Wednesday, August 2, 2006

DEBATE AT LOLITA BAR: "Does Big Business Prefer Big Government?"

YES: Tim Carney, author of The Big Rip-Off: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money. NO: Michel “The Brain” Evanchik, of Moderator: Todd Seavey, Jinx Rational Agent and editor of

This Wednesday, August 2 at 8pm, downstairs at Lolita bar on the corner of Broome and Allen St. on the Lower East Side of Manhattan (one block south, three blocks west, of the Delancey subway stop; free admission, cash bar). After the debate and q&a, an audience vote will resolve the question once and for all. A Tim Carney book signing will follow.

(PLEASE NOTE that this Carney, the Phillips Foundation Fellow and former Robert Novak employee who wrote this book…


…is not the same Carney seen at prior Jinx debates, nor the Carney who edits at Wall Street Journal, nor the law student Carney, but rather their brother; audience members are allowed to use crib sheets
to avoid confusion [hint: each Carney has a different haircut].)

–There will also be drinks throughout in honor of your moderator’s shocking **thirty-seventh birthday**, since I’m too lazy to organize a separate night for that (it’s enough work being moderator this time out instead of playing my usual booker/host role).

–No need to bring gifts: I will once more give stuff away for my birthday, specifically bound copies, to the first ten takers, of my recent article for the NYU Journal of Law & Liberty, which, because the wheels of legal-journal publishing grind even slower than justice, contains my cautiously optimistic predictions for the second Bush term, made right after his re-election. Well, uh…maybe every birthday party should have a time capsule.

–More timeless, though, are my most-succinct-thoughts-ever on where humanity needs to go from here, recently posted on Spiked-Online along with thoughts on the topic from numerous alphabetized luminaries:

P.S. In analyzing such issues, I try to be rational, though I suppose insight can come from dreams as well. For instance: I awoke this past July 4 morning from a dream about freedom. Specifically:

I dreamt I smoked hashish with Tony Blair on the Planet of the Apes.

I know, it sounds like a joke, but as is often the case with dreams, it all seems semi-logical when you look at it in pieces: I was part of some movie in which several people — including some older actors such as Shirley MacLaine and possibly Jack Lemon — were trapped in different lousy vacation scenarios, and I was stuck in some cell, so Dr. Zaius offered to sacrifice himself by letting _me_ shimmy out of the cell window while he held off the guards (I attribute the< appearance of Zaius in this positive role to the relatively cordial conversation he has with Charlton Heston while tied up on the beach in the penultimate scene of Planet of the Apes). As I escaped, though, it became clear that I was myself a Planet of the Apes-style chimpanzee, on the run from other apes, so I disguised myself in the (very normal early-60s) clothing of the locals, who were also chimps, and tried to blend in — but one of the humans in charge (yes, on this crazy, topsy-turvy version of the Planet of the Apes, humans were in charge) called me and another chimp over to aid in the lighting of a hooka-like hash pipe, which I did, and he was soon pretty stoned, and as I contemplated the next step in my escape it became clear he was also…Tony Blair. (Note: In real life, I don’t even use drugs, let alone hang out with apes and Tony Blair.)

P.P.S. I woke up after that, then fell back to sleep and had a dream about J.R. Taylor’s new blog (really). In the dream, he did video clips instead of blog entries, and in one he was criticizing the blogger (is there really someone specific?) who invented the practice of leaving visible strikethroughs in the erroneous parts of corrected and updated items. But J.R. was symbolically criticizing the practice as phony and pretentious by assembling shelves full of knickknacks such as ceramic figures, which do not require strikethroughs. Whatever. Anyway, here’s his actual blog, about conservative-seeming pop culture items, which is great — his first three entries were about zombies, Luke Cage, and 80s alternative rock, so he must be on the right track, and you’ll notice that the first comment on the July 28 item is from me (and is about drugs again, oddly enough):

J.R. is also the man who suggested that I see the thriller The Descent, opening nationwide August 4, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is simply in the mood for ninety-nine minutes of “harrowing” (and if you go in knowing nothing, so much the better). No wit or subtlety or memorable dialogue to speak of, just the “harrowing,” and my apologies to anyone who spends years thereafter having terrible, terrible spelunking nightmares full of cute British women with pitons, as you well might. You were warned while there was still time to turn back.

J.R., thirdly, is also the sort of person who might show up at one of the monthly Manhattan Project non-leftist creative-folk bar gatherings I’m helping to organize, one more reason to have me put you on the e-list for those invitations if you aren’t already.

P.P.P.S. You could also see all sorts of interesting people at the August 3 (7pm) meeting of the group called the Junto, in the library at 20 W. 44th, including main speaker Bruce Ames, who I’m going to go hear because he’s a scientist who was a big influence on my thinking back in college and still is in my job at ACSH. As with the movie recommendation, though, I apologize if the Junto gives you nightmares, most likely without cute British women this time.

P.P.P.P.S. Again: no need for gifts on 8/2…unless…you wanna give by answering my (1) Mac-based, (2) dial-up-using, (3) surprisingly tech-ignorant blog-launching questions, since I’m thinking about finally starting a personal blog, in part to combat the once more upward-creeping length of these e-mails.

What? You’re surprised a man who edits a blog at work has no personal blog? And is on dial-up? Hell, I’ve got no cell phone and no cable either. Maybe I get my slowness to adapt technology — plus my internal calm, which echoes the steady rhythms of rural life — from my mother and her father, who both grew up on a farm in Norwich, CT that I, too, spent a lot of time on in my formative years, when I wasn’t playing in the woods. Mom just got e-mail, so she is for the first time reading this monthly mass-e-mail along with the rest of you. (Hi, Mom.)

Alternatively, you could commemorate my existence by buying a Todd Seavey hoodie, junior hoodie, tile, or dog t-shirt, none of which I had anything to do with creating (nor have even purchased, to be honest), conceived by my friends at (where my picture also now pops up in the Comments section for each item):

Remember: me suing them doesn’t become a productive activity until they’ve made a lot of money off the stuff, so start purchasing. (I promise these are not turning into commercial e-mails — this situation is, obviously, abnormal.)

(NOTE: The above was sent as a mass e-mail in the days prior to the debate and was posted on this blog retroactively in April 2007. Click here for other Debates at Lolita Bar.)