Monday, October 29, 2012

Actually A Great Monday

Today, as you may surmise from this post's title, was not a bad Monday, as Mondays usually are. In fact, it was a great Monday. Most of the reason why today was a great Monday was the fact that geography today was AWESOME.

Put it this way: how awesome is it when your geography professor, at the end of class, mentions that he's going to tell us one more story, and proceeds to relate how he once got arrested by the Soviet police? AWESOME.

Dr. Mikey rocks!

The lecture up to that point had not been dull at all, let me assure you. Today was our third day of covering Russia, and we were learning about the rise and fall of the USSR. Did you know that Lenin was not his original name? Or that Stalin wasn't his original name, either, for that matter? Stalin wasn't even actually Russian. He was from Georgia- no, not that Georgia, not the one next door with the Bulldogs but the one way over in Asia. South of present-day Russia. Yes, Stalin was born there. LOL.

Actually, I think I have read not-so-secret conspiracy theories that Stalin had Lenin murdered, and then calmly served as one of his pallbearers. For some twisted unknown reason, I find that amusing. Dr. Mikey told us how Lenin's body was embalmed and put on display in monument-like tomb of what appeared to be red sandstone (he had pictures) on the Red Square in Moscow. No pictures of dead Lenin, sadly, but I have seen one before, in which he appeared to be rising Frankenstein-like or Dracula-like out of the darkness. Majorly creepy. Anyway, they have to take Lenin out of his air-free glass case every few years and inject more embalming fluid. Yay for nasty details, Dr. Mikey! I also loved the fact that you showed us pictures of reindeer being butchered in Finnland, and I am not at all sarcastic about this.

Dr. Mikey also related, in all its quirky gory glory, about how Leon Trotsky, to escape Stalin, fled to Mexico Of All Places, where he thought he was safe. He was not. He was hunted down by Stalin's agents and his skull was bashed in with an ice pick. An ice pick. Seriously, where do you get an ice pick in Mexico? Russia I can understand, since it is freezing up there. But Mexico...? I sense another conspiracy theory here...

The highlight of the day, however, was unquestionably the story of how Dr. Mikey got arrested in Murmansk (or a town named something along those lines). In those days, to go to the USSR one had to have a visa (he showed us a picture of his), and it was stamped with the names of the towns one could go to. He was there with some Finns and they and their Russian hosts decided to go to some other Russian town for lunch. Surprise, suprise, when they found their little Finnish car surrounded by Soviet police. That had to have been quite frightening in real life, but Dr. Mikey made an amusing story out of it as he related how they spent the next three hours in a courtroom with their Russian hosts arguing with the officials and being guarded by soldiers with AK-47's (or whatever the Russian equivalent of AK-47's are) as if they were a dangerous group of people. After a telephone call to Moscow, they were released. Even so... What a story.

On that excursion, he took pictures of environmental damage due to the Communist environmental policies, or lack thereof, rather. It looked like Mordor with more dead grass. And smog. Mordor with lots of dead grass, mud, and smog. Not at all a pretty site. They were the people who triggered Chernobyl, remember, because they didn't want to let the reactor shut down properly and risk their superintendent's displeasure because that cut off power to Kiev. So they started it back up again before it had shut down properly and... yeah. Bad things happened.

See? I know a little bit of everything.

I take back everything I said at the beginning of this semester about geography being my new nap time. It is now obvious that Dr. Mikey was just having to go over maps for the benefit of the people who are only there for the gen ed requirement (okay, so that's why I'm there, too, but I want to learn it) and that the rest of the class will be great.

Sure hope so. Today became a great Monday, all thanks to you, Dr. Mikey.

In Pace Christi,


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