A Dream Come True (Mechte Navstrechu) is a Soviet science fiction film directed by Otar Koberidze and Michael Karyuk. It’s based on the novel ‘Heart of the Universe’ by Olesya Berdnik.
Month: November 2021
Ancient Egyptian civilization (article) | Khan Academy
- Egyptian civilization developed along the Nile River in large part because the river’s annual flooding ensured reliable, rich soil for growing crops.
- Repeated struggles for political control of Egypt showed the importance of the region’s agricultural production and economic resources.
- The Egyptians kept written records using a writing system known as hieroglyphics.
- Egyptian rulers used the idea of divine kingship and constructed monumental architecture to demonstrate and maintain power.
- Ancient Egyptians developed wide-reaching trade networks along the Nile, in the Red Sea, and in the Near East.
Much of the history of Egypt is divided into three “kingdom” periods—Old, Middle, and New—with shorter intermediate periods separating the kingdoms. The term “intermediate” here refers to the fact that during these times Egypt was not a unified political power, and thus was in between powerful kingdoms. Even before the Old Kingdom period, the foundations of Egyptian civilization were being laid for thousands of years, as people living near the Nile increasingly focused on sedentary agriculture, which led to urbanization and specialized, non-agricultural economic activity.
Evidence of human habitation in Egypt stretches back tens of thousands of years. It was only in about 6000 BCE, however, that widespread settlement began in the region. Around this time, the Sahara Desert expanded. Some scientists think this expansion was caused by a slight shift in the tilt of the Earth. Others have explored changing rainfall patterns, but the specific causes are not entirely clear. The most important result of this expansion of the Sahara for human civilization was that it pushed humans closer to the Nile River in search of reliable water sources.
Apart from the delta region, where the river spreads out as it flows into the sea, most settlement in the Nile Valley was confined to within a few miles of the river itself (see map above). The Nile River flooded annually; this flooding was so regular that the ancient Egyptians set their three seasons—Inundation, or flooding, Growth, and Harvest—around it.
This annual flooding was vital to agriculture because it deposited a new layer of nutrient-rich soil each year. In years when the Nile did not flood, the nutrient level in the soil was seriously depleted, and the chance of food shortages increased greatly. Food supplies had political effects, as well, and periods of drought probably contributed to the decline of Egyptian political unity at the ends of both the Old and Middle Kingdoms.
Although we do not know the specific dates and events, most scholars who study this period believe that sometime around the year 3100 BCE, a leader named either Narmer or Menes—sources are unclear on whether these were the same person!—united Egypt politically when he gained control of both Upper and Lower Egypt.
Somewhat confusingly, when you look at a map of this area, Lower Egypt is the delta region in the north, and Upper Egypt refers to the southern portion of the country, which is upriver from the delta. You may encounter this terminology when reading about rivers in history, so a good trick is to remember that rivers flow downhill, so the river is lower toward its end at the sea and higher closer to its source!
After political unification, divine kingship, or the idea that a political ruler held his power by favor of a god or gods—or that he was a living incarnation of a god—became firmly established in Egypt. For example, in the mythology that developed around unification, Narmer was portrayed as Horus, a god of Lower Egypt, where Narmer originally ruled. He conquered Set, a god of Upper Egypt. This mythologized version of actual political events added legitimacy to the king’s rule.
The use of hieroglyphics—a form of writing that used images to express sounds and meanings—likely began in this period. As the Egyptian state grew in power and influence, it was better able to mobilize resources for large-scale projects and required better methods of record-keeping to organize and manage an increasingly large state. During the Middle Kingdom, Egyptians began to write literature, as well. Some writing was preserved on stone or clay, and some was preserved on papyrus, a paper-like product made from reed fiber. Papyrus is very fragile, but due to the hot and dry climate of Egypt, a few papyrus documents have survived. Hieroglyphic writing also became an important tool for historians studying ancient Egypt once it was translated in the early 1800s.
As rulers became more powerful, they were better able to coordinate labor and resources to construct major projects, and more people required larger supplies of food. Projects to improve agricultural production, such as levees and canals became more important. Irrigation practices consisted of building mud levees—which were walls of compacted dirt that directed the annual flooding onto farmland and kept it away from living areas—and of digging canals to direct water to fields as crops were growing.
Elites, those individuals who were wealthy and powerful, began building larger tombs which were precursors to the pyramids. These tombs represented a growing divide between the elite and common people in Egyptian society. Only the wealthy and important could afford and be considered as deserving of such elaborate burials.
Old Kingdom Egypt: 2686-2181 BCE
During the Old Kingdom period, Egypt was largely unified as a single state; it gained in complexity and expanded militarily. Old Kingdom rulers built the first pyramids, which were both tombs and monuments for the kings who had them built. Building monumental architecture—such as the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx in Giza, and temples for different gods—required a centralized government that could command vast resources.
