Reblogged from FuturisTrendcast: Pope Francis and World Religions – Karma and Consciousness
Introducing Ask Lada on FuturisTrendcast blog:
(This post is a continuation of Putin’s New Ally: Pope Francis)
You may have noticed that sometimes I choose an especially interesting reader comment, which in my opinion brings up certain crucial or hard-pressing questions that need to be addressed or clarified. Often, the issues raised are highly controvercial and open to interpretation. I do suggest people read what I say carefully. We have a limitation of space for each article, but I try to say as much as possible every time. However, since it’s not a large book, I can’t always go as in-depth as I’d like. As any word and any hint may be subtly relevant, please do pay attention to what I say, and read between the lines!
Till today, this Q&A wasn’t a formal series, but perhaps it ought to be. Let’s call it ‘Ask Lada‘ and see how my readers like it.
All posts in this series will appear under CATEGORY: Ask Lada
For now, I’ll do several pilot episodes to see how it goes. The idea is for me to regularly select the most interesting question or comment that resonates with me on some level, and answer it. I will choose comments intuitively, based on prevailing energy. Because the comment thus chosen would be something many think about, it will most likely generate a lively discussion (all comments and replies are welcome, as long as they don’t contain untruths, links to false, hateful or biased info, and are not disrespectful or trolling in nature. Always review BLOG RULES on top bar for more! Do let me know how you all feel about it! Is ‘Ask Lada’ series a good idea for FuturisTrendcast?
Without further ado,
Read full post!
Pope Francis and World Religions – Karma and Consciousness
(Ask Lada: Ep1)
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Intro by Lada Ray
The United States of America undoubtedly has the largest, best equipped and best financed army in the world. USA spends more on military than the rest of the world combined. USA seems to dominate in every type of conventional warfare, be it on land, air, or sea.
Per the accepted global geopolitical theory, world powers are divided into sea, hybrid and land ones. USA today, like the British Empire before it, is the dominant sea power. As is fitting for such super-power, USA’s Navy is the most powerful, and by far the largest, in the world. Until recently, the US Navy, it seemed, owned our planet’s oceans and seas.
Since mid-2000s a rumor circulated that the reason US never attacked Iran from the sea was because they knew Russia could disable the entire US Navy fleet. What mysterious weapon could have been used for such purpose?
While usually Russian defence programs are very secretive, recently, Russia started coming out publicly with more and more breakthrough designs, such as the world’s most advanced Armata tank first presented during the May 9, 2015 Victory Day parade on Red Square.
For a few years now, some Russian politicians have been urging the government to reveal new designs so that the West wouldn’t get any ideas about attacking Russia, like it happened in 1941. The need to make them understand that Russian Army is fully ready to defend the country became especially pressing after the USA and EU’s direct interference in Ukraine, including supplies of weapons, mercenaries and military advisors. As the smell of potential new world war intensified, Russia made a decision to begin showcasing the technology that was kept under wraps all these years.
As my readers and listeners know, I have predicted in the beginning of 2014 that Russia would NOT send any troops to Ukraine, instead ‘gradually remolding the situation in her favor using all quiet and peaceful means at her disposal.’ I said that there would be NO direct confrontation between USA and Russia and that there would be NO hot World War III. I also said back then that the hidden global war would continue raging, be it diplomatically, economically, financially, electronically, or as spy and propaganda war.
This is exactly how the situation has been developing for the past one and a half years. It will continue developing the same way, until the massive EARTH SHIFT we are going through is complete (read more in PREDICTIONS).
Some call it a hybrid war. I call it 4D warfare.
It is beyond the fully incarnated, physical 3D reality. It’s often fought by computer geeks, masterminds, and invisible operators. It can only be gleaned if you know behind which curtain the wizard is hiding.
One of the main reasons the world will NOT go through the physical carnage of another devastating world war is Russian preparedness. This is the best deterrent against any possible aggressor. It falls to Russia, as the Great Balancer of our planet, to become the Sacred Shield and Sword against any global aggression.
As such, Russia always has to be ready. This is why the image of a soldier, protector and Defender of the Motherland, is so important to Russians.
We all recall the strange case of the USS Donald Cook, dubbed ‘Donald Duck,’ which had to urgently retire from the vicinity of the Crimea and the Black Sea after it was buzzed by the mysterious Russian device called KHIBINY, rendering the world’s most sophisticated electronic AEGIS system onboard helpless. What is referred to as KHIBINY is an older Soviet device. If you know about KHIBINY, believe me, you know nothing yet!
In this program we will see for ourselves how target cloning works; how Russian subs confuse and disable attack and spy planes; how a single, ordinary-looking all-terrain vehicle can create an invisible shield to protect the entire city against blanket rocket fire; how to make ballistic missiles explode before they reach target, or better yet, how to prevent them from taking off in the first place, thus rendering any missile system obsolete; how a bullet-proof vest could make the bullet change its trajectory and how a target can vanish from radars.
The program includes Russian Army’s inside footage and, until recently top-secret, demos and live tests; interviews with designers; until recently classified, real names of producers and real names of new Russian weapons, designs of the future, and much, much more!
What appeals to me most is that all designs and weapons you will see are of defensive, or non-offensive, nature. These are not aggressive attack weapons most military documentaries might showcase.
Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that they all seem straight out of Star Trek or a movie about aliens.
Finally, I want to draw your attention to two episodes. One mentions “an undisclosed conflict several years ago.” Per the narrator, throughout that conflict, the Russian army didn’t lose a single plane or helicopter, despite incessant blanket fire from the adversary’s BUK systems. What conflict are they talking about? And how did they avoid any losses?
KHIBINY and the Donald Cook episode are also mentioned, while some interesting details are revealed.
But why don’t you find out for yourself!
(New Earth Shift Reports are donation based. Donate any amount to watch/read.)
Also read EARTH SHIFT REPORT 3: OLIGARCH WARS
- Mystery Revealed: What frightened the USS Donald Cook so much in the Black Sea?
- Breaking! US Planned to Turn #Crimea into Military Base Against Russia
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Гурудэ, Новая Звезда, Хакасия, energy portal, Khakassia fires, Moscow, republic of Khakassia, Ruslan Gurude, Russia, Russian stonehenge, shaman, Siberia, The New Star singing competition, throat singing
This post is about Khakassia, Siberia – a hidden cultural and archeological gem, full of treasured forbidden history monuments and home to incredible shamanic throat singining. Khakassia is now being rebuilt, while struggling to overcome tragic consequences of the recent forest fire.
Khakassia is a small autonomous republic in southern Siberia, Russian Federation; population about 500,000. It’s located between the large metropolises of Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk.
Map of the Russian Federation – Khakassia is in red
Just like the nearby Tyva and other mystical stretches of Siberia and the Far East, Khakassia is the realm of ancient shamans, famous for its one-of-a-kind throat singing. This land of steppes and forests resembles an open-air museum, the keeper of mysteries of our true past. It is called the archeological Mecca of Siberia, with 30,000 stonehenges, remnants of ancient cities and fortresses, kurgan pyramids as burial sites, and rock engravings strewn all over Khakassian steppes.
Khakassia primordial stone engravings
Sunduki, Khakassia: 16,000 year old stone monuments – kurgans/pyramids
The primordial rocks dotting the landscape are sacred ancestral energy portals commonly found in Siberia, Crimea, Caucasus and all over Russia. The British Stonehenge was made famous, but you could say that the entire Russia is one giant Stonehenge. Some of these ancient portals are still awaiting their discovery.
