Oct 182016

This morning, I received a visit from Dr. Byeong Shin Nom, Chief Macroeconomist for International Commerce at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea here in Washington DC. A sadder sight I have not seen in weeks, at least – the poor guy shambled into my office and practically collapsed on the couch in front of the picture window overlooking the White House. Physically, he was a total wreck – his eyes were sunken and puffy; I doubt he had slept in a week, and his face sagged in the most dismal fashion. He looked like Death warmed over, for sure. Finally managing to pull himself up to face me, he sat there for an inordinate time, simply staring, by […]

Sep 272016

My two-thirty PM consultation appointment on Friday was with Dr. Arbre Étreinte Birkenstock, Division Director, United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation. Despite the autumn equinox on Thursday, the weather remained as warm and humid as summer here in Washington DC, and she arrived at my office wearing a sundress, sandals, and no makeup (she’s chemically sensitive to perfumes, rouge, lipstick and cosmetics in general), bearing a knapsack instead of a briefcase. Her mood was one of distinct, positive optimism and excitement, which became immediately evident as soon as she entered and seated herself at the chair located to the right of my desk. “Have you heard about what Jerry Brown did in California?” she burbled, leaning […]

Jun 282016

Friday evening, Cerise and I stopped by the Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel for cocktails before having dinner at the Café du Parc and taking in a show at the Kennedy Center. Certainly, the scene at the Round Robin about five o’clock the day Donald Trump actually won enough delegates to become the Republican Party nominee for president was a circus of the absurd, no doubt about it. But this – this was the day after the first repercussions of the Brexit had reverberated around the globe. World markets had plunged, causing three trillion dollars of paper equity to vanish overnight like an inside trader from Goldman Sachs headed for Brunei one step ahead of the SEC. And […]

May 302016

My eleven o’clock consultation on Friday was with Dr. Dhoti Bandarkochaak Ladochus Janthabhalu Machikne, Special Delegate Designate for Tourism at the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Once in my office, he perched on the couch in front of the picture window overlooking the White House and took a sip of the masala chia Gretchen had provided at my instruction. “After recent events,” he opened, “we had hoped that the spring 2016 mountaineering season would have had a less tragic beginning.” “The last couple of years have been pretty rough,” I concurred. “The Khumbu Icefall disaster in 2014 killed sixteen Sherpas, then an avalanche tore through base camp during the earthquake of April 25, 2015 and caused twenty-two […]

Apr 142016

This afternoon, I had a consultation scheduled with Dr. Jose Baboso Verga Pendejo y Grandmaricón PhD, Principal Economic Attaché for International Banking and Finance at the Embassy of Panama here in Washington DC. We were supposed to discuss the effects of depressed petroleum prices on the exchange rates of reserve currencies with particular emphasis on the Chinese Yuan in light of its recent designation as such by the IMF. But the long face he pulled when he plunked down wearily on the couch in my office told me otherwise. This gentleman had something else on his mind, and it wasn’t at all pleasant. “Tom,” he wailed, staring up at the ceiling in despair, “thank your lucky stars you aren’t a […]