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Ghosts of the Moscow Kremlin (Part II)


 
This is a guest post by Zoetica Ebb, a Moscow-born, LA-based artist, writer, photographer and style technician. Follow her on Twitter @zoetica.

Read Part I of Ghosts of the Moscow Kremlin.

Fanny Kaplan lived her turbulent life in the early 20th century. A young Jewish anarchist in Kiev, she partially lost her sight at the age of twenty, during preparations for a terrorist action, when explosives accidentally detonated. Arrested while trying to flee the scene, she was sentenced to death. Because Fanny was under twenty-one, she was sent to a labor camp instead, where she spent most of her time in ill physical and mental health, eventually losing her vision entirely.

When the Revolution of 1917 came, she was released. Free again, Fanny underwent a series of treatments and her vision partially returned. She joined an anti-Marxist socialist party and, one year later, was arrested for the attempted assassination of Lenin, who was shot three times at a large-scale meeting. In a considerably shady turn of events, she was captured by the militia holding a gun and saying, “I did my duty.”
 

 
Considering Fanny’s impaired vision -at this time she could only make out shadowy shapes- and the fact that the well-aimed bullets weren’t extracted from Lenin to be checked for a match to her pistol, this confession was dubious (also see: Lee Harvey Oswald). Nonetheless, since she wouldn’t name any accomplices, Fanny Kaplan was executed at the Kremlin without a trial or an investigation three days later. She was shot and stuffed in a barrel, which was then set ablaze, leaving no room for confusion in least in one aspect of her story, making her a perfect candidate for eternal unrest.
 

 
A pale, trembling Fanny with uncombed hair and a gun is sometimes seen inside one of the Kremlin towers to this day.

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin remains an iconic figure in Russian history, though national reverence and enthusiasm have waned since the fall of Communism. As someone who grew up during Communism’s final decade, I still find Lenin difficult to write about, since the shiny dogma we were taught in school and the details surfacing over the past twenty years are at considerable odds. Even so, his accomplishments are many and his work ethic alone is awe-inspiring, even if all of his ideals and doings were not.
 

 
He was the erudite revolutionary who fought the Great Civil War, helped overthrow the last tzar and built an entirely new government, transforming Russia into a Soviet State with a socialist economic system. He worked sixteen-hour days until his death, wrote entire books without the help of a stenographer, all the while managing to maintain communication with friends and allies. His pamphlets, reforms, and long, impassioned speeches before huge crowds made him into a national hero. Despite being a slight man with unremarkable looks, the propaganda spun by Lenin’s eventual successor, Joseph Stalin, inflated his newly broad-shouldered and strong-jawed image to near-leviathan proportions. After decades of his trademark hostile intolerance toward faith, which dubbed religion “a mass opiate to be eradicated”, Lenin became god. Stalin continued to cultivate this personality cult to legitimize himself during and well after Lenin’s lifetime.
 

 
Before he eventually worked himself to death in 1924, Lenin fell gravely ill, and, partially paralyzed, was ordered rest at his summer house outside of Moscow. Shortly before his end, a Kremlin security chief saw what appeared to be Lenin walking briskly through the corridor up to his former apartment on the premises. Confused by Lenin’s lack of cane and entourage, the chief made a call – only to confirm that Lenin was at the summer house, resting as prescribed. Numerous similar eyewitness accounts followed, in direct opposition with the anti-spiritual doctrine of the times. The matter was quickly covered up with a false story of Lenin visiting Moscow one last time.
 

 
After his death three weeks later, Lenin’s body was embalmed and displayed in the Kremlin Mausoleum, per Stalin’s orders, where it lies to this day, accumulating layers of mortician’s wax with each passing year. Lenin’s baths and maintenance are no longer funded by the government, but continue thanks to public donations. It’s been speculated that it’s this unnatural process that keeps Lenin’s troubled spirit trapped within his Kremlin apartment, which has been locked and sealed for decades. Sounds of restless pacing, shuffling paper and creaking furniture are heard by guards late into the night.

Read the rest of Ghosts of the Moscow Kremlin (Part II) after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Incompetent Spunk Lobster: Tourettes Dice

tourettes_dice_01
 
Tourettes Dice originally appeared on the B3ta message boards when Duke Euphoria posted a pic with the following note:

I’ve been having fun with my layzor and thought I should show all the lovely people at B3ta* just how much I love them.

