sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

August 30, 2014

Such a Rip-Off

Filed under: music, politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:19 pm

The President got a tan suit?  At least it’s not a burgundy beard! [With a false start]:

In other news, I’m moving and have no time to post anything else.  Marc Bolan recorded some good packing and cleaning music.

August 21, 2014

In Honor of Media Instigators of #Ferguson Riots

Filed under: politics, music — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 8:57 pm

I am a suburban homeboy with a suburban ‘ho right by my side
I am a suburban homeboy and I say yo dog to my pool cleaning guy
I hope I’m baggy enough for them
I play my Shaggy enough for them
I’ll pop a cap up some fool at the Gap
‘Cause I’m a suburban homeboy

I am a suburban homeboy with a suburban ho right by my side
I am a suburban homeboy and I say yo’ dog to my detailing guy
I bought me cornrows on Amazon
I started listening to Farrakhan
My caddy and me he looks just like Jay-Z
And I’m a suburban homeboy

I am a suburban homeboy with a suburban ho right by my side
She’s known as Miss Missy Tannenbaum and she’s one freak bitch, ain’t no lie
She’s from the projects in St. Tropez
She looks like Iverson in a way
She yo yo’s me and I yo yo her back
And I’m a suburban homeboy
She yo yo’s me and I yo yo her back
And I’m a suburban homeboy
She yo yo’s me and I yo yo her back
And I’m a suburban homeboy

We are suburban homeboys
With our suburban ho’s right by our sides
We are suburban homeboys and we say yo dog and we mean it, by God
We’ve got an old school mentality
Oxford and Cambridge mentality
Props to our peeps and please keep your receipts
And we are suburban homeboys
Props to our peeps and please keep your receipts
And we are suburban homeboys
Props to our peeps and please keep your receipts
And we are suburban homeboys
Props to our peeps and please keep your receipts
And we are suburban homeboys

August 15, 2014

Ukraine: Finally a Conflict Worthy of New York Times Coverage

Filed under: politics, Russia, Ukraine — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:40 pm

Given how they are too post-modern for the conflict between good and evil,the New York Times doesn’t do well with moral clarity.  Israel fighting HAMAS is too much for them.  But here comes Ukraine’s Donbas region, with war full of no good guys, and voila– they get it!

LUHANSK, Ukraine — Every night, as darkness falls over Luhansk, the focus now of intense humanitarian concern and geopolitical intrigue, a cat-and-mouse artillery duel begins.

In a neighborhood of high-rise apartments, residents can readily identify the hollow pops of mortars as they echo among the buildings. After that, rebel fighters can be seen hastily dismantling the weapons and hauling them away.

An hour or so later, the Ukrainian military’s response comes: the whistle and boom of incoming artillery shells, fired from guns outside the city, in a fruitless attempt at silencing the rebel gunners.

You mean, it’s not Russian terrorists executing multiple large-scale false flag operations bombing Ukrainian cities?  While Putin’s fingerprints are all over the whole separatist business and some of his special forces are fighting in Ukraine, let me assure you, as a person who reads both Russian and Ukrainian, and knows people in Eastern Ukraine, few in Ukraine* believe the fairytale that Russian terrorists are slaughtering loyal Ukrainians.  And that it’s not a widespread opinion presents a problem for Kiev — the kind of problem that requires a radical solution.  Many Donbas residents are so convinced that it’s Ukrainian armed forces shell their towns, that they flee to Russia en mass, while others move westward into Ukraine where they don’t register as refugees for the fear of being drafted into Ukrainian army, but busy themselves with defacing Ukrainian flags.

NYT collected the following sample of popular opinion in Luhansk:

Polina Ivanova, a resident of one ravaged area, was sympathetic to the rebel mortar crew. “Look how many civilians are dying,” she said. “They are trying to protect us, and they have nowhere else to fire from. We are surrounded.”

She stood on a stoop in the predawn with Ekaterina Vladimirova, a neighbor who had a different opinion. “Both sides don’t care about us,” Ms. Vladimirova said. “For them, it’s a game. One shoots that way, the other shoots this way, and simple people suffer.”

Oleg Romanov, 29, said he huddled in terror with his wife and 1-year-old son in an apartment while “it booms all night long, and plaster falls from the ceiling.” He then rises at 4 a.m. to take his place in a line for water, and make the rounds of stores to hunt for groceries.

“The rebels fire Grads and leave, and then, of course, the answer comes back to that spot,” he said. “The rebels are long gone by then, but people are still around.”

That’s a pretty representative spread.

The only thing NYT missed in their story is that the utilities in Luhansk, Slavyansk and other Eastern Ukrainian cities were turned off by Kiev.  All in all, the paper of record should stop covering Israel and refocus on Ukraine, which they are infinitely more adept to cover.

It’s not just Ukrainians who question the official account.  Human Rights Watch checked out what’s going on in Donbas, and came up with a report confirming the use of Grad rockets by Ukrainian Army.  Yes, I know it’s HRW.

