You may be aware that Mikhail Gorbachev once did a Pizza Hut commercial. Here’s the whole story of how that came about.
Gorbachev is one of my heroes. He kept the breakup of the Soviet Union from becoming something much worse.
The decade described in that story is one of the best of my life. Being able to work with Estonians and Kazaks on some of the Soviet legacy was a great privilege.
The decade is being forgotten, though. We need to remember that we can all work together to make the world a better place.
Shall not regale y’all with the story of the worst Thanksgiving.
Suffice it to say it would make Buster Keaton burst into tears.
Trump is threatening to honor the 70th anniversary of NATO by reducing the US contribution. Question: If he wasn’t a Russian controlled asset, would he be doing anything differently?
@NotMax: My worst one was in the north of England. We went to a fake medieval banquet. I didn’t realize how high the alcohol content was in mead.
Mike in NC
@RandomMonster: Trump’s (i.e. Putin’s) long term strategy is to dismantle NATO and permit the Kremlin to reoccupy as much of Eastern Europe as he can get away with without killing huge numbers of people. “Make Warsaw Pact Great Again!”
Yes we can. Non-BJP government of 3 coalition partners takes office in my ancestral home state of Maharashtra. Howdy this, Modi
No. There’s a decades-long legacy of Trump disliking NATO, believing that trade wars would fix the trade deficit, viewing all international relationships in terms of who’s screwing over the other guy, being a sadistic white supremacist, and hating all regulations with an unholy passion. One thing that I have come to realize is that the most effective corruption is to bribe someone who wanted what you want anyway. From Putin’s perspective, Trump was the perfect chump.
@Sab: I’ve never been to a Ren Faire or a Medieval Times-style restaurant, so inform me if you will:
Why, and what, is a fake medieval banquet in England? And what is an American counterpart (if any)?
Ella in New Mexico
I guess this is what it means to live longer than 50 years on the planet: we get to watch the things that in our youth we excitedly and optimistically believed would become permanent get ripped to shreds and turned 180 degrees backwards, while the collective memory of people who should see the warning signs and do something to prevent it has apparently been erased.
Today, I am thankful for the people who still fight, like Cheryl and the rest of the BJ’rs who have NOT forgotten. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you :-D
P.S. Half my family is trapped less than 225 miles away in Albuquerque waiting for the 5″ of snow to turn to rain before heading south to Las Cruces where we have a tiny bit of drizzle. Ah, New Mexico.
Did you give us that explanation of what’s going on in India surrounding this election? I never saw it and I’m super interested. Maybe a front-pager would like to put it up. They should let you make occasional posts on Indian politics.
Welp, out tankless hot water heater just went tits up. So we may have a story in the process.
@ThresherK: The one I went to was a banquet in a castle ( or a Victorian folly building that looked like a castle) in the 1970s where the wait staff was dressed in costume, and we were served venison etc. No potatoes. We sat on benches at long tables. Strolling minstrels playing lutes and singing. Except for the mead, it was kind of fun.
Cheryl, do you know of any books that do a good job documenting those years? Alternatively, have you ever considered adding your unique perspective to the documentation of those years? Easy for me to push people to write a book, but it seems to me that you have something to add.
Attended a fun one in Minneapolis (of all places) back in the 70s. Extremely elastic definition of medieval as at one point was inveigled into dancing a polka with one of the waitresses.
That mead is a sneaky compatriot, innit?
I’ve never seen the tits on a hot water heater – always thought it was kinda rude to ask it to “show me your tits”.
Thanksgiving gives us the annual tradition of a shitty Detroit Lions game,
a mediocre Dallas Cowboys game, and an awful Thursday night NFL network game.
Christmas gives us the annual tradition of 5 NBA games featuring the top
marquee teams matched against each other from noon until damn near midnight.
Thanksgiving < Christmas.
@Frankensteinbeck: Only a little bit in the comments. Thanks for your vote of confidence.
Will send AL something soon. She can put it up
You should take it up with the blog boss.
@Ella in New Mexico: LOL, I’ve invited people in Albuquerque to Thanksgiving dinner. However:
OOh, I have a good movie for you. Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Robert Downey, Jr called Home for the Holidays. Full of family dysfunction and also some very sweet moments.
“I’ve never seen the tits on a hot water heater – always thought it was kinda rude to ask it to “show me your tits”.
They are located on the bottom, hard to find unless you know where to look…
@David Fud: Sig Hecker persuaded a number of people who participated to write their recollections for “Doomed to Cooperate.” Here’s the website, with additions to what’s in the two volumes of 1000 pages. There’s even a piece by me.
