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


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

Groping towards Hysteria (American Women Cry Out!)

Контент 18+ In case you haven't noticed, the latest craze in the USA these days is the blizzard of accusations of "sexual misconduct' being lobbied against various and sundry men, most of them dating back as far as 20 or 30 years. These gals are now, to use the language of American journalese, "coming forward" because all of a sudden miraculously, they have found the 'courage' to do so, whereas … Read the rest

The Night Watchman

Контент 16+  I was always a night guy. Did my best thinking in those heart attack hours of the deepest gloom when the good things went to sleep and the bad things woke up. I guess it's because when I was a child I was afraid of the dark. We lived in a big white ramshackle house at the bottom of a dead-end street in the hills of Charleston West … Read the rest

From the Heart to the Distant Fingertips

Контент 16+ In my last blog, just over a week ago, I wrote on the subject of "Change". I guess for me a lot has changed recently. I finally decided to leave Moscow once and for all and come to live in the Bulgarian village of Bliznatsi. Retirement is the last thing on my mind, but to me, the unthinkable finally came to pass: going from Moscow seemed the best … Read the rest

Turnstiles of Life

Контент 16+ In my English class last night way up high in the Imperia Tower of Moscow City, we discussed the subject of "Change." This particular group of three students (one of whom will be studying at Columbia University in New York next year) offered many sharp and vivid insights -- as is their custom -- but they are in one way lucky to remain ignorant, and that has to … Read the rest