Saturday, December 31, 2005

Woke up this morning and I
Stared out the window and I
Searched for ugliness and I
Struggled for something to fotograf...
After all, Alexandra and Gabriella are
The Children of Love: Fathers and Daughters

The World Pyro Olympics, an annual competition for fireworks professionals, begins today at The Avenue Rose Bay where the center cannot hold ;-) Gunpowder, Jimi Hendrix and a big heart to usher in the New Year in Sydney. Seeing out the year (Peace and goodwill to all, except Foolish Dave) with Gabbie, Christopher, Lidia, Jacob and Alex feels like a box of chocolates I get to enjoy at just the right pace: one at a time, stretching the box out to last a whole Silvester evening, parcelling out the sweetness bite by bite World Pyro Olympics Elsewhere: No, not again: summer's great terror returns

How to Feel like Imrich: The usual mixed bag of existential klass, but mostly Lessons In Gratitude The secret to happiness is being grateful for everything

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: THE POTENTIAL POWER OF MANY: Most important books for understanding the future
Why books? Why not articles, or speeches, or university courses, or documentaries, or blogs, or iTalks …? The intent of the readings is to be as comprehensive as possible on each of the topics addressed, so book-length treatments seemed like the best approach.

The mission of the RAND Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition is ultimately to improve the human condition in the longer-range future. While there is no sure path to improving the future human condition, there is no shortage of books that address themselves to some aspect of improving that future.

After a particularly brilliant and spectacular speaking engagement in Canberra, Australia, in the summer of 1973, Professor Manning Clark, a distinguished Australian historian wrote to Chinua Achebe and pleaded: “I hope you come back and speak again here, because we need to lose the blinkers of our past. So come and help the young to grow up without the prejudices of their forefathers...”
50 Books for Thinking About the Future Human Condition [Two Christmass gifts for your non-Iranian friends ; Gooooood morning, Weblogistan! ]
• · Holidays are the days we recommit ourselves to our values Amitai Etzioni ; Speaking Personally ; Most in this depraved later Age think a woman learned and wise enough if she can distinguish her husband’s bed from another’s The forgotten literary canon ; Amid talk of "embezzlement" and "rape" they allege a "massive copyright infringement" of the type they say will do the authors of books irreparable harm, Google has done nothing like this to Cold River. Without Google Cold River would have drowned! On line and print make a marriage in heaven ... Google rocks, but only mainstream publishers! Hardly; A new chapter in the death of the book
• · · At a new theme park in El Alberto, Mexico (near Mexico City), wannabe migrants to the United States can test their survival skills at an obstacle course that Replicates the rigors migrants must endure while sneaking across the border ; Doing good at Fairfield Do you value people and appreciate their differences? Do YOU want to make a difference? ; Larger people are more cheerful than their thin peers CLICHES only turn into cliches because they're true
• · · · If 2005 tells us anything about the direction of culture in the Czech Republic, it's that inspiring art and performance have to be rooted in our own experience. Culture comes home in 2005 ; Time management is not the only issue here. There is often something sinister about the motives of those who press books onto others .... The urge to give "Elwood's Blues" to someone who already owns unread biographies of Franz Schubert and Miles Davis smacks of sadism Wish List: No More Books! ; I heard Lauren/ In a haunted doze/ Say: I know a secret dance/ Nobody knows.) Brokeback Mountain (some spoilers possible)
• · · · · The Gnostics were right, the world is made of shi. I made my life a work of art expressing this Judging the book by its BACK-cover ; As any good Jesuit could tell you, the power of myth can sometimes be more important, more materially helpful, than the cold, harsh glare of truth The Success Curse
• · · · · · Amazon Connect A Chance to Meet the Author Online ; A study finds fear of death may be a factor into who we vote for; The people who stand ready to trade their lives for ours are part of a tradition that goes back 400 years Firefighters ; Blogging's Naked Truth

Friday, December 30, 2005

Our teachers come to us in many guises. Mine came in Dr Russell Cope, Patricia Azarias, Dr James Cumes as well as Gabriella and Alexandra, my two amazing angels of the Velvet variety ... There might be many languages, but there is only one truth! These teachers teach us that there is never an ending without another beginning. Even death is a beginning of something new no matter what late Kerry Packer tried to tell us ... indeed, there is hell and there is heaven ;-)

Lets not raise our eyebrows at the challenges that face us.
Lets raise our spirit recognising that we will conquer every single one of them ...

