Walter Russell Mead
Giant Man Eating Spider Discovered in Madagascar

Well, not man-eating exactly and a giant only in relative terms, but this 4.7 inch spider is definitely more Shelob than Charlotte’s Web.  This BBC story tells the whole ghastly tale; my appetite for nighttime bush walks in Maputaland and Madagascar has suddenly diminished.I’m less surprised by the discovery of some new creepy crawly creature […]

Sleep NATO!

Giving advice to the rising generation is always fun and sometimes even useful.  The most interesting piece of advice I ever heard was from a woman working as an American diplomat in Beirut.  My research associate was traveling with me at the time—healthy, single and in his early twenties, he was clearly itching to explore […]

Blowing Hot and Cold

I was a little surprised to read on the BBC website that the world’s temperature appears to have fallen over the last ten years and that the debate among scientists has shifted from whether this global cooling is happening to why – and to what, if anything, global cooling means.Frankly, I don’t have a clue.  […]

Bloggest Thou on the Sabbath?

“Six days shalt thou labor and do all thou art able,” as Herman Melville summed up the whaler’s version of the Fourth Commandment (for most Protestants and Jews; it’s Number Three for Roman Catholics), “And on the seventh the same, and holystone the cable.”In that spirit, I’m posting a God-blog today, then it’s off to […]

Five Dollar Tie On National TV

Yesterday was one of those days when the phone calls don’t stop and halfway through the day I learned that I would be on the PBS Newshour with my old friend and sparring partner Zbigniew Brzezinski. Not having worn a national-TV worthy tie into the office that morning, I needed help, fast.Fortunately Lauren Gottlieb, my […]

A Lucky General?

Historical rumor has it that a subordinate once asked Napoleon, “What kind of generals do you want?” “I want lucky ones,” he replied.  Luck is important, and it does nothing to belittle Obama’s intelligence and hard-earned achievements to say that he’s been lucky (heck, he was in the Illinois State Senate less than 5 years […]

Dean’s List

In early 2004 Howard Dean was running for the Democratic presidential nomination and went on a tour of the Holy Land to shore up his foreign policy credentials and squash speculation that he was a secularist who couldn’t connect with religious Americans.  A New York Times story of January 4, 2004 details some of the […]

Hanging Together

Walking down 68th Street yesterday between Lexington and Third Avenues – the spot where, historians think, Nathan Hale was hanged in September of 1776– I felt the world change. A sidewalk vendor was selling pretty decent neckties for $5 each.Neckties are one of my subjects. Since I was thirteen years old, I’ve spent more time […]

Hold the Danish

When I was a young kid living in South Carolina, you would still sometimes see mule-drawn wagons on country roads.  You also saw advertisements for Burma Shave: typically a series of six to eight small road signs at short intervals with a rhymed message of some kind.  “Don’t go passing up a slope/Unless you have […]

Take Ten Years Off Your Age!

I had one of those wonderful life moments last week. I was at CNN on a Lou Dobbs panel about Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitic rant at the UN; heading out to the elevator I ran into E. Benjamin Skinner in the hallway. Ben is the author of A Crime So Monstrous, a book on global […]

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