The New York Times interrupts my New Year’s celebration with the breaking news that I need to “severely limit my intake of meat” to save the planet. Lack of protein, it turns out, is “a nonissue because it will find you in grains.”

Of course, the article immediately proceeds to shill for fake meats. This is beyond blatant and disgusting.

This really does it. I’m finally cancelling my subscription.

Pope and Pilgrim

For the first time, I actually like the Pope.

This evening after visiting the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis loses his cool after being grabbed by a pilgrim who wouldn’t let go of his hand. The Pope repeated slapped her hand and told her to let go of him.

The “pilgrim” is a total creep.

I’m with Francis on this one. Boundaries should be respected, and Christian charity doesn’t mean you should allow anybody to walk all over yours.

The Menu

So here’s what I’m making.

Three Soviet salads. The word salad to us means something completely different than what it does to the rest of the world. It’s a 7-10 layer construction where every layer is cooked separately, then the whole thing is painstakingly assembled and left to mature overnight.

Instead of the traditional gefilte fish, I’m making an Israeli recipe of fish marinated in Israeli spices and encrusted in Israeli tahini and then grilled.

Pickled cabbage, tomatoes, and carrots (crucial for good digestion).

Potatoes stewed with Asian mushrooms.

A small charcuterie plate just to have something meat-based on the table because the salads are fish and vegetarian.

Kasha (buckwheat porridge, I guess) for Klara. She requested it, so there’s no need to feel bad for her.

I don’t make desserts, so N purchased five million different kinds. Cake, eclairs, and 4 different kinds of khalva. Everybody at the Global Foods store on Sunday was a Russian speaker. And the store was packed. Everybody was buying up for New Year’s. The great part is that you don’t have to cook for a whole week after New Year’s because there’s so much leftovers.


I turned on a Christmas movie (The Grinch with the funny guy from The Mask) for Klara while I cook the New Year’s dinner. I need two full days of cooking to fulfill my plan. And Klara feels extremely festive because I’ve never turned on the TV for her before in her whole life.

2019 Highlights

This was one of the best years of my life, to be honest.

Here are some highlights:

1. I made a bunch of new friends. I just realized that, once again, they are all immigrants. I have no idea why I’m not managing to connect with the locals. This is something to work on next year. Maybe I should add “becoming friends with a local” to my resolutions list.

2. I’ve been crazy productive in research. It’s been a year of deadlines and publications and extreme productivity. On the positive side, I have finally figured out what I want the organizing idea of my pretty scattered research interests to be. It’s no longer just about publishing everything everywhere (although I still love that). It’s about sharing a basic philosophy I have arrived at with the world. I first read that as a research scholar you need to have this organizing idea on Jonathan’s blog ten years ago, and I had no idea what he even meant. But now I’m finally at the point where I understand what this means.

3. This wasn’t the best reading year. I read more than usual (about 20% more complete books) but 2019 was coming on the heels of the transformational reading year of 2018 when I discovered Castellanos Moya and became a Latin Americanist. You can’t have something this major every year of your life, so no matter what I read in 2019, it simply didn’t measure up.

4. I traveled a lot more than usual but I’m ready to take a break from that. It was fun but overwhelming.

5. I’m ready to start an experiment in working a regular 9-4 office job. The person who knows me better than anybody in the world (which is my sister) said, the moment she heard about this plan, “Ah, now you are really going to publish a lot!”

6. Talking about friends, I walked away from two friendships where I felt like I needed to pretend to be less of what I am to be accepted.

7. I started sleeping a lot more and realized there’s nothing like it to improve mental and physical health. Yay to sleep!

8. Bullet journaling has been absolutely amazing but I won’t bore anybody with it too much because I’ve done enough of that.

9. I have developed a newfound love for my university and realized that my unhappiness with it stemmed from not embracing the new stage of my own development.

What were your highlights from the departing year?

OK Boomer

I find the phrase “OK Boomer” to be infantile and pathetic but this is really crazy:

The University of Miami is warning students of the implications of using the phrase “OK Boomer,” a term that the school says may be considered offensive. The university recently called its students attention to the potentially problematic use of the “dismissive” phrase in a post by Associate Director, Communications & Public Relations Barbara Gutierrez published on the university news site. The post explained to students that the phrase that “may have debuted on the social platform TikTok” is perceived by “older folks” as a “manifestation of polarization and intolerance for diverse views,” an intolerance that the school points out “seems to be prevalent in today’s society.”

I understand that “the Associate Director of Something Entirely Useless” has to justify her salary but she’s making the entire university look ridiculous in the process.

And by the way, shouldn’t there be a comma after OK?