Friday, January 9, 2015

Catching up is hard to do

Happy New Year to all my reader's who survived the holiday season.  Actually it isn't quite over yet in Ukraine but I think Monday is back to normal.  Or else the week after. We had family and friends for a feast on "Catholic Christmas" (Dec 25) and two more family feasts on NYE and "Christian Christmas" eve (Jan 6).

The annual Christmas letter went out to anyone I thought might be interested.  Not many people write them anymore, what with Facebook allowing daily updates with pictures and all.  My late wife was an amazing letter writer, kept up a huge correspondence.  She used to write individual letters at Christmas to 75 or 100 people.  Once that got too much she photocopied a hand written or typed letter.  Getting a computer sure speeded that up and especially addressing the envelopes.

It also made it easier to save the letters from year to year.  Going back over them is like reading a mini-history of our family.  An "authorized history" mind you but none the less, a brief look at our lives year on year.  I grouped them into PDF documents by decade and sent them to the kids.  Five letters from the 80's; ten from the 90's; eight from the 2000s. Thirty years of memories.

I got the books caught up, which is never fun.  But things more or less balanced and at least I know where some of the money went.  It sure does went.

Finally caught up on blog reading this morning.  Amazing how long it takes to read all the blog entries on those I follow, especially Paul Goble's.  He can summarize half a dozen Russian articles a day when he is on a role.  And news - I am a news junkie now.  No idea how many articles I read in a day.  There are dozens of articles on Europe, Russia and Ukraine coming in on my Facebook feed, plus the websites I have linked.  The kids gave me The New Yorker for Christmas.  Throw in the freebies from several magazines like the Economist and it never ends.  Not sure I am any smarter coming out than going in, though.

The Charlie Hebdo massacre is pretty horrific and will generate the intended backlash.  The Economist charted Islam in Europe and compared actual numbers against perceptions.  As expected perception is multiples of reality.  There are enough nutjobs ready to say "Kill them all and let God sort it out", that I should hate to be Muslim in Europe.  That is the intent of course, to have all Muslims living in fear of an infidel backlash and ready to obey the ISIL and Al-Qaeda call to jihad.

Interesting enough, Putin condemned the killings but the usual Kremlin suspects applauded them, as “I just found out about this and I am for those who shot them. There must be press censorship, and if you don’t feel the limits, then you pay with your life” .

Ukraine is still waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Ukrainian positions are shelled and attacked daily.  The Russian side by all reports is gearing up for a massive attack but when?  I wish our troops were better armed with high tech anti tank stuff and the like.

Russia continues to go rapidly downhill towards Stalinist totalitarianism.  Now they have banned transsexuals and transgender people from driving as they are psychologically unfit.  There is a fairly lengthy list of folks now banned from driving to decrease road deaths. Actually repairing roads and cracking down on drunks would go quite a ways too.  There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving but unfortunately not zero tolerance for bribery or protection from high position (your own or someone you know).

A few decent articles, especially Motyl's article on Donbas and the Deep South:







8 comments:

  1. the American people don't know this is still going on; hell they don't know that there is still fighting in Afghanistan. Our attention span is too short and our concerns are too shallow. We are under educated and totally apathetic.
    But, the best of the season to you and yours.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. Yes, I know, Ol'B. It makes it hard to write as it seems no one cares anymore what happens to us in Ukraine.

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  2. May you live in interesting times.

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  3. Happy New Year... if that's not an irrationally optimistic wish...

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    1. Remains to be seen but thanks for your optimism and wishes. Keep sending it my way. I can use it these days.

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  4. I started to write holiday letters about 10 years ago. Still do, even though the kids are grown and gone. Mine have become a brief paragraph summary of each child and a paragraph of Husband and me. I, like you, enjoy the history of those letters. When the lot of us have blown each other up, what else will be left of these times? The people and their memories. My work colleague left for Lithuania this week, and I have an irrational fear for her safety. She and her brother are trying to persuade their mother to come to the US to live. The mother is on her own after the death of their father and does not wish to leave her familiar surroundings, but her children worry about her. It would be a difficult situation. I think of Ukraine often. I look for your posts. So there is at least one person over here listening. With no power or connections, but listening.

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, aitbr. I would not worry about the mother. Trading safety from some potential future threat for loneliness is a bad trade and she will likely not come as long as she can care for herself. Depending on how old she is, of course. My hairdresser's father is 88 and needs care but will not leave his village to move where she can look after him so she has to go there.

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