Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hetalia, Part 3: Russia and the Baltic Trio!

So if you've been keeping up, this would be the third and final and nearly-forgotten-about (sorry) installment of the Russia blog posts, by yours truly: Taylor Takushy-face + Katya (Taylor Takoushian and Katherine Fanning)! But not the actual country -- you see, we're talking about the character from the popular anime, Axis Powers: Hetalia, which personifies and parodies the countries of the world and their respective histories.

Without further ado, the introduction! As we've heard mentioned a couple times in class, there are three countries that border Russia and have important relationships with it: Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. They are known as the Baltic Trio, and are all more or less absolutely terrified of Russia.
Latvia is the youngest of the Baltic states, and the most sensitive. Though he wishes he had siblings, the other two do not think of themselves as his brothers. He is easily intimidated by Russia, and arguably the most dominated, as he has tried and failed to oppose Russia various times. He attempts to please Russia, but ends up doing things blindly and bluntly, and is basically emotionally tortured for it.

Lithuania is the oldest of the three Baltic states and a shy, gentle type. He was once the partner of Poland during their days as a superpower, but were split apart when Russia partitioned him. In the main storyline, he is shown as an underling of Russia as part of the Soviet Union. He is often intimidated by Russia even in the modern day -- Russia admitted that one of his goals in life was to see "a crying and confused Lithuana come crawling to [him]." He is actually deeply attracted to Belarus, and is unaware of her utter loathing of him!

And last but not least, is Estonia!

The studious one of the three Baltic states, who is really into computers and allegedly has the most luck in avoiding Russia and problems due to his wit (though this conflicts with Estonia's actual unlucky history). When something dangerous or unfortunate happens to Latvia, he can usually be heard screaming his name.

And that is the end of our three-post special on Russia's role in Hetalia! Thank you for such a great semester, guys ):

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Russian Enlightenment

The Russian Enlightenment
Starting during the 18th century, Russia experienced a time of enlightenment in which the government began to actively encourage the proliferation of the arts and sciences. Scholars refer to this period as the Russian Age of Enlightenment. Catherine the Great who was the ruler of Russia in this period advocated for several "enlightened" reforms, especially in regards to the gentry of Russia. Educational reforms were perhaps some of the largest reforms introduced by Catherine creating several state-run schools and institutes encouraging a moral and intelligent society. Some large amounts of reforms came in restructuring the political organization and establishing a new set of laws.
Honestly, this era was a reflection of Catherine's desire to make Russia equal politically, culturally, and intellectually to its European counterparts. Many intellectuals of this era saw these reforms as efforts toward Westernization and rejected much of the liberal traditions of the West. By the end of the era, all of Catherine's efforts still did not achieve in matching Russia on an intellectual or cultural scale with the European Nations, but it did make it a significant military and political power of the age. Additionally, the reforms would provide the foundation of Russian intellectual development for the next century. So even though Catherine's reforms were partly unsuccessful in bringing Russia into the light of Western thought, it provided the key for subsequent Russian thinkers to open the door to a new age of cultural progress.

-Anthony McRae

Modern Russian Music Ypok 5

After seeing some of the songs sung at Dr. Steeves house last Friday, I decided to look up some other, more modern, music. This web site gives certain links to different types of music. Once you click the link, musicians and bands will be on display along with a sample of their music. Enjoy!

Russian politics

so this was all over the news last night and after sitting in the library being forced to watch it since they refuse to shut the new televisions off i actually started paying attention and found it sort of interesting. It's not in line with what I usually pay attention to but i think all this studying has gone to my head...


Monday, December 12, 2011

Deanna and Brittany portfolio 5

convo 4 pg 151

Deanna and Brittany portfolio 5

conversation 3 page 151!

Deanna w. & Brittany O Portfolio 5

conversation 2 page 151

Brittany Ooman/ Deanna Wotursky portfolio 5

first conversation from page 151....4 more to come!Just working on pronounciation.

Great Russian Authors: Anton Chekhov

The link is for 201 Stories by Anton Chekhov. Your first question probably is "Who is Anton Chekhov and why would I want to read 201 of his stories?"

Well Anton Chekhov was a Russian writer, born in 1860, who basically invented the short story. In addition to being responsible for formulating the literary concept of Organic Unity (Chekhov's gun) and stream of consciousness he wrote really good short stories.

His works show life in Russia at the time and are a wonderful way of learning about life and culture in Imperial Russia from a humorous or at least interesting perspective.

That said, if you like Chekhov's stories, you should probably read his plays too. Chekhov was basically a master of drama and entertainment as well.

Could black holes be our salvation?

Russian astrophysicist Vyacheslav Dokuchaev proposes that planets with life could orbit massive black holes.

In light of the holiday season...

I thought I'd just post some clips from one of my favorite dances from the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker. I've loved this ballet for as long as I can remember, and I've seen so many different versions over the years. The television station Ovation has done a "Battle of the Nutcrackers" for a few Decembers now in which they compare the latest versions from the some of the most famous ballet companies in the world and have viewers vote on a favorite. The link is to the website where you can see the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from each competitor.
--Kristen Moisio


Tarkovsky's third feature film, Solaris is a stunning psychological drama which is in part a response to Kubrick's 2001. Because of its incredible art direction and camera work, Solaris is an absolutely beautiful film even though it is almost entirely set within a space station.

Бременские музыканты

Aka the Town Musicians of Bremen.
This is an old Soviet cartoon based on the folktale recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Despite the title, the musicians never arrive in Bremen.

