Sunday, January 30, 2005

The average adult has about five liters of blood living inside of their body, coursing through their vessels, delivering essential elements, and removing harmful wastes. Without blood, the human body would stop working.
Blood is the fluid of life, transporting oxygen from the lungs to body tissue and carbon dioxide from body tissue to the lungs. It’s as hard to find a universal blood donors as it is to find a great espresso. According to Karl Landsteiner, my blood type, type O blood, is said to be a universal donor. (smile)
One of the reasons my blood at the Red Cross Bank has a consistently good level of hemoglobin is because I tend to discover great baristas not only in the virtual world, but also in the real world. Robust, fragrant, and surprisingly versatile, espresso is more than simply the world's favorite beverage, it is hearty and distinctive ingredient in its own right, enhancing the flavors of everything from cakes and cookies to candies, ice creams, and sauces. Without any doubt, Richard Calabro is one of Australia's finest Baristas. Every drop of his espresso shows a burning passion and the photo mosaics on the walls ooze out with smiles and exotic atmosphere from every single shot. At summer time, Richard surrounds himself with bohemian artists who are part of the furniture at his cafe Grind down on Cronulla Beach. On Saturday and Sunday, it is there that coffee lovers congregate from all over Sydney to go and experience his charm, charisma and of course his famous blend of coffee, all garnished with latte art! In Richard's words "It's like Mona Lisa in a cup" If you are lucky, he may even play you a song on the guitar... Robust espresso props go out to this amazing Barista who is a true testament to his craft!
At the Nulla Grind, Richard treats coffee addiction with respect. In fact, he will show you how to elevate your coffee drinking habit to a higher level of sophistication. During the week Richard explains what it takes to become a world class barista... Well, it takes a great passion for espresso, dedication, technical skill and a way of making people feel relaxed and welcome. Behind the cool facade of a great barista serving cup after cup of perfection lies years of practice and dedication. It is not something that is learned simply by reading a book or watching a instructional video, even though they might be a good source of inspiration :) First of all, to make a perfect cappuccino you first have to start by making a perfect espresso.
I am happy to say that if you really want to stand out from the Coffee Crowd Richard will show you how to create your very own signature drink. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to learn the rich skills and useful techniques from the man who not only practices, but also preaches. Email Richard at or ring him on 0403 844 533 to book your spot at his espresso of mona lisa classes. Ach, in April 2005 you could find yourself sleepless at the World Barista Championship
[I'd Rather Be At Grind Espresso Bar - Base of Royal Rydges Hotel 20-6 Kings Way; Cronulla NSW 2230]

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Red Cross Calling: Royal Blood Transfusions
This year marks the 90th anniversary year of the Red Cross on Australian shores - 90 years of Australians helping Australians.
Australian Red Cross proudly announces the attendance of their Royal Highnesses, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark at the Australian Red Cross 90th Anniversary Gala Event to be held on 2 March 2005.
In June 1859 Dunant, a Swiss national, witnessed the horrifying aftermath of the Battle of Solferino - a fierce and bloody conflict in Northern Italy between 300,000 soldiers, among them ten thousand Czechs and Slovaks, from Imperial Austria and the Franco-Sardinian Alliance. Convinced that the power of humanity could be engaged to alleviate suffering and distress on a global scale, Dunant founded the International Committee of the Red Cross in October 1863.

Typically, each donated unit of blood - referred to as whole blood - is separated into multiple components, such as red blood cells, plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipatitated AHF (antihemophilic factor). Each component can be transfused to different individuals with different needs. Therefore, each donation can be used to help save as many as three lives.

In a quirky twist the agency and crew behind the Australian Red Cross’ new TVC also star in the ad ...
Do as we do: BMF art director Andrew Ostrom gives blood in the new Red Cross ad ; [credits: Red Cross ; One enchanted evening... ; To purchase tables please contact Robyn Dinners on 02 9699 2000,, or visit and click on 'One Enchanted Royal Evening'. ; There may be no greater act of bravery for someone with a fear of needles than to donate blood. Of course, it's this kind of giving that is so important to maintaining the Red Cross's life-saving stocks. In many ways giving blood is like blogging. I assume that is why not many politicians give blood or blog on a regular basis ... Icon links to Red Cross ]
• · Brett Sheehy can be proud of his four years in the Sydney Festival director's seat Thanks for the memories
• · · He is the all-time giant of Russian literature, who shaped the literary heritage of the world’s biggest country. But now Alexander Pushkin’s legacy is in danger of being tainted by an argument over whether some of his early work is pornographic, and whether his ‘adult verses’ even came from the pen of the ‘National Poet’. Russian literary giant Pushkin labelled as a peddler of porn
• · · · Christopher MacLehose warns, 'Publishers are sheep. They think: something is going on in Japan. They're right. But there has always been something going on in Japan. Lonely pleasures of fiction from Toky
• · · · · Claudia Karvan is considering a leading role in Footy Legends, the feature film that is expected to propel director Khoa Do towards mainstream success. Do, who was celebrating his award as Young Australian of the Year last week, has pulled together a promising potential cast for his new movie - the follow-up to his critically acclaimed independent film The Finished People. Footy Legends
• · · · · · For a rather long time now -- approximately, since the Berlin Wall came down, the name Durs Grünbein (b. 1962) has been the answer to the question: who's the leading young poet in Germany ? From The burning issue in The Guardian by James Fenton

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Ministers of course have a whole range of dazzling qualities including ... um ... well, including an enviable intellectual suppleness and moral manoeuvrability.
- Sir Humphrey, The Death List (Yes Minister / PM series)

The real power of Jazz... is that a group of people can come together and create... improvised art and negotiate their agendas... and that negotiation is the art
- Wynton Marsalis from 'Jazz, a film by Ken Burns.'

If you gotta ask what kind of jazz and blogging Backpages is passionate about you just have to open the pages of the Sydney Morning Herald or Wrong Side of Death...
When Alice Walker was eight, growing up in Georgia, her brother shot her in the eye while playing with a pellet gun. A passing white motorist in the Jim Crow South refused to stop, and by the time she reached a doctor, her right eye was blind. Yet she came to see the wound as a gift. On a spiritual level it's as though with my sighted eye I see what's before me, and with my unsighted eye I see what's hidden. It's illuminated life more than darkened it. Redemption songs
You really don't understand the internet until you understand blogging craze for folklore music. Once you do, then you should have a conference on blogging ... William Hung has met his match and the unstoppable NumaNumania continues as even the Japanese get into the game. This is something from Vychodna Folkloric Festival held each year in July. Words like 'Dragostea din tei' or 'Love in the lime-tree' and nu m iei 'you don't take me away with you' rock Wanna sing??? Dragostea Din Tei (Romanian Macarena Gypsy song on the lips all over the world: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference especially if they make you laugh!)

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Double Dragon: Someone Had to Sing it
You know a dream is like a river, ever changing as it flows.

And a dreamer's just a vessel that must follow where it goes.
Trying to learn from what's behind you and never knowing what's in store
makes each day a constant battle just to stay between the shores.
And I will sail my vessel 'til the river runs dry.
Like a bird upon the wind, these waters are my sky.
I'll never reach my destination if I never try,
So I will sail my vessel 'til the river runs dry.

Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tides. [credits: write locally; publish globally I'll never reach my destination if I never try; Hornby's love of reading, flair for writing There's bound to be rough waters, and I know I'll take some falls ]
• · Man reduced to nothing, to being a mere survivor, is not tragic but comic, since he has no fate. Imre Kertész’s bleak vision Beyond Good and Evil ; [Love for Sale: A Global History of Prostitution For the words of the prophets were written on the Iron walls ...]
• · · Here it is again, that great Aussie trumpet blown so powerfully that the rest of the world drowns in the spittle. Australia stops our feet from getting wet. That's it [ The Sundance Film Festival Independents turn in the sun, and Hollywood takes note ; At a nation's heart: Dance as if no one's watching. Love as if you'll never get hurt. Sing as if no one's listening. And live like heaven on earth. Mexico's best-known painters did more than create great works of art - they helped define a nation Walls of fame]
• · · · A previously unknown 1892 novel by McCullogh, which tells the tale of a man who sleeps until 2000... [is titled] 'Golf in the Year 2000, or What We Are Coming To,' and predicted the advent of both golf carts and golf professionals... Other ideas were the digital watch, high-speed bullet trains, working women who dressed like men and a large glass screen that plays images, much like a television. Book of Predictions 1892; Northern Tanganyika 1953, the year Aga was born The Lesson is We can All Be Subhuman
• · · · · A study into the case of a statue of the Madonna reported to have shed tears of blood a decade ago near Rome concluded the event has no human explanation. There's the hand of G-d here Tears 'beyond human explanation' ; [Gloria Steinem surprised the world when, at 66, she signed up for an institution she had spent previous decades attacking: marriage 'Feminism? It's hardly begun ]
• · · · · · A Czech man is being taken to court after he hid in a restaurant bathroom until the employees had left and then hooked up beer kegs directly to his mouth. This is almost as good as winning the race number 13 during the Bondi Iceberg season. Your handicap is your strength or weakness. A tall man with a glass eye who holds a record by drowning 256 beer in a week was known around the Iceberg Club as Lofty. Being fit is not always an advantage ;-) Only in Moravia: Man from Morava River hides out to scull kegs; [Over a year, a family of four spends around $4,135 on alcohol, guzzling on average 44 slabs of beer, 14 bottles of spirits and 77 bottles of wine]

Monday, January 24, 2005

Left: 'Determined bastard' widens support?

Like John Quiggin, Chris Sheil thinks Mark Latham was shabbily treated, but that's now bye the bye. Before us, we already have a decision that may turn the next election.

Kim Beazley has started a hot favourite, but Back Pages is endorsing Kevin Rudd. If the deputy position is spilled, Julia Gillard would be added to Back Pages’ ticket...

I've never seen a nasty streak, but ice water does run in his veins. No more Mr Nice Guy

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Pining for loss and stability, Labor backs Beazley
Tight-lipped Rudd rallies faithful, but Kevin Rudd will end speculation today on whether he will run for the party's top job

Solid Kim Beazley has a predictable lead in public opinion as preferred successor to the mercurial Mark Latham, although it's interesting that the combined vote of the two "new generation" candidates is bigger than Beazley's.
Beazley is getting the benefit of being the best known of the possibles. As he's the only one of the three who's much in the public mind, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard are polling quite well with voters in the circumstances.
One could also see the result as a metaphor for the thinking of caucus members: they might like generational change but don't trust it just now.

But it's academic. Beazley is headed to victory. The question is whether Rudd and Gillard decide it's worth making a fight of it. Rudd, who will announce his decision today, faces that issue most acutely. Gillard has ensured he has to make his decision before she makes hers. He also has more to lose.
Conundrum for the challengers [ Beazley's home state is Howard's strongest base ]
• · Matthew Parris, Times of London America's Might is Draining Away; [David Brooks, New York Times: If you want to understand America, I hope you were in Washington on Thursday. I hope you heard the high ideals of President Bush's inaugural address, and also saw the stretch Hummer limos heading to the balls in the evening. Ideals and Reality ; 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2004 ; When Pentagon officials were killed on 9-11, their families got an average $1.5 million in death benefits from a special fund. When GIs are killed overseas fighting terrorists, their families get $12,420. That's right, barely enough to cover funeral costs. What's wrong with this picture? Everything ]
• · · As The Guardian's James Meek reminds us, Bush's rhetorical flourish owes its existence to a quote from a Russian novel. One of the models of American leadership is that of Moses, leading God's chosen people - then the Jews, now the Americans - towards a promised land, following a pillar of fire. At one point, according to the Bible, Moses was shown a sign: "Behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. But the key fire passage in the Burning Bush speech - We have lit a fire as well; a fire in the minds of men" - actually has its origins in a novel by the 19th century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, ; The Devils, about a group of terrorists' ineffectual struggle to bring down the tyrannical Tsarist regime. Ach, I once knew a dog Bessie named after the American Hollywood icon Bessie and the Russian Devil: Besy, 1872 (The Devil/The Possessed]
• · · · Kim Beazley's race for the Labor leadership was all but cemented last night as senior right-wing officials urged his chief rival, Kevin Rudd, to withdraw from the ballot for the sake of party stability. ; Factions? Knock me down with a feather, but we don't have factions in our part. "It's really faded," insisted a straight-faced Premier Bob Carr Ministrial Pool from factional heaven swon in ; [Drug abuse by any other name MI6 ordered LSD tests on servicemen, Guardian ; The National Interest is invariably rivetting, but on Sunday 23 January 2005 it was even more so Terry Lane: Always Pointing Out the Most Important Issues of the Day: Politicians use increasingly sophisticated techniques to win our hearts and minds. Is political advertising a threat to the quality of Australia's democratic system? The art of political persuasion [credits: Political parties are using the electoral roll to build up detailed data banks on the interests and concerns of voters but the files are exempt from both the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information legislation. Keeping track of voters ; (Thanks Dr Cope]
• · · · · Online Interview With Author of New Book on Surveillance Society: As a follow-up to Bespacific January 19 posting, Washington Post Examines Data Aggregator ChoicePoint, again from the Post, an online interview with Robert O'Harrow Jr., author of No Place to Hide: Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society; North Korea is the most secretive country in the world today, with its main railway lined with walls so high that its foreign passengers can't see the countryside ]
• · · · · · The swirling political rumour though is that the Parrot is prepared to support Frank Sartor for Premier. All he needs to do is build a new water supply dam for Sydney and name it after the Parrot. The Egan Diaries - a retirement reflection ; [When a lawyer blows a whistle; The case of an attorney who was fired includes questions about ethical behavior and legal technicalities ]

Sunday, January 23, 2005

[Television] business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side ...
Hunter S. Thompson

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Winter of Black Art: What women want
It is summer of 2005 and the unthinkable has happened in Australian television. The landscape of our vision will be without the benefit of Jim Waley. Numero 1, veteran Jim, has been reporting and presenting news and current affairs since beginning his career as a cadet journalist in regional radio and television even before the the Prague Spring of 1968 and even before Mark Ferguson was born. Channel Nine will be like a channel, the deeper part of waterway, without water or opera without the songs those operatic, fat, old man sing.

Sixty is old in terms of the way of thinking of Kerry Packer (around 68), Nine CEO, David Gyngell (early 40s) and John Alexander, the CEO of PBL, who's around 54!
So what about those older people on air: Peter Harvey in the Sydney newsroom, Laurie Oakes from Canberra, Jana Wendt and Helen Dalley, are their times up?
Laurie Oakes would be the last person to be flicked by Nine, if there's any sense still left at Willoughby. He brings credibility to Nine News, and The Bulletin at ACP. Without him they would struggling.

