Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pretty Maids All In A Row

"A man with no trace of the feminine in him, with no duality at all, is a man without tenderness, sympathy, gentleness, kindness, responsiveness. He is brute-mean, a hammer, a fist. McGee, what is a woman with no trace of the masculine in her makeup?"
"Mmm. Merciless in a different way?"
"You show promise, McGee. The empathy of kindness is a result of the duality, not of the feminine trace."

"Why don't you just cut your dick off? Free your mind entirely?" -- Farrah the prostitute on Season 7, Episode 9 of THE SHIELD

Don't know exactly what this was, some kind of student festival, related to graduation. (Made with my cell phone video, I know it's shitty quality.)

I think they were high school students, despite many of them looking like 30-year-old prostitutes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Turkish Gambit

Ah, the times they certainly are a changin'. All the blondes have black hair now; and dear God, emo glasses seem to be popping up all over. All the shaved-headed thugs have mullets now. 12 year-old girl students of mine have become 17-year-old party girls and then they've become 20 year old single mothers. The abandoned factories are all microbreweries and shopping malls.

A colleague at work asked me if I knew any strippers who might be interested in working in Turkey; some friend of his came to Russia, representing a night club in Turkey which was offering girls $1700 a month plus visa support and accomodation to do a bit of bikini go-go dancing. . .

And they couldn't find a single taker.

My former stripper girlfriend scoffed -- "We could make $1000 a night in Atlantic City."

Five or six years ago, you could have filled a C-130 cargo plane with girls with an offer like that. Not just the money -- the Turkey angle. It used to be the prime exit point for girls who wanted out of Russia. Of the five girls I hung around with in 2002, three of them married Turkish guys. . .

Some acquaintances doing summer volunteer work for the Red Cross.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mystery Train

See now this is the Russia I loved - just walking through the courtyards or some raggedy-ass apartment buildings and there's an abandoned train car, for no particular reason.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'd Probably Laugh If I Could Stop Crying

Loyal readers may remember that in January, I returned to Russia with a new passport -- the old one had expired -- without bothering to change my visa, and was denied entry to the country.

Now of course my schools position on this was that it was my fault; that I was responsible for making sure all my papers were in order.

This is true; but only because I should never have been stupid enough to think that the girl who receives a salary to check on such shit would have bothered to do so. She had told me the passport was about to expire; I assumed this meant I should change it.

They of course denied that.

In an email from the owner of the company: "All you needed to do was bring your old passport with you. You would have been given entry and then you could easily have switched the visa within Russia."

Now of course nobody bothered to tell me that before I left, but I did have to agree, in retrospect, that I could have been more prepared.

So anyway, to the punchline: Another teacher went back to America and got his passport renewed, and came back to Russia two days ago with the both his new passport, old passport and old visa, since now of course the school knows exactly what to expect. . .

. . . and was denied entry. It is impossible to enter the country with two passports, he was told by customs. So he gets to spend some expensive stressful days in Frankfurt sorting it out.

My god, what a crackerjack organization I'm working for. They couldn't organize a gang rape.

Second punchline: naturally, I had to go in to fill in for the guy's nine a.m class yesterday. And then none of the students showed up, as he'd apparently told them he was taking a holiday and they just assumed the class was cancelled. (I was so relieved that I got to go home and go back to sleep after 30 minutes that I couldn't even get too angry about that.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Death To The Homo!

Moscow (AP) -- Finalists from 25 countries performed an array of songs on a Moscow stage Saturday night and held their breath as Europeans voted by telephone to decide the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest — a musical bonanza that is one of the most watched annual television events on the continent.

Flames licked the stage's periphery and vast electronic screens blazed stunning backdrops in a spectacular show, which featured cheesy, high-energy pop and tear-jerking ballads.

In a Eurovision first, crew members of the International Space Station gave the command to start telephone voting in a video message from the orbiting science laboratory.

Russia is trying to capitalize on the prestigious event to showcase the nation's hospitality and growing role in modern society, but those efforts were undermined several hours earlier when riot police attacked gay pride rallies in the capital.

Gay rights activists sought to use the international competition to draw attention to what they call widespread discrimination against homosexuals in Russia. No injuries were reported.

Dima Bilan, who won the 2008 Eurovision competition held in Serbia, performed his victorious "Believe" R&B-style song before the competition proper kicked off with the Lithuanian entry — a piano ballad featuring various pyrotechnics.

The winner of the competition is picked by a combination of telephone voting and official juries from national broadcasters in the 42 nations that originally took part.

Norway's entry, an upbeat emotional ditty penned and performed by Belarusian-born Alexander Rybak, was strongly tipped to snatch the Eurovision crown from Russia.

