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 […]

Aug 272017
 

I was relaxing at my home in Great Falls, Virginia this morning, reading Kierkegaard around three in the afternoon when my land line rang, and Caller ID revealed it was a satellite phone call from none other than Kim Jong-un, Glorious and Infallible Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. As faithful readers of this Web log know, I have not heard from him in quite a while – not since October, 2014 as a matter of fact. Such readers are also aware that Kim Jong-un – the real one, that is – has been locked up at a secret location for the last five years courtesy of Korean Peoples Army Marshal Kim Yong-chun, Vice Marshals Ri […]

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 […]

Jul 042017
 

I held my first consultation for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity this Monday, when Hanover Fiste, Deputy Special Assistant Advisor to Advisory Commissioner Kobach for Election Policy, Methodology, Demographics and Metrics paid me a visit. Like many of my clients, he entered my office exhibiting the anxious air of a person with an intractable problem gnawing at their guts. Experience has taught me that where such gentleman or lady chooses to seat themselves tells me a lot about them and how they perceive the problem that’s got them by the short hairs. The frightened ones tend to choose the chair to the left of my desk, located as it is in a rather sheltered portion of the room, […]

May 292017
 

Friday night after work, I stopped by the Round Robin Bar for a properly made cocktail or two, and was enjoying a Van Gogh Vanilla and Caffe del Fuego white Russian, up, shaken, with a sprinkle of powdered Sri Lankan montane cardamom when I spied a haggard gentleman with huge bags under his eyes pounding down what appeared to be Seagram’s Seven on the rocks. He was staring me, taking inordinately large draughts, obviously working up enough Dutch courage to walk over to my table, sit down and confront me. After a couple more, he did. “Tom Collins, I presume,” he opened with that distinct, supercilious smirk borne of excessive booze which innate cowards often sport when they are drunk, […]