Washing and care instructions

Maybe by now everybody has seen this label, but since I ran across it again at Dr Vino's wine blog, why not share it again:

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I seem to vaguely recall a news article about the label, in which the president of the clothing manufacturer said he was sure that the workers who designed the label must have been thinking about him.

Oh yes, it is Friday...

So you know what that means, time for the Friday Random Ten. You know the drill, set your mp3 player to "random" and let the world know what ten songs come up. So here goes:

Obojeni Program -- Eliot
Cibo Matto -- Je t'aime moi non plus
KUD Idijoti -- Io sono dittatore
Desmond Dekker -- This woman
Pete Harris -- Is you mad at me
The Beautiful South -- Sailing solo
Popcycle -- San letnje noći
The Monochrome Set -- Life
Jorge Ben Jor -- Gostosa
Rufus and Chaka Khan -- Ain't nobody

I do see why this function is called "random."

World day of Roma

Today is 8 April, World day of the Roma. A good day to check out the Roma resource guide that Mrs Ethnia has initiated on her lovely and generous employer's server. In Serbia, the government and the ministry for human and minority rights has declared the beginning of the Decade of the Roma, during which they promise to undertake initiatives to address problems of poverty, discrimination, educational access, and integration of Roma in social life.

Hunters tell me it is always part ballet

Never been a hunter myself, but I do like a nice freshly caught fish! All it needs is lemon and garlic. But about the hunt ... B92 has an enigmatic piece suggesting that the police "know where the Hague fugitive Nebojša Pavković is," so, ah, you go figure why he has not been brought elsewhere from that place.

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Predrag Koraksić's cartoon in Danas, 8 April

The possibilities are either 1) that the information is not accurate, or 2) somebody is waiting for something. Not that we are likely to find out.


Who compromises themselves most

Not too surprisingly, the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) has moved for a vote of confidence in prime minister Koštunica's government. Their motivation is to block further arrests and extraditions of ICTY suspects. Mr Koštunica's silent partners, the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), have been making similar suggestions. But the SPSovci know that no other party will protect their interests as well as the ruling one, which protects them inconsistently, so they are hedging their bets.

Now the Democratic Party (DS) has also decided to support the initiative for a vote of confidence. No doubt they are calculating that the present government has performed badly enough that they would have a better chance in new elections. But every time elections are called, the possibility of a better showing is weighed against the risk of creating another opening for the return of the extreme right. Is DS compromising itself by supporting an initiative from SRS? Certainly, although no vote of confidence can ever pass without the opposition. But there may be more to the strategy: the votes of SRS and DS together are not enough to force new elections. A confidence vote could force SPS to reveal just how badly it wants Mr Koštunica to remain in office.

By the clock

This morning I am unable to decide whether I ought to be appreciative of Gauri Nanda, the graduate student at MIT who has given the world "Clocky." It is an alarm clock that resists the desire of its owner to remain in bed by running away. How it works:

"When the snooze alarm is pushed, Clocky rolls off the bedside table, tumbles to the floor and, thanks to shock-absorbing materials and rubber wheels, races away from the bed. It bumps into objects, repositions itself, and eventually comes to rest in a place far enough away from the bed that its owner will be forced to get up to find it when the alarm sounds a second time. A built-in microprocessor randomly programs the clock's speed, distance, and routes, so that it won't land in the same spot twice."

She has designed to be covered with artificial fur, she says, so that it ''is supposed to remind you of a troubled pet that you love anyway." But her thesis project is more ambitious: sensors in people's handbags to tell them what they forgot.

Legend to legend

I just posted below on Cane. I couldn't think of anything clever to do with Nezavisne novine's interview with Bata Životinja. And what do I run across but Krsto Radulović and his 1968 Fića.

