Saturday, January 31, 2004

Soros, a Hungarian emigre to the US, concedes that he is open to such accusations. "I can be seen as a traitor to my class and my adopted country, but I am proud to take that role. I think there are values which transcend class and country. I think my country can be wrong and that's the value of an open society and that is the value which has made America great.

A Sense of Possibility, a Blast of Fresh Air
Within minutes of meeting the Herald at his plush west London abode, he complains about George Bush's "Orwellian truth machine" and its use of "doublespeak".
In the United States today you do have a pluralistic, free media. Neverthe-less, the truth machine is capable of manufacturing truth, so that the majority of people in America continue to believe that Saddam was somehow connected to September 11, when all the evidence points to the opposite...
The less faith we have in authority, the more trust we place in our own judgement.
The Nobel Prize-winning writer Gunter Grass said the German Weimar Republic collapsed and the Nazis took over in 1933 because there were not enough citizens. This was the lesson he had learnt: Citizens cannot leave politics just to politicians.

· Victim-turned-perpetrator [ See Also Life is a struggle for survival ]

Empowering events were almost without exception described as joyous occasions. Participants experienced a deep sense of happiness and even euphoria in being involved in protest events.
The first time she took part in one of these counter-summits, she had a distinct feeling that some sort of political portal was opening up This opening was a sense of possibility, a blast of fresh air. These protests - which are actually week-long marathons of intense education on global politics, late-night strategy sessions, festivals of music and street theatre - are like stepping into a parallel universe. Urgency replaces resignation, strangers talk to each other and the prospect of a radical change in political course seems like the most logical thought in the world."
· Life should get better - healthier, wealthier, happier, more satisfying and interesting. Is this the case?

Sleep, baby, sleep
Now that the night is over
And the sun comes like a god (DEUS)
Into our room
All perfect light and promises.

Like medicine or pornography, Labor Party Machine is a subject in which a person is either deeply versed or utterly ignorant. Labor History, according to a tired saying of many parliamentary historians, is merely the propaganda of the victors.
Everybody Loves to Hate the NSW Labor Right

New Sensation, the rock anthem chosen by some crafty Labor spinmeister to introduce Mark Latham
Public attitudes to politics and politicians, Mackay says, reflect a level of cynicism bordering on contempt and despair bordering on disgust...
Pragmatism, Mark Latham and the Labor machine were the winners, and conscience, the rank and file and John Howard the losers in the closest thing to a real debate. Cherrypicking evidence to support the case of the 53 most wanted Members.
· Real Debate: Tumor-ridden body politic of Conscience? Let's not be wise now [ via I wouldn't have thought anybody's ever had me rattled in politics? ]

Sleep, baby, sleep
Now that the night is over
And the sun comes like a god (DEUS)
Into our room
All perfect light and promises.

Like medicine or pornography, Labor Party Machine is a subject in which a person is either deeply versed or utterly ignorant. Labor History, according to a tired saying of many parliamentary historians, is merely the propaganda of the victors.
Everybody Loves to Hate the NSW Labor Right

New Sensation, the rock anthem chosen by some crafty Labor spinmeister to introduce Mark Latham
Public attitudes to politics and politicians, Mackay says, reflect a level of cynicism bordering on contempt and despair bordering on disgust...
Pragmatism, Mark Latham and the Labor machine were the winners, and conscience, the rank and file and John Howard the losers in the closest thing to a real debate. Cherrypicking evidence to support the case of the 53 most wanted Members.
· Real Debate: Tumor-ridden body politic of Conscience? Let's not be wise now [ via I wouldn't have thought anybody's ever had me rattled in politics? ]

Changes in fashion are the tax levied by the poor on the rich
Tragedies suffer from the moral defect of attaching too great an importance to life and death.
It was said of one politician that he'd been created to show how far the human skin can stretch

Seeing how the other half lives
Parliamentarians' of experiment of living on minimum wage raises questions about intent.
Deputy Petr Bratsky and three other politicians have been living on the minimum wage that single mothers such as Monika Jelinkova struggle with.
It's either a sincere attempt to see how the other half lives or a cheap ploy for self-promotion that insults the poor.
These are typical responses to a radio and newspaper challenge taken up by four parliamentarians who agreed to live on the minimum monthly wage -- 6,700 Kc ($257) -- for one month beginning Jan. 1.
The members of Parliament -- Senator Zdenek Barta (unaffiliated, part of the Christian Democratic caucus), Deputy Petr Bratsky (Civic Democrat), Deputy Stanislav Krecek (Social Democrat) and Deputy Michaela Sojdrova (Christian Democrat) -- normally are paid 46,000-64,000 Kc monthly, not including a stipend of 5,000 Kc for mobile telephone calls. This month they budgeted for only 3,900 Kc, what the average family of four living on a single minimum wage has after paying rent.

· Experiment: Prague
· Poor in line for hard Labor

Southern political personalities, like sweet corn, travel badly. They lose flavor with every hundred yards away from the patch. By the time they reach New York, they are like Golden Bantam that has been trucked up from Texas -- stale and unprofitable. The consumer forgets that the corn tastes different where it grows.
[ See Also Reality: The Louisianans, like Levantines, think it naive. When I was a young man, fresh out of Tulane. I was full of civic consciousness. I joined with a number of like-minded reformers to raise a fund to bribe the Legislature to impeach Huey [Long] ]
· Danger lurks for corporate perks

It was said of one politician that he'd been created to show how far the human skin can stretch
Tragedies suffer from the moral defect of attaching too great an importance to life and death.
Changes in fashion are the tax levied by the poor on the rich.

Life of Janet Frame: blighted by the deaths by drowning of two of her sisters
I inhabited a territory of loneliness which resembles the place where the dying spend their time before death and from where those who do return living to the world bring inevitably a unique point of view that is a nightmare, a treasure, and a lifelong possession [It is] equal in its rapture and chilling exposure [to] the neighbourhood of the ancient gods and goddesses
· Wrestling with the Angel
·An Angel At My The Carpathians Mountains
[See Also The Least Likely Bestseller ]

Friday, January 30, 2004

Fear of untruths being revealed: Law lord hits wrong target on evidence over Iraq war
Why does it come as no surprise that Lord Hutton took the stick to the BBC and its reporter Andrew Gilligan and in the process exonerated the Blair Government over the dossier justifying the war against Iraq? Because in the view of judges, and most other long-in-the-tooth lawyers, the media invariably is out of line, and if it makes a mistake, as Gilligan did, then the crucifixion is so much easier.
· Hutton report excerpts [link first seen at Something's fishy: One-sided verdict is not the final word]

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Reporter says raid of home "felt like slow-motion robbery"
Citizen reporter Juliet O'Neill, whose home was raided on Wednesday, writes: I will remember what happened to me as part of how the post 9/11 world works. Some Canadians of Muslim faith and Middle Eastern origin have told of the early morning knock on the door from the RCMP. Because of my everyday work as a journalist, I've now experienced myself something that I realize would be more difficult to endure without a lawyer, without knowing my rights, and being confident of media attention.
· I woke up and thought I was in some totalitarian state

Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein tried to get New York Post reporter Keith J. Kelly to stop writing about Talk magazine by offering him a book deal to write a history of Irish Americans

Codes of conduct in Australian and some overseas parliaments
The conduct of ministers and members of parliament is often in the news. In Australia some parliaments have adopted codes of conduct for members while others have a code governing ministerial behaviour. Only three parliaments have codes relating to both ministers and members. All Australian parliaments have adopted registers of pecuniary interests.
· Interested Interesting [See AlsoDiscrimination in electoral law: using technology to extend the secret ballot to disabled and illiterate voters (PDFormat)]

Monday, January 26, 2004

For every mile of beautiful scenery and warm sunshine, there are hundreds of miles of cold, dark nights, no food and no one to care whether I live or die...
I got there about sundown, half-starved, and, before my eyes on the American River, I could see thousands of campfires. I went to the nearest hobo jungle and smelled something cooking.
The last free men: Rudy Phillips is not running away. He is just seeing the world!

