Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Victory! Nash Holos is now a "true" podcast!

I think it's time to celebrate ... I feel like I just graduated!

Nareshti ... finally ... after many agonizing, frustrating months I have created an RSS feed for Nash Holos mp3 archives. (It's actually an xml file, but I think it's the same thing. Works the same anyway...)

There are lots of great sites with instructions on how to create an RSS feed, but the one that finally turned on the light in that black hole called my brain was podcast411 ... with an 8-minute podcast and very clear and simple step-by-step instructions.

So, you can now add the NH playlist page to your aggregators! The one I use is FeedReader and it's dandy. Here's the feed ... http://www.nashholos.com/NH-rss.xml

Only a couple of things left to do until I can fully relax on a laurel or two ... figure out how to actually get the xml code into cyberspace, and how the itunes coding goes. Then, NH will really be rocking!

For now, tho, I think a nice glass of Dubonnet is in order ... on the rocks, with a twist, please.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Vancouver audio archives for Oct. 29, 2006

Vancouver's Oct. 29 Ukrainian radio audio archives now available!

Join host Pavlo Manugevych on Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) for the latest news and views from Ukraine, exclusively in Ukrainian, as well as some great tunes!

And on Nash Holos ... Sylvia has another great recipe for a Ukrainian dish that's also a favourite with Scandinavians. Fr. Bruce has a travel tip about the ideal destination for young people, as well as a message about cherishing your church.

And of course, there's the Proverb of the Week, items of interest to the local (and global) Ukrainian community and, as usual ... plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

Gogol Bordello on tour in the UK

From a recent article at Scotsman.com:

EVER since he was a child growing up in Ukraine, Eugene Hütz was obsessed with creating something grand and fantastic. His inspiration came from bunking off school to watch his favourite film, Spartacus. He swore to himself that one day he would have a band that moved and sounded just like the rebellious gladiators in the film.

Gogol Bordello, the New York-based, eight-strong gang of gypsy punks which Hütz now fronts, may not have the swords or sandals of Kirk Douglas's men, but their riotous gigs are about as close as concerts get to public disorder without requiring tear gas to subdue the crowd.

'At each concert, the audience have their own Spartacus uprising,' Hütz says...


The "music" is not exactly my cup of tea, but I have to admire the guy's determination and commitment to his craft. The guy sure knows his stuff ... marketing in particular.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Celebrating Rosh Hashana 5767 in Ukraine

Here's a neat Google Video from Uman, Ukraine, on the eve of Rosh Hashana , where some 35,000 Hasidic Jews from around the world gathered to celebrate the High Holiday - the Jewish New Year 5767.

It's an hour of footage of mostly people milling around and of the crowd praying and chanting. However, , if you don't understand Hebrew or Yiddish (not sure which language it is) then you won't likely want to sit through the whole hour, but do scroll through it and take in a minute or two here and there. It will give you a real feel for the Hassidic Jewish sect, particularly the Breslov branch. Quite neat.

As well, there are a couple of great klezmer tunes opening and closing the video.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rogers Cable anti-Ukrainian?

Well, go figure this one out.

The League of Ukrainian Canadians petitions Rogerscable Communications Inc. to use correct phonetic and linguistic transliteration of Ukrainian TV program titles on Rogers’ Interactive Program Guide (IPG.

Soon after, Rogers sees the light (duh...) and replaces Russian transliteration of the Ukrainian TV programs with Ukrainian.

Then, six months later, Rogers reverts back to its old practice of editing Ukrainian titles in Russian.

Huh? What's with that?

I'd say Ukrainian Canadians can certainly be forgiven for thinking there is some anti-Ukrainian bias in the corriders of power at Rogerscable. There doesn't seem to be any other reason for turning the clock back and doing the wrong thing.

Please go here and sign the petition to get Rogers to go back to doing the right thing, again.

Sigh.

Vancouver group Zeellia on RCI

Valentyna Golash, host of Montreal's radio program Ukrainian Time in Montreal, also produces programs for Radio Canada International.

Earlier this year, she spoke with the Vancouver group Zeellia and produced a program about them that will be broadcast on RCI to Ukraine.

Go here for a direct link to the program.

Trying to define "too much" ...

I'm a big fan of the new technology, like digitized music and the Long Tail economic model that enables the inexpensive distribute of it. And lots more music gets distributed these days!

But maybe, as the writer of this article seems to think, there are limits ...

"Nine thousand songs?" ... "Who the hell has 9,000 songs?"

[He] shot me a withering look. "Ninety-thousand songs. I said 90,000 songs. And, I do."

... I know my jaw dropped as the words "ninety thousand" fell from his lips.

Translated into time, that's about nine months' worth of music. ... That's nuts. ... You could have a full-term baby without ever playing the same song twice.

And besides, where do you find the time? Or the money?

... My own paltry
iTunes library runs just shy of 500 songs -- a little over a day and a half of music -- and that includes every selection from Pipes of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Now, I spend a lot of time listening to music, but like most people I tend to play my favorites a lot. Even at 500 songs, there is music I've played exactly once since downloading them to iTunes. Ninety thousand songs? I wouldn't begin to remember even a tenth of the titles.

