Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 02:03:44
18 November 2018


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


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving thanks: Russian beauty, culture, and cats

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Giving Thanks

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
Publisher

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.

nationalgeographic.com

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?

bbc.com

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.

themoscowtimes.com

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.

rbth.com

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.

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.