Everything’s wrong with Fury

I’ve recently watched Fury. It’s not a new movie, but since Rushka is 50 years late compared to the West, I’ve just seen a very recent film. Fury directed by David Ayer is a story about a tank crew fighting on the Western front in 1944-1945. I am not a military expert and I didn’t even serve in the armed forces, but I have read articles and books on the theme since it’s one of my hobbies. So, when I watched the movie there were a lot of things, which I didn’t like and which seem to me very unrealistic. Let me know if you agree or disagree with me and whether I am wrong.

1. Americans are portrayed as rambos, who nonscope everybody on their way. Don’t think that I am some sort of American-hating jerk. American soldiers and marines are very courageous and able fighters. But, anyhow in the film this looks just too hollywoody. Brad Pitt, Shane from The Walking Dead and everyone around seem to enjoy the war and play their roles trying to show how badass the American soldiers were. In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse 5 there’s a very different image of an American soldier: a trembling, scared, cold and hungry boy willing to survive. There was draft in the US during the WW2, so I don’t think that everyone was so cheerful and Rambo like in the film.

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2. A lot of ‘deep’ phrases and philosophical conversations. “Ideals are peaceful. History is violent”. Well, that’s Hollywood too. I don’t think that after you’ve been smoked by some Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann for 9 weeks (or 12 if you are a Marine), brushed shit off the heads and had to touch your food with fingers dirty of crap you’ll save some brains to have philosophical conversations and give deep quotes. I’ve read that the military folk are very simple, laconic and humble, so there’s hardly any chance that active duty soldier will engage in philosophical conversations with his crew.Sgt. Collier’s talks are too pathetic for a military persontumblr_nd6snorWQx1ta0dleo1_1280

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3. Tracers (doesn’t count for tank machine guns). Both sides in the film use tracers all the fucking time! As far as I know they 1) unveil your position 2) make your weapon dirty. Why the hell should German artillerists use tracers after they’ve put a bunch of camo on the gun to hide it? It’s kind of illogical. “Here we are. Please, shoot us from the tank”. That looks plain stupid. And moreover, just imagine how often will they have to clean their weapons if they use tracer ammunition all the time!tumblr_niulrzCesi1ri0oavo1_1280
4. Sergeant Brad Pitt is using Stg.44. Ok, I am not sure about this one, but I’ve read that in the US military you get a gun and are responsible to keep it clean, operating and with you! If you loose the gun you’re in a world of shit. In the film Sergeant Brad Pitt is using Stg.44 instead of Thompson machine gun or Grizzly or anything else. Maybe during WW2 the regulations were different, but it looks weird. I’ve read that if a group of soldiers is on task, then everyone will have the same gun, because if he runs out of ammo or gets it broken the others will be able to help him out. I don’t think that in the end of the war Stg.44 was a very common assault rifle among the Germans. So, where would Sergeant Pitt have found ammo if he ran out of it?

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5. Germans are portrayed as idiots. Well, that’s a normal thing in all the war films. The directors either work for ZOG (joking) and try to portray German soldiers as imbeciles, or they are just retards themselves. In the scene, when the tank gets out of order the filmmakers have failed miserably: a bunch of German soldiers approach the tank from the front (well, tanks can’t have any machine guns, which could easily kill a lot of people, can’t they?). They are all pressed one against another like if they were in Moscow metro in rush hour (that’s what every soldier knows: if there’s a possible threat you should all press one against another. Aha?) Instead of dispersing and finding a fighting position, they wait till one soldier approaches the tank to find out. He, like a total moron, wide opens the lid and gets a bullet right in his head. What the hell? A fucking American tank stands in the middle of the road still smoking! What kind of an asshole one should be to put his head inside? Any soldier even without experience would have thrown a grenade first. It’s a golden rule of a soldier: first comes the grenade, then you. Actually, that’s where the film must have ended: German soldier slightly opens the lid, throws the grenade inside and then they remove the burned and bleeding bodies of Tyler Durden, Shia LaBoeuf, Shane from the Walking Dead, Peña and that other guy. But Hollywood stuck to the rule: portray Germans as idiots (even though Prussia had a very long history of militarism, German Empire could fight the rest of the world and don’t get destroyed in WW1 and Wehrmacht being the most technically advanced military force in the world during WW2), so them Krauts watch in the lid like if it was a fucking TV! Then, also in this very episode there’s a cliché scene when a ruthless German officer with a Lueger in his hand sends his soldiers to die assaulting the tank. Wehrmacht since 1941 had terrible shortage of manpower, so that even Hitler said that ‘we care about every soldier’s life’. During the American Civil War General Robert E. Lee was criticized for heavy losses. So, if there are problems with manpower, why the hell would an officer waste so many lives to take over a fucking tank!? And where are the Panzerfaust?

