Mailbag


Ah yes, time to once again dip into the bizarre contents of the messages that I receive!

Note: as per my privacy policy, the names of the innocent and not so innocent have been protected.

Sam, you’re being paid by the Russian government to write pro-Russia articles!

Really? That’s about the funniest comment I’ve received in a long time. I’ll note that I’ve also been accused of working for the CIA as well.

The truth is that I’ve always been completely upfront about any and all money that I make from this blog. I clear maybe $80 a year from ads (explained here), and I turn down offers every week from companies wanting to advertise on here. I sure as hell don’t receive any money from any government to do anything, including write articles.

It’s funny though that no one has ever asked (or insinuated) that I’m getting paid by the government of Romania to write thousands of (mostly) positive articles, not to mention a slew of books about Romania. Now why is that? After all, the government does pay bloggers to write positive bullshit about Romania.

Oh right. It’s because it’s “natural” to write positive things about Romania. But the moment you might say something good about Russia, suddenly you’re a “Putinbot” and stooge getting paid to pervert your own ethics.

Even though I’ve explained it all before, I’ll say it once again. Mind you, this might be confusing if you’ve been raised on a steady diet of foolish propaganda: sometimes the government of Russia does things I approve of and sometimes the government of Russia does things that I absolutely hate.

I know, I know. Shocker.

I make all of my money by writing. Some of it is an author (things I publish with my name attached) but most of it is by writing for freelance commercial clients, none of whom are governments, governmental agencies, or involved in politics.

But dontcha know that Russia is the historic enemy of Romania? If Russia had its way, they’d annex Romania in a second, fool!

I realize that, by saying this, you’ve clearly never read my super long and well documented history pieces about Russia’s relationship with Romania over the past few centuries. It’d be much easier to say that Russia was always the bad guy/villain, but unfortunately that’s not how history works.

Secondly, I don’t know how much Russian media you’re reading/watching/listening to but I have never once heard any mention of any Russian desire, wish, or even dream to annex Romania. Hell, Russia doesn’t even want to annex Transnistria, which has been begging Russia to do that for years. But palarie jos to Ceausescu who successfully managed to use anti-Russian propaganda for decades in order to deflect criticism of his own stupid and destructive policies.

I realize that Russia is a “mysterious” and confusing country if you’re always hearing about it secondhand from other sources, but it’s not my fault that you can’t spend the time to avail yourself of their multiple and well-translated official news sites to learn to what they’re actually saying.

Furthermore, countries like Lithuania, which have a far stronger case to fear and loathe Russia, actually have more balanced and pragmatic relations with Russia today than Romania does. That’s because most Lithuanians don’t have their patriotic heads up their asses like Romanians do.

Ba-zing!

Nah, nah, you’re still a dirty Russia lover!

Yeah, and I still beat my wife too, right? No matter what I say, it’s one of those accusations that you can’t make disappear.

Look, I’ve never been to Russia in my life and I only speak enough Russian in order to buy things at the piata. The Russian person I know best is my next-door neighbor, and she’s a mentally disturbed person who abuses her child and regularly calls the police on me. Hardly a good advertisement for the many “wonders” of Russian culture.

Don’t you know Russia hates the gays?

Yes, actually I fucking do. Which is why I wrote an article about it just last month strongly condemning that hateful bullshit.

I spent a decade in Cluj-Napoca, a very tolerant and welcoming community for LGBTQ people, and it was wonderful, as I’ve written about many times.

Russia, Moldova, and Romania (amongst others) should all be condemned for their vile and hateful policies towards their own citizens.

You’re a dirty criminal who was kicked out of Romania!

Oh lord. I’ve written countless posts about this already, but once more unto the breach, eh?

In March or April of 2014, I was defending my homeless friends against harassment by the local police. The cops decided to “teach me a lesson” by hauling me down to the station and yelling at me for a few hours before letting me go once they realized I wasn’t going to be a little snowdrop.

Realizing that they couldn’t do anything, the (regular) police contacted the lovely Immigration folks to see if something could be done. A month or more later, Immigration filed paperwork to evict me based on some irregularities in my residency status that stemmed from 2004-2005, a time when I didn’t understand or speak Romanian very well. I then hired a team of lawyers, spoke to even more lawyers, and got swallowed up in the black pit of the Romanian justice system.

