Dual Loyalty

As writers and bloggers are so fond of saying; you couldn't make it up. You don't cross the Iron Curtain and come out without scars ...
· Jozef Imrich, Survivor of the Iron Curtain Crossing

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Welcome the new Bulletin writer of the virtual residence
Hot off the presses
· Best NSW Blog (SYDNEY) [ courtesy of Gianna ]

Philosophy's like medicine: lots of drugs, few remedies, and hardly any complete cures...
If you are happy and balanced, why would you be a writer? Theroux

Looking for Freedom
I find it a bit sad that there is no photo of me hanging on the walls in the Berlin Museum at Check-Point Charlie.
· Hasselhoff claims he had hand in Berlin Wall falling [ via Cold Hands]
· Millionaire's den: first post-1989 business club still plays host to prominent entrepreneurs, politicians

Do the Americans get irony?
UK sitcom The Office caused an upset at the Golden Globes, when it received two top awards. Do we still believe that Americans just don't get irony?
· Just don't do irony
Isn't it ironic?
· Doing Business With The Enemy: Halliburton sells about $40 million a year worth of oil field services to the Iranian Government [See Also As far as I can tell, nobody in the Bush administration has ever paid a price for being wrong. Instead, people are severely punished for telling inconvenient truths ]

It was said of one politician that he'd been created to show how far the human skin can stretch
Tragedies suffer from the moral defect of attaching too great an importance to life and death.
Changes in fashion are the tax levied by the poor on the rich.

Life of Janet Frame: blighted by the deaths by drowning of two of her sisters
I inhabited a territory of loneliness which resembles the place where the dying spend their time before death and from where those who do return living to the world bring inevitably a unique point of view that is a nightmare, a treasure, and a lifelong possession [It is] equal in its rapture and chilling exposure [to] the neighbourhood of the ancient gods and goddesses
· Wrestling with the Angel
·An Angel At My The Carpathians Mountains
[See Also The Least Likely Bestseller ]

Friday, January 30, 2004

Most Media Dragon readers will be saddened to learn that legendary Scottish comedian Rikki Fulton has died at the age of 79.
Fulton will be best remembered for his iconic character, the Reverend IM Jolly, a parody of the miserable religious ministers that often appeared on STV's Late Call in the 1970s and 80s, a figure that eventually became the cornerstone of his traditional Hogmanay television show Scotch and Wry.

It's a tradition in Scotland on Hogmanay to go first-footing, a wonderful excuse to go out visiting friends and partying all night:
The first person to cross the threshold at Hogmanay brings all the luck, good or bad, for the year ahead. And, to follow in tradition they have to fulfil certain criteria. They have to be male, tall, dark and handsome. They cannot be doctors, ministers or grave-diggers (!) - oh, and your first footer cannot have eyebrows that meet in the middle! If you do find a first footer that fits the bill (for remember, we Scots might be handsome but, as a race, we're not renowned for our height) then hang on to them - you could make a packet!

· First-footin: little folks bursting with talent and suddenly able to dominate when allowed to play

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field...
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw on mistakes [ courtesy of Fist-footing ]

Bugs biting the dust
Blogging About Blogging LXXI
File under: You know blogging is so over when...
Publishers Lunch reports that Judy Goldschmidt has sold her debut middle-grade novel The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez to Penguin's new YA imprint Razorbill. The book is written as a blog "by a larger-than-life seventh grader, chronicling the ups and downs of puberty during her tumultuous first year at a new school."
Larger than life? I always thought seventh graders were, well, smaller than me.

· OzLIT for Kids
Chasing the rascal dragon ]
· sleek two-headed dragon

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Mexico City's subway city plans to lend out 7 million paperback books over the next two years in a new program aimed at reducing crime and fostering a more hospitable atmosphere for millions of commuters. Director Javier Gonzalez Garza says, We are convinced that when people read, people change. (The city suffers from a high crime rate.) Most of the cost will be underwritten by the company that control's advertising space in the subway.

Random Reviews
Dickinson's fame has always been fed by myth. She was the virgin poetess dressed in white, the tremulous daughter who never left her father's house, the maiden who turned to art because she was thwarted in love. Hard-working biographers notwithstanding, myth often wins out. National Book Critics Circle anounce their finalists for this year's awards. "Ninety-one-year-old Studs Terkel, the oral historian and self-described champion of the "uncelebrated," will receive a lifetime achievement prize.
· Reviews of Consistency [ courtesy of Pageturner]
[Book Beancounters Baking Black Bread: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ]
[ via The Reading Experience: New Blog]

Apple's core: The Mac turns 20: 1984-2004...
Life grows more equable as one grows older; not less interesting, but I hope a little more impersonal. An old man ought to be sad. I don’t know whether I shall be when the wind is west and the sky clear.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., letter to Frederick Pollock, March 22, 1892

The Importance of Being There
Yiddish word for funeral, levaya, means to accompany.
· Exceeding All Expectations

I rather think it was because a story wasn't a story until it was written down.
Barbara Jefferis, Author 1917-2004: I'm in this for the long haul.
· Baby dragon, in a sealed jar, was discovered with a metal tin containing paperwork in old-fashioned German of the 1890s.
Czechout The Best Dragon Stories of Freedom in the Universe... Comfort may be good but freedom and getting published is more rewarding:

