العربية: مجموعة مشروبات كحولية. Català: Diverses begudes alcohòliques. Cymraeg: Rhai diodydd alcoholig traddodiadol. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Vodka consumption in Russia has reached new heights, and to combat the effects on the production of goods and services, Russia is planning to use a portion of its potato crop to produce beer rather than vodka. The proposed beer will have less alcohol content, lower proof than vodka. My suggestion is that they label the beer Spud, and the light version Spud Lite.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand ( real name Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum), published in 1957 and at 1168 pages, about 1,000 pages too long. Posing as a novel, it is really an exposition by Rand in favor of unregulated and untaxed capitalism, a philosophy she dubbed objectivism. Rand was born in 1905 in Russia and emigrated to the US at age 21 in 1926 from the newly formed USSR. I believe that she was traumatized in her formative years by the Russian Revolution which occurred in 1917.
Who is John Galt? He is the hero of the book and embodies Rand’s philosophy. He does not appear in the book for the first 700 pages. Toward the end of the book, he explains Rand’s philosophy to the world in a radio address beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time that I imagine lasted all night (she says 3 hours). Only Fidel Castro among world leaders currently alive could have rivaled Galt for wordiness. If he had been cast as an US Senator rather than an electrical engineer, Galt could have sustained filibusters by himself.
Rand’s characters are not believable, being less than two-dimensional. They scream rather than speak or shout and they are always smoking cigarettes. The novel? takes place mostly in the US, while the rest of the world is ruled by people’s states. The picture she paints of the US is a nation in decline and resembles the Soviet Union that she left. It is a shame that many of the current GOP leaders subscribe to her vision and philosophy. Paul Ryan and Alan Greenspan among others are her disciples.She favored Social Darwinism, survival of the fittest, starvation and extinction for the rest.
Rather than read this book, I recommend reading or re-reading Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. In my opinion, more is to be gained from Orwell than Ayn Rand, and Orwell is more pertinent to our present situation. Orwell’s two books are available in one volume from Amazon.com at $15.00. Their combined length is only 400 pages, 1/3 the length of the Rand book which has the weight and size of a brick, and the readability too IMHO.
Afghanistan is rightly called a graveyard of empires. The natives gave Alexander the Great a hard time when he passed through on his way to India about 2300 years ago. More recently, neither Great Britain nor Russia was able to subdue Afghanistan for long. Now the US is finding how difficult a nut Afghanistan is to crack.
Some say that as the world’s only superpower, we have the right and the duty to rule the world. The rest of the world disagrees. Great Britain gave up its empire to preserve its democracy. Russia gave up its empire and never really achieved full democracy. What it did achieve is slowly slipping away. Now it is our turn to choose between empire and democracy and we must make our decision soon. I choose democracy.
Bright light, great height
Bobbing kites take flight
Warring tribes always fight
They pray to Allah
In Afghanistan Muslim faith, infidels beware
Taliban means student zeal
In Afghanistan Outsiders welcome if invited
In Afghanistan Invaders must convert or die
In Afghanistan England, Russia and USA