July 30, 2014

Illegals and Refugees

Filed under: politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 8:21 pm

Dear readers, any attempts to describe the new way of illegals as “refugees” is a manipulation. What else can it be? By the US law, a refugee applies for protected status outside the United States.  Those applying already in the US, get asylum status and a slower path to citizenship.  This is done to discourage foreigners from first coming to the US and *then* asking for protection — duh!  I was a refugee once, and my family spent a half a year in Italy waiting for papers (no, I’m not complaining).

Speaking of refugees…

For the purposes of discussing illegal immigration, the place of referral for status is key.  How would all these undocumented illegals like to go to some place outside of US and prove that they “have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion”?

I suspect none of the “baby Jesuses” that madam Pelosi is so anxious to adopt fit the definition.  They are illegals.

June 19, 2014

Dear Parents of Russian Federation, Are You Nuts?

Filed under: parenting, politics, Russia — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 11:39 am

Echo Moskvy, one of the few opposition media sources (this is not an all-out endorsement, there are some despicable opposition figures in Russia) retells a personal story, corroborated with pictures, that previously made the rounds in Russian social media.  The event took place in late May:

Sick and sunburned, my daughter Ksenia returned from a Saturday celebration staged for Putin on St. Petersburg’s Isaakievsky Square.  5000 people, most of them from children’s’ choirs were appropriated to sing songs for the leader!  It was titled “The Limitless Wonder of the World”.

It was 30 degrees Celsius [~90 F – ed.] in Peter [St. Petersburg -- ed.] that day.  All 40 under the sun!  The children were sent off at 8 am.

Prior to the entrance to the square, the children’s choir was thoroughly searched. Documents were required (my child is 12, so I provided her birth certificate), then bottled water and juices brought by children were confiscated.

And then as usual – everyone waited several hours for the tzar, who’s always behind the schedule.  A five-thousand-strong crowd was blazing under the sun until noon.  The only entertainment was watching the snipers that swarmed all the roofs around Isakievsky Square.  Six out of the 37 children in our choir fell ill, and, our daughter observed, people were fainting right and left — volunteers and doctors were barely able to take them away and treat them with water.

Putin appeared for about 3 minutes in the middle of the concert, took pictures against the background of several thousand children (the leader and children — always a good picture!), then gave a short speech and departed.  The concert went on until 2 pm.

Ksenia did not last until the end of performance. She regained consciousness in medical tent where they threw water on her.

With all the traffic jams, the children returned to Sestroretsk by 4:30.

The child was hungry — she was not allowed to take any food — sunburnt, and in wet clothes, so she refused to go to the Birthday party of our friends’ child.

She also missed school on Monday because she wasn’t feeling well.

She is still not 100% after this show-off (Russian показухa — ed.) for the leader, which should really be called “The limitless shame of Peter”…

Words fail me.

Words fail me too, but for a different reason.  It’s not merely that the children got sunburnt — kids get sunburns — or even that so many of them fainted. It’s that the parents allowed the state to use their kids for propaganda purposes, when they should have expected the state to use them up and spit them out.

How to raise a slave

When in 2008 a group of Beverly Hills parents encouraged their children to sing a silly ode to then presidential candidate Obama, at least half the country was vocally disgusted by the creepy production.  But note, that was parents raising their own kids.  And while some of these parents surely think, in abstraction, that children belong to the “community”, they do not realize that the logical outcome of this line of thought is wholesale child abuse.

The fatalistic submission of St. Petersburg parents is not at all surprising.  When I was growing up in the former Soviet Union, subjects, young and old, were herded to all sorts of mass events.  We went because we went. Adults had their own parallel holiday — gave to Caesar what was Caesar’s and had a semi-discreet swig of vodka.  Children came, and our little selves were twisted into submission early on.

Not much has changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union.  It did not occur to the parent, who obviously dislikes Putin, to excuse her child from the event, however easy that would had been to do.  Nobody called in sick. Everyone knows their place.

April 21, 2014

Social Contract in Ukraine

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — edge of the sandbox @ 7:11 pm

I found this photo of a one-man protest on the feed of my onetime classmate from Kharkov, Ukraine.  This woman lives in the south-east of the country and is of ethnically mixed origin, Russian and Latvian, if I remember correctly, and is married to a man with an Ukrainian surname.  Although she opposed the Maidan protests and considers the current government illegitimate, she wants to live in a country called Ukraine She also opposes a war between her country and Russia as well as the partial mobilization declared by the temporary government in Kyiv.  This is a pretty common sentiment in Ukraine’s south-west.

The man is holding up a poster that reads “My son didn’t go to pre-school — he will not go to the army!”

Somewhere in Ukraine

His son didn’t go to pre-school because the lines to subsidized pre-schools are often so long that children grow up before their turn comes up.  Ukraine is in no way unique in this regard; I hear the situation in France is no different.  In any event, a viable nation doesn’t need an elaborate welfare apparatus to produce defenders of the state.

March 31, 2014

Odessa Conflict – March 30th

Filed under: politics — edge of the sandbox @ 2:46 pm

Near-riot on Potemkin Steps in Odessa, Ukraine between Maidan and Antimaidan:

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