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English / 30.05.2020

Book "Father’s Time"

“Father’s time” – is that book about father, or son? Maybe it’s about time.

Reading again literature from school program, tried to imagine – what if “Fathers and sons” Turgenev would write today, how it would look like? After almost 150 years, in time of internet and everlasting rush, “wild business” and “drugs”, skinheads and gastarbeiters, cold relationships between relatives and warm love of strangers. And most important, what could connect today two generations, one born in non-existing empire of state standards, and another, formed in fight of antagonisms?

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English / 17.05.2020

The destructive energy of creation...

Philips and Sony unveiled their invention, the CD, in the ’80s. Owners of music studios tried the novelty out. How can one make a music lover buy a Beatle album again? Release it on a new medium.

The production costs of the CD were lower than those of vinyl, and yet the invention was being sold for more money. Music producers destroyed the vinyl market and set revenue records. The ’90s were the platinum time for studios.

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English / 16.05.2020

The roads of childhood

— I remember myself from the age of three...

— But I have memories since I was two.

Friends were arguing about who had the earliest memories. And I realized that I don’t remember myself in childhood... Not that I don’t remember anything at all. I don’t remember winter. I only remember summer and the moment when that summer of my childhood ended.

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English / 15.05.2020

How are the coolest among us being controlled?

School teachers remind me of elephants on a rope. Do you remember this urban myth? In Africa, a small elephant was tied to a tree with a rope, so that he couldn’t run away. The elephant grew up, but he got used to the rope’s power, which he could now easily tear off. Nevertheless, the habit was stronger than common sense. At the same time, the latter isn’t something they lack. Elephants are highly intelligent animals. They could teach some humans a lesson…

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English / 14.05.2020

Brasileiro

His fingers were freezing from the cold. Gauntlets over the gloves, winter boots… None of this protected him from the harsh wind. The arctic ocean is nearby. Is that where the wind is blowing from?

— Brasileiro, why did you get distracted? Hook it up... — commanded the crew chief. He was making sure that the workers were quick at hanging the fish to dry.

Brasileiro looked at the cod with hatred. Cod, cod, cod... Those who never lived in northern Europe would not understand the significance of this fish. It would be shocking to find out that in the second half of the 20th century, there were three times when Iceland was ready to start a war with England over codfish.

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English / 12.05.2020

Alive

“How do I feel waves? How do I sense the wave of energy going through my body? No matter how many times I try, I just can’t do it.” I have been asked this question hundreds of times. Finally, I’ve found the time and the place to answer it.

First: a word of warning. How it all “actually” works is unknown to theoretical physicists, gurus, and “even” to me… But there are some things I understand and some things I believe.

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English / 22.04.2020

Rule of the Weakest

A dense leader confident in their authority likes to give out orders.

“Because I said so!” the strongman loudly exclaims.

The leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution, comrade Trotsky, called all the shots himself. He did it to show that he was the master of life and death. Trotsky was outsmarted by comrade Stalin.

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English / 16.04.2020

The Student

I’m watching time grinding big businesses to dust. Some of them I know quite well. Just yesterday, their owners used to think they were rich. Today they find out: a couple more months of quarantine and only dust will remain of all their treasures. And not golden dust — gray dust. Tomorrow, those who used to be held up as an example to all will be forgotten. New heroes will appear. Looking at these stories, I remember the words of my Teacher:

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English / 14.04.2020

The Simple Person's Nightmare

I am a complex person. And there exist simple people. Simple people have it really bad right now. A simple person is faced with a crisis and doesn't know what to do with themselves. What is a crisis for them? They used to work as a fitness trainer, and now they can't. They have to rebuild their whole life, but how? Their slightly more advanced friends and relatives tell them:

“Well, you can do workouts through Skype!”

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English / 11.04.2020

Don’t You Worry, Dear, You’re Tripping

There are hallucinations that we join in on. And there are those that we walk past. And there are people who hallucinate, but don’t want to share their world — we call them schizophrenics. Schizophrenics are outsiders in our hallucinogenic world. We’re not going to talk about them today. We’re going to talk about the leaders of the hallucinogenic world.

