January 13th, 2018

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Не учись на чужих ошибках

Контент 16+ (лексика)



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Я расскажу вам историю, которая удивит вас, которую вы воспримете и скажете, что никогда бы так сами не поступили. Затем, когда вы попадете в такую же ситуацию, вы поступите точно также, потому что в вашей природе мыслить чувствами, а не разумом. На самом деле вы не готовы к рациональности. Итак…





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5 июня 1976 года на плотине, сдерживающей 355,550,000 метров кубических воды появилась небольшая протечка.





В течение двух часов она превратилась в бурлящую реку, которую не могли засыпать два промышленных бульдозера, начавших сваливать в нее тонны окружавшей насыпи. Через 1:45 рабочие команды были эвакуированы, а местные радиостанции передали первое сообщение об эвакуации населения ниже по течению.





Еще через 40 минут дамбу прорвало окончательно, и поток, наполненный грязью и обломками бетона ринулся вниз в долину, смывая все на своем пути, круша дома и убивая животных.





Тем не менее, ⅔ дамбы остались стоять. Потому что обрушение произошло не по вине строителей. Также это и не было террористическим актом.



Расследование показало, что завершив примерно половину проекта к моменту, когда комиссия заметила сильную эродированность (внутренние полости) в почве вокруг дамбы, федеральное агентство United States Bureau of Reclamation, ответственное за ее постройку решило продолжать и довести дело до конца. То есть по-хорошему в тот момент стройку следовало заморозить, но ведь половина-то уже была вложена! В итоге под дамбой образовался почвенный тоннель, и конструкция не выдержала напряжения на которое не была рассчитана.





Сумма компенсаций составила 2 млрд. долларов…



Случай с дамбой очевиден, и очень многие потом заявляли, что они такое предполагали, что это было ожидаемо, но…все мы крепки задним умом.





Нас постоянно учат доводить дело до конца, словно это и так не заложено в нас психологией. А ведь очень важно уметь останавливаться. А то можно все проиграть. Ну повезло тебе один раз, выпал туз и король, ну забери свой выигрыш, и продай акции сейчас – они не могут расти вечно, падение обязательно произойдет, и история рынка раз за разом бьет тех, кто про это забывает…но люди предпочитают держаться до конца за надоевший ВУЗ, в котором-то (как стало понятно) тебе искать нечего, и вообще хотел ты другого, но что люди скажут, если ты сейчас это бросишь, и перейдешь в другую профессию – у тебя уже есть пятилетний бухгалтерский опыт, как теперь идти в дизайн, когда ты вроде состоялся с точки зрения общества в другом, уже вложил в это деньги и силы, так почему бы не попробовать вложить еще чуть-чуть – ведь оно наверняка вернется, ведь правда, и вообще – мне сегодня везет в картах?





А тем временем кто-то рационально пополняет свой бюджет за счет такого мышления.



Ведь постоянная удача, легкая рука – это миф. Вероятность удачи легко просчитывается. Мы же подменяем понятия закона больших чисел, пытаясь применить его на малых, утверждая, что если монетка упала у нас 7 раз подряд решкой – нам везет. Но подкиньте ее хоть сколько-нибудь значимое количество раз, ну не менее 10 000, и с каждым следующим броском станет очевидно…50/50. И никак иначе. Ваша удача на бирже – чей-то черный день. Удача для вас – черный лебедь для него. Вы ее ждете, для него она находится за пределами нормального распределения и 95% confidence interval, но и для вас ваша удача – тоже. Просто стороны разные, но они зеркальны. Всегда. Resources are scarce (Ресурсы ограничены). You can’t make someone better off without making someone worse off (Невозможно сделать кого-то богаче, не сделав кого-то беднее). (Adam Smith). Одно вытекает из другого. Поэтому так важно понимать, когда достаточно и стоит остановиться. Мыслить рационально, просчитывая все варианты и реальные возможные потери в случае неудачи.





Но ведь вы все и так знаете, верно? Пора идти заканчивать проект… Да, конкуренты уже запустили продукт, но мы столько потратили сил, денег и времени – надо доделать до конца… 😉






===Артем Ковалев===




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Jubilee Atop the Last Mountain

Контент 16+ As night and death come to us all, so does morning with its breakfast smells and crowing roosters and, if you are lucky, your lover’s first kiss of the day.




So it was with us, waking up at that truck-stop somewhere in Romania. I rose first, squired the dogs around and about the large parking area and border of woods, gave Liuba a peck on the cheek, and went to breakfast. There I met a woman, something of a receptionist and tutto fare in the restaurant who proved to be, in her way, the second coming of Sergei from Brest.




Her name was Simone and she was an average-looking young lady but that morning she seemed as beautiful as a swan on a shimmering lake. It’s good, I guess, that nowadays most people — young people, I should emphasize — can speak at least a smattering of English — and Simone could. Better yet, she proved to be one of those kindred souls you occasionally meet who is never a stranger, Simone took me under her wing and carefully explained how to find the main highway to Bucharest from which we could easily and smoothly glide straight down to Varna. She drew me a careful, lucid map, and later, after I convinced Liuba to eat a big breakfast also, Simone repeated her many acts of hospitality. Before we knew it, we were on our way, well-fed and rested. Jetting down an ‘autobahn’ as wide as an airport runway, heading towards the beckoning shadows of the Romanian capital.


Passing through a massive, unknown megapolis can be treacherous, and in Romanian towns and cities one comes repeatedly to what I call ’round-abouts’ — big circular obstructions that you must navigate around and then, keeping your wits about you at all times, instantly make the right choice and dive off down the correct route– sandwiched among three or four other options– which will put you on your way. Failure to do this can spell, if not disaster, for sure no less than a hell of a lot of trouble, confusion, and maddening inconvenience. The modern world, unlike the old one, is a lightning fast and ramrod straight proposition which doesn’t offer much provision to merely turn back and retrace your steps. One bite of the apple and off you go to the Hell you have plucked from the tree. So you might as well tell yourself: “Ah shit, I didn’t want to go to Bulgaria anyway. Switzerland will be fine.” Because that’s where you are fucking-well headed if you dart down the wrong bowling alley after the round-about…




I am a quick thinker on the road, Liuba much more methodical — and our slight language barrier (she being Russian and no more masterful in English than I am in her native tongue), while no problem in the kitchen or bedroom — sometimes leads to impromptu and decidedly rude shouting back and forth when barreling down the highway and suddenly faced with an enigma.. When in doubt, Liuba has this maniacal tendency simply to stop the car in the middle of the road, oblivious to the disbelieving cacophony of horns blaring “^%)*^##()*^)%$#I*))”, which in English translates into Fifty Shades of Gray of the words ” What the F-U-C-K are you doing, Woman ?!?!?!???” Liuba just ignores them while I sink down in my seat and turn green.


Needless to say, we made it to the Bulgarian border and beyond, or I wouldn’t be writing this today.




Again euphoria. Afterwards, not unexpectedly, the slow disintegration of such glittering energy. Gradually, the enervating hours endured on the Road and the sapping mountain semi-circles up-and-down, the disappearance of the day, and, too soon, the night. Surprise, surprise, thanks to our clever navigator, we ended up on some back road into Varna, visibility always impeded by the onrushing headlights of cars and trucks zipping towards and past us. And now and then some impatient bastard behind us eating our back bumper, wanting to squeeze us and make us go faster.


