Also in The Times, Ligaya Mishan, contemplating lentils, had lyrical leguminous fun: “They start out as pebbles in the hand, hard and tiny — in certain parts of the world, they are the size against which all small things are measured. Then, in the pot, their little stony hearts melt. They soften, loosen up and let other flavors in. They’re still discrete, still individuals, but now joined in common cause, and they swell and grow plump, so you end up with more than twice as much, velvety and lush.” (Stella Liu, Manhattan)
Paul Krugman noted: “Putin’s response to failure in Ukraine has been extremely Trumpian: insisting that his invasion is all going ‘according to plan,’ refusing to admit having made any mistakes and whining about cancel culture. I’m half expecting him to release battle maps crudely modified with a Sharpie.” (Avi Liveson, Chatham, N.J., and Valerie Masin, Boston, among others)
And Bret Stephens, in his weekly back-and-forth with Gail Collins, wrote: “It looks like we have a new superinfectious subvariant of Covid to keep us awake at night. Forget Omicron, now we’ve got Omigod.” (Kris Schaff, Omaha, Neb., and Larry Berman, Westfield, N.J.)
In National Parks magazine, Jacob Baynham reported on a positive reaction to the meatless, fungus-based breakfast patties he cooked for his family one morning: “Our disobedient dog begged at my feet, an endorsement tempered by the fact that he also eats mouth guards, used tissues and socks.” (Peter Alexander, Longmont, Colo.)
In a review of “Brezhnev: The Making of a Statesman,” by Susanne Schattenberg, in The London Review of Books, Neal Ascherson wrote: “Polish communism was dead, though it took nearly eight years for the nation to wriggle out from under the corpse.” (George Milman, Beverly Hills, Calif.)
And in his Weekly Dish newsletter on Substack, Andrew Sullivan pondered the rebirth of imperial Russia with this observation: “The greatest mistake liberals make when assessing reactionaryism is to underestimate it. There is a profound, mesmerizing allure — intensified by disillusion with the shallows of modernity — to the idea of recovering some great meaning from decades or centuries gone by, to resurrect and resuscitate it, to blast away all the incoherence and instability of postmodern life into a new collective, ancient meaning.” (Stephen Ranger, Toronto)
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