Saturday, April 28, 2007

Look who's taking lessons from Putin

Now that Al Gore is touring Canada and criticizing our government, I understand, truly, how Ukrainians must feel about Vladimir Putin's meddling in their country.

I mean, a former US Vice-President tours Canada to promote his film and uses our government's new environmental policy to get free publicity for it as well as his political agenda.

How convenient.

Now I'm hardly against raising awareness of and finding solutions for global warming. What I am against is hypocrisy... whether it's by grandstanding hypocrites who whip up public hysteria for their own personal gain, or self-serving politicians (and their myopic followers) who have absolutely no interest in changing the status quo.

Solutions to global warming (and all our other social problems) would materialize a lot quicker if politicians, ex-politicians, self-important celebrities, and the rest of us would actually do the unglamorous work of cleaning up their/our own backyards, and never mind about lecturing everyone else ... and interfering in the affairs of sovereign neighbouring countries.

It seems that idea was first floated about 2000 years ago but went over like a lead balloon. Obviously, it's about as popular today.

Little wonder there are swing voters like me around!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Some just can't let go of "the"

Surely these people haven't been living under a rock since 1991?

1. "Affinia Group Begins Manufacturing in The Ukraine." Press release on their website here.

2. "Flip-flops? Gym shoes? Never in the Ukraine!" Chicago Sun-Times article here.

3. "Ukrainian-Americans ... believe Duranty was a shill for Stalin and turned a blind eye to a horrific famine that Stalin inflicted on the Ukraine. " Mike Pride, new co-chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Could it be that the writers (and editors) responsible, illustrious as they may be, are just poorly educated? (Let's be charitable and assume it's ignorance rather than obstinance.)

In which case ... hopefully someone will send these poor ignorant souls to sites like this and this and this where they can get used to seeing "Ukraine" without a "the" in front of it.

Maybe if they see it often enough, they will start to feel confident enough to boldly write about Ukraine without clinging to that article like a security blanket?

Ukrainian classes at SFU

This spring Simon Fraser University will be offering a Ukrainian Level II Language Course at its Surrey Campus. The class is offered through their SILP program in the Continuing Education division.

The class schedule has not been finalized yet, but classes are expected to commence in early to mid May.

Because details are still being worked out, the Ukrainian class info isn't up on their website yet. You can check back later, or call 604-291-5184 or email for information.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

No neocon conspiracy behind crisis in Ukraine

This analysis certainly makes a lot more sense than the wild claims of knee-jerk anti-capitalists desperately seeking a bogeyman.

Ukraine's political crisis may have some international ramifications, but it is purely domestic in origin.

Ukraine's crisis is not ... part of a wider struggle between Moscow and Washington or Brussels, but a matter of domestic politics for the Ukrainians themselves to resolve democratically. Ukraine,[like] many other post-Soviet states, suffers from the weakness, incompetence and venality of its political class. Yushchenko has made many serious miscalculations over the past two years, but his credentials as a democrat are not in dispute. The same cannot be said for Yanukovich, who tried to rig the 2004 presidential elections.

Full article here.

Going back ... to the USSR?

Let's hope Ukraine doesn't similarly regress.

... at Russia’s largest independent radio news network the new policy is that at least 50% of reports about Russia must be “positive.”

... opposition leaders can not be mentioned on the air and the United States is to be portrayed as an enemy.


[J]ournalists ... were told of the new policy by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin.

How very Orwellian (read: Soviet) to spin the blanket demonization of another country as a "positive" ...

Full article here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ukrainian Canadian communitiy fetes former prime minister

Being a skeptical swing voter, I cast a rather jaundiced eye on this political public relations exercise. Still, I suppose, credit where credit is due.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper celebrated the historic ties between Canada and Ukraine at a tribute dinner for the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, hosted by the Ukrainian Embassy and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Details here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Volyn CDs and DVDs now available!

If you'd like a CD or DVD of The Volyn Ukrainian Song & Dance Ensemble, which came to North America on a brief tour last summer, go here.

Online store, a sample video clip and some great action shots!

RSS 101

If you still don't know what the heck RSS is, help is here... in the form of a very entertaining, informative and brief video clip.

Among other things, the video also explains what those icons littering websites mean!

These days, more and more websites are being created (or upgraded, as I hope mine soon will be) with blogging software. The neat thing is that most blogging platforms have RSS feeds built in, so you don't have to worry about html code and all that geeky stuff.