So what's the point?

I dunno. I understand the writer's point of view. However, I also suspect he hasn't been on the block long enough to recognize a library when he sees one. And besides, who's to judge the motivation of collectors?

Back in the dark ages when vinyl ruled, my husband amassed a collection of 1000 or so LPs, of just about every genre imaginable (he left the Ukrainian section to me). That's maybe closer to 9,000 songs than 90k. But still. Vinyl is old technology.

Then he discovered CDs, quite early in the game, so we probably have at least as many CDs as LPs. But at least they don't take up as much room. Anyway, now he is converting all his (well, ok... our) favourite tunes to MP3s, a format in which he will probably, in short order, be acquiring new releases.

As for me, naturally I collect Ukrainian music. I produce a Ukrainian radio program after all.

But I am also a writer, so of course I collect books ... all kinds of books. Some (not by any means all) of them are stored on what my hubby calls "the stacks." As in library stacks. I admit, it's kind of crazy. I've promised him I would cull them by getting rid of one book in the stacks for every new one I buy. But I'm not very diligent about it. There are some I just can't part with!

And yes, many of them I haven't opened in years, maybe decades. Kind of reminds me of the guy with the 90k songs ...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Just found! - First Ukrainian podcast

Very exciting discovery I made today ... a site that bills itself the "First Ukrainian podcasting site."

For your convenience, here's the podcast's RSS feed. Just plug it into your feed reader/aggregator and away you go.

Among the luminaries interviewed (in English) are Dr. Dominique Arel, US Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer, and political analyst Anders Aslund ...

I'd have to say the guy is outstanding with both a mic and a pen (well, keyboard) ... he's got a great blog too. I could do without the bits of nudity here and there but that's just me. (I guess it's considered "art" by European types, and I'm not particularly artistic.) The site is otherwise very visually appealing, however, as well as thought-provoking.

The author of both blog and podcast is Serhiy Kudelia, a PhD Candidate at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Molodetz!

Video of Okean Elzy's musical statement on the politics of the nation

A video of that Okean Elzy song, Veseli Chasi (Jolly Times), mentioned in my previous post has been posted on YouTube here .

Nice to see a return of the Orange Revolution sentiment, "Razom nas bahato" (Together we are many) ...

The Okean Elzy song, btw, is outstanding, as are the visuals. What struck me is that, unlike most contemporary songs, this one keeps to the Ukrainian musical tradition of repeating the refrain twice. Somehow that seems to give the message so much more impact.

Let's hope that this song does fulfil its promise to effect social change, and that more will follow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Okean Elzy sings for changes

Activists do what they can to make the world a better place ... and as this Kyiv Post article illustrates, one of Ukraine's most popular music groups, Okean Elzy, is no exception:

Okean Elzy frontman Svyatoslav Vakarchuk proved once again that he’s one of the most politically-aware musicians, by releasing a video for his serious topical song called “Jolly Times Have Come, Brother” written by him and performed by Okean Elzy.

The matter was considered so serious that the video premiered not at the musical channel as it usually happens but on air of an analytical TV-program ...

According to Vakarchuk, the lyrics he has written describe modern-day realities and address the whole generation, calling for change. This notion is not especially original, as any Ukrainian knows by heart another song urging for change, “Want Changes,” released by Soviet rock-band Kino in 1989. This song was truly relevant at the time, and most importantly striking changes did come two years later.

It’s hard to say when and what exactly will change in Ukraine, and if it will be influenced at all by Okean Elzy songs, though why not? After all, Ukrainian politicians now often appear very much like show-biz figures.


Okean Elzy can be heard on Vancouver radio programs Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia ...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ukrainian-Australian wins San Antonio Piano Competition

Aussie Girl over at Ultima Thule has a great blog post (actually, she doesn't do any other kind!) about Ukrainian-Australian pianist, Alexey Koltakov.

He won the $15,000 top prize to become the gold medalist in the Ninth San Antonio International Piano Competition.

Molodetz, mate!

Vancouver audio archives for Oct. 22, 2006

Vancouver's Oct. 22 Ukrainian radio audio archives now available!

Join host Pavlo Manugevych on Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) for the latest news and views from Ukraine, exclusively in Ukrainian, as well as some great tunes!

And on Nash Holos ... Sylvia has a great recipe and the scoop on a popular spice, Fr. Bruce has a travel tip about the ideal way to travel, as well as a message about the distinctions between Eastern and Western Christianity.

And of course, there's the Proverb of the Week, items of interest to the local (and global) Ukrainian community and, as usual ... plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

Thinking positive

This has nothing to do with Ukrainian music whatsoever, but ...

This morning I came across the three laws of prediction by the novelist who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, and just had to share.
  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
The first one in particular makes me realize that there will always be naysayers around, and that if you let them, they will hold you back.

This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

More examples here ... if you're in the mood for a chuckle!

Friday, October 20, 2006

good news for radio advertisers

According to this article ears more receptive to advertising than eyes.

