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    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    Bates College: Maine's battleground

    On Thursday, I entered the last state in the northeast corridor of the United States, Maine. It was the 30th U.S. state I have visited in my lifetime (I snuck over the border of Vermont on the same day, from Hanover, NH - that was #29).

    So, I arrived at Bates College... it was a very strange arrival (my cell phone was out of service everywhere up there and I couldn't get in touch with Jonathan Browher and I couldn't find a pay phone, but finally the book store let me use their phone, little did they know they were accomplices in a vast right-wing conspiracy).

    Ok, I'll cut the humor there... so I met with Jonathan, who may in fact be the best ISI Campus Representative in the country. He's certainly the most enthusiastic, and he's only a sophomore. As a freshman, Jon started and remains the Editor-in-Chief of The Pachyderm Press, Maine's first and largest statewide college newspaper. It's a conservative paper and serves as the voice of the Maine College Republicans.

    Jon walked me around campus, which was cool and we saw many faculty doors that were "over the top" partisan. Then, we met a visiting professor in the history department who Jon likes because "she doesn't make us feel bad about American history." She's conservative and she's getting her Ph.D. from a large state school in California that I was just at (I'll protect her privacy). So, how'd she land the job as a history professor at Bates? Well, I'll repeat, she's only a visiting professor, with a 1-year appointment. Ahh, the faculty will figure it out and make sure she doesn't return, despite the fact that the students love her. But who knows, maybe she'll beat the odds.

    After meeting the prof, we ventured to "the quad", where Jon showed me all the "chalkings" on the sidewalk. I am missing my digital camera about now (it's broke). The chalkings were placed there by a gay rights group and certainly one can understand their writings about "tolerance", etc. But, then it just gets weird from there. I won't repeat some of them, but one in particular was pretty vulgar. It said, "Masturbate, Don't Discriminate." Another said "Have you ever questioned your heterosexuality?" There's nothing like making students think, eh? Thank goodness for the contemporary liberal arts college.

    Finally, we made it to the campus chapel, which is not as impressive as Princeton's or Duke's, but certainly a worthy piece of architecture... until you open the doors and take a look inside and see that every Christian symbol was ripped out of there. Gone. All that remains that reminds you of religion is 8 banners hanging from the ceiling, each of which represents a different religion. Sure, the one with the cross represents Christianity, the menorah represents Judaism, there was Hindu one, and some others. But one stood out: Mother Earth. That's it. I have no idea if the environmentalists have their own religion now too, but that was kind of strange. It was sad that this building that once stood for something good, moral, and holy, has been desecrated in the name of "tolerance."

    Later that evening, Jon and I were joined by Nathan Walton, the State Chair of the College Republicans of Maine (also a Bates College student), 3 other conservative students from Bates, as well as Dan Schuberth, who was the former state chair of the CR's and now is the Secretary of the national organization, the CRNC. It was a conspiracy in the making. We plotted for some good conservative speakers to hit the campus, Nate Walton gave me some good ideas, and Jon gave me about 50 copies of The Pachyderm Press to take back with me to ISI. It looks good, I was very impressed.

    My final commentary on Bates College is this: I was shocked and appalled several times on campus, whether it was from the pornographic art in the art museum/building, the chalkings on the quad telling me to masturbate, the over the top partisanship on faculty members' doors, or the desecrated chapel that I wish I could say was a "remnant". But, I was left hopeful and optimistic and energized by a small, but growing group of students who are pressing on despite the pressures to conform. My last conversation of the evening was with Nate Walton who told me that Jon was the most "enthusiatic" student leader he knew and that he was always telling Nate "ISI! ISI!". Nate said, "that guy [Jon] just really has a passion to learn: whether it's about conservatism or about history or whatever. He came to Bates to learn and that's great because that's what our educational experience is supposed to be about." Well said Nate. And, well exemplified Jon! I left motivated, proud, and yet humbled.

