Heavy snow for a couple of days, then clear and warm today. By afternoon the snow was turning to slush and all the world was drip, drip, drip beneath a clear blue sky. Went outside with the boys and threw snowballs for a couple of hours. Evening now, it's all grey and cold again and looks likely to snow some more... but, you know, we're on the back half now. That's the great thing about Armenian winters: they're nasty but they're short.
We're getting ready to move. Claude and the boys will go to Germany around the end of the month. I'll stay here through March. We still don't know what happens next, but that's common enough. At this point I just want to wrap up the project well. That means I probably won't be posting a lot over the next little while, so thanks again to Noel and Carlos for keeping the blog alive.
Stuff happening: Armenia's Presidential election is on Tuesday. I've hardly blogged about this, because it's pretty much a done deal -- the ruling party controls all media, has a massive machine in place, and is ready and willing to stuff ballot boxes and juggle numbers if necessary. My prediction: Serzh, the establishment candidate whose ugly face has been everywhere for the last few weeks, will win in the first round by 55%.
The ruling party hasn't done that bad a job running the country, but IMO they're now letting Armenia drift slowly towards a second Nagorno-Karabakh war. Well, maybe things will change...
A couple of links and whatnot below.
One story, which sounds a bit apocryphal, concerns a certain group of Huks who were entrenched in a strategic location (a mountain). Lansdale figured it was time to put some psyops (psychological operations) into practice. He used local intelligence agents to plant stories in the local community about asuang (vampires) living in the hills. These were not nice creatures, given their propensity to suck the blood out of their victims. One local fortuneteller/psychic picked up some nice income (courtesy of the adman turned spook) by telling the locals that the asuang would only prey on those with evil in their hearts. Then he gave the story time to circulate.
After a few days, he had his men set up an ambush along a trail the Huks used regularly. When a patrol came by, necessarily in single file along a narrow mountainside, they stayed hidden and let them pass. All but one. They grabbed the poor sucker at the tail end of the line. After killing him, they punctured two neat little holes in his neck, then hung him upside down and let all the blood drain from his body. Then the body went back on the trail for the Huks to find when they came back looking for their comrade.
The Huk unit that had previously been so difficult to displace vanished into thin air the next day, leaving the mountain to the government troops.
In addition to leading psyops against the Huks, Lansdale applied his adman skills to grooming Magsaysay for the Presidency. In 1952...
Music! Yes We Can: the Hillary version.
We have been told we cannot do this, by a chorus of gentle graphic designers forwarding that video to all 78 of their Facebook friends. We've been told we cannot betray 20 year-old daughters of corporate lawyers, who want to vote in a way that finally lets them live in Scarsdale and feel good about themselves. We've been told we can't create a system in which someone who began as a decent human being must be utterly broken and perverted by his desire to climb to the top of the slipperiest pole on earth.
Yes we can.
Cruel but it made me laugh.
Finally, Carlos had a good time last week! This image is for him.
Have a good weekend, all.