Yesterday, Gretchen had occasion to squeeze Dr. Bashafala Kumanina Kinuka Mkundu, Primary Under Assistant Secretary for Economic, Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Ugandan Embassy to the United States of America, into my consultation schedule. “Mr. Collins,” she complained to me via IM Chat from her computer in the reception area, “this Dr. Mknundu is totally obnoxious. He’s hitting on me, and his pickup lines are bordering on the psychotic.” “Such as what?” I IM’d back. “He says, in his country,” she replied, “he would pay twenty cows, forty sheep, sixty goats and a hundred chickens for me. Not only that, but he’s leaning forward right into my face, his breath smells like rotting garbage, and he’s got a bulge [...]

 

Things had been comparatively quiet here in Washington until a couple of weeks ago, allowing Gretchen and me to take Saturdays off. But as the planet’s various political herpes sores erupted everywhere upon it once more, like those which appear on nervous, lonely thirty-something women the night before the big two week Caribbean cruise with their prospective Mr. Right, my appointment calendar spilled over into the weekend yet again. My first consultation yesterday was with Dr. Nikolai Mikhailovich Otvali Mudakovich Kisov, a regular client from the Russian Embassy. For years, at intervals of four to six weeks, we have cordially discussed and clinically analyzed trade, environmental, scientific joint venture, natural resource and cultural exchange issues involving Russia, the European Union, [...]

 

This afternoon, as regular readers of this Web log can readily imagine, my dear brother Rob Roy invited himself and his son Jason over to my home in Great Falls, Virginia, to watch the World Cup Championship on the oversize HDTV in the furnished basement. And to avail themselves of my extensive collection of world-class potables while they were at it, of course. I played soccer as a kid – I’m in that demographic – and I’d be the first to vouch that it’s a very absorbing game to play. Watching it, on the other hand, is a skill I have yet to fully acquire. So while, about thirty minutes into the match, the highlight of which was a putative [...]

 

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 [...]

 

With the Ukrainian Crisis in its second week, the Dalai Lama visiting Washington amid protests both diplomatic as well as on the streets, and the Conservative Political Action Conference in full swing, those would have been quite sufficient to keep Gretchen and me working twelve and fourteen hour days all week, including up until ten at night Saturday.  But on top of all that, as luck and United States foreign policy would have it, Secretary of State John Kerry chose this week to send each and every US ambassador explicit instructions to make climate change their top priority, and quote, “…promote concerted action at posts and in host countries to address this problem.”  Sheesh!  As if there weren’t enough people [...]

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