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    Debate at Dartmouth! WAH-HOO-WAH

    I only had 2 days "in the office" this week, and then I was off to Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH for an ISI Cicero's Podium Debate between Harvey Mansfield of Harvard and Professor Peter Travis, (English Professor) of Dartmouth on the topic, "Is Manliness a Virtue in a Free Society?" This was a great debate. In about a couple months, it will appear on the ISI website.

    Before the debate, I didn't know what to expect. Also, beforehand, we had dinner with about 10 students from Dartmouth, representing the Dartmouth Review, the College Republicans and the ISI Group that is forming there, and Harvey Mansfield was there as well. He is absolutely awesome by the way.

    When the debate kicked off, both sides made some good points and represented their side well... and then Professor Travis just made some ridiculous (and ridiculously weird) comments... among them were that "there are more than 2 genders" (i'm paraphrasing) and that there "are at least 5 or 6 genders". Say what? I had to ask myself, "did he really just say that?"

    He also said he was hopeful that we are perhaps entering "a queer age" and then cited the Kinsey report (yea, that nutty professor from about 50 years ago) as some kind of precedent on sexuality. Yes, these are the professors who are running things at our universities. They think they are someone "progressive" in their thinking. They're weird, that's it. He even referred to his wife as his "partner". It's like the guy wants to be gay but isn't. Why not? Because it's not natural. The politics this guy is playing is that he wants us to be a "gender neutral" society in EVERY aspect. That's just a sick idea. One conservative professor who was in the audience told me later that the most important point against that idea was never made - women can get pregnant, men can't. Case closed on gender differences.

    Anyway, the debate was interesting. Afterwards, the 11 students from Thomas More College who came up for the debate joined me and about 5-6 students from Dartmouth, plus Harvey Mansfield and one other conservative professor from Dartmouth at a local establishment, where dessert and drinks were enjoyed. It was a good time, and great conversation ensued for about 2 hours or so. The TMC students are great and I am going to go hang out with them on Friday night and visit their campus for a "Friday night lecture" before I head back to Wilmington.

    And, don't get me wrong, the Dartmouth students were awesome as well. I met Noah (forget his last name) who is the Student Body President at Dartmouth. His convocation speech made national attention a month back or so when he told the incoming freshman class about following moral leaders and used Jesus Christ as an example of a moral leader. His ideas were cited as controversial because a few students thought his use of Jesus as an example of a moral leader was "inappropriate". Yep, this at a school that was founded by a religious sect. It's not longer a religious school by affiliation, but why can't Noah express his opinions in a convocation speech when professors express theirs every day in the classroom? I was happy to meet Noah and he was a really excellent individual, totally was above my already high expectations.

    Scott and Mike from Dartmouth also invited me and the TMC students to visit the office of the historic Dartmouth Review. It was a very impressive office (very big) and they gave us all a free Dartmouth "Indian" t-shirts (it was the old "Indian" mascot that was banned in the 1970s, but the Review staff keeps it alive by selling merchandise with the Indian logo on it. I've always wanted a Dartmouth Indian t-shirt and I finally got one.

    Scott and Matt (leader of the CR's) also invited me back to their frat (which was keeping the party going at 1am or so), where I beat them in a game of beer pong and won a Dartmouth College Republican t-shirt from Matt. After about an hour at the frat house, I honestly had to get out of there. I just felt way too old for that. The beer was a 'flowin' and it was fun, but it had been a seriously long day. The President of the Review gave me a ride back to my hotel and I called it a night about 1:40 AM. Gotta love the Ivy League college life... prepartion, dinners, debates, drinks, dessert, office time, and a frat party.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Back to the East Coast

    On Saturday, I flew back to the East Coast. It was a long 5-hour flight and I made it back to my apartment about 10:30pm EST on Saturday... and I ordered a pizza and went to bed. A long 13-day journey to many places. Oregon, Washington state, and Southern California. I had met with people from 22 schools in just 13 days! I was physically on 18 different campuses! I signed up 53 members on my trip alone. And, the point of these trips is to "spread the word" which then spreads like the "invisible hand" ... more brochures and ideas land where you may not have necessarily expected them to, and then things just blossom later. So, 53 new members and probably about 50 members that were already there met with me, talked to me about ISI and all of our programs and how they could benefit.