Radio listeners are more accepting of radio advertising than they are of ads on TV or the Internet, according to the latest report from the Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab (RAEL) of NYC ... Why? Because the emotional connections they have to their favourite stations extend to the ads. Also, they consider radio ads to be more relevant to them and the products that interest them.

But the internet came off fairly well in the study too ...

Although radio elicited stronger personal connections - personal mood enhancement, personal motivation, personal comfort - participants gave the Internet higher marks for helping them understand what is going on in the world, broadening perspectives, helping to solve problems, and giving information that can be shared with others.

This is precisely what I aim for at Nash Holos:

... the reasons for tuning to radio. "Improves your mood/makes you feel positive" ranked highly in all age groups but highest with adults 35 to 44. "Helps you have a good time" scored strongest with those aged 18 to 24.

All this is very good news for radio advertisers, because radio advertising is relatively cheap, especially on programs like Nash Holos!

Interestingly, the study found that those who listened to oldies or urban radio station formats were more tolerant of advertising than other listeners.

Now, as far as the future goes, I think there's a tremendous tie-in between radio and the Internet. Looking forward to the upcoming study on it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Associated Press in a time warp

According to this Yahoo! News report, the U.S. government will now be spelling the name of Ukraine's capital properly, i.e. Kyiv.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press continues to spell it "Kiev."

Real progressive of AP, eh?

Must be tough living in the past. After all, there was progress back then too...

To be or not to be ... my question to the CBC

OK, I'm confused.

Is our public broadcaster a media organization that impartially informs the public, or a public advocacy organization for influencing Canadian society?

On the one hand, it advocates for such social justice issues as working to stop bullying, and publishes stories like this one about a ventriloquist cop who teaches kids not to bully.

Yet, on the other hand, it has no qualms about publishing a news story about a video game that encourages players to become better at bullying.

So what I don't understand is, if the CBC is advocating to stop a certain behaviour, why give free publicity to a commercial venture that encourages it? Strikes me as rather inconsistent, if not disingenuous, to be doing both.

And it really makes me resent the tax dollars I am forced to donate to the CBC. I could put them to far better use on my own program ... where I take great pains to be consistent.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Breaking stereotypes in America

I guess it's progress when Ukrainians from Ukraine are now doing this...

... Levkova said she came to the United States to break stereotypes she had about the American people. Much of the news Ukrainians get about America is from Russian television, she said, which is very biased.

In the first three days of her trip, Levkova said the stereotypes have already been broken — though she’s had to break some stereotypes of her own. One man ... thought Ukraine was part of Russia. He also asked if she knew how to use a computer. ...


The rest of the article deals with the journalists' impressions of American-style democracy and the differences in press freedom between the US and Ukraine. Very good stuff!

Entire article here.

Bully video game - thanks, Vancouver

This is the best a Vancouver company can produce?

The company that makes the popular and controversial Grand Theft Auto series of video games is letting players of its latest release try their hand at schoolyard bullying.

Talk about being an irresponsible corporate citizen. The press release, written by an obviously clever spin doctor, describes this disgusting video game as brutally funny and tongue-in-cheek, among other disclaimers from corporate and moral responsibility.

On its website, Bully publisher Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. describes the game released Tuesday as "outrageously funny." ... Point-scoring activities include beating up and humiliating other students, setting off fire alarms and striking teachers.

Yeah, I can just see Baba and Gido rolling on the floor over such cute and adorable antics.

A U.S. judge on Friday rejected a bid by a prominent detractor of video games to have Bully banned in Florida ... "There's a lot of violence" [the judge said] after seeing the game played. "[But] less than we see on television every night."

Oh well, that makes it ok then. But didn't someone once say that "evil happens when good men (and women) do nothing"? Heaven knows, you can't expect anything from those of questionable character.

The game, available only for Sony's PlayStation 2 console, is produced by Take-Two's Rockstar Vancouver studio. Spokespeople for Take-Two and Rockstar did not immediately return calls for comment.

A spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment Canada declined to discuss Bully [and] Canadian representatives of video game retailer EB Games declined to comment ... instead referring the question to the U.S. parent company GameStop Corp. of Grapevine, Texas. GameStop spokespeople did not immediately return calls for comment.

i imagine these spokesmen would consider them nuisance calls and not worth their time.

Take-Two also publishes Rockstar Games' popular Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, which depicts life in crime-ridden, decaying urban centres. The franchise has drawn criticism from some quarters for allegedly glamorizing criminal activity, but its defenders point out that "sandbox" style games such as GTA that leave players free to interact with the game world in any manner they choose also mean they can play peacefully if they wish.

Yeah, right. As we all know, kids always choose broccoli and carrots over teeth-rotting candy, so they would naturally pass on the latest attractively packaged and aggressively marketed new toy.

Makes me real proud to be a resident of Greater Vancouver (she said extremely sarcastically).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Kontakt TV now podcasting

Slavko at Infoukes has just announced that you can now download the Ukrainian TV program Kontakt every week to play on your Video iPod!

The RSS feed is located here. To access it, use programs like iTunes ... go there and just open up a podcasting link to the RSS feed location.

