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.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 8, 2009 at 11:10 am
Nikita needs to sit on his jacket, so there’s a good, clean line. [paging William Hurt]
The “standard” Orthodox liturgy doesn’t include that particular acclamation, but i can’t imagine it isn’t used somewhere in Orthodoxy through the church year. Does make you wonder about the background of the author of that Lenin antiphon.
Sue said on April 8, 2009 at 11:25 am
“If you ever wondered why mystery novels are popular, here’s why. People love to solve a mystery.”
Am I the only one who doesn’t really read mysteries for the solving? I have a mental contest with myself to see how quickly I can figure out who the bad guy is, but that’s about it. My record is page three, but that’s not unusual given some of the crap out there. Good mystery authors suck me in with characters and locations as much as anything else.
Nancy, have you ever read the Porfiry Rostnikov mysteries? Stuart Kaminsky is the author. I love all the intertwining stories and personalities and events in that series.
Jolene said on April 8, 2009 at 11:30 am
Love the way the suitcase contents are pictured. I don’t have an art critic’s conceptual categories or vocabulary, so I don’t quite know how to say why I like them, but they’re very appealing. Wish there were more of them.
Jeff, a propos of your comment on H. Ahmanson, you might be interested in this WaPo column by Kathleen Parker.
Pam said on April 8, 2009 at 11:48 am
There’s a junker guy who goes to all the auctions and buys old photographs, mostly war related. Then he spends a lot of time trying to figure out who’s in them so that he can find their relatives and show/give them the photos. I think that’s hilarious since they’re the ones who probably threw them out in the first place. He was written up in the Dispatch for this.
paddyo' said on April 8, 2009 at 12:01 pm
Your suitcase reference takes me back to the early 1990s, when I was covering the construction of Denver’s new airport for The Denver Post, and got to witness the first test of the infamous automated baggage system ($200 million down the tubes) of little carts on tracks, each carrying a bar-coded bag to its rightful gate or carousel.
United Airlines, the big hub carrier here and “owner” of most of the automated system, brought in hundreds and hundreds of “lost” luggage from storage elsewhere — the suitcases that went missing, people filed and were paid claims, and then the bags ended up in the, well, dead-bag office, I guess.
Anyway, at the appointed hour, we hard-hatted reporters gathered in the bowels of Concourse B and they fired things up. The cart tracks were mounted overhead, racing around near the ceiling, and before long, as these little automated “ore cars” were zoomed hither and yon with real luggage. The computerized system was supposed to time it so that individual bags would shoot off conveyors from the airplane gates and into passing cars, which would pass under bar-code readers that dispatched them to the right destination … can you say Rube Goldberg?!
So there before us, one plaid soft-sided bag went shooting out — but the intended cart had already passed. The bag landed on the tracks, and the chain-link drive train for the cars dragged the bag a few feet, shredding it and spilling its contents in a heap.
Hitting the concrete floor with the clothes and sundries was a wristwatch. Another reporter and I looked at, did a doubletake at each other, and walked over and picked it up.
Yes, indeed: It was a Timex … and yes, still ticking.
(“Paging Mr. John Cameron Swayze, to the white courtesy phone …”)
Never had an easier story to write …
Joe Kobiela said on April 8, 2009 at 12:11 pm
You have any story’s about the Denver airport holding cells, nazi murals and such, there are a lot of rumors about that stuff.
Sue said on April 8, 2009 at 12:14 pm
Huh – here’s a story for you guys. My aunt and uncle were members of the genealogical sub-species that included people who were fascinated with dead relatives because they couldn’t get along with the live ones. They managed to accumulate massive amounts of family photos, heirlooms and documents through a combination of sneakiness and being the first one onsite when a relative died. So, their late-in-life’s genealogy research was carefully arranged and cared for in a room in their condo, and my sister and I used to joke about what we would do with the filing cabinets that would probably come our way when they died. Eventually they moved to Arizona, taking their treasures with them, not disbursing anything or giving any pictures or mementos to other family members. My uncle subsequently died, and contact with my aunt was limited to holiday phone calls and Christmas cards. And then… my aunt developed some form of dementia within the course of a few months (or was able to hide it from the few family members who called her) and there was some legal issue with getting her into a home. Apparently the State of Arizona was required to notify a next of kin and she didn’t provide one in her papers. So Arizona did what it was required to do to find the next of kin, whatever that was. When they couldn’t, they got rid of her property, sold it somehow or did what was required, and the property that was gotten rid of included all those filing cabinets crammed with information on relatives living and dead. Information on a living next of kin could have been found by opening any one of those drawers. We didn’t find out about any of it until it was too late. It’s all gone. I can’t go into an antique shop and see those stacks of old photos without thinking that somewhere in Arizona pictures of my relatives are stuck in some antique shop gathering dust. And the irony of genealogy fanatics who manage by their own orneriness to lose all records for the rest of the family wasn’t lost on any of us.
