Kadyrov, hmmmmmm

I’ve noted for a while now that I considered Kadyrov to be the kingmaker in ongoing Russian politics. Almost fanatically loyal to Vladimir, he has benefited from Vladmir’s largely successful efforts to integrate him into the current Kremlin political structure. That has required a level of ongoing effort by Vladimir, as not everyone is fond of Kadyrov’s past or the fact that even before the “coup” attempt he had 1,000 troops stationed next to the Kremlin for the use by and protection of Vladmir. During the “coup” he was bringing a lot more troops in to protect Moscow, the Kremlin, and Vladimir — and key Russian figures moved none.

If you are not familiar with the relationship between Russia and the Chechens, let’s just describe it as interesting. There’s long been a push for a ‘free Chechen republic’ and a lot of friction (massive understatement) and not just in the last few decades. Add to it that Vladimir cemented his hold on power by blaming the Chechens for the apartment building bombings (done by the FSB) and fomenting a war. Despite all this, things worked out for Kadyrov to become a Vladimir loyalist and a major power player in Kremlin politics. Or, possibly, former major power player.

Keep in mind that I don’t think Vladimir is anywhere near the top of his game anymore. In fact, I continue to see signs of personal and political decline. Pringle’s “coup” seems to be accelerating the latter. Back to this in a minute.

For all the publicity, Pringles was a vassal to a vassal of Vladimir within the power structure, for all intents and purposes. For all he had turned into a billionaire and small-time oligarch, he was not the key player he (and most corporate media) portrayed. For all that he was a staunch supporter of Vladimir, his first love was to himself. To build the empire he wanted, and to enjoy fully the lifestyle he very much enjoyed (the uniformed figure camping with the troops was mostly for show IMO), he advanced by parroting others. He echoed Vladimir extensively. It has also been noted that when Kadyrov spoke, Pringles echoed.

This was particularly true in regards criticism of the MoD and the general (cough) incompetence in regards the war. For all that both wanted to put the blame for issues squarely on the MoD, and not them or their troops, I think that Kadyrov, more than Pringles, was unhappy at excess casualties and other issues. Kadyrov was, however, far better at playing the game than Pringles, and despite some apparent attempts to get Pringles to calm down, Pringles launched his coup while trying to frame it as focused on the MoD and not Vladimir, and perhaps even within certain circles to present it as an effort to protect Vladimir from those who were effectively betraying him.

That didn’t fly, however, and both Vladimir and Kadyrov both condemned the “coup” and labeled Pringles as a backstabbing traitor. Interestingly enough, both have come out faintly praising/praising Pringles and noting that he let his ambitions get the better of him. The faint was, of course, Vladimir. The not-so-faint was Kadyrov. It is the degree of the difference of the praise that may be very interesting.

As an aside, yes, I do believe Pringles is dead. If it were some sort of Hollyweird “WitSec” effort, it would require not only extensive plastic surgery for Pringles and Utkin, but also personality transplants. I don’t think it psychologically possible for either one of them, even with new faces and identities, to simply go live a quiet life somewhere.

Over the years, I’ve met two people in witness protection who exemplify what I’m talking about. In the first case, when I first graduated I worked at a large bookstore, where we had an “interesting” older female customer. Always trying to pull fast ones, total PITA. Turns out, she was doing interesting things at her business, which led to law enforcement investigation(s), which led to the story coming out in the paper that she was in witness protection and they had to know she was scamming people even before they moved her again. The other was an accountant turned restaurant owner who opened an Italian place where I was living at the time. Actually, some of the best Italian I’ve had in the U.S. His fast one involved (possibly among other things) not paying the witholding for his employees. Again, as law enforcement moved in, he was moved out as he really was an accountant who had testified against the mob.

Is there anyone out there who believes Pringles and Utkin could just go off and not do something similar? Coming from the Russian government, the DNA evidence is automatically suspect, but it is out there. That said, lot of circumstantial evidence around that they are indeed dead. While it wasn’t Vladimir’s normal extra-gruesome death for those he feels have personally betrayed him, it was a stark reminder that even if you are surrounded by troops pretty much 24-7 as well as security he can and will get you. That’s a message on more than one level, and with more than one target.

