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    Wednesday, August 31, 2005

    A City Lost? A Spirit Broken?

    As we all know by now, Hurricane Katrina pounded the Gulf Coast, killed hundreds of people (and possibly thousands, fears New Orleans' Mayor) and destroyed tens of thousands of homes. A still greater fear is upon us... did the storm destroy - or worse - annihilate a major U.S. city?

    One thing is for sure, New Orleans will never be the same again... but will it return to its former days as the "Big Easy," famous for Mardi Gras, a mix of french and cajun cuisine, where one truly feels a down-to-earth, laid back, Southern charm mixed with a bit of French aristocracy. This is yet to be seen.

    For now, our thoughts and prayers are with the millions of people of New Orleans, for those that made it safe out of the city but have no place left to return to those still stranded in a flooded home, an interstate highway, or some other piece of high land they can find among the remnants of a now "lost city" to those whose souls have perished from this earth because of this storm, that they may all find the comforts and mercy of an all-forgiving God.

    We can only hope that whatever destruction this storm wreaked, that it will not destroy the souls of a city, or even that of a nation that reaches out to help those in need of physical and spiritual assistance. New Orleans, we reach out to you during your time of need and we hope to pull you up so that your city, and your spirit, will never be lost, even in these desperate times.

    Thursday, August 25, 2005

    I thought I felt 18 again

    I just went to this website:

    It's interesting. You put in all these statistics and information (by answering questions) about your health and lifestyle, a lot of different factors. They then "calculate" your "real age" as opposed to your "calendar age". I suppose if you smoke and engage in certain behaviors, your "real age" goes up.

    Well, I must be living a healthy and happy life. My "real age" calculated to be 18.4! That means that I'm 9.2 years younger than my "calendar age". Ahh, I thought I felt 18 again.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    Welcome to Today's College Culture


    What's that headline all about? Well, it is exactly the introductory words used by a faculty member at the University of Rhode Island, Michael Vocino, to introduce himself to his students on the first day of class.

    As most of my readers know full well, the atmosphere on today's college campuses can sometimes get... well, strange. Nathaniel Nelson, an ISI Campus Representative at the University of Rhode Island just graduated this past spring and will be enrolling in a graduate program at another university in a nearby state.

    Earlier this year, Nathaniel informed me of his encounter with a professor at URI and I pointed him in the direction of Students for Academic Freedom. Nathaniel attended ISI's Cicero's Podium debate at Wheaton College on "academic freedom", where he spoke to both of the debate's participants, David Horowitz of SAF and Roger Bowen, of the AAUP, about his story. Both were appalled and both have been trying to help him.

    Horowitz allowed Nathaniel to write an article and publish it on After the article was published on August 12, Nathaniel's former professor at URI, Michael Vocino, responded. Both the response and the link to the first article by Nathaniel can be found here:

    A Confession of Guilt?

    I will warn you, it's quite disturbing. But, worth the read despite the length. Nathaniel wanted me to thank everyone at ISI for being a place where students can find a voice of reason in the sometimes bizarre world that is today's college campus. I think this story continues to demonstrate that we have a long road ahead as far as making a change in the culture on college campuses, needless to say, a change in the classroom too.

    Monday, August 15, 2005

    The Gator Standard is back!

    Congratulations to Editor-in-Chief, Matt Melone on renewing a conservative voice at the University of Florida with The Gator Standard!

    It's still a work in progress, but it's a great move in the "right" direction.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    Republican Party: STOP THE SPENDING!!

    What is the deal? I think I've had it with the amount of federal spending that is going on - and all with a REPUBLICAN MAJORITY in the House, the Senate, and a Republican-controlled White House.

    President Bush just signed a $286.4 Billion highway bill... and its loaded with "plenty of cash with some 6,000 pet projects," according to

    Every time Bush starts to make me happy again, he and the Republican Party go and piss on my parade. Bush made me ecstatic a couple weeks ago with the nomination of John Roberts to the Suprememe Court bench. And now? He goes and signs a HUGE SPENDING BELL that WE DIDNT NEED!!

    Every time I look, highways are getting worked on... and the states spend ENOUGH on them. Highway 52 right here in Wilmington just got re-paved. Did it need to? I doubt this bill has anything to do with highways around me, but who knows. The point is, every dollar of taxpayer money we spend, we better be spending it for good reason. And 286 Billion Dollars is INSANE!