Magic happens with an open heart just like the open love heart which will hover over the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Saturday night during the Silverster fever (New Year Eve Fever)
The greatest magic of all has been and always will be love, agape ...

Why do we write about the most painful experiences in our life? Are we wallowing in the misery? No. Writing helps expunge our grief and lets us heal. Our most powerful weapon is emotional honesty ...

All that mankind, poor or rich, famous or unknown, has done, thought or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books. Antipodean indies, Readings, push boundaries of independent voices: “We hear a lot these days about publishing becoming more and more risk-averse, the bean-counters taking over, and so on .... This is of course a massive generalisation and there are some great things coming out both here and overseas on a regular basis - perhaps the larger problem is our excessively concentrated media world, which narrows our chances of learning about new and exciting work!”
As one of the 80,000 or so readers of ‘My Surreal Vienna’ kindly noted, ‘Jozef Imrich has written the War and Peace of escapes. It lends new meaning to the word 'harrowing' and one sometimes shudders to read it. But deep down, beneath all the layers and the masks, there lives something unconquerable in Jozef's hurt spirit... And the writing, the writing, the writing.’
All in all, Jozef has created fresh, bold and edgy read. The first of its kind, and rather masterful ;-)

CODA: Support Independent Bookstores:
You can buy many of the books mentioned on Double Dragon Publishing from Powell's, the online branch of one of the West Coast's finest indie bookstores. Or you could find a local bookseller through BookSense if you prefer.
Cold River, the only thing that flows faster than the bullets... Powell's Fluid Memoir

Thursday, December 29, 2005

We all try not to think about it. We try as hard as we can not to think about how we could better use those hundreds and hundreds of hours spent traveling to and from work every year, because it just leads to frustration Being without thinking is heavenly
According to Liz, there needs to be a reason to drink Luna Park or Wonderland Coffee ;-)

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Why are Media Dragons not sexy? Why? Why? The questions never end
2005's 10 Sexiest Geeks

Some people say the term "sexy geek" is an oxymoron. Here at Wired News, we say it's redundant. With so many accomplished and delectable nerd types to choose from, picking 10 of the sexiest geeks of 2005 was no easy task. But after much deliberation, here, in alphabetical order (don't even ask us to rank them!), are the musicians, bloggers and otherwise geek-o-licious Wired News sexiest geeks of 2005.

The "mosaic" of wonderful stories [Violet Blue, for writing her scrumptious blog tiny nibbles; for producing one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes I'm Violet Blue -- hardworking sex writer, editor, adult book and video reviewer and machine artist; A tomato is a botanical fruit, but scientifically it’s still a vegetable Jessa Crispin Explains What Your End-of-the-Year List Says About You ; The Winner of the 2005 Best Blog Awards goes to the man with the talent, the man with the vision, the man who writes his Talentism And The Winner Is ... ]
• · Money talks. It writes, too. How embarrassing: opinions for sale, like cheeseburgers Pundit Payola ; Japan is a rich country, but at the moment it's not a country for human beings Is this a Human Country?
• · · Things get worse slowly. People adjust Why the Internet is Broken ; Librarians, lawyers, legislators and thinkers Discuss the rights and wrongs of Google; Celebrities, iPods and natural disasters topped online interest in the year-end summary of requests on search engine Google - What pushed our Dragon buttons Biggest news of the year: Jozef Imrich ;-)
• · · · What makes this medium so special? What keeps us coming back to it each day? Website publishers and editors respond. 'Why do I love online publishing?' ; Free cafeteria food, annual ski trips to the Sierra and free laundry are just some of the fringe benefits of working at Google. Getting hired is the trick How Google woos the best and brightest
• · · · · Mass production and modern communications bring out the collector in all of us - Interest in the rare and exotic survives To have and to hold ; “That’s how you become great, man. You hang your balls out there.” —Kinko's Guy, Jerry Maguire Best of Babelogs
• · · · · · In this hi-tech world of i-Pods and computers, the simple pencil refuses to be erased. Pencil pushers unite! ; Was great. He was an innovator. He was a trailblazer, and the way he showed social commentary in his humor opened up a universe for other comics to follow in his footsteps. Stargazing

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Remember me? Not only am I not dead yet, but I’m back in paperback :-) Needless to say, there's plenty more where that came from. See for yourself—buy a copy of Cold River and email me your response at One last thing: Not that I want to spark the green-eyed glance of envy, but sunny blue Tamarama and Bondi are the places to spend these holidays, in my personal, first-hand, and immediate experience ...

