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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Justyna Milenikiewicz's slide show

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Boner of the Year

I heard a story about a TV Rustavi-2 journalist, who during the August 2008 war, had a sign with the name of a village from the conflict zone in the trunk of the car. She planted the sign in some rural spot near Tbilisi and broadcasted a live shot from "the conflict zone." The best part was that she bragged to her fellow Rustavi 2 colleagues about how clever she was to fake a story and they patted her on the back, "Molodets! Why didn't we think of that?"

As base as the Rustavi-2 stunt was, nobody got hurt. The journalist faked a location and made up some story to go with it. For Georgian standards this is low on the unethical scale when compared to what Imedi TV did today (You just gotta wonder, are these producers sniffing glue when they come up with this shit or are they Russian agents?).

From Корреспондент.net:

The Georgian TV station Imedi broadcast sensational news about a supposed start of a Russian invasion and the assassination of President Saakashvili.

As it turned out, the TV station today, March 13, broadcast a false “special report on the possible development of events in Georgia in the case of a Russian intervention.”

In this report, without any warning or explanation, it was reported that “this morning in Tskhinvali there was a terrorist act against South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity, after which Russian forces invaded Georgia.”

Later it said that “The Government and President Mikheil Saakashvili were evacuated.” Several minutes later the TV station reported on the death of Saakashvili and the creation of a People’s Government headed by Nino Burjanadze.

The program continued for a half hour, and after reporting “about horrific bombings of Georgian airports and ports” the TV station reported that this was a “special report on the possible development of events.” (...)


There should be a Georgian toast for tact and consequence. Reports have come in about a record number of emergency calls for heart attacks and loss of consciousness. Some bozos forgot this is a traumatized nation where around one out of 11 people is estimated to be displaced.

Don't think the Russian media isn't going to jump all over this. They've been broadcasting fake stuff about Georgia for the past few years and now they have material they could have never made up. Former wrestler and car theif, South Ossetian leader, Eduard Kokoity is soppin' his bicuits all over this. He told Interfax, “The situation is absolutely calm. I’m here myself hunting, shooting wolfs and jackals.”

As for Burjanadze and the floundering opposition movement, this boner of the year has come at a golden moment, two months before local elections. Oh, we'll be hearing plenty about this, but not from the local Georgian media.



*Imedi was the TV station owned by a bizillionare oligarch, Badri Patarakatsiashvili, a guy who didn't like President Misha and was the counter point to pro-Misha Rustavi-2 TV, which also used to be an opposition TV station. Anyway, in 2007, Misha police raided the station, pointed guns at people, busted up computers, stole things and put it out of business. Then Badri dies of a heart attack. The new director, Giorgi Arveladze, is a former ruling party guy and now the station is just like Rustavi-2, except more Felliniesque, by the looks of it now.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Winehead Blues

Back in the good ol' Shevardnadze days when diesel generators were a common part of the aural Tbilisi landscape, I went to the Tbilisi main bazaar, Bazroba, for wine without my roommate Zaza’s help for the first time. Dusk was falling and I tried to imagine the Bazroba Zaza had described of the early 90s, when the only people down there at night were crazy guys with Kalashnikovs.

You think Bazroba is bad now, it was utter bedlam then. Peddlers and consumers bumped, haggled and shoved while carts, jalopies and minivans plowed through them at rude speeds. The exhaust ridden air was filled with odors of fish, fowl and cheese to the tune of shouts, honks, and the melodious chants of “tseli hatchapuri, shoti, cigaretti...” in polyphony. Hysterical colors screamed, swirled, tangled; oil black, persimmon orange, wet juicy green, plastic bucket red... But as twilight approached, it was as if a big hand slowly dimmed the switch. People, produce and pickpockets faded away while the effluvium had seeped into the ground under puddles of chicken blood, vegetable guts and cigarette butts. Scattered piles of trash burned, lighting the straggling vendors in the darkening night. Companies of cats strolled on top of corrugated roofs as rats darted in the shadows below. I enjoyed the diluted anarchy.

Most wine stalls were closed although a few tables had big glass bottles filled with blood red and amber white. I approached a familiar man.

“Hey, Chicago!” he greeted.

“Hey Kakheti!” I said shaking his thick hand.“Black?” I asked.

“No, no good,” he said in English.

“Ok, white.”

He dipped a greasy glass into a blue plastic barrel and passed it to me. In my best imitation of a Kahketian, I raised the glass to him, mumbled some nonsense and took it down to the bottom.

“Kargat,” I said and asked for three liters with my fingers.

Walking back through the bazaar I was happy there were no Kalashnikovs and that I had a personal wine guy. It was so cheap and good, I was convinced I’d turn into a total wine head in no time.

I went to Zaza’s and was able to pour my wine for a guest before he left. Glasses were filled, a simple toast was made and we took it down.

“Good wine,” I said pointedly.

“Yeah?” Dato, the guest replied. “If it’s so good tell me, why is there water in it?”