Your country is rocked by sectarian and religious violence. How do you restore hope to your dejected countrymen?
According to the Thai government, you bomb them with folded paper birds.
And astonishingly, it hasn’t worked:
There has been more violence in southern Thailand less than one day after an elaborate government-sponsored peace gesture in the region.
Military and police aircraft dropped 120 million origami paper birds over three provinces where a Muslim insurgency has claimed 550 lives this year.
It was an eccentric effort to soothe tensions after a year of sectarian trouble.
Eccentric? More like a massive waste of resources that could have been better used killing terrorists.
This article about the full range of nasty hazing in the Russian military put me in mind of a rather odd experience I had a good decade or so ago. [Hat tip to Vadqe Zaavice].
When I hear about this hazing, I suspect that alcohol is involved. Why? Well, first, because it’s bad behavior and Russians are involved, so alcohol probably figures into it. Second, because it’s very bad behavior and Russian soldiers are involved, so really, there’s no question that John Q. Barleycorn has been hanging around.
You see, a I served with the UN a number of years back on a peackekeeping mission. One of the side benefits was to drink with a lot of Russian troops. This usually led to a great time going up, a very bad time coming down, and some good stories later, if you could remember what happened. In particular I used to drink with a bunch of SpetNaz, Russki special forces, who weren’t the muscular, Dolph-Lundgren-esque chaps we’d been led to believe, but rather a bunch of pasty, often chubby, swarthy, tougher-than-shoe-leather bastards who drink far harder than U.S. or British special forces, if you can believe that. Through them, I also had the chance to booze with some ordinary Russian troops. Well, kind of ordinary – they were paratroopers, which makes them a little out of the ordinary, but still basic line troops and fairly representative of the run-of-the-mill.
In the parachute battalions, the lower enlisted ranks would all sit around the tent getting drunk on cheap vodka. Ordinarily, you think of drunk as tipsy, woozy, maybe occasionally throwy-uppy – unless you’ve been drinking with Russians. And if you think of drinking with Russians, you think of people getting seriously stoshed, blackouts, barfing, eating apples with vodka, and waking up three days later wondering why you are in Budapest, when you were in Moscow when you started drinking. And if you think about drinking with Russian troops, you think of all that pertains to Russian boozehounds generally, mixed in with a heapin’ helpin’ of automatic weapons, landmines, hand grenades, tanks, and poorly maintained helicopters.
In fact, when you have boozed extensively with the Russian military, it’s easy to understand how they managed to lose 400 or so nuclear weapons. Hell, I’ve lost hats, neckties, belts, socks, wallets, underwear and my virginity while drinking, and I wasn’t drinking anywhere near as hard as I was to drink later with those Russki soldiers. So I imagine the generals in their nuclear defense corps are merely suffering from a similar phenomenon, only magnified by Russian drinking habits. Just as naturally as I might lose a pair of socks, they lost a few high-yield nuclear weapons.
Viewed from this angle, it’s quite natural that they should lose nuclear weapons here and there, and it would be disturbing if they hadn’t, rather like the friend everybody has who gets blasted, blacks out, and then drives home with nothing bad ever happening.
Of course these lost nukes are of great concern to the IAEA and the U.S. State Department. But the problem from an arms control standpoint, is that we’re probably looking for these lost nukes in all the wrong places. Instead of looking in Iran, and Iraq and probing terror networks in Malaysia, we should be looking under tables in bars in Murmansk, in ditches in Stalingrad, and under the sofa cushions in old Russian bases in Dresden. If Hans Blix finds a pair of lost socks marked “Property of the Russian Air Corps” between a bench and the wall in a pub in Petrovgrad, he should understand he is at least on the right track. But I digress.
When I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes turned into a honking huge diamond:
A LifeGem is a certified, high quality diamond created from the carbon of your loved one as a memorial to their unique and wonderful life.
Sign me up! Well, not quite yet. But eventually, in a hundred years or so, don’t be surprised if you see a big orange rock flashing on the finger of one of my grandkids. My remains will pay for their college!
I am somehow not surprised that the most exclusive and chi-chi coffee in Britain (at £12 per ounce) is made out of cat shit.
Sure it’s fancy Indonesian cat shit, but cat shit nonetheless. I mean, Christ, people. CAT SHIT.
The worst interior designs of 1974. Some of these are just sooo bad.
I’m not as cute as the cross-dressing crouton doctor.
Gee, thanks, guys. Way to make my ego deflate.
Does anyone still believe this old saw?
Strictly of course, it may be true on a transactional basis: one can’t go into a store and say “a pound of happiness please, thinly sliced”. But money can indeed buy us most of the things that make us happy.
If I had much money, I’d be sitting in my brand new NYC apartment, sipping a Coke as I contemplate my heaps of new books, decorate myself with a dresserful of new makeup, and admire my shiny new bleeding-edge computer, on which I have just bought first-class air tickets to Rome. I’d be deciding what to cook in my swanky new gourmet kitchen fully decked out with the latest gadgets and cookware. Assuming I wanted to cook dinner: I could also grab my posse and head out to Vong or Totonno’s or Peter Luger’s.
I must say, I’d be pretty darned happy.