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


I postponed writing the book many times. And I would've been happy not to start the book at all. But I feel that my time is coming to its end and so I have to write it.
-Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The spirits of my two drowned friends, Ondrej and Milan, are in this story, and so are the spirits of ten thousand others who died at the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall crossings. For better or worse, this is all of their stories, not just mine, for the capacity and desire for freedom is inextricably part of all of us. What happened to me might have happened to any Czechoslovak boy who found himself in the right place at the wrong time. I fell in love with freedom, head over heels in love.
I was born in Vrbov in Czechoslovakia in 1958. I stayed in Vrbov until I was 22. In my earlier, more idealistic, painless days, I believed in dreams, mainly about Vienna, Munich, Reims, New York. All I ever wanted was to see the world. But my dreams were replaced by nightmares, and the nightmares were real. I have changed because of these nightmares, and I now have a need to create something real from a surreal exile, to make the connections between my dreams, my nightmares, and my awakening into a new life.
For years, I fooled myself into thinking I could swim away from my memories, never to take others to the edge of the Morava River and even one step further. For reasons that will become obvious, I find it difficult to write about July 7, 1980. It was a day when I was forced into wearing black as a sign of a series of mournings. However, I do not just have one tragic memory in my life. I have several. I have lost a sister, two best friends, a home and a country.
Language fails me. Silence never fails us. But absolute silence is dangerous. I feel that I've unwittingly spilled some tragic secret, a private tale of an escape that had been rightly contained until life circumstances convinced me to tell my story to everyone.
The words that really ring in my heart came from my seven-year-old Sasha who, on our first visit to the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1997, asked me, ‘Why … why, did you leave grandma, Daddy?’
What I thought was the end of my story actually became the beginning. There was something immeasurably sad, a strange stirring, about those seven words. Sasha, a.k.a. Alex, spoke to my veiled sense of homelessness. Who would have thought I would be suddenly at a loss to explain my exile or why Sasha’s only living grandmother had never come to any of her birthday parties?
In writing this story I have a sense that my own truest destiny is as a father of my daughters. How on earth did I get to be a father, Tato, with two daughters? Fatherhood is born in retrospect. It is a reality that lets us determine the distance we have come. Before you know it, life is filled with adult responsibilities. Before you know you are out of the swelling river. Before you know it happens more than once that someone who used to know you writes how happy he is to hear that you survived. Before you know it you wish again and again that you could make your story not true.
It is amazing what time does. How quickly human beings adjust to new circumstances so that many people now take for granted the changes that followed the rupturing of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It is possible to imagine that what happened in your life twenty years ago is a dream, if the truth is too frightening, because the present is so different. But time did nothing to silence those voices from the past. Memory can strike in many forms. A snatch of conversation. An intriguing newspaper clipping. A subtropical storm. Memory has its own life. Memory can take us by surprise. Memory can transform itself into a theatre of unsettled voices. I remember clearly how it felt not to have any Australian words! Officials would often take me somewhere, and I would not know where I was going or who would be the next person to witness my struggle to find the right words. I remember the strain of trying to speak fluently in the presence of a potential employer one is struggling to impress.
It is no accident that people like me come to realise that words are like freedom, that they are necessities. They are as necessary as the hardest thing I ever needed to do - crossing to freedom through the Iron Curtain! These things happened. I haven't the skill to portray what happened. I am simply scribbling about memories of my other life, even though a proportion of them may be trivial. The act of writing gave me courage, as this book is
a triumph, however slight, over silence.
Was writing even harder than crossing? No, not at all. And yes, of course! Crossing forbidden boundaries is like writing. For me, there is no such thing as effortless writing. You can never know how it will go or if you'll ever make it. Suffice it to say that the process of writing added to my knowledge of man - his hesitation, his kindness, his freshness, his friendship, his indifference, his distrust, and his destruction. Doubt, destruction and powerlessness play their part in my publishing this story along with dreams and hope.
If the gift of writing is the gift of escape, this book is about an ultimate escape, a secret escape. There are times in our lives when we are separated from the ordinary not only physically but also emotionally. In Chinese folk religion, the soul, after death, is ferried across a river into the Underworld to learn its fate. The river is named the What Now. I am crossing the What Now. I have no idea where my joyous and heartbreaking words are going to lead.
In this first year of the new millennium nightmares have happened to all of us. We are all victims and survivors. Now we all know a little bit about what it is like to feel helpless and powerless. We all go about our business these days just a little bit more cautiously then we used too. We look over our shoulders a little bit more. When a helicopter flies by now, do we not look to the sky just to make sure that it is one of ours and to kind of check what direction it is flying in? Some of us have been directly affected with the loss of a family member or close friend and the loss and shock of that, even weeks later, still has barely registered. We ask how and why us?
What are words worth in the face of tragedy? Who controls how history is told? Who gets to say what the pain was like for the ones who suffered? Shakespeare tells survivors to ‘speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.’ Images that to others seem simple or even banal become a raging and screaming truth when they flow from the keyboard of survivors and victims. The act of writing stories of survival threatens the storyteller with dual curses: that the stories will be overdone, that the tragedies will be understated.
Writing about life under communism is like experimentation in knitting about history or experimentation in painting about writing. That history, of course, is a complicated one, with far too many twists and turns to explore in one story. Like all symbols, the little red book evokes more than one can explain. It condenses the ideas of death, drowning and powerless life into one symbolic object. Does anything still need to be said about the Iron Curtain? While freedom is like a flower which needs to be watered daily, I am not writing this story down because totalitarianism must never happen again. I have met people who do not believe that communism was so terrible that it was worth risking my life to get free of it. This story was written to show others that people who decide to make desperate escapes did not just drink too much absinth one evening.
Although it is said that we have plenty of freedom in the world now, I expect that more and more stories like mine will continue to be lost among the many similar newspaper headlines in the future. Histories are not pure. We are all potential brutes as well as victims. A former slave can degenerate into an insane despot. Children of boat people can become tyrants and drown the next load of boat people. I'm not shocked by the reality of evil, or by the willingness of people to hurt one another. I am shocked at the way we give the power to some individuals to hurt us without a fight.
Few people have been affected by the Iron Curtain as I have. There is a sense of unreality about the past that is still with me. Deep in my heart are mysteries that refuse to go away, that are rooted in even deeper levels of astonishment. Why did I survive? If I live to be a thousand I will never shake off the shame of being the only survivor. Why did I survive? I am absolutely ashamed of myself. There's no getting around this shame and these questions - my success was tied up with the fate of others. I will not pretend that I find the fact of my survival to be a simple one when millions haven't survived.
Every July I have the need to make sense of a survival due to inordinate luck. Each July I hear an ancient voice say, ‘How can I possibly live without guilt?’
I wonder if you can imagine having the spirit of a sole survivor. Imagine that ringing inside your heart is the heart of someone who never lived to come this far in a journey you began together. And inside that heart is another one, belonging to someone else you lost along the way. In this gentle present, I know this is a hard thing to imagine. Why should you get to know me, anyway? Survivors like me are not fiery writers, so I content myself with the role of the lukewarm storyteller. All I have is one small voice. This little voice would fit inside one of Solzhenitsyn's chapters that describe fear and pain beyond belief, and there would still be enough room for two more distilled voices. I am aware of my aging as I try to compose this story from a complex swirl of memories, both those that are vivid and those that are half-forgotten. It is never too late to tell the story, because the story itself will not age and it is not aging, but one day, my voice will be washed away.
Imagine; there are thousands stories in the Velvet Country that are splattered with blood. This is just one of them. Perhaps it doesn't matter to you what happened in this far away tiny country, so unrelated to your own life. But at least you can know the truth and tell others so these people will not have suffered in vain. I hope that, after you finish my book, you will take comfort in the framework of a familiar room. Yet somehow, as though you have awakened from a dream, your room will not be the same. No writer can possibly hope for more.
If for an hour or two of your attention I can give you an experience that you could not have had otherwise - I have achieved my mission. My survival was worth it. My mission is not only to remember, July after July, but also to tell the story of the Iron Curtain far and wide - reminding those who know it, and proclaiming it afresh to those who have never heard of the Iron Wall.
To explore certain experiences and symbols of my ancestors from 'a far away place that we know little of,' I ask you to put your watch forward seven hours but step back seventy years in time. Start by leaving behind everything you know about your external reality: your name, where you live, what you look like - everything. Your name is only a name. It might easily have been Jozef, Milan or Ondrej. You are mostly water. You are inside the walls of a heated swimming pool. And outside? Outside it's freezing. I swam it. So I am telling it.
Joseph Brodsky tells us that "There are places where history is inescapable, like a highway accident - places where geography provokes history." You can only gain an understanding of my mountain village if you visualise a colourless light of the Central European winter. Somewhere between Poland, Latvia, Russia, Austria and Hungary was our Black Creek covered in ice and snow. It was a place where no villager could resist small talk and gossip. They were mountain people trapped by a life they didn't choose, and who had no control over the direction of his or hers East Side Story.
In their love and memory...

