Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I have always known that life is better when you share it. I now realize it gets even sweeter when you expand the circle.
- Oprah Winfrey

For the next few hours or days it's moving time. THE BIG DAY is tomorrow. Moving house can be an exhausting and disruptive experience, but it also is filled with opportunities and anticipation of the variety that life tends to serve us on a plate in our exile. The biggest move in my life was the crossing of the Iron Curtain at 22. Since then I lived like a gypsie most of the time - it included stings at Traiskirchen was the Austrian headquarters for refugees ... Villawood became my Hollywood and then living with George Dorman - uncle of Leo Schofield at Croydon the leafy Bay Street. Lauren introduced me to Jessie Street at Westmead and together we saved to invade Darling Point Road at Darling Point where both girls Alex and Gabbie were conceived ;-) The longest time we stayed somewhere was at Birriga Rd, Bellevue Hill. Since then Adelaide and Brissie and Sunshine Coast where our homes. Now we say goodbye to the Shire and hello to Bondi again ...
Gabriella and I have used the surreal act of moving house again as an opportunity to sort out our possessions. We had a garage sale and we had given away stuff to friends and charity shops. As we packed everything up and the rooms came merely to hold cardboard boxes rather than our lives, the house returned bit by bit to a Platonic state of unreality about the move - IT all seems abstract and kind of ghostly. With each book I removed from the shelves I felt like David Bowman unplugging HAL’s memory modules towards the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Something wound down and faded, but you couldn’t call it a living thing. We were the living things, and we are on our way to a new place, and our memories are coming with us. I miss all those different places like I miss my childhood: terribly, but I wouldn’t go back ...

Moving house can be one of the most exciting things you ever do. Here are a few helpful tips to make moving more colourful ;-) Tips courtesy of Izzy’s Channel 7

So much of our lives on this side of the cemetery appears to be in the name of love and friendship. Indeed, friends give us memories we are unlikely to forget. ... Lately life's been good again, thanks to soulful friends, as we have rebonded over best thai, dark coffee and breezy walks ... How can I ever thank you enough? Steve, Chris, Phil and Roberto? Gina, Gwynne, Patricia, Kerri and Vanessa - thank you for restoring my faith in women. Every time I think of our intimate conversations, it makes me smile like a village idiot ;-) You have been the best brothers and sisters in the world, and have listened to me bitch, whine, and complain for years! I'd move a mountain for you Steve and Chris seriously. Enough with this sentimentality, I'll just buy you brandy! I'd like to thank you for always telling me the things I never wanted to hear, and for steering me in the right direction. Your support keeps me grounded, and your love for simple things in life is very inspiring.

Honestly, there are dozens of people I need to thank, because I have truly crafted an amazing life in exile with your help. Every day when I wake up, I am positively sure that it will be better than the last one. You see with friends like you, my success is guaranteed. Thanks for helping him create a meaningful and impactful life (Bear with me if I disappear temporarily beneath the river of life filled with new adventures)

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
-Melody Beattie

Monday, November 21, 2005

One nail to drive out another. Such is the way of the world ... ;-)

A critic is there to set out reasons for an artist’s claim on our attention. We need good critics, informed critics, and more of them. But the minds of editors are elsewhere Critical clowns ... devoured by a thirst for celebrity

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The way we were
As adults, we can go back and reread children’s literature with deep delight, but never with a child’s innocence

Why are adult readers so drawn to children's literature? A lavish new Norton anthology suggests some answers. As adult readers of children's stories, we're aware, as children are not, that their robust confidence in the world, at least while they are enraptured by a story, is ephemeral and fragile, endangered by every step they take toward adulthood. For us, the child becomes almost another character in the story, responding with a wonderfully heedless delight or dismay to things as unreal as the adult world she imagines. But we know what's coming, how evanescent the child's world is-and we feel for her what she cannot possibly feel for herself.

