I can't believe I almost failed to mention this. Good thing I still have a few minutes left in the day. Today is Mikhail Kalashnikov's birthday. If you don't know who he is, you haven't been paying much attention to world events for the past 40 or 50 years.
Mister Kalashnikov is the creative genius and designer of the AK series of rifles. If you need to know about the AK, hit up Wikipedia; I gotta tell ya, not knowing what an AK47 is reeks of lameness. His design changed everything for the Soviet Union. It allowed them to peddle their influence all over the world, essentially giving the AK away because it was so brilliantly designed. The rifle has had incredible influence on arms design ever since.
While his brilliance would have made him rich in the US of A, he was born and bred in Russia. He got a couple of medals for all his hard work (to include a Hero of the Soviet Union medal, IIRC), but didn't get the rewards he is so clearly due. Now that Russia is no longer a Command Economy (proof that liberal socialism doesn't work), they can't sell the rifles for a significant price; they're as cheap as $30 in some places in the world. Because they don't have a cash crop in the weapon anymore, Mikhail can't get the payday that he's so deserving of. He appears to be in amazingly good spirits about the whole thing, though. The gentleman truely has class.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Kalashnikov. God bless your genius. I'm gonna go get me another AK.
1 year ago