Where Torches Burn

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

The Good Old Days

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

The Security Offered by Fools

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

The Language of Ghosts (for Vera)

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 olderRead the rest

March: The Most Human Month

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

Death of an Ideal

Контент 16+ I have recently heard through a very reliable grapevine of present students and old friends that the long-running 'SNOB Project' is about ready to go down the tubes. For those of you for whom the name does not ring a bell, the idea started about 10 years ago to create an international fraternity of Russian intellectuals (many of them now in America, it would seem) -- with the … Read the rest