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  • Michael Krakovskiy 2:17 pm on May 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Civil disobedience, Ecological succession, , Henry David Thoreau, Lecturers, Nationality, Pencil,   

    And twitter it 

    I have a very wise friend who lives in in a mcmansion located a stone’s throw from from Henry David Thoreau’s little cabin. Despite this ironic fact, my friend is closer in spirit to the famous engineer, pencil magnate, and philosopher, as he often scoffed at my blogging and social network participation.

    As an explanation on why I don’t blog much, here’s what Henry David Thoreau thought about twitter and the rest:

    “My life has been the poem I would have writ,
    But I could not both live and utter it.”

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:05 am on October 10, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: book author, , , Ilya Miloslavskiy, Miloslavsky, Nationality, Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky, , royal physician, , , , ,   

    Best Nickname Ever 

    When I was in school, I always considered History to be one of the easiest subjects, and also one of the most boring ones. Most teachers that I had concentrated on having us memorize facts and dates, and did not really try to make History interesting. I did have a couple of good History teachers in college, one of whom won a Pulitzer prize. Another made me regret not having the time to get a proper classical education.

    In any case, the biggest problem I have with history books is that everything in them is sanitized. I like my historical works HBO-style, with all the filth intact, like in Deadwood and Rome.

    Let me give you an example. I was reading “The Tolstoys: Twenty Four Generations of Russian History” by Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky. The Tolstoy family were always very important in Russian history. They seem to possess some talents that seem to be passed on genetically. These talents seem to fall into three categories: writing, politics, and to the lesser extent art. From founding the fist Russian secret police, through writing dozens of world-changing books, to revolutionizing Russian web design, Tolstoys left a deep mark. By reading this book I understood how much this one family line changed Russia and the world.

    But what I found the most enjoyable was not that, but a little episode about Ilya Miloslavskiy, the book author’s illustrious ancestor. Boyar Miloslavskiy was sort of an olde tyme oligarch. In 1600s he headed all of Russia’s most important (and profitable) ministries, Military, Medical, Treasury, etc. He was a man of limitless appetites, and stole amazing amount of money. Miloslavsky’s boss, tzar Alexei was not bothered as much by stealing, as he was by amoral behavior.

    Tolstoy quotes Dr. Collins, a royal physician and apparently Miloslavsky’s employee:

    “at last perceiving Eliah too kind to some of his Tartar and Polish slaves, he urged him (being and old Widdower) either to marry or refrain the Court. For the Russians highly extoll marriage, partly to people their Territories, and partly to prevent Sodomy and Buggery, to which they are naturally inclined, nor is it punished there with Death. A lusty Fellow about eight years since being at this beastly sport with a Cow, cry’d to one that saw him ‘Ne Mishchay, do not interrupt me; and now he is known by no other name over all Muscovy, than ‘Ne Mishchay’ “.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:36 am on September 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Great Teacher, , , Nationality, , Politics of Russia, , , Russian revolutionaries,   

    Rupert Murdoch the Communist 

    Do you know the famous misquote that goes something like: “A young man who isn’t a socialist hasn’t got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn’t got a head”?

    Well, apparently, at some point young Rupert Murdoch was a huge fan of Lenin. The following quote is from Murdoch: Revised and Updated, page 38:

    “He added an an extraordinary postscript, written in magenta ink, reaffirming his loyalty to Lenin. “Yesterday was the 29th anniversary of the Great Teacher. We stood to attention for one minute in front of THE BUST on the mantelpiece and drank several toasts-and then settled down to some good reading of adulatory Russian poetry.””

    Picturing Rupert reading “adulatory Russian poetry” and owning a bust of Lenin brings a tear to my eye.

     
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