McAvoy Layne
Special to the Bonanza

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September 3, 2012
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Pine Nuts: To Russia with love

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — As a departure from reading “lamestream” media, I sometimes indulge myself in the luxury of reading newspapers published online in Tehran, Beijing and my favorite, Moscow. This week proved particularly fertile as the Moscow Times ran a feature on education in Russia. My friend, you think we’ve got trouble in River City? Take a peek behind what we used to call the “Iron Curtain.”

Paul Kindlon is a professor of humanities at Moscow University Touro. Professor Kindlon has some ideas about life in America that he passes along to students that might be considering emigrating to America. I quote the professor from the Moscow Times...

“As a professor who has been teaching at an American academic institute in Moscow for more than 16 years, I have witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of students hoping to emigrate to the United States.

I am strongly in favor of exploring other cultures and finding a place in the world that best suits one’s own personality and character. However, before leaving Russia for the ‘promised land,’ you might want to check out some simple facts about the United States of America. Here are 12 real and simple facts:

1. Two-thirds of Americans are either “overweight” (fat) or obese (grossly fat). This is the result of a number of factors, including a bad diet and a lack of exercise.

2. Almost 50 percent of the U.S. population is on prescription drugs.

3. More than a quarter of Americans (ages 18 and older) suffer from a serious mental illness.

4. The United States has bombed no fewer than 30 countries since the end of World War II. This statistic has to be changed fairly frequently, so stay tuned …

5. More than 100 million Americans are on welfare support of some kind.

6. Forty percent of Americans now work in low-wage service jobs.

7. In terms of press freedom among all nations, the United States ranks a mediocre 47th.

8. Fifty-five percent of Americans believe in the biblical story of creation.

9. Forty percent of Americans keep a gun in their homes. That’s just the legal figure. The number of illegal guns owned is unknown.

10. The United States is the biggest debtor nation in the history of mankind.

11. More than 8 million Americans are working part-time because they can’t get a full-time job.

12. In the United States, a man can be charged with sexual harassment for looking at a woman for more than three seconds or if she simply feels ‘uncomfortable’ when you do it.

Finally, a disclaimer: This information is not meant to dissuade anyone from moving to the United States. I simply am providing these facts to better inform you of the place you’ll call home. Good luck!”

To Professor Kindlon I have only this to say...

Dear Professor Kindlon,

The good people of Russia are the most hospitable and generous that I have encountered outside of Nevada. They invited me to Leningrad University following glasnost and perestroika, and allowed me the privilege of climbing inside Sputnik. It’s small.

I encourage your students to discover America for the one reason that trumps the dozen you list to discourage emigration. That one reason is the very simple truth that your students will have something in greater abundance here than they will ever know in a lifetime in Russia — opportunity.

Oh, and as a footnote, you are allowed to look at a woman for longer than three seconds here without being arrested. It is not against the law to stare at a woman in America, but it is considered bad form.

Send us your best and brightest. They will not be disillusioned.

Your friend in culture,

Comrade Layne

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 3, 2012 04:41PM Published Sep 3, 2012 04:39PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.