Monday, June 29, 2009

Shabbos stream of consciousness: Shabbos Parshas Koirach, day

Continuation of the previous post. If there is something you don’t get, it’s because 1) it’s an inside joke, 2) you have no sense of humor, 3) you don’t get Russian situational humor. Just a reminder that the same initials do not mean the same people every time.

"Yiddishe gashmius iz ruchnius. Goyishe ruchnius iz gashmius. "


S: shrug.
A: shrug, getting a cup.
S: "Wait, you haven't washed yet? I thought you did, and that's why you were being quiet."
A: "No, I just didn't want to talk to you. Come to think of it, that's a great way to avoid talking to someone: just pretend you just washed. Even in a random situation. Like in a car, with a wife: 'Honey, I am sorry, I can't talk anymore, I am about to wash.'"

Acid is not really super necessary for digestion. Just for creating pepsin, which is not even the main protease (an enzyme breaking down proteins); the main one is in the intestines. Also, acid is for protection against bacteria (that's how kids can eat all kinds of crap and not get sick) and beginning of breaking down.

Av: I don't think it's necessarily because of the peppers. Because Am. and S. were not in pain.
Sh.: Am. is just very big.
Av.: It has nothing to do with body size, it's just your stomach being irritated.
Sh.: If you poured a giant a small shot of mashkeh, he would not get drunk.
Al: If you poured S. a small shot of mashkeh, she would get drunk, and you wouldn't.
Sh.: Yeah, but that's because she is a girl.

Rabbi P.: "Last night I mentioned how with all due respect to the rabbi from Mayanot at the farbrengen, I did not feel love when in a yechidus with the Rebbe. I felt awe. When [the rebbetzin] and I got married — that's when I felt love. The chupah was after Minchah, and then we went into yichud, so I asked to knock on the door when it would be time for Ma'ariv. And so, then we were [standing] outside the Rebbe's door, waiting for him to come out. And when he came out, he said ['Mazal tov'] to me and ['Mazal tov'] to [the rebbetzin]. And that's where I saw the love: of a parent for children." [Changes in Italic made after an angry reprimand from the Rabbi about retelling a story about the Rebbe exactly as one had heard it.]

A.: "You look very British."
The guy: "British? Nobody has ever told me that."
A.: "Maybe it's because I am from Israel. In Israel, there are two types of people, Israelis and not Israelis."
The guy: "But then, I could also look Italian."
A.: "Yes, I guess one could also say you look a little Italian."
Me: "Did you think I looked Russian the first time we met?"
A.: "No!.."
Me: "Really?"
A.: "I think the first words I ever said to you were: 'Kak dela?' ['How are things?']"

Before Mincha:

S.: "Where were all the quippy remarks the whole Shabbos?"
A.: "I am learning how to keep my mouth shut."
S.: "Why? Nobody except the Rabbi likes that."


S.: "When did you get the braces?"
A.: "I've always had them. Just hid behind the mustache."
S.: "That is such b.s.!"

A little later: "Are they bothering you?"
A.: "No, just getting used to them."
S.: "You will get used to them eventually."
A.: "Hopefully in less time than it took me to get used to my prosthetic eleventh toe."

Sholosh seudos:

An Israeli girl (b'Ivrit): "When is the Shabbos over?"
[An exchange back and forth between her and Rabbi P.]
Rabbi P.: "Now you're just being a pushy Israeli woman. Be nice, like N."

A.: "My parents are French."
Me: "Does this mean you are French too?"
A.: "Well, I was born in Paris."
Me: "So, for sure you are French."
A.: "Yes, I am French."
Someone: "She is Jewish."
Rabbi P.: "I was waiting for someone to say that. Who said she was French? [Sees that it was me.] Vos hackstu chainik?"

Rabbi P. about Pirkey Avos: "What does 'ma'sim toivim' mean? Torah and mitzvos. So why are they called by such name? Because they are similar to even tov — a brilliant. A mitzva is precious by itself, but it must also shine. A diamond covered with dirt is precious, but it does not shine. It does not let light into the world. So, people can learn Torah and do mitzvos [which are valuable by themselves] but not change and become more and more arrogant. So, that is the advantage of going to a Chabad yeshiva: it will prevent that from happening."

Me: "You know, my rabbi from New Orleans is going to be there. I will give you his name."
A.: "I will call you from there."
Me: "There is no cell phone reception."
A.: "Oh, no!"
Me: "But there is a nice pool."
A.: "Oh, nice!"
Y.: "It's all slimy!"
Me: "Who cares? It has water."
A.: "Yeah, who cares?"