beb said on April 8, 2009 at 12:22 pm
Roger Ebert writes a letter to Bill O’Reilly. Bill=O’s on the war path about the Sun-times, apparently. Memo to self — don’t piss off Roger Ebert!
whitebeard said on April 8, 2009 at 1:21 pm
Beb, I love Ebert’s Squeaky the Mouse reference. When I was editor of the railroad employee newspaper, our Toronto reporter wrote about the CN Tower work as the greatest erection Toronto has ever experienced. Having visited Toronto when they used to roll up the sidewalks downtown at 5:05 p.m., it could very well have been true. Ebert’s putdown of Bill O is priceless.
jeff borden said on April 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm
I’ll wager Bill-O will take off on Ebert, but he’s going to look like as big an ass as Rush Limbaugh when he mocked Michael J. Fox. Ebert can no longer speak and doesn’t look very photogenic these days after his many surgeries. If Bill-O sends his producer/stalker after Ebert, the loudmouth is truly going to look like a big bully.
paddyo' said on April 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm
Joe — you forgot the underground runways … for the black helicopters.
Yeah, we heard them all — secret holding cells, runways laid out like a swastika, disturbed Indian burial ground, and the ever-popular “tent-roofed-airport-in-the-heart-of-tornado-alley,”etc., etc. Never saw them or proved any of it, of course.
I and my opposite/beat competitor at the Rocky Mountain News, Kevin Flynn, were regularly accused of covering up the “evidence” of all that stuff. In fact, two supposedly-in-the-know conspiracy buff anti-airport gadfly guys, who would’ve been bloggers (no offense meant, Nancy) back then had there been a blogosphere, had a name for us they used on a local shout-talk radio show: FlynnSpin and O’Drivel.
Kath said on April 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm
Too bad about your lost family history. Some genealogists get weirdly possessive. A similar thing happened in my family. The son of a distant cousin had assembled a massive amount of information, but then lost interest and left it behind when he moved out of his apartment. A woman found it, recognized its significance, and then after searching for several years found my cousin via a genealogy website. So it’s back in the family.
Jean S said on April 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm
…getting along better with relatives who are dead than with those who are still alive….priceless.
Nance, hire an accountant next year. It’s worth it. Use your deadline-driven synapses for something else.
Rana said on April 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm
The translation of the text under that image is interesting, too. As best as I can tell, given the rustiness of my Russian and the weirdness of auto-translators, it says something like this:
Salute the children of all lands
Let there be peace and light
Start up (begin?) happy (happiness?)
Children grow up to be the fathers of change.
LA Mary said on April 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm
Paddy-o, when I lived in Denver I went to a rally where Angela Davis, Corky Gonzalez (who was sort of a lieutenant of Cesar Chavez’s), and Clyde Bellecourt spoke, and they referred to the two papers as the Denver Pest and the Raggy Mountain Nuisance.
Kirk said on April 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm
Most papers have hugely witty nicknames. I have worked for the Reckless-Herald (Record-Herald), Manurian (Missourian) and Disgrace (Dispatch), among others. And there used to be the Citizens-Urinal (citizen-Journal).
jcburns said on April 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm
And of course we shortened the Athens (OH) Messenger to the Athens Mess.
Rana said on April 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm
Kirk, the San Diego Union-Tribune was at times known as the UT or as the Onion (as in you peel away the layers and there’s nothing there, plus it makes you cry).
MichaelG said on April 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm
What Jean S said. Get an accoutant. My ex and I (we’re legally separated, not divorced for exactly this reason and also so that I can keep her on my health insurance)use one and over the years he’s saved us far more money than he’s cost. One of the best investments we’ve ever made.
