Putin thinks he’ll win in Ukraine because the world will become bored with the war

In the United States, school shootings, gun control, and the potential of Roe v. Wade being overturned are occupying more and more space on news pages. So, I wonder if today’s CNN story After 100 days of war, Putin is counting on the world’s indifference by Nathan Hodge represents a plausible analysis of the future.  Meanwhile, Biden is sending more missiles. That will help, but will it be enough?

Some analysts say that Ukraine will ultimately cede the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk to avoid a protracted war, more lost lives, and continued destruction throughout the rest of the country.  While I can understand why this result could happen, I hope it doesn’t. It would not only be a loss for Ukraine but a black mark for the rest of the world that could have done more.

The world did little when Putin stole Crimea. So it’s possible the world will slowly forget about the rest of Ukraine, or at least Luhansk and Donetsk because–short of risking a nuclear exchange with Russia, people will see there’s nothing more they can do short of adding Sweden and Finland to NATO. That won’t help Ukraine, though, will it?

If Russia is allowed to keep the Donbas region, will it be forced by a treaty agreement to pay reparations to Ukraine for the lives lost, infrastructure destroyed, homes and businesses lost, and people displaced? I suspect not–or perhaps a token amount that adds insult to injury.

I am by no means an expert on international policy, much less Ukraine. Yet I feel the need to say something here, fragile as it may be, to remind people that the war is still going on and that now is not the time for our indifference.


Reminder: “Winterkill,” a novel by Ukrainian Canadian author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, will be released on September 6 and is available now for pre-order. The novel tells a gripping story of how the Soviet Union starved the Ukrainian people in the 1930s — and of their determination to overcome. This genocide is known as the Holodomor.

Putin thinks he’s shooting fish in a barrel

While the war’s not going the way Putin thought it would, which the world salutes with praise of the Ukrainian people and President Zelenskyy, the end seems sadly predestined.

And the world watches without doing anything to stop the carnage. If Russia weren’t a nuclear power whose mad leader hadn’t threatened to rain ICBMs down on any country that intervened militarily, would anyone have sent in troops backed by air strikes?

I assume so. Logically, nobody wants a nuclear war in response to knocking out Russian tanks, artillary, and planes with conventional weapons. To risk that, seems immoral.

But watching Ukraine being destroyed also seems immoral. I suppose most of us check the news in hopes that Ukraine has somehow prevailed only to find out that, say, a hospital has been destroyed and that–slowed down or not–the Russian advance is continuing.

So, we’re immoral no matter what we do. Not that that makes Putin anything other than a war criminal. But how do we sleep at night?

I don’t think we can.

I suppose the President has asked: (1) Can we kill/capture Putin with a black ops team? (2) Do we know where all of Russian’s missles are and, if so, can we take them out?

If he asked these questions, the answers were probably not to Biden’s liking. So, of course we did nothing. According to the latest poll I saw, most Americans agree with this. As far as I can tell, Europeans also agree with confining our efforts to diplomacy.

So far, I think we’re worrying more about rising gasoline prices than the number of Ukrainians killed daily by the Russians. Some speculate that if Russian isn’t stopped in Ukraine, it will move on to Moldova and Poland. This makes me wonder if doing nothing is really the best option.

What do you think?


Trying to be more like Papa Joe, are you Vladimir Vladimirovich?

Let’s suppose Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin woke up a while back in his latest palace with a woe-is-me attitude and thought: “Проклятиеn, I’m getting old and my life has turned into nothing better than vodka, syphilis, and anonymity with reduced odds of catching up with the great deeds of Papa Joe.”

With nothing on his resume since Crimea, he was tired of oligarchs asking, “So Vladimir Vladimirovich, what have you done for us lately?”

In his heart of hearts, such as it was, he thought of the joy Papa Joe must have felt while he was deporting residents of the Baltic countries to Siberia for real or imagined anti-Soviet behavior in 1941. Since most people didn’t know anything about that, history could safely repeat itself with a “cleansing” of Ukraine, those неблагодарные ублюдки (ungrateful bastards) who dare to turn their backs on the former USSR.

