A Break in Online Commenting

I’m noticing that the weather is making everybody very cranky, so I’ve decided to stop commenting on all blogs other than my own until the heat wave passes. I suffer from the heat, too, and the last thing I need is people getting pissy with me for no reason. I don’t find it extremely helpful to leave a comment on a blog saying, “Great post!” and receive an angry rant in return about how I should quit being condescending because nobody needs my praise anyway.

Hopefully, the air will stop boiling by November and people will get calmer.

The Grinch Who Stole the 4th of July

Last year, there were the most amazing fireworks in my neighborhood. They went on for over 2 hours, and if you went to the senior citizens’ facility nearby, you could see the sky light up in all directions.

This year, however, we’ve had very minimal fireworks that lasted under four minutes!

Also, I noticed that nobody in our street had the July 4th barbecue. We are a street of passionate barbecuers but this year there have been no barbecues for the holiday.

Is this happening because of the heat? We are at +32C right now, and it’s ten to 11 at night! Imagine what it was like during the day. Are people afraid of starting fires accidentally?

By the way, I just discovered a great way of dealing with the heat. You need to carry a bottle of water with you and keep pouring it on the nape of your neck. If there is no bottle, water from sprinklers can be used for this purpose. I will have to venture out of the house tomorrow, and I will use this method because otherwise I’ll just wilt in this heat.

How do you survive this horrible weather?

4th of July: What Are Your Hard Won Freedoms?

I just read this beautiful post that lists the personal freedoms its author has achieved in her life.

So to honor today’s wonderful holiday, I will list my own recently acquired freedoms.

1. The freedom to be who I am and to hell with the fear that people might find me weird.

2. The freedom to seek psychological help without telling myself that it is too indulgent to do so.

3. The freedom to go outside without looking completely and absolutely perfect.

4. The freedom to be in a relationship without feeling locked down and deprived of choice.

5. The freedom to read Trollope as much as I want.

6. The freedom to decide that I do want a kiwano. My long-term readers will understand. 🙂 Mind you, I haven’t bought the kiwano yet, OK? So let’s all keep absolutely calm.

Russia Discriminates Against Men

The following reform is being proposed for Russian universities:

Dmitry Livanov, Russia’s new education minister, has unveiled controversial reforms for his country’s universities. Chemistry World reported that the changes proposed include consolidating universities and ending the tradition of free tuition.

The reason why this is an atrocious plan is not only that the low-income people will be prevented from accessing higher education. There is a much more tragic reason why a free higher education should exist in Russia.

Russia is a country that discriminates against healthy young men by forcing them to join the army where they are more than likely to be starved, tortured, raped, and forced into slave-labor. Every male high-schooler in the country lives in horror of the draft.

The only ways of avoiding the draft are:

1. Having several children in rapid succession (this is obviously something that the racist Russian government worried about the rise of Chinese and Muslim immigration wants to promote.)

2. Pay a huge bribe.

3. Go to college.

N. told me that the terror of being drafted had shaped his life. He knew that, even though he was tall, broad-shouldered and practiced martial arts, he would not come out of the army with his mental and physical health intact. Between the ages of 17 and 27 (when you can legally be drafted), everything he did was conditioned by the goal of avoiding the draft. Since he is from a very modest family that did not have money for the bribe and is ideologically opposed to the idea of procreating to avoid the draft, the possibility of getting enrolled at a college for free saved him from the army.

I know dozens of tragic stories about ruined lives and horrible personal misery as a result of this discriminatory draft policy.

The Constitution of the Russian Federation proclaims the equality between the sexes. Yet, this horrible form of discrimination against people whose only crime is to be born with a penis persists. It is unconscionable that the Russian government would now remove the only legitimate way out of being drafted that many men still have at their disposal.

It’s one thing when only the rich have the chance to get a higher education. I think that it’s completely wrong, of course, and that education has to be accessible to low-income people and penniless immigrants like I used to be. But when you get to the point where only people with money (or without a penis) can avoid being raped, starved and beaten, we have moved to a completely different level of horror.

Russia is not a poor country, mind you. This is not about a shortage of money. This is about a hateful genocidal policy aimed at punishing millions of young men for the fact of their existence.