Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

Boris & Natasha at Costco

boris_and_natasha_11221248631.jpgThis Russian Spies in the Suburbs story is highly amusing, and makes the Russians look not evil, but stupid. What were these undercover agents supposed to be doing? Divining the secrets of Starbucks, IKEA and Trader Joe’s? Tracking down Moose & Squirrel in the aisles of Costco? And how useful, really, are undercover spies who are open communists, like the Lazaros? It’s also highly amusing that even though many of these spies spoke with Russian accents, they had ultra-American names. I love this bit of Russian spycraft:


A neighbor asked Ms. Murphy, who received her M.B.A. from Columbia Business School last month, if she was from Russia, after hearing her accent. Ms. Murphy said that no, she was from Belgium.

Belgium! Was she some sort of Conehead? Many Halloweens ago (strokes beard, looks away to the middle distance, pensively):

Prymaat Conehead: The little humans. Beldar, go brief them and dispense the consumables.
Beldar Conehead: [ opens door to two adults ] Greetings. Enter. Accept these treats – beer and fried eggs.
Prymaat Conehead: Aren’t you humans a little old for this sort of thing?
Carl van Arsdale: Well, we’re not trick-or-treating. I’m Carl van Arsdale, and this is my wife Sharlene. We’re Block Parents, here at Parkwood Heights.trickconeheads.jpg
Sharlene van Arsdale: Yes. I know your family’s just moved into the neighborhood, and I’m sorry we had to meet under thse circumstances.. I don’t know where you people are from, but we at Parkwood Heights do not give licquor to minors!
Carl van Arsdale: Yes, we were extremely upset to find six-packs of brewski in the children’s trick-or-treat bags. Now, we are seriously considering reporting this to the police, Mr…?
Beldar Conehead: Conehead! I am Beldar. This is Prymaat, and our young one, Connie.
Prymaat Conehead: We’re from France!
Carl van Arsdale: Oh. You’re from France? Well, that could explain part of it.


Finally, there was in a NYTimes report (which I can’t find on its site, but I’m looking at in the hard copy in front of me) this priceless quote from a neighbor of the Montclair, NJ, spies:

“They couldn’t have been spies,” said one neighbor of the “Murphys” in New Jersey. “Look what she did with the hydrangeas.”

This was not a spy operation. This was a Shouts & Murmurs essay.

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Peter S.

posted June 30, 2010 at 11:33 am

The whole thing is strange and hilarious. I was wondering whether or not this will affect the Russian Orthodox Church to be constructed in Paris. There were worries about it being a place to plant spywork, but maybe the rest of the world knows Russia better than the United States right now… maybe the French that criticize the new church are not surprised by the spies being “found-out”.

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posted June 30, 2010 at 11:47 am

I’m one of those people who is reminded of an Onion story by just about everything in the “real” news, and I couldn’t help but think of this one when I read about the Russian Suburban Spies Next Door.,2225/
I thought the (White House dinner crashing) Salahis did a better job of gaining access to the center of American power than the Russian soccer moms and dads. And I can’t picture Mohammed Atta or his ilk at Home Depot, wondering what kind of annuals will go best with the hydrangeas this season. In a way, this story is oddly comforting that the Cold War is well in the rear view mirror. And I’d love to be able to live on CIA-sponsored credit cards in a deep cover operation in Monaco or somewhere good and luxurious, living “as the Romans do” like these guys.

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Scott Lahti

posted June 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Finally, there was in a NYTimes report (which I can’t find on its site, but I’m looking at in the hard copy in front of me)
[points down rudely to his pitifully Tiny URL] I’ve got your NYTimes site-link right here, Our Sunday Smirking Boy.
Captcha: possible Urchin. You caught me – you caught the Urchin!

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David J. White

posted June 30, 2010 at 5:56 pm

I keep thinking about the kids some of these couples had. Were the kids born in this country? Do they even speak Russian? What’s going to happen to them with the parents — and I am going to assume for the sake of argument that their “parents” really are their parents — go to prison and/or are deported? Did the parents even think about what would happen to their kids?

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posted July 1, 2010 at 12:25 am

I just want to know what she did with the hydrangeas

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