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 – [...]

 

My very last consultation last Friday was with Rabbi Mordechi Dovid Slivovitz of Silver Spring, Maryland, recently elected President of the Modern Orthodox Rabbinical Organization National and International Council. Frankly, I’ve never seen him so upset. “Oy vey ist mir,” he wailed as he plunked his ample, ovoid frame down on the couch with an air of complete anxiety and consternation, “the worst crisis since the Doheny glatt kosher scandal has erupted, right here in Washington DC – and in Georgetown, no less!” “You are referring,” I presumed, “to the arrest of Rabbi Barry Freundel, of Congregation Kesher Israel, the most prestigious upscale Orthodox Jewish synagogue in the entire National Capital area?” “What else?” Slivovitz shrugged. “The entire Jewish community [...]

 

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 [...]

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