Khakassian stonehenges, Siberia, Russia
Recently, Khakassia experienced a terrible tragedy. An unusually dry and warm weather for this time of year resulted in a giant forest fire. This fire was carried by the improbably strong winds, reaching 30 m/second. Since the traditional construction material of choice in the forested northern parts of Khakassia is wood, a number of local villages burned down, leaving thousands displaced.
Meet Ruslan Gurude, amazing shamanic singer from Khakassia.
Ruslan Gurude (Ivakin) is a multi-talented economist, singer and composer from Khakassia. During the first show of the New Star («Новая Звезда») All-Russia singing competition, he amazed both audience and judges with his powerful performance of a Khakassian shamanic song. His incredible throat singing, common for these parts, but interpreted by Ruslan in a fresh and unique way, left his audience in awe.
Gurude (emphasis on ‘e’) showed an equally beautiful and unique singing in Round 2 and in semi-finals, all three times receiving the maximum score of 100.
Just before the semi-finals Gurude received a call from his family that despite all the state and local authorities’ precautions, his native village and his ancestral home burned down as the 30 m/second wind carried fire from the nearby forest.
Thanks to the «Новая Звезда» competition, Gurude’s singing already made an impression internationally. He was invited by UNESCO to sing at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva, as well as Paris and several other European cities.
The New Star is a brand new competition. It is unique and advanced in its own right. Every region of Russia (every subject of the Federation) gets to send one representative. What has especially impressed me is this: a brief film about each Russian region (87 in total) is presented to the audience before singers’ performances, which allows each oblast and autonomy to promote its beauty, treasures and acomplishments, while people from all over the country get the chance to re-discover for themselves various far away corners of their vast and varied Motherland.
The New Star competition has five judges, who are famous singers, artistic directors and composers. Center stage represents a star with five lit rays. Each judge can choose to turn off his/her ray, thus taking away 20 points from a competitor. Citizens all over the country can also vote and thus help their favorite singer to advance, or not. Any genre is welcome, from folk and shamanic, to rock, pop, classic and opera. Singers sing in Russian, but also in languages of their origin, as well as in foreign languages. English and Spanish are popular. This competition allows talented people from all over the country get noticed.
Gurude is one of my personal favorites. I am charmed and impressed with his talent and multi-dimensional, cosmic presentation. There are several singers I am rooting for, but I will be happy if Gurude wins.
The competition level is very high and there are many wonderful singers, including a couple of other smashing throat singers from Chukotka and Buryatia. I’ll post their videos soon.
I think our only salvation from the mindless, mind-numbing pop that is flooding stage and TV screens all over the world is this kind of genuine, authentic folk singing. The future is the kind of singing that is encoded with our genetic memory. This is what the world needs to listen to in order to awaken and recall our real roots. It is up to us to decode it and remember the truth…
Gurude Round 1: Mirage in the Steppe – in Khakassian. “Степной мираж”. Играет на флейте (хобрах) Гурудэ (Руслан Ивакин, республика Хакассия). Новая звезда
Gurude Round 2: North Wind – in Russian. Новая Звезда – 2 тур – Гурудэ (Хакасия) “Северный ветер”
animals, anti-war, awakening of nature, beauty, flowers, holiday, inspiration, International Women's Day, lily of the valley, Love, March 8, mimosa, nature, peace, photos of flowers, sacred feminine, spring, tulips
There are lots of beautiful holidays in the world. March 8 is one of my personal favorites. To me it’s associated with spring, smiles, and the intoxicating fragrance of tulips, delicate bells of the lily of the valley and sweetness of the mimosa flowers.
On March 8 the world celebrates the International Women’s Day. This holiday started over 100 years ago in Russia as a celebration of women’s rights and anti-war movement. Years later it became popular the world over as a holiday for women of all ages, when mothers, wives and daughters can kick back and allow themselves to be treated as pampered goddesses, letting men do the chores, bring them flowers, lavish them with massages and tickets to sold-out shows.
Find out how this holiday is celebrated in Russia and beyond from my eternally popular piece on Lada Ray Blog, combining history, reflections, memories and rare images: March 8, Happy International Women’s Day! (Note, as the International Women’s Day has been maligned and misinterpreted terribly in the US and some other Western countries, I highly recommend you read the above piece. It will put lots of things in perspective. Also read comments, in which people from various countries relay their experiences.)
To me, March 8 is the contemporary way of honoring the sacred feminine. But first and foremost, this is the holiday of the awakening of spring and the celebration of beauty and peace.
I don’t know about you, but on March 8, my house will be full of my favorite tulips, despite the dreary cold and snow piles outside. Too bad lily of the valley isn’t available in North America. But who is to say we can’t have a virtual March 8 celebration right here, on my blog!
I am wishing you lots of joy and flowers, love and beauty, and happy smiles this spring and always.
More than anything, I wish you PEACE. I wish you inner peace and strength to be yourself in all that life presents to you. Shine your light, love and understanding – today, the world needs it more than ever.
I also wish peace to your home, especially, if you live in an area stricken by a gruesome war.
Dear women, please enjoy all the flowers in the world!
I love writing about holidays, celebrations and live-affirming traditions from around the world. On this blog, I have written extensively about the Russian New Year celebration, March 8 – the International Women’s Day, as well as about various Chinese New Year celebrations and traditions. I have also written about the festivity that was the Sochi Olympics.
Two years ago, when this blog was just starting out, my friend from India, Pranjal Borthakur, and I did a post together. That post immediately became one of the popular posts on my blog. It was about Holi, the famous Hindu festival of colors, as well as about Pranjal’s school. Read the original post (with great pics + history and traditions of Holi): Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors, with Guest Pranjal Borthakur.
Today, my guest Pranjal again is graciously sharing some wonderful photos of his home and the beautiful celebration of Holi in the capital of the Indian province of Assam, Guwahati. This time, in addition to Holi, Pranjal, his school and family have also been celebrating the birthday of my favorite Hindu goddess Saraswati, the patron of the arts, knowledge and wisdom.
Saraswati – goddess of the arts and knowledge
Pranjal is a teacher and school owner. His school is for the children of the poor in the area. He is a very kind soul, who believes in equal educational opportunity for everyone, including the underprivileged. However, in the past two years, he has encountered a lot of resistance from local authorities and a lack of funding. My prayers are with Pranjal and his school. I hope the hard times are over soon, Pranjal. May your school and educational method be a great success, and may all the children of India have equal access to good education. More about Pranjal’s school in my original post. Continue reading
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Lots to celebrate! New Year 2014’s knocking on the door + Lada Ray Blog is celebrating its 2nd anniversary, and to top it off, my blog has just hosted its one-hundred-thousand’s visitor! That’s over 100,000 people who enjoyed my thoughts, writing, photos and info! This makes me very happy indeed! GRIN! :D
Happy Anniversary, Lada Ray Blog!
Happy New Year 2014!
May this new year be filled with much joy, peace, love and beauty for all!
I thought that to mark the holiday and my first 100,000 visitors, I’d post some cool images of the New Year’s celebration in Russia and around the world.
First, a few fun history bits. How does Russia celebrate the New Year? In Russia, as in many other countries, the New Year is the main holiday of the year. It is a secular holiday. Meanwhile Russian religious Christmas is celebrated 2 weeks after Western Christmas, and one week after New Year’s, according to Russia’s Orthodox calendar.
