Once Upon a Time in Russia…

A recent visit to St. Petersburg stimulated my recollections of the six or so encounters I’ve had with the evil empire and its minions over the years.  Yes, I know, a few visits over 30 years does not an expert make, but it does allow me to have an opinion.  I previously shared my observations of one early encounter in a blog titled “The People I Think I Know” in August, 2011.  It didn’t involve my own personal interaction with something Russian, it described an encounter of Margaret Thatcher’s (then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) which she related to me at an engagement party for her son Mark.  To get to the point, she...

The Khashoggis

If you were surprised by the killing and dissection of Jamal Khashoggi by representatives of the government of Saudi Arabia, you have not been paying attention.  Execution by beheading has been the preferred method of ridding the Kingdom of its undesirables for decades if not centuries.  Even today, through the first four months of 2018, at least 48 souls have been dispatched to the great hereafter by the Saudi authorities wielding swords, often carried out in the town square at 9:00 in the morning.  They are now working on their technique of executing multiple beheadings simultaneously. I guess this is what counts for progress in The Kingdom.  And what were...

My Oligarch

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “oligarch?”  Lemme guess:  a rare butterfly, distress in the small intestine, the nth power of zero, or, or, or… a really rich Rooskie who has a palatial estate in the south of France and an 8000 square foot flat in Trump Tower.   Okay, I know I shouldn’t use an ethnically pejorative term to describe a person, but, by golly, I can’t help myself.  Be honest, you thought of a Russian, too.  In fact, I don’t believe there is any such thing as a Canadian oligarch or a Uruguayan oligarch.  To be an oligarch you just gotta be a Rooskie, er, I mean Russian.  And...

If Everyone Had a Gun

I recently had the good fortune to be out of town when some 80,000 worthies joined one another in Dallas in singing a paean to the gun, the pistol, the long rifle, the six shooter, the single-shot-pump-action-semi-automatic-automatic-shotgun with a few Bowie knives thrown in. Yes, the NRA had their annual convention in Dallas. Politicians were falling all over themselves to pay homage to that never-runs-dry fountain of political power…filthy lucre. They were all there. The Governor, both Texas Senators, assorted Congressmen, county and city officials, and wannabes too numerous to count. And yes, the Veep and The Trumpster his-own-self were there. Now,...

Okinawa

I am writing this from roughly the middle of the East China Sea on a twenty hour sea passage from Shanghai to Okinawa.  Actually, I’m not going to Okinawa but to Ishigaki-Jima which is a part of the Okinawa chain of islands which are, in turn, are part of Japan. I don’t want to insult anyones intelligence by dwelling on what you already know, but, if you, like me, missed this part of the world in your world geography class, a little context might be useful. Okinawa is a chain of 150 or so islands midway between Japan and Taiwan, and lies, as I previously indicated, in the midst of the East China sea.  Of the 44 islands which are inhabited, a...