Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The tale is like something out of Orwell. With the help of companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Juniper, China continues to be quite successful in censoring access to the Internet within its borders. In the last couple weeks, we learned that Microsoft was helping China censor bloggers on MSN:Spaces. Because of this cooperation, China does not block access to MSN:Spaces. Interestingly, China blocks entire domains like Blogger and Typepad. Why? My guess is that Google (owner of Blogger) and Six Apart (owner of Typepad) refuse to provide censorship services. The Sandbox of Geo-Political-Corporate Censorship

The Blog, The Press, The Media: A Bitter Defeat for the Press
The tale is like something out of Kafka: In 2003, George W. Bush accused Saddam Hussein of trying to buy uranium in Africa. A former U.S. ambassador, Joseph Wilson, revealed that the claim was false.

The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the Cooper-Miller case will do more than hurt two reporters -- it will erode the press's ability to cover sensitive stories. In an obvious attempt to punish Wilson (Smith), one of Bush's aides then disclosed the identity of Wilson's wife, an undercover CIA operative named Valerie Plame, to the conservative columnist Robert Novak, who printed the name.

Divulge Sources, 4 More Reporters Told The Fourth Estate lost another high-profile legal battle
And Strikes a Blow at a Strong Press: Reinforcing the Medieval Flame [Legend has it when Henry David Thoreau went to jail to protest an unjust law, his friend, the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, visited him and asked, "Henry, what are you doing in here?" The great nature writer replied, "What are you doing out there?" It's time for Novak to write the column he owes his readers ; Minor players in leak saga face prison, but that won't benefit public Twilight zone for reporters; There is so much more at Romenesko: Jailing of reporters seems medieval in this info age ; Complete Coverage: Monday's Supreme Court Decisions ; A Supreme Court Conversation ]
• · Note to technology developers who want to market products that will help people share copyrighted files: Whatever you do, don't end your brand name with "-ster"! Supreme Court's unsound decision ; The attorney who argued the landmark eminent domain case surveys the blight in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision Never Mind the Kelo, Here's Scott Bullock
• · · Here's another example of how grassroots are using the internet to fight back. Just a Minor Threat ; Millions of former newspaper readers now get their news from the Web, but the majority remain loyal to their favorite print news outlets Newspaper Readers Turning to Web ; Washington has a simple solution to most governments it doesn't like: isolate them, slap sanctions on them and wait for their downfall How To Change Ugly Regimes
• · · · Media studies courses have for years been cruelly mocked by the industry. Can they survive a renewed assault? Mouse trap; US public more critical of press Online readership countering print losses
• · · · · Lessig: Wow - I said that?.; NYT endorses Bugmenot
• · · · · · Journos have sunk so low that even bosses are kicking them ; I think there were like two blips in the 20th century - Ernie Pyle in World War II, and Watergate-- that gave journalists a reputation that they in no way deserved, and don't usually have P.J. O'Rourke has consistently remained one of the funniest writers in America ; Don't Be a Blogger Manqué, Norman Mailer ; via Tim Dunlop: There are those who write good news blogs and pretend they are providing balance, and there are those who actually work in Iraq

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

WELCOME NUDE & SEMI NUDE PAJAMAHADEENS OF TECHNORATI FAME who have stumbled across the Media Dragon via top 100 Naked Conversations

Michael might be moving a house, but still he manages to blog forward about a few websites of note: Rant or BIF?
Pay it forward is all about a notion of transformation and what drives us to cross to all kinds of wise and thoughtful blogs. It is also an opportunity for us to explore less known blogs or give an extra link to blogs that deserve wider attention ...
Czech out a creative Barista David Tiley
Get swept off your feet by a kind legal eagle David Starkoff
Invade Alan at Southerly Buster
... An answer came directed in a writing unexpected Perry Middlemiss
Ach, New Matilda.com is a place for you to speak out about the Australia you want New Walzing Matilda

CODA: Shel Israel and Robert Scoble have moved to Chapter 9 and kindly quote Media Dragon ... We, of course, believe your decision not to blog will hurt your company in the long run. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant -- all great CEOs encourage transparency and openness as long as sensitive data is not leaked,” Cold River author Jozef Imrich told us Naked Thorns in the Roses

Monday, June 27, 2005

I am such a complete atheist that I am afraid God will punish me. Such is the pithy wisdom of Jára Cimrman - Existence cannot not exist. Fictional Cimrman is so beloved because he is that most prickly of ironies: a Czech who was greater than all the world’s greats, but who for some hiccup of chance has never been recognized for his achievements. I like to think that the vote for Cimrman says something about the country’s rousing enthusiasm for blowing raspberries in the face of authority. Czech out the two things about the Czech nation: “that it is skeptical about those who are major figures and those who are supposedly ‘the greatest.’ And that the only certainty that has saved the nation many times throughout history is its humour.” When optimists should be shot: Jára Cimrman: the Greatest Czech of All Time

As in so many other countries and in so many other times, the rise of a newly educated intellectual class in the 19th century polarized the society with ethnic identity politics. All over Bohemia, the new Czech intelligentsia urged Czechs to think of themselves as Czechs, not Bohemians or Budweisers or anything else that would transcend their ethnic identity We Are All Budweisers [If only the grievances of past centuries had been left in the past! If only they had all remained Budweisers or Bohemians]

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Move Over, Boomers
Contributing Editor Adam Werbach asks if the baby boomers are to blame for the sad state of affairs. "What should these leaders do now?" he asks. "Die?"

Raised during the heyday of ecological activism and the rise of a post-industrial networked society, practivists are steeped in systems thinking. Having come of age during the fall of the Berlin Wall, they are suspicious of nationalism and artificial dualities, a mistrust further informed by academic and political training in deconstructing absolute identity categories like race or gender. Practivists prefer to emphasize similarities rather than dwell in the "silos" of various "isms."

