If you ever have a chance to see the Russian National Orchestra in concert they are great! I saw the Orchestra over Spring Break with Itzhak Perlman, a violinist and conductor, and it was very impressive. I am searching for a the video clip that I took but until then enjoy the Russian National Orchestra!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
So I know I posted a Swan Lake clip last unit.. but I just think it is so beautiful- the music, the dancing, how isync everyone is, and the costumes is magnificent! The way the every thing comes together in the Russian Ballet is wonderful! Hope you all enjoy.
This summer, some 10,000 Russians will head to a summer camp north of Moscow run by Nashi — "Ours" in Russian — a youth group supportive of President Vladimir Putin.Everybody gets a political education during their stay. A common theme at lectures: how Russia will once again be a global power. In promoting a healthy lifestyle, the group doesn't tolerate smoking or drinking and all camp members work out together in the morning. Both Medvedev and Putin both frequently visit the camp. Attendance to all lectures and events is required . An electronic chip in members' name tags tells organizers if anyone has cut class.
Remind you of anything?
It's a Merry Melody title "Russian Rhapsody" about Hitler (yes, Hitler) getting on a plane to bomb Moscow. Fortunately for Moscow, gremlins cause all sorts of problems, including one that's a Russian caricature. A really great example of WWII propaganda, and there are quite a few moments that make you thing "Oh shit, did they really do that!?"
Monday, March 30, 2009
- 1 die
- 2 players
- 6 shot glasses (one of them a double)
- Bacardi 151
- Any other liquor of your choice
**Since we're talking about Russia, of course they would play with
Start by filling up every shot glass with what ever other hard liquor you want and the double with the 151. Write the numbers 1-6 on napkins and put a shot glass on top of each napkin. Flip a coin to determine who is to roll first.
From there each player takes turns rolling the die and whatever number the dice falls on is what you have to drink. If you roll what the 151 is on you've bitten the bullet and the game is over.
If you roll a number that's already been eliminated roll again until you get a number that's on the table. Winner can stay on if they like but it's a mighty dangerous game.
Courtesy of www.barmeister.com
Enjoy, but obviously for those over 21. For the rest of us, we get to wait out our few years until we get to dominate Russian Roulette, vodka style!
Bird : flute
Duck : oboe
Cat : clarinet
Grandfather : bassoon
Wolf : horns
Hunters : Woodwinds
Peter : string instruments
And some percussion thrown into the mix.
It's programmatic music, which basically means that it is music which tells a story. In this case, it's about a boy named Peter and some animals he befriends who get attacked by a wolf. Spoiler alert: The duck DIES!? What the HECK! That's not the Peter and the Wolf I remembered. Anyway, it's a cute story. It's well worth listening to, as there are spots guaranteed to make you smile, such as the grandpa's lethargic bassoon entrance.
David Bowie explains it all clearly in these videos:
Sunday, March 29, 2009
thought this was funny:
Some Russian drivers now mark their driving skills.
Such tradition came to us from the age of World War II when pilots painted a star on their aircrafts for every successful enemy turned down by them.
So Russian drivers think they also are some kind of military pilots and all the other participants of traffic are their direct enemies, so the collision with everyone is something like a little victory.
So they put such kind of stickers marking successful accident with each type of traffic participants:
And a little humor for any gamers out there:
Saturday, March 28, 2009
We make lots of шутки about Russians and their vodka, but really, is alcoholism a serious problem in Russia? I mean, our first semester Russian book illustrated a dialogue between Russians at an AA meeting. Is this harsh reality or blatant stereotyping? Either way, it's an awful choice for a text book dialogue. But do we expect any less from Начало? Certainly, we don't expect any more.
So, I looked up the truth about alcoholism and Russia. There was good news and bad news.
1. Russia is FULL of alcoholics.
2. Alcoholism is the main reason the average life span for men is 58.
3. Beer is marketed as a soft drink and treated as such by many Russians. I guess compared to vodka, beer kind of is a soft drink....
1. There's barely any tax on vodka! That's good news for me anyway. Here's to cheap good times in Moscow! I can't wait.
2. Russia is the fastest growing beer market in the world. What can I say? I'm a dirty capitalist. Growing markets excite me.
3. Beer is heavily taxed, which creates revenue for the government. Vodka is barely taxed, which creates revenue for the people. The only loser here is your liver.