Which ties in to previous discussions on smart moves and why I expected the hit to happen later. Russia was using Wagner to great advantage in Africa, even more so than in the Middle East. I honestly expected to see them use them even more before striking. I think two things may have changed that calculus. First is Niger, where Wagner had extensive involvement. Did Pringles push some things against orders to curry favor and build back power? Interesting questions. There are, of course, rumors of that and other things that would have not sat well with Vladimir or other power players. Second is that Vladimir took some serious internal political hits during and after the coup. He very much needs propping up/shows of strength right now.

The whole “push some things” holds true in many regards to Kadyrov as well. Kadyrov moved troops against the “coup” both in occupied Ukraine and in Moscow. Keep in mind this so-called coup had silent backers in Moscow and beyond, and not just in one or more major players. More than ever I think it had silent partners in several key players and a number of oligarchs outside the regular power structure.

Keep in mind it doesn’t take much of a mispeak to make Vladimir suspicious of you, especially these days. Now, look back over the last year of what Kadyrov has said and compare it to Pringles (including his echoes of Kadyrov). Think it would take much to make an increasingly paranoid Vladimir see Kadyrov as a threat?

There are a lot of people who are not Vladimir supporters who would have good reason to encourage it. Think about those silent backers of the so-called coup. Those who would like to see Vladimir out of power (and/or dead).

Which makes it more than interesting that opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov appears to be warning that going after and/or eliminating Kadyrov would be a mistake (possibly of epic proportions). Doing so in public and in private apparently. Veerrrrry Interesting.

Which brings up another point. I’ve taken some flack in the past for pointing out that we do have an obligation to Ukraine on defense (though we totally reneged on it in 2014), that leaving Russian aggression unchecked is a bad idea, but that our current efforts are neither smart nor sustainable and could lead to escalation. I also remain convinced that any unilateral enforced peace is a bad idea that will only lead to something magnitudes worse within a fairly short period of time. The only way to ensure long-term peace is for the current Russian Federation to come apart (and Russkiy Mir get a wooden stake through it) — which could lead again to very bad things happening if NATO/West/China/Other were to do it. Yes, as previously discussed China has great reason to make this happen. Ability is a different issue, but they do have the interest.

Things could still go sideways with ease if it happens from within. That said, the “coup” brought out a number of fault lines within the Federation. More than one region apparently told Vladimir that he was on his own. Others were a little more creative, but assistance was not guaranteed shall we say.

Now we have a situation where RUMINT says Vladimir is no longer able, or possibly willing, to continue to spend the effort to keep Kadyrov integrated into the power structure. A power structure in which a number of people don’t like or trust Kadyrov or the Chechens. Can Kadyrov hold his own?

What happens if Gudkov and others are right, and either Vladimir or elements of the Kremlin power structure move against Kadyrov? What will the Chechen republic do?

I don’t think it will go the way many appear to be thinking it will. First up, the power structure of the Kremlin was badly off on the whole invasion of Ukraine, as well as on the capabilities of the Russian military. Second, our own top political and military leadership has yet to be right on matters involving the Ukraine. In fact, they’ve been as badly wrong as the Kremlin leadership, if not more so.

Which is why I sincerely hope we don’t go fishing in those troubled waters, as our current leadership couldn’t successfully organize a drinking party in a distillery, and have to have sex lying on their back as they can only fuck up. While it appears China and Iran may both be trying to fish in these waters already, there are internal dynamics at play that I think may backfire on them as well. For now, I’m more inclined to sit back, wait, watch, and hope that despite the odds that our so-called experts will do the same. The issue of the Russian Federation breaking up may well take care of itself for us.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Shoulder Update

Just got back from meeting the Doc’s PA, and there is some news to share. We are all happy with the recovery progress. There is still room for improvement (a lot in my opinion) so we are going to push the physical therapy as long and hard as we can. Between range-of-motion and strengthening, we can do a lot. Now we just have to hope paperwork and insurance will let us do all we can.

