Monday, January 30, 2006

Happiness is . . . Sydney Grogblogging fotos, and composing letters to virtual readers

Jason, Jozef, Andrew Esq. via Tim Lambert
Traffic Details: Least Unpopular Australian Leftoid Blogs

In case you missed it, bloggers from around Australia met up on Saturday night for Grogblogging III. And yes, they’re just as opinionated in person as they are on screen.
Flashman from Electron Soup was chatting with Jozef Imrich of Media Dragon when I arrived. Pretty soon we were joined by Antony Carr — guest blogger at Evil Pundit, Club Troppo’s Nicholas Gruen and Stephen Hill, Agent FareEvader, Glen Fuller (Disambiguation Blog), Suki of Suki has an Opinion, and Tim Blair’s nemesis, Tim Lambert of Deltoid.
Catallaxy’s Jason Soon arrived early but was turned away by the RSL’s bouncer — no photo ID, no entry. I’m told that Jason’s response was the highlight of the evening and I’m sorry I missed it. Fortunately Jason doesn’t live far away and was able to go home for his passport.
LP’s Mark Bahnisch was there, along with Naomi. Liam Hogan from arrived complete with his trademark beret (but RSL rules prevented him from wearing it). Andrew Bartlett also came along and was as engaging in person as he is online.
Bloggers, beer, bouncers & berets — Grogblogging in Sydney

Dear Nigerian Friend,

I am a former general in the Czechoslovak army who has managed to steal countless millions from my people. It has come to my attention that you are an investing genius and I would like your help establishing an account at a U.S. bank.

To start with, you need to know that Jozef Imrich's memoirs COLD RIVER: The Cold Truth of Freedom was published in December 2005 and is getting a big promo push from The British ABCTales Network, which has posted links to his book at their site:

Kindness of Strangers

This is important, because I need you to buy 17,800 copies of the book. In return, if you give me your checking account number, your credit card number, and your social security number, I will wire you $122,000 as "reimbursement" for the purchase of this splendid book.

We will all be winners, especially you my dear, dear friend.

I look forward to hearing from you.


General Jozef Imrich
Cold River Only one in a lifetime The Cold Truth of Freedom

Friday, January 27, 2006

I am breathing easier this morning, as I’ve just learned that I’m going to live to the ripe old age of 106. This handy bit of information comes from How Long Will I Live?
Last year I came *this* close to not believing in living or miracles. Before we fall in love, we know what qualities we are looking for in a lover—or think we do. . . . Once we have fallen in love, it is a different story. When we are pressed to explain why we love our lover, we usually have little to say except what Montaigne says: Because she's she; because I'm me. When it comes to explaining why we love, we are all tongue-tied. . . . Loved beings—like great works of art—resist paraphrase. Love, as a result, seems somehow groundless—and so somehow blind.
God almighty, I'm going to get drunk and be somebody Yeah, yeah, yeah... If You Blog It, Grog It ;-)

I believe in miracles
Where you from
You sexy thing
I believe in miracles
Since you came along
You sexy thing
-Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing Lyrics (When You Wish Upon a Star)

I wish I could tell you in a few succinct sentences what Love's Confusions is about, but I find that impossible to do: A lover never knows what he loves, / Why he loves, or what love is Agape, Eros, and the Will
Dictionary for Decoding Women's Personal Ads:
40-ish ........................ 49.
Adventurous .............. Slept with everyone.
Athletic ...................... No breasts
Average looking .......... Moooo.
Beautiful .................... Pathological liar.
Emotionally Secure ... On medication.
Feminist .................... Fat
Free spirit .................. Junkie
Friendship first .......... Former slut.
New-Age ................... Body hair in the wrong places.
Old-Fashioned ........... No BJs.
Open-minded ............. Desperate
Outgoing ................... Loud and Embarrassing.
Professional .............. Bitch
Voluptuous ................ Very Fat
Hugh frame ............... Hugely Fat
Wants soul mate ....... Stalker

1. Yes = No
2. No = Yes
3. Maybe = No
4. We need = I want
5. I am sorry - You'll be sorry
6. We need to talk = you're in trouble
7. Sure, go ahead = you better not
8. Do what you want = you will pay for this later
9. I am not upset = Of course, I am upset, you moron!
10. You're certainly attentive tonight = is sex all you ever think about?

1. I am hungry = I am hungry
2. I am sleepy = I am sleepy
3. I am tired = I am tired
4. Nice dress = Nice cleavage!
5. I love you = Let's have sex now
6. I am bored = Do you want to have sex?
7. May I have this dance? = I'd like to have sex with you.
8. Can I call you sometime? = I'd like to have sex with you.
9. Do you want to go to a movie? = I'd like to have sex with you.
10. Can I take you out to dinner? = I'd like to have sex with you.
11. I don't think those shoes go with that outfit - I'm foolish Dave
-Stay warm, stay inspired and stay tuned!