The builders of the pyramids were not enslaved people but peasants, working on the pyramids during the farming off-season. These peasants worked alongside specialists like stone cutters, mathematicians, and priests. As a form of taxation, each household was required to provide a worker for these projects, although the wealthy could pay for a substitute. This demonstrates both the power of the state to force people to provide labor and also the advantages enjoyed by elites, who could buy their way out of providing labor.
Egyptians also began to build ships, constructed of wooden planks tied together with rope and stuffed with reeds, to trade goods such as ebony, incense, gold, copper, and Lebanese cedar—which was particularly important for construction projects—along maritime routes.
Middle Kingdom: 2000-1700 BCE
The Middle Kingdom saw Egypt unified again as kings found ways to take back power from regional governors. From the Middle Kingdom era forward, Egyptian kings often kept well-trained standing armies. The ability of the Egyptian state to create and maintain a standing military force and to build fortifications showed that it had regained control of substantial resources.
Political fragmentation led to the Second Intermediate Period. The precise dates are unclear; even though writing allowed for more events to be recorded, most things still were not, and many more records have been lost or destroyed.
Taking advantage of this political instability in Egypt, the Hyksos appeared around 1650 BCE. They were a Semitic people, meaning they spoke a language that originated in the Middle East, which indicated that they were not native to Egypt. The Hyksos imposed their own political rulers but also brought many cultural and technological innovations, such as bronze working and pottery techniques, new breeds of animals and new crops, the horse and chariot, the composite bow, battle-axes, and fortification techniques for warfare.
New Kingdom: 1550-1077 BCE
Around 1550 BCE, the New Kingdom period of Egyptian history began with the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt and the restoration of centralized political control. This period was Egypt’s most prosperous time and marked the peak of its power.
Also in this period, Hatshepsut, Egypt’s most famous female ruler, established trade networks that helped build the wealth of Egypt and commissioned hundreds of construction projects and pieces of statuary, as well as an impressive mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri. She also ordered repairs to temples that had been neglected or damaged during the period of Hyksos rule.
The term pharaoh, which originally referred to the king’s palace, became a form of address for the king himself during this period, further emphasizing the idea of divine kingship. Religiously, the pharaohs associated themselves with the god Amun-Ra, while still recognizing other deities.
In the mid-1300s BCE, one pharaoh attempted to alter this tradition when he chose to worship Aten exclusively and even changed his name to Akhenaten in honor of that god. Some scholars interpret this as the first instance of monotheism, or the belief in a single god. This change did not survive beyond Akhenaten’s rule, however.
New Kingdom Egypt reached the height of its power under the pharaohs Seti I and Ramesses II, who fought to expand Egyptian power against the Libyans to the west and the Hittites to the north. The city of Kadesh on the border between the two empires was a source of conflict between the Egyptians and the Hittites, and they fought several battles over it, ultimately agreeing to the world’s first known peace treaty.
Third Intermediate Period: 1069-664 BCE
The costs of war, increased droughts, famine, civil unrest, and official corruption ultimately fragmented Egypt into a collection of locally-governed city-states. Taking advantage of this political division, a military force from the Nubian kingdom of Kush in the south conquered and united Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and Kush. The Kushites were then driven out of Egypt in 670 BCE by the Assyrians, who established a client state (a political entity that is self-governing but pays tribute to a more powerful state) in Egypt.
In 656 BCE, Egypt was again reunited and broke away from Assyrian control. The country experienced a period of peace and prosperity until 525 BCE, when the Persian king Cambyses defeated the Egyptian rulers and took the title of Pharaoh for himself, along with his title as king of Persia.
On Cambie Street in Downtown Vancouver. Summer of 2020.
Cambie Street is a street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is named for Henry John Cambie, chief surveyor of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s western division (as is Cambie Road, a major thoroughfare in nearby Richmond).
There are two distinct sections of the street. North of False Creek, the street runs on a northeast-southwest alignment (following the rotated street grid within Downtown Vancouver). As such, the street direction is approximately 45 degrees to that of the Cambie Bridge, and there is no seamless connection between the two. Instead, Nelson Street carries southbound traffic onto the bridge, and Smithe Street carries northbound traffic away from the bridge. The downtown section of Cambie Street runs from Water Street in Gastown in the north to Pacific Boulevard in Yaletown in the south and is a two-way street for its length.
South of False Creek, the street is a major six-lane arterial road, and runs as a two-way north-south thoroughfare according to the street grid for the rest of Vancouver. This section of the street was originally named Bridge Street, and was first connected to Cambie Street after the first Cambie Bridge opened in 1891; it was renamed Cambie Street after the second Cambie Bridge opened in 1912.
Between King Edward Avenue West and Southwest Marine Drive, the street has a 10 metre wide boulevard with grass and many well established trees on it; the boulevard was designated as a heritage landscape by the city of Vancouver in 1993.
When proposals to build SkyTrain’s Canada Line (formerly known as the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver or RAV Line) along Cambie Street first emerged, they were heavily protested by residents and business owners who wanted to keep the street as a heritage boulevard. They argued in favour of using the existing Arbutus Street rail corridor instead.