"In the story a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster, all past their prime years in life and usefulness on their respective farms, were soon to be discarded or mistreated by their masters. One by one they leave their homes and set out together. They decide to go to Bremen, known for its freedom, to live without owners and become musicians there.

On the way to Bremen, they see a lighted cottage; they look inside and see four robbers enjoying their ill-gotten gains. Standing on each other's backs, they decide to perform for the men in hope of gaining food. Their 'music' has an unanticipated effect; the men run for their lives, not knowing what the strange sound is. The animals take possession of the house, eat a good meal, and settle in for the evening.

Later that night, the robbers return and send one of their members in to investigate. He sees the Cat's eyes shining in the darkness and thinks he is seeing the coals of the fire. He reaches over to light his candle. Things happen in quick succession; the Cat scratches his face with her claws, the Dog bites him on the leg, the Donkey kicks him and the Rooster crows and chases him out the door, screaming. He tells his companions that he was beset by a horrible witch who scratched him with her long fingers (the Cat), an ogre with a knife (the Dog), a giant who had hit him with his club (the Donkey), and worst of all, the judge who screamed in his voice from the rooftop (the Rooster). The robbers abandon the cottage to the strange creatures who have taken it, where the animals live happily for the rest of their days."

Got that summary of the plot from Wikipedia.

I like the cartoon better than the story. Cute music and even cuter artwork.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Unit 5: зеленый борщ

I have to admit, I am not a fan of traditional russian борщ, but I must admit that one of my favorite Russian dishes in indeed зеленый борщ.I hate beets, so this green-colored soup is perfect for me! It's real easy to make and while I have tried several recipes, my friend Ira from Ukraine definitely has the best one.

First you will need: boiled: 2-4 eggs (boil, then chop), 1/2 cup rice, and 2 potatoes (peeled and cubed). chopped: 2 onions (preferably green), 2 sticks of celery, 1/2 of a cucumber, scallions, about 1 bag of spinach, and carrots. Dill, parsley, salt, and sour cream.

*The amount of the ingredients differs depending on how much you plan to make.
**The great thing about this recipe is that you can add or subtract any of the ingredients and it will still be delicious. Personally, I cannot stand dill so I use chives instead.

The rest of the recipe is very easy. Add all ingredients to a pot of LIGHTLY boiling water and cook until favorable consistency and temperature is achieved. Season to taste and serve hot or straight from the fridge :)
Women in Russia
Women make up 46.9% of the unemployment in Russia. They normally work in public health services, education, finance, and information/ accounting services. Equal pay in some industries does not exist though it is in the constitution. Many of the higher wages is to those of higher power and men 9 times out of 10 hold those positions. In Russia there are protective laws that prohibit women from too hard of jobs such as, working at night or carrying too heavy weights. It is also a required 3 year maternity leave for child care, so most businesses do discriminate when looking to fill a position. Last but not least pensions in Russia. The age for pension from the government is 55 for women and 60 for men. The pension that is given to them is only about 1500 rubles a month which averages out to be about $50 so many people have to get side jobs just too survive.

The Russian Protests

Here's what you need to read to catch up on the Russian protests: - And pretty much everything else on газета. - good pictures here - watch the video!

Through all of this, I keep thinking of Richard Pipes when he came to Stetson last year. He was adamant that change would never come to Russia because it's people were too apathetic, too cynical, and didn't believe in democracy. Hmph...

Saturday, December 10, 2011


As with everything else the internet finds entertaining, this is a strange one. Trololo is a "RickRoll"-esque video which gained popularity in late 2009. The old Russian song, similar in style to American jazz scat music, is titled "Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой" or "Indeed I am very glad that I am finally returning home". The performer is Edward Hill, who was given a few honors for being a popular and talented singer during the Soviet era. The result is a silly video of him failing to lipsynch a song that he supposedly sung. It's a cultural thing on a few different levels due to the age of the song, the popularity of the singer, and the video's resurgence as a joke in America. Give it a try, it'll stick with you.

Blog Post Unit 5

Apparently favored by Ivan the Terribleukha is a Russian “fish soup” that’s light and simple to prepare.
A true Russian staple, fishermen would prepare the soup over an open fire with whatever fish was caught that day.
Soups have always played an important role in Russian cuisine. Ukha began life as a simple broth but in the 16th and 17th centuries it evolved into a more diverse and elaborate dish that was served in the lavish Russian courts.
Although ukha is made from fish, it’s not technically a fish soup in the strictest sense. Traditionally, fish was used simply to flavor the water for broth with herbs and seasonings and then root vegetables such as potatoes and onions were added.
Nowadays you can use any freshwater fish, from salmon to cod, although typically smaller fish, such as perch, are used.
Fish soup was an important part of pre-revolutionary Russian cuisine; especially on Russian Orthodox fast days when meat was forbidden.
Typically, freshwater fish such as carp is more frequently eaten inland, while salmon and trout are more common in northern areas.
The fish can be preserved by salting, pickling, or smoking.

- Ezri 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tutoring on Wednesday

No tutoring this Wednesday (12-7). Please contact Christine Jacobson to set up an appointment. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Exporting Raymond

If you haven’t seen Exporting Raymond yet, I highly suggest you do. The documentary follows the journey of a writer/producer from Everybody Loves Raymond as he tries to adapt his show to a Russian audience. The film reveals a lot about the differences between American and Russian humor in a sometimes hilarious way. As you can see, it takes him a while to warm up to the cultural differences and a few interesting characters...


Head of Comedy

Costume Designer

The film's facebook page

Watch it!