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Sleepover party!
With book sales flat, authors find creative ways to pitch their offerings. It seems book publishers are getting more comfortable with the Internet! It’s one thing to be published on Amazon. It’s another to be profiled in local papers ;-P

J.A. (JOE) KONRATH HAD NINE comic thriller novels rejected by publishers. In peddling the tenth, he scored a low six-figure advance for three books from publisher Hyperion in 2003. But with U.S. publishing houses reluctant to promote any but the most promising among the 180,000 titles released each year, Konrath feared his offerings would be overlooked.

For book lovers who appreciate both the brilliance and the idiocy of the publishing and literary industries
This Time I Dance! Trusting the Journey of Creating the Work You Love [Small Giants - Promoting Yourself as an Expert Spread the Word ; Make a mistake on purpose. Commit an error that detracts from your effectiveness. Investigate where that leads you Turn to the "wrong" section of the newspaper, something you normally wouldn't read ]
• · Asset-Based Thinking liberates you from the pointless need to strive for "perfection." You realize that pursuit of perfection is not an asset, it's a liability. A preoccupation with eliminating flaws invites self-absorption, whereas recognition and reconciliation with shortcoming promotes a healthy and powerful humility that liberates you to move forward Change the Way You See Everything Through Asset-Based Thinking ; There might well be a crisis in Australian literary fiction butit's the smaller publishers who may save the day Small, but perfectly formed
• · · Watch out: Monday, January 23 is going to be the unhappiest day of the year, according to a British university researcher. British prepare to be miserable ; The Prince Niccolò Machiavelli, Luigi Ricci (Translator), Christian Gauss (Introduction) The Prince is helping to sell stories by Jozef Imrich ;-P
• · · · The NY Times reports on a study which finds that the creative sector is becoming less concentrated in NYC as artists are priced out: New York, Once a Lure, Is Slowly Losing the Creative Set. New York City's creative sector ; Exit, stage left and make room for the $1,000 drink
• · · · · A Right man’s Left-hand library: Jonah Goldberg has lefty books for righties Liberal Reading; Jonah Goldberg has lefty books for righties. Like all other aspects of southern life, southern politics beguiles writers How the South Rose Again
• · · · · · Living as we do in the information age where almost everyone has access to explicit images and information about whatever kind of sex he or she is interested in or curious about 21st CENTURY SEX; From music to fashion to celebrity culture, mainstream entertainment reflects an X-rated attitude like never before The pornification of America

Thursday, January 26, 2006

It is not every week that I invade the Catholic church headquarters and get to hear soulful stories boldly told by Johno Johnson, national (and catholic) treasure and ubiquitous raffle fundraiser extraordinaire.
Johno Johnson has been chairman of the board of The Catholic Weekly since March 2003, is President Emeritus of the NSW Legislative Council, having served as its president from November 7, 1978 to July 3, 1991 and in 1990 invited Jozef Imrich to sit next to Alexander Dubcek during a liquid luncheon at the Presidential dining suit. He was an MLC for 26 years. He sits on a number of boards of community and other entities (including NSW Lotteries). Johno is a parishioner of Our Lady of Annunciation, Pagewood, and a member of the Australian board of Aid to the Church in Need. He is State treasurer of the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party. He and his wife Pauline (aka Christine) have two sons and two daughters, plus 10 grandchildren.,0.jpg
There is never a raffle without Johno - Burning the Midnight Oil's frontman ... ALP right-wing power broker, Johno Johnson, left, sharing stories with the party faithful at the Randwick Labor Club...

O' Film Agent, with open arms you accepted my book
When Book Agent asked, "Will you please take a look?"
And though others were scared of characters that die,
You stared down my suicide fiction without batting an eye.
While our conversation often comes round to the nature of Jews,
You'll also discuss Christians with me if I should so choose.
You'll pause from your combination of yoga and "Sex In The City,"
To discuss with me for a few why co-habitation might be shitty.
Next time I come to talk with you in your Santa Monica office
I'll try to act more awake.
Ode (But Without The Structure) To Film Agent

The brain's secret language: The dirty little secret of our individualized consumer age is that it hasn’t made us quite as happy as it promised it would - The feeling is we are reaching a tipping point or threshold beyond which sea ice will not recover Changing Who You Imagine You Are
Be willing to work hard . . . and not just at writing Book-To-Screen-Management

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Priceless publicity: Bring on the Hype
The "Dummies" series as a stroke of genius

If you had a penny for every "For Dummies" book printed since the series debuted in 1991, you'd be sitting on $1.5 million. More than 900 titles are in print — the number may pass 1,000 this year — and the books have been translated into more than 30 languages.