· The Freedom I Love
· The God I Love

COLD RIVER: Allow to simmer, then bring to Amazon boiling point
No Foreigners sign hangs on the door of the Canadian publishing
COLD RIVER's somewhat of a mistake that really worked and somehow Quenches the Thirsty Mind of ordinary low brow reader...
Undeterred by publishing jungle, crocodile reviews and floods of rejections, at Amazon Cold River comes face to face with many literary multinationals...
We hear it all the time, and it's the source of much patriotic chest-thumping: Canada is the most multicultural country in the world. So it may seem odd to hear complaints about the insularity of our publishing industry.
I don't believe they see room for the incoming foreigner...
This is not so in the case of Canadian writers who have built literary reputations elsewhere (the one obvious exception being Josef Skvorecky, who won the Governor General's award in 1984 for a novel written in Czech and translated into English)
The complaint seems all the odder when one considers that my publisher is Canadian as no large Australian publisher would touch me with a political pole.
Different Cold Rivers have something for everyone:

· COLD RIVER: Story of Escape
· Canada Publishing
· Cold River 1 [ via
Walking a Cold River
The Best Cold River in the Universe

Reworking of Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying"?
The Sea, The Sea
When you've looked out the window for so many hours knowing that you are too afraid to step out the door and actually face the life you tried to stop from hurtling so terribly close to ruin, but could not stop, then take refuge in the truths that Murdoch carries like laudanum in her prose.

· Oh, god, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say any of that. It's just sometimes I feel so wounded I need to lash out [link first seen at Tobias Seamon lists what literature has taught him ]

2003 Koufax Award Finalists Best Blog: Magnificent
The seven finalists for the 2003 Koufax Award for Best Blog:
Daily Kos;
Talking Points Memo;
Talk Left;
Whiskey Bar!

