Category Archives: Miscellaneous

If you’re in Shanghai, by all means go visit the Embassy of Scotch Whisky Culture

Johnnie Walker Black Label (12 years Scotch Wh...Image via WikipediaVia PRNewswire/ —

JOHNNIE WALKER®, the world’s best-selling brand of Scotch whisky, opened The JOHNNIE WALKER HOUSE™ in Shanghai’s Sinan Mansions on May 19, 2011. The JOHNNIE WALKER HOUSE™ is the first of its kind outside of Scotland and marks a new chapter for whisky culture in China. Interactive sensory journeys, inspirational forums and luxury dinners make this house a unique experience for every guest.

“When we talk to people about blending, we don’t lecture or talk at them. We like people to gather round and have what we call a whisky conversation,” says the JOHNNIE WALKER® Master Blender, Dr Jim Beveridge. “The House is inspired by the ‘Whisky Conversation’, and is the first whisky embassy in China creating a new milestone for whisky culture and marking a new chapter in the epic JOHNNIE WALKER® story.”

Read in full here.

Coming up next — the Scotch Whisky Ambassador? Hurry, the line starts over there ….

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Filed under China, Miscellaneous

Quickie: Not Made in the USA Glass Stemware Causes Not-So-Diplomatic Protest

Crystal glassesImage by kurafire via Flickr

The following is from the Columbus Dispatch. Apparently, a $5.4 million contract to supply glassware to US embassies worldwide was awarded to a US small business company which then subcontracted it to the Swedish company, Orrefors. Columbus-based Schottenstein Stores did not like that. And now politicians have joined the fray. Excerpt below:   

When diplomats and dignitaries rise for toasts at U.S. embassies worldwide, it soon will be foreign-made crystal stemware that is held aloft.

That has some Ohio lawmakers lodging a not-so-diplomatic protest with the U.S. Department of State.

The State Department says a $5.4 million contract to supply glassware for U.S. embassies was awarded last fall to an American-owned small business – an interior-design company in Washington. But that company, in turn, contracted with Swedish manufacturer Orrefors.
Steuben Glass of New York, which is owned by Columbus-based Schottenstein Stores, says an American manufacturer should have been allowed to compete for the business. It has taken its case to Ohio and New York lawmakers, who are complaining to the State Department.

“All we want is for the State Department to give a fair opportunity to businesses like Steuben Glass to bid on the contract and to help us maintain American jobs rather than sending them overseas,” said Michael Broidy, a Schottenstein Stores spokesman.

Exactly, said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

“The subcontract granted to Swedish-based Orrefors raises important questions about the right of domestic companies to bid for contracts in compliance with the Buy American Act,” Brown said in a letter to the State Department.

A State spokeswoman said Systems Design Interiors is a small business that qualified for a non-bid contract through a federal Small Business Administration program. The company put on an impressive presentation of its capability to meet the State Department’s needs, including a requirement for lead-free glassware, according to the State Department.

Read the whole thing here.

Last week AP reported that the U.S. crystal-maker will get a second chance at a contract to make glassware for U.S. embassies after the State Department agreed to do a better job seeking out and favoring American companies.  “The senators said the State Department had believed no American company made the lead-free crystal called for in the contract for U.S. embassies worldwide. Steuben and other companies will be able to bid on the remaining four years of the five-year contract, with most of the $5.4 million total yet to be paid.”

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Filed under Diplomatic Life, Miscellaneous, State Department

April pain and suffering: Life is so Unfair!

Watch out for more DS ecards from someecards where you go “when you care enough to hit send.” 

Warning: is not intended for use by people under 18 years of age. It is as they claim – possibly to probably the best site on the Web for free, funny ecards. I can assure you that you won’t find their bitey cards in your grocery aisle or anywhere else.  They have greeting cards for every occasion – from important to utterly pointless. Send greetings for apology, birthday, baby, breakup, congratulations, encouragement, farewell, flirting, friendship, get well, sympathy, thanks, thinking of you, wedding, workplace, and holidays. They suggest you e-mail them to friends, family, coworkers, loved ones, liked ones, and anyone else with fingers.

Be forewarned — just like the Foreign Service — it is not for everyone, people!



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Filed under Foreign Service, Miscellaneous, Org Life

Da Devil Doesn’t Like to Look Bad, Pat

Satan, from Gustave Doré's illustrations for P...

NDS asked “is commentary even necessary?” He was, of course, referring to the Pat, and the Rush shows. You know … Pat’s thing about that deal with the devil ….see the twin videos here.

Now – what do you know? It turns out da Devil does not like to look bad; and writes a letter to a paper in Minneapolis:
Dear Pat Robertson,
I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I’m all over that action.
But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I’m no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished.
Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth — glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven’t you seen “Crossroads”? Or “Damn Yankees”?
If I had a thing going with Haiti, there’d be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox — that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it — I’m just saying: Not how I roll.
You’re doing great work, Pat, and I don’t want to clip your wings — just, come on, you’re making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That’s working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.
Satan setan

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Filed under Countries 'n Regions, Disasters, Miscellaneous, People

In the Loop’s Name That Flu Contest Winners

According to Al Kamen, In the Loop’s Name the Flu contest was aimed at finding a moniker catchier than H1N1, neutral on Mexico and fair to America’s pork producers.

Apparently many hundreds of entries were received – “from as far away as Afghanistan, Slovakia, El Salvador and New Zealand — sifted themselves into broad categories: slams on 24/7 media hype; plays on the H1N1 name, some trying to work out anagrams that will be easier for people to remember; and creative ways to avoid defaming Mexico or speaking ill of pigs.”

CNN Flu, Fox News Flu, Ponzi Flu, NAFTA Flu, PC flu – were among the entries that got special mention in Al Kamen’s column on June 19. Not terribly exciting submissions or creative submissions I must say. A Foreign Service officer in El Salvador did submit “Y2K Flu,” adding: “The same hype and senseless waste of money. Twice.”

But — none of the names submitted would remind you to run to the bathroom and wash your hands one more time. The PONZI flu may remind you to check your wallet. The PC flu may urge you to check your computer’s temperature … you know what I mean? We need something bulky, severe and scary like SARS; just saying it out loud is big thud, a sure attention getter. We need something solid like that.

Read the results here.

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Filed under Current Stuff, Miscellaneous, Pandemic

In the Loop Name the Flu Contest

Al Kamen over in TWP’s In the Loop is running a Name the Flu contest. He wanted a better name for this thing – something more accurate than “swine flu,” less wonky than “H1N1,” in case this virus returns big in the fall. I agree that the name should be “something bold like SARS,” perhaps even catchy (but short). It might help folks remember to wash their hands or cover their mouth when they sneeze.

The 10 winners are promised fine-quality, In the Loop T-shirts. Send your entries via e-mail to or mail them to In the Loop, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.You must include a phone number — home, work or cell — to be eligible. Just passing this along.

Deadline for entries is midnight this Wednesday, May 13. Read Al’s post here.

Doesn’t say anywhere that you must limit your entry to one — so go for it! Can you come up with your top ten names for this thingy?

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Filed under Current Stuff, Miscellaneous, Pandemic

Save a Tree – Send an eCard

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Technology and Work

Quickie: Protectern Launched!

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Quickie: Shopping Anyone?


Filed under Issuu, Miscellaneous

6 Random Things About Me: Abridged Version


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