• The Unexpected "Dummies": a stroke of genius Irony is the postmodern form of conspicuous self-consciousness and suits our era’s puerility – its fey aestheticism and political cynicism — to a tee The Price of Irony [The Germans call it schadenfreude - gaining pleasure from someone else's pain - and according to neuroscientists men enjoy it much more than women Hell hath no fury like a man scorned, revenge tests reveal; So if you've been spending sleepless nights wishing for some new Seigel material to cuddle up to Reading Rainbow; I'm Pro-Choice and I F*** I Want "The Comeback" To Come Back; What to do if you're a church youth group leader and need some money? Make an erotic calendar, of course. Eve gets naked in Church ]
• · The business of selling books to Hollywood—as with le Carré's Cold War yarns—is straightforward in appearance only You're not buying a book to put on your coffee table. You're buying the movie rights to a book to create an exciting movie," Writing Off Into the Sunset; As advertising struggles, PR steps into the breach. NEWS is what someone wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising Hell to the no
• · · Film industry down under ; The adage that sex sells may have been proved this week with reports that the adult-only domain name has changed hands for the record sum of $US14 million fetches $19m
• · · · For longer-lasting fillings, find a young Welsh dentist Long in the tooth ; Robert Frank on weighing the true costs and benefits in a matter of life and death A cost-benefit test never dictates unplugging a fully conscious ; Books on the Mafia in American culture Goodfellas and good guys
• · · · · I can ask a man out and pay for the pleasure. I'll tell you what I want in bed, and if you can't do it, I'll get myself off thanks. I won't bitch about other women, I'll support and encourage The F word ; Why British men are rapists ; A low-tech response to no-shows: more surprise quizzes. From n+1, the problem with dating is that it never ends. Dating ; We Who Are Your Closest Friends (Phillip Lopate) Dating Oneself ; Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical warns believers not to confuse love with lust or degrade it To mere sex
• · · · · · Borders(R) Announces 2005 Original Voices(R) Award Winners FINDING GEORGE ORWELL IN BURMA; The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood How Thinkers Influence Us ; [E]very single living human body… counts as the body of a person and as a being having all the rights of a person... ; Folks, I gotta tell you, this is a book that needs to be read by all of us who think that we have a chance to slow down later. I can't remember being moved by a book like I am being moved by this book Eugene O'Kelly - Chasing Daylight

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cold River is far superior to Frey’s Million Pieces. Really. We’re not just saying that because of a bet or the nature of the cold truth being stranger than fiction ...

Don't forget to vote in the Australian Blog Awards. Unlike certain other blogs who will remain shameless, we are not running a campaign or offering sexual or other inducements. But I'm sure, if elected by the acclaim of our peers, we will serve… voting early and often ;-) Best nickname for LP… ever

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Something not easily distinguished from theft
The blogosphere reminds me of how I felt about Sydney City when I first migrated here 25 years ago or so: it's vast, it's daunting, there's a ton going on that I'll never be able to keep up with, and I spent quite a few years looking at this and wondering what the big deal was. Yet I'm also pretty confident I'll be right at home here. After all, Lauren is here ... It's good to be home: real and virtual!

ONLINE advertising, despite phenomenal growth over the past three years, is at least a decade away from catching up with newspapers and a further five years away from generating the same revenues as the dominant medium, commercial television.

Online ads to take over radio, magazines [You can make a free font image(sample). Type any text into the text box below ; Cold River ]
• · Balkanization, fragmentation... cyberspace is doomed! The Internet is falling, the Internet is falling! ; Fun with Fonts
• · · Beltway Blogroll Doesn’t Make Better Journalism ; Clicking hell: the Google way to bankrupt your rival
• · · · Gianna Husbands and husbands and wives and wives ; But at least Saddam wasn't gay! ; Robert Putnam blamed TV as the main culprit of the marked decline in civic engagement in America Politics, young people and the Internet
• · · · · Politicians may have met their match with a new computer tool that researchers are developing to quantify the amount of spin in their speeches Catching pollies when they waffle ; Inside the Marketers Studio - David Berkowitz's Marketing Blog
• · · · · · What would happen if I put my name on this? Would anyone care? Would everyone care?’ I don’t know.” Lafsky’s Last Laugh: Secret Legal Blogger
Says ‘I’m Opinionista!’
; Andrew Raff Bloggers, book deals and gnomes

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Quotes Dedicated to the Cold Truth of Freedom: The trouble is I don't like writing fiction: I like writing the truth

It's not how many times you fall down that counts; it's getting up again. And forget counting, it's too pedantic and after the first hundred, you loose track anyhow ;-P
Maybe we are crazy. Maybe we will change the world:

Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.
— Tom Peters

Are you placing enough interesting, freakish, long shot, weirdo bets?
— Tom Peters

The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That's the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!
— General George S. Patton

Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
— Mark Twain

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.
— Ray Bradbury

People will rise to meet seemingly insurmountable obstacles and challenges if they understand the worthiness of the personal sacrifices and effort. Supporting that understanding must be mentors who provide leadership; without both ingredients, a cause will go unrealized and a mission is likely to fail.
— Glenn R. Jones

This the world of white water where we have to change to survive; where we have to develop to thrive; and, paradoxically, where the very act of change increases the risk that we won't survive.
— Randall White, Phillip Hodgson and Stuart Crainer

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
— Helen Keller

All of life is on the wire, all else is waiting.
— Overheard at Iceberg Robbie Savage or Tim of BA Alliance?