Like being surrounded by vultures: Yes, we're in a war. We have our armies and weapons. They have their armies and their weapons and you look at it as two armies at war. The spokesman was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald Friday as saying Jim Waley was not ' dumped' but could not say what his future with Nine would be. Jim Waley has been dumped as presenter of Channel Nine's 6pm news bulletin, to be replaced by his understudy, Mark Ferguson. It's like we haven't come out of the barbarian age
• Prefering to tread water Marking Jim [Credits: television life - 'Where Thieves and Pimps Run Free...' ; grooming - Waley and Nine's youth obsession]
• · A blog isn't any one thing for people, but I do like the idea of a blog as a house -- or as the facade of the house that says something about the person inside; or its front porch. I keep all sorts of stuff here, and there is even more on the inside. Colourfull thoughts on blogs by Stuart Henshall Giving Up Traditional Blogging [We’re taking suggestions: What does liberalism stand for? Anybody who's ever had to raise money knows the meaning of the phrase "elevator pitch": You're in an elevator with a potential moneybags, and you have, say, seven floors to tell him why he should write you a czech ... The Liberal Media Agenda; This did not necessarily make the backlash more palatable or justifiable. The backlash is something rightwing people do. Like "kempt hair" and "couth behaviour", references to a "leftwing backlash" are rare indeed But the notion that a backlash from the right should first be provoked by a lash from the left certainly made the backlash more logical]
• · · Amid the media din about the tsunami, Dan Rather's implosion, and the usual grim news from Iraq, an amazing story has been unfolding — but has received scant appreciation from the chattering classes. Democracy is on the march. The Right Side of Media story ; [It's a good time to step back and examine a commonly argued, yet totally fallacious, concept from left and right and beyond Any Way You Look At It, You Lose]
• · · · The backstage peek may comfort many of us who wish we spoke as clearly as NPR interviewers and guests. On the other hand, it might disturb folks who think they're hearing exactly what was said. Pulling Back the Curtain ; [Vandalism more likely than data harvesting says administra Australian company takes blame for Panix domain hijack ]
• · · · · Daughters of the 1950s political prisoners remain silent. This is unfortunate for them -- and for society at large. Being the daughter of a political prisoner during the 1950s in Czechoslovakia meant being "bad." After all, the family of a political prisoner was considered unworthy to coexist within communist society. The sustained silence surrounding the experiences of the "daughters of the enemy" suggests that the true horror, or irony, of their situation may never be heard. Silence of the Political Lamb ; [Our Stories ; Killings on Czechoslovak border during Communist era examined in new report ]
• · · · · · I've been following some of the coverage of the Blog Credibility Conference Change is gonna come ; [Notes on Harvard Journalism/Blogging Conference ; After spending $170 million to create a program that would give agents ready access to information on suspected terrorists, the bureau admitted last week that it's not even close to having a working system. In fact, FBI may have to start from scratch. ]

I want you to know you are looking at a blanket woven from human hair, made for the Nazis in Auschwitz. It was the only thing I had when repatriated back to Czechoslovakia.
The blanket is Horak's Auschwitz. Time has worn it down and dirt has been washed away, but stains persist.
I still don't touch it now. Maybe by washing it in shampoo I was able to wash out the basic filth, the filth you can touch, but as for the emotional filth - I don't think so.
You can't get rid of Auschwitz. Never (Horak derives from a word Mountain in Slavic)

This weekend John McDonald, who is the new Sydney Morning Herald’s visual art critic, serves a thought provoking essay on page 9 (not on line yet) in the section of Spectrum 22 January 2005. John argues that civilised society relies on its rule-breakers. It is one of history’s ironies that the barbarity of terrorism seems to licence barbarous acts on behalf of the civilised world, aas demonstrated by the premeditated abuses of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, let alone the ongoing carnage in Iraq. In Australia, refugees and asylumn-seekers are treated as barbarians, as a threat to our civilisation that has to be kept behind bars.
Who are today’s barbarians?
When anthropologists asked this question in 1971, the most popular candidates were politicians. They were felt to be duplicitous and opportunistic: laying down rules for everyone, and constantly breaking them...
Here’s the paradox: As long as we are in the dark, blind to our source, we remain the ‘lowest world’, a world of darkness, suffering and evil.

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: G-d's Hand: Wait and See
Human success at social cooperation results from three distinct personality types: Cooperators, Free Riders, and Reciprocators

Whether it is barn-raising or crafting a business plan, humans are among the few creatures that are able to work well cooperatively. According to an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, our success at cooperation results from three distinct personality types.
In any given group of people, youl find three kinds of people: Cooperators, Free Riders, and what we call Reciprocators. Cooperators do the most work and Free Riders do as little as possible, but most of us are Reciprocators. We hold back a bit to determine the chances of success before devoting our full energy to a project. We found that these traits remained fairly stable among people, and you could reliably predict how a group might perform if you know the percentage of each type of person in that group.

Who We Are When We Work Together [credits: His name is synonymous with Cold River: He's just not that into you if he only wants to see you when he's drunk Losing Mr. Wrong ; Human communication proceeds from two fundamental assumptions - that the people you interact with are both co-operative and truthful in intent Admit it, the truth is in denial ]
• · David Dale nominates the country's genuinely real Australian idols - the top 50 who, for better or worse, really matter to the world. New Advanced Australians; [Can we talk about sex differences in math and science aptitude without yelling? The New Advanced Sex Scorecard ]
• · · Words may be a clue to how people, regardless of their language, think about and process emotions Slavic Languages may be clue to all emotions ; [ And a proverb a day may make you healthier ; Children love to be alone, because alone is where they know themselves, and where they dream. Roger Rosenblatt]
• · · · The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained.David Bohm: Dumbed down and robbed of the old taboos, contemporary art has lost its ability to move or stimulate us, writes John McDonald. The battlelines were drawn when Ivan Massow, the chairman of London's Institute of Contemporary Art, described much of the work shown in the gallery as pretentious, self-indulgent, craftless tat that I wouldn't even accept as a gift
• · · · · The masks of Malawi They know their own culture is disappearing ; Guggenheim's global vision costs it a benefactor
• · · · · · The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination. Elizabeth Hardwick: I think there is a little battle just beginning between people who are social scientists and passionate about understanding the mind, yet who are creative and write stories, versus 'writers' without such a knowledge or drive to understand our human nature in such a particular way Evolutionary fiction-fiction that is informed and written through the lens of an evolutionary understanding of human nature-is better ; [Problems with the "missing link" evidence: On the level of Wisdom, past, present and future have not yet been separated Hence, on this level, one can see the future just like the past and present Kabbala was the key for Albert. Nowhere have the celebrations of Albert Einstein's life provoked as much tortuous soul-searching as in Germany ]

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Death, with its undercurrents of farce, is brought to mind in Simon McBurney, Marcello Magni and Jozef Houben's A Minute Too Late. The production might be described as a kind of fantasia on the idea of dying. Simon, aptly characterised by the critic Michael Kustow as "a compendium of our clumsiness in the face of death", meets up with undertaker Jozef, is offered a lift and is borne away in a hearse, its back seat occupied by a splayed corpse. As in the Fawlty Towers episode where the dead guest that Basil is trying to smuggle out of the hotel becomes a stage prop, the corpse slumps over their shoulders as the vehicle gathers speed, and has to be shoved back.
Look at me - I'm dying!

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: One Death, One Book, One Sandwich
One writer you should know before we are swallowed by the dark matter

Consider whether this is a man,
Who labours in the mud
Who knows no peace
Who fights for a crust of bread
Who dies at a yes or a no.
Consider whether this is a woman,
Without hair or name
With no more strength to remember
Eyes empty and womb cold
As a frog in winter.