An Israeli girl (b'Ivrit): "I am craving nicotine." [That's why she was asking when Shabbos is over.]
A.: "When I am wrapping tefillin, I forget about cigarettes."

S.: "What will you do if someone offers you an apple?"
A.: "I will cut it in peaces, along the longitudes."
S.: "What if someone offers you a carrot?"
A.: "I will cut it in circles."
S.: "What if you are drinking a Coke with ice cubes inside?"
A.: "I never eat the ice cubes anyway."
S.: "You know which one is the worst? Corn on the cob. That's the worst."

Me: "No wake-up service today?"
Rabbi P.: "You did not ask."
Me: "A Jew needs to ask?"

A.: "What are you looking at?"
E.: "Three girls trying to parallel-park a car."
A.: "They look fine [as far as where the car is]."
E.: "They were fine half an hour ago."

Shabbos stream of consciousness: Shabbos Parshas Koirach, evening

All resemblance to real people may or may not be accidental. All initials may or may not correspond to real first, second, or third names (or hereditary titles); besides, they do not correspond to the same people every time. Thoughts (mine and those of others’), conversations, divrei Torah.

After Mincha: We do need a Moshe Rabbeinu. Just because we stood in front of Har Sinai together doesn't mean we can communicate with G-d ourselves as successfully. ("Yes, it reminds one of you-know-what. 'Everything was created in opposites.' Deal with it.")

After Ma'ariv: "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."


Rabbi P. [I am paraphrasing]: As he'd said in his e-mail, he was by a farbrengen in CH, where a rabbi who had never seen the Rebbe in his life was telling people about the greatness of the Rebbe. An amazing feeling. He also talked about the love felt during the yechidus. "I was not going to speak, but then he asked me to speak, so I said: you know, I've been to a yechidus with the Rebbe. When I was fourteen. And I did not feel love. I felt awe. I felt an overwhelming sense of awe. When you meet a person, you see him, his personality, character, history. When I saw the Rebbe, there was the sense of great Nothing. Just a source of pulsing power, of very direct purpose. He was there for a reason, and his whole life, his whole essence, his interaction with other Jews was geared towards that reason, that goal. And one was being overwhelmed by this [singular feeling] when standing in front of him."

A: "It's very strange to read the Rebbe talk about Moshe Rabbeinu and Korach. Because the Rebbe was the Moshe Rabbeinu of this generation, and he had his own personal Korach."

[The one for the day is long, so it will go in a separate post, next.]

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Late-night thoughts on Gimmel Tamuz

It is warm outside, but in my mind and in my heart, this is what it feels the weather should be like tonight:

(Fontanka river; Petersburg, Russia)

To be followed by days of spring and summer, when the full strength of the sun and the moon will be revealed. But tonight it is like in the picture above.

Gimmel Tamuz

What can I say? Hardly anything original, what has not been said by someone else somewhere else already. So, I will just repeat what I have said before:

What is Chabad? Who is the Rebbe?

Sometimes people ask me, why I “chose” Chabad. Sometimes people ask me to tell them about Chabad philosophy and what makes it stand aside. Sometimes people ask me: “Who is the Rebbe? Tell me about the Rebbe.”

In reality, the three questions are one. The Lubavitcher Rebbe cannot be separated from Chabad Chassidus and his Chassidim; the latter cannot be separated from their Rebbe and his teachings; Chabad “philosophy” is one with the channel through which it was revealed in this world.

In reality, it is a very simply idea. Ein od milvado. There is nothing besides G-d. That is the beginning, that is the reality, that is the end, the destination. That is what all the world is about. That is what being a Jew is all about. And the Rebbe teaches us that, in detail, what it means, how we can achieve that, how we can live that and bring the world to realization and revelation of it. He teaches us through his life, through his Chassidus, through his relationship with the world and the Jews. In a very intellectual, very shocking, very serious, very profound and very human way.

This video says it all — what the Rebbe says in it is our reality, it is with us today, right now:

Another Jew’s reflections about the Rebbe — an article by Elie Wiesel, re-published at
I will always remember my first visit to Lubavitch. It happened some thirty years ago. Though a Chasid of Wizhnitz, I had heard of Chabad and its renowned leader. A foreign correspondent for Israel's evening paper “Yediot Achronot,” I had thought of doing a story about the way Lubavitcher chasidim celebrate the liberation of the first — or the “Alter” — Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi from Czarist prison. When I left in the early morning hours, I still belonged to Wizhnitz, but I was already caught by something or someone one finds only in Lubavitch.

