Hey! Why don't you walk to a cliff Yuri, Andropov!
I watched Silver Spoons every week. And to this day, that's the only joke I remember from the show.
I think the one thing I remember the most about the show was the fact that they had several arcade games in the living room. And a train you could ride. When I was a kid, I really wanted that living room.
I've tried to remember what else was on before and after Silver Spoons, but I just cant see that far into the past. At least, for something as unimportant as that.
And, yes, I did include a picture of Ricky Schroeder and Alphonse Ribeiro. Carlton was on Silver Spoons, remember? He was the break dancing nephew of the business manager who ran the toy business.
I'd really like to involve Alphonse in todays post, but since it's Monday, I can't. I just can't bring myself to make him the subject of a Made Up Monday post.
That's right folks! It's Made Up Monday! The day where I spin a tale, and you tell me if it's true, or if I made it up.
And since I'm not doing it about Carlton, today's post is about, you guessed it, Yuri Andropov.
I'm sure some of you remember who that man was. He was the General Secretary of Politburo of the Soviet Union from 1982 until 1984. Before that, he held many positions in the Soviet government.
He was the ambassador to Hungary in 1956, and was the one to urge Khrushchev to send troop in to suppress the rebellion. He did such a good job, he was named chairman of the KGB in 1957.
True to form, when rebellion broke out in Prague in 1968, he urged 'extreme measures' to put down the enemies of the state. This included the creation of false intelligence he presented to the politburo to get them to approve the forces to move on Czechoslovakia.
In the late 1970's, when a revolution overthrew the king in Afghanistan, Andropov pushed for strong relations between the Soviet Union and the newly formed government. The new Afghan leaders were a pro-socialist group who wanted to move towards a more Soviet style government.
This was seen as a rejection of Islam by the conservatives in Afghanistan. This was not a good thing. And as a result, two factions of rebels sprang up: The Peshwar Sever, (who were backed by Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, the UK and the United States), and The Tehran Eight, (who were supported by Iran). Together, these small groups of men began recruiting fighters into their forces which they called the Mujahideen.
Yuri Andropov was the most vocal on the Politburo to encourage invasion. And finally, on December 24 1979, the Soviet 40th Army invaded Afghanistan.
As we all know, this was was to become known as Russias Vietnam. By the time Andropov took the top position in the Soviet government in 1982, he was beginning to think the invasion was a bad idea, and was in favor of negotiating a withdrawal. But it was too late. He had already earned a bad reputation.
In March of 1983, in large part due to actions Andropov took, such as deploying SS20 ICBM's in Eastern Europe, Ronald Reagan famously referred to the Soviet Union as 'The Evil Empire'. (take that Palpatine!)
Andropov spent the last few months of his rule, and his life, in the hospital. He suffered full renal failure, (kidney failure), in February 1983, and finally entered the hospital in August of 1983 where he stayed until his death in February of 1984.
Interestingly enough, the person who was voted in to succeed him, Konstantin Chernenko was himself already terminally ill. Andropov had wanted Gorbachev as his replacement. Instead Gorby replaced Chernenko.
That all is fact. It's history and you should all know it, because history is important.
But now, we come to the fun part. I get to tell you something about Andropov and you get to tell me if I'm lying or telling the truth.
Yuri had a tough job. Even before he took over the Soviet Union, he was under a lot of stress. In typical Soviet fashion, he relieved his stress by drinking vodka and having people killed. And like most people, he had a vice.
That one secret that helped him relax, but that he didn't want others to know about. And while his vice might have caused headaches if the average Soviet citizen had been caught, for him, as a ranking member of the government, people looked the other way.
So, what did Yuri do to relieve stress?
He liked to watch Porky Pig cartoons.
He wasn't much of a fan of the rest of the Looney Tunes, especially Bugs who he saw as an arrogant representation of the lazy, entitled American. But give him Porky, and he was in heaven. One of the things the Soviet embassy staff in Washington was tasked with was obtaining copies of Porky Pig cartoons for Andropov.
And whenever life got to be too rough, Yuri would spend some time laughing at the antics of a stuttering American pig.
So......did I just make that up? Or did Yuri Andropov actually enjoy watching Porky Pig to relax?
Stay tuned for the answer tomorrow.