What leaders have to remember is that somewhere under the somnolent surface is the creature that builds civilizations, the dreamer of dreams, the risk taker. And remembering that, the leader must reach down to the springs that never dry up, the ever-fresh springs of the human spirit.
— John W. Gardner

If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough.
—Mario Andretti

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I . . . I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
— Robert Frost

The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.
— Goethe

The secret to my success is that I bit off more than I could chew and chewed as fast as I could.
— Paul Hogan

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
— Robert F. Kennedy

There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.
— William Shakespeare: The Tragedy of Morava River

Let's make a dent in the universe.
— Steve Jobs

Progress always involves risk; you can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.
— Frederick Wilcox

Do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great?
— Jimmy Johnson

Cold River does what good books do. When we look up, bitten, everything seems a little different.
— Karen Solie

Friday, January 20, 2006

Heard of Cold River yet? You will ;-) Cold River: The Cold Truth of Freedom , is out Czech out the Amazon page for it.

Yes, I do get a tiny royalty if you buy the book.

The True Blue Antipodean Robert Lorraway and Kristy-Lee Lorraway might proof that Cold River, more that Gorbachev’s perestroika, may be the real cause of the collapse of the Iron Curtain ...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I LOVE blogs. Really, I do. Where else can I read about the daily sex lives, love lives, careers, social lives, sex lives and more sex lives of real people with dubious monikers like 'thetemptations' and 'hotsplashes', bad English notwithstanding. Sexploits in blogs so gross

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Columnist Sees Blogs as Threat to Society
In broad strokes, Parker dismisses the blogosphere as the playground of Lord of the Flies savages who have no right to opine on the news because they lack proper formal training and, apparently, souls. The fact that so many of us do what we do (gasp) for free further proves our worthlessness in her eyes.

"Blog" was Merriam-Webster's word of the year for 2004 and the popularity of weblogs had been in full bloom for some time before that. It is altogether fitting that now, at the start of 2006, blogs should filter down to the consciousness of Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist who writes for the Orlando Sentinel.

Lord of the Blogs [Even the man who runs the world’s goriest website says his customers are sick: And that's precisely where Kelly makes his mistake. The problem isn't anonymity; it's accountability. If someone isn't accountable, then knowing his name doesn't help. Anonymity and Accountability ; The Walter Winchell of Montclair: Guest Writer Debra Galant on the Joys of Local News Blogging ; One of the growing number of neighborhood news sites, unconnected to any established newspapers We call this saloon Baristanet of Bloomfield Ave. or Baristanet]
• · Julian Sanchez hunts for the line between whistleblowing and treason In Praise of Leaks ; Bloggers came! :) And kept coming 5 tips to overcome blogger writer’s block
• · · There are more blog meets than there are bloggers How blogger meets blogger ; So, what do you do in the contextual advertising world to amuse yourself and (freak out) your friends? The AdSense Party Trick #1, that's what. Name that Company ; Paying content writers money for their content based upon traffic levels generated
• · · · We are lucky enough to count the folks at MonsterCommerce as good friends of ours and we could not be happier for them ;-P Monster Commerce ; welcome Stowe. Our American friend Shel Israel is also juiced to have someone of Stowe’s caliber in both the blogging and conference circuits join our team Stowe Joins Conferenza team
• · · · · Costs associated with site design and construction may be allowable, but since the IRS has never issued formal guidance, it's not so simple When Is Your Web Site Deductible? ; Content is king, earn money with blogging? ; No # 1 Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing the Way Businesses Talk With Customers
• · · · · · The latest American technology helps the Chinese government and other repressive regimes clamp down Legal Affairs blog - Cool Tools For Tyrants ; Stephen Baker on the dilemma of being a blogger/journalist working on story he couldn't blog about I've been leading a secret life on this blog

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bleeding Hands

I can't believe that my holidays are at an end, I have read as much poetry as I could and listen to as many songs as time allowed and watched as many flicks as my eyes could absorb. Gabbie you are a champion for swimming at Tamarama, and running along Bondi beach, taking the costal walks and listening to my musings. Alex I trust that we get to do more things together too this year. Like representing one country or another at the Icebergs on Australia Day. Most of all, I am enriched as I discover each week amazing local artists & creative human beings. Like MJR, I am humbled by being published: I want to drop to my knees and thank the muses and the gods that I am even published at all when I see how many books there are I also think of Elie Wiesel's statement remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all

The wound in my heart
Leaves me tired & weary
Invisible hands try to slow me down
And yet, I keep running
From the monsters within me
They're trying so hard to break out
And I'm falling, falling
Taste the dirt on the ground
Walls growing up all around me
And all I get is bleeding hands

The blood is tainted with poison
From somewhere deep inside my soul
The demons, they are all around me
I've painted the colour of my own destiny
I have forgotten
Those who have loved me
They disappeared so long ago
When I turned my back on their crying eyes
Couldn't look at their frowning faces
And know they saw through my lies

Got caught up in a web of deceit and lies
Now I'm facing the consequence of my sin
There's no one around who can save me now
Left here alone by myself to die
fallen, I've fallen
Tasted dirt from the ground
Walls grew up all around me
I tried and I tried
But all I got was bleeding hands
-The Drowned and the Saved: Bleeding Hearts

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I am a bohemian by birth and temperament, a sole survivor, a refugee and now published authour all the sins together.

