Nov 252016

“A Botanist Singapore Sling with Cointreau for Cerise,” Rose recited with a dulcet tone as she handed out drinks in the living room of the family home in Fairfax, “a coconut almond milk vanilla Stoli White Russian with Galliano Ristretto for Katje, a Rémy Martin XO and Grand Marnier Sidecar for Arthur, a double Talisker 18 on the rocks for Tom, Red Bull and Jagermeister for Jason, and an Auchentoshan Triple Wood and Carpano Antica Rob Roy for… Rob Roy! And last but not least,” she proclaimed as she held it aloft, “a Patron Añejo Tequila Sunrise for me! Muchas gracias to Tom for supplying all the top shelf ingredients – and the organic free-range turkey, his own secret-recipe walnut, […]

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 312016

Another six day week had left me feeling entitled to a quiet Sunday, and it certainly started off that way yesterday morning. In the early afternoon, however, as my cat Twinkle and I lounged on the couch in the living room, my land line rang. Caller ID couldn’t tell me who it was, so I pondered through the first three rings whether I should answer or let it roll over to voice mail. Having just finished a seven thousand word article on alt-right trolls in the latest issue of the New Yorker, though, I concluded that I had had enough reading for the moment and wouldn’t mind talking to somebody. So on the fourth ring, I answered. Tom: Hello, who […]

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 […]

Sep 272016

My two-thirty PM consultation appointment on Friday was with Dr. Arbre Étreinte Birkenstock, Division Director, United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation. Despite the autumn equinox on Thursday, the weather remained as warm and humid as summer here in Washington DC, and she arrived at my office wearing a sundress, sandals, and no makeup (she’s chemically sensitive to perfumes, rouge, lipstick and cosmetics in general), bearing a knapsack instead of a briefcase. Her mood was one of distinct, positive optimism and excitement, which became immediately evident as soon as she entered and seated herself at the chair located to the right of my desk. “Have you heard about what Jerry Brown did in California?” she burbled, leaning […]