed gender, of a great selection of ages, of all colors and shapes, and certainly of varied opinions. That variety of opinions is fascinating to me; TAM would not be TAM without it. Now, those are admittedly obvious factors in my delight and satisfaction when TAM-time rolls around, of course, but they’re only a few threads in the fabric that constitutes the JREF.
I must tell you that it’s the one-on-one encounters at TAM that really grab me. I can’t recall how many times I’ve had a TAM-er approach me with the statement that the JREF has made a difference in his or her world-view, how something one of our staff or speakers came up with, or what developed at one of the after-dark get-togethers over a beer or two, has changed how that person thinks about the wonderful universe that we inhabit together. I hope that my next book – my tenth – will get many of these messages across to you.
TAM has something that I’ve seldom seen in other such meetings, though a Dragon*Con I attended in Atlanta a few years back – 46,000 attendees last year! – showed clearly what I’ve also admired about TAM: everyone is cooperative, thoughtful, attentive, generous, and polite to others, and that’s what I call, love. “What the world needs now…” You know that song, don’t you?
We embrace one another because we want everyone to understand that we have a message which is designed for and broadcast to those who will listen: “Don’t accept what the media and the merchandisers try to sell you without thinking about it, carefully.” Surely it's an ambitious goal, to get that message across, and TAM does just that. I’ve seen it at every TAM since we first got started, and it’s a wonderful, satisfying realization that I had something to do with it, I can tell you. And now the unique and important content from TAMs past is being made available for free online through JREF’s Youtube Channel and on this website, all in the public interest, to help educate people about the skeptical agenda that JREF espouses. You can enjoy many past TAM offerings here: http://www.youtube.com/user/JamesRandiFoundation
TAM is put together by our staff led by our president D.J. Grothe (who has been guiding the JREF to new heights, I'm happy to say), a fantastic team of happy volunteers, and many, many others who seldom receive appropriate thanks for their efforts. I hope you’ll watch for badges that reveal those individuals, and pause to thank them properly for making this annual event such a great success.
When I wander into the lounge, a restaurant, or even into an elevator infested with TAM-ers, I catch bits of discussions that make me want to join in, but I’m usually on my way to some podcast, interview, press meeting, or other duty. As I’ve said before, I can always be interrupted for a word or two, for a hug, or just a quick greeting, but please don’t ever feel that you’re in my way, folks. I’m at TAM because it refreshes me and sends me back to my desk or to a lecture platform to deliver yet another harangue about harmful nonsense…
Only my partner in life means more to me than the JREF, and TAM comes in third, but a strong third, I assure you. I bloom, I laugh, I cry, and I cheer at TAM, and I’m awed at the quality and the generosity of those who join us as speakers, or should I say, as TAM’s stars? Yes, stars! I’m sure that you’ll agree with my opinion in that regard.
So, onward and upward, folks! Stop me and tell me what TAM means to you, and if you didn’t make it this year, we’ll be happy to see you next year.
Love ya all…!