October 01, 2014

Desperately Seeking: Who is the Blonde Woman who first appears at 2:30 in the clip?

Guess I'm hooked. Who is she? She would have been born around 1956 at latest, I think.

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Double Bridge Publishing: Getting great writers to an ocean of readers.

Double Bridge Publishing Company, Inc.. Double Bridge is a new online publishing service based in Washington, D.C. launched last month by Florida businessman Richard O'Brien. Double Bridge uses a crowdsourcing model to identify, evaluate, edit, market and publish fiction and nonfiction works of published, unpublished and new authors. It was established to get the best writing to an eager reading public without the usual bottlenecks caused by entrenched literary agent-publishing house regimes that affirmatively limit the number of titles published each year.

Unlike most established brick and mortar publishers, Double Bridge relies on crowdsourcing for much of its publishing functions, and provides valuable review services, close to cost, to writers and the public. A manuscript is reviewed for a small fee by several qualified reviewers who help decide the next steps for the work. Double Bridge has over 100 reviewers to critique and edit manuscripts quickly, usually within 24 hours, to get the process moving in the right direction. If you indeed know writers who are seeking publication of their work, please let me know who they are or have them contact me by our blog, by Messenger or by emails. See also www.doublebridgepublishing.com.

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September 30, 2014

The Rules

Our world-famous 12 Rules of Client Service. Revel in their wisdom. Ignore them at your peril. Teach them to your coworkers. Argue about them. Improve them.

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No closure on Maggie's farm.

Well, I try my best to be just like I am.
But everybody wants you to be just like them
They say sing while you slave--and I just get bored.
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.

--Maggie's Farm, Robert Allen Zimmerman (1941- )

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September 29, 2014

American Authentic: Ben Bradlee is 93, ailing and irreplaceable.

You had a lot of Cuban or Spanish-speaking guys in masks and rubber gloves, with walkie-talkies, arrested in the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at 2:00 in the morning. What the hell were they in there for? What were they doing?

--Ben Bradlee

If you read this blog and don't know who Ben Bradlee is, you should, and so we are going pretend that you know anyway. Tons has been written about Bradlee (and will continue to be written about him) due to his colorful management style, years as a reporter, close friendship with President Kennedy and celebrated mentor-editor role in the two years of coverage of the Watergate break-in of June 1972. Patrician yet famously profane and often hilariously bawdy in his language around the newsroom, Bradlee as Managing Editor of the Washington Post (1968-1991) supported reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward in their reporting on Watergate which, with Bradlee playing stage manager at the Post, prematurely ended Richard Nixon's presidency. Nixon resigned in August of 1974. There are lots of interesting stories down through the years about Bradlee himself--but lately the news is sad. Based on a recent C-Span interview with Bradlee's wife, soulmate and fellow Post star Sally Quinn, Politico notes that Bradlee, now 93, is suffering from dementia, sleeping most days away in a hospice, and apparently steadily declining. When Bradlee does leave us, there will be no one left in American journalism or letters who is even remotely like him. We will start today rounding up a few of the better stories. Bradlee was a storyteller with a powerful intellect, and he was funny as hell.


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Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee, circa 1971

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September 28, 2014

Sunday: "There's a man down there. Might be your man..."

Ain't no way in the world I'm going out that front door.

--Sonny Boy Williamson, Marshall Sehorn and Elmore James

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September 26, 2014

America's Swan Song in South Vietnam: Don't miss Rory Kennedy's new documentary.

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Last Friday night I saw Rory Kennedy's documentary Last Days in Viet Nam at the E Street Cinema, in Northwest Washington, D.C. a few blocks from the White House. It combines new interviews with recently found film footage (for real, no hype) shot in Saigon in the spring of 1975 when U.S. military and civilian staff coped with a well-meaning but half delusional American ambassador and the wrenching question of who would/would not be evacuated out on U.S. flights as the North Vietnamese army moved triumphantly into the city. Nicely done, apolitical and poignant. Boomers--most of us were in our 20s at the time--will like it especially. I've met and spent a little time with the film's quiet, hardworking and unassuming director-producer. A full-time filmmaker with several fine documentaries under her belt, Kennedy, 45, is the youngest child of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY).

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September 24, 2014

Pantheon: Sarah Silverman.

"I don't set out to offend or shock, but I also don't do anything to avoid it."