Sex-trafficking trade
The sex-trafficking trade may begin in Eastern Europe and wend its way through Mexico, but it lands in the suburbs and cities of America, where perhaps tens of thousands are held captive and pimped out for forced sex-yum yum in the U.S. This Is horrible beyond imagination.
· Certainly not victimless crimes here

When the police publicly identify someone as a suspect in a notorious crime, the injury done to that person’s reputation may be irreparable. Just ask Richard Jewel. James Van de Velde is doing his best to restore his reputation after the New Haven Police Department identified him as one of 5 to 10 suspects in the stabbing murder of one of his students at Yale in 1998. No other suspect was named...
[ See Also The Politics of Crime ]

Young people who grow up in a context of real economic opportunity, basic rule of law and the right to speak and write what they please don't usually want to blow up the world. They want to be part of it!
A simple message: The cure to the problem of the Middle East is jobs...
[link first seen at War of Ideas, Part 6: It's the economy, stupid: Tom Friedman gives us a bonus sixth part to his five-part series (smile)]

Sunday, January 25, 2004

First Jim Henson, then Mr. Rogers, now we lost Captain Kangaroo himself, Bob Keeshan. O Captain! Our Captain!

Hugo nominee is a worthy sci-fi novel
The great man is he who does not lose his child-heart. He does not think beforehand that his words shall be sincere, nor that his acts shall be resolute; he simply abides in the right.
Mencius on resolve

What would you do if you did not have to do anything?
Just about everyone's had a day when they've wished it were possible to send an alternate self to take care of unpleasant or tedious errands while the real self takes it easy. In Kiln People, David Brin's sci-fi-meets-noir novel, this wish has come true.

· Kiln People [ via blogcritics ]

Fortune magazine released its 2004 Report on the 100 Best Companies to work for...
Congratulations to J.M. Smucker (#1) for being the best place to work! We especially liked their code of conduct:
Listen with your full attention,
look for the good in others,
have a sense of humor,
and say thank you for a job well done.
No wonder they've been in business for 107 years!
At thought Scooter Store (#58), there is a 14-minute huddle every morning to discuss the day's goals.

Friday, January 23, 2004

The lure of the unknown writer proved absolutely irresistible for many virtual readers. Thank you one and all readers at Amazon for challenging the orthodoxy of the publishing world, so the next generation of writers don't have to! Imagine... Phew, how tough it has been for ordinary storytellers of my calibre running on literary water. Today you put me in the three figure current. Cold River is ranked as 710 as at 9 am Sydney time...
· Now, Ice cold beer, anyone?

Still Stonewalling After All These Years — US Withholds Chemical, Biological Agent Test Info
The U.S. Department of Defense continues to withhold information regarding tests of chemical and biological agents conducted on unsuspecting U.S. service personnel during the Cold War. The tests, conducted under the code names Project 112 and Project SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense), consisted of about 50 separate instances where sailors and soldiers were used to, "determine the effectiveness of biological and chemical agents in combat and methods to protect troops from attacks." The tests were conducted between 1962 and 1973 at a variety of locations. It is estimated that close to 6,000 military members were exposed to a variety of harmless stimulants meant to mimic the effects of a variety of biological or chemical agents.
· Deadly Nerve Agents [ via Ageless Aga]

2004 AD & the Story of Our Teeth: A Poor Cousin of the Middle Class Teeth
Caroline's is the face of the working poor, marked by a poverty-generated handicap more obvious than most deficiencies but no different, really, from the less visible deficits that reflect and reinforce destitution. If she were not poor, she would not have lost her teeth, and if she had not lost her teeth, perhaps she would not have remained poor.
· Not just bureaucrats who cheat the poor but also the poor who cheat themselves
· Citizen impotence, our specifically modern experience of poverty [link first seen at Rebeccablood]
· Electronic Elections: a new electronic voting system based on open-source software created in Australia
· Interactive Voting Map

inequities in social costs are aspects of industrialized poverty
Inequities in social costs are aspects of industrialized poverty for which economic indicators and objective verification can be found. Such is not true for the industrialized impotence which affects both rich and poor. Where this kind of poverty reigns, life without addictive access to commodities is rendered either impossible or criminal. Making do without consumption becomes impossible, not just for the average consumer but even for the poor. All forms of welfare, from affirmative action to environmental action, are of no help. The liberty to design and craft one's own distinctive dwelling is abolished in favor of the bureaucratic provision of standardized housing, as in the United States, Cuba or Sweden. The organization of employment, skills, building resources, rules, and credit favor shelter as a commodity rather than as an activity. Whether the product is provided by an entrepreneur or an apparatchik, the effective result is the same:
· citizen impotence, our specifically modern experience of poverty [link first seen at Rebeccablood]

Readers are often surprised to hear that Cold River is a representation of reality. Those in the corridors of power with generous imagination and a gift for milling rumours know too well that I did not drown because I am a witch rather than rich (smile):
Indeed, the witch of Morava River kissed me with her tongue until the leaves on the trees, the soles of my shoes, and even my thoughts, felt like leaden tongues.

Have a Thick Skin: Put something new into the world
(Please spread the rumour... I am not just a bouncing czech; I am a wicked witch)
Amateurs are writing as they’ve always written. Self-consciousness, self-doubt, awkwardness, and overcompensation are perennial hallmarks of the beginning writer. The reason today’s amateurs seem more profoundly un–profound could be a simple matter of exposure...
Sharing great discoveries is largely why weblogging got so hot and sultry in the first place. Big, heavily funded sites weren’t acknowledging the grace notes and hidden talents of the web, so it was up to webloggers. For some webloggers, it still is. Wired doesn’t need your help as much as undiscovered sites, which may be offering equally good (or better) material.

· When the kidnapper called the blind woman, he told her that she’d never see her son again

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Reality blogging with Road to Surfdom and Cast Iron Balcony
As a parent, the government's mantra of "choice" is meaningless to me. School fees of around $10,000 per child per year (in Melbourne) for two children? Not possible for us. I know the pundits always say there are legions of taxi drivers out there who manage to "sacrifice" to send their kids to private schools, and if the rest of us would cease our wickedly spending ways we could too, but take it from me-- as a non-smoking moderate social drinker who who sees approximately two live plays a year and whose work clothes hover between chainstore tragic and sheer embarassment, and who is relying on her 1991 Nova to last at least 7 more years, there is not $10000-20000 worth of fat to trim in this family. And the fees are only the beginning-- then you'd start on the uniform, the ski trips, the China excursions, etc. so that little Tarquin isn't socially ostracised.
Some choice. And then we get the pleasure of seeing the little Tarquins beat my child for a place at University with an ENTER score of 87.55 to her 96.5. Oh, and our taxes are helping to pay for it!
I'm having a Marge Simpson moment. Grrrrrrrrr.

