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An Average Day in Romania - Morning

In Romania, nobody is immune from life's minor inconveniences, and your day could even start with one. Say you get up and you're looking forward to a glass of cold milk with last night's fresh baked cozonac , but you're all out of milk. That is   inconvenient, but what is convenient is that little ABC in your neighbourhood .   This Romanian miracle of ultra-convenience is no more than a five minute walk from just about anywhere.  If you're a fat North American like me you might choose to drive, it's like 30 seconds away and you won't find parking anywhere except on a sidewalk, if you're lucky. This parking spot hunt would be your day's second inconvenience, but probably the fourth or fifth for the hapless mom who comes across your car while taking the baby for a stroll. No, the scribbled phone number on your dash won't make it any more convenient for her when she needs to get the stroller out on the road to get around, but what do you care, you c
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I Read 'The Satanic Verses' So You Don't Have To

Earlier this year I finished reading Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and wrote myself a "little" review on it. When I came up on it again a few days ago it dawned on me that it might be useful to anyone who, like myself, was wondering what all the hubbub was about and is considering picking it up. Don't take this post's title too seriously, any book you want to read you should read, but if you just wanted to know what all the brouhaha was for, back when it was published, then my Rushdian review, below, should help answer the question. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Where do I begin? With the intro, where Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, dropping out of the sky, the lone survivors of the bombing of the hijacked airliner, Bostan , sing a tune - I forgot which -  while free-falling so that they may begin to fly rather than drop like stones into the waters off the English coast; where a lonely old lady with a storied

A Simple Truth: The American Election, Civil War, and How We're Steps Away From World War III

I woke up on Saturday thinking about the US election. These thoughts poked at odd angles inside my head and needed a bit of arranging, so I started writing. The first five points or so were pretty straightforward and mostly based on general consensus, media punditry, and plain old observation. The rest sort of unfolded organically, rolling off of each other in keeping with the theme: The reality of our world's geopolitics in a scenario where the United States withdraws from the international stage to focus on internal strife.  By the time I got to the end I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry. There is, in global conflict - especially the apocalyptical kind - a type of absurdity that is in some ways comical, much in the way Dr. Strangelove was a comedy while accurately reflecting the lunacy that was Cold War MADness.  The below list is hardly detailed. There is much to say for each particular point, but more importantly, there is far more to be said for the roots of this

The Coronavirus Diaries - Freedom Day and Beyond

Freedom Day (F-Day) was officially on Friday, the 15th of May. The term is relative of course, but the knowledge you can leave your house anytime, without a declaration subject to verification by police or military officials, does feel like a type of freedom. I just couldn't take it anymore, the daily number of cases, the deaths, the drama, let alone write about it. I thought it would be interesting to sort of document how it all went down, but after about a couple of weeks all I wanted to do was work, cook, eat, sleep, repeat without thinking of the virus. Incidentally that is exactly what I did, and that wasn't worth writing about either. Still, it was a definite reminder that watching the news is a terrible pastime. Personally I don't believe there was anything resembling a pandemic, at least not in Cluj. But okay, we had to make sure and be 'safe'. I'm sure someday we'll get to a place, as a civilization, where being locked in a cage inside a larger cage

The Coronavirus Diaries - Days 19 to 24

Wednesday - 8 April, 2020 I've lost some steam here, it's not at all surprising though, is it? On one hand, I have plenty of time to write an update a day, but on the other hand I don't want to make this a personal diary where I just talk about how I mowed the lawn, stepped out to the corner store for a liter of milk, or saw somebody other than my wife when I picked up a delivery. Or that I work longer hours now and after hours I share memes on What'sApp. And that I cook all the time. I could probably write a cooking blog now that I cook 3-4 times a week, which is a solid 300-400% increase in cooking output. On Monday I made a rabbit stew, of which there are still two portions left. That rabbit was in the freezer since sometime in the fall, maybe longer. In the meantime the cases are still piling up in Romania, but not in a dramatic Italy or Spain style fashion. The prediction is we're going to see our peak sometime in early May and the current emergency measu

The Coronavirus Diaries - Days 17 & 18

Thursday - 2 April, 2020 Before writing this post I had to spend a bit of time making sense of the timeline in these diary entries. I only wrote on Tuesday what I wanted to write on Monday, and, instead of 31st in the post heading I wrote the 30th, and, because I published it after midnight, the post date reads April 1st.  It was like trying to untangle a set of earphones after stuffing them inside a drawer for a few months. But I think I managed; we are on the second of April in the year 2020, and although we are on the 18th day of the Coronavirus Diaries, I'm including day 17 in the title - for a bit of aesthetic value in the series' continuance. You know one thing that's really flipped on its head since this whole thing started? Weekends. It's still nice to sleep in a bit, that hasn't changed, but since you're not going to do much the weekends can be pretty dull while the weekdays, with work in sixth gear now that productivity has shot up, are the more ev

The Coronavirus Diaries - Days 13 to 16

Tuesday - March 30, 2020 The clocks changed this weekend. Guess what I did? I changed the clocks on the oven and the microwave. Is this schizophrenic behaviour? You bet. But we live in schizophrenic times. Normally a month would go by until I finally took the 30 seconds or so to change the clocks that do not auto-adjust along with the return to summer time, but guess what? I had nothing else to do! I've stopped caring for the past week. Not about life, but about the menace clouding our entire planet. I mean, whatever. We all die, we all die. Again, I haven't given up, but I guess what I'm saying is fatalism isn't the worst  state of mind under the circumstances. And, you know, I kinda like that we're all in it together. It's better to go out all at once than with an audience of people feeling sorry for you. Again, I'm not saying we're doomed and we're all going to die. Really I'm not, it's just my way of thinking about Mr. Covid Virusescu