Unlike Christmas, which, being intended by the early Roman church to serve as a substitute for the Feast of Mithra, is always celebrated on December 25, the date of Easter moves around. That’s because, in order to maintain the necessary verisimilitude and congruence with the story found in the Gospels, Easter is supposed to occur on the first Sunday after Passover begins. The Jewish calendar, by which, of course, the dates of the Passover holiday are determined, while not being purely lunar, as is the Islamic, is nevertheless highly influenced by the moon, and thus, by necessity, so is the date of Easter. Since Passover begins on the first full moon after the vernal equinox, therefore, Easter must fall on [...]


Climate change, with its polar vortexes and March snowstorms delayed the start of spring here in Washington DC until about five days ago. Consequently, now that it’s suddenly around eighty degrees and sunny, and very well watered after weeks of thoroughly soaking, if bone chilling rain, everything is happening at once. Instead of the usual stately procession of snow stars, crocuses, forsythia, daffodils, asters, tulips, violets and so forth, we’re getting what looks for all the world like a Smithsonian diorama of Mid-Atlantic vernal blooms, with flowering redbud, plum, tulip poplar and about ten million cherry trees rubbing elbows with each other in a mad celebration of life renewed, while robins, cardinals, jays, doves, juncos, titmice, nuthatches, warblers and mockingbirds [...]


Last night I stopped by the Round Robin Bar before meeting Cerise to take in a performance at the Woolly Mammoth Theater.  There I saw Cabot, who is with the United States Agency for International Development Office of Transition Initiatives.  Now, USAID is associated with the State Department, and everybody knows how those folks can drink, but even for that crowd, Cabot was beyond the pale.  He was so tipsy that I was rather surprised he recognized me. “Collins!” Cabot called, a bit too loudly, as he plunked himself down on the empty chair next to me, “how’s the policy consulting business these days?” “Pretty good,” I confessed.  “Which is to say, the worse things get in this insane world [...]


Rose and Katje both called me this week to chat and drop hints about bringing their families over to my place in Great Falls, Virginia for Sunday dinner.  Their motives were different, of course.  Katje’s husband, my dear younger brother Rob Roy, wants to hang out at my place this weekend and next so he and their son Jason can watch the NCAA tournament on the truly bodacious oversized HDTV in the game room downstairs while availing themselves of the collection of twenty different brands of designer beers I happen to keep stored there in a jumbo glass door bar cooler.  Rose, on the other hand, stuck out there in the wilds of Fairfax with her brother-in-law Arthur and both [...]


Each time I go there, it’s déjà vu all over again.  Yes, the Turkish Embassy in Washington looks just like the spooky embassy of an ancient imperial nation should look – something straight out of a spy thriller movie, a hulking bunker, faced with stone in a rococo 18th century style.  Topped with one of those fish bone short wave antennas pointed directly at Ankara, there it broods, murmuring, in low but menacing tones, of ancient intrigues, age-old rivalries, autocratic greed, harem lust, dictatorial hubris, merciless oppression, brutal tortures, oceans of blood and piles of severed heads. Speaking of severed heads, the first thing one sees upon entering is the improbably enormous likeness of Ataturk’s noggin, fifty times life size, [...]

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