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, […]

Jun 132017

Sir Percy Bysshe Blithering-Snype, Twelfth Earl of Dorking, Principal Attaché for Commerce and the Exchequer at the Embassy of Great Britain here in Washington was hardly his usual convivial self on Friday. He sat through most of our consultation on English specialty export markets with a preoccupied look, barely responding to my conversation. Toward the end, I decided to call him on it by making an absurd statement to see if he was even listening. “Therefore, whereas,” I ventured, “the elasticity of demand for spotted dick is proportional to the elasticity of Welsh flag novelty men’s boxer shorts waistbands, US imports of bitter brown ale from all points between Leeds and Newcastle can be expected to fall in the fourth […]

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, […]

May 142017

Another working Saturday for Gretchen and me – booked solid from six in the morning until well into the evening. And on top of that, there was someone who had been calling to ask for an initial consultation since early Thursday morning whom Gretchen simply had not been able to squeeze in. We discussed it during a twenty minute lunch break, and I agreed to stay late, let Gretchen go at seven, and deal with the new client by myself. The fact that this individual wanted a telephone consultation made it easier, anyway. So there I was at my desk in the gathering dusk, the setting sun obscured by a dismal overcast, a strange, cold May drizzle wetting the picture […]