Tag Archive for: USIA

How to Ace a Job Interview — Part 2

The distinguished journalist Edward R. Murrow,1 right, director of the U.S. Information Agency under President John F. Kennedy. At left, Murrow’s wife and son. In last week’s post, I began the story of how in a critical job interview, after I was asked the question I most feared, my luck turned around and I completed […]

How to Ace a Job Interview — Part 1

Back in the spring of 1968 I had a big job interview — the oral portion of the U.S. Foreign Service exam. It was a long shot, and I was not expecting to pass. Still, I hoped I’d succeed, since work as a U.S. diplomat in embassies and consulates around the world would give me […]

Look, Mom – Fish Sauce!

Have you ever wondered about fish sauce, the all-but-ubiquitous ingredient in so much of Vietnamese, Thai and several other Southeast Asian cuisines? The one that, when sitting innocently on the table in an unlabeled bottle, looks almost identical to soy sauce but which has a peculiar fragrance and flavor that seem quite unlike anything you […]

Bud Korengold, 1929–2019, RIP

Last week I lost a friend, Robert J. “Bud” Korengold.* While we were not close, I greatly admired him. I first made his acquaintance when I was a Russian area studies major at Yale, and he was the Newsweek correspondent in Moscow. Back then, our acquaintanceship was one-way. I knew who he was; he had no […]

Governor’s Speechwriter — Who, Me?

Gov. John Waihee with speechwriter Howard Daniel on the morning of “the Guv’s” last day in office, Dec. 5, 1994 Last week I wrote about why I love the work I do. This week, readers might be interested to learn how it was that, a quarter century ago, I found myself working as speechwriter to […]

Hank Gosho, Sensei

Hank Gosho at Tsukuba Expo ’85 (low resolution from heavy cropping of original photo) A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about Don Jones, a colorful character who, among much else, had offered to teach me Japanese in 10 hours. Today, I’d like to tell you a little about another friend and […]

My Brushes With Bush

The death, several days ago, of George H.W. Bush, brings to mind a couple of brushes I had with the man who would later serve as the 41st president of the United States. The first of these “brushes,” in 1971, was entirely impersonal. He and I were both serving at the U.S. Mission to the […]

Wanna Learn Japanese in 10 Hours?

Gaijin (Japanese for “foreigner”) Back in 1984, I mentioned to a friend, Don Jones, a U.S. Information Agency colleague, that I’d just been assigned to the staff of the U.S. Pavilion at Tsukuba Expo ’85.1 Don was, I’d guess, about two decades older than me. I’d first met him a few years earlier when we were […]

Adventures at the DMV – and Elsewhere

My Soviet driver’s license (and, yes, I certainly needed a haircut!) I’ve just passed the written and vision tests needed (perhaps thanks to advancing age) to renew my driver’s license. The experience with the California Department of Motor Vehicles reminded me of a long-ago brush with Virginia’s DMV. It happened in 1978, shortly after I […]

Nuts and Alligators

Here’s a Foreign Service story that’s too good not to share. Back in the early 1980s when I was working in Washington, D.C., I was assigned for two or three years to USIA’s Foreign Press Center, just six blocks from the White House. It was a great job. The FPC was located in the National […]