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Archive for June, 2012

Russian Billionaire Prokhorov is Cooking a New Russian Electro Mobile

Vladimir Putin (on the left), Mikhail Prokhorov (on the right)

Russian self-made billionaire and once an officially registered presidential candidate, 46-year-old, 6’7” bachelor Mikhail Prokhorov, also well known as the owner of the NBA Team – New Jersey Nets, has a new exciting project he and his company ONEXIM working on – it’s a so-called ‘City Car’ – the official brand name is ёМобиль (Yo-Mobile) – Electro-Mobile based on Russian Technology, and made almost solely from Russian components.

Yo-Mobile at Auto Show in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Technical solutions, which formed the basis of the car, helped to create a common platform for all models, which can be easily applied to cars for various purposes. Versatile platform allows implementing any design up to the totally futuristic looking vehicles. Like this one below that most likely will never be mass-produced.

In the first stage it was decided to stick to more conventional car design. So, the first “Prokhorov’s” or “Misha’s Car” (those are a couple of nicknames this hybrid car has been called unofficially) will be the urban compact van and a small crossover for youth, for which the company invented a new class of vehicle “Cross-Coupe.”

Although both cars have the same platform and headlights, the rest of the design for these two vehicles is completely different and they are not identified as members of the same brand.

Although the car’s design does not look too original, and has no “own” distinctive features, it might be just the right move for the mass production targeting Russian – extremely conservative – buyers. Any car that is pushing it a bid beyond of the usual and accepted forms maybe doomed to failure.  I personally have very conflicting feelings abut cars being painted in brown, green or blue mixed with beige, but hey, I could be just color blind.

Italian Pininfarina B0

Incidentally, a year ago, similar in technology, design and dimensions to Yo-Mobile’s platform electric car was produced by Italian Studio Pininfarina B0. We have the opportunity to compare the Russian and Italian designs.

ONEXIM promises to begin mass production of its vehicles in 2012. There are 158,000 orders have been placed through official web-site so far. ( http: //www.yo-auto.ru/yo-mobile/pre-order/ )

Would you consider joining the waiting list?

Good Humor Me, Classical Music – Little Nightmare Concert.

Life is made of tragicomically controversial moments. One man’s painful fall may cause a bystander to burst into an inappropriate laugh. While in stitches ridiculing the clumsiness of a stranger, the bystander himself may slip on a banana skin and fall hard… Though hurting really badly – through all the moaning – he’d start laughing even harder. Why? Because he sees the irony in what happened to him.

Seeing the funny side of life and things is a gift. The ability to help others not to take themselves too seriously, to make them lighten up and make a light out of sometimes less than perfect situations, is a talent.

Concerts of a duo of a violinist and singer Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-Ki Joo (http://www.igudesmanandjoo.com/biography/) are full of unexpected twists and turns, as they don’t just deliver a professional performance of musical pieces, but also offer their own theatrical interpretation of each composition. There’s a humor and story in every note and step they take on stage.

Famous ‘I Will Survive’ had never sounded so lighthearted before:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odhDJiRys6U

Most of people like to have fun and be entertained. When I feel like inviting some extra silliness into my life, I go to a Comedy Club or choose to watch a comedy movie. But Comedy and Classical Music didn’t exactly go hand in hand in my mind until I saw a performance of Alexsey and Joo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkNBWeWzha4&feature=related

I think, Mozart would be proud: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Psazw6xsMFs&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2nRMrDYdyg

After rocking New York’s Carnegie Hall back in April, Aleksey and Joo are now on their way to you, so you might just see their performances in person. Check out their touring schedule.  http://www.igudesmanandjoo.com/#

Former Soviet Union’s Got Talent & Eagle’s Song ‘Hotel California’ Got a New Life

Chances are you’ve never heard of ‘Buranovskiye Babushki’) before. Let me get you up to speed – ‘Бурановские Бабушки’ (in Russian), or in English – ‘Buranovo’s Grandmas’ is a music folklore sextet from the village Buranovo of Udmurt Republic, which was formed 40 years ago. The oldest of six “girls” in the group is 77 now, which means she was born in 1935 – before World War II. The youngest grandma is 44. So, it’s safe to say that all the ladies in the band were born way before Perestroika, and thus clearly represent children of the Soviet Union Era – a former one as for now.

If you don’t know what and where Udmurtia is  – it’s an ethnically unique region in Russia more known for the names Kalashnikov and Chaikovsky than for their distinct culture – very different from what you may think the culture of Russia is (say, borsh, balalaikas and bliny is not exactly the Udmurt thing). Udmurtia is exercising a certain degree of independence from the central government in Moscow. The autonomy goes back to the Soviet times when a few regions across the USSR were delegated a couple of extra rights, most of which were related to the people’s traditions and language. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udmurtia).

