Monday, July 27, 2009


More hot weather for the Yakima Gulag

I am going to wander a bit afield from the Yakima Gulag, to the Soviet counterparts. Saturday night I got to watch on National Geographic a show called 'Taboo'. This program is about body modifications and tatooing. The Soviet prison tatoos were a featured subject. There are some websites devoted to the tatooing that Soviet prisoners did on themselves, and artistically they often are remarkable.

What they mean is remarkable in other ways, not such nice ways. American gang members have some tatoos which mean special things also, so the parallels and differences interested me a lot. One big difference was that NAZI tatoos in the former Soviet Union mark one for death at the hands of fellow prisoners whereas in the U.S. they mean membership in a prison gang such as Aryan Nations. One aspect of prison fascist groups in the U.S. is they often blend Celtic and Germanic motifs. I never have liked this. Seeing a Celtic cross mean the same thing as a swastica is pretty offensive if you ask me! A LOT of Irish Americans have tatoos of Celtic knost and Celtic crosses and do not hold fascist views. Such people if they end up in prison for some reason or other, must cover these tatoos in order not to have problems with the NAZIs.

I was horrified that the people who study these tatoos sometimes take the skin off of cadavers of dead prisoners! They frame them, and the results look once framed like drawings executed (no pun intended!) 0n brown paper of the type used in the U.S. for paper bags! Eeeew!

Another show I've been watching lately is called '1000 Ways to Die' it's on Spike a 'guy' channed on cable. I really enjoy some of Spike's cheesier programming and '100 Ways to Die' is well up on my list of fun shows, as is 'Manswers' which is a kinky sort of trivia show, where you learn why beer gives women bigger breasts and other such things.

I know, I know, I'm supposed to like 'Oxygen' better! But when I want some light viewing it's kind of hard to beat Spike.

KYVE has been running s series called 'Global Voices' which is about immigrants to the U.S. They have followed families who have immigrated to the U.S. who still have contact in their countries of origin. A Mexican family where the father is legal and is trying to get his family in LEGALLY was particularly worth seeing. He was given contradictory information as to how many sponsers he needed. That was particularly sad, he either had to sponsor his WHOLE family or NOBODY! He needed to make a certain amount of money AND have sponsors. O.K. I understand the public interest in making sure people don't wind up on public assistance but this was still sad to watch since the man was trying to do the right thing and simply ran into obstacles on all sides.

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