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6. Hanging out with civilians. I strongly doubt that American soldiers were allowed to enter without any reason into the houses of civilians to chat with local girls and to demonstrate Brad Pitt’s nude torso. First, it’s dangerous: they might be loyal to the enemy and will try to poison food or try to kill them in any other way. Second, it may provoke hostility from their part if the GI’s are entering in the civilian houses with women. Third, from the literature I’ve read, soldiers didn’t have so much time to just sit and chat with civilians. If they were not on the base, then they were on a mission, which means: they had stuff to do. If it’s “search and destroy”, they had to clean the house and then retire. If it’s “hold the position”, then they had to remove the furniture, the inhabitants and prepare to fight. I can’t believe they could have so much time to chat and drink tea with the civilians!

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7. Articles of War and International Law violations. Of course, the Allies committed a lot of war crimes, but when Brad Pitt kills for no reason POWs without even questioning them (thus, not getting important info), that looks weird. Military Law is a complicated thing, where I lack sufficient knowledge. But, still Pitt’s actions look illegal and smell like someone has to be court-martialed.

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8. Sergeant Pitt hates SS. Well, it’s BS. Why does he? Maybe because now it is politically correct to hate SS? By the way, is he ok with Wehrmacht then? That looks like a cliché, because most of the allied propaganda was aimed against German military as a whole or even against the very German nation. So, Sgt. Pitt hating Schutzstaffeln looks weird. If he had some particularly negative attitude towards, let’s say, artillerists because they killed his friend; that would have looked much more realistic.

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9. Notice to Board of Inquiry. Close to the final scene Sgt. Durden de facto forces four other soldiers to stay and defend the tank, though there’s no need for that: the position is not valuable, the tank is out of order and there’s a possibility to fall back. Due to his actions he is liable for the unnecessary death of three servicemen.tumblr_ndmaoskCu61ta0dleo1_500
10. Injuries are too hollywoody. In the final scene the sniper shoots Sgt. Pitt 3 times. One of the bullets hits him in the chest. Instead of crying, yelling of pain, shitting himself and drowning in his own blood (as it should have been) he is able to get in tank and give a lecture to Norman. It’s very unrealistic.

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11. “Opa, wo sind die deutsche Soldaten?” This scene is a total BS. Snipers normally act in a team. They have to be very careful finding the position. They have to be careful choosing the aim (e.g. sniper will rather shoot an officer than a private). In this scene Germans are again portrayed as idiots. I don’t believe that being a retard was a requirement for a German sniper. Who would ever shoot a civilian instead of the tank commander to reveal his position to a fucking tank cannon and thus put his comrades in danger!?

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12. Shooting POWs. Sgt. Pitt orders to shoot an SS officer even though he is a POW. Did he have authority to? Why didn’t he question him? Even his order sounded like a cliché.