You don't necessarily need an iPod, tho. The programs are available for download and streaming as before.

However, the nice thing is that there is now an RSS feed to the site, so you can add it to your feed readers. Now, whenever there's a new program uploaded, you will automatically be notified.

BTW, if you're looking for a nice and easy (and free) feed reader, try this one. I use it and it is dandy.

Mainstream media in an alternate universe (literally)

Well, if this isn't an illustration of the decadent west, I don't know what is.

Reuters is opening a virtual news bureau in Second Life, a three-dimensional online world inhabited by hundreds of thousands of users and one of the world's most popular virtual economies.

... Starting Wednesday, Reuters will publish text, photo and video news from the outside world for Second Life members and news of Second Life for real-world readers.

Reuters is one of several real-world corporations that has a presence in the virtual world on the internet. Organizations such as Harvard University, American Apparel Inc. and CNet.com are among those opening operations in Second Life, while musicians such as Duran Duran and Suzanne Vega have broadcast virtual concerts there using the world's lifelike animated characters.

The parallel universe was created in 2003 by San Francisco-based Philip Rosedale, chief executive officer of Linden Research Inc. It has more than 800,000 inhabitants, of whom more than 100 are earning a real-world, full-time living there...

Unbelievable. A major newswire service investing valuable resources to report on reality to grownups playing pretend. But then, it's just "business as usual" in an industry where all the big players jump on the same bandwagon.

... While objects are bought and sold using Linden dollars, the Second Life currency, Linden dollars can be exchanged for U.S. dollars, so users can make real money. ... It would have an annual gross domestic product of about $150 million US if it were to stop growing today, according to the Associated Press.

The weird thing is, this "alternate world" is pretty poverty-stricken... 99.9875% in fact (if I did my math correctly). But Reuters must believe there is real opportunity in this la-la land, more than in real countries where real people struggle with a lack of real money. Countries like Ukraine, say.

Still shaking my head. Has the Twilight Zone morphed into reality? Or maybe it's just something in my morning tea ...

Then again, this shouldn't come as any surprise. Reporting on reality to a fantasy world is way easier and more profitable than doing it the other way around.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Video version of Napster may be on the horizon

On his blog Intellectual property law expert Michael Geist discusses the parallels between YouTube and Napster.

He expounds on his newspaper column on the topic, speculating on whether the YouTube - Google deal foreshadows licensed (as opposed to pirate) peer-to-peer systems... and examines why YouTube appears to be succeeding where Napster failed.

Interesting perspective on the record labels' "conventional wisdom" that p2p file sharing is the reason the recording industry is floundering:

... there is reason to doubt that P2P is a significant competitive threat - in addition to the lengthy list of alternative explanations for the downturn of some record labels (retail price pressures, declining catalogue sales due to lack of availability, competition from DVD sales), a Canadian Heritage profile of the Canadian music industry released this summer found that Canadian artists have seen their sales grow steadily since 2001 with their share of the Canadian market increasing from 16 percent in 2001 to 25 percent in 2004.

Well, golly gee, whodathunk? Might it be that Canadian artists are, er, producing better than quality music than what the recording industry is flogging these days? And now that the labels are losing their monopoly on distribution, are able to reach audiences?

Well, it certainly appears that "the times they are a-changing" ...

In 1999, Internet distribution focused on the use of law and technology to control content and dictate terms of use. That control has proven notoriously elusive with consumer backlash against technological and legal controls and emergence of highly efficient user-based distribution models. Furthermore, it is Internet advertising revenues - not Internet controls - that today hold the promise of billions of dollars in revenue. ...

Given these changes, what is the likelihood that a new licensed P2P model will come to the fore in the near future? Better than you might think. During the height of Napster, experts estimated that even a five-dollar monthly fee would have generated billions in additional revenue for the content industries, yet those companies chose instead to sue the P2P services along with thousands of their users. The YouTube deal may foreshadow a reversal, with the industry at long last ready to embrace the remarkable commercial potential of the Internet.

Vancouver audio archives for Oct 15, 2006

Vancouver's Ukrainian radio audio archives for Oct. 15 are now available!

Archives for Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) are back! Join host Pavlo Manugevych for the latest news and views from Ukraine, in Ukrainian, as well as some great tunes!

On Nash Holos, Sylvia brings you more tips for Ukrainian cooking on Ukrainian Food Flair - this week it's about the relatively unknown benefits of using dried mushrooms. On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Fr. Bruce speaks of his experience visiting the museum at Auschwitz. And on A Spiritual Moment, Fr. Bruce has some fascinating facts about fall harvest rituals, just one aspect among many of our rich Ukrainian spiritual heritage.

And of course, there's plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Do record labels lie? ( Is the Pope Catholic?)

Here's an illustration of the recording industry's stranglehold on the radio broadcast and music distribution industries as pertains to audience "research."

... While it's against the law for the [record] labels to bribe program directors, it's perfectly legal for them to pay subcontractors to deceive program directors. ...

This is not to say that online research is inherently bad. Not at all. But bad research is inherently bad.