Book lovers may not be the most heroic members of the romantic world, but at least, we tell ourselves, we are deep, we are discerning. Well, I have news for you from publishing’s bottom line: we bespectacled creatures of the late-night night light are, frankly, a bit slutty ... Every movie needs buzz even though the world is getting smaller and smaller and much more than ever is left to the imagination ... This Cover Will Save Your Life: Cool Sexual Positions "They" Don't Want You to Know About?

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: You can tell a book by its cover
Apparently they do matter -- a lot. In The Times Helen Rumbelow finds You can tell a book by its cover:

The jacket of a new novel has just seconds to seduce us into a purchase. Ah, says our critic, so that’s why I see Corelli lookalikes all over the shop ... All the research shows that consumers are very, very influenced by the covers, not necessarily to buy a book, but to pick it up - Joanna Prior, publicity and marketing director at Penguin, says

• I know some people out there are thinking, Why is this boy selecting a book with underwater cover? Standing Out [Stephen King and the Continuation of the Indie Power Grab Bestselling authors who are choosing to publish with independent presses ; In from the Cold ; Swept out of the valley night by an inspire oneiric wind, I stood at the edge of a road under a clear pure-gold sky, in an extraordinary mountainous land Without looking ]
• · A work of art has to circulate through a sub-economy of exchange operated by a large and growing class of middlemen: publishers, curators, producers, publicists, philanthropists, foundation officers, critics, professors, and so on ... The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value Literature’s global economy ; The magician Sure, it's simple, writing for kids. Just as simple as bringing them up
• · · The riches of Israeli literature ; You see, the real reason I became a communist was to impress girls. Back then, all the pretty ones were revolutionaries. One of the things that's gone wrong for the Left is that their girls just aren't cute any more. Let's put it this way. When I'm writing, I spend a lot of time thinking, 'My, doesn't the top of the fridge look dirty'. It takes for ever. People think writing is easy, but just ask them to sit down and write a thank you note to their aunt, or something, and they turn purple. I like thinking about writing. I like having written. But actually sitting down and doing it… P.J. O'Rourke tortured
• · · · You don't need to bring me anything this year--2005 has been good to me - thank you for that. This year, I am writing on behalf of some of my friends and students and any other excellent writers out there who are beginning to lose faith. I think many of them don't believe in you any more. Rejection after rejection can be a bitter pill to swallow. I know. I've been there. What I'm asking this year is that you give the gift of hope to those who are so deserving of it. A byline in a literary journal here. A bite from an agent there. An offer from a publisher for those wonderful books that haven't found homes yet. Even a detailed and encouraging rejection letter Three Writers Write to Book Biz Santa ; The Beatles Christmas Recordings ; Academics point to content errors in the ongoing Book program, but the search giant says fixes are coming Google's Great Works in Progress
• · · · · I am in Arizona this week, hanging out with my sister's baby and reading some Joseph Heller. If you're using blogs as an excuse not to talk to your family this week, I'm sorry you won't have more time to kill with Bookslut. Perhaps you could sneak out and go see a movie? The Book Standard reviews the Golden Globe nominees for Book-to-film adaptation ; She revealed: It sounds so pretentious but it's one of my favourite things. I've got this group of friends who are quite Bohemian and we get drunk, get the poetry books out and read Sienna Miller and the drunk poetry thing ; They're so much easier to give than they are to receive. They're so much more gratifying to gift givers than they are to recipients. Pleasing Giver and, at Times, Recipient, Too
• · · · · · Steamy? How Sexy Are You?; The New Single Woman Living single ; When Americans smile, we merely employ the zygomatic major, a facial muscle that stretches the corners of our lips up, showing our upper teeth. But when the English smile, he claims, they use both the zygomatic major and the risorius, a muscle that pulls the lips sideways, showing their lower teeth, too. Galvanic smile ; The Five Best First Sentences