My discovery in life is that no matter where you are, there is always someone worth hating. Or am I just being too negative?


Ah but then, at long last — the sign “Welcome to Varna.”


For me it was pure, plain relief — the kind I always feel when the aircraft I am on finally safely lands. Then I understand that my whole body has been like a clenched first throughout all the airborne hours. Except for us, it had been six days of turbulence-upon-asphalt.


Innocently, I asked, “Liuba dear, do you remember how to get to our apartment?”


Answer: “Well, not exactly.”


Question: “Darling, do you have the address?”


Answer: “Not exactly.”


Uh-oh.




What Liuba DID remember was the general direction. The fact is, I had only been to Varna a single time, when we had searched for, found, and negotiated the purchase of the apartment we wanted. Liuba had returned a second time to finish off business (with the Russian agency) which the inexperienced realty lady had neglected to execute on our first visit. We had chosen Varna sight unseen because it was on the edge of the Black Sea, and the whole point of moving to Bulgaria was to protect Liuba’s health (as I have previously stated.). My experience in Bulgaria had been some years ago in Plovdiv, a small ancient city which I had liked very much.


Varna is a city of about 400,000 souls (depending on the season). The roads and streets have more ruptures than the face of someone who has survived a bad case of smallpox, and in the narrow, gnarled, and twisted center, finding a place to park is a real hoot. Bulgarians are a darker race than the Slavic-skinned Russians whose beauty I admire. They look more like Sicilians The mostly skin-headed guys, pumping iron in fitness centers (a religion) and chain-smoking afterwards, are either macho-malevolent or amiable, or both — the former when driving a car, the latter everywhere else. There is no money in the city, but no sense of want either. The people are ambidextrous in every walk of life, often turning their hands to driving a cab, selling winter firewood, and doing a bit of carpentry all in a day.


Our new apartment was perched on a hill and, though relatively small, nonetheless sported a magnificent wide balcony (which served almost as an extra room) that rendered a matchless view of the sea on the left and the city skyline on the right. The architecture of most of Varna could generously be described as “Old Soviet style” — if that conjures up any special imagery to my readers. If not, may I say that in daylight hours the urban aspect in general is dour and gray, like so much of Eastern Europe. I personally would call the decor of this panorama “Bolshevik Phlegm”. But at night the city lights do to the atmosphere what bright cosmetics under lamplight can do for a sallow old strumpet: Look how she comes to life !! Pass the bottle!! The comparison between Varna in the day and at night is like alka seltzer turning into champagne. Many nights I would spend admiring the Varna night from this balcony.




The problem was that our tawny-colored, compact, handsome apartment did not, in fact, have a particular address because it was buried amid other apartment houses along the rise of the hill. What there WAS was a very wide asphalt thoroughfare at the bottom (a race track for taxis) and a maze of intricate little alleyways at the top of the hill — which it was possible to reach if you knew which hill to drive up to the right or left of our new home and which turn to make to gain access to the lean little path you needed. This is what Liuba didn’t remember.


So, using my best (ingenious, actually) lateral thinking, I decided that we should hail a taxi, describe our location as best we could, and follow him there if he could figure out where we meant. Bear in mind, the fact of night-darkness was not working in our favor.


My stroke of inspiration worked and, astonishingly, in no time at all we were sitting at the bottom of our hill, the apartment perfectly visible among the shadows. We tipped the taxi guy and were again left to our own devices. I suggested parking and making our way up the ancient-looking sequence of stony, irregular steps to get us to the top.


Liuba had other ideas because she could see no reason why, physically and mentally wasted by weariness as we were, we should lug our many suitcases, etc., up those formidable steps.


“Let’s go the back way,” she confidently advised..


“Do you know how to get there?”


“No problem.”




The next thing you know — and one wrong turn later — we were heading out of Varna and back towards Moscow.. &%#&&%)*^!!!


I ordered her to stop somewhere to get Zagorka and summoned another taxi. Back to the great wide boulevard at the bottom of the hill. And so, dogs in tow, up we went — no more illusions about finding the special alley at the top — toting as much as we could burden our arms with. Looking up, burning cigarette fastened to my mouth, heavy load under each arm, the sight of that dark building looked like the true House of God.


Of course what was left in the apartment when we at length arrived at our destination were only the bare essentials: kitchen table and chairs and bed. The previous owner had emptied the ashtray, so to speak.


And there was no electricity. But, boys and girls, I had the beer.




Gasping for breath, eyes adjusting to the gloom, we used our telephones to see what we were doing. Woozy, I grabbed a chair and went to the balcony, Zagorka beer in hand, followed by the always frisky dogs. This beer tasted even better than the Heineken in front of the do-nut shop two nights ago.


Before me, in living color, spread and stretched and sprawled the mysterious nocturnal playground of Varna. Maybe not quite the same expanse as Moscow, but I could see that it was still a place of dreams.


Who would I meet there? What would life be like? (In describing my life-status now, I often use metaphors like this: I am in the early evening of my life. I am in the autumn of my life — or maybe the early winter, depending on my mood — I have entered the season of old roses. Etc.




But really, you know, I don’t believe any of that BS. I am quite sure that death happens only to other people and that I will live forever. That’s what we all think, isn’t it?


Now I felt young again.


And just then, my ravel-haired wife found the correct circuit and the lights came on.





===Eric Richard Leroy===





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Count Dracula's Long and Winding Road

Контент 16+ Having been roused by early patrons from our brief snooze opposite the do-nut shop, Liuba — grumpy — the dogs — cheerful and questioning — and I– mottle-eyed and grizzled from not shaving — remembered the job at hand, so Liuba cranked up the engine again and we resumed our travels, pretty much as vague and stunned in our sensibilities as we had been during the early phase of our disaster in Brest.


We stopped for coffee, then Liuba again fiddled with the navigator, and after a few hours of typically excruciating roads, we at last set foot (or wheels) in Romania. For me, this represented a small triumph because, somehow, I felt that the worst of the journey was over. (A thoroughly misguided perception.)




Romania seemed appealing for a number of reasons. For one thing, this country remains pure in that it is not overrun by boisterous, moneyed imperialists from the USA and UK, etc. Secondly, it is the last chunk of geography to cross before reaching Bulgaria (very important to us at the time), and thirdly, because I confess to a long fascination with the mysterious intrigues of Romanian culture and history. Of course, all the Dracula stuff and the multitude of strange and beautiful old castles sprinkled amid the Romanian mountains and forests are alluring, but I know also that it is the land of the gypsies.




Everybody hates the gypsies. Except me. Yeah, I have heard a slew of terrible stories about how gypsies are all drug dealers and hypnotists and thieves. And yeah I have been approached many times by gypsy women carrying somnolent babies either doped or dead. (You have noticed how they NEVER cry?). As I have since found out, there are also many gypsies in Bulgaria and it is true that when they are not wandering around as perpetual nomads, they live in squalor. There is such a ‘community’ even in Varna. Gypsy children have glowing eyes, like the Children of the Corn in the Stephen King story that became a famous film. They are sensuous and duplicitous from an early age — charming in a way that some people find hideous, and as quick off the mark as a pack of rats. And yet…I have smiled at them and looked into those glowing eyes, and they smile back at me. As if they sense something. As if they sense that I am not the enemy. And then I see a softness appear. If you think I am crazy, go ahead.