Britain, which has traditionally fared well in the contest, has struggled in recent years. But a campaign of musical diplomacy by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who composed the country's offering, may have boosted British chances and has won the country unlikely support from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Bookmakers also were giving highly favorable odds to Greece, which was pinning its hopes on an elaborately choreographed stage performance involving a giant flashing treadmill.

Israel made an appeal for peace and harmony with "There Must Be Another Way," sung in Arabic, Hebrew and English by Arab-Jewish duo Noa and Mira.

Russia, which earned the right to host this year's event with Bilan's victory, was pinning its hopes on "Mamo," an overwrought ballad composed by a Georgian songwriter and partially performed in Ukrainian by a Ukrainian-born artist Anastasia Prikhodko.

Some contestants had tried to use the competition as a venue for settling international scores.

Two months ago, the pop group Stephane and 3G from Georgia vowed to perform "We Don't Wanna Put In," a frenzied disco song that took a rhythmic rapier thrust at Putin. The group pulled out when organizers warned that politically charged songs would not be permitted, including one referring to last year's Russia-Georgia war.

Georgia responded by organizing its own state-supported songfest this weekend, Alter/Vision, drawing groups from 10 countries, including Russia. Stephane and 3G were to perform at the festival in Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, and young Georgians sang the "Put In" lyrics on the streets as it got under way Friday evening.

Moscow authorities have worked hard to turn the Eurovision contest to display Russia's hospitality and prestige, splashing out 24 million euros ($32.5 million) on the show and a weeklong series of decadent parties.

But the climate of goodwill was shattered in the hours ahead of the competition, when riot police broke up several gay rights demonstrations in Moscow.

Eurovision enjoys considerable support from the gay community, and Russian activists hoped to take advantage of the event to draw international attention to what they describe as rampant homophobia in the country.

Police hauled away around 40 demonstrators, including Britain-based activist Peter Tatchell and American activist Andy Thayer of Chicago, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network.

"Today's arrests go against the principles of Eurovision, which are about peace, harmony, cooperation and unity between all the peoples in Europe," Tatchell told The Associated Press after being released by police.

* * *

Homophobia, of course, is often a mask for homosexual proclivities. We learned long ago never to let a Russian man put his arm around you when he's drunk. One gay acquaintance told me that with a bottle of vodka he could get the most macho of Russian biznessmen into bed in no more than a few hours.

This gay acquaintance has a wife and child of course -- he's not dumb enough to go marching through the streets and get beat up.

Russian riot police forcing a gay rights protester to suck the commander's dick. Naturally the fact that the name of the elite police riot and terrorism unit is "HOMO" backwards only adds to the hilarity. . . click on the photo to enlarge it and you can see their insignia.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sound Bytes

When people used to ask me why I wasn't married, I had a good canned response:

"I have a lot of respect for the institution of marriage. That's why I'm not married."

Some one reminded me of another one I had, the other night:

(Wow, been a long time since I've done one of those. Meh.)

Anyway, I think I know six guys that have married Russian girls: two ended in quick and unhappy divorce, two are still married but not especially happy, and two seem to be pretty satisfied with it.

Not a statistically significant sampling, I suppose, but those odds don't seem like the worst ever. . .

Friday, May 08, 2009

Ouch! Tag! Zinger from the Russian Chick!

I'm not going to print the whole Instant Message conversation here, as it has a bit too much context and personal stuff in it, but basically I was bitching about Russian girls to one of the Russian girls I know, former girlfriend, and I said something like:

"Ever girl I've been out with has married a rich guy or moved to another country soon after."

To which the girl replied:

"Maybe that says more about you than about them?"

Never quite thought about it that way! Shit! My whole philosophy is overturned. . .

My former girlfriend in her summer job in New Jersey working for Greenpeace.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hot Damn, Summer In The City

Vodkaberg is a surprisingly green city; in addition to plenty of parks, trees and bushes kind of just grow unchecked in the courtyards of apartments, median strips between roads, alleys, etc.

So of course that gives a guy plenty of places to pee, after long days of drinking beer on the embankment.

Even a couple of times, after the cheap beer and even cheaper barbecued meats . . . . I've had to make number two in the bushes. Foo, as we say here in Russia. It's a twenty-five minute walk from the embankment to my house, and often I have to make it at the end of a long drinking session.

Again, that's just hardly the kind of thing James Bond would do, is it?

That's my idea of an interesting James Bond film though -- show the bad guy managing to destroy a major city because Bond is too ill from jet-lag and traveler's diarrhea to stop him.

James Bond, running like hell for the toilet and wishing there were some trees around