But first (briefly), if you’re in the NYC area, you may have the chance to help keep a young Egyptian blogger out of prison for criticizing the Egyptian government. A rally outside the Egyptian embassy in Manhattan (2nd Ave. between 58th and 59th) at 3:30pm today (Wed., Jan. 31) is the sort of thing that has sometimes helped keep people like this man — Abdelkareem Nabil Soliman — from being imprisoned by Egypt simply for daring to write about the flaws of the regime there. If you don’t have to be at work, please think about showing up or forwarding this to others who might (or writing about it).
And if domestic politics is more your thing, there will be a dance Friday night (Feb. 9) in Madison Square Park (not Garden — the Park is just north of the Flatiron Building, between Madison and Fifth/Broadway near 25th St.) to protest NYC’s dance-venue-limiting cabaret laws.
But back to business as usual — and by business, I mean a debate, on perhaps the most important question of all:
“Do We Face Catastrophic Climate Change?”
Yes: Andrew McKeon, Columbia-educated engineer turned banking consultant and Gore-trained head of the Climate Change Foundation
No: Chuck Blake, CalTech/UCSD physics alum and former MIT computer research scientist/statistician turned quantitative analyst
Moderator: Michel Evanchik
Host: Todd Seavey
Wed., Feb. 7, promptly at 8pm at Lolita Bar (basement space, 266 Broome St. at Allen St. on the Lower East Side of NYC, one block south and three west of the Delancey St. subway stop); free admission, cash bar
P.S. Footage, such as it is, of our previous debate, on chastity, can be found on YouTube, in fourteen parts starting here (I don’t always look and sound quite this stunned, but the audience was huge that night):
And one of our debaters, Virginia Vitzthum, can now be found on YouTube at this URL, plugging her new book on online dating’s happiness and horrors, I Love You, Let’s Meet:
P.P.S. Let me know if you might be seriously interested in being — and seriously qualified to be — a full-time blogger about sci-fi, including manga and videogames.
(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.)
UPDATE 2/25/07: Alan Miller, himself a host of debates for NYSalon.org, was in the audience for the Lolita Debate described above and wrote a nice article for HuffingtonPost about it. On a related note, as I type this the world is probably mere hours away from hearing Al Gore give an Oscar acceptance speech for his climate-fear documentary An Inconvenient Truth. I wonder if he’ll aim for the trifecta of mentioning his Oscar, his win of the popular (not electoral) vote in 2000, and his recent nomination by one Scandinavian politician for the Nobel Peace Prize.
If he really gets carried away and wants to appeal to a gullible public, he might also consider mentioning the fact that at a press conference here in New York City tomorrow, director James Cameron plans to unveil three ancient coffins, subjects of his next documentary, that he claims contain the decidedly-unresurrected remains of Jesus, Mary, and Mary Magdalene (as deduced, he’ll argue, from writings on the coffins and study of DNA from the remains). I’m skeptical, as always, but Gore could argue that this discovery leaves the world in need of a new savior, and he seems ready to try and fill the position (God, Gaia, whatever).
UPDATE later on 2/25/07: I read online that Gore won, but I was somewhat consoled to tune in briefly a few minutes later (with the broadcast still going on) and see Helen Mirren accepting for Best Actress — the first Oscar recipient to have played Ayn Rand (in The Passion of Ayn Rand) and, as far as I can recall, the first Oscar recipient I’ve actually met (at a party for the cast of a staged reading of a play by David Lodge circa 1993, when I was working for Glenn Young at Applause Books and with the late Jack Temchin from the Manhattan Theater Club [who once told me he saw 2001 stoned as a young man and thought he was the only one who couldn't follow the plot] — but I didn’t talk to Mirren for more than a moment because she and Lodge seemed to be enjoying each other’s company so much; I’m classy that way).
UPDATE 2/28/07: Apparently, Mirren is also the first Oscar winner I know of to admit that she wasn’t wearing underwear during the ceremony.