NYTimes: Russia’s Playbook in Central African Republic

Hey, folks, there’s a good article in the Times on Russia’s doings in CAR. Somebody actually did some journalism.

Seeker’s Market

When writing out job descriptions:

– shift your focus from “here is what I need” to “here is what’s in it for you.”

– make sure the “what’s in it for the potential employee” list is longer than the list of requirements.

– ensure that your list of requirements is reasonable and meaningful, rather than the generic laundry list that most companies default on.

– highlight and clearly identify your company culture.

– provide a strong Equal Employment Opportunity statement.

– share information about your values.

Adapted from here.

A Mother’s Happiness

Mom’s happiness [during a child’s infancy] was twice as important when it came to predicting mental health issues in boys. As for girls, only their mother’s happiness was found to be linked to their mental health as teens.

The article means “compared to Dad’s” but it’s not just compared to the father’s happiness. It’s compared to everything. Many mothers of small children don’t know that being selfish and seeking their own happiness is the best favor they can do to their kid.

Art Fair Haul

The event I wait for all year is the art fair. And finally I bought something. It’s two pieces by artists whose work I’ve been dreaming about for a whole year, since I saw it last summer.

Obviously, the llama picture is not my choice. It’s the first piece in Klara’s art collection.

The orange and green tree pieces are made out of glass. I immediately chose the orange and Klara the green. Then the artist explained that they represent seasons of life. So its kind of fitting, if slightly disturbing, that Klara chose spring and I, autumn.

The flowers are from my husband and aren’t related to the art fair. He loved my favorite piece that’s at the bottom.

AC Woes

By the way, the AC was set at 67F in the classrooms today. People were perishing. And as I already mentioned, the lights are always on and the AC blasting like crazy in our building irrespective of whether anybody is there. Just think about it. My office lights have been on for decades.

But we all supported the climate strike. It’s such a joke.

Open Garage Door

This local habit of leaving the garage door up during the hottest season at the hottest times of day, does anybody know why it exists? And isn’t it too expensive because the AC is on inside? Or does the closed door between the house and the garage insulate the house?

The Totalitarianism I Know

I think many people don’t understand what it was like in the USSR. Back there, we weren’t afraid of being executed or sent to a concentration camp. Even during the Stalin era, when there actually were mass executions and labor camps, most people didn’t fear them because nobody was supposed to know. It was all done in secret.

But after Stalin’s death, it weren’t done at all. We didn’t fear physical violence from the state. Honestly, the idea is ludicrous.

We feared being publicly shamed. We feared becoming pariahs. We feared social, not physical, death. We feared being socially, not physically, cancelled. We feared being prevented from making a living, being fired, denied promotion, being told we are agents of international imperialism. We feared public humiliation.

And we feared that this was going to happen to us not if we did something egregious like molesting kids or beating up old ladies for fun. We feared that this was going to happen if somebody found out we enjoyed ideologically suspect news programs, read politically incorrect books, didn’t show up for climate strikes subbotniks, didn’t add pronouns to our email signatures Communist terminology to every sentence we wrote, didn’t condemn Trump US imperialism loudly enough, didn’t give away our jobs toys to the suffering refugees children in Guatemala, and didn’t join the Twitter mobs Komsomol leaders with enough enthusiasm when they condemned white Ukrainian nationalists and the growing threat of the KKK and world fascism.

This is what I don’t want to experience again. This is the totalitarianism I know.

Kid Drawing Riddle

Klara is learning to draw faces. When she draws eyes, she always makes one about 5 times larger than the other. This is done purposefully.

Can anybody guess why?

A hint: the reason, of course, is extremely cute.

P.S. I wrote the name. She only knows how to write OL so far.

Book Notes: Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte, 2

OK, so I finished the novel, and now I’m even more sure that it’s the best Rushdie’s ever written. Which is saying a lot because everything he’s written is brilliant. But this novel is so so good.

Quichotte is a heavily postmodern novel, so I can’t recommend if it’s not your kind of thing. But if you are at all capable of tolerating anything beyond hardcore realism, then this is the novel to slide yourself into an adventurous reading mode. And there are twists of the plot, including one at the end even I didn’t anticipate!

If you are a professor of literature, drop everything and read the novel. There’s nothing you are doing at work more important than reading a brilliant novel, believe me.

Loved, loved, loved the novel, need to reread it immediately. If Quichotte doesn’t win the Booker, that will be completely ridiculous.