Archive for October, 2006

Extra juju

From: Gail Hawley [] To: Jinnie Doherty [] Subject: Private WH Halloween Party Hi Jinnie — Just wanted to touch base on the plans for tomorrow. POTUS has decided on the Lincoln costume, so Mrs. Bush will arrive as Mary Todd and change into her Catwoman outfit later. (I know, I know, but she says […]

My friend the spy, Part III

My Friend the Spy is a Great Whatsit serial. It is a true story (save for the author’s pseudonym), told in weekly installations. Part I. Part II. From last week’s episode: “Anyway,” he went on, “I’m lucky I didn’t end up like the Rosenbergs. Really. I mean, that very easily could have happened to me.”“So, […]

We’re back from Amsterdam

John Cale’s 1971 album Vintage Violence includes a sweet little sleeper of a song called “Amsterdam.” In it, the singer’s lover has just returned from a trip there, and “it seems the journey did her well.” Her face has softened; if it’s lost its touch, it’s also lost its telltale signs of loneliness. Maybe this is because while there she […]

The jig is up

I had an eye appointment today. I drove to the strip mall optical boutique that happens to employ an eye doctor.  I reminded myself that this annual routine is mundane, less stress than getting my car tuned. I rarely hear bad news, nothing but a few tweaks here or there to the lens prescription. I […]


From James Carroll’s House of War, a history of the Pentagon: The very week of [Strategic Air Command’s General Curtis] LeMay’s retirement [in February 1965], President Johnson ordered the commencement of Operation Rolling Thunder, the air war against North and South vietnam, which began — in secret from the American public — when warplanes struck […]

…All The Go Inbetweens

The kookiest thing that ever happened to me at a crime scene was when a detective gave me his card. Not to talk about the case, but because he wanted writing advice. I took his card and looked at it and thought, my friend is dead in the next room and you want to talk […]

My friend the spy, Part II

To the reader: My Friend the Spy is a Great Whatsit serial. It is a true story (save for the author’s pseudonym), to be told in weekly installations over the coming months. Read Part I here. That Saturday night, with no other plans in my datebook, I decided to go to Berg’s party – even […]

Happycakes, part 1

Last week an ominous-looking letter came in the mail from Sallie Mae. Turns out they weren’t looking for me, but wondering if I knew the whereabouts of John T., an old friend and roommate from grad school. John had defaulted on his loans. Did I know where he was? Unfortunately, I do know. John is […]


This perfect September air has brought me home, to California. I wake up and smell eucalyptus and beach fog, cool mornings and warm days. I see, in my mind, the house I loved. It stood out among all of the stucco pre-orders: it was a ranch home. The kind on which they modeled the pre-fab […]

Tales from the office

Marshall I saw Marshall last year as a new patient who needed a physical. He had no other medical complaints. On exam I observed that he was sixty pounds overweight. And his blood tests showed the beginning of diabetes and high cholesterol. Moreover, his blood pressure was on the border of being high. At the […]