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Tolstoy Tells It All to You

Socialism means different things to different people. To the Russian author, Count Leo Tolstoy, it means the overthrow of an abusive government through passive resistance and replacing it with... nothing at all. But don't take that too seriously. He knows that the old despots will be replaced by the new despots even if those despots call themselves Marxists. He has made some effort to help the common man by building schools, and designing labor-saving farm equipment. He even cobbles his own shoes! But keep in mind that those "common people" are serfs.... HIS SERFS. When there was a call for releasing the serfs in the 1850s, he opposed it. (The Tsar freed the serfs in 1861.) Tolstoy talks about God as if he is a Christian, but his vision of God is more brotherly and co-equal. In fact, historian Paul Johnson calls Tolstoy, "God's elder brother". His remaking of Christianity will result in his excommunication from the Orthodox Church in 1901. Count Tolstoy feels misunderstood. (His wife, Sonya, feels like rolling her eyes.) This year he publishes the novel "Anna Karenina". Time magazine calls it the "greatest book ever written". (What about the Bible?) The main character, Anna, is an aristocrat trapped in a loveless marriage by the pressure of Russian society. As we follow her life, she gets pregnant by another man, her husband tries to divorce her, but then he forgives her and loves the child. (THAT SNAKE!) I don't want to giveaway the whole book. It is 1,000 pages so that would be difficult to do, but we learn that marriage just causes a lot of trouble. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I read Paul Johnson's book, Intellectuals. It is a scathing indictment of the intellectuals who have shaped our world. They all seem to love humanity, but hate people... especially women. For example, Count Tolstoy wanted no secrets from his wife, Sonya, so he let her read all of his past diaries. As the marriage soured, Tolstoy realized his mistake and kept a public diary for Sonya to read and a private diary for himself. When she found his hidden diary, it got very ugly. Regarding sharing EVERYTHING with one's wife... please don't do that. When my wife asks me, "Does this make me look fat?" I THINK FAST! What is she asking? She wants to know if she looks good or not. I usually say, "You look good, honey," but if she looks bad I let her know that too... gently. Honesty without compassion is cruelty and she deserves better than cruelty from her husband. I also keep secrets from my wife, mostly because they are not my secrets to give. For example, my divorce from my previous wife did not free me from my obligation to keep her secrets. Granted, my current wife is not entirely happy about that, but she ALSO knows that I won't be blabbing her secrets to anyone else either. I share more things with my wife than most men would find necessary, but if a man says that he shares everything with his wife and they are still happy, he is a dues-paying member of the Brotherhood of WEASELs (Waffle, Evade, And Sidestep, Every, Landmine). [4]

Let's Hang Mr. Edison!

Some folks are a little miffed at Mr. Edison. In the Age of Invention, life is changing faster than people can absorb. Edison's phonograph is a good example. Mr. Edison is exploring the uses of his recorder. Ever since his electric vote counter went down the drain, he has decided never to invent anything he can't make money at, but he has invented the phonograph without considering its possible uses or impact on society. After thinking about it, he promotes the phonograph recorder as a way to preserve the last words of the dying so that dead relatives can live again. He suggests that audio recordings could be stored at the grave site or at home to be brought out on a Sunday to remember. This becomes a serious discussion in Scientific American, but the general public is unhappy with rumors surrounding Mr. Edison. He has apparently discovered a mysterious force that he carries about on his person. His new Phono-Graph can record the slightest sound or voice that he can replay to confuse the public at his will. It is rumored that he is working on the electric light bulb right now! (True.) Mr. Edison is inventing too many things! When will it stop?! [5] [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
If you'll notice, Edison wanted his device used on Sunday, the time when the general public was devoted to religious ritual and reflection. In modern times, with religion taking a backseat, science has been trying to fill the void. I'm OK with visiting a doctor rather than waiting for a cure from God, but looking for a God Particle using the Large Hadron Collider seems a little weird. The research is great, but calling the Higgs Boson a "God Particle" is a little too patronizing. I feel like the medicine wagon just rolled into town with a new cure for my rheumatism. Religious people recognize a religious argument when they hear it. Scientists usually don't, so when they try to make a religious argument (like I saw the director of Fermi Labs try to do in their hunt for the "God Particle") their arguments sound trite, clumsy and insincere. The phonograph was a scientific life-after-death machine for Edison. It was a path to immortality for the masses. We want our Twitter accounts to remain responsive even after we drop out of life. The PBS science show, NOVA, interviewed the android Philip K. Dick. (FYI, the author of Blade Runner died in 1982.) Artificial intelligence (or A.I.) is science's answer to life-after-death. The movie, "Her" (2013), is about an A.I. that can react like a real live girl! It is iPhone's Siri on steroids. I'm fine with exploring these possibilities, but I would like science to be more honest about it. I don't think they can, though. They are like cats trying to imitate dogs. They might be able to fool other cats, but the dogs smell something funny. [9] [10] [11]