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September 23, 2014

Go somewhere different. Meet someone different.

Aldeburgh, Suffolk, East Anglia. Always a festival.

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September 22, 2014

More Germans.

The most civilized nations of modern Europe issued from the woods of Germany; in the rude institutions of those Barbarians we [received] the original principles of our present laws and manners.

--Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter IX (1782)

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An Equinox on Stormy Monday: A German author checks in.

It is hard to find this track of the divine in the midst of this life we lead.

Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf (1927)

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September 21, 2014

Pantheon: Audrey Tautou.

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Source: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe (2011)

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September 20, 2014

Hôtel Costes, Paris, 239 rue Saint-Honoré.

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All things in excess.

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The Book of Kells.

Below is Folio 292r (circa 800) of The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament. It's housed at Trinity College Library, in Dublin, Ireland. This page opens the Gospel of John. Illustrations in the Book of Kells are bursting with pre-Christian, pagan and Celtic symbols and motifs that had been evolving in Ireland for nearly 8000 years. The effect is a religious document of mixed media that ranges from the playful, sexual and mystical to the deeply devout and mainstream Christian. 680 pages of the work survives.

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September 19, 2014

Washington goes to work: Charles Clapp's "The Congressman: His Work as He Sees It."

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What do members of Congress do, anyway? What have they done traditionally? What values , if any, are shared by those on work in Capitol Hill.

In late 1963, the Brookings Institution first published "The Congressman: His Work as He Sees It" by Charles L. Clapp (507 pages, Anchor). Congressional Fellow, policy wonk and former Capitol Hill aide, Clapp was one of the first Washington "old hands" to study and write about the way a legislator actually thinks and works--as opposed to "how Congress works" generally--in the American Congress. It's based on a study of 36 non-senior House members (i.e., relatively new to the job) who varied in philosophy, districts represented, personalities, and even perceived abilities.

Sure, 50 years ago, Congress enjoyed much smaller personal and committee staffs, and arguably considered less complex issues than they do today. America and the world have changed.

But in his book a Clapp pinned down and explained a few important things that have not changed, and not likely to change: the primacy of becoming an "expert" in one or two areas of national concern (usually reflected by committee assignments), the albatross of reelection every two years, sensitivity (even over-sensitivity) by members to discrete constituent communications and requests, and the fact that all of these men and women, regardless of overall intelligence, work ethic and personality, work hard (yes, no question, they all work hard, despite public's understandable animosity toward and need to demonize them) at a gig that would be daunting to anyone and is impossible to master in all respects.

As a friend notes, Congressional membership is "a lot of job." "The Congressman" is worth reading or at least skimming, whether you're a politics junkie or an average voter who wants to learn a bit more about American decision-making. It can still purchased through a number of online outlets and may be even downloadable, if you look around a bit.

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Parker Posey: And all she wants to do is dance.

They're picking up prisoners--and putting them in a pen. All she wants to do is dance.

--Danny Kortchmar/WB Music Corp. ASCAP (1984)


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Get "Party Girl" (1995) and watch her dance in the last scene. Add Ms. Posey to our Roman Pantheon.

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September 18, 2014

UPDATE: Decision day in Scotland.

Update as of 10 pm Scottish time/5 pm EST: Most UK and American news sources have it that 5 hours after the Scottish polls closed, the vote is too close to call. Our prediction: the "No" vote (rejecting independence) will narrowly prevail.

Today, in an official referendum of the United Kingdom, 4 million residents of Scotland will decide whether or not to end Scotland's 307-year union with the United Kingdom. Scottish independence is the only item on the ballot. Only Scottish residents--and even most non-Scottish residents--can vote. The voting age in Scotland is 16. Polls close at 5 pm (12:00 noon EST in the U.S.). A true and correct copy of the ballot is below.

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September 17, 2014

Getting Published: What About Crowdsourcing?

Anyone who's tried to get published--including the legions of great writers no one will ever read--should like this new online publishing service platform: Double Bridge Publishing, a new platform for publishing using a crowdsourcing model. Unlike traditional brick and mortar publishing houses, Double Bridge relies on crowdsourcing for much of its publishing house functions and also provides valuable review services, close to cost, to the public. A manuscript is reviewed for a very small fee by several qualified reviewers who, in effect, screen the publication for quality and drive its next step. DC-area businessman Rich O'Brien, who launched Double Bridge last month, has created a much-needed platform to link writers to qualified book reviewers, editors and formatters in order to help improve the quality of manuscripts received work and publish the best. According to O'Brien, potential reviewers--including industry professionals, award-winning authors and aspiring authors--have already flooded the Double Bridge website (www.doublebridgepublishing.com) with crowdsourcing membership requests, and manuscripts from both new and established writers are starting to roll in.