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13. Sgt. Pitt’s body. I’ve read interviews with the Ukrainian soldiers, who defended the Donetsk Airport. They said that when you’re constantly in action you don’t care about food and water and sleep. You only care about your comrades and enemy fire. Thus, your body looses water and weight. Them real soldiers look ‘dry’ and very skinny. Sgt. Collier in contrary looks like he’s hitting the gym five times a week and has a rich diverse diet. I strongly doubt that soldiers looked like this during the war. Making Brad Pitt pose with naked torso seems to be a tradition.

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14. Why does Shane from the Walking Dead always has to be an asshole? Jon Bernthal is a talented actor. Give him a noble role for Christ’s sake!

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15. Sgt. Pitt doesn’t know warfare survival. I maybe wrong, but after an artillery fire one should wait for 5-15 minutes depending on the weapon to understand if the fire is over. In the film, once the final shell hits the ground Collier jumps out of the cover and catwalks over the bombed square like if there’s no threat to be hit by the fragments of the next shelling.

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16. The way they shoot. In the very beginning when the column is attacked by Hitlerjugend Collier fires bursts from his Stg.44. I’ve read that soldiers fire single shots, as it helps to keep precision and not to waist too much ammo.

17. Ideological portrait of soldiers. Collier looks like John Wayne or a Soviet comsomolets. Too brainwashed. It seems to me that on the war most of the soldiers don’t give a shit about ideology. They care about cigarettes, booze, food, taking a dump, finding a prostitute or, if they have a GF or a spouse, – writing home. A veteran will go nuts if he’ll care about the ideological justification of war. Each time you support or resist any political theory you waist energy and mental force. On the war one gives 300% of both of them. I think that most of the American soldiers in WW2 if asked: “why are you here?” would have answered: “Cuz I wuz given an order”. I strongly doubt that some farmer boy from Wyoming would know anything about Hitler and the complexity of European political processes of the time.

18. Stielhandgranate explodes 5 seconds after the pin is removed. Not 12.

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In spite of all of that, the film is OK. It has a lot of positive moments: the uniforms, tanks, and milieu. It looks rich. Fury is a fine film to watch. Just don’t take it seriously. And, yeah, correct me if I am wrong.

P.S.: some of the pics are not mine, but it’s fair use, so thank you 🙂

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George Cercasau – For lucky way – NaNoWriMo

Chapter I

 

One should be a very risky person to change lives with someone one knew only for a month. So am I. And only when the Airbus A320 I boarded 3 hours ago in Heathrow was already flying over Poland I thought about the insanity of my latest actions. I opened a DrPepper that stood untouched after the meal and made a sip. Burning gas bubbles entered my mouth and mixed with saliva went down the throat bringing glucose into my blood. Its sweet savor made me even more worried.

In August I took a summer course of criminology in the University of Charleston. I was an aspiring journalist and I always wanted to write about crime. In order to understand it I decided to deepen my knowledge, so I took a course. The first time I entered the classroom I saw something ridiculous. In the first line was sitting a guy who was literally my prototype. I approached him silently and observed him better. In spite of slightly acneique skin and dried lips he was exactly like me: dark hair, blue eyes, reddish cheeks and big brows. He was reading a book and completely indifferent to what was happening in the classroom. I asked him whether the seat next to him was free. Yes, sure. He didn’t even vouchsafe me a look. His eyes were fixed in a book, which after a short examination appeared to be in Spanish. Are you from Mexico? I asked him. That time he looked at me and answered he was from Moscow. Afterwards he squinted his eyes and couldn’t believe what he saw.

That’s how I met Grigoriy Poltavin. We instantly became friends and objects of curiosity, amazement and jokes from our classmates and professors. That month we spent together hanging around and having as much fun as we wanted. He appeared to be a really nice guy, intelligent and liberal in spite of timidity and coldness. He wanted to try everything American: corndogs, baseball, guns, beer, cars, cigarettes, whiskey, sneakers salad, two pounds burgers…just everything except women whom he hated and despised without any reason no matter the nationality. During our vagabondages I used to ask him a lot about Russia. And he answered willingly. He talked and talked and talked. I still remember him wearing an old baseball cap with a beer company logo on it, sitting shotgun, one leg jutting out of the window, with hands over an M16 telling me stories nearly as incredible as gators in the sewerage.