I have thought about writing something and have put some work into it, but have been informed by a person who works in publishing that nobody would be interested in publishing that. It would be quite a bit of work to finish up, so I’m demotivated.
The Sky is white here, but nothing has happened yet.
What a tragic shame Gorbachev’s successor was the alcoholic drunk Yeltsin who permitted a grandiosely ambitious, ruthless sociopath like Putin to maneuver himself into power with dreams of fulfilling Stalin’s ambitions for Russian international domination. Also, too it was under Yeltsin that so many of the state’s valuable resources were diverted to the ownership of a handful of oligarchs associated with organized crime, instead of for the benefit of the population at large – which paradigm Putin ruthlessly captured and dominated like the crime family overlord he is, stripping and jailing any would-be oligarch who put up any sort of opposition.
Trump’s real ambition is to turn the USA into an authoritarian-dominated oligarchy, while leaving the superficial, but emptily powerless shell of nominally democratic institutions in place just for show. Putin is Trump’s real hero-role-model, even aside from any compromising leverage Putin has on Trump.
@cmorenc: Those twin spiggots of desire, as Heinlein said.
The kitties are not interested in going out.
Thats mine, all buried in the down comforter, but without the snow.
@Frankensteinbeck: I honestly can’t see Dump deciding to hate NATO all on his own. I think the Soviets planted a bunch of crap in his head back on the 80s.
I actually don’t think Putin is trying to fulfill long dead Stalinist visions of Russian domination. I think Putin is behaving like someone who was disillusioned when the Soviet system was revealed to be held together with duct tape and bondo. He behaves and has amassed wealth like a Gordon Gekko character. Once he figured out how to turn the system into a get rich scheme for himself and his enablers, he traded in his wife for younger models who are in turn traded in every couple of years. He gets all the cosmetic procedures, vacations and does all the activities of all the super wealthy, status obsessed .001%ers everywhere.
He has a fragile ego, doesn’t accept his body and stature, needs constant adulation and ass kissing, and felt belittled by Obama and the US because our economy was better and Obama was destroying the oil and gas markets into which Putin had put all his Imperial eggs. Like all dictators he has tried to make himself one and the same as Russia herself.
Hey, New Mexico BJers, I have some questions about your wonderful state.
I live in the PNW, as most of you know, and while I love it here, it’s an awfully expensive place to live unless one moves to the rurals, which are apparently full of RWNJs. Bleh. Retirement is still more than five years off, but I am starting to think about where to move, as I really really do want to get out of the major metropolis Seattle is now (not to mention the major megapolis it’s aiming to become).
I have been to New Mexico, and like it a lot. Gorgeous scenery, lovely arty towns, weather a little hot for my tastes, but maybe not up in the mountains.
My concern about New Mexico is my concern about the entire southwest: how reliable, long term, is the water supply? Esp. in view of GCC. Do any of you worry about that?
@MomSense: An underappreciated holiday flick. Geraldine Chaplin is a hoot.
@Ella in New Mexico: your thoughts echo mine. The feeling that finally human rights were being recognized and celebrated, from civil rights to women’s rights to gay rights, and that nothing like the internment of Japanese Americans could ever happen again—it’s sad to see how much of that is under attack.
INORITE! She is fantastic.
Sister Golden Bear
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
For me it’s been a bit hard again this year, since it’s the second year without my mother, and I don’t really have any other family. (I’ve got a brother back East, but we’re not close; and only a few extended relatives, who I don’t really want to be close to, thanks to Fox News.) Last year, was harder because it was the first chance I really had to process her death, thanks to the surgery and recovery earlier in the year (where I had to compartmentalize those feelings for months). This year, it’s been more about mourning dysfunctional relationship I had with a my parents (dl;tr: they were both emotionally constricted workaholics, who weren’t nurturing), which really screwed me up for years.
But I’m doing a Friendsgiving later today with a friend who loves to cook, and who’s been cooking all week. She’s making appetizers, two entrees, a half dozen sides, and four deserts, including “Pumpkin Crack” — for five people. She’s already told us to bring plenty of Tupperware for leftovers.
I don’t think Trump has the sort of imagination you described. For one thing, your scenario includes people other than Trump benefiting — he wouldn’t be the only oligarch — and that’s just not him.
BUT the idea of an authoritarian state covered over with the trappings of a shell democracy, that is the goal of people like Koch brothers (yeah, I know one of them is dead but his dream lives on). They must be thrilled to see the progress toward their vision that Trump is making, and they are doing what they can to enable him.
On another note, the Ohio Family is puttering around the house until it’s time to leave for my cousins’, which will be at three. I’m enjoying this quiet day, and half don’t want to leave.