Roll these puppies on your favorite flat surface** anytime you feel the need to express yourself through the medium of profanity.

A perfect gift for your grandmother and your aunty Bessie.

There’s been some interest from various people regarding swapping hard earned cash for their own set of dice. Part of the reason I’m posting this is to gauge whether there’s serious enough demand to make it worth getting off my arse and putting a project onto one of the UK crowdfunding sites.

Indeed there was more than enough interest Duke Euphoria’s suggestion and he made his gifts to the English language available at Box of Delights:

Ever been lost for something rude and slightly surreal to say ?

Roll these chaps on your favorite flat surface anytime you feel the need to express yourself through the medium of profanity. A perfect gift for your grandmother or your great aunty Bessie.

Three laser etched 20mm wooden dice.

1) Adjectives.
2) Words that would cause one’s mother an attack of the vapours.
3) Amusing animals from around the globe.

Now you will never be at a loss for words when breaking the ice at parties or, ever fail when attempting to impress young hipsters with your word association skills. Though big, oiled men in budgie-smugglers will still kick sand in your face.

If you fancy buying a set, have a gander elbow monkey fart here.
 
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tourettes_dice_03
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Tourettes Karaoke: R.E.M.‘s ‘Losing My Religion’


 
Via B3ta
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Video game tips from the pros
06.06.2012
09:58 am

Topics:
Games

Tags:
Everything is Terrible
video games


 
“Down, down, left, right, up, down…”
 

 
Via Everything is Terrible

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Anyone up for a game of Vinyl Throw?
05.11.2012
08:03 am

Topics:
Amusing
Games
Music

Tags:
Vinyl Throw


 
Screw Cornhole (god I love saying that word) and play some Vinyl Throw instead.

You couldn’t do this with MP3s now could you?
 

 
Via Facebook

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Identipops: Build your favorite pop star game, 1969
04.02.2012
12:28 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Games
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Identipops


 
The Identipops box cover is rather perplexing, I spot Mick Jagger, Peter Noone, Paul McCartney, and John Lennon. But who’s the fourth guy on the left? Gene Pitney? Cliff Richard? Is he a weird caricature drawing of Davy Jones? Or is it someone else? I can’t tell.

Anyway, Identipops was a children’s game released in 1969 by by Play Value Ltd. The goal was for kids to build their favorite pop star or create an entirely new one Frankenstein-style. According to the box, there were over 74 press-out pieces which could make thousands of variations of pop star faces.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Custom Super Mario Bong
03.27.2012
10:16 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs
Games

Tags:
Marijuana
Super Mario Bros.


 
I don’t necessarily know what to make of this, and I don’t know who made it, either, but one thing’s for sure: Mario looks high as hell. Just look at him!

Via KMFW

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘This Charming Man’ by The Smiths done in the style of Super Mario Bros.
03.05.2012
11:49 am

Topics:
Amusing
Games
Music

Tags:
The Smiths
Super Mario Bros.


 
Lazyitis at SoundCloud made this Super Mario Bros. meets The Smiths mash-up and says, “I’m planning on doing a video as soon as I can figure out how to work with Flash. The sound effects are only there to help the listener visualize the “game.”
 

  
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
8-Bit version of Slint’s ‘Good Morning, Captain’

Thank you, Edward Ludvigsen!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘60 Minutes’ on Dungeons and Dragons from 1985
02.27.2012
01:46 pm

Topics:
Games
History

Tags:
60 Minutes
Dungeons and Dragons


 
Fascinating almost 30-year old 60 Minutes piece that exemplifies the hysteria around Dungeons and Dragons in the ‘80s. Looking at all this with hindsight it seems obvious that the kids who harmed themselves and others were gonna do that anyway. Near the beginning when Ed Bradley shows all the different newspaper articles about the suicides and the violence, it seems so disingenuous and manufactured, like 60 Minutes needed to build up the credibility of their assertion before proceeding, fanning the flames of the controversy as they did so. Still it’s an interesting time capsule moment from 1985.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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What Makes a Good Party: Educational film from 1950

50s_party
 
It was my birthday, I was to have a party, but what the hell do I know about throwing parties? You go to a party, You get drunk at a party, You take drugs, get buzzed then wasted at a party. You listen to music and meet interesting people with whom you have mediocre, consensual sex at a party. No, you never, ever throw a party.

“Think of the mess,” You tell yourself. “You don’t clean-up, that’s not You, that’s what friends and neighbors are for. You are a born guest.” But I still had to throw a party.