The New Year Tree is normally put up just after Western Christmas (which reminds me, I should really start decorating mine). The New Year is celebrated with Ded Moroz (Father Frost – the equivalent of Santa Claus) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden). There are usually festive and entertaining concerts during the New Year’s Eve, New Year’s night and on January 1, on TV, on Red Square, and in towns and cities around the country. There are many children’s “New Year Tree” parties, called in Russian “Yolochka.” And of course, a lavish New Year table and presents are a must! Continue reading
Andre Rieu, Andre Rieu live concert, beautiful music, Blue Danube, Buentos Aires Argentina, classical music, Dmitry Shostakovich, Johann Srauss, joy, Maastricht Netherlands, Russian Waltz, Second Waltz by Dmitri Shostakovich, Sound of Music
Paraphrasing Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music:
When my faith in fellow humans takes a hit,
When world events make me sad,
I listen to Andre Rieu‘s beat
And suddenly my heart doesn’t feel as bad.
And more from Lada, the budding poet…
He is famous for spilling the stuffy classical music halls
Into squares of towns all over the world;
For infusing the immortal music’s sound
With fresh air (literally) and crowd’s joyful bout.
I love him for giving permission to himself and others to have fun while performing, and for the contagious, unadulterated joy he brings me every time I listen. Bravo, Maestro!
My favorite waltzes with Andre Rieu
Number 1 favorite pick-me-upper: the immortal Second Waltz (Russian Waltz) by great Dmitry Shostakovich. Andre Rieu’s live performance in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I love the people’s participation, all that singing along and dancing. And as many pointed out, people are well dressed and have manners – how refreshing!
My feelings in Spanish:
André Rieu es increíble! La alegría que transmite con su música no tiene comparación! Puedo oírla todo el día!
By the way, hear in the end people chanting in the background: “Mo-lo-dtsi, mo-lo-dtsi,” which is plural for “molodets” – famous Russian word loosely translated as “awesome person/people” (synonymous with “bravo”)…and the concert is taking place in Argentina! He truly is a global citizen – how awesome!
This is part 2 of my Odessa, The Pearl of the Black Sea mini-series. Read post 1 here!
Odessa Seaport. Seeing Off a Ship – Monument to all who are at sea and to those who are waiting ashore. The Odessa Lighthouse can be seen in the background. Continue reading
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The Colonnade of the Vorontsov Palace, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Take him instead to Odessa, a nice city, a wonderful place to raise a family.” Everything Is Illuminated (novel & movie)
In its almost 220 years of history, Odessa has been through dramatic changes in citizenship and population, bloody revolutions, German Nazi and Romanian siege & occupation, heroic underground guerilla war, and even a cholera outbreak. What allowed it to survive all of this, emerging with flying colors, is its relentless optimism, its undying sense of humor and artistry that permeate every pore of the city’s existence.
Odessans are lovers and traders, not fighters. Over 70 different nationalities reside in this major city-port. From the very childhood, they learn to co-exist peacefully and respect each other. This is a very colorful place and exceptional environment to enjoy life. This is where I was lucky enough to grow up. This is the city I love. Continue reading
Andre Rieu, Author Lada Ray, Barcelona Spain, earth shanges, earth shift, Free Hugs Campaign, joy, Love, New Earth, Ode to Joy, Osho, peace, Second Waltz by Dmitri Shostakovich, The Earth Shifter, Zorba the Buddha
In my recent interview with Jason Sullivan on Different Outcomes Blog as part of THE EARTH SHIFTER Virtual Tour, we’ve discussed how we are SHIFTING to the new spirituality and the new community on planet Earth, the one that is joyful and open, the one Osho called “being Zorba the Buddha.”
I know, our world is far from perfect, and every day there is violence and threats to peace, every day global ambitions or secret agendas of a few threaten lives and well-being of all. We’ve talked about these grave subjects in my previous posts and interviews. But we have also discussed the importance of staying positive and looking into the future with hope.
Today’s post is dedicated to the PURE LOVE and JOY, and to the effortless sense of community that is the trademark of the newly budding earthly society the birth of which we are presently witnessing with our own eyes. All over the world, individuals, businesses and organizations experience the “Eureka!” moment as people come together to celebrate.
I’ve put together a compilation of videos that demonstrate this point fully. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than these clips are worth millions of views, as seen on Youtube! These truly are Zorba the Buddha moments; these are rare glimpses into the future so many of us have dreamed about! Why wait? Be a part of the New Earth and immerse yourself in LOVE and JOY today!
best ways to learn Russian, comparative analysis of synthetic vs analytical languages, English language, European languages, Hillary Clinton, Indo-European Language Family, language anecdotes, Linguistics, reset of relations with Russia, Romanic and Germanic languages, Russia, Russian language, Slavic language group
This has been the top post on my blog for the past month or so, which probably means that there is a lot of interest in learning Russian. While it’s an old post, I have just given it a very serious face lift based on the many comments and emails I received. Essentially, this is a brand new article and I highly recommend that you read it if you are interested in learning Russian, or any other language, or if you are interested in the history, theory, philosophy and general knowledge of foreign languages and cultures.
The post now includes my personal experiences and language philosophy; synthetic vs analytical language comparisons; practical, to the point comparative analysis of English, German, Russian, Italian and Spanish grammar; fascinating examples demonstrating the difference in word usage in Russian and English; and the now infamous anecdote about Hillary Clinton and the reset of relations with Russia. Also included is advice on college study and study abroad, as well as important disclaimers and other interesting bits.
“The ancients used to say that as many languages you know, that many times you are a human being. This is a very profound statement, as with every language you learn, you also understand better other cultures and other people’s points of view. I like to think that if everyone on Earth cared to learn at least a few languages, there would be much more peace and friendship on our planet. Generally speaking, learning foreign languages is like opening up new worlds, akin to broadening your tunnel vision and enriching your life. Be your very own, personal Columbus and discover the new world, but don’t forget to have fun along the way!” Lada Ray
To read the article, click on link above!
anti-war movement, Happy International Women's Day, History, International Women's Day, March 8, Mother Nature, peace, Russia, sacred feminine, spring, Spring flowers pics, Women, Women's Day celebration in Russia, Women's rights
Retro Russian poster: March 8, International Women’s Day! On banners: words “Peace” and “Friendship” in different languages
Happy March 8! Happy Women’s Day! This is an almost forgotten phrase I grew up with and loved so much. On this day, March 8th, men in Russia would bring colorful tulips and daffodils, as well as lily-of-the-valley and mimosa flowers to their women – mothers, wives, girlfriends, sisters and daughters. Many companies and organizations would host parties to honor their female employees and give them gifts. My parents worked for the Russian Railroads, a rich organization by any measure, and my mom used to bring fab gifts from work on this holiday. My personal favorite was a set of filigree gilded silver coffee spoons she once received from her administration.
March 8 is a national holiday in Russia. All the women would usually be treated like pampered goddesses, being showered with flowers, kicking back and relaxing, as men of the house would take over all the cleaning, cooking and other chores, while their better halves would enjoy a fabulous day off. This, by the way, is a very strictly and solemnly observed Russian tradition. Even if a man is not a domestic type, or a high profile tycoon or political leader, he will show his humility and try his rusty domestic skills on this day. Following the Russian example, celebrating March 8 like this has become a tradition in many other countries, including those where women are normally treated as inferior, like the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan.
This post card reads: Happy March 8!