We also discussed when to do the left shoulder, which gives me a lot more pain and discomfort than the right now. I have the option to schedule it right now; but, it might be better to wait a month or two (or longer) to see how much more we can get done on the right shoulder and arm before doing the left. Even after the left is done, will need to keep doing PT on the right. My plan is to talk with the physical therapist, look at the rate of progress, and then start the scheduling process.

They are starting to know me: the PA laughed when I brought out my sheet of questions. It won’t be immediate, but over the next year or so, I will be able to go back into a full upper body workout. Backpacking, camping, and a variety of other sporting/hobby options will open up as the year (from surgery) progresses. I’m cleared to use the inversion table right now.

So, the big question right now is exactly when to schedule the left shoulder. I’m going to get some additional expert opinion, then decide. Part of me wants to have it done right now, but I also know that I need a right arm as close to fully functional as possible for this. If I’m told to wait even longer, I will, though it will not be pleasant.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Good Read & More

A good read from the good CDR Salamander. Ties into something I wrote a while back, will try to link it here later. Update: Here it is.

Right now, need to do a bit of exercise, and burn off some frustration. Yet again, someone didn’t do what they were supposed to in regards the insurance paperwork for more PT. Tomorrow’s visit not looking very likely right now.

More soon.


Over at Hot Air, Jazz Shaw has up a post about Alabama’s efforts to use nitrogen for executions. A lot of good food for thought there.

When it comes to executions, humanity has displayed its creativity to excess. Given that the purpose of execution was to make it clear to others not to do X (especially if aimed at the king, etc), any number of very horrific methods were developed. Sawing someone in half with the blade coming up between the legs, drawing and quartering, broken on the wheel, burning at the stake or in an oven, impalement, having molten metal poured down your throat, and, well, you get the idea. In my lifetime, I know of hanging, the electric chair, firing squad, and lethal injection being used here in the U.S. For many years, Russia used a bullet to the back of an unsuspecting prisoner’s head. What goes on in some countries tends to hark back to earlier times.

We moved from the concept of making the death as gruesome as possible to simply having death, and the ability of the state to kill you, as the deterrent. The problem is, our current system makes it about anything but a deterrent. Even with executions being legal (again), the efforts to sabotage the process are well underway. Such efforts are why it is almost impossible for states to get the needed drugs for lethal injection. It’s why several states have opted to reinstate firing squads as an option.

So, Alabama is going to try (or try to try) using nitrogen. The parenthetical is because corporate media and the anti-death penalty brigade of the lawyer’s guild are already fighting against it. Untested, unproven, yada, yada, yada. Except it has been used, fairly extensively, with animals and I remember reading a few years back about an assisted suicide company/euthanasia outfit having some famous designer work with them on a chic portable death chamber where the person inside could watch the world/be in a favorite place as they died from the nitrogen. After all, with nitrogen there is no choking/suffocating sensation, and it’s all rather peaceful.

My own personal take on the death penalty is that I prefer it to happen at the hands of the intended victim on the spot. That’s not always possible, unfortunately. My problem with state executions is that part of me does not like giving the state that power; and, the possibility of a false conviction. It does happen, and if the raft of prosecutors exposed for lying, cheating, and worse doesn’t concern you, it should. Especially in a case where the plaintiff could face the death penalty.

That said, I do feel there are some people who need to be permanently removed from the world for the safety of the world. For all that I do worry about someone who’s innocent being jailed, much less executed, the current system is a joke. When you have a process that can literally stretch out for decades, something’s wrong and you have no deterrence from the penalty.