I remember: in a “shul” that seems both huge and intimate, thousands and thousands of chasidim, young and old, from all over the world, are dancing vertically, as if not moving from their place, yet forcing their rhythm onto the entire universe.

Their eyes closed, they sing as only chasidim can. Ten times, fifty times, they repeat the same words, the same tune, and the song bursts their chests and lights a thousands flames in their eyes before rising higher and higher, up to the seventh heaven, if not higher, to the “Heichel hanegina,” source and sanctuary of all songs.

The center is the Rebbe. The Chasid in me looks at him with wonder. There is something melancholy and profoundly moving about his personality. Disturbing and reassuring at the same time. He feels what everyone here feels, he helps all attain the unattainable. In his presence, one feels more Jewish, more authentically Jewish. Seen by him, one comes in closer contact with one's own inner Jewish center.

Am unable to take my eyes off him. His gaze encompasses everyone and everything. I have rarely witnessed such control of and concern over such a large assembly. Thousands of eyes follow his most imperceptible movements. When he talks, everybody listens breathlessly, absorbing every word, every sigh. When he sighs, the whole world sighs with him and us.

I remember: hours long I stood there, at 770 Eastern Parkway, as in a dream, looking at the Rebbe who was looking at his followers. At times, he smiled and night vanished from their lives. There were moments when he seemed serious and somber. And, between songs, his fervent listeners trembled between fear and hope.

Suddenly I saw myself as a child again. Spending a Shabbat at the court of the Wizhnitzer Rebbe. There, too, the souls became strings and played ancient melodies. Yet here in Lubavitch it is different. The world is different. Countless invisible cemeteries separate the past from the present. In Lubavitch I think even about Wizhnitz in a different manner. What the Rebbe of Lubavitch is doing, what he is accomplishing here can be felt beyond Lubavitch.

This I came to understand much later. As I began traveling around the country, I discovered the Rebbe's emissaries in the most forsaken places. Were it not for them and their devotion, were it not for the mission entrusted onto them by the Rebbe, in the forty-two years of his leadership, who knows how many Jewish souls would have been lost to our people.

It is part of the Rebbe's greatness that he knows whom to send where and when. Not all their accomplishments have been made public. Some must remain secret. When they will be revealed — soon, I hope — they will surely increase the existing admiration for the Rebbe's vision.

Thus the Jewish people owe the Rebbe a great debt of recognition and gratitude. I do, too. I have learned much from Lubavitch in Lubavitch. Had I not participated in the “Chag HaGeula” of Chabad some thirty years ago, I wonder whether I would be who I am now.

More old stuff: “Uniqueness of Chabad Chassidus”.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

French people

Fight duels in tights (and with ponytails) and make laptop–jet combinations:

Tomorrow we will have to be better

A very nice post from Rabbi Oliver — “Chabad: A Constant Yearning for Inner Change”.
I have already told what the chossid, Reb Gershon Dov [of Pahar], would often say after lengthy meditation, for he had tremendous ability for deep concentration. After the evening prayer and reciting the Shema upon retiring, which would often turn out to be in the late hours of the winter nights, [he could be overheard saying to himself]: “Do you hear, Gershon Ber? We have to wake up completely different.”
Once at a Shabbos dinner, I was asked what being frum means. Before I could answer, a rabbi (who was also a gabbai and a part-time sniper) sitting not far away answered (in Israeli-British accent): “Being frum is all about the direction in which you’re walking. It means tomorrow you are a little better than today.”

For a chossid, being frum means seeing more and more of G-d in the world, in Torah and in one’s everyday life. Not just “seeing” theoretically or intellectually, but also in the realm of action.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Month of May

A musical video by Garik Sukachyov. The music I like, but the video is also very cute… For Americans: to battle some stereotypes about Russians.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Even without knowing English, this movie is brilliant to watch. A slice of Russian society, from intelligentsia to bydlo. And from bureaucrats to academicians.

Scenes from the movie:

Four places for “cooperative garage” need to be reduced. “After careful considerations”, the names are read.

— Four is better than five. But worse than three.

— To disagree with the governing board is the same as… spit against wind.

— Why are you raising both hands?
— If I was wearing pants, I would raise both legs too.