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DoubleBridge Founder and CEO O'Brien

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September 16, 2014

Maryland Avenue and Hanover Streets, Annapolis, Maryland

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United States Naval Academy, graduating class of 1894

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September 15, 2014

Only Rock 'n' Roll but it made you: Who could possibly care about which 10 books influenced lawyers and other white-collar generic dweebs the most?

People lie about the influence of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying; they never lie about the power of Shotgun by Junior Walker and the All Stars.

I feel like I died and went to Hallmark.

Some wonderful people and friends, many of them lawyers, are circulating the meme "what 10 books influenced me the most". A good thing. In arguably semi-literate America, it's pretty refreshing. And I, too, will chime in--although very reluctantly. Most us read pretty much the same Western left-brained literature in high school and college--if we really read this stuff--but whether you were influenced by Naked Lunch, Old Man and the Sea or Magic Mountain tells us nothing (zero, zilch) about what kind of human you are or about your soul or what moves you or makes you happy or angers you.

Instead why not the 10 rock 'n' roll tracks that have been the most influential (not favorite) in your life? That moves the ball more. It lifts back the veil each of us have over our self. We are are less likely to lie about it. People lie about the influence of Faulkner's As I Lay Dying; they never lie about the power of Shotgun by Junior Walker and the All-Stars. And if you're an American born after 1945, rock 'n' roll is the only true soundtrack any of us had (except sex). Anyway, I will publish mine soon. I promise.

In the meantime, you can show me yours, Jack. So go ahead. And there are no rules, except that anyone listing Zappa's "Help, I'm a Rock" gets a special commendation from this blog.


Oslo 1993

Continue reading...

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September 13, 2014

Prisoner of Rock 'n' Roll: Van Morrison.

All the girls walk by dressed up for each other. And the boys do the boogie-woogie in the corner of the street.

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September 11, 2014

Have you ever had an original thought? (continued)

One of the great things about America and having a higher education is that after listening to a POTUS speech or chat to the nation a well-meaning but in many respects unspectacular journalist or commenter with more or less the same education tells us (1) what we heard and (2) how we should think about this now. I know that my gripe here is almost a cliche. But I am beginning to suspect that this is the way many of us lucky enough to have enviable educations "peasant up" and form our opinions.

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September 10, 2014

A Rare Irish Blend of Artistry, Wit and Statesmanship: Daniel O'Connell.

Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847), the "Liberator of Ireland", led a movement that forced the British to pass the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, allowing Catholics to become members of the British House of Commons. History knows him as a witty, eloquent and formidable politician, and the Member of Parliament for Clare. The English found him infuriating.

But O'Connell was first and foremost a consummate and thorough trial lawyer, called to the bar at age 23 in 1798. As a cross-examiner, one modern writer has said, "he had no equal at the Irish bar." And not surprisingly O'Connell was a bit of a showman. In lectures published in 1901, Prof. John L. Stoddard said of him:

He was a typical Irishman of the best stock--wily, witty, eloquent, emotional and magnetic. His arrival in town was often an occasion for public rejoicing. His clever repartees were passed from lip to lip, until the island shook with laughter.

In court, he sometimes kept the spectators, jury, judge and even the prisoner, alternating between tears and roars of merriment. Celtic to the core, his subtle mind knew every trick peculiar to the Irish character, and he divined instinctively the shrewdest subterfuges of a shifty witness.


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September 09, 2014

UPDATED: To jurors, do your associates and paralegals come off like creeps?

Jurors are not dumb. They miss little. They watch you and your team in the courtroom, the back of the courtroom, hallways, restrooms, parking lots, restaurants.

Update: A trial-lawyer and commenter just reminded us that wood-shedding is not soley for those smirking associates or nasty-ass paralegals who hate life. Plaintiffs, defendants, employees for both, fact witnesses and expert witnesses of parties need the same wood-shedding or cautionary harangue. In-house-counsel? No, generally not. But there is always a first time. See comments below. (4:10 pm EST Wednesday, September 10.)