The old era of political party identification is giving way to a disaggregated thunderdome of cause-based politics, distributed democracy, MoveOn house parties and do-it-yourself politics
MoveOn ; Stephen Matchett's article shows much more than the usual superficial understanding of Kokoda and the fascination it has for so many of us The Digger Legend: James Cumes ; [American political parties, as we have known them for two centuries, are disintegrating Are the Parties Over? ; Why do those who stand to gain the least from virtually every policy of George W. Bush, support him the most? Let Them Eat War; What else could war dollars buy? Six billion dollars a month can pay for a lot of stuff, and we've got the T-shirts, tickers and widgets to prove it. Tim Grieve, in Salon ; The scale of the theft indulged in over the last forty years by the Nigerian ruling-class is almost unbelievable £220bn stolen by Nigeria's corrupt rulers ; Bulgarians vote, seen ending reign of ex-king PM - Bulgaria's ex-communists claim election victory Bulgaria's election lottery ]
• · Scary Stuff: Revolutionary Communist Party, a statement on the battle for the future ; Cathy Young on the hypocrisy of Hollywood leftists Bolshywood Revisited
• · · The False Problem of Free Will and Determinism Getting the Fly Out of the Bottle; Ever since the first Jew arrived on American shores 350 years ago, one question has persistently been asked but never definitively answered The Great Jewish-American Synthesis
• · · · What follows is a blatant intrusion into private grief. Well, very nearly private grief. The Tory party has not quite diminished to a level of importance at which its affairs are of concern only to members of its dwindling associations. But it has certainly declined to a point that is dangerously close to effective disappearance The Tory party faces an unenviable choice of leadership candidates ; Regime Change and Its Limits ; Senator Norm Coleman, New York Tax Cheats at the Government Trough ; Christopher Hitchens, Slate The Da Vinci Code vs. The Downing Street Memo
• · · · · We need a serious book about Hillary Clinton. Ed Klein's isn't it Eine Kleine Biographie ; Kathleen Parker, Townhall There's Something (Else) About Hillary; Amity Shlaes, Financial Times Don't Ignore Blue Dog Wisdom
• · · · · · via Tim Dunlop: In George Orwell's classic novel '1984', a central theme was the absolute control of information through the Ministry of Truth - a misnomer, if ever there was one. In a contemporary reality twist, control of information has become an integral part of the response of Western Governments to the so-called war on terror. Sledgehammer Politics ; Lionel Tiger, WSJ
An Anthropological Debunking Of The "Housing Bubble"

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The insider insider travelling stories have captured the public's imagination and the carrtoonists covering ‘Yes Minister’ have been drawn into the unfolding drama. The transcripts are pinpoint accurate in their dissection of the best of all oossible political worlds. The task of responding to and resolving parliamentary inquiries should be outsourced. That way, the vendor will be paid only when the job is completed, according to the agreed requirements and timelines. This will also allow the government to get rid of those useless backbenchers, thus saving the country a heap of money. So Lisa Pryor and Gerard Ryle are the most talked about duo at the Parliamentary cafeteria and the grassy areas of the Botanic Garden. It is all about the competency of certain parliamentary committee managers and the ‘Yes Minister’ principle. The meeting in Brussels did not start well for the two state politicians who had travelled half way around the world to find out about genetically modified food. NSW Parliament can waste money on inquiries with the best of them Brian and Tony's excellent European adventure

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Pushing an Issue Under the Carpet
If only more of our senior public servants and department heads were so frank and fearless as Harry Evans... Most of us are often unaware about stories such as the one told by Avelyn Gogos so it seems like an absurd fiction ...

When Avelyn Gogos gave evidence at an inquiry into disability services, it was in the hope she might get her autistic son, Dean, into a group home. She didn't know what people inside the political system know - that calling a parliamentary inquiry is often a way of pushing an issue under the carpet and keeping backbenchers busy

At many levels, the processes of political processes are found to be sluggish and lacking impartiality. They are found also to be frequently incompetent.
Still waiting for peace of mind [World Travel [ ; Some parliamentary managers, Marco Polos, have been overseas twice or more during 2003-2004 period. The inquiry system in NSW is flawed, but it's a nice little earner for politicians MPs travel the world, inquiries go nowhere ; More than a year after NSW MLCs Tony Kelly and Brian Pezzutti returned from a European trip, they presented to Parliament hundreds of pages of transcripts of meetings entitled European and United Kingdom perspectives on agriculture, genetically modified food and rural development ; Perhaps you could repeat that?; Final report ; Marco Polos; A few ideas for the parliamentary suggestion box ; Unlucky timing - Tony Catanzariti ]]
• · British Prime Minister Tony Blair sees himself, not dissimlarly to NSW Premier Bob Carr, as an environmentally caring leader. The facts, of course, bring no such confidence, but our media prefers to play along with their delusional games Blair's (lack of) power; I’m too jaded and cynical to feel more than a brief pulse of anger at the news that Philip Cooney, the White House arachnid who dishonestly doctored US government reports on global warming, has followed his heart and joined Exxon Mobil. No, not even a whiff of corruption there…Monsieur Martin Pike has left Northcote Knob in suspended animation and taken to foreign policy via Barista
• · · The gang's all here ... last night, Senator Harradine, 70, the last Cold War warrior, unionist and father of 13, stood in the chamber that was his mainland citadel to bid farewell to national politics. Father of Senate says cheers for 30 years ; Phone-tap leak from chief's office: Brogden ; The demise of the Australian Democrats demonstrates what happens to politicians who decide the electorate owes them a living The Democrat party is all over
• · · · Jason Method and James W. Prado Roberts of the Asbury Park Press raised questions in the airplane death seven years ago of a pilot who was about to buy Marlboro Airport Accident or Sabotage? ; Jailed former HIH director Rodney Adler has not breached his corporate ban by getting reports on investments and business interests while in prison, Australia's business regulato Adler's jail mail cleared by watchdog
• · · · · There needs to be a balance of power - someone to make sure the company is running well and someone to make sure the board is checking up on what he's done Dual roles ; Damian Lataan asks, "What's happened to us?"
That's the thing, isn't it? Something HAS happened to us. We are not the nation we were five years ago. My observation is that we have allowed ourselves to become lazy and frightened. Whatever happened to the healthy Aussie skepticism? Whatever happened to famous Aussie antipathy for authority? Democracy, the God that Failed
• · · · · · City projects face value checks ; Carr unveils Sydney shake-up plan ; Campaign for Sydneyrella

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A few stray notes and savvy observations:
If you really love me, then let's make a vow....
Repeat after me: I'm gonna be free.