It’s impossible to know what Trump picked up from Russia way back when, but hating NATO is certainly consistent with his worldview. Perhaps, like his batshit belief that Hillary’s server is in Ukraine, he was an easy sell.
I’m still agog at how his regular references to CrowdStrike are ignored. I think no one wants to face just how stupid and crazy he is.
I’m pretty sure Adam has said that Putin is known to have never let go of the Soviet KGB hatred of the US? I personally get the impression he wants to rule the old Soviet empire. He wants that power and glory for himself, and post-Putin Russia can fuck itself. A Putinless world is irrelevant. Truthfully, none of these theories are contradictory.
@Sister Golden Bear:
Sending a big hug your way. If you ever do find yourself back east, hop on 95 north and you’ll find my door wide open.
Love that movie.
James E Powell
I ate at that Pizza Hut about a month and a half before the CCCP collapsed. I paid in rubles, which at the official exchange rate was about 45 to the dollar. The street rate was like 300 to 1. Two large pizzas and two pitchers of soda cost like 75 rubles, so as a practical matter it was free. I left a $5 tip under my plate. My Soviet friends were scandalized because they didn’t get tipping and besides $5 was too much.
@cmorenc: Tits on a tankless are right over the burners, near the rollout switches. On a gas unit, anyway, not sure about electric.
I know that’s the prevailing hypothesis about Putin but it just doesn’t register for me. I think he was a true believer and after his disillusionment decided to look out for himself. They really are complimentary, though. The problem with Russia is that it needs things from the former Soviet Union. It has serious disadvantages without them – like warm weather ports. It may look like he’s trying to recreate the Soviet Union, but I think it’s more a function of the strategic weaknesses of Russia.
I do think he absolutely plays to the former glory BS with the public, but I just think his motivation is purely personal. The US has been a major thorn in his side and he obviously wants to destroy us. Again, I think that is personal. I bet he is furious at how inept Soviet leaders were and hates them as much as he hates the US. I’ve seen how disillusionment can manifest in people in my life and he shows all the signs, especially when you add the fragile ego and narcissism.
Sister Golden Bear
@MomSense: Thanks so much!
I remember the promise and great optimism we all felt in 1989 and 1990 as the Berlin Wall came down and the USSR fell apart. “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones. How sad that it all has turned out the way it has.
I do too, but I think that personal element is greed, ego, and hunger for power, with ego leading. I read his actions as narcissism, but functional rather than Trump’s idiocy. He wants the old Soviet Empire back not out of love for the Soviet Union. This isn’t philosophical or about loyalty. He just wants that power that he saw when he was younger. It’s a lot like Trump in that regard, who looks at brutal dictators and sees a cool kid’s club he yearns to be a part of.
@FelonyGovt: I think the United States should have done more to help with the economic transition which was rough.
@feebog: Reminds me of a girl I used to know.
@schrodingers_cat: Agreed. We kind of watched it all rather passively.
What’s not to like here if you are vlad?
Delusions of grandeur
Did I mention stupid?
Lies like most people breathe, extremely regular and with extra vigor but even less skill when cornered.
Malleable with a little cash, something vlad can arrange.
Have I mentioned stupid enough times?
Needs that money to maintain some semblance of the con he’s failed at miserably, because he’s stupid.
Racist. Can’t explain that one other than he’s a white guy with delusions of grandeur, which seemingly all racists have in abundance.
Nice, thanks for the LOL.
From the link: “Gorbachev began criticizing Yeltsin publicly. In retaliation, the Russian president ordered an audit into whether Gorbachev’s foundation was illegally using Communist Party funds.”
Republicans have been stealing Russia’s playbook since Gingrich!
As I recall, Putin was very put out during the 70th anniversary of D-Day because the world wasn’t also celebrating Stalin, who he insisted was a freedom fighter.
I think Putin is as ruthless as people say; he’s not just in it for the money or the power. He wants world subjugation, period.
I’ma do something I virtually never do: I’ma hold for Reagan. (Yes, yes, I know. Bear with me, believe it’sa distinction w/a differnce.)
Gorbachev undeniably (to me) deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the peaceable dissolution of the Soviet Empire. Perestroika. Glasnost. Initiating arms treaties, et al. Conceded w/o reservation or qualification. But:
The *one* big thing Reagan did in the foreign policy realm was what he *didn’t* do. Reagan was a garden-variety, standard-issue right-wing reactionary counterproductive dickhead *except* at the end of his administration in his “trust-but-verify” relationship with Gorbachev. Reagan did not recycle the “Evil Empire” rhetoric of ’83, as every other right-wing dickhead in Reagan’s administration advised him to, i.e. peeps like George H.W. and Cap Weinberger and Al Haig and alla the folks who were adamant that Gorbachev could not be trusted.