Saturday, December 24, 2005

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.
- Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

To Those Who Appreciate the Art of Giving Cold River does not Mind Sand in the Spine
While much is left to the imagination, I console myself with knowing that everyone’s first book is autobiographical to some extent. The escape story across the Iron Curtain was a bit like constipation, it had to come out in the end ... When I'm crying, as much as when I'm laughing, I feel completely alive. It works for me. As a writer, the test of my best work is whether it does more than simply stimulate thought -- it must also provoke emotion. Memoirs can mine psychology in a way that films can not. Films are all about surface and speed. Books are all about depth and taking one's time swimming in the deep end of emotions. What other art form allows you to live inside another person's mind—a theater of other people's minds—for days or even weeks on end?
The experience of writing serious non-fiction is comparable to a shamanic journey. We must be willing to let go of our attachment to our everyday lives and concerns and make the solitary pilgrimage into the deepest reaches of our psyches to explore a strange and often frightening landscape. We return changed, blessed and burdened with our most profound wisdom and the need to communicate it. The attempt to shoehorn such an emotionally and spiritually engaging venture into a twenty-first century Western schedule can result in frustration, inhibition, and spectacular rejections ... Two zillion books a year are published, of which top one hundred are given the Big Rush, and all the rest tend to drown without a trace ... They say it's OK to charm, to cajole, to manipulate, to sell your soul if need be. But the most important thing is caring enough to get the story right and tell it well! Thank you for reading ...

Most of us don't like risk and uncertainty. That's too bad, because there's no shortage of either ... Next year will be bigger than ever. Take it easy, run a risk, have fun, go for it! 2005’s been a huge year for Cold River! Skipped the Coldest River the first time around? Here comes your second chance! If great escapes are all about redemption, isn't it kind of fitting this book gets a second chance? Here is a book peppered with gripping account of escape just out in paperback. A staggering achievement, especially considering this was a debut memoir. Cold River created a stark and painful record of what happens to families when death moves in. And showing that he's unafraid to tackle big themes and larger questions, Jozef links to links about writing for posterity. Remember: great books don't only get better with age. They get less expensive. So dive right in as every day in the deep end of life is a good day... The Cold River Comes in From the Cold: Dissent Protects Democracy

Cold River: Fluid Memoir

Gut-wrenching memoir never forgets that cold war was fought by human beings

Sink or Swim: If It Were All So Simple

Iron Curtain Brought to Book: This Book Will Save Your Life

Cold River: Telling tales against the tide

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Be careful, it's my heart,
It's not my watch you're holding, it's my heart.
It's not the note I sent you that you quickly burned,
It's not the book I lent you that you never returned.
Remember, it's my heart,
The heart with which so willingly I part.
It's yours to take, to keep or break,
But please, before you start,
Be careful, it's my heart.
-Irving Berlin, “Be Careful, It’s My Heart” (music by Berlin, courtesy of Marc Myers)
Maybe we are crazy. Maybe we will change the world: You are different. So is Cold River
Sink or Swim: If It Were All So Simple

Monday, December 19, 2005

In our swimming pool at dawn / I counted eight dead cockroaches / The man from the village who cleans it / Said he couldn’t come until eleven / And I felt quite sick
– Lady Vittoria de Selby, Rhapsody in Rosé (Faber): has anyone ever captured the fragile condition of the human spirit at the start of our dark new century quite so movingly as this?

Most of us don't like risk and uncertainty. That's too bad, because there's no shortage of either. The most significant thing about The Cold River is the fact that it could be written at all ... So dive right in Paperback Edition ~ 1554043115 ~ Cold River: Fluid Memoir

I will go further to say that individuals ought to enjoy as much freedom as possible and government as little power as possible Cold River: Telling tales against the tide

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Book Review: Who Critiques Whom - and Why?
The internet seem like every drunken conversation come to life ... Readers - and authors - deserve a process that is as fair as possible in both reality and perception. What's fair, however, is particularly challenging in the world of the book section ...

