наука умеет много гитик

У меня здесь 2 чемодана книг и ни одной тряпки. Тряпки мне не нужны, а из книг хотелось бы иметь более или менее живописное описание природы и географии Центр. Азии, т.е. Монголии, Синцзяна и бассейна Хуан-Хэ. Вася, если тебе не трудно будет, сделай для меня экстрактные выписки; ведь ты как потамолог и лимнолог, наверно, имеешь книги по Тариму, Лоб-нору, Хуан-Хэ и монгольским озерам и рекам, а добавить климат, геоботанику, зоогеографию и т.п. несложно. Помнишь, ты мне давал справку по р. Или; так вроде этого. Дело в том, что я сейчас занимаюсь хуннами, а из геогр. литературы у меня для справок есть только ску[д]нейший Обручев и геологии у него больше чем географии. Хочу похвастаться: я, за это время, настолько вдумался в историю Азии, что моя диссертация теперь кажется мне юношеской работой. Но и я работаю больше для собственного удовольствия, чем для извлечения выгоды. Как ни жаль, а науку и выгоду совместить трудно.
    [По ж]енско-семейному вопросу прими мой совет.
    1) Ты сам [винов]ат, что не следовал народной мудрости: Всякую тварь на хуй пяль, Бог увидит — хорошую пошлёт. Птица была [у мен]я 32-я, и то я считаю, что мне повезло.
    2) Женщина [когда] хочет жить с мужчиной, старается, инстинктивно, стать [так]ой какой он хочет её видеть. Поэтому она, незаметно [для] себя и без усилий со стороны мужа, переделывается. [В]спомни: в Туруханске Наташа и Матрёна начали приобретать манеры дам. Конечно, это с них соскочило, как только мы расстались, но если-бы мы жили вместе?
    Однако следует помнить, что возможны любые неожиданности и не очень размякать. Женщины как лошади — любят чувствовать крепкую узду. При ухаживании не будь настойчив. Показывай, что ты в любую минуту готов бросить. И будь готов, как-бы это не было трудно. Женщина, чувствуя пренебрежение, начинает сама быть активной, а это ускоряет процесс. Если-же она не обращает на это внимания — бросай, ничего не выйдет. В любви как на войне — всегда будь настороже. Ты ещё достаточно молод, чтобы проделать всё это. Пусть первый, второй блин будут комками, даже это неизбежно, но может и наладится. Если-же ты ещё затянешь — махни рукой. А иного пути нет. Но при этом не бросай научных занятий. Женщина будет требовать от тебя времени, но от науки не отрывай для неё ничего. Она с этим примирится если любит и тем более если равнодушна. Я сообщаю тебе элементарные истины, но надо начинать, как в школе, с таблицы умножения, иначе ничего не получится.
    — Лев Николаевич Гумилёв — Василию Никифоровичу Абросову, 18 января 1955 г.
    Опубликовано в журнале “Мера”. СПб., 1994. N4.

kantian head bang

A debate about Kant ended with a shooting in Rostov

Rostov-on-Don, September 16:
    Police detained a resident of Rostov, who in the course of arguing about the works of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant and their merits, shot his interlocutor in the head with a traumatic weapon, reported the Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Rostov-on-Don on Monday.
    According to the police, the suspect entered a kiosk to shop, striking a conversation with the victim.
    “They began to argue about the works of Immanuel Kant and their merits. A tempestuous debate turned into hand-to-hand combat, whereupon the instigator of the fight drew a traumatic handgun from his pocket and fired several shots at his opponent, then fled the scene,” — reported the statement.
    The police seized a traumatic gun “Wasp” from the detainee. The victim is currently hospitalized, his life is not in danger.

