Wednesday, December 31, 2003

From Boxing Day Bruises to Silvester Hangovers
A Survivor Takes Virtual World by Storm, With His Tale of Escape
A cellar door to the soul ... baffling the uninitiated.
· Cold River: Runaway failure [ courtesy of You Can't Improve on Perfection & Lust]
Yesterday's Writing On Your Palm article is titled, " How Much Is an eBook Worth?", and is an interesting discussion on what consumers are willing to pay for eBooks. It seems that many PDA owners are looking for free or inexpensive eBooks and applications, and complain if something costs more than US$5 or $10.
My number one traffic source again this year is my affiliates. In fact, my affiliates send thousands of visitors a day to my sites...

· Talk is cheap, show us the money [ via Digging Deeper into My #1 Traffic Source ]

Everybody who lives in New York (Sydney), (Praha) believes he’s here for some purpose, whether he does anything about it or not.
Arlene Croce, Afterimages

About Last Night has lived in New York for the better part of two decades now, and you'd think he'd have gotten used to it.
In a way, I suppose I have, but even now all it takes is a whiff of the unexpected and I catch myself boggling at that which the native New Yorker really does take for granted. As for my visits to Smalltown, U.S.A., they invariably leave me feeling like yesterday's immigrant, marveling at things no small-town boy can ever really dismiss as commonplace, no matter how long he lives in the capital of the world...
· Poland is the most pro-Amerikan country in the world — including the United States [ courtesy of The most desirable places to live in Amerika ]

Monday, December 29, 2003

Like most yearbooks, the one from Oakville Trafalgar High School leaves space beneath the photos of graduating students for them to acknowledge the friends, teachers and events that made their high school years memorable. And, as at most high schools, students at the Oakville school tend to write strings of initials, slang and inside jokes that form hidden messages in teenage code.
But this past spring, the message from Grade 12 valedictorian Andrew Ironside was anything but cryptic.

I am not the most popular person, not even close
A lot of you were jerks ... Andrew Ironside, now a student at Brock University, was elected valedictorian at his Oakville, Ont., high school as a joke, but made the most of the opportunity.
A lot of people in our grade, the grade that elected me, do not know my name. They just know me as that blond kid with the freaky eyes.
Mr. Ironside, who had his own page in the yearbook, had been elected valedictorian in a vote carefully orchestrated by his peers and designed to embarrass him.
But when graduation night arrived, he gave a speech that transformed a malicious high school joke into an ad libbed sequel to Revenge of the Nerds.

· If I can be elected valedictorian, anything is possible [ courtesy of Reflection and soul searching: Ordinary Canadians who showed extraordinary courage.]
· If I can be published, anything is possible :=) [blatantly pinched from Canadian Dragon]

Sunday, December 28, 2003

A certain amount of brick-throwing might even be a good thing. There comes a moment in the career of most artists, if they are any good, when attacks on their work take a form almost more acceptable than praise.
Anthony Powell, Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant

Golden Age
The Internet is still a free country, and I’d like to think this level of interest and activity will last forever, but this may be remembered as the Golden Age.
The dynamic and democratic nature of the Internet (at least at present) ensures that arts debates will no longer be confined to the pages of newspapers and periodicals but will be open to anyone with smarts and a knack for expressing him or herself. Every day I happen across new sites written by people who are at least as passionate about books as I am and can express their passions in an intelligent, charismatic way. Three or four years ago it would not have been possible for me to read their opinions, or for them to read mine. While online debates can be splintered and diffuse and sometimes clubby, I'm heartened by the sheer number of them. Who knew so many people cared about books?

· 2003: a real literary culture online developed [ via Saloon: Fortunately there is room for disagreement]
· 10 Technologies to watch in 2004

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Everything had gone wrong in the Imrich household
Just so there should be no mistake as to which of the two sorts of family is going to be the subject of the story. In the main, it's the unhappy families that make the better novels.
You can see that as tragedy avoided: Pip not having to drown in the cold, unpeopled waters of his distaste, Pip learning to accept the limits of being a person born to people; but the assertion of human interconnectedness - the wall in which we must be bricked, the hard face the world will always turn against our longing to be free - is tragic too. Just because the thing we long for cannot be, is no reason not to long for it. Why else do we go on turning pages but in the hope that this time the glorious unfamilied, unfettered universe behind the sun has been attained?

