Jun 032015
 

Early this afternoon, Merdoso Donnato Pompino, representing the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, paid me a visit for a consultation. Obviously still on Naples time, he arrived twenty minutes late, and obviously a completely self-absorbed, if obviously aging jock, he nevertheless spent another ten trying to get Gretchen’s telephone number. What the hell, as far as I’m concerned, that’s fine with me – it’s his money – or FIFA’s anyway. “Mr. Collins,” he opened as he sprawled on the couch in front of the picture window overlooking the White House, “you have heard of FIFA’s recent… ah… legal problems, I suppose?” “Who hasn’t?” I replied. “In the middle of last week, the Swiss police arrested six FIFA executives at the […]

Mar 112015
 

This morning, just as I concluded a consultation about Boko Haram’s latest overtures to ISIL with a distraught Nigerian diplomat, Gretchen buzzed me on the intercom. “Mr. Collins,” she told me, “there’s this old Southern lady on Line Two. She sounds exactly like Woody Allen imitating Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.” “Did this person give a name?” I asked. “Yes,” Gretchen answered, “she says she’s named Linsey or Linseed or something like that.” “And this person wants to speak with me?” I inquired. “Uh-huh,” Gretchen confirmed, “she seems pretty adamant about it.” “And this person,” I sought to confirm, “is haughty, arch and condescending but nevertheless obviously a pathetic bigot and a total ignoramus?” “Right,” Gretchen huffed, “she […]

Jan 202015
 

It being the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the work schedule for Gretchen and myself was somewhat lighter than a typical Monday. This was good, because not only did it mean there was time for me to meet with my brother-in-law, Hank Palikowski, and his sister-in-law, Shannon, it also meant there were fewer regular clients in the reception area for them to give the willies to. Dressed in their usual survivalist outfits, the pair of them regularly prompt the security desk in the lobby to call and alert Gretchen of their impending arrival and inquire if DC Police backup might be required. “We have to talk,” Shannon declared as they strode into my office. “Back there,” Hank whispered as […]

Dec 222014
 

Despite the impending holidays, I still manged to get overbooked this week, which lead to Gretchen and me having to work nine and one half hours on a Saturday. The increasing urgency of various matters around the planet have made it nearly impossible for me to work a decent five day week anymore, but in an economy where millions of overqualified professionals are still settling for jobs at WalMart, complaints would be unseemly, I know, and I certainly am not about to kvetch about the gold nuggets in my mill stream. Yesterday, for example, I made enough money that your typical PhD environmental scientist could pay the tuition covering vocational rehabilitation training as a Microsoft certified .NET developer with it. […]

Dec 132014
 

This week it was once again time for what has become a family tradition – lunch every month or two with my sister Rose, wherein she and I catch up on the news of our personal lives. It’s always her choice, and today she selected Muze, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Maryland Avenue Southwest, over by the Jefferson Memorial and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. For her cocktail, Rose ordered a Thai coconut martini, a not-so-subtle allusion to our family name and our dear father, an engineer turned bartender, who re-invented the martini at a luxury hotel in New York City not unlike the Mandarin, although much more venerable. Her appetizer was complementary in the culinary sense – […]