Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Cold Stream: Our Little Soulful Secret
A water bearer in old Czechoslovakia of Mannor Born era had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.
The bearer said to the pot, Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.
Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.
You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
To all of my crackpot friends, have a great life as earth smiles with flowers and also remember to smell those flowers.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 Ranking 557 as at 30 March 2004....I will be honest the people who tell other people that I am chorrible (sic) are the best advertising for Cold River than most of my family members Media Dragon is so broke, so unsuccessful and so self-failed that, like every other sole survivor you could name, he doesn't need to pretend that his next mistake will be his first...

It seems fitting somehow that the hulls of ships carrying raw sugar from the tropics, north through the Atlantic to the Jarvis Quay in Toronto, should be bright and cheerful. That, like those products that will be produced from their cargo, they should be the color of jawbreakers and soda cans, candy wrappers, and the sprinkles that dress the top of cupcakes. It’s also appropriate that they show signs of decay.
Jim Coudal

Antony Loewenstein: Championing the notions of empowerment and positive change
It's not always easy being an Australian trapped in a universalist's body, especially when you've got a penchant for dissent. Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based journalist with Fairfax and editor of ZNet Australasia watch. He is a voracious participant in the reporting and critique of local and world news. Championing the notions of empowerment and positive change, he enjoys challenging the status quo and feels the potential outcomes are well worth the risks. With hobbies including film, table tennis, Middle Eastern politics, endless Web trawling and travel, he's visited places like Mongolia, India and Siberia as they make him feel disoriented and alive.
· People Power [ via Webdiary ]
· Police Pursuits: 2 Fast, 2 Furious [ via 60 Minutes]
· See Also Redfern Riot [courtesy of 4 Corners]

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Bruce Elder in Weekend edition of the best paper in the world, SMH, shares with readers the background to a book entitled Stasiland which like Schindlers Arch (List) is written by an Australian, this time by a woman called, Anna Funder. Founder was apparently confronted by an Argentinian viewer who wanted to know why the televesion station she was working for in Berlin did not do more stories on the Iron Curtain and the Stasi, the old East German secret police. The Argentinian viewer pointed out that it took Germany 20 years to start discussing and dissecting Nazism:
Will it be 2010 or 2020 before what happened in East Germany (or Czechoslovakia) is remembered?...
It’s generally believed that people want to forget about the past and move on—but I find it curious that they wouldn’t want to know about this when so much remains unresolved... Stasiland shine a dazzling light on one of the world’s most paranoid and secretive regimes, and its effects on contemporary German society.

What's Wrong With Germany?
If it is true, as Jimmy Carter once asserted, that nations can find themselves in a state of collective malaise, there is no doubt that Germany in 2004 would qualify as downright sickly, at least as far as its own residents are concerned. Strangely, when viewed from an objective standpoint, Germany doesn't seem to be any worse off economically, culturally, or politically, than most other European nations, but England and France do not seem to be in quite the despairing mood that Germany is in. Is the difference perhaps, as some have been saying, Germans just enjoy complaining? Or does it run deeper?
· Nations can find themselves in a state of collective malaise [link first seen at The New York Times 03/24/04 ]
· See Also Hamas: Gates of Hell, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
· See Also Interview: Alan Dershowitz
· See Also Bluntly Our Culture Through A Wagner Filter: The English like their mythologies to work out, to resolve themselves

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Following the success of Cold River and da Vinci (code) Con, we now have the latest grail of political conspiracy theory

Shallow Electorate's Deep Flaws...Where the Chemicals Roam
Salon and Rolling Stone team up to investigate chemical-weapons dumps in the U.S. The article quotes an organizer for a coalition of citizens living near the sites, who says that for all of the U.S. government's finger-pointing at Iraq and other countries, our country is riddled with similar weapons that our government itself can't even find.
· Our Leaders Misreading Machiavelli
· See Also 42-year-old man died from exposure to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons tests
· Chemicals: How to Effectively Locate Government Information on the World Wide Web
· See Also We're in a new Era of Secrecy: Police Dogs on Railways Stations Days
· A coaliton comprised of library associations and advocacy groups with a strong interest in freedom of information, has launched a new website, still under construction, called

Friday, March 26, 2004

It's Hard for Politcians to Say War Wasn't Worth It... Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. He asked for their understanding and forgiveness.

