September 19, 2019

Bus Parades, Pumpkin Beheadings, and Other Dumb Ways to Die

Bus Parades, Pumpkin Beheadings, and Other Dumb Ways to Die
“Because I could not stop for Death, / He kindly stopped for me.” Открытый Архангельск

Quote of the Week

“Value life!”

— Arkhangelsk city officials explaining how a cleverly installed Grim Reaper statue will prevent car accidents

Morbid Municipal Mayhem

1. Last Saturday was a great day to be a bus. Almost seven hundred public utility vehicles took part in Moscow’s Parade of Municipal Service Vehicles. Every vehicle got its moment to shine, from humble buses and street sweepers to concrete mixers and police cars (although as one Tweeter noticed, the organizers wisely left out the police vans used to haul away protestors just a few weeks ago). After the parade, Muscovites were treated to a riverside water show from the city’s rescue boats. Overall, the vibe was: Ask not what your city service vehicles can do for you, but ask what you can do for your city service vehicles.

Parade of City Service Vehicles on September 14
That’s not a traffic jam — it’s a truck parade. / Office of the Mayor and Government of Moscow

2. Have you ever beheaded a pumpkin with a sword? If not, then you can visit the “World Executions Tournament” in Markova, a town over 40 miles from Yekaterinburg, where Cossacks stage mock executions using pumpkins instead of people. According to one of the organizers, the tournament is a harmless “parody” of Cossack traditions, such as the kazarva, where bottles were chopped up in a similar fashion. But not all Cossacks agree: one protests that the Cossacks were “warriors of God,” not human guillotines. Regardless, if you ever feel too lazy to chop your pumpkins, now you know who to call.

Cossacks "behead" pumpkins
Someone’s ready for Halloween… / bazabazon

3. The city of Arkhangelsk has a typical problem: drivers accelerate dangerously on one section of highway, leading to accidents. But the city has an odd solution: Install a statue of the Grim Reaper at the section. Some defended the city’s “creativity,” but others objected that the statue would scare children and waste money that could be used for real road improvements. To top it all off, thieves stole the statue hours later (not sure if they liked it or hated it). In any case, like real-life death, the city’s Death statue isn’t going away anytime soon. The city plans to turn it into a “mobile” statue. Clearly this Death statue is not taking any holidays.

In Odder News

  • Bringing your pet to Moscow? Your pet can now use public transit for free.
This cat is thankful. / Pixabay
  • Many Russians fled to Istanbul after the 1917 revolutions, but few remain. A Turkish historian is uncovering the story of those who stayed; read an English-language summary of his research here.
  • One opposition activist was well prepared to deal with the police. During a raid, he put his important files on a hard drive and flew it out the window on a drone.
Oppositioner flying hard drive on drone
Who needs carrier pigeons anymore? / ROMB

Thanks to David Edwards for a story idea!

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