Monday, September 29, 2003

'Tis Creature Called Man

Whenever I come across plastic and redneckish kindofish (sic) characters: bullies at work, or cowards in print; bashers of pregnant women in the safety of their homes, or liars around the parliamentary bar,... this saying tends to commits itself in my mind: The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort, but where he stands in time of challenge and controversy.
-King (Martin Luther)

So True Cowards & Crowds
GAS BAG, EH? Someone called Norman Finkelstein says
In contrast to bursting windbags like Vaclav Havel, Hitchens is too smart to take his vaporizings seriously.
This is a former Marxist, but very much a member of the implacable left. Oppose Bush and anyone who defends any of his policies at all costs.
This fashion of hatred for Vaclav Havel among the left is fascinating to me. Must return to this. In terms of practical politics, Havel's a social democrat, really. In principle he's probably close to, say, an American lefty on a range of social issues. But he opposed the Soviets. And this is unforgivable. He opposed the Soviets eloquently (and bravely). Ergo, he is a bursting gasbag. I realize that Havel's worst crime, however, was to support the overthrow of a totalitarian regime in Iraq.
Imagine Finkelstein in Havel's shoes facing a choice between prison and freedom, all based on whether he shuts up or not. He'd fold the very first time he was interrogated and sign anything they put in front of him.
The piece is a rant about Christopher Hitchens, by the way, not Havel. For a good time, read Hitchens' response.
· Hitchens [via Pragueblog]

Erudite Gossip

While sense and sensibility are the basic equipment of any good literary critic, the mixture will vary in each individual case. Judging from the essays in ''Twentieth-Century Attitudes,'' most of which originally appeared in The New Criterion, Brooke Allen is a critic in whom sense decidedly predominates: one can more easily imagine her reading Pope than Keats.
· Twentieth-Century Attitudes [NYTimes 28/09/2003]

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Talking Back

Oral history adds a new dimension to the nation's past
Look at the official transcripts of a 1988 meeting of the central committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party and you're likely to find topics such as "missiles in Europe" or "threats from the West" on the agenda. Talk to one of the seven members who actually attended the meeting and you'll discover another, unmentioned issue: the shortage of toilet paper. Seriously.

· Oral history [The Prague Post]

Saturday, September 27, 2003

The Final Earthy Campfire

My Dragon starts and ends with Daily Dose of Dust...
Oh it's-a lonesome away from your kindred and all
By the campfire at night we'll hear the wild dingos call
But there's nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear
Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer ...

· A Pub With no Beer is about mateship, the friendship of drinking together as equals contrasted with the misery of loneliness in exile [Slim Dusty]

Friday, September 26, 2003

A paradise bombed

A paradise bombed
In the lead up to the anniversary of the Bali bombing the media will be full of heart wrenching stories about the people who were killed and their families. Dr Adrian Vickers has stepped back from the trauma of that event to write about the place of Bali in the Australian creative imagination, how it has changed yet keeps pulling us back.
· Bali [The Griffith Review]

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Two roads diverged in a red Iron Curtain

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
· And that has made all the difference.

---(Robert Frost, The Road Less Traveled)

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
- Dorothy Parker

Free your mind, and your weblog will follow
To really get into weblogs as a writer, try to keep moving to stay with the flow. The old advice to a budding jazz musicians applies: "If you make a mistake and hit a bad note, don't stop! Hit it again and keep going". Too much worrying will make a burden of posting, making work of what should be fun.
· Burden of posting [mcgeesmusings ]

Book fairs are making news well beyond Frankfurt. The editors, agents and established writers who will spend the week doling out advice to fledgling writers are likely to offer a dark view of the current publishing scene, which they paint as increasingly cutthroat and oriented to the bottom line, with an obsession with celebrity and blockbusters that rivals the film industry's.
If you happen to be visiting Frankfurt at the time when the city of books manages to pack every season into a week, please consider stopping by Stand 3.1 C149.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Make no mistake

