More lame travel blog

You’ve been clamoring and longing for more news from Amherst New York (except for the one of you who has been clamoring and longing for less, of course), so here is some. (Anyone who finds the whole idea lame: here’s a bit of advice: don’t read it.)

I’m in the back hall of the Center for Inquiry (or Centre for Enquiry, if you prefer – Jeremy remarked as we passed the sign outside that it was odd for such a place to spell its own name wrong not once but twice), surrounded by Russian students talking to each other, typing on one of the Center’s spare computers that are available for guests. There is no internet in the guesthouse (no broadband, no WiFi, no anything) which is not always absolutely convenient, such as when Jeremy is working on his next lecture and wants to look things up and find useful video clips, or when he wants me to find and print some relevant quotations from B&W’s Quotations. Dear CfI could do a little better in the, um, organization and equipment department; but never mind.

Jeremy’s lectures are going down very well on the whole, despite the fact that what he is basically doing is undermining or challenging pretty much everything Paul Kurtz has ever said. Well it’s this humanist thing you see – we’re atheists, we’re secularists, but we’re not humanists. People got quite uneasy with determinism yesterday – but that’s how these things fall out.

Joe Hoffmann gave a lovely opening address this morning, which I asked if I could publish here the moment he’d finished saying it, and he said I could, so you have that to look forward to. He’s a very amusing guy, Joe is.

There are a lot of groundhogs here. I’m not used to larger mammals – larger than squirrels. Well I’m used to dogs and cats, but I mean running around on their own authority. It’s fun to see groundhogs. I saw a snake yesterday – I followed it through the grass for awhile, until it vanished under a shrub. I like seeing snakes, and would like to see them more often. I don’t get out much, you know – out in the sense of traveling – so I like to be in a new place, even if it is a slightly Martian one with a bad case of suburban hyperexpansion.

You remember I said about Jeremy the fashion icon? It’s even worse than that – he struts, and he shows off his biceps while lecturing. It’s really quite shockingly immature and embarrassing. He also kept smelling the T shirt he’d worn when lecturing on Saturday – he couldn’t believe what it smelled like and kept going back to confirm; he went on doing that for two days. He wanted me to say that here. Yes I know all this is lame, but I don’t have time to do real posts while I’m here, so I do absurd ones instead. I haven’t posted half the ridiculous things about Jeremy that he’s suggested I should.

Julian’s not as absurd – but he’s quite absurd. He does a broad American accent, and he sings little snatches of song complete with sound effects and similar. He keeps trying to do a Joe Hoffmann imitation which is entirely hopeless, it sounds nothing like him, but he does a good Tony Blair. He went to Toronto then came back here then went back to the UK. I saw Toronto far far far in the distance on Sunday, across Lake Ontario from a town called Niagara-on-the-Lake. It voss pretty.

I gotta go. The building is locking up.

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