So, there you have it, the pros and cons of Russia's alcoholism in a neatly distilled potato. Perhaps if it weren't winter 13 months out of the year, people would have a reason to sober up once in awhile. As it stands, I honestly can't blame them. But when their young men fall a couple decades short of the average life span, I can't feel bad for them either.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Russia Plans ‘Large-Scale Rearming’ - NYTimes.com: "MOSCOW — President Dmitri A. Medvedev said on Tuesday that Russia would begin a “large-scale rearming” in 2011 in response to what he described as threats to the country’s security.
In a speech before generals in Moscow, Mr. Medvedev cited encroachment by NATO as a primary reason for bolstering the armed and nuclear forces.
Mr. Medvedev did not offer specifics on how much the budget would grow for the military, whose capabilities deteriorated significantly after the fall of Soviet Union."
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The Russian avant-garde is an umbrella term used to define the large, influential wave of modern art that flourished in Russia (or more accurately, the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union) from approximately 1890 to 1930 - although some place its beginning as early as 1850 and its end as late as 1960. The term covers many separate, but inextricably related, art movements that occurred at the time; namely symbolism, neo-primitivism, suprematism, constructivism, and futurism. My favorite Russian avant-garde artist is Wassily Kandinsky or Василий Васильевич Кандинский. I have included his most famous work.
Russia has enough reserves of energy carriers to satisfy the needs of its own and those of European consumers for 100 years ahead, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated.
“One may either have gas or may not have gas. Russia has it. The resources will be enough for Russia to satisfy our growing needs and the needs of our European consumers for at least 100 years ahead. I am absolutely responsible for what I am saying, and I rely on serious research works at this point,” Putin stated at a press conference after meeting with Prime Minister of Hungary Ferenc Gyurcsany in Moscow.
Russia and Hungary singed a package of documents in Moscow about the construction of the Hungarian section of the South Stream gas pipeline, as well as about the construction of gas-holding facilities in Hungary.
The head of Russia’s Gazprom Aleksei Miller and the President of the Hungarian Development Bank Janos Eros signed the basic agreement on cooperation, the construction of the pipeline and the transit of the natural gas via Hungary. The document stipulates the establishment of a joint venture.
The underground gas-holding facility, which Russia’s Gazprom will build in cooperation with Hungary’s Mol, will be capable of storing over one billion cubic meters of natural gas. “This is a large amount that will guarantee the energy security and stability of the entire energy industry of Hungary,” Putin said.
The storage facility is to be put into operation by 2012-2013, whereas the construction of Hungary’s section of the South Stream pipeline is to be complete before 2015. Hungary officially joined the project at the end of February 2009, Itar-Tass reports.
The perspectives of Russia’s South Stream project made Putin recollect the attempt of the Ukrainian authorities to withdraw the contract of the transit of the Russian gas. “It only discredits the country and makes one think about alternative ways of delivering our hydrocarbons,” Putin said.
The chairman of the Russian government said that the construction of other pipelines similar to South Stream could only discipline all transit countries. “Our partners from Eastern Europe may count on the financial support for trade and investment operations on Russia’s part,” Putin said.
“Russia’s investments on the market of financial services on the post-Soviet space are evaluated at billions of dollars,” Putin reminded. He said that Russia was a long time partner with its neighbors and arranged a two-billion-dollar loan for Kyrgyzstan, a 150-million-dollar grant and a preferential 300-million-dollar loan for this country. In addition, Russia will give a billion-dollar loan to Belarus .
Join Pravda.ru forum. Registration
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Andrei Tarkovsky information site - www.ucalgary.ca/~tstronds/nostalghia.com/
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Here is a list of some Slavic mythological figures found at this website
Baba Yaga is a traditional crone goddess - portrayed not as wise and gentle, but frightening and terrible (although sometimes wise as well). She is one of the most frequent characters in Russian fairy tales, where she plays the part of a witch. She lives in a peasant hut made of bones which stands on chicken legs and spins, and is lighted by glowing skulls on posts. She travels through the air in a mortar bowl, pushing it along with the pestle or a broom. She is always very hungry. In mythology, she is sometimes represented as a snake coiled around the Waters of Life and Death.
