December 22, 2016

We Fish You A Merry Christmas (and Hanukkah)

We Fish You A Merry Christmas (and Hanukkah)

Deck the halls with freakish fishes

1. What’s biting you? Hopefully not any of the insane fish caught by a Russian fisherman from Murmansk. Not all of these are from Russia, but it took a Russian trawler to reel them all in and share the ocean’s alien depths via Twitter. With advanced fishing technology and social media combined, any fin is possible.

2. More than 60 residents of Irkutsk have died after being poisoned by drinking a bath tincture. “Boyaryshnik,” or hawthorn berry tincture, is often consumed for its high alcohol content, but the batch in question contained methanol rather than ethanol. President Vladimir Putin has called for tighter rules for the production and sale of liquids with alcohol content of over 25%, and the Irkutsk governor has declared a state of emergency in the region.

3. ‘Tis the season to be spendy: Russians’ average New Year meal this year will cost R5,500 ($90) per household, with a big shopping spike expected on December 30 and 31 for the ingredients for popular New Year dishes, champagne, and candy. Prices for holiday food and common gifts go up at this time of year, but most Russians grit their teeth and pay up in spite of tighter times and still-uncertain economic prospects for the country.

4. Bonus item: A survey released yesterday argued that the popularity of Russia among Americans is at a 30-year low. The only country in the survey that did worse than Russia among Americans? North Korea. Ouch.

In Odder News

  • What did it look like when pioneer of theatrical movement Konstantin Stanislavsky staged a Christmas fairy tale in 1908? See for yourself.
  • Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev would have been 110 this week. If you're thirsting for fun facts or off-color jokes about the leader, we’ve got you as covered as his chest was by medals.
  • Christmas is December 25, right? Wrong: in Russia, it’s celebrated on January 7. Not for long, if populist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky gets his way.

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