Jurors will always surprise you. No matter what an expert might tell you, or how hard you've worked at selection, you are always wrong about two or three of them. You've heard that.

Creep Control. Well, now hear this: don't go out of your way to antagonize jurors with sideshows which have nothing to do with the trial itself. Bring no "creeps" with you to trial. Keep them in the office. If they must show up--even for a moment--teach them to "un-creep" themselves, starting at 60 second intervals, and practicing until they can hold out for five minutes at a stretch.

Hint: They pretend they are happy confident people who genuinely like other humans. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. And remember, you seek progress--not perfection. Be gentle at first.

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Non-Creeps. Bring to trial no "non-creeps" capable of any snide, "mean" or creepy gesture, facial expression or body language glitch lasting more than one half-second. Instruct your non-creeps to read this post to be on the safe side. Reformed creeps--you spotted them early and sent them to rehab but they are ultimately powerless over they way they look or act--need pep talks, and brief courtroom appearances. See above.

Recovering Creeps Who Under Pressure of Trial May Relapse and Fold or Explode in Public.. See above

A Note on Nerds. In doses, however, a few generic dweebs and law weenies running in and out of the courtroom carrying a huge box of documents, a phone message from your wife about Nantucket later this summer with the Bloors, a good luck note from your mistress, your lucky bow-tie, your spats, your black cape with red lining, or your reserve pair of Bass Weejuns--the kind of people you routinely made fun of in high school--is okay.

Jurors expect all that. You're a lawyer. You live in a world where nerds are almost normal. Jurors get and tolerate that. But jurors just don't like self-important "assisting creeps".

That's really personal. Let us explain more.

Ten years ago, after a two-and-a-half week trial, we won a jury defense verdict in a breach of contract and fraud trial involving three established companies and a super-nail biter which no one could call.

Everyone had "bad" facts to deal with.

All counsel and most witnesses did a fine job.

Continue reading...

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Checking in with Maraym Montague: Marrakech, Morocco, Peacock Pavilions Design Hotel.

Over the past 8 years we've marveled at and fallen hopelessly in love with the peripatetic Ms. Montague, an American expat of French-Persian extraction, Smith grad (we're unashamedly elitist about education, and celebrate the few great women's colleges still on the planet), writer, photographer, award-winning blogger, new author, economic development government contractor and proprietor of the Peacock Pavilions Design Hotel which she runs with her husband Chris in Marrakech, Morocco. How did we find her? In the spring of 2006, one of our older, hopelessly romantic and famously exclusive (i.e., picky about people, especially women) editors discovered Maryam by accident in a photo of her inside a Parisian bistro he'd been in only a few weeks before. It took our normally workaholic nose-to-the-grindstone comrade an afternoon of scouring the Net to find out who she was, what she did and where she was living. Anyway, here's a post heralding the beginning of the 2014 fall season at the elegant Peacock Pavilions which European and American magazines discovered about the same time we discovered Maryam, her hotel and her world. See her post yesterday, Marrakech, Morocco: and a tale of Peacock Pavilions design hotel - Part 1.

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Owners Maryam and Chris at Peacock Pavilions. Photo: Elle Magazine.

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"They don't know what love is..."


You can leave your hat on.

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September 08, 2014

Prisoner of Rock 'n' Roll: Stormy Monday.

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September 07, 2014

Pantheon: Annabeth Gish

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Dude, it's after Labor Day. No khaki pants. Or suits. No bueno.

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No bueno.

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September 06, 2014

The Blogspam Bombing of WAC/P: The 3 or 4 weekly comments at What About Clients/Paris. Where did they go?

We are still trying to fix this. Over the last 6 months we have been blogspam-bombed to the tune of nearly 1000 a day. Which means we finally stopped sifting through comments to find the 2 or 3 legit ones out of the same number. In the meantime, you have to register at our site to comment and hopefully that still works. Again, we are trying to fix this. Work keeps getting in the way. Besides, we're mostly Boomers here so we have our avoidance mechanism on for Anything Tech That Is Unpleasant. If we were any good at this sort of thing, we would have gone to medical school. But we are learning. We endure. We get better.

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Washingtonian: Photos of Depression-Era D.C.

Compliments of the Library of Congress and yeoman labors by the Yale University photo archive, there are over 170,000 pictures taken between 1935 and 1945.