Carried on the drifting current
His destination will be
In the west, Siberia;
Or in the east, Java.
Which country will be his grave?
Lover's chatter
Is like the dust
Of any country.
-The Drowned and the Saved: I was spared to tell my escape story

Like any proud parents, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel are beaming to announce that Naked Conversations has just gone on sale at Naked for Oprah

Hold on to your dreams, whatever it takes. We are lucky enough to count the folks at MonsterCommerce as good friends of ours and we could not be happier for them ;-P Monster Commerce

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Growing Sense of Inevitability: Have I got a story for you!
The work of James Frey takes readers for one hell of a ride, in more ways than one. It used to be said that everyone had a novel in them. Just now, though, you would probably be obliged to doubt the basic proposition: what everyone has in them these days is not a novel but a memoir.

What a bad, sad boy he was. A drug-addicted, alcohol-embalmed criminal, wanted in three American states. Hopelessly unpopular in school; the new kid in town wrongly held responsible for the horrific death of the only friend he made.

The War and Peace of addiction [ ; ]
• · In a profile of Canadian singer Alanis Morissette, The Independent has some bad news for the publishing world Still crazy after all these years ; Jim Hanas points out that despite the media uproar over the James Frey and JT LeRoy controversies, many American writers have been "less than honest about their work and themselves." More Famous Literary Liars ; A humiliating moment you would prefer not to share. Something you did you aren't proud of. Something you said or something you heard. Something someone did to you. We jam them deep down in our hearts. And there they smolder, heartburn of the soul We don't keep secrets; they keep us: If we never tell, the secret may scar us emotionally and spiritually
• · · The Freedom of Freewriting ; The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to the knowledge of the unconscious mind Dreams are made of this
• · · · Prostitution and the making of Australian Society 'White Slaves' & White Australia ; Sex trade
• · · · · How to break up with your lover : Considering i'm breaking up with my girlfriend in 1 hour this is a very timely topic! so it'll go like this, "if 'you and i' were going to be be a great romance and partnership the things that happened, wouldn't have happened. however, if it was going to be one of those things that 'just didn't work out' the things that happened would have happened. so rather than have a crappy relationship with each other lets have a great one with someone else. all the best baby! david at January 16, 2006 08:04 AM Breaking-up lines ; Nice legs...what time do they open? What's the best way to snare a lover?
• · · · · · Is there life after Bob Carr? ; Thousands of boys and young men are retreating to their bedrooms and refusing to come out Shutting Themselves In

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Up till now I had relied as an actor on my small store of sophistication and assurance, and had got nowhere. Only now when I was making use of the most vulnerable and naked aspects of myself had I come up with something of real value. I began to see that notwithstanding its occasional triumphs, its conspicuously public success, there was at the heart of an actor's life an aspect of public confession, something perplexed and even grieving.
-Michael Blakemore, Arguments with England: A Memoir (courtesy of Chris Hartman)

Recently, a young aspiring writer I know asked me if I would critique a story he'd written. Now, this is always a little dangerous, because you always run the risk of either giving too much or too little advice to be useful. When does a brilliantly crafted sentence lift the story above the banal, and when does it drag the pace into the mud? Care less about what we write than how we write it. The more you learn, the more choices you have Choices: The way to tell a story

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Start a scene late and end it early
Panic after a first successful novel is perfectly natural, but what if it never passes?

Second-novel syndrome (SNS), the so-called performance anxiety writers undergo after a first-up success, is as old as the novel itself.
Cervantes was so stricken by the miserable prospect of life after Don Quixote that he just kept writing his novel, so that Don Quixote is, in effect, his first, second and third novels (and fourth and diary and commentary and notebook). Keen-eyed literary historians will note that Cervantes had published an earlier book, La Galatea, 20 years before Don Quixote - which only underscores the point. If first novels are the golden children, second novels are the little monsters.

