Previous month:
January 2010
Next month:
March 2010

February 2010


Journalist  After 18 years as a journalist, my career has officially come to an end. Last night I completed and filed my final writing assignment. It's a bittersweet ending to my career. It's had its ups and downs, but for the most part I've certainly enjoyed my life as a newspaperman. I began my career as an editorial assistant at a local hometown newspaper..the paper folded (bankrupt) just 3 months after I was hired!  That should have been an omen because as we all know now, the entire media industry has been in a downward spiral for years. But later I got an internship and full-time job at The Washington Times, then USA Weekend and finally USA TODAY, where I worked in a variety of roles including entertainment reporter (read: celebrity gossip), London correspondent and  war correspondent in Iraq & Afghanistan. Then later as a self-employed freelance writer, I got to globe-trek as a travel writer for Lonely Planet. It's been a fun, whirl-wind adventure. But, it's time to move on. Until the next chapter...

Top 10 things you didn't know about my journalism career

1. I once took a leak next to Paul McCartney in London's High Court.

2. I survived a suicide bomb attack in Iraq in 2005. I've been to Iraq nine times; eight of those trips were for USA TODAY and one was on assignment for Lonely Planet.

3. Art Garfunkel's wife kissed me in the Kennedy Center.

4. Pamela Anderson and Busta Rhymes were the most surprisingly intelligent and interesting celebrities I've interviewed.

5. I interviewed Julie Christie in an East London pub. She had a salad and tea and I had a pint of beer. She rode to the interview in a rusty old bicycle. 

6. I once got lost in the back woods of Iowa with Sen. John Kerry's daughters.

7. Despite my Army background, I was embedded with the Navy during the start of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. I have more aircraft carrier 'cats & traps" (catapult landings & launches) that most career sailors on such carriers as the USS Enterprise and USS Roosevelt.

8. As a young Army military journalist stationed in Bosnia, I met my future boss, then First Lady Hillary Clinton. Whilst in Bosnia I also sat on Alex Trebek's lap, met Sheryl Crow and Sinbad and hosted an AOL chat live from the field with The Gin Blossoms. I kept a blog while stationed in Bosnia that some folks claim is the first "milblog" (military blog) on the Internet.

9. Kevin Bacon hand-wrote me a letter to complain about an article I wrote about him. Kevin misspelled "wasted." I framed the letter.

10. I have shaken the hand of every US President since Ronald Reagan, though I have not yet met President Obama.


Londoners: Ready for some football?

Picture 1  Oi!  Here's my annual roundup of known London bars & restaurants that will be showing Super Bowl XLIV this Sunday, 7 February 2010.

Watch the game from the comfort of your flat, as BBC 1 and Sky Sports 1 will both air the Super Bowl live on Sunday night. Coverage begins at 11pm GMT. For more information visit Unfortunately, neither network will air the famous/infamous US commercials.

If you want to watch the commercials from overseas, there are a few, questionably-legal websites that carry live streams of the Super Bowl, like here.

Super Bowl Parties in London. Where to Watch the Super Bowl in London.

--The London American Expat Meetup Group (the largest American social club in London) is hosting its 7th annual London Super Bowl party at Zoo Bar, 13-17 Bear Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7AS, London. This is by far the biggest party in town, with live cheerleaders! Admission £10. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.   (NOTE: This is a change of venue)

--The Sports Cafe in Soho will hold its annual Super Bowl party. And unlike British telecasts of the game, Sports Cafe will be airing a US feed, so you'll even be able to watch the famous (infamous) commercials! Prizes for best "fancy dress" (costumes).

--Planet Hollywood in Haymarket Super bowl Party will host a Super Bowl Party from 10:30pm-5am. Coverage of the game on 15 screens includes cheerleaders performing at half time with a live DJ and Planet Hollywood set menu including the classic PH burger, BBQ Pork Ribs and traditional cheesecake (???) for dessert. Tickets: Bar entry includes a free glass of house wine, bottle of house beer or soft drink: £5.00; Restaurant entry includes a 3 course meal and a drink: £25. For tickets and bookings please call Caroline or Phil in the Planet Hollywood sales department on 020 7287 1000.

--All five London locations of Bodeans BBQ will be screening the Super Bowl. £25 includes late-night nosh with Bodean's famous BBQ ribs, pulled pork, etc.

--The Chicago Rib Shack's party begins at 10pm. Admission £10 gets you a table and one Budweiser. Junk food menu includes hot dogs, ribs, fries & popcorn.

--The Social on Little Portland Street, featuring "fit cheerleaders", live DJ spinning American tunes, drink specials and of course the game. Admission £5.

The Underdog Bar in Clapham at #8-10 Northcote Road will be showing the Super Bowl on 7th Feb live and in HD.

Get all the news and highlights on

More TK...

Signed on the dotted line


Last Friday, I received my official "Agreement to Join the Foreign Service." More commonly known as "the salary offer", this letter is a formal extension of a job offer from Uncle Sam to the FS candidate. The letter outlines the salary being offered, plus the FS grade/step that is used in determining how much scratch you'll earn.  I'm pleased to report that I signed and returned the agreement tonight. I'm cracking open a bottle of red wine and celebrating, because only now has it really hit me that this is really happening! Holy toledo, batman!  I made it! 

Mr. and Mrs. Crab are now in full pack-out mode. Since I'm still busy wrapping up my current job, Mrs. Crab has really taken the lead on this task. She's been separating everything in our flat and placing it into categories: stuff that is going into government storage (HHE: HouseHold Effects), stuff to be shipped to our temporary DC apartment during training (UAB: Unaccompanied Air Baggage), stuff to be carried onto the plane in our checked luggage (AB: Accompanied Baggage) and stuff we are selling.  

We are selling practically everything we own in London including furniture, electronics, household goods and other stuff. And anything we can't sell we are giving away to our local charity shops. I've already sold two pieces of furniture on (which is about 100 times better than CraigsList).  On top of that, there's tons of other errands to run, bank accounts to close, utilities to disconnect, flight arrangements to be made, going-away party to arrange, etc. 

I'm excited, but simultaneously a bit sad about leaving London. This has been our home for five years. And now, on to the next chapter of our lives!