Stoneage Ramblings

By John R. Stone

A few weeks ago I attended a group meeting where we heard a Ukrainian named Max explain how he, his wife, three kids and his mother escaped from Ukraine after Russia began its invasion.

The tale itself was interesting to say the least. Max and his wife had been at a resort near the Polish border in Southwestern Ukraine. They were there on February 23, 2022, just before Russia invaded Ukraine.

When the invasion began they rushed to get their kids who were with his mother in a city a little southeast of Kyiv, many hundreds of miles away. Then they had to go to their home which was west of Kyiv. They couldn’t go straight west from there to Poland because the lines at the border were miles long and would take days.

They headed back to southwest Ukraine where the lines were shorter and waited about 24 hours to get into Poland. From there they went to Krakow where evacuation flights to the United States were leaving. They drove over 1,100 miles in three days, six people in a car with two suitcases.

The fact there were six people made the likelihood they could get on the same flight challenging but their luck held and they all got on the same flight. From there it was to Boston for a while then Minneapolis and then to Alexandria where a person had an empty house for them to use for a while.

There were questions and answers and when one person asked why Vladimir Putin hated the United States, Max just laughed, and he did so for a while.

Max then explained that in a place like Russia power was everything. But Russian leaders don’t know how to run a country in a way that benefits most of its citizens to earn public support. So to stay in power they convince their citizens that countries like the United States are out to get them and that they are the only people who can keep the United States from doing so.

Meanwhile the Russian leaders stifle dissent, jail those involved in any opposition, kill the more powerful who don’t agree, allow oligarchs to gain control of nationalized businesses and run them for their personal benefit and leave the scraps that are left for the rest of the country.

When something goes wrong, leaders blame the United States, or Europe or someone else. They use that to justify their grip on power.


Over the past few months several Russian figures have curiously fallen out of hotel or hospital windows. That’s the official explanation. The real explanation is that is Vladimir Putin’s way of getting rid of dissenters. It is a way of sending a signal to others who might disagree with him that dissent has its risks.


I’ve been at a loss to figure out why China sent a balloon over the United States. Sure, one can assume it is a way to test our ability to detect things entering our air space. And while we don’t know now for sure, it is assumed that the antennas on the balloon had the capability of intercepting communications.

Why be so upset calling the U.S. shooting down the balloon a provocative action? Why not say that they were testing an air defense balloon and it got away? We’re sorry!


Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has tossed her hat into the presidential ring as a candidate for the Republican Party. She thinks that every presidential candidate over the age of 75 should be tested for cognitive ability.

From some of the stuff I hear coming from some members of Congress, it isn’t just presidential candidates, maybe all candidates for Federal office should have a cognitive test. Maybe one for common sense, too. Oh, and add in a class in showing respect for others!