Long ago in Firenze, I used to sit in the piazza, and there was one gyspy woman — late twenties or early thirties — who used to come to me. The teeth that weren’t missing were mostly gold, and clearly, she was not a woman that ‘respectable’ people would ever consort with, yet — and this is just me, I have no explanation nor need to offer one — there was something I found wildly erotic about her. She was, I think, the kind of woman who would lie down with you, swallow you whole, and then rob every stitch from you afterwards. Grotesquely comely, naturally vivacious, and, by roots and trade, dangerous I guess that’s why I still remember her.




Moreover, the non-gypsy Romanian women I knew, casually or simply from observing at a distance while I lived in Italy (many immigrate there and seem to pick up the Italian language very easily), all seemed to have a kind of voluptuous and borderline sleazy sexuality that was very different from the more stately and refined Italians — but just as exciting. Again, no explanation for these perceptions of mine is possible unless, I suppose, you would hire a psychiatric doctor to shrink my head. To such therapy, I would reply that if I have a mental disease here, I do not wish to be cured.




Anyway, we entered the seemingly endless ebb and flow of hills, mountains and valleys that sprawl across Romania and many of those villages were roughshod yet somehow twinkling places where you could go to hide from the world. At one point in the afternoon, we pulled off the road into a field, walked the dogs, and — at last putting paid to hours of frustrated bickering brought on by fatigue — reclined the car-seats and more or less passed out for an hour or two. As we woke, we felt oddly refreshed.




Functioning while being extremely tired is a thing of the spirit, like an old-time blues band riding buses in Southern America, or those pre-Elizabethan theater-troupers of long, long yesteryear barnstorming among the English towns, stopping to put up their makeshift stages, performing their thespian comedies and blood-curdling dramas, passing the hat, swilling down the cider, and pressing on. For many people in this world getting tired isn’t an option. In fact, you get so tired you don’t feel tired any more. It is like a dream. And when you speak, you see the words literally float out of your mouth, hover in the air like drunken birds, and then abruptly dart into the cavities of your listener’s ears.




By nightfall, the soulless dark again made the whooshing trucks seem more fearful, and our stupor-like jolly mood was disintegrating. It had begun to look like there would be no hotels, no decent stopping points, only a long night’s journey into day.


But then came the second miracle (Sergei, referred to in a previous blog) was the first. In America, the highways are punctuated periodically was what are called “truck stops’, Long distance truckers, in a way rather similar to dedicated bikers, seem to form a community. Even if they don’t know each other, they know each other. They ramble and thunder across great distances, often from coast to coast, and here and there appear very basic, no-frills roadside establishments where they can eat and sleep. No Chateaubriand or Steak Florentine but rather the hearty grub of lumberjacks. Sated, most of them just crash in their trucks, usually in some back-area space behind the seat. There are of course ‘road-whores’ who lurk around these truck-stops to accommodate the men. The cops usually don’t fuck with them; they are just part of the landscape.




So, as we combed along the wrinkles of the road, all hope having been lost, I spotted a Big Truck ‘complex’ with a restaurant attached which seemed reminiscent of one of those American dine-and-recline, blow-your-nose-and-repose, shit-and-spit spots along the endless highways of the Red, White, and Blue. A voice inside me said, “Pull over.”


I did, overriding my wife’s cynicism, and went in.


“We have dogs. Big dogs. We are tired and hungry. Do you have a room we can crash in?”




“No problem,” the young Romanian guy said. And this time it worked; this time there was no dish-water hag in a night-gown on the stairs to refuse us. The boy showed me to a perfectly clean little room with a TV and said in his broken but proud English, “Make yourselves at home.”


“I can get a meal in the restaurant?”


“And a beer,” he answered.


We parked around the other side, and I guided poor Liuba and the now grateful dogs to our quarters.


Then I went to the restaurant, scarfed down the brightest, coldest beer in the land, and ate delicious food like a madman on a rampage.


“Tender is the Night” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald.




You bet. The people in this restaurant all had inside them some nocturnal energy or melody of delight that they sang to me with their unguarded eyes, and they were friendly without affectation. And it proved once again that, amid all calamity and discouragement, angels are flitting everywhere, like sparrows in the green trees of springtime. You just have to wait and look, with your heart wide open.




The only thing missing now was a wild and handsome gypsy woman with golden teeth to recount the story of all that has been and tell the fortune of what is to come. But what I had instead was my wife and my dogs, and they were more than enough to send me to sleep among the gods.





===Eric Richard Leroy===





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The Long Road the Mountains Know

Контент 16+ Anyone who thinks that driving from Belarus into Poland is a cultural step up (Wow ! The E-u-r-o-p-e-a-n- U-n-i-o-n !!) cannot be thinking of the roads, and this holds true all over Eastern Europe. Belarus may not be like Vatican City in terms of opulence, but it is certainly clean and at least the highway coming straight in from Moscow is exemplary — smooth as a baby’s bottom, in fact.




By the time we got through the last checkpoint barricade — having had to run the same gamut all over again — and quite late because Liuba had been at the Polish Embassy all morning — the night was falling and the Poles had closed down all windows but one. So single file we went, like refugees trying to escape through a narrow mountain pass. When we, at last, hit the terra firma of Poland, darkness sprawling about us, we indulged in about 20 seconds of euphoria — and then realized what lay ahead.




The plans to stop at dog-friendly hotels were long-gone, and we would now have to wing it all the way to Varna. This would mean looking for inns which seemed so desperately in need of guests that even pythons and scorpions would be welcome. Fortunately for us, the dogs behaved (and continued to all the way) with remarkable aplomb and good cheer considering that they (big “peoples” as Liuba likes to call them !) were confined to their backseat posts for long stretches, During the interminable wait at the checkpoints I had had to hustle them in and out of the car (on leashes on course) to quickly relieve themselves. Not 10 seconds had passed before one of the piss-dongs in uniform started screaming at me to get them back inside in the car. I assume that this was because, as we were hovering at the border and technically in some kind of limbo or suspended animation with no claims to actually being ANYWHERE, neither we nor the dogs had any rights at all beyond the sanctity of our vehicles. I would have told this Nazi wannabe to go fuck his Jewish grandmother except that I wouldn’t have put it past the cretin to simply shoot the dogs.




The other two problems were that, first — aside from a precursory study of a real map — we could only rely on our navigator to guide us, and, for some reason, these gadgets don’t always seem trustworthy — especially if a local work crew is finally in the process of mending the road, and travelers passing through are forced to take an obscure detour. In such cases, the navigator is about as useful as a Google translation of a Bangladesh comedy in dialect or the confessional poetry of an acid-head. The final tally is that you can end up on a dead-end street or in the middle of a cow pasture while the navigator swears up and down that you are powering point blank to your destination…




As result of our shaky navigation system, plus the confusing darkness and our own ignorance (I am sure), we wound up driving on treacherous, bumpy, Third World roads that maybe could have been avoided if we had really known the way. But then again, perhaps these were actually the main routes through Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, etc..And when I say that “we” were driving, I really mean that Liuba was at the helm because in fact I no longer possess a valid driver’s license. (This, as we shall see, did not stop me from eventually taking the wheel.) Since these strips of the road were predominantly two-lane pock-marked blacktop twisting around perilous mountain ribbons where most of the traffic seemed to consist of very large 18-wheeler trucks transporting massive cargo, the whole experience was more than nerve-wracking. Liuba did a yeoman’s job but her inexperience of driving amid the circles of East of Eden’s Hell threatened more than once to have us go sailing off the mountain into the crevice below. It has to do with centrifugal force — one should, as much as possible, bend into the curves instead of swaying way out to the last vestige of the perimeter. Poor Liuba didn’t know this (she got her license when she was 54). Poor me, the cowering passenger, knew it all too well The doggies knew nothing and were quite happy. Those hungry caverns yawned — and were cheated. It turned out that Liuba wanted to live as much as I did. But she was flagging, her eyes were playing tricks.