· Turn blood to water [ courtesy of Guardian ]
· Eragon: Meet the 21st-century Tolkien [ via Double Dragon Publishing: Where and when is Middle Earth to you? ]

Friday, December 26, 2003

Have Yourself a Merry Little Boxing Day
How dare we question our leaders who have blisters and blood from making us and our families safer, richer and happier? Biting the very hand that feeds Us? We are an unpatriotic, flag-hating conspiracy freak if we doubt the regime our honest politicians are sooooo proud of creating! It's stuff in journals like the Wahington Post that makes me sit up. Usually, when political journalists in the trenches say something this momentous, it means something. It speaks of a lack of faith in leadership; a disafection in the fourth estate. Readers sit up, listen and ponder.

Under Bush, Expanding Secrecy
Last Monday, the Supreme Court announced it would consider an effort by Vice President Cheney to keep private the records of the energy policy task force he ran. On Friday, the White House announced that it has known for two weeks about an attack on a convoy carrying Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer -- but had decided not to divulge the information. Later that day, President Bush announced a disarmament deal with Libya reached during nine months of secret negotiations.
· It is a banner for government secrecy: I Rule, Therefore I'm Golden [ courtesy of Washington Post ]
· Chomsky has written about the selective memory and the morality of convenience [ via Independent ]
· Lord Black: Friendship and Business Blur in the World of a Media Baron [ via Thoughtlines: On the dust jacket: blurbs by an impressive set of conservative thinkers...]

God is not a right-wing boxing zealot
God has given us two eyes, two ears and two arms and two hands, but only one heart. And it's in the center and a little bit to the left.
In the heart of the Bluegrass, a Bible Belt preacher is rallying people to political action around what he calls "basic religious values." Think you can describe his politics? Think again. This man of the cloth wants "regime change" in Washington.

· Washminsters [ via Salon]

It's greed, not ideology, that rules the White House
Why the US wants Iraq's debts cancelled - and Argentina's paid in full
· NO Ideas [ via Guardian(UK)]

Thursday, December 25, 2003

As Krusty, the Klown, would say: ‘Have a Kooky Christmas, a Happy Hanukkha, a Crazy Kwanza, and a...very respectful Ramadan.

The 411 on Faith
Now that we're in the season of Ramadan, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, check out for the 411 on every religion.
Season's greetings to Media Dragon readers -- and a big thank you. We rely on you for tips and feedback and look forward to hearing from you in the new year.
SUBMIT YOUR TIPS FOR THE VIRTUAL 6 DEGREE OF SEPARATION: What websites and stories do you find most ironical, trendy, savvy? Which dragon tails about political and managerial bullies have been missed by the journalistic profession? Send a link and I'll publish a selection.

· Greetings [ via Ideas ]

Imrich & Upton Offered in E-Book Format
Speaking of e-books, a site called TeleRead which advocates building well-stocked national digital libraries, has released Upton Sinclair's classic expos of the press, "The Brass Check." The e-book is available as a Word document and in Microsoft Reader format. ASCII and Gemstar versions are in development, but for those who can't wait, the site also offers the first nine chapters of the book on the web
· eBook Alive @ Christmas [ via Adobe Version]

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

1) You don't have to love everything you're told is great, 2) You don't have to claim greatness for everything you love, and 3) You don't have to dispute the greatness of the works and artists you dislike.

