Leopard Party

I got so many leopard pictures on my social media and in my text messages today, I feel ready to start a zoo.

It only took forever but it looks like Leopards might be coming our way. Time to celebrate. Of course, I’m still working but eventually I’ll celebrate.

Ukrainian Student

I just met our exchange student from Ukraine and we spoke for over 2 hours. I started thinking when was the last time I spoke in Ukrainian for that long and realized that the answer is never. There was never an interlocutor.

It was hard. Harder than in Spanish and about a million times harder than in English. The student is from a Russian-speaking family in Odessa but, as many people in Ukraine today, she switched completely to Ukrainian. Her parents are my age, and they are Soviet-nostalgic. She says I’m the first person my age she ever met who says there was absolutely nothing good about the USSR.

The student says she’s shocked by the US dating culture. And by how politically correct and constrained in their speech everybody is. She’s been here for 18 days, and already she’s noticing things.

I’m taking her out to a nice restaurant on Sunday because I have a profound impulse to feed the kid.

Coldest on Record

China’s Northern city of Mohe is experiencing its coldest temperature ever on record: -53°C (-63F). Of course, compared to this winter’s cold weather in Russia – -73°C in one lucky region – this is practically tropical warmth.

Remember, people, this is evidence of global warming because absolutely any weather event is evidence of global warming.

I share these weather-related tidbits here because weather used to be a great item for small talk but now you can’t bring it up without some sour puss making a pious face at you and giving a mini-lecture about global warming.

Doesn’t Bode Well

I have been elected to the Executive Board of a professional organization. In the two communications I have had with the board members so far, they have addressed me as “Khalida” and “Professor Slocum.” There is no Khalida Slocum on the organization rolls, I checked. Neither Khalida nor Slocum are remotely similar to anything in my first and last names. The closest I got phonetically to these names is that I’m from Kharkiv.

I understand that these are people in the field of foreign languages but I thought there was a general understanding that names don’t get translated.

Woke Bureaucracy

I always wondered, why are the woke so bureaucratic? They generate insane bureaucracy in every sphere of endeavor. What causes this?

I found an answer in Whittaker Chambers’ brilliant autobiography Witness. He calls the wokes ‘revolutionists’, and his explanation makes a lot of sense:

They have broken, or are trying to break, the continuity of order in society. By that act, they repudiate tradition, and the chaos they thereby unloose also threatens them. In breaking the continuity of tradition, the revolutionist must seek a cementing substitute. All he has left to fall back on… are those dead papers, interminable procedures, formidable quiddities – and his incongruous regard for them.

Whittaker Chambers, Witness

Chambers also shows that what today we know as “cancel culture” wasn’t “like the USSR.” It was one of the procedures imposed on the US left directly from the USSR. Even an insignificant little worker’s newspaper where Chambers worked was controlled directly from Moscow, and all the Soviet rules were mandated from there.