When the course was over and Grigory only had two days left, I suddenly understood I wanted to go to Russia and not like a tourist, but like a person ‘condemned’ to live there as Grigory used to call it. Not only was it a civil interest, but also a professional drive. I work and still do in Charleston Sunday Times, a   15 000 copies a week newspaper founded in 1899, which for two years already was in a terrible decline. We didn’t manage to sell more than 5000 copies a month and were in big debts. The newspaper needed a boost, and a great boost would be something fresh that could interest the public. We used to write a lot about travelling and won some prizes for it years ago. But now, the readers seemed to be loosing interest in us. An account about life in Evil Empire from its very heart would be fun I thought. So, after a sleepless night, I offered Grisha to change documents. We were completely identical and I spoke Russian as my native language, as my family was Russian yids from Saint Petersburg.

Grisha laughed at me when he heard it. You is kidding. He said. No, I is not. And I explained everything to him. I gave my reasons, and proved him that if he agreed he would get a car, a three-storey house in Charleston, a collection of weaponry and US citizenship for more than a year in his possession by just changing the docs with me. He said he needed time to think, which I understood was yes. The next day he came to me with his luggage all assembled and handed it to me with his passport. Deal, he said.

So, in nearly 48 hours I became Grigoriy Poltavin, a Russian citizen residing in Moscow, 19 years old and law student. He said back in Charleston that he was going to send me an instruction letter that would give me clue on who I am in more detail.

I took out a piece of paper, where in Russian letters was written the address. Novokuznetskaya, 1, apartment 19. I didn’t even know how to get there. Maybe ask the taxi driver? I put it in the pocket again and lied back in the armchair eyes closed. Jesus Christ, I didn’t even say anything to my parents. An absolutely strange person is going to live with them. What will their reaction be when they know it? Still, that was necessary, because otherwise they would have never let me do. The newspaper will be gone and life will be as boring as it is…was.

A stewardess passed by and I asked her another DrPepper. As soon as she did so, the co-pilot announced we were going to land soon in Sheremetyevo International Airport and that the local weather was 19 Celsius (66 Fahrenheit) and the local time 02:13 AM in English and Russian. My eyes and nasal channels hurt of being so long in the dry conditioned air. I sipped DrPepper and looked at my new Russian passport. Grigoriy Vladislavovitch Poltavin. Born 1995 in Moscow. Resides in Zamoskvorechye. A fancy prep, I thought. I suddenly imagined myself answering my real name on the border control. It would totally freak me out, so I started to repeat in my head that I was Grigoriy Poltavin.

When the plane drowned in the air and finally landed, barely it reached the gate, the passengers left their seats and started to put out their luggage even though the pilot ordered to sit still, I understood I was in Russia.

Ten minutes after the plane stopped we were allowed to leave it. I goodbyed the cabin crew and went down to the asphalt of the airport. A cold muscovite wind blew in my southern yids face and I first inhaled the Russian air. It was different. Dryer and heavier. I ascended the bus which took us to the necessary terminal to pass the controls. After we arrived there, I had to wait nearly an hour to pass it, as for more than two hundred passengers there were only three boarder control check points. I instinctively stood there, where my fellow Americans stood and didn’t remember I was Russian citizen till I was in the middle of the queue. I stepped aside to another one, which was for “the citizens of Union State of Russia and Belarus”. Grigoriy told me about this one. It’s a fictive union, a fruit of Lukashenko’s and Elzman’s imagination which had it’s own budget and no one knows what functions. Belarus was once offered to become a part of Russian Federation with the quality of a subject. Evidently Batko, as Russians used to call him, said no. Since then, the Union exists as a very strange and indefinite legal construction.