Big Bad Taxmen miss death in tax office
A tax office official in Finland who died at his desk went unnoticed by up to 30 colleagues for two days.
The man in his 60s died last Tuesday while checking tax returns, but no-one realised he was dead until Thursday.
The head of personnel at the office in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, said the man's closest colleagues had been out at meetings when he died.

· Everyone at the tax office was feeling dreadful - and procedures would have to be reviewed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

It comes as no surprise that nearly a third of our young people who want to get into a university have missed out ("Degrees of separation: thousands rejected", Herald, January 19) when our Government spends its resources on the military and not education... Letters, SMH 20/1/04 Denis Doherty, Glebe

Broken Earth of Good & Evil
Joan Kroc, the late widow of the McDonald's founder, has left almost $2 billion to the Salvation Army.
The religious charity said today it was "humbled" by the generosity of one of the biggest bequests ever made.
The money will be used to develop community centres across the United States which will be named after Ray and Joan Kroc.

· Salvation Army [ courtesy of Google ]

Die Broke
You are not a corporation - you are a human being. Your money shouldn't outlive you. You should exit life as you came into it: penniless. Your assets are resources to be used, for your own benefit and for the benefit of those you love. Every dollar that's left in your bank account after you die is a dollar you wasted. Use your resources to help people now when you know they need it, when it will do the most good, rather than hoping they'll be helped when you're dead. The last czech you write should be to your undertaker… and it should bounce.

High housing prices not just Antipodean problem
The topic dominates dinner-party conversations: braggarts boast of the killing they've made on their houses, while the timid or the young worry about how they'll ever afford anything bigger than a shoebox to live in.
Now the French, the Spanish, the Irish and soon maybe even the Germans will be able to play the same game.
Europe has long been an oasis of housing sanity. People only bought houses to live in them. They didn't buy them as part of a pension plan, a route to early retirement, a clever way of paying the school fees, or because they were frightened that if they didn't buy one now they could never afford one later.

· Not any more. Europe is fast catching the housing bug

Rising homelessness in the capital challenges shelters; no solution in sight.
· Mean streets: Salvation Army's homeless shelter [ via Prague Post ]
[link first seen at Gentlemen: A staggering array of porcelain plumbing ]

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

In a nation without aristocracy, Hookes was one of those rarities, a prince among men; honest man who spoke his mind...
· A celebration, then a senseless tragedy: David Hookes

As the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was fond of saying, Everyone is entitled to their own opinion – but not their own facts.

Dishonest Socialisation of Loses: Are there parallels to be drawn or not?
Our goal here can’t be to find truth – that’s a job for philosophers and theologians. What we can do here is sort through the factual claims being made between now and election day, using the best techniques of journalism and scholarship.
And I can think of no better job for a journalist than holding politicians accountable for getting the facts right, regardless of their party or political philosophy.
Like the anarchists, Roosevelt diagnosed a growing awareness among Americans of genuine injustice. He believed, as few other politicians did, that the comforts of middle-class life blinded many of his fellow countrymen to the hardships endured by the majority of humankind - hardships whose effects might be lessened by political action.
And so, although Roosevelt opened his first address to Congress by pledging himself to fight the 'evil' of anarchism, he moved immediately into a much longer section of his speech titled 'Regulation of Corporations.' He proposed to address the great 'social problems' and the 'antagonism' of the day - the radicalism that threatened Americans' safety by trimming the excesses of unfettered capitalism.

· Corporate Welfare reaching new heights: (Kosciusko, Australia)
· The most evil corporate entity ever... (US)
[ via Political Fact Czech ]
[ courtesy of Is this a great job, or what?]
· Is Mina Naguib, the hackiest double dragon living in Montreal, or what?

Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)

The Dual Commandments: Act Like Nothing's Wrong
The coldest current to swallow Amazon up in years:
(1) If you like Cold River, give it to your friends.
(2) If you have an allergy to Cold River, send it to the bullies at school, work or parliament...
Just because I write about horrors of absurd communism doesn’t mean I always identify myself with other forms of barbarism such as ruthless capitalism.
· COLD RIVER: The Hunt for the Book That Is Best to Give to Bullies of this World [ My Virtual Middle Earth Digital Exposure: May the Ghost of the Morava River Protect the Powerless]
· Digital Silver Foxes: What is the son of Barbara Bush reading in 2004?

January Stories
The Des Moines tax preparer was accosted at work Thursday night by a knife-wielding man who tried to rob her.
Rankins backed him down with a stapler.

· I felt the power of the Lord
Rising homelessness in the capital challenges shelters; no solution in sight.
· Mean streets: Salvation Army's homeless shelter [ via Prague Post ]

Blogging Idly & Kryptikally
Living impressions of the decade that rocked my world
· 1980s Theme
· Don't Know Much About History?
Metrosexuals are better dressed. Homosexuals are so last season. Slowly, eat your heart out Kylie...(smile)
[ courtesy of Googling yourself metrosexually]

The film, The Blair Witch Project, formerly the biggest-grossing indie flick of all time—it has since been surpassed by My Big Fat Greek Wedding—brought in $248.3 million worldwide. The five producing partners of Blair Witch netted $5 million each, the actors $1 million.
· To you, that’s serious money, but in Hollywood, it’s chump change. Is that depressing, or what? [link first seen at About last night]

Monday, January 19, 2004

Did you hear the rumour? In my adopted country, I Owe Parliamentary Clerks everything... even how to make rumours and sausages (smile)
Whispered words over a coffee, a hint of intrigue, a conspiratorial giggle at a particularly juicy piece of information are all essential parts of workplace gossip, and good for you...
Gossip could be good for worker morale, reduce stress, boost creativity and, therefore, help business.
Gossiping could be seen as trivial but was often therapeutic...
It lubricates relationships at work.

· 'What's going on there? Wink wink, nudge nudge', is all right
· Get Parliamentary Culture Talking: Our Glorious Deaths by Thousand Cuts

How do you say in parliamentary language, "Potential colossal benefit of public money"?
IMHO, World wide travel is fine for our polliticians, in fact it should be a must as travel widens the horizon and the sharing of best practices eventually benefits everyone. Every new MP should be forced to visit each continent early in their careers, not too long after the maiden speech is delivered in the Chambers of Ideas, Hopes and Dreams; not so parliamentary staffers as some are better known around Parliament Houses by their travel bug type nicknames rather than their real names...MP Travel: Making the old new again

Saturday, January 17, 2004

My family is off again to Homebush Aquatic Centre where the NSW age swimming championships are being held covering ages 13-19 years/Over Age; covering the long, long, period from 13-19 January...
Swimming in our family emerged out of summer days splashing at Andrew (Boy) Charton and Bondi Iceberg pools, but the love of swimming came from the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef...
While many swimmers fall into the shooting star category, it is the healthiest sport on earth and almost as tough as ballet where extremely intensive dedication and love are a must. But, unlike ballet, swimming is objective. It is the ego, H2O and the clock...