    It's the gift that keeps on giving... the gift of ideas. Let it spread. For me, after 13 days of meetings, airports, car drives and everything in between... I was going to bed.

    A night on the town

    On my last night in Beverly Hills, Ryan Sorba and I hit the town. We went out in style and it was well-deserved by the end of my trip. Also, Ryan made an hour drive from San Bernardino (right after class) to meet up with me. And, I think the L.A. traffic was actually longer than an hour for him.

    We went and ate at the famous "Rainbow Room" and then hung out at the "Sky Bar", both in the Beverly Hills/West Hollywood area. They were splendid locations, but filled with a lot of Hollywood types... you know those fake people. Ryan and I were mostly caught up in our own deep intellectual converstions... revolving around contemporary issues... everything from campus activism to defeating the gay agenda.

    We also talked with some interesting people at the Sky Bar, which I think gets its name because out on the outside deck (which is the whole place virtually) you overlook all of L.A., with the gliterring lights of the city valley below you.

    Ryan is a great guy... someone I wish I had known much earlier and someone I wish didn't live 3,000 miles away. He's an entrepreneur (already bought a house) and he is, as mentioned in a previous blog, writing a book about homosexuality. He had a lot of interesting insights that I would love to share, but I don't want to let anything out of the bag for him as far as his (original) ideas. I was definitely intrigued and if he can put his ideas into words, I think he could have a hell of a book!

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    UCLA: Something's a ' Bruin

    On Friday, my last full day of being an ISI missionary to the Left coast, I spent about four hours (yes 4) of my day at UCLA. What a nice campus, and what a location. It's in an area of L.A. called "Westwood", and literally just a mile or so from Beverly Hills. The campus is beautiful (yet somewhat modern, but still very nice) and the area just surrounding it is very nice, with million dollar homes everywhere (probably plenty of multi-million dollar homes too).

    I had 3 separate meetings with individual conservative students and even an alumni or 2, actually. One student runs the CN paper there, "The Bruin Standard." Another is an assistant editor and also is one of the leaders of the College Republicans. One was involved with both groups (who I've met before), but he is working in Governor Schwarzennager's (sp?) office in L.A. (the L.A. office of course)

    Then I met with Andrew Jones, who graduated from UCLA in 2003 and was involved with ISI and CN in all kinds of ways. He is now working to build the Bruin Alumni Association. Check it out for yourself.

    Andrew is trying to raise awareness among UCLA alumni (particularly among conservative alumni) about the crazy Leftist ideologies that are plaguing the UCLA campus (and most college campuses). But his focus is of course on his own school and that is what's key. The tough part is funding it and starting it up. But I think if he stays persistent (and seems persistent) that ultimately it will succeed as an organization and potentilaly it could have a huge impact on UCLA and on connecting the alumni (and donors) to what is currently going on on-campus. And, activating those alumni to use any power they have (their voice, their money, etc) to help make an impact back onto UCLA and help bring some sanity back to the university.

    Best of luck Andrew... full speed ahead!

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Bakersfield Reagan Students

    So after I went to Hollywood, I quickly got out of town. Seriously. I took a drive up to Bakersfield, CA which took me almost 2 hours there and only about 90 minutes back. Once you get out of L.A., you just fly... and you go through some very scenic mountains, with almost no population. Then, you get to Bakersfield, which proclaims that it won an award for some kind of emblamatic American city. Sure.

