I just watched a bizarre video of a Russian army recruiter explaining to a bunch of 18-year-olds that “war is love, war is a friend, war is the future.”

But the craziest thing in the video isn’t even what the recruiter says. It’s that the young people whom she’s trying to encourage to enlist are… get this… masked and sitting six feet away from each other.

If there were ever a group of people who needn’t worry about COVID…

Now You Know

Did you hear that China has officially expressed dismay that the US shot down its spy balloon over US territory? How did that make you feel? I mean, these bastards are completely shameless, right? They send a spy balloon and then pretend that you are in the wrong for shooting it down.

Congratulations, now you know exactly how Ukrainians have felt every day for the past 350 years.

Bad Algorithm

Damnation on the spying gadgets which can’t even use the intel they collect.

We watched a documentary about GameStop because N finds the story fascinating. For my sins, the CEO of a pet food company that will remain unnamed was mentioned in the documentary.

As a result, the Internet now thinks I have a pet. Everywhere I go, I get commercials from that pet company. Then, other pet companies joined in. My internet searches, YouTube videos and social media are now barking, meowing and oinking up a storm.

And I still don’t have a pet.

Movie Notes: Glengarry Glen Ross

We are on a journey of exploration among movies and documentaries about dog-eat-dog capitalism. Today we went with the true classic of the genre, Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s exactly the kind of movie I like. No special effects, no high-speed chases, no gimmicks. Only acting.

This movie was made long before wokeness, so it’s pure enjoyment. Every actor is a star, and it’s impossible to say who does a better job because everybody shines. The environment in a shady sales outfit is rendered perfectly. This is exactly how it works in real life, with the dreaded board where everybody’s sales tally daunts the room, with the terror of a dry streak where sales begin to evaporate. To me, it’s an employment from hell but the salesmen in the movie (and in real life) clearly dig it. It’s a curious world, and the movie does it justice.

As I watched Glengarry Glen Ross, I thanked heaven for having a less talkative husband than the men in it. He probably says fewer words in a year than one of these salesmen do in an hour of screentime they share with 7 other extremely verbose gentlemen.

It’s a brilliant movie, friends. Highly recommended.

How to Be Popular

If you want to impress somebody (or a group of people) and get them to like you, tell them “no” to 3 different suggestions / opinions / proposals, etc in close succession. No explanation. Just a calm, non-aggressive “no.”

The reason why such refuseniks are so magnetic is that being around them protects us from our anxiety. Their capacity to say “no” shows inner independence and authority. Being close to that kind of authority is soothing.

For the same reason, prospective romantic partners who are very eager to please end up losing all attraction. We perceive that they have no inner strength, which makes them lousy partners. If they are very eager to arrange their lives around our whims, they won’t be able to help us in a bad situation. A vine that wraps itself around an oak can’t stand up without it, let alone hold it up in a storm.

Nobody wants to carry another person through life. People pleasers practically demand to be carried. That’s why they are so annoying. They demand things we aren’t ready to give.

Literary Recipe: Neapolitan Eggs

I have no idea how Neapolitan this recipe is. I found it in a Russian-language police procedural. The protagonist is notoriously bad at cooking, which is why the recipe is mega simple.

Mix cooked rice with a lot of pressed garlic and butter. Arrange boiled eggs nicely and cover each with some butter. Plonk it all in the oven for 20 minutes. That’s it!

Of course, being myself, I also added tiny noodles, grated cheese, allspice and paprika. But none of it is necessary according to the recipe.

Don’t forget to be very generous with the garlic. It’s more important to the recipe than the eggs. I ate this dish with large raw radishes, which lightens up the flavor.

Saturday Plans

In the morning, I’m attending a class on how not to let your life turn into a crumpled brown bag from McDonald’s. It’s a metaphor, in case people are having trouble waking up. This is yet another one of my “meaning of life” classes.

Then I’m taking Klara to a birthday party at a skating rink.

After that, I’m planning to cook a literary dish. That means a recipe mentioned in a work of literature. It’s a 4-ingredient cheap-and-easy dish, so I’ll share the recipe.

Movie Notes: Margin Call

N and I watched a movie called Margin Call. About 60% in I figured out that it’s about the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. About 95% in I figured out it’s about Lehman Brothers.

OK, I didn’t really figure it out. N told me.

There’s a reason I’m not a movie critic. I need somebody to provide running commentary for me to get what a movie is about. And N has a sore throat, so he’s been keeping silent.

I really enjoyed the movie. Mostly it was because N was sitting right there, and I’d enjoy staring at a blank screen as long as he’s close by. But the movie is perfectly fine. Every actor is a celebrity, although they aren’t given too much to play. The drama of “OMG, I’ll lose my job after making millions of dollars a year” seems kind of thin. I wanted to reach through the screen and pat these drama queens on the head, saying, “It’s ok, it’s just a job.”

The symbolism is very heavy-handed. Like when the two evil capitalists talk over the head of a cleaning lady like she’s not there and that symbolizes how they never thought of the damage their Wall Street shenanigans would do to people like her. Or when the movie ends with one of the Lehman Brothers bosses digging a grave for his dead dog. “It’s a dog eat dog business, and now the dog is dead.”

Since I’m on the subject of movies, can anybody explain who the people watching All Quiet on the Western Front are? Are they lacking a TV set and have been banned from all social media? Have they gotten too little war footage in this past year that they want to watch more war in their free time?

By the way, Erich Maria Remarque, the author of All Quiet on the Western Front, was massively popular in the USSR. I find him soppy and tedious, so I never understood the Remarque craze.

Even more mysterious are the people who want to watch Women Talking. Whose life is so problem-free and happy-clappy that they need this utterly fake wallowing in non-existent misery? If your life is too saccharine sweet, instead of chasing reality by way of fake woke dramas, Google “what happened in Bucha” or ponder the fate of the over 100,000 Ukrainian children deported to Russia. That’s the kind of real-life horror that suffices to inspire a hundred more seasons of Law and Order: SVU.

One more thing about Margin Call, though. It’s not woke. I looked up the date. It was filmed in 2011. Twelve years, and what a difference in terms of wokeness.

Have you been watching anything good recently?

Familiar Narrative

Absolutely true. I’m for freedom of speech, so I don’t want Tucker to be silenced or censored in any way. But people need to be aware of what they are listening to. If they still want to hear it, great.

It’s very entertaining to watch how both the wokesters and the anti-wokesters diligently copy Soviet ideas and slogans, thinking that they’ve invented something new. This is an enormous failure of our education system that people sincerely perceive this Brezhnev-era narratives as something fresh and subversive.

Who was it that said the US won the Cold War? Whoever it was had absolutely no idea.