    I am going to have to start watching who I vote for. Neither party satisfies me any more. I agree with Republicans about 70% of the time and almost never with Democrats. But, federal spending on this level, with the budget deficit as much as it is, and taxes as high as they still are, is just insane.

    Word to my party: STOP THE SPENDING!!!!

    Sunday, August 07, 2005

    The Awe of Natural Wonders

    As I reflect back on my family vacation this past week, the one thing that stands out to me is the Niagra Falls. Yes, Toronto was a great city... and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY was some place I've always wanted to go and finally did... and I enjoyed the time with my family in the water park at Camel Beach in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. I even enjoyed once again reflecting on our nation's history in the Brandywine Valley and at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia... but all that seems so much less compared to Niagra Falls.

    When you think about it, the Niagra Falls has been literally "falling" for thousands of years. The first European settlers that came across it was back in the mid-17th century... and I'm sure the American Indians enjoyed its sights and sounds long before that. But, when I sat there looking at the falls and for 2 days just saw millions of gallons falling per second... I thought, "wow". Yes, "wow". I was amazed... first of all, there truly is ALOT of water on this earth. I saw a lot of it fall just in two days at this one place on this huge earth... and it kept coming... we heard the thunder and saw the wonder.

    I thought to myself, when we each look at Niagra Falls, how can any one of us doubt that there is a Creator providing for us? I thought back to the story of Genesis, and whether one takes the story literally or not, we cannot doubt the fact that this water came from somewhere and it covers the earth in plentifold. There is more than an abundance of it and this sight surely proves that. Just like in the Genesis story, where "a stream was welling up out of the earth and was watering all the surface of the ground," so too does Niagra Falls show us how the streams of water keep on providing. It demonstrates how God has provided for us in the past, continues to provide for us now and demonstrates the promise that he will continue to provide in the future.

    Besides our nourishment, God also provides things here on earth to "dazzle" us (as author Donald Miller puts it). Niagra Falls surely does this. The CN Tower is an amazing structure in Toronto, I loved learning all the history of baseball in Cooperstown, and the American Constitution that was put together in Philadelphia is truly one of the most remarkable documents in human history... but when all of the history and cities are said and done, the natural wonder of Niagra Falls keeps on coming. It is amazing. And, people from all corners of the earth flock to it to get a glimpse, to see it from different angles (above, below, in it, from the side, from hotel rooms, from tall buildings, etc). We have a desire to see nature's wonder and to then wonder to ourselves... how did this get here? ... and yet, we should probably ask the deeper question... WHY is this here?

    My friends, it is to show us the awesomeness of our Creator and the good He provides for us, both physically and spiritually. Nothing else comes close to His wonders.

    July 30: The Brandywine Valley

    Mom and Dad on the Brandywine River at the Hagley Museum sight in Wilmington, Delaware. Posted by Picasa

    July 31: Philadelphia

    My dad and I with another (founding) father, James Madison, at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Posted by Picasa

    Aug 2: Cooperstown, NY

    "It Takes a Family" to go on vacation... here I am with my parents and one of my brothers, Tony, at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY Posted by Picasa

    August 3: Niagra Falls

    There truly is "magic in the mist" ... we spotted a rainbow glistening right into the falls (I think the combo of sun, mist, and water sort of makes this happen). But how spectacular this truly is! God truly makes the elements of nature come together to "dazzle" us. Posted by Picasa

    Here I am standing in our hotel room, on the 32nd floor of the Embassy Suites in Niagra Falls. Highly recommended (if you can't tell). Posted by Picasa

    A view of Niagra Falls from our room (seriously, this is amazing). Posted by Picasa

    August 4-5: Toronto, Canada

    The CN Tower in Toronto... from below. Posted by Picasa

    Mom, Tony, and Dad inside the Highest Observation Deck in the world! Posted by Picasa

    From the top of the CN Tower... overlooking the Toronto harbor on Lake Ontario Posted by Picasa

    A view from the glass floor of the CN Tower in Toronto... this is insane... and I didn't take this picture... I'm not crazy enough to stand on glass from the tallest structure in the world. But mom was. Posted by Picasa

    Mom and Dad at the Yankees-Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Yankees won 6-2. Posted by Picasa

    Here I am on top of the "Casa Loma" with the beautiful Toronto skyline in the back drop Posted by Picasa

    An American Canadian Vacation

    This past week, my blog has not seen much action... well, I was on vacation and I didn't really have the time to blog. My parents and one of my brothers came up to Wilmington, Delaware to visit me. They arrived on Friday, the 29th of July and we enjoyed the Brandywine Valley the next day.

