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steve2470's Journal
steve2470's Journal
December 31, 2013

What are the biggest misconceptions about Russia ?


I found this interesting, hopefully you will also.

Marco North, living in Moscow full-time for over 6 years, visiting the country for over 10 years.
Votes by Aaron Ellis, Edwin Khoo, Evgeny Fadeev, Tim Bushell, and 109 more.

There are countless misconceptions about Russia and its people. The way Russians are depicted in film and tv cultivates some disgusting stereotypes. The advent of amateur videos, and social media in general allows the lowest common denominator to become the prime example. I think I need to point out that physicists and artists in Russia may not feel the urge to share their accomplishments on youtube and translate them into English/other languages for foreigners to appreciate their accomplishments. If we take stock of a culture by all of the people posting kitten pictures, and nipple slips on social media, we are all fools.

1. The aggressive, prevalent voices you hear (on Quora for example) represent a minuscule amount of the common person's opinion and experience. In short, 95% of Russia does not really communicate with "the outside world" and the part that does communicate are extremists of some kind, very Pro-Putin or very anti-Putin. So, whatever you think you know is based on a tiny, tiny group that cannot be speaking for more than themselves and those close to them. As Russia is such a diverse, profoundly disparate country it is quite difficult to find any single point or issue that everyone shares. There are churches and communities of Russian Orthodox, Muslims, Jews and even pagans here. Some of their values and perceptions are indeed in agreement within these groups, but even in Moscow there are Jewish organizations that are often in disagreement with other Jewish organizations. So in a mammoth country where everyone tends to have their own opinion (if they are brave enough to share it or not is another question), what is the biggest misconception? That anyone can make a sweeping generalization that is true across these disparate groups. As the saying goes, there is an "ass" in "assumptions".

So, misconception #1 - If you think you "know something" about Russia you are most probably mistaken or are at best are basing your conclusion on a splinter of "fact" that does not represent more than a tiny group.

One of the things I have come to learn in Russia after living here for six years now, is that there always stories, rumors, local news reports, International news reports, other news reports that conflict with previous ones - leading me to one truth. No one every really knows what happened, why it happened, who did or did not do something or if it will happen again (see this answer). The recent pile of scandals at the Bolshoi are a great example of this. Some say no acid was ever thrown on anyone's face. Some say the wrong guy was charged. Maybe the whole thing was a plot. Maybe, maybe, maybe...is all anyone can say. Base your own conclusions on locals who cannot say more than maybe...see what that gets you... it gets you a lot of angry, defensive Russians (on places like Quora) saying you are an idiot.

December 31, 2013

easy way to keep track of New Year's Eve all over the world....


For example, only 90 minutes til Christmas Island celebrates 2014. Enjoy !
December 30, 2013

question about trance/EDM music titles

Many times I'll see a title like this: " Donna Jones & Eric Smith versus AKF - PerfectTrance ". I'm assuming the Donna and Eric is a trance team of producers but why the " versus AKF " ?

This has always puzzled me and I only see it in EDM titles. Thanks for educating me.


December 29, 2013

How the "Wolf of Wall Street" Is Still Screwing His Real-Life Victims


Robert Shearin of Manhattan Beach is planning to see Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street when it comes out next week.
But it's not because of the felonies-are-fun billboards or the total-testosterone trailers inviting moviegoers to join Leonardo DiCaprio on a rollicking ride of wild sex, pharmaceutical-pure drugs and stock-we-stole.

No, Shearin, 66, is going to see The Wolf of Wall Street because he lived through it - as vulnerable prey of the real-life Wolf, Jordan Belfort. Belfort still owes Shearin and more than 1,000 other victims millions of dollars -- even as he's making money as a motivational speaker and living high on the hog in pricey Hermosa Beach.

Belfort was founder and president of the New York investment banking firm Stratton Oakmont. From 1988-96, Stratton Oakmont targeted investors like Shearin in a classic "pump-and-dump" scheme: Its brokers would buy up large blocks of penny stocks, convince people like Shearin to invest in them to drive the price up, and then ignore their sell orders - even while dumping their own blocks of stock for huge profits, leaving their investors with worthless stock when the price inevitably plummeted back to where it started.
December 29, 2013

So, anyone think the UCF Knights will win the Fiesta Bowl against Baylor ?

I haven't been following the Knights closely enough to have an informed opinion.

December 29, 2013

I saw "The Wolf of Wall Street" last night, what did you think ?

Cons first: I think Martin Scorcese definitely threw in as much debauchery as he could. Some reviewers have chided him for that. I never read the book by Jordan Belfort (the protagonist), so I don't know how much of it is supposedly accurate.

Pros: It was very funny in spots and overall a pretty good view into the greed of Wall Street. The movie is 3 hours long, so go prepared.

The Wolf of Wall Street

December 27, 2013

4 Surgeries to Avoid: Reasons to think twice before going under the knife


*very heavily edited list, you can go to the link above*

1. Stents for Stable Angina

2. Complex Spinal Fusion for Stenosis

3. Hysterectomy for Uterine Fibroids

4. Knee Arthroscopy for Osteoarthritis
December 27, 2013

Vietnam War military strategy debate and the N-word, all at my Christmas dinner ugh

The Christmas dinner was at someone's house who is in my singles social group. I had no family in town for the holiday.

N-word: I'm watching a big screen TV with two other guys. I said "Who's playing ?" Then I read off the names of the NY Knicks and the Oklahoma Thunder for my own edification. The guy next to me says: " A bunch of N-words". I was absolutely fucking appalled. Scratch him off my "must talk to" list. I got away from him as fast as possible.

Vietnam War: Mind you, I know only one person at this dinner at all. The rest of the people I've either never seen before or only have met one time. A debate on the military strategy of the Vietnam War breaks out between two guys. Color me very uncomfortable, especially since 1) N-word incident only one hour previous and 2) I don't debate politics with people I don't know at a social event, it always goes south in my past experience. I know other people don't mind these debates no matter where, but my cardinal rule is to never discuss anything political with people I don't know well.

Despite all that, I managed to salvage the evening. Happy Holidays !

December 27, 2013

Benefits to end Saturday for long-term jobless


Kathy Biscotti cut back to two meals a day after losing her job over the summer. On Saturday, she must swallow an even more bitter pill: the end of her federal unemployment benefits.

An estimated 1.3 million long-term unemployed workers like Biscotti are expected to be affected when the program expires. The extended benefits, staunchly opposed by Republicans, were left out of the bipartisan federal budget agreement reached this month. Senate Democrats have vowed to make the issue a top priority when they return to Washington in January, but Biscotti says she can’t wait that long.

“I could be out on the street by then,” said the 51-year-old Baltimore resident, who lost her job as an office assistant at a real estate company in June. “I have no control over this. It’s all up to Congress.”

The emergency unemployment benefits have been a staple of Washington’s efforts to cushion Main Street from the blows of the recession for the past five years. Lawmakers have extended the program 11 times, never allowing it to lapse — until now.

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