And, sometimes, labels are inherently bad.


Entire article here.

Jack Palance’s farm up for auction

The end of an era ... Ukrainian-American actor Jack Palance auctions off his farm.

Read about it here.

Constrast that to press freedom in Ukraine ...

According to Ukrayinska Pravda, in October 2007 the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council (PACE) may stop monitoring Ukraine.

However, I see it as a call for cautious optimism rather than complacency....

.... drawing on other countries’ experience the PACE will discontinue its monitoring only after having guarantees of the irreversibility of positive changes in Ukraine.

Speaking about investigation of Georgiy Gongadze case, [PACE co-rapporteur on Ukraine Hanne] Severinsen claims that its exposure will not necessarily lead to removal of the PACE monitoring. Yet the PACE observes how Ukraine carries out investigation of the case and whether the authorities have the political will to disclose those who ordered Georgiy’s abduction.

Ukraine has radically improved the situation with the freedom of speech, but it strongly needs public broadcasting. The current situation with mass-media is complicated by the fact that nobody knows the actual owners of the television channels and who are behind them. ...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Another martyr for press freedom

This SPIEGEL ONLINE article is a fairly in-depth look at the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya (who actually was American-born and of Ukrainian descent).

Very grim situation for press freedom in that part of the world. It hasn't progressed much, really, from Stalinist times.

... Only a few weeks before Politkovskaya's murder, Andrei Kozlov, a Central Bank official who had spearheaded a crusade against money laundering, was also gunned down in Moscow. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Politkovskaya was the 13th reporter to be assassinated since President Vladimir Putin came to power.

... For years, she had courageously exposed human-rights abuses in Russia and particularly in the North Caucasus region that includes Chechnya, making frequent trips to the war-torn area. She wrote, often in harrowing detail, of topics that have become off-limits for nearly all other journalists in Russia and broke the biggest taboo of all by criticizing Putin himself.

... As part of their investigation into her killing, police seized documents from Politkovskaya's home and office, as well as her computer, leaving her editors with no way of knowing how much work she'd left unfinished.

Born and raised in New York, where her Ukrainian parents were U.N. diplomats, Politkovskaya was a product of the Soviet elite. After the collapse of the Soviet Union she could have, like many of her generation, used her connections to build a comfortable lifestyle. Instead, she threw herself into independent journalism, ending up at Novaya Gazeta in 1999 -- just in time for the second Chechen war. By her own admission, she became obsessed with exposing the killings, torture and beatings of civilians by Russian soldiers in Chechnya. She wrote two books on the conflict, "
A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya" and "A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches From Chechnya."

She made no secret of her contempt for Kadyrov or for Putin, and critics in Russia frequently accused her of lacking objectivity. In "Putin's Russia," a highly critical political biography of the president published in 2004, she accused Putin of failing to shake off his past as a KGB agent in East Germany.

... Politkovskaya won numerous international awards, but as she gained prominence abroad, she was increasingly marginalized at home. There was clearly an appetite for her kind of reporting -- in the last three years Novaya Gazeta's circulation has risen from 130,000 to 170,000 copies ... But in a country of 140 million spread across 11 time zones, the paper's impact was minimal. More than 80 percent of Russians get their news from national television networks -- all of which have come under Kremlin control in the past five years. Prominent national newspapers ... have also been scooped up by state-controlled companies or businessmen with close links to the Kremlin. And in the state-friendly media, Politkovskaya was persona non grata.

There has been no shortage of speculation about who might have wanted her dead. Novaya Gazeta ... has written that it believes her murder was either revenge by Kadyrov, or an attempt to discredit him. ... Politkovskaya's name was also on numerous lists of "enemies of the state" published on the Internet by ultra-nationalists angered by her support of Chechens. The pro-Kremlin media have been pushing a theory that she was killed in an attempt by exiled enemies of Putin to discredit Russia internationally and provoke instability.

... Putin himself has backed that hypothesis. ... According to Reuters, Putin had promised on Monday to "take every step to investigate objectively the tragic death" of Politkovskaya.

... Few expect any of the theories of her death will ever be proven right or wrong, or that Politkovskaya's killers will be brought to justice. Of all the investigations into high-profile slayings of Russian journalists in recent years, not one has resulted in a conviction.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Congratulations, Korinnya

Here is an example of an excellent blog by a performing group. Would that there were more like it!

Korinnya has been featured on Nash Holos the past couple of Christmases. They very kindly sent me their Christmas CD ... which is utterly delightful.

Now their artistic director has been nominated for a Hetman Award. Very deserved, I'd say!

Review of Kobzar's Children

There's a link to a review of the anthology Kobzar's Children: A Century of Untold Ukrainian Stories over at the books' blog.

Someone has anonymously taken me to task for my comment in defence of Marsha's position.

Which kind of surprised me ...

But then again I guess it shouldn't. When you're in the spotlight it's easier for folks to take potshots at you. ;-) That's just human nature and it's the price you pay for being in the spotlight.