Unlike the American reviewer, the French critic counts himself a man with a mission to dispense justice; like God -- or Zeus, if he is an unbeliever -- he wants to humble the powerful and exalt the weak. First, there is the typical European phenomenon of a distrust of success. In addition, the foremost concern of the French critic to justify his function in his own eyes induces in him a strong desire to be useful. Sometimes he manages to be so.
- François Truffaut, What Do Critics Dream About?

A journalist spends too much time covering a story that gets too little space so it can be skimmed by a reader who has too little time. ...A journalist looks down on celebrities until the day he becomes one. ...Journalists are more curious than anybody, attacked by everybody, and lent money by nobody Real journos rarely advertise on escort websites

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Literary Fallout Continues
Arthur Miller had the curse of empathy, even for the enemy. Humans justify themselves, even bad humans, and he always wanted to know how and why

Arthur Miller died on Bertolt Brecht's birthday. There are two ways in which this means nothing at all: I'm sure Arthur didn't plan it, and the two playwrights, apart from being universally described, and self-identified, as "political writers," don't have all that much in common. But their difference is interesting. Arthur Miller's was a great voice, one of the principal voices, raised in opposition, calling for resistance, offering critical scrutiny and lamentation--in other words, he was politically progressive, as politically progressive is best defined in these dark times. He demanded that we must be able to answer, on behalf of our plays, our endeavors, our lives, a really tough question, one that Arthur wrote was the chief and, in a sense, only reason for writing and speaking: "What is its relevancy," he asks, "to the survival of the race? Not," he stipulates, "the American race, or the Jewish race, or the German race, but the human race." outcome. There is, in other words, reason to hope, and change is possible. Arthur was a grieving pessimist, but what truly progressive person isn't?

Kushner on Miller [Some art forgers try to enter the “soul and mind of the artist.” Succeed or not, they can become very rich Fakes, Frauds, and Fake Fakers ; Then the market demanded such a talent; now, the market is hostile To be a young Mozart today is nothing like the 18th-century ; The Happiest Sound... ...is a digital sound! ]
• · Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town Someone Comes To Second Life ; When Paulo Coelho was 17 his parents sent him to an asylum because they thought he was psychotic. Now he's the world's biggest-selling novelist - but, he says, some people still don't understand him A mystery even to himself ; Catholics are richer but less fruitful
• · · He delighted in the names of people and places, and in most cases I have kept the original Spanish names he used, for example, Río Frío instead of Cold River The Bandits from Río Frío ; Elizabeth Kostova is working on a new book and hopes it doesn't take 10 years to write as it took Cold River to write ;-) The author and the Impaler
• · · · E-publishing 'poster girl' and suspense / erotica / psychological drama writer M.J.Rose has been dodging labels like these since the release of her first novel Lip Service in 1998 Self Service: An Interview with M.J. Rose ; Bill Ives who has a multidimensional view on the art of life presents Exploring Food Blogs ; Housecleaning Blog
• · · · · Mark Bazer is mad as hell and he can't take it anymore. He's decided to go with the open letter option, bringing his gripes to the masses. Why? Because he wants a paperback copy of THE DA VINCI CODE, dammit: Some things can be carried a bit too far via Supertalented Sarah Weinman; Bombshell Blowback Miami Herald staffers explode over Bombshells book hype ; My world fell apart
• · · · · · The line between Internet-fame and real-world celebrity is blurring, and not everyone in the blogosphere is happy about it. Internet fame is suddenly more respectable, says columnist ; Dennis Hwang

Monday, June 20, 2005

When I remember bygone days I think how evening follows morn; So many I loved were not yet dead, So many I love were not yet born.
-Ogden Nash

Telling Others What to Think ... The phenomenon of blogging: why would anyone write a book on that?; and "are professors really that mercenary? Why Would Anyone Write a Book on That?
Why not Surreal Vienna? Blogger explains how "Cold River" probes the coldest resources of the human heart and soul. The river reflects our culture's dark side but also washes it away ... Another sad anniversary again, and I'm not dead yet, though I was having my doubts on Saturday night ... As a reader of Media Dragon, you can help to create a bohemian record by being that milestonish 50,000th visitor at Szirine on the 25th anniversary of the tragic Iron Curtain escape 7/7 2005 The most unlikely True Story you'll ever read

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Loose lips that launched the ship
[Wen Media Dragon was born,] journalism was not a popular profession. Bank managers seemed to have a better future and many business journalists saw newspapers as a quick stepping stone into stockbroking.

BHP and most leading companies looked down on reporters and would not talk to them. In the early 1960s, the Sydney press were not allowed into annual meetings, so I began turning up and requesting entry, threatening to return with a proxy. At one meeting, I was so irate at being rejected that I climbed into the roof of the stage and reported from there.

