Content 21+ (published as is, blog owner may have different opinion from the author) One of my teenage Russian Skype students, a very bright young fellow named Maxim, is more or less obsessed with cars. Often at the weekends he visits the Moscow dealerships just to check them out. But his interest does not go the usual route of jargon-signifying chatter about what’s under the hood and snorting demands … Read the rest
Content 21+ It was my first plane ride, and the stewardesses had no choice but to be beautiful back in those days; it was part of the job. Even now, I can see the reason. It was to inspire confidence. Aviation was not as safe then as it supposedly is now. I have never looked at the statistics, but I do know — from my grandfather’s own account — that … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ I once saw a film called "Field of Dreams" which involved a man hearing a voice in a cornfield that told him what to do -- which he did -- and what happened as a result. The idea behind it was simple but profound: how can we find the past again and correct it? Or maybe better would be to ask, "How can we HEAL the past?"… Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ You know, I read a lot of blogs posted by authors great and small, coming from all directions. One source in particular, which I won't mention by name but which in fact does publish some excellent stuff, also seems to be a haven for hard-line feminists and various other typoids and assorted specimens lumbered with a lot of sexual preference issues. Gender is a big, big … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ A guy was explaining to me once how to tell the perfect lie. He said it with a straight face and matter-of-fact expression, almost as if he were expounding on how you can pack the most clothes into a suitcase or the most groceries into one plastic bag at a supermarket.
Inspired by my strict moral upbringing in the Christian Church (hahaha), I felt it my duty … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ Have you ever been falsely accused of doing something bad that you positively and absolutely didn't do? How did you feel? Especially when there was no way to change the minds of those who were accusing you?
It's happened to me a few times, and I can assure you that I was outraged. In fact, I have little doubt that my violent reaction to such injustice was … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ When I was a kid back in America and would watch the sit-coms on TV (which now leads me to reflect "Did I HAVE a life?"), I was always struck by the laughter that would erupt in the background every time someone said something that was supposed to be funny. Didn't matter if it actually WAS funny -- the knee-slapping merry-makers in the television studio ("coming to … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ The off-the-charts hullabaloo after Helsinki (Donny and Vlad) has gotten so ridiculous that I once more feel compelled to seize my figurative pen and get to work. The problem is that the folks who most need to read what I have to say here simply won’t — because the kind of American trolls who soil cyberspace with their dim-witted posts don’t know how to absorb much beyond … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ There is a longstanding question which asks us if we -- given the opportunity -- would prefer to know when we will die or instead linger in the perpetual (until the chopping block moment) suspense of NOT knowing. I haven't taken a survey, but it seems that most people would choose not to know. Me? Well, I'm not sure.
The pros and cons? Obviously, if we understood … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ Although the 2018 World Cup can now be placed in the file of Yesterday's News (and what is deader than the headlines of the day before the day before ?), it is worth a brief look back simply as a way of saying goodbye-to-all-that.
And no matter what your take on sports in general might be-- and regardless of your politics -- I think that only the … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ I just caught Adrita's article about beggars in India. I can only imagine what a nightmare it must be in places like that. Of course, the homeless and hapless are everywhere and must be dealt with one way or the other. As with the prison system, the question involves the push-pull between blame and compassion. Should we despise beggars or try to help them? I used to … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ Without ever having been a surfer, I remember watching a film a long time ago about surfing. It was called ''The Endless Summer" and it showed (endlessly) the magnificent, bronzed guy surfers (Wow !-- if only I were gay !!!) as they sat on the waves, dipping and slanting at just the precise instant, simultaneously gliding, dictating terms to the sea, and then being abruptly devoured, violently … Read the rest
Content advisory 16+ So Russia's definitely glorious and decidedly improbable run at the World Cup came to an end last night, via the usual route in the later stages of this event: Penalties. But what can we say about it? The way FIFA has it set up, there is no other method available to conclude drawn matches , and, after 120 minutes, who will attest that they want another 30 … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ Consumed as I am by my passion for football and the World Cup, I inevitably run into those flustered, exasperated souls who just can't understand what all the fuss is about. Usually, these nay-sayers spill from the ranks of the intellectual elite for whom Sport, like Religion and Victory Gin, is simply opiate for the masses at best, and, at worst, a slavering, blood-spurting reenactment of gladiator-style … Read the rest
Content advisory 16+ As I write this blog (Friday 29 June), the World Cup is taking the day off, the round-robin preliminaries having been completed last night. I doubt that any football fan could argue that the action has been less than compelling; I, for one, have enjoyed this World Cup immensely, with the exception of two matches: France-Denmark and England-Belgium. The reason that these two high profile encounters produced … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ So, will the REAL Russia stand up and be counted? That is the question to be answered in tonight's Russia-Egypt football match which will likely determine whether or not Putin's boys advance to the next round. I will be watching and pulling for them, anxious to find out if the 5-0 shellacking of Saudi was a fluke.
Of great interest will be (1) whether or not Mo … Read the rest
Content advisory 16+ So, at last, the long-awaited World Cup kicks off today. In fact, by the time this post hits the board, the Russia-Saudi Arabia match will be underway. Frankly, under normal circumstances, I wouldn't walk across the street to see an encounter between these two worse-than-mediocre sides, but, hey, it IS the World Cup.
A few observations, based on recent World Cups. Look for the most entertaining football … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ (Restricted content) Long ago I stood atop the Empire State Building and peered down at Manhattan far below. I don't remember my feelings precisely, but I am sure that I was in awe of where I was -- you know, the mere Fact of it ("Damn -- this is really the top of the Empire State Building!"). I do recall that we were securely fenced … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ My family and I live in High Rise No. 378 in the southern city of D. Recently, to our immense delight, we acquired a new apartment on the 256th floor, thanks to its being vacated by its owner, presumably due to some sort of psychological pathology. His family, who live in the seaport city of L., some 250 km away, engineered the sale.
Our building is the … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ My Indian blogging colleague Roopsa has written today on the subject of sex education in India, and this has likewise awakened echoes of my own 'training' in the sphere, which of course happened many, many years ago. It was back in the days when babies really DID come from storks.
Seriously though, I grew up with my grandparents and I was lucky enough to have a grandfather … Read the rest