Once the decision was made to use the Cambie alignment for the Canada Line anyway, residents along the corridor successfully persuaded authorities to put the rail line in a tunnel instead of running it as a surface route, and to dig the tunnel using a tunnel boring machine. However, due to cost concerns and time constraints, the winning bidder decided to use a cut-and-cover method to build the tunnel – which required disruption to traffic and business along the corridor during the construction. As such, even though it cost less and was much faster than using a tunnel boring machine, the plan drew heavy criticism from area residents and businesses.
During 2006 to 2009, portions of the street south of False Creek were closed to traffic to allow for construction of the line. The cut-and-cover tunnel runs underneath the east side of the street for most of its route. South of West 63rd Avenue, the line emerges from the tunnel and runs on an elevated structure across the Fraser River.
Gregor Robertson, who later became the mayor of Vancouver, was a strong supporter of Cambie Street merchants and spoke regularly about hardships from the Canada Line construction. He called the handling of the rail line construction an “injustice.”
On March 23, 2009, Robertson testified in a lawsuit brought by Cambie Street merchant Susan Heyes, owner of Hazel & Co., in the B.C. Supreme Court regarding damage to her business from the construction, a lawsuit for which she was awarded $600,000 by the B.C. Supreme Court due in part to the fact that there was insufficient action to mitigate the effects of Canada Line construction on Cambie Street merchants. The award for damages was later reversed at the British Columbia Court of Appeal, which determined that while the project had resulted in a legal nuisance to the claimant, the government had acted within its authority and was therefore not liable for damages. Leave for further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was subsequently denied. On the Canada Line’s opening day of August 17, 2009, Robertson said Greater Vancouver needed more rapid transit but the Canada Line was a “great start” and that he was a “Johnny-come-lately” to the project.
Just finished watching The Pledge (2001) and Midnight Special (2016)…
Now listening to Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves by Michael Kamen and Mechanical Resonance by Tesla…
Gametrailers Review Archive: Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4
The work of engineer Eladio Dieste: Church of Atlántida
The Church of Atlántida with its belfry and underground baptistery is located in Estación Atlántida, 45 km away from Montevideo. Inspired by Italian paleo-Christian and medieval religious architecture, the modernistic Church complex, inaugurated in 1960, represents a novel utilization of exposed and reinforced brick. Built on rectangular plan of one single hall, the church features distinctive undulating walls supporting a similarly undulating roof, composed of a sequence of reinforced brick Gaussian vaults developed by Eladio Dieste (1917-2000). The cylindrical bell-tower, built in openwork exposed brick masonry, rises from the ground to the right of the main church facade, while the underground baptistery is located on the left side of the parvis, accessible from a triangular prismatic entrance and illuminated via a central oculus. The Church provides an eminent example of the remarkable formal and spatial achievements of modern architecture in Latin America during the second part of the 20th century, embodying the search for social equality with a spare use of resources, meeting structural imperatives to great aesthetic effect.
The Church of Atlántida of engineer Eladio Dieste with its belfry and underground baptistery is located in Estación Atlántida, a low-density locality, 45 km away from Montevideo. Inspired by Italian paleo-Christian and medieval religious architecture, the Church with its belfry and baptistery, all built in exposed bricks, exhibit forms dictated by the effort to achieve greater robustness with limited resistant sections and use of material.
The property is an emblematic example of the application of a new building technique, reinforced ceramic, which Dieste developed by drawing on a thousand-year long tradition of brick construction, while applying modern scientific and technological knowledge, and thus opening up new structural and expressive possibilities for architecture.
Designed from the outset to be built with local materials by local people, the Church of Atlántida, located in a lower middle-class semi-rural community, has its roots in long-established building traditions, while embodying the scientific and technical achievements of modernity. The Church of Atlántida reflects efforts to optimise the use of resources and ensure sustainability. The property is imbued with the humanistic principles that constantly guide the spatial and material concepts of engineer Dieste.
Criterion (iv): The Church of Atlántida of engineer Eladio Dieste represents the highest spatial and aesthetic expression of a construction and technological innovation – the reinforced brickwork coupled with the mobile formwork – that draws from tradition, whilst reinterpreting and innovating it, and opens up structural and formal opportunities in architecture impossible to conceive and achieve up to that date with traditional masonry. The property embodies the post-war search for a renewed architectural language, expressing a modernity rooted in tradition and in the vernacular in Latin America and worldwide. It also reflects the locale and its people who built it. The church illustrates the confluence of geometry, of the static conception of the building, of the form expressed by the chosen building material.
The Church of Atlántida includes all the elements linked to the history of the location and the period over which the building has been functioning. Its dimensions are sufficient to provide a comprehensive representation of the characteristics and processes that embody its Outstanding Universal Value. The church, which is in constant use, is currently in a good state of conservation. Thanks to a recent conservation programme, the building does not face any risks, and the pathologies affecting it can be treated.
The property is authentic in terms of location, time, construction materials, surroundings, and the substance of its creation and liturgical use.
