Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 at 02:02:21 PM EST
Contents: Adventures in Capitalism ; The Gordon Brown/Misha Khodorkovsky Beauty School Face-off ; Category: Things you might find at an NRA brunch ; How do you say, "Scooby Snacks" in Russian? ; Cured Meat ... and much much more. Plus, Viggo Mortensen.
"That Loud Sound You Hear is Capitalism, Democracy, the BBC Sucking ..."
As of about 5 hours ago I have completely exhausted every comment, insight, rant, brilliant revelation or cynical witticism I could ever possibly make in relation to these topics. From now on Odds & Ends will be agit-prop free.
Listen closely, can you hear its breath getting weaker, more delayed? Such a tragedy to pass so young... "Hold on, Odds & Ends. You can't go just yet! That charming Putin fellow still has a few months left in office, and Viggo Mortensen is hopefully going to be on the Oscars this weekend. Don't die on us now..."
1. "Uniquely American, isn't it?"
The other day I asserted that Capitalism is the economic incarnation of evil. You might think I feel that way because of its impact on people in 3rd world countries or out of some romantic ideological feelings about Marx or something. Wrong. Capitalism is evil because I don't have enough money. I need more money. I'm not one of those Communists who thinks they should be paid just to be alive. (Well, kinda I do.) I have a disturbingly strong work ethic as a result of American political indoctrination. Combined with my stunning brilliance, I should be a poster-girl for Capitalist success. Obviously, as I am reduced to begging, I am not. Ergo -> Capitalism is a big bloody lie, people!
My point is, I need some part time work. If there's something you need done, and I can do it, and you will pay me, and it is legal, do drop me a line.
OMG!!! Was that just a rant on Capitalism? It's alive! It's a miracle of modern blogging! Odds & Ends will live to see another day!! And more Viggo Mortensen movies!
2. Philosophical Question of the Week
The first and possibly last in a new series.
Q: Why will Gordon Brown not comb/brush his hair?
Or does he? Is he just using the wrong product? Is it some social statement or some ploy to win the hearts and minds of the British unwashed? I have noticed that the British are ... less uptight about how their hair looks than most cultures. Most other cultures that don't put much time or effort into their hair are so because they just have good genes, like the Swedes. Can't really mess up straight blond hair. But Gordon Brown's hair is belligerently out of control. Not in a rebellious, intentional way, but in the way of the guy who rolls out of bed in the morning, pulls on yesterday's jeans, and goes into work. You know, the guy everyone starts watching for the fleck of gunk in his hair day after day. (Psst. Did you see? It's still there! Hahaha.) Has anyone told Gordon Brown that he is a Prime Minister? That people can see him, what he looks like, his hair?
Does Gordon Brown not realize he's blessed with a lot of hair, and many men are not so lucky? Like Jerome a Paris or VVP, for example. It's as if he resents his hair. Don't you get that feeling? Maybe he should shave it all off and give it to a cancer charity if he hates it so much. Or... maybe it hates him. Maybe it's just trying to get away from him. I bet that's it. That's what it looks like. Like his hair is actually struggling to pull itself out of his scalp!
Anyway, most unfortunate business name ever: Gordon Brown Hair Studio. I wonder, do they offer haircuts or 12 week intensive obedience classes?
Maybe Gordon Brown should go to the Misha Khodorkovsky School of Beauty. Known in Russia as "prison."
Before: Scary anyone would actually trust this guy with their money. Would you?
After: Is this even the same person? Mr. Putin, let him free! You've got the wrong man!
Wow. Extreme Makeover: Prisoner Edition. Just one more in a long list of "Putin's Russia" success stories. How'd they do that, anyway? Are they putting tanning beds in prison cells over there now? They're just that flush with cash?
Maybe the Brits are pissing off Russia in the hopes Putin get mad enough to do something to fix Gordon's hair.
3. Hey. Is Misha losing it? Kommersant: Russia Is the Occupied State for Khodorkovsky
According to Khodorkovsky, quite a few different thinkers arrived at one and the same conclusion - mentality of the Russians, the relations of people and elite, the place of special services in public life are characteristic not for the country at war but rather for the occupied country.
Since the time of Tatar and Mongolian invasion, Khodorkovsky went on, the nation has humbled that authorities owe nothing, they don't make any agreements with people, collecting taxes not for the common targets but as a tribute, for what they aren't accountable. It is the tradition of many centuries, former Yukos CEO pointed out.
"The freedom-loving people attempted to act differently - joining the elite, moving to the East, to the North, but hardly anything has changed in mentality of majority because of it," Khodorkovsky explained.