I love March, as it’s my birthday month and as it’s also the beginning of Spring. I remember our warm and joyful March 8 celebrations back in the old country, those huge bunches of fragrant tulips and mimosa – my mom’s favorite flowers we always had in our house, the open windows to let in the scents and sounds of spring….
At this time, we are still buried in the snow up to your ears here, in NY. Spring in the USA comes very late, and when it does, it hardly lasts for a couple of days, and all of sudden, it’s hot summer. I miss that wonderful, incomparable springtime, when all of nature awakens slowly and luxuriously, when the first flowers appear and snow slowly melts, feeding the earth and allowing the new growth to start in abundance.
By March 8, spring already awakens in Russia, and its essence, filled with the sounds of birds and fragrance of the spring flowers, permeates the air. Women’s Day is about that wonderful spring celebration and it’s also about honoring the Sacred Feminine, the Mother Earth and nature.
This holiday is also traditionally celebrated as a day of peace and unity around the world, hence the name: International Women’s Day. It started 102 years ago in Russia as a revolutionary celebration of women’s rights, and it also has its roots in the anti-war movement. Today, March 8 is a beloved and widely celebrated holiday not only in Russia, but in most other countries of the world.
Retro Russian poster: March 8 – Happy Holiday to our moms!
What a terrible pity that for political reasons such wonderful celebration is ignored by the mainstream USA!
This post is inspired by a comment and a Happy Women’s Day wish from my follower luv2sex.info. Love and March 8 go hand in hand, don’t they? ;)
Happy International Women’s Day to all!
3/7/15: Read latest piece with new gorgeous photos: Dear Women! Happy International Women’s Day!
Feng Shui, Fidel Castro & Fascinating Predictions! An Interview with Lada Ray! The title says it all! A truly awesome and off-beat author interview. I’m being interviewed by Rohan Healy of the Rohan7thingsblog! Read a fun chat about my writing style and what was it like to create THE EARTH SHIFTER and other books. In addition to feng shui, Western/Chinese Astrology predictions and my travel musings, this interview includes advice for new and aspiring authors, plus, Rohan has added some spectacular pics too! Check it out!
beautiful snake pictures, Chinese New Year, Chinese New Year of the Water Snake, Chinese Zodiac, Dragon dances, Feng Shui, Feng Shui advice, Feng Shui Master Lada Ray, holiday, Kundalini, New Year, Snake, Zhejiang
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR OF THE WATER SNAKE!
Continuing with last year’s successful tradition, this is post 1 of the Chinese New Year of the Snake Extravaganza.
The Chinese New Year of the Water Snake starts on February 10, 2013, at the new moon. As usual, the New Year celebrations last for 15 days, until the next full moon. These celebrations include family get-togethers, wonderful meals with friends, dragon and lion dances, lavish prosperity ceremonies, and much more!
As a classically trained Feng Shui master consultant, I usually carefully examine the Flying Star chart for the year. I was fascinated by this year’s chart! Indeed, this is a very special year, when all the stars, so to speak, align in a very rare way. Such alignment (in a different way every time) only happens every 9 years. It symbolizes the ending of a cycle, and simultaneously, a new beginning.
This is the year when friendships and alliances of all sorts will be especially auspicious, and when people who usually don’t see eye-to-eye can work together, producing marvelous results! The motto for the year: Strengthen all your relationships, rekindle the old, and start the new ones!
Chinese Zodiac – Year of the Snake
I personally have particular affinity with the Year of the Snake as it’s one of my so-called “Chinese Zodiac Friends.” The Year of the Water Snake is doubly auspicious for me, as water is one of my benefic elements. But in truth, whatever your benefic elements are, this is a very special and auspicious year! Make the best of it!
There is often a misplaced fear of snakes in the West, partly steeped in a long-standing patriarchal society tradition of the suppression of the Sacred Feminine. And partly, originating from the irrational fear of a snake bite. In fact, there are very few snakes that bite lethally, and even fewer that would intentionally bite a human, unless their habitat is being threatened by said humans. Meanwhile, snake’s venom in small doses is considered a powerful medicine, and that’s why snakes coiling around a cup or a stick/sword are traditional symbols of pharmacy and medical profession.
In the enlightened traditions, Snake symbolizes wisdom.
Snakes as symbols of wisdom and discernment on Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun‘s head dress
In the Chinese system, the Snake is classified as one of the “thinkers” of the Zodiac.
In various indigenous traditions, Snake is also a symbol of the Mother Earth (hence wisdom), sexual energy, fertility, Kundalini, and Sacred Feminine.
Wonderful green snake. Courtesy www.animalpictures123.org
Many beautiful snakes are becoming an endangered species! The vanishing Garter Snake. Courtesy scienceray.com
However you look at it, Snake energy is very powerful, and should always be used with care and wisdom. And need I point out that, as any part of nature on planet Earth, snakes should be treated with respect and understanding.
I am looking forward to this New Year of the Water Snake from which I expect many great and positive things!
Stay tuned for more awesome, one-of-a-kind Chinese New Year posts!
Read on the first day of the New Year, February 10, 2013: HOW TO CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR OF the SNAKE in STYLE! Including dos and don’ts.
Later, I’ll have a post about HOW TO BRING PROSPERITY INTO YOUR HOME (a perennially popular topic!)
And last, but not least, I am planning on attending the New Year dragon dances in NYC Chinatown and filming them. I will post my vids here and on LadaRay Yutube Channel. I am presently at my Catskills retreat, but my Chinese family’s New Year get-together will be in the City. I’m very excited! Here’s to hoping the roads are not snowed in and I can get through! I’ll keep everyone posted how it goes!
Til then, HAPPY NEW YEAR of the WATER SNAKE, and may it bring much prosperity and love into your life!
Read last year’s How My Family Celebrates Chinese New Year of the Dragon!
Lada Ray is the Internationally Certified Feng Shui Master Practitioner and author, including best-selling mystery/thriller GOLD TRAIN (Accidental Spy Russia Adventure) & the new 5* rated metaphysical fantasy/thriller, THE EARTH SHIFTER.
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Today, we are continuing a journey in time and space to the Golden Ring of Russia. As promised, I have expanded the initial post with additional pics, info and links to beautiful performances. Hop into my time machine, fasten your seat belt and… enjoy!
My previous post The Golden Ring of Russia 1 covered the most famous and the original Golden Ring towns. However as the time went, more towns, lesser known but not any less deserving, were added to the Golden Ring and it was expanded to the River Volga. Today I will cover the unique art, music, dance, history, and of course architecture, of some of the other towns along the Golden Ring. Perhaps somewhat less dramatic and less famous than their brethren covered in part 1, they are in some ways even more charming and unique.
The name of this old town – Gus Khrustalny – located on River Gus means “A Crystal Goose”, which is the most descriptive town name I’ve ever seen, as its fame stems from these exact two things: the fine glass & crystal factory, as well as a very special type of goose grown in this region!
The local factory is world-renowned for its artistic designs of colored glass and crystal. Below are some of the fine original works of the local glass and crystal artisans, both modern and traditional:
Above: Russian church made out of artistic glass.
The poster below reads: The Crystal Museum, Gus Chrustalny.
Glass-work at the local factory:
Famous local geese. They look pretty cool!
Church of Ascention.
A lovely kremlin and quiet, pristine nature – very nice.
This town is an anomaly of the Golden Ring. Its fate reminds me a bit of Detroit, a once famous capital of the US auto industry. A very dynamic textile capital of Russia in the past, Ivanovo is presently in decline after some of its famous cotton fabric factories closed down after the collapse of the USSR. Pity, I loved the quality of the Russian cotton!