The best part is when one man says that he “sold the Motherland for a car” (and his neighbors move away from him). After which he explains that he meant that he sold his family country house (and his neighbor moves back).


— Well, it’s not my fault that I am his son. One does not choose his parents, although I personally have no problems with mine. And what is your name?
— Marina. But I beg you: don’t tell me your first name. In my memory you shall always remain as “the son of Milosyerdov”. This is the romantic spirit of our times.

Locked — my favorite part of the movie:

— I know everything about you. You probably graduated from the Department of International Relations.
— Nope.
— Eastern Languages?
— Missed again.
— Well, then cinematography.
— No, you’re following a standard. You think just because I am “the son of Milosyerdov”, I am studying something in fashion.
— Don’t tell me you’re a plumber.
— Well, now you’re being dramatic. No, my profession is an archeologist. I am not too interested in the present, more in the past. What about you, a professor’s daughter?
— In my life everything is cliché. I studied in the Department of Linguistics — you know what they call it, department of brides. Now I am studying literature.
— Ours or foreign?
— Ours.
— From 19th century?
— No, modern.
— You have an interesting profession: you study that which does not exist.

— While I am here locked, she will marry somebody else. I know her.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Corpse in the living room; a girl’s best friend

Norvezhskiy-Lesnoy says: “Did you ever receive a call from a girl asking you for help with getting rid of a corpse in the living room? I did.”

The text message says: Sweetie, I killed the little fish. I am so sorry :(

This is a second post from the series called “Girl’s Best Friend”. The first one featured this photo:

The sign says: “A girl’s best friend is a fish!” It proceeds to list in a smaller font all the important nutrients found in fish. Just an FYI from Moscow Department of Health (as it says at the top of the sign). Taxpayers’ money put to good use.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The great trio

Excerpts from the cartoons based on the three books which were part of the green book that I would read while being sick (or when I just felt like reading it):

Number odin:
— I am a wolf. A wolf of a free tribe. My prey will be your prey.
— A brave heart. And a polite speech.

Number dva:
— Whom are we going to?
— You of course. … By the way, do you have anything to eat?
— I have another baloon.
— Maybe we will not go as guests to you. Because then I will be a guest, and you will not be one…

— Is anyone home?.. I said: “IS ANYONE HOME?”
—No there is not. And no need to yell. I heard well enough the first time.
“Congealed” — or “dense” — milk (consistency of caramel, but tastes better):

Number tri (my favorite of the three), with subtitles:

— Mom, when my brother grows old and dies, will I have to marry his wife?
— Why?..
— Well, I wear his old clothes, ride his bycicle…
— I promise you that I will rid you of his wife.
— Oh, that’s nice. Although, I have to say that I would much rather prefer a pet dog to a wife.
In retrospect, it is a bit creepy (the story, not marrying one’s sister-in-law). But then again, if I didn’t notice how creepy Brothers Grimm were, no wonder I was fine with this…

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wolf Hunt

A poem and a song by Vladimir Vysotsky.

From “Vysotsky in Different Tongues” (to see the lyrics, click on the Russian name on the right):

I rush out of my skin, out of sinews,
I’m again in the scrape with no rest;
I am chased; deadly chasing continues,
Hunters sighting their guns at my breast.

From behind pines the barrels are rumbling -
Hunters ambushing there in the shade,
On the snow wolves are helplessly tumbling,
Now they’re targets of blood and flesh made.

It is wolf hunting in full swing, it is wolf hunting!
Today the whole pack of wolves is doomed to die!
Shrill hunters’ shouting, dogs vomiting from barking,
Blood on the snow and bloody flags¹ that blind the eye!

Games they’re playing with us are not fair -
Our freedom is flagged from each flank;
And without turning a hair
With a firm hand they shoot us point blank.

We’ve got jaws, strong and full of desire,
Old leader, can you tell us then,
Why we frantically rush under fire,
And we never jump over the ban?

It is wolf hunting in full swing, it is wolf hunting!
Today the whole pack of wolves will soon be dead!
Shrill hunters’ shouting, dogs vomiting from barking,
Blood on the snow and bloody flags that drive me mad!

“Wolves must not ever break with tradition!
‘Cause the blind, newly born, in the den,
We, the cubs, sucked our mother’s nutrition
And we sucked in: ‘Don’t dare jump the ban!’”

Wolves must not break the rule - never wrest it!
Now I see that my time’s almost gone,
And the hunter to whom I am destined
Sneers wryly and raises his gun...

