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Category: Miscellany

Depressing

Russian language has a vast trove of colorful gems that remain on the fringes of literary norms. On different levels of obscurity even in the street vernacular, these nouns and adjectives often sound out-of-place in a refined discourse among educated adults. Yet, they often provide the most eloquent and brilliant…

Oscars

NBC pissed me off with their atrocious Olympics coverage. ABC then decided to get on my bad side by making me miss Oscars. Almost. I was almost expecting the looping “important message from Cablevision” that blamed all ills on ABC throughout the day on Sunday to be replaced by live…

Being cool

I am getting into a car to go pick up my teenage daughter and a couple of her friends from a trip to the mall. Because I’ve been volunteered to deliver those kids to their homes, and because one of them lives as far as is geographically possible from us…

Quasi-review: PRS-505

My kids love to ski. I don’t. So, on our weekend skiing trip, I had ample opportunities to use my new reading gadget, whiling the time away at the lodge. Overall, I am happy with my choice. I like the design and the feel of the reader, the user interface…

Olympic coverage on NBC

What a joke NBC’s Olympic coverage is! A single Olympiad occurred during my time in Europe and, having watched it in two different countries, I was impressed with the coverage both on BBC and also on Italian TV. It was much closer to what I remember from my Soviet days,…

Dress warmly

We were on Brighton Beach on Sunday for a visit to good friends. The area has been officially branded as “Little Russia by the Sea” since the last time I set foot there. True as ever, the vast majority of people on the streets are Russian emigrants. Natasha noted that…

iPad

The newest Apple gadget is shiny enough and I suspect a whole lot of people are salivating at the prospect of getting their hands on one. Perusing the official iPad website, I caught myself on a stray thought about how neat it would be to own one of these. Let’s…

Assorted notes

Both of the teams I was rooting for lost in conference championship games on Sunday. The Jets were exposed as a lower-class team with mostly toothless offense and only occasionally stingy defense. The Vikings turned the ball over four times and yet had the game for the taking with 2:29…

UK taxes, one more time

Yep, 15 minutes, give or take. January 31, 2010, is the deadline for filing UK taxes for fiscal year 2008-09, and I repeated the self-assessment process that I first mentioned here. This time, I literally typed in three different amounts provided to me on the British equivalent of W-2 form…

Some props to Microsoft

I know quite a number of technology people with strong opinions about Microsoft and its products. Usually, not too positive ones. That does not prevent most of those people continue to use Microsoft products all the time, especially seeing how PC software have always been easier and cheaper to come…

An answer to a small mystery

I’ve long been stupefied by the fact that one of the most common search terms that leads people to my website is “medical sign”. Type that into a Google search and you will not find a link to B[b]otH anywhere near the top (I gave up checking after ten pages).…

Decades and centuries

It occurred to me today that it had always bothered me when people insisted that the 21st Century and the new millennium started on January 1st, 2000 (when, in fact, the previous millennium and century both continued for another year after that1), yet I am not bothered at all with…

2009 movie round-up

With my very limited movie-watching programme of the second half of the year, I was surprised to learn that I managed to see more films for the first time this year than I did last year (50 vs 47). What follows is my by now traditional year-end round-up. First, a…

YouTube’d memories: Hafanana

Sometimes, the most insignificant of memories lodge themselves in one’s brain… I must have been four or five when I overheard my Mom and her girlfriends discussing comparative qualities of foreign singers who appeared on the Soviet state TV. I cannot recall anything from that conversation except the consensus that…

Movie review: Avatar

I freely admit that I’m not a cinema-going type. My misanthropic tendencies are acutely tested in the presence of inconsiderable louts with their cell phones, eating habits and inability to refrain from talking to one another during the showing. As a result, I rarely go to the movies, unless it…

Conditions did not permit

The speed limit signs on Garden State Parkway advise the drivers every half a mile or so that the limit is 55mph with a disclaimer of “conditions permitting”. The heavy Saturday snow did enough to reduce the number of cars on the road, but the Parkway was well cleared, and…