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Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Sunday Funnies

English Russia offers readers a wealth of hilarious (and terrifying) candid views of the Moscow subway. Click through to have a gander.

More Truth is Funnier than Fiction

The Moscow Times reports:

A car thief with a tragicomic record of heists gone awry was arrested Thursday morning after the Volkswagen he had stolen ran out of gas in rush hour traffic, police said.A car thief with a tragicomic record of heists gone awry was arrested Thursday morning after the Volkswagen he had stolen ran out of gas in rush hour traffic, police said. Traffic police arrested Alexei Ashurin, 30, at around 9 a.m., after the 15-year-old red Volkswagen he was driving ran out of gas near Tsaritsino Park in southern Moscow, police spokesman Valery Buzovkin said. "The officers helped him push the car off to the side of the road to clear the way for cars behind him, but then they noticed that something was fishy," Buzovkin said. "There was a screwdriver sticking out of the ignition, and the lock on the door had been damaged." Volkswagens are the most commonly targeted imported vehicles by car thieves in Russia. Ashurin, who has been convicted for car theft and drug possession in the past, did not even try to talk his way out of the situation, Buzovkin said. "After the officers asked to see his documents, he immediately told them he had stolen the car," Buzovkin said, adding that Ashurin broke down and cried in front of the arresting officers. Ashurin has been charged with theft and faces up to two years in prison if convicted. It apparently was not the first time that Ashurin ran into technical difficulties while plying his trade. The suspect told police that his previous conviction stemmed from an incident in which he stole a car from an auto repair shop, Buzovkin said. "The owner of the car left it at the shop to get the brakes repaired, and [Ashurin] stole it from the lot," Buzovkin said. "But the brakes had not been repaired yet, and when he tried to stop at a red light, he went through the intersection and slammed into a Jeep." Ashurin also told police that on another occasion, he passed out drunk behind the wheel of a car he had just stolen. He abandoned the car after getting in a single-car accident, Buzovkin said.

CBS News reports:

Just outside the Kremlin, there's a high-level conference going on this week that affects us all: the World Toilet Summit. It's been organized by the WTO — the World Toilet Organization — a very serious group that is flush with ideas on how to improve sanitation. "The World Toilet Organization is the voice for a subject that has been neglected for so long," says WTO founder Jack Sim. "The World Toilet Summit is creating a revolution, because people were not talking about toilets before." He says that about 200 delegates have focused their talks on a number of issues, including how to induce the construction of more restrooms, improving sewage treatment and fighting diseases that can be spread via lavatories. In general, the non-profit organization to influence governments and companies on a wide range of questions related to toilet usage and standards. It also sponsors World Toilet Day every November 19. Toilets are a subject that may make people giggle, but it's heady stuff ... as serious as the subjects raised by that "other" WTO, the World Trade Organization. "Have you ever wondered why we made the acronym WTO? We use humor to propagate our message," explains Sim, who was a businessman in Singapore before founding the group. "When people are inhibited, to break the ice, you make them laugh. After they laugh, then they are listening and eventually they become serious. And they take action." The average person spends about four years of their life in the bathroom. Exhibits at the summit show there are plenty of ways to make that quality time. There are handmade toilet paper holders that play music. One of them has male and female figurines on top, who come together to kiss as the toilet paper is ripped. The music? The theme song to the movie “Love Story.” Another of the toilet paper holders features miniature soccer players — and as the toilet paper is pulled down, a small toy ball goes into a soccer net. The exhibit also features a Japanese commode which comes with its own remote. The remote control can make the toilet flush, make its seat go up or down, or make a retractable bidet attachment pop out from the wall of the bowl. The toilet’s cost? More than $6,000. There are also high-tech public toilets. One freestanding cabin is made of silvery metal and is shaped like a space capsule. Another toilet unit on display has two fake marble bowls attacked to a giant metal box. The bowls spin around so that once can be retracted and disinfected as the other is used. World Toilet Summits have been held each year since 2001. Moscow is a good place for the meeting because, in this department, Russia still has a long way to go to catch up with the West. About a third of Russian homes still have an outhouse. And as for public toilets, port-a-potties are state of the art. Russia has few public restrooms. But at least people who hear the call of nature can now use the plastic portable toilets that have been set up recently in many public spaces. For example, just outside Red Square, there are a number of port-a-johns that can be used for 10 rubles (about 35 cents). In fact, more than 40 percent of the world's population — more than 2½ billion people — lacks indoor plumbing. That means the work of the WTO isn't likely to go to waste.


La Russophobe said...

oh are you bored dear? that's sucha shame, since we wrote this blog just to please YOU! ;)

maybe you'd prefer what La Russophobe publishes on Publius Pundit! check it out!

you know, the politburo also told Solzhenitsyn he was boring quite often. interesting, isn't it?

La Russophobe said...

gosh, it seems we're so boring that you just keep coming back to talk to us over and over and over again. thank god we're not more interesting your you'd be our groupie.

you know, it's quite pathetic that you can't manage to make any constructive criticism (you don't say a word about our publius articles which are all original or the dozens of other original posts on the blog) but only make empty, vaccuous remarks nobody cares about. jealousy is making a rather sorry spectacle out of you. there isn't the slightest whiff of substance, or even specifics, in anything you say. lame.

we're glad you mentioned that Solzhenitsyn was a man of action. like us, he directly confronted the kremlin every day. care to give us an example of something YOU'VE done recently to fight for democracy in russia?

we've spend many years living in russia. what cities have YOU lived it?