Is anything sadder than a train; [Primo Levi Primo ; Primo ]
• · Everything you thought you knew about the universe is wrong. It’s made of atoms, right? Wrong. Atoms only account for a measly 15% of everything that exists. The mass of the universe consists of something so mysterious and elusive that it has been dubbed ‘dark matter’ Dark Stories; [A Different Planet: Titan of Cold Rivers ]
• · · I'm a huge fan of the Soprano. One of my favorite exchanges: Meadow: “Are you in the Mafia?”; Tony: “I'm in the waste management business. Life is putting the Prozac to the test
• · · · Feel the ripple in the zeitgeist? Two new slogans are busily burrowing their way into popular cult. Steven P. Jobs introduced one last week: "Life is random." It's attached to the iPod Shuffle, Apple's teeny new music player. The second comes from Malcolm Gladwell, a writer known for seeing revolutions in small things. The slogan is "Blink, don't think. These two marketing aphorisms - ad-phorisms, if you will - pull so insistently at the brain that they feel more like an affirmation than a pitch, and bear a slight tang of wisdom. You couldn't control all the choices; you couldn't control all the noise: Life is a random blink
• · · · · One Book One Sandwich continues. All Sandwich residents are urged to read "In the Heart of the Sea" by Nathaniel Philbrick. As part of One Book One Sandwich, special events include. Massachusetts town is reading Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea under the banner of, One Book, One Sandwich? ; [What is Bush Reading ; Kabbalah of Numbers ]
• · · · · · Cutural concepts go in and out of style, sometimes quite swiftly. It was fashionable a short while ago to proclaim we had entered an age where the old cultural certainties had been thrown into disarray; it has become just as fashionable now to dismiss the postmodern as yesterday's news Relativism is still relevant ; [Cat Lovers Collection :-) ]

Friday, January 21, 2005

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming: WOW. What a Surf. What a Read. Of Sydney’s 34 surfing beaches, Cronulla is probably the one you will visit first. If you are a serious surfer that is ... No Glamarama here!

Dragon Tales Newsletter

It is good to discover new surf, but it is even better to meet new dragons. You get an insight into lives lived other than your own. Double Dragon is on Hollywood’s lips New Year New You: New Dragon Tail Newsletter
We all know the joy of stumbling across a real gem of a bookshop. Cronulla might have the best surf, but Bondi has the best bookshop in the world. Czech out Gertrude and Alice at 40 Hall Street down by the Beach. Shelves and shelves of books from all genres. Even has a non-fiction room called the Hemingway room, which boasts an amazing chess table for patrons to sit and play; lots of other games are also available. The cafe-bookshop-rumpus-room all in one is just soooo bohemian one just does not want to leave, even if your teenage daughters czech mate you at the chess table three times in a row (smile) Karma everywhere like no other Calling all bookworms

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Koorie Dhoulagarle: Aboriginal Spirit
Our country correspondent one and only, Gianna . Forget about reading Readers’ Digest and dive into the Country Digest. This story deserves the widest of readership in the blogosphere.

"Take a look in the bedrooms back there," he said to me. I hesitated, feeling uncomfortable at the idea of going into a stranger's bedrooms. "Go on, take a look."
So I dutifully ventured to the rear of the house and looked in the bedrooms. In one, there was a neatly made double bed. In the next, there were three single beds, again perfectly made up. Each bed had a teddy bear sitting on the pillow.
I came back and touched the man's shoulder. He had tears in his eyes. The baby ate another biscuit and listened as the man and I got talking about the plight of the suburban Aborigine. He told me how it felt to have grown up with no links with his traditional culture and yet, not ever feeling part of white man's Australia either. He said he'd once had a group of Italian friends staying with him. Over dinner, they had got into a spirited conversation between themselves, but had stopped talking when they noticed him crying. They'd asked if he was upset that they were talking in Italian. He had said no, he was upset because he had lost his own language.

There's More To Life [credits: ATO rules on business and pleasure; Taxman can no longer give artists the brush-off]
• · Hollywood icons are a peculiar breed. Their shelf life is not so much short – although most often it is – as it is defined by the sheer abruptness of the end. Few screen legends are afforded graceful long goodbyes Don't box me in; [ Master refreshes Machiavellian monster]
• · · The music industry has done the "unthinkable" and turned a dollar from online sales
• · · · It's a Hardluck Life: Those who returned say life post-tsunami has new meaning ; Couple says miracles saved them; Strong Currents: Father Drowns
• · · · · Ach, the pharmaceutical Jekyll and Hyde, caffeine can be a wonder drug or a health disaster. When rubbed onto skin caffeine and green tea it can stop skin cancer in its tracks ... The new pleasure seekers
• · · · · · Whether it's sunny or raining, and we needed last night’s rain, there is usually plenty to do around the Cronulla beach specially during the summer. Many good places to be entertained and do some shopping. A creative way to feed the thousands in the Shire through the miracle of the Kuchina ... We mentioned it in passing once but will blog about it again: Cucina Deli Indulge your passion for food - Nina and Michael Alfredi will soon have a new fish supplier in Michael Egan Apolitical Number 52 on President Avenue: Cucina of Caringbah

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

We Interrupt Our Usual Broadcast... ask you to digest slowly Google entries about the latest labor leadership changes as this is the kind of political event that one doesn't soon forget.
But, first things first, the politician who encouraged me to write more about politics after reading my Prague's Second Spring is also taking radical steps after his Second Coming to Parliament. Johno Johnson, the former father of the Upper House, used to humouresly describe MPs elected in the lower House as peasants. This particular MP entered Parliament the second time as the lord. (smile) The ageless lord and commander from Cronulla with the egar smile of Michael Egan is diving off Carr's Ship; Waving not drowning: Profile by Sir Humphries (sic)
Kim Beazley has announced he will stand to take back the Labor leadership, vowing he has the "energy and commitment" to unite the party in the wake of Mr Latham's retirement. Politics of one long Weekend cut short

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Claiming the leadership : I’m a Third Time Lucky Here Myself?
Kim Beazley launched his third bid to reclaim the Labor leadership. The timing of the return of the Webdiary is almost surreal and so are some of this week's headlines or observations inside the commentariat ...

About an hour after Latham announced his resignation, Kim Beazley, predictably, announced that he wanted another shot at the top job . I guess he'll probably get in now, as well. Which, as I said in my previous journal entry, I really don't like the idea of. I'd much have preferred that Mark Latham as leader, with Rudd my preferred second choice.

One wonders whether the heat of speculations and backstabing, will be transformed into an oasis of strong alternative government ... are leaders born or created?
Google with Hundred Leaders [Web links to leadership Changes; Gough Whitlam said today it was a tragedy Mark Latham's "agonising ailment" had cut short his public career Labor leader's early exit 'a tragedy']
• · FBI surveillance experts have put their once-controversial Carnivore Internet surveillance tool out to pasture, preferring instead to use commercial products to eavesdrop on network traffic Spy Games; [Politics of Spying How Top Spies in Ukraine Changed the Nation's Path]
• · · This is light looking at the ghost graffiti of Gustav Husak at the Svit chemical factory First signs of protest in world's top secret state: Kim Jong-il, defaced with graffiti demanding freedom and democracy; [The problem is that slower trains don't necessarily equal safer trains Ghost of Glenbrook Puts Carr off Track ]
• · · · The significant point is that it has placed a clause in the Accenture contract insisting that the company promise to be a "good tax citizen". This clause will not just be used for Accenture, but in all multi-million dollar procurement deals at the ATO. The "Good Tax Citizenship" clause will be standard in such contracts. Accenture for software and development services related to its upgrade project known as the Change Program
• · · · · Tax Compliance Costs
• · · · · · The new brave federal sentencing world: In the course of linking here to all of last week's newspaper stories about, Illiterary, Booker, I suggested it would be interesting to assemble in one place all the quotes from judges that appear in the articles. One of my terrific students (crawler :-) did me two better: she assembled quotes not only from judges, but also from prosecutors and defense attorneys, addressing last week's remarkable developments. ; [via Professor Douglas A. Berman ]

Monday, January 17, 2005

If literature is dead, someone forgot to invite Haruki Murakami to the funeral.
-Jay Rubin on the Literary King of 21st Century

They say there are three ways of achieving immortality: rear a child ( Alex and Gabbie), plant a tree (in Vrbov, Prague, Sydney, Adelaide and Brissie) or write a book (Cold River). I might have done all three, but it took the Velvet Revolution at 32 to bless me with a bambino and it took almost twenty years to write the damn book. Now I read in the evil Guardian that some smart alecsia (smile), Helen Oyeyemi wrote her first book in seven months while studying for her A-levels. By the time she got her results, she had signed a two-book, £400,000 deal. There are sooo many books in the world I haven't read, sometimes I feel as if they're all piled on top of my head weighing me down and saying, Hurry up... Hurry up those foreign distribution rights for Love My Way as my family in Prague and Hight Tatra Mountains deserves to digest a performance set in another world yet so close to the bone!!!

