Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Amusing, Now That We've Won

We remember visiting the Soviet Union in the mid-'80s. We were on a Soviet commercial airplane from Moscow to Minsk, a distance of several hundred miles. Next to us there was a young woman with a toilet seat in her lap.

When we tried to fasten our seat belt we noticed that it didn't work.

"Don't worry about that," she said. "They never work." Then, lifting hers in the air... "Look, mine's not even attached to anything."

Later, we asked:

"Why are you carrying a toilet seat?"

"Oh...there aren't any toilet seats in Minsk. So, I went to Moscow to buy one. You know, all the airline prices are controlled. So, the flight only cost me about $10. And the toilet seat only cost about $1.50. You just have to find one!"

~ Bill Bonner


Blogger taylor said...

It was always amusing. The unamusing part was how we were hoodwinked into believing they were players.

October 02, 2007 9:05 AM  
Blogger erp said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 02, 2007 9:06 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

They were players all right.

October 02, 2007 9:29 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

Stupid economic system or not, they had a very scary military back in the day.

October 02, 2007 9:37 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

The Vietnamese didn't shoot down 700+ of our most advanced planes with bows and arrows.

People who share taylor's delusions are dangerous.

October 02, 2007 7:19 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...


They were players in the sense they could cause no small amount of damage.

However, having visited the Soviet Union (I left the day before the coup; even now I wonder if it was something I said), I can say from first hand experience that they were a player in no other way.

And they were getting worse with time. In 1989, the Warsaw Pact couldn't keep track of one of their own airplanes, having to be told by NATO air defense that a pilotless Mig-23 was heading for west Europe.

During my visit, I noted no cars had windshield wipers. When I asked, I was told that people kept them in glove boxes unless it was raining.

Replacement windshield wipers were impossible to find. Unattended, they were stolen immediately.

October 04, 2007 9:51 AM  
Blogger erp said...

As it happens, Taylor, is my ten year old granddaughter whose blog I was trying to set up. She decided to set up a blog somewhere else and I forgot to sign out, but had she deigned to comment here, she would have agreed with me. She's a very smart kid.

During the late 70's and 80's, I had contact with lots of faculty types and young people from the USSR here in the US for short summer language courses (as the saying goes, I could write a book).

I also knew lots of American professors of Soviet and Russian history, economics, etc. They confirmed what I had figured out for myself, Potemkin's village was alive and well. I have no problem with them trying to bluff, but I have a big problem with our "diplomats" and media keeping the farce going and if it weren't for Ronald Reagan, they'd still be at it.

Skipper - so glad you got out before the trouble started.

October 04, 2007 12:43 PM  

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