    I met up with Travis Ratliff, who leads an ISI associated group, the "Bakersfield Reagan Students." I've gotten to know Travis over the last 9 months or so, at conferences, in DC, and have communicated with him frequently about the things he's had to deal with as a leader of a conservative group on campus. From what I heard, things sounded almost out of control, with the university violating his freedom of speech and putting up many road blocks from allowing his group to even form.

    After hearing all this, I was expecting a much different campus scene. When I arrived, I arrived onto a commuter school campus late in the afternoon with students mosying about. Didn't look very political one way or the other. I thought to myself, "This is the campus where the PC police were going crazy?" Unreal. I think when professors or people on faculty have a problem with conservative ideas on their campus, no matter where it is, they take over some sort of power control over the small little area of the world they control. As David Horowitz likes to call these Leftist ideologues, "they are totalitarians." I can see why Horowitz uses such crass language.

    Travis invited me to speak at a meeting of his growing student group. About 8 students showed up, mostly of hispanic origin. Travis told them about many different opportunities members of his group would be informed about and how they could take advantage of those opportunities. As the speaker of the idea, I introduced them to the world of ideas and the world of ISI... they all signed up for ISI membership and seemed excited about the possibilities. It was really great to see Travis taking the initiative to get students on his campus involved in his group. At commuter schools, trying to get people to get involved with anything is a challenge... and the student leaders of those kind of groups really have to be up for the challenge.

    After I visited Cal State-Bakersfield, I headed back to Beverly Hills. (It's not every day you get to say that). And, I had myself a burrito at a local establishment and then said good night. It had been a long day and it was starting to feel like a long (yet enjoyable) (yet tiring) 2-week trip. Just 2 days to go.

    Sunday, October 09, 2005

    Hollywood is trashy

    Seriously. On Thursday morning, I had a couple hours to kill (I guess most people call this "free time"). Anyway, since I was only staying a few miles away from the epicenter of Hollywood, CA, I figured I'd go check it out.

    What was I expecting? Well, I guess the "walk of fame" with all the stars names engraved in stars on the sidewalk, and all the things that go with that... perhaps some cool TV studios and maybe a glimpse of a movie star. What was I thinking?

    I get there and there's a little area of a couple of blocks that is all of a sudden flooded with tourists, particularly in the Man's Chinese Theatre area... which I think the one at Disney's MGM Studios is not only nicer looking, but bigger. I was like - "this is it?" Seeing a few stars names on the ground was cool, kind of... but not really as exciting as I thought it would be. So, I kept walking around, thinking I'd see something cool. The best I got was one studio right across the street where the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" night time talk show takes place. Big woop. So, I kept walking... and boy was that a mistake.

    The rest of Hollywood is filled with lingerie shops, homeless people walking around looking like they're on crack, and then you get to a few blocks where you're thinking to yourself, "I think I walked too far..." And, then I see a nice looking 4-story building that simply says "Gay and Lesbian Center." Yea, and this building was only 2 blocks from the famous Hollywood Blvd. Oh boy... so THIS is Hollywood. This is where the popular culture of America is created and spewed forth onto an unknowing public. This is what gets all the glitz and glamour. THIS.

    I was repulsed... and I just wanted to go home and kill my television.

    Azusa Pacific and Christians in L.A.

    So, one thing you realize once you hit L.A. is that the culture isn't exactly moral. But, then you get stuck in traffic (possibly for hours) and you start flipping around the radio stations. And, you come to 99.5 FM, a Christian radio station, where they play good Christian music and then mix in Christian talk. Well, on Wednesday as I was stuck in traffic driving into L.A. and then back out of L.A. out to Azusa, CA I heard some good intellectual discussion on the contemporary topic of "Intelligent Design." Jonathan West (of Discovery Institute!) was giving a radio interview to the host of this Christian radio station about the intricacies of intelligent design theory. After that was over, the host then switched topics and went into why private vouchers would help the education system. I couldn't agree more.