I bravely seized control. I am a great driver, but I lost my license back in the USA for DWI (driving while intoxicated) and never bothered to reapply when the suspension was up. So, to make up time and give Liuba a break, I took over. And was doing fine until I failed to slow down as we entered some small ville, whereupon I was stopped by the cops. O Fuck, I thought, no license and in the middle of a strange country. Luckily, the cops were young, jovial guys who spoke English and accepted 200 euros. Then we were on our way, but my wife was screaming at me over the lost money. We were getting tired, there did not appear to be any hotels available, and the night was looming darker and starker, the roads more and more treacherous, the grinding, whizzing, hammering, slashing roar of the passing trucks more and more ominous. Then, after stopping at a 7-11 for petrol, I spotted a hotel. Nothing fancy. But a hotel. The time was about 4.00 a.m.


We pulled in. I got out and marched to the door, slipped inside to the lobby and rang the bell. I was worn-out, smelly from cigarettes and the road, and when finally a bleary-eyed, nondescript woman in a nightgown appeared at the top of the stairs, I was at the point of supplication. In my best Russian I pleaded my case. “We are exhausted, we have two dogs with us, and all four of us need a place to sleep for a few hours. We will pay whatever you ask.” To my astonishment, she agreed. What a great lady to accept our dogs !! I was ecstatic and — anticipating full redemption in the eyes of my disgruntled wife — I strode back to our car and beamed, “We’re in. She said yes.”.




Unfortunately, some people have different ideas as to what constitutes a dog.


Releasing Poppy and Casper from their car captivity and hooking them to their leads, we headed for the entrance again. Like a Roman chariot, it must have been, because when the massive, slavering hounds burst in ahead of me, dragging me in their wake, the woman let out a gasp as if she was afraid of being devoured. Or gang-banged. “Noooo!” she squealed. “You can’t bring them in here!” — “But you said..!” — “Noooooooooo ! Go away !”.


So that was that. If Cass and Pop and been chihuahuas, we’d have been in the door. But not with big dogs. “No coloreds allowed” came to my mind, that old sign of racial discrimination from the Deep American South. I gave Liuba the bad news, let the dogs take a shit, and got back in.


There was a fence nearby, opposite a closed dough-nut shop of sorts, and that fence looked a lot like a place to park for the night to me. I announced to Liuba that we would stop there, and I remembered the 7-11 back up the road. “I”m walking back to the shop,” I told everyone. And I wandered up the hill. The malignant commentary of a savagely discontented wife followed my footsteps.




Thank God for small mercies, they say — because beer was available. In America, and now in Russia, they cut you off in the shops at a certain time. Not in this part of Europe. I bought four tall cans of Heineken and went back to the car. Liuba was already muttering in her sleep, and the dogs, after wagging their tails and moaning and sighing a bit, settled down. I rolled down the window and lit a cigarette and opened the first of my stash. I sat back, defiantly, knowing that tomorrow was going to be a marathon endured by two utterly spent people and a pair of gentle, compliant dogs. By the end of the second can, I was happy enough. Two more cans, three pisses in the bushes, and about six cigarettes later, I felt rejuvenated and sweetly ready for rest.




I lay my head finally back on the seat, wishing now to stave off the daylight for as long as possible, and closed my eyes. I imagined I was riding on a greyhound bus back in America in the middle of the night between two distant northern cities. Or on a train in the South in whose drowsy, vaguely decadent cars there are only the silhouettes of the night-riders and the endless honey and grease of the gloom. A train of Negroes and poor whites and old strippers from juke joints and clubs.




Sometimes, I confess, I find this euphoria, driven usually by fatigue and alcohol, to be heaven — if not the ‘real’ Heaven of the Christians, where golden roads are treated to the melodies of silvery harps — nevertheless the place where my soul belongs, a halfway house of prostituted pleasures, a place where the blues are answered in sensuous undertones. A place where morning never comes to rip you open.




But sure enough, before long, the lights in the dough-nut shop came on and some early sugar-rush types went strutting in for their coffee and pudding-filled cakes. The offices would be blinking soon. It was time for Bonnie and Clyde and their two hostages to move on. So we did.



===Eric Richard Leroy===







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Out of the Wilderness

Контент 16+ Suddenly Brest did not seem like such a placid, pleasant haven for departing pilgrims. Nearing sundown, we drove aimlessly, having no idea what to do next, or where to go. The Russian Embassy? Belarus Embassy? Polish Embassy? At this point, we couldn’t even remember where our hotel was. We asked people along the street for directions, but frankly, they all acted as if they were little more than refugees themselves. Cass and Poppy were calm, but Liuba and I were almost frothing at the mouth.


In retrospect, it doesn’t seem like that much of a disaster. Not like if your house burns down or one of your children dies. But for us, the stress at that time was unbearable, and we just hadn’t had time to digest the full extent of the problem and explore viable solutions. Liuba needed a rest and I needed a brainful of beer. But all we could do was drive.




This went on fruitlessly for what seemed ages, and there was no help. Then, I said (for the 100th time), “Let’s try this way. Turn left.” Along the street, I spotted a ruddy looking guy, probably in his early or mid-thirties, Slavic features and clean, casual clothes, loading something into the trunk of his car. I don’t know why, but something inside me spoke up and said, “I think this is the guy who could help us.”




And, sure enough, he could. And did. His name was Sergei and he spent a lot of time on the phone. I had the feeling that he was very well-connected in Brest and maybe not with all the most law-abiding of citizens. But he was immediately friendly in a sincere sort of way and put us at our ease. He spoke no English, but as he and Liuba conversed and I chimed in with the odd bit of Russian, I soon realized that Sergei was a man who could make anything happen, at least in Brest.




It also turned out that the Polish Embassy was just up the street. So he walked there with Liuba, showing her the way, while I ambled up and down with Poppy and Cass. Upon their return, Sergei told us to follow him back to the hotel where we had stayed. He also promised to come the next morning and take Liuba to the Embassy. As for my soon-to-be problem with my about-to-expire Belarus transit visa, Sergei just laughed and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.” So we got in our car and followed him straight back to the hotel, where we registered. The staff told me to go to the police about the visa issue, but for some reason I trusted Sergei.




What was great about Sergei, apart from the fact that he, as an absolute stranger, was so helpful, was that for him it seemed no extra effort or inconvenience at all. Clearly, he was a busy, ‘happening’ kind of guy, but with us it seemed he had all the time in the world. The next morning he (and his dog) came for Liuba as promised, and, sure enough, there was no trouble for me at the border. Only an 8 euro fine and a long wait while they did the infernal paperwork (there turned out to be a mountain of it.).


