Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli

The site Boing Boing labels itself a directory of wonderful things, and this is a wonderful thing: Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli relaxing a bit with their instruments while the rest of the musicians play cards, then the whole band plays "J'Attenndrai." 'Tis a QuickTime file, size 12 MB. Visit WFMU for more musical delights.


I am not really quite sure what to make of this news item. Apparently the examination for job candidates at the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs includes, among its 300 questions, items asking people what sort of sexual practices they prefer. This may simply be an effort to avoid potential scandals in advance, or there may be a more elaborate plan. No indication is given as to what kinds of sexual preferences best qualify a person for the job, but it would seem that the best qualification for diplomats would be to incline toward compromising positions.


Turbofolk, jobs and dreams

Among the features at the Zagreb Dox Festival of Documentary Film will be Posao snova (The job of your dreams), a documentary on the folk music industry (turbo, sevdah, novokomp) by Danijela Majstorović. The film focuses on the experience of women in the industry, as the director explains:
"Relations of power, domination and patriarchal ideology can be seen best in the Bosnian entertainment industry. Entertainment and pop culture represent a microcosm of the society, especially now, since so many people identify with people from the small screen. Although I am very critical of folk culture myself [...] my film offers a bit of a different reading of the entertainment scene. «Posao snova» has multilevelled messages and it is not simply a critique of entertainment, but a finding about the situation in which a majority of women find themselves in contemporary Bosnia and Hercegovina, but also in Serbia, and maybe in a more subtle way in Croatia."
The film does cover the manipulative aspects of the industry, the objectification, the dominating "managers," and so on. But it does not stop there: with the participation of Lepa Brena, Hanka Paldum and other luminaries, the film also discusses the expressive and liberatory potential of commercial entertainment. Or as Brena puts it, "they could all think of me as meat, but that meat had some brains!" Prepare for the first film treatment that takes on the phenomenon in a way that respects its complexity at the Tuškanac cinema in Zagreb, at 5 PM on 25 February.


Meanwhile in the Bahamas

If you like awards competitions, the voting has begun for the Satin Pajama Awards at A Fistful of Euros. I've enjoyed using their list of nominated weblogs to discover some interesting new sites that I had not known about before. This site has been nominated in two categories: best weblog (not getting that one, I know) and best Southeast European weblog (who knows). Win or lose, it is an honor to be in the company of the SEE competitors: Argumente (business and strategy from Romania), Illyrian Gazette (not just showbusiness ethnopolitics, but also occasional hot Slovenian action), the newest incarnation of Draxblog (the SEE blog institution, plus film reviews), and Csikszereda musings (with a bit about Miercurea Ciuc, at no extra cost). But go and have a look at the nominees in every category, there is a lot of good reading around, for every taste from the technical to the personal.

Ko ne voli Bagasoru....

Đurđevdan nije, a ipak nismo gadovi.


Not the only one who shakes his head

So: on Friday, the Šešelj-in-waiting Tomislav Nikolić declared that if Kosovo were to be granted independence, Serbia should declare it to be "occupied territory," and should seek to recover it "by any means possible." But that is not all he declared. He also claimed that he had made an agreement with prime minister Vojislav Koštunica to just that effect in the event that a decision on independence were to come down. This would of course go beyond a case of Mr Nikolić saying publicly the sort of thing one expects him by now to say publicly, and spill over into Mr Koštunica owning up to what one expects that he thinks privately. So naturally, Mr Koštunica issued a swift denial, right? Wrong, actually. By Sunday night, neither he nor any government representative had given any confirmation or denial. The closest anybody came was Slobodan Antonić, an intellectual supporter of Mr Koštunica, who told Danas that "Vojislav Koštunica, as is well known, has the custom of nodding his head and occasionally saying yes, which his interlocutors interpret as agreement, but afterward find out that that was not really the case." So we are happy to have been able to clear that one up.

PS: While Mr
Koštunica may be as enigmatic as the Buddha, he is not as long-suffering as Jesus Christ. That role belongs -- of course! -- to Silvio Berlusconi.

Who lets these folks near implements that could affect the lives of other people?

Just because everybody else is ridiculing the bumbling Dark Lord Cheney for failing to distinguish an elderly gentleman from a small and tasty bird doesn't mean that I have to join in. Doesn't mean I have to avoid joining in either.

Update: Ignore the news reports that describe Mr Cheney as an avid and dedicated hunter. Thanks to Pharyngula, we find that what he prefers is "an increasingly popular and deplorable form of hunting, in which birds are pen-reared and released to be shot in large numbers by patrons. The ethics of these hunts are called into question by rank-and-file sportsmen, who hunt animals in their native habitat and do not shoot confined or pen-raised animals that cannot escape." This is not hunting at all. As Harry Hutton points out with regard to another pseudosport, "You could create a similar afternoon’s amusement by poking a caged rat for a couple of hours, then blowing its head off with a pistol."