For those of you interested in Russian…

So here I am – week two of intensive Russian in Garmisch. has become my friend, because after an entire of day of speaking nothing but Russian, I’ve begun to forget English. Ergo, when I write, think or dream, I do so in Russian, which is very disturbing when I wake up and tell myself (in Russian) that I was just dreaming.

The weather here has been cloudy, to say the least. However, it’s been cool and breezy, and the air circulating from the alps is so fresh and yummy, I want to actually chew it. There’s a little car tunnel we walk through to get to the DFAC (dining facility for those of you who hate military acronyms). Inside the tunnel there’s a little rivulet of… well… what looks like pee. The rivulet has been there for several days, and looks like it has no hope of drying out. I’ve often wondered what it was when I walked by it.

Turns out, according to my friend Mike, that the rivulet is, in fact, squirrel pee. As a matter of fact, he claims he saw the offending squirrel commit its offense. He says the squirrel was small and black. Problem is that the rivulet is quite large – too big to have been made by a tiny critter such as a squirrel. He, however, insists that he saw the varmint commit the act. Ergo I must believe him, unless he’s just hallucinating from all the fresh air.

So speaking of Russian…

My friend Boris does translations. His current project is to translate a Soviet military manual on knife, unarmed and bayonet combat from Russian to English. For those of us fascinated with Soviet military history, this is a real opportunity, and for those of you who don’t speak Russian, it’s even more so.

Boris plans to raise some funds for this project. He has set up a fundraising site through indiegogo in hopes of being able to abandon his usual translation work in favor of this project. I do think it’s worthwhile, and if you’re interested in Russia’s military history, it’s a true find.

Over the years, the weapons and tools of humanity evolve. Spears. Rifles. Cruise missiles. Drones. But some things stay the same. No matter how advanced the weapons, there is still a need for men to close face to face with their opponent, to engage him in a direct manner. Sometimes there are sentries that must be eliminated. Sometimes a soldier is attacked suddenly, and does not have the time to raise his rifle before he feels the enemy’s breath on his face. Sometimes it the last minutes of the infantry advance, when men stand face to face with their foes. Sometimes it is simple personal defense.

This book had been developed by Red Army martial arts expert, N. N. Simkin, based on the combat experience of Soviet soldiers and sailors as well as NKVD special operatives. He wrote: “In those circumstances where the firearm is unavailable or malfunctioning, or when a soldier must operate in silence – then the knife becomes a powerful defensive and defensive weapon in the hands of a brave warrior, provided he possesses knife-fighting and martial arts skills.”

Ergo, if you’re someone who is interested in Russian tactics, you should definitely go over there and make a contribution to this worthwhile project.

If you’re not, you should go over there and make a contribution anyway, because this is just cool.

Boris also told me that if $600 is not raised within a certain timeframe, your money will be returned to you.

So go, donate, and enjoy!

As for me, I’m going back to class to discuss Navalny and corruption in Russia. In Russian. Until my brain bleeds.

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