As for this specific method, I don’t have a problem with it. It works, it’s relatively humane, and it’s something not dependent on big pharma and such. If all goes smoothly, it will be a way to get the system moving again, which is exactly why it’s being opposed. After all, if it does become a deterrent again, crime might drop instead of climbing unchecked. We can’t have that, now can we.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Quiet Day So Far

I try to stay off social media and such as much as I can on Sundays. Yesterday I took that a step further by unplugging, setting up a chair out back, pulling out a book, and spending a few hours reading and watching the clouds. Temps were wonderful compared to be heat and humidity earlier in the week. Gentle breeeze just made it all that much better.

I’m catching up on events a bit, but am also having to stay on top of the PT/Insurance issue. Meet with the doc early tomorrow, then maybe PT, will see.

Meantime, hope you all have a good week. More posts soon.

Odd Fragment

Something dislodged this and I wanted to write it down. Not sure it means anything, but for years I had this same dream/vision of my death. Think I first had it around the 7th or 8th grade.

A team of us are in the back of a C-130, ramp down, which I don’t think I had seen at that point in my life. We are low, and watching the evergreens below covered with snow flash by. So low, none of us has a reserve. Our job is to land, go over the mountain, and extract a biological (person) on the other side. Rescue? Didn’t matter. Somehow, I know I survive the jump, but don’t survive the mission.

Funny how the dreams of our youth do and don’t work out. I think I do have at least one more jump in me, but that reality forked off long ago.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Some Thoughts On Theology

Over on Twitter, someone reposted the anti-Catholic rantings of a special type of evangelical. One who is convinced they know the full and real truth, are not hesitating to share it, and fully into judging others and the faith of others. Any disagreement gets the old “read the Bible” (you pagan bleep that is going to burn, burn, burn). It generally is useless to engage such ignorant bigotry, and just mute them. Why it is pointless is a bit long and complex for Twitter, so you get to suffer through it.

I hope that I am remembering all correctly, as some of the information goes back decades and the lightning strike sort of scrambled things a bit. For anyone new, I was hit by lightning, they think all my memories are still in there but the root directory is corrupted, and some things are jumbled up. I also need to note that I am not a theologian, just someone who has been interested in the origins and more of the Bible and scripture since a child. I would also note that I was born and raised a Methodist, left said church in high school after a preacher refused to visit my dying grandmother as she had no money to leave the church; joined the Episcopal Church; then wandered a bit spiritually; and am currently a lapsed Catholic for all that I try my best to maintain the faith. Part of the reason for the lapse is personal and none of anyone’s business (other than a priest), and part has to do with the current Pope. I’m actually working towards not being lapsed, but it is an ongoing process. I’ve done comparative religion studies in high school, when I earned the God and Country award, and in college. I’m a sinner who struggles every day to do right and live up to my faith.

Let’s start with the Bible. In fact, let’s go back quite a ways and look at the language of the Bible. Different parts were written at different times, but at the time of Christ everything had been put into Aramaic as it was the language of the learned in that region and time, and the New Testament was again written in Aramaic. From there, scripture was translated into Greek, which was the language of the learned in the larger world. Only later was it translated into Latin.

Now, based on conversations with someone who’s goal as a priest was to study those ancient writings and was learning both Greek and Aramaic, the fun part was translating the Greek. The Greek language, at least of that time, was contextual which means the words around the word you were translating determined what it meant. For example, one word could mean brother, step-brother, brother from another mother, band-of-brothers type brother, or I think one other type of relation. Get the context wrong, and you get a technically correct translation that isn’t accurate.

So, you have chances for error when translating from the original source into Aramaic. You have chances for error when translating from Aramaic into Greek. You have a boatload more chances translating from Greek into everything else, and even today you can get debate that devolves towards fist fight by those trying to do so today. Don’t laugh, read the real accounts of some of the early councils and the fact that several of the fathers of the Church did indeed get into fist fights over theological points. This was long before the schism between Catholicism and Orthodox, and well before Martin Luther came onto the scene.

