January 26, 2017

Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice

Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice

Like Pigs to the Water

1. Over 100 pigs narrowly avoided becoming bacon when firefighters saved them from a burning barn. In a perverse distortion of the story of three little pigs, the building that caught fire was made of brick, and although a wolf couldn’t huff and puff it down, fire could. But most of the pigs still lived happily ever after, carried out in groups by grinning firefighters. Safe from being cooked, the pigs were moved to a nearby sty, and the firefighters hailed as heroes who saved the bacon.


2. A controversial brochure uses fairy tale figures to help immigrants adapt to life in Russia. Cartoons of snow maidens, knights reborn as police officers, and folk heroine Vasilisa Premudraya offer advice on “rules of conduct in Moscow.” The 100-page brochure is causing a stir not just because of its portrayal of migrants, who look notably different from the ethnic Russians depicted as folk heroes, but also because it cost 7.3 million rubles ($122,957) to make. For such an expensive comic book, you’d think Batman would at least make a cameo.

3. What better way to have an epiphany than jumping into a freezing lake? Ice swimming – often in a cross-shaped hole – is how thousands of Russian Orthodox believers celebrate the Epiphany on January 20. Immersed in the festivities, President Vladimir Putin had to sit out (or swim out) that day’s inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the decision was based on the holiday, rather than politics – though he reiterated that U.S.-Russian relations have a long way to go. If they’re playing hard to get, they should invite the new administration for a dip in a frozen lake.

In Odder News

  • Watch for squirrels. Watch for walruses. Watch for Pikachu? Here’s a sampling of Russia’s strangest traffic signs.
  • Krasnoyarsk has its own Harry Potter. He may be a Daniel Radcliffe lookalike, but he’s doubly asking for it with his choice of spectacles.
  • What did a Soviet-era zombie look like? This.

Quote of the Week

"Foreign citizens come to Moscow, and we believe they are also fantastic heroes, and they are welcomed by fantastic heroes from Russia."
—Alexander Kalinin, director of Support for Moscow's Working Migrants, on the new brochure with colorful, folktale-inspired cartoons designed to help migrants integrate into Russian culture.

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