    Finally, I arrived to my destination: Azusa Pacific University, an "evangelical" Christian school where a Catholic leads the ISI Group. Go figure. The group is led by an ISI Faculty Associate, who is getting his Ph.D. from nearby Claremont College, and (as an adjunct teacher) he is leading students in an ISI Group called "Faith and Culture." They are taking on the issues of religion and the public square by bringing lectures to campus and discussing the "great books" they are already reading as part of their classwork.

    Five students from APU joined me for dinner, as well 3 students from the College Republicans chapter at Cal State-San Bernardino. The leader of that group, Ryan Sorba, I have met before and been in touch with. Ryan's a great guy and he dominated much of the discussion at dinner, including his interest in writing a book about the issue of homosexuality and the gay rights agenda. Obviously, Ryan is against their agenda and he gave us all some good insights that not too many people are talking about regarding this issue. A lot of it was historical as well as biological/psychological... as Ryan is a psychology major.

    As I drove back into L.A., I was comforted in knowing that there were some good Christian students at both of these schools (one Christian, one a state school) that were doing their part to introduce faith-based ideas into the public square... being the counter-culture to a decadent culture. They have not only a lot of courage, but a lot of intellect. I was impressed and I think the dinner helped forge some good alliances between the students at the two schools, who seemed to have more in common than one would have originally thought.

    As much as I think Christianity is more prevalent in "middle America", I can see that Christians in the L.A. area are more vocal about their Christianity and trying to take on the popular culture with their faith. I'm hopeful that there are avenues for them to pursue and that these students are perhaps opening other avenues for those around them and those following in their footsteps.

    In and Out Burger and the PCH

    Driving from San Diego into L.A. was neat - for one, the scenery. I left San Diego by driving on the Pacific Coast Highway... for about 30 miles or so, until I merged back onto I-5. In the meantime, I drove through some nice coastal towns, which looked glamorous at times and then more like perfect surfing spots at others. The beach/ocean view is unique though, as you have mountains and cliffs overlooking the beach and ocean... and the beaches seem longer here.

    Later on my drive, I stopped off at "In and Out Burger," a popular California fast-food chain that I've heard of by many, but never experienced myself... finally I did. My only complaint is they don't take credit or debit cards (I'm so technologically advanced aren't I?) So, I had to run to the ATM just to get a bite out of one of their burgers, but I had to run to the ATM anyway. Good burgers... I still think I prefer Wendy's, but this was a very welcome change and much better than Mickey D's anyday.

    As I got closer to L.A., I passed through Anaheim and saw Disneyland to my lefthand side of the freeway and the LA-Anaheim Angels ball park to my right. Pretty cool to at least see this stuff from the interstate. Then, finally I proceeded into the Los Angeles area... how could I tell I was there? Well, there's no "welcome to L.A." sign nor is there a real welcome, other than the heavy traffic (which luckily was more in the OTHER direction) and then there was the noticeable downtown with all the skyscrapers... and finally, as I got closer to my hotel in Beverly Hills, I could see the famous "Hollywood" sign in the Hollywood Hills. It felt surreal to be here, but then again, as I would soon find out... nothing here really feels real.

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Constructing Strict Constructionists

    So, just days after President Bush appointed a "stealth" nominee - someone who has never even been a judge before (Harriet Meier), I met with a conservative law student at Cal Western School of Law in San Diego. He is very fired up about re-starting a Federalist Society group there and affiliating it with ISI as well. I also helped put him in touch with the leadership of the Federalist Society (conservative law group) at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Looks like they are already looking forward to working together!

    On another note... what the heck is President Bush doing with this nominee? Here he as the opportunity to shape the Supreme Court for years (decades!) to come and yet he chooses not someone that is HIGHLY qualified, of which there are many candidates, but instead to a longtime friend. I love President Bush and I agree with him most of the time, but this is an outrage and a slap in the face to all the other well-qualified conservative judges out there that have worked their whole lives to be part of this elite group of justices. They have been overlooked for someone none of us know much about, except we all know that she's a friend of the President... and I guess as we've learned, loyal friends get jobs in this adminstration.