As the industrial revolution swept across Russia, in the 19th century Ivanovo became one of the world’s major cotton fabric manufacturing regions. Before the 1917 Revolution, Russia was famous for its cottons. The tradition was carried on throughout the Soviet era. During the 1960s-1980s, Ivanovo was known as the “city of brides,” because the main workforce at the local factories were young women. The male/female ratio in Ivanovo was, shall we say, seriously lopsided. On the other hand, an enterprising young man looking for a bride, had a wealth of options, as all the girls here were young, pretty (they say) and hardworking. ;)
A view of Ivanovo, with its trams, Soviet era buildings and monuments (looking better than Detroit, I must say). ;)
Built up primarily in Soviet times, Ivanovo still possesses its share of beautiful architecture.
Convent of the Holy Virgin.
Local village homes:
Plyos, traditional Russian home with a spinning wheel:
Kostroma (empahsis on last ‘a’) is located on the river Volga and is a city with 277,000 inhabitants. Known for its cheese and milk products, Kostroma is also home to some of the most magnificent Russian medieval architecture.
The stunning Kostroma.
Midieval Kremlin, Kostroma.
Russia is world-famous for its dance and ballet. Performance by the national dance troupe Kostroma, showcasing whimsical silver tops made out of the amazing hand-made Russian lace, Vologodskie kruzheva.
More Kostroma dancing:
Historic show: From ancient Russia to the Soviet Union
The ancient town of Murom is the birthplace of the legendary 12th century Russian knight and hero, “Bogatyr” Ilya Muromets (Ilya of Murom), who is one of the beloved characters of the Russian epic folklore and a real historic figure.
Bogatyrs (Worriors), a famous 1898 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov (Ilya Muromets is the center figure, with Dobrynya Nikitich to his left, and Alyosha Popovich to his right). In this painting, the Bogatyrs are depicted as protectors of the motherland, keeping watch against any possible attackers, which in those days were many.
Murom was first mentioned in Russian chronicles (bylini) in the year 862.
The old town of Murom is also home to the new and very lovely holiday celebrated in July: The Day of Love, Family and Fidelity, also called The Daisy Day, which is marked in the whole of Russia with musical concerts, celebrity appearances and various festivals. The holiday may be new, but it has its roots in the ancient tradition perpetuated by the two saints of the Russian Orthodox Church, Piotr and Fevronia of Murom, who were known for their otherworldly love and devotion to each other.
Monument to Prince (or Duke) Piotr and Fevronia of Murom.
A spectacular main festival and outdoor concert takes place in Murom, the birthplace of the holiday. It attracts major celebrities, musicians, singers, statesmen, as well as scores of visitors. The emblem of the festival is a daisy considered the national Russian flower.
Below are the Youtube links to a few of The Daisy Day performances, which are very much worth checking out (I personally love this holiday!)
Song Piotr and Fevronia performed by children’s group Neposedi. Live concert in Murom.
Anthem to Family performed by group Yin Yang. Live concert in Murom.
Anthem to Family (version 2) performed by Alsou, Alexei Vorobyov & Mark Tishman. Live concert in Murom, July 8, 2010.
Daisy Fields performed by group Quatro.
Day of Love performed by Diana Gurtskaya.
Please also visit my two giveaways:
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Today, I’ve prepared something truly special! I have long promised my readers a new series of posts, entitled BEAUTIFUL RUSSIA (Dear readers, thank you for your patience!).
And what better way to kick off the new series than with 2 awesome posts about the GOLDEN RING of RUSSIA. Ready to take a trip into Russia’s medieval past? Then get into my virtual time machine and fasten your seat belts…
The spectacular Golden Ring of Russia (Russian: Zolotoye Koltso) is comprised of a number of ancient towns, located just northeast of Moscow and renowned for their gorgeous architecture, including magnificent churches, kremlins and monasteries, making it one of the most desirable destinations in Russia and beyond. The Golden Ring includes: Sergiev Posad, Suzdal, Vladimir, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Palekh, Ivanovo, to name some. Many of these towns are more than a thousand years of age; most are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here, history and modernity are intertwined in a striking and unforgettable way.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town of Suzdal is so packed with history that I can barely scratch the surface here.
The Suzdal Kremlin
Home to magnificent churches, monasteries, beautiful kremlin and museums, including one-of-a-kind open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture, it boasts a developed tourism industry with scores of various hotels, cafes and restaurants. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t have a railroad, which may explain why its historic monuments have been preserved in such excellent shape. Nevertheless, it’s easy to get to Suzdal by either booking a day tour or catching a regular bus from Moscow, or by traveling to Vladimir by train, and then catching a bus (they depart every thirty minutes) to Suzdal.
A word about the Kremlin: it is a common misconception in the West that there is only one Kremlin – the one in Moscow. True, the Moscow Kremlin is by far the most formidable and famous of its brethren, however, it’s hardly the only. In fact, ancient kremlins abound in Russia, and not just in the Golden Ring. Every self-respecting medieval Russian town boasts one. The word kremlin means a ‘fortress,’ or a ‘castle’ in ancient Russian.
Suzdal, Church at the Euthymius Monastery
Suzdal, Euthymius Monastery Belfry
The Suzdal Kremlin, part of the “White Monuments of Suzdal and Vladimir.”
Interesting trivia: J.R.R. Tolkien modeled his White City in The Lord of the Rings after Moscow and the ancient towns of the Golden Ring. Traditionally, Russian medieval architecture was white stone, as seen on many pictures here. Although the current Moscow Kremlin is constructed with red brick, the original one was white. Moscow is often poetically referred to as “the City of White Stone” – Russian: ‘Moskva Belokamennaya.’ Oh, and by the way, the character of the delusional ruler of the White City who is ready to sacrifice his own son, is based on Stalin who incidentally did sacrifice his son during World War II. When they talk in the book about ‘the White City having to take the brunt of the attacks, while others are kept safe,’ the reference here is both to the Mongol Invasion (due to Russian resistance, Mongols were unable to advance further, thus protecting Europe), and WWII, when most of Hitler’s forces were fighting in the Russian (Eastern) front, thus making life easier for the Western front.
The Grand Dining Hall of the Suzdal Kremlin
Golden Gate, Suzdal Kremlin
Suzdal, Museum of Wooden Architecture. This museum was created around the astounding wooden churches, which are a trademark of the region and which were created by Russian artisans without a single nail. These amazing churches are at least several hundred years old!
Suzdal, Museum of Wooden Architecture. I typical house of a Russian peasant, called izba (emphasis on “a”).
Inside the izba. Items include various clay and wooden pots and bowls, as well as a must for every self-respecting Russian household: a Samovar.
Izba’s spiritual corner, called krasniy ugol (red or beautiful corner). Every morning/night, inhabitants would pray facing this corner filled with family icons and sacred artifacts.
This whimsical and elaborate church had been built without a single nail!
Russian windmill: just like everything in this museum, built without a single nail.
Russians love their cucumbers, whether fresh and crunchy or pickled, and there is a gazillion varieties of those, including: summer, lightly pickled, spicy, garlic, winter pickled, etc.
Suzdal is renowned for its cucumbers, considered the best in Central Russia.
The Cucumber Festival of Suzdal attracts cucumber, and Russian art, lovers from all over the world.
The town of Sergiev Posad is home to the famous monastery: Sergievo-Troitskaya Lavra – Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius.