Make no mistake
Make no mistake, indeed; our current leaders are in love with fiction, with turning the unreal into the real, if they can get away with it. So it seems only fitting that fiction be turned on them. It is after all, the poets, playwrights, novelists, and political survivors who tend to reveal the truth to us, and speak to our souls.
· Prefer COLD Fact To ANGRY Fiction [TruthOut ]

Political marketing as party management
Political marketing has attracted increasing attention from political commentators in recent years, yet relatively little academic work has been conducted into its nature - either theoretically or empirically.
· Thatcher in 1979 and Blair in 1997 [National Europe Centre, Australian National University (PDF file)]

Monday, September 22, 2003



Josef, a former coffin maker in New York, said he is not privy to the ongoing negotiations. But he said that prior to the Times article, no one in the United States or the Czech Republic seemed interested in the video, including TV Nova and Czech TV.
· Hlava (Head) [Prague Post]

eBook Surfing

At some point, just before oblivion of the sound of trees falling in the forrest takes us, someone will finally utter these fateful words:
eBooks are not so much different to paperbacks...

I have to brag about this! If you do a Google search for Cold River this site comes out at number 3 and 4 of about 2 million. That’s pretty good eBook surfing ...
The Open eBook Forum,, suggests that Online reading, once viewed as a refuge for the nerds and as a faintly disrespectable way to read book, is rapidly becoming a fixture of publishing life for readers of all ages, backgrounds and interests.
I view this as a logical and inevitable move that more and more readers will make in the near future. I await the day when eBooks growth is routine, and no longer newsworthy. Reading will never go completely virtual, but readers have certainly noticed that with better quality Palm eReaders they can move towards saving space and creating less dust on shelves at homes and offices.

According to New Farm Organic Price Index, Organic farming makes up a fraction of farming in America, the industry is growing about 25 percent a year. Organic retail food sales in the U.S. reached $7.8 billion in 2000, up from $6 billion in 1999.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Sundays: Brown Paper Bags

But listen here, there ain’t anything worth doing a man can do and keep his dignity. Can you figure out a single thing you really please-God like to do you can do and keep your dignity? The human frame just ain’t built that way.
*Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men

Only On Sundays

Meanwhile, Kristofer Cieslak passed along some famous and not-so-famous, first sentences from his favorite novel...
Jerzy Kosinski's Being There:
It was Sunday.
Is it Sunday! and a satirical Christian Unrest online magazine, Ship of Fools, recently held a competition to rewrite the Lord's Prayer in 160 characters or less. The winner, British college student Matthew Campbell, produced this:
dad@hvn, ur spshl. we want wot u want &urth2b like hvn. giv us food & 4giv r sins lyk we 4giv uvaz. don't test us! save us! bcos we kno ur boss, ur tuf & ur cool 4 eva! ok?

Sunday @ Nine
It all started when Premier Carr claimed advertising man John Singleton had threatened to target him in a $5 million campaign...
· Week of Vitriol [Sunday]
· Latham on the Hill [Sunday ]

In the Bag
As my gypsy family prepares for the big change, a journey back to the deserted island called Sydney, it is time for In the Bag, the game that challenges you to put aside pride and admit what creative works you really like.
The rules: you can put any five works of art into your bag before departing for a desert city monitored by the good guys at ASIO, but you have to choose right now. No stalling or dithering—the secret armies of the night are pounding on your front door. No posturing—you have to say the first five things that pop into your head, no matter how uncool they may sound. What do you stuff in the bag?
Here are my picks:
PAINTING: Richard McSweeney, Cannonberry McKell Park, Darling Point
MUSIC: Kristofer Cieslak, Guralu Ci Ci Nezal (slow movement guitar, accompanied by Polish Vodka on Icy Lemon)
BOOK: James Cumes, Haverleigh
BTW, If you happen to be visiting Frankfurt at the time when the city of books manages to pack every season into a week, please consider stopping by Stand 3.1 C149:
James' and Jozef's coffee hause.
FILM: Milos Foreman, Lásky jedné plavovlásky aka Blonde in Love, (1965)
POP SONG: The Black Eyed Peas, Where Is The Love?
(My Children infected me with this song ...)