The past four decades have been a wonderful adventure. We have seen a series of brilliant entrepreneurs who inspired the business community: people like Rupert Murdoch, the Packers, Richard Pratt, Frank Lowy, retailer Gerry Harvey and transport magnate Lindsay Fox.
Robert Gottliebsen [via Hugh Martin Gotty says goodbye ; It is a little odd to see a man who is allergic to the press sitting on the board of one of the world's most prestigious media companies Dan Gillmor The Annals of Corporate Misbehavior ]
• · At the height of the 2004 presidential campaign, ABC’s “The Note” was the hot political Web site for the chattering class. The New Yorker anointed it as a “must read.” Best Political Blogs: DC Journalists Pick Their Favorites ;
Do You Know Your Rights? Think bigger than blogging, however. This is important for all people doing bottom-up media, of whatever sort For Freedom’s Sake ; The Dangers of Blogging
• · · Warren Bickford is an accredited business communicator based in Regina Canada: Perhaps it is time to shed some light into the darker corners of our profession. We have powerful tools in our hands and we know how to use them. As communicators, we make tough ethical decisions every day. Should we be burning our “spin” cards in the streets? The Dark Side: 10 list of trends and issues that communicators should be concerned about ; Las Vegas Review-Journal - Nor was it simply its status as an afternoon paper, the equivalent of the village blacksmith of daily journalism. The Sun faltered because it wasn't run well... It wasn't TV that drove the Las Vegas Sun out of business ; Let's hope the Los Angeles Times' interactive editorial leads directly to the interactive tax return
• · · · Henry Sidgwick spent his life on one of philosophy’s most difficult problems: how can we be happy and at the same time pursue fairness? Each [is] to count for one, and none for more than one ; Liberty and responsibility really do go together, says Virginia Postrel. The more freedom we have, the more virtue in learning to make responsible choices Consumer Vertigo ; The Web is learning new tricks every day ... Tracking useful sites By Sree Sreenivasan New to Media Dragon - DoubleTrust is based on the simple premise that trusting two authorities is better than one
• · · · · "Public Beta" is just a euphemism for: "We're just trying this out. Why RSS and Folksonomies Are Becoming So Big ; amNewYork editor out after using material from WP website Editor quits over story attributions
• · · · · · One of the benefits that ought to arise from the existence of the blogosphere is that of fact-checking. False claims can be refuted quickly, and, we might hope, not repeated thereafter. Sadly it doesn’t seem to work out that way, as the following examples show. Fact-czeching in the blogosphere ; Unlike when blogs first started, fact-checking is now receiving sustained attention in the mainstream press and at websites like factcheck.org
Some errors are innocent, uninnnnntentional while others ... How two incorrectly used punctuation marks can set off a firestorm of discussion and debate. Journalists versus bloggers: the difference is fact checking?; Don't worry, like cockroaches, one day bloggers will inherit the Earth Sincerely Flattered ; Fact-czeching verb and usage

Friday, June 17, 2005

Money may make the world go around but recognition is also a valuable workplace currency. Good leaders create opportunities to provide rewards, recognition and thanks to staff members. In the words of the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics -- there are two things people want more than sex and money - recognition and praise.
In many ways, I consider myself to be one of the luckiest man on earth as my former mentors Patricia Azarias and Dr Russell Cope (1982-2000 AD) were the most generous encouragers. As the one thing great managers know is what is unique about each person and to capitalise on it.
The leading US management academic, Professor Dave Ulrich says results do not just come in the form of short term financial impact, but even more as a longer-term intangible benefit where investors gain confidence in the firm as a result of the quality of leadership and, as a result, generate a higher market value

How to overcome the corporate conspiracy that keeps you chained to your job. BY: SUSAN CRAMM
If you want your life to be more than a series of meetings, e-mails and business trips, you are not alone. My objective in nearly every coaching relationship is to help my client find a balance between work responsibilities and personal life. Former GE grand pooh-bah Jack Welch has said in recent articles and interviews that he believes great managers don't have work-life-balance issues because they have the necessary "systems" in place. This is a ridiculous comment, even for those with a stay-at-home spouse and legions of personal assistants. The only managers who don't have work-life-balance issues are those who have already given up their lives to the company.Have
Susan Cramm is founder and president of Valuedance, an executive coaching firm in San Clemente, Calif. E-mail feedback to susan@valuedance.com Your Work or Your Life [For more reader questions and answers from Susan Cramm, visitThe Executive Coach Column]

Opportunity Knocks 17 June -18 June 2005 AD: The Sydney Morning Herald Careers and Employment Expo
The opportunities that await motivated and career minded individuals are outstanding. Australian and global businesses are increasingly looking to build relationships with Australia's top talent.

The Sydney Morning Herald Careers and Employment Expo provides these organisations a platform to reach the talent they seek today and in the future - You

17-18 June [As people try to figure out how to navigate today's tough work realities, career and motivation gurus have a receptive audience. So they look for easy-to-swallow maxims to preach - and in so doing, have let loose numerous myths about how to carve career success Ten myths of career success debunked ; Work Makes You Free? ]

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The memory of most men is an abandoned cemetery where lie, unsung and unhonored, the dead whom they have ceased to cherish. Any lasting grief is reproof to their forgetfulness.
- Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian

So cold the window has limped flowers, so cold that river is covered with snow, so cold that my breath looks like smoke, so cold that singles feel lonely feeling like the whole heart is frozen looking at kissing couples with jealousy the same time recalling the past beautiful moments and melts the frozen heart a little ... and then barking Lillie woke me up.

Yet as I picked up the copy of the Smiling Morning Herald a creepish deja vu embraced my presence. Has someone read my first letter to Czechoslovakia back in September 1980 the sentiment is almost word for word ;-) ‘Let's face it, Sydney rarely does winter well. Stark interiors that shine in summer become iceboxes when the temperature drops; fireplaces are harder to find than non-spill teapots at a yum cha restaurant... [even strange is a reference to our favourite pub] Score a seat by the embers at Woollahra's Lord Dudley Hotel, sit back with a glass of red or a pint of Boddingtons and rediscover the art of pointless yet spirit-soaring pub conversation‘ I know I said it many times before but being with Lo, makes me feel so at home wherever I am even the Shire Cold comforts: consistency of corrugated iron

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Storytellers
Want to build a brand for the ages? Tell consumers a story they want to believe—even if it's not true ... Just tell me the facts, tell me a story instead. Be remarkable! Be consistent! Be authentic! Tell your story to people who are inclined to believe it. Marketing is powerful. Use it wisely. Live the lie.

