Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I really need to pay closer attention to these things. While I was busy working, commuting, blogging, going to the grocery store, attending wedding receptions, and so forth, the festival of Maslenitsa (a.k.a. Russian Mardi Gras) passed completely unremarked-upon. That just isn't right. A few additional accounts, some with images. This is a sample of what I, and probably you, missed:

  • Linguamir has some pics of traditional folk dancing and general clowning about. Since the company claims to be "Quality language instruction", I'd like to offer them a bit of of constructive criticism. In English, referring to a female clown as a "girl-buffoon" isn't very nice at all. You're likely to offend people talking that way.
  • One of several posts at Moscow Minutiae. At one point the post mentions a honey-based drink called medovukha, which WIkipedia says is a lot like mead. Hmm. Combine that with the folk dancing and such, and you've basically got a Renaissance Fair on your hands.
  • Another article w/ more images over at Accidental Russophile.

Ah, well. There's always next year.

Meanwhile, I still haven't found that link I lost where someone was blogging about Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. However, here's what may be the next best thing, a blog about Carnaval in Pernambuco, Brazil. Looks like it's all safe for work, albeit maybe a bit distracting.

And St. Patrick's Day will be here soon. So far I haven't seen any signs that there'll be a repeat of last year's beer festival in Pioneer Courthouse Square. We went and loved it, but most of the time we were there the place was deserted. It's almost unimaginable that someone threw a beer festival in Portland and nobody shows up, but that's exactly what happened. I know, because I was there. The thing even got a reasonable amount of publicity, and it didn't help. Maybe everyone who goes to this sort of thing was at the Kells Irish Pub's festival, which is sort of a local institution. It's hard to say. Later it occurred to me that the festival also tied up the square over the anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, so part of me wonders if maybe that was the plan all along.

Of course, everybody knows that the really big spring festival here in Portland doesn't come until a bit later. The Spring Beer & Wine Festival doesn't happen until mid-April this time around, because it always runs Easter weekend. It's really tailored to local conditions in ways that traditional festivities aren't. First, it's indoors, which is very important here. Second, it has no religious aspect whatsoever. Third, it's a chance to drink a lot of beer while pretending it's all a big intellectual exercise for discerning conoisseurs, And fourth, there are lots of knicknacks and trinkets you can buy once you've had a few drinks. The next morning you wake up and think "I bought THAT!?". Which can be expensive, but at least nobody's caught an embarrassing disease that way.

At the moment, I'm enjoying a nice glass of Cantillon Geuze, which is a definite acquired taste. Someday I'll figure out whether I actually like lambics or not, and decide once and for all whether they're truly the pinnacle of the brewer's art. But not today. I figure there's no point in forming a concrete opinion until you've tried 'em all.

And now we've hit the "unrelated items" part of the post, where I list off a few things that I came across today that have nothing to do with the alleged topic of this post.

  • Thrilling video from The Lancelet of an octopus eating a shark.
  • You may have seen this already. A blog out of New Zealand offers a series of pics titled "Bad Parenting", featuring some ducklings. Well, the ducklings appear in two out of the three pics, I'll put it that way.
  • The Panda's Thumb reports on the current creationism debate in South Carolina, where I used to live a few years ago. I sure miss the weather right about now... And the food. And some of the people, some of the time. Did I mention the food?
  • In the same vein, here's a great Washington Post column titled Culture of Intellectual Corruption. I'll just tell you flat-out that it's about Bush, so that you don't have to waste your 6 guesses. One key point it makes is something I've tried to explain here on occasion:

    Specter is right to link Iraq with everything else, because the debacle there is a product of the same magical thinking that rejected global warming, stem cells and condoms alike. Underlying it all is a commitment to belief over fact, what should be over what is. It is evidenced in the insistence by Bush and others that "intelligent design" is, like evolution, worthy of teaching. "Both sides ought to be properly taught," Bush once said. Yes, and astronomy and astrology, too, and maybe chemistry and alchemy as well. It's a totally bogus proposition.

  • A travel blog, from someone who's trekking around Argentina even as we speak.
  • Whaddaya Say Fritz, another interesting photo blog,
  • love of robots, in which a 15 y/o student posts her many doodles involving robots. This is quite possibly the most excellent blog ever, but don't ask me to try explaining why. It just is, ok?

and now, the tags:

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