Byelobog means "white god," and so he appears as an old man with a long white beard, dressed in white and carrying a staff. He is a giver of light, traveling only in the daytime. He leads the lost out of dark forests, bestows wealth and fertility on all, and helps reapers in the fields. He fights with Chernobog every winter and summer solstice.
Chernobog means "black god." He is the opposite force of Byelobog, the lord of darkness, the bringer of calamities and destruction.
Datan is one of three minor Polish gods who guard the fields, along with Lawkapatim and Tawals.
Dazhbog is the sun god, and a kind of chief god, somewhat similar to Zeus or the Dagda. He has horns and a canine head. Dazhbog travels in a chariot across the sky every day like Helios, bringing justice, prosperity and sunshine to the world. He is known as the grandfather of the Russian people. His attendants include two maidens (the morning and evening stars), seven judges (the planets), and seven messengers (the comets). In one myth, he is married to Lada, and the two secure abundance for the world.
Devana is the goddess of the hunt, who roams the Carpathian forests. Her name, as well as her identity, probably came from the Roman Diana.
Dodola is the goddess of clouds and rain. At times of drought, villagers would perform rituals to propitiate her, whcih included pouring water over a flower-bedecked girl.
Dogoda is the god of the gentle west wind.
Erisvorsh is a weather god, though more details are unavailable.
Jarovit (or Gerovit) is the god of war; his name may mean "severe lord." He rules the springtime, looking toward the West. His sacred symbol is his shield, which was kept in his temple and brought out when a victory was needed.
Khors is another sun god, though he is probably of Persian origin.
Kolyada is the name of the god, or more accurately the personification, of winter, and the festival held in his honor. In Ukraine and Belarus, he represented winter while Perun represented summer.
Krukis is a god of blacksmiths and domestic animals.
Kupalo is a fertility god, though like Kolyada he may be more accurately described as the personification of a season, in his case summer. He also known as Kostroma, and his festival is held at Midsummer.
Lada is the goddess of spring, love and beauty. She lives in the Otherworld, called Vyri, until the spring equinox, when she emerges, bringing Spring with her. In one myth, she is married to Dazhbog. Other stories have Lado, a solar god of joy, as her partner and Lel, the god of marriage, as her son.
Marzanna is the personification of death and winter. She is portrayed as an old woman dressed in white. People sought to trick her and thereby prolong their lives.
Mokosh is an earth goddess. She rules over fertility and midwifery. She is commonly called Mati-Syra-Zemlya, or "Moist Mother Earth." Mokosh spins flax and wool at night and shears sheep. She also spins the web of life and death. She wanders during Lent disguised as a woman, visiting houses and doing housework; at night strands of fleece are laid beside the stoves for her. She may have originally been a house spirit concerned with women's work. Evenrually, her worship was transmuted to the modern widespread reverence for Mother Russia. Mokosh is dark, like good, black soil.She is portrayed with uplifted hands, flanked by two horsemen. Mokosh became St. Paraskeva, whose hair hangs long, loosely, and whose icon is decorated with flax and birch. Paraskeva is also known as Mother Friday. One prayer to Mokosh involves going to the fields at dawn in August with jars filled with hemp oil. Turn East and say: "Moist Mother Earth, subdue every evil and unclean being so that he may not cast a spell on us nor do us any harm." Turn West and say: "Moist Mother Earth, engulf the unclean power in your boiling pits, in your burning fires." Turn South and say: "Moist Mother Earth, calm the winds coming from the south and all bad weather. Calm the moving sands and whirlwinds." Turn North and say: "Moist Mother Earth, calm the north winds and the clouds, subdue the snowstorms and the cold." Oil is poured out after each invocation, and finally, the jar is thrown to the ground.
There are many more deities and creatures, unlong with other traditions, listed on the page.
And because I don't feel comfortable posting a blog post that isn't a little bit silly, here's the link to the Wikipedia article about a super villain called The Russian, who first appeared in Marvel Comics in 2000 He also believes Thor would make a good communist because of his big hammer
Born on January 29, 1860, in Taganrog, Russia, on the Sea of Azov, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov would eventually become one of Russia's most cherished storytellers. Especially fond of vaudevilles and French farces, he produced some hilarious one-acts, but it is his full-length tragedies that have secured him a place among the greatest dramatists of all time.