I passed to the officer and handed him my foreign passport. Russians two passports: one civil for every situation in state and other – foreign to go to the outer world. Grigoriy’s was full of EU visas and stamps of Turkish airports. He was frequenting both France and Turkey quiet often. Officer fixed me with his eyes and I felt my heart had frozen. Where are you flying from? He asked. I flew from Charleston to New York, from there to Heathrow and finally to Moscow. Charleston…it’s South Carolina, right? He asked. Yes. I smiled him. He handed me my passport and said goodbye. I crossed the red line on the floor and was finally in Russia as a citizen Grigoriy Poltavin. After I recovered my luggage from the drop off line, I made it to the railway station. I spent 340 rubles out of 2000 that Greg gave me on a ticket to Belorussian Vauxhall. Boarded the train to Moscow, my phone started to ring. It was also Greg’s. “Mama” was written on it. I replied and said everything was fine and that I was on my way home. She was glad and relieved to hear it. And so was I, as mine and Greg’s voices were 99 per cent identical. I put away the phone and was again crazy about my actions. When I crossed the line, the ships were burnt down.

Lonely lights of villages, roads and lamps changed each other in the train’s window. It was 3 o’clock in the morning or in the night. I felt tired as Sisyphus and had a feeling as if there was a metallic ball in my head. The adrenaline, however kept me awake. I spent those 40 minutes in train half sleeping with my hand on the bag full of American delights, which Greg ordered to present to his family. The train stopped at the platform and I brusquely awoke and went out. The metro was closed, so I ordered a taxi. Twenty minutes that I waited for it, I was approached ten times by different taxi drivers offering me their services. I refused constantly. Most of them were chornije – blacks. A term Greg said Russians described anyone with darker then white skin and accent. Armenians and all sort of Persian and Turkic nations were so. Other category were uzkoglazije – narrow-eyed, those of Mongoloid race, but them I had not yet seen. Finally, when my driver arrived, he helped me with the bag and I sat shotgun. He was a pure Russian – grey-haired with brown eyes and back moustache dressed in a jean jacket. He drove confidently with one hand through the orange-colored illumination of the city while keeping a cigarette in another. That odor I was going to smell through my entire trip.

At 4 o’clock in the morning I finally arrived to the address mentioned below. It was located in a modest but attractive Stalinist era building. I ascended the old broken stairs till the fourth floor and opened a tough metal door with a bundle of keys. I was so tired, that I just washed my face and fall down on the couch in my room. So I slept till four in the evening.

Annoying things in books

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When I go to a bookstore I manage to take in hands and look through as many books as I can. Scanning the text I also put attention on the way it’s produced: cover, color, font, content and etc. And these are the things that can really ruin even a good book (scale 1 to 10):

 

1.Introduction 9/10

Ah! That’s really annoying when you’ve got a 300 pages book, where 200 of them are an introduction. Do those publishers who put them there really think anyone’s gonna read it? And also, if you read an introduction, you are already influenced by the thoughts of a person who wrote it. I think one should first read the book and then, if he liked it, to check some critical info. (examples: Wordsworth Books, Il lupo della steppa by Oscar Mondadori, Penguin Books)

 

2. Comments of the newspapers and journals nobody has heard about 2/10

There are a lot of great books on the market that are still waiting for their jour de gloire. But that doesn’t mean you have to advertise them by all means. On some back covers you can find the reviews like: “a wonderful book” – Waziristan Taliban Journal, or “the book of the century” – Shitville Sunday Times, or “I’ve never read something so perfect. The best book ever” – Basil Poupkine, PhD. And I, fool, thought that Dostoyevsky, Márquez and Dumas were great writers with best books ever. Silly me.

