15th Anniversary of the First Human Space Flight, 1976, Stamps of the Soviet Union

On 12 April, 1961, Yuri Gagarin did something that was beyond the scope of words to describe the magnitude properly.  He had become the first human being to fly in space in his Vostok spacecraft.  
    This stamp, which came out after Gagarin had died, was made to commemorate that monumentous occasion.  

Yuri Gagarin

      This is a beautiful piece, in my opinion.  The details:

The top text is the title.  The text under the portrait is his name, Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin.  The text on the medal translates as Pilot Cosmonaut, and I believe the medal to be Hero of the Soviet Union.  Gagarin is seen here wearing the rank of “Polkovnik” or what the United States calls a colonel.  The Piece has a face value of 50 Kopeks.  These are numbered, mine being 110,464 of 450,000.

   Gagarin would die in 1968 piloting as MiG-15.  As I understand it his two daughters are alive and doing very well, both very prominent in Moscow.  With the Cold War over, we can stop and give Gagarin’s contribution to humanity the respect it deserves.  He was the first representative of this species in space.  This year marks the 56th anniversary of Colonel Gagarin’s 1 hour 48 minute trip.  Gagarin also oribited the earth during this trip.  

Close up, Portrait of Polkovnik Yuri Gagarin, 15th Anniversary of the First Human Space Flight, 1976, Stamps of the Soviet Union
Hero of the Soviet Union: Pilot Cosmonaut

Credits: World Book Encyclopedia: 2013, Volumes G and A, G-P.5 A-P.829, entries “Gagarin, Yuri” and “Astronaut”

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 1976: Postage Stamps of the Soviet Union

When I started writing this guide to the postage of the Soviet Union, I was still a new collector, but I had a whole year catalogued already.  I had the idea to write a blog/guide later.  Really the two are linked, as there was no such guide when I started.  There still is not now.  There is a rather expensive book, which I should probably get around to buying, which tells the names and some basic collectors information, but still this is the age of the free internet.  This information should be readily available.  So that is what I am trying to do, to share knowledge and information with at least a dozen people.  

    I catalogued 1976 first, I will be going back to write about these while I do 1983.  It will get me all caught up and it will help to keep new content being produced by me.  

    1976 was a big  year, Cold War wise.  You can read the full Wikipedia entry here.  Here is my take on the themes and key events that I see:

    The world was held in a seemingly unending Cold War.  Large events had come and gone and yet not much had changed.  The United States involvement in Vietnam was over and the nation was fully communist at this point.  The world could be described as tired at this point by this unending ideological struggle.  Technology was ramping up more and more, gaining speed as more was developed and advanced, helping to cushion some of the dreariness of the unending Cold War.  There was also hints at what would become the 1980s, as terrorism was picking up, and while terrorism will be later seen as the theme of a post Cold War age, it was also a result of the tensions created during this time, but one persons terrorism is another’s political strife.  You will see punk music taking off as a sign of stagflation gripping the West, stagflation being one more symptom that this was never going to end and was kind of hopeless, as the Sex Pistols say a year later “no future for me.”

