Book Notes: Juan del Val’s Delparaíso

I don’t want to accuse Juan del Val of plagiarizing Argentinian novelist Claudia Piñeiro, but his Delparaíso is so similar to Piñeiro’s Thursday Night Widows that I read it as a sequel to Piñeiro’s novel.

I loved Delparaíso. It’s gossipy, chatty, very undemanding – a great, relaxing read about clueless rich people in a chi-chi gated community in Spain. Piñeiro’s gated community is in Argentina but otherwise the differences between the novels are minimal.

It’s not necessarily suspicious that gated communities attract the attention of writers in different countries, but it’s not just the subject that’s identical. It’s the contrast between the lives of the rich residents and the hired help that comes from a very similarly named community. It’s the slight preachiness in the way they story is narrated. It’s the indistinguishable characters and the same story lines.

But a very nice book. I can never get enough Piñeiro, so it’s nice that somebody is cloning her novels.

Midterms Are Close

The new Law & Order is timidly unwoke. The first episode made the point that defunding the police is a stupid idea. The second suggested that some #MeTooters are lying sociopaths.

Midterms are clearly scaring some people. Let’s not fall for their self-serving retrenchment.

Cultural Difference

An old grandma is protesting against the war in Russia:

Now look at what happens to her next. Pay particular attention to the reaction of the passersby.

Do you know what would have happened to these police in Ukraine? Hint: they wouldn’t have any extremities left to touch the grandma. It’s a cultural difference.

Real Enemy

If you don’t like us, you are a Nazi. Hmm, where else have we heard it?

This is the mentality:

“We can repeat”

So who is the enemy of the Russian people? The Russian people have said it as openly as they can but the enemy is hoping that if it shuts its eye really tight, mommy will make the boo-boo go away.


Ukrainian soldiers turned out to be too tough to crack, so now these incredible bastards are waging war on the disabled and pregnant women.

None of this is new. We saw all this in Ukraine in 2014 and many other places before or since. But maybe now at least somebody will notice.

Bam Bam

Translation: Ukrainian borders aren’t going to stop us. We’ll fuck up the whole world. Maybe not now but we will. We’ll occupy the whole of Ukraine and keep moving into Europe.

Look at the happy, excited faces. “The whole world, bam bam!” they say.

None of this is new. It’s been twenty years. Day in, day out. Tell me more about the poor victims who don’t want war.


Amidst the flood of stories about Russian immigrants in the US who reputedly experienced some mild discomfort because of being from a terrible country, I wonder, where are the stories about Ukrainian immigrants. Who’s talking about how we cry, have nightmares, and start the day by finding out which of our friends and relatives have been murdered by the friends and relatives of the ‘apologetic’ lady from the quoted tweet?

Every year in May, a large park in Montreal gets flooded by drunk and happy Russian immigrants yelling “we can repeat it!” This is a favorite militaristic slogan of Putin’s Russia. What they are planning to repeat is the triumphant march of Soviet troops across Europe in 1945. Only this time, they’ll decide who the “Nazis” are.

A few years ago, I wrote here on the blog about a party I visited at the house of a local chemistry professor from Russia. This is a very successful guy with hundreds of publications, gigantic grants, and a huge house. All he and his Russian buddies could talk about at the party was the greatness of Putin (even the vodka they drank was named after him), the importance of Russia’s recent invasions (this was in 2015, and guess which country Russia had recently invaded), and the stupidity and nastiness of Americans. This is a guy who was given everything by Americans. If he does feel a little apologetic, what’s the big deal? He won’t, of course, but at least he can try to pretend.

There are no “innocent victims escaping from the regime” in Russia. The borders have been wide open, and Russians leave always and solely for better economic opportunities abroad. After they leave, they tend to overwhelmingly support every Russian invasion. That Russian opera singer Netrebko I keep hearing about from kind-hearted Americans is one of the most passionate, hardcore Putinoids in existence. This is a terrible person. She should be on trial for war crimes. And what’s the big suffering she’s experienced? A loss of a contract? She’ll make a lot more money, as usual, opening her mouth not to sing but to fellate Putin’s cronies (in a literal sense).

And since I’m at it, I want to mention that spate of outraged reports on Russians denied private medical care in Germany. People! Use your thinking facilities. Who are the Russians who can afford private clinics in Germany? Where do they get such extraordinary amounts of money? These aren’t immigrants or regular citizens. These are members of a corrupt Russian elite. They are so rich, you are dust under their feet. They are going to be fine.

These are Russians in Germany protesting against accepting Ukrainian refugees:

Let’s feel sorry for them some more. Poor innocent bunnies, they suffer so.