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September 05, 2014

Harvard, Steven Pinker and Cultural Literacy: What should we all know something about?

Once again, Cultural Literacy, anyone? What should we all know about, anyway? What does it mean to be educated?

See in The New Republic "The Trouble with Harvard: The Ivy League Is Broken and Only Standardized Tests Can Fix It". Now forget this article's title, Harvard, standardized tests or the liberal reputation* of the magazine (TNR) publishing it. About halfway through, author Steven Pinker gives us a fine summary in two thoughtful paragraphs of What It Means to be Educated. We could not ask for more:

.... It seems to me that educated people should know something about the 13-billion-year prehistory of our species and the basic laws governing the physical and living world, including our bodies and brains. They should grasp the timeline of human history from the dawn of agriculture to the present. They should be exposed to the diversity of human cultures, and the major systems of belief and value with which they have made sense of their lives. They should know about the formative events in human history, including the blunders we can hope not to repeat. They should understand the principles behind democratic governance and the rule of law. They should know how to appreciate works of fiction and art as sources of aesthetic pleasure and as impetuses to reflect on the human condition.

On top of this knowledge, a liberal education should make certain habits of rationality second nature. Educated people should be able to express complex ideas in clear writing and speech. They should appreciate that objective knowledge is a precious commodity, and know how to distinguish vetted fact from superstition, rumor, and unexamined conventional wisdom. They should know how to reason logically and statistically, avoiding the fallacies and biases to which the untutored human mind is vulnerable. They should think causally rather than magically, and know what it takes to distinguish causation from correlation and coincidence. They should be acutely aware of human fallibility, most notably their own, and appreciate that people who disagree with them are not stupid or evil. Accordingly, they should appreciate the value of trying to change minds by persuasion rather than intimidation or demagoguery.

*Some conservatives wrongly believe there can be nothing worthwhile in The New Republic; likewise, many liberals have the same unintelligent knee-jerk reaction to the right-leaning (Bill Buckley's) The National Review. Both are fine--very fine--publications. It's time to grow up.

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September 04, 2014

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September 03, 2014

The Proper Ordering of Lunch.

Sorry but we love this clip. WAC/P is all about work--but we prize deportment and manners, too. So write us a thank you note for posting this again. See 0:25-0:45 if you have limited time.


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September 02, 2014

In Rolling Stone: "Last Tango in Kabul"

A current Rolling Stone feature by Matthieu Aikins covers the Kabul expat community from government contract boon days to the present, giving a vivid if troubling picture of increased danger to expats and contractors still in Afghanistan. It was originally published in mid-August. Excerpts:

It was so easy to make money in Kabul that it felt like we were all citizens of some Gulf oil state. If you could string a few coherent sentences together into a grant application, odds were that there was some contracting officer out there who was willing to give you money, no matter how vapid your idea. Want to put on a music festival in Kabul? Here's a few hundred thousand. Shoot a soap opera about heroic local cops? A million for you. Is your handicraft business empowering Afghan women? Name your bid.


The Kabubble economy was so hot that kids out of college were making six-figure salaries, and former midlevel paper pushers were clearing a thousand a day as consultants for places like the World Bank. "All of your expenses are paid for, you don't buy anything, you're getting this massive salary that you bank," Peter, the journalist, says. "Do that for a few years and you've saved half a million before you're 30. You could basically class-jump, by going to Kabul."

******

These days, expatriate life in Kabul is a sad reflection of its former self. Diplomats and aid workers operate under drastic security restrictions that keep them from attending restaurants or private parties, a condition that has been prolonged by the drawn-out crisis over the presidential election and who will succeed Karzai. Several of the restaurants and guesthouses that sustained the expat scene here have closed down. "A lot of people reached the point where they were like, 'OK, I'm out, I'm done,'" says Luisa Walmsley, a media consultant living in Kabul. "You start realizing that you're really close to all this stuff and that it's just a matter of time that you're going to lose someone."


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September 01, 2014

Père Lachaise: Pluperfect City of the Dead.

Laid out like a modern grid-form metropolis, Père Lachaise has the feel of a town--truly, a city of the dead--with tidy paved and cobbled "streets," complete with cast-iron signposts.

--Alistair Horne, in Seven Ages of Paris (Alfred A. Knopf 2002)

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Père Lachaise Cemetery, 20th arrondissement.

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