Sunday, February 01, 2004

Woke up, wide awake and wired, around 3 a.m. All alert and anxious, something terrible must have happened.

Sure enough. Death at the Hajj due to overcrowding. People are tired and dehydrated from traipsing back and forth from ceremony to ceremony. Just the noise must be exhausting. I hope the old guy is safe, that he may live out his natural lifespan and enjoy his achievement back home in his village before moving on peacefully.

The chicken 'flu has now achieved successful cross-species contamination, two children who caught it from their brother are the proof in the East. It's probably headed West as I speak.

The revenge of the chicken. Millions of chicken kamikazes bent on teaching us the lesson: we all share just one life, you can't harm a part without affecting the whole.

Isn't it ironic how we never get the message until it becomes really loud and angry?

So, did I find anything fun, in the bleary uncaffeinated moment of anxiety before daybreak? Yup, you betcha.

Kasparov is starting a campaign to attempt to keep Putin more democratic. It appears the country is filled with so-called "silovikis", the nostalgic old timers (from the political police and army) who are larded throughout all the present-day ministries, and who have one thing in common, they hate the oligarchs, they are true blue patriots. Putin's generation may be hedonistic, they may just want to rest by the roadside and enjoy a little skiing in the winter, a little swimming, sailing and sunbathing in the summer, but the old ways are hard to leave behind and that is the mystical attraction Putin has over the masses.

One significant detail, however, is that Putin's support is almost unconditional with the Russian wymin and there are an awful lot of widders in Old Mother Russia, most of whom consider Putin the ideal husband, someone who will always take care of them. So apart from being mystical, Putin's power base is also in part what you might call "politico-erotic".

Putin is a master at communications. His strength is that he acts as a mirror for everyone he meets. Just watch his body language with all the heads of state he visits. Even Bush was under the spell: "I looked into the man's eyes and..." blablabla. Without giving away anything of his personal characteristics, listening more than he ever speaks, he leaves everyone with the impression that he is their intimate friend.

In this context, it is not surprising there is an increasing personality cult around Putin in Russia. His popularity is such that they even have his effigy on chocolate boxes.

They also have a meatloaf special, layered in such a way that every slice reveals the message: "Glory to Putin".


Tonight, during the commercials as we watch Alias, I plan to submit this political analysis of mine to Janna. It should be worth a few fireworks.

Oh, and another thing: Berlusconi got himself a face lift. He likes what he sees in the mirror now, and he thinks everyone else likes what they see too. He said his wife made him do it, and he says this is just the beginning.

Meanwhile Juppe in France has been condemned for dodgy campaign financing. This could only happen in France, it would never happen over here. Hehehe! Chirac is still safe because he benefits from immunity while he is in power. I would think he is feeling a little hot under the collar, despite the success of the "China comes to Paris" hoopla.
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