Misc. articles

People and Places: Long Distance Dad

It is early evening and I’m meeting Razmig and for dinner. We’ve chosen to meet at Conrad’s, a local coffee shop, since he’s short on time. My cell phone rings with a text message that says, “Be there in 10 min. Please order me a BLT and an ice tea.” He’s late. That’s not surprising considering all that he tries to accomplish in the short week he spends in town every month. In these harsh economic times, Razmig managed to find a job overseas. As a single, divorced father, he has a harder time than most being a father to his only son.

The Power of Media

In the current information age there is a constant stream of requests to support a cause and, with the advent of e-mail and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the invitations to sign petitions or join groups has become a near barrage of requests. Although all worthy causes, I tend to ignore many of

Capital Perspectives: Two Hearings; Twenty Countries; a Thousand Perspectives

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has a broad and diverse agenda. On any given day, we can see hearings on issues from China to Russia, to Turkey to the issues in the Middle East overall. The main foreign affairs committee room is home to each of these hearings – full committee and specialized subcommittees – taking us from country to country without leaving our seats.

The Accidental Environmentalist

“Want to meet for coffee?” said the text message from Anto. He is an electrical engineering who, years ago, happened to get involved in a start-up dealing with energy storage. Now he works for one of his former vendors who produce the components needed to convert raw power into usable energy. Currently he’s working on a solar converter for big power plants. “It’s a fluke I fell into it [but] I’m not leaving it. I believe we need a solution but I’m not a freaky ‘green’ guy or anything like that,” he says with a chuckle at the interesting turn his career has taken into environmentally friendly products.

The Romantic

“Actually yesterday I was pretty depressed. I am a very romantic person and I kind of feel like I missed that era in my life,” says Melanie, known to her friends as Melo. “Now I find I’m not that selfless anymore. I would not do things because they’re romantic, I would do things because they’re logical or they make sense.” Romance and its changing nature as we evolve into the different stages of life is the topic of discussion. Whether married or single, everyone longs for its illusive magic. “Right now I’m so mechanical. If I meet someone I just have a face on where I’m totally shielded, I don’t let them get into me. There’s no feelings involved.”

The Psychic

The stairs leading up to Maggie’s apartment are halfway down the length of the building located in the heart of West Los Angeles. I climb up the gloomy darkness and knock on her door. I wonder if, through her psychic abilities, she already knew I had arrived. A short, stocky woman in her early sixties with close cropped graying blond hair answers the door. She steps aside to let me in and smiles warmly revealing the gaps of her missing teeth.

She Said

“Men confuse me,” declared Taline. “They say one thing but do something else.” She’d been on a date on a recent Friday night. She had very much looked forward to the night out with the young man. She spent two days fretting over what to wear and, on the day in question, she couldn’t help glancing at her watch every few minutes waiting for the work day to end.

He Said

“Armenian girls are different than American girls,” says Armen. “It’s true,” confirms Sarkis. It’s an age old topic, the courtship dance between men and women. I’m the only woman in the group as the men explain the illusive differences between the two genders while Vic silently listens to our discussion.

The Banker

Sitting behind the desk Zohrab looks through the windows that take up the two walls of his well lit inner office. His frequent glances monitor the activity in the outer room from the customers to the tellers to the other officers at the branch of the well known bank in downtown Beirut where he is the director.