You should have seen the inside of the house. Absolutely hideous. Given the normal run of the mill lots of money / no taste sunday supplement pieces run at the time his house was particularly memorable. And not in a good way. It almost reached Madonna Inn standards of gilt edged kitsch. But at least the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, in the good old days, was a genuine joy to wander around. So natural and unforced was its utterly unapologetic style. At Christmas it was like a LSD trip with art direction by a cross between Busby Berkeley and Mary Kay. Intoxicating surreal insanity.
I always thought Simonyi was just the usual back stabbing political survivor who crawled to the top over the bodies of the people he had stabbed in the front. The Microsoft Way. The “white trash” angle was noted by some eastern europeans who worked on the Eastside. Profs in Communist Eastern Europe / Russia were very badly paid and had zero social status. And during the periodic purges were the first to be rounded up and sent to the camps. Know someone whose grandfather and two uncles, all profs in the Soviet Union, died in camps in the 1930’s and 1940’s. So most people with real ability kept a very low profile or became something safe like janitors. Because being one of the “cosmopolitan” class was often as dangerous as being in a Shtrafbats penal battalion.
Ah, Martha, or rather the very upwardly mobile Martha Kostyra. Lets just say that both she and Simonyi came from the same kind of very marginal “middle class” background. And neither gained a cute and cuddly reputation as they scrambled to the top. Martha at least has a very well developed and economic demographically well targeted sense of taste, but neither have any class to speak of. They both try way too hard to leave behind what they once were. So very insecure nouveau. Thats why the Feds were able to bang her up for what was a very minor offense. A more secure person would have trusted the very good tactical advice she was getting. Which would have got her a plea bargain and no jail time.