  • Gerald Ford was president, but Jimmy Carter was elected same year
  • The Cray 1 super computer was introduced
  • The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Soviet hockey team
  • The Red Army Faction Trial begins in West Germany
  • The United States Vetoed a U.N. Resolution to form an independent Palestine
  • Cuba’s current constitution enacted
  • Toronto Blue Jays are formed 
  • Videla dictatorship is started in Argentina
  • Argentinian dirt war starts
  • Apple Computer Company is formed
  • The Ramones release their first self titled album
  • The Phillipines open relations with the Soviet Union
  • The Soweto Uprising begins in South Africa 
  • Strikes against communists raising food prices begin in Poland 
  • Socialist Republic of Vietnam formed
  • The United States Bicentennial 
  • The first class of women are inducted at the United States Naval academy, Annapolis 
  • Family Feud debuts
  • The Viking I lands on Mars
  • The United Kingdom breaks ties with Uganda after the hijacking of Air France 139, which also saw Israeli Commandos involved later against the Palestinians 
  • The Seattle Seahawks begin playing 
  • The First (known) Ebola outbreak occurs 
  • Viktor Belenko lands his Mig-25 in Japan and requests asylum from the U.S. (this one is good, we took it apart and examined it, and the Japanese returned it in crates, billing the Soviets $40,000 for crating services)
  • The Muppet Show is first broadcast
  • The “Night of the Pencils” occurs
  • 100 Club Punk Festival goes on
  • U2 is formed
  • The Cultural Revolution in China concludes with 
  • Clarence Norris, last surviving “Scottsboro Boy,” is pardoned
  • Microsoft is registered
  • The Viet Cong is disbanded and folded into the Vietnam People’s army
  • Mao Zedong dies
  • California’s sodomy law is repealed 
  • Richard Dawkins publishes The Selfish Gene
  • IBM introduces the IBM 3800, the first laser printer

All of these can be found on the Wikipedia page for 1976, and more.  This list was cherry picked by me from the larger one.  It is to be your jumping off point or refresher for this year (and decade as I am starting here) so that you can put yourself into this decade and thinks critically about it.  Reading about these events, listening to the music, will begin to give you a grasp of the worlds state, if you want it, so that you will perhaps better understand the stamps the Soviet Union was producing.  

Analog Savage 

Brandon Bledsoe 

Transport and Telecommunications: Stamps of the Soviet Union, 1983

This stamp is most likely titled “Transport and Telecommunication.”  It was issued May 20th 1983.  There is not any text to translate, remembering that почта means is the word for “post” or “mail” and can be found on every stamp.  

    It is a part of the 12th definitive issue, which ran from 1976-1992.  Definitive issues are kind of an odd thing that should be addressed now.  They were supposed to be the pride of the Soviet Post, representing the proud symbols of the Soviet Union.  The part that makes them odd is that the stamps stretch across multiple years.   This stamp certainly fits the theme of globalization with these symbols, the passenger jet liner, the ship, and the bolt for electricity being over the globe.  

    It has a face value of 5 kopeks, and is part of the 1983 series despite the 1982 in the top corner, which I cannot explain.  It may be listed wrong on colnect.com, or it could have been delayed in being issued due to being part of a definitive issue.  

    The other notable feature is that the stamp is tiny.  I put it next to several objects, not having any coins handy, to give a scale.  

12th Definitive issue of The Soviet Union

Life in instant 3

I have given up on the slide shows, they were a nuisance.  I have opted instead for a few photos hear and there with a link to the full collection.  There should be little to no narration, just analog still frames of life with no do overs.  Full album here.

The Travelers Notebook

So, I do not mean to sound Jerry Seinfeld here, but is this thing The Midori Traveler’s Notebook, or is it The Traveler’s notebook, which happens to be have notebooks made by Midori?

    

    I have been using the Lihit Labs A5 cover, before this.  I have been talking myself out of getting this system for over a year now, but with an impending trip to New York coming up I was basically obligated to get it.  I mean, we will be traveling, and this is the Traveler’s Notebook, it just would not have made sense otherwise, right?  

    I am not going to list paperweight, dimensions, materials, everyone else does that and, if you have made it to this point, I am betting you can read, and all that information can be found here.  Really, I cannot do reviews of a lot of things, I have tried it, and I realized my problem was the technical standpoint, I am no good with it.  My area is the emotional realm, the personal, the…this isn’t true either.  My area is the inconsequential and unnecessary.  

    The Midori (as I will henceforth call it), is not simply a notebook, it is a system.  When you order it, it will show up in a cloth bag, which is in a box, and that is in plastic.  If you are OCD, you will love it.  I did not even want to open it.  It was neat and orderly, it was something you find in a clean room ( I have never found a clean room) and it just had a wonderful symmetry to it.  It is like buying a new shirt, you dont want to take it out of the plastic and remove the pins, you know it will never go back.  