    In the Brandywine, we visited the Hagley Museum (a museum of the early DuPont industries in the 1800s, situated on the historic Brandywine River). The Hagley covers over 200 acres of land with mills on the side of the river. We also visited the Battle of the Brandywine Battlefield, where George Washington suffered a major defeat to the British in the Revolutionary War, but survived to keep the revolution alive. We also visited Longwood Gardens for the illuminated fountain show. And, we attended a cocktail hour at my boss' house where we said farewell to one of my colleagues, Julia Austin, who is leaving ISI.

    On Sunday, July 31st, we ventured up to Philly where I gave them the usual treatment for my visitors: cheesesteaks at Pat's (or Gino's, but we chose Pat's this time). and we toured the Constitution Center (I love that place!) and some other sites, including and Old Quaker Meeting House and the Philly Art Museum. The line for the Liberty Bell was too long.

    On Monday, August 1, I gave them the tour of ISI's national headquarters (where I work) and then we ventured on through up to the Poconos of PA, where we stopped at the Camel Beach water park for about 4 hours of fun in the sun and on the water slides. Great day! We then made our way up another 2 hours to Oneonta, NY (just outside Cooperstown). Oneonta was a neat little city, perfect for a place to stay outside of Cooperstown.

    On Tuesday, August 2, we ventured to Cooperstown where we enjoyed the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Spectacular! And, Cooperstown is a neat little town, with a Main Street that makes you feel so... American! The houses in the town have white picket fences and American flags hanging outside. Every American town should look like this community! There were also lot of souvenir stores, but they blended in well with the town, and some little league baseball fields. The museum was awesome as well... it covered the entire history of baseball well and made fans from EVERY Major League team feel they had a place there.

    That evening, we took a long 3 to 4 hour drive up to Niagra Falls, just over the border. In fact, from our hotel at the Embassy Suites on the Canadian side, we could still see America! Niagra Falls was AMAZING... at night, during the day, and from every view possible. We had an AMAZING view from the 32nd floor of the Embassy Suites. We couldn't stop looking at the falls! I totally recommend staying at this hotel and requesting a "fallsview" room. We also went on the "Maid of the Mist" boat, which brought us as close to the falls as you can get from the water. We must have been in this one spot for about 5 or 10 minutes... and it was truly spectacular... I could not believe what I was witnessing. Later, we did a "Journey Behind the Falls" tour, where we walked in tunnels that literally go behind the falls and you pop out on the side of the falls, where you are pelted with water and you just look up at the glory of the falling water that is rushing down at 40 mph from over 150 tall... something like 10 million gallons per minute. Unreal!

    We spent two nights in Niagra Falls, then on Thursday, August 4, we ventured up to Toronto Canada, which is less than two hours from the American border and Niagra Falls. Toronto was a cool city - the "most multicultural city in the world" and they love telling you that. And, it's amazing because it is very multicultural - Asians, Blacks, Whites, Irish, Muslims, etc. And, everyone seems to get along... there is virtually no crime there and it's a very clean, safe city with spectacular views. There isn't a whole lot to do there, so 2 days was just fine. We saw the CN Tower, which is the TALLEST building in the world and the tallest observation deck. And, of course, we took the ride to the top... 147 stories tall!

    We also enjoyed a baseball game, where we watched the NY Yankees whip up on the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 on Friday night. Later that night, my brother Tony and I went out to a couple bars, which were ok, but it was very nice to be out and see the night time scene in Toronto. During the 2 days, we also did a double-decker tour bus which was well worth the price and allowed us to get a tour of the whole city and see some select sites. One of the newest museums in Toronto is the "Olympic Spirit" museum, which was interactive and let us participate in some competitions to see what it's like to do some of these crazy sports, including curling, bobsledding, skiing, speed skating, the 100-meter dash, and... the most impressive... the Long Jump! We also saw some little movies of the best Olympic moments, which always seemed to end with a Canadian winning something and waving their flag.

    I will say... Canadians are very nice people and the city of Toronto is very nice as well... I'm sure it's way too cold for me in the winter, but a nice place to visit in the summer. Warm during the day, cool breezes at night, and views of Lake Ontario. So, I have to say, Canada was nice, eh?

    On Saturday, we drove back to Buffalo, where my parents and brother departed for Florida, and I drove all the way back (6 hours) to Philly, where Enza was nice enough to give me a ride back to Wilmington (after I dropped the rental off at the airport). It was a great trip... and we learned... "It Takes a Family... to go on vacation."