Richard Clarke: Reviewed Revised Reread
First, real, hard-core lefties are going to be very uncomfortable reading this book. Pages 45-49 are a good example why. Clarke is clearly a hawk's hawk. He talks about being charmed by Perle's ideas and whatnot. I actually find this refreshing because he puts our actions in the Middle East into their proper context, e.g. we were fighting the Cold War.
The one passage I found that was really amusing was when he writes: "Agh, come up with a new thought. CIA and the Pentagon won't agree . . . ." Mort [Abramowitz] was relighting the stub of a cigar. "You wanna do something? Go see your friend Richard Perle, the Prince of Darkness, get him [to do it]."
Any thoughts on your end?

· Hawk's hawk [ courtesy of RoadToSurfdom ]
· A New Folk Hero: Richard Clarke: His Case is Deep, Compelling...
· See Also Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies ranked no. 1 at Amazon as of Tuesday
· Ripples from Spain are Rocking Australia...

First thing first, Czech Out Noam Chomsky: Turning The Tide & New Technorati redesign Launched

Writers, Journalists, Storytellers... Thomas says outrage keeps her going on White House beat
Helen Thomas complains that she's not called on at White House press briefings: I'm in the back row now so I'm ignored . . . They don’t like my questions. That’s okay, just so somebody asks them, but they just don’t want me to ask questions. Geov Parrish asks Thomas what keeps her going:
· Outrage. And interest in the world, and knowing that I'm lucky to be alive [link first seen at Romenesko ]
· See Also Howell Raines: The Times not only occupies a central place in our national civic life but also plays just as important a role as the ethical keystone of American journalism

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Some are born to dominate, some to submit. Let's follow the way leading to power play...
Before collectivization people in Russia had potatoes but no socialism. Later, they had socialism but no potatoes... The overall impression is that the Council on Foreign Relations isn't just a think thank, it's a do tank:

Foreign Mood Disorders: one-stop shop about all things international
At a time when so many hip, glossy magazines with deep pockets aren't very aggressive on the Web, it's refreshing to see an 83-year-old nonprofit thrive online. The Council on Foreign Relations and its venerable publication, Foreign Affairs, have kept themselves more than just relevant in the digital age, they are a model for quality online publishing.
Collectively, and have done a terrific job of capitalizing on the Council's resident expertise, as well as extending the shelf life of the scholarly articles in the magazine. The overall impression is that the Council isn't just a think thank, it's a "do" tank.

· Foreign Affairs Backgrounders By Sree Sreenivasan [ courtesy of SreeTips]
· See Also a terrorism encyclopedia

Monday, March 22, 2004

This ones may have escaped your notice: McCarthyism Watch...

Watching the Watchdogs
Mark Gillispie of the Cleveland Plain Dealer analyzed police overtime records to find that members of the Cleveland police Internal Affairs department were among the biggest recipients of overtime pay - something they are charged with policing themselves. The head of Internal Affairs through last fall, Lt. Robert Klimak, averaged more than $43,000 a year in overtime, which helped make him the highest-paid police officer in the city during the last few years.
· During Klimak’s watch, Internal Affairs was one of the biggest overtime users in the department
· See Also Not-So Supreme: dumb new proposal to veto the Supreme Court
· See Also Democracy in Action
· See Also We locked you up in jail for 25 years and you were innocent all along? That’ll be £80,000 please
· See Also The end of history? Not quite yet. We've still got plenty of time for authoritarianism

Saturday, March 20, 2004

When politics is brought to book
Writing just after the Second World War, George Orwell noted how adjectives like epoch-making, epic, historic, inevitable, inexorable... are used to dignify the sordid process of international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually takes on an archaic colour, its characteristic words being: realm, throne, chariot, mailed fist...".
At a time when public debate is dominated by the "axis of evil", dodgy dossiers and the war in Iraq, his observations are as pertinent as ever. Appropriate, then, that the Cheltenham Festival of Literature Spring Weekend this year is to focus on politics and the political use of language.