     When you do open it, after you have enjoyed the packaging, you will find inside the bag the cover and a plain notebook.  I have not used the plain as I enjoy lined and grid paper.  The way this works is it has a main band attached through the leather and this…lug?   

    If you use just the notebook it comes with, you can just put the band on the staple page (dead middle) and walk away.  If you use more than that, you will need to order some of the hand elastic bands.  

    I placed the lined notebook in the picture so that you could see how they package things.  It is beautiful, it even has a nice little number on it.  Anyhow, the elastic bands, you use these to stick multiple objects into the system.  You place one around the front cover of one notebook and the back of the other and voila!  Me?  I have four things in mine so far, with a fifth probably on the way.  This is my lay out.  

    So I have a zipper pocket, a file folder, a daily planner, and a notebook.  The zipper pocket and the file folder are placed under the main band as the anchors, and then I put a notebook on either side of the file folder and placed an elastic band around the covers and the kraft file, BAM!  Amazing notebook.  

    Why does this appeal to me?  I think this requires a trip back in time.  

     That is my journal from high school and partly just after.  If you see the stuff sticking out of it, you will see that it is chocked full of souvenirs.  It has tickets, flower petals, movie stubs, a drink ticket after an ABI party in Germany, a drawing I stole out of a bathroom stall of Hitler using a toilet brush on himself, all kinds of stuff.  If you are still reading this then you know what is going on here.  The people who read this kind of stuff, you, they know notebooks.  The best way to describe this is, the way outsiders would,  I like to stuff my notebooks full of crap.  

    The travelers notebook facilitates this!  You do not have to break the spine of a book, and you do not have to depend on the back pocket like in a Moleskine, because while the back pocket is cool, it is only good for me to get the stuff back, I need it to be put in with the page that it goes with.  The notebooks for this thing are small, so they will be used quick, probably before I bust the spine.  That is not the best part.  The best part is that they make accessories for it, like double sided stickers for mementos, or, and this is the best, STICKER POCKETS!!!!!!!.  The sticker pockets are stickers applied to a page that put a pocket on it, and I do not know if they are purposefully this size, but it is the perfect size for Fuji Instax photos! Which I love to stick in a journal.  They used to be such a process, but no longer!  The stickers and pockets come on a sheet that is, of course, sized to the Midori books so they fit in your accessories pockets!!! The OCD is just being stroked sensually!  

    Everything fits together, and I love it.  I have not even gotten around to the actual paper.  Do not buy this if you hate ghosting (where you can see what is written on the other side of the page.  I have used both fountain pen, and regular pen, pencils of all sorts, and they work great, unless you hate ghosting.  Let’s go down the line of what I love and how I use it.

Daily planner:

  • It has room for two months, with a 31 slot index before each one.
  • Each page is numbered, so you can use it as the day of the month or a page number
  • A slot to check off which day of the week it is.
  • One page, one day. 
  • This leads to the notebook

Notebook:

  • I enjoy the paper quality
  • There is enough room to throw a date on it and use it like a journal i I need more space than is allotted by the daily planner
  • Because they are paired up with the daily planner, I do not feel the need to number the pages or conserve, it is simply an extensions, so paste all photos!
  • Did I mention the price isn’t bad once you are just buying the notebooks?

Zipper pocket:

  • I currently use it for stamps, envelopes, basic stationary…despite there not being any tear out stationary…I’ll fix that
  • I plan to put an eraser or two, which was basically impossible with he Lihit cover 
  • I could put a pocket notebook in the front pocket, but the back would be better.  
  • The back pocket is not a zipper, but it is an open faced pocket, two actually one on either side.  I store the stickers and sticker pockets in it.  I will leave one open in which I will place things I pick up until I get home and can put them in the notebook, temporary storage.

Kraft File:

  • Two sides, pockets on the inside, one per page, that allow you to store things you may need through out the day.  Each one also has a smaller slot for things like business cards.  
  • I plan on using it to hold our items for our trip, plane tickets, show tickets, schedules, reservations.  It is kind of the official type of pocket.  The formal pocket.  