Mary, many years ago when I was living in Berkeley and Angela Davis was a cause celebre there was a bumper sticker floating around: “Free Angela Davis — with every 10 gallons”.
MaryRC said on April 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm
beb, you beat me to it. I was just about to tell Nancy about Roger’s letter to Bill myself. I love that guy. (Roger, that is. Not Bill.) And jeff is right, Bill will look like even more of a bully if he goes after Roger.
caliban said on April 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm
Lenin is dead.
Lenin is alive.
Lenin will rise again.
That bit about Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again wasn’t actually part of Mass when Nikki the K was around. Personally, I believe in the Jesus part, and I’m pretty sure the Lenin part can be left to Anne Rice.
Actually, that part of the liturgy is a product of Vatican II, which is a blueprint for a much better world. I’d be willing to bet the Christians were ahead of the curve. I think it’s kinda funny to inspect Catholicism this way. Catholics may have launched the Crusades, but Protestants imposed orthodoxy on English Christians in the name of every Christian sect that’s broken out since.
There’s something else worth considering. Catholics admit to errors while the all-encompassing Christian renegade offspring brook no dissension. American Catholics don’t buy half what Benedict says, and it seems interesting to me that so many non-Catholics are so interested in so few theologians. There are something like 375 American Bishops. The Karl Rove wing doesn’t use up two hands. There are 68mil Catholics in the US. Nutcase prima donnas like Donahue represent between 2 and 3 million. Infinitesimal.
This is a perfect example of how the net distorts. The Catholic Church in the Western Hemisphere is best represented by Archbishops Romero and Paulos Faraj Rahho, who basically stood for human dignity. Victims of revolting American exceptionallism. How has that been blogged? Well, it hasn’t. If your an American, how do you sanctify R. Raygun and Ollie North and claim land reform is creeping socialism instead of Christianity?
Dexter said on April 8, 2009 at 6:09 pm
We were taught to hate all Russians , and especially Khrushchev, as we were being taught “duck and cover” drills.
All Russians were enemies of God and us, and we would be “fighting them soon enough”, and after Sputnik in October, 1957, the schools tried to re-tool so as to cram “science” into our heads, to catch those evil Russians.
So who are the men in the background here?
Dexter said on April 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm
Lost luggage may end up in Huntsville, Alabama. That’s where your stuff will be sold to the public; it’s a giant warehouse.
I don’t keep up with the new tax codes which change every year. I dumped all my numbers and figures off at my accountant’s at 3:00 pm today…let them do it.
I used to do it myself, until my wife’s business made it imperative to fill out all those schedules and well…you folks know all about that stuff, I don’t.
So I pay my accountant quadruple what Turbo Tax charges…that’s life.
jcburns said on April 8, 2009 at 6:38 pm
Since it’s ‘Miscellany,’ a folow up on AP’s cluelessness: AP Exec Doesn’t Know It Has A YouTube Channel: Threatens Affiliate For Embedding Videos and, for something completely different, Sammy spotted some Food of My People that I hadn’t heard of: Barszcz/Borscht sans beets.
MichaelG said on April 8, 2009 at 6:47 pm
Dexter — I don’t know but I’m gonna guess: Nixon, Christian Herter over Ike’s left shoulder and the guy next to Nixon looks like Al Haig but that’s kind of iffy.
Kirk said on April 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm
I’m pretty sure the guy next to Nixon is Henry Cabot Lodge.
whitebeard said on April 8, 2009 at 7:19 pm
jcburns, the reference to an AP exec not even knowing the great white news knight had a YouTube channel was hilarious. I have lost touch with all my old AP friends, they would have loved this, so I will share it with my daughter who works in the news department at a Montreal TV station.
LA Mary said on April 8, 2009 at 7:25 pm
Lodge is the one to the left of Ike.
paddyo' said on April 8, 2009 at 7:39 pm
Wow Mary, Raggy Mountain Nuisance, classy — those were the good ol’ days here, with actual real-live radicals. Corky was a sainted presence around these parts.
We just called the Rocky the Snooze … or, to really rile them, “the little paper” since they were tabloid and we were a broadsheet.
