Got Milk?

I don’t know why there’s such a brouhaha about people buying a lot of milk. Klara quit drinking milk this summer but before that she was guzzling it by the gallon. A three-gallon jug would last her 8-9 days. I don’t drink it at all because of the high sugar content and N is lactose intolerant. So that was just one small kid. With 10 kids, 12 gallons a week is actually quite little.

It’s really ludicrous to dump on people over milk. Milk is a basic staple. It’s not like they complained over the price of beluga caviar.

Verbal Tics

There is a small benefit to being torn out of your linguistic environment. You begin to recognize when writers use vocabulary that was created much later in their period literature. I’m noticing such blips both in Bykov and Shamil Idiatullin, a new Russian writer I’m exploring. (Obviously, Shamil Idiatullin is Russian not in any ethnic sense but in the language he writes).

Bykov’s characters who live in the 1930s use the expression “вот это вот всё”, which is a very recent verbal tic that arose way after I emigrated. Idiatullin’s character intersperses his speech with “как бы” in 1983, which is impossible because this particular tick was born in the 2000s. It has the same effect on me as if characters said “go, Brandon!” to mock the authorities in 2008. I notice these things because I wasn’t there when they were born and they aren’t natural to me.

Austere Terrorist

I’m preparing a lecture about Peru and wanted to look up headlines about the recent death of Abimael Guzman, the leader of the Maoist terrorist organization The Shining Path.

Immediately, I found a Peruvian article and its reprint in The New York Times. The Peruvian title was “Abimael Guzman, the leader of the most dangerous terrorist organization in Peru, dies.”. The NYTimes title for the same article was “Abimael Guzman, the leader of the Shining Path, dies.”

Not quite at the level of “austere religious scholar” but still.

Truly, I respect the people who took the Pravda seriously more than the tools who still read the NYTimes.