• I would be wrong, of course, wrong, wrong, wrong to write a second book on Parliament ... Lost for words [The Odyssey is the most wonderful fairytale ever written. In its world, you get something for something, rewarded for your love, your faith, your steadfastness I first set foot on the island of Ithaca by swimming ashore ; Henry Green, the last English Modernist]
• · It’s slangy, funny, and packed with life and color. So why is spicy Cantonese losing out to the more mellow, proper speech of Mandarin? Some things are just wrong on every level ; Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed the following scream everywhere this week: Awww... It’s so cute! Beauty can be raw, majestic, hard, and even brutal. Cuteness is common, direct, sweet, and cheap. No wonder advertisers love it... The Cute Factor ; Communism was good for art in East Germany, warding off Joseph Beuys, et al. That New Leipzig School artists can actually paint explains why they are art’s hottest new thing The New Leipzig School
• · · With poetry and literature we deny the economics of cultural value in order to preserve the aesthetics. In so doing, says Louis Menand, we kid ourselves. Shock of recognition ; Will you commit to write a piece (a poem, prayer, article, story, song, or letter) about some aspect of peacemaking, from inner peace to world peace, and share it with others before December 31, 2006? Piece for Peace
• · · · Can a book work "too well"? ; Culture Vulture, the arts-weblog at The Guardian, has launched an admirable bi-weekly literary tour All around the world ; In search of new literary faces; The ultimate lesson of The Producers, as any stand-up confirm will confirm, is that a joke is like milk in tea. Fresh, cold and in the right dollop, it suffuses you with comfort and warmth. Long-life, or a drop too many, and it puckers the lips and sours the mood. Publishers toss Booker winners into the reject pile
• · · · · The Smoking Gun went looking for some mug shots of A MILLION LITTLE PIECES author James Frey, which turned into an extensive examination of his account of his years as a drug addict, alcoholic and criminal A Man Who Conned Oprah: Dirty Little Secret ; Lawyers and Frey
• · · · · · History provides challenging lessons for those comforted by old ideas ... Smart readers believe only half of what they read. Wise readers know which half to believe. Reds weren't the only Cold War criminals ; Get Rich or Die Tryin’ Pssst. Got any hot books ? ; Members of "the gentler sex" may have evolved to cheat on their mates during the most fertile part of their cycle — but only when those mates are less sexually attractive than other men Near Ovulation

Double Dragon’s blood ran cold at the mention of James Frey. [Frey Accused of Gross Fabrications ]
The latest true story published in the Double Dragon paperback is not just speaking about Jozef's experiences, it goes way beyond that...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

This 102 year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably coifed and face shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready. As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
"I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait."
"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied.
"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. "It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away. Just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Don't ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
-Howard Thurman

I came alive on Saturday night, last night (first night), with Lauren at the Iceberg club. What a great place to share stories with Ken Spears, Keith Posha Leslie, Ron Lofty Petrie, David Hall, Bruce Bailey, Brat Payne, Angus Graham, Alan Gow, Mike Malley, Terry McGee and so on ... Some of the stories stretch back to depression years of 1929. Some represent family dynasties three generations of Icebergs such as Gow and Graham. Posha makes a great point in a book that every child in Australia should read Bondi Icebergs: An Australian Icon.' When people find out you are an Iceberg the most common question they ask is 'Why do you do it? I like to reply, 'Why don't you do it? You are more than welcome to join us ... You can tell what people are thinking - It is too dam cold for swimming or They are bloody idiots! Small but determined group achieve the minimum 75 swims over 5 seasons. These people are the real ICEBERGS
Through my book I like to spread the word about unusual and less well known things about the Slavic traditions. As a child, I found old tales and obscure traditions fascinating. To be a swimmer at the Iceberg at Bondi is a great honour just as it was a great priviledge back in the Central European High Tatra Mountains to be part of the folkloric jouney as a dancer, singer, whistler at Tatranka folkloric group.
Swirly girl’s journey as an artist has been like a trek through a jungle - beautiful, exotic, and frightening at times. Some days are peaceful and full of light, other days feel like nothing but a series of slips and stumbles. Peculiar sights, sounds and creatures have kept me company as I have wandered through strange lands with no map or compass. I am still on this journey, and it continues to take me to fascinating places. Come take a walk with me Smith wins Whitbread novel prize

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: New Year's Resolution #1: Keeping Myself Young At Heart
Explaining what the winners of the world's top awards in mathematics actually do isn't as easy as adding 2+2. But we'll give it a try.
There is no Nobel Prize for mathematicians, the story goes, because of a love affair.