· Many Antipodian Nominated, but Not Even One Finalist: Wampum Conspiracy (smile)

Most of the above blogs seem to enjoy linking to political stories such as how the press is a political player and how campaign reporters create - and then dash - their own expectations of candidate performance.
[ See Also Politics, "The Press" and Servant Journalism ]
What can the press do differently to help us get the real story

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Oprah announced that the next title to be read by Oprah's Book Club is HarperPerennial's One Hundred Years of Solitude by Nobel Prize-winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

One of Melbourne's biggest bookstores is closing, and it's hard not to feel nostalgic. Do I protest too much? Metropolis was just another place of consumption, much like a cafe or a bar or a chemist. Let's not get sanctimonious about a bookstore. Maybe my mother is right; maybe I am a literary snob. Maybe I should watch more TV, drink more Coke, get in touch with the mainstream. Who am I to say Acland Street, post-Metropolis, has gone to the dogs?
[See Also Ode To A Closing Bookstore ][See Also Ode To A Opening Bookstore ]
[ via What the gossip bookdividers at work say]

Reporter says raid of home "felt like slow-motion robbery"
Citizen reporter Juliet O'Neill, whose home was raided on Wednesday, writes: I will remember what happened to me as part of how the post 9/11 world works. Some Canadians of Muslim faith and Middle Eastern origin have told of the early morning knock on the door from the RCMP. Because of my everyday work as a journalist, I've now experienced myself something that I realize would be more difficult to endure without a lawyer, without knowing my rights, and being confident of media attention.
· I woke up and thought I was in some totalitarian state

Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein tried to get New York Post reporter Keith J. Kelly to stop writing about Talk magazine by offering him a book deal to write a history of Irish Americans

Codes of conduct in Australian and some overseas parliaments
The conduct of ministers and members of parliament is often in the news. In Australia some parliaments have adopted codes of conduct for members while others have a code governing ministerial behaviour. Only three parliaments have codes relating to both ministers and members. All Australian parliaments have adopted registers of pecuniary interests.
· Interested Interesting [See AlsoDiscrimination in electoral law: using technology to extend the secret ballot to disabled and illiterate voters (PDFormat)]

WSJ is really good at turning "trends" into great features
And if you believe the Wall Street Journal, a lot of people are getting nude on vacation. It's breathtaking how many trends we consume every day, served up by the trendaholic media. A trend story doesn't have to be new to make a splash. Some are hardy perennials. Not a year goes by when the media don't report that teenagers are having sex earlier, except when the trend is that they're having it later, as one recent spate of trend stories claimed.
· Nude on vacation

Book Ring Master
Full of feints and feuds, the drama of the Booker prize livens up the rarefied literary world. Can new chairman Chris Smith control the annual circus?
The Booker's New Wrangler Member of Parliament Chris Smith is heading up this year's Book Prize jury, and he says he has no preconceptions about what the winner should demonstrate. Cynics might argue that this absence of preconceptions is merely a spin on an absence of knowledge. After all, how much time does your average MP have to keep up with even a fraction of the 10,000 or so novels published each year? What sort of books does he have on his bedside table?

· Bedside Table: The Guardian (UK)

Monday, January 26, 2004

Atom Blogger: Selling Atomic and Other Wirelessactive Secrets

First Kill All The Blogs...
Every entry needs to include a link. With a very few exceptions, you probably got the idea for what you are writing about from another webpage.
· Yvelle at Radical Rejection has compiled a list of standards she believes bloggers should meet [ via dead half-finished web pages ]

Iron deal
Philips and Unilever are introducing a new product in the Netherlands in April 2004: Perfective.
Still waiting for the ultimate solution though: clothes that need no ironing, and a washing machine that washes and dries. And brings coffee and the newspaper on Saturday morning.

· Perfective in all 3 [ via House-of-innovation]

Where Everybody Knows My Name: Most Musicians are not Rich
John Buckman talks about the music industry at: Why I created Magnatune Records. If you think Magnatune is a worthy goal, please support it. There are powerful forces who want it to fail, so I need your help if this is going to work.
· Actually, he's way more eloquent than Courtney Love

Sunday, January 25, 2004

First Jim Henson, then Mr. Rogers, now we lost Captain Kangaroo himself, Bob Keeshan. O Captain! Our Captain!

Hugo nominee is a worthy sci-fi novel
The great man is he who does not lose his child-heart. He does not think beforehand that his words shall be sincere, nor that his acts shall be resolute; he simply abides in the right.
Mencius on resolve

What would you do if you did not have to do anything?
Just about everyone's had a day when they've wished it were possible to send an alternate self to take care of unpleasant or tedious errands while the real self takes it easy. In Kiln People, David Brin's sci-fi-meets-noir novel, this wish has come true.

· Kiln People [ via blogcritics ]

Fortune magazine released its 2004 Report on the 100 Best Companies to work for...
Congratulations to J.M. Smucker (#1) for being the best place to work! We especially liked their code of conduct:
Listen with your full attention,
look for the good in others,
have a sense of humor,
and say thank you for a job well done.
No wonder they've been in business for 107 years!
At thought Scooter Store (#58), there is a 14-minute huddle every morning to discuss the day's goals.

Why wait? and I'm worth it.
Blogging is also a fractal activity because, even though you're doing an individualistic thing, you're also "part of something bigger". When you blog, you're participating in a group activity. The question for us bloggers then becomes: which scale am I blogging at and therefore how much time should I be devoting to it in relation to my other activities?
· Trend Forecast: 2004
· Brand NewWorld
[ courtesy ofDina]
From Real Goods to Feel Goods
From Facts to Truth
From Capture to Attract
From Interesting to Interested
From Branding to Bonding
From Fact Telling to Storytelling
From Doing To to Doing With (and For)
From Honesty to Authenticity
From Knowledge to Wisdom
From Cold River to Liquid Clay
From Rah Rah! To Ah Ha!

