The Test

The Foreign Service Exam, that portal into the exciting world of international diplomacy, is given once a year, in the spring, on the same day in thousands of locations across the country. Results of the test arrive in the mailboxes of test-takers in the fall. For some, these are not pretty. There are four parts: […]

Leaving Home Without It

I don’t get out much, ergo my love for vicarious road trips. As an armchair traveler, it’s important to choose your writer as carefully as you would a travel companion. This has become a more difficult undertaking in recent years, however. The booming “adventure travel” sector of the industry has spawned both a motor coach […]

Cast of Chaos

Reality TV is, of course, an oxymoron. There’s reality—pimples and disappointments and paper jams. And there’s TV—Jennifer Aniston. These two concepts were meant to inhabit parallel planes and never intersect. That’s the natural order of the universe, like hot air rising and white pants attracting food. Tampering with this law of nature is an abomination. […]

Greek Chic

Neal Viemeister, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota, can’t pinpoint exactly what prompted him to hire the Greek undergrad as a research assistant back in the 1970s. He searched his memory—“Well, John knocked at my door looking for research experience, which impressed me, that an undergraduate would be that motivated and courageous. He […]

You Can’t Take It With You

Last year, my kumquat and I deemed mid-February a good time to soak it up in South Beach. Sunshine, not booze. At 8 A.M., he was off golfing, while I was setting up my kit on the pure white shingle (had I been naked I would have been perfectly camouflaged), lapped by azure waves. By […]

Nest Brown

Local paint companies will tell you that business has been booming for a couple years now. Crazy times bring out the nesting instinct in people, and when that happens, they notice how badly the walls could use a fresh coat. When they reach for a gallon of flat interior latex, they typically don’t reach for […]