When The New York Times Book Review published its list of "100 Notable Books of the Year" earlier this month, calculations from several readers and bloggers soon turned up in my in-box. Of the 61 nonfiction books on the list, they noted, six were by Times staffers - enough to pique my interest in the overall book-review process at the paper. The Cold War Comes in From the Cold

• Some writers feel they never authored a book if The Times doesn't review the book If The Times doesn't review the book [Blogs are like reports from a far-flung world - You might hear some good things about yourself, but you may also hear something devastating: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth Jozef Imrich must die ; In appearance he was spruce and distinguished, with hard, light eyes like fissures in a block of ice - achieving more fame by what we refrain from doing than by what he do The fine art of Obituary; For some years now, Nicholas A. Basbanes has been chronicling the consuming passions of bibliophiles. An ardent bibliophile himself, Basbanes knows firsthand the lengths to which book lovers will go to track down a rare edition, a specially bound volume or, in some cases, entire libraries. An avid bibliophile pages his way through history ; I had no memory, no consciousness, no sight, no hearing, no touch, without the pure simplicity and utter intricacy of the fabric woven of my life and the lives of my family. My book is |consubstantial with its authors The Hottest Water in Chicago ; 100 ways to make money in 2006 Want to get really rich? Publish Cold River ;-)]
• · The Underrated Writers ; Harold Bloom, despairing of contemporary America, turns to his bookshelves to understand the trajectory of his country Reflections in the Evening Land ; What happened on Cronulla Beach warns us that our self-inflicted wounds are festering Australia's Dangerous Fantasy
• · · A Fugitive Phenomenon Kerryn Goldsworthy ; When does one really enter the community of scholars and become a “real” professor? When you finish your Ph.D.? Longing for the Chili Pepper
• · · · Why human beings in the 21st century must relearn how to live with water Living on water: welcome to a shedboatshed world ; The Mises Institute, Llewellyn Rockwell I can present my own perspective on this up front: all reform in all areas of politics, economics, and society should be in one direction: toward more freedom for individuals and less power for government Why society needs no managers
• · · · · Throughout the Old Testament, more powerful men are more polygynous men. They have sex with more wives and concubines; they have sex with more slaves; they have more sex with other men's women; and they father many children Politics as Sex: The Old Testament Case ; Do you love the thrill of the chase? ; Peter Sagal has dinner with porn stars--and his wife; Ready to have a baby? You'll earn 10 percent more if you wait a year. The Price of Motherhood
• · · · · · Why We Love Einstein ; EINSTEIN WRONG ABOUT BEING WRONG Biggest blunder not really a mistake at all; I was at this party last night and I was drinkin' sparklin' perry The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Where there is great love there are always miracles
~Willa Cather

May those who visit your home feel the love residing there
Hope your new place becomes a home.
Congratulations - the move is over!
You made it!
May happiness & love move in with you
May you create countless memories in your new home
Saint Mikulas - Patron of Icebergs DSCN0515
Sunrise warming our day DSCN0521
I am an optimist by nature. An indefatigable, idealist and die-hard believer that good can prevail no matter the ocean size all around cynicism All you need is love: it's one of those days
Thong-Ling in the shadow of Crikey ;-) DSCN0497
Addictive Smiles DSCN0492

Housewarming: On One Summer Day in December Ice-breaker: Welcome to BONDI Neighborhood
Moving into a new home ranks among the more exciting events in life. It's definitely time to break out the bubbly and celebrate.

The tradition of housewarming parties probably began with cavemen bringing embers from their fire to their friends new cave to "warm" the hearth. The traditional gifts of bread and salt probably date back to the Middle Ages when newlyweds were given the basic staples of life to start their new household. Sugar also came to signify best wishes for a sweet and happy life...and in that regard you could never go wrong with a gift of wine. The tradition is still alive. A housewarming brings good wishes and friendship to warm the new house or apartment and thoughtful gifts to fill the rooms

