I never participate in the endless spats and quarrels that are so ubiquitous in the academic world. But I have a folder titled “Intrigas” in my Outlook account. All of the emails pertaining to the endless scheming among academics that come my way are assigned to that folder.

Who knows, maybe I will follow in C.P. Snow’s footsteps after I retire and create a series of masterpieces about academic life.

UK Loves Criminals

The UK embassy in Moscow offers a VIP service for visa seekers. If you want to receive special treatment from the embassy employees that will ensure everybody knows you are not one of common folks, all you need to do is pay the equivalent of $230. The VIP service offers the following conveniences:

1. A VIP accesses the embassy through a separate entrance lest the VIP’s tender sensibilities get hurt by encountering the nasty, smelly proles who access the embassy in a regular, not Very Important manner.

2. A VIP gets a personal assistant to help him or her fill out the paperwork. It simply won’t do to make somebody this important do any work.

3. A VIP is offered high-quality refreshments to help pass the time.

I hope I don’t need to explain to which social group in Russia people who can spend $230 on something like this belong. (If I do, see the post’s title.)

The UK makes sure visitors know from the start what kind of people the country appreciates.

Anti-Dog Notebook

I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I love notebooks. Whenever I see a cute, unusual notebook, I buy it for my collection. Yesterday I found the following gem at the university bookstore:


This notebook features signs that prohibit or regulate dogs and allows me to combine two if my favorite pursuits: my love of notebooks and my dislike of dogs.

Here is how the back looks:


Every page of this great product features an anti-dog sign in a foreign language:


This book is out of print (which doesn’t say anything good about humanity) but here are some copies sold at Amazon.

This series also has a similar kind of notebooks for coffee lovers.