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ODE TO BORIS YELTSIN

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Another great passes from this mortal coil: Boris Yeltsin, dead today at the age of 76.

We present this somber tribute to a man who guided Mother Russia through a time of turmoil and transition, a warrior-poet, a mercurial man of the people, a lover, a fighter...a dancer of life's rhythms, if you will.

Drinking one for you tonight Boris. Or eight. Yes, eight. That's a more appropriate tribute by far.

ADDENDUM: Clinton official Strobe Talbott recalls one of Yeltsin's trashed-ass escapades. Remember that this man had launch codes to a moldering nuclear arsenal that could have incinerated the world in extremely unpredictable fashion:

As Yeltsin emerged from the plane at Andrews Air Force Base and made his way down the mobile stairs, he was gripping the railing and concentrating on each step. His handlers did their best to block the view of the cameras recording his descent. He slipped on the last step and had to grab his wife's arm. That night at Blair House, Yeltsin was roaring drunk, lurching from room to room in his undershorts. At one point, he stumbled downstairs and accosted a Secret Service agent, who managed to persuade him to go back upstairs and return to the care of his own bodyguards. Yeltsin reappeared briefly on the landing, demanding, "Pizza! Pizza!" Finally, his security agents took him firmly by the arms and marched him briskly around in an effort to calm him down.

PIZZA! PIZZA!