Monday, October 17, 2005
From Jack Boots to Fashion Boots
In February 1966 Nancy Sinatra not only had a Number One song but her music video transformed long boots into a fashion statement for women. Nearly 40 years later as I walked the streets of Vilnius, Lithuania this past weekend I noticed that nearly every woman (okay women under age 50 perhaps) was wearing long boots which apparently require very tight blue jeans as an accessory but I was never an expert on women's fashion.
This posting is my final installment from my trip to Lithuania since I have now returned to Brussels. This trip included two days of attendance at a free market think tank conference where I heard Dr. Jose Pinera, former Minister of Labor and Social Security for Chile speak. Today Dr. Pinera serves as the Founder and President of the International Center for Pension Reform, http://www.pensionreform.org, which offers a reform model for the USA's Social Ponzi Scheme Security system. Among many things one of Dr. Pinera's claims to fame is having been a participant in a 4 plus hour meeting with Russian President Putin discussing free market economic reforms. While this was a very interesting story the two quotes that caught my attention include:
Quote from Chilean politicians to Dr. Pinera regarding pension/Social Security benefits -- "Jose, the only way to win elections is to offer voters artificial benefits........"
Quote by Dr. Pinera -- "Americans can choose from probably 80 different versions of cappucinos but are mandated to use only one Social Security system..........."
As I toured the City of Vilnius "center" and "old town" areas on foot I noticed several items to highlight for you:
1.) Cathedral -- the city's central cathedral I learned was to be transformed into a tractor factory by the Soviet rulers of Lithuania but when they realized that would not work they converted it into an art gallery. Paintings of Lenin replaced those of Jesus Christ while Christian brotherhood was replaced with totalitarian compliance -- indeed, what a "workers paradise" was created (my jack boot of sarcasm is kicking Lenin's corpse right now).
2.) Museum of Genocide Victims -- is the central downtown prison where the full spectrum of political prisoners were tortured and murdered by the jack-booted KGB thugs to satisfy the Soviet regime's goals. This is a rather limited museum at the present time but additional work is progressing to expand displays. Today it consists of the various prisoner cells and KGB offices in the basement and one main floor with display cases and photograph boards. The museum needs a few years and more funding to fully develop so if you are interested in touring an exceptional facility depicting such atrocities I suggest you visit the "Terror Museum" (originally known as the "House of Loyalty") in Budapest, Hungary.
3.) Advertisements -- essentially wherever I walked or when I jogged along the river path I was bombarded with billboard advertisements for a.) sumo wrestling and b.) Phil Collins' farewell tour. Now had Mr. Collins hired me to promote his concert I of course would have mocked up posters and brochures depicting him as a sumo wrestler :)
While the Soviet Union has thankfully disappeared from Mother Earth the "hangover effect" can still be seen, providing lessons for future generations I must hope.
Heels to you,