Saturday, January 24, 2004

The critical ingredient is getting off your czech butt and doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.
Robert Browning on the true entrepreneur

There's a freedom for me a value to the independence
I'll be giving readers a sense of what's happening that they don't get in conventional journalism.
Marshall is bypassing the editorial labyrinth of "conventional journalism," eliminating layers of editors, constrictions of newshole and limitations of deadline, to report directly to a public who values his work enough to pay for it in advance.
Significantly, tradition-bound newspaper editors and reporter who disparage blogging as hormonal therapy for teen-age girls cannot dismiss Marshall for lack of reporting credentials.

· Blogging: hormonal therapy? [ courtesy of Tim Porter]

I have this wonderful image - mantra - way of thinking - we are clay, if we are brittle we dry up and crack into a million pieces - dust - but if we stay maleable and fluid we can always reshape or be reshaped
Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha also uses three symbols and images in the novel: the potter's wheel, the caged bird, and the river.
The potter's wheel, once set in motion, turns for a very long time and then eventually stops; it is similar to the wheel of the ascetic, the wheel of thinking, the wheel of discrimination which revolve for a long time in Siddhartha's soul.
His use of the river as a metaphor too is powerful - as a symbol for the flow of life, its continuity, and its ability to hold myriads of things while still representing unity and oneness.
Something to think about in a world that so often puts you in hard-cast moulds, that clips your wings and cages you and drowns you rather than letting you go with the flow of discovery.

· If we stay maleable and fluid we can always reshape or be reshaped

Weblogs are more than the sum of its parts: more than vibrant public forums and frequently updated streams-of-consciousness, alternative forms of publishing and online outbursts of gonzo journalism, and personal diaries. They are the embodiment of online self-organising social systems, are essentially characterised by management decentralisation and ultimately threaten to destabilise current organisational structures and re-invent the scope of management. Provided that weblogs are not co-opted by rigid corporate policies that aim at stifling the creative spirit that fosters innovation - one of the reasons for having weblog communities at the first place - weblogs can be successfully deployed within the organisation with a pervasive effect across all the stages of the value chain "achieving a greater return on connection from employee, customer and partner relationships". As an extension, they can possibly involve all interested groups; regardless of their level of attachment to the company.
Cross-fertilisation among individual thoughts and ideas unfolds
[See also Spinning Yarns around the Digital Fire - Storytelling and Dialogue among Youth on the Internet ]

Friday, January 23, 2004

The lure of the unknown writer proved absolutely irresistible for many virtual readers. Thank you one and all readers at Amazon for challenging the orthodoxy of the publishing world, so the next generation of writers don't have to! Imagine... Phew, how tough it has been for ordinary storytellers of my calibre running on literary water. Today you put me in the three figure current. Cold River is ranked as 710 as at 9 am Sydney time...
· Now, Ice cold beer, anyone?

[Memo to San Francisco Chronicle staffers]
I am delighted to announce that John Koopman, who has been a metro reporter or editor in San Francisco since 1997, is joining the Datebook staff as a special assignment writer. His beat is sex...

Nothing New Under the Sun: Drown the Messengers and Witches!
Teams of RCMP officers armed with search warrants today raided the home and office of Citizen reporter Juliet O'Neill, searching for evidence of leaks in the Maher Arar case.
The simultaneous raids were conducted early this morning on Ms. O'Neill's lowertown home and her office in the the Citizen bureau at City Hall.

· Be Prepared
· Still Stonewalling After All These Years: Deadly Nerve Agents [ via Ageless Aga]

Well, if you write non-fiction, review non-fiction, or prefer to read non-fiction, break out the champagne. The most compelling ideas tend to be in the non-fiction world. Because we are a newspaper, we should be more skewed toward non-fiction.

The Plot Thickens at The New York Times Book Review
With a new Sunday book editor on the horizon, The New York Times takes a hard look at its literary coverage paper-wide.
· Which way are the winds blowing?

First, the American tradition of free speech and free press gives us a nearly unbounded right to cover the banal, the bizarre, and the shamelessly self-promoting.
· Why Do We Cover Celebrities? [ courtesy of Romenesko ]
· Blog Design Innovations [link first seen at I Don't Know Art, But I Know What I Hate ]

Witch Burning

Readers are often surprised to hear that Cold River is a representation of reality. Those in the corridors of power with generous imagination and a gift for milling rumours know too well that I did not drown because I am a witch rather than rich (smile):
Indeed, the witch of Morava River kissed me with her tongue until the leaves on the trees, the soles of my shoes, and even my thoughts, felt like leaden tongues.

Have a Thick Skin: Put something new into the world
(Please spread the rumour... I am not just a bouncing czech; I am a wicked witch)
Amateurs are writing as they’ve always written. Self-consciousness, self-doubt, awkwardness, and overcompensation are perennial hallmarks of the beginning writer. The reason today’s amateurs seem more profoundly un–profound could be a simple matter of exposure...
Sharing great discoveries is largely why weblogging got so hot and sultry in the first place. Big, heavily funded sites weren’t acknowledging the grace notes and hidden talents of the web, so it was up to webloggers. For some webloggers, it still is. Wired doesn’t need your help as much as undiscovered sites, which may be offering equally good (or better) material.

