Technically I am still on hiatus.
Last week I had been trying to write a serious piece on Mike McFaul’s multiple personality disorder, but Bellacat’s “refusing food and water” disorder began taking up all of my mental time and much of my available time. Then it evolved into a “refusing to live” disorder. Then she died. It was horrible! Tragic! Outrageously unfair! Oh, woe is me…
But before that happened I had put together a few items of note. In the past, I’ve run into the conundrum of collecting little stories to write about, not getting around to writing about them, the stories would become old news, and I would become overwhelmed with the sheer volume them, resulting in a certain paralysis on my part, and the paralysis would in turn result in the piling up of more items. Then Andy suggested I just delete them, and well, it was so anti-climactic. I’m pro-climax. So for your reading enjoyment, and my peace of mind, a news round-up of compromised inspiration.
I went to see Michael Moore’s new documentary about the eeeevils of capitalism in America. Con: Typical Moore shtick, trying to make ridiculous citizen’s arrests. And questionable editing of stock footage to provoke a knee-jerk emotional reaction rather than serious contemplation. This appears to be all the rage at the moment, if Simon Schama’s “The American Future: A History” is any indication. (However, I secretly wish I and everyone else on the planet could speak like Simon Schama. We need a “Speak like Simon Schama Day.”) Back to Capitalism. Pro: Someone just made a movie promoting scary red commie socialism as The True American Way! And it’s in the theaters! Yes!! My plan is coming to fruition!! Bwahahaha… The movie ends with a big band Italian crooner version of L’Internationale, and the following words:
“I refuse to live in a country like this. And I’m not leaving.”
Precisely how I have felt for the last 8+ years.
Can you imagine if this movie had been made 50 years ago? Conventional wisdom states that the Cold War sucked because we could have nuked the world into oblivion. My wisdom states that it sucked not because of what could have happened, but because of what actually did. Like the blacklisting of people who dared to propose such radical ideas as, oh, economic parity and dignity. Pretty pathetic that, given the impressive sum total of human achievement, dignity is still a radical and frightening idea. Hell, I just had my cat put to sleep because there was a consensus that to prolong her suffering was unethical and giving her a dignified death was the humane thing to do. Sadly, the justification of action on humane grounds applies almost exclusively to non-humans.
Speaking of commies, the Russian ambassador to NATO not only twitters, but has a Che Guevara avatar! (H/T to James @ RA)
And he has some fun posts:
“The Ambassadorial EAPC meeting was somewhat boring. I watched 2 flies die of the delivered speeches : )”
“Politics is like sauna: if you don’t like sweating, take the lower berth”
Apparently he’s also written an autobiography entitled, “Враг народа.” Wow. I have to say, “Enemy of the People” sounds like a better read than “The Audacity of Hope.” I think if I were a politician I’d rather my bio be mistaken for an undergound manifesto than a self-help remainder.
I’ve totally misjudged Rogozin. Who knew there was such a wonderful sense of humour and revoliutionary fervor beneath that flabby facade? I wonder if Kadyrov tweets… I bet if he did, we’d find out he’s some kinda artsy culture vulture.
If you have to be killed, you should at least do it in style. Bellacat had to be killed, and it must be said, she did it in style. I groomed her before the big event, plus, she had a svelte supermodel figure by that point. She died on a nice Pottery Barn-esque microfiber suede featherbed with a little pink heart-shaped bandage to keep the catheter in. Oh god this sucks…
GROZNY, October 6 (RIA Novosti) – Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said on Tuesday he intended to do his best to support the development of fashion in the republic.
The statement followed the opening show of a fashion studio in Chechnya’s capital Grozny. The event was also attended by Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli and renowned Russian designer Vyacheslav Zaitsev.
“I will do my best to promote and develop Chechen fashion,” Kadyrov, 33, said after the show. “And I am sure these great people – Cavalli and Zaitsev – will help us.”[...]
Kadyrov, who has been accused of human rights abuses in Chechnya, also said he would spare neither “health nor money” to help Chechen fashion.