It is wolf hunting in full swing, it is wolf hunting!
Today the whole pack of wolves will soon be dead!
Shrill hunters’ shouting, dogs vomiting from barking,
Blood on the snow and bloody flags that drive me mad!

I got rid of obedience and fear -
Jumped the flags! Thirst for life made me fast!
And behind me I was glad to hear
Cries of people, abashed and aghast!

I rush out of my skin, out of sinews,
But today not as ever before!
I am chased and the chasing continues -
But the hunters will get me no more!

It is wolf hunting in full swing, it is wolf hunting!
Today the whole pack of wolves is doomed to die!
Shrill hunters’ shouting, dogs vomiting from barking,
Blood on the snow and bloody flags that blind the eye!

¹ An old Russian technique of wolfhunting is to encircle the spot where a wolf is with a rope, tied up to the surrounding trees. On this rope there are red flags or cloth strips. A wolf never crosses red flags.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A cartoon about socialist architecture, Irony of Fate

Pretty self-explanatory. A prelude to probably the most famous Soviet movie (watched still every year every late December), Irony of Fate.

I will just say from myself that this shows not only socialist architectural designs, but also general socialist mode of thinking.

An episode (some slightly untznius scenes) from the Irony of Fate: two of the characters (who are only 90% drunk) put a wrong friend (of the remaining two, who are 110% drunk) on a plane to Petersburg. He calls a taxi, names his address (in Moscow) and is driven to the same address in Petersburg, to an apartment, to which his keys fit. (Both apartment buildings are brand new and have the same, standard locks which have not been changed yet.) And then the real owner of the apartment arrives…

I can’t resist and post two more clips, when the hero of the movie is discovered by the heroine in her apartment, drunk (yes, I know, such a Russian plot):

… and the heroine’s groom arrives:

Regarding Mr. Sanders

A little outdated, but still apropos (text edited out a bit to make it more PG-13). Click on the picture to see a larger version (does anyone who reads blogs not know this yet?):

“Who is Mr. Sanders”, you ask? Why, it’s Mr. Pooh’s real name.

Aliens vs. French peasants

Did someone say extraterrestre? What? Here, have a tissue…

Scoop Volante from Pix'Elle on Vimeo.

Al Gore liked this movie

The digital film is called Oceansize, it’s in German, and its main idea is: Mother Nature strikes back.

Oceansize from Oceansize Team on Vimeo.

Obama’s plan is working!

It is, it is, it is! Haven’t you heard: “The economy is gaining momentum and the Democrat-passed stimulus package is only just beginning to pay dividends to the American workforce, President Obama's advisers said Sunday, defending the administration against GOP accusations that the stimulus is falling flat. […] White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee […] says the economy is showing encouraging signs.”

Nu, nu. And the fact that unemployment is way worse than predicted and expected had the stimulus not been implemented is no big deal. Part of the game. Keep looking at this figure — all the evidence of Obama’s wisdom is staring at you:

(Blue and light-blue are models. Maroon is what actually happened. Oopsus… Click on the figure to see a larger version.)

At the same time, stupid-stupid Europeans refuse to see the light and (fed up with socialism) told liberals to go take a hike.

When socialism was implemented in Russia and Eastern Europe, the power was placed in the hands of low-lifes and bastards. When socialism was implemented in Western Europe, the power was placed in the hands of people who thought that just because a rose smells better than a cabbage, it will taste better in a soup¹. As socialism is being implemented in the US, the power is placed in the hands of overgrown children and clowns whom the children like for the bright-red noses.

¹ The simile is borrowed from a quote by H.L. Mencken.

The circus is back in town

An interesting article on Voz Iz Neias: “What Obama taught me”.

Holocaust, schmolocaust.

Aren't those pesky Jews ever going to go away? Yes, denying the Holocaust is "hateful." But let's get a grip. Palestinians "endure . . . daily humiliations." Their lot's "intolerable." Israel "devastates Palestinian families." No wonder our president shunned wicked Israel during his trip - sending a clear, if unspoken, message that Jews are now fair game.

"America's strong bonds with Israel are . . . unbreakable." Yup. And they're issued by Chrysler.

Hamas is a legitimate, recognized voice of the Palestinians. Rocket attacks against civilians, suicide bombings and kidnappings really work.

Iran can have nukes.

Our president's acceptance of "peaceful nuclear power" for Tehran was coded language for "no pre-emptive military action."