   This may become my go to system.  I will come back with an update after New York.  

    The parts I plan on ordering are some pan am stickers which will go in the pockets, so that my travel writing it kitche, a pen holder, a book mark/stencil, and a weekly planner.  I feel the need for a weekly spot.  This system could really fill the gap for those who need a bullet journal, but hate the idea of drawing their own planner pages, like me.  This is officially part of my EDC.  It comes with one leather page marker in it, and I made one out of a thing my kids made me for Father’s Day, but I think you could put more leather cord into the lug.  

    I will tell you my favorite part.  When you are finished for the day, you put the second elastic, which is tied in the back, around it to keep it closed, and you throw it down on the table, it hits with a heavy satisfying thud of a notebook that speaks of someone who is well travelled and worldly.  When you hear this thing hit the table, you know people know you are interesting because of your heavy leather notebook.

5/5 

Analog Savage

Brandon Bledsoe 

Kites, Kites, Kites: Analog Activities

We love analog toys, and Kites are one of the very best.  

     It does not get much simpler than kites.  This photo is as analog as it gets, instant photo of a kid running around with a kite in hand.  

     When was the last time you enjoyed something simple?  Something where you went out and waged a small battle against the elements?   That is how I see kite flying.  I got the love from my grandfather, he seems to be obsessed with making odd little things fly.  He used to have a couple of wooden planes with motors and wires that I suppose could be made to fly in a circle.  

    Say the word to yourself, kite.  There is something life affirming about it.  I mean yes, there is also something Charlie Brown about it.  You could lose your kite, my son got one stuck once.  We got it back.  He gets frustrated with the erratic winds ( so do I ) and he thinks maybe the kite is broken.  

    Today we went to a kite shop.  Call me Vikrum, a real kite shop.  If you have not heard of them, get Bridge Kite Shop on your radar.  They do not have a retail front yet, but they will in the future.  You can book them for parties, they do workshops, and best of all they sell kits for classic washi kites.  I sent them an email, seeing if I could come by, why pay shipping if you do not need to, and these awesome guys just had us right on over.  

    Cade and Stuart are two of the nicest people I have met in the kite industry.  Given, they are the only people I have met in the kite industry, but they are still amazing.  They had us over, let us shop, did not complain about kids, and passed the ultimate test, they let my kid use their own restroom when he inevitably had to go, despite going before we left.  We left with some kite kits, some of which you can get in sets of five, or more, to entertain groups.  These guys have taken San Antonio up a notch.  

    Kites do not have to come in kits, the Walmart ones are good, they do what kites do.  They go together in under a minute and they have string.  Get one, for 5$ you can kill the tv for the afternoon, take your kids outside.  You only have to unplug and engaged a little everyday to take the parenting away from the electronics some.  Stay tuned and we will show off our kites.  

Analog Savage

Brandon Bledsoe 

Stamps of the Soviet Union: 1983: Part 2

We are back with some more postage stamps from the Soviet Union.  The year is still 1983 (and at the rate I work, will be for a while.)  Some stamps will be more interesting that others, some I will do in large groups just to get them out, others may be here by themselves.  The Savage has four stamps for you to read about today.  

Firstly, something less interesting, in terms of actual Soviet things.  A commemorative stamp plate for Rembrandt’s “Potrait of the Old Man in Red.”  

     Rembrandt’s work is often featured in commemoration on Soviet postage.  Why?  Was he Russian?  No, he was Dutch, and they so much as tell you so on this plate.  The reason for so much Rembrandt is told to you on this plate as well, in short.  Catherine the Great purchased a good few of them–twenty-three actually–and they live in the Hermitage museum to this day.  

     It was issued on 1983/11/10 (YMD) and comes individually numbered.  The top of the plate reads “State Hermitage Musuem: Leningrad.”  The top of the stamps also says “State Hermitage.”  The bottom of the gold border on the stamp says Rembrandt, and the tiny print below that is the name of the actual piece.  The middle of the plate reads (roughly) “An assembly paintings situated in The Hermitage by Rembrandt, 1606-1669, the greatest Dutch artist of the 17th Century.”  Below this is the seal of The Hermitage.  