Wishing one and all good and evil, saints and sinners A Very Happy Christmas Eve

In Castro's Gulag—Librarians
Hentoff: While American librarians — whom John Ashcroft calls "hysterics"—deserve credit for being on the front line against this secret fishing for subversives, none have been threatened with prison time by Ashcroft. But 10 librarians in Cuba have been put away for 20 years and more for not going along with Castro's endless Banned Books weeks." So why aren't American librarians protesting that?
· Why Aren't American Librarians Protesting Abuse Of Cuban Librarians? [ courtesy of Village Voice 12/16/03 ]
· a complete poster-size folio of Audubon's 'Birds of America,' valued at as much as $7 million. [ via NYTimes ]

Holidays Films
[ via Time Top 100]
Rivaling summer as the time to roll out blockbusters or wannabe blockbusters are the busy weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now that the memories of Seabiscuit, Mystic River, The Cat in the Hat, and others have receded, a broad collection of film adaptations from literature are gracing screens across the country. Among them are film versions of House of Sand and Fog, a 2001 Book Sense Book of the Year finalist, and Cold Mountain, the 1998 Adult Trade winner of the American Booksellers Book of the Year Award (the precursor of the Book Sense Book of the Year), as well as Book Sense 76 picks Girl With a Pearl Earring and Big Fish: Mythic Proportions.
· Cold Rivers & Mountains [ courtesy of Small is Beautiful]

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Judging by the Site Meter, most of you have more important things to do this week than read blogs. For those diehards who can't get enough czech this out...

Let Me Introduce you to our Eight weeks old Lilly
This happy-go-lucky red and white (Blenheim) four legs of smiles is part of my swimming familia.
· Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with Mona Lisa Smile [ via From Bessie to Lilly]

The secret Sydney recipe for earthly delight: get fit, drink and be married
We have all felt the irrational knot welling up inside ...
· Opposite of Life [ via in My Place]
· A little bit tipsy [ via I just might be the happiest man in the world]

Truth and consequences
Michael Kinsley, who has his moments (but oh, those quarter-hours!), recently put his finger on something that’s always irritated me. We all know that politicians never tell the truth, but I don’t mind flat-out lies—that goes with the territory. What drives me wild is their inability to say anything without spinning it. The day any politician of either party makes so blunt a remark within earshot of microphones—and declines to retract, moderate, or invert it before the day is out—you’ll know the barometer of cultural health in America is moving in the right direction. But don't hang by your thumbs waiting for it.
· About Politics [ courtesy of About Last Night]

Monday, December 22, 2003

Not normally to blow my own trumpet, but you’re probably reading this right now because you found the link in The Google so there are probably a few things I need to clear up. Without wanting my new found celebrity status to go to my head, I’m still pretty chuffed with the bestselling status along Cold Mountain and Mystic River (smile). And I wouldn’t put it past me that I’ll still be as chuffed this time next week as I drink and drink under the Christmas tree...

Adobe Opens Hot e-Bookstore
Czech out Cold River: Always the Bridesmaid? (smile)
It's hard to believe they hadn't done it before, but Adobe has just now opened an online store to sell e-books in the PDF format ( And they're using with Overdrive's Content Reserve to power the store (
· Well, as traffic goes through the roof, it would seem I rock the e-book market [ via Dude, Where's My eStore ]

Return to the dark tunnel: the writing cure
Sonja Linden on how people who have endured torture can reclaim their lives by writing their stories, and a poem from Zimbabwean Novell Zwangendaba on the language of violence that grips his country.
· Art and healing [ via ]

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Did Anyone Sit Back and Ask What is Right?
No way. They all had their snouts too deep in the trough and their brains too busy working out how much they could get away with to give a damn about anyone else. It's been that sort of year in politics and business, but lots of Australians without the cash or the clout of the elites we can't trust any more took a stand for what's right at great personal and financial cost.
· So much for the rule of law in NSW [ courtesy of Last Column for 2003 by Margo Kingston]

How Steve Lazarowitz Writes Australian
Tasmanian Dragon... Steve's novel is tight and action packed, a sure fire crowd pleaser. From the beginning we see that there's more a foot than meets the eye, all surrounding a deep mystery about man's first trip into deep space. British Bloggers
· Writers [ via Blogger ]
· Partner in Crime [ courtesy of Guardian(UK) ]