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English / 27.03.2020

Where does the price come from?

The Marxists took offense at me. We have an article called "Don Juan's Wall". In the article, I wrote about the unexpected consequences of quarantine. But I made an ideological mistake. I refused to consider the overproduction crisis as the cause of the Great Depression. And then it hit me.

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English / 26.03.2020

Dentist's Spartakiade. Or the life of Spartacus

— I used to run like a wolf! I looked at everything in a skirt. And now?.. — says Sparta-cus — a strong man in his 60s.

— The computer is frozen — I can't do an X-ray. Let's go for a smoke, — Spartacus is the dentist of dreams. Even in the middle of treatment, he can offer a smoke break on his balcony, the way to which is through the hallway with a shelving unit. On the shelves are Soviet books on dentistry with new-fashioned magazines...

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English / 24.03.2020

Don Juan’s Wall

The cause of the Great Depression is commonly considered to be an overproduction crisis. I disagree. In my view, the reason for the Great Depression was as follows: the technological landscape changed, but the people were not prepared for it mentally. There was a disconnect between what the people were used to and the new world. Read the history of the First World War. You will see: at first, everyone thought that it would last a couple months. People were used to waging war a certain way. Then, the English had to face the reality that world had changed…

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English / 14.03.2020

Heavenly place

Far away from the yacht, closer to the shore, tourists were surfing the sea on water skis and jet skis. Children were wading in shallow water, and you could watch them from the little white house on the slope. From this house, you could hear the laughter of the vacationists, the squeals of the children and the roars of the engines. The housing in this area was blatantly called the “Heavenly place”. And in this heavenly place, an older couple was discussing their plans for the day:

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English / 06.03.2020

Whetstone for attention

— So the secret to success is to be in the right place at the right time?" - Someone asked in the Dark Side chat. How can I comment on this? Let me tell you about a multi-million dollar deal I once made. I'm not telling the story to show off as the money was already spent for parties in the city a long time ago — there is nothing to brag about. I'm telling the story to illustrate one principle.

So, here is the story. At a restaurant in Moscow, there was this construction businessman, his PR guy, and me. I had already handed over a report on my work. I was having some coffee, meanwhile listening to them discussing the promotion of business operations abroad.

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English / 05.03.2020

Queen of the spoken word...

Tanya’s mother beat her weekly. She tried to restrain herself, and not hit her child every day, but it didn't always work out. It was all thanks to her daughter being so different with her fantastical stupidity and incredible self-confidence.

“You realize that you can't even work as a janitor? Today, even they have a higher education... And you can't even string three words together," shouted the fat math teacher.

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English / 02.03.2020

The story of the clubber-programmer, kinesiologist-cyberneticist, and writer-investment banker

— I need to self-determine myself! — our interlocutor started with a banality. Ilya and I experienced a toothache. From the depths of memory rose the shadows of businessmen who had lost their lives in attempts to determine themselves, or rather to put a label on themselves. In the meantime, our vis-a-vis was throwing the names of the great ones on the table:

— Nassim Taleb — this is the second writer after Nikolai Mokhov (Nikolai Mokhov's ego is growing like the bitcoin exchange rate during a hype), John (well, of course, Grinder, co-founder of NLP), Castaneda (no wonder our interlocutor practiced tensegrity)...

And then he told his story. And his story refuted the theories of many respected authors, including those mentioned. I would write this story down with a pen, roll up the paper, and put it in a bottle, go out to sea on a yacht, and throw it into deep waters. But I don't have a yacht, and I don't have a pen, so read the letters electronically...