Entrance to the Monastery.
Sergievo-Troitskaya Lavra, The Trinity Cathedral.
Sergievo-Troitskaya Lavra, Assumption Cathedral.
Russian churches are renowned for their beautifully painted icons. The art of the Russian icon-painting has been passed from generation to generation and is taught in local monasteries. Sergievo-Troitskaya Lavra houses Russia’s most precious and famous icon: The Holy Trinity, by the legendary medieval artist Andrei Rublev.
The historic town of Sergiev Posad is also the birth place of the famous Russian Matreshka (or Matryoshka).
Matryoshkas are nesting dolls that come in all sizes, colors and various whimsically beautiful and creative designs.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the City of Vladimir is the capital of the Vladimir region and yet another spectacular example of Russian architecture.
Vladimir, city view.
The magnificent Assumption Cathedral of Vladimir.
The Vladimir Kremlin and its beautiful medieval churches.
The town was founded in 1152 by prince Yury Dolgoruky. It is located halfway between Moscow and Yaroslavl, about 130 km North-East of Moscow, on the bank of Pleshcheevo Lake. Here, in 1693, young Peter the Great constructed a “fun fleet” which became a prototype of the first Russian fleet on the Baltic sea.
Bogolyubovo Monastery (Love of God Monastery).
Cathedral of Trasfiguration of the Savior, the oldest surviving architectural monument in Central Russia.
Magnificent monastery gate.
The nature here is untouched. Paining on the river in Pereslavl-Zalessky.
What a view! Rostov Veliky, Kremlin.
A close-up of the Rostov Kremlin.
Rostov, Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery.
More Rostov Veliky, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Historic Yaroslavl Train station.
Dmitry Medvedev speaking at the Yaroslavl 1000’s birthday celebration.
Palekh is a tiny town in the Ivanovo region.
Its main treasure is not so much architecture as the stunning artistic heritage of its residents.
Palekh box depicting Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, and characters from his fairy tales.
It is home to the world-celebrated Palekh paintings (Palekhskaya rospis’), exquisitely refined miniature works of art performed on lacquer wood surfaces – mostly jewelry boxes, as well as collectible paintings, plaques and trays.
Above are several exquisite Palekh boxes. They range in size from 1-2 to 10-20 inches. Some of these one-of-a-kind creations are only a 2-3 centimeters (1 inch or less) in diameter. Imagine what kind of eye and hand are required to perform these paintings with such artistry and precision!
Palekh jewelry boxes, chests and other items, filled with characterts from the Russian literature, folklore and history go for hundreds and thousands of dollars on world markets.
Matryoshka, Palekh style. These Matryoshkas sell for a hefty premium compared to the market.
Unusual Palekh miniature box, depicting Western fairy tales.
Enjoyed my journey in time? Keep reading!
Beautiful Russia: The Golden Ring of Russia 2. Many more great pics and interesting stories from the past, plus Russian art, dance and Youtube links to live performances!
Also, do check out my other posts about Moscow, St. Pete, Russian Metro, Russian Trains, my childhood memories etc., complete with lots of rare and cool pics! https://ladaray.wordpress.com/category/culture-russia/
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The story of the stray cat named Ugly, doesn’t let me go. There is so much more to say… Memories and thoughts flood my mind.
WHITE BEAM the BLACK EAR
Commonly (but incorrectly) translated into English as: White Bim the Black Ear, this is the title of a famous, multi-award winning 1977 Russian/Soviet movie (Russian: Beliy Bim, Chernoye Ukho) about a very intelligent dog, whose loving owner was hospitalized, leaving the dog in care of a neighbor. Beam (Bim) has unusually colored black ears, which is considered a blemish and an ugly, inappropriate feature for his normally all-white breed. The ailing, lonely writer and WWII vet, Ivan Ivanovich, rescues Beam from imminent death at the hands of a breeder and takes him in. When Ivan Ivanovich is hospitalized, the dog, not accepting his separation from the man he loves, runs away to search for him. It is a heart wrenching story of a loving, forgiving and intelligent dog, his grueling journey, encounters with various humans, their ignorance and prejudices, as well as some kind and loving people, especially children. Much like the cat Ugly in real life, Beam (Bim) in the movie serves as a powerful litmus test of sorts, bringing to light the good, the bad and the ugly of the human race.
Beam and the man he loves never meet. Hungry and exhausted, left inside a freezing dog catcher truck overnight together with another unfortunate dog, Beam dies the night before his owner’s arrival. The ending is bittersweet: Ivan Ivanovich returning from the hospital, adopts the little doggie whom Beam gave his last warmth during that chilly night; the dog catcher get pangs of consciousness and quits his disgusting job; the man, who once attempted to leave Beam to die in the forest, makes amends and asks forgiveness of his little son whom he deceived into thinking that Beam had run away; and come spring, the young puppy named White Beam the Black Ear, together with his loving owner, joyfully runs around, as both the man and the dog go to visit Beam’s grave where white flowers are in bloom once again.
I never got a chance to see this movie while growing up in Russia. But one evening in Princeton, NJ, when everyone in the house was asleep, I noticed it being shown on one of the Russian US channels. I can’t put in words the profound effect this movie has had on me! Two hours later, having cried half of the time, I went to make some tea. I hadn’t slept all night. The next morning, when everyone woke up, I was a changed person.
In Buddhist texts the effect that I felt would be described as “becoming enlightened.”
You’ll be able to find lots of praise for this masterpiece in so many places – just Google it! The common advice is to find this movie and watch it! But be prepared to cry while doing so.
Monument to White Bim the Black Ear in Voronezh, Russia. The inscription on his collar reads: “His name is Bim, he is waiting for his master’s return, he knows the way to his home. Don’t hurt him, people…”
Watch the whole movie (w. English subs!) on this wonderful blog by Kyle Keeton. By the way, this blog also contains a wealth of information about Russian life, culture and customs.
Remember the movie Powder about the unusual and gifted teenager, who looks powdery white and posses mysterious powers? Because of his strange white face he is constantly bullied and ridiculed by others, but he doesn’t respond, until he sees a deer being killed by the father of the same bully who’d always taunted him at school. Only then Powder springs into action, using his formidable powers to teach the killer a lesson.
As the wounded deer thrashes on the ground, and the hunter teaches his son and his friends how to best kill for sport, Powder places one hand by the deer’s heart and with his other hand, he grabs the man’s hand. All of the dying deer’s agony, all his fear, anguish and pain pulses through Powder’s body and into the body of the hunter. When the hunter tries to free himself from Powder’s grip, he can’t. Powder doesn’t say a word, but he won’t let go even as the man starts thrashing on the ground himself, feeling everything the dying deer is feeling. Powder only lets go after having made the hunter experience the full impact of the dying animal’s agony.
It was a very powerful scene. Had the shock therapy worked? Did it teach this man and his bullying son any lessons? I don’t know. But I hope it did.
UGLY, BEAM, and JESUS
One of the original post‘s comments compared the little kitty, called Ugly, with Jesus. When Jesus was put on the cross after being cruelly mistreated and beaten, just like Ugly, he didn’t lash out, but responded with love and forgiveness. The same applies to White Beam the Black Ear. He never attacked, nor even growled at any humans who treated him so badly. He never lost what we so misguidedly call HUMANITY. I know, certain religions do not consider animals equal to humans, as they are not supposed to possess “a soul.”