— Dimitri Buyanin, RIA News, 16 September 2013

lenin the head banger

Kremlin papers reveal Lenin the head banger

Lenin, one the most powerful leaders of the last century, was a problem child who slammed his head on the ground to demand attention, claims a new biography.
    Details of Lenin’s troubled early life were discovered in the handwritten memoirs of his elder sister Anna, which had been censored after his death and stored in sealed vaults under the Kremlin.
    The disclosures will further unravel the official account promoted by the communist government, which portrayed him as a saintly purist, far removed from the weaknesses and foibles of ordinary men.
    The memoirs reveal that the young Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, later known as Lenin, had short, weak legs and a large head that made him top heavy and caused him to fall over. He was unable to walk until he was three. When he fell over he would bang his head on the ground in frustration. “The wooden structure of the house made it into an echo chamber and the floors and walls resounded as the little fellow went on crashing his head on the carpet — or even the floorboards,” wrote Anna, who was six years older.
    Lenin’s parents were deeply concerned that he would end up mentally retarded. As well as his headbanging habit, Lenin had boisterous and destructive tendencies which upset his cultured family. “It was such obsessive behaviour that the family were very worried,” said Robert Service, author of the biography which will be published later this month.
    “He was very noisy and extremely disruptive as a child.”
    At three, he stamped all over his brother’s collection of theatre posters. His parents gave him a papier-mâché horse for his birthday but he twisted its legs off one by one. After Lenin’s death in 1924, anything that might have been perceived as even mildly critical was censored. As the Communist party developed the cult of Lenin, personal details vanished. His sister abandoned the drafts of her memoirs, which contained frank details of his personal life that she knew would not pass the censor. They remained locked in the Kremlin until discovered by Service after the fall of the communist state in 1991.
    “What has been brought out is how spoilt the little brat was by all the women around him,” said Dominic Lieven, professor of Russian history at the London School of Economics. “This family correspondence gives you an awful lot of little insights into the hatreds which boiled up inside him, as well as the strength of his personality.”
    Service has played an important role in uncovering the Kremlin’s secrets since he was granted access to its archives. Three years ago he revealed that Lenin kept his mistress in the Kremlin alongside his rejected wife.

— Tom Robbins, The Sunday Times (UK), 12 March 2000

a farewell to shmaltz

     Shmaltz
Fat, especially chicken fat. Used in place of butter in kosher homes when a meat meal is served. The cracklings left after chicken fat is rendered are gribbenes or greevn. My mother made her own chicken fat and kept it in the refrigerator in a Skippy’s Peanut Butter jar.
    There’s a Romanian-Jewish restaurant on the old Lower East Side, Sammy the Waiter’s, that has one of those glass pitchers other restaurants use for cream or maple syrup, filled with schmaltz on every table. Marvin Hamlisch’s dad used to play accordion at this restaurant. It was during one of his breaks that Zero Mostel stood up and shouted at the top of his lungs, “This food killed more Jews than Hitler!”
    My theory is that although Jews in Eastern Europe were poor, we were fairly certain of two good meals a year; for the new year in the fall and for Passover in the spring. So we invented a cuisine we could taste for six months just to remember.
    Shmaltz and its Americanized adjective, shmaltzy (in Yiddish it would be shmaltzik), also refer to high-cholesterol styles of music and tear-jerking drama.

    —Joel Siegel, Lessons For Dylan: On Life, Love, the Movies, and Me, PublicAffairs, 2004, p. 239.
Zero Mostel’s restaurant review is corroborated by The New Yorker, Volume 50 (1974), p. 84.


European cultures are of three kinds: wine drinkers who cook their food in olive oil; beer drinkers who cook their food in butter; and vodka drinkers who don’t much care for cooking, or food. My lifelong project is to ascend from the last position, to the first.

пидорас в нехорошем смысле

Еврейский анекдот наоборот:
— Мойша, а ты знаешь, что Жора — пидорас?
— Что, он занял денег и не отдаёт?!
— Да нет, в хорошем смысле.

Une histoire juive à rebours :
— Moishe, tu savais que Gégé est un pédé ?
— Quoi, il a emprunté de l’argent et ne le rembourse pas ?
— Non, dans le bon sens.

The contrary of a Jewish joke:
— Moishe, you know that Gerry is a fag?
— What, he borrowed money and refuses to repay?
— No, in a good way.

