My 1 1/2 year daughter uses her vocabulary of three words to great effect. She’s grown quite confident and comfortable with her three words. I even wonder if her development will progress at all because her needs are so adequately met my her three words. They are “ma ma”, “ka ka” (which means dad), and more interestingly “am”.

“am” is by far the most interesting. It may mean a few things:

feed me
give me
take this

So, the other day, I was slicing a tomato in the kitchen — a little bit distractedly as my eggs were already in the pan. Marichka was in her grandmother’s arms, and she said “am”, then again, “am”, and then . . . as loudly and angrily as I’d ever heard her say anything, “AAAAMMMM!”.

Shocked, and realizing she was addressing me, I turned toward her. She appeared a bit embarrassed and reverted to her typical angelic countenance, and, having gotten my attention, said in a small, sweet, modest voice, “am”.

I gave her all the slices of tomatoes she wanted.

edit – I guess she has a fourth word in her vocabulary: “pa pa”. Goodbye.

Ex-President Poroshenko Defiant As He Returns To Ukraine To Face Treason Charges

This can cause the political instability which Russia is waiting for.

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has returned to Ukraine to fight treason charges he rejects as politically motivated.

“We are here not to defend Poroshenko. We are here to defend Ukraine,” he told a crowd of hundreds of supporters gathered at Kyiv’s airport after arriving on a flight from Warsaw on January 17.

“We have to unite to show that Ukraine is strong and is able to stand against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s aggression,” said Poroshenko, who has been out of the country since December.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations (DBR) said it had tried to serve a subpoena to the 56-year-old former president, who it claimed refused to take the documents.

Later on January 17, a Kyiv court is expected to rule on whether to remand Poroshenko in custody pending investigation and trial.


Senate Democrats BLOCK Ted Cruz’s bill to impose sanctions on Russia for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as talks with Moscow over Ukraine disintegrate

Senate Democrats defeated a bill Thursday sponsored by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that would sanction businesses associated with Nord Stream 2.

The vote on Cruz’s measure sanctioning operators of the pipeline was 55-44, short of the 60 it needed to pass.

Democrats denounced the bill as a GOP political gesture that would have harmed relations with European allies.


EU launches investigation after Russia’s Gazprom reduces gas supplies to Europe

By the end of 2021 and in January 2022, Gazprom’s supplies dropped sharply. In the first days of the new year, the company was delivering to the EU only 54 million cubic meters per day – half as much as on the same dates a year earlier.

Due to reduced supplies, storage facilities in Germany and Austria were depleted. At the beginning of 2022 there was less gas in them than at the end of the heating seasons of the last five years.

“There are significant elements of shortage in the European gas market due to Russia’s actions,” said the head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol.

. . . .

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a large press conference on December 21 said that the reduction in Russian supplies is due to a lack of demand from European consumers. “What is there to supply if there are no purchase orders?” wondered Putin.

A week later, at a meeting on gas issues, he said that Russia would increase gas supplies as soon as the EU approves the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.


Italian public TV @RaiUno has been broadcasting reports from occupied Donetsk

For the last three days, Italian public TV @RaiUno
has been broadcasting reports from occupied Donetsk. In these reports, Russia is praised for rebuilding the city, war is described as between Russia and the US, and Ukrainians are called fascists.

November Trip to the Carpatians

The Rocks are known locally as the “Uhorski Skeli” (Hungarian Cliffs) or “Carpy”.

Apparently “Carpy” are also legendary giants who some believe first settled the Carpathian mountains. They said that some of the giants sat down and turned into those stones.

In the gallery below, be sure to check out the home-made wheel barrow at the remote and isolated homestead where we stopped for lunch.


My wife and I completed our annual donations today. We do it every holiday season. We give to charities and to some independent media which are important to us. Mormons tithe 10% of their income to their church. I think donating 1% of one’s annual income around the holiday season is a reasonable baseline. It asserts some degree of responsibility for the society around us.

Special Update: Western Media Reports that Russia has Withdrawn 10,000 Troops from the Ukrainian Border are Inaccurate

Western misreporting about these exercises likely began in a misleading Reuters headline. Independent Russian news outlet Interfax accurately reported that 10,000 SMD troops finished exercises and returned “from the field” to their permanent bases.[3] Reuters inaccurately quoted Interfax’s report with the headline, “More than 10,000 Russian troops returning to bases after drills near Ukraine [emphasis added] -Interfax.”[4] Interfax did not characterize the 10,000 troops as exercising “near Ukraine,” did not characterize the SMD report as being a drawdown, and listed the locations where the exercises occurred across southern Russia and the Caucuses. Other Western media outlets ran with Reuters’ characterization of the 10,000 troops withdrawing from “near Ukraine,” amplifying an inaccurate perception of Russia recently reducing its force posture near Ukraine.

Russia likely has not decreased its force posture around Ukraine.


Threat of War?

ABC: The US embassy in Ukraine is seeking additional security staff to temporarily fill in next month, as the “permanent staff continue Emergency Preparations in case of Authorized or Ordered Departure”


Kyiv: Russia does not have enough troops on Ukrainian borders for a full-scale invasion

Russia continues to move troops near Ukrainian borders and territories of the Donbas which are not under Ukraine’s control, but this is not sufficient. Russia would need to have three to five times more troops for a full-scale invasion, said Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov in an interview with the Current Time.

At the same time, he stressed that the threat of an invasion still exists.

“Of course, there is a constant threat for us. We have been living with this threat for seven years, and it is not news to us that Russian troops are located on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It is they who are waging war against our country,” he said.

Danilov added that the most dangerous areas at present are Mariupol and other places in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The NSDC Secretary also believes that Russia’s main goal was direct negotiations with the United States, and the Kremlin has achieved it.

“We will watch how events will develop now that Russia has given the actual ultimatum to the United States and the NATO countries, ” he said.

Danilov also believes that Putin wants to “reinforce” Russia’s seizure of Crimea, to show that Ukraine has ceased to exist within its current borders.


Fatherhood Moments

Marichka must have seen people blowing their noses. Several times she held a tissue to her face and sputtered her lips, making a sound similar to blowing ones nose.


Marchika gave me a toy, a sort of blob of rubber in the vague shape of an animal, then she pointed up and started making sounds, wanting something. I thought maybe she wanted the magnets fixed to pole, so I offered them, but she kept gesticulating. My wife explained it. I threw the blob to the ceiling and it stuck with a splat. Marichka laughed. Then the pushed a chair over, pointed up and started gesticulating again. That’s the game. I climbed up, peeled the blog off the ceiling and stepped down. Marichka refused to take it, but insisted I throw it again.