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 […]

Jan 162017

I can’t discuss what Vernum and I worked on during his consultation Friday at 3:30, since he’s with the CIA and the subject matter was classified. On the other hand, after I completed my final appointment that evening, I headed down to the Willard Hotel, and there, in Round Robin Bar, I saw Vernum slouched, alone at a table, over what was apparently not his first cocktail of the afternoon. I sidled up and sat down next to him. Obviously, what we spoke about then could be publicly disclosed, whereas we said it all in public over drinks in a public house in a very public manner, and here am I therefore, posting it publicly on the Internet. “That’s a […]

Dec 262016

The rotating location for the Martini / Palikowski extended family Christmas dinner this year is the home of my brother Rob Roy, his wife Katje and son Jason in Falls Church, Virginia. When this is the case, technically speaking, Katje is responsible for preparation of the food. But as frequent readers of this Web log know, Katje is a militant vegan. Therefore, practically speaking, on years when she is in charge of Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner it has been customary for my sister Rose and her sister-in-law, Shannon, to bring the ingredients for, and subsequently cook, the traditional dishes at Katje’s house. Now, as regular readers of this Web log also know, it has been several years since Shannon […]

Nov 122016

Veterans’ Day is one of those half-baked holidays – the stock market is open but the banks are closed; here in Washington, federal employees have the day off but federal contractors don’t, unless they work in a federal building that’s closed on Veterans’ Day, and so on and so forth. So normally, I would have expected a somewhat lighter schedule, but given the events of last Tuesday, that was far from the case. All my phones have been ringing like the bells of a nine alarm fire since shortly after 12:15 AM Wednesday, and I was booked solid from before sunrise until well after sunset, although it is, admittedly, November and the daylight here does grow increasingly limited this time […]

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 […]