Translating into English, no matter the source but Greek made for the most fun, was yet another chance for error. I seem to recall a tale of a deliberate error of translation to curry favor with King James when he had scholars produce what is now known as the King James bible. Hate to say it, but things like that can happen. Even updating the English text to current usage is potentially problematic. I still remember when a new modern version of the Bible came out (Living Bible?) that had some rather interesting updates. Think that’s the best way to put it. My personal take is the more modern and hip you go, the less likely it is to be accurate or even theologically sound.

Now, which version and in which language are your reading the Bible? I mean the Catholic Bible has the books still in it that Martin Luther threw out. Some sects of Christianity still include the Apocrypha that all mainstream Christianity leaves out. I will note that to better understand Catholic theology, you really need to read the books of the Bible that Martin Luther threw out. Within that, you still have a heap of different versions (NAB, New Standard, King James, etc.) and each has a slightly different take on things for all that the key point remains the same.

I should make clear that there are a number of new translations into various languages that are quite good. The key is, they all are translating from the Aramaic, and the scholars are cross-checking each other as they go. It’s a way to cut down on the mistakes, because we are human and mistakes are sort of what we do best.

So, when someone screams “Read the Bible” I know up front they are not a serious person and are not making a serious effort at discourse or conversion. Frankly, it’s a Christian version of virtue signalling. They are also missing several key points to Christianity in my opinion. Clearly they jumped over the whole place not limits on the Lord thy God, judge not, motes in eyes, and such. They seem to have missed that they are not God, and that God is not bound by their rules on what he can or can’t do, and how he can or can’t do things. They are being extremely legalistic, and are also denying Grace exists. Just as there is no Grace, no forgiveness in the SJW clique, there is no forgiveness or Grace in the this type of argument. There is no love in this approach either. It is not my place to judge others; however, it is a duty to help those struggling with love and compassion. It may seem that I am judging this person and those like them, but I see this more as a bit of tough love.

Because, the real key point they are missing is that we are all Christians, no matter what “flavor” of Christianity we choose. We disagree with each other on different points, but we all accept that Christ was born to die for our sins, and that his death on the cross purchased for us eternal life. I think it may have been Reverend Key, an outstanding Methodist preacher and theologian, who first pointed this out to myself and others. Then again, he was also (I think) the person who taught me about the Miracle of Transubstantiation, and how Catholics and others believe in it.

This argument also misses that God is Love, and that God is both omniscient and omnipotent. Which is a state we really can’t grasp all that well. So, we use scripture and the parables taught by Jesus, we use direct revelation (the Commandments), and the guidance God offers us everyday to get a very imperfect and limited grasp of both God and the rules by which we should live. It’s also why we have miracles, as God can and does take a very direct hand in our lives on occasion. I’m living proof of that as I should have died more than once in this life, including when I was hit by lightning a couple of years ago. There were several aspects of that which add up to a miracle, an every day miracle if you will, but still a miracle. So, no, God who sees all of time and space at once is not sitting on a throne watching and waiting to see any imperfection as a reason to cackle and smite — it’s people who do that.

For God is Grace and forgiveness, not picky legalistic gotchas. So much so, that he gave his only begotten son to die on the Cross for us.

I’m also reminded of something a priest said to my RCIA class. A wise or good priest will never tell you where they think the recently deceased is going, even if they have suspicions. For with even the worst sinner, we can’t know if God did reach out with a miracle to let them change their minds and accept Christ in that last second of life. Again, we are not God and he is not bound by our rules and understandings. Nor do I think that since I now have problems with remembering and saying a number of common prayers (stupid lightning) that such will send me to Sheol, aka Hell. Part of Love is Compassion, and not only do I think that God is far more compassionate than we realize, I think he is not going to hold our worldly infirmities against us.

I view the legalistic clique in much the way I regard prosperity gospel. Not highly. And, all of the above is why I think it is usually useless to engage those doing this type of virtue signal. Because it is about the virtue signal, and not conversion or theology.