• When we come from a place of looking for the lovely, then we experience miracles and life opens for you. Love attracts love. When you extend love you will always be receiving love Housewarming Potluck [Planets love their star. Star clusters love their galaxies. Bees love their flowers and flowers love their bees ; Love tends to awaken connection rather than separation ]
In the parliamentary past and inside a soulful friendship DSCN0450
Kiama Konnection Rossssiter DSCN0461
Godmother and good karma DSCN0453
Neighbours ... Neighbours DSCN0462
Neighbours ... DSCN0495
• · The bedrock of mutual respect is comfort and admiration for each other's opinions. If that isn't present, contempt is just around the corner You Just Don't Get It ;-); We separate ourselves from others, telling ourselves that we're superior or inferior -- it doesn't matter which because it's just an excuse anyway. It's an excuse for avoiding the whole problem of love, as though love could just go away without taking some of our humanity with Love can't be faked
Sweet McSweeney Inc ;-) DSCN0489
Golden Golemish Moon Rise over Bondi DSCN0512
Godfather after the Mexican moon rise ;-) DSCN0513

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cold River, a kind of story for readers who thirst after exciting foreign non-fiction - a fluid memoir You are different. So is Cold River

I blog to remember who I am ... The sky’s the limit when it comes to what bloggers can do to make a difference in someone else’s life. Books and blogs - They’re the New Black!
Television can make you famous, but it can’t keep you famous. It’s more like an opiate—as soon as you stop taking your daily fix, you get all pale and clammy, and before long you vanish in a puff of near-transparent mist over a Cold River ...

This was the story of a twelve-year-old girl who had nowhere to go. Humbert had tried to turn her into his fantasy, into his dead love, and he had destroyed her. The desperate truth of Lolita's story is not the rape of a twelve-year-old by a dirty old man but the confiscation of one individual's life by another. We don't know what Lolita would have become if Humbert had not engulfed her. Yet the novel, the finished work, is hopeful, beautiful even, a defense not just of beauty but of life ... Warming up and suddenly inspired, I added that in fact Nabokov had taken revenge on our own solipsizers; he had taken revenge on the Ayatollah Khomeini ... As Christopher Hitchens reminds us, Lolita Haze would be 70 this year

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Gods and Generals
Death may be immortality’s opposite, but it confers a similar invulnerability. Death dealing and bent on dying, Achilles has achieved absolute freedom

It makes me very aware of my wasted life as an artist; I should have chucked security and settled for Bohemianism in which my talents might have flowered more originally. Perhaps wife and child and the desire for roots have been a mistake. I should have given an adventurous Lear by now and invented a clown. Ah well. What I have is a dear good wife, a dear good son and a house with views of rolling downs, trees, grass, and open skies. And a pretty good collection of books. -Alec Guinness (diary entry, Jan. 1, 1981)

Heroes are not necessarily amiable [They're supposed to be hellish wastelands: Chill out in the outer reaches, admiring the view and reciting poetry with Homer and Virgil. As night falls, drop down a few circles to where the real party is: among all those gamblers and fornicators. The 10 Best Dystopias ; The typical American female TV criminal is nasty, cutthroat, cunning, duplicitous and sexy to boot Bad Girls ]
• · Jim Collins's best seller is that rare business book that finds an audience beyond corporations. Now he's got a sequel for organizations not ruled by the bottom line ...There will be no glitzy media tour to sell it--if people want it, he figures, they'll know where to find it. Good to Self-Publish: A 'Good to Great' Second Act ; Walden Plans Book Line In 'Narnia,' Tycoon Seeks Blockbuster With a Message
• · · Cookies at Christmas ; Now, I know why some animals eat their young. Christmas Letters: Gag Me With A Spoon
• · · · Knowing your heart is the best treat life has to offer magic follows Publish or Perish: It’s Not Only for Academia ; Men are often accused by women of, to put it bluntly, having their brains in their balls. A joke, of course. But perhaps not as much of one as people might like to think Bigger testes mean smaller brains
• · · · · For starters, being polyamorous doesn't mean you're shagging a bunch of people. It may mean that you only have one other partner Social animals - Intimacy adds to the quality of your life ; Your how-to guide in loving more than one Polyamory? ; Testosterone and Trust
• · · · · · For an Englishman in New York, happiness is never having to say you're sorry Against Politeness ; Premarital sex is now just a part of the process of getting acquainted Who’s a virgin these days? ; A generation after Mao suits, China is coping with an epidemic of free love Sex, Please--We're Young and Chinese