· Cheltenham lures an inspiring line-up of writers for a timely look at the political use of language
· In short, novelists grant due authority and prestige to values that are underrated or overlooked by the mainstream

Terrorism leaves us no place to run

45 years ago, witness to Dalai Lama's flight did not know history being made
Forty-five years ago, the Dalai Lama disguised himself as a soldier and sneaked out of Lhasa where his predecessors ruled supreme for centuries, in one of the most dramatic flights of the 20th century.
· Tibetan monk [link first seen at China Letter][ via Gianna]

I say the world isn't any more dangerous than it was Sept. 10, 2001. It was just as dangerous then, we just didn't realize it.
· See Also We have let the Spanish people choose between war and peace
· [ courtesy of Not Much]

At last, what poets had been saying for centuries was scientific fact. Rejection really does hurt. We can have a broken bone or a broken heart. We can feel the pain of a stomach ache or of heartache. We can be hurt by a dog's bite or by a biting remark...

From the outside, Looking In
Despite a dream life in a farmhouse in the French countryside, Isabel Huggan is still searching for her place in an alien land.
Time passes unevenly from place to place, has different weight and value. Here, it seems to have collapsed, folding in and compressing itself into something deep and dense, a richer, thicker brew than I, a child of the New World, have been accustomed to. The air I breathe as I walk by the Ourne is full of old souls, the noise of the water falling over the dam is like the sound of distant voices. Layer upon layer of lives come and gone.
In some ways I exist at a level beneath language, where words do not touch me, but at the same time I am forever trying to "catch on", to know and be known. I am not myself, at the same time as I am more myself than ever, for there is also constant clear definition...
A line floats into my head, so perfectly appropriate that it makes me laugh aloud: "If you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with." Easier said than done, of course. I know all about homesickness - sipping maple syrup from a spoon while listening to a cassette tape of loon calls, endlessly writing letters to friends asking for news, sifting through old photographs, weeping on the telephone. I've been there, that strange and dangerous place where longing can blind you to everything else. And so you learn to live with mal de pays as with a chronic illness or disability, you salt your days with nostalgie. Then finally you wake up and compare yourself to the millions of displaced people in the world who will never see their homes again, and you feel ashamed, and you stop.
The ghosts of the silkworms are as silent as they were in life, and you sleep without interruption, except for the hourly tolling of the bell at the mairie coming clear and sweet across the fields. It always rings the hour twice, as if to ensure that its message is heard: Listen, it says. Pay attention. This is where you are.
An exile in Darkness and Light
There's method in our sadness
Social rejection can be so painful that it sometimes leads to violence. But, researchers are finding ways to recover from ostracism, including social snacking.

· We often try to hurry others through the healing of social pain

An insightful feature can be digested by indulging in the latest edition of the SMH Good Weekend: 20 March 2004, p 18 about Billy Connolly. While there are many abondoned, abused and now rich as @*#%, there is only one Jozef Imrich ... Snippets:
Alcohol kept his mood and aggression levels elevated. I did not mind a good punch-up at all. I used to delight in being the world's only violent hippie....
For five decades, he has had a persistent nightmare, like Jozef, about drowning. What normally happens is he discovers he can breathe under water.