True Passion Motivates Most Swimmers
The Middle Earth Europeans seem to be everywhere even at Homebush Aquatic Center and some even work for the IOI Scientific Committee (ISC) which in its maiden newsletter for the Athen Olympics poetically noted:
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
Are the ones who do!

The Olympics are still young and full of promises, for those who believe in them. I hope James Cumes might one day blog more about the true Olympic Spirit.
Meanwhile Dr. Tom Verhoeff, ISC Chair, writes that until IOI'99, the preparation and execution process suffered from a scaling problem...
The GA had very limited time to assess the tasks for approval and translation. This gave rise to long, intense, emotional discussions (a few well-informed persons versus a large group with little information), taking place under severe time constraints...
(As a result,) the ISC acts as an intermediary between GA and the HSC in the preparation and execution process. In all of this, it is important to remember that the ISC is intended to represent the GA. In fact, most ISC members have been GA members and they often return to the GA after serving on the ISC.
Now, we turn our attention to IOI 2004 in Athens, Greece. If the contact person has changed for your country from the one used in 2003, please send an email to Mr. Spyros Bakoyiannis, Greece, sbakogia@epy.gr so he will have an up-to-date list of the country contacts. The contact person is necessary for sending out country invitations to IOI 2004...
· Olympiad Newsletter (PDF format) [ courtesy of Turning Dreams to Realities]
· Thorpedo in Swimming to Athens mode [link first seen at NSW Swimming Championships ]
· Bidders begin 2012 Olympics race

True Blue Olympic Colours & Spirits: People over 60 in Wales will be given free access to swimming pools in the first move of its kind in Europe. The move follows a scheme which gave schoolchildren free swimming during last year's summer holidays... (Politicians of all colours take note)
Sadly, Gray - who first found fame delivering confessional, humorous stage monologues such as Swimming to Cambodia man is missing

Friday, January 16, 2004

I eat, drink, live, sleep, dream of less soccer, sweatshops & station disasters ... But, greed almost always trumps ideology.

What could be more global than soccer? The world’s leading professional players and owners pay no mind to national borders, with major teams banking revenues in every currency available on the foreign exchange and billions of fans cheering for their champions in too many languages to count. But in many ways, the beautiful game reveals much more about globalization’s limits than its possibilities.
· Foreign Policy magazines are exploring the absurdity of Football
· Not Sparing the Sweatshop Rod
· Australia: Waterfall disaster

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Lobbying by public servants has delayed the introduction of any new disclosure rules for bureaucrats by at least a year.
This is despite the recent recommendation of the Commonwealth auditor that the Government provide more detailed disclosure of the remuneration of ministers and top bureaucrats.

· Truth in PS

Neophobia: Fear and Loathing
Despite old-fashioned wisdom about looking before you leap and fools rushing in, new research shows that caution can actually kill you.
· New experiences: being risk-averse may shorten your life.

No greater joy in this world than to watch a young child that you love grow: to contemplate each new step, rudimentary word, each fresh understanding; that unique combination of the faintly comical and the seemingly miraculous.
Opinions differ, but my family has embraced anti-boy products, such as the throw rocks; slogan, pajamas that read Boys are smelly and the latest my daughter wears a T-shirts emblazoned with Boy Basher.
· There's too much boy-bashing going on [link first seen at Normblog]

Linguistic Ecology: Preventing a Great Loss
The acquisition of a second tongue destroys the 'naturalness' of the first. From then on, nothing can be self-evident in any tongue; nothing belongs to you wholly and irrefutably; nothing will ever 'go without saying' again.
Living in two languages, between two languages, or in the overlap of two languages? What is it like to write in a language that is not the language in which you were raised? To create in words other than those of your earliest memories, so far from the sounds of home and childhood and origin?
I laughed at things others considered serious and . . . they spoke at length of matters I would not think of divulging in public.

· I am Reaching out in more than one language [ via On The Trail Of An Elusive Translation: The Voynich manuscript]
· Other women: Gianna's started seeing them as characters in a coming-of-age story [See Also Those three or four words on the cover can make all the difference to a book's chances of success ]

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Is anger really so bad? Isn't it better to sort of let out anger than bottle it up? This week is the 400 year anniversary of the King James Bible.

Black's wife
Barbara Amiel, whose fourth hubby is Conrad Black, took home a salary and bonus of $276,000 in 2002, all of it coming from the Chicago Sun-Times - even though she reportedly hasn't set foot in the Sun-Times building in over four years.
The dollars involved may be small compared with the millions her husband was pulling out of Hollinger International, but Amiel's behavior fits the same disturbing pattern, according to disgruntled shareholders: treating a publicly held company like a personal bank account.

· If this was a cow, there wouldn't be an udder that wasn't sore [ courtesy of Romenesko]


New Year, New You, New Australian DIARY OF CIRCLES is here
Wendy James gets a response from Susan Hill in relation to the art and practice of diary keeping.
Speaking of diaries, I received a short note from Darren about his latest initiative called Blogger Idol.
So showcase your digital diary over the next month by posting 1 entry per week on a common theme.

· Darren Rowse [link first seen at Livingroom ]
· True Diary of Tim Dunlop: Rich and Succint [ via Surfdom ]

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Pay to Play
Shannon D. Harrington, Clint Riley and Jeff Pillets of the Bergen Record have a two-part series on "pay to play" in New Jersey, "a system that encourages politicians to reward their big contributors with juicy - and perfectly legal - no-bid contracts financed by the taxpayers." One story focuses on the lucrative law practice of M. Robert DeCotiis, finding that the "DeCotiis firm billed at least 128 government entities nearly $26.6 million during the 21⁄2-year period.
· Why attempts to curb the pay to play phenomenon have failed. [ courtesy of The Scoop]
[blatantly pinched from ABCNews: mathematical truth]

The Cardinal Sins of Blogging

Online addicts abandon the real world
Gabriele Farke celebrated her 40th birthday in a chat room. Her real-life friends had long since given up on her.
· The blonde in Bus Stop: Caught in the Net
· Blogging of Happiness

What is Happiness?
To laugh often and much,
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of childen,
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends,
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition,
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,
This is to have succeeded.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
· Politics of Happiness
[ via Mathematics of Happiness = P + 5E + 3H
· Bullies in the China Shop of Humanity

Bullies often Mr Popular at school, study finds
Contrary to popular opinion, school bullies do not suffer from low self-esteem and are often popular and considered "cool" by their classmates, a new study has found.
Dr Juvonen's research found that bullies were admired by their peers, and thus felt good about themselves. Bullies are popular because their dominance earns them respect among the general student population who tend not to sympathise with the victims, the study found.
They don't show any signs whatsoever of depression, loneliness or anxiety. They look even healthier than the socially adjusted kids who are not involved in the bullying."
Boys are twice as likely as girls to be bullies, and almost twice as likely to be victims of bullies. Boys are also three times as likely to be in both categories.
The study defines bullying as starting fights and pushing other kids around, putting down and making fun of others and spreading nasty rumours about others.
Unless we do something about this peer support and encouragement, we're probably not going to make much headway.
We need to be addressing bullying not only at the level of individual, aggressive kids, but at the level of the whole social collective. How can we get the other kids to be less supportive of the bully and more supportive of the victim?"
Officials say it is difficult to gauge the level of bullying because many incidents go unreported.

