A Cold War kid with capitalist tendencies. It is his diary of life, work, play and music beyond Iron Curtain...
26 July 2011
New job, new post and cows
Ok people, there are a lot of things changed since you last checked on this page. First of all I am not an avid traveller anymore, hopefully and not subject to increased doses of radiation, sick business ethics, mud and alcohol and, most of all, I will not be seen on the streets of any Soviet capital for a while...at least for work though. Please stop emailing me for Kazantip this year..we are getting old for this..seriously.
My new assignment lets me sit comfortably in Istanbul, breathe in morning&evening traffic exhaust, sip tasteful tea in the morning to a glittering view of the golden horn from my sleek office, manage a platoon of highly educated supermodels on high heels, command an unaccountable corporate credit card and join the cream of the nation's white collar workforce in their sleek company cars...well...some of those things obviously do not reflect the real situation but I leave that to your imagination.
My new job, which is simply working for the competitor (a global giant call center company which you may never heave heard its name but obviously got into contact to one or more of its employees around the globe and had ,hopefullyi good encounters over the phone) now daily takes me to the European side office from my crib on the Asian part of town. That is 3 hours of bumper to bumper traffic on equal terms with Moscow's Sadovoe Kaltso ride during "chas pik".
The days of wandering in the "land of the plenty" (not the US) may seem over but I still have some drafts hidden here and there and check back regularly to see what I have in store for you...anyway, You must be doing that since you are reading this post, the first one I have written in ages.
Another thing is that I applied for a US visa almost 3 months ago ato visit my sister and still waiting for the "administrative process" to be completed...do you think they do read my blog?...if they do, receiving a visa will be of comparable success and luck to Dinamo Minsk winning against Barcelona in the Champion's League Finals...
Let's get back to why you are reading this blog...stories...This one is about the cows and -isms...
No one really knows how the two-cow joke known as "Parable of the Isms" came about, but most students of Political Science 101 have likely come across some variation of the following definitions:
Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one of them and gives it to your neighbor.
Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them both and provides you with milk.
Nazism: You have two cows. The government shoots you and takes the cows.
Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
Satire it may be, but the essential truth of the "cow jokes" is what makes them funny.
The former Soviet republics are no longer defined so much by being formerly Soviet, as by what they have become after twenty years of independence. Yet the old categories - socialist, communist, capitalist, fascist - don't easily work to describe a region where political cultures draw on everything from Rome and Byzantium to Baghdad and Beijing. Let's see how the "parable of the isms" might offer a convenient shorthand guide to the fifteen states that once made up the USSR.
Russia You have six cows and four bulls. Two of the bulls die from alcoholism, and the remaining two form a "tandem" to take the cows' milk and sell it to Germany and China.
Ukraine You have four of the most productive cows on the farm, two of which allow themselves to be milked by Russia, which upsets the other two so much their milk goes sour.
Georgia You have two cows and one prize-winning bull. The bull is so distracted winning prizes that Russia runs away with both cows.
Belarus You have one cow which you savagely beat until it produces milk. The milk dries up after your last savage beating, so now you must sell the cow to Russia.
Moldova You have two cows and a calf, but the cows live in Italy and Russia and send milk home by Western Union. You ferment the milk into wine, and launch a frenzied campaign to join the EU. Meanwhile, the calf is stolen and sold by rustlers.
Armenia You have four cows, but three of them live in Los Angeles and think they are horses. They send money for you to build stables.
Azerbaijan You have one cow that produces lots of excellent milk. You sell the milk to Farmer Browne and buy cattle prods from Israel and Turkey.
Turkmenistan You had one cow but you sold it to buy a golden statue of a cow that rotates with the sun.
Kazakhstan You have two cows that produce vast quantities of milk. You sell the milk, buy each cow a gold-plated cow bell, and declare yourself bull for life.
Kyrgyzstan You have two cows: one Kyrgyz and one Uzbek; they hate each other and refuse to be milked. Instead of hay, feed them tulips. Then sell one each to Russia and the United States. After six months sell them again.
Tajikistan You have three cows: one Tajik, one Uzbek, and one Russian. You beat the Russian cow until it runs away, and use your misfortune to plead for international aid. Meanwhile Iran milks your remaining cows.
Uzbekistan You have four cows. You let them drink all the water in the neighborhood swimming pool. Now no one can go swimming. You blame this on "corrupt and lawless elements," and volunteer to remain in power until the problem is solved.
The Baltic States
You have lost half your cows, for which you blame Russia and demand an apology. As consolation, the EU gives you a sleek Scandinavian-designed barn and NATO farmers teach you advanced milking techniques.