Voices from Russia

Sunday, 14 April 2013

14 April 2013. Trib Reports on Moriak’s Smack-Down… Will Golitzin Become Midwest Honcho? … Why Does JP Need 25 Gs for “Moving Expenses?”

01 money down toilet

25 Grand for moving expenses… gimme a break!


One of the Cabinet piped up:

It’s occurred to me that Golitzin might as well be the Midwest hierarch, as well as the Bulgarian. It makes good sense, almost too much for the OCA. There’s precedence for this. The late Kirill Yonchev, bishop of Western PA, was also Golitzin’s predecessor as the Bulgarian Diocese’s ruling hierarch. Nikon Liolin, bishop of New England, is also the Albanian Diocese’s hierarch. The Bulgarian Diocese has the following locations:

Since Golitzin’s Bulgarian territory mostly overlaps with the Diocese of the Midwest… why not?  It’s ironic, though, that he’s now the locum tenens for the Midwest. He was one of the names put forth for the episcopal search committee’s consideration after Vladyki Job died, but he didn’t make the final cut. He supposedly was said to be a no-go for the episcopacy years ago by the Synod, but who knows what the reasons were, and why that changed. He’s a known quantity in the Midwest, having been in the diocese for a number of years, teaching university. He’s said to be a real down-to-earth sort. He knows the diocese, so I strongly doubt he’d rock the boat, as Moriak seemed to delight in doing.

Here’s some input about JP’s “moving expenses”:

25,000 bucks (779,000 Roubles. 19,100 Euros. 16,300 UK Pounds) for moving expenses for a monk is beyond arrogance and stupidity. It’s greedy. I wonder, though, if moving expenses for his parents (whom he apparently helps support) are included in that? Didn’t they move to DC to be near him? If the 25 thou is just for JP’s moving expenses, well, he can stuff it. He needs to hook up a little U-Haul trailer to move his stuff. Most clergymen seem to accumulate a lot of books, so books, clothing/vestments, and a few household items, are my guesses. If he wants the OCA to pay for his parents’ moving expenses, no damn way!  It wasn’t our decision for his parents to move to DC.

Oh… Moriak’s smash-up made the Chicago Trib (click here for the full story… it smells like a konvert talked to the paper). I wonder if Moriak served at Holy Trinity Cathedral to talk to his drooling konvertsy claque one last time… perspirin’ minds wanna know…



Sunday, 10 February 2013

Northeastern USA “Blown Away” by Blizzard Nemo, 9 Dead

00 Massachusetts road. Nemo Storm. 10.02.13



A potentially record-breaking snow storm brought the northeastern USA to a grinding halt and left nine dead. Thousands lost power amidst flight cancellations and a nuclear plant shutdown, as authorities declared states of emergency in five states. A blizzard dumped record snow of 97 centimetres (38 inches) in parts of Connecticut as it continued blowing through Boston and the rest of New England on Saturday. Life was returning to normal in New York City, where up to 31 centimetres (12 inches) of snow fell. New York airports reopened earlier Saturday, after being closed for nearly a day. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “We were very lucky. We avoided the worst of it”.

In neighbouring Massachusetts, snow tapered off in the afternoon after reaching around 60 centimetres (24 inches), and authorities lifted a state-wide ban on all driving after 24 hours. Instruments recorded wind gusts of 120 kilometres an hour (75 miles per hour) through the night at Boston’s Logan International Airport, which wasn’t expected to reopen before late Saturday. On Cape Cod, the hook-shaped Massachusetts peninsula jutting into the Atlantic, waves up to 6 metres (20 feet) high crashed onto beaches. Jane Miller, a resident of Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, told reporters, “This has been like a hurricane with snow”. She said that the island was spared heavy snowfall, but surging tides prompted the local government and Red Cross to open a shelter at a high school for people living near the coast who wanted to evacuate. Coastal flooding was particularly bad along Massachusetts’ southern mainland coastline, a stretch that was also hit in the October hurricane-turned-superstorm Sandy. The US Postal Service suspended service in seven states.

In New York State, media reports said that a car that skidded out of control struck a female pedestrian, and a man died in a tractor rollover while clearing his driveway. A Massachusetts 12-year-old died of carbon-monoxide poisoning when he sat in the family car to warm up after helping his father shovel snow. Named Blizzard Nemo by the Weather Channel, the storm’s heavy snow and terrifically-high winds toppled trees, causing caused power outages for more than 600,000 people across Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Some 400,000 blacked out electric customers were in Massachusetts alone, where the Boston Globe published a photo of total storm whiteout with the headline: “Blown Away”. Late Friday, power outages caused a shutdown of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth MA, according to a local radio station.