That being said, as potshots go, it was certainly mild... and arguably deserved after taking a potshot myself at the reviewer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Vancouver audio archives for Oct 8, 2006

Vancouver's Ukrainian radio audio archives for October 8 are now available!

There are no Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) archives with host Pavlo Manugevych at this time.

However, on Nash Holos, Sylvia has a wonderful dessert recipe that is right in season! OnTravel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Fr. Bruce has details on another fabulous city to visit in Poland. Fr. Bruce also shares A Spiritual Moment, exploring our rich Ukrainian spiritual heritage.

And of course, there's plenty of Great Ukrainian music!This week's CD of the Week is Rokovyny by Stepan Pasicznyk.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Back by popular demand -- 1648 kozak wars in Texas

Next year's Kozak Wars event will be April 14-15 (2007) at Four Winds Ren Faire in Tyler Texas!

I first heard about this amazing event last year and posted the details here . It was really a re-enactment of the 1648 Bohdan Kmelnitsky battle. And according to a recent press release, they'll be doing it again!

This year, the event will include Live Blade sabre fighting, a live reenactment of a War of Liberation battle (Circa 1648) with Winged Hussars, Kozaky and Cannon!

There will also be a Kozak Games section, with period wrestling, the National Live Blade Sabre Championship (17K), Spear throwing, and more!

Another big attraction this year will be the great Kobzar and Bandrurist Andrij Kytasty.


I understand there will be a blog about it fairly soon, so stay tuned!

Good use of radio

What to make of this article?

Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Richard Roeper feels that while Talk host Mike Gallagher’s heart was in the right place, he was wrong to turn over 55 minutes of his radio show to leaders of the Westboro Baptist Church in exchange for their promise not to picket the funerals of the five Amish girls who were gunned down inside their Pennsylvania schoolhouse.

Members of the church are infamous for showing up at the funerals of soldiers and claiming those soldiers have been killed because of God’s hatred of homosexuals. ...

Roeper believes that Gallagher’s “well-intentioned but misguided” offer of airtime is essentially ... “giving in to spiritual terrorists.”


After reading Roeper's article, Road To Hell Paved With Good Intentions, and checking out that church's website, I'd be inclined to agree with Roeper. I have my doubts God appreciates such vicious, vitriolic and hateful advocacy in His name.

Still, I can't completely agree that Gallagher was necessarily "misguided." On the one hand, I agree that he "gave in to spiritual terrorists" by giving those Westboro wackos airtime on his program. But on the other hand, he did what he could to shield the grieving Amish community from a hateful spectacle by self-serving louts.

As a radio host and a writer, I understand both positions. But as a Christian and a human being, I'd have to side with the radio host, because his was a direct demonstration of human compassion rather than just another social statement.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Freedom of speech selective on radio

Another article about the rot in mainstream media. Obviously, it starts at the top.

Longtime WLUP-FM Chicago personality Cara Carriveau has been fired ... after comments she made about the state of the radio business ... in the Chicago Sun-Times

Carriveau wrote, 'It's unbelievable how many Chicago radio icons are not currently on the air in this town. ... My heart goes out to those talented personalities, and I am empathetic to the many disappointed listeners. This situation is sad. Very, very sad.'

[The station's vice-president said] called Carriveau's comments 'the last straw' and added, “I don't think Cara is a fan of what's happening here. I want to have people here who believe in our industry and believe what we're doing is right.'

One deejay who will be getting a shot at some of Carriveau’s weekend/fill-in shifts at The Loop is former Mancow sidekick Jeff 'Turd' Renzetti. Nyren said, 'I'm a big fan of Turd.”

In a message to fans, meanwhile, Carriveau questioned whether free speech exists in her industry. ...


It would appear not... unless perhaps you're an advocate of scatological and other trash talk. Since it pulls in big bucks these days, there's lots of "freedom" for that on the air.

Understatement of the week

This is a clear illustration of the rot at the core of the mainstream media:

KNDD Seattle midday host “DJ No Name” has apologized for playing Weird Al Yankovic's 'Amish Paradise' – a parody of Coolio's 'Gangsta's Paradise' – this week following the fatal school shootings at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania.

[Station management] said No Name had been 'less respectful of the event than he should have been,” and added, “We are dealing with it internally."


OK, which do you think is the more lame statement?

"Less respectful than he should have been" ...?

or

'We are dealing with it internally" ...?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Billionaires wrecking Ukraine

Pity the poor hack who had to cover this pathetic spectacle in Ukraine. Talk about adopting the worst of the worst!

As the writer of this article put it, "If this is modernity, Ukraine may be better off without it."

Hear, hear. Some excerpts:

... The Ukrainian [billionaire] businessman Viktor Pinchuk ... is the proud possessor of a sculpted pile of tin mugs, some mobile vinyl tufts that dance when you switch them on, and a cuckoo clock whose innards - a set of bright yellow-and-scarlet wheels - are visible outside. The mugs, the agile sprigs of vinyl and the jokey clock have been deposited in the Pinchuk Art Centre, which opened above a Bentley showroom and a branch of Villeroy & Boch in Kiev in mid-September. ...