As for some of the specific points that troubled the person on Twitter, I’d like to take a moment to address some of them. Especially as some of them were things that may have bothered me when I started the process to join the Church. Never mind that some of the ornate and such still can offend parts of my Methodist soul…

A lot of ignorance and bigotry focuses around Mary, the mother of Jesus. Those that hate her, or hate that she is highly regarded within the Catholic Church, appear to subscribe to what I call the Empty Vessel concept. In short, they see Mary as an empty vessel, a rent-a-womb if you will, who had no further role in Christianity than that. They deny her agency if you will. Instead of a 13-year-old girl who bravely agreed to carry the Son of God (think stoning and other things that could have happened to a pregnant female not yet married), and made a conscious informed choice to do so, they see her as an empty-headed piece of meat. As for future role, you might want to go back and re-read the Wedding. When she asks Jesus to perform the miracle of the wine, there is an exchange where he asks is she sure as she knows where it will lead. To the Cross. Depending on translation, her reply is along the lines of ‘it is time.’ She was there at the foot of the Cross as he suffered and died. Far from an empty vessel.

Bit of an aside, but relevant: The book of Luke is the only book that talks about the childhood of Jesus. There is reason to believe that the author interviewed Mary before her death. Reread that book, and think about the tales only a mother would tell. Puts a little different light on it.

Despite what many think, Catholics don’t worship Mary as God. One of the better explanations came from a priest who pointed out that a lot of it is like a child picking out the “good” parent when they’ve done something wrong. Keep in mind that for all his life, Jesus was a good Jewish boy who loved his mother and would do almost anything for her. As such, we turn to her for intercession, a form of ‘Mom, I screwed up and did something bad, would you help me with your Son’ type thing. We pray to God, but we also will ask Mary to help us do it right and get our request through. The theological points can get complex, but Mary, being born free of original sin and being the mother of Jesus, serves as an intermediary to humanity. Someone pointing the way to her Son. The Way, the Truth, and the Light.

It is much the same for the saints. Short form: all saints are in heaven, and we ask them to help us get our prayers right and to remind us of what they did so we can do the same. They provide an extra voice for our prayers if you will, and can act as an advocate for us before the Throne.

As for Jesus having brothers, you might want to go back up near the top and the discussion of Greek. You might also want to consider that Jesus may have had stepbrothers as Mary might not have been the first wife of Joseph, who was much older than her. Catholic theology holds that she was chaste throughout her life. There’s not a lot in scripture about Joseph, including his history or even when he died. Food for thought.

As a final note, if you are so inclined, please say a prayer for that person on Twitter and all like her. In fact, say it for all of us, that we all open our eyes to God and his love, and that we hear, see, and feel his guidance and love for us. That we have love and patience with one another, and lead others to Faith by our actions.

Final aside: I rarely pray for specific outcomes on anything, especially myself. I’ve found over the years that I’m far better off leaving outcomes to God, as those tend to be far better than what I would have prayed for. Things are always better if we leave them in God’s hands.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Homemade Mayo And Corned Beef

Monday morning, I did my usual of asking if anything important happened on Twitter since I try to take Sundays off from social media. Snarksalot popped up to let me know she had posted her easy mayo recipe.

Intrigued, I decided to give it a try. Into the jar went one egg, 1t of salt, 1t mustard powder, pinch of chipotle, 3T of lemon juice, and 1.25 cups of olive oil. I use olive oil and avocado oil for almost everything since they are on the lifestyle (only partly a diet). In went the immersion blender, and in less than a minute I had rich and delicious mayo.

Me being me, I immediately made a second container of chili-lime mayo. Another jar, one egg, 1T Tajin, pinch of cumin, 3T lime juice, and 1.25 cups of olive oil. Less than a minute later, done. It is tasty, but next time I will be adding 1t hot smoked paprika and probably 1t of chipotle.

This is going to save me some grocery money. I’ve been getting a keto/keto friendly mayo and chili-lime mayo for a while now. To be honest, mostly the chili-lime as I have started using it as a regular condiment with a number of foods. Problem is, it is quite expensive and only gotten more so the last few years. Checking back into my source for bulk regular (not EV) olive oil as I see more mayo in my life. Healthy mayo with no additives, preservatives, and the like, and a much lower price point.

