Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Every time I log into my mail.ru (popular Russian e-mail site) account, on the main page, past the news feed and advertisements, I notice, in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, a series of pictures. These are, I assume, pictures that have all been taken (and posted) by users. I've investigated this and found that they are categorized by topic and you can also search by topic and/or key words. Tonight, I saw a picture of this little girl (Vika was her name) holding a kitten. She was standing in front of a green-painted fence and looking straight into the camera - not serious, but also not smiling. For some reason this photo struck me, though I moved on and, later, wasn't able to locate it again when I had the following idea. I thought, "wouldn't it be cool if every now and then I just did a random search by a given topic and picked out the first photo that reminded me of Ukraine and/or just really struck a chord with me?" The answer is, "yes, that would be very cool" and nice, simple way to reminisce, when I can't always rely on my own pictures and/or memory to re-light the memories of days spent in Krasnograd.

So, with this in mind, the first picture to appear will be this random page from an old yearbook from School No. 4, featuring Yevtushenko Tetiana Vasil'evna - the later-director of School No. 4
and reason I ended up in Krasnograd, as she was the "mover and the shaker" behind getting a volunteer. (See top left photo)

Monday, December 22, 2008


I was talking with my supervisor at the end of last week and, in talking with one of our students who's been having a hard time seeing the positives in life, he recounted a joke that helped lift her spirits a bit.

What's the difference between a Russian pessimist and a Russian optimist? A Russian pessimist says, "Things couldn't get any worse." The Russian optimist says, "Sure they could."

And, with this in mind, I was browsing the Internet and found this anecdote about the "flying shoe" incident that currently took place during a press conference held in Iraq, where an Iraqi journalist threw BOTH of his shoes at President Bush. I found this joke in Russian, but don't know where it originated. In any case, I've done my best with the translation.


Что будет, если в главу страны кинуть ботинок?
What happens if a boot is thrown at the leader of a country?

Буш: Уворачивается, потом говорит: "Ботинок был десятого размера!",
кинувшего ботинок уводит охрана и ломает ему руку.

Bush: He ducks and then says: "That boot was a size 10." Security then takes away the person who threw the boot and breaks his arm.

Путин: Ловит ботинок на лету, кидает обратно и попадает агрессору между глаз. Затем того уводит охрана, и больше ничего о нем не известно.

Putin: He catches the boot mid-air, throws it right back and hits his attacker between the eyes. Then security takes the man away and nothing more is ever heard of him.

Медведев: Пригибается, так что ботинок пролетает над ним, говорит: "ну что ж, каждый имеет право на высказывание своего мнения...". Хулигана уводит охрана, на следующий день его увольняют с работы.

Medvedev: He bends over so that the boot flies over him, then says: "Well, every man has the right to express his opinion." The trouble-maker is led away by security and the next day he's fired from his job.

Обама: Не успевшего снять ботинок хулигана ловят охранцы и выносят на руках из помещения. Все уверены, что человеку просто стало плохо.

Obama: (working on this one...)

Ху Цзиньтао (председатель КНР): При входе ботинконосителя в здание штатный телепат охранки замечает подозрительную мыслительную активность, охрана задерживает всех в радиусе 10м до выяснения обстоятельств.

Hu Jintao (Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China): While everyone wearing boots enters the building, the official state telepath of security notices some suspiciously thoughtful activity; security detains everyone within a 10-meter radius until the exact details of the situation can be determined.

Ющенко: Получает ботинком прямо в лицо, после чего обвиняет кинувшего ботинок в том, что он "агент Кремля" и хочет "подорвать независимость Украины". Набегают сторонники Тимошенко и начинают скандировать антиющенковские лозунги.

Yushchenko (President of Ukraine): He takes the boot straight in the face, after which he accuses the boot-thrower of being an "agent of the Kremlin" trying to "undermine Ukraine's independence." Timoshenko supporters then run up and start chanting anti-Yushchenko slogans.

Саакашвили: Увидев летящий в него ботинок, прячется под стол и оттуда оповещает всех присутствующих о прекращении выступления "ввиду неожиданного изменения ситуации". Охрана выдавливает всех из помещения.

Saakashvili (President of Georgia): After seeing that a boot is flying at him, he hides under a table and from there informs all those present that the day's event has come to an end "in light of unexpected changes in the situation." Security then forcibly removes everyone from the premises.

Лукашенко: Уворачивается от ботинка. Охрана берет оппозиционера под руки и подводит к президенту. Лукашенко спрашивает "чем вы недовольны?", выслушивает ответ, и начинает рассказывать, сколько он сделал для улучшения жизни народа и процветания Беларуси. Устыдившегося оппозиционера уводит охрана.

Lukashenko: Turns away from the boot. Security takes the oppositionist into custody and brings him to the president. Lukashenko asks, "Why are you unhappy?" Hearing the answer, he then begins to talk about how much he's done to improve the life of the people and prosperity of Belarus. The ashamed oppositionist is then taken away by security.

Назарбаев: Уворачивается от ботинка, подбегает к бунтовщику и лично избивает его, с помощью охраны.

