Apr 302018
 

My very last consultation last Friday was “Ahmed.” That’s what he calls himself, and since he invariably pays cash, I couldn’t care less what his real name is. Historically, he’s been a very, very good customer – no matter how much I charge, he always pays up. And every time he calls to book an appointment, I always quote him a higher hourly rate than before. This time, actually, he was paying five times my usual rate, which, when they read this, will probably make quite a few of my regular clients gasp in disbelief, since they consistently gripe about how astronomical my ordinary bills are. Not that it keeps them from coming back – they know you get what […]

Mar 302018
 

As regular readers of this Web log are well aware, my dear sister Rose occasionally makes it known that she would like me to take her out to lunch. The purpose of these repasts is ostensibly to catch up with one another on family affairs – but the fact that it allows her to get away from said family, located as it is in the wilds of Fairfax county, for an interlude of blessed, classy and sophisticated experience downtown certainly figures into the bargain. She always suggests – which in the case of my big sister means, demands – reservations at the best Washington restaurants and today was no exception, as we dined at Fiola in Penn Quarter. After cocktails […]

Feb 262018
 

Here in the Mid Atlantic, the heart of a good winter fire is oak. It should constitute at least sixty percent of the fuel and be well seasoned wood, stacked at least two years in a woodpile, neither too tightly or too loose, having air passages “big enough for a mouse to run through, but a cat can’t follow.” Ideally, the remaining forty percent ought to consist of equally well dry seasoned cuts of hickory, maple, poplar, walnut, cherry, birch, beech, sycamore and elm. In order to properly appreciate having such transcendental object in one’s fireplace, of course, it helps considerably if Nature delivers some suitably abominable conditions outside in order to provide an appropriate context. No problem there on […]

Jan 142018
 

Since Christmas, global warming has caused the Jet Stream to push the Polar Vortex south over the US East Coast, and the extremely cold, and definitely unseasonable weather has given climate change deniers here in Washington DC plenty of talking points to use on the ignorant and stupid, who, if the latest presidential popularity polls are any indication, constitute approximately thirty-five percent of the American population. I certainly have no problem believing that – Jesus said that we shall always have the poor among us, and I have often wondered why He didn’t also mention the ignorant and stupid, too. I doubt that the population of our special friend, Great Britain, nor the population of our long-time ally, France, nor […]

Dec 072017
 

Today, as I returned from a private holiday lunch at Métier, Gretchen called out to me from her seat at the reception desk. “Mr. Collins,” she beseeched, “I told my new boyfriend, Mark, what you do and he asked me if he could call you for some advice.” “Is there an opening any time soon?” I asked. “There’s half an hour between 3:30 and 4:00,” she told me. “But you should know, he can’t afford to pay you – he’s only a congressional staffer, and not too high on the totem poll.” “No problem,” I assured her with a smile. “Any friend of yours rates a free telephone consultation whenever they want it.” “Oh, thank you,” she sighed. “He’ll be […]