Monday, April 22, 2013
Tver was "Formerly a land of woods and bogs" OK? It just makes sense. It got trampled over to make room for Moscow's suburbs, OK?
at 6:35 AM
Many Russian boyar (noble) families traced their descent from the Mongols or Tatars, including Veliaminov-Zernov, Godunov, Arseniev, Bakhmetev, Bulgakov (descendents of Bulgak) and Chaadaev (descendents of Genghis Khan's son Jagatay). In a survey of Russian noble families of the 17th century, over 15% of the Russian noble families had Tatar or Oriental origins.
at 6:28 AM
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
That must be the smell of baking bread, which is always welcome in a hopeless leathery kiln of a room like this one. Nobody here is going to bake any bread. This place is where you get eaten, or you eat a rat or a frog, or find a bone to suck on. Been nothing but death, death, death for hundreds of years, here in Baba Yaga’s place. The smell evanesces, and then I catch it again: bread! I look over at Frommers, who’s just crying into his beard with his eyes closed. I’ve been here before, gotten out before, even surprised Yaga so that she laughed out loud and forgot to kill me. Never smelled anything like bread here, though. It has occurred to me that Yaga might be out of town. Her pestle is gone, and her noisy old traveling sweater made of horseshoe crab tails. The place is lacking something, even in the way the fleas cross the floor like they’re on vacation, all lackadaisical and brimming with whimsy like. The boss has left. So who’s got me and Frommers all tied up and dying of thirst, next to the iron oven and the fleas and the heap of fresh scalps? Who’s baking bread in this evil wigwam? I wink at the fleas, and some of the saucier ones sort of bound around and click their flea heels at me. So my hunch is right: there’s some kind of reprieve at work. I’m not khleb dreaming. What’s more, the flea parade is moving towards this worn mess of a rug, made of woven particolored rags like a suffocated jester. They stream into one side of the rug, but they don’t come out t’other side. What gives? I spend a minute stealing Frommer’s belt and knife, and then roll my fat self across the floor away from the oven and over to the nasty rug. The smell of bread gets a whole lot unmistakeabler. Somebody under that rug is making some nourishing buttery goodness. It’s like April sunlight streaming in through a window, but it’s covered by a flattened clown. I pray for some kind of water, since I’m so thirsty, and I bite down on the belt I stole from Frommers with my hands tied together, and I try to roll over to the mangy rug.
at 1:13 AM