I began to wonder how the chili-lime mayo would do with corned beef. It being early, I decided to find out with breakfast. I got a slab of the corned beef I cooked up last week out of the freezer, got it thawed and warmed up, put some cheese on it, covered with some of the chili-lime mayo, and dropped two sunny-side up eggs on top and managed not to break the yolks (I like them hot and thick, not solid).

Short version: it worked very well with the corned beef. For dinner I might still go with a good mustard, but this was quite tasty and good. Definitely a good match for breakfast or even a brunch.

Meantime, I’ve been enjoying both. Even made some dilled mayo to go with some canned asparagus that came my way. That was a real (and expensive) treat growing up, and still rates as a comfort food because of that. Yep, it was good.

My thanks to Snarksalot for sharing this! Hope you enjoy it too.

The Death Of Pringles

23 June. 23 August. Kinda hard to miss the message. Whether it was a S-300 enema or something onboard, the top leadership of Wagner and the group responsible for their part of the “coup” are dead. Surovikin has been dismissed and may have been detained. There are some other rumblings that seem to suggest more is going on behind the scenes.

I do find the timing interesting, in that I would have either expected it sooner or around next June. Wagner was/is a key piece of operations in the Middle East and more importantly, Africa. The latter is extremely important to the Kremlin (resources and blocking Western counter-terrorism activities and influence) and many of the relationships with various countries were built on personal interactions and relationships with Utkin and Pringles.

The coup in Niger was not just Russian backed, but was backed and apparently assisted and encouraged by the Wagner Group. How much assistance and guarantees of future assistance were made by the men on the plane? What does their loss mean for the coup and efforts to overturn it?

The pivot of Wagner to Africa and the Middle East after the “coup” made a lot of sense. It put them where they could do the most good and it got them (mostly) out of the war with Ukraine. Which is why I figured any retribution would wait for a year or so, until certain goals were accomplished. Between that and internal Russian politics previously discussed, I thought it would be longer. Which suggests that something has changed in Africa in regards Wagner and Russian influence operations, and/or something has changed the political calculus in Moscow.

Pringles was a member of the “St. Petersburg Mafia” that took over Russia after the fall. Quick aside, if you aren’t familiar with the tension (sometimes warfare) between the Moscow faction/leadership and the St. Petersburg faction/leadership, it really is fascinating and goes back almost to the day of St. Petersburg’s founding. It still exists and is very much in play today. Despite all the media and PR, Pringles was not a senior member of the group and despite his friendship with Vladimir he was as close to being the lowest ranking member as possible. As someone put it on Twitter, he was a vassal to a vassal.

Unless I’m mistaken, he is also the first member of that mafia to experience the tender ministrations of 29155. Again, message. There are several layers to the message, this one being no one is safe. Toe the line, or else.

I’ve gotten the impression that the silent backers of the “coup” are still not all identified, though a lot of people are looking for them for a variety of reasons. I’ve also begun to suspect that some messages from Pringles to Vladimir may not have been passed along. I think he was genuinely surprised when Vladimir took it as an attack on him, rather than an effort to remove those who were misleading and botching the war on Ukraine per Pringles.

If he thought that his friendship with Vladimir, and the Kremlin need for Wagner, would save him and the others, he was mistaken and not paying attention. Once Vladimir feels someone has betrayed him, particularly in public, no amount of new information, apologies, etc. help. You are dead and quite often in ways as creatively nasty as possible.

There are unconfirmed reports that Pringles regular pilot was not onboard and may have been involved. Patsy? Also, it may be that none of the regular crew was onboard. If the crew was essentially a pickup from an FBO, they would be the only ones for which I would feel sorry.

