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

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
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.
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.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
Russian Rules

Russian Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 
Chekhov Bilingual

Chekhov Bilingual

Some of Chekhov's most beloved stories, with English and accented Russian on facing pages throughout. 
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.
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...

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