   The Hermitage actually has a Rembrandt room for all of these pieces.  I suppose it is worth noting the city is no longer called Leningrad, today it is Saint Petersburg.  

Next, is the 60th Anniversary of Aeroflot.  

    Instituted in 1923, Aeroflot was the state airline of the Soviet Union, and today is the flag carrier of the Russian Federation and their largest airline.  The airliner featured is an Ilyushin-86, introduced in 1980 and retired from civilian service in 2011.  The Russian Air Force may still use a couple.  There were 106 of them produced and they were the first Soviet wide body, and the second four engine wide body in the world.  The plane was reliable, but the engines, in true Soviet fashion, came off the assembly line outdated by twenty years when they were new.  Still this model never saw a fatal incident.  

     The bottom of the commemorative plate says “The largest airline in the world.” Below that says “60 years.”  

    A lesson came with that translation.  A lesson about Russian.  The three words came out by my hand as a name, airlines, and peace.  I typed them into translation software individually and they each came out as I had translated them.  On a whim I typed the same three words, no more no less, in as a whole phrase, and it came out “the largest airline in the world.”  I have learned not only a new trick, but a lesson that some things will not be easy, and I may need a Russian…
Now, let’s get into the really good stuff!

The 113th Anniversary of the birth of V.I. Lenin


    This kind of thing is in now way special.  I have seen all the years, but it is not far fetched to think that the only years there were not stamps celebrating his birth were 1922-24, the years he was alive and that they had stamps, and the year he died.  However, what makes this one interesting, in my opinion, is the sketch on the bottom right of the plate.  It has Trotsky.  Trotsky!  Trotsky was a no-go.  Stalin hated this guy, had him assassinated even.  Animal Farm tells the tale.  There were even some assassinations arranged in house of people falling out of favor, and their murders were blamed on others as being members of supposed “Trotskyist Plots” against the state.  This was the start of the purges!  Color me red with surprise at finding Trotsky on a Lenin stamp less than thirty years after Khrushchev denounced the boss.  The Rest shows Lenin with peasants, and with a soldier.  The bottom left sketch I am unsure about.  The Stamp itself is not bad either.  I feel it shows Lenin the revolutionary, speaking to a crowd.  Note the banners on the top and bottom right, and Lenin’s cap crushed in his hand.  
  Lastly, a stamp to commemorate World Communication Year.  

    Aside from Leon making an appearance, this is my favorite of the day.  In 1981 the U.N. decreed that 1983 was to be World Communications Year, a year to develop communication infrastructure.  They were not simply talking about improving phone lines, what they were describing was globalization.  

     Globalization was a term that came into use in the 70s, and is embodied, I feel, by the 1980s.  World Communications Year was supposed to show that in this new age of technology and progress no person (in a U.N. member state) was not to be disconnected from his local, state, and global community.  To me this is globalization.  It calls forth images of movies like Jumping Jack Flash in which Whoopie Goldberg works on a computer in a bank, effecting transactions in seconds between far away nations.  It is the sattelites in the sky, the computer, world news services, it is again, the bank seen in Ghost featuring ultra modern money laundering via the wire.  It was the cell phone and finally some things that we today call collectively, the internet.  That’s what 1983 was supposed to be about, to me that was what the 80s represented, and it is what the symbols on this stamp show.  I am not unsure what to make of the horn surrounding the globe in the image, and I do love how they highlighted their nation on the globe (The U.S. would have done the same.) I feel the idea of this stamp, the year, globalization, a good bit of the Cold War, and the 80s can be summed up by the largest symbol on the stamp, the radio waves which emminate from the stamp and onto the plate.  

Go watch and 80s movie and hunt some themes.  Better yet, do it while enjoying your stamps.  

