A few more thoughts, in no particular order, on National Review’s 2008 post election cruise.
1. I met up with Mona Charen to chat over drinks before dinner one night. I am a big fan of Mona’s books Useful Idiots and, most recently, Do-Gooders. Mona has the gift of writing about enraging subjects with lucidity and common sense, a bit in the manner of Thomas Sowell.
2. Both of Mona’s books remain timely. Although Useful Idiots addresses the Cold War, one could easily make a parlor game of it in which readers vie to identify those who have distinguished themselves by their idiocy both with respect to the Cold War and our post 9/11 wars. John Kerry (pages 45-46, 164) and Edward Kennedy (page 217) are good examples. Our vice president-elect deserves a chapter unto himself.
2. Rob Long, Jonah Goldberg and Mark Steyn put on a stellar late night performance vamping on the issues of the day. Jim Geraghty was the nominal moderator and an excellent straight man, like Carl Reiner in the days when he teamed with Mel Brooks’s 2000 Year Old Man.
3. Steyn in particular commands the rare genius that allows him to be biting and funny on demand. He also proved extraordinarily engaging and available during NR’s social events, at which his company was a prized commodity. One female passenger chides me for missing “the obvious Steny mania, which was unmistakable,” though she kindly cuts me some slack on the ground that I’m a guy.
4. Mark’s new book is A Song for the Season. Published on November 1, the book collects Mark’s “song of the week” columns from Steyn Online. It was on sale during the cruise, though it promptly sold out. I believe that one of the chapters takes off from my annual “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most” post. Buy the book at Mark’s site here and you can get it together with Mark’s Christmas single “It’s a Marshmallow World,” sung with his old pal Jessica Martin.
5. The name of the passenger who was making her tenth (or so) NR cruise is Louise Dougherty. She is a delightful lady who deserves some sort of frequent flyer recognition from the folks at NR.
6. NR publisher Jack Fowler and his colleagues have arranged the NR cruises to accommodate just about everything a guest might have asked for if he would have known to ask. The cruise was extremely well done.
7. The spirit of Bill Buckley suffused the cruise. Jack fittingly toasted Buckley at the final cocktail party of the cruise, invoking his memory as the man who founded NR and thereby changed history for the better. To Bill Buckley!
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