Me — I am with the Buddhists on this one. All life is precious and sacred, and no one’s better or worse. And those who think they are better, are in fact worse. Look around and see the manifestations of this everywhere. From animal cruelty and bullies, to wars in the name of “national interests” and “democracy”, to those who think they know more than others, when the opposite is actually true. This is the real message of this story.
“FIRST DO NO HARM”
These are the words from the Hippocratic Oath, created by Hippocrates in Ancient Greece and taken by all modern physicians. A similar concept of first doing no harm exists in the Native American, Siberian Shamanic, European and Chinese Naturopathic traditions.
The children in the USA are taught the Oath of Allegiance in kindergarten and school. Sure, it’s great to express one’s patriotism for a country. But I can’t help but think how much more important it is to first teach people to be responsible and benevolent citizens of our planet.
Just imagine how much better life on Earth would be, if the first words everyone learned in school were: FIRST DO NO HARM!
The heartbreaking story of the loving and forgiving stray cat, named Ugly, is something that resonates deeply with me. Read the original story here:
What is it that makes people act indifferently or cruelly towards others, be it an innocent animal, Earth’s nature or another human being. Ignorance? Closed-mindedness? Fear? All of the above? Parents who live in fear and with their minds closed then instruct their children, and perhaps even pets, like the dogs in Ugly’s sad story, to live and act in the same way.
Who hasn’t had experiences with bullies in their childhood? But what if a bully grows up and becomes this? Remember the terrible story that happened in New Jersey a few years ago, that of a young gay man, whose roommate at Rutgers University posted videos of him having sexual acts on the internet? This deliberately cruel act led to the young man’s suicide. The story received a lot of publicity and the guilty person received punishment. But what about so many other despicable acts and attitudes that get swept under the carpet? Do they just disappear? Do they teach a lesson? Do they leave a mark? Or do they escalate into something monstrous?
Where there is ignorance and closed-mindedness, there is prejudice followed by irrational fear, and even violence to “protect” the “threatened way of life.” In Ugly’s story, humans hosed down the poor stray and shut his paws in their doors. But on a global scale, these attitudes lead to wars, or attempts to start wars, as we are presently observing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iran. What always struck me is that people who have started the war in Iraq haven’t the faintest idea on how to correctly pronounce the name of the country, nor do they care to know how people in that country live and what’s important to them.
But it always starts small; it always starts close to home.
In the old days, pigeons delivered urgent and important messages. Postal pigeons brought hope and saved lives. They carried correspondence from war zones and hard to reach places; they delivered messages from stranded or imprisoned people, leading to their rescue. Intelligent and gentle birds, they have been considered messengers of the gods. And along with the dove, their close relative, in Europe they are a symbol of peace and love.
Pigeons are a fixture on European squares, with people feeding them and kids chasing them, which pigeons don’t seem to mind. Humans and pigeons have always peacefully coexisted in the most beautiful cities of Europe, and some consider them an enhancement to the scenery. In Italy and some other countries it is actually considered great luck and a sign from God when a pigeon poops on you. In Odessa, where I grew up, children built pigeon lofts on roofs of apartment buildings, where they fed and played with pigeons. Although people in Europe LOVE feeding pigeons, authorities are not amused, aiming to limit the pigeon population.
Pigeons in Red Square, Moscow.
Pigeons in St. Mark’s Square, Venice. Authorities don’t like it when people feed the pigeons. Some cities even impose a hefty fine if you do. This photo’s inscription reads: “They sure missed the sign that says, don’t feed the pigeons.”
One of the many beautiful fountains of Odessa, this one with city pigeon sculptures.
A few days ago my husband and I have rescued a young pigeon, who appeared to have fallen out of the third story attic where lots of local pigeons resided. The building in question is located on Main Street, a short walk from our house in the Catskills. My husband noticed the poor bird sitting motionlessly on the sidewalk, as cars and huge rumbling trucks passed by. He was not fully grown, but not a baby any more either. He might have flown out of his flock’s nest on top of the building for the first time, but grew tired and was unable to fly back up.
The little thing puffed up his little body in fear and had a very dejected and ugly look. We were afraid something might happen to him so close to the traffic and started slowly directing him along the nearby driveway into the inner courtyard. The pigeon stood up and reluctantly walked into the courtyard on his unsteady little feet. We followed to see where he would go. At first, the pigeon went all the way to the back as if trying to blend with the wall, and stood like that, his back to the door of one of the courtyard’s small stores, which was closed for the moment.
My concern was that someone might open the door and squash him. As if hearing my thoughts, the pigeon slowly emerged from his “hiding spot” and settled himself in the middle of the parking lot with the same dejected look, with cars around him coming and going. People would walk to their cars right past the pigeon, and drive out without giving him a second look. At times he tried to fly, but couldn’t.
We knew if we didn’t do something fast, our little pigeon would be squashed by one of these cars in no time. I went inside of one of the stores located in the courtyard and asked the owner whether they had the key to the attic so I could put the pigeon back where he would be safe.
The woman said that only the landlord had access to the attic. I asked if she had the landlord’s telephone number. Here is what the store owner responded: “I don’t want to bother the landlord for something as insignificant as a pigeon.” I replied that it was a living thing, just like her or me, but she firmly reiterated: “I won’t bother him for a pigeon.”
Meanwhile, my husband ran back to our house to look up the instructions for pigeon rescue.
Turns out that if a pigeon sits without moving, if he can’t fly and allows you to handle him, it means he is tired and in need of a few hours of rest. We made a few holes in a cardboard box, I put on leather gloves, just in case, and placed the little pigeon safely in the box. He allowed me to handle him and my husband carried him home.
On the way to our house, we met a woman walking two adorable dogs. My husband proceeded home, while I stopped to pet them, as the woman started telling all about her beloved pets. I listened to her, thinking that it was great to meet another animal lover.
“We just rescued a little pigeon,” I shared with her.
The woman’s attitude changed immediately. “Did you know that pigeons carry lice?” she said.
“Oh,” I responded, “I wore gloves, see?” And I showed her my gloves, which I took off to pet her dogs.
“And lice can get in your hair,” she went on. “Just letting you know.” She jerked on her dogs’ leashes and quickly left.
My husband laughed when I told him the story. “I have news for her,” he said. “Dogs carry lice just as much, if not more. And according to my research, there is no substantial evidence that pigeons carry lice. It’s more of a tale than reality.”
I believe my husband. He is good at research.
We placed the box with our little pigeon in our shady back yard to allow him to rest and calm down. A couple of hours later, I took him out of the box and let him wander around the yard. We also gave him some bird feed and water. He ate and drank and again sat in the sun, resting. We were a little concerned about our cat Lily’s reaction to the pigeon. Lily loves basking in the sun in our back yard, which our little princess considers her domain. But, as if knowing that it would not be a good idea on that specific day, Lily (this famous mind reader) slept in the TV room all day, which was highly unusual for her on such nice, sunny day.
Meanwhile, the little pigeon started recovering. When we first saw him, he was all dull and puffed up from fatigue and fear. Now his black body started acquiring an irridescent glow. His little feet, which seemed pale pink when we found him, now acquired a distinctive red coloring. His neck, which was initially puffed up to a degree that I thought that perhaps something was wrong with him, now stretched and became slim and graceful, as he calmed down, ate and rested. His body was very pleasantly warm to the touch and he turned out to be a very beautiful little pigeon.