It's important to understand that most traditional websites (those created before RSS was!) generally don't have RSS feeds, whereas blogs do. The other important thing to note is that those sites without RSS feeds will soon be dropping to the bottom of the search engine lists (they are already, actually).

The video is here. Well worth the few minutes spent watching it.

Commercial radio sliding down slippery slope

It's one thing to chase ratings and listeners by trying to be outrageous, but once you get onto that slippery slope it's hard to keep from sliding into the cesspool at the bottom.

[A CBS Radio station in New York] has suspended two hosts ... for making a prank phone call to a Chinese restaurant that was peppered with ethnic and sexual slurs.

... the Organization of Chinese Americans demanded an apology from the show’s two hosts and from CBS Radio, and called for the firing of the hosts and their producer.

You can read the entire article here.

Well, about all there is to say is that Ukrainian and other ethnic radio producers have a lot more class. It's a shame advertisers and ad agencies still choose quantity over quality.

Monday, April 23, 2007

whiz kid blogger

Just came across this great website/blog by a high-school student in Saskatchewan, Marko Baran. Great pics, articles, and a pictorial holubtsi how-to!

Go here and have a look!

Friday, April 20, 2007

New Canadian film illustrates integrity

This story about a recently-released Canadian documentary reaffirms my faith in humanity.

The film, called Manufacturing Dissent, is about the "controversial" Michael Moore who, it turns out, was rather short on integrity when he created his "documentaries" supposedly exposing the "right wing agenda."

Moore, as I myself had discovered long before Manufacturing Dissent was released, has done much to discredit documentary filmaking. He has used the genre as a political soapbox and foisted soviet-style agit prop on trusting audiences. As a result, his films have only served to polarize society, pulling politics into the emotional realm, where there is little room for logic and intellectual analysis.

Hats off to Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine for their courage in debunking this political and cultural "sacred cow" ... and for standing up for honesty in their industry.

More details here. Trailer here. TV interview with the filmmakers here.

How chasing the ethnic vote can backfire

Today's policiticans like to be seen as more culturally sensitive than in the "good old days" when they relied on whiskey and cultural intimidation for the votes they need to get, or stay, in power.

But, as this article illustrates, paying lip-service can backfire.

The federal Conservatives have expressed their regret for participating in a Sikh parade that celebrated an Indo-Canadian viewed by many in Canada as a terrorist and murderer.

But other political parties continue to remain silent on their participation in the event they say was a celebration of Sikh culture. ...

Full article here.

To avoid this sort of controversy, politicians (and their handlers) might consider taking a more genuine interest in ethnic communities.

But they don't really need to. It will blow over soon, as these things always do.

Opposition politicians don't need to issue an apology, which is seemly for the governing party (being more "accountable"). But even for the latter, it's no major concern. There will be opportunities to appease the outraged. In the meantime, all the politicians involved will have reaped the benefits of a great photo-op in a sizable and identifiable voter demographic.

How shallow.

I like to think I am above that sort of thing. I believe in equal opportunity and don't play favourites. That is why I am a swing voter.

And do Ukrainian radio! ;-)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

U.S. Radio station finally sees the light

According to this article, a U.S. radio station has taken the dramatic, drastic, and very radical step of banning music with violent, sexist and racist lyrics.

How progressive!

Don't tell them, but Ukrainian radio programs across Canada and the U.S. beat them to it long ago.

It's just so sad that it took a tragedy to make someone in the FM radio world to see the light. Sadder still, that the one station that did is such a novelty that it made the news. Well, we can only hope it will have created a tipping point and more will soon follow suit.

Full article here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

This week's archives for Vancouver's Ukrainian radio now available

Ukrainian radio programs that aired in Vancouver yesterday are now archived.

For programming exclusively in Ukrainian, check out Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) with host Pavlo Manugevych.

On Nash Holos, Sylvia has an easy recipe for homemade sauerkraut. Myrna has an invitation to two local festivals. Fr. Bruce shares his thoughts on faith and doubting Thomas. CD of the Week is 4 Trees in Winter by Stephen Zurakowsky.

You can also get Fr. Bruce on his own podcast here.

Happy listening!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Will the real tulip traipser please stand up?

Speaking of jeering, congrats to the hacker who switched the link to the Nash Holos commercial on UkeTube in my earlier post to one with a "new" audio track ... Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe through the Tulips."

Very cute. Adorable, actually. It gave me a good chuckle.

Unfortunately, I lost it after I fixed the link, and couldn't find it on a search in YouTube.

Looks like the author is too shy to go public with it. A shame such a clever character chooses to hide his or her light under a bushel like that ...

