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 [...]

 

While I was stuck here in Washington with all the world’s problems and rotten weather to boot, Cerise made it out of town last weekend for a nice trip to St. Croix.  And as luck would have it, thanks to winter storm Pax, despite her planned return on Thursday she was stuck there until at least Friday.  So she decided to take another weekend in the islands and attempt a return tomorrow.  With Veronica similarly occupied in the fun and sun of Cancún, enjoying, by the way, the amorous company of a certain married member of Congress who should know better, I was left alone at home with nobody for company but my cat Twinkle.  At least the snow put [...]

 

The Debt Ceiling Spectre again haunts Washington DC.  Suspended since October 17, 2013, it rose from the dead, like Osiris, or Jesus, if you prefer, on Friday, and promptly at noon, the United States of America was technically broke.  Thanks to various sleights of hand on the part of the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank, however, the Greatest Nation on Earth has until the 27th of the month before the proverbial fiscal excrement hits the metaphorical monetary fan and doughty old Uncle Sam defaults on his debts, loses the farm, gives up the family mule and departs down that rocky road of sorrows clad in naught but his tattered, star-spangled suspenders and a thrice-used pickle barrel. As might [...]

 

My four o’clock appointment on Wednesday was with Richard Branleur Couilles-Baiser, formerly of Montreal, Quebec, but today the chief industry lobbyist for the International Alliance of Holiday Cruise Ship Associations, a trade organization headquartered here in Washington DC.  He strode smartly into my office, tossed his briefcase on the coffee table and perched jauntily on the couch. “Nice to see you again, Tom,” he opened.  “It’s been a while.” “I don’t believe you’ve become a stranger on my account,” I japed. “No, you can’t be blamed for that,” he smartly returned.  “It’s just that the IAHCSA board doesn’t like to shell out for hourly fees like yours unless the situation is… well, pretty damn dire, actually.” “That’s certainly understandable,” I [...]

 

When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle’s on a poodle and the poodle’s eating noodles, they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle. – Representative Lois Frankel, D-Florida,The Congressional Record, Saturday, September 28, 2013 Ladies and gentlemen, you can’t make this stuff up.  Thanks to the nasty, unremitting squabble over Obamacare, plus the diligent efforts of Representative Frankel and Senator Ted Cruz, the immortal philosophical analysis of Dr. Seuss has joined that of Alexis de Tocqueville as official American history on both sides of Capitol Hill.  But before I get started on such burning political issues of the day, I would like to make a cultural note – [...]

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