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English / 02.03.2020

Superstar of Conversational Writing

Oh! Were you expecting something? That’s odd. So many people gathered, and nothing’s happening. No-thing. Absolutely nothing. Can you imagine it? You might have thought we’d have a new text for you here, maybe even a story. One with elements of philosophical and theological discussion, one filled with real stories and adapted for practical use. So many expectations, and here I am, unprepared. I didn’t write a single word. It’s embarrassing, really. Well, don’t you worry. We’ll find something to “snack on”. I can’t promise a real feast of the mind, but there will be some food for thought. Like a diligent housewife who wasn’t expecting guests, I’ll have to come up with something on the spot. That’s not a problem. I just have to find the first Word. The second one will find itself. And before you know it, we’ll have enough for some salad and a couple sandwiches. It’s no Christmas dinner, sure, but if you pull out that bottle you have stashed away…

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English / 27.02.2020

Leonardo’s Notes

“The problem is, Nikolai, that you never finish anything you start. You don’t even have a degree,” my girlfriend scolded me. We were on the subway.
She had just received some money to make a website, where she would eventually put up some boring local news. The site had dramatically less subscribers than even her Facebook page. In a couple years, the project went bankrupt. But she never lost her faith in the magical formula:

“You need closure. Every beginning has an end…”

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English / 26.02.2020

Toxic?!

...And the complaints started coming in from all over the Internet. We heard a quacking from the Facebook swamp:

— And my mum used to tell me: haven't you eaten too much? My mum's toxic!

"Toxes will never admit their mistakes!" the second frog answered her...

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English / 09.02.2020

How to feel the energy?

- I feel on top of the world... I'm so excited! Like I'm in love! I'm in the flow! This is energy, isn't it?

How do you answer this question? I do not even know... Oh, I've just remembered a story about this! A young man made a million, lets say dollars. So he decides to celebrate. He goes out to restaurants and clubs throwing money around like confetti and stuffing cash down girls' underwear. He is in the zone, and he invests the rest of the money in a new business. So he asks in the middle of the party...

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English / 08.02.2020

Babylonian Squabbles

Once again I wondered: why is it so difficult to understand other people? Recently, we had a heated discussion in our chat. One of our readers pondered: what motivates young people these days to join power structures where there is “no place for individualism”? Someone suggested they could be compared to Batman: “Being afraid of bats, he decided to become one of them. So did these people: being afraid of the authorities, they decided to become them.” Someone else had a counter question, “How successful would they be had they not decided to join these structures?”

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English / 04.02.2020

The thought of eternal life

Neuroscientists say that the bigger the brain, the longer a mammal lives. And there is also a commonplace observation: people who are engaged in research, teaching, and theoretical science live long. You can count straight from Plato, who died at the age of eighty. His colleague Newton at 84, Mendeleev at 72, Einstein at 76, physicist Niels Bohr at 77, and so on. And the other day I was walking around Cyprus with a PhD, so she told me:

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English / 29.01.2020

The Final Life Purpose

How do you find your purpose? This question torments the poor and the rich alike. And if someone thinks that once they earn millions and billions, they will no longer have to worry about it... I will run as fast as I can, fall, rub my knees (ouch!), and still keep running, just to make sure I'm there on time to disappoint the reader. The question of purpose weighs on anyone-regardless of the bank statement. And if the reader is curious, I'm going to tell a story about a very wealthy man.

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English / 12.01.2020

Where do we store the energy?

— How do you gather the energy?" - readers have been asking this question for four years. And recently we couldn't stand it and responded with a little sarcasm:

- Excuse me, but where are you going to store it? — we wrote in the chat.

"Mmmmm..." the person responded. And then we gave in to memories and fantasies:

— There was an article somewhere... Something about an energy piggy bank… Maybe an energy bath?...

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English / 07.01.2020

Bored

I once lived with a girl who knew the real nature of boredom.

- I'm bored to death! Tell me something ... ”, she said.

“Not now”, I stared at the wall. I wanted to think out an interesting idea.

“Why aren't you talking to me?"

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English / 07.01.2020

The Teacher's Label

A fat writer Dima Bykov in poor health with his head held high has distinguished himself. He has decided to rank in descending order the passed away colleagues. Some of them has been ranked first, others take second and even third places. Sergei Dovlatov has been taken down a peg next to his classmates. The teacher Bykov gave him a satisfactory grade. He even didn’t hide that he wanted to give him a poor grade.

