28 May 2008
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Красная площадь

I've been getting a lot of spam in Russian.  I don't know if this is just random, or because the email harvesters noted that I had a couple of Russian words in a blog long ago.  Since it's unlikely to get any worse, I took a chance with the heading.  Красная площадь, pronounced Krasnaya ploshchad (sort of), is having an interesting anniversary today.  I neglected to note the 20th anniversary, and today is the 21st.  What event do I commemorate? 

The end of the Soviet Union had many beginnings.  If you're of philosophical bent, you could argue that the beginning of the end was its very existence.  But if you're looking for a significant event, it would be hard to deny that a civilian flying a light aircraft, invading across the Russian border from Finland, was a harbinger.  Although the invasion was peaceful, the civilian, German citizen Mathias Rust, managed to land his single-engine Cessna 172 next to Krasnaya ploshchadRed Squarein Moscow, 21 years ago today.

The Wikipedia article goes into elaborate detail as to how Rust was able to accomplish this.  It was, as many bizarre events are, a combination of incompetence on the part of the Russians, coincidence, accident, and just a bit of mystery.  The article fails to mention how many and who in the Russian defense establishment lost their jobs; probably none lost their lives as would have happened in an even less pleasant time.  Are we any better than the Russians?  It would seem so, given the frequent tales of what happens to weekend pilots who stray to close to Washington D.C. without the proper clearance.  But of course we haven't heard about the one who landed on Constitution Avenue in the middle of the night, with the navigation and strobe lights on his Ercoupe turned off, while the United States Air Force was having a pizza.

German Spam, Too

The only reason I can think of that I get spam in German is that I have corresponded with the occasional German, and presumably someone harvested an address book or so.  My delicate sensibilities, not to mention my lack of German, prevent me from describing the content of the subject lines of this spam subset.  Let me just say that at least the English spammers are concerned about a wider variety of subjects, some of which, obnoxious as they are, don't conflict with delicate sensibilities.

NP:  "Marathon" - Rush

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