Simply, when it counted, Reagan gave Gorbachev room to breathe by not undercutting his initiatives inna knee-jerk fashion that (admittedly) peeps like me expected him to do.
Alternate scenario: If Reagan adopts the advice of his cabinet (you know, the ones who’ve already committed treason by illegally selling arms to a terrorist country so that they can contravene Congress and illegally fund a proxy war in Central America, yeah those bright lights, those sweethearts of the rodeo), if Reagan is dismissive or condemnatory of Gorbachev, then Gorbachev becomes susceptible (imperiled, I would say) to a coup in his own country — orchestrated by his own right-wing dickheads, who are reacting — no surprise there! — exactly like our own homegrown beady-eyed Gen. Jack Rippers.
Imo, Reagan demonstrated the wisdom of restraint and the courage of trusting an adversary in good faith (remember that!) for once in his fucking life, and for that, I am infinitely appreciative of his role in aiding Gorbachev with his (Herculean) heavy lifting.
If you disagree, no worries. Might not be able to respond, as I’m on 9-mo.-old baby playtime duty for the next bit.
I think most people can’t imagine how he could have gotten where he is if he was really as stupid as he is. Money can buy a lot of things. Only problem is that one has to be smart enough to make good purchases. And he doesn’t measure up. Not even to the first tick on the yardstick. And he also started with the view that the world was there to be taken advantage of and enough money to buy a few chunks of it, so thanks Fred.
I don’t think either of you are wrong.
The history of the country which is Russia is fraught with dictators, hustlers, corruption, glory days and total despair. It has very harsh weather, food issues, world relationship issues. If it wasn’t for the natural resources, what would it and vlad be today? Still struggling, trying to get past the teenage stage of nationhood. Which it’s still in BTW.
We are very lucky that our distance from and lack of reliance on most of the “civilized” world at the time our country was founded allowed us to grow and gain stature and avoid the land/resource losses of world wars and actually grow from them. That we inherited many of the issues of humanity isn’t our fault, it’s just something we have to work to change, things like bigotry and control for controls sake.
@ola azul: By 1988 Reagan was barely functional. His administration was pretty much being run by the underlings with the occasional speech by Reagan to keep up appearances. When George Herbert Walker Bush took over there was benign neglect over what was happening with the dissolution of the former Soviet empire. At least I don’t recall very much intervention happening. But that was 20+ years ago.
@cmorenc: Tankless water heaters have huge tracts of land.
@ola azul: I was working in defense at the time, and many of my coworkers were completely convinced that the breakup of the Soviet Union was a fake to get us to drop our guard. I hadn’t thought of it that way but I think you are right to give Reagan a bit of credit – he could have stirred that up into jingoistic ferver easily.
I guess. The extent of my knowledge about his past feelings about NATO are the NATO-trashing newspaper ads from the late 80s. Really not well-versed in the history of his attitude towards NATO.
Regarding your reply to MomSense about Putin, Putin is on record saying the worst event of the 20th century was the fall of the USSR.
Rural PNW is not full of Deplorables and Nazi’s.
Eastern, Inland PNW former resource towns who have no tourism, and are full of Wise Use resentments, are often full of Deplorables and Nazis.
A huge chunk of the coastal towns, tourism towns and inland agriculture towns are true blue.
J R in WV
Wife tells me Chuckles is actually in Afghanistan visiting the troops, and that many of the troops are giving Trump the stink-eye.
The Brass can make them show up, but they can’t make them like him after what he has done with the war criminals!
@ola azul: that’s an insightful observation I hadn’t realized before. Thanks.
I have seen two CPSU General Secretaries in the flesh: Khrushchev in 1959, in Los Angeles, and Gorbachev in San Francisco in 1990. Khrushchev remains, I think, the pinkest, palest man I have ever seen.
As to Yeltsin, his finest moment was when he climbed atop that tank in front of the Russian “White House,” and had a sniper taken him out on that occasion, there might be monuments to the man across the land today. The world would, I think, be a better place today with a reformed Soviet Union—possibly with those Baltic bones dislodged from its throat—shorn, perhaps, of its more messianic impulses, but still maintaining a countervailing social and economic model, “socialism with a human face,” the absence of which, in this timeline, has permitted Capital red in tooth and claw to indulge its most predatory instincts without fear or inhibition.
@J R in WV:
Ho there, J R, thought you might enjoy this (to me) probative short essay ’bout what’s back of Twitler’s latest foray into showing malicious contempt for all things honorable (like, you know, saying the military ain’t got no call deciding what behavior needs to be repudiated, cuz Corporal BoneSpurs knows best, course!).
