Volpi and Physics

In spite of all his defects, writer Jorge Volpi should be given credit for making physics sound fascinating and even kind of understandable even to a complete science doofus like myself.

In high school, I had entered into a pact with a friend who was good in sciences. She wrote my final exams in science-related courses while I snored at my desk. In return, I wrote her compositions in Russian and Ukrainian literature courses. I still have regular nightmares that my high school diploma (and all the subsequent diplomas I got) is getting revoked and I have to go back to high school to retake my Math and Physics courses. Now that I have read and even understood Volpi’s explanations of physics, I might be less terrified of the prospect.

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Seafood in Clearwater

If I were fortunate enough to live in a place where fresh seafood were as abundant as here in Clearwater, FL, I don’t think I’d ever eat meat again. Just look at this bucket of steamed mussels, crab legs, shrimp and clams that they serve at a place called Crabby Bill’s. It costs $23 and is enough to feed two very hungry eaters.

The last picture is of a plate of conch fritters that a kind reader recommended I try. They are delicious and very filling. A plate costs $6, and for people on a budget could serve as a complete, scrumptious meal.

I’m now hoping to try sturgeon which is only served when it gets caught, which isn’t every day.

Reading Volpi

I’m reading Jorge Volpi’s In Search for Klingsor (if that isn’t the title of the English translation, let somebody correct me) and wondering if I will ever be so blessed as to find a male Latin American writer who is not a complete and utter woman-hater. I might have to go back to my resolve to avoid reading Latin American literature after this book.

My Favorite Cocktail

This is my favorite cocktail they serve here: raspberry mint lemonade. It’s like a non-alcoholic mojito. We are improving the image of Russian-speakers everywhere by showing very scarce interest towards alcohol.

When I first started dating a Russian person, a friend of mine asked me what he drank.

“He never drinks alcohol,” I said.

“Oh, I get it, he’s in AA,” my friend immediately responded. The idea of a Russian person who doesn’t drink simply because he doesn’t feel like it was alien to him.

One-Night Stand

Since today N. and I are celebrating our anniversary, I want to share one of many funny stories that happened to us over the years.

Once, we went to Chicago for a conference in N.’s car. A valet met us at the hotel’s doors.

“Are you staying with us?” he inquired.

“Yes, we are here for a one-night stand,” N. announced brightly.

He meant a one-night stay, of course.

Why Do People Like Pride and Prejudice So Much?

I was leafing through Kindle Sunshine Deals and was surprised to discover how many sequels, prequels and rewritings of Jane Austen’s middling-quality novel Pride and Prejudice keep appearing on a regular basis. This author has written much better stuff, but it’s Pride and Prejudice that keeps getting rewritten and filmed obsessively. Can anybody explain this to me? The whole point of the book is that an intelligent, sensitive woman falls in love with a man she used to detest after she gets to see his big, beautiful, impressive, huge, desirable. . . house. What’s so inspiring about that?

I love Jane Austen but this particular novel always made me cringe because of the sheer shamelessness of the female protagonist who just sells herself so easily and unapologetically.