The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Since this week’s TWERF falls on Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to extend a special thank you to everyone in our “tribe” – all our readers, customers, suppliers, writers, photographers, illustrators, and supporters and fans of all stripes. A company like ours does not exist for 25+ years without the support of an avid tribe. So thank you for your continued support, encouragement, challenges, ideas and constructive criticisms. And best wishes for you and yours through the holiday season and into the new year.
Paul E. Richardson
The Salt of the Earth
1. See Setomaa: The region of Setomaa straddles the Estonia-Russia border, and is home to a people with a unique culture. Polyphonic singing, Seto-specific royalty, a mix of pagan and Orthodox belief systems are just a few things that set apart the Setos, who blend ancient tradition with new customs to preserve their cultural identity.
2. Worth its salt? Don’t take it for granted when you flavor up your turkey. Salt is a thing of proverbs and history in Russia, having been a symbol of power, a source of taxation, and a namesake for towns from Solvychegodsk to Krasnousolsk. Find out how salt fits in tradition, superstition, and the kitchen in Russia.
3. Russian roots and branches: As illustrious folks as sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov, co-founder of Google Sergey Brin, and film stars Woody Allen, Leonardo diCaprio, and Natalie Portman come from Russian stock. As for branches, plenty of famous figures from non-Russian background have studied the language, too – whether for a career, like politicians Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, or just for fun, like Olympic fencer James Williams.
In Odder News
Cat on a hot tin T-34 tank? This innovation in feline fun looks exciting to climb on, but will it lead to kitty militarization?
Sakha, in northeast Russia, can boast the coldest temperatures recorded in the northern hemisphere. But people still live and follow traffic signals, even in the permanent frost.
Speaking of frost, this fall’s unusually cold conditions made soccer a whole different sport. But who knows? Maybe snow soccer will be the next big thing.
Quote of the Week
“Eat more salt, and your life will be merrier.”
—Russian proverb, which gives helpful life advice and proves the importance of salt in Russian culture.
Now eat up, and happy Thanksgiving!
Want more where this comes from? Give your inbox the gift of TWERF, our Thursday newsletter on the quirkiest, obscurest, and Russianest of Russian happenings of the week.
Tractors for Putin, toxic waste for Kaliningrad, and Reagan and Gorbachev for their modern-day counterparts. Also sweet wine, state secrets, and salt.
The scandal around the Bolshoi's latest ballet, remembering an Internet icon, and pro-Putin pensioners, with a dash of PhotoShop of daredevilry.
Getting flak for getting hitched, how fidget spinners foster political dissidence, and a new set of wheels around Russia. Plus dandy pigeons and the best totalitarian tourism.
President Putin visits human rights activists and curious kids, and a famous author falls to pieces. Plus Ivan the Terrible, a terrible auction purchase, and 10 fantastic bridges.
Pranksters solve energy security with pig manure, paratroopers get rowdy, and presidential grants yield surprise winners. Plus, Russia's deadliest plants and getting stuck in an elevator.
Beachgoers bathe in potable sludge, Russians weigh in on replacements for sanctioned food, and the Kremlin revamps funerals. Plus, Putin goes fishing.
A not-quite lake makes a splash, zombies on public transit, and problems memorializing history's tragedies. But on the bright side, shirtless men and hippos.
Elections are the new dinner and a movie. Plus, Moscow's heading east, rap battles get a bad rap, and pickles and melons galore.