The whole thing reminds me of a great story by Spencer Holst (in his collection The Language of Cats, out of print), where a beautiful girl chats up a lonely old guy during a costume party, and he completely falls for her, and the story ends with her whispering to him, It's midnight, take off your mask. Of course, he wasn't wearing one.
· Ouch............. [ via Observant Gianna ]

The stories they could tell
It might not be everyone’s idea of the perfect way to pass an idle hour, but for Robert Hillmanit’s a must on visits home. Here, why communing with the dead in the country graveyard leaves him feeling comforted... and thrillingly alive.
In common with many of my fellow human beings, I am terrified of death. But the cemetery, or at least this particular cemetery, soothes me. As I walk among the headstones, the dead revive. I knew so many of them; went to school with some; knew others as friends of my parents, or as parents of my friends. Their names create a pleasant humming sensation in my head. At the same time, that part of me that looks for instruction in life murmurs placatingly, ’See? They all went through it. Doesn’t seem to have done them much harm, does it?’
The graves evoke images and episodes. I see Normie’s grave and I instantly recall at all ruddy-faced boy with jug ears who was widely regarded as a total fool, until he pulled on the school colours and lined up in the ruck on the footy team. Then, he became something fabulous. And here’s James, never called Jim, who could draw Warner Bros cartoon characters (Bugs, Daffy, Tweety and Sylvester) so deftly that we all foretold a great future for him in the world of art...
Scarcely less vivid to me are the stories of those who expired before my time. One young woman’s century old tomb stone tells us that she ’drowned while attempting to cross the Goulburn River in flood to bring help for her neighbours’. I see her as the heroine of a silent moovie, arriving at the river’s edge and raising her hands in dread as piano music mounts to a crescendo; one hand is raising above the water, and then - nothing. ’Alas!’
This is where my graveyard solace comes from, I think: the hope that someone who knew me, will read my name on a headstone and restore me briefly to the world I did not wish to leave.

[Good Weekend 20 March 2004 p 41 (Sydney Morning Herald)]
· See Also Global Link: Thanks to Librarians at Google

Thursday, March 18, 2004

How News Spreads on the Internet: Blogjam Spreading Sport and Good Will
On my rough count, there are 100 times as many political bloggers in Australia as there are sports bloggers. Therefore, I unsyllogistically conclude that Australians are 100 times more interested in politics than sport.
· Webdiary: Tim Dunlop [ via RoadToSurfdom ]
· See Also Lord Sedgwick of Strathmore (OA, DFC, DSC, VC, KPMG, WTF, IOOF)

Are you afraid of the wages of sin?? If so, you don't want to visit my spooky Media Dragon!
Since the word is already out, I guess I might as well confirm it: Yes, I have sold out to The Man™ and will soon be blogging for cold, hard cash.
Which is pretty cool, isn't it? What's even better is that I'll be blogging for the Washington Monthly, a magazine I admire ...

· See Also How News Travels on the Internet [link first seen at DayPop ]
· Jesse Ruderman: Experience Google's new look [link first seen at Google ]
· Can Jason Calacanis challenge Nick Denton’s blog kingdom? Either way, he’ll pay for it
· Richest Writer

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

When you bury a person, the pain is that it is the last moment when you have that person next to you and when the ceremony ends you hand that person over to God. You don't lose them, but you stop having them at your side through everything

These guys want to kill us anyway
In his penultimate public appearance, the late Osama bin Laden, broadcasting from his cave in the early hours of the Afghan campaign, listed among his principal grievances "the tragedy of Andalusia" – that is, the end of Muslim rule in Spain in 1492.
· Madrid

It is true we are all Madrileños,
we are all New Yorkers,
it is true we live in al-Najaf and Baghdad,
it is true we bleed the same red, the same black.
Federico García Lorca Translation

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Publishers strive to monopolize distribution and commoditize talent. But blogs commoditize distribution, restoring the writer's monopoly on talent.