· When the kidnapper called the blind woman, he told her that she’d never see her son again

Thursday, January 22, 2004

· Judging an Antipodean creative man by his beer

What matters after 50 are hits to the heart
The capability is real. The arts must dare to take their place in Australian society
· The push goes on - towards an artistic top end
[ via Creative Destruction]

Self-Publish And Be Damned?
I had been warned against self-publishing. You can't get reviews, you can't get shelf space, and you can't get respect. One hundred thousand books are published every year, so you need an imprint to stand out from the noise. Being naive, and used to being treated like Rodney Dangerfield, I decided to publish my book anyway.
I found a printer near Boston that could turn out thousands of copies in two weeks. A printer in Michigan took four weeks but, for two bucks each, produced tens of thousands of stitched-binding, store-quality copies. Ready or not, I was now in the publishing business. I opened an Advantage account on Amazon.com and had "Wall Street Meat" for sale on March 17. Not even spring of '03. Ha.

· I brought out my own book and beat the odds
· Where To Read About Reading [ via Book Slut]
· Literary Blogs]
[Adult Link Booble v Google]

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Blogger Idol is about celebrating diversity, creativity and making new connections. Let your eyes digest some of the magnificent seven:
· My recollection of the 1980's...sad, but true.
· All these years I've tried to forget the crazy things I did in the 80's
· \__Cliff Between the Lines__/
· A post about looking forward to the "80's"...
· I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
· The 80s -- an intimate friendship with popular culture is formed.
· Teacher, I think I didn't understand the assignment.
· Living Room

Tim Porter & Religion Are Born Again
There's nothing like a long time in Mexico to make you forget about quality journalism ...
Journalism selects those who cannot but be writers and journalists. It means you get a level of commitment and dedication that is quite unusual in many other professions. But you can only abuse people so much. They have families, children and student loans and lives to lead. We are not monks.

· Catching Up, Getting Religion [ via Tip toeing into these digital rivers: to ignore change is to be consumed by it ]

Double Dragons don't just exhale fire, cause maidens distress, and make life tough for silver-clad knights...they also have hearts as big as castles.

Literacy Matters: Cats & Dragons
If you learn anything in your life, you will find yourself roughly where I am now. Lying in a pile of drunk (dragons).
I have fifteen (dragons) in all, named after various notable poets: Hölderlin, Rilke, Celan, Cohen, Layton, Rimbaud, Evans, Shelley, Hughes, Maxwell, Alfau, Eliot, Mandelshtam, Lawrence and Dunthorne. I have trained them by writing and speaking continuously in service of the ultimate, and of mankind. Whenever one of my articles was printed in the Sunday papers, I forced my (dragons) to read and reread it, and whenever I was interviewed on the radio, I turned the volume up, so that all fifteen of them could hear what I was saying. I taught them to smoke - cigarettes at first, but then pipes. Their favourite tobacco is Gambler Full Flavour.

· We order from rollyourown.com [ via Abctales.com]
· Puppy Love[link first seen at Tim Dunlop]
· A Politician's Wardrobe [ courtesy of DotLit]

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)

The Dual Commandments
The coldest current to hit Amazon in years:
(1) If you like Cold River, give it to your friends.
(2) If you have an allergy to Cold River, send it to the bullies at school, work or parliament...
Just because I write about horrors of absurd communism doesn’t mean I always identify myself with other forms of barbarism such as ruthless capitalism.
· COLD RIVER: The Hunt for the Book That Is Best to Give to Bullies of this World [ My Virtual Middle Earth Digital Exposure: May the Ghost of the Morava River Protect the Powerless]
· Digital Silver Foxes: What is the son of Barbara Bush reading in 2004?

Slowly, google your heart out Metrosexuals...
[ courtesy of Googling: Sooooo Un1980s]
· The typical Internet user -- far from being a geek -- shuns television and actively socializes with friends

Monday, January 19, 2004


1980s: The Decade That Rocked My World
All along the Iron Curtain, the Austrian citizens are relaxing and enjoying the midsummer dreams. Ironically, in the world's largest army barracks peppered along East side of the Curtain no soldier is allowed to fall asleep.
Only one exile in whole of Austria is aware of the sleepless ghost behind the Iron Curtain.

That’s what happens to exiles; they are scattered to the four winds and then find it extremely difficult to get back together again.
Isabel Allende