Publishing translations

Disappointing news as another publisher is giving up publishing new translations: Czech-oriented Catbird Pres:
When I checked in with Wechsler, I learned that the current squeeze is putting him out of business. He'll maintain his backlist and website, he says, but cutting his losses on any future books, saying that favorable reviews have not convinced the chains, Amazon, and distributors to stock his wares.
· Lost in Translation [Saloon ]

Snubbed unknown sweeps giants off shortlist

The Booker Prize judges have ignored the uncrowned king of English letters and two past winners in favour of an unpublished writer
A piano teacher from Birmingham, whose first four novels were rejected by publishers, has beaten Martin Amis to the last six of the Man Booker Prize. 'I suppose it is a strike for all those of us who have unpublished books under our beds and wonder is it worth going on. Well it is,' Clare Morrall declared. 'Keep going'!
· Agentless Rejected Author Beats Literary Majors For Booker Nomination [The Guardian (UK) 09/17/03]

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Of Books And Mortality

So It Is Written: Books Are Memory

Once a year, when I was a Hebrew-school student at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Morningside Heights, our class would visit the seminary's rare-book library, which houses one of the great collections of Judaica in the world. Despite our antsy, adolescent irreverence, there was something about those books that commanded immediate attention, even a kind of awe.
It's easy to see old brittle books and wonder at their fragility. But encountering them later in life one wonders: What are 20 years to a book that survived the Inquisition? I, meanwhile, am more than twice the age I was when I saw it last. I am married, I have children and I am mourning my father, who died this year. I can't help thinking that part of the dread I felt seeing those fragile books as a teenager was unconscious anticipation of the moment when I would see them again as an adult and realize that I was the ephemeral one.

· Of Books And Mortality [The New York Times 09/19/03]

Banned Books
Tomorrow marks the beginning of Banned Books Week. Observed in America since 1982, the annual event reminds us not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.
Many bookstores and libraries across the nation join in the celebration with displays and readings of books that have been banned or threatened throughout history. These include works ranging from the Bible and Little Red Riding Hood to John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

· Libraries Memories [ALA]
· Virgin Palm Digital Media Edition

Friday, September 19, 2003

Cold War Heroes Take on Castro

We keep hearing, thanks to Reuters and other pro-terror outfits, that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. It's worth noting from time to time that there is such a thing as a genuine freedom fighter. Three of them--Vaclav Havel, Arpad Göncz and Lech Walesa, who served as postcommunist presidents of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland respectively, have written an open letter urging fellow Europeans to take a stand against Fidel Castro's brutal dictatorship.
Let's hope their appeal doesn't fall on deaf ears.

Titans of Freedom Havel, Goncz and Walesa
Exactly half a year ago, Fidel Castro's regime imprisoned 75 representatives of the Cuban opposition. More than 40 coordinators of the Varela Project and more than 20 journalists and other representatives of various pro-democracy movements landed in jail. All of them were sentenced in mock trials to prison terms ranging from six to 28 years -- merely for daring to express an opinion other than the official one.
The recent European experience with peaceful transitions from dictatorship to democracy, be it earlier in Spain or later in the countries of Central Europe, has been an inspiration for the Cuban opposition. Europe in particular should not hesitate. It is obliged to act by its own history.

· Heros Building a Free Cuba [WashingtonPost]

A Life Worth Reading

For the past few weeks, since I began this weblog, I've been struggling to figure out just why people would ever want to post their day-to-day lives on the Internet for the masses to read. I've been grazing among the blogs and chewing that question like a tough mouthful of cud.
It seems to me that we all want a life worth reading, a life worth remembering. Nowadays to accomplish this, we turn to the great plains of the Internet. And the net IS a lot like the plains. Ages ago, early pioneers left the confines of their narrow cubicles in search of a new life. They found it in the fertile grounds of the World Wide Web. But what once was a heartland is now overgrazed and us bloggers are like dustbowl farmers planting tiny seeds of hope in a field of sand.
We’re hoping someone might take interest in our miniscule bit of life. That someone might stop, if just for 30 seconds, and acknowledge our existence. We're counting on some way to add significance to our lives, to be remembered and to be reassured that the hell we went through during puberty wasn’t for nothing!