So, I looked for tips, asked around, shoe-shines, bar flies, and shadowy figures who smoked cigarettes in car parks. Then I googled it, and lo, there it was What Makes a Good Party?. I thought, I know this - alcohol, drugs, sex? No, I was wrong. What makes a good party is charades, conversation, dancing and a big smiley sing-song around a piano. Now you know. So, don’t flick ash on the carpet, use the coaster for your drinks, and brace yourself for small-talk. You still want to come to my party? No? It’ll be fun. We can do Twister.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Pirate Bay’s brilliant statement about SOPA and PIPA


This template for the SOPA blackout (the one we used) was created by Zachary Johnson.

Depending on where you live, you might not be able to read the thought-provoking polemic posted by the Pirate Bay yesterday, so here it is in full. It’s well worth reading.

INTERNETS, 18th of January 2012. PRESS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

Over a century ago Thomas Edison got the patent for a device which would “do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear”. He called it the Kinetoscope. He was not only amongst the first to record video, he was also the first person to own the copyright to a motion picture.

Because of Edisons patents for the motion pictures it was close to financially impossible to create motion pictures in the North american east coast. The movie studios therefor relocated to California, and founded what we today call Hollywood. The reason was mostly because there was no patent.

There was also no copyright to speak of, so the studios could copy old stories and make movies out of them - like Fantasia, one of Disneys biggest hits ever.

So, the whole basis of this industry, that today is screaming about losing control over immaterial rights, is that they circumvented immaterial rights. They copied (or put in their terminology: “stole”) other peoples creative works, without paying for it. They did it in order to make a huge profit. Today, they’re all successful and most of the studios are on the Fortune 500 list of the richest companies in the world. Congratulations - it’s all based on being able to re-use other peoples creative works. And today they hold the rights to what other people create. If you want to get something released, you have to abide to their rules. The ones they created after circumventing other peoples rules.

The reason they are always complainting about “pirates” today is simple. We’ve done what they did. We circumvented the rules they created and created our own. We crushed their monopoly by giving people something more efficient. We allow people to have direct communication between each other, circumventing the profitable middle man, that in some cases take over 107% of the profits (yes, you pay to work for them).

It’s all based on the fact that we’re competition.

We’ve proven that their existance in their current form is no longer needed. We’re just better than they are.

And the funny part is that our rules are very similar to the founding ideas of the USA. We fight for freedom of speech. We see all people as equal. We believe that the public, not the elite, should rule the nation. We believe that laws should be created to serve the public, not the rich corporations.

The Pirate Bay is truly an international community. The team is spread all over the globe - but we’ve stayed out of the USA. We have Swedish roots and a swedish friend said this:

The word SOPA means “trash” in Swedish. The word PIPA means “a pipe” in Swedish. This is of course not a coincidence. They want to make the internet inte a one way pipe, with them at the top, shoving trash through the pipe down to therest of us obedient consumers.

The public opinion on this matter is clear. Ask anyone on the street and you’ll learn that no one wants to be fed with trash. Why the US government want the American people to be fed with trash is beyond our imagination but we hope that you will stop them, before we all drown.

SOPA can’t do anything to stop TPB. Worst case we’ll change top level domain from our current .org to one of the hundreds of other names that we already also use. In countries where TPB is blocked, China and Saudi Arabia springs to mind, they block hundreds of our domain names. And did it work? Not really.

To fix the “problem of piracy” one should go to the source of the problem. The entertainment industry say they’re creating “culture” but what they really do is stuff like selling overpriced plushy dolls and making 11 year old girls become anorexic. Either from working in the factories that creates the dolls for basically no salary or by watching movies and tv shows that make them think that they’re fat.

In the great Sid Meiers computer game Civilization you can build Wonders of the world. One of the most powerful ones is Hollywood. With that you control all culture and media in the world. Rupert Murdoch was happy with MySpace and had no problems with their own piracy until it failed. Now he’s complainting that Google is the biggest source of piracy in the world - because he’s jealous. He wants to retain his mind control over people and clearly you’d get a more honest view of things on Wikipedia and Google than on Fox News.

Some facts (years, dates) are probably wrong in this press release. The reason is that we can’t access this information when Wikipedia is blacked out. Because of pressure from our failing competitors. We’re sorry for that.

—THE PIRATE BAY, (K)2012

UPDATE: The reddit thread about this essay is also worth reading.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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