Kos Kudos: Turtleneck is an Internet-only celebrity
He runs a hugely influential website called "Eschaton," at It's a "blog" -- a sort of news junkie's online diary. He started the site back in April 2002, because it's better than yelling at the TV set. These days, he says, 40,000 viewers visit Eschaton every day, including bigwigs like columnist Michelangelo Signorile and New York Times attack pundit Paul Krugman.
· Atrios specializes in scoops that reporters should be digging up but don't
· Steve Outing gets credit for scooping everyone but Glenn Reynolds by reporting that Instapundit is now selling blogads
· Hey Bloggers -- Especially You Popular Political Types -- Why the Hell Don't You Accept BlogAds?
· See Also Weblogs
· See Also Blogads

Don't dismiss blogs as the online rantings of B-list writers. Interlinked and meritocratic, seething with fierce debate and rivalries, they're the best thing to hit journalism since the rise of the political pamphlet. If Adison and Steele, the editors of The Spectator and The Tatler, were alive and holding court at Starbucks, they'd be WiFi-ing into a joint blog...
On the surface, the battle between Andy and Atrios is a minor spat between a drama queen and a shrinking violet, but it has deeper rippes.
[ courtesy of All kinds of people at the keyboards are blushing now ]
· See Also Joshua Marshall: The indispensable political blog

Media Dragons spot the beginnings of a trend: Creating A Marketplace of Ideas
Do we get the culture we deserve? William Osborne takes a look at the way America and Europe promote their cultures. There is, he reports, an obvious reason why Europe has more orchestras, operas, and dance companies and why the citizenry seem more culturally literate.
· But First, The Bill... How different the American and European economic systems are ...
· See Also German Angle

Twenty, thirty, at the outside forty years from now, we will look back on the print media the way we look back on travel by horse and carriage, or by wind-powered ship...

Inevitable Trend
But the real power of the [printless] business model resides in the potential of digital advertising. Except for direct mail, until the Internet came along no advertising medium existed in which the advertiser could be sure his message was received by his targeted audience. We go to the bathroom during commercials...
· The Death of Print?

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Jozef Imrich is unfamiliar to most Amerikans, but the Bohemian survivor's name does ring a bell. Anyway, a Bohemian survivor walks into a Kronulla bar ... and we all get served a tragic escape fuelled by hate. He's not the saint ... he's just a very chorrible boy. His "idea of Iron Curtain" has two sides: the Iron Curtain of magic childhood and a chorrible Iron Curtain of drowning which mapped his human heart of exile. It's one thing to be a sole survivor in Australia. It's another to be a parliamentary clerk who gets published...
East River: blighted by the deaths by drowning of two of his friends

Swimming to East River: Spalding Gray, 62
The body of Spalding Gray, the monologuist who went missing a few months ago, has been found. "Mr. Gray's body was pulled from the East River near Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on Sunday and was identified through dental records.
· It's a Slippery Slope
· See Also It's another rocky time ahead ...

Look at the movie Miracle from the perspective of a great Russian player who was on the rise in the Soviet system in 1980, but just green enough to have missed being part of the defeated Olympic team. That man is now the oldest player in the NHL and one of my personal all-stars, a crafty strategist with unreal vision and a feather touch:
Nobody in the theatre seemed to recognize him, Igor Larionov, in part because he is just a hockey player, and also because he hardly looks like a professional athlete: he is short and compact, with a thoughtful, boyish expression that, along with a proficiency at chess and an occasional quoting of Pushkin and the wire-rimmed glasses that he wears away from the rink, has earned him another nickname—the Professor.

· Professor [link first seen at Miracle ]
· See Also The Oprah site is by far the richest, but Today and Good Morning America also have online extensions of their book clubs

Friday, March 12, 2004

That Difficult Second Book - It's Stacked Against You
Apart from the justly renowned big guns, there are two kinds of writer at work in the English-speaking world today. First, there is the 'writer', who enjoys wide media coverage and is an expert manipulator of soundbite culture. The 'writer' has virtually no readership and keeps him or herself in play by the constant massaging of the literary media. Then there is that almost-forgotten figure: the writer, who stays at home, keeps regular hours, does the work, accumulates a readership and is virtually invisible.
· Second Blood Worth Drawing

Thursday, March 11, 2004

BBC has a World Book Day opening lines quiz:
Nippy, nice. No hernia or knicker-flashing getting in and out. Stylish with comfort ie my teeth don’t rattle in your head on country lanes and my kidneys don’t dislodge on the speed humps in my road.