On the walls, models romp in baths of volcanic mud and treat an abandoned mine as if it were the back room of a sex club; video wraiths cavort on the white walls....

Boris Mikhailov's photographs of football, shot in Germany, show sport to be an alibi for sexual aggression and fascist belligerence. Vasiliy Tsagolov's painting Orgy peers towards the far limit of a drug-befuddled Hollywood, where Sylvester Stallone smokes a hookah, John Travolta clambers on to a prostrate starlet, and Quentin Tarantino rolls on the floor in a blissed-out stupor. Navin Rawanchaikul's Art or (M)art? mocks the profiteering of his colleagues in a gigantic parody of Veronese's Marriage at Cana. The painter himself, posing as Christ, evangelises over sacred texts on contracts and marketing strategy. At the launch, two of the art stars of Rawanchaikul's satire stepped down from the wall and drifted around the gallery ...

[T]he opening party ... was a boozy scrum in the courtyard below his gallery, with raucous rock bands and dancers writhing in cages. ... At the height of the festivity, a symbolic wall of plastic was tugged down, and some equally symbolic fireworks ignited behind it. The combination of polyester and pyrotechnics had a quite foreseeable effect. Flames shot into the air, Pinchuk's battalion of beefy goons manhandled diminutive canisters of foam, and the guests fled.

... "We now have civic values," said Pinchuk, surveying 15 years of Ukrainian independence. "We know how to be civil. What we must do is show the west that we are civilised."


If this is the best show you can put on, Vic, then you've a long way to go.

Give me"peasant' culture any day. It has a quality of integrity, depth and class that money just can't buy. And the more the (literally) filthy rich scorn it, the more valuable ... and [ahem] cultured, it is.

blogger slaps media

A huge snub to the mainstream media at this blog: StopSexPredators

The blogger makes an interesting point about hypocrisy in the media frenzy surrounding the Senator Foley scandal in the US ... namely that if the media had cared a whit and been doing its job, this would all have been exposed ages ago.

In predictable fashion, the MSM is now doing its best to discredit the blogger. Here's a report from CNN.com which took a direct hit on the chin. (Can't have those pesky bloggers scooping the MSM now ... isn't that called "rate busting" or some such?)

Then again, the Drudge report has come up with this interesting conspiracy theory which American Thinker seems to think has merit.

It sure is a dog-eat-dog world out there. Hard to know who to believe nowadays!

(Cross-posted at the Natashas.)

Canadian film on Ukrainian and multicultural theme

A new Canadian feature film, Acts of Imagination, recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Andrij Makuch, who took it in, reviews it here:

Katya and Jaroslaw (Slawko) are relatively recent Ukrainian immigrants living in Vancouver’s east end. The area is gritty, but slowly gentrifying. When the warehouse in which Slawko works is sold for a condo development, he loses his job. ... Katya, meanwhile, is plagued by the memories of the loss of her “nationalist” parents. ...

Acts of Imagination is a respectably well-done production. Though, like most Canadian films, it is not likely to be noticed by most of the world. One thing that does set it apart is that it is the first Canadian feature film in a very long time to have Ukrainian protagonists, rendering it of some interest to a Ukrainian-Canadian audience. This is all the more true since the “Ukrainian” aspect of the leads’ lives is significant: these are not incidental Ukrainians.

Notwithstanding its generally sympathetic treatment of the Ukrainian immigrant experience, the film has some difficulties in dealing with this subject. The most obvious is the matter of accents ...

Oddly, the film portrays the protagonists as decidedly working-class folk. ... This is out of the reality of most immigrants coming to Canada from Ukraine today. While they may end up working in low-end jobs for a certain period, they tend to be highly qualified and well educated. The film hits a wrong note by not bringing this up at least nominally.

All the same, the “old-country” aspect is a real factor in Acts of Imagination. The film incorporates Ukrainian music and themes, and is an interesting and legitimate effort that is worth checking out.

Acts of Imagination ... still awaits a Canadian distribution arrangement. It ... is scheduled to be screened at the film festival in Vancouver (October 2 and 12) and Edmonton (October 5).

More information on the film is available here.

fighting sleaze at yahoo

Over at the Natasha's blog, I've been chronicling my fight with yahoo over the sleazy ads they placed on the UkrCdnBroadcasters list-serv website, which I moderate.

They've responded favourably, promising to remove the offending ads.

I'm not sure how well they got the message, though. I have no doubt they'll just pop up somewhere else ... on a more "appropriate" site.

Anyway, if you're interested, go check it out here. And please let me know your thoughts. (Maybe I over-reacted?)

net neutrality

If you're following the net neutrality wars, here's news from the Norwegian front, via internet and technology law guru Michael Geist.

It's an uphill battle for the would-be internet oligarchs, what with the cannon fodder backfiring every now and again ...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

National anthem no laughing matter

I've long thought that it's time to change the title and lyrics of Ukraine's National anthem.

This ZNet article illustrates why:

It has recently come to my attention that the title of the Ukrainian national anthem is 'Ukraine Is Not Dead Yet.' (Seriously, it is.)

