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Summit Up


Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that broke out the balalaika, some vodka and our trusty Cossack boots this week, all the better to celebrate Vladimir Putin’s birthday. We’d like send a hearty shout-out and a “nasdrovye” to the former KGB agent, who has worked his way up to become president and now prime minister of Russia.

We did a few shots, then threw the glasses into our fireplace and strummed “Katusha,” all while doing a Cossack dance. (You know, the kind where you strut and squat, kicking your legs straight out in front of you while keeping your arms crossed on your chest ” it’s all very manly and martial, plus, it’s really great for getting in shape for making tele turns, because you get to work your quads, big-time.)

Putin apparently is intent on restoring the glory days of his country’s czarist heyday. We especially admire his nifty move last summer, invading Georgia on the eve of the summer Olympics, so as to avoid making a big international scene. This is good stuff, a classic KGB backdoor move, and it just goes to show you can take the man out of the KGB, but you can’t take the KGB out of the man. Once a totalitarian secret agent, always a totalitarian secret agent!

All we want to say is: This guy has the Bomb. In fact, he has lots of bombs, big ones, and we think he’s probably not afraid to use them. He’s got that crazy gleam in his eye, just like what’s-his-name, the Irananian dude, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who sat, grinning like a monkey, next to Larry King just a few days ago, basically thumbing his nose at the rest of the world. This kind of stuff drives us crazy! Yep, the world is a scary place, folks.

We here at Summit Up HQ are more worried about these two characters than about the wannabe terrorist Bedouins in bathrobes hiding out in some mountains caves, trying to make bombs out of popsicle sticks and leftover model airplane parts. Let’s get real people! We don’t want to revive the Cold War, nor make light of the War on Terror, but it’s these misplaced priorities that drive us to think about drinking vodka.

But never mind, we’re always up for a party. And we thought about inviting Yo Yo Ma, who shares this early October birthday with the Vlad-Meister. We wanted to invite Yo Yo Ma just because we think he has pretty much the coolest name ever, and because he plays the cello, which, in case you don’t know, is basically a violin on steroids. We’re just not sure what we would call him. Could we say, “Yo, Yo, is your cello mellow?” And what a duet it would be: A lilting Russian balalaika melodically twanging away in that haunting minor key of the Asian steppes set against the forcefully throbbing strains of Yo Yo playing a Dvorak cello concerto. Wow!

We’re getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

It’s Wednesday; zap us with your favorite reference to a czar at

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