On 7 July 1980 I became the enemy of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Whenever the 7 July comes around, I become a different person. I am moved by memories in a resentful way. I have no inclinations to go to work, nor to walk along Australian beaches, as is my usual custom.
No words can do justice to the fact that on 8 July I would stand before the mirror as if I were another person from the one I was on the previous morning. The Morava River tried to drown me yesterday. That was hard to even comprehend.
So this was supposed to be my happy morning. I began my new chapter in life by referring to myself in the third person, not ‘I’, but ‘he’.
You cannot help thinking of Shakespeare's tragedies when you stand across a mirror staring at a third person who looks like you. A person who was without doubt the unhappiest soul in the world. A gloomy, ravaged character who could only think he was just putty in someone else's hands.
Life imposed on me that I would feel strange and even stranger in the very depth of my being. I could not really think. I could only feel. Everything seemed surreal. I knew that I, the stranger, was one lucky bastard. I knew that. As July 7 unfolded in front of me in slow motion, I experienced how slamming the mirror with a bare fist feels. I, perhaps with some embarrassment, can still trace my first encounter in Austria with blood.
I suffered from a peculiar sense of distorrted time. While I planned revenge against Gustav Husak, everyone around me only knew one Gustav, Gustav Klimt. Klimt, the father of 14 illegitimate children, who, like me, feared voices in his head.
It is so ironic, but only when we lose something or are about to lose something do we realise how much we value it. When you catch a glimpse of death, it’s amazing how so many things you think vitally important aren’t even in the picture; and the things that you have been taking for granted, the things that you can’t buy, those are suddenly the things of matchless value. Mamka always left the lights on for me.
When at last I brought myself to look out the window, I was at first surprised. The village resembled an elegant album of nostalgic snapshots, Austrian workers in comfortable shoes with bags in their hands, a cluster of pastel stately homes on the hill. Beyond them lay the motionless Czechoslovak border. In the distance was the mysterious Devin Castle. It was there, at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers, where Slovak and Austrian citizens in 1948, separated by the infamous Iron Curtain, gathered to wave to family and friends on opposite sides of the border.
The sun mirrored the freshly starched and pressed pastures in the window panes. The grass fields rose behind the Morava River. I whispered good-bye in my heart. Although there were some gaps in my memory, I did not require a map to tell me where the splendid Austrian countryside ended and the Slovakian concrete slum began. I focused my gaze on the concrete barbed wire fences - a line that was drawn on our map in Kezmarok several hours ago.
After I had signed 14 pages of documents, they led me out of the detention center through a curious crowd to an unmarked four-wheel vehicle. Its driver gazed down at Bessie, and congratulated her for being the first and only dog ever granted political asylum. Within seconds, the car was speeding across the Austrian landscape, past ridges of black soil and sea-like waves of trees as we made the journey to Vienna. The inevitable suspicion of being in a strange dream became more obvious in daylight. I was certainly not in Vrbov anymore.
I was passing through new towns, heading for a big new city. I felt that Austria was much more like something from the next century than the present day. Anything I used to seeing before was conspicuous by its absence. I was seized by an urge to compare everything with my familiar world: the seats in the car were as soft as Tato's leather chair; the colour of the interior was the colour of Babka's cat, light grey; the voice of the driver sounded like someone who needed to clear the phlegm, a routine practice in Slovakia; the policemen 'Hans' looked like my Vrbov neighbour, Ferko Hrebenar; the road was the width of Vrbov's cinema screen.
I can remember being amazed by many things the first time I saw them: the Russian tanks, a naturist beach in East Germany, a disco in Krakow. But none made such an impact on me as Austrian highways. The first thing I noticed was the make of the cars - Mercedes, WVs, BMWs, which glided smoothly along well paved roads. Then the clean streets, neat gardens as well as the store windows with assortments of coffees and cakes. I saw mothers smiling at their toddlers.
And then we arrived in Vienna, a city that had long been held dear in my heart for its supposed beauty, I imagined I would arrive in different circumstances; but then youth tends to be romantic in so many ways. Despite my fatigue, I could still sense the magic of Vienna, brimming with promises. I stared at some of the writing on the huge advertising boards. I hoped that they would resolve into something I could understand. The capitalist guerrilla attacks of colour and effusion of energy, that weird screech echoing from a passing Coca Cola poster. As I promiscuously scan other posters of suggestive poses on the groundfloors of buildings, I am excited by strangely shaped breasts promoting handbags. Call me impressionable, but I thought nothing could beat those the magnificent colours on the posters. I saw one beautiful face on a poster, and then another and another, and I tried to find words for what this had meant to me, and I could not find any words that seemed to me worthy or as lovely as that sudden emotion. In 1980 some parts of the globe where meant to be unmentionable. We lived in a flat world of Communism. Despite my misery, I could hardly believe that I was here. Only I had no idea yet whether Vienna promised acceptance or rejection.
Dreams of Vienna are an old Slovak tradition. Slovaks, locked up for decades behind iron bars, in a country of suspicious glances, have developed images of Vienna as the golden symbol of freedom, standing on the border gates. I had read about Vienna since I was a young child, and finally I was emerging from masses of incomprehensible stories and the magic power of a Slovak imagination to the actuality. Only Slovaks like Andy Warhol could make a can of soup or a toilet seat the subject of high art.
The difference between Czechoslovakia's token economy and Austria's market economy was startling. I was struck by the change. How was it possible that Vienna, a city which at the beginning of this bloody century had more Czechs and Slovaks than any city except Prague and Bratislava, was surrounded by so much beauty? By such spine-warming aura? The contrast with the Czechoslovakian landscape was too stark.
I remember a strange tension as we headed for the city centre. I passed the endless circles of friends, dressed in so many different styles and colours, relaxing their souls and sunning their smiling faces outside dozens of solid stone cafes. Every cafe made a particular artistic statement. There were no grim-faced party apparatchiks, no soldiers on point duty with rifles at the ready, no regulated state businesses. So many newspapers. Banks so huge. The scenery along the avenues was majestic, particularly the sections above the cafes, where the charm of the past was projected by the massive balconies of the Ringstrasse. Ever since I was a kid I had always wanted to have a coffee in Vienna in this famous semicircle of avenues. In me Ringstrasse had a fascinated audience. I kept thinking, Rambacher, my amusing neighbour, was right Vienna was richer than any totalitarian God.Here I was, the first Imrich since 1948 to set his eyes on the Ringstrasse, the largest open air cafe in the world. I was getting used to something that my generation had never experienced: freedom. The psychology of freedom and its acquisition is a fascinating subject. No phrase can convey the idea of freedom as vividly as the size of my eyes as I watched Vienna walking past. Men moving with Vienna speed; it was only a matter of time before their shirts came out. A woman’s skirt caught in the summer wind revealed every paradox: the pleats stretched, flew, shrank and raced to mysterious angle. At the traffic lights, her determined face pretended that her cream knickers had never seen the light of the day. Never mind that my poetic heart glued the connection between shirts and knickers and the wind in the trees.
For my maternal grandparents, citizens of the multicultural world of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna was where their parents bought the few precious pieces of furniture from well-known cabinet makers. The Imperial Vienna my parents treasured was made up of tales that became woven into mythology.
Vienna seemed only a short journey from the border. In summer, dead flat Vienna wore golden colours and blue skies, the Danube River a metallic-green, the masses of rooftops a velvet orange. The trams reminded me of Prague, as so many other things did. Like the girls who glided remote and vacant-eyed along avenues, stopping only to examine their reflections in the windows of shops. I imagined what in their life would prompt them to embrace escape to Czechoslovakia: stress of having so many shoes to choose from in the window of the shop, a lonely existence in the streets without undercover police to watch every move and mood, or maybe the worry of having every newspaper story and film uncensored. Their eyes, I fancied, spoke for escapees across the land, yearning for Communism and, yes, for the May marches.
So here I was peering through a half open window in a stationery car, when I notice three huge television sets turned on, propped way up on top of metal hooks inside a shop, and the song ‘Imagine’ was playing and John Lennon dressed in faded denims and white shirt depicting T.
Who in the right mind would have imagined that before the first Christmas of the 1980s Lennon would be shot dead or that before the last Christmas of the 1980s the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall would be no more?
1980s were all about tearing the world apart and putting it together again.
· Prague in Spring & Vienna in Summer: Know Too Much About History [ via Strictly Iron Curtain]