For my mind such commentaries do not make it easier for the not-yet-known book. If it’s really good, but has not got yet enough attention, it’s better to make an informative description, elaborate an eye pleasing cover and publish it with a comforting font. (Can find a lot of them in the airports bookstores)

 

3. Bad font 5/10

Some huge books of the writers like Tolstoy, Proust, Rand can have cheap editions where on a 10×6 square cm the publishers try to fit a 1000 pages œuvre. The fonts there tend to be barely readable. At least 1.25mm gap between the lines would solve the problem.

The opposite trend is found in new and pop books. They tend to be 100 pages long with 1 cm gaps between the lines and font size 20. This ‘generosity’ neither makes the book better.

 

4. Incoherent design 8/10

Italian Mondadori published Dostoyevskiy’s “White Nights”, or Le notti bianche with a naked woman on the cover. I’ve read the book and I assure you that it has nothing to do with naked women. Good marketing trick to make people buy it.

Some Italian books also tend to be executed like if they were published in a cheap editorial: there is no design at all, just blue or green cover with the name of the author and the title. That’s depressive. Would not buy such a book either, if it was not exceptional of course.

Classic paintings are a great solution. I’ve seen a PenguinBooks’ Moby-Dick with a whale destroying a boat on the cover. That looked perfect.

N.B.: there are bunch of amazingly performed book designs in Italy. These two examples have nothing against Italy and guineas.

 

5. You can’t read a book unless you break its spine 9/10

A lot of American books have this defect. The text just drowns in the ‘canyon’ between the pages. To be able to read, you break its spine making the book a cripple. When you finish the book and put it on the shelf you will always see the book’s broken spine. What kind of creature are you after that?

The Godfather and I – a middle school story

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Ciao, amici! That’s a long time I’ve not written anything. I am not telling lies about my super complicated curriculum; I had no idea of what to write about. My previous posts were not interesting, so I was a bit in stupor. But, finally I got an idea. A week ago I started to reread in English a book I really enjoy and which is one of my favorites. The book is ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo. I don’t have to inform you about it because you definitely have watched the film or read it once. I want to tell how this book affected me when I was a kid. That’s a funny story and I remember it frequently.

The first time I read The Godfather was at the age of 12; I was in the 6th grade then. I’ve heard about the book earlier, but as my friend has started to read it, I decided to read it too. I’ve bought myself an exemplar in Russian (as my English wasn’t good enough at that age). It took me nearly 1.5 month to read it. During the lecture my friend and me got so involved in it, that we’ve started to imitate the personages of the novel. Mine favourite were and are Sonny Corleone and Peter Clemenza. As I was not that tall and strong as the first one, I modeled myself according to Clemenza. As I was fatty at the time, he was pleasant for me.

One day, my friend Roman offered me to organize a mafia clan at school (like in the book). As he has been the first to offer, he was going to become the Don. I agreed and he appointed me a Caporegime. I was probably the most active and enthusiastic member of the “Family” as I could pronounce this word correctly and more or less understand what it meant. I invited two guys from our class to become my soldati (button men).

It was like:

Me: Hey, Iliya. Do u wanna join our family. You’ll be my soldato.

Iliya(a positive fatty boy): What is it?

Me: You’ll have to help us doing some work. Like beating some asses if necessary or making small errands.

Iliya: Ok.

I got another kid involved in the Family nearly the same way.

Though we have created the Family, our lives didn’t change that much. My friend Roman (the Don) had a big stature and was from a bourgeois family and he could afford himself an adult suit. I got used to wear the jeans and a hoodie at school, so it took me a while to want a suit as well. I asked my parents to buy me one, but my mom said: “you had bunch of those when you were smaller and you didn’t wear them. Now you want a suit. Is it a one-minute wish or you are really going to wear it?”. That meant no. Anyhow, I didn’t even get upset. I reasoned: I am a Caporegime. I have to deal with shit. Therefore I don’t need an expensive suit. I will maybe become dirty or it will get torn in a fight.

