December 22, 2016

We Fish You A Merry Christmas (and Hanukkah)


We Fish You A Merry Christmas (and Hanukkah)

Deck the halls with freakish fishes

1. What’s biting you? Hopefully not any of the insane fish caught by a Russian fisherman from Murmansk. Not all of these are from Russia, but it took a Russian trawler to reel them all in and share the ocean’s alien depths via Twitter. With advanced fishing technology and social media combined, any fin is possible.

sputniknews.com

2. More than 60 residents of Irkutsk have died after being poisoned by drinking a bath tincture. “Boyaryshnik,” or hawthorn berry tincture, is often consumed for its high alcohol content, but the batch in question contained methanol rather than ethanol. President Vladimir Putin has called for tighter rules for the production and sale of liquids with alcohol content of over 25%, and the Irkutsk governor has declared a state of emergency in the region.

3. ‘Tis the season to be spendy: Russians’ average New Year meal this year will cost R5,500 ($90) per household, with a big shopping spike expected on December 30 and 31 for the ingredients for popular New Year dishes, champagne, and candy. Prices for holiday food and common gifts go up at this time of year, but most Russians grit their teeth and pay up in spite of tighter times and still-uncertain economic prospects for the country.

4. Bonus item: A survey released yesterday argued that the popularity of Russia among Americans is at a 30-year low. The only country in the survey that did worse than Russia among Americans? North Korea. Ouch.

washingtonpost.com

In Odder News

  • What did it look like when pioneer of theatrical movement Konstantin Stanislavsky staged a Christmas fairy tale in 1908? See for yourself.
rbth.com
  • Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev would have been 110 this week. If you're thirsting for fun facts or off-color jokes about the leader, we’ve got you as covered as his chest was by medals.
  • Christmas is December 25, right? Wrong: in Russia, it’s celebrated on January 7. Not for long, if populist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky gets his way.

Want more where this comes from? Give your inbox the gift of TWERF, our Thursday newsletter on the quirkiest, obscurest, and Russianest of Russian happenings of the week.

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Some of Our Books

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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.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
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.
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.
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.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
Russia Rules

Russia 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.
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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