Ridiculous Advances
Granta-editor Ian Jack puzzles over the huge amounts paid for politicians' stories.
Why do publishers do it ? I have heard several explanations. The publicity adds glamour to the imprint, it's good to have a politician at your party, and, well, you never know, it might be a good book. However, the most convincing one I have heard is: because we're stupid.

· Thanks for the memories [link first seen at 5 ballots in mayor's race linked to the dead ]
· See Also Comprehensive analysis of lobbying in Florida's capital: Some make as much as $4-million a year
· See Also Nearly one of every four dollars given to local candidates comes from just 10 donors
· Kawamoto's coffers paid for traffic tickets and other car costs

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Maiden Blogjam
Welcome to the first instalment of a Blogjam which we hope will be a weekly round-up featuring what the blogs are talking about. With an election likely in Australia this year, and one due in the United States, and little matters like Iraq on the agenda, this is going to be a big year for politics and therefore a big year for the political blogosphere as well.
· Blog Jam [ courtesy of Road TO Surfdom]

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

He who wills great things must gird up his loins;
only in limitation is mastery revealed,
and law alone can give us freedom.
Goethe, "Natur und Kunst" (trans. David Luke)

My Amazon Addiction...
From the day their book first lands in stores, most writers will start spending minutes, hours—nay, days, weeks, months and years—tracking its progress on Never mind that the online retailer accounts for only about 10 percent of a trade book’s total sales (slightly higher for business books, somewhat lower for children’s). By my count, the reviews and the ranking system on count for about 95 percent of writers’ hopes, anxieties and dreams
· Amazon Epidemic...

You'll excuse me, I hope, for suggesting that the embargo is the absurd practice by which publishers distribute advance copies of newsworthy new books to the media only after individual editors have signed a quasi-legal document denying their right as members of an otherwise free press from reporting or reviewing the contents of such titles. But in the age of the blog, embargos (thank God) are becoming unworkable...
· See Also Embargo Kold River! (If You Can)
· Burning down rivers

Monday, March 08, 2004

On the one hand, you don't want to give somebody like that any more free publicity and implicitly thereby credit them. On the other hand, it's news. A controversy needs a high concept, an outrage or a plausible allegation that can be summed up in a sentence...

* Star: Vulgarity
There is an economy of controversy, and we're all players in it. Every day, new controversies are brought to market and traded on the media's vast exchange. Recent successful offerings include The Dean Scream, Janet's Nipple, Mel and Jesus, and Gay Marriage.
What do these stories have in common? Superficially, nothing. The controversy market appears to behave in a totally random fashion, as if each morning somebody rings a bell at the start of trading, and what happens next is anyone's guess. As if controversy were pure madness. But there's a method to this market -- identifiable patterns, behaviors, and tendencies. And once you learn them, the business of controversy begins to make a funny kind of sense.

· So what becomes a controversy most?
· See Also The Misadventures of Mizuki: a multiepisode feature titled The Adventures of Mizuki: A Continuing Story

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Ballet is the one form of theater where nobody speaks a foolish word all evening—nobody on the stage at least. That's why it becomes so popular in any civilized country during a war.
Edwin Denby, Dance Writings [ via Lauren]

The Well-Read Accountant
It's World Book Day. And who's celebrating most? Accountants. Why? A new survey in the UK for World Book Day reveals that "accountants spend more time reading books for pleasure than any other profession.
· Number crunchers are nation's top page turners [ via The Guardian (UK) 03/05/04]
· See Also Even One Star * Tales of Escapes Win Bean Counters

Saturday, March 06, 2004

When Traffic Goes Wild
NAVEL GAZING....Are blogs influencing the outside world? Absolutely. The Guardian reports today that its most popular story of the past week was loaded ten times as much as its #2 story. Blogs accounted for the difference: The page loaded 456,671 times was a story, originally published by the Observer, about a secret Pentagon report which warned the Bush administration that global warming could destroy the American way of life as they knew it.x
· It's them damn liberal bloggers faults
· See Also Daily Kursor

