Christopher Hitchens has a new book out - yaaaaaaaaay.
with some commentary from Michael Shermer here:
in which Shermer describes one evening with Hitchens:
The next time I saw Hitch was at a party in Washington D.C., when I was touring for the release of my book, The Mind of the Market ($8.95 hardcovers at Shop Skeptic). Reason magazine kindly arranged for a book party at a bar and restaurant that was so crowded and so loud that it was physically uncomfortable. After an obligatory drink and a few stories to entertain the troops, Hitchens leaned in and said “Michael, why don’t we retire to a restaurant down the street where they know me?” Exiting the cacophony, we walked a few blocks to what turned out to be one of Hitches’s regular haunts. “The usual place, Mr. Hitchens?” the maitre’d inquired. We were escorted to a quite corner of the restaurant, where Hitch positioned himself to be able to scan the room, and soon we were joined by his wife and an occasional passerby who recognized him and dropped in for a story (and drink) or two.
Shortly after the waiter took our drink orders (“the usual?” was all Hitch needed to hear, to which he nodded affirmatively), the Hitch Mix was on the table, followed by a fabulous dinner and, of course, lots of stories, none of which were repeated from my previous dinner (at least that I could remember—I too imbibed). After a couple hours at the restaurant, Hitch invited me to his home not far from the restaurant, where I was treated to a visual delight: mountains of books, oceans of books, a sea of books—pick your geographical metaphor. As the recipient myself of bound galleys and newly published volumes sent to Skeptic magazine for review, I know how quickly a mass accumulates on my desk that then migrates to the floor and eventually peaks above the desk again. But these are just science books. As a literary polymath Hitch receives books for review from virtually every category in the Dewey Decimal System. And he actually seems to read the books he reviews.
But the library is not where we adjourned for the evening. It wasn’t long before I found myself at a rectangular table in the dining room chockablock full of whiskey bottles from around the world. I’m not a whiskey connoisseur so I couldn’t tell you the brand names, but even a teetotaler like me could tell from the labels and bottle designs that here was a collection of the very best whiskeys that money can buy from all over the world, and I suspect that Hitch didn’t have to buy many of them, since such gifts seem to naturally flow his way. So I sampled and sipped and sauced my way into a late-night bliss that I paid for dearly the next day. I think I had an interview for an early morning television show, but I honestly don’t remember because I barely recall even having a next day.
Was it worth it? I once had an opportunity to ride my bike 50 miles on a fundraising event next to the great Belgian champion Eddy Merckx, considered the greatest cyclist of all time. I was so nervous about crashing and taking him down that I just concentrated on the bumper in front of us that we were drafting behind at 30 miles per hour. But just the experience of riding side by side with one of the greatest athletes to ever grace the planet was enough for me. That’s how I felt drinking and dining and delighting in the presence of Christopher Hitchens.