According to the National Weather Service, parts of Connecticut appeared to have received the heaviest snowfall, ranging up to 97 centimetres (38 inches) in Milford and 91 centimetres (36 inches) in other areas. The coastal town of Portland ME received a record 74 centimetres (29 inches) of snow. A news crew for CNN reported that the doors of their satellite truck had frozen shut overnight on Cape Cod, and it took them an hour to reopen them. Wind whipped snow drifts more than a metre (40 inches) high in Boston. A city worker told the DPA that it was the worst storm since 1978, when a 36-hour blizzard killed 100 people in Massachusetts and neighbouring Rhode Island. In the 1978 blizzard, hundreds of cars were stranded in the snow, and some drivers froze to death along interstate highways. More than 5,000 flights were cancelled since Friday, and, at its height, the storm shut down all rail traffic from Philadelphia to Boston. The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and Maine declared states of emergency.

Prime News reported that Russian airlines Aeroflot and Transaero plan to maintain scheduled flights to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday despite anticipating huge snow falls from snow-storm Nemo. Nemo, which hit the northeastern USA on Friday evening, is expected to be one of the most powerful in the history of New York. Over 4,700 flights were cancelled across the USA due to the storm. Aeroflot said, “There’ve been no changes to our timetable”, whilst rival Transaero reported, “departure is expected as normal”, for its morning flight to New York. Meanwhile, the weather was also making life hard in Moscow, where pedestrians and drivers woke on Saturday to find the city covered in a slippery coat of glass-like ice after freezing rain fell overnight, causing accidents on several main highways into the capital.

New England braced on Thursday for a possibly record-setting winter storm, with forecasts of up to 2 feet (61 centimetres) of snow already causing airlines to cancel thousands of flights and utilities to prepare for power outages. The storm was blowing in from the Midwest where it began dropping snow on the Chicago area on Thursday afternoon. It was due to bring light snow to the Northeastern USA on Friday morning before ramping up to blizzard conditions by afternoon. Alan Dunham, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said, “This one doesn’t come along every day. This is going to be a dangerous winter storm. Wherever you need to get to, get there by Friday afternoon, and don’t plan on leaving”.

In Boston, which was expected to see some of the heaviest snowfall, on Friday, Mayor Thomas Menino ordered the city’s schools to close and urged businesses to consider allowing staff to stay home, to reduce the risk of commuters getting stranded. Menino told reporters, “We’re hardy New Englanders, let me tell you, and used to these types of storms. But I also want to remind everyone to use common sense and stay off the streets of our city. Basically, stay home. Stay put after noontime tomorrow”.

City officials up and down the northeastern USA were bracing for the storm, readying fleets of ploughs and salt trucks to keep streets clear, whilst airport officials advised travellers to try to reschedule flights ahead of the storm. The National Weather Service said Boston could get 18 to 24 inches of snow (46 to 61 centimetres) on Friday and Saturday, its first heavy snowfall in two years. Light snow is expected to begin falling around 07.00 EST (04.00 PST 12.00 UTC 16.00 MSK 23.00 AEST) on Friday, with heavier snow and winds gusting as high as 60 to 75 miles per hour (97 to 121 kilometres per hour) as the day progresses. Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton MA said, “It’s the afternoon rush-hour time frame into the evening and overnight when the height of the storm will be”. Cities from Hartford CT to Portland ME expected to see at least a foot (31 centimetres) of snow.

9 February 2013

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

There was little disruption here in Albany NY, even though it’s at the geographical centre of the Northeast and it’s the transportation hub of the region (all major roads and trunk rail lines in the Northeastern USA converge on Albany). There was a snow emergency declared by Mayor Jerry Jennings, but he cancelled it before it took effect, as so little snow has fallen. We took a lovely motor through the lower Adirondacks this afternoon after services, and there was little snowfall as far north as Lake George (75 kilometres (46 miles) from Albany). The Lake George Winter Carnival was in full swing, with no problems due to the weather (the Carnival runs during the weekends of February… so, if you’re in the region, check it out). It was a fairly-comfy -5 (23 degrees Fahrenheit), with no biting winds (trust me… it can get MUCH more nastier than that in this neck of the woods; it was a balmy winter day by my lights). My Nicky bought a bumper sticker with three bears on it… so, it was a good adventure. No, we didn’t “suffer” in the least. We had no power outages, no heavy snows, and no disruption to normal life. We lucked out.


Saturday, 31 March 2012

Gallup: the Top “Most Religious” and “Least Religious” States in the USA

A map showing levels of religiosity in the USA


Gallup released another one of its trademark surveys, this time exploring which states are the “most” and “least” religious. Does it surprise you that Gallup found the majority of those identifying as “very religious” in the South (the “Bible Belt”)? Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote, “Mississippi’s the most religious US state, and it’s one of eight states where Gallup classifies at least half of the residents as ‘very religious’”. Of course, there’s an exception to the “Southern rule”. As we’re sure you’ve already noticed, and despite the fact that it’s surrounded by states that are either “average” or “below average” in religiosity, Utah’s the second most religious state in the country. Newport stated, “Coupled with the Southern states in the high-religiosity category is Utah, the majority of whose residents are Mormon… the most religious group in America today”.

