My First Painting

It’s ready!

As I said, I have zero talent, so I used a paint-by-numbers kit. Like the kind that little kids use but this one is for adults. It’s broken up into the tiniest pieces, and there are 24 colors in the palette.

I’m giving this one to N. The next one will be Christmas-themed, and I’m giving it to Klara. The third one will be for me.

Literally, anybody with at least one hand and one eye can do it, and it’s extremely cheap. It’s the best hobby, people. I highly recommend.

The Adult Thing to Do

I strongly believe that you don’t fully become an adult until saying “I was wrong, I made a mistake” becomes easy. This is the moment when you leave behind the childhood narcissism and enter adulthood.

For children, it’s intolerable to lose face by recognizing that they were wrong. This is why an intelligent adult always gives a child an easy, face-saving way out of a mistake or an instance of bad behavior. Children’s sense of self isn’t yet strong enough to withstand the discomfort of being in the wrong. Trying to force them to apologize or recognize their wrongdoing with words is counterproductive because it delays the creation of a mature sense of self that can easily deal with being fallible.

When I first started working here, I messed up and got a senior colleague into a lot of trouble. This colleague was always sweet to me, and I felt like a bastard. There was no way for the colleague to discover who was at fault. She and everybody else blamed another person who is genuinely annoying and disliked by everybody. It wasn’t easy to go to the senior colleague (who was going to be on my tenure committee) and take responsibility. Looking into her face and seeing her disappointment in me was unpleasant. But I did it because it was the right thing to do. I still cringe inwardly when I remember the moment of having to expose myself not as a competent colleague but as somebody who messes up stupidly. But this is how growth happens.

I see it with students, too. It’s very rare to see somebody who is mature enough not to blame everybody else and their uncle for their own mess-ups. But when I see a rare student who manages to do it, I know that this is somebody who will do fine in life.

All They Want

“All they want is a guarantee that the NATO won’t expand.”

I’m still waiting for the people who kept saying that “this is about the NATO” to do the adult thing and come tell me that they were wrong.

COVID Theater

The US still requires non-citizens to show vaccine passports at the border. This creates all sorts of delays because people don’t know this.

“You have no idea what much the airport workers hate this,” an airport worker told me.

As everything COVID-related, this makes no sense. A passport doesn’t protect you from spreading COVID. It’s all stupid theater.


Since everybody is talking about Nick Fuentes, I want to tell a little story about him.

Nick Fuentes is a neo-Nazi. Not a rhetorical one (and I hate having to make these disclaimers but the word has been robbed of its meaning) but a real one. A Holocaust denier, a Jew-hater, all that.

Fuentes was always a Putin groupie, chanting “Putin! Putin!” at his poorly attended meetups.

Then Putin announced that Russia invaded Ukraine to fight Nazis. (Since then, the narrative changed, and currently Russians are fighting satanists in Ukraine).

But what a conundrum for poor, silly Fuentes! If Putin is against Nazis, and Nazis are in Ukraine… then should Fuentes be for Ukraine? And against Putin? Unthinkable! Plus, Zelensky is a Jew, and that makes things even more complicated for Fuentes’s undeveloped intellect.

What I Lost

One of favorite things to do has always been taking walks in the evening, looking at lights in the houses, and imagining how happy and cozy people inside were.

This simple joy has been taken away from me because now I can only think about Ukrainians, sitting in the dark and shivering with cold.

Another favorite thing was looking at the sky. I love the sky, I even had dreams where I’d stare at the sky and feel immense joy and peace.

This is also now gone. In my dreams the sky now rains bombs and everything explodes and burns around me.

It’s weird to talk about innocence at my age but I feel that I had a lot of it, and now it’s gone. I can’t unsee what I’ve seen, even though it was only on a screen. With tragic events, at least with time you process them and somehow narrate them to yourself in a way that brings a measure of comfort but with this war it’s something even worse every day.

I’m walking wounded, leaving a trail of blood behind me.