But thanks for bringing back fun memories! There was a time when the tune was on the radio ... and made Tiny Tim a lot of money.

Payola payback

I wonder if broadcasters merely consider this payback as an "investment" similar to how the labels considered payola inthe first place?

... CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting, Clear Channel Communications and Entercom Communications [have] agreed to pay a combined $12.5 million to close the investigations into each broadcaster’s possible violations of the Commission’s sponsorship identification rules.

Specifically, the Consent Decrees resolve allegations that the broadcasters may have accepted cash or other valuable consideration from record labels in exchange for airplay of artists from those labels, without disclosing those arrangements.

In addition to the $12.5 million in voluntary contributions, the broadcasters agree to implement certain business reforms and compliance measures. ...

Read the full article here.

Some lowdown on the hoedown ...

Just thought I'd jump on the MSM's bandwagon and weigh in on the brouhaha in America's radioland over the firing and public humiliation of shock jock Don Imus.

No decent human being could possibly defend what he said. But what gets my goat is that he was essentially fired for doing his job well ... and for which he and other shock jocks are paid very well to do. After all, the terminology he used is straight from the lexicon of mainstream pop culture, which is shaped in no small part by the "music" heard on public radio airwaves.

So, I agree wholeheartedly with columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin on the utter hypocrisy of the public outcry and outrage, which appears to be inspired more by self-righteousness and self-interest than an altruistic sense of human decency. This excerpt basically sums up my take on it:

One dumb radio/television shock jock's insult is a drop in the ocean of barbaric filth and anti-female hatred on the radio.

Imus gets a two-week suspension. What kind of relief do we get from this deadening, coarsening, dehumanizing barrage from young, black rappers and their music industry enablers who have helped turn America into Tourette's Nation?

Read the full article here. Warning: she quotes rap "lyrics" so the language is coarse and filthy.

Thankfully, they're off-set in bold type so you can skim through or past them. (I didn't need to read them all to get the point!) But it's good she put them out there. I imagine she was hoping to get a point across to Mammon's minions. Unfortunately, as the end of her article illustrates, it seems they are hopelessly obtuse.

All I can say is it makes me glad I do Ukrainian radio in Canada! We have a long-established broadcasting tradition of dignity and decorum. Given how the mainstream generally jeers at our traditions, though, it's very tempting to gloat over the circumstances that forced its current (if disingenuous) mea culpa.

But being it's the Easter season, I'll stay on high ground and resist that temptation. Besides, all that's happened, really, is that the industry has merely sacrificed one of its own on Mammon's altar.

Hat tip to Cyber Cossack... which gives an excellent perspective on this sorry "hoedown."

If you've jumped onto The Secret bandwagon and are looking for programming that is positive and uplifting, check out some of the great Ukrainian radio programs listed here. You don't even need to understand Ukrainian ... the language of music is universal! And some programs, like Nash Holos, are bilingual.

So join us, and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Vancouver radio archives updated for this week

Archives for Easter Sunday now uploaded at Nash Holos.

Sylvia talks about eggs (appropriately enough!) and shares another great recipe, Myrna talks about the tourist destination of Cherkassy, and Fr. Bruce gives a thundering delivery of St. John Chrysostom's Resurrection Homily.

(BTW, while I store segments from the past two programs, you can find all the archived files (yes, from day 1!) at Fr. Bruce's new stand-alone podcast here).

Plenty of beautiful Easter and spring music and as usual, another Proverb of the Week and items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Vancouver area... and beyond! Chetverta Khyvylia (4th Wave) also uploaded.

Thanks again to William Szuch for the UkeTube video (now on the NH home page)!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Nash Holos on YouTube!

Update: A "talkie" version is now posted! Here and here:

William Szuch recently created a video clip of the Nash Holos web site and posted it on YouTube. You can see it here.

You can't hear it yet, as Bill created it on the fly as a surprise for me, and didn't have any audio files. Hopefully, sound will soon follow.

BTW, Bill is the genius behind uketube, which he tells me is the #26 YouTube site ... phenomenal! (But hardly surprising, eh?)

He also created Strilka, a wonderful Ukie singles site that is a real class act.

Make sure to check them out, if you haven't yet!

Many thanks, Bill! (for everything...)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New blog launched - B.C. Byzantine

It's been a long time coming, but nareshti ... finally! ... there is a stand-alone podcast for the spiritual segments by Fr. Bruce Power on Nash Holos.

I've been archiving them on the features page but only have enough room on my server to store the previous 2 weeks.