At one point, things were still somewhat “fair”. I got a petition signed by some prominent citizens of Cluj asking the Immigration department to give me a “clean slate” and retroactively clear up any irregularities in my residency status.

What happened next was that a) a stupid little troll began intervening behind the scenes b) the judge illegally refused to issue a ruling in my (extremely minor!) case and c) the Immigration “case” was being lead by a guy who had a personal hatred of me for “stealing” his girlfriend or some other nonsense (I’d never seen him before in my life).

As a result of my ignorance of Romanian law, I was essentially tricked into giving myself up into the custody of the Immigration guys, was harassed and threatened with physical violence, and was dumped across the border into Hungary without due process. I was denied the chance to appeal my case, several rules were broken by government agents, and even my eviction was done incorrectly.

The reason I’m still in Moldova is because of my wife. Today, we have a good life here in Chisinau but I can return to Romania at any time, and one day will.

Sam, your site lodes really slow and it sucks!

Well, I don’t know what to tell you except that I write all of my posts that you see here on an ancient iMac that was manufactured in 2006 and it never over “lodes” my computer, so I don’t know why it “lodes” so slowly on yours.

If you want to remove the “lode” from your computer’s shoulders, try fixing it or cleaning out the cache or whatever it is that Windows people do.

Sam, the authorities at the Bucharest airport are hassling me because my name sounds Romanian but I don’t actually speak the language

What can I say? Sorry about that. Despite the fact that the majority of international visitors arrive via Otopeni (or whatever its name is now) Airport in Bucharest, the facility is plagued by idiots, rapists and murderers, dog killers and predatory taxi drivers. Otopeni has been a shithole since I first arrived way back 2000 and it’s still a horrible place to welcome people to the country.

The best advice I can give you is get the fuck out of the airport as fast as you can. I promise that the rest of the country is far better, as long as you avoid the criminal cops.

Sam, I read your book and it helped me to have a wonderful time in Romania

Thank you! I’m glad you had a wonderful time. Once you get past all the 45,000 stupid politicians and criminally inept government, the people, music, food, and landscape of Romania are truly wonderful.

Sam, I found your website by accident when I was searching for X, Y and Z about Romania

Cool. Welcome aboard. I’ve written more than a million words here about Romania and all other things Romanian, so feel free to poke around and stay a while.

If you have a question, feel free to contact me (see Contact in the main menu). I usually respond to all messages within 24 hours.

Sam, I’m coming to Romania soon. What should I bring?

Your smile.

Seriously though, Romania is a member of the European Union and has everything you’ll ever need, including your daily dose of Starbucks. The roads are paved, people have running water in their homes, and they even own iPhones. Plus they speak five languages and took math classes in high school that Harvard only teaches its seniors.

Sam, what’s Romanian food like?

Delicious.

Seriously, I’ve yet to meet a single person who didn’t like the food in Romania, even if it wasn’t traditional Romanian dishes. In my book, I gave useful information for how to find vegetarian, vegan, and raw food, and the “standard” food is pretty popular for people who eat it too.

You can get pizza, hamburgers, “kebab” (grilled/roasted meat), falafel, and french fries (UK: chips) just about everywhere. Romanians love eating out, so there are tons of restaurants of every kind (including fabulous Japanese cuisine). And most Romanians still know how to cook, so there’s everything from grilled meat to delicious fresh salads to choose from.

You definitely won’t go hungry in Romania!

Sam, I’m coming to Moldova soon.

Good lord, why?

Just kidding. You’re either here to be a) a missionary b) some kind of employee for a foreign government c) work for an international NGO/non-profit or d) you’re looking for a place to stop between Odessa and Bucharest.

My advice for you depends on why you’re coming:

A) Learn some Russian.
B) Try being at least a little discreet about how much money you’re making/spending.
C) Try to not act as if you’re doing everyone here a favor, if possible.
D) Cool! Chisinau is a fun little town and there’s tons of great bars and restaurants here and some very friendly people. But don’t stay too long as there isn’t all that much to do. My brief tourist advice: go to Milestii Mici winery and at least one monastery.

Sam, you made a mistake in one of your articles!

No problem. I’m confident, but that doesn’t mean I’m arrogant. I make mistakes all the time. Write a comment and tell me what I missed.

SEE YOU NEXT TIME!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. I fell here by Belgian research on Murphy, Dulles and company. Is there arcticles written in Romanian on Ana Pauker’s activities during the war?

    Like

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