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Mr Radulović explains the mystique of the Fića in his story of meeting a person who wanted to buy his fine machine: "A lad from Belgrade asked 'whose car is this?," and I told him it's not a car but a Fića. 'Would you sell it,' but I told him it is not for sale. But I asked how much he would give for it. He said, 'I would give you five thousand marks.' People started nudging me, telling me 'for God's sake, you could buy a Golf for five thousand marks.' I said 'It's not about that. It's a higher principle'."

Also, they can be parked just about anywhere.

Cane on music, architecture, law

Mark your calendars. On 28 June, Chuck Berry is playing in Zagreb (why is he continuing to tour at this old age? ask the person who negotiated his recording contracts all those years ago), and the Partibrejkersi are opening. After which it is on to Maribor. All of which is a fine pretext for Zoran Kostić Cane to give an interview to Blic, in which he engages in a bit of Belgrade architectural criticism:

"Only the bare walls are left. Because, people make the city. Still, Belgrade has recovered from many occupiers, and it will see these ones out too. And a new time will bring some new people. The spirit of the city is indestructible. It will come to the surface again. But, that new commercial building on the Terazije plateau is a filthy and fetid attack on the city and its centuries of history. The view will be cut off, and the center filled with the stench of sick ambitions!"

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Cane and Anton, photo courtesy of Z'brda z'dola

He also backs off from an earlier threat to sue finance minister Mladjan Dinkić for unauthorised use of his line "one call changes everything" from the nadasve anthological song "1000 godina." Probably a sensible decision.


That other criminal period

The state prosecutor has initiated a procedure to prosecute Milivoj Aschner, the chief of police in Požega in 1941 and 1942, for violations committed as an official of the Ustaša regime, reports Vuk Đuričić in Slobodna Dalmacija. The prosecutor's report charges Mr Aschner with carrying out racial laws, with arrests and taking of property on the basis of religious and ethnic identity, and with direct participation in abuses. Among the incidents to which he is connected are the mass imprisonment, on 26 August 1941, of 600 Serbs from Derventa in the Požega camp where 358 of them were killed the same day. He is also charged with the dispossession and deportation of 28 Jewish families from Požega on 16 October 1941, who were sent to the Jasenovac and Đakovo camps at the end of year, after which no further traces of them are known. He is also charged with the arrest of 19 alleged Communists between 19 and 22 February 1941, who were psychologically abused and tortured before 18 of them were released a month later by a court for lack of evidence.

If the court accepts the prosecutor's report, they will be asked to request that Mr Aschner be extradited from Austria, where he lived from 1945 to 1991, when he moved to Daruvar, before returning (Slobodnjak's atricle says he "escaped," but does not specify from what) to Austria last year.


Tomorrow's scandal today!

Tomorrow's Danas has a report by Bojan Tončić that the wave of voluntary surrenders of ICTY suspects in Serbia (some of which, like yesterday's hurried transfer of Sreten Lukić, appear to be not quite so voluntary) is being orchestrated by the ICTY indictee Franko Simatović, the former JSO ("Red berets") commander who has been released pending trial. An anonymous source "close to police structures" tells Danas that some people have surrendered in exchange for major financial consideration, while others have been subject to "Frenki's 'bag over the head' method." Expect denials all around.

Rokenrol will never die, but its eyes are pretty red

On 2 April the Partibrejkersi played a show at the club Pazi škola. The Maniac shop has the photo gallery.

Soliciting advice from my esteemed readers

The occasional bouts of erratic behavior from Blogger have me thinking about whether I ought to move East Ethnia to a different host. At one point I set up a page at Blogsome (you can peek if you like, but you won't find much there), but there are a couple of drawbacks, including no easy way to transfer the archived posts and comments and, it seems, no Unicode, which would mean none of the fetching letter Ž.

So my question to you is first of all whether you think this is worth doing, and if so what host you would suggest. My criteria are:

✩It has to be free. I don't make any money off of this, so I won't spend any either.

✩There has to be a way of transporting the existing archive that even a Luddite like me can handle.

