• Behind The Iron Curtain:Soviet Pioneer Day

    Today, May 19th, is the Soviet Pioneer Day. In order to properly celebrate the holiday you need to print out and wear the following badge…

    …report to work marching in the uniform, blowing the bugle…

    …and singing this song.

    Young Pioneer, be prepared to fight for the cause of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union!

    – Always prepared!

    Here are a few more illustrations on the subject.

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  • Old Photos: Russian Orthodox Easter

    According to the original Life Magazine article published in 1952 these photos were taken in the Cathedral of Holy Virgin Protection in New York. In Russian Easter is called “Pascha“; after the all-night vigil the believers declare “Christ is Risen!” and everyone responds “Indeed, He is risen!”.

    ©Time. Ralph Morse.
    ©Time. Ralph Morse.
    ©Time. Ralph Morse.
    ©Time. Ralph Morse.
    ©Time. Ralph Morse.
    ©Time. Ralph Morse.

    The rest of the photos.

    Russian icon depicting the resurrection. (source)

    Sergei Rachmaninov: Liturgy Of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 31

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  • Wilma’s Real Really Really Good Food

    On the day we went to eat at Wilma’s Real Good Food, the real Wilma, Brett’s Mom, was helping around the trailer. That’s why I had to scrap my original clever titles Inside Wilma’s and Wilma’s Under The Covers. Seeing Wilma talking to customers and helping her son was just as much fun as actually eating Brett’s amazing food. Naming a business after your Mom must be an ultimate quality control.

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  • Funeral


    I guess I am closing in on the age when people around me start dying off. When I was younger these people already seemed old, now that I reached their age that seemed so ancient to me not so long ago, I find myself attending funerals more often than I’d like. And this is just the sad beginning, many of my relatives and relatives of my few friends are in their 70s, 80s and 90s. As the new immigrants these are the people who will be the  first in their families to be buried in the New Country. They had the courage to leave everything, including many generations of their ancestors buried in the old Motherland, and they will be the first to be laid to rest here. And we, the younger generation, will be the first to have our loved ones separated by the ocean, the old gravestones there will eventually be forgotten after we are gone.
    The people we are losing now had truly legendary lives: they were born in the young new country, they fought in the war, they came home to rebuild, they raised their kids, they lived, they loved, they suffered, lost friends and relatives, lived through lies and propaganda, managed with very little and lived to see their children and especially grandchildren prosper in this country. Their eulogies will be said in the language they don’t understand, and Rabbi will pray to God they were taught didn’t exist. The Rabbi will talk about their lives, struggling to pronounce their names and places they lived in, knowing that most of the mourners do not understand a word of Hebrew, but still love the sound of it and a feeling that the same exact words were said for millions of people for thousands of years, for a moment bringing them in touch with all the generations before them.

    Jewish Cemetery,
    Brown dirt frozen
    With millions of tears

    Photo: Rose Hill Cemetery, Kansas City, MO 

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  • Chicago

    I’ve never made a trip to Chicago I didn’t like. Travelling by train and booking hotels on priceline.com makes it an affordable and fun weekend trip. While visiting Chicago is always exciting, winter is a good time to enjoy indoor activities. During a recent trip we visited the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry – probably the most awesome museum in the country which we would’ve enjoyed more if it didn’t close at 4pm; saw a comedy show at the Second City, if you laugh non-stop when watching SNL you’ll probably love this one; saw a Broadway show American Idiot – I liked it a lot and I am not even a fan of Green Day, the first musical I’ve seen without an intermission; we took a tour of Chicago Pedway and walked for 90 minutes without getting out in the cold; went to the top of the John Hancock building – we didn’t use the skating rink but in case you were wondering – it’s small, lame and not even real ice. In between, we ate a lot of good food, walked around in the cold as much as we liked, saw a light show at the Millennium Park and even had time to visit relatives. And all of this in one short weekend. I’ve been to Chicago many times and never had to do the same thing twice or eat twice at the same place (unless I wanted to). There is a never-ending list of things to do, see and eat.

    Unions have the best props
    Chicago food trucks
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