Saturday, February 28, 2004



Such a life!

You know, there are some good things to be said for Russian /Belarussian cutlure. Sometimes I forget to see the brighter side of things. I feel much better this morning and I guess that affects my mood quite a bit and I am… you get the idea.

Do you know about kefir? Kefir is really good. Kefir is sour milk. Um, well, it is not like good milk that has gone bad, it is more like sour cream, but it pour like maybe thick whipping cream (I am writing for the Americans on my reader list here). The stuff must come directly from God. If you have a sour stomach, as you would have after drinking some, or a lot of vodka the night before, the re-introduction of kefir into your system induces a reaction close to an orgasm I would think. There is a word in Russian “Lakarstva” and it could mean medicine, but more probably should be translated as “cure”. And this is certainly what kefir is. Great stuff. I want to be in that business!

What else is good? Potatoes and cabbage. Potatoes and cabbage is really good food. Is that a stupid thing to say? I don’t think so. You get up in the morning and there is a pot of freshly boiled potatoes and a salad made from either fresh (like today’s was) or from pickled “kapusta”- sour kraut? Yea maybe sour kraut if you leave it sour. But you can wash it with water and all of the “kisly”, all of the sour goes out of it. Then it is “Vkusna”, tasty. Sometimes, like today, it can be “vkusnaaaaaaa!” and yes it was.

What else is good? “Gorke” is very good. Kids sliding down a hill on the ice. They surf the ice on streets in the winter, too but “Igraet Gorke”, playing with sleds is better. Sledding? No that is in the snow. That’s a different word. Gorke, that rocks. I have done it too. Once…

Drinking vodka together is very, very good. There is nothing like a “xorosho sadits”, a really good sit down with friends where you talk and laugh and eat… What is good to eat at a sadits? A “bank” of “ogorkie e pomadoree, modzet beet” a batch of pickes and pickled tomatoes, maybe; and chorny xleb- brown bread. Eta, ochen xorosho- this is really good. Always together. I like to drink and chase with slices of fresh lemon, but also kapusta ili kartoshka peroshke, fried bread doe (teste) filled with cabbage or potatoes is good too. No, better is to chase the vodka with a stakonchic rosol! Nu da!, oh yes, a glass of the water from the jar of pickles, this is very good too…

River hockey, and soccer in the snow… and the slightly reddened faces of the young girls wrapped in their warm fur coats as they walk down the streets…

And there are some really good words: Strasvichi! Good health to you. A respectful greeting. Privyet! An informal greeting. Prexodee, come on in. A very good word to hear. And one goodbye word here is really good: Shesleva! Be happy. Ochen xorosho slov, a very, very good word.

I am reading my mail as I write this (Ya chitayoo mayoo pochtoo). Here is another couple of good words from a former student of mine: I apologize (Izvenitsa, in Russian, though this letter is in English.)

“…You also asked about the decision and I didn’t understand. I thought it was clear, that nothing has shown yet. I was wrong. I think it was the word “always” I didn’t use. I thought that using Present Simple tense to express a habit, something that courts always or usually do is enough. Sorry for not being precise. And that long break just made it worse. Sorry for all that stress I cost you. The only letter that came from the court was on Monday 23rd of February. And I really was too late with that too. I’m just irresponsible. I know it is time for me to grow up and I only wanted to apologize that I forgot how important is this case for you.”

Nice. OK, now I gotta write back.

-Thank you. I appreciate your words. Would you be so kind as to translate this for me?

To: The court secretary’s office.
Dears Sirs,
Would you please be so kind as to mail me the minutes (the full record) of the upper courts session concerning my case from February 10th, 2004.
And also, could you please include some information about what the court has done in regards to the charges I requested to be pressed against Tomas Zeremba. I requested charges to be pressed on several occasions, the last time was specifically included in my letter to the courts from early May, 2003 clarifying and confirming that I would be writing my own appeal and that I had “not” requested the dismissal of my attorney.
Please send this to me quickly to the below address:

Blah blah blah

Adam Goodman

Cool. What else is there to do?

Ah, got a letter from Coca Cola. I wrote to them in the hope of finding some sponsorship for the bike team here. The bike “komand” is so poor and the bikes, which the school has had to try and keep up for like… a decade without any new parts… terrible situation. I wrote to Coke to see if the would sponsor the team. Here is the letter I wrote to them:

Subject: Coca-Cola Web Form

Dear Sirs,

I am an American living in Belarus and I am writing to you in the hope of gaining
sponsorship for a school bicycle club.

School number 4, or the bike school located at the end of Pinsk has a long history of accomplishment in velosport. They are however, absolutely destitute of funds for this year. The head trainer is Nicholai Drugaren, himself a former champion of both
Belarus and of the whole USSR in cyclocross and individual time trial. But he has a budget for parts that is legitimately zero. All of the bikes are at least 15 to twenty years old and there are simply no replacement parts left, and no money to buy new.

I have been helping out somewhat with the team, but I simply do not have the personal funds to do very much.

The teams specific needs are for peddles and shoes, new bottom brackets for the bikes and some jerseys, helmets and shorts.

The riders, all aged from 10 to 16 have heart and drive. They are all good sportsmen, and one rider named Max has got a chance to win this year in the regional tournaments.

Pinsk is a town of about 130,000 people, and we have at least one city bus bearing
the red and white Coca-Cola logo, so I thought I would write and ask about some sponsorship funding for the kids. Our thinking was that we would be proud to wear Coca-Cola Jerseys during races this year if Coke would agree to sponsor our team.

Please write me back and let me know if this request is possible.

Yours truly,

Adam Goodman

Pinsk, Belarus

Ok, lets see what they said:

We appreciate your interest in the Coca-Cola Company and will respond to your e-mail as quickly as possible.
Your thread ID is… blah blah blah…. Please refer to this ID for future assistance on your message.
We thank you for your patience.
The Coca-Cola Company.

Sigh… What next?

Ah, a letter from my friend Bruce…

Aha…aha…aha… Bruce writes a good letter. Oy chort! Yesterday was his birthday. I didn’t know.

A Happy 71st birthday to Bruce Gaskins!
Teacher, philanthropist, world traveler, philosopher, entrepreneur, tree planter, expounder on the importance of education, a fountain for esoteric knowledge and a great friend.

Happy birthday Bruce! Prexodee! Garden space aplenty!

What else… Oh, yea, I wanted to add the letter from Foster Stolte of the American Embassy to the ANNOTATED COURT DOCUMENTS page… OK, gotta find that… Oh, and I wanted to blog up my correspondences with Marcin Borus. He was my second attorney, and we wrote a lot of letters between us. Very telling, very telling. You match up these letters against what was actually known at the time, not what I was allowed to know, but what was generally known if you actually spoke Polish, and you get a nice clear view of the “conspiracy”. That might take a day or two, but I’ll get that done.

I probably should have done this earlier, but I guess if there is an explanation for it, it is that the focus of all of this was originally on the book. This is no longer the case as this blog has become an entity of its own. So, my new thinking is that I need complete disclosure here on the blog, and then let the book take care of itself. And also, I thought I might take the book into the shop for an edit. The two reasons for this are that because of the dispersal of the general information over the web in this format, there is a change in what is necessary for the book. And also a lot has happened since the original conclusion of the book, and that should perhaps be part of the story too.

OK, that’s enough for today. I guess that history thing, and the flu, and the ankle was a lot for me. Tough week. I feel better this morning. Dada dzit- you gotta live. Vsyo butet xorosho- everything will be OK. Pochemoo nyet? Why not?

Bolshe Zavtra
More tomorrow.