Clarissa in Kharkiv, 1995

And this is me in the central street of Kharkiv back in 1995:


I’m standing in front of the really great Repertory Theater of Kharkiv. They had some really brilliant productions there that I attended. After Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the Ukrainian theater of the great Ukrainian theater director Les’ Kurbas of the 1920s-1930s was revived here. Kurbas had been executed by Stalin back in 1937 together with every Ukrainian artist of note. Stalin did not kill any Russian-language artists except for the rare cases when they insulted him personally (like the Jewish poet Osip Mandelshtam did.) But he exterminated every Ukrainian of note he could find.

What is really funny is that I considered myself to be hugely fat at that time and was massively tortured by my imagined girth. God, it sucks to be young, seriously. Today, I’m both much plumper and much happier.

Clarissa of the 1996 Vintage

Adventures with alcoholism started early for your favorite blogger. . .



No, actually, they didn’t. I┬áhave no idea what we are drinking here and why my nose is so red but I was not a drinking person back in Ukraine.

In this photo, I’m sitting next to one of my students. You might not be able to guess, but she is 6 years younger than me and attended the same grade as my sister. I gave her private English classes.

P.S. Do tell me whenever the narcissistic trip gets too old. I haven’t even seen these pictures in a long time and now I’m understandably nostalgic.

Clarissa, the 1997 Version

I just found some old photos and thought it would be fun to share them.

This is me back in Ukraine at the age of 21:


I look very serious, in front of my computer where I’d spend night after night, translating specs for fighter airplanes that were being sold to Iran. No, seriously. This is in the big apartment I shared with husband #1. That computer still had the orange-on-black screen. But I also had the newer version that ran Norton and not MS-DOS like this old one. Actually, I still miss Norton. How ancient does this make me?

Pruning the Blogroll

Israel was born not least because America was brutally indifferent to Britain’s interests in the Middle East; Israel may die not least because America is brutally indifferent to Israel’s interest in its own survival.

Yes, and the sun came up this morning because the United States made it.

No matter how hard I try to prune total idiots off my blogroll, they keep cropping up. The US is probably to blame.


The employees of my university discovered that one of their very few remaining benefits will be cut. Many workers were really counting on the benefit and this development is a disaster for them.

But when people started exchanging emails on the subject, the administration told them they weren’t allowed to discuss politics on university email. No political party or politician was named in the debate. People simply shared personal stories about how the destruction of the benefit will impact them and their children. Yet somehow, this is considered “political.”

I’m disgusted.

“Yelled At”

I agree completely with this blogger that the increasingly frequent use of the verb “yell” in situations where somebody expressed mild disagreement is extremely obnoxious.

I keep wondering what hothouses people exist in if anything they perceive as not being hugely flattering turns into a wound. How do they manage to go through life in this state of beatific enchantment where the universe is supposed to show them nothing but extreme adoration?