Swimming with Sharks

My first shark dive, over a decade ago, our group encountered half a dozen reef sharks in the Red Sea. The big monsters circled the coral an hour offshore. The sight stole my breath, my aqualung pumping furiously---not the best reaction at minus 30 ft. The white tip is a predator, though not likely to charge across open water for … Continue reading Swimming with Sharks

The Foreign Service v Zach Galifianakis

The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) included this discussion of  Two Pumps for the Body Man in their new Digital Exclusives series. Unlike the great Between Two Ferns, the AFSA studio had only one bamboo to offer. Lean budget times, I guess. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9x6SVKdYqg AFSA writes: Foreign Service Officer Ben East brings to the table a satirical … Continue reading The Foreign Service v Zach Galifianakis

December 06, 2004

Remembering those we lost. Remembering those who survived. Remembering this awful day and its  protracted aftermath. It's the aftermath that sticks most. The long period that stretched through weeks when our broken mission pulled itself together again. We pulled ourselves up from piles of ash and dust; from the pulverized concrete and glass shattered by bullets fired … Continue reading December 06, 2004

What is the WOT

Three novelists offer their views of Two Pumps for the Body Man, a satire about life on the front line of the War on Terror. ...the pace is fast... Two Pumps is a page-turner, baby, and it takes some real balls to satirize the great Christian crusade of our times. ...a wry ode to the cluster-f*** of … Continue reading What is the WOT

A Catch-22 for the War on Terror

Two Pumps for the Body Man Set in Saudi Arabia, Two Pumps did for American diplomacy and the War on Terror what Catch-22 did for military logic in World War II: The enemy can’t kill us if our institutions kill us first. Jeff Mutton walks the diplomatic beat protecting American officials in Saudi Arabia. An … Continue reading A Catch-22 for the War on Terror

Coming Very Soon

The Second World War II had Catch 22. The Global War on Terror will have:

Review–Old Sparky

My copy of Old Sparky—The Electric Chair and the History of the Death Penalty arrived the day after a federal jury ended 14 hours of deliberation during which they concluded that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev deserved death for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon attack. This was no accident. I requested the copy as a means of examining … Continue reading Review–Old Sparky

Hands Off My Free Speech

Hate-speech promoter Pam Geller reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld's dentist, Tim Whately and his quest for total joke-telling immunity. When Jerry tells Father Curtis he thinks Whately converted to Judaism for the jokes, the priest asks, "And this offends you as a Jewish person?" "No," says Jerry. "It offends me as a comedian." Geller's irrational defense of … Continue reading Hands Off My Free Speech

Review: Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!

This review appears in the latest issue of Crime Factory magazine--the excellent Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! by Douglas Lindsay. Enjoy, coffee drinkers and Beatles lovers! Before Douglas Lindsay’s Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! descends into nightmare, the narrative hints at a story about the ho-hum life: the humorous musings of a middle-aged man resigned to a tired … Continue reading Review: Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!

Review: Shattered Glass–The Story of a Marine Embassy Guard

I picked up Greg Matos’ Shattered Glass—The Story of a Marine Embassy Guard with a narrow purpose. I wanted to read about the December 2004 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I wanted to know what it felt like to be the Marine standing Post when five heavily armed terrorists stormed our compound, killing … Continue reading Review: Shattered Glass–The Story of a Marine Embassy Guard