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Another view from Iraq
The images were shocking. I couldn't make myself believe this was the same Saddam Husajn that slaughtered hundreds of thousands and plundered my country's wealth for decades. The humiliation I experienced was not out of nationalistic pride or Islamic notions of superiority or anything like that as some readers suggested. It was out of a feeling of impotence and helplessness. This was just one old disturbed man yet the whole country couldn't dispose of him. We needed a superpower from the other side of the ocean to come here and 'get him' for us. I was really confused that day I went out and almost got myself killed by those Fedayeen and angry teenagers in the Adhamiya district.
· Fedayeen [ via healingiraq ][ courtesy of Not Much]

Sacked author makes another killing
The boss looked like a pig, his secretary was a brainless blonde, the computer geek was a sexual pervert and the senior broker was a chronic drunk.
The tension they supposedly created in an insurance company was so distressing that Bruno Perara, 46, turned to violent fantasy and wiped them all out in a novel called Little Murders Among Partners.
The book, inspired by his workmates' characters, cost him his job after selling only 858 copies - half of them bought by the company's 450 staff. But the author, an administrator, has ended up $A120,000 richer.

· Little Murders [link via If in Prague kill time @ Tulip ]
· Scotty Tulip

Thursday, December 18, 2003

The politics of justice
When the government influences legal rulings, can the return of tyranny be far behind?
During my 55 years in pursuit of justice, I have faced a number of situations that would have inspired Kafka to write an entire library of books. I won't argue my legal claims here, since in most cases they haven't been decided yet, and I will leave that to the judges and courts to weigh in light of the law.

· Kafka [ via Prague Post

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Warning: This Link is Not for Everyone
Democracy on the Cheap
After the 2000 presidential race, many Americans saw new voting technology as the obvious means to avoid the millions of votes lost due to voter error around the nation. Following that botched election, Florida spent millions of dollars for new touchscreen voting equipment.
· The Failure of America's Electoral Infrastructure [ courtesy of Voting Trail: Gerrymandering Fix]
· Wealthy Campaign Donors Stifle Minority Voices [ via ]

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Jiri Grusa
Two weeks ago Jirí Grusa (Jiri Grusa) had been elected the new president of International PEN. We were a bit surprised that there was no English-language press coverage at the time, but we figured a fair amount would follow in the week to come. Boy, were we wrong.
Two weeks have now passed, and not only have there not been the big summary articles about the PEN Congress and the changing of the guard we expected, there don't seem to have been any mentions. Not even an AP report tucked away among the incidental arts coverage in any major or minor American or British newspaper or magazine.
Shame on them all !
The best we can do as far as pointing you to additional information and English-language coverage is this pathetic Radio Prague report, Jiri Grusa on his plans as PEN Club President.

· We'll look for additional coverage, but don't hold your breath. [ courtesy of Saloon ]
· What was Atta doing in Prague? [ via Black Cerny]

Monday, December 15, 2003

In a second attempt, London's Mail manages to find someone to accept their award

Books remain a favourite online purchase
Rebel throw–backs livening things up . . .
After decades in the doldrums, turning down awards has suddenly become cool, observes Andrew Crumey, the literary editor of Scotland's The Scotsman newspaper. First there was Hari Kunzru turning down the Mail on Sunday's Llewelyn Rhys Prize, then there was Benjamin Zephaniah turning down an OBE because it reminded him of "how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised. Turning down prizes is nothing new"—John Berger gave half his 1972 Booker Prize money to the Black Panthers. However, "That all seemed so long ago. Now, he says, Kunzru and Zephaniah have suddenly reminded us that in an age saturated with identikit wannabes lusting for fame and fortune, there are still people who see writing as a potential force for social change.