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Now, there would be time for everything
The War on Libraries: Save and Burn, a Film Review

There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism. And just as such a document is not free of barbarism, barbarism taints also the manner in which it was transmitted from one owner to another.

All librarians should see this film, and I am sure they will feel like I do that librarians must leave their beautiful houses of culture, and join the fight to protect them from the despots East and West who will eventually destroy them. One librarian talks about how the Book of Kells was protected from the invading English, being moved from site to site, even in a building used by the invaders as a headquarters.
Libraries: The DNA of Literature [Lindsay Waters examines questions at the very heart of book-based culture Bonfire of the Humanities ]
• · Secret Agent Richard Curtis presents his view of Spying in the Twenty First Century in an essay on Backspace (spies only). In the first part, he describes the two paradigms of contemporary publishing: the traditional model built around tangible objects such as books, warehouses, and stores; and the new model he describes as "virtual". The move from one model to another is underway and will impact the entire industry including authors, agents, editors, booksellers, and readers. 21 Century Vox: Part I ; Part 2: Paperbacks: The Long Tail that Wagged the Dog; Third article is still in a draft, galley, version, but it will soon stream from this web site The Rise of the Airport Model: Double Dragon Publishing
• · · It's Not Exactly Like They're Flying Off the Shelves Here Why it’s become so easy to write off our literary magazines ; [The Long Tail is about the economics of abundance -- what happens when the bottlenecks that stand between supply and demand in our culture start to disappear and everything becomes available to everyone. The idea, basically, is that online retailing is allowing customers to explore their own tastes in ways hitherto not available. And what they find, as they continue to explore, is that they actually enjoy all kinds of weird stuff which they hardly knew existed -- because it isn't available on main-channel TV stations or supermarket bookshelves. This leads on to the idea that the sum of expenditure on all these little niche markets. The tail of Cold River can equal or exceed the value of the heavily hyped blockbusters ]
• · · · Online literary mag founder has made a name for herself with snarky, literate book reviews, thoughtful author interviews and a trend-tracking blog Jessa Crispin has a promiscuous love of literature All's fair in love and escape
• · · · · It is On Tonight: I can’t explain my current obsession with Love My Way. It maybe million things such as the performance which is peppered with streaks of endless darkness ... yet the scenes seem to be filled with raw and painful spiritual journey. Most of all the story explores the randomness of life and the bloody mindedness needed to carve out a place in the world. Georgia Toomey of In Style Magazine fame (Nov 2004) looks at the heartbreaker in the making, Claudia Karvan who led a little girl’s secret life among the iron lace. Claudia recalls her early life at her parent’s terrace in Woollahra Sydney. Pedestrian rite of passage: I need a stiff Vodka just to settle my nerves
• · · · · · What are you reading? And perhaps more interestingly, what are you going to read next? Your Next Escapist Step; [A memoirs of struggle through pain and social injustice. These struggles map the tangled laces of the Iron Curtain - the complexity of escape; its twisted fears, its desperate dreams. Escapes can be sad, disturbing, filled with hard core irony and absurd all at once: the emotional debris of an entire dysfunctional and tragic escape packed into each one. “If you haven’t turned pages of Cold River how would you possibly know whether your life was awful or good...” Powells My Pall ; If you can't say anything nice, ask your Significant Other if he read Cold River at Powells .. . It's Not Exactly Like They're Diving Off the Shelves Here, Either... See, the life of a writer is a perilous one, the chance of being published is slight and receiving an advance is even more remote. You’d think that maybe after you’d sold a few books things might get easier, but let me tell you, writing, like pimping, ain’t easy ]

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death! What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy retirement. You drink alcohol, you party, and you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no reponsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last 9 months floating with luxuries like central heating, spa, room service on tap. Then you finish of as an orgasm !!!Amen!!! Awomen ...
-In George Constanza's words
Authorsden Mentor: My advice: write until your fingers bleed to staunch a wounded heart. Truth and beauty is all we know, and need to know. Write what you know. A thousand rejection slips do not mean failure. 1942-2005: Gerald Grimmett (in memory of)

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: In the famous words of some past film reviewer: I laughed. I cried.
The first clue was my handwriting on the stamped envelope. They use your own postage to deliver the bad news. A slip of blue paper confirmed my suspicions. Thank you for your submission. We are sorry that it does not meet our editorial needs at this time. The Editors

Rejections are hard enough to take, it's even more dispiriting to be turned down by a form letter.
I've got half a mind to send a boilerplate reply of my own: Thank you for your rejection. I'm sorry that it does not defeat my literary dreams at this time. The Writer.R

Inside every older person is a younger person -- wondering what the hell happened. Cora Harvey Armstrong
Over the years, I've been a student of rejection [My girlfriend always laughs during sex - no matter what she's reading. Steve Jobs (Founder: Apple Computers - this explains why he invented iPod) How Well Is Your Library Serving these Kids? Pop Goes the Library’s iPOd]
• · Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships. Sharon Stone Oh Yeah? Says Who? No more anonymous reviews, please; Beach patrol ... police keep a protective eye on sunbathers at Cronulla beach. Thieves who take shirt from your back at Cronulla by Angela Cuming
• · · Mark Latham and his unruly Labor mob are not the only ones enduring the thrills and spills of his leadership. It has also been a roller-coaster ride for those in the business of bringing out books about the Opposition Leader.
During Latham's honeymoon period last year there were six on the go, with two sympathetic biographies out before the election disaster. But another one, by a former Herald journalist, Bernard Lagan, begun before Latham became leader, has become a political thriller.
"It's a book in search of an ending," Lagan said amid this week's feverish speculation about Latham's future. "We don't know what the end is going to be."
The project has dragged on a lot longer than he expected when he set out to tell the inside story of Latham's ascendancy.
At least his publisher, Allen & Unwin, is patient. Until we know what's happening, to some degree it's very hard for us to be committed to a publishing date, said the editorial manager, Rebecca Kaiser Ach, The never-ending story [Many publishers never see the irony in this saying: If you can't laugh at yourself, make fun of others. Bobby Slayton]
• · · · Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place. Billy Crystal, "City Slickers" Left Wing Erotica: Between Hard Covers
• · · · · The statistics on twisted sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they are okay, then it's you. Collection of Tongue Twisters
• · · · · · Good childhood traditions of High Tatra Mountain remembered: Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement that Oxford University is to torture religious people in the name of science, news reaches us that researchers at Hull University have been dragging unfortunate students up mountains and making them answer questions while putting their hands in buckets of cold water. Cold baths help sweatiness and stress, say researchers ; We do not recommend you start dressing up The modern Scotsman the lovechild of Iceberg B***

On Cronulla Beach and in churches, Sydneysiders have joined the rest of the nation in observing a minute's silence today as a mark of respect for more than 160,000 lives claimed by the Boxing Day tsunami.
At 11.59am, Australians around the country fell silent, exactly three weeks to the minute after the earthquake struck.
Brotherhood of Men and Women Mourns Tsunami Victims

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Ring of Remembrance: Minute's silence brings us together
Can a day of mourning add anything to what people are already doing? Professor Richard Bryant, a psychologist from the University of New South Wales, thinks it can. "Formally recognising the day gives a lot more weight to the recognition that this terrible thing did happen," he says. "It gives more weight to a communal sense that we care."

It is only the second national day of mourning in Australian history. The first was held on October 20, 2002, to commemorate the Bali bombing. A day of mourning has no legal status; there was no such commemoration for the 1977 Granville train disaster, Ash Wednesday or the Port Arthur massacre. It seems that we have one when the government deems it appropriate to the public mood.