Never mind, of course, that a lot of Denver readers preferred the smaller paper ’cause it was easier to hold up and read. None of that fold-this-way, fold-that-way of a broadsheet. But the Rocky was a tabloid in format only, no “Headless body in topless bar” boxcar heds for them.
Either way, now they’re dead and gone. In a couple of weeks it would’ve been The Little Paper’s 150th anniversary.
caliban said on April 8, 2009 at 7:46 pm
Dexter, lost luggage almost always ends up in Huntsville eventually. Years and years of flying, I’ve never dealt with lost luggage but once. In, I think, 1970, a plane was taken and landed in the desert. I was on my way back to the US from Switerzland. Detained in Heathrow, didn’t make connecting flight, shuttled back to Swissair. Who said I’d be put up and my parents waiting at Logan would be informed. They weren’t.
So I spent a carefree day in London and a night of luxury at the Cadogan Square. A favorite hotel of Oscar Wilde. Meannwhile, my parents were waiting in Boston to drive me to college and received no message. I wined and I dined and I saw London on foot like Pepys, and my mom and dad tore their hair out. When I got to Boston, I was appropriated by a typically Brit young woman that looked like Lynn Redgrave sans avoir du pois. Absurd, I could have had lb’s of hash on me, we blew through customs, and I could have been carrying a pound of Turk hash.
I know, I wouldn’t have wanted to be the customs people or the airline factotums. My mom was a lioness where cubs were concerned. So all was right, even though it was 1970, and there was a crook in the White House and the Constitution was unnder attack by Republican racists. All my parents cared about, was that I was home safe, and they dposited me safe and sound with ny stereo and a little bit of European pot.
Matijuana is classified as a Class I substance, like heroin. This is rampantly moronic. Marijuana isn’t a gateway, marijuana isn’t damaging like alcohol. It’s pretty difficult to claim any facts about any adverse reactions whatsoever.
Robert Parrish is one of the fiercest competitors in the history of NBA hoops. The Chief liked to smoke a joint, have a glass of wine, and listen to ‘A Love Supreme’ when he got home from the wars. His vindictive ex sicced the cops on him ad he was busted for less than an ounce because he wound down with a toke. Who’s looney here?
There are people talking about legalizing and taxing, I said this was no-brain in 1969. It’s the perfect crop for rotation, and the prospect of taxing packs of Js is immense. Health concerns? Nicotine, nope. Tar, nobody is going to be smoking a pack a day. Nobody but an idiot would try to claim pot is a health risk in the same universe as smoking cigarettes.
LA Mary said on April 8, 2009 at 8:29 pm
Paddy-o, I was there when Dick Lamm said he would drive a stake through the heart of the plan to build 470. McNichols was mayor, Love, then Vanderhoof, then Lamm were governors, and there was no major league baseball. Do you still have 3.2 bars?
Dexter said on April 9, 2009 at 2:02 am
I pegged Lodge right away but that other man has me stumped.(Post #22).
Bob Greene is another reviled person here in NN.C land.
Here’s the Chicago Magazine story which details his rise and fall…he was such a big shot, had the world on a string—and then his true character caught up with him:
Mike said on April 9, 2009 at 3:03 am
Unclaimed baggage goes to Scottsboro, AL. While close to Huntsville, there is a distance, both in mileage and culture.
Dexter said on April 9, 2009 at 3:10 am
I was thinking of one of my fave ChiTrib columnists from 25 years ago, Bill Stokes, and I couldn’t remember his name. I emailed Eric Zorn and asked for help, hit “send” and instantly remembered it! He was a great “Outdoors” writer but he wrote about all kinds of things, also. In the course of my search for Mr. Stokes, I came across a blog stating that another favorite, Bill Granger, was in a veteran’s home, suffering a stroke about six years ago which caused severe memory loss. Damn.
Anyway, here’s the catch-up on Bill Stokes: (and thanks, Eric Zorn, if you are reading this)
Connie said on April 9, 2009 at 7:25 am
How was my week? Don’t ask. Blown water main at work.