Protection and management requirements
Requirements for the protection of the property are linked to its designation as a National Historic Monument by virtue of Heritage Law no. 10.040 of August 1971, amended in 2008 and 2015, and of Regulatory Decree 536/72. Conservation is the responsibility of the Heritage Commission, under the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Partial Land Use Plan for the commune of Atlántida and Estación Atlántida, which constitutes the legal land use instrument, recognises the heritage property status of the Church of Atlántida. Ownership is currently shared by the Bishopric of Canelones and the Congregation of the Rosarian Nuns, two institutions of the Catholic Church; however, steps have been undertaken to gather all elements of the property into the Bishopric’s ownership.
The Church is administered by the Management Unit, which incorporates an Executive Committee, and a Deliberative Committee consisting of a set of institutional and social stakeholders who ensure the participation of citizens in the management of the heritage property. The Executive Committee, which takes decisions relating to intervention of all types on the property, is composed of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Heritage Commission and the Bishopric of Canelones. The Deliberative Committee provides direct support to the Executive Committee; it consists of stakeholders involved in the routine management of the church as regards operational and material matters and its surroundings. The technical, administrative and economic resources are provided by State institutions and by the Catholic Church.
Putin’s state of the nation speech highlights crisis of Russian oligarchy
On March 1, Vladimir Putin delivered a state of the nation speech that highlighted the crisis of the Russian oligarchy which finds itself beleaguered by US imperialism while Russia is in the midst of prolonged economic and social decline.
The annual speech to members of the Federal Assembly (i.e. both the upper and lower houses of the Russian parliament) is usually given in December, but was delayed multiple times before the Kremlin announced just a few weeks ago that it would be held just 17 days before the presidential election. Unlike in the past, Putin gave his speech not in the Kremlin’s St. George Hall but at the much larger Manege, an old Tsarist riding school outside the Kremlin.
Putin’s two-hour speech was riddled with contradictions, combining extreme nationalism with social demagogy, concessions to the liberal opposition and the announcement of Russia entering a nuclear arms race with the United States (see also: “Responding to US threats, Russian President Putin proclaims nuclear arms race”).
Before he proceeded to Russia’s military rearmament, on which all Western press reports have focused, Putin devoted some two parts of his speech to social and economic questions. It was the first time that Putin, who is widely expected to win the presidential elections on March 18, has revealed something akin to an election program.
Putin deliberately refused to acknowledge the massive impact of the sanctions of the EU and US on the Russian economy. He did not once mention gas exports and oil prices, on which the Russian economy and budget heavily rely. Even though the sanctions and the drop in international oil prices have led to a recession in Russia from 2014-2016 from which the economy has still not fully recovered, Putin mentioned the crisis and the sanctions only once in passing, arguing instead that “a new macroeconomic reality has been created in Russia today with a low inflation and a generally stable economy.”
In delivering a speech that, in its final parts, was aimed at preparing the population for the possibility of a nuclear war with the United States, Putin thus tried to belittle both the extent of Russia’s social and economic crisis and its extreme dependence on the world market.
In addressing the social situation, Putin offered a bizarre mixture of grandiose social promises with statements that everything was going great already followed by grudging, vague admissions of an acute social and economic crisis in Russia.
Many of these promises were reminiscent of what Putin had promised before time and again. If anything, the demagogy was even starker. Putin proposed an increase in pensions; massive government investments into the development of cities and small towns, the infrastructure of streets and railways, which are in a desperately poor state; the development of the housing stock; as well as a substantial increase in spending on education and the health care system. This is after almost two decades in which Putin has been president or prime minister while drastic cuts to almost all of these sectors were undertaken.
Virtually every task that Putin set for the new government was followed by a variation of the phrase: “This will be a very difficult task. But I’m confident that we can solve it.” He briefly mentioned his May decrees from 2016 in which he had already set forth a series of social demands, including a livable income for everyone, basically acknowledging that they had not been realized.
With this lengthy but remarkably vague and demagogic part of his speech, Putin was no doubt responding to growing unrest in the working class. Just a few weeks ago, a series of teachers in Tagaranrog had protested against the poverty wages they received, referring to Putin’s May decrees. One of the teachers involved was promptly fired (see also: “Russian teacher fired after criticizing low salaries”).
Shortly thereafter, a young nurse from the southern Urals posted a video of herself on vkontakte (a Russian version of Facebook), reciting a poem in which she severely criticized the decrepit state of Russia’s social and health care system and explained why she was becoming ever more nostalgic about the Soviet Union: “I’m teaching my children to love their motherland, but I cannot explain them for what. My father did not make it until retirement age, he could not bear the burden, he always paid into the pension fund but where is his money now?” The video has been viewed by over 200,000 people.
After describing at length all social issues that his new government would allegedly address, Putin announced an economic program that de facto caters to the demands of the liberal opposition and figures such as Ksenia Sobchak, and would inevitably be accompanied by further social austerity.