What difference does a mourning day make? [Reflection ]
• · Surfrider's Rings of Remembrance
• · · Giving to charity is for life not just for Christmas; [We and They ]
• · · There's no check I can write that will stop my government from destroying a city in order to "save" it.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The London Book Fair has added a new feature to the highly successful Academic, STM and ELT sector of the show. The e-Content Pavilion and seminar theatre will offer Information Professionals, Knowledge Managers, Librarians and Publishers the opportunity to view an exclusive selection of the very best online information management content all in one place Featuring: Blog: The Forest Gump of Literature

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Zephyr Teachout: The Valley of the Blogging Shadow
Once referred to as “possibly the world's greatest reference librarian?(American Libraries, February 1995 page146), Cecil Adams has been answering questions via his alternative newspaper column, The Straight Dope, since 1973...

Every year, the Machine-Assisted Reference Section of the American Library Association puts out a best-of list of recommended free web reference tools. This year's list is full of gems, showing us that the web continues to offer richly rewarding FREE content to support a wide range of research topics. Every library that maintains lists of best-of-the-web for their users should review this list.

Best of the Best Virtual Times [Blog Abuse: Will it ruin free speech as we know it? ]
• · Hey, you sound familiar Zephyr Teachout (not relation to Terry): Is Daily Kos the new Armstrong Williams?; Daily Kosts and Double Trouble: the Worst of the Worst of Virtual Times ; Blogging for Dollars: Hang Daily Kos, but not for taking money from Howard Dean ; [Have you, at any time, taken money from the Bush administration in exchange for promotion of the administration's policies? This column is not for sale ; Hewitt on Blog]
• · · A civil-rights group will try to deflect an "asteroid" from hitting bloggers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation said yesterday it would defend bloggers' right to protect anonymous sources who disclosed that Apple would release a product code-named "Asteroid." Bloggers' rights up for debate in Apple lawsuit; [Hard choices: researcher vs. blogger? ]
• · · · Instructional Headline of the Day: Iain Ferguson of ZDNet Australia points out that no matter how modest a blog may be deemed, the instant accessibility to potentially mass audiences that the medium provides calls for the blogger to exercise responsibility Blog today, gone tomorrow ; [Terminal Big Bad Bollandness of Being Dull Blog Modified version of course :-) ]
• · · · · We can't count the number of times various manifestos have been read to us by communists in our lifetime. A powerful good spirited global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed, so begins the often quoted and influential book, The Cluetrain Manifesto. Light switches
• · · · · · A Bunch of Blogging Pastors: Mark Daniels observes that they're a more diverse bunch than some might expect, only proving C. S. Lewis's observation that when Christ enters people's lives, God gives them the confidence to be their own unique and quirky selves Are They for Real? Dive in and Find Out

Life is a great mystery. Is everybody a different person when they are with somebody else?
Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy

The Moment of Escape: Just One Single Moment Can Change Everything
Everything we see and our brains themselves would just be parts of this simulation.’ Oxford University philosopher Dr Nick Bostrom echoes the thoughts of sci-fi writers and scientists alike. The simulation hypothesis is not sci-fi, it’s serious academic thought. Ach, Are We Real?
Despite various reservations, the following question seems to be in order: How likely are you to read Cold River, based on a real story, this year? Will you be a different person after you read it? If in fact by the end of the year, you find yourself ordering the story of Iron Curtain crossing, you might be able to shift some of the blame onto us. It seems that the simple and apparently mundane act of asking a question can lead to a very intentional response by the respondents or consumers.


By chance or good fortune, Cold River's 15 Minutes @ Digital Palm Reading keeps on Ticking
[ Number of people, mostly in their twenties, who attempt suicide in the world each year: 10 to 20 million; number who actually succeed: about 1 million --- Number of people who attempt to get published in the world each year: 100 to 200 million; number who actually succeed: about 10 million ...
-Source John Croucher, Professor of Statistics; and Media Dragon, Professor of Number Crunching]
Believe it or not - our other book - Sex at the Gate is selling like hot cakes: There is No Discount Like Double Dragon Discount: Dirty Thirty %

Friday, January 14, 2005

Senior opposition leaders have called for the resignation of Police President Jiri Kolar [Party Affiliation: Member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, 1982-89] so many times in the last three years that most political observers have lost count. Bugging is not the problem of the Czech police alone but of the police forces in all post-communist countries including NSW (smile) So now you understand that the average person would object to being wiretapped? In this country, the order to wiretap a person is issued by a judge, and only in the most serious of criminal cases...

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: How to win at Politics
Jonathan Jones has written a book on art and politics entitled: In Machiavelli's Florence. For 500 years his name has been synonymous with ruthlessness, manipulation and backstabbing. But could the much-maligned Machiavelli tell us the truth about politics in our time? Jonathan Jones on why Brown and Blair have much to learn from a 16th-century thinker

The 16th-century political thinker Niccolò Machiavelli knew how to get rid of a troublesome minister, even a chancellor. Modern leaders fret and fuss and fall out. They make promises and break them and time their speeches to upstage one another. Really, it's all so lily-livered. In Machiavelli's Florence, Tony Blair would have had Gordon Brown quietly poisoned by now, and if not, he himself would be food for eels in the river Arno.

For him, the feud between Blair and Brown would not have been a thing of shame and embarrassment. It would satisfy him like a bleeding slab of Tuscan steak. This is it, he might tell the Labour MPs frightened for their futures; this is the life you chose. Try to relish it, washed down with a nice glass of chianti. As for what Brown said to Blair - what a prude it exposes Brown to be. The chancellor is reported to have told the prime minister that there is nothing Blair could ever say now he will believe. Is this supposed to be criticism, Machiavelli might ask? Because a true politician would savour it as praise.
Classic political manual The Prince ; [Anthony Sampson's second survey of the British establishment, Who Runs This Place?, finds little that has changed for the better Down the corridors of power ... Who Runs This Place?]
• · Och, Yech: Out of ancient disasters, forebears may have colonised new lands Tsunami survival tales hint how our ancestors crossed the sea
• · · Tony Mauro, USA Today SCOTUS: Serving 25 Years or More is Too Long; [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal: After the Dan Rather scandal, American journalism will never be the same. MSM Requiem - ]
• · · · The U.N. needs a good smack in the face, says New York City Councilmember Simcha Felder. Relationship between the UN and New York City; [Root Causes: An Interview with Wangari Maathai The recent Nobel Peace Prize winner talks about sowing the seeds of democracy in Kenya]
• · · · · Nazi Germany established its collaboration government in Vichy France and recruited French politicians, soldiers and police to administer a truncated and compliant state... When plasma is in short supply, the opportunist buys and sells blood. When food is scarce, he hordes food and gouges the hungry ... the journalists who sell their professionalism for prestige, access to power and job security; the academics and scientists who prostitute themselves for large corporations so that polluters may pollute or that neighborhoods may be paved and people and animals may have the last dime of profit squeezed out of them. But the gladiator collaborator is still not the foundation of empire. That distinction belongs to the sixth degree of collaboration, the merely compliant. Us. All of us. No empire can exist without collaborators: Six Degrees of Collaboration; [In the latest of a string of gaffes, dysfunctional Harry, 20, wore a red and black swastika armband and an army shirt with Nazi regalia at the party at a friend's house on Saturday. He has been allowed to get away with murder. Prince Harry wears Nazi swastika ; Google links to Potty Harry stories in the Nazi Uniform ]
• · · · · · Shock at the Asia disaster. Tears shed in grief and joy. Relief for the survivors. When the tsunamis hit, around 800 Czech citizens reportedly were staying in Sri Lanka, 300 were staying in Thailand and a handful, including legendary singer Karel Gott Tsunami and Bohemian Gott

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Chrenkoff of right wing intelligence fame provides yet another Tsunami round up while Indonesia's Vice-President, Jusuf Kalla, put a No Longer Welcome sign yesterday by pulling the political plug on foreigners Foreigners should get out of Aceh as soon as possible
From Sparta to Nicaragua, disasters alter political history. History suggests that South Asia's tsunami tragedy could engender regional political fallout.
Christian Science Monitor: Ancient Womangroves;
The coastal trees and shrubs saved hundreds of lives in India by protecting villages from the waves. Mangroves

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: An Inescapable Part of the Spooky Repertoire
You can make the argument that we’re better off with him (at large). Because if something happens to Bin Laden, you might find a lot of people vying for his position and demonstrating how macho they are by unleashing a stream of terror.