Before I leave Sergei and continue with the story, let me state the following. Although my own life has been blessed and ultimately has produced many favorable outcomes, I find, to my regret and even chagrin, that I have become in many ways almost hatefully cynical. I was once the supreme idealist. Why this harsh bitterness, I wonder? Why, after having finally put together the life I always wanted, do I find that, rather than feeling relief and gratitude, I am beset with a raging impatience and steely intolerance? They say, you know, that most attitudes and views about life are really inwardly directed and that those people we foist our fury on are merely outward projections of the things we despise most about ourselves. Could this be me?




Or could it be that, as I grow older, I understand that youth and the things of youth are indeed for others now, that what I once rightfully claimed as my own birthright must now be relinquished, and I just can’t do it gracefully? And so I pretend to reject a world that in the most natural ways imaginable (and therefore the most tragically intolerable) is methodically rejecting me?


If so, it becomes a convenient tool to scream at the rottenness of the world, and what is most insidious is this: in many ways I am right. Real experience has shattered almost every illusion about perfect societies, perfect love, perfect justice. The world is cruel and history is a chronicle of blood. But being ‘right’ about some of these things does not negate the real truth that love opens its lovely spring windows every day and everywhere, that every generation has a right to be faithful to its faith, and that only a curmudgeonly fool would curse it away. Sometimes, alas, I am nothing but a loudmouthed fool.




Every Sergei who comes along gives the lie to all cynicism and reinforces the truth of human goodness and kindness. And maybe to a larger extent it reinforces — or should do — the rekindled fire of faith. The belief that everywhere along the road of life there are people who gaze from the bonfires of their hearts into the trembling eyes of the lost, and say, “Come with me. I will show you the way.”


This man in Brest did as much for my wife, dogs, and me. Whoever you were, thanks, man.


Soon we were in Poland. Because one guy took the time to say come with me and I will show you the way.



===Eric Richard Leroy===







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The Long, Long, Long road to Varna

Контент 16+ My wife Liuba is from Omsk, and many hard, frozen, poverty-stricken years there did nothing to damage her health.But all it took was four winters amid the belching smokestacks and poisoned atmosphere of Moscow for her to contract a chronic bronchial infection. During her last two years in the megapolis, often amid endless bleak rains that more and more prevail there because of climate change, our apartment was starting to sound more like a tuberculosis ward than a homey domicile. As Liuba hacked and spluttered, coughing up some kind of grimy black substance, I knew I had to do something.




But what to do? I was a foreigner with less years still in front of me than behind, and I didn’t have any idea about how to get an ипотека (which in the US or UK would be called a mortgage). I am sure we could have found a way by putting everything in my wife’s name, but, or so I reasoned, who in the hell wants a 20 or 30 year commitment to either a tiny shit-hole in the center (vastly over-priced) or a bigger shit-hole in the regions, far from the center were my work was? A charming situation it would be if I died and left years of obligation to my wife. I am old-school enough not to engage in a courtship with terminal debt. No thank you.




So a bulb of light came on in my head and I decided that we should buy property in Bulgaria. A multitude of Russians were doing this, and I had spent time there before. Liuba and I qualified for permanent residence in Bulgaria because we were both technically pensioners. It’s a long story, so just trust me. At the time Russia was riding the Gazprom pony and all was well. Of course, there was no Plan B and the party has long since ended, but just a few years ago the ruble amounted to more than monopoly play money. 1,000,000 rubles was 33,000 dollars. Now it is less than half that.


Besides, Liuba hated our rented Krushevka which to her mind was run-down and ugly. To me, it sparkled of old-world Russia, but I guess I am just a hopeless romantic. We flew to Bulgaria. My experience had been in the ancient city of Plovdiv, and I highly recommend it if you go traveling in Bulgaria. But it is in a valley, and living there would have been counter-productive to Liuba’s health. Therefore, I looked on the map and chose — sight unseen– the seaport of Varna.





Turned out to be a great choice.We found a nice Bulgarian real estate man in Moscow, and he arranged for a colleague to meet us and show us around. After two days of intensive inspection, Liuba chose a small but beautiful apartment in a modern complex standing two-thirds of the way up a steep slope and overlooking the sea at a distance. The apartment had a huge balcony, and from this balcony, the view of the Black Sea on the one side and the City-scape on the other was spectacular, especially at night. The Black Sea sold us the apartment. The path beside the building led down to a vast open space where cars, trucks, and many taxis hurtled back and forth, and –if instead you headed uphill from the apartment complex — to a series of winding, intimate, mostly unpaved alleys among which were many houses of all descriptions, a constant symphony of barking dogs, and the bright cries of roosters to greet the morning. I knew our dogs would be OK up there.




Back in Moscow, we then had to decide whether to sell the car or not, with the option of buying a new one in Bulgaria. No way, said Liuba. She loved the car I had bought her. Nor was I willing to risk putting our precious dogs on an airplane, stowing them in the baggage area. Huh-uh, no, no, no.. I had read about disasters with animals on account of freezing, bad air supply, etc. Moreover, I had good reason to believe that airport staff did not really concern themselves overmuch with the welfare of animals. and that if something bad DID happen, there would be nothing I do. So Fuck them and fuck that. We decided to drive the car from Moscow to Varna. The plan was that I would then return to Moscow and work to earn the Big Rubles (haha).


Of course (the real point of this blog) we had to deal with the matter of visas. By this time, the situation in Ukraine was at its worst, and so it required very little deliberation to decide to go via Belarus and Poland. An American guy, a Russian woman, two dogs, and a car with a Russian license plate did not seem like the best combination in Ukraine.





The trip would be longer but not as potentially deadly. I was at work all the time in the run-up to our journey, so Liuba got her Bulgarian visa (giving her the right to live there) and she did all the work in obtaining for me a one-day, one-way transit visa through Belarus. Alas, neither of us (nor did any of our friends) think about the fact that we would need a Schengen visa to enter Poland from Belarus. Liuba thought, if she thought about it at all, that the visa for Bulgaria would be enough. Ho-ho-ho, how could any of us have imagined that life could be that simple? It happens that Bulgaria is European ZONE while Poland is the European UNION, whatever the son-of-a-bitching fuck difference THAT ought to make. But it was catastrophic in terms of almost ruining our trip.




I had carefully booked dog-friendly hotels at what appeared to be logical stopping points along our projected three-day journey. The first day, once we finally got out of Moscow, was exceptionally fine. The road to and through Belarus is Excellent, and we came steaming into the clean city of Brest at a very sociable evening hour and soon found our hotel where all of us, Poppy and Cass included, were welcomed with open arms. And aside from the eyebrow-raising fact that one glass of beer cost about 100,000 Belarus rubles, everything was splendid. Meanwhile, I had heard many tales about how long we would have to wait at the border — or rather two borders: one getting us out of Belarus, and the other, about 200 meters beyond, the checkpoint for admittance into Poland. So we rose early, drove to the border, hoped for the best and expected (so we naively thought) the worst. I say this because we had NO IDEA what THE WORST could actually turn out to be. All we knew was that it would probably take about three hours to get through each checkpoint.




The dogs were behaving marvelously, the weather, as I recall, was good, and by about 15.00, we pulled up to the last window before embarking on into Europe. Poland stretched out before us, visible and waiting like a young woman waving a welcoming banner at a train station as you exit the train. Confidently, we handed our passports to the last man between us and the rest of our new lives.


“Where is your Schengen visa?” he politely asked my wife?


“I have a visa for Bulgaria,” she replied.


“But that is not sufficient to get you into Poland.”


Silence. Like a Siberian wasteland when the wind has died.


“What can we do?” we both asked.


