I posted this picture on Facebook yesterday:
It’s from my Russian teacher’s fascinating library of Soviet-era children’s books. This is in a beautifully illustrated picture book about the alphabet, pitched at, I’d estimate, the kindergarten cohort. Because this was published in 1962 or so, and because this was the Soviet Union, the parade of alphabet pages are interrupted by propaganda. The sausage-fingered Ukrainian above is, of course, Nikita Sergeyovich Khrushchev. The copy tells us he is a soldier for peace, ha ha. Sometimes peace needs to be imposed at the point of a bayonet. I’m impressed at how the artist captured his essential peasant nature — check out the fit of that jacket around the shoulders. And the brow.
Later in the same volume is a page about Vladimir Lenin. I regret I didn’t take a picture, but I was too amused by the text under his portrait, which reads:
Lenin is dead.
Lenin is alive.
Lenin will rise again.
Just a little mystery of faith for you Catholics to contemplate during Holy Week. You gotta think that was deliberate, but Catholicism isn’t so big in Russia, and I’m not sure that passage (“Let us proclaim the mystery of faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”) is part of the Orthodox liturgy. One thing about the internet is, you can throw any question out there and someone will answer it in an hour or two.
How is your week going? Mine is the usual train wreck, complicated by my glance at the calendar Monday to discover it is now the second week in April and I haven’t even started our taxes yet. So that’s what I’ll be doing the rest of today, and maybe the rest of the week. Unholy week, in my case.
So before I send you off with a half-baked effort, here’s a story from the NYT’s front page today, about good Samaritans using social networking and other digital technology to return found objects to their rightful owners:
Companies are also moving to exploit the fact that millions of people have published information about themselves on the Web. Traditional lost-and-founds are migrating online, and a batch of start-ups and hobby Web sites have sprouted with the aim of harnessing people’s altruistic impulses to return lost items.
“Generally when people are given the opportunity to do something good for someone else, they’ll take it,” said Matt Preprost, a college student in Canada who has created a blog, Found Cameras and Orphan Pictures, to reunite cameras and their owners.
The opening anecdote is about a lost camera and the Scottish woman who did not rest until she had returned it to its rightful owners, a couple who thought they had lost all their wedding and honeymoon pictures.
And how coincidental that Metafilter led me to Is This Your Lost Luggage, a site kept by a guy who buys abandoned bags at auction, then photographs their contents. You can claim your property if you don’t mind knowing a total stranger has taken a picture of your “Daddy’s Girl” t-shirt, Roxy bikini and green-and-pink hippopotamus PJs.
If you ever wondered why mystery novels are popular, here’s why. People love to solve a mystery.
The story touches on the findees, some of whom “feel weird” that others were able to find out so much about them, even if it was for a good cause. Good grief. We live in Overshare Nation and this surprises anyone? Be grateful you got your stuff back and shut up about it. As Coozledad pointed out so eloquently the other day, your damn mail carrier knows far more about you than you might think, let alone Facebook.
Finally, I’ve started taking special notice of a few talking heads/bloggers, who are ignoring the conventional wisdom about Michelle Obama — that she looks great — and instead picking nits over her wardrobe, that sleeveless is the same as topless, that cardigan sweaters are tacky, blah blah blah. Oscar de la Renta seems mainly peeved that she’s not wearing more Oscar de la Renta. I know those pink knit suits are popular with some people — hello, Mrs. John Roberts — but for the life of me I don’t understand why people are so up in arms, ha, about Mrs. O. It’s not like she wore a tank top and trucker hat to Buckingham Palace. The NYT celebrates the end of Wife Wear.
You can sense I’m putting off the inevitable. Time to install Turbo Tax and do the job I really should delegate to someone smarter than me.