Arthur Riolo is a world-class storyteller. Arthur sells real estate in my little town north of New York City. He sells a lot of real estate—more than all his competitors combined. That's because Arthur doesn't sell anything.
Anyone can tell you the specs of a house or talk to you about the taxes. But he doesn't. Instead, Arthur does something very different. He takes you and your spouse for a drive. You drive up and down the hills of a neighborhood as he points out house after house (houses that aren't for sale). He tells you who lives in that house and what they do and how they found the house and the name of their dog and what their kids are up to and how much they paid. He tells you a story about the different issues in town, the long-simmering rivalries between neighborhoods and the evolution and imminent demise of the Mother's Club. Then, and only then, does Arthur show you a house.
It might be because of Arthur's antique pickup truck or the fact that everyone in town knows him or the obvious pleasure he gets from the community, but sooner or later, you'll buy a house from Arthur. And not just because it's a good house. Because it's a good story:
Great stories make a promise.
Great stories are trusted.
Great stories are subtle.
Great stories happen fast.
Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone.
Great stories don't contradict themselves.
And most of all, great stories agree with our worldview.

Yes, all marketers are liars. But the successful ones are the ones that can honestly tell us a story we want to believe and share. A story that works, combined with authenticity and minimized side effects, builds a brand (and a business) for the ages
• By Seth Godin, CMO Magazine, June 2005 Know Your Power & Powerlessness [As if it were degrading to sell and market books and to stoop so low Acting as if the book were important ; Those who had been asleep woke up, and every boy rose to his feet as though surprised in his labours Bookworm on the Net ]
• · Throughout the whole Orange prize experience I was confronted with evidence that women are uncomfortable with naked ambition, trained to have low expectations, embarrassed by head-to-head competition, and virtually obliged to act abashed when they win. In contrast to a certain other sex that will go unmentioned Lionel Shriver On Ambition and Gender ;
• · · Figuratively, if not literally, the books that Serpent's Tail publishes in modest numbers (around 35 to 40 per year) aim to strike hard, cut deep and leave a lasting impression. Taboo-busters, rule-breakers, risk-takers, Jelinek and Shriver perfectly match the profile that the company founded by Pete Ayrton in 1986 has created and confirmed over almost two decades Serpent's Tail's Winning Ways ; The world's largest online encyclopedia of graphic symbols! Symbols.com
• · · · Major book publishers are preparing to boost their business by selling directly to consumers from their websites, a move that has booksellers spooked about being squeezed by their own suppliers Publishers Cut Out The Middleman; Is it about the classics or the cappuccino The Big-Box Bookstore Dilemma
• · · · · Fear. Isolation. Loneliness. Ah, the writer's life ... No More A group of freelancers in San Francisco believe they've found a way to help remedy writer's block, share advice, get feedback on a first draft and keep from driving their families crazy Writers Band Together For Sanity ; In The Independent Sarah Cassidy reports that Literature pushed out by media studies
• · · · · · This kind of prosumer doesn't necessarily earn money by making music, videos, or photos, but is still willing to invest in more serious hardware and software than the typical dabbler, and spend more time using it Are You A "Prosumer? -The word coined by the futurist Alvin Toffler; Chinese literature is overlooked in the west but a new English edition of a classic novel could change that Great leap forward

Monday, June 13, 2005

He opened the jar of pickles when no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn't afraid to into the basement by himself. He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it. It was understood when it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door. When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled. He took lots of pictures ... but he was never in them.
-Erma Bombeck, Family - The Ties That Bind... And Gag

More than 150 large temples, built between 4800BC and 4600BC, have been unearthed predating the pyramids in Egypt by about 2000 years. Archaeologists are now beginning to suspect that hundreds of these very early monumental religious centres, each up to 150 metres across, were constructed across a 400-mile swath of land in what is now Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and eastern Germany Every End is a Beginning: Laugh and stormy lines of Bohemian Slavs

Dozens of webdiary posts dot the net. Most lead somewhere on a daily basis but nowhere in the longer term. Then somewhere is often a political punch line. This one by Jack leads to existential moments as every end is a beginning ... No more satisfying deathbed utterance can be imagined for Thoreau than the reply to a question put gently to him by Parker Pillsbury a few days before his death. Pillsbury was an old abolitionist war-horse, a former minister who had left his church over the slavery issue, a man of principle and proven courage who...could not resist the impulse to peer into the future. You seem so near the brink of the dark river, Pillsbury said, that I almost wonder how the opposite shore may appear to you. Thoreau's answer summed up his life,One world at a time, he said. Do the lifestyle choices required to become an achiever in 2005 AD - a winner, a leader of society and a role model for younger men - mean that 'good fatherhood' takes second place on the Alpha Male list of things to do? Fatherhood and the Alpha male

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: One world at a time: Searching for Life's Signposts
The color of my hair dates me, as does the music I recall at existential moments in my own life. For those who follow the timeless One, time is meant to be a gift and an opportunity.

As the years progress, the pattern of the Catholic Liturgical Calendar has become so much more meaningful to me. Like everything about the Catholic Christian life, it is a deep mystery and gift that is to be unpacked, over time. I hope to share some reflections in this article that have come from my own participation in the liturgical cycle and my own aging. Human beings have always marked time by significant events. The real question is not whether we will mark time, but how we will do so. What events and what messages are we proclaiming in the process of our calendaring of time?