But this morning this video made me smile. http://www.americablog.com/2009/04/this-video-just-made-me-terribly-happy.html#disqus_thread
derwood said on April 9, 2009 at 8:13 am
^I love the Improve Everywhere stuff. Cracks me up.
basset said on April 9, 2009 at 8:24 am
the point when I realized Starbuck’s was truly everywhere: when I went into the unclaimed-baggage store in Boaz, Alabama (same company as the one in Scottsboro, Boaz is closer to Huntsville though) and over in the corner was that familiar green logo.
that baggage place is truly strange. jewelry, cameras, small electrics, clothes… even fishing bait, last time I was there I got a couple jars of PowerBait brand new and unopened. think there’s still some out in the shed.
Huntsville, btw, is one of only a few cities (along with Fort Wayne and South Bend) where the local tv stations are all UHF to avoid over the air leakage into adjacent markets… in this case, mostly Birmingham and Nashville.
and Huntsville is indeed a very different culture from the rest of Alabama, mainly because the average Huntsvillian is way more educated. big NASA presence down there, lots of suppliers and advisors too and people who aren’t scared of calculus. they really ARE rocket scientists.
whitebeard said on April 9, 2009 at 11:01 am
My new goal is to rip out the big RotoRooter ads in all the telephone company yellow pages across because the drain repair done by a RotoRooter crook just fell apart and my basement is ankle deep in shit. If you ever think of calling RotoRooter to fix your john, your kitchen sink or your outdoor faucet, stop right there before your hand reaches for the phone. In my case, the john was plugged and Drano was not working and the next thing I know he had chiseled a huge cash in the cast iron pipe aand had to replace it with plastic at a cost of $2,500 and, get this, when he left the john was still plugged up. I called RotoRooter who sent an honest plumber and he fixed the john at no charge. I had also to apologize to the RotoRooter receptionist for my language in calling for help.
jeff borden said on April 9, 2009 at 11:19 am
My heart goes out to you, man. That’s awful. I don’t know if it’s available to you, but we’ve found Angie’s List to be pretty good at guiding you to a decent contractor.
A few years ago, we were getting water in our basement. I called a plumber recommended by a neighbor. He rooted out the line, said everything was fine, collected $200 and left. The next time it rained the water was right back. The second plumber arrived with a fancy camera outfit, which he put down the drainpipe. He called me over to show me a video monitor view of swirling brown water. This, he said, was evidence my sewer line had collapsed UNDER my finished basement. He wanted $10K to take up the basement floor –which is my office, my TV room, my man cave– and replace the pipe. You can imagine what that might have been like.
Finally, Angie’s List. An expensive but competent company finally arrived and they did a larger rooter job on the sewer line using a unit on the back of a large truck. The plumber invited me out to the street, pulled up the sewer lid and below as a froth of water. That, he said, was my sewer line working just fine. The basement has been dry ever since.
I sometimes ponder the hell we would have gone through had I not sought several opinions on the problem. I guess it’s all just a crap shoot. (Ugh. Sorry. Bad metaphor.)
basset said on April 9, 2009 at 2:56 pm
I had some floor warpage and called Olshan… the foundation-repair company Nolan Ryan shills for. guy came over, looked around for a few minutes, handed me a $27K estimate and a financing application.
got someone local to jack the floor up, fix the supports (which were put on crooked to start with) and put in some drainage… doing it a bit at a time, right now we’re coming up on $4K and just about done.
whitebeard said on April 9, 2009 at 6:12 pm
Jeff Borden and Basset, our handyman friend is staying with us because his house was foreclosed on and we just could not let him sleep in a cold warehouse this winter. We went down the hill to the next town to get some repair fittings for the drain this morning and he started work on it.
He needed more parts because the RotoRooter job was so sloppily done and drove with me about a 100 miles this afternoon for some of my business, picked up the added parts and I just flushed the john 10 minutes ago (5:50 pm) and he hollered from the basement that the repaired section didn’t leak a drop. Sometimes when you do a good deed, you are rewarded in return.
What goes around comes around, in other ways as well. My crippled shoulder and legs do not let me, so he volunteers to pitch a baseball to my grandson baseball star, who runs from home to first base in 2.4 seconds, the fastest kid in the middle school baseball tryouts this afternoon. I’ve read somewhere that the average MLB player runs all the bases in 16.5 seconds, so our grandson dude is sensational. He turned 14 last month.
Dexter said on April 9, 2009 at 9:24 pm
MichaelG…Of course Ike, Nikita, and Dick are easy markers, and I believe Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., is too…the one I am only assuming is correct is Christian Herter, right background.