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February 24, 2009

Noodles Romanoff: Famous (and Tasty!) Russian Bank/Train Robber

Noodles Romanoff: Famous (and Tasty!) Russian Bank/Train Robber.

By Sarah

So, the other night, after putting in a 14-hour day at the law office, Charlie came home, kicked off his shoes by the fire and, as he's wont to do, lit into Dick Cheney. Yes, I know Dick in his black cape and Dick cane (to beat away orphaned children) left 34 days ago or so, but it was either Dick or the cat and our cat is way cuter. Eventually, Charlie wound up his lecture by concluding that our former vice president was akin to a famous Russian bank/train robber - Noodles Romanoff.

He said, "You know Noodles." Like Noodles worked at the local bank down on State Street.

I didn't know. Noodles Romanoff, as far as I was aware, was a sour cream fettuccine dish my mother made to accompany some cheap cut of beef that had been simmered for an eternity. It's the kind of food that kept my Lithuanian relatives slogging in the barren snow-covered fields foraging  for nutritious vodka berries. But not nearly as deadly as these. Is it bad that my mouth actually watered at the deep fried cupcake with chocolate syrup and sprinkles?

Meatloafandmac Anyway, being a dutiful wife and supportive friend, I kept on knitting and let Charlie continue his comparison of Dick Cheney to Noodles Romanoff, the famous bank/train robber from Russia. Meanwhile, I was flipping through my mental files. Who the hell was Noodles Romanoff?

I ran through all the Trotskyites, the bearded, goateed men I'd seen either in history books or police Trotsky photos, usually as corpses. Nothing registered.

Finally, I had to interrupt and ask who was Noodles Romanoff as I was pretty sure it was my mother's third Tuesday of the month side dish.

Charlie, as I feared, was aghast. This is the thing about our relationship and why I had to trick him into marriage. He's way better looking and in shape on a male scale than I am on a female one. Plus, he attended a fancy private school where they were reading Plato in ninth grade and then, eventually, the London School of Economics. He's traveled back and forth across the Soviet Union by train, lived and taught in Japan, and spent many moons in India. For pleasure, he reads books that won the Nobel Prize. I just finished an Agatha Christie, something to pass the time between Sophie Kinsellas. I'm a sucker for covers in pink.

"I can't believe you don't know who Noodles Romanoff is."

"As far as I knew," I said, bravely keeping my ground, "it's a side dish with noodles and sour cream. I Noodles romanoff think Lipton makes it."

"Well, where do you think Lipton got the name?" Clearly, trying to hide is shock and disappointment, his mortification that our children had inherited half their DNA from me, a non-Noodles Romanoff knowing person, he went to Wikipedia - the font of all modern knowledge - and typed in the name of the famous Russian bank/train robber.


Hmph. Showed how worthless Wikipedia was, he grumbled, Googling the entire universe looking for Noodles Romanoff. All that came up was the side dish. And this.

Noodles Romanoff 2 That's right. Turns out the famous Noodles Romanoff was the villain who attempted to kidnap the richest man in the world, a sheik, from Lasagna Airport in a Roger Ramjet cartoon. So much for Plato and all that.

Readers, there are few pleasures in life than besting one's spouse. One might say that after twenty years of marriage, proving one's superior knowledge is the rose on the pillow, the love note in the lingerie drawer. Victory is so delicious, so perfect, especially when it turns out that the source of the spouse's knowledge is a cartoon he used to watch in his Roy Rogers hat when he was six years old.

Sweet bliss.

Of course, the victory did not last long. Charlie was quick to recall the time I swore up and down that syphilis was the creation of the Greeks from screwing sheep and that it had, in fact, driven Socrates so insane he downed hemlock.

I think we're even. (Though, I might be a little bit ahead.)Socrates death

Okay. So when was the last time you bested your spouse or significant other? Don't worry, they don't read the blog. Spill!



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It's probably a man thing, but as soon as I saw the title of your post, I thought of the cartoon Noodles Romanoff.

My wife and I are pretty even in the one upmanship game. The fact that she was raised a good Catholic girl and lead a sheltered life means that I, a non-sheltered heathen guy, know a great many things that she doesn't.

On the other hand, she is both a woman and a techie, and therefore knows things that my primitive testosterone addled brain cannot fathom.

The Boss and I don't keep score (yeah, sure, right) but a favorite expression in the house is from (as usual) THE WEST WING:

"Just stand there in your Wrongness and be Wrong and get used to it!"

Sad to say, she says it lots more than I do....

I am always Wrong.