Gallup’s Top Ten “Most Religious” US States (percentage identifying as “Very Religious”):


On the opposite end of the spectrum, the “least religious” states in the USA are primarily located in New England. Does that surprise anyone either? Newport observed, “Vermont and New Hampshire are the least religious states, and are two of the five states… along with Maine, Massachusetts, and Alaska… where less than 30 percent of all residents are ‘very religious’”.

Gallup’s Top Ten “Least Religious” US States (percentage identifying as “Very Religious”):


So how did Gallup go about putting together this report? That is, what does Gallup mean by “very religious” and how does one qualify as such? Newport explained, “Gallup classifies 40 percent of Americans nationwide as very religious… based on their statement that religion’s an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week. Another 32 percent of Americans are nonreligious, based on their statement that religion isn’t an important part of their daily life and that they seldom or never attend religious services. The remaining 28 percent of Americans are moderately religious, because they say religion’s important, but that they don’t attend services regularly or because they say religion isn’t important, but still attend services”.

Gallup’s Level of Religiosity in the USA by State:


However, why is there a huge discrepancy between the Southern states and New England? Apparently, it has to do with “state culture”. The Gallup report stated, “Gallup research has shown that these state differences appear to be part of a ‘state culture’ phenomenon, and aren’t the result of differences in the underlying demographics or religious identities in the states”. It appears that there’s something about the culture and normative structure of a state, no doubt based partly on that state’s history, which affects its residents’ propensity to attend religious services and to declare that religion is important in their daily lives.

So, what’s the takeaway? What did we learn from Gallup? Their report observed, “America remains a generally religious nation, with more than two-thirds of the nation’s residents classified as very or moderately religious. These overall national averages, however, conceal dramatic regional differences in religiosity across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Of course, there are political implications”. Religion is related to politics in today’s America, and it is clear from a glance at Gallup’s map posted above that the “most religious” states in the union generally are the most Republican, whilst the “least religious” states skew more toward the Democratic Party. This means that the most divided states… and, thus, those where most of the heavy-duty campaigning in this year’s presidential election will be taking place… are the ones where residents tend to be neither at the very religious nor at the nonreligious end of the spectrum. That is, President Obama shouldn’t worry about winning over Vermont as much as he should worry about Ohio. Likewise, whoever the GOP nominee is, he probably shouldn’t waste too much time campaigning in Maine, and should focus more on, say, Arizona.

29 March 2012

Becket Adams

The Blaze

Yahoo News


Editor’s Note:

This is a crook survey due to poorly-conceived questions and crank presuppositions on the part of the pollsters. To start with, it disregards the differences inherent in two planes. We have Christian vs Non-Christian standards, and Sectarian vs Normative Christian standards. For instance, in New York and California, there are higher levels of non-Christian believers, whose definitions of “religiosity” aren’t those of the Gallup Poll. In addition, “Catholic” (i.e. Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican) believers tend not to be weekly attendees, for normal Sunday attendance amongst “Catholics” tends to average out at one in six. What this survey shows in bold relief is not religion vs irreligion, but rather Normative Christianity vs Sectarian “Evangelicalism”. Every state in the Top Ten has a Sectarian majority amongst believers… amongst the Bottom Ten, some are secular (in the West) and New York/New England are more “Catholic”, thus, having fewer weekly attendees.

My submission is that Sectarianism has secular and political ramifications. Let’s look at a map below of state acceptance of corporal punishment in the schools:


It’s interesting how the permissibility of corporal punishment and Gallup’s “most religious” status so often coincide. This is due to the tenets of Sectarianism (and these odd tenets do set Sectarians apart from Christians). To begin with, we have the strange idea of salvation current amongst Sectarians… that one “gives one’s heart to Jayzuss”… for a group that hollers so loudly about its adherence to Scripture, such a phrase is unknown to the Bible. Jayzuss is NOT the same as the Lord Christ worshipped by Christians. Jayzuss smiles at violence, Jayzuss hates all gays and degenerates, and his votaries are to attack all those who only seem “threatening”, not only all those who differ from them in doctrine, but in lifestyle as well. In states with Sectarian majorities, one finds over-permissive gun laws, and “stand your ground” laws.