For the Christian, time is not meant to be a tyrant, somehow ruling over us. Rather, it is to be a teacher, instructing us and presenting us with opportunity. Rather than an enemy, it is a friend
• I'll be done learning when I'm dead Time: Tyrant or Teacher [World Square - which has World Tower at its heart - covered four city blocks alone. It had as many people working and living in its vicinity as Grafton on the NSW North Coast, while an estimated 35,000 workers and 16,800 residents use it SYdney BElow PArk; Got a £20m question you can't solve? Try child's play Second-guess an opponent ; When Robert Chalmers's novel failed to leap off the shelves, he resorted to giving it away in the streets. Or, at least, trying to... Rhodri Marsden joined him The Great Book Giveaway (Will You Read It Then?) ]
• · How to Recognize The Future When It Lands On You Television reloaded ; Every booklover should know about La Vie en Rose - a company they creates and sells book gift baskets: A Tisket, A Tasket, A Book In A Basket ; Who Counts In Chicago Publishing? Who really books in Chicago
• · · The distrust of appearances and official versions was further enhanced by the Watergate scandal in 1973-4 The Economics of Conspiracy Theories ; To be what the philosopher, David Hume, called a "mitigated", or moderate, sceptic is, in addition, deeply frustrating
To be a sceptic is a difficult and dangerous business

• · · · 'Missing link' between madness and genius Genius cannot exist without mental disorder ; Psychiatrist John Gartner embarked on a search for what makes Americans different and found his own manic tendencies at the core of the national character. Crazy Success ; A look at how the great and the good can be comprehensively wrong An Intelligent Person's Guide to Ethic
• · · · · A lesson with the art master What Good Are the Arts? ; We don't believe in horoscopes - so why do we read them? What if a story could change your life?
• · · · · · With my intimate friends after midnight, sometimes, we sang those songs, because it was our childhood. If we didn't become complete idiots, it's a miracleUmberto Eco: Miracles in Milan Alvin Toffler introduced the concept of future shock in the early eighties and it hasn't got much better Film: A Good Woman

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Nothing is more spiritual than words: Editing is a vastly under-recognised link in the film food chain, partly because, if the job is done well, the audience isn't supposed to notice it Nobody Knows: I am a Runaway Master

Helen Mirren's nude scenes in a 1968 Aussie film were too hot for most Beyond the age of consent

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Frightened Kangaroo: The critic of art
A new book questions whether Mozart is better for us than Kylie:

If you are reading this page, you believe that the arts are of value, or at least that they can offer a respite from what the writer Jeanette Winterson calls "the 24/7 emergency zone we call real life". In her view, art makes us better because it offers an alternative value system. Even the making of it is an affront to capitalism - you can't give it a deadline, cost it, predict it, or bank on it. But if you believe that life has an inside as well as an outside, then art is what you need.

Ach, how membership, even of this nomadic alternative society of circus, is not a possibility: How Life and Art Were Transformed in a Century of Revolution, Innovation, and Radical Change - Russell Crowe odds-on favourite for the 2005 Customer From Artistic Hell Award
The critic becomes an artful dodger [he world has never seen such idiots. They gave away our God-given resources at lightning speed - oil, non-ferrous metals, coal, production. They fully robbed Russia. From scratch, from nothing, we bred billionaires who have done nothing for Russia Russia ripe for a people's uprising, Solzhenitsyn says ; From underreporting violence to inflating graduation rates to fudging testscores, educators are lying to the American public How Amerikan Schools Cheat ; Fiction and social gap In Fiction, a Long History of Fixation on the Social Gap ]
• · More sex and drugs: there, that's got your attention:
Pictures of men with women drive male viewers to produce better-swimming sperm ... Mixed-gender pornography boosts sperm: Men facing images of sexual competition may be more fertile Mixed-gender; I shop New York ; Take two couples trying to find a business opportunity, three of them professional management types, and you wouldn't immediately think sex toy parties. But imagine Sex And The City meets Tupperware and you have Pash Sex and the party plan ; As quickly as they rose, metrosexuals are disappearing Metrosexuals join dinosaurs
• · · Where is James Bond and what do women want? A completely unanswerable question ; One British sociologist said that lesbians are runaway slaves. I am a runaway master. A sexual attraction of opposites ; Edmund White on learning how to love women. From my mother I learned just how violent and unquenchable a woman’s loneliness can be When a woman falls in love with me, I fee guilt; It's a battle of sex, life and death in Italy Does Life Begin at Conception? ; Spanking Jessica Cutler: Capitol Hill attorney sues Washingtonienne for exposing his kinks. Spanking Jessica Cutler ; Only 20 years ago "flats" were regarded as the poor man's option - cheap, pokey and a last resort Young embrace the high life
• · · · When people cease to complain, they cease to think The Words on Words Challenge: Once you have the cap and gown all you need do is open your mouth. Whatever nonsense you talk becomes wisdom and all the rubbish, good sense. My fellow Americans, we need to embrace a new punctuation mark—one that embraces the irony and edge of contemporary conversation and clarifies rather than condenses or confuses Introducing the long-awaited sarcasm point
• · · · · Fortune cookies must present ten-word sentences that are both precise and vague at the same time. Someone has to write them Lau never expected to become a fortune-cookie writer ; How people do better because they are somehow better connected with other people: “weak and inoffensive”); pests (“poisoning the general atmosphere”); and loafers (“their only aim is to do as little as possible” Wise enough to play the fool? ; The rumour mill is intent on making Schapelle Corby's family a joke Black humour, those who pass them on would say; a tradition since the Lindy Chamberlain trial sparked endless dingo jokes
• · · · · · How to make a book Making of One Book ; Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but a new website has taken networking to Darwinian extremes by banning ugly people The Big Brother beauty contest

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Things are going so swimminingly over at News/Fox Corp/House yet Neil Hickey dares to ponder about what would happen if Rupert Murdoch is drowned in the sea of old age tomorrow? After Rupert: Thoughts on News Corporation's fate

The Blog, The Press, The Media: It's Child's Play: Google now Largest of the Giants
GOOGLE, the ubiquitous internet search engine, this week overtook the giant Time Warner to become the world's biggest media company by stock-market value

Google limped on to New York's Nasdaq market in August last year after being forced to slash its share price in the face of investor apathy.
The shares, initially offered to investors at up to $US135 each, were eventually sold at just $US85 in a float that valued the world's most popular search engine at $US23.1billion ($30 billion)