Or maybe I'm the only one who can admit it.

Ah, there are so many wonderful examples...

Most recent? Spouse is working in a household project and needs to cut something which is attached to an old plaster wall. I envision disaster (not unheard of in this household) as the wall disintegrates and requires immediate reconstruction, thus extending the project by weeks if not years. I say, wait a minute, and retrieve my handy window-zipper (an arcane tool for freeing paint-stuck sash windows--doesn't everyone have one?) and saw through the offending wood pieces, with no collateral damage. Presto, problem solved in mere minutes. I retreat strategically to bask in a glow of satisfaction while he goes back to banging on things.

Brava, Sarah! And thanks for the laugh, even if it is at Charlie's expense.

My husband has not traveled as extensively as I have, although he has been to all 50 states. However, he has an Ivy League degree in English, and let's just say that my education was not comparable. But I can spell; he can't. I can reel out all sorts of facts about literature; he can barely remember the last New Yorker article he read.

He does read Science News avidly, so he can generally best me in science areas, although not always. The last argument I won was about our farm garden we're trying to put together. I've been asking him to save the wood ash from the fireplace, and he has stubbornly been dumping it in the woods, wasting it, in my opinion. I finally found, online, proof that amending our soil with wood ash is a fine idea. He was bowled over.

You'd think that after 31 years he'd figure it out, wouldn't you? ;-)

Sheila, where do you get a window zipper? It sounds like my kind of doohickey.

Sarah is making waaay too big a deal over a very small error on my part. By now, I am sure you all realize I simply got my names mixed up. It wasn't Noodles Romanov who was Russia's Jesse James. It was Boris Badenov.

I am glad I had a chance to clear this matter up.

It's a common mistake, Charlie.


Ha! Charlie, stuck it up, it's not often that a MAN is wrong(?). Around my house, my hubby is always spouting bits of trivia that I know I don't have room in my head, does that mean my head is too full of important facts or that his is too empty.....hmmmmm.....

Spelling and grammar is the only time I have one up on him, he be frantically writing a report at work, and he can't remember which there, their or they're to use. Bbbbrrriiingg! Hey Dot, I'm writing a report, need to know.....I smugly answer with the appropriate there.

Sarah, I also had the good fortune of marrying a very smart man. Whenever he does get a little annoying about things that I've either never even heard of or cared enough to learn about, I ask him to give me the birthdates of our 5 children. That usually shuts him up for a while.

Dear Charles -

How clever of you to keep our true identities a secret as we continue our quest for world domination. You will be receiving our highest honor: "The Black Stain of Pottyslvania Medal and Eye Patch."

Yours in badness,

Fearless Leader

Soooo....being in the theatre I cannot be topped by what song comes from what musical. My boyfriend called to ask me to go see The Fantastics and started sing an Anthony Newley song from Roar of the Greasepaint. I politely said "No dear...that's not from The Fantastics" and let it ride.
He, however, used to think he did know it all.
We were at the King Tut exhibit in Broward with a couple who lived in Sarasota that went to his college and the topic over cocktails was Frank Lloyd Wright. I said that they should go over to the college in central Florida to get a first hand look. My boyfriend flat out told me there were no Frank Lloyd Wright buildings south of Georgia. I mean a real - you don't know what you are talking about stupid - in front of other people lecture.
Next day I printed out the photos of the Florida Southern College and mailed them to him. (He's way to busy and important to check his E-mail.)
He never brought it up again although his daughter told me he did go to see the campus. He's gay and gone but that moment lives on in my memory banks.
Just saying.

I'm a technophobe...really, anything even remotely electronic gives me hives. Still, I'm the one who updates the Dish smart cards, programs the DVR and VCR and knows where Word is on my laptop...good thing too, since the last time the husband re-installed Windows XP it screwed up my desktop. He did this because, after Dell did a restore, my printer wouldn't work. Rather than test the printer, he did everything else. Solution to the problem? Finally? Try to install printer on other desktop...see how hardware is accepted but nothing prints. Realize the printer is broken and go out to buy new printer which works fine (when the PC does).Argh! I may have been right on this one, but I would rather have my PC working the way it was before. Thank God for laptops and flash drives.

Highjack. My youngest daughter got a call from the PhD program she interviewed for on Friday--they accepted her! She still has one more interview to go on (two interviews out of the four schools she applied to), but this takes the pressure off, and means she will have money for her next six years of education. What a relief.

And since she wants to study neurology and the causes and potential cures of Alzheimer's and the like, someday her parents might end up benefiting from the research she'll do.