· Bullies in the China Shop of Humanity

The playwright Tom Stoppard once wrote that, when people asked about the deep existential themes in his play Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, he felt like a smuggler's dupe standing before a Customs officer: He had to admit those things were in there, but had no idea how they got there. Something similar happens every year at the Sydney Festival. The Sydney Festival began in earnest 4 months after I arrived in Australia. The Family Friendly Festival's ability to blend high-brow art and popular culture is the reason why so many vodka and barkadi (sic) loving locals are so passionate about exploring Sydney during Mid Summer Musical Evenings. What would the internationally recognised summer party scene be without mango dakeries (sic) at the Barracks or my very own Antipodean Club 77 (Klub, Charter, 77 is now closed)?
Without any doubt Leo Schofield, the son of a country publican with passion for telling stories, is the most artistic character the Emerald City ever created. Leo even painted the city of exiles in deep milticultural colours and now new talents continue the graceful tradition of lifting our hearts and making us think differently. Sydney somehow becomes kinder just like my childhood Vrbov used to manage to metamorphose during St Servac celebrations.

The Days of the Digital Cities are Numbered: Stopczecher
We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.
THE cream of Australia's theatrical crowd gathered at Walsh Bay for the opening of the $42-million Sydney Theatre.
Ussual suspects included Jackie Weaver, Barry Otto, Gough Whitlam and Bob Carr. However, playwrights David Williamson and Sir Tom Stoppard also attended the marathon nine-hour performance and party.

· Tom Stoppard: Who's that? ...Nobody, sir. He's the author [Website about Tom Stoppard was born "Tom Straussler" in Zlin, Czechoslovakia on July 3, 1937]

Geraldine O'Brien, at her brilliant best, describes heartily the city of my exile...
They have been called Sydney's incidental magic but they are not the million-dollar harbour vistas from the plate-glass of Point Piper. Rather, they are glimpses and views that, piece by lovely piece, are disappearing from our city.
Yet these, even more than the postcard vistas, have been what anchor us - geographically and psychologically - that give us our sense and spirit of place; that are, if you like, our dreaming.
Sydney has always had an immediate, sensuous, physical impact: for two centuries, from the first recorded European responses, visitors and locals alike, painters, writers and Everyman have celebrated its moods and ever-changing moments.
Its physical presence is most obvious in the interaction of harbour and city, harbour and suburb, in the sandstone outcrops at Castlecrag, the river glimpsed through jacaranda blossom at Hunters Hill, the massive presence of the Harbour Bridge seen from Pitt Street Mall, the salt smack of a southerly blustering into the city streets.
· Everyday magic of a beloved city
[ next generation of exiles Pushed to go Bush]

Monday, January 12, 2004

Something can exist which is much more powerful, and which we cannot imagine at all. In 1889, the editor of the San Francisco Examiner, having published one article by Rudyard Kipling, declined to accept any more of the author's work. The reason? 'I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling,' he explained, 'but you just don't know how to use the English language. This isn't a kindergarten for amateur writers.' Eighteen years later, Kipling (who had already written 'The Man Who Would Be King'), was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Double Dragon Pick Speaks the Language of Booklovers
Veteran singer-songwriter, John Hiatt, sings the language of music lovers in his newly penned lyrics for the unreleased song Cold River exclusively with Amazon.com customers.
Mothers teach us not to blow our own horn, but I recently received an email from a librarian who has recommeded my Cold River to other libraries and also included a link to this article:
I find the gestalt of the book world oppressive; it gives me a pain and it makes me grumpy. I find the movie-person's view of the arts much more congenial, whatever quarrels I may have with it. And I'm often left wondering: how can books people say of themselves that they love books when they look down their noses at 90% of the books that get published? They disdain not just Stephen King but also self-help books, visual books, and trash biographies; they relish little more than an intense discussion about what's a real book and what's not. (My staggeringly original response to this tiresome issue: They're all books, for god's sake.) IMHO, what books people love isn't books; what they love is their own standards, and their fantasies about what literature should be.

At times, it looked like my story would not be published. Then, the publishing stable of Double Dragon tried my Real Tail and the rest is history. So my gratitude goes to all librarians for keeping the ghosts of Morava River alive!
· Dreams and death shine a light on literally truth

Klima's simple style cloaked a fascination with moral uncertainties, divided loyalties, small betrayals and, above all, tortuous relationships between men and women. His books may well contain a higher incidence of adultery and infidelity than those of any other serious modern writer.
I have never been divorced. I love my wife. Like everybody else we have been through a period of problems. But not all my novels are based on my personal experience. Or, better to say: one experience helps you to invent more stories.
[ Bohemian writing My Beloved Prague ]
· Amazon's not-really-sekrit 800 number: 800 201 7575
In literary Amazon, the richest surname in the 21st century may be Jozef Imrich. (smile)[ courtesy of Boing]

Sadly, mentality of many incompetent managers today is the same used in Nazi concentration camps -- shoot one prisoner in a gruesome and public manner in order to cow the others. Fortunately, in the age of internet instant exposure is possible ...

Dead-end job memoir
This is the first of a two-part Salon piece on working at a dead-end customer service job. This genre of memoir is really compelling to me, maybe because I'm so thankful to not have a job like that, but also because it's the 21st Century equivalent of Orwell's labor-condition memoirs like Down and Out in Paris and London and The Road to Wigan Pier.
This was the awakening, the realization that I had officially and for all time put my head in a noose and the hangman was taking his sweet time. And that's the day I officially stopped caring. Never stay late. Never work overtime. Never offer opinions. Do not go the extra mile. At one time, I offered to train new employees, without a raise in my salary, just so that I could take the time to train them more thoroughly (training was fast becoming an afterthought, as people were needed immediately to answer phones. It didn't matter what they knew how to do). The problem was that the people who were training me told me as much, and I refused to believe them. But the equation was simple: Management is entrenched. They're not going anywhere. The department is too unwieldy from turnover to create another position. So why would management struggle to improve the call-taker's lot?

· Salon 1 of 2 [blatantly pinched from Orwell Library
· We've come quite a long way:: Year in Review
· Modern Dating Manifesto [via Boing]

What Would We Do Without Experts?
Experts Remind Staying Warm Important After Cold Contributes to 5 Deaths--headline, Canadian Press, Jan. 6

Barista of RICH Life

When I think of Tamara, I remember George Bernard Shaw's bitter joke: The more I see of the moneyed classes, the more I understand the guillotine.
· Rich People Are Different From Us... [ via Barista ]
· I have closed more companies than anyone in the world, so no one knows better about all the things that can go wrong in a business

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Cheap information has allowed firms to shrink. Size is now less of an advantage in organizations, and that means more competition in the global marketplace. For epublishers, it's either reorganize or die. That's what Coase, who won the 1991 Nobel Prize in economics, was talking about.

