Oct 152019
 

As regular readers of this Web log know, I’m an Italian-American – my full name is Tom Collins Martini, and my father, now long retired, was a bartender at a Manhattan society hotel. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, he invented a number of modern martini cocktails and named his children after the ones of which he was particularly proud. All of this explains why my brother, Rob Roy Martini, brought his wife and son over to my home in Great Falls, Virginia on Monday, October 14 for dinner – to celebrate Columbus Day, an American holiday celebrated by Italian-Americans since 1792 and made an official federal holiday in 1971. Now, I would be the first to admit that we Italian-Americans […]

Feb 112019
 

There a widespread, often repeated observation among grandparents that personalities and talents seem to skip generations. Perhaps this is just the wishful thinking of elderly people disappointed in how their children turned out, but in the case of my brother-in-law, Hank Palikowski and his son, Hank Jr., it definitely seems to possess some credence. Having had an opportunity to meet Hank’s father on several occasions, I’d say his grandson is much more like him than Hank is. Both grandfather Palikowski and Hank Jr. are pragmatic, successful and highly intelligent individuals, while frankly, my brother-in-law has proven to be a damned fool and a pretty gullible one at that. As regular readers of this Web log will readily recall, Hank Jr. […]

Aug 242018
 

Regular readers of this Web log would probably not be surprised to learn that I know Q. Actually, it would be surprising if they were surprised to learn that I know Q. In fact, I’ve known Q for years, and there are a couple of common misconceptions about him that I feel I should correct, right up front. First of all, Q isn’t a committee, a cell or a cabal – Q is a single individual. Secondly, although he’s not currently a high-ranking military officer (as many claim), it is definitely true that he used to be one – a major general – but he’s retired now. His present position is serving as the Assistant Administrator of the Directorate on […]

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 […]

Sep 252017
 

Between consultations this afternoon, Gretchen left her desk in the reception area and popped into my office for a moment. “Tom,” she quietly informed me as she closed a heavy oak door behind her, “there’s this… Ebonic gentleman who’s been calling since about nine this morning asking for a consultation. He says he’s a professional basketball player.” “Did he give you his name?” I inquired. “Tyrone…” she replied with an uncertain grimace, “Tyrone Shoelace.” “Hold on a minute,” I requested as I consulted an online database. “Nope,” I told her, “there’s nobody named that playing in the NBA. Must be an alias.” “Should I tell him you’re not available?” she asked. “Did he say what he wants to talk about?” […]