‘Buranovsky Grandmas’ perform variety of Russian and Foreign hits in Udmurtian language, which, by the way, is more similar to the Finnish than Russian.

Here’s their soul-piercing rendition of Eagle’s famous song ‘Hotel California’ in Udmurtian:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK_4MMShIzY

This year the team of singing grannies was chosen to represent Russia at the prestigious contest “Eurovision 2012”. This competition is held annually and broadcast live among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurovision_Song_Contest)

Baku Cristal Hall

Azerbaijani duet won at Eurovision 2011, that’s why Eurovision 2012 took place in Baku  – the capital and largest City of Azerbaijan, which also used to be a part of USSR. The contest was watched by 125 million people from all over the world. Completely make-up free and dressed in patchwork uniforms – traditional red smocks, headscarves and woolly boots, ‘Buranovskiye Babushki’ danced around the kiln and even baked bread on-stage while belting out their now-famous hit ‘Party for Everybody’. These six newly discovered sensations won audience’s hearts and took a second place with the above mentioned song, which they sang in their language. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKNRGc71hjc

If you wonder who won Eurovision 2012, it’s a beautiful singer from Sweden Loreen with a song ‘Euphoria’. Here’s her final performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqYtlpZ-9N4&feature=related

Life in the Russian province has never been easy. You might find it hard to believe, but residents of Buranovo are still obtaining water from the well, and stoke their houses with the firewood, keeping domestic animals, and taking care of their gardens in the summer…

But Eurovision 2012’s runner-ups  are only happy to go back to their amenities-free life  in a tiny  village Buranovo with a population of only 650.

In fact, they will be investing their prize winnings into in their beloved home village to rebuild an Orthodox Church, which was destroyed during Second War II and was never restored. And, of course, they’ll be also touring non-stop internationally.

Bethenny Frankel Shoved Dr. OZ


Did Bethenny Frankel go too far this time? Pushing the envelope is one thing, but pushing Dr. Oz’ TV Show the whole hour ahead, and getting his 11AM spot on FOX (http://www.bethenny.com/) takes her super powers to the whole new level! I mean, is there anything this ‘Skinny Girl’ can’t do?! You don’t have to answer – this question is a rhetorical one. I watched her “first” TV Talk Show on ’Ellen’ today, and I personally doubt it very much that it was indeed her very first time hosting a talk show – a hint – that’s why I put “first’ in quotes. My theory is – Beth had been schooled to go after her dreams at a secret college (trust me, all successful people went to that college at some point in their lives) – somewhere in another Galaxy, in the Outer Space. And that’s where Beth made Friends in Higher Places, who now support and empower her here on Earth.

And to whoever is spreading rumors about Beth’s and Jason’s divorce – get life! One of the ‘Bethenny’ show’s guests implied that black men’s penises are bigger than that of white men, and Bethenny immediately asked for proof! Beth felt comfortable making a joke like this, even though her husband was a part of the audience. My point – it takes a very special man to handle a strong and successful woman, and it takes balls to say whatever you feel like saying in front of your husband while hosting a show on the National TV.

I feel these two were custom designed for each other, and so they will… they must live happily ever after. Now that I made this statement, Bethenny, you and Jason’d better make it work!

Bethenny, Congrats on your Big TV Talk Show Debut. I loved it. Keep on rocking!

My Love Confession to Shopping

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping… What season of the year, what a happening in my life – no matter how big or small – had not I shared with you? You’ve got me sprung from the very moment my mom introduced me to you when I was only one year old…

Well, actually – now that we know each other for so long, I feel comfortable being completely honest with you – and so I admit, I started to remember and acknowledge you only after I became 5.

From baby dolls, stuffed animals, and girlish bows that my parents bought for me, to cocktail dresses, killer heals and intricate make-up along with mysterious perfumes and all kinds of bags, that I had mined on my own – little by little you grew on me. You made me feel accepted. All I had to do to become a member of like-minded community was to walk through the doors of your stores. Our chemistry was immediate and undeniable.

We’ve been through a lot together. In your gracious presence I was picking up and trying on all sorts of sexy outfits for my first date with Alex, then Andrew, then… Well, you know – you cheered me up and sent me on my way. Later, browsing through your motley aisles, I found so much comfort in spending quite a bit more than usual in my quest to mend my wounded heart after my break up with Alex, then Andrew, then… I don’t have to tell you – you were there. You are always there for me when I need you.

