Monthly Archives: January 2017

Eleventh day of Christmas

irkutsk

Just in case you have never seen a sleigh pulled by a reindeer, here is one. My eccentric cousin had them in Lapland and Scotland, of course, but this is a postcard sent to Moscow in 1911 from the eastern reaches of the Irkutsk Oblast, where the sender was exiled or imprisoned. I know of it from my relatives who are interested in old things, although the sender and original recipient are friends of theirs, not relatives of mine. It is an exotic photograph in every way.

Axé.

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The sun rises and sets

My father says the Russian prisoner’s song he learned from Mensheviks in Mexico City at the time of the victory of Stalingrad is called “My window” but really I think it is called “The sun rises and sets.” Here are some lyrics for one version of it in Russian but there is a book Russian folk lyric from Indiana University, with a foreword by Vladimir Propp, that has a most beautiful version.

This last version appears in a play by Maxim Gorky called Lower depths, and according to Propp the song was very widely sung in 1905. The final stanza is an exact translation of part of Black raven, a very important song about war and death. Black raven will re-convince you of the horrors of war and the marvels of Russian culture. Our ancestor spoke twelve languages and I would like to learn Russian.

I learned looking for my father’s song that there is a whole genre of prison and criminals’ songs in Russia–as one might have guessed. I learned about the cantautor Mikhail Krug and the important neo-prison song Vladimirskiy central. I have seen photographs and videos of current Russian prisons and they resemble U.S. prisons very greatly.

I also discovered an amazing tenor, Dmitri Smirnov. There is a 1912 recording of him singing a Rachmaninoff song called “My window” and I wonder if it is related.

Axé.

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Things learned from surfing

Stupid motivational tricks published some spiritual exercises from which I learned that the fear and fretting que me aquejan desde la Reeducación simply must be put aside.

Meanwhile, I got hooked on a truly trashy tv series of the kind set in European courts. I like these as palace politics resemble politics at work.

In this one, I learned from Nostradamus that you really can decide not to let the “darkness” live in you; also, the young royals keep on saying they want to decide what kind of kings they want to be (rather do things as they “should” be done or as I would put it, follow academic advice).

I also learned from political discussions that I am a threat as long as I do not have power. (It causes me trouble that I am seen as a threat.) I have to take power, rise. This doesn’t mean take over, but it does mean define oneself, perhaps. But I must take and use power.

Axé.

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Photos from Russia

The calendar my family bought for 1917.

1917

A drawing of brickmakers a family friend made on a walk by the Volga River in 1930, in a small town outside Kazan where they were exiled.

kazan

My grandfather’s cousin Olga in 1893.

olgabary1893

Axé.

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Nikolai II

nikolai1917

“1917 will be a better year.”

Axé.

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