Dima Bykov has unleashed a war on social media by his ranking. Somebody noticed that the teacher is not good even at his own domain. Someone replied that he have been aware of Dovlatov’s bad marks... I was astonished by the desire to make value judgements about literature and even the literary characters. This approach reeks of the judgments of school teachers. It's not the most pleasant aroma...

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English / 02.01.2020

How Fair Ladies Rule

“What is power? Who needs it?” a pretty girl asked me. It was a difficult question. Talking to a beautiful woman, you want to say something funny, something light-hearted. You want to tell a joke. But talking about power you’re one step away from seeming boring. Can I avoid this fate? I’m afraid no. I’ll have to write my answer, at the risk of being perceived as dull. Well, what else can I do? Maybe at least She’ll read it..?

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English / 31.12.2019

Brain-sucking

Exactly one question determines whether or not to part with a person. The question goes like this:

— Can I live without this person?

If the answer is "I can't live without...", then it's time to break up. The thought of "how can he/she live without me?.." is the same tune. Romantic creatures will tear apart for this story, but it's true. Any affection is harmful. Failure to leave a relationship leads to the one becoming a tyrant, and the other a slave. Even if no one wanted to be a tyrant.

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English / 28.11.2019

Vampires True and False

“How can I tell if my girlfriend is an energy vampire?” this wonderful question appeared in the Dark Side’s chat recently.

I can picture it vividly. The reader, having carefully whittled their wooden stake, is preparing to strike down their new lover. I suggest they put down their weapon, restore the cloves of garlic to the kitchen cabinet, and get that silver bullet melted down. Maybe it could make a nice pendant for the “vampiress”…

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English / 22.10.2019

Escaping Fate?

My grandfather Semyon escaped dekulakization, a wave of Soviet repressions in the 1930s. He grew up in a big family. His father died fighting in the First World War, and his grandfather (my great-grandfather) had a fairly decent, by rural standards, household. He had a sturdy house, some horses… In the Soviet thirties, this was a death sentence.

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English / 27.09.2019

Corporations and Attempting to Escape Them

If you think there’s no one behind the success of the latest star, rich businessman, or even talented writer... Then you should probably go to the eye doctor. There’s definitely something wrong with your eyesight.

“We are dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants,” as a very wise man once put it. It’s never been more true: all modern achievements resulted from joint efforts, not from prideful individualism.

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English / 09.09.2019

Brasileiro. Chapter II

Part I. Vaeroy
Chapter II. The travelers’ club

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English / 07.09.2019

Brasileiro. Chapter III

Part I. Vaeroy
Chapter III. Camping

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English / 06.09.2019

Brasileiro. Chapter VI

Part I. Vaeroy
Chapter IV. Agnete and the Merman

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English / 12.06.2019

Rule of Thumb

For many years, we on the Dark Side have been repeating the same advice to our female readers: if you want to woo a man, just give him the scarcest commodity of the modern world – a compliment. The ladies nod in response. They tense their facial muscles and hiss something approving through their teeth, but they can never keep it up. Invariably they end up flinging mud and criticism at their beloved, and with passion at that. And then these fair ladies stroll through their respective cities and see a striking picture...

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English / 07.06.2019

Why Do You Need a Relationship?

As any person in their right mind, many years ago I would have found the question ridiculous. What do you mean, “Why?” Isn’t it obvious? It's love, it's family, that’s just how it goes, it’s human nature, what am I, some kind of loner… bottom line: I had a lot of answers to such a silly question.

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English / 07.06.2019

In the times of Father

My father played a mean joke on me. Our discussions, though rare, always left me in a state of slight to heavy confusion. For example, when I was five years old, he told me: “A man could never imagine two things: infinity and eternity”. My mind, young and inquisitive as it was, decided to test that statement. I sat down in my room and tried to imagine the supposedly unimaginable entities. This led to intense drooling.

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