Time Warner will be watching Google closely
Since then the stock has soared [Tim Blair: Crikey.com.au vs. Miranda Devine ; Tim Dunlop: Seems Dr Feelgood, Arthur Chrenkoff, has had another moment of media influence Lest we remember ]
• · Increase Traffic to Your Blog from Search Engines - The Top 5 Tips Blogs already have optimized site architecture: lucrative keywords ; Major Challenges Undermine Efforts to Shore Up Leaks That Lead to Loss and Theft of Financial Data
• · · A broad group of bookstores, artists, content providers, and Internet service providers filed a complaint challenging Utah House Bill 260 as unconstitutional under the First Amendment and Commerce Clause. Constitutional Challenge to Utah Internet Censorship Law ; EPpy Awards ; Official Ballot for the 2005 Technolawyer @ Awards ; Canned news and conservative commentary: Coming soon to a station near you?
• · · · Radio network DMG Australia has confirmed that Angela Catterns is the broadcaster's star appointment for its new Sydney FM station Ange quits Aunty ; JD Lasica The legacy of Jack Valenti
• · · · · Culture warrior Gerard Henderson has lashed Melbourne's The Age newspaper for left-wing bias after it dropped his column of 13 years without the courtesy of a call from the editor Age of dissent by axed columnist ; The press was missing in action for years, with all due respect ... Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming Our Changing Planet
• · · · · · Is Mark Felt, a.k.a. "Deep Throat," a laudable whistleblower, or an immoral snitch? Information Ranger ; Bruised egos, lynch mobs, and tricky self-interest; Daniel Okrent's run at The New York Times A Public Editor's Private Story ; Why Michael Finkel is not Jayson Blair Straight Story, Curved Universe

Sunday, June 05, 2005

It takes a great team to make a successful movie ... Catherine Hardwicke’s first film, Thirteen, which she also co-wrote with Nikki Reed, won her the 2003 directing award at Sundance. But her “overnight success” was actually 15 years in the making. Appetite for Self Destruction

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Love Fest: First Sydney and Now Prague
Prague Writers' Festival invokes the spirit of Casanova. Touch, according to Casanova who is the best known Bohemian librarian in the world, is such a basic instinct that some animals will go hunry rather than do without it.

The 15th Prague Writers' Festival convenes this weekend, once again bringing a small United Nations of literary luminaries to the Golden City. Representing 10 countries, this year's 15 attendees will participate in discussions, readings and book signings — along with a single film screening — at Divadlo Minor

The festival is 15 years old and Casanova loves you [Mysteriously silent musician sparks interest worldwide Czechs rush to claim 'Piano Man' ; Days after the election, a feisty Lebanese journalist is murdered. Why? Samir Kassir, R.I.P. ; China's arbiters of taste are fighting a losing battle. Their prudish attempts to purge sexually explicit and politically sensitive works from bookshops in the mainland have backfired -- by transforming banned writings into underground hits Big Brother's book ban blues ]
• · BEA Photo blog ; I spent the morning acting like a deer in headlights at BEA and then went to the blogging panel with Michael Cader, Mad Max Perkins (bedecked like Dumbledore on crack -- or maybe it was Gandalf) M.J. Rose and Robert Gray, as moderated by Mark Dressler. Dateline BEA: Openings and constant cab rides
• · · Reader’s Digest published Australia’s most trusted professions the bartender wins out, beating journalists, real-estate agents, and at the bottom of the list, politicians. Mother come in behind firefighters and ambulance officers A Reader's Digest most trusted survey ; Politics is not a dirty word. Trying to avoid office politics is like trying to avoid the weather ... My email inbox is bigger than yours Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office ; Peter Breen is sponsoring the Classification Amendment Porn free: Sydneyrella's off the leash
• · · · Senior Circuit Judge James C. Hill's opinion, dissenting from the Eleventh Circuit's resolution of an insurance coverage issue in a case involving live-in lovers, is somewhat amusing. You can access the complete ruling in PDF version: They undertake to 'litigate by day and copulate by night ; I mean, sex is now something that can kill you. I didn't grow up with that idea Peaches: Society's changed, you know, and young women are proactive and they do know what they want, a lot of them ; Graham Kennedy's personal assistant and live-in partner, Rob Astbury, has broken his silence on their 20-year relationship Kennedy's lover breaks silence
• · · · · Rejection is part of the writer's life - The Resilient Writer: Tales of Rejection and Triumph from 23 Top Author ; The Resilient Quiz ; Includes constructive interview with Bill Henderson of Pushcart Press The Rejection Collection
• · · · · · He started out splicing tape with a razor blade. Tonight, in a dingy downstairs room in his Coogee unit, Tom Compagnoni is mixing music with more sophisticated equipment Homemade music ; Literary agents and publishers ... I am Alive and You are Dead ; Getting the word out Literary Blogs

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Leadership is a willingness to get out in front to get your people moving in the same direction not because they have to, but because they want to. It is not only about predicting change, it is about creating and implementing change. The best way to predict the future is to invent it, not simply to sit back and let it wash over you.'
-Trevor Boucher (The Boucher Principle)

Be of Good Cheer suggests John Baldoni in the Darwin Magazine - Cheerleading is enthusiasm channeled toward a cause. Work can be hard and, yes, boring at times. Someone with a fresh take on the work, backed by conviction and passion, can energize people and impart a jolt of energy Champion the people and the projects, and you'll all win

Art of Working & Googling Across Frontiers: Balkan Fringe of Evolutionary Leap
John Lukacs has described the way we often feel better than I possibly can:
This is the knowledge that the mystery and the reality of our lives consist in the understanding that we are coming from somewhere and that we are going somewhere, and that between these two mysterious phases God allows us to live and to know that we live while we live. Out of what is darkness to our imperfect minds, for sixty or seventy or eighty years we are living in the light, in the open.