Tenue de soirée vingt-sept ans après:

как я в 18 лет превратился в персонаж художественной литературы

Среди нас оказался вчерашний школьник, мальчик с нефритом, на строжайшей диете. Вся еда ему не годилась, вся без исключения. Но кто это будет учитывать в бараке? Жри, что дают! Узнал об этом старик, отсидевший по тюрьмам семнадцать лет, принес назавтра пару плиточек шоколада. На свои купил, на запрятанные деньги.
    — Кто против них, — сказал, — тот мой друг. Где бы их ни давили, я рад.
    Это он притащил горстку конфет, пачку вафель, белый хлеб для школьника. В жестокий шмон умудрился пронести под стелькой ботинка еще одну плитку шоколада. От тепла шоколад расплавился, потек, пропах лишним запахом: пришлось его выкинуть.

    — Феликс Кандель, Зона отдыха, 1979

ни трагедия, ни фарс

Человек стремится всю жизнь не быть посредственностью (חוצפה, если не ὕβρις), или хотя бы не осознавать себя оною (tragische Konflikt, не ἁμαρτία, а ἀμαθία). Кончает посредственным скандалистом—не в силу лени, и не за неимением таланта, а из-за провинциальной ограниченности.

В Париже или Берлине пожалуй вышел бы Доминик Стросс-Кан или Даниэль Кон-Бендит; в Лос Ангелесе или Нью Йорке—Майкл Милкен или Эл Франкен. В Питере знаменательно произошёл Виктор Леонидович Топоров.

the casino and the suckers

“Most people are unconscious up to 17, dreaming until 25, awake to 39, mad after 40, dead after 60.”

— Ian Fleming

“Woe, woe, woe (I think I am quoting Ezra Pound more or less) in a little while we shall all be dead. Therefore let us behave as though we were dead already.”

“It was like this, Mr Bond.” Zographos had a precise way of speaking with the thin tips of his lips while his half-hard half-soft Greek eyes measured the reaction of his words on the listener… “The Russians are chess players. They are mathematicians. Cold machines. But they are also mad. The mad ones forsake the chess and the mathematics and become gamblers. Now, Mr Bond.” Zographos laid a hand on Bond’s sleeve and quickly withdrew it because he knew Englishmen, just as he knew the characteristics of every race, every race with money, in the world. “There are two gamblers… the man who lays the odds and the man who accepts them. The bookmaker and the punter. The casino and, if you like” — Mr Zographos’s smile was sly with the “shared secret” and proud with the right word — “The suckers.”


Of all the visitors to the Deauville casino, perhaps the greatest gambling wizard was Nicolas Zographos, a Greek-born mathematical marvel who in the nineteen-twenties and thirties was the keystone of “the Syndicate,” an association of gamblers who worked together and financed their star joueurs. His background was as mysterious as that of the late Sir Basil Zaharoff. Zographos’ favorite game was not roulette, boule, vingt-et-un, or chemin de fer, but the big one, baccarat in its most rarefied form — banque à tout va (the sky’s the limit ) — played in the privacy of the “salle privée,” a special room with its own set of alert guards. Experts have called Zographos the greatest cardplayer who ever lived. “I decided to perfect myself at them,” he once told a Deauville visitor in the thirties, and he added that he had worked hard at his chosen career and amassed a number of fortunes. “Perhaps you do not realize it, but there is as big a difference between a good baccarat player and a poor one as there is between a scratch golfer and a man with an eighteen handicap,” he went on. “People think, because at baccarat or chemin de fer you have to play with the cards dealt to you, that there is little opportunity for skill, except, of course, when it is à volonté to draw. But I assure you they are wrong, and I should know.” In those days, he kept himself in perfect shape by playing not six-pack bezique but eight-pack bezique and remembering the whereabouts of every card in the eight packs.
    Zographos’ largest loss at a single session of baccarat was thirty-six million francs, at a time when that amounted to nearly a million and a half dollars. “The largest number of times I have ever won consecutively on both sides of the table is twelve, and on one side of the table nineteen,” he has said. “The banker, in drawing his second card after the player’s, has a tiny but definite advantage. But the main difference is that the players double up their bets when they are losing and hedge when they are winning. It is only human nature, but there you are. I will put it another way. The bank plays baccarat as though it were contract bridge, weighing up every chance mathematically. And let me tell you it needs the brain of a very good accountant to assess immediately the amount of money being staked on either side of the table and then to work out mentally whether it is worth drawing a third card. … There is no such thing as good luck or bad luck.” Another member of the Syndicate, a Greek shipowner named Athanasios Vagliano, was often the banker of baccarat games in which two and a half million dollars changed hands in one night.