The willing suspension of disbelief [The beauty of Dr. Johnson’s language is a moral beauty, hard won out of his lifelong struggles. Yet another reason to love him. Amazingly enough, the first great dictionary was basically the work of one man. ; The Boundless Chaos of a Living Speech ]
• · Green Roofs ; The daguerreotype began it, wailed Baudelaire: “Our squalid society rushed, Narcissus to a man, to gaze at its trivial image on a scrap of metal.” We soon drowned in images The Image Culture
• · · Europe Central, by William T. Vollmann, has won the National Book Award for fiction. Joan Didion took the nonfiction prize. Europe Central ;
• · · · So you’re overweight? Relax, and enjoy some ice cream. The fear of fat may kill you before the fat itself does Obesity: Epidemic or Myth? ; The Aboriginal art craze has run its course, says Germaine Greer. Oh well, Aboriginal art, in common with all other art, is mostly bad anyway Can you tell what it's worth yet?
• · · · · Closed, pre-rational, taboo-ridden, undemocratic, militaristic, and fearful of liberty: for Karl Popper the tribal society was deeply menacing. Roger Sandall explain - The enemies of the open society today Tribal Yearnings ; Men care for hair only if it can lead somewhere ; NATURE not nurture is the main determinant of how well children perform at school and university Good genes beat good homes as guide to pupils’ school success
• · · · · · She risked torture, imprisonment, perhaps even death to study literature and write poetry in secret under the Taliban. Last week, when she should have been celebrating the success of her first book, Nadia Anjuman, was beaten to death in Herat, apparently murdered by her husband. Woman poet ‘slain for her verse’ ; Book Hunting in Britain Best UK bookshop ; The Kindness of Readers Best virtual bookshop

Sunday, November 20, 2005

We are packed and ready to invade new school and old grounds at Bondi area. Another interesting chapter in our book - as they say the only place where there is no inflation, exitement, emotional rollercoaster is the cemetery. Outside the cemetery life keeps going on and on - no matter what ...

Benjamin Franklin said, "Things that hurt instruct."
Do I think I have to hurt to learn?
-Liz Strauss

I walk. I talk. I trip every now and
then. Occasionally I fall down. I dance
in elevators when no one is looking,
but I will not run for a bus. ME Strauss

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: What does it mean to be a radical?
Radicalism was quite distinct from the modern American usage of radical to denote political extremes of right or left.

The meaning of language is often misunderstood, but the confusion that comes out of the pure ignorance for disregarding history, is boundless. From Wikipedia: the term Radical (latin radix meaning root) has been used since the late 18th century as a label in political science for those favouring or trying to produce thoroughgoing or extreme political reforms which can include changes to the social order to a greater or lesser extent. Historical

Only a reactionary knows best [For many conservatives, the publication of Jesse Helms’s memoirs is a melancholy event. It reminds them of a time when there was one politician they could count on, time and time again, to take lonely stands against polite—i.e., liberal—opinion Here’s Where I Stand: A Memoir, Jesse Helms ; I'd like to burn you at the stake! ]
• · An article on Simon Bolivar and the art of letter-writing ; A caption contest chez boynton, suggested by Nabakov ; Altruism demands that an individual serve others, but doesn’t stipulate whether those others should be one’s family, or the homeless, or society as a whole Villainy and the nature of evil (in 5 parts)
• · · Some things learned in school will inform major life choices that students make during college. Take shirtlessness, for example. A Shirt Isn’t a Prerequisite ; You may remember Chip McGrath from 2004 when he defended the fact that under his direction 72% of the books reviewed at the New York Times Book Review were by men by arguing that "more books are written by men than by women Boy, Girl, Boy ; Why have Catholics stopped lining up at the confessional? The Sin Box
• · · · Brilliant young writer's poetic licence ; Orwell the angry proletarian Two irascible Englishmen: Mr. Waugh and Mr. Orwell
• · · · · The California Aggie profiles Josh Clover, poet and former music critic -My interest really has been in the ways that people dismiss popular culture,” Clover said. “It’s more of a political decision than a choice of taste … a class bias against things that can be real expressions of human existence. From pop culture to poetry ; In Republican Like Me, journalist Harmon Leon infiltrates the Red (State) Menace to find out what makes conservatives so dang kooky Behind Enemy Lines
• · · · · · Do you suffer from extremely bad hangovers? ; Peter Drucker – The Austrian-born, US economist and management consultant pioneer died just a week shy of his 96th birthday Irony in guru's death on day GM does a deal

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

AUSTRALIA WINS THE WORLD CUP QUALIFIER ON PENALTIES 4-2 At times like these, we grasp for words of excitement and joy ;-) Australia's date with destiny: Australia John Aloisi GOOOOAAAAALLLL!!!!!!

