Aug 022016
 

Late on Saturday, July 30, I got back to Washington after a four week vacation. Cerise and I had been planning it for quite some time, and she had been nagging me to take a vacation for even longer. One important thing I learned from the experience was that it’s actually a good thing to have a girlfriend who knows how to nag you into doing stuff like taking a four week vacation. Turns out I needed it. In fact, we both did. It cost me a lot of money, of course. Not for the summer house on the island off the coast of northern Maine – that was free, actually, a token of appreciation from one of Cerise’s many […]

Jun 282016
 

Friday evening, Cerise and I stopped by the Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel for cocktails before having dinner at the Café du Parc and taking in a show at the Kennedy Center. Certainly, the scene at the Round Robin about five o’clock the day Donald Trump actually won enough delegates to become the Republican Party nominee for president was a circus of the absurd, no doubt about it. But this – this was the day after the first repercussions of the Brexit had reverberated around the globe. World markets had plunged, causing three trillion dollars of paper equity to vanish overnight like an inside trader from Goldman Sachs headed for Brunei one step ahead of the SEC. And […]

Jun 142016
 

My two o’clock consultation today was with Dr. Gwenyth Sguthan Gotsan-Cedors, Principal Technology Analyst for Developing Economies at the World Bank. I expected that we would continue our previous discussion of micro-banking strategies to provide water purification, solar energy solutions and Internet access at the village level in rural Africa, but when she primly set herself down in the chair located to the right of my desk and leaned in, I knew something different was in store. “Bugger your damned American politics, Collins,” she declared with a glare. “It’s ruining my love life.” “How so?” I inquired with my most innocent tone. “For one thing,” she complained, “your presidential elections take years! My fiance started getting wrapped up in them […]

May 302016
 

My eleven o’clock consultation on Friday was with Dr. Dhoti Bandarkochaak Ladochus Janthabhalu Machikne, Special Delegate Designate for Tourism at the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Once in my office, he perched on the couch in front of the picture window overlooking the White House and took a sip of the masala chia Gretchen had provided at my instruction. “After recent events,” he opened, “we had hoped that the spring 2016 mountaineering season would have had a less tragic beginning.” “The last couple of years have been pretty rough,” I concurred. “The Khumbu Icefall disaster in 2014 killed sixteen Sherpas, then an avalanche tore through base camp during the earthquake of April 25, 2015 and caused twenty-two […]

May 082016
 

Ritual apologies for taking so long between posts this time. But lately, however, the combination of rampant, surreal domestic political farce and numerous concurrent problematic international situations has pushed the demand for my advice through the roof. For the last three weeks, a constant stream of Washington insiders and foreign dignitaries has been running to my office with their hair on fire, beseeching me for solutions to their apparently monumental and seemingly insoluble predicaments. Gretchen and I have been putting in twelve and fourteen hour days, and, as is sometimes necessary, have added Saturdays to the appointment schedule. As if that weren’t enough, two weeks ago Cerise got rear-ended around half past midnight on the Whitehurst Freeway at high speed […]