Chekhov began writing short stories during his days as a medical student at the University of Moscow. After graduating in 1884 with a degree in medicine, he began to freelance as a journalist and writer of comic sketches. Early in his career, he mastered the form of the one-act and produced several masterpieces of this genre including The Bear (1888) in which a creditor hounds a young widow, but becomes so impressed when she agrees to fight a duel with him, that he proposes marriage, and The Wedding (1889) in which a bridegroom's plans to have a general attend his wedding ceremony backfire when the general turns out to be a retired naval captain "of the second rank".
Ivanov (1887), Chekhov's first full-length play, a fairly immature work compared to his later plays, examines the suicide of a young man very similar to Chekhov himself in many ways. His next play, The Wood Demon (1888) was also fairly unsuccessful. In fact, it was not until the Moscow Art Theater production of The Seagull (1897) that Chekhov enjoyed his first overwhelming success. The same play had been performed two years earlier at the Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg and had been so badly received that Chekhov had actually left the auditorium during the second act and vowed never to write for the theatre again. But in the hands of the Moscow Art Theatre, the play was transformed into a critical success, and Chekhov soon realized that the earlier production had failed because the actors had not understood their roles.
In 1899, Chekhov gave the Moscow Art Theatre a revised version of The Wood Demon, now titled Uncle Vanya (1899). Along with The Three Sisters (1901) and The Cherry Orchard (1904), this play would go on to become one of the masterpieces of the modern theatre. However, although the Moscow Art Theatre productions brought Chekhov great fame, he was never quite happy with the style that director Constantin Stanislavsky imposed on the plays. While Chekhov insisted that his plays were comedies, Stanislavsky's productions tended to emphasize their tragic elements. Still, in spite of their stylistic disagreements, it was not an unhappy marriage, and these productions brought widespread acclaim to both Chekhov's work and the Moscow Art Theatre itself.
Chekhov considered his mature plays to be a kind of comic satire, pointing out the unhappy nature of existence in turn-of-the-century Russia. Perhaps Chekhov's style was described best by the poet himself when he wrote:
"All I wanted was to say honestly to people: 'Have a look at yourselves and see how bad and dreary your lives are!' The important thing is that people should realize that, for when they do, they will most certainly create another and better life for themselves. I will not live to see it, but I know that it will be quite different, quite unlike our present life. And so long as this different life does not exist, I shall go on saying to people again and again: 'Please, understand that your life is bad and dreary!'"
During Chekhov's final years, he was forced to live in exile from the intellectuals of Moscow. In March of 1897, he had suffered a lung hemorrhaage, and although he still made occasional trips to Moscow to participate in the productions of his plays, he was forced to spend most of his time in the Crimea where he had gone for his health. He died of tuberculosis on July 14, 1904, at the age of forty-four, in a German health resort and was buried in Moscow. Since his death, Chekhov's plays have become famous worldwide and he has come to be considered the greatest Russian storyteller and dramatist of modern times.
Covering a distance of approximately 55.9 miles, 90 km, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, the Comrades marathon is the worlds largest ultra-marathon. South African runners usually dominate the "down" marathon but in 2007 Russian marathon runner Leonid Shvetsov took first place shattering the 21 year old record by over three minutes. Standing at six feet four and weighing 158 pounds, Shvetsov was an unlikely candidate to win the race. After all during the 2008 olympic marathon Shvetsov finished in 14th place. Once he took the lead with more than 33km left to run he proved spectators wrong. Shvetsov not only shattered the record in 2007 but also took first place once again in 2008.
Last Friday, one of my favorite and critically acclaimed books (graphic novels) came out as a movie. This was Watchmen. If you haven't read the graphic novel I urge you to do so because I think it's superb. Nonetheless, I feel that the movie did an excellent job representing the book and even though a few things were left out and the ending was slightly changed, it still did not waver far from the book's point.
How does Watchmen relate to Russia? Well for one it was set in the Cold War Era. And, there are multiple references to nuclear war with Russia not to mention a scene with a stand in for Khrushchev meeting with Fidel Castro.