This is due to the aggressive subculture of the original settlers of the American South, exacerbated by the Slave Culture of Antebellum Dixie. Evangelicalism is a religious apologia for racism, a vicious capitalism that would make Jay Gould blush, and a violent armed attitude to life. This isn’t “religious” in the least, and the fact that such people attend services weekly and “tithe” doesn’t redeem it in the least. If you want a key to the region, look at the history of Texas. Anglo settlers went to Texas and brought their slaves with them. When Mexico abolished slavery, the settlers refused to follow the law and revolted. Anglo society in Texas lionises these slave-holding insurrectionists to this day. These people don’t really believe in laws; they believe in personal revenge and “honour”, they would’ve refused to abolish slavery had it occurred via legislative fiat by the Congress.

Here’s another telling map… it’s of the regions that suck most on the Federal tit:


From the top, let’s leave Alaska and Hawaii to the side… they’re special cases, requiring special outlays. However, do notice that Alaska is on the “plus” side of the ledger, meaning that Sarah Palin took all the federal bucks that she could lay her hands on… that does blow her “conservative” pretensions all to hell, doesn’t it? Do notice that the Sectarian-majority states with their rants of “personal responsibility” are first in line at the Fed’s slop chute. In short, they’re hypocritical liars and smarmy poseurs. That’s “most religious”… do excuse me, as I hurl!

Sometimes, even bad surveys serve a purpose, as does this one. For instance, there was a crook survey just published by the Ecumenical Patriarchate claiming all sorts of crank notions… I’m going to go after that one after I study an independent academic survey more thoroughly (for instance, it undercounted Native Orthodox in Alaska, and, probably, over-counted Greeks). It does have a good moment or two, though. To return to the Gallup Survey, it does show us where the Sectarians are strongest, and where the Radical Republican Redoubt will be after the Obama Landslide this fall. Make no mistake on it… the GOP’s now so heavily tied to Sectarian crazies that it’s becoming a regional and confessional faction. However, that’s another post…


Sunday, 11 September 2011

11 September 2011. Yesterday, We Recharged Our Batteries

Caprilands Herb Farm in North Coventry CT… from an old postcard…


Nicky and I were in need of some serious “recharging”. Times have been “tough” for us… Nicky’s been out of work, and all that… but I have to say that we’re still getting by; there are many worse off than we are, we still have our apartment, and we still have our dignity. We set off on a “quest” yesterday… we were on the search for Caprilands Herb Farm in Coventry… Nicky remembered going out there some thirty years ago. It’s down in Connecticut, past Hartford, so, we motored out east, and got on the Mass Pike. At Springfield, we turned south on 91, then, the fun stated… we missed our turn onto 84, so, we had to backtrack, and we got the proper exit. It was simple going onwards to 384 and 44, but (of course) you know that “chance” had its inevitable hand in things. I’d left my written instructions home (natch), so, we were at sea how to make the final connections (thank God, I remembered that the final turn was at “Silver Street”)… we asked at two locations, got the right intel, and fund ourselves at the Farm. There had been damage from the recent storms, and (later on) the fellow there told us that the power had been out for four days.

There were two vintage Jaguars parked in the driveway, and a beat-up Land Rover (that had been used in the First Gulf War by a news correspondent), too. When we got behind the house, the smell of herbs was heavy in the air. Two orange cats greeted us, and, finally, an older fellow and two dogs showed up (along with Ludwig, a black cat). I must say that we had a pleasant conversation for nearly an hour… we shared some common interests. For instance, I found out that Adelma Grenier Simmons, the late owner of the farm (she died in 1997) was a lover of Russian opera. She named some of her dogs “Natasha”, “Ivan”, and other Russian names. In fact, Eddie (the fellow I talked to) told me that when a tree in front of the house leaned over in the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, he said that she told him that she thought that it looked like the peasants in Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina marching forward. To say the least, a pleasant time was had by all… one of the things that we laughed about was the “Holy Trinity” of Vienna… Richard Tauber, Johann Strauss, and Franz Lehár. Eddie said that the Viennese would dance through the End of the World… isn’t that a fact!


Here’s some music of the Viennese “Holy Trinity”… Richard Tauber…


Johann Strauss II “the Waltz King”…


Fritz Wunderlich singing Franz Lehár…


with a bonus piece by Johann Strauss I, Radetzky Marsch, which is the concluding piece for every New Year’s Gala of the Wiener Philharmoniker, here conducted by the late great Herbert von Karajan in 1987…


It took us about two hours driving time each way… what with stops on the way and an hour spent at the farm, we were away for eight hours. To say the least, “home” looked very good indeed! It was a lovely motor through green and lush countryside… it’s a joy to drink it all in… I was hungry for such, I’ve got to say. You’ve got to connect with the “really real”… it keeps you grounded and centred. You can tell the people who only “live in their heads”… they believe in the oddest notions and they REFUSE to accept reality… reality is like a storm… you can try to ignore it, but you can’t hide from its effects. If you don’t take shelter, you get swept away, and that’s that. Think on that.

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Sunday 11 September 2011

Albany NY

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