CIA number-three man AB "Buzzy" Krongard said: Let’s say you and I want to blow up Trafalgar Square. So we go to Bin Laden. And he’ll say, ‘Well, here’s some money and some passports and if you need weapons, see this guy’.

Saying it's OK to have bin Laden around is like saying it was OK when the Nazis ran France. Obviously, many French preferred it that way; hence the strange thinking about bin Laden. You might also find that if you kill its head, the snake dies
Let Bin Laden stay free, says CIA man ; [The Most Powerful Weapon of Terror is the Internet Digital Jihad ; There should be a way of minimising a damage done by the digital Jihad... Together, grassroots/Internet activists have just moved three major American mountains Together, We Moved Three Mountains Lets stop the normalisation of horror. Back in 1968 Czechoslovakia went through the normalisation process and in 2004 the country I was born in no longer exists. Gone. Finished. Kapito. Erazed.]
• · Nightmares don't last this long, so the death and destruction must be real The Scent of Fear ; [This is pure unadulterated copying. Mark Bahnisch at Troppo Armadillo did the heavy lifting of actually finding this item from the Times via The Australian, and I am just going to post the whole thing. It is beyond boggling. It is beyond boggling ... ]
• · · The modern institution of civil and human rights, and particularly the writ of habeas corpus, began in June of 1215 when King John was forced by the feudal lords to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Although that document mostly protected "freemen" - what were then known as feudal lords or barons, and today known as CEOs and millionaires - rather than the average person, it initiated a series of events that echo to this day. First They Came For The Terrorists...; [The plan of dragging the Soviets into economic bankruptcy, which bin Laden emphasized, was a plan orchestrated by the United States which in reality supported the Afghan jihad militarily and financially. The horns that come out later outstrip the ears, implying that an able apprentice outdistances his master Richard A. Clarke: Against All Enemies
• · · · In politics, as in show business, you reach for golden oldies when you are not brimming with fresh ideas. Gov. George E. Pataki understands that. So when he delivered his State of the State address to the Legislature last week, he trotted out a few crime-fighting proposals. On Justice, in Politics and on Stage ; [The Changing Settlement Experience of New Migrants Theatre of Exile ; Forget all the snide remarks - the Brits love Australia, more than any other country except their own Antopodean Stage Respected even in the Morning ]
• · · · · Sometimes it is easy to forget that the era also produced truly horrifying Cold War schemes like Project Pluto: a low-altitude cruise missile, powered by an atomic ramjet that carried multiple hydrogen bombs and puked out chunks of radioactive debris, killing everyone along its flightpath Pluto: Triple Dragon ; [Boing Boing ]
• · · · · · Until two weeks ago, Smith Thammasaroj was a prophet without honor Today, Smith is being lionized for his foresight after the devastating Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami; [Lindsay Moran read "Harriet the Cold River Spy" as a girl and dreamed of growing up to join the CIA. After graduating from Harvard, she did just that Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy ; David McKnight is a senior lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney. He is part of the Allen and Unwin publishing empire. It is also true that in 1968 the Australian communists were the first in the world to condemn the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia. David McKnight joined the Communist Party of Australia in 1972 at the age of 21 out of unashamed idealism but with a full awareness of the tragedy that was Stalinism. I was confident that socialism did not automatically lead to Stalinism. I had enjoyed George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 but also his idealistic Homage to Catalonia. Socialism and equality seemed so obviously the answer to the world's ills. By the late 1980s my views had changed. Both the problems and solutions were not so simple any more. I drifted out of the Communist Party and by 1991 the party itself dissolved. Russified Marxism Blowing its Cover ]

I am not a serf; I am not a slave Slav; I am not an indentured servant. I am a free man with the right of freedom of expression. The company does not own me, body and soul – conforming to their rules at work is to be expected, but in your own time and space? How can anyone be expected to go through their personal life in fear of saying the wrong thing? No-one should ...
Ellen Simonetti, the blogger who was fired by Delta because of her site, Diary of a the Flight Attendent has started a list of blogophobic companies and is looking to establish International Bloggers Bill of Rights

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Myths On Boards
If you are really quiet, you might hear the wringing of hands of corporate secretaries and general counsel everywhere. The idea that boards might blog or use some similar web technology to communicate directly with shareholders may sound frightening, but it's a development whose time has come.

Many shareowners have been frustrated over the years by what they see as a wall between them and their elected representatives, the board of directors. They feel that they have no input into selecting director nominees, no meaningful choice in their election, and, generally, no hope of ever hearing from or exchanging views with them

Why Corporate Boards Should Blog [ 10 Excuses for Boards NOT to Blog]
• · The mainstream media ended its silence this morning on the racism of The New York Times' prospective new partner With a Nixon-esque non-denial denial [I am outraged at this - if my employer want to control my life, determine what i write in my own free time, then i suggest that they make with the reddies - cos the only way that ANY company will ever tell me what to say and what not to say is if I become a spokesperson of that company. How much do celebs get to 'endorse' products and companies. Yeah.. Bring on a slice of that action. Waterstone's sacks employee over blog Reg Req - Melissa Swan's Ukraine Blog; Blogging Behind China's 'Great Firewall'.]
• · · Tripling Users in Ditital waves Remember my Name Babe: Morphing Media ; [Some fascinating stuff here Selection of files released under Freedom of Information in January 2005 ]
• · · · The CBS Report ignores the heart of the controversy, refuses to draw conclusions, and strengthens the hand of Mary Mapes and Dan Rather. Whitewash ; [Blog about Blogs ]
• · · · · St. Andrew's Face Morpher lets you upload a photo, and then morphs that photo so the person looks more caucasian, or afro-caribean, or older, or younger.. Or drunk ; [More open network cameras Canon's network attached cameras that have pan, tilt and zoom controls]
• · · · · · Unbelievable and fascinating. This is the circa 1998 internal message board used by the support staff of a Florida call girl ring, foolishly left unsecured so Google could crawl it [A few tidbits from around the blogs]

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The moment comes when a character does or says something you hadn’t thought about. At that moment he’s alive and you leave it to him.
-Graham Greene
Do youse want to be a writer? Write as if you were drowning. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients ... Write Till You Drop

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: So Many Books: Forgotten moments in the history of reading
City Journal is running a fascinating piece by Jonathan Rose on the role the classics have historically played in the lives of working people. Will Crooks (b. 1852), a cooper living in extreme poverty in East London, once spent tuppence on a secondhand Iliad, and was dazzled:

What a revelation it was to me! Pictures of romance and beauty I had never dreamed of suddenly opened up before my eyes. I was transported from the East End to an enchanted land. It was a rare luxury for a working lad like me just home from work to find myself suddenly among the heroes and nymphs of ancient Greece." Nancy Sharman (b. 1925) recalled that her mother, a Southampton charwoman, had no time to read until her last illness, at age 54. Then she devoured the complete works of Shakespeare, and "mentioned pointedly to me that if anything should happen to her, she wished to donate the cornea of her eyes to enable some other unfortunate to read.

