Welcome to Top Secret Washington

Washington D.C. never seems to sleep.  It’s overrun by tourists, politicians, and diplomats from around the world. While it has a very public side, I’ve been privileged to be invited into places the average person never gets to see.  So whether it’s a private play at the Italian Embassy, dinner […]

Suffragettes to Mobsters: Teetotaling with Miss Dolly on Prohibition’s 100th Anniversary

One hundred years ago today, on January 16, 1919, Prohibition was ratified. In an attempt to curb immorality, legislators put thousands of hard working Americans out of work — liquor and wine store owners, vintners, grape growers, truckers, bottling plant employees, etc. It ushered in an age where mobsters started controlling territories, flappers became the rage, bathtub gin and speakeasies ruled, and rumored bootleggers, like Joseph Kennedy  (father of President JFK), made fortunes.

Today’s teetotaling anniversary also inspired the video interview below with Miss Dolly, an English-emigre to the U.S. who started writing in her 90s and has published three books. Her Tales from the Teapot details her strong affection for tea. In this video, she explains what a real English Tea is and how it should be served.

Museum Mondays: Kobell’s Siege of Cosel, a study in breaths of gray

The Siege of Cosel, which was painted around 1808 is like a woman covered in veils. Gossamer layers of gray, recede ever fainter as he paints the foggy battle scene. Textbooks do not show this well. Even though the painting is massive — larger than a wall in most homes — these figures are sometimes as small as the head of a pin, only visible less than a foot away from the canvas. Seeing them makes the average museum guard nervous as you move scant inches from the canvas.

The Washington Memorial as seen from the Lincoln Memorial

Iconic Washington

No matter how many images are taken of Washington, D.C., people are always impressed. Being here in person is a hundred times more powerful. I walk past amazing structures nearly every day and yet, they never fail to imbue me with wonder. How lucky am I to live […]

Museum Mondays: The Smithsonian is Closed

Museum Mondays: The Smithsonian is Closed

Most of us in D.C. take the Smithsonian for granted. It’s just there. Like air. Like food from high class eateries and overpriced food trucks. Living in a city where the Smithsonian is generally open every day of the year (except for December 25th), and where the world’s greatest museum is free, means we pop in and out of exhibits like teenagers popping in and out of friends’ homes (and refrigerators). Join me for a virtual visit to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum during the government shutdown.

83,000 Americans Still Missing as Rolling Thunder Calls it Quits

83,000 Americans Still Missing as Rolling Thunder Calls it Quits

Missing in action. What horrible words for loved ones to hear. The acronyms “POW” and “MIA” strike fear in the heart of the most stalwart military family. It is hard to believe that as 2018 draws to a close there are still approximately 83,000 Americans who are unaccounted for. The vast majority of these soldiers, sailors, and air force personnel are listed as prisoners of war (POW), missing in combat (MIA), or lost at sea, during WWII, Vietnam and other U.S. military actions. Now, the most powerful organization bringing awareness to MIAs, POWs, and to other veteran’s issues, Rolling Thunder, has announced it’s calling it quits in D.C. because of untenable logistical problems. Seeing Rolling Thunder come to an end is heartbreaking.

Award News!

Diana Belchase was named a finalist for the Linda Howard Award of Excellence for her spy thriller, The Spy in the Harem. The Award is given by the Southern Magic writers group from Birmingham.

Rolling Thunder in D.C.!

Every Memorial Day weekend, the forecast is Rolling Thunder in the D.C. area. No, not the weather — though we’ve had some storms of late — but a huge motorcycle rally. This was the 30th year this group roared onto the D.C. Mall — all in tribute to […]

Buy a Piece of Tom Clancy

Thriller writer Tom Clancy passed in 2013, but he’ll always be an indelible part of the top secret D.C. landscape. He knew his subject inside out, and if authenticity is what thrills you, no one did it better. Now his estate is going up at auction and you […]