He added: “In order for the economy to work at its maximum strength we need to fundamentally improve the business climate, and guarantee the highest level of entrepreneurial freedoms and competition. …The participation of the state in the economy must be gradually lowered”. He also promised to ruthlessly fight all tendencies by the state and law enforcement to intervene in private business activities.
In the final part of the speech, Putin emphasized repeatedly and at length that the Russian government had undertaken every possible effort to negotiate with the United States about issues such as the Missile Defense System. “There was a time when I thought that a compromise could be found. But all our proposals, literally all our proposals, were rejected.”
The massive nuclear rearmament that the Russian government was now undertaking was, Putin stressed, a defensive measure.
In an unprecedented military show of strength, Putin detailed Russia’s new weapons systems and showed a video simulation of a nuclear attack on Florida. Finally, he warned that Russia would consider any attack with nuclear weapons, of whatever size, on its territory or that of an ally, an assault on Russia which would be “answered accordingly”.
He concluded his speech with appeals to nationalism, implying that “the Russia we all dream of” would and could now be created in the 21st century and that “our bright victories” still lie ahead.
The speech by Putin highlights the profound crisis of the Russian oligarchy. If in the 1990s, the generally held motto of the ascending oligarchs who were plundering and destroying the economy was “après moi le déluge” (after me the deluge), they now find themselves in the midst of the deluge and do not know how to get out of it. From its very inception, the Russian oligarchy has been based on the destruction of the Soviet economy, the brutal exploitation of the working class, the frenzied selling off of raw material resources and an economic and political dependence on imperialism. Yet their economic basis is now becoming ever more flimsy, there is growing unrest in the working class and US imperialism, on which the oligarchs had always counted as a possible ally, and is now openly preparing for war against Russia.
The oligarchy’s only way out of this crisis lies in a desperate combination of the whipping-up of nationalism and massive rearmament on the one hand, and attempts to find a last-minute negotiated settlement with US imperialism on the other. For the working class in Russia and internationally, either would result in a disaster.
Dallas can be called one of the best TV shows in existence
Because of popular demand, I’ve decided to make a blog post of my own somewhat earlier than I wanted to. I think that I’ll even share more of the information that I have about the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve already made a post that includes my thoughts about this phenomenon, but, since it’s not going to go away any time soon, I can share some more of my thoughts about it. It seems that the authorities in Western states will keep milking this so-called pandemic for as long as possible.
Very rarely do I share information about my life on my blog, and, therefore, I think that it’s mostly a waste of time for people to attempt to deduce what I’m like and what I do based on my posts. Of course, this won’t stop people from trying to deduce what I’m like anyway. Therefore, my statement is only a suggestion for anyone who’ll listen. I’ve been running my blog for several years already, and I’ve made about two dozen posts of my own so far. This is a very small number. I can mention, for example, that I’ve been to Egypt and that I’ve seen the sphinx and the pyramids in Giza. I haven’t mentioned this information in any of my previous posts, however. I’m mentioning it now only to let people know that I’m not here to spill my guts about my life, as some people seem to think. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve made only about two dozen posts of my own in the last several years. Therefore, trying to figure out what my character is like based on these posts is fruitless. Still, my blog continues to grow, and I’m not here to discourage people. I’m only saying that my blog is not a complete representation of me.
The television series that I’ve been watching the most lately is Dallas, which began airing on CBS in 1978. I began watching Dallas about half a year ago out of curiosity because the heyday of this series was in the 1980s. In particular, I wanted to see Dallas as a period piece, with 1980s fashion and charm. So far, I’ve finished watching the first four seasons of the show. This may not seem like a lot, but that’s because I’ve been doing other things as well. Firstly, Dallas features hour-long episodes and not half-hour-long episodes. Secondly, Dallas isn’t the only show that I’ve been watching. For example, I’ve also been watching Magnum, P.I. (starring Tom Selleck). Magnum, P.I. is another series that I’ve grown to like after seeing the first several episodes. And I’ve been watching The X-Files (starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson), which began airing in 1993, as well. I got hooked on Dallas after watching the first few episodes, but I would say that this show becomes truly enjoyable in the second season. One of the reasons why the show is good is because it has a good cast. It’s worth remembering that in the 1970s and in the 1980s American actors could still act well, and this is one of the reasons why American shows and films used to be good. Back then, American actors weren’t simply going through the motions, as they do now. I can bring up the American flag as an example. The American flag used to be quite a good actor in Hollywood movies. In the last decade or two, however, the American flag has been delivering rather dull, one-note performances. I mean, you can look at the uninspired performance that the American flag delivered in Michael Bay’s masterpiece Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) as an example. Out of the main cast of Dallas, I think that Jim Davis and Larry Hagman did a particularly good job. All of the actors in the main cast were well suited for their roles, however. Dallas finally began to look and play like a show from the 1980s only in the fourth season. I enjoyed watching the first three seasons, but, in season four, that 1980s glamour finally became evident, with more memorable music, with 1980s fashion, and with more audacious stories. So, all in all, I can see why Dallas was popular in the 1980s. I’m still, however, not entirely sure what kind of propaganda is featured in Dallas. It is a show about a wealthy Texas oil man and his family. These people have millions of dollars at their disposal. For example, they buy pricey cars for one another as gifts. I think that before Dallas, in the 1970s, in the 1960s, and in the 1950s, American shows were mostly about average people and not about rich people. In the 1980s, however, when Ronald Reagan was president, and when oligarchical policies like neoliberalism appeared in the USA, rich