“Your husband can go in Poland and wait for you. But you must return to Brest and get a Schengen visa.”


We were stupefied. Speechless. I can imagine it feels like this just before you are hanged or beheaded. Can this be happening, you wonder, gaping at the hooded executioner?


Yep, it fucking-well was.




Mechanically we turned around and went back to get in line for another three-hour wait for the inspection to allow us to return to Belarus, back to Brest. Somehow, despite my “one-way” visa, we were allowed back in because, well, after all, this visa did not expire until midnight. But expire it would indeed, I was properly informed. Maybe I should just go on to Poland and wait? — I was urged.


And leave my wife and dogs to fend for themselves? And do what in Poland for two days? Wait by the side of the road? No, thank you. And, you know, sometimes it helps to be of a rebellious nature. Because at that stage I didn’t care two monkey’s fucks what the Belarus authorities might think. My place was with Liuba, Cass, and Pop. And in my mind, we had done nothing wrong except commit the cardinal sin of an oversight which it should have been possible — in a sane world — to rectify at the border (as I had once needed to buy an impromptu visa at the Istanbul airport just to enter Turkey.) But of course, a permit to drive a few hours through Poland was NOT possible. Liuba would have to go back and get a Schengen Visa.




Back to Brest, we headed as darkness began to fall. Shell-shocked.


All because of a simple error (OKOKOK, culpa noi !) regarding the visa. The god-forsaken visa.


We drove the streets, not knowing what embassy would be the best one to head for. But it wouldn’t matter today. Those bastards at the embassies always make sure to lock their doors good and early.


Yet life is not all bad. Sometimes there are angels. Never forget that. Sometimes an angel will appear. Tomorrow or the next day, I will tell you about a man named Sergei.





===Eric Richard Leroy===


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I WANT MY VISA!!!

Контент 16+ Obtaining a visa, any kind of visa, is always potentially — if not true every time– one of the most royal ass-ripping processes in the entire cosmos. Although, in case there actually IS life on other planets, I hope that they have evolved to the point where they haven’t had reason to think up the idea of visas or else have found a way to get past this noxious form of inter-cultural bullying and nullification.




As an American citizen, I have to confess that such luxurious status confers a certain privilege, and, as a rule, I don’t have to put up with all the bullshit that Russians must endure. For example, I can fly into any Western European nation (continental), as well as the UK, Canada, Australia, anywhere in South America, etc. without a visa. Of course, I cannot legally work in these countries without an official (and costly) work-permit. It is a moot point now, I guess, since, having freelanced in Russia for a number of years, I am set to do the same thing in Bulgaria. Therefore, I do not require an official badge of eligibility to wear on my lapel in order to procure a bit of action. However, it does irk me more than a little that a Brit can wander into any EU town and go to work immediately, whereas I, as an American, cannot. As I recall, it was the Americans who did more than their share to liberate these European bastards from the Nazis, right? But now some SOB from Manchester can grab any teaching job he wants, and I have to sell fake gold watches with the Ethiopians in the grand piazza and run like hell when the carabinieri spot us. Yes? Bring on Brexit !!! Let’s make it a level playing field !! The Brits are in fact no more European in nature than people from the Philippines.




But again, I have outfoxed the Powers of Bureacracy in this regard and don’t care anymore. Nevertheless, here is what I never could understand when I was in Russia. Every time my visa needed renewing, I had to leave the country to get it. In other words, I would pay somebody in Moscow and then travel variously to Kiev (the good old days), Vilnius, or Tallinn, whereupon I would plunk down some more money, take the new visa and promptly return to Russia. Of course, this meant airfare and hotel accommodation. More money spent. I always wondered why I couldn’t just go to some office in Moscow and renew the visa THERE. I mean, why the need to leave the country and then turn right around and come back?. I realize that enduring Soviet mentality ensures that nothing can possibly happen without the most monumental inconvenience and dreary, mostly idiotic red tape (my wife once had to spend three weeks in Omsk (we lived in Moscow of course) just to change her maiden name to my family name (her new married monicker.). In Florida this would have been a piece of cake requiring only a couple of signed documents, a two-week wait, and then a change of driver’s license with the new name on it. In Russia, poor Liuba had to cross four time zones just to get to the city where she was “registered.” What a load of bollocks that was.




Once when we went on holiday to Turkey, we arrived at passport control only to find out that, while Liuba didn’t need a visa (we already knew THAT), I, in fact, did. News to me. The bright side of it was that I could procure one from the string of cashiers set up by the front door especially for that purpose — to flog visas to unsuspecting Brits and Yanks who didn’t know they needed one. So. 15 euros. OK, no problem. Except that, being the refined gentleman I am, I had let my wife go through PP control first and now she was on the other side, officially in Turkey. And, as usual, she had all our money. Meanwhile, I was still officially in Russia. When I realized that I needed money to purchase the visa I asked the passport control guy if my wife could hand me the money so I could go back and pay for my visa.


No, this was impossible, he explained because….well, she was in Turkey and I was in Russia. Even though we were standing eight feet apart, only her on one side of the Turkish “border” and me on the other. When I went back and asked the nice, sweet cashier what I could do in the wake of my dilemma — since my wife was not allowed to just hand me the money I needed — she said I could “go back to Moscow”. I felt like suggesting that she “go back to sucking cock”, but luckily I was rescued by a young English guy who paid for me, and then we settled up on the other side. And, once I had my ‘visa’ the passport guy was just as nice as pie. Humanity didn’t enter into it. Just the document.




For Russians, the problem can be much more extreme, especially in the wake of all the Cold War politics now being played back and forth. The American Embassy in Moscow is barely functioning since most of the staff was fired in retaliation for yet another tit-for-tat political spat, and therefore woe betide the poor Russian who is trying to get a visa for America. As I hear it, you must be prepared to wait, and there is no telling when Santa Claus will come. Just sit tight and WAIT. But even before that, there were problems, and what is worse, the various granting and refusing of visa applications never seemed to work on any logical basis bolstered by rational or even coherent policies. The decision always seemed to be an arbitrary one, left entirely to the momentary mood of the twerp or jerk sitting across from the hapless applicant, and who wielded the power to make or break one’s holiday.




For example, I know a girl who worked in Moscow massage salons (happy ending included), who had no bank account, owned no property, had no official job, and who, on top of it all, was (and is) very young and strikingly good-looking. VISA GRANTED. She is still living in America. But how did she convince the agent? Some clever rhetoric with a happy ending perhaps?


Meanwhile a student of mine, young guy living at home with his parents, steady job, bright future, girlfriend in Russia, etc., — in short, every reason to return to his homeland — was denied a two week tourist visa, and the reason given him was that he had not traveled enough previously and did not possess a Schengen visa (WTF ?? Whatever did THAT have to do with going to America?) So he settled for a trip to Greece and now is vacationing in Amsterdam. Maybe next time the American visa goof will decide that my student and friend has sufficiently risen to the status of “man of the world.” But there is no way to tell.




The Brits, as usual, are even worse in terms of being prigs and pricks. Not only is the visa application very expensive, but they can refuse without giving any explanation whatsoever. This, of course, has severe ramifications because if you are Russian and your visa is denied, the refusal is stamped on your passport — which can lead to further problems the next time you try to go anywhere. Americans at least don’t have to run around with TWO passports in their hands — one domestic and one international — as do my Russian friends. In fact, most Americans never see a passport in their entire lives. If they don’t leave the country they don’t need one. Most of them would rather sit on a hilltop in Tennessee shooting their guns at people in the valley below.