· Ages ago, early pioneers left the confines of their narrow cubicles in search of a new life [ CowboyX]
TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Daily Kos: Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation
This Modern World
Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall
Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things
Scripting News
MaxSpeak Weblog
USS Clueless

Thursday, September 18, 2003

CARPE DIEM - Seize the Justice!

Our role in the terror
Since the second anniversary of September 11, we have had sober reminders that military force alone cannot eliminate the threat of religiously inspired terrorism. There has been the dramatic, if disputed, reappearance of Osama bin Laden; new reports that Islamist extremism is again gaining ground in Afghanistan; and in the wake of horrific attacks by Hamas, the Israeli right has called for the expulsion of Yasser Arafat - a move that would almost certainly provoke a new spate of suicide bombings.

· The only way to create a safer world is to ensure that it is more just [Guardian ]
· Political Games [SMH ]

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Fields of Love?

Born and Bred Ballerina (Flashback: September 1982) (Ballad for the Love of my Life Lauren...Then I was just another drifting current)
I would sum up my fear about the future in one word: boring. And that's my one fear: that everything has happened, nothing exciting or new or interesting will ever happen again. The future is just going to be a vast, conforming suburb of the soul.
--- (J.G. Ballard)

I have learned that there is one thing that makes life worth living and to be without it is worse than death. That thing is love. It is the most simple, most wonderful thing you will ever experience in life. Reach for it. Even at great risk, reach for love. If you don't, you will regret it, I promise you, and no one wants to have regrets when they die, believe me I know, for I have many regrets. My final words are this: Love simply and simply love.
· Nothing is quite as uplifting [Dead Letter]

Carried on the drifting current
Her destination will be
In the west, Siberia;
Or in the east, Java.
Which country will be her grave?
Lover's chatter
Is like the dust
Of any country.

White Slavs, White Slaves, and White Australia:
Ms Simaplee's case is interesting to an historian not because it represents a new trend, but because it is another example in Australia's long history as a destination in an international traffic in sex workers. And responses to this traffic - often referred to as 'white slavery' - tell us a great deal about Australian society.
· Political prostitution [SMH ]

Monday, September 15, 2003

Memory of Running

Stephen King uses his power for good, not evil. He wants you to go listen to an audio book called Memory of Running. King says it's the best novel you won't read all year:
So why can't you read it? Because -- so far, at least -- no publisher will touch it with a 10-foot pole. Publishing houses, once proudly independent, are today little more than corporate wampum beads, their cultural clout all but gone. Novels that were neither dopey best-sellers (think James Patterson) nor dull ''serious fiction'' (think William Gaddis, Paul Auster, and their overpraised ilk) were one of the first things to go when the conglomerates took over. Dull or dopey: These days that's pretty much your choice at the bookstore.
· Memory of Escaping [EW via BookSlut]

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Man In Black: Johnny Cash

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.
I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.
Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black...
Ah, Ah,
I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.

· Rainbow of Hope? [CommonDreams ]

Real life Russian tragedy

"The Return", a Russian film about the harrowing reunion of a father with his sons after a 10-year absence, won the Venice Film Festival's top prize, the Golden Lion, on Saturday.
First-time director Andrey Zvyagintsev dedicated the award to the 15-year-old star of the film Vladimir Garin, who tragically died a couple of months after shooting. He drowned in the region where the film was set.
There are only two actors here. Those who've seen the film know there should be three actors, three heroes up here. But two months ago he died tragically," said Zvyaginstev, who was greeted with a standing ovation.
We want to dedicate this victory to him."
The spare, brooding picture tells the story of two boys whose lives are changed forever when they go on a fishing trip in rugged Russian lake country with their newly returned father.