The "Man of Steel" is born

That is Joseph Stalin, He is born in Georgia (the country, not the state). He will go by several nick names. The nickname he goes by in the West is "Stalin" which means "Man of Steel". He will lead the Soviet Union shortly after Lenin dies of a stroke. It will be a power struggle, but Stalin will come out on top by hook or by crook. He will murder millions of people in his purges... not least of which will be the people of Ukraine. Between 1932 and 1933, millions of Ukrainians will starve to death after he gathers all their food for fair and proper redistribution... to everyone but the people of Ukraine. The exact number of the dead is unknown, but if someone said 10 million I'd believe it. It will be called Holodomor or "Extermination by Starvation." Whatever sins the Ukrainians had committed before 1932, they paid for them then. Clean slate. Start over. [12] [13] [14] [15]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Stalin made Hitler look like a piker, but compared to Chairman Mao, Stalin was the piker. As children, we made a joke when our mothers would try to guilt us into eating our vegetables by reminding us that "there are children starving in China who would love to have that food." Indeed, mother was right. 22 million Chinese died of starvation when Mao did to the Chinese what Stalin did to the Ukrainians. In fact, Stalin thought that Mao was crazy, and you know what kind of crazy someone would have to be to make Stalin think something like that. [16]

In Other News

  • A saucer-like UFO is seen moving through the sky at fantastic speed. Flying saucers are born. A photo of a UFO will be taken 5 years from now. [17] [18]
  • Black Bart is shot while robbing his last stagecoach. He usually recites poetry during his robberies. Charles "Black Bart" Bowles gets 6 years. [19]
  • The Great Mill Explosion kills 23 in Minneapolis. A spark ignites flour dust in the air. The Washburn A Mill will be rebuilt with better ventilation and safety features. [20]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1878, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Johnson, Paul. Intellectuals. Harper & Row. ISBN 0060160500. 
  2. Anna Karenina - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “Karenin changes his plans after hearing that Anna is dying after the difficult birth of her daughter, Annie. At her bedside, Karenin forgives Vronsky. However, Vronsky, embarrassed by Karenin's magnanimity, unsuccessfully attempts suicide by shooting himself. As Anna recovers, she finds that she cannot bear living with Karenin despite his forgiveness and his attachment to Annie.”
  3. Leo Tolstoy - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “In the 1870s Tolstoy experienced a profound moral crisis, followed by what he regarded as an equally profound spiritual awakening, as outlined in his non-fiction work A Confession. His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him to become a fervent Christian anarchist and pacifist.”
  4. Alex Shrugged notes: Bertolt Brecht, the playwright, was a multiple offender who went through women like a rat through a cheese factory. Karl Marx made his housekeeper pregnant, never acknowledged the child and never paid his housekeeper a cent for her housekeeping!
  5. Thomas Edison - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “In 1878 Edison began working on a system of electrical illumination, something he hoped could compete with gas and oil based lighting. He began by tackling the problem of creating a long lasting incandescent lamp, something that would be needed for indoor use.”
  6. The Aerophone (PDF). New York Times (March 25, 1878). “Something ought to be done to Mr. EDISON, and there is a growing conviction that it had better be done with a hemp rope. Mr. EDISON has invented too many things, and almost without exception they are things of the most deleterious character. He has been addicted to electricity for many years, and it is not very long ago that he became notorious for having discovered a new force, though he has since kept it carefully concealed, either upon his person or elsewhere. Recently he invented the phone-graph, a machine that catches the lightest whisper of conversation and stores it up, so that at any future time it can be brought out, to the confusion of the original speaker.”
  7. (1921) Invention: The Master-key to Progress. New York: E. P. Dutton & Company. Retrieved on 26 September 2016. 
