The crazy story of the night I almost ended up stuck in downtown Naples, Italy

In January 2012, I had the opportunity to travel to Naples, Italy for four days. It wasn’t a personal vacation, rather a work-related trip. The best part about it was that I was stationed at the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and any excuse to get out was a welcome one. As the embassy’s leadContinue reading “The crazy story of the night I almost ended up stuck in downtown Naples, Italy”

A Decade of the Witch: My story of a band with which I fell in and out of love

I don’t remember the exact year or time, but it was probably around 2008 or 2009, when I was introduced to a thrash/death metal band called Skeletonwitch on XM radio. They had such a great sound, and I was so impressed with the music that I bought all of the band’s albums I could. ThenContinue reading “A Decade of the Witch: My story of a band with which I fell in and out of love”

Watching Hunters on Amazon reminded me of my visit to Auschwitz

The train tracks just ended. They entered the plaza underneath a brick archway and then just stopped. I had never seen train tracks just end before, as every time I had ridden a train, usually with my grandfather, they always continued on somewhere else. Not these. And they didn’t need to go anywhere. Their purposeContinue reading “Watching Hunters on Amazon reminded me of my visit to Auschwitz”

I almost got stuck in Europe because I didn’t know this rule about air travel

Almost five years ago to the day, in early 2015, I attended a wedding in Poland. My friend, the groom, was marrying a first-generation Polish-American and they thought it would be incredible to have a wedding in Poland, so all of the bride’s family could attend, as they were older and had less money andContinue reading “I almost got stuck in Europe because I didn’t know this rule about air travel”

Fox News commentator Marie Harf still owes me $40…and has since 2008

The following is a true story. The quotes I include maybe not be exact, but they are close enough to what I remember happening… In July 2007, I started working at the CIA as a military analyst on Middle East issues (as the CIA’s review board allows me to say). I worked on the sixthContinue reading “Fox News commentator Marie Harf still owes me $40…and has since 2008”

I feel strange about the Thunderbirds flyover

Along with thousands of others, I witnessed today’s flyover of the Air Force Thunderbirds and (I presume) the Navy’s Blue Angels. I didn’t leave my apartment; I could see it just fine from the view from my sunroom that overlooks Fort Myer. As the planes approached from the northeast and turned to the north alongContinue reading “I feel strange about the Thunderbirds flyover”

20 years after WWII, Hogan’s Heroes made fun of Nazis. 20 years after 9/11, we don’t have a sitcom about terrorism. Here are five reasons why.

One of my dad’s favorite shows growing us as a kid was Hogan’s Heroes, which portrayed a group of Allied airmen held prisoner in a Nazi prisoner of war camp. But they weren’t there because they couldn’t escape, they were there to cause havoc on the Nazis by sneaking out of the camp and blowingContinue reading “20 years after WWII, Hogan’s Heroes made fun of Nazis. 20 years after 9/11, we don’t have a sitcom about terrorism. Here are five reasons why.”

The stay-at-home order reminds me a lot of when I was in Afghanistan. We got through it then, and we’ll get through it now.

The novel coronavirus has decimated our daily lives and almost every state is under a lock-down order for citizens to stay at home. As an extreme extrovert, I find energy and enjoyment through interactions with people, so I knew limited my outside contact would be difficult, but after a few weeks, I’ve gotten in toContinue reading “The stay-at-home order reminds me a lot of when I was in Afghanistan. We got through it then, and we’ll get through it now.”

This is the story of when I was skydiving and had to pull my reserve parachute…on my 32nd jump

I was never addicted to skydiving, like many jumpers are, but I definitely enjoyed it. There was something incredible about how we as humans defied our natural physical limitations and learned to fly. We created systems called airplanes that took us miles above the ground, and then we jumped out of those airplanes and somehowContinue reading “This is the story of when I was skydiving and had to pull my reserve parachute…on my 32nd jump”

Coronavirus closed the Sitar Arts Center and now, our students have nowhere to go. Today, we need your support more than ever.

In December 2014, I was working in the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs and it was time to generate lots of interest for the federal government’s Combined Federal Campaign, which supports local and national charities. I looked through the list and thought it would be interesting to invite a local non-profit called Guitars Not Guns,Continue reading “Coronavirus closed the Sitar Arts Center and now, our students have nowhere to go. Today, we need your support more than ever.”