Analog Savage

Brandon Bledsoe 

Dungeons & Dragons: pencil and paper roll playing games: Analog Win

The Savage is back to discuss one of the great analog wins, pencil and paper roll playing games, and the king of them all, Dungeons & Dragons.  

     Have you ever seen this guy?

     That is Gary Gygax (RIP) and way back in 1974 he gave the world (along with Dave Arneson) something great.  He gave us Dungeons & Dragons.  

     You may never have heard of this game.  You may have heard of one like it.  You may have heard of this one in a less than favorable manner, as it has a notorious reputation that is utterly undeserved.  I’m not going to go into it, but lets just say the zealots blame this game for a lot (along with metal and Harry Potter.)  This kind of thing is amazing.  I was brought in when I was around nine by my cousin David.  Later as an adult I joined the army and moved away, but any time I was home I was welcome in the games of David, My cousin Seth, or my Uncle Lonnie, family gathers around the table.  

    If you know the game, even a little, if you just know about it, then the mere mention of a D&D session causes something in your soul to spark, the promise of adventure, the smell of the trees and grass, the calm before something sinister comes into being.  If you are a player, then this is, of course, paired with the smells of Mountain Dew, cheetos, and a table full of books and dice.  The pleasurable tingle of an impending D&D session SHOULD be like the opening sequences of Skyrim in your head.

     That is the point, it is kind of like video games, but better!  Why better?  Well it forces you to get in touch with something you may have forgotten.


    People have forgotten their imagination.  Here are some more reasons that tabletop RPG is superior to the video game.

  1. It involves books.  You get locked into the books, you learn the worlds, lets face it, books ar amazing.
  2. No video game will ever be as open world as a pencil/paper RPG.
  3. It involves real people, gathered together, doing real things.  
  4. Going with the imagination, it does not involve artificial stimulation, it allows you to exercise your creativity.
  5. It allows you to get locked into a pretty serious dice collection.  
  6. Again, you have to talk to people, with your mouth.
  7. No call of duty kids.  You start being a nine year old and suddenly the other players might just roll up on you and straighten it out.  

     I tell you this.  You need a place to play.  Most of the games I have ever played, were in the homes of other people, or my own.  In fact, that is how I met my best friend Carl…by spying through the window on a session being played in his home, which I was later welcomed into…but that is another story.  You will also need a place to acquire your books and dice.  I’m going to slam down my die hard belief in shop local for this kind of thing.  The local game store must not die.  The game store does not neccesarily end up being where you will play, but in my case it is, and that is why I buy my stuff from them, they give us a place to play with local soul and players.

    I give you Knight Watch Games of San Antonio Texas!  This place is amazing.  The owners have made such an amazing store that, it has a Facebook players community all of it’s own.  That was how I got my current game put together.  The owners told me about the community and within a couple of hours I had players.  That can be one of the hardest parts of playing, is getting committed players together.  I was concerned about this when we moved recently, having to leave Carl and all, but Knight Watch and their community made it all a lot easier.  Now I am there till closing a couple of nights a week.  The new boy has made friends.  

    You don’t have to know all the lingo right away. Here’s a primer though.  

  1. Numbers paired with an E is a reference to the addition of D&D.  
  2. Editions last quite a while.
  3. 4E was pure garbage.
  4. Hot garbage.
  5. Most people stuck to 3.5.
  6. Others turned to pathfinder.
  7. 5E is amazing.  It is simple, elegant, beautiful, and gets back to the game.

In my opinion, 5E is what always should have been.

    If you have been on the fence about getting into a game like this, let me give you the push, go for it, get into it, give it a go.  However, some things to keep in mind that will enrich your playing experience, and that of those around you:

  1. Shower. 
  2. Be willing to commit to play semi regularly, everyone needs to sit down with their schedules and plan as much in advance as possible.  Some land mines are unavoidable (my last game was made up mostly of fellow college students and a night cop from campus.  I didn’t make it easier by getting into a play during the semester.)
  3. Do not expect to have an easy go.  Embrace player death.  That is part of it, if there is no risk, the game is no fun.  Be ready to be written back in as a level 1 and enjoy the hilarity that ensues. 
  4. If you witness a player argue with the DM a few too many times, ask the other players if the DM sucks, if not, punch that argumentative person. (Kidding)
  5. The real number 5 is for the DM.  If you are new, utilize the guys who have the books mostly committed to memory.
  6. Have fun.
  7. Try to imagine.
  8. Play the character that makes you happy.  They are not always practical (bards), and may die fast (bards), but you will die smiling.

