I never read Barbara Kingsolver before. Her most famous novel about an oppressive Protestant preacher in the Congo sounds soporific. But I’m reading her recent novel Demon Copperhead, and it’s good enough to cancel New Year’s. Really good. Crisis literature type of book.
In 2022, I wrote 10,000 words less and read 20 new books fewer than in 2021. We all know why, so OK. My resolutions for 2023 are to bring the numbers back up and to change my daily routine completely. Not that there’s anything badly wrong with it now but it’s good to experiment.
Some people hoped Orban would defend the nation-state but he can’t because he has no idea what it is. As Ukrainians say, we will fight as long as at least one of us remains alive. And if nobody survives, the grass will rise out of the fields and strangle the Russian bastards. Orban clearly has no understanding of nationalism or patriotism. Not even a distant memory of it remains in his life. This is why he doesn’t get something so simple.
I feel sorry for him because such people miss a really powerful, important experience in life.
I’m working around the clock to meet a deadline on a project that is suffering because of my incapacity to keep my psychological issues at bay. As a result, I missed the 100-year anniversary of the creation of the USSR.
I can’t miss this opportunity to repeat that there was absolutely nothing good about the USSR. For a person with even the tiniest amount of dignity and even the smallest capacity for thinking, it was terrible. There was no physical coercion to speak of in the USSR I remember. No GULAG, no torture, no danger of losing your life for political reasons at all. What was terrible is that your whole life course was charted out for you and no significant departure from the plan somebody else made for you was possible. There was no chance for you to take responsibility for your own life. No chance to show initiative. No chance to make your own decisions. No chance and no need to think for yourself.
Many people loved it and still miss it. The lure of being cocooned by the power of a totalitarian state that protects you from life is always strong. The damage done by living so cocooned is so bad that it’s transmitted generationally to people born long after the USSR fell apart.
I’m doing intermittent fasting and keto for the epic New Year’s feast we are planning.
This is the traditional Ukrainian cold meat in jelly called holodets’. It’s different from the Russian version in that the jelly is clear and almost transparent while the Russian is more cloudy.
In the meantime, the non-dieters in the household will be eating the salad called “Chrysanthemum.” Potatoes, Christmas turkey leftovers, cucumbers, boiled eggs, corn, and cheese:
Of course, my absolute favorite is the traditional Ukrainian kulish:
Kulish is supposed to be cooked outside, on an open fire, which gives it a beautiful, smoky flavor. This time, however, we didn’t bother because it takes forever to wash the soot off the pot. Kulish has ham, chicken, potatoes, egg and millet. It’s like a very thick soup or a watered down porridge. Unfortunately, it’s the opposite of keto.
I especially like it when the open Southern border is linked to aid to Ukraine. The border has been open for years. It was open all through the “build the wall” presidency. It was open during Obama. Open during Bush. Open during Clinton. And really open during Reagan. There was no Ukraine as a country during Reagan, so something else must have been to blame.
Yes, right now the border is open in a really crazy way. But there’s nothing anybody will do about it. Have you been to a restaurant lately? Any restaurant, fast-food, casual, fancy, locally owned, a chain, any kind. Have you noticed anything? There are no workers. Everything is slow or doesn’t happen at all. Even at $25 per hour for unskilled workers with no experience, you can’t find people. Where I live, the local landmark restaurant that stayed open during COVID and defied the governor had to close because there’s nobody to work. They survived COVID only to go out of business right after.
I have no idea why this is happening but with the terrible shortage of unskilled labor, there’s zero chance anybody is going to crack down on an incoming flow of unskilled labor. If it didn’t happen during the high unemployment of 2009-10, why would it happen now? I’m not saying, mind you, that it’s a good solution. I don’t think it is. But it’s clearly the solution that was chosen and is being implemented. This is about Ukraine like I’m about to jump out of the window.
You can’t solve a problem that you haven’t diagnosed. And we are being distracted from doing exactly that by silly slogans and false analogies. No wonder that decades go by while the problem remains.