The Win

I’m home, Ukraine win Eurovision, and somebody is going nuts with fireworks in the neighborhood. People will start saying that Ukraine’s win is political, as if that were a bad thing. If it were a bona fide song contest, who cares? But as a political statement, it’s important.

Of course, Russians got pouty and are going unhinged with the bombings. Pointless, nasty people.

In any case, this calls for a celebration.

Enviable Form

I’m actually in an enviable psychological form, my friends. I have spent 10 days organizing my father’s funeral and dealing with the consequences of his sudden death. This whole time I was with my. . . erm, psychologically taxing mother. Reader xykademiqz knows the kind of person I’m talking about and will confirm that it would strain the patience of an early Christian saint to be constantly with her. Plus, I’m doing all this with an ear infection that is hurting like a Russian batallion near Kharkiv and isn’t responding to antibiotics.

But at no point was I tempted to drink, smoke, overeat, overspend, or pick a fight with anybody. It’s really weird to be this healthy. Imagine the people who live their whole lives like this, the bastards.

Campus on Steroids

The day before the repeal of the mask mandate here in Quebec, 100% of people I saw here wore masks. Where I live, the day (and the week) before the repeal, maybe 10% wore them. The only place with maniacal 100% compliance was our campus.

Quebec is like our campus on steroids. People have really gotten into the snitching, berating mode. Twice I took a short walk next to my sister’s house, and immediately enraged (I’m not exaggerating, they were extremely emotional) neighbors fell out of the houses to interrogate me about what I was doing there. One of the neighbors tried to sic a dog on me. I wasn’t on their property, or anything like it. But they were completely overwrought. My sister told me these were the people who behaved like total assholes during the pandemic.

Attractive Brand

As Arestovich says, Ukraine is now the most attractive brand in the world. I have never been treated with more loving kindness by border agents as I was today when the officer saw I’m originally from Ukraine. The line was briefly detained as I updated him on the likelihood of Ukrainian counter-offensive and received reassurances of support.

Obviously, I’d much rather nobody knew Ukraine existed than become massively admired at this cost. But I keep thinking, those poor, stupid Russians. They destroyed their armed forces, shattered their economy, got so many of their young men killed and maimed, covered themselves in infamy, made the word “Russia” internationally toxic – and for what? What was gained? They could still stop at any time. Declare victory, whatever, and just stop. But like any self-destructive idiot, they will compound the mistake into the infinity.

A Newly Rare Advantage

A cognitive advantage is something you can’t change. It’s either there or it isn’t. But increasingly, a different form of advantage is gaining prominence. It can’t give a boost to your intellectual capacity (because nothing can) but its lack it can wipe out much of your cognitive advantage.

What’s good about this newly rare form of advantage is that you are completely in control of it. I’m talking, of course, about the capacity to concentrate. Deep, sustained concentration on an intellectual task over several hours is very easily unlearned. But can you regain it and how to do it?

Manipulative Tricks

I’m for abortion rights. Always have and always will be. But this kind of stupid, weaselly, manipulative braying puts me right off. If Roe is repealed, that might eventually lead to some legislation in some places that might make abortion somewhat more inconvenient for some women for a period of time. That’s not a great rallying cry, I know. But normalizing the narrative that “if you don’t give me exactly what I want immediately, you are a murderer” isn’t worth it.

Have we learned nothing during COVID that we keep allowing this to happen? And it’s completely a both-sides thing. Last night, for example, some simpleton came to the blog to tell me that my support for Ukraine will “walk us into WWIII” and guess what? Blood will be on my hands, of course. It’s the same kind of primitive, moronic crap. “You are like literally murdering people when you say something I vaguely dislike.” So boring.

“I don’t want to die!” people wailed all winter whenever anybody suggested that it’s time to head back to work. We let them do it, and now they throw this tantrum over absolutely anything that strikes their fancy.

The Stages of Good-bye

In the Orthodox tradition that we maintained even in the Soviet times when nobody remembered the religious aspects of these rituals, there are three stages to saying good-bye to the departed loved one.

There’s a funeral, followed by a pominki. Pominki is a gathering where people eat, drink without clinking their glasses, and remember the departed person. It lasts for hours, people come in and out, there are tons of food, and it all happens on the day of the funeral.

Then, we visit the grave and have a gathering on the ninth day of the death.

And then the final big gathering is on the fortieth day of the death. There’s a service, a visit to the cemetery, and a big meal for friends and relatives.

I’m going home today but I’ll be back in Canada for the fortieth day rituals. Of course, the rituals are for the living and not the departed. And they do help. It’s not easy to organize a pominki, so instead of spending the day of the funeral weeping in the corner, you run around doing stuff, and it helps space out the weeping.