Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Shopping

My nephews back in America want some t-shirts with some Russian writing on them.

Have to explain to them that the t-shirts around here only have English and Japanese on them; if you want t-shirts with Russian on them, you have to go to England or America.

I kid, I kid. A couple years ago there was a retro-ironic craze for "CCCP" t-shirts around here.

Well, at least mullets are starting to go out of style. . .

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hmm, I Guess The Russians DON'T Love Their Children Too

Russia announced just moments ago an intention to "achieve nuclear parity" with the United States. This a week after announcing an intention to abandon conventional arms limitation treaties.

As a Cold War child, I find this good news -- it means that all those adolescent nightmares about nuclear armaggeddon weren't time wasted.

I wonder if Putin, in his 80's KGB days, got to view the American and English nuclear war films of that era, such as The Day After, Threads, World War III, When The Wind Blows, or tales of convential war such as Red Dawn or Amerika . . .

Remember, everyone: duck and cover.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Last Sunday, while Putin's Edinaya Rossia party finally and completely crushed all opposition in the election, another English teacher and I went up into the hills around the city to do a bit of hiking. (I get these strange urges occasionally.)

It was reasonably cold -- about -10 C -- but sunny, and there was lots of fresh snow from the night before, so it was a nice enough day for it.

We got most of the way up the hill and after considerable effort gathering fire wood, got a fire started, on which we cooked some bacon and potatoes. But it was hard work -- the last time we went out there, last year, we failed to get a fire started at all.

It made me realize what a useless skill English teaching is going to be in the post-apocolyptic world. Maybe I can teach the children in the village, or something, while the men are out hunting and scavenging.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Global Warming is Cool

Virtually every English language textbook ever written contains a chapter, or at least an exercise, on global warming and the environment. Students are inevitably indifferent to this as a subject; like most people, they are opposed to global warming in theory but completely unwilling to alter their developing country "economic bubble" yuppiescum consumer lifestyles one iota.

But yesterday one of my brighter students pointed something out to me; Russia will not really be affected by global warming. Russia has a lot of coastline, but very little of it is inhabited or built up, and there's (obviously) a tremendous amount of uninhabited land away from the coasts. If the climate gets warmer, that's hardly a problem -- arctic areas will become more habitable and the growing seasons will be longer.

If (when) the North Pole melts, Russia will also be in a good position to claim and take advantage of the shipping lanes that will be thusly opened. Resources unreachable in frozen areas of Siberia will also be exploitable.

So yeah! Russia, your global warming sanctuary.