Congratulations, Karen! wow-- a brain scientist in your family. How many people get to say that? (me? I frequently get the, "you're no brain scientist" line)

Perhaps she will expand her scope of study to include mapping brain abnormalities caused from watching cold war cartoons in the early 60s?

Thanks, Charlie. I'll ask her to consider your suggestion!

Karen -

FANTASTIC! Please give her a big hug from TLC!

And sign me up right now for any available brain studies.


Congrats Karen and Karen's Daughter!!!

You know, we have Boris, Natasha, and Fearless Leader, but where's Rocky and Bullwinkle, the bane of their existence?

Just saying....

COngratulations Karen and Karen's daughter....wow! Six years free. And what productive work. Truly a day to celebrate.

BTW - I just saw a headline that says the markets are trying to be good sports and invest. Hello? Since when are stock brokers in it for the sportsmanship?

That said, I wonder what would happen if the newspapers played along and had their columnists write bs articles about the recession coming to an end next month. Would saying it make it so?

I kinda think...yes.

When the Martha Stewart Omnimedia stock was at $1, I told Dear Hubby that we should buy as much as we could afford. She would come back & come back strong.

He disagreed. We didn't. She did.

I also set up the tv/vcr/dvd set up. He can't program the vcr either.

Oh! Congrats, Karen & daughter.

I will volunteer Dear Hubby for research.

Pam, a year ago I begged my husband to put some of his investments into cash, instead of the "managed" funds. He didn't. Sigh.

Thanks for the congrats. PhD candidates who are in research not only don't have to pay for their five to seven years of schooling, but they also get an annual stipend and medical insurance. At least our education system does something right, since that policy encourages research in scientific areas.

By the way, this is the daughter who went to the Falklands to research penguins. I'm so proud of her I could bust.

Well, my daughter will get her Master's in Communications this May. She is planning to move to Oregon to be with her boyfriend until he gets his Master's next spring. She told him she was putting her life on hold for him for 1 year and then they would go looking for PhD schools for her. I think she still wants to teach at the college level. I just hopes she gets her thesis done.

Karen, hurrah! Hug that scholarly daughter for me! I hope her research helps us all "keep all our marbles" for our long, happy lives.
Pam, I may be calling on you if I can't get the DVR right. A friend helped with the converter box, but I may need an attic antenna for PBS (the most important channel IMHO).
A couple I met said that they settle the English/American pronunciation arguments by history -- whichever has been in usage longest wins (another possible use for the "Way Back Machine."

I am the fountain of useless facts at our house, but unfortunately I've usually twisted them up for fictional purposes by the time the subject comes up in conversation. So for accuracy, the score is: Jeff all the time, Me rarely.

For Charlie:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy9c5UtoOFI

BTW, it's 1:22 here in St. Louis, and I'm still waiting for an A.M. appointment with a Sears repairman for my HE washer. Any great minds want to tackle this issue? It seems with so many needing jobs, they could find enough repairmen to keep their appointments??

And another thing: I have nothing but respect and admiration for Charlie, and he obviously has enough intelligence to marry you, Sarah, but . . . can he KNIT? Because I think you get bonus points for knitting.

What fun! a nice way to while away the interminable wait for the repair technician with the odd idea of a.m.
Good news that the Delta Queen will for a while be a floating hotel in Chattanooga!

Karen, huge congrats to your daughter (and you, of course, for raising her!).

As the baby in the family (this connects to Harley's previous post) no one EVER thought I knew anything. But I read all the time and have a memory for little known facts/trivia. My fallback answer, whenever asked for a source, was "I read it in a magazine." Imagine their amazement when time after time I'd prove to be right. Now, everyone in my family uses that line. It's hard to disprove.

I'm set now to know all about Presidents, with a new Fandex that includes Obama!
One of my little concerns is the question they always ask to ascertain mental health, "Do you know who the President is?" Many years I would have had to answer, "I don't want to know . . . or believe, haven't liked any all that much lately." I guess I'm safe on that one for the next four years. Maybe I'll never have to revert to my old answer.

Thanks, Judy. This is my youngest daughter of three, and the first one to go to graduate school. She has worked really hard to get her older sisters' respect, but I think she can coast now for a while!

I'm still laughing about old Noodles, by the way. Sorry, Charlie.

I may have been right on this one, but I would rather have my PC working the way it was before. Thank God for laptops and flash drives.

i remember a Noodles Romanoff as a character in an R. Crumb cartoon series. Noodles mopped the floors in an insane asylum, and from there arose his adventures.

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