Oct 152019
 

As regular readers of this Web log know, I’m an Italian-American – my full name is Tom Collins Martini, and my father, now long retired, was a bartender at a Manhattan society hotel. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, he invented a number of modern martini cocktails and named his children after the ones of which he was particularly proud. All of this explains why my brother, Rob Roy Martini, brought his wife and son over to my home in Great Falls, Virginia on Monday, October 14 for dinner – to celebrate Columbus Day, an American holiday celebrated by Italian-Americans since 1792 and made an official federal holiday in 1971. Now, I would be the first to admit that we Italian-Americans […]

Aug 242018
 

Regular readers of this Web log would probably not be surprised to learn that I know Q. Actually, it would be surprising if they were surprised to learn that I know Q. In fact, I’ve known Q for years, and there are a couple of common misconceptions about him that I feel I should correct, right up front. First of all, Q isn’t a committee, a cell or a cabal – Q is a single individual. Secondly, although he’s not currently a high-ranking military officer (as many claim), it is definitely true that he used to be one – a major general – but he’s retired now. His present position is serving as the Assistant Administrator of the Directorate on […]

Jul 202018
 

This afternoon, I had a consultation with Dr. Runkkari Paskanaama, Special Attaché for Political Affairs at the Embassy of Finland here in Washington. He brought a bottle of Lakka, the Finnish Lapponia Cloudberry liqueur, which isn’t easy to find in DC. “From the embassy’s own stock,” he confided as he placed it on the coffee table by the couch. For a moment, he turned to gaze past the couch, out the picture window behind it, which overlooks the White House. A visible shudder ran through him, after which he shook his head and took a seat in the chair immediately in front of my desk. “Mr. Collins,” he began, leaning close toward me, “Ambassador Kauppi asks that I convey our […]

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 […]

Oct 292017
 

Quite early yesterday morning, so early, in fact, that I had to arrive at the office before Gretchen, a consultation began with a gentleman who insisted I call him “Randy Harry Merkin,” although that obviously could not be his real name. He paid cash, and told me that he is a policy advisor to a member of the current presidential Cabinet. When I inquired as to which department or agency in the Cabinet, Mr. Merkin was similarly cagey, refusing to reveal its name. All par for the course in my line of work, where about one in ten clients don’t want the specifics of their identities revealed. Those hundred dollar bills he handed me were genuine – I always check […]