Archive for the ‘Russian’ Category

Armen Zakharyan

October 1, 2022

🐇 🐇 🐇 welcome, October (even though we know it ends in a celebration of death)

This posting is a report on an amazing body of work by Armen Zakharyan, about Russian literature in relation to world literatures, providing literary analysis both subtle and surprising, probing the range of lives as revealed in literary works, and directly and passonately engaging with hard questions about how to live a moral life and negotiate through a world of evil. Until a few days ago, I had no idea that such a thing existed, but then Vadim Temkin posted a “Wow” notice on Facebook about a Zakharyan video, with this image and a link to the video:


(#1) The link to the YouTube video is here

The wisps of Russian I recalled from 1960 Princeton classes carried me far enough to recognize the slogan MAN WAR ART, but no further. I appealed to Vadim to explain his “Wow”. And got the wonderful response below, which I reproduce with only slight editing as a guest posting (Vadim is multilingual and multicultural in a way I could not imagine being, so it would have been insane for me to try to paraphrase or interpret his take on Zakharyan).

From here on this is Vadim, with occasional back-commentary from me in square brackets.

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Cats, names, art

August 5, 2022

The cats prowl through ancient Rome, Egypt, and India — and modern Russia, Estonia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Leaving their names and (in the work of graphic artists and cartoonists) their images. All of this triggered by the appearance — my copy came yesterday — of Bob Eckstein’s latest book:


(#1) As noted in my posting yesterday, which was unadventurously entitled “The Complete Book of Cat Names”, my name is in the book, in a list of people who suggested cat names to Bob

On reflection, I might have suggested any or all of the names of My Three Cats (now starring in a heart-warming bird and fish comedy shown on a loop throughout the day on The Cat Channel) to Bob, though none of them made the cut: Koshka the Russian cat, Marjarah the Sanskrit cat, and Kurniau the Estonian cat (kurniau is what cats say in Estonian — it’s a purr and a meow — so it would definitely be a candidate for Bob’s “names you would think your cat can pronounce” category). Yes, I know, Marjarah and Kurniau are obscure — arcane and professorial — but Russian кошка (fem.), transliterated as koshka, is just everyday ‘cat’ (specifically female if sex is relevant, but also used for male cats; a tomcat is қот (masc.), transliterated as kot).

That was yesterday. Today I’ll take you to one section of Bob’s book, on “Roman cat names” (which, the Roman Empire having been what it was, also takes us to Egypt), with two cartoons; and to Donald Brun’s famous Swiss thread-cat poster, depicting the cat Silken Zwicky (which will take us also to the Cat Museum in Amsterdam). So, a tour of Eurasia, from Nederland to Bharata.

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The Z of death

March 12, 2022

From Andras Kornai on Facebook today:

AK: As they say on Sesame Street: brought to you by the letter Z!


(#1) A tank (Andras says it’s a Pantsir missile system) with the glyph Z on it — not a letter in the Cyrillic alphabet (in which both Ukrainian and Russian are written) and now symbolizing the Russian iron fist of death

Livia Polanyi [pursuing the Sesame Street theme]: Zombie zombie zombie starts with Z

AZ > LP: The letter Z long ago became part of my identity, a symbol of who I was. Now it’s become the equivalent of a swastika, and I feel that I have personally been assaulted, dirtied, and shamed. (I manage to surmount Z is for Zombie as just a piece of cultural silliness. But the Z on the tanks is, literally, dead serious.)

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Mourning Son

March 23, 2020

… or Social Distancing. More art of the pandemic: a CGI homage to Edward Hopper’s Morning Sun (1952) by Vadim Temkin:

(#1)

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Boy oh Boyu!

January 9, 2020

David Bowie seems to have a considerable following in Russia, to judge from the Pinterest materials about him, for instance this album:


(#1) Дэвид Боуи: David Bowie in Cyrillic transiteration

Боуи gets the [wi] of Bowie just right, but to Latin-alphabet-oriented eyes that уи looks like YU [ju], so Боуи looks like Boyu: Boy oh Boyu!

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The Russian sardines are coming!

November 6, 2019

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo goes (sort of) bilingual:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

The Cyrillic label hints at сардинкы (transliteration in Latin letters: sardinky/i) ‘little sardines’, with a hard sign Ъ added to allow an allusion to one of those odd symbols. Meanwhile, the title tsardines is a portmanteau, of tsar and sardines, referring to the five tsars of Russia packed like sardines into the tin.

(Yes, full appreciation of the cartoon requires assembling a fair amount of knowledge of several kinds, starting with sardines and their customary packaging.)

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Swiss art supplies in the morning

August 31, 2018

Today’s morning name: Caran d’Ache. A Swiss art supplies company specializing in pencils. With a complex linguistic and social history behind its name. There will be cartoons as well. (No food, sex, music, or plants, but you can’t have everything. On the other hand, there will be clowns and some chemistry / materials science.)


(#1) The box for a 40-color selection of pencils, proudly flying the Swiss flag

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