    I'm still not sure what to think... but it sounds like this ridiculous decision has finally "awakened" the conservative movement. It might be a good thing for the conservative movement in the long-term, but for now, it's somewhat demoralizing.

    The California Review

    Tuesday night, I met with four students from UCSD, all are involved with several conservative student groups, including the College Republicans and the conservative student newspaper that is on the Collegiate Network - The California Review. It's a good paper, but I advised the students they need to get more campus focused, in other words, write more articles related to the campus rather than simply national news.

    UCSD is an interesting school. As I mentioned in my last blog, it's just a few minutes from the beach and it's a growing school. It's pretty modern, established sometime in the 1950s or 60s. It reminded me of UCF about 10 years ago, or even something closer to FAU a couple years ago. It's a big state school in a big state with bigger state schools.

    The students are working on bringing Dinesh D'Souza to campus in the next month or so. ISI is going to help co-sponsor it, but the students here have an ambitious plan. Since D'Souza lives in the San Diego area, he plans to spend 2 days on the campus. One day will be giving a lecture and possibly a debate on one of the 2 days... and then another day the students want him to meet with administrators, professors and maybe even sit in on some classes to engage with these classes more intellectually. D'Souza is a big critic of today's university atmosphere and curriculum which preaches the ideologies of "multiculturalism", "diversity" and "relativism" and I would love to be sitting in those classes with him! Let's see if they can pull it off.

    After I met with these students, I re-united with my friend (and former roommate) Jimmy, who recently moved to San Diego just a couple months ago and lives right near UCSD. We caught up over a beer or two. Good times. I told him and the students I envy them... with the beautiful beaches and scenery they are able to enjoy in San Diego and La Jolla.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    Welcome to San Diego!

    Well, my welcome to San Diego, was... you could say... a bit "delayed." As my plane was landing on Monday night, and descending to land on the (short) runway at San Diego airport, we got within 500 feet of the runway... and then... instead of continuing to land, we accelerated back up! A few minutes later, the pilot came on the air telling us that apparently there was some sort of mix up on the runway, and another plane was still there or something... so the control tower told him to go back up and circle back around and try landing again.

    Let's just say, more than a few of us were a bit nervous about this... despite the fact they were probably just taking the necessary precautions. About 10 or 15 minutes later, after rejoining the flight pattern, we finally landed. After seeing the SanDiego airport during the day - and the flight pattern that takes planes right next to (or through?) downtown San Diego, I don't like what I see. I don't want to predict a catastrophe, but there looks like just a little room for error there. I think they should build a bigger airport out more in the burbs somewhere, away from all the commotion of downtown and a place where they need a bigger runway. It'd be safer that's for sure.

    Other than that... San Diego is beautiful. On Tuesday, I dropped off some materials to some conservative student's mailboxes at the University of San Diego (another Catholic school out here) and then headed for the beach for a few hours. WOW is the place AMAZING. I do in fact think this is the best city in America - weather, climate, people, everything. It was about 77 degrees, no rain, no clouds, clear sky, and no humidity... and beauty all around me... with cliffs and mountains overlooking the beach. Surfers were having their kicks with the waves, and a mild number of people were laying out on the beach enjoying the paradise they were given. It truly is paradise... and as I sat on the beach myself, I could only think that perhaps scenes like this are just a glimpse of the paradise that awaits us. And if this is just a glimpse, I can't imagine what eternal paradise is like.

    Ok, enough thinking on my part... after the beach it was time to get ready to meet with the conservative students at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD). These kids are lucky. Their school is about a mile from the beach, in fact the "oceanography" center of UCSD is actually on the beach! It's hard not to feel envious.

    Seattle University: This is Catholic?

    On Monday, I visited my final campus in Seattle and the PNW. I began my trip in the PNW at a Catholic institution (the University of Portland), and ended it with another Catholic school, Seattle University.

