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.

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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.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
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.
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.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
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.
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.
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.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
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.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.

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