Seconds after [Vladimir’s death] a Lausanne nurse precipitated herself bodily upon Véra, with condolences. Véra pushed her away with an acid “S’il vous plaît, Madame.” She had no patience for clichés and did not intend to play the grieving widow. […] Dmitri had driven his mother back to Montreux from the Lausanne hospital at dusk on July 2, in his blue Ferrari, on the last day of his father’s life. Véra had sat silently for a few minutes and then uttered the one desperate line Dmitri ever heard escape her lips: “Let’s rent an airplane and crash.”
Stacy Schiff, Véra: Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov (p. 359-60)
Part 3 everyone! I hope you enjoy and I really hope to get page four up soooooon!!!
“So, what time did you get me home?” Danny said, sipping his sickeningly-sweet beverage, enjoying the warmth it left on his lips.
“Well… I believe I carried you to your bed around maybe a quarter-past four, so I can only assume it was close to four in the morning.”
“Wow… so really really late,” Danny paused to set down his cup, “and you carried me, old man?”
Vlad scoffed and halfheartedly glared at Danny, “I’m in my forties, I am not yet frail, Daniel. Besides, how else did you think I could keep up with your meddling?” The older man playfully punched the teen’s shoulder, making Danny cough out a light laugh.
Non lo nascondo: sono così disabituato all'idea della gente – ti prego, capiscimi – così disabituato, che i primi minuti del nostro incontro mi sembravano uno scherzo, un travestimento ingannevole… Ci sono solo alcune cose di cui è difficile parlare: si scuote il loro meraviglioso polline toccandole con le parole… Sì, ho bisogno di te, del mio racconto di fate. Perché tu sei l'unica persona a cui posso parlare del grido di una nuvola, del canto di un pensiero e del fatto che quando oggi sono andato a lavorare e ho visto ogni girasole in faccia, mi hanno sorriso anche loro con i loro semi.
Vladimir Nabokov nella sua prima lettera alla moglie Vera (citato da Stacy Schiff in Véra: Mrs Vladimir Nabokov)
“Mr. Poinsette is so lovely, and practically a miracle for me. I was so nervous I wouldn’t be hired, and then I didn’t know what we would do. Most of our caps were used in the move. But, anyway–yes, Mr. Poinsette is a wonderful person, and I’ve wondered if he might be open to talking to my mother about taking better care of herself, but she’s still a bit…a bit bitter about the ghoul thing…
“Oh, and Mr. Poinsette’s husband, Vladimir. He’s very sweet. I’ve only met him a few times and I admit that I was a bit frightened, but he can’t help what’s been done to him and I have to remember that. I don’t think he could hurt a fly.”
I was asked for more Vladimir, and really felt the need to write some Vinny after last night’s cuddle dump. I also obviously interpreted that as ‘more Vladimir trolling the fuck out of his mortified son’, because that’s how I roll.
(Anton and Charlie could start a gross-generational club of grumpy blond(e)s with father issues and pictures of tiny them with the Cup
Marc and Vladimir one as superstar fathers who ruthlessly take advantage of their child’s mortification.
And Vinny and Leon could start one for sweet natured boys who love dinosaurs, rawr!)
She spent her time parsing the newspapers, checking Boyd’s every word, reading aloud the work of Pushkin, Blok, Tyutchev, Nabokov with Dmitri in the evenings, attempting to teach the Italian cook English. […] Stephen Parker saw her later in the summer of 1990. Tears began to roll out of her still-radiant eyes when the subject turned to Vladimir.
Stacy Schiff, Véra: Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov (p. 373)
Betsy DeVos, whom Donald Trump has nominated as education secretary, doesn’t know basic education terms, doesn’t know about federal statutes governing special education, but thinks school officials should carry guns to defend against grizzly bears.
Monica Crowley, selected as deputy national security adviser, withdrew after it was revealed that much of her past writing was plagiarized. Many other national security positions remain unfilled, and it’s unclear how much if any of the briefing materials prepared by the outgoing administration have even been read.