    I met with an English Professor here who has been involved with ISI for a long time. Great guy, he even leads a student marksmanship club here - they go shoot on a gun range about every week or so. But, more importantly, he pointed out some very weird things going on here at Seattle U - let me remind you, this is supposed to be a CATHOLIC university!!

    Here is just one news article related to panels on sex education" at Seattle University, organized by - you guessed it - a nutty history professor:
    When I locate the entire event schedule for this "forum" this year, I'll post it as well... every single topic was related to issues about "sexuality" and the vast majority of them were about "homosexuality" and it wasn't about just confronting it, but accepting it and welcoming it. Well, if you see the neighborhoods Seattle University is surrounded by, you'll get the point that around here, this isn't very strange at all... but for a "Catholic" school to be promoting this stuff is just HERETICAL!! Something needs to be done... a movement within the Church needs to crack down on Catholic colleges and universities. What the Church believes should be taught, that's all I'm saying.

    Seattle wrap-up

    Ok, so if anyone actually reads this... you might have noticed a little lag in my blogs the past few days... the truth is, you can call it either laziness or tiredness... I'm approaching the end of my 13-day trip to the Left Coast. It's been enjoyable and honestly I'm not as tired as I thought I'd be by this point... but still the blogging has slowed down... so maybe I have!

    This past Saturday, I took it easy most of the day, caught up on stuff and watched some college football. The good thing about being out west, is as soon as you wake up on Saturday morning, the college football games are already on... I think I slept in until around 10am... when I flipped the TV on, a bunch of games were on, all into the late first quarter/early second quarter. And, it's not like games end much earlier here, as the west coast games are just on later. It's a sweet deal in that respect.

    Later that evening, I met with a guy who is getting his PhD from Fordham University, but lives in Seattle with his wife and their 5 kids! Yea, they're in their 40s - and he (like most people around Seattle) works in the software industry, but is getting a PhD in philosophy, he already has a few master's degrees - theology, philosophy and an undergrad in biology. Impressive. Ganske came with me and met with him too, I think we're forging a nice little network of ISI and Discovery Institute folks in the Seattle area, not to mention people interested in what it means to be a Christian intellectual.

    On Sunday, I woke up and went to mass at the St. James Cathedral here in Seattle. It's very nice, but very modern. It was a great service, and it is the only hope I see for Seattle... though hope for this city, in terms of a positive culture, is bleak. I wasn't very impressed with Seattle overall, but I can only think that the demographics will eventually be with us... a lot of "strange" people out here, in all sorts of ways.

    Later on Sunday, I met with a Professor from Shoreline Community College, encouraging him to get more involved with ISI and the GK Chesterton Society we sponsor out here. We had an excellent 2-hour conversation over lunch and I think I helped lift his spirits about the positive elements that are going on in academic circles because of ISI. Yes, we've still got a long way to go, I reassured him, but there is some hope. He related to me that he was very disturbed that most people on campus - even the students - were "brainwashed" into thinking bad things about Western Civilization - even the study of Western Civ, calling it "racist" or "imperialist". I just told him - read Dinesh D'Souza and offer his ideas as an alternative. He liked D'Souza's points (which I cited to him) about why Western Civ is the most superior culture in the world and why it deserves to be studied and promoted. I think he went from discouraged to encouraged in a matter of two hours. And so goes the work of the ISI missionary.

    Later that evening, I hung out with Ganske some more and we went to downtown Seattle for dinner and a couple beers... he then dropped me at the space needle, where I felt I "had to" go up. There really isn't much to do in Seattle, I discovered... so I wanted to ride up to the top of the famous space needle. It was ok up there... best view I had of Seattle, but still it didn't do too much more to impress me. I don't want to leave a feeling of depression here, but let's just say, I now understand why grunge music came out of this city. I just wish it were still around to console me.

