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 […]

Feb 262018
 

Here in the Mid Atlantic, the heart of a good winter fire is oak. It should constitute at least sixty percent of the fuel and be well seasoned wood, stacked at least two years in a woodpile, neither too tightly or too loose, having air passages “big enough for a mouse to run through, but a cat can’t follow.” Ideally, the remaining forty percent ought to consist of equally well dry seasoned cuts of hickory, maple, poplar, walnut, cherry, birch, beech, sycamore and elm. In order to properly appreciate having such transcendental object in one’s fireplace, of course, it helps considerably if Nature delivers some suitably abominable conditions outside in order to provide an appropriate context. No problem there on […]

Jul 232017
 

As the venerable aphorism so pithily puts it, the difference between Hell and Washington DC in the summer is that Hell has dry heat. With the thermometer flirting with one hundred degrees Fahrenheit and the air so sodden with water vapor that stepping outside of an air conditioned building feels like crawling into a Siksika sweat lodge erected in the middle of a Turkish steam bath, it’s sufficiently discouraging to keep even the most workaholic political hacks, ramrod-backed Pentagon chicken colonels and policy-obsessed think tank wonks from booking consultations with me on a weekend. So, thanks to that, I had the day off on the twenty-second of July and dare say I had enough common sense to stay inside my […]

Mar 052017
 

Thursday afternoon, Gretchen took an urgent call from Ben Carson, requesting an immediate consultation. “The name sounds familiar,” she remarked, “Wasn’t he one of those sixteen other bozos besides Trump who ran for president as Republicans last year?” “That’s correct,” I confirmed. “Dr. Ben Carson is a famous pediatric neurosurgeon who came up the hard way on the wrong side of the tracks in Detroit, struggling with a terrible temper and valiantly overcoming a tendency toward violent behavior and assault with deadly weapons, at last finding Christian faith and using it to humbly rise to the top of the medical profession, later to become a darling of the American conservative movement.” “Oh, now, I think I remember him,” Gretchen remarked. […]

Feb 012017
 

Tuesday evening, I was relaxing at home, alone with my cat Twinkle, reading Harpers, The Atlantic, Scientific American and The Economist when the phone rang. Caller ID showed that it was the cell number of my brother-in-law Hank, from whom, at that point, I had not heard anything in quite some time. Tom: Hank? Hank: Tom? Tom: Who else would it be? Where are you? Hank: In West Virginia. Tom: Right. Look, Hank, Obama’s not the president anymore. He’s gone. He’s history, okay? So why don’t you and Shannon quit preparing for Armageddon and come down from the hills? Because if Obama was the Antichrist, he sure did a rotten job, didn’t he? Rose misses you. Arthur misses Shannon. And […]