The time went on and we were just being a mafia clan. Nothing changed and there were no real tasks to fulfill. I wish I was cleverer and started to sell porn pics and videos on discs or to protect other kids from the teachers and themselves (the illegal activities that would not have caused any serious problem for me). But we didn’t do anything. Therefore, we got no income and had no financial basis for our activity.

Taking part in illegal matters was not new for me. I actually was a troubled kid at school. I remember when in the 5th grade we were very found of the movie Scarface. Tony Montana was our idol. We tried to imitate him so hard that we even decided to go on drugs. As we could not afford the real cocaine, we had to use the tooth powder. We asked our classmate called Andrei to bring it to school and share with us. The day he brought it, I started to doubt. “What if this prick really brought cocaine? We’ll get addicted.” But he wasn’t that tough and brought the tooth powder. We didn’t really inhale it, but we touched it with our noses in order to have them white as if we were high.

One day, as I was on a literature lesson, I took out my dose enveloped in a piece of paper and put it on my school desk. I powdered my nose and suddenly a girl that I was in particularly bad relations with, called our form-master that was present at the moment and said in a loud voice: “They are inhaling some shit!” I started to remove the dose rapidly, but got it all over my black hoodie. My friend laughed. The old corpulent woman approached me and asked what was that. I said it was chalk I used when I came up to the front of the classroom. She left me alone. I think she’s got enough brains to understand that 11 years old definitely got no money to buy such an expensive drug as cocaine.

The teachers didn’t like me and I didn’t like them. So, when I as any kid in the world started to have fun I always got in trouble with the school authorities (pezzonovanti bastards). I liked then the idea of mafia even more, as it used to oppose the State authorities.

On my service as a Caporegime I have even been accused of racketeering. There was a guy in our class, we called him Pelmen’ (a Russian ravioli). He was a small and freaky kid, with his mother protecting him from everyone and everything all the time. Therefore, he never had problems with teachers, though he always tried to break the school laws with us. He reminds me now a bit the actual chief of the government Medvedev. One day I was just messing around and told him in joke to bring money for protection the next day (that hard work of a caporegime…).

That was funny when my parents met me at the door of home the same day and started to curse me for what I had done. My mom said that Pelmen’s mother got informed by her son about me claiming protection money from him. She was angry. My grandma yelled from the kitchen: “It was only to have a racketeer in our family!”. I said that I was just messing around and I was joking when I told him to bring the money for protection. At the same moment I though in my head: “This son of a bitch has violated the omertà law. Informing the authorities…what a miserable traitor”. My mom gave me a lecture about the racketeering and guaranteed me sanctions if I did that again. I promised not to do that anymore.

That was funny and a bit unpleasant when my parents whipped and cursed me for my troubles at school like a simple child, while I was a goddamn caporegime! The Don’s right hand.

Our mafia clan lasted for nearly five months. And the only person who was found of it was I. But, finally I got angry with the Don. He insisted on us wearing suits and having good marks. Instead of supplying us with one and pressuring the teachers for giving us good marks, he insisted. That’s not what a real Sicilian Mafioso Don would do. Also, the Godfather was not protective. He only thought about himself wearing a suit.

That year we had a new school guard. He was a 30 something old man who used to be in good relations with everyone. The students liked him and our Family as well. We told him that we were the “friends of the friends”. He became interested and we frequently talked about mafia with him. He was a fine lad and we considered him the friend of the Family.

The day we told him about us being Mafiosi, he said: oh I see. That’s the Don (he indicated me) and his right hand (he indicated my friend). Roman protested like no, that’s actually vice-versa. Since the beginning I felt like I was a better candidate for a Don. And the man confirmed it.

Time passed and the Family disappointed me. I informally quitted and in some two-three weeks the clan got de facto dissolved.

That was the brief history of the mafia clan that used to run one of the Moscow Center schools. If we were cleverer and paid more attention on the business matters instead of giggling on multiple sex scenes in the book, the clan would have lasted longer. We needed more money and respect, I understood that a year after. 