· Mixture of rising fortunes and falling profit margins [ courtesy of ]

Sunday, December 14, 2003

The Saudi Connection
David E. Kaplan of U.S. News & World Report spent five months tracing the relationship between Saudi Arabian money and terrorism, finding that over the past 25 years, the desert kingdom has been the single greatest force in spreading Islamic fundamentalism, while its huge, unregulated charities funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to jihad groups and al Qaeda cells around the world. Saudi charities played an important role in a $70 billion campaign to spread the message of the ruling Wahhabi sect. Saudi largess encouraged U.S. officials to look the other way, some veteran intelligence officers say. Billions of dollars in contracts, grants, and salaries have gone to a broad range of former U.S. officials who had dealt with the Saudis:
· ambassadors, CIA station chiefs, even cabinet secretaries [ via Scoop ]

This year is Going down in history, film, books and music, more than ever before, old is the new new.
Breakthrough in Berlin Wall
The breakthrough film – the one German film-makers have been after for years – arrived on producer Stefan Arndt's Berlin desk as a five-page fax with much of the text missing.
Five years later, Goodbye, Lenin!, the story of an East German family at the end of the communist era, is the highest grossing European film to date – and it hasn't been released in the US yet. Not bad for a low-budget €5.2million ($8.6 million) art-house venture.

· People don’t like to talk Russian anymore [ courtesy of ABCTales ]

Lessons in humiliation
True humiliation for a novelist in these sales–conscious times notes means having your book turned down because you don't look like Monica Ali, or being thrown out into the street by your publisher of 20 years for being stuck in mid–list inertia. The English novelist responsible for the most scarifying account of literary humiliation ever put into print died a hundred years ago this month. For anyone professionally involved in the world of books, to read a resumé of the melancholy career of George Gissing (1857-1903) is the spiritual equivalent of a dose of castor oil.
· Selling sobering 63 copies [ via Are You Talking About Me? ]

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Cold River: Hot Mega-Sale!
Cold River has come a long way since 1980, and this week it celebrates its spring with 35% off (club members 44.89% off) its Multiformat eBook. Hurry, this sale only lasts through Sunday, December 14.

Is this the Cheapest 400 page tome in the brave new world of publishing?
One dragon eats quiet slice of humble pie and claims dubious literary history. Lock up your reading loving wives!
· Cold Reality backfires on Dragons: All you need is discount! [ courtesy of Hitting Jackpots]

Classic Literature: To Have or Not to Have
I started Haverleigh yesterday and as the cover promises, I couldn't put it down. I've been moved to tears a few times already. It kind of reminds me a little of Neville Shute's On the Beach, or even an Australian Gone with the Wind. Great for lazing around under the beach umbrella!
· Nothing like a cracking sex scene to open a story, either [ via Sanctuary ]

The literary cash-currency in tulips, hookers, guns, and drugs
Eastern Europe since 1990 has been a crossroads of iron rule, cowboy commerce, old hatreds and new licentiousness. In other words, a place where literature thrives, as it does in the wake of all great upheavals.
· Eastern European fiction [via Bookslut ]

Friday, December 12, 2003

It is possible to commit no mistakes -- and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is writer's life ...a life filled with fear of missing out on something, anything, whatever!

Final Fire Sale: serious and comic relief
Sole survivors rarely enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame, particularly when their work covers an obscure escape.
IMRICH, but I am also the least expensive out of the entire collection ...
You can question the literary value of Cold River as much as you like, but I defy you not to find the story evocative. It is hard now to convey what restricted lives we lived in those far off 1970s in Czechoslovakia. We were watched constantly by secret police...

· I've done what I survived for, to bear witness [ via Palm Digital]

Exclusive Deal: @ Fiction Wise
All descriptions of Cold River are, like the escape itself, bound to end in failure, but that has not prevented readers from making the attempt.
Club: List Price:$4.24; You Pay: $2.75; You Save: 44.89%
· Cold River's First & Last Fire Sale: Freedom is worth fighting for, dying for, selling your soul for, and writing for ... [ courtesy of Wisely Sponsored by Google for Christmas]

Musing & Blogging as Sinful Pleasure
It is amusing to read post by J.D. Lasica to his New Media Musings weblog. Sick with a flu bug, he wrote:
Since blogging is more fun than work (for me, anyway), I'm going to toss off the occasional entry here or there while I'm on the mend.
I doubt that most journalists would choose to continue their workwhile weathering a bad bug, but it doesn't surprise me that blogging doesn't feel like work to Lasica. For many, it really is fun.