Nazarbayev (President of Kazakhstan): Turns away from the boot, then runs up to the rioter and kills him personally with help from security.

Пратибха Патил (женщина, президент Индии): Ловит осторожно брошенный ботинок на лету, прижимает его к груди, и начинает петь и танцевать. Охрана водит хоровод вокруг кинувшего ботинок, который также поет и танцует.

Pratibha Patil (woman President of India): With care, she catches the thrown boot in mid-air, presses it to her bosom and begins to sing and dance. Security then leads a circle-dance around the person who threw the boot, who is also now singing and dancing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Red Elvises in Arlington

I received an e-mail from my friend, Karyn, last week entitled "krasnie elvisi" letting me know that the Red Elvises would be playing at a small club in Arlington, VA. I don't go to many concerts but got the impression from Karyn and her husband, who have both seen the Red Elvises before, that this would be fun. The Red Elvises were, on Saturday night, made up of four members, though I believe the founders are Igor and Oleg. Igor (lead singer) is from Odesa and Oleg (bassist) from Moscow. Lena is also from Moscow, and the drummer, who's name I can't remember, was introduced as the band's lone "American" from Minnesota. Considering the ba
nd seems to be based out of California, on the one hand having a drummer from Minnesota seems unlikely, though on the other he may be able to identify well with such songs as "Siberia" and "Winter Reggae." The Red Elvises are a unique experience and a lot of fun. They match their music's energy and youthfulness with their own, though they've been around for a number of years. Highlights include: an over-sized red balalaika-shaped bass guitar, grotesque fashion statements (see below), leading the audience in much clapping and disco-pointing, and one the of awesomest drum solos ever.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Yes We Can

Here are a series of Youtube clips I found recently all to help stir up interest in voting and increase voter turnout and hopefully mean more votes in favor of Mr. Obama.

Barrack Obama: Yes We Can (New Hampshire)

Yes We Can (music video)

The Talk: Convince Your Family to Vote Obama


5 Friends

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Latest Newsweek

Some favorite excerpts:

"Some comentators have argued that it's sexist to keep Sarah Palin under wraps, as if she were a delicate flower who might wilt under the bright lights of the modern media. But the more Palin talks, the more we see that it may not be sexist but common sense that's causing the McCain campaign to treat her like a time bomb.

"Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start.

"In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts the country first. In this important case, it is simply not true."

--Fareed Zakaria, "Palin is Ready? Please."

From an interview with Hamid Karzai, conducted by Fareed Zakaria:

FZ: Are you going to run again, Mr. President?
HK: I was asked this question yesterday and my answer was the poem by Robert Frost:
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep/But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep..."
FZ: So can I say yes, you are going to run again?
HK: Yes.
I've gotten about 100 pages into Zakaria's The Future of Freedom and am eager to get my hands on The Post-American World. He's intelligent, level-headed, and I think has an original way of looking at and analyzing what's going on in the world and putting it in its larger historical context.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

An Unexpected Engagement

The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism by Ron Suskind
More to come...

Monday, September 01, 2008

На Пляж на Уикенд Дня Труда

Закат солнца в субботу. Небо было такой цвет каждый день. Сидит Бэнам.
Суббота, 30 августа 2008

С веранды второго дома, где мы жили. Мы катались на каяках в этой речке.

Видишь как персы любят танцевать?

Мы рядом с другом, Шабнам, на веранде нашего дома на праздничный уикенд.

Воскресенье, 31 августа 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Венчание Робин и Стива

"Любовь – она странное, иногда смешное, дело. Она живёт везде – на улицах, в природе, между людми. Но часто, когда мы ищем её, нам кажется, что её нет, а когда мы искать её перестаём, вдруг она появляется, даже на неожиданном месте как на интернете. Поэтому, я сегодня хочу выпить за любовь, за любовь, которая существует между Робин и Стивом. И за то, чтобы во вашей жизни, и во вашем доме было Радости, здоровя, любви, смеха и много счастя, Сегодня, завтра, и навсегда. Робин и Стив, давайте за вас!"
Суббота, 16 августа 2008
я с невестой. Такая она красивая!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Well, kids, November fast approaches, as does the release of Sigur Ros' latest album - a double-CD of previously unreleased studio recordings (on 'Hvarf') and acoustic studio versions of previously released material (on 'Heim'). All of this will be available to fans in North America, such as myself, on November 6. Strangely enough, as with Sigur Ros' previous album, 'Takk', I will be in Ukraine when it becomes available in stores.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Мой Репетитор - Оксана

Две недели назад я стал заниматься опять русским языком с репетитором. Её зовут Оксана и она жена одного бывшего волонтёра, который тоже служил в Украине как я. Мужа Оксаны зовут Кэн. В Украине он жил в Одесе, и там он познакомился с Оксаной. Как настоящая украинка, на второй встрече нашей Оксана спросила меня, почему я не женился с украинской девушкой. А тут я замолчал от стыда :-)

Кэн и Оксана на прошлые выходные на Фестивале славянской културы