Ilya Bryzgalov is a better at hockey than history – fortunately for him.
Bryzgalov, a native of the Russian city of Togliatti, on the Volga River, recently gave an interview to the Russian sports outlet Championat in which he was questioned on his views on Stalin, who had many millions killed between 1922 and 1953.
“Positive. I see logic in his action,” Bryzgalov said, according to a translation by Yahoo!’s Dmitry Chesnokov. “Not without going too far, of course. But he came to power in a country that had just lived through a revolution. There were so many spies, enemies, traitors there. A lot of people still had guns after the civil war. The country was in ruins, (people) needed to survive somehow. The country needed to be rebuilt, and in order to do that it needed to be held in iron hands.
“… He knew what he was doing. He is described as a ‘bloody tyrant.’ But at the time it couldn’t be any other way. Yes, there were innocent people who were victims of repression. But it happens.”
This may be nit-picky, but a word of advice to whichever public relations firm is advising Bryzgalov and/or the Flyers: when discussing the deaths of millions, avoid phrases such as “but it happens.”
During the 24 seasons The Simpsons has been on the air, one of its many highlights has been the program’s ability to spoof the video game industry.
Invariably, video and arcade games are shown in a satirical vein, with an abundance of violence, blood or simple inane themes (witness the My Dinner with Andre game).
I’m partial to Billy Graham’s Bible Blaster, which, not surprising to fans of the show, belongs to Rod and Todd Flanders, progeny of ultra-religious Simpson neighbor Ned Flanders.
As Bart plays for Bible Blasters for the first time, Rod can be heard proffering the following advice: “Keep firing, convert the heathens!”
Proving that reprobates can usually find a way to adapt modern technology to their own devices while, at the same time, most of them aren’t all that smart, an Oklahoma woman was recently arrested for attempting to sell her children on Facebook.
Misty VanHorn, 22, of Sallisaw, Okla., was nabbed late last week for attempting to sell her 10-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son on Facebook, according to The Sequoyah County Times. She is being held on $40,000 bail.
After posting a number of offers on Facebook, VanHorn, shown above, made contact over the social media network with a woman in nearby Fort Smith, Ark., and offered to sell the 10-month old for $1,000, according to the blog The Social Graf.
One Facebook message sent by VanHorn to the prospective buyer in Arkansas stated: “Just come to Sallisaw, it’s only 30 minutes away and I’ll give you all of her stuff and let y’all have her forever for $1,000,” the blog added.
VanHorn also offered to sell both children together for $4,000. She apparently was not in the mood to offer a package discount.
VanHorn told the Arkansas woman that she needed the money to get her boyfriend out of jail, according to The Sequoyah County Times.
Manx, a language declared extinct in the 1990s, is staging an extraordinary renaissance.
Nearly 40 years after last native speaker of Manx died and half a generation after UNESCO declared it extinct, the Gaelic language is anything but dead.
“Road signs, radio shows, mobile phone apps, novels – take a drive around the Isle of Man today and the local language is prominent,” according to the BBC News Magazine.
Manx is a sister language of Irish and Scottish Gaelic, and like those two languages is descended from an old version of Irish. In the Manx tongue, the language is called “Gaelg” or “Gailck,” similar to the English word “Gaelic.”
Like many of the languages which once flourished within the British Isles, including Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Cornish, Manx was supplanted by English and later looked down upon by many, particularly those in power.
“In the 1860s there were thousands of Manx people who couldn’t speak English,” said Brian Stowell, 76, a native of the Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. “But barely a century later it was considered to be so backwards to speak the language that there were stories of Manx speakers getting stones thrown at them in the towns.”
My younger girls were taken aback when they recently learned that movie theaters once were stand-alone structures with but a single screen, rather than multi-screen monstrosities that today often accompany major malls and show eight or more movies at a time.
They were also flabbergasted to learn that theaters like the above, the old Saluda Theater in Saluda, SC, once charged kids as little as a dime for admission, particularly when some of today’s shows cost $10 or more.
The Saluda Theater was built in 1936 and operated as a regular movie theater until 1981. It’s been listed on the National Historical Register since 1993.
Designed by Charles B. Thompson, the two-story, stuccoed masonry building sits on the Saluda town square. Although like many small Southern towns, Saluda has been in decline for decades, the theater served as a focal point for entertainment in the community during the 1930s and 1940s.
“The crisp simple lines of the façade the geometric designs of the interior wall finishes and lighting features reveal the influences of the Art Deco style,” according to the National Register of Historical Places registration form.
Military censorship has been part and parcel of war reporting worldwide for at least a century.
Nearly half the French divisions on the Western Front mutinied to one degree or another in 1917, their will weakened by three years of devastating losses and no prospects of success as World War I dragged on. However, revelations on the extent and intensity of the mutinies, which included the execution of several dozen French soldiers, weren’t disclosed until 1967, and some information has still not been made available even after 96 years.
The British, in the same conflict, often didn’t even disclose to family members that their loved ones had been executed, choosing to bury men convicted and executed for crimes such as desertion in the same area as other soldiers killed in action and awarding the families pensions.
And as recently as 2004, the US military did its best to lay down a smokescreen surrounding the friendly-fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan.
The thought being, more often than not, that the morale of troops and/or folks at home would be damaged by the truth.
That apparently wasn’t a concern in the South during the War Between the States.
South Carolina’s Edgefield Advertiser ran a story on May 11, 1864, which detailed the execution of Pvt. Henry Jerome of the 17th South Carolina Infantry regiment in Charleston.
MILITARY EXECUTION – About half-past ten o’clock yesterday morning, the Race Course was the scene of a military execution. Private Henry Jerome, of Company A, 17th Regiment, S.C.V., who twice had been guilty of the crime of deserting his colors, paid the penalty with his life. The execution took place in the presence of Major Blanding’s command of the 1st S.C. Artillery and an infantry regiment – the firing squads being detached from the ranks of the Regulars. The condemned, a man of mature years, short in stature, and of quiet demeanor, was brought to the ground in an ambulance, attended by Rev. Mr. Aldrich, Chaplain of the 1st S.C. Artillery. After the last prayer had been said, the culprit refusing to have his eyes bandaged, knelt beside his coffin. At the first fire, he fell insensible, having received several mortal wounds in the chest, and within two minutes all signs of animation had disappeared. Private Jerome was, we understand, a native of Chester District, and leaves a wife and three children.
Occasionally one comes across a news report that cries out for additional information. Given that journalism has been called the “first draft of history,” it’s not surprising that reporters aren’t able to always get complete answers to every question that arises.
Sometimes, though, one has to wonder if an article’s author is an actual living human being, or simply an automaton devoid of curiosity and an awareness of the surreal.
A German student “mooned” a group of Hell’s Angels and hurled a puppy at them before escaping on a stolen bulldozer, police have said.
The man drove up to a Hell’s Angels clubhouse near Munich, wearing only a pair of shorts and carrying a puppy.
He dropped his shorts and threw the dog, escaping on a bulldozer from a nearby building site.