The pigeon wandered back and forth around the back yard and the driveway, and eventually headed to the front. I caught him again almost on the sidewalk and put him back deeply into the back yard, where he continued his exploration. Although his wings seemed fine and he was now well rested, his attempts to fly were still unsuccessful. I left him alone, deciding that he would be okay in the back and because I had lots to do. I retreated to my study, asking my husband to watch him from the window of his study.
When I came out several hours later, my little pigeon was gone. Turns out, while I was at work, he got his wings back and flew off, no doubt to new adventures.
I’ll miss him. But wherever he is today, I wish him a safe and happy journey!
2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, 2012 London Olympics Predictions, 2012 London Summer Olympics, 2012 Olympics Women's Gymnastics Predictions, Chinese Olympic Team, Gold Medal Predictions, Olympic Games, Predictions for Terrorism and Security at London Olympics, Russia, Russian gymnastic team, Russian Olympic Team, Security Measures at London Olympics, Soviet Olympic Team, sport, US Olympic team
Hurray! The XXX Olympiad in London, UK, starts today! In honor of the occasion, I’ve decided to make some Olympic predictions.
Photo courtesy The Christian Science Monitor
Prediction 1 – London Olympics Security Problems
Reports are appearing about the unprecendented security measures taken for these Olympics, including missiles on roofs of London residential buildings and warships patrolling the Thames. The army has been summoned and, according to the news sources, the CIA and FBI were asked to assist in the security of the games, following a failure of the UK organizers to hire enough security personnel. Israeli and American teams are bracing for possible terrorist attacks.
The bad news first. From the logistic and security standpoints, the London Olympics are promissing to be a nightmare. I have no doubt that there will be lots of mishaps, mix-ups and other unpleasant events. But we may not hear about most of them in the news, either American or British, because the authorities will do their best to CONTROL the flow of information. Watch for leaks, rumors and alternative news sources that may provide a better picture.
Now, the good news. Although there will be attempts at terrorist attack(s), they will not succeed. Secretly, several interested governments are helping out at the Olympics, having their own security people there to protect their countries’ teams and citizens (this, however, will never be admitted publicly). Such is the sheer scope and magnitude of the modern Olympics that only a few top countries can pull off the security for the games on their own.
What countries will send (or rather, have already sent) their intelligence/surveilance personnel to London? Those who have the strongest intelligence services + have a legitimate concern for their teams/tourists. Definitely US, Israel, Eurozone + Germany. The UK also – grudgingly – will have to work with the Russians and Chinese. Both countries have a very strong intelligence, as well as legitimate concerns for the security of their athletes/citizens present at the games.
With such massive surveilance and intel data sharing between all these countries (albeit, very reluctantly on the part of the US/UK, when it comes to Russia/China), there will be no way anyone can pull off a successful terrorist attack. But I have no doubt attempts will be made.
Here is to the safety of all athletes and spectators alike!
Prediction 2 – London Olympics Team Standings
Predictions are actively being made for the team standings, as well as the medal count. I hear that over $75 mln have been placed in bets, up from $25 mln for the Beijing Olympics.
In the Soviet days, the math of the team standings and medal count was boringly predictable: the Soviet Union would usually take the majority of gold, silver and bronze, and would top the team podium as well. USA would normally be a distant second, with the tiny East Germany third.
The winning Soviet gymnastics team
Then, in 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist, losing many of the top athletes and coaches to lucrative contracts in the USA and Western Europe, as well as to the former republics, which suddenly became foreign countries.
As a result, in the 1990s Russia slipped to second, behind the USA. Recently, the growing China became second in medal count, Russia slipping to third. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China became number one in the gold medal count, while USA was first in total medal count, with China second and Russia third. The Russian medal count was (disappointingly for many) lower than expected, and China’s much higher. What we had here was a typical case of the home team advantage.
2008 Beijing Olympics. The Swallow’s Nest, spectacular Olympic stadium
In Olympic Speak, the first three placements usually occupied by USA, Russia and China are referred to as the ‘Golden Triangle.’
For the London Games, the British newspapers predict that Great Britain, pursuant to the home team advantage rule, may receive up to 33% more medals than normally expected, thus overtaking not only Australia and Germany, but also Russia. Team Great Britain is also the largest team this year with 541 athletes. American team, with 530 athletes, is second largest, while Russia is sending the unusually large number of athletes this year – 436. China, on the other hand, will be represented by a significantly smaller number of athletes compared to the Beijing Olympics, where, as the host country, it had the largest team. The UK enjoys the same luxury this year. The question many ask, will Great Britain be able to break the Golden Triangle?
Meanwhile, the Australian Olympic Team’s projection is that Team Russia will surprise on the upside, becoming again No. 1. The Team Russia’s own projection is much more modest. They feel that they will be able to place third.
My prediction for the Top 3: While Team Great Britain will do very well this year, surpassing Australia and Germany, it won’t be able to break the Golden Triangle.
In the total medal count, USA will be No. 1, Russia No. 2, China No. 3.
Gold medal count: However, China may take more gold medals than USA, placing at No. 1, while USA will be No. 2 in gold medals, Russia being No. 3.
My prediction for the Top 6 placement:
Total Medal Placement Gold Medals Country Population Team Size
USA No. 1 2 311,591,917 530
Russia No. 2 3 141,930,000 436
China No. 3 1 1,344,130,000 380
GB No. 4 4 62,641,000 541
Germany No. 5 5 81,726,000 391
Australia No. 6 6 22,620,600 410
Prediction 3 – this is a separate prediction for one of the most spectacular and popular sports in the Olympics – women’s gymnastics
Gymnastics is a traditional battleground between Russia and USA. Team USA benefited tremendously from the emigration of the Russian coaches and top athletes in the 1990s, who changed the face and level of the American gymnastics. For example, the all-around Beijing champion, Nastia Liukin, is Russian, and trained by the Russian coach who also happens to be her father.
For many years, the Russians were unsurpassed in gymnastics, singlehandedly making it the most popular summer Olympics sport not only in the USA, but also worldwide. The fans of the Russian gymnastics are many. The admiration stems from both the technical difficulty and innovation, together with the unrivaled artistic expression of the Russian gymnasts. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the following hardship, sport became the last thing anyone was thinking about. In recent years, the country finally started re-building its great gymnastics tradition, following a number of disappointing showings in the past several years. A lot of money is being invested to turn around this huge, and once invincible, machine of the Russian sport. The results of these efforts should start being visible during London Olympics.
Russian gymnast, Ksenia Komova, 16. Her first year competing as an adult. My prediction: gold medal in the all-around.
Women’s gymnastics prediction:
1. Russia will be No. 1 in the all-around competition.
2. Individual events: Russia will take a fair number of gold, silver and bronze, with USA being second in individual medal count, and Romania third.
3. As to the team competition: Team USA will be No. 1, Russia No. 2, Romania No. 3. Note, there is still a small chance that Team Russia may win the team competition as well.
Check out this great spread about the Russian gymnastics http://rewritingrussiangymnastics.blogspot.com/
So far, I’ve had 100% accuracy with my political predictions. Those come easy, because I am completely detached. Being detached and impartial is paramount in the business of predictions. With sport, it’s much harder, and I freely admit that I cannot be as impartial. Can you blame me?
We’ll know soon enough if I am correct in my predictions, or if the above is my wishful thinking.
Wishing everyone a wonderful and peaceful Olympic Games! May the best athletes win!
August 13 update: I’ll be posting an update to my London Olympic predictions shortly, together with my impressions and thoughts on the subject.