Take Your Child to Work Day

My favorite work day of the year. The cafeteria never seems so alive. The visitor hall buzzes with energy. At State our children take the same oath of service---to uphold the constitution---that we took when we came on board. “I stachername, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United … Continue reading Take Your Child to Work Day

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Review–Memoir from Paraguay

Latest review posted at Peace Corps Worldwide, home for Peace Corps-affiliated writers who publish stories from around the world. Mark Salvatore  writes simple, declarative sentences. His Peace Corps memoir, Shade of the Paraiso, is stripped to fact and detail, observation and truth. Even its replication of time — passing slowly at first, building inexorably over months, … Continue reading Review–Memoir from Paraguay

Limits of Traction

No coffee this morning. This line instead kicked my day into gear at West Virginia's Bill Scott Raceway: We're gonna be at the limits of traction this morning... Limits of traction, and limits of digestion. Following the hard-braking exercises through the serpentine, I left the Crown Vic to hurl my breakfast at the woods. No … Continue reading Limits of Traction

Those Funny Russian Trolls

Call them what you will---trolls, comment monkeys, sock-puppets---no-one should doubt that the hundreds of employees of the 'Internet Research Agency' had a sense of humor. From the Mueller indictment: On or about May 29, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through an ORGANIZATION-controlled social media account, arranged for a real U.S. person to stand in front of … Continue reading Those Funny Russian Trolls

May the Bird of Paradise Rest in Your Armpit

The man with the 70's hangover---big stache, wide lapels, swooping toupee---assigned to teach my fifth grade class regularly heaped this wish upon us: 'May the bird of paradise rest in your armpit.' What this meant, and why it should happen to us, was never made clear. It was only, mysteriously, repeated. This was a 1982-83, … Continue reading May the Bird of Paradise Rest in Your Armpit

Olympic Glory

The Olympics are here! Skeleton and luge. The bobsled. Downhill skiing and of course the mighty ski jump. It just doesn't get any faster or more exciting than this! I like the control in biathlon, and gawk with envy as the snowboarders throw themselves off the half-pipe. I respect the athleticism and grace of the … Continue reading Olympic Glory

The Mess We’re In

Only in our currently defiled situation could an unpaid intern have the gall and patience to assert moral power... This month's Foreign Service Journal features an incisive review of Patchworks by author and retired Foreign Service Officer Dan Whitman. Generous praise from a great writer. Dan served as French interpreter for the  State Department's International … Continue reading The Mess We’re In

Six Grand

I’ll end 2017 on a high note. A mighty effort in the last weeks of December pushed my page views for the year over 6,000. That’s nothing compared to the many blogs who get 6,000 views in a month, a week, a day, but it was my goal for 2017. A sincere Thank You to … Continue reading Six Grand

Uncle Sam, Matchmaker

Pleased to share some new non-fiction of mine up at American Diplomacy. I pictured myself in a Peace Corps-issue hammock on an island somewhere, or crossing high glaciers in the glaring Himalayan sun. Then the recruiter called and offered Malawi. Pointless to remind her what I'd written where the application asked my preference: 'Anywhere but Africa.' … Continue reading Uncle Sam, Matchmaker

11:15 06-Dec-04

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=33&v=wWWxlbspbOs The next-to-last time I saw Mohamed—11:15, Dec 6, 2004—a blast-resistant window separated me from the Afghan businessman with good English, admiration for the U.S., and a carpet enterprise in Virginia. The last applicant of the morning at our visa counter in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Mohamed was alone in the waiting room when the high-low alarm … Continue reading 11:15 06-Dec-04