people began to be glamourized and humanized on American television. Dynasty, a series that began airing in 1981, is another show that is characteristic of this trend, and it’s also a show that I began watching recently. The 1980s was also a time when oligarchical propaganda became more pervasive in the USA. This kind of propaganda has been making a comeback since 2008. One example of this propaganda is that people are told that if they don’t do well in life, it is their fault and not someone else’s fault. In other words, don’t look at what’s going on around you, look at yourself because you’re the problem if you don’t have a good job, for example. Anyway, Dallas does seem to feature a little criticism of rich people, but it also seems to humanize rich people. So, I’m not entirely sure what the intentions of this show’s creators were. Watching Dallas has certainly been a fine time for me. It doesn’t make me feel as good as when I watch the Indigo League season of Pokemon, however, because Dallas is not a show that I got to watch in my childhood. Sure, Pokemon is not one of the very best anime series out there, and it holds no surprises for me because I’ve already seen it, but it seems to be the only show that easily puts me at ease if I watch it. That’s probably because it’s one of the things that I fondly remember from my childhood. Watching this anime, and playing the Pokemon Red and Blue video game for the Game Boy, can bring back some good memories for me. Because of this, I understand why, for example, some people have a large collection of science-fiction novels. They read science-fiction when they were growing up in the 1950s, in the 1960s, or in the 1970s. Back then, the science-fiction genre was hugely popular. Their collections of science-fiction novels don’t only look good. They also remind them of their childhoods and of a time when everything seemed better and more simple. Adults do have a longing for their youth, after all. By the way, it’s after I began acquiring science-fiction novels of my own that I began to see the appeal of reading and collecting these novels. Many of these novels, from the 1950s to the 1990s, have fantastic covers and artwork. It’s enjoyable simply to look at the covers of these novels. I don’t have a large collection of science-fiction of my own. I have a few dozen novels, and some of them are science-fiction novels. I bought most of these novels in used books stores. In general, I prefer to buy used books. This is because I think that buying new books is a waste of money and paper. Why buy something new if you can buy something that already exists? This is why I buy books in used books stores or on the internet. I have a much larger collection of books and novels in electronic form on Google Books in my Google account. I was able to find and download almost all of these books on certain websites for free. After doing this, I uploaded them to Google Books. In this way, I can easily read books on my smartphone. This especially comes in handy when I’m outside and when I have nothing to do. If I’m waiting for a train, for example, I can take out my smartphone and easily read a book instead of wasting time by standing and doing nothing. Anyway, I have a few hundred science-fiction novels in my Google account. I downloaded most of them after looking at Jim Harris’s lists (https://auxiliarymemory.com/2013/04/09/the-defining-science-fiction-books-of-the-1970s/). I’ve already read a few dozen of them, including Inherit the Stars (1977), which is one of my personal favorites, Tau Zero (1970), Blood Music (1985), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Beyond Apollo (1972), Moonwar (1998), Venus (2000), Starship Troopers (1959), The Gentle Giants of Ganymede (1978), Jurassic Park (1990), The Lost World (1995), Ender’s Game (1985), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), Speaker for the Dead (1986), Desolation Road (1988), Icehenge (1984), Downward to the Earth (1970), Dune (1965), The Robots of Dawn (1983), Titan (1979), The Visitors (1980), The Running Man (1982), In the Ocean of Night (1977), Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (1980), and Gateway (1977). I enjoyed reading almost all of these novels. In fact, several years ago, I had a particularly good time reading some of these novels in the morning, in the summer, while I was on a ferry crossing Burrard Inlet, on my way to work. Beyond Apollo is worth reading simply for the humor and the science facts that it contains. Beyond the Blue Event Horizon is worth reading because of its story. I suggest looking at the plot of this novel on Wikipedia. I understand why Isaac Asimov is one of the most popular science-fiction writers. His novels are easy to read and they’re not boring. The same goes for Arthur C. Clarke’s novels. 2001: A Space Odyssey is an impressive novel, especially for its time. Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is very memorable. It’s quite different from the 1982 film Blade Runner. Dune is not one of my favorite novels, but it’s clear to me that it’s a well-written novel. I understand why it’s popular. Its popularity, however, is not entirely natural. Dune has been heavily promoted by the publishing industry and by the establishment because of its propaganda. First of all, Dune is one of the novels that marked a change in the science-fiction genre in the West. It’s different from almost all of the science-fiction novels that came before it. It’s not a story that features optimism, and it’s not about ordinary people exploring space. Instead, it’s a story in which the main characters are members of noble houses or their servants. The protagonist, Paul Atreides, is not some commoner but the son of a duke. I suppose that Paul can be called a messiah or a prophet, kind of like Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, or Rich Evans. In the novel, the author, Frank Herbert, wrote in detail about the behavior and the affairs of Dune’s noblemen. Democracy doesn’t exist in the world of Dune. In addition, the novel features an environmental message, which is also something that Western oligarchs approve of. Dune does feature fantastic world-building and a fantastic story, but it’s a novel that has been heavily promoted in the West because of the propaganda that it contains. This is why there have been numerous attempts to make Dune into a film, despite of the fact that it’s not easy to adapt this thick novel to film. A film finally got made and released in 1984. This effort by the director David Lynch, as flawed as it is, still appeals to me a lot. I like the cast, I like the special effects, and I like the music. Some of the well-known science-fiction novels in the West that followed Dune are also sour in theme and feature propaganda that oligarchs approve of. In fact, even back then, in the 1970s, a few critics noticed that a change occurred in the science-fiction genre, and they didn’t really like this change. Anyway, the science-fiction novels that I’m enjoying reading at this time are Planet of the Apes (1963), 2010: Odyssey Two (1982), and Prelude to Foundation (1988).