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I spoke to my Mamka (Mom) this morning it was 5:30 am in seaside Sydney and evening in the High Tatra Mountains. The temperatures also could not be more different as it is nice and warm here whereas it is freezing in my old home country. At 89 ( in February next year) Mamka is bright and alert and can recall so many childhood stories I have forgotten. My sister Gitka is her guardian angel keeping her company as they share stories and sew or knit together. They are an amazing couple of friends - so alike in appearance and temperament - so much more than daughter mother relationship ... Both cannot get over that we have moved again as neither my sister or my Mamka ever left their place of birth and are still living where they were born. I am glad that they have always provided for me with a sense of stability, a place and home to call whenever my heart desired ... My sister and my Mamka seem to agree with the sentiment expressed in the sweet sixteen points below


1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved and never will achieve its full potential, that word would be "meetings."
3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
5. You should not confuse your career with your life.
6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
7. Never lick a steak knife.
8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.
9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
10. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.
12. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.
13. A person who is nice to you but rude to a waiter is not a nice person.
(This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
14. Your friends love you anyway.
15. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
16. Men are like fine wine. They start out as grapes, and it's up to the women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.

'On The Importance of Telling Stories'
My grandmother often told me the story of her father-in-law who found out just before Christmas that he was going to die. Determined to live through the holiday to be with his family, he died right after the new year. She and my grandfather, then very young newlyweds, took that rapid loss as a lesson to live for the day and be happy with what they had - a lesson they truly followed. When she became old and my grandfather died, my grandmother thrived on telling old stories to keep herself going. It wasn't so much that she was living in the past, but the telling of the stories made the past alive and relevant It is that same sense of the need to live in the moment while telling stories of the past that Joan Didion has infused through her memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking.

If I had a million dollars, I would slap it all down on the table in front of any jackass that said they could write a fabulous book if only they had a big fat advance, and tell them they could have every single penny if they could bang out a genuinely salable book in six months ... because your basic loudmouth non-writer is no more capable of writing a salable book than I am of piloting a 747, and roughly for the same reason—it’s a skill you have to learn, baby, and one generally learns the writing skill by writing most days of your life (and generally—alas—you’ll be doing that for little if any pay).
– Whatever
Publishing, Writing, Getting Published

Monday, December 05, 2005

I survived the Bondi to Bronte ocean swim. Just ;-) In at the deep end no one asks you about the time it took. It is one thing to walk from Bondi to Bronte but it is another thing altogether to swim the distance. Swimming around the rocks really does give you a strange sense of existentialism ... as well as a deep sense of being part of this amazingly wonderful world!

rançois Truffaut defined a great movie as a perfect blend of truth and spectacle. Now it's become bifurcated. Studio films are all spectacle and no truth, and independent films are all truth and no spectacle."
-Howard Franklin

Former editor in chief of Grove Press and co-founder of Carroll & Graf Kent Carroll is featured in LA Weekly for Europa Editions, the sprightly new publishing venture he has just started in New York, as a kind of book club for Americans who thirst after exciting foreign fiction Tough Guys, Effete Snobs and Mad Women: Introducing Europa Editions

But Enough About Me ...Let's talk about other writers and books.
Did you know that today was the day that Elizabeth Bear's latest book Worldwired debuted in the stores?

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Time is a very strange thing.
Time is a very strange thing.

So long as one takes it for granted, it is nothing at all.
But then, all of a sudden, one is aware of nothing else.
It is all about us, it is within us also,
In our faces it is there, trickling,
In the mirror it is there, trickling,
In my sleep it is there, flowing,
And between me and you,
There, too, it flows, soundless, like an hour-glass.
Oh, Quinquin, sometimes I hear it flowing
Irresistibly on.
Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night
And stop all the clocks, all, all of them.
Nevertheless, we are not to shrink from it,
For it, too, is a creature of the Father who created us all.
Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Der Rosenkavalier (music by Richard Strauss, trans. W.H. Auden)

