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1 Bob Levin  Thu, Mar 29, 2012 8:13:13pm
“I had to certainly learn the culture of the State Department,” said Johnson Cook, the Obama administration’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, in a recent interview, [“the training was so difficult. If it weren’t for my training partner, Alice, I don’t know whatever I would do.”]

Day 1:

There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so she
went back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on
it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like
telescopes: this time she found a little bottle on it, (`which
certainly was not here before,’ said Alice,) and round the neck
of the bottle was a paper label, with the words `DRINK ME’
beautifully printed on it in large letters.

It was all very well to say `Drink me,’ but the wise little
Alice was not going to do THAT in a hurry. `No, I’ll look
first,’ she said, `and see whether it’s marked “poison” or not’;
for she had read several nice little histories about children who
had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts and other unpleasant
things, all because they WOULD not remember the simple rules
their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker
will burn you if you hold it too long; and that if you cut your
finger VERY deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had
never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked
`poison,’ it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or
later.

However, this bottle was NOT marked `poison,’ so Alice ventured
to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort
of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast
turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast,) she very soon finished
it off.

* * * * * * *

* * * * * *

* * * * * * *

`What a curious feeling!’ said Alice; `I must be shutting up
like a telescope.’

And so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and
her face brightened up at the thought that she was now the right
size for going through the little door into that lovely garden.
First, however, she waited for a few minutes to see if she was
going to shrink any further: she felt a little nervous about
this; `for it might end, you know,’ said Alice to herself, `in my
going out altogether, like a candle. I wonder what I should be
like then?’ And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle is
like after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember
ever having seen such a thing.

After a while, finding that nothing more happened, she decided
on going into the garden at once; but, alas for poor Alice!
when she got to the door, she found she had forgotten the
little golden key, and when she went back to the table for it,
she found she could not possibly reach it: she could see it
quite plainly through the glass, and she tried her best to climb
up one of the legs of the table, but it was too slippery;
and when she had tired herself out with trying,
the poor little thing sat down and cried.

`Come, there’s no use in crying like that!’ said Alice to
herself, rather sharply; `I advise you to leave off this minute!’
She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very
seldom followed it), and sometimes she scolded herself so
severely as to bring tears into her eyes; and once she remembered
trying to box her own ears for having cheated herself in a game
of croquet she was playing against herself, for this curious
child was very fond of pretending to be two people. `But it’s no
use now,’ thought poor Alice, `to pretend to be two people! Why,
there’s hardly enough of me left to make ONE respectable
person!’

Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under
the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on
which the words `EAT ME’ were beautifully marked in currants.
`Well, I’ll eat it,’ said Alice, `and if it makes me grow larger,
I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep
under the door; so either way I’ll get into the garden, and I
don’t care which happens!’


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