48 Stars for Memorial Day

Thousands of bikers will roar into DC this weekend, rolling thunder to commemorate the service and sacrifice of those who, for one reason and another, participated in the aggression we call the Vietnam War. Little notice will herald the sacrifice of those whose land was destroyed by that aggression, whose lives irrevocably changed—but anti-war thoughts … Continue reading 48 Stars for Memorial Day

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Sex Ed: Anne Frank in Africa

Without telling us the punchlines, Dutch researchers announced this week the discovery of four dirty jokes papered over in Anne Frank’s diary. I taught the diary as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi two decades ago, curious from the start why it was on the curriculum. My students faced a lifetime of grinding poverty, endemic … Continue reading Sex Ed: Anne Frank in Africa

Tom Wolfe,1930–2018

Tom Wolfe's passing takes me back to undergrad years and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I loved Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff, but it was Acid Test---published 50 years ago---that made Tom Wolfe electric. We were studying Ken Kesey under Barry Leeds and there was never enough to go around. Cuckoo's Nest … Continue reading Tom Wolfe,1930–2018

Answer Coming Soon

When I feel ornery about the state of world affairs, I turn to Dan Whitman for a cure. Because he gifted me a large stack of his books, he doesn’t always know this. Whitman’s essays reflect on wide-ranging issues for the foreign affairs professional. They cut across decades (mostly post World War II) and continents … Continue reading Answer Coming Soon

A Note Is Worth a Thousand Words

A reflection for Mothers Day. Friday morning I made French toast before catching a train to work. The loaf wasn’t finished, but it was time to make more bread. I remember as a kid coming downstairs in the morning to find notes on the kitchen table. These were friendly greetings, chatty in mood but pithy … Continue reading A Note Is Worth a Thousand Words

When Writing Is Going Well…

To learn how today's funniest flash nonfiction writers answer a few simple questions, check the news feed over at Woodhall Press. Fiction or Nonfiction? Is it harder to write funny or sad? Long form or short form? Poetry or prose? Boxers or kickboxers? Piece that you read and said Wish I’d thought of that? Cloned … Continue reading When Writing Is Going Well…

The Impact of Public Diplomacy

Reflecting on U.S. Diplomacy. An excerpt: The next-to-last time I saw Mohamed---11:15 a.m., December 6, 2004---a blast-resistant window separated us. The day’s final applicant, he was alone in the waiting room when the high-low alarm started wailing. An Afghan male taking refuge in Saudi Arabia from the time of the Soviet invasion of his country, … Continue reading The Impact of Public Diplomacy

All Steeple, No Church

Does this structure look like a steeple with no church? My son thought so. Driving to the Nation's capital on a beautiful spring morning, I pointed it out from the distant heights across the Potomac on the George Washington Parkway. This white symbol of the Republic can be seen for miles. The seven-year-old meant little … Continue reading All Steeple, No Church

Finite Jests

There’s nothing pithy in the title ‘Before We Break for Lunch, Let Me Repeat Everything Already Said at This Meeting At Least Twice.’ And that's exactly the point. By sticking its finger in the eye of brevity, this piece at the tail end of Flash Nonfiction Funny captures everything that’s beautiful and funny and sad … Continue reading Finite Jests

Titles for World Book Day

Re-posting these titles I wish I could find on Amazon, with a few more. Happy reading, writing, and whatever else it is you do with your books. The Novel Is Dead---A Murder Mystery   The Novel Is Dead. Long Live the Novel: An Arthurian Legend   The Attorney for the Attorney Representing the Client’s Attorney---A … Continue reading Titles for World Book Day