Jun 302018
 

Cerise is away on vacation, and Veronica disappeared about a week ago with a soft drink industry lobbyist, so this morning, I was alone at my home in Great Falls, Virginia – except for the company of my cat, Twinkle of course. Cerise invited me to accompany her, actually, but on this occasion, her vacation was to a rather remote region of the United States where the states of Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee meet. She went there for a festival of something known as contra-dancing, which is derived from English country dancing, but has evolved into its own rather eccentric genre. I like dancing, but “contra” as its aficionados call it, involves intricate patterns of interaction among the […]

May 282018
 

As regular readers of this Web log are aware, my appointments sometimes come so thick and fast there simply aren’t enough workday hours between Monday and Friday to hold them. So it was Saturday, when, after five solid ten-hour days, Gretchen booked another eight, despite the fact that it was Memorial Day weekend. Here in Washington, among the movers and shakers, when things heat up, the demand for advice goes through the ceiling, holiday or no holiday. And things have definitely been heating up lately, no doubt about that. And so it was, at three o’clock in the afternoon, Gretchen told me that certain Professor Stefan A. Halper PhD was requesting an unscheduled telephone consultation, which, due to the circumstances, […]

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 […]