• Beauty’s Defining Glory Math = beauty + truth / (really hard) [English culture may have awkward gaps, but its awareness of humour and proportion can be exquisite A quiet smile at absolute folly ; From TCS, "The Burke Habit" is a textbook study in how not to write an essay about conservatism Kicking the Burke Habit ; Sack your personal trainer and cancel your lunchtime gym session to make way for the trend of 2006 - brain trainers New fad to flex brain, not body ]
• · How the new diet books measure up ; There were plenty of tears but there was also laughter and applause A great life remembered ;
• · · Their Eyes Were Reading Smut ; How low can you go? ; Young men have always dressed to shock. Yet there is something strange about today's underclad bottoms WRITE BETTER, EARN MORE! (Part 3 of 3) Nine Tips For Instantly Improving Your Marketing Copy
• · · · Marketing your writing online can come in many flavors Entrepreneurial Writers, I Bet You Didn't Think Of This ; Destined to transform the electronic reading experience, the lightweight Sony® Reader is expected to bring a whole new meaning to "book smart." New Sony Reader Puts a Library's Worth of Reading Material in Your Pocket
• · · · · USA Today reports on the growing practice of having authors talk to readers' book clubs by phone, asserting that publishers are expanding their efforts in arranging calls Authors 'phone it in' to appreciative book clubs ; The holiday sales season has been kind to Books-A-Million (BAM) for three years running now, as once again the retailer recovered from a bad third quarter to enjoy a solid year-end increase. Books-A-Million, Inc. Reports Holiday Sales Results ; Thanks a million, Books-A-Million
• · · · · · She has a passion for bringing books and people together and considers friendly customer service to be the most important part of her work Rita Nash ; A chance meeting set Carolyn Burke on a mission to uncover the real Lee Miller Shoot for success

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Just as much I hated the Iron Curtain 25 or so years ago, these days instead I love another iron and with the same intensity, the Sydney Iron Bridge The bridge's heart takes shape.

The bridge's heart takes shape.
The Image tells thousand stories: The Story of My Foolish Love in Exile

In these crazy times, we have to keep our eyes on the things that matter most: the life and health of our families, our communities, the planet. And to keep our sanity, some of us need to reserve a bit of time for reading and for writing. It is said that writers are people who, as children, did not receive sufficient rejection either from adults or peers and so are compelled to seek it relentlessly in later life. Today I knocked on a door marked 3 Hall Street Bondi and Rita Nash of Martin Smith’s Booshop embraced the idea of placing a few copies of Cold River on the shelf of the local bookshop ;-) Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords ;-)

Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we may fall from the Iron Bridge ... But, let’s link to happiness ... and sex An Infinite Lives. An Infinite Deaths

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Happiness Favors the Bold
Life is full of Why I'm Happy I Evolved: Twisted Emotions! Here are some recent entries from the hypothetical blog of H. L. Mencken, the premier American social critic of the first half of the 20th century.

2006 Is So Yesterday: Faces Only a Mother, and the Movies, Could Love. Movies offer beautiful faces and construct fantasies around them. But other, more idiosyncratic images of humanity have always been present as well.

• I have not lived in vain but lived for 2006. What in the World We'll Do in 2006. When love and passion unites, my heart opens and the muse flows [ 100 things we didn't know this time last year ; It's almost too overwhelming to live in a time where hate and love, humor and pathos are often disguised as one another. Where insanity is thought to be sanity, and sanity is labeled as insanity. Where violence is considered normal, and in order for us to protect ourselves and function in a rational, sane way, we now have to go around behaving rather paranoid. The foundation of a healthy civil society is a marriage of two human faculties often undervalued or misunderstood: reason and love Love, reason and the future of civil society; Understanding when weakness is not a virtue; There is no solution to the problems of debility and death, but Leon Kass says there are better and worse ways of thinking about them Death and dying are once again subjects of intense public attention ]
• · But how do we not go off the deep end when our lives are so frenetic working and there are so many changes in our lives? Won't living with so much stress have some drastic effect on the family? ; The Tupperware party as an iconic image of suburban womanhood seems long gone. It's hard to imagine, for example, the characters on "Desperate Housewives" attending such an event, unless it was played for viciously comic effect. Party Favor Emergence, diaspora, the 'imperial consumer': Which ideas will shape the coming year? ; The Destruction of the Public Sphere
• · · The overselling of personal empowerment, the hyping of hope, may be the great unsung irony of modern American life Self-help's big lie ; It was bad enough that women had to scrutinize every inch of their bodies, now this too? Our Vaginas, Ourselves
• · · · Nobody notices if you die between separation and divorce Nobody notices when you die between Christmas and New Year's ; Kathryn Hughes decides to ditch her bad reading habits. Being a book slut means feeling compelled to gulp down anything that comes your way Purge or purgatory? ; I've always found it pleasurable to gaze at an ordinary shoe box, not because of the Manolo Blahniks or Air Jordans concealed within but because of the thing itself. Thanks to John Carey's smart, saucy book, I now know why The art of making special
• · · · · What’s selling this year? And what kinds of sales would be considered good if a book is published? What the Press Editors Want ; The year of publishing safely ; David Brooks honors the best political and cultural essays of the year The Sidney Awards 2005 ; The Valley is humming again Web 2.0, Flickr. Google Maps, Pneumatic Parliaments 15 Big Ideas from 2005
• · · · · · Going forward in era of contradiction: How will the age in which we live someday be remembered? Going forward in era of contradiction ; Disney movies portrayed women and ''difference" of all kinds in a positive light Small world, revisited