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    SAFECO Field: My 9th Baseball Park

    I made it to the Seattle Mariners' home field here on Friday night, as they took on the Oakland A's and pounded them pretty hard... the stadium is pretty new, only a few years old and very nice and very big.... It also has a retractable roof, which was closed for this game (even though it wasn't really raining, but it did rain a bit earlier in the day I believe). This was my ninth baseball stadium in my lifetime and my fifth different one just this season! The others in my lifetime: Marlins, Yankees, Orioles, Nationals, Blue Jays, White Sox, Giants, Phillies, and now... the Mariners!

    It was a good game and I was in the nosebleed section, but right in line with first base, so not a bad view at all (there never really is a bad seat at baseball stadiums). Ganske and I went and then afterwards, we hit a couple bars.

    It was an odd turn of events in the evening, as we were looking for a good bar to go to and were dragged into (ok, maybe more like invited, not dragged) by a middle-aged woman on the street who recommended it and said she'd introduce us to some "hot chicks." Ok, they weren't that hot, but she had a nice group of mostly 30-something year old friends, who couldn't believe how young we were. (I couldn't believe how old they were).

    The atmosphere inside the first bar was a bit strange, almost "bohemian" as Ganske remarked... a few weird looking people in there. After and hour or two there, we skipped over to "FADO'S Irish Pub" (I've been to the FADO's in DC and Philly, so this was a more normal place). They had a good band in their, sort of a funk/blues/rock band ... good stuff. We danced around a bit... Ganske was hanging out with this 35-year old woman, who looked more like 28. She was fun, but kept remarking how she was too old. With those constant comments, she was right.

    It was fun times though... and I turned in about 1:30am or so... off to sleep.


    Friday afternoon I visited the Discovery Institute in Seattle, a really great and intriguing organization, where my friend Charles Ganske works. Discovery is involved with many projects, but is known most strongly for their scholarly contributions to the new field of intelligent design.

    Ganske showed me around the organization's headquarters. ISI works somewhat closely with the Discovery Institute and its scholars. In fact, as far back as 1996, we published a whole Intercollegiate Review publication on the subject of intelligent design. It's good stuff, mostly debunking the materialist nature of Darwinism and the scientific claim that we are mere products of natural selection. It's a fascinating and controversial subject at the moment.

    Anyway... that was my Friday afternoon, although it was mostly spent just trying to get around downtown Seattle between 2 and 5pm... traffic is nuts here. I should have just walked... it turns out, that where I am staying, I am only about a 10-block walk from the Discovery Institute's headquarters.

    University of Washington

    On Friday, I met with three professors at the University of Washington. In such a liberal environment, they are holding the fort and doing so in an almost "underground" fashion, as they mentioned the few conservative professors try to figure out who each other are and then form some sort of tight underground bond. It's almost funny, it's almost sad.

    But, one professor in the history department who has long been involved with ISI leads the G.K. Chesteron Society, which is an ISI Group that involves a consortium of professors at the three major schools in Seattle (the other two are Seattle University and Seattle Pacific). I'll be meeting with a couple other professors at Seattle University Monday that are also part of this G.K. Chesterton Society.

    I really enjoyed the time with these professors, I had lunch with 2 of them, one was one of the leaders of the Chesterton Society... the other was a little bit less involved with ISI, but still involved. However, the first one seemed "very excited" and was very talkative the whole time, almost giddy. I think they like having someone from ISI come by and lift up their spirits.

    The University of Washington campus, by the way, is VERY NICE. I was impressed with how historic it looks, with some very nice architecture, a big giant plaza area (called "Red Square" because it is a huge giant red square, but I'm sure there's some communist undertones that are attributed to it as well), and the campus is very large with a nice "University Avenue" full of shops, restaurants, and bars. Everyone around here is very liberal - you can just tell. Also, a very eccentric culture in that "university district" too, but also in Seattle in general.

    I'll have more on the rest of my first full day in Seattle in my next blog... stay tuned.