· The Return (Vozvraschenie) also won the award for best first feature [NZHerald ]

Friday, September 12, 2003

Those Days, Years, Decades After

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was grief, sorrow, anger, and a heightened awareness of the sacredness of life and connection. In tribute to the dead, many of us vowed we would never forget the perspective this tragedy gave us. Beliefnet's coverage explores the spiritual impact two years later--with comments, prayers & reflections by Beliefnet members, clergy, 9/11
· Survivors! Still Shaking as we are reading this... [Belief Net]

There are Few Flawless Victories
The Second World War in Europe began in defense of Poland's freedom against Nazi tyranny. It ended in a tremendous Allied victory, but left Poland subject to an alternate despotism.
· Victories [NYPost]
· 9/11 [TNR]

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Tower Downstairs!

Some Czech guy named Pavel Havla, a former coal miner from Ostrava, where my uncle Peter lived all his adult life, unwittingly recorded both planes going into the World Trade Center and the New York Times is writing about it only now...
They did not even see the pale fleck of the airplane streak across the corner of the video camera's field of view at 8:46 a.m. But the camera, pointed at the twin towers from the passenger seat of an S.U.V. in Brooklyn near the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, kept rolling when the plane disappeared for an instant and then a silent, billowing cloud of smoke and dust slowly emerged from the north tower, as if it had sprung a mysterious kind of leak.
The S.U.V., carrying an immigrant worker from the Czech Republic who was making a video postcard to send home, then entered the mouth of the tunnel and emerged, to the shock of the three men inside the vehicle, nearly at the foot of the now burning tower.
The camera, pointed upward, zoomed in and out, and then, with a roar in the background that built to a piercing screech, it locked on the terrifying image of the second plane as it soared, like some awful bird of prey, almost straight overhead, banking steeply, and blasted into the south tower.
His boss, a Russian guy, told him if he ever sold the tape, he'd never work for him again.

· Broken English: Tower downstairs! [NYTimes via ( Nic Moc)]
· Eastern European Stories [Guardian (UK)]
· The Lead-Meisters [Village Voice ]
· Another Survivor's Daughter [Media Dragon]

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Palm Digital gives Cold River a Cause for Hope

What's the point of being a sole survivor if you're not convinced the world will read your story in the end? Somehow an awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely. I know writers who are smarter than me, who are more talented than me, who have stronger instinct than me, who know more literary agents than me. I am preoccupied with more guilt than all of them. I'm a survivor - nothing more, nothing less. I don't fear life, I don't fear death and I don't fear literary humiliations.
The struggle against forgetting is unending and according to Elie Wiesel: Any survivor has more to say than all the historians combined about what happened.
Somewhere in the depths of my foolish soul I nurture one conceited notion: One day, perhaps - one day - something shining will be prised out of all this raw skeleton...swimming in my Cold River
Like a good father or a beautiful view, a work of art is harder to describe than to recognise. Professor Gombrich once said that there was no such thing as art, only artists. Which begs the question, what makes an artist?
Vaclav Havel says that they are those who ‘celebrate our existence by making us more conscious of it.’ Art is a language and that it must have something to say:
Having my first daughter being born exactly 9 months after the Velvet Revolution is, perhaps, one of the most remarkable illustrations of how hope can spring from the most appalling of tragedies.
Send constructive editorial suggestions to
· First Palm Digital Media Edition

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Now It's Your Turn

History is littered with the guilty consciences of those who chose to remain silent. It is time to speak out.