Ach another thoughtful courtesy of Gina: Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone. Using trees as the metaphor, these poignant words of Nobel prizewinner Czeslaw Milosz sum up what it truly means to be human. Perhaps we in the animal kingdom can learn much from those in the plant kingdom.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up

This fall, Senator Barbara Boxer of California and Richard A. Clarke, the ubiquitous counterterrorism expert, became the latest inductees into an elite political fellowship, one that doesn't discriminate on the basis of party affiliation, security clearance, home state or prayer breakfast attendance: the politico-novelist set Political Fictions

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The rules of sarcasm
They say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. Yeah, right. Assuming "they" are the same experts who tell us "Look before you leap" and "He who hesitates is lost", then I think we all know how incisive and invaluable their advice is. What would we do without it?

Sarcasm is so ubiquitous these days, it almost goes unnoticed. But, as David Beckham proved, when he was sent off this week for seemingly clapping a referee who had just booked him, not everyone is a fan. The trick is to use sarcasm intelligently, and sparingly

The tricks of Sarcasm [ Researchers to uncover secrets of Gladstone's library ; It is quite something to live in an age of riotous immorality, and yet to be accounted the most dissolute individual of the time Johnny Depp and the Libertines: The history behind his new role ]
• · American political novels have suffered from a case of ''arrested development. Beltway belles-lettres ; Carrying a Maya Angelou or having an Alice Walker poke out of your rucksack signalled cultural sensitivity in a far more effective way than a Nuclear Power Nein Danke badge on your denim jacket Books can be badges — and beacons, too
• · · Like Australia, the United States of America has absorbed countless cultural influences through hundreds of years of immigration. But Americans have also developed their own unique forms of expression, jazz being the most obvious. And they've contributed more than anyone to the development of modern dance. Now a new documentary, called simply Rize, reveals the latest step in this evolution Film: Rize ; The more pornographic our society becomes, the more it loses interest in procreation. As a result of the constant onslaught of stimuli, female desire in particular is faced with irreconcilable paradoxes. And men leave the role of the hunter to women From Pornography to Withdrawal
• · · · Sports and philosophy go hand-in-hand It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up ; We have determined the 100 things that most make you quiver like a schoolgirl 100 things that make us scream
• · · · · The secret of impressive writing? Keep it Plain and simple ; Most people would prefer life in prison to being executed. This does not show that death is a superior deterrent to life in prison because: Moral Choices
• · · · · · Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography Why the United States needs opinionated loudmouths Ideological Warfare ; From Australia, a review of Telling the Truth about Aboriginal History ; How does one locate exciting works of history?: Historians' Triumphs

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Nowhere in the world have I encountered a festival of people that has such a magnificent appeal to the whole nation. The Cup astonishes me.
-Mark Twain

Melbourne Cup Day is Australia's most famous Tuesday. It's a day when the nation stops whatever it's doing to listen to the race call, or watch the race on TV, and even those who don't usually bet, try their luck Spring Racing Carnival

Melbourne Cup: The race that stops a nation
The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major annual thoroughbred horse race. The race that stops a nation, as it has been called, is for three-year-olds and over, and covers a distance of 3,200 metres.

The race has been held on the first Tuesday in November since 1861 in Melbourne, Australia. The race is held at Flemington Racecourse by the Victoria Racing Club. It is run as a "weight-for-age handicap", in which the weight of the jockey, and riding gear is adjusted with ballast to a nominated figure. Older horses are given more weight than younger ones, and weightings are further adjusted according to the horse's previous results

Melbourne in grip of Cup fever