✩The more technophobe-friendly the interface, the more interface-friendly the user.

Advice, horror stories, opinions?

A royal wedding in East Ethnia

Forget Charlie Hanover and whoever it is, or Jennifer Lopez and whoever it is this time. East Ethnians have their own celebrity wedding to fete. The Godfather who makes you an offer you cannot understand, Slavoj Žižek, travelled to the global capital of psychoanalysis, Buenos Aires, to find his bride. He met Analía Hounie at a lecture he gave at the Argentine National Library in 2003, and they were married on 6 March of this year. The photos and two tabloid articles can be found at The Wrong Side of Capitalism.

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What makes me happiest about being able to report on Mr Žižek and the new Mrs Žižek is that now that I have my computer back I can once more use the letter Ž. Thanks to cultural anthropology king Marko Živković for the link and the tip.


Technical salvation

It took six months of back and forth, but my friends at Apple, after spending more on express mail than they would have spent just doing the repair, have finally come through with a new hard disc! East Ethnia is coming back with a level of efficiency unimpaired by repeated force quits.

However, I am going to have to rebuild my bookmark collection and address book. If you are one of those rare people who enjoys getting mail from me, pop me a message (eastethnia at gmail dot com) and I'll capture a tiny portion of your spirit.


A quick summary of Atentat

Just finished Milos Vasic's book on the Djindjic assassination last night. It is a solid piece of research, very much in his outspoken style which will be familiar to people who have read his articles in Vreme. Some people will find this style engaging, some will find it distracting, but in neither case should this detract from his contribution, which is to set out the characters and methods involved in the alliance between security services and organised crime, and to draw out the connections between what seem to be disparate instances of corruption and violence.

Most of what is presented is material that will be familiar to people who have followed events in the region, but Vasic brings it all together in one place and does a persuasive job of showing how different facts are connected. He also has good answers to those parts of the media campaign conducted over the past two years which have sought either to empty the known facts about the murder of any content or to argue that Djindjic in some way deserved to be murdered.

The book gives at least preliminary answers to what are probably the biggest mysteries of the murder. Those would be: 1) what motivated the government to maintain so much of Milosevic's semilegal security structure in place for so long?, 2) why were responses to what were, in retrospect, the first obvious signs of a conspiracy so weak?, 3) which are the political forces that continue to prevent major criminal cases from being resolved? To walk through the answers in a short blog post would be both giving too little information and giving too much away, so I will hold back. But I can certainly recommend the book as solid, comprehensive and provocative.

I have no information about whether an English translation is being considered or prepared, unfortunately. But it would be a worthwhile publication.

To find and not to find

The police may not have found Nebojsa Pavkovic in the places they were looking. But they seem to have found poor Mr Cosic.

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Thanks to MM.

Completely delicate things, wash them cold

No way around it, soon enough Nebojsa Pavkovic will be arrested and extradited to the Hague. Interior minister Dragan Jocic held a most uninformative press conference at which he confirmed there was an arrest warrant, but said little else except to claim that the situation was "completely delicate." Mr Pavkovic has only succeeded in hiding as long as nobody was looking for him, and has otherwise failed to launch a referendum over his fate or otherwise to animate people in his support, since only he seems to share in the image of great importance he tries so hard to project. Expect him and Sreten Lukic, whose competely delicate medical condition also does not inspire widespread concern, to settle into their new homes in Scheveningen in the next several days.

Update: It would seem that a support rally for Pavkovic attracted "dozens" of people to listen to the newest prose stylings of necrophile Kosta Cavoski. That some of the war criminals might get some public sympathy in Serbia is not inconceivable (recall how Vladimir Lazarevic was feted) but Mr Pavkovic, aside from being a violator of international humanitarian law, is also an incompetent, a philanderer, a thief, a publicity hound, a spletkaros and a twit. Not designed for public sympathy.

Update2: Off goes Lukic.