You witness me every time, when I’m being on my mission determined to find a perfect gift for my parents, my friends, or my colleagues on special occasions. Birthdays, Christmases, Anniversaries and all sort of other events – we see it through together – never give up on each other.

While giggling and discussing latest gossips, my girlfriends and I can spent hours strolling through your shelves and aisles, hunting for the best deals, discovering new designers, scaling the prices, trying on new outfits, exchanging fashion ideas, and advising each other on what fits our ever changing bodies best. What a joy! What a blissful way for one to express and spoil thyself!  It’s fun, it’s challenging, and it’s therapeutic.

Every event, every passage of my career, and every turn in my life – you welcome me – no questions asked.

Daffy’s (http://www.daffys.com/), Marshalls (http://www.marshallsonline.com/), Loehmanns (http://www.loehmanns.com/), Macy’s (http://www1.macys.com/), Sephora (http://www.sephora.com/) – those are just a few of my favorite stores.

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping, the chemistry between us is strong. We click. We understand and need each other. We are friends, we’re partners in crime. And I am not afraid, and only happy to say: I DO, I DO… love you… I love you, Shopping. Here, I said it!

Comics Getting Comfy In The Digital World

It’s not unusual at all – in fact, it’s regular scenery nowadays to see subway riders reading eBooks on their Kindles, playing computer games or watching videos on iPads or Laptops. Of course, there some of us who still prefer paper books and newspapers (I am one of them). But I was truly surprised the other day when I took a glance at one of my fellow subway riders’ iPad screen – the guy was looking through comics. For whatever reason, it struck me as rather odd combination – iPad and Comics coexisted in the same space (literally)– almost as if the Past and the Future came together… you know, for some kind of Time Machine Expo…

Guess what? Comics drawings can be traced as far back as to ancient times. Paintings found in ancient tombs 3400 years ago depict scenes of harvesting and processing grain. Also, scientists had found similar old drawings executed with Japanese ink.

First comic strips were found in Europe, and were describing the Norman conquest of England in the 1066. Pictures and texts had already merged.

Since the beginning of the 12th century, Japanese monks were drawing pictures on the roll of paper. At the beginning of the 19th-century, the notebooks with funny popular stories had been widely disseminated. 
Religious history has also been often reflected in the drawings made on the cathedrals stained glass.

Rodolphe Topffer, along with McCloud, called the father of modern comics in the mid-19th century was the first to use the method of concluding drawing in a frame and combining images with text. 
 During the same period in Japan, magazines with caricatures had became very popular. Rakuten Kitazava and Ippei Okamoto became the first known Japanese artists who have created the whole series of short comics.

By Rakuten Kitazava

By Ippei Okamoto

Thanks to Japan, comics started to get printed in U.S. newspapers. In Europe, the comics have evolved into the form of booklets, where the story plot started to get extended from one booklet to the next. The idea of ‘to be continued’ kept fans hooked.

Comics have always been a subject of worship for many youngsters and adults. More than one generation of teenagers grew up on graphic novels about Superman, Batman, Hulk, Iron Man. It’s kind of hard to explain the phenomena behind the magic powers of superheroes that captivated minds of so many fans.

Words ‘To Be Continued’ keep us hooked.

Some American cartoon characters were created by illustrators from 1938 to 1956, – in the “golden age of comics.” But there are some older characters that appeared in the early twentieth century. Interestingly enough, it’s not illustrators, but writers of  ’pulp fiction’ – a genre popular in the 20s – put the beginning to what in the mid. 30s  grew into comics.

Thanks to new technologies, new cheap wood materials became available in the 1920s, which reduced the price of paper and, consequently, the production of books and magazines. Which, in turn, enabled American popular literature – periodicals in particular – to flourish like never before. Young writers started to earn a living by writing short fantasy stories that were published in cheap literary magazines – this is how the first superheroes came to light. American readers warmed up to the heroes of comics during the Great Depression.

Later, in the nineteen-thirties, the stories were illustrated with pictures that soon replaced the text. Thus, the heroes of pulp fiction have migrated from the printed pages into the drawings.

Today, when we live in the Information Age – the Era of the Internet, 3D and 4D movies, Computer Games, iPods, iPhones and iPads, one might think that such simple form of entertainment as comics would just go extinct… Well, not so fast! Obviously, not only the art of comics had not disappeared, it have managed to integrate itself into the contemporary world with its modern technology! That truly amazes me: why would one choose to look at the still pictures and sketches while there more advanced forms of entertainment available with all these fancy graphics and games? I don’t have an explanation. Do you?


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