Forgiveness Sunday

Контент 18+ Although I am in Bulgaria now, I was reminded yesterday of something I always thought was beautiful in Russia -- the part of Maslenitsa, the Sunday of that week, when people are supposed to ask forgiveness from those they feel they have wronged. I don't know how many really put this into practice, nor could I hope to guess if it is always expressed as a sincere sentiment … Read the rest

The Remains Of The Crash

Контент 18+ Once upon a time back in the old days of the Wild West in America, there was a white man and a black man who had been caught while trying to rob a bank. Naturally, according to the judgment of the day, they were sentenced to be hanged. They waited in their cell for the hour of doom. But while the white man grew increasingly agitated, the black … Read the rest

On The Subject Of Taxis

Контент 18+ Taxis and taxi drivers are among the things in life that I generally hate. Which does not mean that I lump them together as a single evil force or that I would cast them, one and all, in a concentration camp if I could. As in all walks of life, the odd Good Samaritan may pop up in one of those meter-machines, plenty of decent sorts are just … Read the rest

The Changing Face of the Sky

Контент 14+ When I was a little boy in Martinsburg, West Virgina, I used to sit on the front porch of our house and watch the comings and goings along Queen Street, which ushered a stream of traffic in and out of town. Back then in America, the cars were very big (this was before Volkswagens, Fiats, and all those Japanese and Korean cars appeared in smaller sizes and were … Read the rest

Death of an Ideal

Контент 16+ I have recently heard through a very reliable grapevine of present students and old friends that the long-running 'SNOB Project' is about ready to go down the tubes. For those of you for whom the name does not ring a bell, the idea started about 10 years ago to create an international fraternity of Russian intellectuals (many of them now in America, it would seem) -- with the … Read the rest

Putting Stalin To Rest

Контент 18+ No doubt social media have discussed and dissected all aspects of the latest government act of censorship, in this case, the satirical film "The Death of Stalin." So there is no sense in my following redundancy with more redundancy. I will limit myself therefore to what I hope will be a few more or less original thoughts.


First, I guess it is good that in Russia people … Read the rest

New Years Fairy Tale

Контент 14+ Вроде ёлки уже почти все выкинули...а так хочется праздника. Давайте вспомним сказку!

All of the old folks know the ancient wisdom that the passions can bring you a great happiness or an awful disaster. My kinfolk are cold-natured and well-balanced, and so I have always stayed aloof from the worst kinds of agitation. I prefer living in peace and the mutual understanding shared by my good-hearted generally silent … Read the rest

Sexy Sugar And Sexless Salt: How To Tell Them Apart

Контент 18+ If any of you have been following the news streaming out of the USA in recent months (and how can you avoid it?), you will no doubt be well-versed in the tsunami of sexual harassment allegations which have brought about the professional ruin of many high-placed men in the entertainment industry and the political arena especially.


Now the wags in the media have dubbed the process " MeToo!" … Read the rest

Nudity and The Naked Ape

Контент 18+ When I was a kid the only naked women I ever saw happened when one of the other boys from the neighborhood managed to 'borrow' his dad's Playboy magazine from its hiding place under some mattress or when -- clever little bastard that I was -- I would pretend to be reading the 'educational' National Geographic journal in hopes of being treated to photos of naked African ladies … Read the rest

If you seek Eldorado…

Контент 16+ I wonder how many people spend their lives searching for TRUTH. Probably not many. For most, it likely dissolves once they are past the undergraduate level -- when things like money, career, and status become more important. For others, I suppose it becomes rather like a lifelong obsession. Yet whether the candle of idealism burns out when we are young or old or never at all, it seems … Read the rest

So Who is Right and Who is Wrong?

Контент 16+ "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

So wrote the famous Irish poet W.B. Yeats almost 100 years ago (1919 to be exact). The lines, part of a great poem, seem as true today as then -- and probably throughout the entire (circa) 200,000 history of the human race. But what do they mean? Of course, they are open to interpretation (pretty … Read the rest

Jubilee Atop the Last Mountain

Контент 16+ As night and death come to us all, so does morning with its breakfast smells and crowing roosters and, if you are lucky, your lover's first kiss of the day.


So it was with us, waking up at that truck-stop somewhere in Romania. I rose first, squired the dogs around and about the large parking area and border of woods, gave Liuba a peck on the cheek, and … Read the rest

Count Dracula’s Long and Winding Road

Контент 16+ Having been roused by early patrons from our brief snooze opposite the do-nut shop, Liuba -- grumpy -- the dogs -- cheerful and questioning -- and I-- mottle-eyed and grizzled from not shaving -- remembered the job at hand, so Liuba cranked up the engine again and we resumed our travels, pretty much as vague and stunned in our sensibilities as we had been during the early phase … Read the rest

The Long Road the Mountains Know

Контент 16+ Anyone who thinks that driving from Belarus into Poland is a cultural step up (Wow ! The E-u-r-o-p-e-a-n- U-n-i-o-n !!) cannot be thinking of the roads, and this holds true all over Eastern Europe. Belarus may not be like Vatican City in terms of opulence, but it is certainly clean and at least the highway coming straight in from Moscow is exemplary -- smooth as a baby's bottom, … Read the rest

Out of the Wilderness

Контент 16+ Suddenly Brest did not seem like such a placid, pleasant haven for departing pilgrims. Nearing sundown, we drove aimlessly, having no idea what to do next, or where to go. The Russian Embassy? Belarus Embassy? Polish Embassy? At this point, we couldn't even remember where our hotel was. We asked people along the street for directions, but frankly, they all acted as if they were little more … Read the rest

The Long, Long, Long road to Varna

Контент 16+ My wife Liuba is from Omsk, and many hard, frozen, poverty-stricken years there did nothing to damage her health.But all it took was four winters amid the belching smokestacks and poisoned atmosphere of Moscow for her to contract a chronic bronchial infection. During her last two years in the megapolis, often amid endless bleak rains that more and more prevail there because of climate change, our apartment was … Read the rest

I WANT MY VISA!!!

Контент 16+ Obtaining a visa, any kind of visa, is always potentially -- if not true every time-- one of the most royal ass-ripping processes in the entire cosmos. Although, in case there actually IS life on other planets, I hope that they have evolved to the point where they haven't had reason to think up the idea of visas or else have found a way to get past this … Read the rest

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Контент 16+ Being now relocated in Bulgaria, the time has come again to celebrate Christmas on 25 December, just as I did all my life before I went to live in Russia. To tell you the truth I am elated. As a so-called ex-pat (God I hate that term), I can truthfully say that I never missed Thanksgiving and Christmas all that much; in fact, there were years when the … Read the rest

Back to Helsinki

Контент 18+ Курение вредит Вашему здоровью. You know, I have always wanted to be the Best at something. I mean, ANYTHING. The best in the world, hopefully. If not that, the best in town. Or the village. OK, goddammit, the best on my street. And because I am an exceptionally devoted humanitarian, I would prefer to be the best at something which would benefit the human race. I would like … Read the rest

Contortions of Change

Контент 18+ Having altered my geographical location for about the 100th time in my life (Moscow was the best among all ports of call), I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about the nature of "change" itself. Some of it is inevitable of course: the trumpets of spring when all the king's men ride out upon their warhorses, the rich and multi-various orchestra of summer among shadows of … Read the rest