· Altruistic Fun [ courtesy of News Media]

Thursday, December 11, 2003

No one is better qualified to write about parliamentary environment than my former boss, Dr Russell Cope. For over 30 years he was the Parliamentary Librarian of the New South Wales Parliament, and generations of parliamentary officers and students of Parliament have found his writings of great interest. Anybody can write a story about the parliamentary rituals, but only a great observer can consistently distill something profound from the stuff of everyday life at Parliament.
· Parliamentary Culture [Blog -City]

Parliament Houses Have Evil Within Them
That the combination of alcohol, stress and tiredness should have been the causes of Andrew Bartlett's uncharacteristic conduct in Parliament last Thursday night points yet again to one thing: Canberra's Parliament House is one of the most destructive working environments in Australia.
When citizens lack confidence in the basic institutions of democracy, the nation is in very deep trouble. Parliament is a great institution that selfish parliamentary clerks are in the process of destroying. Let me count the evils ways in my next book entitled Almost Klokan: (Kangaroo)...( Rumor has it you must live long as it will take me 20 years to finish it =:) smile)
· Parliament is on fire (literally) [ via SMH ]

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Miserable Failures & Successes

It is possible to commit no mistakes -- and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life...
There can be no triumph without loss
No victory without suffering
No freedom without sacrifice
Cold Advise

Meanwhile my short story @ ABCTales received over centenary readers...
Furthermore my long monograph has a dubious honour of being presented on the same page as:
Un Unfinished Life, John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963; Benjamin Franklin; I Am a Soldier, Too; Bill Clinton: An American Journey; (sic) The Jessica Lynch Story; and being stuck between Living History, Hillary Rodham Clinton and miserable failures of Bin Laden & Georges Clemenceau statures...
· Reading Palms Digitally [ courtesy of Google ]

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Sometimes I feel as if I am pounding out the same message over and over to the point of harping: Newspapers have a destructive, risk-adverse culture that stifles change and initiative. Fix the culture and the rest will follow.
· It's the Culture, Stupid: The Mood of a Newsroom [ via Tim Porter]

Rum Corps to white-shoe brigade
The way that land is at the heart of Australian dream: the source of wealth and security, spirituality and belonging is explored in the second Griffith Review: Dreams of Land. As interest rates rise it might be time to rethink the national hobby of property speculation, but Jim Forbes and Peter Spearritt remain sceptical as they trace the history of speculation.
· We are unlikely to break our addiction to bricks and mortar [The Griffith Review via APO ]
· Low Rentals []

Monday, December 08, 2003

Tails has finally launched. This is the latest initiative from ABCtales parent company Burgeon Creative Ideas Ltd. Without Burgeon Creative Ideas Ltd Cold River would be Just A Dream! There is no escape from hot ABCTales plugs ... It's not how many times you fall down that counts; it's getting up again. And forget counting, it's too pedantic and,
after the first hundred you loose track anyhow.

By the bed there is a glass of orange juice. It’s for Ralph. He takes the glass. The coldness of the juice has chilled the glass itself. This juice is a minor miracle. A marvel. He knows it. Despite everything, Janice brought this in while he was asleep. Janice is kind. He realises he does not deserve her as his girlfriend.
· A yellow line is drawn across the map [ via ABCTales]

Sunday, December 07, 2003


Everywhere in the world literature is in retreat from politics and unless resisted the one will crush the other. You don’t crush literature from outside by killing writers or intimidating them or not letting them publish, though as we’ve all seen you can make a big fuss and have a lot of fun trying. You do better to induce them to destroy it themselves by inducing them to subordinate it to political purposes, as you propose to do.
Kingsley Amis, The Russian Girl