The same could be said of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's ongoing prosecution of Vice President Cheney's former aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby: The case -- involving charges of perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice ... -- is not dead yet, nor is it even ailing. U.S. v. Libby is not only alive and well; it is also set to begin ...

According to this site, the lyrics were modified somewhat in 2003, but (obviously) not enough to dispel the negative, defeatist perception that comes through in the translation.

The current lyrics still convey the picture of a people that are under seige ... merely surviving (notwithstanding that that's a miracle in itself) rather than growing and thriving.

I mean, the reason Ukraine hasn't died yet is because she survived centuries of ongoing attempts at obliteration. So why not call a spade a spade and stop letting the foiled would-be obliterators off the hook?

There has to be a positive way to say "they haven't killed us yet" ... or even better, maybe they can just come up with a different phrase altogether, one that is more positive and dignified.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

pirated cds destroyed in Ukraine

Ukraine's Channel 5 reports that Ukrainian polic are cracking down on technology pirates.

Nearly one million pirated CDs and cassettes have been confiscated by authorities since the beginning of the year. On Wednesday, 44,000 illegal discs and tapes were demonstrably destroyed in the capital in accordance with a court order.

In 2005, Ukraine was rated the second worst country for pirated media in the world. This year, it [is] seventh worst in the world. Ukrainian law provides for fines between 4,000 and 15,000 hryvnia and sentences between 2 and 6 years imprisonment for crimes violating intellectual property rights.


About the same penalties as human traffickers face, I'll wager... only with more prosectutions. In either case, it's the same old story:

... police say that the crime is difficult to fight, because it is so profitable.

Jews finding religious freedom in Ukraine

It's nice to read heartwarming stories like this about Jews in Ukraine ... and I suspect this sort of thing is closer to the truth than a lot of written (and audio-visual) works have led the public to believe.

Michael Kruk, a cantor at a Miami-Dade County synagogue, left Ukraine almost 30 years ago because he wanted religious freedom.

Living in the communist country forced him to hide his ''Jewishness.'' The government restricted his ability to pray at synagogues, study the Torah and converse with other Jews.

When his feet touched the ground in Ukraine a few weeks ago ... Kruk wanted to see signs of religious freedom in his homeland. He saw signs of hope inside the four walls of Progressive Judaism Community Temple in Lutsk, a small Ukrainian town. The 200-family synagogue chanted Hebrew prayers, met for Shabbat services and expressed Jewish tradition through colorful art. ...

Full article here.

Ukrainian company invents musical condoms

What will they think of next?

A Ukrainian firm has designed musical condom which plays music while in use. The prophylactic also boasts the ability to play music louder and faster as lovers reach a climax.

Read all about it here ... here and here.

I was disappointed that the article didn't mention what the melody is ... or whether they can be customized like ring tones on your cell phone.

You'd think the same melody would get, ahem, boring after a while. (Not that I'm in the market for them ...)

Monday, October 02, 2006

New Ukrainian movie

Here's the scoop on a new movie recently shot in Ukraine about Vyacheslav Chornovil, an outstanding Ukrainian politician and public figure.

According to the film director Volodymyr Onyshchenko, the movie shows unique chronicles from the life of the People’s Movement leader never broadcast on TV.

... According to him, Ukrainian folk-tale “Stone Country” has become the plot for the movie “The One Who Woke Up a Stone Country”.

The movie was shot in many Ukrainian cities and towns: Kyiv, Mariupil, Donetsk, Lviv among them.

Vancouver audio archives for Sept 24 and Oct 1, 2006

Whew! The nose is hitting the grindstone pretty hard now that vacation time is over for both hubby and me... but, it was a glorious summer! I've a bit of a backlog to clear up but regular blogging will resume henceforth.

Audio archives for Nash Holos are updated to yesterday, October 1. There was no Sept 24 archive for Chetverta Khvylia ... Pavlo is in the midst of moving into new digs so we'll have to cut him a bit of slack till he gets settled in!

In the meantime, on Nash Holos you can get the scoop on very seasonal dishes (a uniquely Ukrainian coleslaw and a pumpkin dessert, just in time for Thanksgiving), find out interesting places to see near Ukraine (hint: Poland), and finally learn why it is that Ukrainians seem to always do things three times.

The CD of the Week features Lvivski Muzyky (Oct 1) and West Coast Dulcimer Duo (Sept 24).

Myrna is back from her travels to Ukraine and she's got lots of juicy tidbits to share on Travel Tips to Ukraine and Eastern Europe. And since Nash Holos has just passed another milestone as BC's longest-running Ukrainian radio program, there's lots of excitement in the near future ... so stay tuned!

new book on copyright lobbying in Canada

From Michael Geist's blog:

Simon Doyle, the Deputy Editor of the Hill Times, has just published his new book Prey to Thievery...

... a study of
CRIA's lobbying efforts from 1997 through 2005. It provides a remarkable perspective on the power of the copyright lobby and the intensity with which it has pursued DMCA-like reforms. The book is a must-read for anyone who wants a behind-the-scenes look at copyright reform in Canada. ...

... here's an excerpt ...