Content advisory 16+ Back in the days when bottled water first appeared en masse in America, I recall that a lot of people just shook their heads and mused: "What will be next? They'll start selling us air?" And everyone would nod in amusement at such a preposterous notion.
Well, muse and smile and nod no more. IT'S HERE !! So, today, as a follow-up to my blog posted Friday … Read the rest
Content advisory 16+ I recently dug up some interesting texts to prompt my students with, and one of them was called "Bottled Water: The Marketing Trick of the Century." The title pretty much says it all, and the article went on to support some suspicions I have held for a long time. Basically, it attacked the premise of plastic containers full of H2O and sold to the public as representing … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ The other day a friend of mine was trying to explain something during a lesson we were having on Skype. He is a 49-year-old Russian businessman who used to live in America. He is very pro-American, or, shall I say, pro-West, in terms of what he considers its more highly evolved way of life. BUT he is Russian at heart, which I can only explain (to myself … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ When I think about the two great wars of the 20th century, my memory is of course fed by all the ghastly footage that is on hand to help us relive the horrors. As most of this documentary stuff is cast in film noir style black and white, the effect is even more sinister than it would be otherwise. Soldiers frozen in paralytic agony as bullets rip … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ A good question is this: how much do we really want to know about the people we have the highest regard for? This can include our parents, husbands and wives, the president of the country, the highest priests, and all our favorite football heroes and film stars. It could include Jesus Christ himself.
Assuming there ever was a real man Jesus -- the one many worship as … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ What differences are there between friendships that are mostly face-to-face and those that are mostly online?"
So ran one of the questions in a student book that formed the basis of my Skype lesson this morning with a fellow named Roman, who has studied with me since 2009. He was Pre-Intermediate then, and now we have gone through five or six Advanced level books together. Most of … Read the rest
Age advisory 18+ I have a new friend in a nearby village called Priseltsi (Bulgaria) who has a successful business in Varna selling very stylish and often flamboyant hats. The hats are actually made in Priseltsi and sold in Varna. Theater groups use her work as well as individuals. Both my wife and I are proud owners of one hat apiece. Mine is a white cowboy hat and Liuba's looks … Read the rest
Content advisory 18+ The great old Englishman Samuel Johnson of the 18th century (back when Englishmen were worthy of the name) once declared that "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
It is hard for me to know if that statement is comprehensible to all of my readers, so, without meaning to be patronizing, let me break it down. It means, basically, that when an individual has forfeited, through … Read the rest
Age restriction 18+ Way back in the day, when I lived in the redneck burgh of Jacksonville, Florida, there was an agency which hired day-laborers to supply the city's many construction companies. These building sites were always short of reliable help, and basically, they just needed a few extra bodies to shovel the shit.
Such "immediate employment" offices were scattered here and there throughout Yahooville (I don’t mean the internet, … Read the rest
Age restriction 16+ Of late I have been thinking of the connection between past and present, winter and summer, life and death. Some might consider the latter to be morbid subject, but I do not.
I remember reading a very insightful book years ago which was called "Time's Arrow and Time's Circle." It made what I thought was a very astute point: that the apparent tragedy of our human … Read the rest
Контент 18+ I read an essay years and years ago in a Norton Anthology which I no longer know how to put my fingers on (recalling neither author nor title), but it made a strong impression on me then, and I thought of it again this morning as I was walking in the woods with Casper and Poppendoshka.
It was the account of a man, at the time grown older… Read the rest
Контент 18+ Once upon a time, back when dinosaurs still prowled the earth, I was a little boy who lived with his grandparents. It was a nice enough childhood, as childhoods go, and if I have any bitter memories, they do not concern my family members. (Which I why I still don't understand why I murdered them all with an axe !.......Joke. Sorry)
One of the best things was … Read the rest
Контент 18+ Astrology has its place, we know, and many people devote much energy and attention to absorbing what their individual sign predicts. I even have a student-friend who is a serious and well-paid journalist, and whose wife is 100% engrossed in astrology, studying it as a future career (though doing exactly what and for how much money I am not sure.) I take it that she has been equally … Read the rest
Контент 18 + I guess I am one of those guys who doesn’t know how to take anything seriously. You know, one of those clowns who grins like a fool while everyone else is glowering with stony seriousness. Who actually spends time thinking of ridiculous things to say to his partner in a restaurant to explain that he needs to go to the toilet. Who believes that a great loud … Read the rest
Контент 18+ Sometimes when I go walking with my dogs in Bliznatsi, Bulgaria, early in the morning, we take a certain route up toward the mountain forest, past fields of still-glistening mud from recent rain and melted snow, and emerge onto a path near one of the many summits; this one seems to diverge in all directions -- and, of course, all roads hint at all possibilities.
For a second … Read the rest
Контент 18+ There is a famous painting by the American Edward Hopper called "Nighthawks" which I ran across on the internet a couple of days ago. I love the frigid melancholy of much of Hopper's work and suggest to my readers that you check him out if you have never heard of him before.
"Nighthawks" depicts a late night diner-cafe in New York City in 1942. Four people are in … Read the rest
Контент 18+ Although I am in Bulgaria now, I was reminded yesterday of something I always thought was beautiful in Russia -- the part of Maslenitsa, the Sunday of that week, when people are supposed to ask forgiveness from those they feel they have wronged. I don't know how many really put this into practice, nor could I hope to guess if it is always expressed as a sincere sentiment … Read the rest
Контент 18+ Once upon a time back in the old days of the Wild West in America, there was a white man and a black man who had been caught while trying to rob a bank. Naturally, according to the judgment of the day, they were sentenced to be hanged. They waited in their cell for the hour of doom. But while the white man grew increasingly agitated, the black … Read the rest
Контент 18+ Taxis and taxi drivers are among the things in life that I generally hate. Which does not mean that I lump them together as a single evil force or that I would cast them, one and all, in a concentration camp if I could. As in all walks of life, the odd Good Samaritan may pop up in one of those meter-machines, plenty of decent sorts are just … Read the rest
Контент 14+ When I was a little boy in Martinsburg, West Virgina, I used to sit on the front porch of our house and watch the comings and goings along Queen Street, which ushered a stream of traffic in and out of town. Back then in America, the cars were very big (this was before Volkswagens, Fiats, and all those Japanese and Korean cars appeared in smaller sizes and were … Read the rest