Tomorrow I will tell the story of when my Russian wife Liuba and I first went to occupy our newly bought apartment in Varna, Bulgaria. I needed a one-way transit visa to get through Belarus (Ukraine was dangerous for us both at the time) and Liuba needed a visa to get into Bulgaria. What neither Liuba nor I nor our two dogs understood was that Liuba also had to have a Schengen visa just to drive into Poland from Belarus. The result was what Americans call a “Clusterfuck.” of the first order. I will tell this story in the next installment.




Till then, Arrivederci and Happy Trails to you, my fellow travelers and visa-seekers. I hope luck is on your side because justice, reason, and plain common sense certainly will never be if border officials and visa granting blockheads have anything to do with it. Better to plead your case to a family of raccoons or a pack of skunks.





===Eric Richard Leroy===





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Как общаться с конфликтными людьми

Контент 14+ Посмотрел на лица людей в поезде, и решил написать про конфликты. Ну а что? Идешь по перрону – и вот они, ВУКи (люди с высоким уровнем конфликтности). Дерущиеся бабушки. И вообще, пришлось палец оперировать (выбирал что подставить – палец или нос), после того как дверь ускорили в мою сторону). Ладно, давайте по сути.





Люди с высоким уровнем конфликтности в самой своей сути стремятся к противостоянию. Они не видят собственной роли в своих проблемах и поглощены тем, чтобы обвинять в этих проблемах других – например, вас. Сегодня я опишу пять типов людей с высоким уровнем конфликтности (ВУК), чтобы вы, при встрече с ними, знали, что от них можно ждать.





Все люди с ВУК имеют схожие паттерны: 1) «мишень» для обвинения, 2) мысли по типу «все или ничего», 3) неуправляемые эмоции и 4) вызывающее поведение. В добавок, у них есть следы личностных расстройств. Некоторые могут иметь лишь зачатки, а у некоторых могут быть целые, сформированные расстройства. Это, конечно, может сделать их очень сложными в общении, но также очень предсказуемыми. Ниже представлено краткое изложение основных паттернов поведения, которые присущи таким людям.





Антисоциальные ВУК:


Люди с таким типом известны также как социопаты или психопаты: агрессивные личности без следа совести. Их внешность может быть обманчива: они могут быть чрезвычайно обаятельными, что, однако, не мешает им быть крайне жестокими в попытках получить то, чего они желают. Антисоциальные ВУК обвиняют свои «мишени» в многочисленных фрустрациях, которые каким-либо образом препятствуют достижению их цели, либо же просто в том, что «мишени» оказались не в нужное время, не в нужном месте на их пути. Они мошенники, часто бывают вовлечены в какие-либо криминальные схемы и не испытывают жалость ни к кому – даже друг к другу (как вы понимаете, в этот тип не входят люди, которые просто «не чувствуют себя очень социальными» на этой неделе).


Они грубо обращаются со своими «мишенями» в любовных взаимоотношениях, а затем ожидают секс и теплые чувства по отношению к себе. Кажется, что они более «биологически заряжены» причинять людям вред без особых следов угрызений совести. К примеру, «техасский стрелок», устроивший недавно стрельбу в церкви, как сообщается, был зол на родителей своей жены и отправился в церковь, где они были прихожанами, чтобы убить всех, кого он там встретит. Подходит ли он под этот тип?





Нарциссические ВУК:


Большинство людей знакомы с «нарциссами», которые зациклены на себе. В отличие от них, нарциссические ВУК интенсивно фокусируются не на себе, а на своих «мишенях». Они постоянно критикуют их, часто на публике, пытаясь тем самым показать свое превосходство. В любовных отношениях они используют множество оскорбительных выпадов в адрес своих партнеров, в то же самое время, требуя от них восхищения и любви к своей персоне. Они утверждают, что их поведение вполне оправдано тем, как «несправедливо» с ними обходятся. Тем не менее, у них нет настоящей эмпатии ни к «мишени», ни к кому бы то ни было вообще. В рабочей обстановке они известны как властные и надменные (для тех, кто ниже их), и как подхалимы и угодники (для тех, кто выше их). Так что такие работники даже не осознают, насколько они плохи. Хамство и агрессивное сексуальное поведение – это их способ показать себе и окружающим свое превосходство, способ выразить свою значимость.





Пограничные ВУК:


Они поглощены своими близкими отношениями и цепляются за них. Тем не менее, рано или поздно, они обвинят своих партнеров, родителей, детей, сослуживцев или других в своей заброшенности. Их ярость может быть очень опасной: физически, эмоционально, юридически, финансово и т.д. Их настроение раскачивается в обоих направлениях: вы можете быть поражены тем, как быстро они переходят от дружбы к ненависти, и к дружбе опять (и затем снова к ненависти).


Как терапевт и адвокат, я видел немало пограничных ВУК, сражающихся за опеку в семейных делах. Их борьба против своих «мишеней» часто включала домашнее насилие и ложные заявления. Они (мужчины и женщины) цепляются за своих детей и друг за друга, чтобы избежать непреодолимого чувства заброшенности.





Параноидные ВУК:


Они могут быть подозрительны ко всем, кто их окружает и верят, что существует заговор, против них, против их карьеры, дружбы, семейных отношений. Они могут носить в себе злобу годами, и затем «вылить» ее внезапно на свою «мишень». Параноидные ВУК могут верить, что те, кто вокруг них, собираются навредить им, и поэтому могут нанести опережающий удар своей «мишени». Они легко начинают чувствовать, что к ним относятся несправедливо, и в рабочей обстановке, как утверждают некоторые эксперты, «большинство истцов – именно такой тип работников» (Cavaiola & Lavender, 2000).





Сценические ВУК:


Эти личности наполнены жизненной драмой и бесконечными эмоциональными историями. Хотя, как не странно, сценические ВУК часто обвиняют свои «мишени» в наигранном и лицемерном поведении. Они делают это либо с целью обидеть, либо для манипуляции. Они оценивают взаимоотношения гораздо глубже, чем они есть на самом деле, и поэтому постоянно удивляются небрежности и бесчувственности других людей. Они нуждаются в том, чтобы быть постоянно в центре внимания и атакуют свои «мишени», когда это не так. Им легко удается убедить других в искренности и оправданности своих жалоб. Когда привлекаются другие люди, «мишеням» часто приходится несладко, так как это может обернуться для них публичными обвинениями, а часто и унижениями.





Общий обзор:


Ни один из этих типов ВУК не включает в себя какой-то четкой интеллектуальной характеристики, т.е. уровень их интеллектуальных способностей может ранжироваться от «злого гения» до явной интеллектуальной отсталости. Личностные расстройства существуют на любой территории, в любом уголке земли (хотя в городах немного больше) и в любых группах, не зависимо от уровня дохода (хотя в группах с низким доходом встречается несколько чаще, но исследования проводятся преимущественно на людях с высоким и средним уровнем доходов – люди с низким уровнем дохода чаще посылают исследователей в прогулки различной дальности по различным местам, приличным и не очень).



Важно также отметить, что многие люди с личностными расстройствами не являются ВУК, что значит, что у них нет «мишени», к которой они привязаны, или которой хотят навредить.