—Phyllis & Fred Feldkamp,
The Good Life… or What’s Left of It: Being a Recounting of the Pleasures of the Senses that Contribute to the Enjoyment of Life in France,
Harper’s Magazine Press, 1972, p. 123

what is to be done?

At the end of Patrice Leconte’s sublime film Ridicule, the marquis de Bellegarde, the refined and humane physician played by Jean Rochefort, discovers the villainy that underlies the “bel esprit” committed to the art of brilliant repartee that determines and defines the pecking order at the royal court. Revolution sweeps away the French aristocracy, and Bellegarde finds himself exiled in England, a humble tutor to the overprivileged offspring of his indigenous counterpart. There, while walking along a seaside cliff with his native host, he becomes agitated as a gust of wind carries away his hat. “Mieux vaut perdre son chapeau que sa tête”, better to lose one’s hat than one’s head, phlegmatically points out the Englishman. Whereupon Bellegarde, recalling his long forgotten befuddlement by the notion he is about to invoke, has his epiphany: “Ah… L’humour!”

Which is to say that it would take another Revolution followed by a therapeutic exile to instill a sense of humor in Russian intelligentsia.

— Быть невесёлым, это как кому угодно, — сказал Бьюмонт: — но скучать, по моему мнению, неизвинительно, Скука в моде у наших братьев, англичан; но мы, американцы, не знаем ее. Нам некогда скучать: у нас слишком много дела. Я считаю, мне кажется (поправил он свой американизм), что и русский народ должен бы видеть себя в таком положении: по-моему, у него тоже слишком много дела на руках. Но действительно, я вижу в русских совершенно противное: они очень расположены хандрить. Сами англичане далеко не выдерживают сравнения с ними в этом. Английское общество, ославленное на всю Европу, и в том числе на всю Россию, скучнейшим в мире, настолько же разговорчивее, живее, веселее русского, насколько уступает в этом французскому. И ваши путешественники говорят вам о скуке английского общества? Я не понимаю, где ж у этих людей глаза на своё домашнее!
    — И русские правы, что хандрят, — сказала Катерина Васильевна: — какое ж у них дело? им нечего делать; они должны сидеть сложа руки. Укажите мне дело, и я, вероятно, не буду скучать.

— Николай Гаврилович Чернышевский, «Что делать?»

“One may be melancholy as he pleases,” said Beaumont; “but to be bored is in my opinion unpardonable. Boredom is a fashion among our brethren, the English, but we Americans know nothing about it. We have no time to be bored; we have too much to do. I think; I mean, it seems to me” (he corrected his Americanism) “that the Russian people ought to see themselves in the same situation: as I see it, they too have too much to do. But, in reality, I see exactly the opposite in the Russians; they are very much disposed to gloom. Even the English cannot equal them in this respect. Englishmen are known all over Europe, including Russia, to be the most boring people in the world, but they are as superior to the Russians in sociability, vivacity, and good cheer, as they are inferior to the French in these respects. And your travelers tell you how boring English society is. I don’t understand what they see when they look at themselves.”
    “And the Russians are right in being gloomy,” said Katerina Vasilyevna; “what chance do they have for activity? They have nothing to do! They have to sit with folded hands. Give me something to do, and in all likelihood I shall not be bored.”

— Nikolay Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky, What Is to Be Done?