A side note:  D&D is obviosly not the only game like this.  It is kind of a rule #34 effect.  If you want it, there is most likely an RPG for it.  Star Wars, Warmhammer 40k, Zombies, The Lord of the Rings (which is actually set up to work with the current edition of D&D *happy noises*).  Try one, try them all!  I really want to play the Star Wars games, and am hunting on eBay for the old Robotech RPG books.

    Get off Xbox and fire up the brains.  Sharpen your #2 pencils, and prepare to roll the dice.  Be ready for the thrill of success and the plunging sickness of a rolled 1.

Brandon Bledsoe

Analog Savage
Some Shots of myt current game, players, and the much beloved Knight Watch Games of San Antonio Texas.

Analog Win: Kettlebells

Ok, so let us be honest, no one has ever shown a digital means of exercising.  There was an interesting bit on how that might go in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, but that is still not a serious option for people to entertain in this century.  

     So what would warrant the use of the word analog for the win in this case?  Machines, exercise machines.  The rise of the exercise machine is not something we here at Analog Savage celebrate.  We subscribe to the philosophy of Pavel Tsatsouline, great destroyer of the machine, turner of the Soviet themed phrase, and all around bad ass.  Give this guy a google.  He is hilarious, his videos are dramatic and over the top, and I am inclined to believe that maybe his accent is not that thick, but he is still awesome.  

    Let us keep this simple, Pavel says machines do not work, and that a gym should look like a rusty junk yard full of heavy junk on the ground that needs to work against physics by being forced to cease to be at rest.  Now, given machines probably do have their uses, if you are trying to build some kind of crazy mass for looks or the cult of body building.  Pavel is not concerned with looks overall, he wants you to get strong, and believes that the appearance of strength will come with it.  Bring in the kettlebells.  

     This will not be a primer course on kettlebells.  In fact, I will do my very best to avoid giving you any actual directions on fitness or anything like that, as I do not want to have a lawsuit brought against me when someone fails to practice proper safety while swinging balls of iron.  What this is, is my opinion.  

    The kettlebell is the simplest fitness tool, once you know how to use it.  It is wickedly effective and punishing.  This thing goes where you go, I have moved twice since starting kettlebells and each time, I stick them in our car and take them with us.  They are compact, the gym goes where you go, they could be used inside of a jail cell (I believe).  

    Let’s get this out of the way, this is not crossfit.  Crossfit has incorporated kettlebells into their programming, but that does not make everyone who uses the tool a participant of the latest fitness craze.  You can focus on kettlebells without joining that particular cult.  

    Find yourself a trainer, and if you listen to me, buy yourself some real Russian iron here.  The Wal-mart or local sporting goods place probably has some wad of concrete, painted in some form of metallic paint, that you can get a result out of, but they will not last you very long.  Take this one from me, once that paint comes off, the concrete underneath is going to grind your hands away in a big hurry.  Kettlebells are an investment and like many things, you get what you pay for, buy the real deal and you great-great-great-grandkids can tell the people in their hover chairs stories about you and the kettlebell you passed down to them so they would be fitter than the future people.  The same goes for some good training.  Listen to me again, these things wielded properly will carve you from marble.  Used improperly they will devastate you, permanently injure you, and potentially kill you or someone who has a close proximity to you.  I am not being dramatic, iron enjoying some speed and force will wreak havoc and destruction on anything short of a larger kettlebell.  

     How do you spot a good trainer?  I do not know, but I will say to rule out anyone who cheers you on for getting injured.

    The Savage says kettlebell is a winner.  I will leave you to form your own opinion.

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