Hollywood on the Potomac


May 19, 2016

Christopher Hooton is a policy wonk turned sci-fi writer. How does that happen?  “I had always liked writing from when I was a kid and in high school. I actually wrote my first book when I was 21 in undergrad,” he told Hollywood on the Potomac. “It was the summer between my junior and senior year that I wrote what was kind of a travel memoir that has since turned into an actual novel. I had finished this trip where I had gone backpacking for ten weeks in Germany and Central Europe after my freshman year of college; then, a couple years later, I just realized I should write what I remembered down somewhere. It was kind of a slow process over about nine, ten years.  I also wrote a travel memoir about a trip with my parents to Peru. I had always enjoyed writing, but I’d never really seen myself as a writer, for whatever reason. It wasn’t until I started to travel, and would tell stories to friends of mine, from trips that I had done, that I realized that I had some good stories, that I had seen some interesting things, and that some of it could actually be written down. More than going into writing as, ‘This is what I’m going to do for my career,’ I’ve always just enjoyed it. I’ve always found it relaxing.”

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May 17, 2016

By guest contributor Dimitrios Machairidis 


What’s more representative of spring, other than flowers, swallows and music?  “The Greek countryside, the passerines that take shelter during spring and summer that fill the place with peppy and lively sounds, played a major role in my design. In a sense [the] Starbucks logo influenced my inspiration. I tried to create something that was close to the logo’s cartoon-like look without exaggerating the shapes and colors.” Haritos Mountoufaris, the Greek barista and winner of the Starbucks paper cup design contest, told Hollywood on the Potomac.


In September 2015, Starbucks launched the Partner Cup Design Contest for its employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. More than 350 employees submitted their artwork for the three Starbucks cup sizes: tall, grande and venti. Haritos Mountoufaris from Greece was the winner for the tall Starbuck cup (12 fl oz) design, Olya Ravcheeva from Russia for the grande cup (16 fl oz), and Sandra Margveliani from the United Kingdom for the venti cup (20 fl oz). By coincidence, all of the three winners joined Starbucks in 2014. Olya works as shift supervisor in Moscow. Sandra and Haritos work as baristas in London and Athens respectively.

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The Brits

May 12, 2016

We’re not sure what our friends across the pond think of our politicians or the Presidential campaign process, but we love the Brits….particularly the rowdy bunch in Parliament … and figured they could pass along some tips. We have The Art of the Deal, they have The Art of the Insult which we may want to adopt here in the US.  MPs are forbidden from using language that might ‘offend the dignity’ of Parliament. “This commonly covers swearing, personal insults and, most seriously, accusing an MP of being dishonest,” according to historians. “Many words have been deemed unparliamentary by House Speakers over time including ‘coward’ – ‘guttersnipe’ – ‘hooligan’ – ‘liar’ – ‘traitor’ and ‘git’.”  Here’s the kicker: “Many MPs have perfected the art of insult whilst avoiding reprimand from the House Speaker and enjoy mocking their rivals with stock phrases such as being ‘economical with the truth’ when lying or ‘unusually fatigued’ when drunk.”  Just sayin’.


Hollywood on the Potomac sat down with British conservative Steve Hilton, author of More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First at a book launch in his honor at the Kalorama home of Juleanna Glover, co-hosted with Niki Cristoff, Josh Ginsberg, Tammy Haddad, Susan Molinari and Steve Schmidt.

We asked Hilton, who worked in the government with Prime Minister David Cameron on Downing Street, to describe the difference between the conservative party in Great Britain and in the US. “There are many differences,” he told us, “because of the different heritage and the different histories of the two countries, but I think that the thing that unites the conservative movement – if I could call it that generally and it’s very much a theme of my book – is this belief that if you trust people and give them responsibility then you tend to get better outcomes than if you try and determine things according to some centralized bureaucratic master plan. So I think that is something that the two versions of conservatism definitely have in common. I just think it tends to be the case that those on the left of politics tend to have greater faith in the ability of a centralized authority to deliver the good society whereas those on the right tend to be more skeptical of that and prefer, instead, to disperse power and put power in people’s hands directly. That’s not to say that they always deliver on that when they’re actually in government.”

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