TUNDRANAUTICA

Bringing Home the Freshest Kill

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BorschtPortal

In years past — specifically, each December — I’ve celebrated the medium of blogging by inviting writers I like to compose guest posts here, at this blog.

These events have gone by the moniker “A BORSCHT-IN,” and they have been good fun.

Ricky

Part of the fun was watching talented scribes like Daniel Kalder and Ricky Sprague do their thing, and do it damn well.

Daniel

But this year, I’m inverting the process. This year, instead of soliciting blog posts for this site, I’m offering to guest-post at other peoples’ blogs in December.

Lucy Steigerwald on Hollywood Boulevard

I’ve already promised the brilliant Lucy Steigerwald an item for her blog. I also have something brewing for the blog of my amazing friend Ruth Waytz.

Ruth as Clay Matthews

So, I humbly throw this idea out to the shifting, whispering sands of the Internet — who else would like to taint their brand by allowing me to pilot their blog for a post or two during the month of December?

I only have one rule for this experiment — if you ask me to blog for you, you must assign me a blogging topic.

Somehow it just seems more fun that way.

Game on, comrades.

EXCELSIOR!

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Ruth Waytz, a good friend and frequent contributor to this site, is featured prominently in a new documentary on the Church of Satan.

It’s a three-part series available on YouTube. (FYI: RW gets more screen time in Parts 2 and 3 than Part 1).

Check it out, she’s great in it:

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My dog is my favorite non-human animal on earth.

Whenever we arrive at the dog park, we are barbarians at the gates, restless to permeate the membranes of these verdant cocoons; eager to find tranquility and smoke it from its hole.

The dog is my fierce friend, my loyal companion. When I’m depressed, he energizes me with his playfulness. When I need to relax, he is a palm frond for my aching ass muscles.

Sometimes people try to “tame” the contrarian fires burning in my dog’s wolf-warrior soul. To slow this elegant engine of destruction from its march through neighbors’ backyards and their cat-litter boxes.

But, to paraphrase something the great Jim Goad once said, “Would you ask Usain Bolt not to sprint?

If someone ever tried to hurt my dog, the forecast would call for a torrent of fist-showers. My knuckles would rain hell on his assailant with the ferocity of a valkyrie carrying its freshest kill to Valhalla.

Cat owners, yours is no disgrace. I love cats too. I actually own one of them, with another on the way (I’m “cat-pregnant,” with an expected due date of Autumn 2013.)

But I admire the chaos and incivility that dogs bring to the table. Chaos sells, and my dog’s buying.

Fun tidbit: My ex-wife and I enjoy joint custody of the dog. When he’s not with me being awesome, he’s protecting her and my son from the city’s most ignoble scum.

He is the greatest canine I know.

x-posted at When Falls the Coliseum

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Welcome back to “A Borscht-In,” i.e. Guest-Blogger Month here at the site.

Last year’s experiment was so good that there was never any doubt that it warranted an encore performance.

Thus “A Borscht-In II” was conceived, and now it’s finally here —  “Sophomore Year.” From this point forward, everything will be beach parties and sugar plums.

RUTH WAYTZ

Up first in the 2nd Act is the ever-alluring, omni-seraphic and inarguably brilliant Ruth Waytz from Los Angeles, California.

Ruth Waytz

Ruth can be found online here, here and here. Not only is she everything I said and more, she’s also a Green Bay Packers fan, which brings her closer to God than anyone ever in the history of Southern California. (Just joshin” you Californians. Unlike my fellow Oregonians — I actually like the Golden State.)

Ruth’s first installment is about PERFECTION, and I don’t mean the wonderful John Travolta film. Please check out her posts from last year as well, especially “This is What I Want“:

 

UPDATE! A new post from Ruth revisits PERFECTION, and does so with completely beautiful VENOM. A must-read! And Ruth delivers the scoop on her transformation into a football fan here. Good stuff, and I greatly appreciate the props for Clay Matthews.

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DANIEL KALDER

Daniel Kalder

The newest arrival at the Borscht-In is void-wandering Scotsman Daniel Kalder.

I’m excited to have Daniel on-board because he is truly one of my favorite authors. His books Lost Cosmonaut and Strange Telescopes are both stellar. Below is a short review yours truly wrote for Lost Cosmonaut back in May. I hope it offers some insight into D.K.’s considerable literary gifts:

Hilarity, Desolation, and Chess: A Review of Daniel Kalder’s Lost Cosmonaut

I became so enthused about this book that I found myself reading passages aloud to friends. One such passage involves a conversation between the author, Daniel Kalder, and a man named Konstantin, who is Kalder’s liaison to a pagan mystic in Mari El. The two discuss the mundanity of offering some non-descript meat to the gods in an oak grove. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the absurdity that seems to dominate much of Russian life.

Kalder excels at diagramming these types of dry and often humorous exchanges, which is probably difficult to do in estranged Russian lands. A lesser writer might fall prey to one of two tendencies:

Smug, ironic condescension e.g. “Look at this hilarious, f#cked up place and these hilarious, f#cked up people!“; or

Solemn, empathic condescension e.g. “My god, look at these sad, terrible places and grim, empty people.”

Happily, Kalder avoids both traps. He doesn’t settle for “easy.” He milks uncomfortable moments for all they’re worth; he refuses to dress up anti-climax with false cheer; and most impressively, he navigates the nether-voids of these desolate places without succumbing to a pretentious, Nietzsche-ish tone.

Misanthropy? No; that’s an “easy” emotion; there’s more to Lost Cosmonaut than that. This is skilled, clever writing. Kalder sees people as multi-faceted character studies, not simplistic caricatures. Lost Cosmonaut forces the reader to confront the clichéd but true-to-life dilemma of “not wanting the story to end.”

Oh, and it features a journey into the deep, dark underbelly of the global chess scene. All hail Ilyumzhinov!

Daniel’s contribution to the 2010 Borscht-In expounds on an idea that D.K. riffed on with much panache elsewhere this year, i.e. the sentience of his facial hair. I won’t elaborate — doing so would only broadcast my clumsiness while robbing D.K.’s post of the double kick-drum power it deftly wields. Instead, I provide direct linkage — straight to the source:

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Thanks to everyone for participating and/or reading. It is great fun. (And if you want to join the fray, click here. There is still plenty of time, and I’m fine with entries bleeding over into the New Year.)

— Mike/Iced Borscht, December 2010

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Last year, I started a tradition here at Iced Borscht wherein friends and other bloggers provide guest posts for the month of December. It’s called “A Borscht-In.”

Some of you might recall that Ruth Waytz provided some great material, as did Conrad Heiney and Jacob Grier. All three of them are invited back for A Borscht-In II, of course, but newcomers are welcome also.

Who wants in? The topics are up to you. There are no hard and fast rules. Below is a list of subjects typically covered at this site:

  • Russia and other transcontinental cha cha cha
  • Gurgitation and culinary treasures
  • Women
  • Portland
  • Humor
  • The Pack
  • Sex
  • Music
  • Deep-fried dystopia
  • Politics (any perspective is welcome, on any end of the political spectrum)
  • Strange places
  • Strange people

The veteran guest bloggers I already mentioned (Ruth; Conrad; Jacob) will get full-on user IDs of their own so they can log on and post at their leisure. Neophytes will have to e-mail their contributions to Big Daddy.

There are no deadlines, per se, but contributions are welcome between now and the end of December. The guest posts will officially go live on December 1, 2010.

That’s all there is to it.

You know you want to do it!

Borscht

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