The genre of what Russians call Садистские стишки, ‘sadistic verses,’ is quite interesting, and I’m happy to report you can read about it in English from two angles, the personal/bloggish in “The Sadistic Couplets,” by a Georgian (U.S.) woman named Robin, and the academic in “Sadistic Verse as a Genre of Russian Urban Folklore: Typical and Specific Features, Child and Adult Audiences” (pdf), by Mikhail Lurye. I’m always impressed by the delight kids (especially boys?) take in cartoonish violence, and there are plenty of good examples here (though one might wish that the authors provided the Russian originals in footnotes).
While I have your attention, on a far less interesting and ridiculously recondite topic that nevertheless has been bothering me all day: Erik at XIX век has a post about the obscure and thoroughly obsolete Russian expression “ни к стру, ни к смотру,” meaning either “for no reason, out of the blue” or “(good) for nothing,” or possibly something else (see his post for details); what bothers me, as I said in the comment thread, is this:
So what is стру? It’s maddening that Finkel and Bazhenov say [the expression has] gone out of use because one of its components has become incomprehensible but don’t bother to explain the component! Unless maybe they didn’t know either? It must be from some old word of the form с(ъ)т(ъ)ръ, but damned if I can figure out what.
If anybody knows, or has a good idea, I’m all ears.