Given my current condition, it was easy to muster the patience needed to watch the 3 and a half hour Russian period film, Dr. Zhivago. I tried to watch it once in high school with my girlfriend, but only succeeded in turning a 3.5 hour film into 2.8 hours of making out. The only thing I took away from the movie was a pair of chapped lips.
Second time around, I found the story pretty engaging: the protaganist, Zhivago, is caught in the midst of World War I, the Russian revolution, and the two women he loves. Quite a tangle. But better than the story itself is the dramatic backdrop it creates for Russia during the Bolshevik revolution.
The film prompted me to brush the potato chips off the keyboard and do a little additional reading about the folks who started the Russian revolution. While researching, I came across a useful historical andecdote about Leon Trotsky and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk during the first World War.
The situation was this: Russia under the Bolsheviks was torn in too many directions - Germans to the West and internal factions struggling for power after the fall of the Tsar. To relieve some pressure, Lenin sent Trotsky to the Western Front to negotiate an armistice with Germany. In return for peace, the Germans asked for Poland and Lithuania (which, according to Wikipedia was an "easy deal"). Trotsky refused, wanting to maintain Russia's borders and to save face. Neither party would compromise. Trotsky, irritated with the Germans, stepped away from the negotiations with the solution "No war, no peace" (turn of phrase, courtesy of the Wikipedian)
This non-agreement resulted in nothing, of course, and 8 days later the Central Powers abandoned the armistice, took over Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States and threatened Petrograd. The Bolsheviks were backed into a corner. To stop the onslaught, Russia had to concede Finland, the Baltic States, Poland, Belarus, Ukriaine and all land captured during the Russo-Turkish War.
This little history lesson reminded me, much as a sage co-worker had a couple of weeks ago:
Make a decision, lest the opportunity to choose be taken from you.