The Classics in the Slums [Another vote for homeschooling ; We're Your Key to the Media Dragons]
• · The Lost Night is after all a true story about an unsolved murder, and friends and family will undoubtedly learn more than they ever cared to know about, for instance, my past sex life. Disclaimer: It’s not all that graphic, in case you’re titillated We thought you were pure, we thought you were different. We were wrong ...
• · · A Picture of the Future, You're not in It: When the second wave of al-Qaeda attacks hit America." A leading expert on counterterrorism imagines the future history of the war on terror. A frightening picture of a country still at war in 2011 Ten Years Later ; Liquid Sculpture
• · · · Let's throw the book at publishing They say there are three ways of achieving immortality: rear a child, plant a tree, or write a book
• · · · · At the dawn of this psychotic decade, I proposed, on instinct, that we should call it the Uh-Oh's. Decades need names. How else are we map their unique zeitgeists in our subsequent reflections on them? Imagine, for example, how awkward our historical recollections would become if we could not refer to "the 60's," a decade which needed no adjective, unlike, say, "the Roaring 20's?" The name is the frame, and the frame says it all. A Tale of the Uh-Oh's: Amelia Takes A Fall
• · · · · · If a picture speaks a thousand words, a love letter speaks a thousand more For passionate readers and lovers of words, a letter is irresistible

Sunday, January 09, 2005

sit up fed up low down go ‘round
down to the bar at the place I’m at
sitting’ drinking’ superficially thinkin’
about the ris’d out blond on my left
and then I said hi! like a spider to a fly
remembering what my little girl said
she was coming flirty
she look’d about thirty
I would have run away, I I was on my own
- absolut sydney, bondi beach rd, pub-lic chic hotel sleepy by day good karma by night
front> public bar back> bistro (fast) garden
top/\ lounge music selections regis room/\ restaurant lounge
food for memories

This weekend was the weekend dedicated to memories. Catching up with born again friends from childhood such as Taylor and czeching out the old sceneries gives a new meaning to retro scent of suntan lotion, tar perspiring diesel-petrol, tiny invisible curtain of sea flakes and seagul’s fluro droppings. Indeed, invading Bronte and Bondi area is one sure-fire way of making Alex and Gabbie to recall the parts of summer that mattered during their childhood years of the entire 1990s.
Ach, Reverend Jim Whild and Greg Job were inclined to spread the word about McKell, Bellevue Hill and the Centenial Parks being the triangle of our clayton backyard. Back then, we were carless and we could ignore those 1 hour parking $3 - $4 signs ...
Living in the appartment block forced us to plan our school holidays outdoors among the cyclone of Australian summer fashion. I spare you the details and painful visuals of father and two sunburnt daughters walking for two hours to reach their beachish destination.
Woof, Woof! We treated ourselves to the most remote and laziest places in the Sydneysider’s world. Who can forget the stray siestas and the hungry mouths to feed? Sweet sounding accessories - are we there yet - sticky hands of gelatto, smiling colours of utopia in our eyes, and a range of board games appealed to the memory making senses: the touch, the taste, the sound, and the most memorable of all scents. Only in Australia one can comes across soft hearted rangers who would close their eyes to our bondi blue tent along the shark spots on the harbour from Nielson Park to ocean green Bronti.
Altogether the childhood memories come to us as hilariously crazy with their Tatranka proportions exaggerated to points that only seem possible in dreams ... The best people watching beaches in the world, filled with snobbery and humility, are in Sydney. But the beauty of our summer recollections is that with enough people watching and bohemian storytelling in one long walk, to inspire a Czechoslovak army, the recovered time has made our world of make-believe real for us. There seems to live a sense of fun in playing to be gypsies on the real life beach stage and that sense pushes you to invent stories and dancing steps no one has ever thought of ... The fairy tale clouds drew Cindarellas (Sydneyrellas) while the political clouds painted white man policy called Snow white. The sandstones and the rocks of Sydney are peppered with faces of Ned Kelly especially around the Gap area. If you look hard enough you will see also Robin Hood in cracks of cement footpaths at Tamarrama. Juraj Janosik look-alike with a long pony-tail served behind the bar of the old Iceberg club. The girls remembered many little details from the past even I have forgotten ... Long live kindegarden and school holiday memories!
You have a much better life if you have less material people around you but people who dare to share their imagination (smile)

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: More Thesbian Politicians: New Leaf for Clover
Clover Moore is teaming with 15 other prominent women for a charity performance of the bohemian unbearable monologue of being ...

Now that Eve Ensler's "Vagina Monologues" has traveled the globe, her stomach has a thing or two to add.
Ensler, the woman who transformed the vagina from a hushed "down there" into a marquee word that tumbles from the mouths of the highest-profile celebrities, has come to accept her private parts But it was with some horror, she says, that she looked down at her "not-so-flat, post-40s stomach" and realized her self-hatred had simply crept upward.
Thus was born "The Good Body," Ensler's new play about her own navel-gazing and the extreme efforts women make to shrink, starve, cover and fix their smallest imperfections. Her message? Learn to love your body, then get on with the bigger business of life.

Charity Performance Down Under: Vagina Monologues [May you have the courage to fail, because it is the courage to succeed The Tatranka Roots of Dialogue; Once Upon a tropical time, there was the Story Bridge peppered with Antipodean Veteran Storytellers ; Beyond Bondi blue and blogging Bits & Pieces: Belting Out as a Media Dragon I come from a rich family of six so I had to belt out stories during our meal times ...]
• · Stardust as Starbucks Fingers in one's ears, while drowning out other decafenated voices ; [Is sex dirty? Only if it's done right ]
• · · Many exile years passed, and I fell into the evil ways of the Book Addict, always seeking a new source of Read... Best of Talking Books is part of the cable TV invasion into the best that literary programs down under seem to offer. Caroline Baum is the antipodean Oprah ... Foxtel’s win is the ABC’s, the public broadcasters, loss. The ABC does know how to influence friends ... (hard core irony intended) I watched it on Saturday and I am impressed Ovation to Cable Initiative [Foxtel rocks as OVATION is Australia's only Arts channel. OVATION is unique in providing viewers with the best of local and international programming; So that $50 Java 1.2 book I finally threw away I could have bought directly from the author for $2.50. Grrr]
• · · · Ryszard Kapuscinski is one of those miracle writers. Every time you pick up one of his books, you're stuck until it's completely finished. As a child in Warsaw, Ryszard Kapuscinski grew up thinking starvation, poverty and cruelty were facts of life. As we prepare to mark 60 years since the end of the Second World War, he recounts his incredible story of survival - and warns that we are still just as vulnerable to ignorance and hatred Escapes and Wars are proof that man has failed ; [Apart from his unique performance as a disabled explorer, 16-year-old high school pupil Janek Mela became the youngest person ever to conquer both poles within a year Death Wish: One-legged Pole conquers Poles]
• · · · · A consequence of one of the worst natural disasters in human history has been to initiate one of the most conspicuous bouts of compassion that the Western-style democracies have ever seen. National governments give the impression of attempting to outbid one another in funds committed to disaster relief. Independent of this, citizens seem to be donating generously to international charitable organisations. There have also been calls for manifestations of public empathy D’oh, Gerard
• · · · · · A roll of London toilet paper the Beatles refused to use because it was to hard ans shiny has surfaced on eBay for auction @ $98,500. Yes Minister series continues ... The toilet. The john. The loo. The commode. The porcelain throne. You know it is a silly season when the police put out a news alert headline Explosion in toilet block - Bondi and nearly get Watkinsed in the media rush of blood. The porcelain throne ; Ach, the cheeky TFF heard an interesting yarn concerning former Wallabies coach Alan Jones. Apparently, Alan’s personal assistant contacted Bob Merriman, the chairman of Cricket Australia, and said: “ Mr Jones was wanting to know where he will be sitting at David Hookes’s funeral tomorrow.” Merriman, who has been on the receiving end of some Jonesy’s broadcasting barbs over the years, was quick to reply: On his arse, like everyone else.