Nov 282015

At noon on Wednesday, Gretchen let me know that my sister-in-law Katje was on Line Two and wanted to speak with me. Since the extended family Thanksgiving dinner was slated to occur at my home this year, and Katje is a very committed and emphatic vegan, I assumed that was the reason for her call – to make sure there would be sufficient strictly healthy vegetarian fare, especially beans, spinach, kale, broccoli, pulses and brown rice; to verify that, for example, the pumpkin pie crust was not going to be made with any animal products, such as lard; to discourage the use of butter, milk and cream, organic or otherwise, whether from grass-fed or ordinary cows, in the mashed potatoes […]

Nov 192015

This morning, my ten-thirty AM consultation was with an economist from the USDA. We spent about an hour and ten minutes discussing the ramifications of the Renewable Fuel Standard and its impacts on the corn market. Manufacturing fuel ethanol from corn was a stupid idea when it got started during the Carter administration, of course, and it’s a still a stupid idea today, but stupidity never kept the US government from doing anything the farm lobby and agribusiness happen to want. There was still plenty of analysis remaining, but my guest cut things off twenty minutes early. “Thanks, Tom,” she said with a smile as a gentleman whom I had never met opened the door to the reception area and […]

Nov 092015

At the request of my dear sister Rose’s parish priest, I accepted a telephone consultation appointment with Sister Moecha Meretrix, the principal of the Catholic school to whom Rose sends her vast brood of Catholic children, Mother Superior of a local Dominican convent, and, as it happens, a member of the Ecumenical Congress of the United States of America Board of Directors. I was very busy during the week, so I arranged for her to call me at my home in Great Falls, Virginia on Saturday afternoon. Tom: Hello, Mother Superior Meretrix. MS: Uh… hello, is this Tom Collins? Tom: It is indeed, Mother Superior. MS: Um… how did you… Tom: I have Caller ID, Mother Superior. MS: Oh. I […]

Sep 212015

This morning, I received a visit from Dr. Benjamin Cash, a branch chief from the Treasury Department. He was there to review the results of a currency logistics mathematical model which I developed after being requested to do so last June, when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a portrait of a woman would replace Alexander Hamilton on the obverse side of the US ten dollar bill. The model calculates the lengths of service and rates of circulation, inactivity and return for destruction of ten dollar notes bearing various female portraits, assuming the reverse remains constant and consists of a neutral image of a well-known public building, in terms of a matrix of parametric partial differential coefficients representing esthetic, political, […]

Aug 042015

Cerise and I were enjoying breakfast in bed Sunday morning when the caller ID displayed a familiar number which, nevertheless, had not appeared there for quite a while – it was the mobile phone number of my dear brother-in-law, Hank. As regular readers of this Web log know, Hank ran off to West Virginia with his brother Arthur’s wife, Shannon, there to prepare along with their fellow like-minded conservative survivalists for the advent of the Apocalypse and Armageddon, events they are all certain President Obama, whom they are similarly convinced is the Antichrist, will bring about as part of his worldwide Satanic liberal conspiracy. This has left my dear sister Rose and Arthur to care for their two families’ huge […]