>Hair, Again

>The Biblical character I identify with the most is Samson. Not only can I tear a lion apart with my bare hands when I get angry, I'm also afraid of repeating Samson's fate of being captured by the Philistines and being put to boring, grinding labor.

There is something else I share with Samson, which is my faith in the almost magical powers of my hair. The idea of people approaching it with scissors terrifies me. This is why I haven't had it cut for exactly three years. A hairdresser can never be trusted not to snip away an extra inch, rendering me powerless as a result. The last time I visited a hairdresser, she disregarded every single instruction I gave her. I literally cried for days after I saw the result, even though everybody I knew was kind enough to pretend they didn't notice.

After three years of avoiding hairdressers my hair has become even wilder than usual. As the summer approaches, I realized that carrying around on my head, neck, and shoulders an equivalent of a warm blanket might not be a fantastic idea.

So today I called a neighboring salon to make an appointment. I spoke to the receptionist in such a tragic voice that had anybody overheard the conversation, they might have thought I was making an appointment at a funeral parlor. I'm going to the salon tomorrow at 9 but it seems at this point that I will not be able to fall asleep for a while tonight, or possibly at all. I hope not to have a panic attack in the salon tomorrow.

Life is hard for us, the Samsons of this world.

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>Netflix Helps Grading

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I’m beyond happy that Netflix now offers very cheap unlimited streaming of old videos. I have a humongous stack of papers to grade this weekend but it always feels like a complete waste of time just to grade and do nothing else. If I have the capacity to do two things at the same time, I have to use it.
So now I’m watching all seasons of Buffy from the beginning while grading. Buffy is perfect for inspiring one to tackle that scary pile of ungraded papers bravely.

>Damage to Reactors 3 and 4 at Fukushima Daiicchi

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Jay Lehr of the Heartland Institute on MSNBC just said that talking about the gravity of what’s happening in Japan is not a good idea because it will make people sick from stress. As I look at this picture of  the 3rd and the 4th reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi, I find it hard to believe that stress will be the main health risk here.

>Snow. . . Again!

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This is the weirdest climate I’ve ever seen, people. Just look at the picture. It snowed again. I have already taken out my summer clothes and shoes because it was really warm for a while. And now it’s back to snowing

How is on supposed to get one’s BP under control in view of these dramatic changes in temperature?

And if you don’t know what a BP is, you are a very lucky person, my friend.

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>Why I Unfollowed Your Blog

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I just cleaned my blogroll by unfollowing many of the blogs that I used to follow. I know that people are going to whine about how mean I am, so I will explain once and for all why I unfollowed them. There is a blogging etiquette that one should be aware of if one has been blogging for years. Of course, it’s anybody’s right not to follow the rules of this etiquette but then such people shouldn’t complain that they are losing followers.
So these are the reasons why I unfollowed you:
1. You are rude. If I followed your blog out of the goodness of my heart just to give you a single follower, the least you could do would be return the favor. I don’t care all that much about the number of followers. Many of my best readers can’t be followers because they don’t have their own Blogger profiles. I do, however, care about manners. When somebody does something just to be nice, you reciprocate.
2. You keep inundating my blogroll with endless posts explaining why you haven’t blogged in a while and promising to write soon. This is simply disrespectful of a person’s blogroll. Who has the time to sift through excuses in search of actual posts? I certainly don’t.
3. You think that the fact that I followed your blog and left a few nice comments entitles you to persecute me with unsolicited advice on how to improve myself as a blogger, academic, and a human being.
4. You censored my comments that didn’t have a single disrespectful word just because I expressed an opinion you disagree with politically while inundating everybody with posts on the importance of free speech. Hypocrite.
5. You are boring. People who know me in real life are aware that there is nothing worse I can say about a person than that they are boring. Every other defect can be forgiven and compensated for but boring people I simply can’t stand. I’m willing to give anybody a chance to prove they are not boring but a time comes when the truth can no longer be denied. I can’t see any more boring posts in my blogroll. 
6. You posted one too many photos of your cat. I can vaguely understand why people might love their cats. What I don’t understand is why I should be expected to follow a blog that publishes a dozen posts with cat photos one after another.
As a result of these purges I now have only 203 blogs in my blogroll. This is not a lot since most people publish seldom and interesting posts are hard to find. Out of all these blogs I follow, I read very few on a regular basis. As for the rest, I just keep hoping that they will finally produce something worth reading but that almost never happens.

>Who Caused the Collapse of the Soviet Union? Part III

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To continue our conversation about the collapse of the Soviet Union that we started here and here, I want to answer the question that people often have when they are told that there was no transfer of power when the system changed. If money and power remained in the same hands after the fall of the Soviet Union, people ask, how is it possible that nobody noticed? Weren’t the citizens supposed to start asking questions as to why such a profound transformation as going from socialism to capitalism did not bring about a major transfer of power?
Of course, people would have asked these questions. They were prevented from doing it, though, by a very inventive distractionary tactic. The tactic in question consisted of presenting the people whose pictures you can see below as the new post-Soviet billionaires:
This is Roman Abramovich whose fortune is estimated at $13,4 billion. 
He is the 53rd richest person in the world. 
This guy is Boris Berezovsky. His fortune has dwindled in the recent years (an expensive divorce, endless court cases, exile, etc.) and now stands at a puny $1 billion.
While he still served the purposes of the regime, it looked like his political and economic power was unrivaled.
This is another post-Soviet billionaire, Vladimir Gusinsky. He is now also in deep trouble with the regime. In the nineties, however, he owned pretty much everything in Russia. Except, of course, what the other guys whose pictures I posted owned.
So these are the people who were given to us in the nineties as the all-powerful billionaires who now had all the money and the power of the former Soviet Union. And they all have one thing in common. It might not be obvious to an American eye that is used to seeing a huge ethnic and racial variety on a daily basis. It is immediately obvious to any Soviet person, though, that these guys are Jews. (These are not the only billionaires of the 90ies, of course. There are a few more, and most of them are also Jewish.)
In the early nineties, the people who were effectuating the so-called transition from the Soviet Union to a free market democracy (a transition that never really took place, of course) used this nifty little trick to distract the fiercely anti-semitic Soviet people from what was really going on. They appointed some very obviously Jewish guys to act as figureheads for the seemingly new regime. When the Jewish billionaires had served their purpose, they were thrown over by the regime. Now many of them are either in hiding or in exile. In my opinion, they had been chosen as figureheads from the pool of minor KGB informers. Of course, I have no data to substantiate this opinion but no other possibility makes sense logically.
In the next post in this series I will tell you who I think was really in power in the Soviet Union and why the decision was made to disband the USSR temporarily.

>Five Stages of Grief Over the Rejection of an Article

>Denial and Isolation: "It's a good thing I didn't share with anybody that I submitted this article in the first place. So now I'll just pretend that I never submitted it at all."

Anger: "I hate this reviewer who is a total jerk and who only rejected my article because he has something against me. I also hate my discipline and all those nasty jerks who got their stupid articles accepted."

Bargaining. "Will you accept the article if I make these changes?"

Depression. "Who cares about getting tenure anyways? The world is empty and the life is meaningless so who cares about little things like rejected articles?"

Acceptance. "It might actually be a good thing that this article got rejected. It could use a lot more work after which I'll be able to submit it to a much more prestigious journal."

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