The book centers around the lives of six superheroes/vigilantes that are faced with legislation forcing them to retire and a mysterious plot to kill superheroes. But, to focus more on the parts with Russia, throughout the novel, America fears the impending doom of a nuclear war. However, the twist is Dr. Manhattan. He is one of the main characters, a superhero that has, virtually, limitless powers. The others are simply good fighters with high-tech gadgets (except Ozymandias who's almost an Olympic class athlete and the world's smartest man, but let's not dwell on that too much). Dr. Manhattan has had his intrinsic field destroyed and in the process can convert matter and energy to whatever he wants e.g. he can teleport and levitate things. As soon as Dr. Manhattan comes onto the screen, Nixon, president of America, has a foolproof way to defend America against nuclear bombs. Russia becomes scared at this thought and begins amassing nuclear bombs in hopes that some will be unable to be blocked by Dr. Manhattan if nuclear war occurs. At the same time a group of scientists/physicists have created the "doomsday clock" which warns of impending nuclear destruction. Threats of a nuclear war become higher and higher and then when Dr. Manhattan leaves, they are almost realized. With the fruition of Ozymandias' plan, America and Russia together fear the threat of an outside force (book- aliens, movie- Dr. Manhattan) and forget their differences to establish peace. This book is an excellent read and there's much more to it than I've revealed. I highly recommend it.
Dr. Manhattan (movie) further below Rorschach (left book, right movie)
"Sergei Rachmaninoff was born on April 1, 1873, on a large estate near the ancient city of Novgorod, Russia. His father was an army officer and his mother was a wealthy heiress. His father gambled, drank, and squandered his wife's money. He deserted his family when Sergei was nine years old.
By all accounts Young Sergei was a problem child, but had an extraordinary talent at the piano. At age nine he entered the College of Music in St. Petersburg. Because of his natural gift, Sergei did not bother to study. To solve his discipline problem Rachmaninoff moved to Moscow to live with Nikolai Zvereff of the Moscow Conservatory. Zvereff was one of the leading music teachers in Russia at the time. In 1892, Rachmaninoff graduated from the conservatory with high honors.
In 1909, Rachmaninoff made his first visit to the United States, receiving an enthusiastic welcome. Afterwards, he visited America once every season. Rachmaninoff died on March 28, 1943, only a few weeks after attaining his American citizenship, and five days before his seventieth birthday. During his career Rachmaninoff wrote 145 compositions, including piano concertos and symphonies."
Here's his Vocalise:
And here is something funny that is just as entertaining:
Monday, March 9, 2009
Read more about Women's Day in English and in Russian.
You also may have heard that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a recent trip to Russia, during which she gave the Russian Foreign Minister a little trinket to express how much the Obama Administration truly wishes to acheive their goal.
So what do you give a Foreign Minister to show how sincere your commitments are? A Reset Button, of course!
Secretary Clinton pulled out a box with a big red button on top that had the word "RESET" written in both English and Russian. While the idea was very clever, a problem soon arose: the Russian word was wrong. Instead of перезагрузка they put the word перегрузка , meaning overload/overcharge!
(this is just a spoof button, btw)
Oh well. It was amusing all the same, and they still pushed the button for the cameras. Here's the clip from YouTube:
Andrei Kirilenko was born in Ishevsk, but grew up in Saint Petersburg during Soviet era. At tender age of 15, Kirilenko became youngest player to ever compete in Russian Superleague (Баскетбольная Суперлига). In 1999, at age of 18, Kirilenko became youngest European player ever selected in NBA draft when he was picked by Utah Jazz. He continued play in Russia for two more years before making transition to NBA.
In first season, Kirilenko was named to All- Rookie first team. He play good defense and he play good offense. This shown as he regularly have good all-around games, such as when he posted 14 Points, 8 Rebounds, 9 Assists, 6 Steals, and 7 Blocks in one game on January 3rd of the 05-06 season. This is possibly closest anyone ever come to recording quintuple-double (10 of all 5 stats), at least since blocks and steals started being recorded.
And he look like Ivan Drago (the guy from Rocky IV for the uninformed).
Saturday, March 7, 2009
unfortunately i like mind-numbing TV on VH1. This is a scene from "For the Love of Ray J." This girl Caviar (real name Elizabeth) says she is Russian, and in this scene she talks Russian, but....she has the WEIRDEST accent ever. It sounds nothing like Russian, or American, or anything recognizable. So i posted it so that everyone can decide what she is.
PS I apologize for her attire