Someone to hold you too close,
Someone to hurt you too deep,
Someone to sit in your chair,
To ruin your sleep.
Someone to need you too much,
Someone to know you too well,
Someone to pull you up short,
To put you through hell.
Someone you have to let in,
Someone whose feelings you spare,
Someone who, like it or not,
Will want you to share
A little, a lot.
Someone to crowd you with love,
Someone to force you to care,
Someone to make you come through,
Who’ll always be there,
As frightened as you
Of being alive.
Stephen Sondheim, “Being Alive” (music by Sondheim)
Take it easy, run a risk, have fun, go for it!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Sydney ushered in the new year with a huge heart pulsing on the Iron Bridge and within that heart are hearts of my soulful girls. Thank you Sydney for staging such a hearty firework. Christopher with Lidia have found the best spot at Rose Bay to watch the amazing colour of light The Greatest Heart
As the smoke clears on yet another midnight fireworks display, today is as good a time as any to take a long, hard look at ourselves in the mirror. I was also a great day to listen to Icerberg stories. Lotfy, Timmy, Nick, Dezza, Dave, Marcus and Ian were at their finest on the New Year Day. Eva from Brno pulled the hearties heads on those cold beers - miracle hangover cure! At the Iceberg, members are increasingly concerned with the meaning of their lives. When we were deprived of comfort we thought if only we had radios and irons and washing mashines, life would be perfect. Now that we have that, we are saying ‘Wait a minute - what is life all about?’ What am I doing all of this stuff for? We are much more focused on immaterial aspects of life .... In 2005 we were short of time not money ... Lets make the time in 2006 a priority. Time for family and friends. Time to swim across the bay. Time to share stories Ready to face a brand new love life

Edith Grossman, translator of the new version of Don Quixote, and Mayra Montero, author of Deep Purple and Son de Almendra, discuss their work at the Washington Post.
Montero : I am not interested in sex for its own sake in my writing. Only two of my nine books are truly erotic. Even when I decide to write about sexuality, even in its more crude variations, I always have a safety valve. Curiously, maybe it's because of my education -- very Catholic, with lots of nuns -- I tend to soften the sex with a substantial dose of humor.
Grossman : No one can write about human beings truthfully and leave sexuality out of the picture. I think people are struck by women who write about sexuality, and so perhaps the erotic characteristics or moments in your books stay in people's minds more than if a man were writing the novel. The Writing Life

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Is Documentary the New Memoir?
What is the larger social context in which the story unfolds? Does the story tell me something about anyone or anything other than you? If not, you had better be pretty damn fascinating

I am a sociologist who conducts historical research on race and social policy, so my work has something in common with a documentary filmmaker’s attempt to uncover some version of “the truth” (however defined). Maybe this is just my sociological training leaking out, but when I watch a documentary—especially a highly personal, idiosyncratic one—I want to see the bigger picture as well.

• Lonely hearts ads for the literati What A Year! What A Time! What A Town! [Natalie Barney, smart and rich, loved loving women. And if she had many women to choose from? “I would choose love many times” Women in Love ; Read on if you've scanned any good books lately ; More pages than can be managed -- a common enough complaint, but we certainly don't mind ;-) Cold River, the only thing that flows faster than the bullets... Fluid Memoir; We expected this to be a runaway bestseller, but its publication on July 7 must have made it seem just too 'prophetic' for comfort and much of the coverage reflected that The bullets that got away
• · I haven't the slightest idea how I ended up on a list with The Prince Niccolò Machiavelli, Luigi Ricci (Translator), Christian Gauss (Introduction); Communist Manifesto Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels;
Utopia (Yale Nota Bene Series) Thomas More, Clarence H Miller (Translator); Utopia Thomas More, Paul Turner (Translator); Ways of Seeing John Berger, but hell. Thanks, ( Cold River at a deep discount - The book that no fugitive should be without: Millionaire's Club Price ; Why it's best not to be too merry for the holidays In Pursuit of Unhappiness
• · · There are many painful questions at the end of a marriage, the primary one being "What went wrong?" Bitter or Sweet - Figure out a way to harness your own sunshine; Book-signings — once earnest events in the back rooms of dusty shops — are now celeb fanfests that close streets and attract thousands. What is the appeal? Who Does She Think She Is?A sign of the times
• · · · I am passionate about books and role of editors, and would love to either form or join a book club so that I can share my enthusiasm with others Beached At Bondi ; Cold River Vodka: Potatoes Redefined ; The dream of two brothers -- one a potato farmer, the other a brain surgeon -- has become reality with a shiny new distillery ready to transform humble spuds into premium vodka. People will pay extra for quality, there's no doubt about that
• · · · · Cold War and peace - A courageous storyteller of truth on one hand and a man with a death wish on the other 2006: The year ahead in Books ; Second instalment of this Euro-romance is clunky at times but fun to watch. Russian Dolls
• · · · · · Miracle hangover cure Headache? Dehydrated? Vomiting? Just take your medicine ; How writing about cheap travel became the road to riches for a hippie couple Once While Travelling