January 13, 2022

Grinches, GPS Art, and Gordon Ramsay


Grinches, GPS Art, and Gordon Ramsay
In Odder News

In this week's Odder News: the best winter neighbor, the best Olympic hockey team, and the worst gifts.

  • According to a poll, one-fifth of Russians were dissatisfied with their New Year's gifts. The top three lumps of coal were candy, tea sets, and pajamas/sweaters with New Year's themes. The majority of the 1,600 grinches who responded to the survey noted that they would have preferred cash. While Americans might bristle at a cash gift – except maybe from parents to adult children – it may be your best bet for your Russian friends and colleagues.
  • With the best hockey league in the world, the NHL, disallowing its players from taking an Olympic break and playing for their respective national teams, sportscasters are predicting that Team Russia will win in Beijing. Russia is the primary home, after all, of the second-best hockey league in the world, the KHL. The controversial move by the NHL will likely even place Team Germany over Team Canada – the ancestral home of the sport.
  • British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently told The Kelly Clarkson Show that he cooked for President Putin when Ramsay was invited to meet with former prime minister Tony Blair. Ramsay said, "I almost died of fear," and that he was more worried about the quality of the food than usual. He joked that it was weird to talk about asparagus with such important people as Putin and Blair.
  • A couple from Irkutsk just celebrated an underwater wedding in Lake Baikal. The bride wore a blue sundress over her wetsuit and a white veil; the groom just wore his wetsuit. She is a champion freediver and he a professional breaststroker and freediver. They met at a master class on underwater hunting. The underwater ceremony included a group of witnesses swimming in a circle around the couple. They all retired to the banya for the reception, naturally.
  • What a neighbor! Yekaterinburg resident Leonid Valitov wakes up at 4 or 5 am in the winter to "draw" lovely pictures for his neighbors in the snow with a shovel. His work is both beautiful and humorous. Valitov also practices "GPS art," in which he moves over a frozen lake in a recognizable pattern, such as that of a dolphin or other animal, and posts his resulting artwork online. Don't miss his works of shovel art, here.

You Might Also Like

Conqueror of the Cold
  • November 01, 2021

Conqueror of the Cold

Oleg Rezanov claims to have overcome aging and pain by embracing the cold. Let’s look into this a bit more closely.
New Life Breathed into the Museum of Hockey
  • February 28, 2021

New Life Breathed into the Museum of Hockey

Moscow's stunning Museum of Hockey and Hockey Hall of Fame is a hidden gem with new investors ready to keep it going – hopefully for a long time to come.
KHL Victor Crowned
  • May 23, 2021

KHL Victor Crowned

Omsk Avangard clinches Russian hockey's Gagarin Cup with some famous NHL faces.
Get Your Freeze On
  • December 04, 2021

Get Your Freeze On

Winter is here, and ice swimmers are diving in across Russia.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955