Is Copyright Killing Culture?
Culture as we know it is increasingly bound up in the very laws that are supposed to nurture it. Copyright law has gone from promoting creativity to hindering artistic expression, thanks in part to the efforts of a few giant corporations that are sitting on billions of dollars worth of intellectual property. Culture is paying the price for these bad laws.
· The labyrinth of copyright [Durham Independent 12/03/03 courtesy of About Rolex]

Babies, books and a lesson in happiness
The debate between our politicians about reading to kids before bed raises the question: how do we hand our children a love of books?
· Reading [SMH]
· The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy [ courtesy of Informaniac ]

Support creativity and places of literary ventures...So when in Sydney visit the Find at York St and when in Prague head for the Tulip
If in Prague
Together with Prague TV and the Czech chapter of Amnesty International, Scott MacMillan is helping to put together a Christmas benefit party at Tulip Cafe. Mark off Dec. 20 (two weeks from this Saturday) on your calendar. Scott is a writer and owner of Tulip Cafe (Opatovicka 3, Prague 1)
· Tulip Cafe: [EmaiL::scott AT tulipcafe DOT cz]

I see no reason to believe this story is isolated

'Slavery' for American paycheck
Investigation of illegal workers centers on exploited Czechs
· Cleaning and cleaning and cleaning [PraguePost]

Saturday, December 06, 2003


I tore myself away from the desk this morning and went to watch my girls swim. As I watched them splashing H2O everywhere, I thought about all those drowned in Vietnamese boats. Indonesian boats...Thirst for freedom is so universal. It is hard now to convey what restricted lives we lived in those far off 1970s in Czechoslovakia. We were watched constantly by secret police... Then many teenagers had come to terms with the possibility of torture or death and the secret police honestly did not bother me at the time. Of course there were things I would regret hugely like leaving people I loved still by all accounts I have had a very fortunate childhood ... and judging by this account even my exile appears almost lucky

Human kind
Ask most people what they are doing for International Human Rights Day (IHRD) and you're likely to be met with a look of blank incomprehension.
· Looking squarely at the Rights [SMH]

People the law forgot
It is almost two years since the Guantanamo prison camp opened. Its purpose is to hold people seized in the 'war on terror' and defined by the Bush administration as enemy combatants - though many appear to have been bystanders to the conflict. Images of Camp Delta's orange-jumpsuited, manacled detainees have provoked international outrage. But the real horror they face isn't physical hardship, it is the threat of infinite confinement, without trial or access to legal representation.
· Black Bottom of the barrel [Guardian (UK)]

Literary spanking

I n this week's issue of The Bookseller, Horace Bent scours the best-books lists and finds A disappointing decline in log-rolling. It used to be blatant; now, we must make do with mere kindly back-scratching.
Rain Czech this beautiful site peppered with reading lists appropriate for American President George jr. Bush, British PM Tony Blair, but not yet for the Australian PM John Howard or the potential Prime Minister Mark Latham. All suggestions welcome.

· A beauty Saloon packed with great weekend Reading [Saloon ]

If you are in Sydney czech out the new tea and literary venture located at the heart of the city, 119 York St, Sydney, (9261 1123). It opened a few days ago, at the same time as I touched New York of Australia after 4 years of exile in Brissie. The Find, the pit spot, offers meals as fresh as unturned pages of the latest magazines and new books. Debate politics or poetry, talk to interviewers or reviewers, meet writers and watch the ASIO watching you in a comfort of parliamentary chairs. You will not find out, however, how Antony scored a rare and frank interview with Bob Carr last week...

Authorsden is Impressed
NSW Parliamentary Librarian Rob Brian gives a lay Catholic response to Sydney Archbishop George Pell on matters of sex, faith and doctrine. Rob also dislikes unreasonable governmental control of the internet and supports many literary ventures on the net such as authorsden.
· Internet would be dead without practical support [Authorsden ]

Friday, December 05, 2003

Taxing Lives

In most countries characters who see no greater service than observe the truth about jobs for the boys for the girls just get stabbed in the back or get shunned by cooworkers or get accussed of being stalkers. In India...