What will happen when an entire organisation can fit on a laptop?
Back in 1937, an economist named Ronald Coase realized something that helped explain the rise of modern corporations -- and which just might explain the coming decline of the American two-party political system.
Coase's insight was this:

· The cost of gathering information determines the size of organizations: Larry Page and Sergey Brin know all about it...
There's no doubting Google's power and popularity. Yet few of us use the search engine effectively. Take leaf out of this article as Larry Page and Sergey Brin & Jeff Bezos took a note of a scientist from Stanford Research Institute stood who at Christmas time of 1968 stood before a hushed San Francisco crowd and blew every mind in the room.

Today the tempestuous sea
lifted us in a kiss
so high that we trembled
in the flash of lightning
and, tied together, descended
and submerged without unraveling.
Today our bodies became immense,
they grew up to the edge of the world
and rolled melting themselves
into one single drop
of wax or meteor.
A new door opened between you and me
and someone, still without a face,
was waiting for us there.
(From "September 8" in The Captain's Verses)

Yesterday, first time for ages, the Sydney Morning Herald, in its quickie cossword, travels 3 down in 14 letters to former country in central Europe. (I no longer can manage the cryptic one... (I never really could)
My virgin, maiden, manuscript rejection and best feedback came from a publisher who is no longer with us, but Marrickville Councillor, Rebecca Kaiser is keeping Allen & Unwin alive and well. If you are an Editor who is able to juggle many balls at one time and still stay calm, have an engaged and flexible mind and sense of humour contact RebeccaK@allenandunwin.com...

The choice of jobs in the Herald is amazing: from giving birth to books to giving birth to colourful ads: Make Babies courtesy of www.goodcause.com.au

My light weekend reading also included job related articles such as these:
Anger at colleagues and incompetent managers is affecting productivity, causing people to threaten to resign or take time off for stress and is spilling over into workers' private lives.
· hotbeds of anger [ see also Pulling a sickie ]

Saturday, January 10, 2004

1 Corinthians 7:23 - You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

I'm a survivor - nothing more, nothing less. I don't fear life and I don't fear death.

What Would We Do Without Experts?
Experts Remind Staying Warm Important After Cold Contributes to 5 Deaths--headline, Canadian Press, Jan. 6

Expect a flood of unexpected experts predictions in 2004
Poor v Rich: Biblical Repetition...
This is pretty much it . Stop the world, time to get off.
Homelessness: Choice Or Necessity?
· Bad Year for Howard's battlers... losing out
The unique provisions arise from a secret memorandum of understanding between Iran and Australia, aimed at reducing the number of asylum seekers.
Under the deal, Iran agreed to accept the return of asylum seekers, and Australia agreed to grant extra visa privileges to well-off, well-educated Iranians.

· Axis of Battlers: Rich Ones

Public Enemies Number One

The business of uncovering corruption is not for the faint-hearted. In France, Eva Joly, the country's best known magistrate, lived under 24-hour police protection for six years: six years spent in the knowledge that someone out there was being paid to track her and, given the opportunity, kill her. Joly didn't investigate Colombian drug barons or mafia networks - her work took place in a country which is one of the world's most civilised. She was investigating corruption among French politicians, lawyers and company directors. Corruption is usually a crime of the elite, of those with access to money and power.
· Businessmen, some of whom had already been fingered for corruption, moved their money into the media, knowing that no editor will publish defamatory material about one of the group's major shareholders
· Capone Dead At 48; Dry Era Gang Chief [ via L. Dennis Kozlowski ]

He was a man of high intelligence and innovative concepts whose talents, especially in international affairs, were widely respected by both friend and foe. Yet he was so motivated by hatreds and fears that he abused his powers and resorted to lies and cover-ups.
· Nixon: His Story

Rowland apologized
Rowland on Wednesday again apologized for accepting gifts at his summer cottage and lying about it, but he insisted he never provided any favors or took any actions in exchange for the gifts:
Tonight, I humbly ask for a renewed opportunity to earn back your trust, to redeem myself in your eyes and to continue to lead this state. As you can imagine, I've had many sleepless nights over the past few weeks.

· Trust

Friday, January 09, 2004

What We Will Do in 2004
Just the Kind of Guy Whose Finger You Want on the Button
Freedom, prosperity and peace are not separate principles, or separable policy goals. Each reinforces the other, so serving any one requires an integrated policy that serves all three. The challenges are many, for the world is full of trouble. But it is also full of opportunities, and we are resolved to seize every one of them. If some of us drop a few pounds in the process, that's O.K., too.
· Pounds Powells

Cynicism is so 2003. Let's make the new year the beginning of a better world.
The role of money in politics feeds the disconnect between citizens and representative government.

· New Year's Resolve: Hope requires that one believe in a better future
[ via 2003 Best of The MMIII]

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I remember the days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin, when the world trembled at the sound of our rockets. Now they will tremble again, at our silence.
- (The Hunt For Red October)

Who is in Charge of the Asylumn? Ooops Toilet!
The banner headline spread across the front page of Il Giornale, the respected Milan daily reads:
Al Qaeda: We will destroy New York within 35 days. Threat on the Internet. Countdown begins.

· Al Qaeda Threatens to Nuke New York on February 2 [blatantly pinched from Attention, passengers: queuing for the loo is forbidden for 14 hours ]

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Quarantining dissent
Feorge W. Bush - champion of free speech? Nope. I hope I have the guts to defy the Secret Service about this if the opportunity ever presents itself.
As far as I'm concerned, the whole country is a free-speech zone. If the Bush administration has its way, anyone who criticizes them will be out of sight and out of mind.
The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us ...

· Designated Free-Speech Zone:1984 / 2004 [blatantly pinched from I am seriously beginning to think Howard Dean is a GOP plant. This guy is too good to be true. ]

Boy, was I late on this one: God as a Gambler
Who is this that darkeneth knowledge by words without counsel?
So thundered God in the Hebrew Bible to his servant Job. That upright and blameless man had dared to challenge the Lord's unfairness in stripping him of his wealth and killing his children.

· Bible Belt [blatantly pinched from Poker Pro]
· You Win Some Dirt and You Lose Some toys & Art of Sleeping

Homeless paying a savage price for our poverty
Attacks on the weak reveal a society plagued by fear and ruthlessly hiding its failures.
It is not a book that you want to be reminded of, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Nor does the movie adaptation, starring Christian Bale as the yuppie psychopath Patrick Bateman, make for enjoyable repeat viewing.
One disturbing scene resonated particularly strongly. Bateman is walking New York's back streets, dressed in a designer suit and silk-lined coat. The shoes: "patent leather slip-ons by Baker-Benjes". He comes across a homeless man, and stops to talk to him - to interrogate him.
"If you're so hungry, why don't you get a job?" Bateman asks, with icy interest. "Do you think it's fair to take money from people who do have jobs? Who do work?"
Things go on in this way for a while, the "bum" desperately holding out for a few greenbacks.
Eventually, a frustrated Bateman steps back, rage building, and says, "I'm sorry. It's just that I don't have anything in common with you." He pulls out a knife and plunges it into the homeless man.
This is distressing fiction - and it's little wonder many people found the novel sickening and offensive.

