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Having Fun! / Operation Rod of Iron: AU fic
« on: May 07, 2017, 09:57:39 PM »
Hey everyone.  So, a few months ago I watched Sword of Gideon, the 1986 made-for-TV film on which Spielberg based Munich.  The germ of an idea for a story took root in my head then, but it is only now, as I head into finals week, that I have time to put my thoughts to paper and the need to relieve stress by doing so.  I'll just have to see where this goes.  In the meantime, enjoy and feel free to comment and criticize.

...

February 8, 1919

   A thick haze of cigarette smoke filled the room where 7 men sat at a large table covered with a green baize cloth.  Outside it was windy and pouring rain.  Promptly at 9:30 a short man in full uniform walked in and asked the others to sit down.  Admiral Kolchak thumped the table and called the meeting to order.

   “Gentlemen, I have summoned you for a very important purpose.  Yesterday I appointed Judge Sokolov to investigate the murder of our late tsar, and the disappearance of the august imperial family.  His findings will be vital to the endeavor which is the subject of this meeting.  The murder of Nicholas, and what increasingly looks like that of his family as well, has introduced a new form of barbarism into the world.  All of you here are part of a select group, which I have decided to call Committee Ze, tasked with formulating a response to this atrocity.  Were it not for the fluid situation in the Motherland, we would have started many months ago.  I want your ideas.  Stepanov?”  He turned to the minister of war.

   “I have actually been thinking, Your Excellency, of a possible idea.  We shall fight fire with fire.  The socialists used to target the tsar’s regime with waves of assassins.  Could it not be contrived for Sokolov to identify those individuals involved with this crime, so that they might be eliminated on an individual basis? ‘And almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood: and without shedding of blood there is no remission.’”

   “Not a bad idea,” said General Kirsta, head of military intelligence.  “I’m starting to like the sound of this.”

   Miroshnichenko, chief of the Intelligence Department, nodded in agreement.  “It would be a fitting way to honor the memory of the Imperial martyrs.”

   “It might also deter the Reds from committing such outrages in the future,” said Sukin, the foreign minister. 

   “In that case,” said Sapozhnikov, the minister of education, “if we are going to launch an assassination campaign, we should do it in a dramatic fashion, so that it sends a message.”

   “Yes,” said Telberg.  “Your Excellency, we really have to do this.”

   Two more men remained at the table, Adrian Bylinkin and Yaroslav Mikhailov, both top intelligence officials.  They, too, urged Kolchak to authorize the assassination of those involved in the execution of the Romanov family.  “Give us the order and we begin,” were Mikhailov’s concluding words.

   There was a long silence, broken only by the spatter of rain against the windows, the noise of the wind and the ticking of a clock.  Kolchak sat at the baize-covered table, his hands clasped in front of him, while the others waited for him to speak.  It was Kolchak’s decision now, and even Stepanov, usually eager to press his  own case, sat silently, looking at him.  Nearly 5 minutes passed, and then Kolchak said in a low voice, “I am quite positive we must go ahead and give the order.  I don’t like it, but there it is.  I don’t see how we can possibly do anything else.  ‘You will smite them with a rod of iron and break them like a potter’s vessel.’”
   
   Then he stood up and walked to the door.  The order had been given.

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Are any people familiar with the 1999 animated Anastasia film?  It is part of Golden Films' "Enchanted Tales" series.  It is loosely historically accurate, although there are parts of it that stretch the truth to enhance the plot, such as depicting Rasputin as the leader of the Revolution.  Still, I had the feeling that the producers did their homework, and there are some quite catchy songs.  It is available for free for those of you who have Comcast XFINITY TV.