To be continued…

¡Adiós, Gabo!

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Hoy el mundo le ha dicho adiós a uno de los escritores más brillantes que jamas hayan nacido. Gabriel García Márquez era un hombre particular tanto en la literatura como en la vida. Me siento triste que ya no está con nosotros, pero me siento feliz de poder apreciar su obra cuando él todavía estaba vivo. Es el escritor fundamental e inventor y uno de los más grandes del siglo XX. Ha creado un género literario entero, el Realismo Mágico y la tan natural y al mismo tiempo hechicera villa de Macondo. Era un hombre de gran sabiduría y de talento inmenso. Cuando por primera vez tomé un libro suyo tenía 13 años. A partir de entonces recuerdo, como si lo hubiera visto con mis propios ojos, la soledad de los Buendía, la esperanza del Coronel y el aire sofocante del día en que le iban a matar a Santiago Nasar. Su obra es la joya de literatura mundial y el mayor tesoro de la lengua española. Él ha dejado una huella importantísima en la historia y en particular en la de la América Latina.

Gracias, Gabo por lo que has hecho. Qué cada uno tenga una vida como la tuya. ¡Dios te tenga en cielo!

Taras Bulba – Nicolai Gogol

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The Author:

Nicolai Gogol(1809-1852) is the most Ukrainian of the Russian and the most Russian of the Ukrainian writers. Since the publication of The Dead Souls he is the undisputable maître of the Russian literature. Both his literature work and life are unique and full of mysteries. It can be often heard that he was found of occultism and at the end of his life was afraid to be buried being still alive. He is one of the greatest Russian writers and definitely the most loved one here.

The Book:

Publication:

The tale was first published in 1835. Russian censorship found it ‘too Ukrainian’ and contradictory to the reigning Russian imperialist ideas. So, the author in order not to have problems with the regime decided to revise Taras Bulba. New edition came in 1845 and is still considered the ‘classical’ one.

The Content:

The action takes place in left bank Ukraine approximately in XVII century. Taras Bulba is an old cossack. He represents very precisely the image of nowadays Russian cossack: he is a religious fanatic, anti-Semite and Polonophobe. All he knows is killing, robbing and praising Orthodox Church. His two sons come back to him from their studies in  Kiev. The elder is Ostap and the younger is Andriy. During a fest at home, Taras decides to bring both of them to the Sich(some sort of the capital city of the Cossacks) already the next day. As they arrive to the Sich, a war breaks out with the Poles. During the war they will all have to fight and suffer for what they believe. For Taras  and Ostap it’s fatherland and orthodoxy. For Andriy it’s the Polish girl he loves.

The Idea:

This book is included in the Russian school program. So, when I first read it in pieces when I was in the fifth grade. I wasn’t enthusiastic about it at all. The only thing I remember is that the teacher told us that the main idea was the defense of the fatherland and relations between parents and children. That is actually nonsense. I’ve read Taras Bulba 3 years later in Spanish and I immediately noticed that Gogol was trying to raise the theme of fatherland. What is fatherland? Is it where you were born? Or is it where you are happy? Taras would definitely say that the fatherland is where you were born. But, if there is nothing that makes you feel good in there?His younger son would say it different. Fatherland is where you are happy. Andriy is considered in the Russian literature studies as a traitor. For my mind, he is the only adequate person in the entire book. He saved an entire castle from hunger, he helped to fight the aggressors,he managed to marry a girl from EU. Though it didn’t end good for him, he is the real winner in the story and be I criticized ruthlessly, but he is a hero and a decent person in general.

Pluses:

+ Russian classics

+ Exciting

+ Has matters to think about

+Will open Cossacks for you, if you don’t know the well

+A perfect book to get to know Gogol’s œuvre.

Minuses:

None. But don’t read any commentaries or prefaces in order not to damage your perception of the story.

Verdict:

Read it to hear a great story about patriotism, love and fidelity.

Rating: 10/10