Stark Raven Lunatic

Last week a Russian insisted to me in conversation that Americans are crazy. This could be true, but after being here for not even two months it's quite apparent to me that Russians, Ukrainians, and all former Soviets are beyond the pale in terms of craziness. So, even though this person doesn't even use the internet, I begin another semi-regular feature. Proof that former Soviets are crazier than Americans.

Exhibit one, pictured above. These ravens (not crows) were not located at the Kiev zoo. They are located about 2 and a half blocks from my apartment. Some guy has erected behind his house a massive cage that contains three ravens he keeps as pets. The oldest is fifteen. This, self-evidently, is crazy. Perhaps crazier than the woman who keeps chickens as pets in her apartment and takes them for walks. The above birds are quite massive and they eat carrion and trash. Who wants an animal commonly associated with pestilence, death, and misfortune to be kept as a pet? In defense of the birds, they did seem to be quite well behaved and got along well with the people that were there looking at these birds. Additionally, the keeper of these birds was quite vibrantly telling a story about how there is a small chinese woman that brings tour groups to his "aviary" on regular stops to show them off as an attraction.

On a side note, the Russian word for Raven is "Voronin." For some reason this word struck me as something I recognized as a last name. Looking into it, there's a player for the Ukrainian national soccer team named Voronin, but I don't think that's where the association came from. Can anyone think of any famous Voronins? Perhaps from the NHL? Posted by Hello