Jordan doesn't matter.

So much for one Arab country's attempts at human decency. If you want attention from our president, you've got to be a desert gangbanger.

My wife wondered why Obama didn't make his speech in Indonesia, the world's most-populous Muslim state, where he would've been welcomed proudly as a home-boy. Obama just reinforced the stereotype that Muslim equals Arab.

Democracy isn't for everybody.

We're done peddling that particular drug.

What are my personal thoughts about our president’s speech? They are fully expressed in this video:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

About stars

From the description:
An old Russian romance sung against a backdrop of landscape paintings by the 19th century Russian artist Isaak Levitan (who is considered the finest landscape artist in the Russian milieu).
Click on the link in the quote for translation of the song (just to warn: in Russian, the lyrics sound very romantic and poetic; in English — somewhat silly and cheesy).

I like the part about a “Russian” artist Isaac Levitan. From Wikipedia article:
Isaac Levitan was born in a shtetl of Kybartai, Kaunas region, Lithuania, into a poor but educated Jewish family. His father Elyashiv Levitan was the son of a rabbi, completed a Yeshiva and was self-educated. He taught German and French in Kaunas and later worked as a translator at a railway bridge construction for a French building company. At the beginning of 1870 the Levitan family moved to Moscow.

In September 1873, Isaac Levitan entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture where his older brother Avel had already studied for two years. After a year in the copying class Isaac transferred into a naturalistic class, and soon thereafter into a landscape class. Levitan's teachers were the famous Alexei Savrasov, Vasily Perov and Vasily Polenov.

In 1875, his mother died, and his father fell seriously ill and became unable to support four children; he died in 1879. The family slipped into abject poverty. As patronage for Levitan's talent and achievements, his Jewish origins and to keep him in the school, he was given a scholarship.
…and the rest is history.

Obama is trying to recreate Japan’s “Lost decade”

It’s not foolish to trip and fall. It’s foolish to trip and fall on the same place twice.

From here:

The scenario was eerily familiar. A long real estate bubble that had expanded extra rapidly for the previous five years suddenly burst, and asset prices came crashing back down to earth. Banks and financial institutions were left holding piles of worthless paper, and the economy soon headed south. The national government responded to the crisis by encouraging more lending and spending previously unfathomable amounts of money on public works projects in an effort to stimulate consumer spending and restart growth.

But that stimulus did not save the Japanese economy in the 1990s; far from it. The ensuing period came to be known as the Lost Decade, characterized by multiple recessions, an annual average growth rate of less than 1 percent, and a two-decade decline in stock prices and corporate profits.

The Japanese government’s easing of credit rates, instead of spurring real demand, created artificial demand. Federal loans and stimulus spending were not economically productive, and they vastly increased the nation’s debt and prolonged the economic malaise. Worse, businesses spent critical time on the sidelines, waiting for government bailouts and other centralized actions, instead of speedily consolidating their losses, clearing their balance sheets of bad investments, and reorganizing.

The United States in 2008–09, unfortunately, has started down the same path. Federal intervention and the expectation of additional government action are removing firms’ incentive to clean up their balance sheets by selling “toxic” assets. Why accept pennies on the dollar if a deep-pocketed new bidder (i.e., the state) looms large on the scene? The Japanese experience shows that when the government is an active participant in the market, many firms would rather accept state support than initiate the inevitable financial reckoning. Such a status quo does not provide a sustainable foundation for the economy. Instead, it restricts economic growth and creates a cycle of stagnation.

Read on, for a detailed analysis of the ongoing situation and general description of how bubbles form and burst, etc.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Anna Karenina, you say?

To kill a mockingbird

There is a bird that sings all the time in the mornings (“sings” is too poetic a word to describe that annoying noise) and doesn’t let me go to sleep — thank G-d it’s summer soon, so I will have to turn on my really old and really noise air conditioner.

The bird does it right by my window, which was surprising to me, because there aren’t really any trees right by my window (there are some a little father). Well, yesterday, when sitting in the car, I saw the bird, and I realized something: it doesn’t chirp sitting on a tree. It is chirping sitting inside my room’s wall (so, the house I live in is falling apart), where it made a nest — right in the wall, right near my window, which is right next to my bed (and my head when I am in the bed).

(If the clip doesn’t load, watch it here.)

Now I just need to find the right angle.

By the way, they say birds are attracted to sweet people. (Or was it mosquitoes?..)