Star Trek films that I think are delightful to watch
When it comes to the films that I’ve seen in the last several months, I can say that I very much enjoyed seeing the first four Star Trek films again (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). These four films are some of my personal favorite films. The other Star Trek films don’t really interest me. I definitely like the main cast. I think that William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley were very good in their roles. They were good in their roles even in the original series, which began airing in 1966, and this is the main reason why I was able to endure watching it. As good as the show was in the 1960s, I must say that it became silly and outdated already in the 1970s because the science-fiction genre became more fact based and more sophisticated in the 1970s. By the way, in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Christopher Lloyd, who played Dr. Emmett Brown in Back to the Future (1985), played the valiant Muslim Commander Kruge. This is something that I didn’t notice before. Another film that I enjoyed seeing again is Blue Thunder (1983). This film was my favorite when I was a child because it’s an action movie with good-looking helicopters. Blue Thunder is still a film that I like. There isn’t only the exciting action. There’s also a memorable score by Arthur B. Rubinstein and a good cast. The score for Blue Thunder is one of the music albums that I’ve been listening to lately. I’ve also been listening to the first two albums by Animotion, which is one of my favorite bands, and I’ve been listening to blaxploitation soundtracks. These soundtracks are some of my favorite albums, though my favorite among them is not Shaft by Isaac Hayes or Super Fly by Curtis Mayfield but The Mack by Willie Hutch. I also like Hutch’s soundtrack for Foxy Brown. I think that I found out about Hutch after getting the soundtrack for The Last Dragon (1985), which is another one of my favorite music albums. He provided two tracks, The Glow and Inside You, for the film. Well, I have many music albums, but the ones that I’ve listed are the ones that I’ve been listening to the most lately. Moreover, the soundtrack for The Secret of My Success (1987) and the soundtrack for About Last Night (1986) have also become my favorites recently. By the way, About Last Night was remade in 2014. Interestingly, this remake is good as well. This is a rare occurrence for modern comedies. But Blue Thunder is not the only film that I’ve rediscovered recently. I can say that Full Metal Jacket (1987) is now one of my favorite films of the 1980s. I’ve seen it twice before, but I was much younger back then, and I didn’t think much of it. Having seen it for the third time recently, I can now say that Stanley Kubrick’s direction appeals to me more. Full Metal Jacket has many good scenes, like just about every other film directed by Kubrick. Now that I’m an adult, I like Kubrick’s films a lot more. The thing about Kubrick is that he didn’t make standard films, and this is the big reason why I didn’t appreciate his films when I was younger. Full Metal Jacket is not like Platoon (1987), which is an entertaining film that just about anyone can like, and it wasn’t meant to be. The first third of Full Metal Jacket is hilarious and shocking at the same time. The last third of the film is thrilling and shocking at the same time. The death of Sergeant “Cowboy” Evans actually made me feel sad this time. This means that the characters were developed enough for the viewer to care about them.
