The Interests Meme: Answers

asks about monthy python. “My experience of you suggests this isn’t simply an idle mistake,” she says. Very nice of you to say so, but unfortunately in this case is is an idle mistake. I’ll take it off my interests list later today but in the meantime people might like to click on it to see who else has fallen into the same trap!

asks about nagorno karabakh about ajara about transdniestria. These are all conflict zones in the former Soviet Union that I work on professionally. I’m the only person on livejournal who lists Ajara as an interest. It’s a part of Georgia that used to be ruled by a local chieftain, who got chucked out by the Georgian authorities in May. Most people think the problems have all been resolved there but we’re keeping an eye on it.

I discovered one other person on livejournal who lists both Nagorno Karabakh and Transdniestria, in fact a friend of ‘s, so I’ve added him or her to my f-list. Nagorno Karabakh is a mountainous region that was part of Azerbaijan under the Soviet Union but has been occupied by Armenia (along with surrounding territories) since the war ended ten years ago. There are (unusually and dangerously) no international peacekeepers deployed on the ceasefire line, the soldiers keep on taking pot-shots at each other (several killed each month) and although the leaders of the two countries meet regularly I see no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough. Very depressing.

Transdniestria is a part of Moldova (a small and usually forgotten state wedged between Romania and Ukraine) which is, effectively, still occupied by the Soviet army. Attentive observers will note that the Soviet Union dissolved fourteen years ago. Older readers may remember the name of General Alexander Lebed, who at one time appeared to be a rival to Boris Yeltsin for the Russian leadership, before dying in a convenient plane crash; he was also involved in the early stages of the Transdniestrian crisis. I am currently trying to finish another report about it to add to our first two.

Apropos of nothing in particular: “You will find us only on the very best atlases, because we are the smallest country left in Europe… a self-respecting country which deserves and sometimes achieves a colour of its own on the map – usually a dyspeptic mint green, which misses the outline of the frontier by a fraction of an inch, so that one can almost hear the printer saying damn.” – the General, in Peter Ustinov’s play Romanoff and Juliet.

asks about lemony snicket. This is the pseudonym of the author of the books in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, which are completely hilarious and strongly recommended. A letter from Lemony Snicket to the potential reader on the back of the first in the series, The Bad Beginning, warns: “I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children… In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge. It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.” The film starring Jim Carrey as the greedy and repulsive villain has just been released.

asks about livejournal. Like her, I don’t actually know anything about that subject and only put it on my interests list to try and impress people.

And I’ll remind those of you who haven’t done so that if you’ve asked a question, you’re supposed to post this meme in your own journal as well.

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