September 13, 2018

Life, Death, and Pizza


Life, Death, and Pizza
Predictions, Pistols, and Pizza Pies

1. Russia has seen its (environmental) future, and it doesn’t look good. The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has released a report detailing the effect it foresees for Russia from climate change. Although many have theorized that warmer temperatures, more land, and Arctic shipping access would make climate change beneficial for the country, the report paints a much darker picture. The 900-page document highlights the potential for increased incidence of heat waves, forest fires, floods, and diseases, and it also highlights the fact that Russia is one of the top producers of greenhouse gases.

2. The Russian duel is an age-old tradition: just ask Pushkin or Lermontov. It’s a tradition that continues to this day, or at least the appeal of it sometimes does. Engaging in this tradition, Viktor Zolotov, head of Russia’s National Guard, recently challenged Alexei Navalny, prominent opposition leader, to a duel. The impetus for this challenge was a Navalny video that alleged that the leaders of the National Guard were corrupt. The only bright spot in this story may be our opportunity to draw a comparison to Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, sir.

3. What would you do for pizza? If you’re like hundreds of Russians this week, you may be willing to do just about anything, including getting a tattoo. At the beginning of September, Domino’s Pizza launched a promotion in Russia that offered participants 100 free pizzas per year for up to 100 years if they got the Domino’s logo tattooed on their body. The offer was originally meant to run for two months, but as pictures of Domino’s-themed tattoos came flooding in, Domino’s quickly realized their error and the offer was limited to the first 350 entrants. This ink-fuelled spectacle may be over, but we sure are looking forward to whatever pie-in-the-sky advertising plan a Russian company cooks up next.

pizza tattoos

Photo: Red Rum Tattoo

In Odder News:
  • Wild goose chase: in the video above, a man shows off his hilarious command over his golden geese (thanks to reader Matthew for sending this our way!)

  • War and Inner Peace: the Russian Armed forces is collecting money to build a military-themed cathedral

  • Story update: American mixed martial artist Jeff Monson is now a city councilman in Krasnogorsk

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Quote of the Week:

“I promise to turn you into a juicy pounded steak in a few minutes”

— Viktor Zolotov, Putin’s former bodyguard and the head of Russia’s National Guard, challenging Alexei Navalny to a duel

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Some of Our Books

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.
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.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
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.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.

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