Sixty-four summers ago, when Hitler fabricated Polish provocations in his attempt to justify Germany’s invasion of Poland, there was not a peep out of senior German officials. Happily, in today’s Germany the imperative of truth-telling no longer takes a back seat to ingrained docility and knee-jerk deference to the perceived dictates of "homeland security." The most telling recent sign of this comes in a recent edition of Die Zeit, Germany’s highly respected weekly newspaper. The story, by Jochen Bittner, holds lessons for us all.
· German Intelligence on Powell’s "Solid" Sources [Tom Paine]

Proof that Professor David Shedden isn't like the rest of us

If you had planned to spend some time scouring the 'Net for useful sites journalists could use. A one-stop shop for everything you'd need on this topic has been created.
· 9/11 [Poynter ]

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Life & Loss

True Blue Meaningful Blogging on Life & Loss

Let it not be said that this blogger ignored the deep and meaning blogging Down Under. Of all the snippets I’ve read on antipodean blogs in the past years, the ones that's stirred up the most belong to postings by Gianna and Wayne.
If you don't already check their sites I recommend you do, they write beautifully and inspirationally in my opinion...I think they make my Slavic soul sing...

Antipodean Bohemians Shake your booties
Fictional pregnancy diary of Cooke's trademark cartoon character, Hermoine the Modern Girl:
One book has four filthy drawings of bright pink couples 'making love' during pregnancy, in different positions. In the first position they look bored. In the second position they look like they've had a lobotomy. In the third they look really smug, and in number four, I don't know how this is quite conveyed, but I'm pretty sure they were singing 'Michael Row the Boat Ashore'.

· Pregnant Pause [Gianna/Sanctuary ]
· Wayne on Feelings [troppoarmadillo ]

Don’t be afraid
Don’t be afraid to cry, as tears can baptize the soul anew.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind, as concession is often an act of courage.
Don’t be afraid to be lost… you might just find yourself if you leave the safe path.
Don’t be afraid to fight a just fight… if it matters to you… it matters!
Don’t be afraid to be laugh at the hilarity of it all.
Don’t be afraid to feel scared, life IS scary.
Don’t be afraid to trust, love or care about others.
Don’t be afraid to fail, as doing so often offers the most valuable lessons.
Don’t be afraid to be alone, for until you can be alone you cannot be with others.
Don’t be afraid to be different because we all are.
Don’t be afraid to dream as they are your only limitation.
Don’t be afraid
(via Prague Bloggers)
NB:: Dan Quayles of this world, take note: The hatred you're carrying is a live coal in your heart - far more damaging to yourself than to them.


AM I Richish Enough?
Schwartzenegger has a big one.
Michael J. Fox has a small one.
Madonna doesn't have one.
The Pope has one but doesn't use his.
Clinton uses his all the time.
Jozef's is loaded with bittersweet irony.
Mickey Mouse has an unusual one.
Liberace never used his on women.
Jerry Seinfeld is very, very proud of his.
Cher claims that she took on 3.
We never saw Lucy use Desi's.
What is it?

· Click for the answer [Bussorah]

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Same Vintage

CATCHING UP: David Jiranek

The Jiranek family put on an unforgettable memorial service. There were several themes. The most common was the gratitude expressed by everyone who knew him for "making life more fun." (He was an inveterate practical joker and named his 32-foot sloop "Bouncing Czechs.")
On his sister-in-law's wedding night, for instance, he got into her wedding dress and traipsed down the main drag of Cold Spring, N.Y., reciting Ophelia's lines from "Hamlet" in a falsetto voice. Even when the town police stopped him and asked what he thought he was doing, "he never broke character," Joe Hooper, his brother-in-law, told us.
Jiranek's red racing bike and helmut stood near the podium, a reminder of his decade-long devotion to intense, regular bicycle trips with his closest friends.
Todd Hoffman did finally address what he called "the elephant on the beach, what we've been doing all this week, this 45-year-old crap." It was a reference to the fact that David Jiranek died so young, his premature death the result of a swimming accident. "We're using the wrong measuring stick," Hoffman said. "He did in 45 years what most of us won't do in 95 years." It didn't erase the pain of losing David. But it wasn't meant to. It recalled for everyone the pleasure of his company.

· Bouncing Czechs [Herman]