А в целом лучше быть осторожнее и наблюдательнее) Главное самом у не перейти в тот самый параноидальный тип личности. Позитив же поможет общаться и с такими людьми.



===Артем Ковалев===



(на основании исследований Билла Эдди)


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Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Контент 16+ Being now relocated in Bulgaria, the time has come again to celebrate Christmas on 25 December, just as I did all my life before I went to live in Russia. To tell you the truth I am elated. As a so-called ex-pat (God I hate that term), I can truthfully say that I never missed Thanksgiving and Christmas all that much; in fact, there were years when the calendar just shuffled by and I didn’t know that these big days had arrived until some Russian student would wish me a “Happy Thanksgiving” or a “Merry Christmas.” I would always react with…alarm almost. The hell you say? I had forgotten…




Some of the ex-pats no doubt hung out together, and of course, the Big Bird (turkey, in case you’re wondering) was baked and a lot of kisses were exchanged under the mistletoe. I just said Fuck It, I am in Russia. I have never been one for half-measures. The idea of pretending I was back “home” celebrating Christmas was about as spiritually satisfying as a wank in the shower. Besides, “back home” never was back home for me.


And yet, which proves that my cynicism is just a bullshit cover-up for some whatever immature defense mechanism in me, I found myself joyously going shopping for a Christmas tree and decorations with my wife yesterday, and it rekindled the old appetite. For one thing, the big store was packed with Christmas shoppers, and everybody actually looked happy. I was as happy as the rest of them.




But tonight one of my skype students asked me a question which I might have expected but didn’t. He asked me if it was a real tree or an artificial one. I hemmed and hawed and finally allowed that it was…ok,.. artificial, but that it looked real. And I suddenly remembered — remembered like an abrupt palpitation in the heart — how it once was, back during my childhood when the very idea of a fake Christmas tree would have been jeered at if not regarded with outright horror — the same way that breast implants were once mocked and treated as a grotesque form of comedy.


But the fake tits got better once the dexterity and resourcefulness of gel was discovered, and the same is true of Christmas trees. The damned things look REAL, man, and I ain’t lyin’.




But of course they AIN’T real. They are really no more than Christmasy umbrellas. Or Yuletide blows up Dollybirds which you can buy at Santa’s Sex Shop. Inflate them, have your fun and, then, c’mon girl, back in the box !! And Happy New Year!


Yeah, I remember those days when the Christmas tree was real. We bought them off a lot somewhere, stuffed them into the back of the car (man, those bristles were rough) and took them home. They were never symmetrical, and we needed to screw them in very tight into the metal brackets on the floor — this always involved at least one person holding the tree which the other one slithered around underneath with a screwdriver. It was sort of like changing a tire in bad weather. But when the tree was standing up, you could smell the scintillating pine needles, and you felt as though the forest had entered your home. Decorating the tree was a rich tradition. Bulbs, strings of sprinkling, flickering lights, and the tinsel that we called ‘icicles’. The effect was mesmerizing and when the presents had been spread all around beneath the tree…well, it was the most blessed time of childhood. And, if you were a kid, the time went slow…until, finally, it was Christmas Eve.




And then came Christmas morning. (Ringing of Bells !) And then came Christmas Morning!. And then came CHRISTMAS MORNING!!!. Yessssssss ! The dawn awakened like a fabulous fire drill or a call to some enchanting prayer which had nothing to do with a god, much less a punitive one. It was a morning of Light. The morning of rapture. At least it was so if you were lucky. I mean, if you were born well and not to a family of villains and heathens,


Back then it was a new football helmet (this was America remember) and a bicycle perhaps, The rest of the gifts depended on what you liked. I liked books. But always shirts and socks from your grannies and uncles and aunts. But still……


All was well then until 1 Jan, New Year’s Day. Amid adult hangovers and college football, the tree had to be taken down. Of course, because it was a real tree and not a false one, there were plenty of dead pine needles everywhere (even constituting a fire hazard if you weren’t careful), and the tree was of no use anymore– it couldn’t make a comeback next year. It was kaput. There was a sadness, you know, in putting everything away and dragging the tree out of the house for the garbage men to take in their trucks whenever they went back to work..But what fun it had been !. What fun, even with the few inconveniences.




At a certain point, however, one of those damned years… the artificial trees began to appear, and at first, we laughed them off, and smirked and goofed at the lazy, shallow people who bought them — the same people who bought fake flowers and artificial fruit. I mean, who would want to bite into a wax apple? What could a plastic rose possibly smell like, except plastic?


But, like a lot of things, such as internet-dating, lip implants, robot vacuum cleaners, and drones which can bomb villages halfway around the world at the command of a video game geek-equivalent in Texas — you kinda get used to it. And the next thing you know, they are everywhere, like microwaves. And though you reminisce about the good old days when you actually had to get up out of the chair to change the TV channel, you finally start to think about the negatives of that ‘hallowed’ era. (Yes, by God, I DID have to get up out of my easy chair Why’d I have to do THAT?.) And then you caress that remote control almost as if she was a Dollybird from the sex shop. And you recall that, OK, maybe the rivers were clean back then and the air was something you could actually see through, but think about all the bullshit, huh?? All them kids with polio and the chicken pox, and, and, and….and all that Shit, and……




“Yes,” I admitted to my friend. “It’s artificial. But it LOOKS real.”


And it seemed that both of us were satisfied with that explanation.


Whatever, I will have Christmas on 25 December and my friend will have his on 7 January. If Christ really is the son of God, no doubt he can arrange to be born on both days, and so we will all be very happy indeed, won’t we?…



===Eric Richard Leroy===





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Размер чего имеет значение на самом деле

Контент 16+ Что на самом деле имеет значение? Ум? Находчивость?



Хм…





Разговор с деловым партнером натолкнул меня на мысль изучить вопрос о том, как влияет на продуктивность встречи то, на чем ты на нее приедешь. И вот оно… Оказалось, что более половины людей судят о человеке по его автомобилю.



Красивые, дорогие, шикарные, мощные, прокачанные, ревущие, неудержимые (не, господа, не “Гелик”)…



Исследования проводились в разных странах, университетами и представителями автокомпаний.





Каждый третий человек рассказал, что откажется от второго свидания, если потенциальный кандидат в спутники жизни приедет на встречу на грязном автомобиле. При этом 12% опрошенных признались, что именно автомобиль человека может стать причиной для прекращения общения. Это действует также и дляделовых партнеров.



Еще 37% сообщили, что могут ответить отказом на предложение подвезти, если машина им не нравится.





На фоне вышесказанного удивляет тот факт, что каждый десятый респондент не помнит, когда последний раз наводил чистоту в салоне своего автомобиля.



Оказалось, что оценивать человека по его автомобилю в первую очередь склонны женщины в возрасте от 18 до 24 лет (43%).





Среди британских городов (в Британи результаты исследования распределены по возрастным группам и городам), жители которых предъявляют высочайшие требования к машинам других людей, первое место занимает студенческий Оксфорд – здесь могут «встретить по автомобилю» в 73% случаев, а на втором месте – Манчестер с показателем в 69%.





«Интересно, что друзья и кандидаты в жены или мужья очень часто судят о человеке, исходя из состояния и типа его автомобиля, – рассказывает Джеймс Баттрик из компании Vantage-leasing. – Однако водители могут сделать свою машину предметом гордости и содержать ее в порядке. Особенно когда знают, что компанию им может составить пассажир».



===Артем Ковалев===


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