· No Wonder [ via Brilliant ABC Tales]
· God works in mysterious ways: via Web [ courtesy of SMH]
Art for the indifferent

Tax Avoidance
Unaware apartment buyers could become the victims in a real estate GST-avoidance scheme worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Back in the future children read about naughty writers like Churchill. I do not think these disclosures will make people think any less of Churchill. I think if people had to choose between the Inland Revenue and the man who saved Western civilisation they would opt for the latter.
The Inland Revenue seems to have decided, after an initial investigation, that the complaint was without foundation. Inspectors, however, remained convinced that "some curious work was going on in this connection
Officials believed that a family trust had been set up specifically to handle the money so that it could be classed as capital rather than income.
· Loopholes
We can't understand why the ATO doesn't accept the umpire's decision... For lowest paid staff Income Tax tests (never to be called Psych tests) come but once ... or twice ... or three times a year?
ATO naturally is determined to avoid the missed warning signs that took place during the employment of George Petrolous (sic). Their difficulty is to persuade the rest of the current managers who belong to union to accept the precautionary measures the politicians consider necessary.
· Thin end of the wedge

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

All Movements Begin Underground
Stirling Newberry explains why we feel so blessed in this blogosphere. He knows the variety of voices and the dynamism of the space. He is himself part of the rebirth of remarkably clean, free and forceful politics online. And he knows how apt is the spherical image of this new linked, democratic, planetary zone we're in.
The model of business, politics and culture is shifting from the pyramid to the sphere. "Circles" is a sort of key to the Internet transformation. The eye is the first circle. Emerson wrote in 1841. The horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary picture is repeated without end. It is the highest emblem in the cipher of the world.
Stirling Newberry had Emerson's next line by heart, it turned out: St. Augustine described the nature of God as a circle whose centre was everywhere and its circumference nowhere:
That's the image you should have of what's happening on the Internet. Anyone on any given day can be the center if he has the best observation that resonates. There is no boundary of the circle... You get to sing a song and listen to the echo. You get to hear... how other people have taken what you've done and turned it into their center.

· Pyramid and Sphere [ via Stirling Newberry ]

Blog For One and All, But Especially for the Poweless Among Us
We're living in Internet time, kids, and we're not going back. We got here, in Morris's quick summary, by push and pull. The push is the shriveling audience for network news. Lyndon Johnson used his famous three-set console to keep an eye on ABC, CBS and NBC and see what 70 percent of the country was watching with him. The nightly news exposure gets 18 percent of the electorate these days. And though some pols will triple their TV buys to make up the difference, "it's the last gasp of a dying system." The pull, Morris says, is the fact that one quarter of the country is on a computer during prime time; 70 percent of Americans have regular Internet access. It's an entirely new age in politics.
-- I admit, I only occassionally checked in on Howard Dean's blog this year, but this thing simply changed politics, the media, and America in general like nothing since Drudge. When Dean wins in November, Joe Trippi will take a post in the administration that completely alters the way communities and governments function. Finally, a future to look forward to. · Blog For America
Rex's Best Blogs
Fimoculous (a.k.a., Rex Sorgatz) has comeout with its annual 30+ Best Blogs. Sorgatz identifies some of the usual suspects, as well as some you probably hadn't heard about but should know.
· Listing, which is always worth a look [ via E-Media Tidbits: Remember the Poweless and Give Bullies a Fearless Serve]

Hundreds of political jobs for relatives under Socialist Australia
Just how incestuous is politics? Crikey found 125 examples of political nepotism in early 2002 but we're now above 160 thanks to our vigilant subscribers.
· All entries to boss@crikey.com.au. [via Crikey ]
· Changing research practices in the digital age

Monday, January 05, 2004

Who has time to read books ? In any case, books are so ... second millennium. And most of them are overrated. And so many of them are too long. So, here's an idea: Read really good blogs -- e.g., The Me in Media Dragon (ironic grin...).
When certain bloggers blog, bullies do not dance in the streets. Most bloggers are writing in the shadows of Tim Dunlop and Tim Porter or writing bland stuff.

Strictly Iron Curtain
Over 1000 readers and nothing is the same again including my email ...A lesson in how not to conceal all the mean, messy, tragic and unhappy aspects of our existence from readers.
My fictional literary agent John Brockman, who even makes boring scientists into successful authors, has posted an intriguing question on his Edge website. He seeks suggestions for contemporary "laws", just as Boyle, Newton, Faraday and other pioneers gave their names to the rules of the physical universe. (That eminent pair, Sod and Murphy, soon followed suit.) Brockman advises his would-be legislators to stick to the scientific disciplines, and you can find their responses at www.edge.org/q2004:
For far too long, personal hunch and taste have persisted in an industry that should adhere to the strict principles of modern management. So, to welcome the new year, let's propose a few core principles to clarify the muddled business of books...( He's joking, of course, smile)

· All stories now are either quick, or dead: Over Thousand Thank Yous (sic) [blatantly pinched from ABCTales: Lianna and her Bohemian Bunch]

PS: At Amazon Surf, Swim, even Look Inside COLD RIVER

My Keen and Grove Sense of the Absurd
My father always warned me about comedy acts and my deep sense of the ironic. My folkloric teacher, Marta Chamillova, is to be blamed as at a very young age she taught me a few surviving skills and tricks. One such trick was to imagine communist bullies walking around the stage naked; sometimes my imagination lets me to ogle the party apparatchicks on the toilet seats (smile). To me, Presidents and Prime Ministers and Ministerial spinners are just mere mortals like you and me. However, it was often dangerous to employ these tactics at the NSW Parliament House and do not try it at the office Christmas Party (it might drive you to drink). At the risk of losing your job, try to imagine some of your bosses in those situations and positions: Not a pretty site my Dears! Most bosses these days are Big Bad Swains, literally, not just metaphorically, nicking their top possie in the food chain.
· New Year Message via Mortal Stages: World leaders take stock in 2004
[ via Arthur Miller visits Castro ]
· Crikey! This man would not be a bad Prime Minister ...
[ courtesy of 10 fattest cities: 2112 is still pretty far away ]

My Keen and Grove Sense of the Absurd
My father always warned me about comedy acts and my deep sense of the ironic. My folkloric teacher, Marta Chamillova, is to be blamed as at a very young age she taught me a few surviving skills and tricks. One such trick was to imagine communist bullies walking around the stage naked; sometimes my imagination lets me to ogle the party apparatchicks on the toilet seats (smile). To me, Presidents and Prime Ministers and Ministerial spinners are just mere mortals like you and me. However, it was often dangerous to employ these tactics at the NSW Parliament House and do not try it at the office Christmas Party (it might drive you to drink). At the risk of losing your job, try to imagine some of your bosses in those situations and positions: Not a pretty site my Dears! Most bosses these days are Big Bad Swains, literally, not just metaphorically, nicking their top possie in the food chain.
· New Year Message via Mortal Stages: World leaders take stock in 2004
[ via Arthur Miller visits Castro ]
· Crikey! This man would not be a bad Prime Minister ...
[ courtesy of 10 fattest cities: 2112 is still pretty far away ]

To protect your rivers, protect your mountains.
-Emperor Yu of China, 1600 BCE

Children and Refugees have and always will be the Mountains of Our Fragile World
Viliami Tanginoa died three years ago at the Maribyrnong detention centre. Now that the coroner has reported, Peter Mares looks at why...
· A death in the rain [ courtesy of Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology]
[ via Human rights 2003 ]
Law Enforcers Under Stress
· Soooo True: Jan Komensky is turning in his grave

Where passion and art mix... Buy, Beg, Borrow, or Bugger a Ticket to Cold Mountain! Guns-and-Love-and-Escape...

