Sunday, January 25, 2009

In others words

I read an article by a Russian in an English language paper here in St. Pete. The author attempts to write an article commenting simultaneously on the ineffectiveness of Russian politicians and the joy Russian drivers get from running over pedestrians in crosswalks. She also makes an interesting commentary on the recent extension of presidential terms in Russia. She points out that in the 90's, when these terms were being, well determined, that a "year would last so long that a person could hardly survive it." And now you blink and a year has gone. So due to "Time Inflation", we must lengthen the terms. It almost makes sense. And I've always thought we should lengthen our terms. Its just a matter of how the powers that be managed to make this constitutional change happen.

But that wasn't really my point. Really I just wanted to share a quote from the article about the crosswalks. "The Zebra (crosswalk) is just where people get run over. It's a tradition, a national sport-the pedestrians are run over in their own space for crossing. You have to agree that it is stylish, somewhat logical, and definitely an expression of the national character."

What? I'll let you ponder that for a bit.

What I found to be perhaps a better "expression of national character", was a tagline on the front of the magazine. In big letters it says, "Nothing changes on New Year's Day" And in smaller letters below it says, "But still we can celebrate."

And on a different note entirely, I was reading a short story by Chekov called "Champagne." I pulled this from it:

It sometimes happens that during an arithmetic lesson, when the very atmosphere seems heavy with tedium, a butterfly will flutter into the classroom from out-of-doors. Then the urchins will all crane their necks and follow its flilght with curiosity, as if they saw before them something strange and new and not simply a butterfly.

No comments: