Saturday, January 31, 2004

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

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

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

Empowering events were almost without exception described as joyous occasions. Participants experienced a deep sense of happiness and even euphoria in being involved in protest events.
· Life should get better - healthier, wealthier, happier, more satisfying and interesting. Is this the case?

Philosophy's like medicine: lots of drugs, few remedies, and hardly any complete cures...
If you are happy and balanced, why would you be a writer? Theroux

Looking for Freedom
I find it a bit sad that there is no photo of me hanging on the walls in the Berlin Museum at Check-Point Charlie.
· Hasselhoff claims he had hand in Berlin Wall falling [ via Cold Hands]
· Millionaire's den: first post-1989 business club still plays host to prominent entrepreneurs, politicians

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

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

Friday, January 30, 2004


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

The US is Now in the Hands of a Group of Extremists
Money is the lifeblood of terrorist operations, he's talking about your money -- and every other American's money?
· The US must examine its global role and adopt a more constructive vision-George Soros MUST READ [ courtesy of Googlish webdiarist alive]

Most Media Dragon readers will be saddened to learn that legendary Scottish comedian Rikki Fulton has died at the age of 79.
Fulton will be best remembered for his iconic character, the Reverend IM Jolly, a parody of the miserable religious ministers that often appeared on STV's Late Call in the 1970s and 80s, a figure that eventually became the cornerstone of his traditional Hogmanay television show Scotch and Wry.

It's a tradition in Scotland on Hogmanay to go first-footing, a wonderful excuse to go out visiting friends and partying all night:
The first person to cross the threshold at Hogmanay brings all the luck, good or bad, for the year ahead. And, to follow in tradition they have to fulfil certain criteria. They have to be male, tall, dark and handsome. They cannot be doctors, ministers or grave-diggers (!) - oh, and your first footer cannot have eyebrows that meet in the middle! If you do find a first footer that fits the bill (for remember, we Scots might be handsome but, as a race, we're not renowned for our height) then hang on to them - you could make a packet!

· First-footin: little folks bursting with talent and suddenly able to dominate when allowed to play

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field...
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw on mistakes [ courtesy of Fist-footing ]

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

COLD RIVER: Allow to simmer, then bring to Amazon boiling point
No Foreigners sign hangs on the door of the Canadian publishing
COLD RIVER's somewhat of a mistake that really worked and somehow Quenches the Thirsty Mind of ordinary low brow reader...
Undeterred by publishing jungle, crocodile reviews and floods of rejections, at Amazon Cold River comes face to face with many literary multinationals...
We hear it all the time, and it's the source of much patriotic chest-thumping: Canada is the most multicultural country in the world. So it may seem odd to hear complaints about the insularity of our publishing industry.
I don't believe they see room for the incoming foreigner...
This is not so in the case of Canadian writers who have built literary reputations elsewhere (the one obvious exception being Josef Skvorecky, who won the Governor General's award in 1984 for a novel written in Czech and translated into English)
The complaint seems all the odder when one considers that my publisher is Canadian as no large Australian publisher would touch me with a political pole.
Different Cold Rivers have something for everyone:

· COLD RIVER: Story of Escape
· Canada Publishing
· Cold River 1 [ via
Walking a Cold River
The Best Cold River in the Universe

Monday, January 26, 2004

2003 Koufax Award Finalists Best Blog: Magnificent
The seven finalists for the 2003 Koufax Award for Best Blog:
Daily Kos;
Talking Points Memo;
Talk Left;
Whiskey Bar!

· Talking Points: Wampum

All the above blogs enjoy linking to political stories such as how the press is a political player and how campaign reporters create - and then dash - their own expectations of candidate performance.
[ See Also Politics, "The Press" and Servant Journalism ]
What can the press do differently to help us get the real story

Saturday, January 24, 2004

I have this wonderful image - mantra - way of thinking - we are clay, if we are brittle we dry up and crack into a million pieces - dust - but if we stay maleable and fluid we can always reshape or be reshaped
Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha also uses three symbols and images in the novel: the potter's wheel, the caged bird, and the river.
The potter's wheel, once set in motion, turns for a very long time and then eventually stops; it is similar to the wheel of the ascetic, the wheel of thinking, the wheel of discrimination which revolve for a long time in Siddhartha's soul.
His use of the river as a metaphor too is powerful - as a symbol for the flow of life, its continuity, and its ability to hold myriads of things while still representing unity and oneness.
· If we stay maleable and fluid we can always reshape or be reshaped

Weblogs are more than the sum of its parts: more than vibrant public forums and frequently updated streams-of-consciousness, alternative forms of publishing and online outbursts of gonzo journalism, and personal diaries. They are ...
Cross-fertilisation among individual thoughts and ideas unfolds
[See also Spinning Yarns around the Digital Fire - Storytelling and Dialogue among Youth on the Internet ]

Friday, January 23, 2004

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

[Memo to San Francisco Chronicle staffers]
I am delighted to announce that John Koopman, who has been a metro reporter or editor in San Francisco since 1997, is joining the Datebook staff as a special assignment writer. His beat is sex...

Nothing New Under the Sun: Drown the Messengers and Witches!
Teams of RCMP officers armed with search warrants today raided the home and office of Citizen reporter Juliet O'Neill, searching for evidence of leaks in the Maher Arar case.
The simultaneous raids were conducted early this morning on Ms. O'Neill's lowertown home and her office in the the Citizen bureau at City Hall.

· Be Prepared
· > Still Stonewalling After All These Years: Deadly Nerve Agents [ via Ageless Aga]

Well, if you write non-fiction, review non-fiction, or prefer to read non-fiction, break out the champagne. The most compelling ideas tend to be in the non-fiction world. Because we are a newspaper, we should be more skewed toward non-fiction.

The Plot Thickens at The New York Times Book Review
With a new Sunday book editor on the horizon, The New York Times takes a hard look at its literary coverage paper-wide.
· Which way are the winds blowing?

First, the American tradition of free speech and free press gives us a nearly unbounded right to cover the banal, the bizarre, and the shamelessly self-promoting.
· Why Do We Cover Celebrities? [ courtesy of Romenesko ]
· Blog Design Innovations
[link first seen at I Don't Know Art, But I Know What I Hate ]


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

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

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

Thursday, January 22, 2004

· Judging an Antipodean creative man by his beer

What matters after 50 are hits to the heart
The capability is real. The arts must dare to take their place in Australian society
· The push goes on - towards an artistic top end
[ via Creative Destruction]

Self-Publish And Be Damned?
I had been warned against self-publishing. You can't get reviews, you can't get shelf space, and you can't get respect. One hundred thousand books are published every year, so you need an imprint to stand out from the noise. Being naive, and used to being treated like Rodney Dangerfield, I decided to publish my book anyway.
I found a printer near Boston that could turn out thousands of copies in two weeks. A printer in Michigan took four weeks but, for two bucks each, produced tens of thousands of stitched-binding, store-quality copies. Ready or not, I was now in the publishing business. I opened an Advantage account on and had "Wall Street Meat" for sale on March 17. Not even spring of '03. Ha.

· I brought out my own book and beat the odds
· Where To Read About Reading [ via Book Slut]
· Literary Blogs]
[Adult Link Booble v Google]

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Tim Porter & Religion Are Born Again
There's nothing like a long time in Mexico to make you forget about quality journalism ...
Journalism selects those who cannot but be writers and journalists. It means you get a level of commitment and dedication that is quite unusual in many other professions. But you can only abuse people so much. They have families, children and student loans and lives to lead. We are not monks.

· Catching Up, Getting Religion [ via Tip toeing into these digital rivers: to ignore change is to be consumed by it ]

Jan Masaryk death theory draws fire
His Father: Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia
Investigator claims he's proven murder; critics reject conclusion
Many assumed Jan Masaryk committed suicide, but a detective, Ilja Pravda, says it was murder...

· Dirty Tricks: Pravda means truth ... [ courtesy of Prague Post]

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

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

· Salvation Army [ courtesy of Google ]

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

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

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

Monday, January 19, 2004

Farce to tragedy in one act of US folly
In the structure of a classical play, a problem is presented in Act 1, complications arise in Act 2, and all is resolved in Act 3. In Iraq this northern spring, while much of Europe was still enmeshed in Act 2, George Bush plunged directly into Act 3, without acknowledging the complications or fully considering the consequences...
Their choice will be historic, and will go a long way towards determining, once the curtain falls, whether or not Bush's Act 3 ends up as a tragedy.

· The Iraq war has already alienated Europe [ via Dream democracy falls over for Czechs everywhere]

Sunday, January 18, 2004


Thanks blogesphere!
Poems of Dreamers Win a mention inside the Olympic newsletters (Greek edition: archived by my Google mates). A newsletter that seems to get delivered on desks of every political leader, bar Saddam Hussein.
However, my book cannot be considered Olympic material even if it has the ability to cultivate the strange truths of human condition...
Never before has Amazon moved so slowly, so ackwardly towards a four figure current. Could it be more slower? (smile) Sales Rank: 5,226 The River Nobody Wanted to Swim in 1980 is now winning more and more eSalers...
Speaking of speed, it appears that 29.04 seconds for 50 meters freestyle is good enough time for certain teenagers to invade the national swimming competition in Perth... (So back to my second home in the urban Bush)

The best of us reach our highest heights when we are making recommendations for what to read next:
Speaking of Pages and Rivers...
I’m seven months’ pregnant and standing on the banks of an angry, flooding river, feeling incapable of anything except awe . . . This is the day I decide to tell you about our river. The Pages, as in the pages of a book. Most of the time it isn’t a mighty torrent but a creek you can wade through.
· Pregnant River [ via PHILLIP ADAMS: I’m even saddened to learn of the deaths of old enemies]

Shalinka, the Wampum Keeper
The author Pat Montague, a former librarian, who comes from my Double Dragon Publishing stable, reveals an in-depth anthropological review of the Native Americans’ world view.
Emphasis is placed on rites of ritual cannibalism designed to appease and support the sun god, which in turn empowered the high chief.
This concept of devouring a victim as a religious act carries over into an evaluation of the Christian communion with an analysis of the Roman Catholic Eucharist presented as a type of "eating" of the divine person by the worshipers.

· Double Dragon Pick Speaks the Language of Booklovers [ I also like a blog Wampum Troublemakers (smile)]

Saturday, January 17, 2004


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

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

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

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

Friday, January 16, 2004

A rainish day and a visit to Lilly's vet meets a slow day (newswise), but once again there are plenty of substantive new blog entries:
Webloggers Adopting Political Reporters
A proposal to have bloggers adopt individual campaign reporters to track and critique their work is gathering some momentum on the web. It's generated a lot of back and forth between bloggers and journalists over whether this will improve campaign coverage and media accountability or just set off another round of mindless media bashing. New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen has collected the postings on the adopt-a-journalist campaign on his PressThink weblog, and added his take on the idea.
· Press Think [ courtesy of Romenesko]

Are Arabs, in a sense, the Irish of the world?
· Journalistic analogy: Ireland plays the part of the Arab world, perhaps of the larger Muslim world, while Britain plays the part of the West

Thursday, January 15, 2004

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

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

Casting First Stone

If you have to choose between explaining something as a cock-up or a conspiracy, choose cock-up every time...

Czech out Eurovants blogging about Poles and US Visa Regime.
Tim Dunlop keeps this blogging thing and Desire to control information in perspective.

Human Nature
Dr Fischer is a multi-millionaire, his fortune founded on human hygiene. Fischer has a Most Unusual hobby: to expose human greed.
· Only Human [link first seen at GG]
· Soros Interview: Second Half

Thanks to Barista for his kind mention.
I don't pay heartstarters for the hungry mind for these kind mentions, so the only logical conclusion is that Bog father helps to drive blogging further...(smile)

· Blog Further [ via Barista ]

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


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

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

After the Velvet Revolution, I Count Myself Lucky to be Living in the Age of Digital Revolution.
If at first you don't succeed and if you feel on the Net like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people make Blog Father the First Blog of the Rest of Your Life:
· My So-Called Blog Father [ via Searching God Father]

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

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

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

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

Geraldine O'Brien, at her brilliant best, describes heartily the city of my exile...
They have been called Sydney's incidental magic but they are not the million-dollar harbour vistas from the plate-glass of Point Piper. Rather, they are glimpses and views that, piece by lovely piece, are disappearing from our city.
Yet these, even more than the postcard vistas, have been what anchor us - geographically and psychologically - that give us our sense and spirit of place; that are, if you like, our dreaming.
Sydney has always had an immediate, sensuous, physical impact: for two centuries, from the first recorded European responses, visitors and locals alike, painters, writers and Everyman have celebrated its moods and ever-changing moments.
· Everyday magic of a beloved city
[ next generation of exiles Pushed to go Bush]

Monday, January 12, 2004

COLD RIVERS: Bezos initiatives

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 11, 2004


In America's first political mass media stunt, they constructed a 10-foot-high ball of twine, wood and tin, covered it with Whig political slogans, and rolled it first from Cleveland to Columbus and then from town to town across the country (hence the expression "Keep the ball rolling").

Keeping the Ball Rolling: The Sport of Empire
Football, like many games, involves penetrating an opponents territory. But unlike chess or basketball, violence is integral to football. To like football, you have to enjoy seeing large men hit each other. You have to enjoy a clash of small armies and the drama of combat.
· The war metaphor fit in other ways [ Real Game I want to like Howard, I really Do ]

Saturday, January 10, 2004

There's no doubting Google's power and popularity. Yet few of us use the search engine effectively: Larry Page and Sergey Brin & Jeff Bezos know all the tricks ]

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

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

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

· Trust

The best of us reach our highest heights when we are making recommendations for what to read next.

The Good Word: A Recurring Reflection
It didn't happen again this year, either. Susan Stamberg didn't call me from National Public Radio to solicit my opinion about great new holiday titles. Every year about this time I'll depart on occasional reveries, imaginary conversations with NPR hosts. Occasionally, I'll even jot down a list of the books I'd mention were such a windfall to come my way.
I imagine the selection process isn't dissimilar from that of an elementary teacher in a forest of upraised hands. Certain teachers will call on the child who appears most eager, while others might target the one trying to blend in with the surroundings. Are the booksellers who are in the good graces of Ms. Stamberg the ones who left messages at her NPR office, "Hi, Susan. You don't know me, but I'm from a New England bookstore with a quaint name. Give me a call this holiday season, and I'll rock your literary world with my list!... Please?" Or does she cold-call the humble bookseller who labors diligently with no expectation of NPR recognition?

· Scott's currently tugging wayward glue bits from the spines of our backstock. [ courtesy of Put in a good word for mmmmmwwwwaaaa.... Please?]

Baghdad's Mutanabi Street has, for centuries, been one of the centers of Iraqi intellectual life, as reflected in the avenue's bookshops. In the 1970s, Saddam Hussein crushed intellectual life, forcing Mutanabi Street's alternative ideas and books underground. Secret police informants infested the cafe tables, ready to overhear whispers of dissent.
· But six months after the U.S. occupation, Mutanabi is again in ferment (Newsday)

Friday, January 09, 2004

Bloggers Reborn
Tom Mangan has some interesting comments in reaction to the USA Today article on blogging.
JAMES M. CAPOZZOLA Of Rittenhouse Review Fame warned in October 2003 that blogging was not for everyone. You either get it or you don’t. Or, rather, it either gets you or it doesn’t.
I’ve been blogging for 19 months, and in that time I’ve met, online and in person, a surprising number of what might be called kindred spirits, including, perhaps most shockingly, a fellow collector of a rather obscure sub-category of Catholic iconography... There’s something to all of this on a psychological level, something more than mere egotism, I hope, but I’m not sure what it is.
Speaking for myself, blogging is under my skin, in my blood, on my mind, what have you. This whole pared-back-shouldn’t-post-anything-have-to-find-a-job thing is killing me. You wouldn’t believe the incredibly amusing and informative posts I’ve been writing in my head the past two weeks. Some of my best stuff, I’m telling you, left unshared.

· Chaffed [blatant media blogger Media Mayhem ]

Thursday, January 08, 2004

When you appear regularly on television and give these lectures and are asked to express opinions, you lose the essential thing you need to be a good journalist, which is being a good listener...

What Is World Reading Today
Josh Marshall has a excellent, far-reaching post up about the frustration of trying to engage in debate with people who have no desire to engage in any sort of serious discussion. (I was accused of something similar in my comments section recently, by the way, and I sort of pleaded guilty. But in the end, I responded.)
Take somebody like Mark Steyn, who wrote a polemic in The Daily Telegraph a few days ago that sounded nothing short of hysterical.
· How the West will win and continue to deny it? [ via Scottymac]

Millions of words have been written as to the motivations of voters. But the speculation misses the mark by far....
· S factor: Some people -- sometimes through no fault of their own -- are just not very bright.
· Ogle Google]

Well, it looks like when I'm ready to retire I will be poor. Great.
Here's a little sticker shock for you: By 2030, by which time most Boomers will be retired and those of us in Generation X will complain that today's whippersnappers have never even heard classic rock bands like Kajagoogoo and Men Without Hats, everything will be about 2.5 times more expensive than it is today , or more, thanks to the miracle of compound inflation.
· Five o' clock shadow? You're a marked man! Poor Us [ via Instinctive Scrooges are all around us. ]
· Poor Workers

Like Flies to Bulldust, hard work and creativity pounced on them
Adam Green: The key to making things happen is to take your client, who may not even deserve to be in the papers, see what he has to work with, and, even if it's not much, rub a few ideas together till something hopefully catches on fire.
· Determined Writer [blatantly pinched from Boy, Girl, Boy Study says NYTBR favors books, reviews written by men]

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

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

· Pyramid and Sphere [ via Stirling Newberry ]

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

Monday, January 05, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 04, 2004

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

Saturday, January 03, 2004

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

Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been, An Almanac Reader?
It has come to this: the FBI has warned law enforcement organizations across the country to beware of anyone carrying almanacs, particularly if the books have been annotated in suspicious ways. They did at least acknowledge that some almanac toting may simply be the product of legitimate recreational or commercial activities.
The same Washington team that urged (successfully) a pre-emptive war on Iraq is now urging strikes on Iran and Syria. Welcome to the Brave New World. And God help us all. The USA PATRIOT Act is as despotic as anything Hitler came up with – even using much of the same language... how their rights were going to be suspended only for a brief time – was precisely the language used by Hitler after the Reichstag fire.

· Bizzare: Killer was hired as Air France guard [ via Guns-and-Butter-and-Almanac: Military surplus sale ]
You stare at the photos and see the cost of the war
· Fallen soldiers' photos [ courtesy of Romenesko ]

Friday, January 02, 2004

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

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

The survival instinct
My interest in survival began early, when I was a child and learned what my father had done in the war. That he had lived while so many others had died seemed to me to have so much meaning. I heard the stories over and over and could never seem to plumb their mystery. His survival made me believe that he had some special, ineffable quality. I felt urgently that I ought to have it, too.
· Deep Survival [ courtesy of @River ]

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
- T.S. Eliot

Steve and Minna Still the Best
A simple sparkler can reach a temperature of up to 2,000 degrees - that’s 15 times the boiling point of water. A simple word and a hug can warm the heart that gets thousand times the boiling point of water.
It would be difficult to find a lovelier friends with bubblier conversations than Chez Monaghans. Part of what makes Sydney unique is that friendship arises from this amazing melting pot and from shared universal values and beliefs. Last night we enjoyed floods of French moets and rivers of Finnish milk and Antipodean honey...floods like that turn on light bulbs (smile).
Sydney blew away any suggestion it needed the Harbour Bridge to tell the world how it felt last night, with celebrations across the city that defied being summed up in one word.

· Eternal Friendship [via Fireworks ]

My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy.
I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?

-Charles M. Schulz

CARPE DIEM - Seize the Moment! Celebrate Art of Friendships
No one on their death bed wishes they had spent more time at the office. The saying tugs us towards "proper" priorities, reassuring us that it is not work or worldly success but family, friends and love that really matter in the end. Few of us would disagree. Yet how many people behave as if it were true?
· Couldn't even begin to imagine linking a better story [The Age]
Bob was one of the few men that could make me cringe, get me mad, cry (with laughter) and have me laughing until it hurts. Hot, dry and sad things ...Bob Monkhouse is dead , which is a sad, if not unexpected thing. He was very good at the one line thing. He made us laugh. They say that laughter is the ...
· Monkhouse

Marketing Plot: Cold River is about hot exposure on Google
I want to wish you all a happy New Year. I also want to thank you for being a valued visitor and friend. At Media Dragon, 2003 was a breakout year. We are now sponsored by environmentally friendly makers and marketers of savvy scooters. We have vaulted to number 5, 8, & 10 on Google for the highly treasured keywords "cold river" We are also being recognized even more in the industry by large players like the Sydney Morning Herald.
I know you will enjoy links and investigative reporting scoops in 2004. Be sure to read Jozef's eBook Cold River and his forthcoming profile of the city of my exile: Sydney.

Have a terrific 2004
Jozef Imrich

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

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

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