Gypsie Love is a Battlefield
The 32 buildings constructed for the set of the town in Cold Mountain were built of sawn logs, just as they would have been in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in the 1860s. The set was in Romania, but apparently Romanian mountain forests look more like the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in the 1860s than anything left in the United States or Canada.
The Romanian soldiers playing Confederates and Federals were drilled using the same manuals as Civil War soldiers, and they apparently look more like the real thing, because they're thinner and younger than modern day Americans.
The leading actors even wore the correct underwear beneath their historically researched costumes - known in the trade as doing a von Stroheim, because Erich von Stroheim insisted on undie realism in 1924 for Greed. In Cold Mountain's press notes, the costume designer, Ann Roth, says it helps the actors to walk properly.

· Gone With the War & Wind see also Colder Love
· Book Review [ courtesy of Amazon Offer]
· Cold Mountains & Cold Rivers [ via Amazon River]
· LIGHTISH LOVE: Just Your Type?

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Afternoon on the Amazon: Take Two; In Association with Amazon.com base price: $5.95
Shock! Horror!... How ANY Book Can Become An Amazon Bestseller.
Daredevil Blogger Drudge published a 2003 Bestselling List without approval from the Lords inside Bookscan. Unauthorisation nonfiction sale data and the nonfiction chart from BookScan, reproduced below, mixes together hardcovers and paperbacks. (The asterisks, which were added by us and are not part of the official literary chart, denote paperback editions.)
1 The South Beach Diet 2,305,000
2 The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? 1,508,000
*3 Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution: Completely Updated! 1,301,000
*4 Seabiscuit: An American Legend 1,140,000
5 Living History 1,085,000
6 Atkins for Life 1,055,000
7 Cold River 000,000 ($5 smile)
Unlike Amerika and Australia, in the Brittain sales figures are treated less like state secrets; they even print them in the newspaper. The Guardian presented, and analyzed, sales of the top 100 paperbacks for 2003.
50 Paperback

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Books are back, and their pages are filled with politics, biography, and history
Like a battleship, book publishing doesn't turn on a dime, so the old year's trends don't usually determine a new year's books. However, conversations with literary agents, who are always trying to sniff out what publishers want, turn up a few trends in publishing that may affect our reading in 2004 and beyond.
· The readers are back [ courtesy of http://www.boston.com/ae/books 1/1/04]
[ via Graceful Amazon: Thanks Jeff Bezos ]

Friday, January 02, 2004

Castro Oil Satire & Cat
The Cuban authorities have launched an inquiry into how the official newspaper of the Communist party ran a front page photograph of Fidel Castro which appeared to have been doctored to make him look like Adolf Hitler.
· My cat's a communist [blatantly pinched from Castro as Hitler]
Always a fun read is Bill Safire’s end of the year column. This year is no different.
· Safire Office Pool [ courtesy of Google ]
The Law & Order Index: Watching reruns could make you rich! [ via A peculiar New Year's ritual ]
[via Another Likely Way For Me to Die ]

Political Junkies Freewheeling 'Bloggers' Are Rewriting Rules Of Journalism
They used to be known as the boys on the bus: the big-name columnists, network TV producers and reporters for large-circulation newspapers who had the power to make or break a presidential candidate's reputation. Now they've got competition.
In the 2004 election, the boys (and girls) on the bus have been joined by a new class of political arbiters: the geeks on their laptops. They call themselves bloggers. Their mission: to remake political journalism and, quite possibly, democracy itself. The plan: to make an end run around big media by becoming publishers on the Internet.

· US Today overview of political blogs [ via US Today]
· Making yet another impressive, but vain attempt to shame the shameless [ courtesy of NRO'S Crystal Ball: great predictions for 2004 ]
· Paradox: Political parties more orthodox; religions more fluid [blatantly pinched from Electronic Voting Firm Hacked: 2004 Election ]

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Marketing Plot: Cold River is about hot exposure on Google
I want to wish you all a happy New Year. I also want to thank you for being a valued visitor and friend. At Media Dragon, 2003 was a breakout year. We are now sponsored by environmentally friendly makers and marketers of savvy scooters. We have vaulted to number 5 & 10 on Google for the highly treasured keywords "cold river" We are also being recognized even more in the industry by large players like the Sydney Morning Herald.
I know you will enjoy links and investigative reporting scoops in 2004. Be sure to read Jozef eBook Cold River and his forthcoming profile of the Sydney.

Have a terrific 2004
Jozef Imrich

The success of the Tolkien books and now films are rooted in the clear, compelling moral logic of his stories: good against evil...
· Rejecting Dilday's critique of the cult movies [ via Open Democracy]
· Library beefs up its eBook collection... [blatantly pinched from Ideas that will matter in 2004...]
PS: Consider a position with the Open Democracy as they are opening savvy global workshops in 2004.

The Year That Was
The Net now makes it possible to take the pulse of readers by tracking what types of stories they search for and e-mail to friends. Many sites have taken advantage of this interactivity in creating year-end features. Rather than just pick and tell readers what the "Top Stories ofthe Year" are, journalists can now easily ask readers their opinion.
Here is MSNBC.com's survey and CNN.com's survey.
Most E-Mailed Articles of 2003
The brave New South Wales newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald is taking a leaf out of the city of New York. I expect other sites to imitate it in the future. At least, I hope they do. The New York Times has mined its 2003 e-mail data to create a smart series of slideshows showing the Most E-Mailed Articles of 2003. Iraq
and Jayson Blair were among the popular stories, not surprising, but so were from tales of sushi memos and yarns about talking fish.
And the Times was kind enough to waive the usual charge for archived articles and let users read these treats for free.
The slideshows include: Most E-Mailed News Articles ; Most E-Mailed Opinion Articles ; Most E-Mailed Magazine Articles ; Other Fare From the Top 100.

Top searches of 2003
Yahoo and Lycos have posted excellent summaries of the
top searches of 2003. In addition to overall searches, they've broken downthe searches by category --everything from the Top Jennifer Searches tothe Top Iraq-related searches.
Top Yahoo searches of 2003
Yahoo's top news searches were:
Cloning, Hurricane Isabel, Saddam Hussein, Laci Peterson, Affirmative Action, Elizabeth Smart, Jessica Lynch, Iraq War, Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Rush Limbaugh, Cold River (smile)
Lycos' Web's Most Wanted 2003
Iraq War, Kobe Bryant, Space Shuttle Columbia,
Federal Do-Not-Call List, SARS, Michael Jackson arrest, MS Blaster/Lovsan Computer Virus, First Human Clone, Super Bowl XXXVII, Laci Peterson, Media Dragon (grin)
Amazing how different the lists are, eh? I never would have guessed.
Google usually does its own wrap-up of the year-in-search, but it hasn't posted its 2003 round-up yet (as at 1/1 2004). Here's last year's
2002 for comparision.
Google and Czech this page in the coming days for the 2003 summary: http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html
Have a happy New Year's!

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