Or, there’s another possibility: he’s nuts. Several days ago, the “Daily Beast” wondered if “Putin Will Throw Mother of All Hissy Fits if Kyiv Attack Fails.” Chances are, he’s already having it even though Ukraine’s survival is looking more and more grim.

Ukraine has surprised everyone with its tenacity. If Putin hadn’t threatened a nuclear attack against anyone who intervened, would we have intervened. Probably not, though in spite of its middle ground posture, Israel might have had the guts to do it.

Putin’s ego(maniac) trip is about to change Europe and NATO forever. Too bad the syphilis didn’t kill him first.


I’m gone for a couple of days, and this blog is a mess. . .

Spam has piled up on the front porch, the gas tank is empty, and somebody drank all the wine.

We have no idea why Marlo often fell asleep in a pile of shoes

When our almost 20-year-old cat died, of old age, my wife an I felt like hiding from the world. That meant extra sleep, too much TV, and finding something to read. None of that really works because Marlo had more than her share of personality, stubborness, and all the other qualities that makes cats so catlike.

So, when all that disappears, things feel empty because they are empty. When you have cats, and we’ve had quite a few, you know you’ll lose all of them sooner or later

I can escape missing Marlo for short periods of time with an old book. This one by Ruta Sepetys, Out of the Easy, is pretty good even though it’s not in the same league as Salt to the Sea. You can tell by the title and the cover art that this one’s set in New Orleans where a teenager is earning college money (or, perhaps, her “escape money” by working as a parttime maid at a whore house mainly because her mother works there as one of the girls.

I actually like New Orleans quite a lot. A family vacation there when I was in high school got me hooked. One can become fat just making the rounds of the famous restaurants–which we did. Fortunately, I’m a fan of Cajun food and find that Popeye’s restaurants don’t quite give me an Antoine’s or Galatoire’s kind of experience.

And then there’s the catastropic Ukraine mess which me must more or less watch helplessly since Putin has threatened nuclear war if we intervene. He’s finding conquering Ukraine more difficult than he expected. Naturally, all the nearby countries are wondering if they’re going to be next. I think the world is rather caught in the headlights to have a Hitler-like madman show up right after two bad years of pandemic the aftermath of which continues to wreck our economy while (apparently) contributing to more unrest on city streets.

So, this post is rather a downer, but–for the most part–writers are human, too, and have the same kinds of reactions to bad news and sad times as everyone else.


Russia Hacks WordPress Spam Queues, Distributes Viagra ads to Vatican

Moscow, January 13, 2017, Star-gazer News Service–Red faced officials at Federal’naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii (FSB) confessed today that their hacker bots “went awry” and offloaded millions of dormant WordPress spam queue ads for Viagra, condoms, and sex toys and massaged them into Vatican servers where “computer systems became stuck in limbo.”

According to insiders who were not authorized to admit they were insiders, FSB director Alexander Bortnikov was unavailable for comment because he was personally reading every one of the spam posts to “learn more about helpful products for anyone who might be impotent.”

The Vatican told reporters “we are not amused.”

Putin mobilizes fleet to search for sex bots.
Putin mobilizes fleet to search for sex bots.

Putin complained that the hacker bots were built in North Korea and were guaranteed personally by boss man Kim Jong-un who said, “sometimes Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin) and I get our panties in a wad about the same things. Strange but true. And, as we say in our butt of the woods, ‘Aneun gildo muleogara’ (Even if you know the way, ask one more time.)”

Putin sent a dozen, long-stemmed red roses to the Pope with a card that said, “Lighten up, sweetheart, and start Putin on the Ritz.”

According to Take-a-Leaks, the Russian nonprofit that steals documents without a warrant and shows them to people who aren’t supposed to see them, “We do not have any direct dealings with Mr. Putin or Mr. un, so we are in the clear even though we may have inadvertently sent copies of the critically important information to ‘Weekly Reader,’ ‘Highlights for Children,’ and ‘Watchtower.'”

