Hi, everyone. As I'm sure yours are, my heart -- feeble and sclerotic though it may be -- is with the people of Ukraine, who are bearing the brunt of a humanitarian assault by a megalomaniacal lunatic. My sympathies are also with the Russian people, coming from personal experience living briefly under the regime of our own megalomaniacal lunatic. The fact that megalomaniacal lunatics keep ending up with access to nuclear missile codes seems to indicate a flaw in the human condition -- perhaps the flaw in the human condition, as distilled by Kurt Vonnegut: "everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance."
Speculating on the motivation of autocrats, my smart friend Eric theorized that Vladimir Putin is "ruthless in pursuit of self-enrichment, for which control is necessary." I countered by speculating that what dictators like Putin really want is love and approval (of countrymen, one's parents, chicks, whatever).