  8. Kreilkamp, Ivan (Winter 1997). "Voice without a Body: The Phonographic Logic of "Heart of Darkness", A". Victorian Studies (Indiana University Press) 40 (2): 211-244. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3829202. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  9. Nova Science Now: Freaky AI robot. youtube.com (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “Nova Science Now interviews the robotic images of Philip K. Dick. (The author of Blade Runner.)”
  10. Her Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson Movie. YouTube.com (2013). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly-purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need.”
  11. McDevitt, Jack. A Talent for War, Alex Benedict. Ace Books. ISBN 9780441012176. 
  12. Joseph Stalin - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 29 March 2015. “Stalin's original Georgian name is transliterated as 'Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili' (ih-OH-sev beh-sar-ee-OH-nis dih-zee yug-hash-VEE-lee). [...] Like other Bolsheviks, he became commonly known by one of his revolutionary noms de guerre, of which 'Stalin' was only the last. 'Stalin' is based on the Russian word stal, meaning 'steel', and the name as a whole is supposed to mean 'man of steel'. Prior nicknames included 'Koba', 'Soselo', 'Ivanov' and many others.”
  13. Olga Lepeshinskaya (dancer) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 29 March 2015. “Lepeshinskaya was known as 'the favourite ballerina of Joseph Stalin' and even rumoured to be his mistress. In 1943 she became a member of the Communist Party.”
  14. Alex Shrugged Notes: This is a little embarrassing, but Joseph Stan's mistress, Olga, the ballerina prima donna of the Bolshoi never called him Joseph... only Stalin... the Man of Steel. (Now, I need a shower.)
  15. Bill O'Reilly. "Chapter 4", Killing Patton. Henry Holt and Co.. ISBN 9780805096682. “For there, sitting next to Churchill is the unmistakable profile of Olga's lover. [...] Olga does not call him by his first name, Iosef, not even when they are alone. Instead she knows him by his adopted name, the one that translates to 'Man of Steel'.” 
  16. Mao: The Unknown Story. Anchor. ISBN 9780679746324. 
  17. Unidentified flying object - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “On January 25, 1878, the Denison Daily News printed an article in which John Martin, a local farmer, had reported seeing a large, dark, circular object resembling a balloon flying 'at wonderful speed.' Martin, according to the newspaper account, said it appeared to be about the size of a saucer, the first known use of the word 'saucer' in association with a UFO.”
  18. Keel, John A.. Why UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse. Manor Books. “Five years before Professor Bonilla's embarrassing observation, a farmer in Texas reported seeing a large circular object pass overhead at high speed. His name was John Martin, and when he told a reporter from the Dennison, Texas, Daily News about it, he made history of sorts by describing it as a "saucer." The date of his sighting was Thursday, January 24, 1878.” 
  19. Black Bart (outlaw) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “Wells Fargo only pressed charges on the final robbery. Bowles was convicted and sentenced to six years in San Quentin Prison, but he was released after four years for good behavior, in January 1888. His health had clearly deteriorated due to his time in prison; he had visibly aged, his eyesight was failing, and he had gone deaf in one ear.”
  20. Mill City Museum - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “The first Washburn A Mill, built by Cadwallader C. Washburn in 1874, was declared the largest flour mill in the world upon its completion, and contributed to the development of Minneapolis. On May 2, 1878, a spark ignited airborne flour dust within the mill, creating an explosion that demolished the Washburn A and killed 18 workers instantly. The ensuing fire resulted in the deaths of four more people, destroyed five other mills, and reduced Minneapolis’s milling capacity by one third. Known as the Great Mill Disaster, the explosion made national news and served as a focal point that led to reforms in the milling industry. In order to prevent the buildup of combustible flour dust, ventilation systems and other precautionary devices were installed in mills throughout the country.”

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