As we previously mentioned, last night Team Wonkette attended the annual CEI Dinner. We’ve already given you some great photos from the event. Now we provide you with this more detailed write-up of the proceedings, as promised.
All in all, it was an excellent evening. P.J. O’Rourke was in funny, fine form. The liquor flowed liberally, and the after-party featured free cigars and cigarettes (plus scrumptious chocolate eclairs).
And did we mention the dancing libertarians? What more can one ask for?
Our full take on the evening, including more excellent pictures by Liz Gorman, appears after the jump.
Venue: Fair. We were in a ballroom deep in the bowels of the Capitol Hill Hyatt Regency, where there was no cell phone reception. If a dirty bomb explodes in Washington, take refuge here.
Starpower: Fair. Other than keynote speaker P.J. O’Rourke and awardee John Stossel, not too many boldface names. We hear that G. Gordon Liddy was there, but we didn’t see him. (We think we may have caught a glimpse of his mustache, though.)
Food: Excellent. The coconut shrimp at the pre-dinner reception was super-tasty. The dinner entree, rosemary-crusted lamb chops and Maryland crab cake, was delicious. According to the CEI’s Fred Smith, the menu was prepared by a chef from Malawi. Yay for immigration!
Entertainment: Very good. P.J. O’Rourke’s speech was hilarious. Sorry we don’t remember any laugh lines; we were buzzed by the time he spoke, and every other line was a laugh line. National Review Editor Rich Lowry, emcee for the evening, also cracked a few jokes.
The speeches and award presentations were interspersed with short spoof videos prepared by CEI, in keeping with the theme of “A Night at the Movies.” Some were quite funny, others less so. The guy who did the Hannibal Lecter impression in “The Silence of the Regulated” was creepily good. If you see him walking down Constitution Avenue, turn the other way.
Afterparty: Kicking. Are you surprised that the free-enterprise folks of CEI– the people who believe that tobacco and fast food are good for you — threw a fun after-party? Booze, smokes, chocolate eclairs. That’s all you need to make Team Wonkette very, very happy.
Swag: Again, leave it to the defenders of capitalism (and Big Business) to score the best swag. The gold “CEI Swag” bag was full of great stuff, things we can actually use. Most of the items were edible. Note to party planners: Impoverished bloggers like edible swag.
Here’s the full rundown: a die-cast miniature Hummer H2 (awesome); copious amounts of candy (Butterfingers, Junior Mints, O. Henry bars, Twizzlers, and “Stallion” candy, in an imitation Marlboro box); Starbucks coffee (“Some call it poison. We call it life.”); a pair of sunglasses (made in China, natch); a keyboard dust brush, courtesy of Microsoft (a perfect gift for the blogger you love); and, best of all, a coupon for a free pint of Haagen Dazs. We love you, CEI!
(Minor quibble: We could have done without the oh-so-festive, shredded magnetic tape that filled the goody bag.)
Finally, as a service to our hosts for the evening, we share with you the names of the evening’s honorees and speakers:
2006 Julian Simon Memorial Award Winner: John Stossel, ABC News
2005-06 Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow: Timothy P. Carney
Master of Ceremonies: Rich Lowry, National Review
2006 Warren Brookes Address: Amity Shlaes, Bloomberg
Keynote Speaker: P.J. O’Rourke
Closing Remarks: Fred L. Smith, Jr., CEI (pictured above)
Thanks to CEI for a lovely evening — as well as enough candy to serve as lunch for two days!