This morning, just as I concluded a consultation about Boko Haram’s latest overtures to ISIL with a distraught Nigerian diplomat, Gretchen buzzed me on the intercom. “Mr. Collins,” she told me, “there’s this old Southern lady on Line Two. She sounds exactly like Woody Allen imitating Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.” “Did this person give a name?” I asked. “Yes,” Gretchen answered, “she says she’s named Linsey or Linseed or something like that.” “And this person wants to speak with me?” I inquired. “Uh-huh,” Gretchen confirmed, “she seems pretty adamant about it.” “And this person,” I sought to confirm, “is haughty, arch and condescending but nevertheless obviously a pathetic bigot and a total ignoramus?” “Right,” Gretchen huffed, “she […]

 

Calls from politicians who want to be President of the United States aren’t that unusual, but one thing I’ve noticed over the course of the last several elections is that as time goes on, I get them earlier and earlier. I mean, really, November 8, 2016 is 616 days away, and already here’s my first call – from Jeb Bush. And don’t tell me he doesn’t want to be President, because as of today, I know better. Actually, the man has essentially concluded the Presidency is his hereditary right, more or less the same way Hillary Clinton reckons that, having been married to Bill Clinton, had his child, put up with his philandering and lived with him for eight years […]

 

Today, I conducted a telephone consultation with Dr. Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, part-time employee of the Harvard – Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and co-author of The Maunder Minimum and the Variable Sun – Earth Connection; Proxy Climatic and Environmental Changes of the Past 1000 Years; Modeling Climatic Effects of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Unknowns and Uncertainties; Estimation and Representation of Long-term ( > 40 year ) Trends of Northern-Hemisphere-gridded Surface Temperature: a Note of Caution; and, Variation in Surface Air Temperature of China During the 20th Century; as well as sole author of Non-equilibrium Kinetics in High Temperature Gases; Variable Solar Irradiance as a Plausible Agent for Multidecadal Variations in the Arctic-wide Surface Air Temperature Record of the Past 130 years; […]

 

Monday was Presidents Day, which is a federal holiday, thus sparing America, for twenty-four hours, at least, from the incompetence, ignorance and idiocy of the United States Civil Service. But as usual, federal holidays bring no respite for Gretchen or myself, since I have plenty of other clients to deal with; it’s simply a matter of booking their consultations solid every federal holiday from seven in the morning until six at night. My eleven o’clock appointment, for example, was Percy M. Filch, a senior partner in Steele, Filch and Robb, a K Street lobbying firm. True to his usual form, he had called for an appointment at the last minute on Friday afternoon and Gretchen only just managed to squeeze […]

 

My ten o’clock consultation today was Dr. Batroun Ibn Himaar, an econometrician at the World Bank. For about an hour and ten minutes, things went pretty much as I expected while we discussed the probabilistic projections of international currency exchange rates based on a stochastic optimization model of petroleum prices. But at the conclusion of a particularly grueling Monte Carlo analysis which addressed all forty-six dimensions of the multivariate parametric partial differential equations involved, Dr. Ibn Himaar reared back and threw up his hands. “Enough of this!” he proclaimed. “I can’t concentrate sufficiently in such a state of anxiety!” “What are you anxious about?” I inquired. “This President Obama of yours!” he declared. “The man’s an irresponsible trouble-maker!” “What makes […]

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