• The number of men paying women for sex has nearly doubled in a decade, says research. Why? Time is a very strange thing [Some couples may disagree, but romantic love lasts little more than a year, Italian scientists believe. Romantic love 'lasts just a year' ; Hot off the page ; Relationship breakdown and separation can be a challenging time, but you are not alone Australian's are suffering from a new epidemic called ‘Divorce Disorder’ ; So many young women who can make sense of spreadsheets, quote Shakespeare, and tone discrete muscle groups – can’t cook a proper Thanksgiving dinner Many young women wish they knew their way around the kitchen ; This week has seen a report showing shocking attitudes to rape and a case thrown out of court after the prosecution said drunken consent is still consent. Naomi Wolf looks at what can be done to improve a desperate situation Take the shame out of rape ]
• · Showing their lighter side, Forbes introduces yet another list: the richest fictional people Forbes List: Richest Fictional People ; Forbes’ List of Imriches ; Literacy is in the eye of the beholder
• · · Nomads: The Jewish Century ; Myth and Memory in the American Identity ; Hans Magnus Enzensberger looks at the kind of ideological trigger required to ignite the radical loser - whether amok killer, murderer or terrorist - and make him explode The radical loser
• · · · Yes, we know you can identify T.O. and 50 Cent. You're a devoted reader. But who or what is Slavoj Zizek? The wild Seinfeldian philosopher ; Pop philosopher Colin Wilson provide clues to a serial killer’s motives? Scott McLemee is banking on the idea A Killing Concept; Useful for understanding the current political situation? Piled Higher and Deeper
• · · · MetaxuCafe: Literary cool-kid hang out? Time sink you didn’t know you needed? Best idea ever? Yes, yes, and no, unless you disqualify sandwiches, in which case, yes. Latest Entries from MetaxuCafé ; I wanted to recommend that everyone go read the Reproductive Rights issue of Nerve It is hard to get flies off of honey
• · · · · Great Stories, People, Books & Events in Literary History::Tortured ROMANTICS ; I know it's the hip thing to talk about how overrated sex is, but ; In Hollywood, there’s a studio price and an indie price

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Last week has been aimed at settling me and my angel Gabriella at Bondi and preparing me for the Cold River Bondi Bronte ocean swim tomorrow. [I am back to my 95 kg from 103 kg more palatable for my 6.2 frame] If there are no posts on Monday it means my 40 something body just could not take the surf and the rocks ;-)

A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possession - Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy Be happy not rich

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: For Love of Freedom: Tales of Desperate Science Fictional Acts
Because of the Cold War emphasis on dystopias, Cold War writers like Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Samuel R. Delany had to find radical new ways to express their inexpressible hopes about the future, claims Jameson. In Dick's uncanny novels, the author demands of us that we decide for ourselves what's real and what isn't ...

Josh Glenn writes a terrific column for the Boston Globe's Ideas section. It is called "The Examined Life." This week, he wrote "a long-form essay I've written for today's Ideas: It's about Fredric Jameson's new book on the utopian possibilities of dystopian science fiction by the likes of Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Samuel R. Delany."

Fans of Dick, Delany, and their ilk warn neophytes not to read too many of their books too quickly: Doing so, as this reader can attest, tends to result in pronounced feelings of irreality, paranoia, and angst.
Josh Glenn on utopian ideas hidden inside dystopian sf. [ There is no alternative to free-market capitalism ...; Science Fiction Cold River runs so deep ]
• · Communal TV viewing by families and groups of friends is on the rise again after years of decline, thanks to shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor and Doctor Who. TV has a unique ability which other media simply don't possess - it brings people together Family viewing on the rise;
• · · Tolstoy understood human consciousness better than anyone who ever lived ... Her single-minded faith in love, which befits a romance character but is pure hell on one who resides in a realist work, plunges her into isolation and paranoia . Anna’s fate illustrates the dangers of such kinds of all-or-nothing thinking. And all at once she thought of the man crushed by the train the day she had first met Vronsky, and she knew what she had to do. The character, not the author, fulfills the omen. Anna provides her own foreshadowing, and fate has nothing to do with it I knew that she knew what she had to do: All about Jozef and Anna Semankova ;-); One must write, if not from taste then at least from despair. For, to reduce everything to a single truth: work is less boring than pleasure. Work like war is not just a scrapbook of atrocities and bad luck. It is not a series of alarming photographs. War is hell because it happens to people Cold (War) River: we didn't plan it this way