Friday, January 05, 2007

Holiday Sloth Update

1. Roughly 4 years too late, I've now finished watching seasons 1 and 2 of The Wire. Many conversations are now 50% more comprehensible to me. It's pointless, this late in the game, for me to attempt any original commentary, but I'll just join the pile-on: damn it's a fine show. Per conventional wisdom, season 2 is not quite as gripping as Season 1, and I'm fine with leaving the dock workers behind so we can get back to Stringer Bell and the palace intrigue going down in west bal'imur.

2. Roughly 66 years too late, I'm about halfway through reading the Siege of Leningrad, and things are looking grim for the Venice of the North. I forgot how much I love reading Russian history for the sheer gargantuan scale of it all. Unfortunately, the edition I scored from the library is from the 60s, and I imagine the updated edition gleaned a lot more from opened Soviet archives. Even so, a gripping read. The Nazis of Army Group Nord have fully encircled Leningrad and they're tightening the noose. All able-bodied Leningraders have organized into Workers Battalions and are preparing the city for street warfare. They've mined all the buildings, factories, and railways. If the Nazis invade in force, they will simply blow their beloved city into dust rather than let Hitler enjoy his victory parade past the Winter Palace. Next up will be aerial bombardment and roughly three years of blockade and mass starvation. Obviously, I sort of know how this ends, but pretty scintillating anyway.

Question: If Hollywood was as Commie-happy as we've been told since the 50s, how come we've got countless re-enactments of the storming of Normandy and none that I can think of the Leningrad blockade? Spielberg could go apeshit with this material.


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