Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 18:45:20
25 September 2018


  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bread and Circuses. And Tetris.

by Alice E.M. Underwood
Fun Things in Unexpected Places

1. Tetris in cars. Getting falling geometric shapes to settle into place was already fun, but it’s a whole new level when you put it in a vehicle. The Russian van company GAZelle has installed the beloved arcade game on the dashboard of some of the vans produced this year. You might only find it by accident: the steps to initiate include the right indicator, the left indicator, flicking the lights, and more. To prevent accidents, game mode only works when the car is parked.

2. Patriotic films at the circus. Send in the clowns, and then make them sing the national anthem? Not quite. The Omsk Circus has already started to use its venue to screen patriotic films for school children, and the ringmaster – er, head – of the Ministry of Culture supports the idea of spreading the practice. The main goal would be better acquainting students with Russian history. If a clown or an animal act shows up for a performance after the film, all the more reason to love Russia.

3. Freedom in jail. Or at least, amnesty from prosecution for specific crimes. Russia’s Human Rights Council has proposed an amnesty for misdemeanor offenses like traffic violations and incorrectly registered immigrants. The amnesty would also apply to mothers, some pensioners, and veterans. And as an added bonus, unpaid fines would be written off. Administrative amnesty may be less grand than a parade or a festival, but as far as celebrating anniversaries goes, for many it’ll be just as welcome.

In Odder News
  • Is graffiti a scourge on urban spaces? Or a way for art to blossom? Krasnodar’s commissioned street art stakes a claim for the latter.

  • Construction has transformed a lot of Moscow in recent years. Observe the befores and afters.
  • Peter the Great was tall, liked ships, and founded St. Petersburg. But there’s more to him than that. Including these three lurking mysteries.

Quote of the Week

“The game, in which geometric figures move around the screen, allows you to quickly and with maximum accuracy check both the operation of the processor and the functionality of the display.”
—The press service of GAZelle, assuring consumers that the installation of Tetris on dashboards is to check functionality, rather than a driving hazard.

Burger Bucks, Dyeing of Shame, and Flying Ballerinas
Burger Bucks, Dyeing of Shame, and Flying Ballerinas

Burger King makes money (its own), broke taxi passengers turn green, and summertime snow. Plus, a ballerina with a backup plan, Borodino, and the Museum of Death. 

Fake Countries, Sausages, and Mystery Highways
Fake Countries, Sausages, and Mystery Highways

How to be patriotic to a nonexistent country, get a proper education, and deal with a highway through your house. Plus buildings, bridges, and bratwursts to die for. 

Evil Clowns, Ballerinas, and Other Movie Monsters
Evil Clowns, Ballerinas, and Other Movie Monsters

Clown horror is horrid for clowns, a ballet scandal on the silver screen, and a pack of protesting porkers. 

Guns, Gents, and Stalin
Guns, Gents, and Stalin

Heroes who caused deaths, heroes who saved lives, questionable movie heroes, and the heroes who make art and cheese. Which is your favorite?

The Biggest Cheesecake, The Artsiest Robot, and The Spaciest Station
The Biggest Cheesecake, The Artsiest Robot, and The Spaciest Station

A record-breaking cake, a robot breaking (conceptions of) art, and a space station breaking international boundaries. Plus, flying cars and how to live on Mars.

Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia
Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia

The glorious deeds of a famous spy, the smaller deeds of everyday spies, and a whole new horizon for female fighter pilots.

Putin in Birthdayland and Alice in Wonderland
Putin in Birthdayland and Alice in Wonderland

For Putin's birthday, a fake burger, a real burger, and a puppy. Plus, St. Petersburg rooftops, frogmen, and how to bathe in crude oil.  

Bread and Circuses. And Tetris.
Bread and Circuses. And Tetris.

Arcade cars, patriotic circuses, and administrative festivities. Also, some crazy murals, Moscow's transformation, and the secrets of Peter the Great.