Lil history, lil analysis, lotta insight. I learnt stuff from it.
ETA: F/u the link. First time w/new blog. No time to fix. Lo siento.
@Ruckus: Do you think Dump’s stupid?
J R in WV
Stupid AND demented!
J R in WV
Thanks! Link worked OK, I saw that good post yesterday, LGM is my second favorite blog, Farley and Loomis AND Scott all great in my opinion…
Ya, allus felt like Reagan was the once-rabid dog that din’t bark. You really see the proof of this later when peeps were shocked! shocked! I tellz ya at the peaceable break-up of the Soviet Union, peeps like the colleagues you cite, and the aforementioned Reagan cabinet members and all the “savvy national security experts” like Condi Rice (who, not coincidentally misst the two biggest nat-sec calls of the 90s-aughts, i.e. *both* the dissolution of the Soviet Empire *and* the obvious-to-Clinton-but-not-Bush-leaguers threat of al-Qaeda: “Nobody could’ve predicted.”, except, you know, alla peeps who paid attention and forewarned you; yeah, except them).
Takes two to tango, and am agreed with your assessment: jingoistic fervor is *exactly* what folks (myself included) expected outta (even Alzheimers-diminished) Reagan.
Thank you, very kind of you to say. Never seen the opinion expressed (not to say it hasn’t, prolly has), ‘cept its aggro opposite converse from the likes of Sean Hannity, who childishly thinks Reagan swung his mighty dick and the Soviet Empire fell just from being — *gasp!* — overwhelmed at the size of it, but then, I’m sure someone’s made this point before. (Am of the considered opinion I’ve never hadda original thought in my life, cuz someone(s) are allus there first, but in my ignorance of others’ before me, it’s original to me.)
@J R in WV: One of my husband’s best friends from high school in the ’60s has a son who is a Navy Seal. My husband asked him what son thought about Trump. He said he had asked him and really got a blistering earful. The son is PISSED.
@Jay: Aren’t they all prohibitively expensive?
@J R in WV: AND owned by the Kremlin!
J R in WV
I was just an E2 swabbie, and it pissed me off, not that I wasn’t already pissed. Wrong move #132,342
@J R in WV:
I hope they’re giving Chuckles the stink eye too.
J R in WV
A brave moment, always wondered if he was fortified that night, brave regardless !!
@Ruckus: Once in my life I had to work with a toxic narcissist. He was my wonderful boss’s son. If you haven’t been around one of these critters you cannot imagine how evil they and the people they collect around them are.
By “you” I mean jackels in general, not you personally Ruckus. You seem to understand.
How could they not act thusly when those words, “Tear down that wall!” were thundered? //
@J R in WV: And the dad is a Vietnam vet who had a really rough war. That family has served.
@debbie: You think I didn’t believe ola azul? *gasp!* *mouth agape
Not at all. I’m still ticked whenever I hear yet another GOOPer say that it was Reagan who brought down the wall, as if Gorbachov was some invisible bureaucrat idling about at the back of the stage.
I agree, Reagan did that right. I remember Rush playing Darth Vader theme song when he discussed Gorbachev and telling Reagan it was a trap. Reagan stuck by his guns despite pressure from the right.
We did not help them after the breakup – and the advice we did give was from neolibs to privatize everything quickly. It was remarkably bad advice, allowing a few people with money or ruthlessness to get control of the economy.
moving from the greater Seattle area to Leavenworth, Bend, Bremerton, la Connor, you will pay between 1/4 to 1/2 price the cost for a similar house. If you downsize, ( lots of smaller homes are available), 1/6th, maybe less.
moving from Sheaville, Mississippi to the same towns, you will pay 10 times as much for half the house.
Been around narcissistic assholes. Never one as deep in the shit as trump but he’s also got the stupid gene tied up.
Good buddy, 73 yrs old, of over 46 yrs has a “friend” who is a narcissist and every time he sees my buddy he calls him Bobbie, because he know it pisses him off. Buddy wants to deck the asshole. I told him to just completely ignore the guy and walk away, that lack of acknowledgement is death to a narcissist.
“We need to remember that we can all work together to make the world a better place.”
Problem is, we need to want that. Every effort is being made to make sure that we do not.☹️☹️☹️
@Jay: Most, not all.
I was floored, absolutely floored, to see a “Trump 2020” banner in a house on Whidbey Island.
And one of BJ’s regulars – Beautiful Plumage, I think – has told me the corridor between Aberdeen and Westport has many neighborhoods where people are desperately poor, uneducated, mean and crime-ridden – IOW, a Deplorable breeding ground.