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

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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

Foreign Service, Under Covers

DC-area writers, consider stopping by the American Foreign Service Association for this year's book market featuring a talk on writing and publishing from 25-year veteran literary agent and editor Deborah Grosvenor. Two dozen Foreign Service-affiliated authors will also be there with their latest work. Find out what publishers are looking for when it comes to writing … Continue reading Foreign Service, Under Covers

The Annapolis Bookstore

A short block from Maryland's historic State House, down a white brick street narrow with specialty shops, The Annapolis Bookstore is exactly what a bookstore ought to be: jammed with literature, old and new, on shelves that climb from creaking wood floor to high plaster ceiling. Close with the antiquated must of well-turned pages, yet … Continue reading The Annapolis Bookstore

Swamp Talk