There is more to come, and I expect 29155 to be busy in the days ahead as payback continues. There are some interesting fault lines in both the Russian Federation, and in the political structure around Vladimir, starting to show. The times may be about to get even more interesting for those in the Kremlin.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

PT/Recovery Update

First up, thank you all for the prayers, donations, and encouragement. It means a lot and has made a difference. Right now, I have almost everything at home that we are using at the physical therapy center. The one thing I haven’t yet found are one-pound weights, but need to go to a real sporting good store for such I suspect. The one big thing I don’t have is a hand bike, and the local Y has that.

There was a question about the gym, and it is the local YMCA as they offer varying rates. Given all I don’t quite get it for free but at a pretty good rate. Of course I want it less yet, but I can’t kick at the fee, especially with all I get. For all I think the YMCA has gone woke, it’s still the best option for me at this time.

We’ve hit the point where I am about out of PT sessions with the insurance company. The company provides a set amount per calendar year, and we are about to hit that. So, therapy has sent paperwork to the doc, who may have already signed and sent it back so therapy can ask for more sessions. Technically I have unlimited therapy sessions; but, the insurance company doles them out and has to approve based on improvement, etc. The way things actually operate, they can deny me any more for the right and deny me any for the other shoulder when it is done, if it is done in this calendar year. It’s a familiar dance for the doc and the therapy center, but prayers and good wishes appreciated so I can keep improving. It’s not that I anticipate trouble, as the insurance has been VERY good to me so far, but I want to stack the deck a bit just in case.

As for improvement, I really didn’t anticipate doing this well at this time, and with so little pain and discomfort most days. I wish some of the recovery from the lightning strike could move this quick. We are pushing towards regaining full range of motion, with the exception of hands behind the back. Because of the reverse replacement, that is always going to have limitations. Outside of that, I’m making good progress and efforts to strengthen and build the muscle base around the shoulder is underway. We’ve actually had some issues bumping into points where I had lost range of motion well before the surgery, but are pushing past them.

Part of me is almost scared to admit how well things are going in certain areas. Not because of superstition, but concern that the bureaucrats might see it and say ‘he’s doing good, he doesn’t need any more PT.’ The doc, therapist, and I all want to get as close to 100 percent as we can, and for all I can do now that I couldn’t before, there is still a ways to go. In fact, as much as I want to do the left shoulder NOW I can easily see it being December or later depending on continued PT to be sure I can do everything needed with the right arm. I want to do things right, and will take the time needed for that.

We are doing a bit with very light weights, as noted before. Max is five pounds for now, but we have moved into using the bands for some rowing and related exercises. Landlord is even letting me mount an eye-bolt in the joists to do band work out in the common area of the basement. Got to do that in a few. Never expected to see changes in definition of the arms just using five pounds, but with enough reps…

At the gym, things are moving along. I start each session with 35 minutes on an arc/ascent trainer. Haven’t kicked up the difficulty yet, but am trying to kick up the pace. Goal is ten minute miles and then take it up to the next resistance level. Then, maybe take it up to 45 minutes. With the heart meds, hard to get the pulse up but the cardiologist (who is very happy with how I’m doing things and the progress) warned me that normal target zone was not likely to happen. Her suggested zone is working well.

My cool down from that is to do the hand bike just as I do at PT. Then, I switch to the e-machines for back extension, abs, leg press, leg curl, and leg extension. I do two runs through the machines per session. Then head over to the hip abduction/adduction machine which is real weights and not e-machine. Hoping the doc will let me add in an additional machine or two at the appointment next week. Once done with that, I do my arm stretches then move into the free weight area to do my shrugs, rolls, and such with a five pound weight, then move into the other PT exercises. By then I’m wiped and head home to use cold pack or heat as needed. I try to do the pulley work and isometrics before going to the gym.

I hadn’t realized how much I had missed working out. It is frustrating not to be able to work on the chest because of the shoulders, but that will come. My goals right now are improving cardio and endurance; core and abs; getting rid of the flab; and, toning what didn’t get too flabby. Making progress.

Thank you for all your help with this. I can’t say thanks enough, and hope you know how much it is appreciated.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.