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Rasputin / Parallels between Rasputin and Lyndon Baines Johnson
« on: April 20, 2015, 09:23:37 PM »
In the past few years, I have read several books on Lyndon B. Johnson.  While doing so, I have been struck by how many similarities there are between him and Rasputin.  Specifically, both men had tendencies toward outrageous behavior, in ways that sometimes seem to correspond to each other. 
     Both men had a penchant for sexual exhibitionism.  During the Yar Incident in April 1915, Rasputin was arrested for exposing himself in a Moscow restaurant while drunk; according to some witnesses, he pointed to his genitals and yelled, “This is what rules Russia!”  In his memoir A Journey for Our Times, Harrison Salisbury claims that “Rasputin used to brawl with his fine ladies off the balcony of the great dining room” of the Metropol Hotel in Moscow, “sometimes leaning over the railing and taking down his trousers to expose his private parts to the diners”.  Likewise, when Johnson was in college he would exhibit his member to his roommates, calling it “Jumbo.”  “Returning to his room after a date, he would say, ‘Jumbo had a real workout tonight,’ while relating the physical details of the evening, including details of his companion’s most intimate anatomy”(Robert Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate).  When Johnson was serving in the House of Representatives, if a fellow Congressman walked into the bathroom of the House Office Building while Johnson was finishing at the urinal, he would spin around without zipping up and begin talking to the other man while holding Jumbo in his hand.  On one such occasion, Johnson indicated Jumbo and asked, “Have you ever seen something as big as this?” (Another source describes this incident as taking place in Johnson’s office with a friend visiting from Texas; perhaps both sources are correct and Johnson did this with more than one person.)   In 1967, LBJ was meeting privately with a group of reporters who kept pressing him to explain why America was in Vietnam.  Johnson unzipped his fly, took out Jumbo and roared, “This is why!”  On his trip to East Asia that same year, Johnson reportedly exposed himself and mused that his hosts probably weren’t used to seeing members that massive.  Johnson also urinated in public whenever he felt like it, even when women were present.
      Both Johnson and Rasputin were reputed to be well endowed, and both were prodigious womanizers given to bragging about their conquests.  Johnson was supposedly jealous of John F. Kennedy’s affairs and wanted to top him.  When people used to mention Kennedy’s philandering to him, Johnson would bang the table and declare that he had gotten more women by accident than Kennedy had gotten by design (this was probably pure braggadocio, however; Johnson's physical appetites were nothing like Kennedy's).  Several of Johnson’s male aides used the term “harem” to describe Johnson’s bevy of secretaries, all of whom had been chosen by virtue of being gorgeous instead of for their typing skills, which, indeed, several of them lacked completely.  George Reedy, Johnson’s longtime press secretary, said of his boss, “He may have been just a country boy from the central hills of Texas, but he had the instincts of a Turkish sultan in Istanbul.”  Both Johnson and Rasputin’s wives were aware of their husbands’ fooling around and put up with it.  Rasputin justified his womanizing by claiming that sin was the first step to salvation.  While Johnson made no such claim, he was a profoundly religious man who spent many hours in prayer with the Rev. Billy Graham.
   Both men liked to shock people.  “In polite conversation, Rasputin used coarse barnyard expressions.  It was not a matter of the words slipping out accidentally; Rasputin used them often and with gusto, and he enjoyed the little gasps they invariably produced.  He liked to describe in detail the sexual life of horses which he had observed as a child in Pokrovskoe, then turn to a beautiful woman in a decollete dress and say, ‘Come, my lovely mare’”(R.K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra, Ch. 16).  Johnson’s language was littered with profanities.  As Richard Nixon said, “People think my language was bad, but Jesus, you should have heard LBJ.”  As with Rasputin, however, Johnson’s crudity “would always be controlled…the use of swearwords and obscenity usually had a point”(Doris Kearns, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream, Ch. 1).  In April 1964. Time magazine ran an article, entitled “Mr. President, You’re Fun,” which described how Johnson had taken three female reporters on a joyride around his ranch in his Lincoln Continental.  Johnson had driven at speeds averaging 90 miles per hour, narrowly avoiding a collision with another vehicle at one point, and sipped Pearl beer from a paper cup as he drove around showing off his herds of cattle.  Between sips he talked a lot about his cattle, at one point launching into “what one startled newswoman described as a rather graphic description of the sex life of a bull.”
   Both Johnson and Rasputin were skilled at manipulating others.  Both were heavy drinkers.  Both had two daughters.  Both were the sons of farmers.  Perhaps if Johnson and Rasputin had been contemporaries, they would have been friends.

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