Meanwhile Rex Tillerson, selected as secretary of state, casually declared that America would block Chinese access to bases in the South China Sea, apparently unaware that he was in effect threatening to go to war if China called his bluff.
Do you see a pattern here?
It was obvious to anyone paying attention that the incoming administration would be blatantly corrupt. But would it at least be efficient in its corruption?
Many Trump voters certainly thought they were choosing a smart businessman who would get things done. And even those who knew better may have hoped that the president-elect, his ego finally sated, would settle down to running the country — or at least delegate the boring business of governing America to people actually capable of doing the job.
But it’s not happening. Mr. Trump hasn’t pivoted, matured, whatever term you prefer. He’s still the insecure, short-attention-span egomaniac he always was. Worse, he is surrounding himself with people who share many of his flaws — perhaps because they’re the sort of people with whom he is comfortable.
So the typical Trump nominee, in everything from economics to diplomacy to national security, is ethically challenged, ignorant about the area of policy he or she is supposed to manage and deeply incurious. Some, like Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s choice as national security adviser, are even as addicted as their boss to internet conspiracy theories. This isn’t a team that will compensate for the commander in chief’s weaknesses; on the contrary, it’s a team that will amplify them.
Why does this matter? If you want a model for how the Trump-Putin administration is likely to function (or malfunction), it’s helpful to recall what happened during the Bush-Cheney years.
People tend to forget the extent to which the last Republican administration was also characterized by cronyism, the appointment of unqualified but well-connected people to key positions. It wasn’t as extreme as what we’re seeing now, but it was striking at the time. Remember “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”? And it caused very real damage.
In particular, if you want some notion of what Trump governance is likely to look like, consider the botched occupation of Iraq. People who knew anything about nation-building weren’t wanted; party loyalists — and corporate profiteers — took their place. There’s even a little-known connection: Betsy DeVos’s brother, Erik Prince, founded Blackwater, the mercenary outfit that, among other things, helped destabilize Iraq by firing into a crowd of civilians.
Now the conditions that prevailed in Iraq — blind ideology, contempt for expertise, effective absence of any enforcement of ethics rules — have come to America, but in a far more acute form.
And what will happen when we face a crisis? Remember, Katrina was the event that finally revealed the costs of Bush-era cronyism to all.
Crises of some kind are bound to occur on any president’s watch. They appear especially likely given the crew that’s coming in and their allies in Congress: Given the stated priorities of the people about to take charge, we could very well see collapsing health care, a trade war and a military standoff with China just in the next year.
But even if we somehow skirt those dangers, stuff always happens. Maybe there will be a new economic crisis, helped along by the rush to undo financial regulation. Maybe there will be a foreign affairs crisis, say over adventurism in the Baltics by Mr. Trump’s good friend Vladimir. Maybe it will be something we’re not thinking about. Then what?
Real crises need real solutions. They can’t be resolved with a killer tweet, or by having your friends in the F.B.I. or the Kremlin feed the media stories that take your problems off the front page. What the situation demands are knowledgeable, levelheaded people in positions of authority.
But as far as we know, almost no people meeting that description will be in the new administration, except possibly the nominee for defense secretary — whose nickname just happens to be “Mad Dog.”
So there you have it: an administration unprecedented in its corruption, but also completely unprepared to govern. It’s going to be terrific, let me tell you.
Paul Krugman lays down the hammer on the truth about the incoming administration’s way of operating.
You and Matt spent the entire weekend resting up during the day and then patrolling the streets at night. Your stomach wound is healing up thanks to the stitches. When you told Matt about it, he got really concerned thinking that the Avengers somehow hurt you on purpose. Of course, they would never do something like that. Matt is still curious about the time you spent with them. But you insist that’s all that happened, you just made a deal. One that works for everyone.