I think that I’ve already mentioned in one of my posts that I haven’t bought a Nintendo Switch console. This is still the case. Even the release of the new and improved Nintendo Switch OLED hasn’t changed my mind about buying this console. My main reason for not buying the Switch is because Nintendo has been actively going after video game ROM sites in the last few years and suing the owners of these websites for large sums of money. Before Nintendo began doing this, I had nothing against this company. I like many of the games that this company has released, but, for me, Nintendo finally crossed the line when it began its crackdown against ROM sites. As long as this continues, I won’t be buying anything from Nintendo. Even if Nintendo puts an end to this crackdown, I still won’t be eager to buy anything from this company because of the damage that it has already done. Frankly, the reason why Nintendo has been successful in the last several years with the Switch is not because the console itself is awesome. It’s because Nintendo has finally released a console that has mass appeal and that many people want to buy. Let’s face it. It’s not like video game players around the world have many options when it comes to consoles. Except for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, there are almost no other companies that make video game consoles that can easily be purchased. But the demand for video games and for consoles continues to grow. So, it’s not surprising that even an adequate but faulty console like the Switch can become very successful. The demand is there, but the choices aren’t there. The video games that Nintendo has made for the Switch are fine but nothing great. They’re mostly sequels and remakes, as usual. I don’t really have a problem with sequels and remakes as long as they’re good, but most of the ones that have been made for the Switch don’t impress me. The only truly great new game that has been released for this console is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which features addictive gameplay but a mediocre story. I don’t need to play a passable game like Metroid Dread in order to feel good. I can play a better game, like Metroid Fusion, instead. And I don’t need to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons because I can play a more original game, like Animal Crossing, instead. What I’m getting at is that I’m not one of those many people (consumers) that get to feel good and satisfied only after buying something new. I’d rather save my time and money and buy something older, better, and more original instead. For example, I bought the Dead Space trilogy on Steam at a discount a few months ago, and I bought Dead Space: Extraction for my PlayStation 3 console. Dead Space is a game that’s more than a decade old but it’s better than almost anything that’s available for the Switch. So, I’ve definitely been enjoying playing the Dead Space games. The scenery in these games is so good that I often stopped just to look at the surroundings. Another video game that I very much enjoyed playing not that long ago is Persona 4. Before I began playing this game, I haven’t played any of the other Persona games. Therefore, I didn’t know anything about the peculiar gameplay of Persona 4. Effective time management is one of the things that make this game addictive and enjoyable. Because I didn’t know this, I wasted the first several hours playing this game either doing things that aren’t important or simply skipping over things that are important. Therefore, once I got hooked on this game, after playing it for several hours and after getting used to the gameplay, I regretted wasting time earlier because this game has a deadline. The version of the game that I played first is Persona 4 Golden on my PlayStation Vita. After I finished playing it, I soon began playing Persona 4 on my laptop by using a PlayStation 2 emulator and a controller. Of course, Persona 4 Golden is the version of this game that you should get because it’s a definite improvement over the original. It’s also available on Steam. Persona 4 is now one of my favorite video games. Playing it became as much of a pleasant surprise for me as playing The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker or Silent Hill 2, for example.
Finally, because of popular demand, I’ll share some more information that I have about the COVID-19 pandemic. I did listen to what Andrei Fursov has to say about this pandemic. Fursov makes public appearances and talks rather often, but I’m not one of those people who always wait for his latest interview. Actually, nowadays, I rarely watch videos in which he appears. This isn’t mostly because of something that he has done, however. I simply prefer to do other things at this time. I also rarely watch the news now, and this has been the case for a long time already. Because I generally know where many states in the world are headed, I don’t really need to watch the news every day or every week. News channels are created for propaganda purposes, but I’m knowledgeable enough to realize what’s the truth and what’s deception. I still translate the lectures featuring Fursov because my followers ask me to do this. I don’t do this as often as I used to, however, because YouTube has been making things difficult for independent creators like me for a long time already. According to Fursov, a pandemic does exist, but this is how it’s called officially. In reality, it’s not much of a pandemic because it’s not as deadly as a real pandemic and it doesn’t spread as fast. Fursov said that what has been happening in Western countries as a result of it can be called madness. The restrictions that have been imposed on the masses by the establishment are outlandish and severe. Fursov said that these measures are in part a kind of training in order to make people accept a tougher regime. Just before this pandemic struck, the Western economy had been heading for another crash, similar to the one in 2008. According to Fursov, capitalism has reached a dead end. Before a crash happened, however, this so-called pandemic appeared, and tough measures began to be introduced. By the way, during the pandemic, the economic situation in Western countries hasn’t improved but has become even worse. The COVID-19 pandemic has also demonstrated the harmfulness of the so-called neoliberal model yet again because states in the West and elsewhere in the world are finding it difficult to treat people because there’s a shortage of hospitals, facilities, and doctors. This is one of the reasons why social distancing and isolation got introduced. Fursov said that the economic crisis that appeared in 2008 hasn’t gone away and that the reason why it hasn’t been as severe as it could have been so far is because a lot of money was poured into the economy in order to alleviate this crisis. This had been a temporary solution. I have to say that some of the measures that have been introduced are certainly ridiculous. Firstly, even if COVID-19 had been a deadly disease, wearing masks wouldn’t have helped much in stopping its spread. Masks are mostly useless in this case, and wearing a mask for someone like me, who has to wear glasses, becomes painful after a few hours because my ears begin to hurt. Wearing a mask is also harmful because a person has to breathe air that’s not fresh. So, wearing a mask is perhaps the most ridiculous measure that has been forced on people. But there are other ridiculous measures as well, like the mandatory vaccine jabs. The masses are being forced to accept an injection of something that hasn’t been thoroughly tested, of something that has very unpleasant side effects for some people, and of something that doesn’t even work well. I think that something like this has never happened in human history before. I think that this measure and the other measures are abusive and dumb.