I am a writer from the Balkan Fringe, a part of Europe which has long been notorious exclusively for news of human wickedness. My firm hope is that European and world opinion may henceforth realise this region... can also give rise to other kinds of news and be the home of other kinds of achievement in the field of the arts, literature and civilisation

Women are still a closed book to men Men Stick With Men Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare has won the inaugural Booker International Prize, beating British authors Muriel Spark, Doris Lessing and Ian McEwan
Work at first rescues us, then ravages us [Constitution expands to fill the time allotted Australian Constitution - lightness of humour ; Map of the world ;-) ; The simplest ideas sometimes hide in the obvious Creating Space For Balance]
• · Images of Native American art morph into a crisp shot of the moon orbiting the earth, which in turn becomes a pregnant belly framed against a clear morning sky. So begins Hope ... A little bit of hope ; Mrs Schindler's List Based on a true story, a courageous band of women stands up to the Nazis to save their Jewish husbands in Rosenstrasse ; Recognizing that independent booksellers were grappling with competition for consumers' attention from a growing number of media, Georfe Soros told the audience, "I hope there will be independent booksellers in the years to come, for our society will be weaker and poorer without them... Contemporary America is an "open society that doesn't subscribe to the principles of an open society. We have to recognize our fallibility.... The first principle of an open society is, we may be wrong." Continuing, Soros said that, although he sees a threat to our Constitutional safeguards, he also sees "a growing awareness among people of the danger.... The general public is not extremist, and the public is beginning to take exception." Soros said that he was quite confident that we're going to see a reversal, we're not going to lose our democracy. The Latest News from Bookselling This Week ; Frankfurt Book Fair Going Global in Frankfurt: Organizing Your Rights and Export Business for Result
• · · Sydney Sports and Performance Clinic... Australian Swimming Championships ; Bill Paxman CEO of Random House said that the mariage will be a match made in heaven Random House To Sponsor Australian Cricket Team ; Shane Warne and Powell Sponsors of Books: Powell: Cold River
• · · · 13 Signs of Burnout and How To Help You Avoid It ; Luke Escombe is tired of big companies making life 'easier' Confusing corporate marketing is simplicity itself
• · · · · Being nasty, brutish and short with subordinates has long been a basic staple of corporate behavior, made famous by executives from Leona Helmsley to Michael Eisner. The Bully Backlash - Anger Management: Hurtsville ;-) ; On Saturday night on 28 May 2005 I went to the rural dairy town of Malanda to hear Noel Pearson deliver a speech on reconciliation to 120 mostly white middle-aged patrons of the Rainforest Writers’ Festival. Noel Pearson on ending victimhood and denial
• · · · · · Batman is descended from the Homeric hero, but offers a rose-tinted view of the world in which truth and justice are easily achievable goals. The names and faces may change, but Hollywood has a lasting love affair with warriors who embody wisdom, strength and courage in the face of evil Hero worship ; Dangly bits on Big Brother may have become a yawn, but there was a time when any flash of skin would cause much breast beating - Happier with the skin we're in Obscene and not heard ; The big book festival elsewhere in the world has been in Hay-on-Wye. This year, the Guardian has had a blog posted covering the event The Hay Festival

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The refusal of mere humans to place all their hopes upon the promise of life after death ...

When governments of old tired of spending lots of resources to beat the public into submission, they created the court priest, who promoted a theology of obedience. Modern governments, by contrast, maintain power by exaggerating
crises (or crying "wolf" about non-crises) -- and clamoring for "solutions" that would give them even greater amounts of power and resources. Both responses are propaganda strategies that exploit the public's psychological insecurities for
the benefit of the rulers:
"From top to bottom, the government wants us to be afraid, needs us to be afraid, invests greatly in making us afraid," writes Senior Fellow Robert Higgs, in an insightful new article, "Fear: The Foundation of Every Government's
Power." How Rulers Exploit Fear

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: It's A Trend Piece!
As they explore the torrid lives of prep school students, three novelists follow in the tradition of 'The Catcher in the Rye.'

First-time novelist Colleen Curran knew she wanted to write about teen sex but then set her book in what would appear to be the most staid environment possible: an all-girls' private school in the Midwest.
While that may seem counterintuitive, it could very well prove to be a stroke of brilliance. Prep schools have become fiction's "new black." Following close on the heels of fellow newcomer Curtis Sittenfeld's wildly successful "Prep," and just more than a year after Tobias Wolff's "Old School" hit bestseller lists, Curran's Catholic school girls join a coming-of-age genre that hasn't seen such attention since the 1950s, when "The Catcher in the Rye" and "A Separate Peace" were published.

As we know well, in journalism, three of anything makes a trend [A profile of Umberto Eco. Umberto Eco has made a name - and fortune ; Cultural critics lose power: a dark time for the arts, or a new age? Critical condition]
• · Do desperate housewives make better neighbors? Wisteria Lane: Sometimes neighborliness is a pain in the neck ; Pearls grow in oysters to soothe irritation; the high art of the West grew pearl-like in Christendom around an abrasion it could not heal: the refusal of mere humans to place all their hopes upon the promise of life after death Why the beautiful is not the good: clipping the angels' wings; Forgive the pun, but clothes are not immaterial - Why some people’s appearance receives more attention Bad Moves: Don't You Look Pretty Today
• · · A look at what real men do nowadays In praise of noodling ; A nearly naked woman can sell a hamburger. A nearly naked man never could Baaaaad to the Bone: Paris Hilton
• · · · Angus Macqueen on Amaranta Wright's depressing story of global markets and multinationals' greed, Ripped and Torn. Ripped and Torn: Levi's, Latin America and the Blue Jean Dream An anagram for evil ; One calls 'barbarism' whatever he is not accustomed to. - Montaigne, On Cannibalism. Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice
• · · · · 'Gentlemen do not steal the ideas of others.' Oh yeah? Hot Property: The Stealing of ideas in an Age of Globalization ; A Day at the Brain Spa
• · · · · · It's an issue all across the world, and in The Korea Times Kim Ki-tae reports that Online, Offline Booksellers Lock Horns ; James Callan's article from the Daily Telegraph on literary weblogs and their (possible) significance, The influence of the litblog, is finally available online Who reads "blogs"?

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