Tag Archives: history


Deep Throat plaque

In a metropolitan area full of history and historical markers, two plaques in Arlington, Virginia—just across the river from Washington, DC—are easy to miss. They sit a block apart in the Rosslyn neighborhood, consisting of office buildings, high-rise apartments, and fast-food restaurants. I passed them many times as a bicycle commuter before I stopped to […]

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The sky was noticeably clearer this morning here in Washington, the air sweet-smelling and strangely endorphic. I was at a loss to explain why. Then I read the news: Turkey has recalled its ambassador. Seems a committee in the US House of Representatives had the nerve to pass a nonbinding resolution that said a genocide was perpetrated […]

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Exactly a month ago, while drawing up Obama’s first-quarter report card, I wrote: “Still to be scored is his approach to Afghanistan—he is currently deliberating, and the hope arises he will ditch the simpleminded bellicosity displayed in his campaign and find a saner solution to that mess.” During the 2008 campaign Obama trashed the Bush […]

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The news arrives today that Armenia and Turkey have decided to establish diplomatic relations. It is typical of this dysfunctional relationship that no date has been set for such relations to actually kick in, and none of the thorny issues dividing the two countries (the genocide, Nagorno-Karabagh, etc.) are close to being resolved. But it’s […]

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We all knew, from the day he burst on the scene, that Barack Obama is a great talker. And great talk can sometimes accomplish a lot. But there’s a reason why we talk about “walking the walk.” And, for better or worse (mostly worse), George Bush appears to be the better walker. (Maybe Obama could […]

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Today was a big day. I read about the world’s oldest joke and heard an old favorite, Haydn’s Symphony No. 93, on XM Radio. Okay, here’s the joke, recorded ca. 1900 BCE by a Sumerian who shall remain nameless: Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her […]

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I have been waiting for Christopher Hitchens to weigh in on the Armenian genocide resolution (H.Res. 106) for weeks now. I used to agree with Hitchens a lot more in the past—back in the days when he thought “terrorist” was a stupid label and “terrorism” a blanket excuse for a brutal but ultimately pointless response, […]

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The Armenian genocide resolution (H.Res. 106) is due for a committee vote today. Last week the Turkish government took out a full-page ad in section A of the Washington Post in an attempt to throw sand in everyone’s eyes, and today the Post again dished out its Realpolitik garbage in support of its good friend […]

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We have a low retaining wall made from railroad ties in our front yard that is deteriorating and needs replacing. We’re thinking of stonework this time, and I’m thinking we’ll want to find some Incas to do it for us. I mean, look at the work they do: Photo by Alexander Fiebrandt at Wikipedia They […]

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The association where I work has just published a book for those who wish to be “mentors” in science education. That’s all well and good. The problem is that the persons at the receiving end of this guidance are called “mentees.” This is so grating to my eyes and ears that I came here to […]

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  • Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
    Gravity’s Rainbow

    ‘Is it about a bicycle?’ he asked.
    The Third Policeman