I’m not made for the life of intrigue, folks. Somebody just made gruel out of me and ate me for supper. I lost the game before I even found out it had begun.

Shit. I’m just too simple-minded. I always blab out everything I think the moment I think it or even before. It never occurs to me that not everybody is the same way and that people might lie and scheme to get their way.

I’m a simpleton and a dupe.


A colleague I don’t know very well just sent me an email that says, “GR8T.” I Googled it and I’m guessing it is supposed to mean “great.” I’m now kind of scared of the colleague in question.

Is it wrong of me to be annoyed with this style of writing? It took me forever to get the students to write emails in a correct professional format, with a formal greeting and signature, and now this?

In case you are wondering, the colleague is at least my age and probably older.

Male Solidarity

N. and I were celebrating our third wedding anniversary at this really cool new restaurant last night. Of course, we both speak Russian to each other but it’s a different kind of Russian. Since I’m Ukrainian, I speak very emotionally, rapidly and my voice is very inflected. There is also a lot of hand-waving and many different facial expressions. N. is “a real Russian”, so his way of speaking Russian is slower, has flatter intonations, and sounds less emotional. It is also much quieter.

A waiter observed me talk to N. about the elections and finally decided to interfere.

“Is he in trouble?” he asked, pointing at N. and looking at me with reproach.

I had to explain that everything was perfectly fine and I was not scolding N.

It is kind of annoying to think that I come off as a nagging wife to strangers who don’t understand what I say but it’s good to see an instance of male solidarity.

Something IS Wrong With Today’s Kids!

The content of the essays, however, is a different thing altogether. In the very first essay, a student, a 20-year-old woman, refers to a character, a 20-year-old woman, as “promiscuous.” The character in question has a boyfriend. There is absolutely nothing else that might qualify her as promiscuous. If having a boyfriend at the age of 20 makes one promiscuous then I’m kind of scared. What is one supposed to do at this age not to be called a slut? Not have a boyfriend? Get married to a guy the second you meet him?

Jeez, women, when will you stop interiorizing these idiotic messages?

What’s Wrong With Today’s Kids?

Not a single one of my 56 students in the Culture of Spain course asked for an extension for the final essay. This is a very unexpected development. I was so sure that grandmas were going to die and legs were going to break that I set the due date today instead of Friday to have two extra days for urgent requests for extensions.

“Are you sure you don’t need an extension?” I asked students who came by my office to verify the citation format.

“No,” they responded proudly. “We have finished on time.”

You see what things have come to? I hunt people down trying to get them to accept extensions but they refuse with pride and a sense of self-sufficiency.

The students are scaring me with how responsible they are this year. I guess all my speechifying about the importance of creating a professional persona that commands respect did make an impression.

A Liberal Hissy Fit

It isn’t surprising to see posts by conservative bloggers that go, “OMG, Obama won the election, this is the end of the world.” This is a normal reaction to losing an election, so nobody is surprised. What is a lot more curious is to see Liberal analysts break down hysterically for the same reason. Here is Ian Welsh throwing a hissy fit over Obama’s win:

The people who sadden me are left-wingers who carried Obama’s water, who I know know better.  I know they know his record.  I know they know where this is all leading.  I know because I was a professional blogger for years.  I’ve met these people in person, I have corresponded with them, and I have talked to many of them.  I have worked with many of them.

They know what Obama is, and they lied about him.

Whenever I see such outbursts, I always know what is about to come. Scroll down Welsh’s long and boring post and you will see the following line (the emphasis is mine):

If society is to function again for the benefit of all a lot of things need to be done.

I really love this “again” bit. These over-entitled white boys are so predictable. It doesn’t matter whether they place themselves to the left or to the right of the political spectrum. Sooner or later their yearning for the good ole times when things were so much better, sugar so much sweeter and women so much more subservient will burst through. These mythical “all” for whose benefit society functioned so well in the past obviously do not include women, gay folks, or racial and ethnic minorities.

But what does the ultra-progressive Mr. Walsh care about these unimportant little categories of people? What does he care about the visible and dramatic improvements people who are not white and male might experience? He wants to go back to the past where things were good for him. And in his reality, his interests are the interests of all.

We Should All Thank Petraeus

Now that I’m on this topic anyways, I wanted to mention that we should all just thank Petraeus. This presidential election was so emotionally charged, tense and aggressive that we all needed a good spot of soap-operish comedy to alleviate the tension.

The great Spanish playwright Lope de Vega said in 1609 that it was crucial to provide regular comic relief to an audience if you wanted it to enjoy a good tragedy. Thanks to Petraeus’s ultra-funny affair, we now feel refreshed, invigorated, and ready to plunge into the new electoral cycle.

Why Did General Petraeus Choose Sex?

It is extraordinarily funny to see people born and raised in a prissy, prudish, sexually thwarted culture try to explain sexuality to themselves. I just found this very cute article that tries to analyze human sexuality using poor beleaguered General Petraeus as an example. The title of the article is already highly entertaining: “Why Men Like Petraeus Risk It All to Cheat.” From the title, you’d assume that Petraeus either cheated with a cardboard object or with another man who is just like him. The last thing you’d gather from it is that there was a female partner involved in the cheating who also risked her career and family in the process of cheating.

Here is how the silly piece starts:

An admitted affair has crumbled the career of CIA Director David Petraeus, prompting the evergreen question: Why do people with so much to lose risk it all for sex?

Apparently, the answer “Because they want to have sex” is not enough to satisfy the article’s priggish author. For her, people have to be motivated by something other than actual sexual gratification to enjoy sex. I just barely started reading the article and already I feel a lot of sympathy for this journalist’s miserable sex partner(s). The article continues by presenting a series of very idiotic claims advanced by Dr.Phil-quality “psychologists”:

In the last few years alone, several public figures, from former Rep. Anthony Weinerto action star and former California Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger, have admitted to straying from their marital vows. In Petraeus’ case, a miscalculation of risk may have contributed to the decision to cheat, psychologists say. . . Men can become blind to risk at the sight of an attractive woman, and from an evolutionary perspective, cheating can be a positive mechanism for ensuring gene survival, regardless of risk, scientists say.

As we all know, Petraeus has dedicated his life to taking pretty major risks in the field of combat. He placed his own survival at risk many times, so this idiotic “evolutionary” explanation makes zero sense.

It’s mind-boggling that people would see a 60-year-old guy who spent decades in a miserable marriage where he and his wife didn’t even see each other for 18 months at a time and would immediately decide that he is driven to use one of the very last remaining opportunities to have a normal sex life by the need to take risks or a very weird (at his age) desire to procreate.

Jeez, folks, the dude just wanted to get laid. Why is this so hard to fathom?

I also want to take this opportunity to say that all those newscasters who express their fake sympathy for Petraeus’s wife are idiots, too. The woman is probably dancing for joy in the streets, yelling, “Bring me champagne! And boys! Or girls! Or maybe both!” In these miserable marriages where people have no relationship whatsoever and live separated, pretending to be married for the sake of children, property and career, both partners are just trying to wait each other out. The one who manages to sit out the partner ends up with all the marital property. Since male sexuality has an earlier expiration date than the female sexuality, the wives who manage to wait out the husbands end up winning financially.