Various and sundry security agencies in the United States told Congress that “in light of everything that may have happened lately, this is a real hoot for Friday the 13th. We knew somebody somewhere would get caught with their pants down, we just weren’t sure who. Now we can breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn’t us.”

Industry spokesmen said that unauthorized erections were up 20%.

Story by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter


Lame author’s questions and answers


Our guest today is Jock Stewart of Junction City, Texas. He’s the star of Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire, a loose biographical tail, and the author of Jock Stewart Strikes Back.

Stewart: Before you start asking me questions, I want to know where the hell your copy editor is. Look at the title. Makes me look like I’m lame. The questions and answers are lame. “Sea of Fire” isn’t a loose biographical tail, it’s a loosely biographical tale.

MRT: Thank you for acting like a grammar nazi before we hit the questions your readers came here to read. So, tell us about yourself?

Stewart: That’s not a bloody question, it’s an order and I don’t like it. What it shows me is this: you didn’t do your homework before starting this interview. If you had, you’d be asking me questions like, “Were you really raised by alligators in a Florida swamp?” and “Why did you ditch gossip columnist Monique Starnes in favor of shacking up with the mayor’s wife.” But I’m not talking about that. As for me, I’m a newspaper reporter of the old school. Old school reporters smoke cigarettes, drink, shack up with women and do their homework before interviewing people.

MRT: Where do you get your ideas?

Stewart: God help us from questions like that. I get them from the editor. He says, “Stewart, get your ass in here.” Here is is office which is filled with cigarette smoke. There’s usually a gun on the desk. Then he says, “A source told me somebody got killed behind the windmill at the miniature golf course. Go out there and find out who’s dead, how they died, and whether the windmill was damaged in any way.”

MRT: Does “any way” mean blood stains or bullet holes?

Stewart's Boss
Stewart’s Boss

Stewart: It means anything that shuts down the golf course so the kids can’t stop by an drop a few grand playing the links. Last year, the victim was left out there on the 9th hole for a couple of days and he just became another hazard. Business picked up for a while.

MRT: So, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Stewart: That day still hasn’t arrived. But, if you want to know why I work for a newspaper, it’s because I think people need to know what’s happening. That requires writers. My dear old daddy once told me that I wasn’t going to amount to squat and, looking at my career, you can see that he was right. I tried too prove him wrong by going into the gigolo business, but things didn’t work out.

MRT: Where can people find you on the web?

Stewart: They can’t.

MRT: Where can they find you.

Snowden - NSA sketch artist drawing
Snowden – NSA sketch artist drawing

Stewart: If it’s Saturday night, I’m sleeping it off in the slammer. If it’s lunch time, I’m eating lunch. If it’s bedtime, I’m in somebody’s bed. Seriously, I really don’t want to see the kind of people who are usually looking for me.

MRT: What are you working on now?

Stewart: I’m working on getting the hell out of this lame interview as soon as possible. Interviews like this are a dime a dozen. That’s why you see this same list of questions on so many blogs. If you’re talking books, which I guess you must be, my work in progress is called What Edward Snowden Does When He’s Not Taking a Leak.

MRT: I hope you did your homework before you interviewed him and didn’t start out with something lame like “Tell us about yourself.”

Stewart: You’ve got that right. Before I got to Putin’s bedroom, I knew more about Snowden than all the other reporters in the free world.

MRT: Putin’s bedroom?

Putin - Predator drone imagery
Putin – Predator drone imagery

Stewart: People said they were probably in bed together. He wasn’t there, but what with all the Ukrainian separatists, the place was kind of crowded. Snowden has a rich, full life–to the extent that’s possible in a country that was filled with commies a couple of years ago and is trying to revert back to a police state mentality.

MRT: I’m looking forward to the book?

Stewart: Want to be a beta reader?

MRT: No.

Stewart: Good, because real writers don’t need beta readers to tell them how to write. God help us from people who write by committee, it you know what I mean.

MRT: I think I know, but I need to check with my blogging team here to see how to best respond to that question.

Stewart: Figures.

This interview first appeared on the Junction City (TX) Star-Gazer where people found it worked much better than the comics for lining parrot and hamster cages.