June 23, 2016

Scandals, lies, sci-fi, and other sporting events


Scandals, lies, sci-fi, and other sporting events

Sports Goals and Science Goals

1. In a sad development for sports patriots, Russia’s track and field team has been banned from competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics due to news of state-sponsored doping and cover-ups. Athletes have dubbed the ban a “direct violation of human rights,” and clean athletes are appealing for permission to compete for Russia. They could run their races as neutral athletes, but where’s the patriotism in that?

2. By 2035, you can press a button, watch your body fade into bluish light, and rematerialize on Red Square. At least, that’s the dream, since a report on Russia’s scientific and technological goals includes a plan to work on teleportation. Unfortunately, the actual aim is quantum telecommunication (sending messages, not people). Tweeters theorize how teleportation could look, from relocating pensioners to sending cash offshore.

3. Soccer scandals are all over the Russian news – only some of those scandals are figments of a muckraking imagination. Simon Rowntree, whose Twitter bio identifies him as a bisexual football writer for a (fictional) football news outlet, has made a name for himself by tweeting soccer news – specifically, made-up, offensive soccer news. Nothing like a fake journalist to give propaganda sites new source material.

In Odder News

  • In nonfictional football news, Russia suffered a dismal loss to Wales – in spite of all holy icons placed before TV screens.
"It's not helping yet." themoscowtimes.com
  • The bright side of being insulted by homophobic city councilman Vitaly Milonov: the chance to turn his diatribes into a catchy tune.
  • Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s Cultural Minister, is concerned that Netflix is one feature of a U.S. government attempt at worldwide mind control.

Quote of the Week

"Our ideological friends [the U.S. government] understand...with the help of Netflix, how to enter every home, to creep into every television, and through that very television, into the heads of every person on Earth."

—Russian Cultural Minister Vladimir Medinsky on the insidious nature of Netflix, the popular U.S. video-streaming service.

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Some of Our Books

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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.
Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Bilingual series of short, lesser known, but highly significant works that show the traditional view of Dostoyevsky as a dour, intense, philosophical writer to be unnecessarily one-sided. 
The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
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.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

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Chekhov Bilingual

Chekhov Bilingual

Some of Chekhov's most beloved stories, with English and accented Russian on facing pages throughout. 
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Jews in Service to the Tsar

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Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

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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.

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