Huh? He looks fabulous, yes, but I worry about mental deterioration. Bob, get this boy some crosswords and sudokus. Stat! And tell him to spend less time in the tanning beds and more time writing that thousand page novel about his oppression.
Speaking of oligarchs, I did a "What to get an Oligarch for Christmas" story (with some help from James at Robertamsterdam.com.) Christmas, New Years and Valentines Day have all come and gone. But why wait for a special occasion to get the gangster in your life a special something to show how much you care? The latest firm catering to this target (gulp) market brings us ... gun-themed breakfast! (Hat tip: Ananova.com)
Even bad guys need a good shot of protein in the morning. </ducks, runs...>
Hong Kong-based Urban Trend has designed a range of gun-shaped egg fryers which it says will be shooting into stores later this year.
Customers will be able to serve up their eggs in a variety of weapon shapes, including a Magnum .45 and a Uzi.
"Whatever the reason, gun-shaped objects seem to be all the rage these days," a company spokesman said.
Just this morning over a cup of coffee I read that Stalin said 3 things were needed to overthrow the Tsar: 1) Guns. 2) More Guns. 3) Guns, Guns Guns... Said nothing about eggs, though.
4. Moscow Rules: Another Reason to Remain Cheerful About Russia.
Yesterday a colleague emailed me:
"[the client's] CEO was shot (but not killed) last week, so the [deal] is a bit postponed :( "
(I think adding the emoticon is a nice finishing touch, don't you?)
This one line email gave me a bit of a boost as:
In fact, this email came from our Kyiv office, which is an even more important reason to be cheerful for Russians therefore. No nasty shootings with our Russian clients, oh no! But in touchy-feely, oh-so-democratic Ukraine? Um... business-by-bullet is still occasionally an issue there.
- The guy lived, right?
- It has been ages since a client of mine has been shot; years in fact, which illustrates that the so-called Wild, Wild East is becoming a normal business environment just like everywhere else (oh yes! Brittle smile... )
Probably there is no more eloquent testimony to President Putin's success in bringing order and safety to Russia than the fall in the numbers of (intentional) corporate killings.
Barack: "Yes We Can!"
Dima: "(Intentional) Corporate Killings are Waaay Down! Rock On!"
From the same post:
Favourite word of the day? ДЕМШИЗА - Demshiza; a nice mélange of democrat and schizophrenic. It's what United Russia-types call the pro-Kasparov loons. Seemingly, with cause.
Kasparov is suing Nashi on behalf of his honor and dignity and something else I forget what. News of which spawned a funny little thread on Sean's Russia Blog. "And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids!" LOL.
5. Polish Salt Caves
Know anything about them? They are supposed to be all the rage in alternative medicine now. The salt is from the Black Sea. I guess they are "Polish" because that's who runs them... Sitting in the salt cave is supposed to cure you of colds and such.
I'm really curious! They look so cool. Just exactly like what you think a salt mine in Poland looks like. If you are on acid.
Oh. God. "Cure." "Salt." ??? They're curing humans ... with salt?! Like ... pork?!! OMG. Someone stop these cannibalistic maniacs now, before the Poles are ordering their gun-shaped eggs over easy with a side of young gullible Chicagoan!
6. The Nation Archives. Rocking my world.
From the July 31, 1920 issue:
Soon after my arrival in Moscow I had an hour's conversation with Lenin in English, which he speaks fairly well. An interpreter was present, but his services were scarcely required. Lenin's room is very bare: it contains a big desk, some maps on the walls, two book-cases, and one comfortable chair for visitors in addition to two or three hard chairs. It is obvious that he has no love of luxury or even comfort. He is very friendly and apparently simple, entirely without a trace of hauteur. If one met him without knowing who he was, one would not guess that he is possessed of great power or even that he is in any way eminent. I have never met a personage so destitute of self-importance. He looks at his visitors very closely, and screws up one eye, which seems to increase alarmingly the penetrating power of the other. He laughs a great deal; at first his laugh seems merely friendly and jolly, but gradually I came to feel it rather grim. He is dictatorial, calm, incapable of fear, extraordinarily devoid of selfseeking, an embodied theory. The materialistic conception of history, one feels, is his life-blood. He resembles a professor in his desire to have the theory understood and in his fury with those who misunderstand or disagree, as also in his love of expounding. I got the impression that he despises a great many people and is an intellectual aristocrat.
Ok, that's all for today. Have a lovely weekend. I'll be home watching the Oscars for the fashion, and to root for Viggo. Who will not win. Because no one I like ever wins anything. Unless they start a war in Chechnya or something. Sucks...
Viggo as (hot) Russian bad guy (with big heart) in Eastern Promises:
Go rent it. Did I mention the banya scene?