Posts

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 […]

Diving Into History: Williamsburg, Jamestown

Two of the three ships that carried the first English colonists to Jamestown in 1607 I wrote last week about Chincoteague and Assateague, Part One of the “just the two of us” vacation that Sandra and I took in May. Here’s Part Two. It’s about our visit to Virginia’s “Historic Triangle” of Williamsburg, Jamestown and […]

Furo Adventure

If you haven’t bathed in traditional Japanese style, you’ve missed a great experience. I’ve had a few opportunities to bathe like the locals do in Japan, but none to rival the one I’ll recount below. First though, for readers unfamiliar with Japanese customs, here’s brief intro. In Japan, you get clean before you get into […]

Recollections Called Forth by the Closing of America’s St. Petersburg Consulate

U.S. consulate-general, St. Petersburg, Russia The U.S. consulate-general in St. Petersburg became a casualty this week of the current escalation of tensions between the West and Vladimir Putin’s Russia, following the attempted assassination in England of former double agent Alexander Litvinenko and his daughter by Russia’s FSB (successor to the USSR’s notorious KGB). Putin ordered […]