February 14, 2019

From Russia with Love

From Russia with Love
Polar bears in Novaya Zemlya. Irina Elis

Things We Love: Dads, Camels, and Polar Bears (in Moderation)

1. Don’t let us catch you talking about un-bear-able weather, because some Russian villagers might have a bone to pick with you. Novaya Zemlya, a Russian archipelago in the Arctic Circle, is currently dealing with an invasion of at least fifty-two polar bears that has been terrorizing two villages. Scientists suggest that the polar bears have taken to land given the lack of sufficient ice to live on. This puts residents and Russian authorities in a dilemma: do they take violent measures against the legally protected bears, or do they continue living in a state of emergency amid dangerous circumstances? That it is to say, should they bear arms, or simply grin and bear it?

2. In your humble editor’s opinion, the camel is a truly underrated animal. This was demonstrated this week, when a camel pulled a car out of the snow in Saratov. The camel, part of a local circus, put on quite the show of force in this episode, yanking the Lada (of course it was a Lada) out of the snow bank and running it forward about 100 meters. Honestly, at this point we’d believe it if you told us a camel could just walk right through the eye of a needle.

3. Russia wants better dads. As such, the Duma is discussing a law that would extend the current five day paid paternity leave to a whopping ten days. Hopefully the dads will stick around longer than ten days, too. That’s the goal of Duma deputy Boris Chernishov, who wants to introduce fatherhood classes in high schools to teach boys about the importance of family, which is meant to reduce the number of kids growing up without fathers. Hopefully, the young men who elect to take part in the classes will become textbook examples of good fathers. (Yes, that was a dad joke. Those should definitely be part of the curriculum.)

In Odder News

Student Cat Costume
Garfield makes the grade. / E1.RU
  • The cat’s pajamas: one student manages to impress their teacher (and maybe get good grades for life!) by wearing a cat costume to class
  • Abracadabra, praise be to Putin-a! A society of witches cast spells to enhance the power of Vladimir Putin.
  • A rare bat named Pushkin was granted sanctuary in Ufa. He is expected to hibernate for several months, and we hope he uses that time to gestate a historical masterpiece.

Quote of the Week

“But I feel so very sorry for the bears. After all, it’s not like they’re our guests — we’re the ones who live on their territory.”

Nadezhda Volf, resident of Novaya Zemlya

~ Thank you to Katrina Keegan and Tiffany Zhu for the story contributions! ~

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