This certainly gives a new meaning to the term,”fashion police.” Yikes. Do not get on the wrong side of Chechen fashion, kids. You might end up on the Crimewatch blog.
I’m not usually a fan of the MT. Largely because they lack any sense of humour, which is a detriment when one takes themselves as seriously as they do. Alas, it appears this may be changing. At least one of their writers has taken it upon himself to fill the void left by MosNews’s latest disappearing act:
“Carl Schreck cut his journalism teeth as a crime reporter for The Moscow Times and now spends an unhealthy amount of time scanning the web for the most disturbing and tragicomic crimes Russia has to offer. “
A selection of headlines:
“Dog-For-Vodka Deal Ends in Death”
“Traffic Cop Runs Over Woman, Hides Body, Investigates Self”
“Village’s Last 2 Residents Killed With Hammer”
“Goat Monument Vandalism Watch”
And I thought I was having a bad day.
From the Goat story:
We here at Crime Watch like to keep readers abreast of not only the latest gruesome felonies but also of random acts of criminal anarchy.
Some people, it seems, have no shame.
A five-meter tall statue of a goat in the western Russian city of Tver was brutally vandalized this week by unidentified hooligans, who removed the wooden animal’s glasses, broke his tail, tore up his saddle and left him covered in graffiti, the local Tver Information Agency reported.
To add insult to injury, the vandals also stole a large wooden ruble that had been hanging from the neck of the goat, which, according to the report, is one of the city’s most prominent symbols.
The wooden goat has had some troubles in recent years. Last year its head fell off, forcing the cancellation of an event called “A Visit to the Tver Goat,” sparking “deep discontent among city denizens and foreign guests” who had arrived to have their picture taken atop the beast, the news agency said.
“deep discontent” … Something tells me Tver is in need of more recreation opportunities if a photo op with or mugging of a goat statue are the hottest tickets in town. That said, I’d be deeply discontented if I went to have my photo taken with Walt Whitman’s statue and his head fell off.
I once wrote a brilliant thesis based on a comparison of Alexander Dovzhenko to Walt Whitman.
That’s all the comment I can make here. The Times can save their scathing irony for when Walt’s own country has actually recognized the rights of the GLBT community. Or hell, for when his own country actually ever gives a shit about poetry. Besides, wasn’t Tchaikovsky gay? It’s not cultural contributions people like Luzhkov fear from gays, it’s the threat to their coveted position in the social hierarchy. Or that their wives will find out their little secrets…
A statue of the American poet and gay icon Walt Whitman was unveiled in Moscow by Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, at a ceremony attended by the mayor of the Russian capital, Yuri Luzhkov, who is anti-homosexual.
Mr Luzhkov has called gay people “satanic” and banned gay pride parades in Moscow on public safety and morality grounds. However, he praised Whitman, whose poetry contains sensual references to men, saying that his works were “permeated with the spirit of American optimism”.
The statue stands in Moscow State University and was paid for with donations by US and Russian companies. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, called it a return gesture after the city government paid for a statue of the poet Aleksandr Pushkin at George Washington University in 2000. Both statues are by the Moscow sculptor Aleksandr Burganov. (AFP)
I read Bellacat poetry the night before she died. I did not know she would die the next day, but I knew she was gravely ill and miserable. I read her poetry to try to relax her, including a lot of Whitman. O me! O life! He was correct – the powerful play does go on, and we can contribute a verse. But he left out the bit about the play being an overpriced, poorly acted, self-important piece of crap, and that while anyone can contribute a verse, most people are terrible writers.
Anyway, Yuri has been on an ego trip recently what with the UR’s impressive/distressing election wins, improvement of US-Russia relations through the commemoration of dead poets, and … banning snow from Moscow.
Hm. I think we’ve figured out what caused that giant whole in the sky above Moscow last week. Practice run!!