Google Blog records everything from the release of new versions to the special logos Google puts on to mark such events as Halloween, Christmas and St Patrick's Day. It can point you to new tricks for finding what you seek, and to sites where expert developers are discussing their Google projects. Author Aaron Swartz has some credibility with the company; he recently got a tour of their offices, duly documented with his digital camera and posted on the blog.
· See Also Google Blogspace

Friday, March 05, 2004

'Divide and bicker' Daily Kos!
I love Dean's aim to attract new people to go into politics, people who see the job as entailing a duty of care to voters, and to their nation. Maybe voters in a few seats in Australia could have a go at this. The trouble is, trustworthy, thoughtful, courageous, ethical and tough people are what you need, yet how many of them would even consider jumping into the snakepit? The only way they might is if enough people were willing and able to work together to back a campaign and give on going personal support to the candidate, down to making dinner and doing the washing! As 'Divide and bicker' shows, personal tensions can ruin the best intentioned campaign, so you'd need a couple of great people people to forge a united team.
· Divide & Rule: Machiavell's bad joke: it just keeps getting worse [ courtesy of Webdiary ]
· See Also Dean of Ideas

Thursday, March 04, 2004

And there was always talk about books. He rarely left on a trip of more than 30 minutes without at least one paperback. He was a rapid and consuming reader...

Found In The Age Of Writing: Bright Bohemian Things
There are very real differences between being a 'young writer' and an 'older writer' and even an 'old writer'. My conclusion is that old writers have the greatest advantage in that they can offend people at will without consideration to consequences. After all, it's not like they're in this business for a long career. And younger writers? they have an advantage because if there is one thing publishing takes to be successful it is TIME, usually just a bit more than you're willing to give.
· BookNinja 02/04
· See Also When an author's political convictions genuinely mattered

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

I don’t go for fancy cars, / For diamond rings / or stars
or signs of thawing in cold war: Stalin has been burning in hell for 18245 days

Forbidden Oxygen
In North Korea everything not forbidden is compulsory, and what is compulsory is monstrous. It is the epitome of political evil.
We avoid Lenin today not because he was an enemy of freedom, but because he reminds us of the fatal limitation of our freedoms.

· Enemy of Freedom
Elie Wiesel asked God not to forgive those who killed children in Auschwitz.
· See Also Are there acts so evil that it is not possible to forgive?
· See Also Chinese history is gory
· See Also S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine forces Pol Pot's former torturers to confront their victims
· See Also Heidegger was a Nazi to the end, never in serious conflict with the regime, and always played innocent

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Börsenblatt reports on a recent Italian marketing ploy that apparently worked out quite well: publisher Sperling & Kupfer had an ad agency distribute 30,000 copies of the first chapter of forthcoming books (6 aprile '96 by Sveva Casati Modignani and Il nuovo senso della vita by Paolo Mosca) in 25 hospital waiting rooms in Bologna. When the books then came out sales were considerably higher than anticipated -- the first chapters apparently hooking quite a few readers (and the publicity surrounding the stunt presumably also helping).

Getting To The Soul Of Things
As traditionally understood, the soul is something that is both within us and yet superior to us, a repository for the most precious (or in some accounts "divine") aspects of us. The soul survives when the rest of us dies, it can continue indefinitely (like a kind of hardy seed preserved in arctic tundra), and may even reinhabit a bodily form at another time.
· Hollywood, said Marilyn Monroe, is a place where you get $1000 for a kiss “and fifty cents for your soul. So what is a soul?
· See Also Reason to Czeer Up: Who in the right mind would want to live for Ever?

Monday, March 01, 2004

Havel is unique because he is a 'founding father
Kicking off his session by playing a harmonica:
I'm no longer a public official, so I can allow myself the opportunity to open the meeting in an unconventional way. The country is terribly embarrassed at there being such an individual. But equally, the particular ex-president is himself embarrassed at the situation and does not know how to maneuver within it

· Havel
Kundera China