A New Twist

And of course the plot wouldn’t be complete without a sexy Russian spy. So some two-bit whore was found to spice up the deathly boring story of Mueller’s interminable “investigation.”

The NYTimes articles on the prostitute read like standup comedy. It beggars belief that people would actually believe this sorry crap.


Some people are just not well-read. They observe a phenomenon in 18-century literature and immediately attribute it to the Enlightenment philosophy. They think that if it happened in the era of the Enlightenment it must have happened because of the Enlightenment. And that’s a logical leap nobody should take.

If this person had done her reading, she would have known that said phenomenon existed since at least the 16th century and up until the early twentieth.

I specialize in the most contemporary Spanish literature possible. Stuff that was published five minutes ago is what interests me. But I’m constantly reading up on medieval, on Golden Age, on the Enlightenment, etc because you have to keep your scholarly base fresh. You need to know what led to what. Everything is connected and nothing exists in isolation.

You can’t just “know one thing but know it well” if you are a research scholar. You need to read widely and assiduously. And never assume you know all there is.

Publishing After Tenure

Why are some journals offering letters confirming that an article has been accepted for publication? Even at my school, acceptances don’t count, only actual publications.

When I was a first-year tenure-track person, I had a big argument with tenured profs over whether it’s easier to publish after tenure. I thought it was but they laughed me out of the room. And I couldn’t say anything because I didn’t have the experience. Now I do and I can say with authority that it’s definitely easier. Right now, I have publications lined up until 2021. I know for sure that things are coming out every year for the next three years, I know where they are coming out, and it’s all part of a planned-out publication strategy. The unpredictability and stress have gone out of the experience because I now know enough to plan and control the process.

Nice Lady

It’s impossible to explain to a toddler that talking about strangers in their presence is rude. Especially when she gets into the framework of “I don’t want to be polite, mommy. I want to be yuuuuude!” So I came up with a great method not to feel embarrassed when it happens.

I started to refer to all strangers as “the nice lady” and “the nice gentleman.” So now when Klara asks me loudly, “What is that nice lady doing, mommy?”, I don’t feel mortified and strangers don’t feel uncomfortable. Many folks visibly perk up when they hear that a kid considers them to be nice.

This is also part of my general strategy to foster a positive outlook in her. Obviously, the foundation of that will be me not suffering from anxiety. But I also constantly say things like, “This is a beautiful tree. I like this book. This is a good one! I’m having a great time. I feel very happy. It’s a great day. This gentleman was very nice and helpful.” This isn’t fake because I do sincerely feel like this about the world.

I always feel sorry about folks who see something bad even in the best situations. Like this person (a very nice lady otherwise) who was at a very luxurious resort but kept bitching that – wait for this! – watermelon was cut up in cubes instead of triangles at the breakfast buffet. I started avoiding her at the resort because she was poisoning my existence with her whining about the watermelon cubes. Such people really suffer because of the way they are.

The Same Place

If Bernie had won the election – and I had to take a little break here because it’s such a beautiful dream that I got a little blurry-eyed – would we be in the same situation with an investigation and spying accusations right now? Because Russians were promoting both Trump and Bernie on social media. Bernie had taken a trip to the USSR, which means he was accompanied by KGB agents throughout the trip. He promised a kindly meeting with Putin during the election. He was averse to criticizing Russia. He benefited like nobody else from the hacking of the DNC server. It would be easy to accuse him.

Obviously, I don’t think Bernie is a Russian spy. He’s an honest person of the highest moral standards and unempeachable character. I supported Hillary but always recognized that in terms of his quality as a human being Bernie is in a different galaxy from Hillary. And I’m not comparing him to Trump in this sense because that would be offensive to Bernie.

But would we be in the same place with the losers incapable of accepting they lost and creating a ridiculous spy drama? The birtherist idiocy tells me that yes, we would.