Now, however, they're archived in their entirety at his own blog, B.C. Byzantine. Podcasting this way means there is a comments section for each segment, so that you can share your opinion or ask a question about the topic of the week.

Many thanks to Fr. Bruce for taking the time to share the gift of the Byzantine rite, which was almost lost due to the attempts of the communists to wipe it out in the Soviet union and the tendency in the diaspora to blend into the Roman rite.

I am in the process of uploading over half a year's worth of segments, but hope to have them all up soon. Then it will just be a matter of uploading a new one every week, as I do already at the Nash Holos website.

In either case, all you have to do now is add the RSS feed(s) to your feed reader and away you go!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The end of DRM?

We can only hope that this report is a harbinger of common sense returning to the recording industry. (Well, ok, maybe it's more accurate to say it's being forced on the industry. But still.)

EMI Group has agreed to take the digital locks off songs it sells through the Apple iTunes store ... But there will be a premium price for songs sold without copying restrictions...

Songs with digital rights management (DRM) software that prevents copying from one player to another will continue to sell for 99 cents, while those without the DRM software will cost $1.29.

DRM software prevents songs downloaded from the iTunes store being transferred to digital players ... Consumer rights groups have opposed DRM software on downloaded songs because consumers have traditionally had the right to copy songs they have paid for once. ...


Some analysts suggest that lifting the software restrictions could boost sales of online music, which currently account for about 10 per cent of global music sales.

More here.

Mark MacKinnon on assignment in Kyiv ...

As I suspected, the Yanukhonvych camp did pay protestors, as Globe and Mail reporter Mark MacKinnon writes on his blog:

A few thousand people, waving the blue flags of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich's Party of Regions, plus a few thousand more waving red Communist and Socialist banners, showed up on Kiev's Independence Square - the very site of the Orange Revolution in 2004. They're protesting President Viktor Yushchenko's controversial decision to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections .. They're pitching tents and promising to stay indefinitely.

... but so far it's a lifeless demo.... One woman told me she was there because she'd been paid 50 hrivnya (about $10 US) to stand on the square and wave a blue flag.

But the news services are reporting that thousands more Yanukovich supporters are headed for the capital from his power base in the Russified east of the country. ...

Full story here.

What a great blog! Bookmark it or, better still, subscribe to the RSS feed (as I've done).

I've always respected Mark as a reporter with integrity and insight. His writing is eminently readable as well as highly informative, and is utterly devoid of any propaganda or personal political bias.

He's just written a book called The New Cold War. It's available at his blog, and I'm sure will be a great read.

Check it out here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Update on events in Ukraine

Elections in Ukraine set for May 27. Details here (Ukrainian) and here (English).

Some good analysis of the situation by Pumpernickel here .

For first-hand account by Vasyl in Kyiv, check here.

You can also get fairly recent local TV footage (in Ukrainian) at UkrainaTV. It's a user-pay service but very reasonable and the quality is top-notch. Even if you can't understand what's being said, you know the saying ... a picture is worth 1,000 words.
I expect that, as usual, the Canadian mainstream media, especially CTV, will be leading the johnny-come-lately pack, so don't even bother checking with them until after you see it on CNN or FOX. (Of course, by then, why bother?)

Vancouver Ukrainian radio archives updated

Updated Vancouver Ukrainian radio archives are now available!

Download the podcast feed for Nash Holos, BC's longest-running and only bilingual Ukrainian radio program.

On the Nash Holos features page, find Ukrainian recipes and cooking tips, Travel Tips to Ukraine & Eastern Europe, and A Spiritual Moment with Fr. Bruce Power. Check out the recent interviews with Dr. Natalie Kononenko, Kule Chair of Ukrainian Ethnography at the University of Alberta who was in town to talk about Ukrainian minstrels on World Storytelling Day. Full program archives on Playlist page.

On Chetverta Khvylia, Vancouver's newest Ukrainian radio program, hear the latest in music, news and views, exclusively in Ukrainian, with host Pavlo Manugevych.

Ukraine's president dissolves Parliament and calls for elections

President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine [has] signed an order to dissolve Parliament and called early elections.

Yushchenko, who acted after more than seven hours of talks with parliamentary leaders failed, accused the parliamentary majority led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych of seeking to expand its power base in violation of the constitution, and of making decisions that violated the law.

... As Yushchenko spoke, Parliament met in an extraordinary session. Yanukovych and top government officials sat in the hall looking glum ... It was not immediately clear if the 450-seat legislative body would try to ignore the ruling.

Full article (English) here.