Friday Links

Hopefully in a couple hours, we will be homeowners.  If not, Monday will also be Link Day, only it will just be a list of links of liquor stores in the tristate area.


  1. Mmm mangoes and chicken.
  2. What makes a home, a home?
  3. The Phantom Tollbooth and childhood
  4. Everybody hates Raymond in Russia
  5. Las Vegas in Kazakhstan
  6. The best parts of the Bible
  7. Miiindyyyyy
  8. Fire safety in Israel
  9. TV in the dark ages
  10. A children’s book for all
  11. Oh, Ohio
  12. Best international relations reads
  13. Kyrgyzstan bazaar
  14. Annabelle, seriously.
  15. My imaginary bestie Elif
  16. Obligatory Russian Jewish link
  17. Malta
  18. Should every child be subject to ridicule?
  19. Why I read The Hairpin.

Open Thread: What Do You Eat in Your Media Diet?

I am really late to this, but The Atlantic has been posting peoples’ media diets for a while now.  My favorites are the people I’m most familiar with: Tyler Cowen, Anna Holmes, Terry Gross, Gary Shteyngart.

I’m always interested in what people read and how they read it (which is probably evident by the Friday Links), so I thought it might be fun to share what/how we read stuff in the comments.  What really interests me about the media diet series is how may people use Twitter as a primary news source, how many still are adamant about reading paper versions of newspapers, and how many read New York-centric media.

Here’s mine:

I wake up around 6:30 and turn on Twitter  in Tweetdeck as I eat breakfast. I get the majority of my US breaking news from Twitter, but not this early.  Usually around this time, only Israeli and some European/Russian tweeps are up and at work, so I’ll catch some stuff from Israel.  I follow a lot of journalists, a lot of economists, and a lot of regular people who are really funny and interesting and sarcastic. I try to be like them.  Then, I flip to my Google News, which is customized with “Israel”, “Russia, ” “Central Asia,” “Economics,” and “Global Trade” sections.  I’ll skim that for major headlines or trends. Sometimes, I’ll flip to Google News Russia and Israel and read in Hebrew/Russian.  But only if I’m feeling unstoppable.

When I get to work, I’ll open my Google Reader, which I think is my primary source for non-breaking, more in-depth stories, especially esoteric news from Central Asia, Israel, home design, and the world of writers. I spent a long time getting Reader to an efficient way for me to get my news, and that sucker is slick as hell now.   My main go-to reads, according to my Reader Statistics are: YNet (usually I’ll read in English but if I’m feeling super-cocky I’ll open the Hebrew version), Apartment Therapy, ShortFormBlog, FastCompany, TheRumpus, and The Hairpin.  I also love The Tablet for Jewish-American centric news. I also catch up with blogs at this point so I can read humor writers who are much more talented than me. I’m really interested in people who write humor well and those who describe ordinary life well, as well as people living abroad.   Not to mention the Blog Bloc!

Then, I read news from Philly that might impact me locally at the dismal and news from my industry, IT consulting. Usually that includes and other similar industry mags.

At lunch, I’ll go through Twitter to see what I missed. Usually that includes a lot of content from NYTimes, The Atlantic, and Russia/Eurasia news.  Since I stopped reading Jezebel, is now my go-to lunch destination, but I feel like I’m still missing something, and it makes me sad. I stopped reading most feminist blogs entirely because they made me angry and ragey.  I now only read Curvy Girl Guide.

Halfway through the day, my mom will usually send me what I like to call Angry Israel links from Russian-language Jewish news sources. I will tell her to start reading normal news sources, she will disown me, and this cycle will continue until I tell her we’ll talk on Skype later.  Sometimes, people send me links I might be interested in via email. Then, sometimes, we have email conversations about those links.  Those are the best.

After work, I try to stop reading news and usually just end up watching something on my computer on Netflix. I hate watching shows at a scheduled time because I feel like the networks think I’m a moron.  I am working really hard on being away from screens after work and hopefully once we get into home stuff/summer biking weather/5k season, I’ll be able to achieve it. Once in a while, I’ll go on Reddit, where the most interesting subreddits for me are TwoXChromosomes and fitness. Never go on the Israel Reddit. Ever.

I am working hard again to start reading paper instead of the computer before bed so I can be relaxed, but the last books I read, The Hunger Games, were on my Kindle for Mac. Next book I’m buying will be in paper, mark my words.  I try to read at least two books a month, but with the move and going marginally crazy, that hasn’t happened. Although I do have three books waiting for me when life is semi-back to normal.

On the weekends, I’ll go to Barnes and Noble to “browse.”  I usually leave with something, mostly magazines. Magazines I like to read in print include Snob (it’s in Russian and at the same reading comprehension level as The Economist so it takes me a really long time to get through it, but so worth it), The Economist, Monocle, Foreign Policy, and The Nest. Also sometimes Rachael Ray Everyday. But don’t tell anyone. If I feel like I need to impress someone, I’ll pick up Foreign Affairs or the Harvard Business Review.  If no one’s watching and Mr. B’s not with me, I’ll get Glamour.

I just read this back to myself and realize how much information I consume every day. This includes mostly everything, but is not all-encompassing.   Also, this makes me seem like a huge asshole with lots of free time. But maybe it’s normal? You tell me.


A Guide to Questionable Russian Careers, or “Seryozha, That Guy with the Ambulance.”

This car is not big enough. Looks like it's ambulances for me from here on out until I become indicted for Medicare fraud!

A couple weeks ago, we were having dinner with Real People, when the conversation turned to Russian career choices.  The hip thing to do in Philly if you’re Russian now is to own a privately-operated ambulance. Whether it’s because it’s convenient to leech money from insurance companies and commit fraud or  whether your Hummer is JUST NOT obnoxious enough for when you go out to the clubs, ambulances are THE in business to be in right now.

Before ambulances, every Russian was in real estate, either as an agent or a mortgage broker,  because you could make a killing bilking people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a field where almost everyone has no clue what’s going on.

Before that, every Russian was selling cell phones and SIM cards. I have no idea how this started or what ended it, but I’m guessing it had something to do with this.

(P.S. Did you know when you search for Russian things, you get nice Russian search results:)

Before that, when the big wave of immigrants came in 1991,  the it thing was programming, which is the only real job on this list.  However, because it was so lucrative and so easy to get into back in the day, there are now a bunch of mediocre Russian programmers who were originally Russian language or horticulture majors back in the homeland that screw up the reputation of Russians who actually do know a do loop from an if loop.  In my immediate family alone, there are SEVEN programmers. And I currently work in IT, although not as a programmer, but that doesn’t count because I still read The Economist and yearn for that job in  Suisse.  The given amount of Russian programmers any Russian knows is inversely proportional to  ∞.

What do all of the industries above have in common that are attractive to shady Russians?

  • Low barrier to entry (i.e. usually no college degree needed)
  • Slightly sketchy (come on, selling cell phones? really?)
  • Will be impressive to people who have no clue how it works
  • Has to seem cool enough for other Russians to jump on the bandwagon
  • Has to be vaguely written about in Russian newspapers to pique their interest
  • Has to be waning in interest among the general public

With that in mind, put your predictions for industries Russians in the United States will want to enter over the next 10 years in the comments.

I’ll start you off.

Organic food (straight from Chernobyl) spaceflight, social media, frozen yogurt, medical billing (on the other hand, too late), pet insurance, and iPhone applications.