Whistleblower said don’t name me. Govt did. He was shot dead
31-year-old IIT grad working on PM’s showpiece highway complained of corruption, contractor mafia. The next time a promising young engineer sees corruption and mismanagement in a Government project he’s working on, chances are he will think twice, thrice, several times, before complaining to the political and bureaucratic establishment.
· Talkers [Indianexpress ]

Stabbed in the back

In most countries characters who see no greater service than observe the truth about jobs for the boys for the girls just get stabbed in the back or get shunned by cooworkers or get accussed of being stalkers. In India...

Whistleblower said don’t name me. Govt did. He was shot dead
31-year-old IIT grad working on PM’s showpiece highway complained of corruption, contractor mafia. The next time a promising young engineer sees corruption and mismanagement in a Government project he’s working on, chances are he will think twice, thrice, several times, before complaining to the political and bureaucratic establishment.
· Talkers [Indianexpress ]

Citizen’s Journalism

Good journalism doesn’t need to be complicated, sophisticated or expensive.
The Brownsville Herald, a 15,800-circulation daily in deep Texas, sent out a few reporters to ask local police and city commissions for various public records such as police logs or expense reports. The result: Runaround, hostility and ignorance by public officials and, in one case, a police car that tailed report Juan Ozuna for more than 20 minutes after he left city hall in Santa Rosa, Texas...
Where do you live? What do you want with this information? What’s your address?
I love this type of journalism. It resonates with truth. It conveys with direct honesty the frustrations of everyday experiences citizens undergo when dealing with government and bureaucracies – and by doing so connects with the public.

· Truth Frustrated [Tim Porter]

Thursday, December 04, 2003


How has it come to be that all sorts of people —like, say, Madonna— are now rushing into the places formerly reserved for outsiders, bookworms, romantics, and losers like Jozef Imrich?

Thank You For Not Reading
We’re now in a literary landscape…densely populated with publishers, editors, agents, distributors, brokers, publicity specialists, bookstore chains, ‘marketing people,’ television cameras, [and] photographers.” What that means, she warns, is this: “The writer and his reader—the most important links in the chain—are more isolated than ever.
· Essays on Literary Trivia [Playback ]

Einer Berliner
Success of some Australian writers in Germany ...
· Just Like That [SMH ]

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Sylvia: Cold Riverlity
Films are very likely to fail if they are about any one of these three subjects: a writer, depression, a real person.
· Success? [Nchicha ]

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

New Czech Films

Four nights of premieres, previews and director presentations from the Czech Rep’s acclaimed post-Velvet Revolution generation of filmmakers. Thursday is the U.S. premiere of Ivan Vojnár’s Forest Walkers, a look at two young outsiders under communism. Friday, the Oscar-nominated Jan Hrebejk presents a sneak preview of Pupendo, which explores the mid-life crisis of a Czech dissident circle. Saturday is the U.S. premiere of Aurel Klimt’s stop-action animated Fimfárum, and Czech favorite David Ondricek introduces One Hand Can’t Clap, his much-awaited follow-up to his 2000 comedy Loners. Sunday closes things out with Benjamin Tucek’s sexy Girlie and Petr Zelenka’s Year of the Devil, a surreal folk-rock musical featuring Jaz Coleman. For details and times, see BAM Rose Cinema, 30 Lafayette Ave. (betw. Ashland Pl. & Fulton St.),
· All's Not so Quiet on the Eastern Front [TMT ]
· Better filmmaking might be about breaking all the rules [SMH ]


UK take on Peckish criticism
James Atlas profiled Dale Peck in The New York Times Magazine.
When I ask him to characterise the US reviewing scene, he cheers up: 'I am not sure if you can print this. But they are a bunch of pussies. They are back-scratchers, afraid for their own careers -- novelists reviewing their friends' works. It is very dishonest.'
Oh, yeah, that Peck. What a way with words. What an astute analyst. What a masterful, cogent, obviously well-founded (look at all the examples he cites) summary dismissal. i>
· And how delightfully risqué! [Saloon]