Moscow will blast clouds from the sky this winter to save money on snow removal, a city official said Wednesday, but the plan threatens to anger the surrounding region, which would have to cope with the extra powder.
Airborne snowfall prevention will save the city about 300 million rubles ($10.2 million) this winter, said Andrei Tsybin, head of City Hall’s department for public works and utilities. Moscow is ready to spend about 180 million rubles to disperse clouds “in the event of very big and serious snowfall,” he said at a news conference.
Mayor Yury Luzhkov is a long-time proponent of fighting clouds by spraying liquid nitrogen, silver, or cement particles into the cloud mass, which forces precipitation to fall before it can reach the capital and spoil holidays like Victory Day and City Day.
Last month, Luzhkov proposed expanding the technology to fight the snow drifts that snarl traffic every winter.[...]
A spokesman at the public utilities department could not explain how a “big and serious snowfall” would be identified or be deemed worthy of deploying the Air Force.
The residents of the surrounding region are miffed that they’ll have Moscow city’s snow dumped on their homes. If I were them, having only snow dumped on my home would be the least of my concerns.
Anyway, while the Mayor of Moscow is hell bent on domination over mother nature, the leader of Russia (what?) is hell bent on domination over popsong contests.
Because “We don’t wanna Saak Ashvili” is too hard to sing. And, well, because he can.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin thinks China, Central Asian nations and Russia should hold a song competition to boost cultural ties.
Mr Putin said the joint song competition could rival the annual Eurovision Song Contest.
“Conducting an international modern song contest – Intervision – would strengthen cultural ties between our nations,” Interfax news agency quoted Mr Putin as telling a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) heads of government in Beijing.
It was not immediately clear whether Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan – which have SCO observer status – would take part.
Reality show singing contests: The nation-state’s last gasp. Also a good distraction when you come home from China 1.5 billion dollars short for your country.
But there is something creepily appealing about the thought of Putin creating one of these spectacles. I think this could be a future career for him. I mean, running a country is really just another genre of reality tv show, isn’t it? (OMG, If you answered “yes,” you are watching too much cable news, people! Back away from the computer and get a life please!) But we must admit, he is a bit of a “ham,” as my mother used to say.
Speaking of Putin, a new website, Hottest Heads of State ranks Vova a mere 18, but asks:
“How hot is Putin? Currently, he’s #18 on our list. Should he be ranked higher? Or lower?”
Vote Now! FWIW, it’s hard to argue that Yulia should not be at the top of that list, so I think giving him the number 2 slot would be entirely appropriate. They’d make a nice leading man and woman. Power couple of the post-Soviet space…
Lastly, and apropos of nothing but it’s not everyday Russian cuisine is covered in my local free weekly…
Inside, I was told, they contained “milk.”
The cakelike interior is sweet, dense, moist—almost juicy. I was convinced there were crushed almonds involved. Friend of the Food Chain Catherine Lambrecht, who spent several years living in Soviet-era Moscow, remembers them tasting like “uncooked chocolate cookie dough filled with chopped nuts”—though nuts were rare back then and there. Another Russian-speaking Food Chain operative who contacted Three Sisters for more information was rebuffed with suspicion. So a call was placed to Arkady Kats, of the Niles Georgian bakery Bread ‘n’ Bowl Company.
Kats makes them occasionally, forming them from pulverized butter cookies, condensed milk, and butter, rolling them in cocoa and baking them. Some people use nuts, others don’t.
This is meant to be a tasty treat, and sounds compelling, but it looks pretty terrifying to me. Not like food, anyway. Maybe I should try one? I don’t remember these in Moscow, but perhaps I simply passed them by, assuming they were not intended for consumption? I generally like Russian food, except for those horrible stiff kippers they snack on, heads and all. Blech! So perhaps a trip out to the tri sestri is in my future.
Ok, that’s a wrap for now. Just wanted to get this posted so I can move on and tackle more important matters, like divining the curious diplomacy of Marty McFly or figuring out how to cope with death in a way that does not entirely destroy my liver.
Thanks for reading!