Novo Niche Blogs
Literary Blogs: Kitabkhana and Sanskrit
· Best Blogs [link first seen at Wampum]

The Fountain of Youth exists: Where-is-it-now
The film, The Blair Witch Project, formerly the biggest-grossing indie flick of all time—it has since been surpassed by My Big Fat Greek Wedding—brought in $248.3 million worldwide. The five producing partners of Blair Witch netted $5 million each, the actors $1 million.
· To you, that’s serious money, but in Hollywood, it’s chump change. Is that depressing, or what? [link first seen at About last night]
[ courtesy of 'Anti-aging' Beer entitled - COLD RIVER]

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Web Design Tips
When it comes to website usability, the leading authority in the world is Jakob Nielsen, whose Nielsen Norman Group in Fremont, Calif., has influenced tens of thousands of site designers. Nielsen's useit.com is a must-visit site for anyone in the web business and I think more non-techie journalists should know about it.
· Things webmasters need to fix [link first seen at Sree Sreenivasan ]

Saturday, January 17, 2004

My family is off again to Homebush Aquatic Centre where the NSW age swimming championships are being held covering ages 13-19 years/Over Age; covering the long, long, period from 13-19 January...
Swimming in our family emerged out of summer days splashing at Andrew (Boy) Charton and Bondi Iceberg pools, but the love of swimming came from the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef...
While many swimmers fall into the shooting star category, it is the healthiest sport on earth and almost as tough as ballet where extremely intensive dedication and love are a must. But, unlike ballet, swimming is objective. It is the ego, H2O and the clock...

True Passion Motivates Most Swimmers
The Middle Earth Europeans seem to be everywhere even at Homebush Aquatic Center and some even work for the IOI Scientific Committee (ISC) which in its maiden newsletter for the Athen Olympics poetically noted:
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
Are the ones who do!

The Olympics are still young and full of promises, for those who believe in them. I hope James Cumes might one day blog more about the true Olympic Spirit.
Meanwhile Dr. Tom Verhoeff, ISC Chair, writes that until IOI'99, the preparation and execution process suffered from a scaling problem...
The GA had very limited time to assess the tasks for approval and translation. This gave rise to long, intense, emotional discussions (a few well-informed persons versus a large group with little information), taking place under severe time constraints...
(As a result,) the ISC acts as an intermediary between GA and the HSC in the preparation and execution process. In all of this, it is important to remember that the ISC is intended to represent the GA. In fact, most ISC members have been GA members and they often return to the GA after serving on the ISC.
Now, we turn our attention to IOI 2004 in Athens, Greece. If the contact person has changed for your country from the one used in 2003, please send an email to Mr. Spyros Bakoyiannis, Greece, sbakogia@epy.gr so he will have an up-to-date list of the country contacts. The contact person is necessary for sending out country invitations to IOI 2004...
· Olympiad Newsletter (PDF format) [ courtesy of Turning Dreams to Realities]
· Thorpedo in Swimming to Athens mode [link first seen at NSW Swimming Championships ]
· Bidders begin 2012 Olympics race

True Blue Olympic Colours & Spirits: People over 60 in Wales will be given free access to swimming pools in the first move of its kind in Europe. The move follows a scheme which gave schoolchildren free swimming during last year's summer holidays... (Politicians of all colours take note)
Sadly, Gray - who first found fame delivering confessional, humorous stage monologues such as Swimming to Cambodia is missing

Last Mile: Dreams Come Alive
Computerised lamp posts look like being the basis of the biggest data network ever, as the world's traffic monitors set about controlling cars with wireless. And the result could be an absolute windfall for a startup company which, it seems, owns all the relevant patents.
The excitement about WiFi has, at last, started penetrating through to the consumer mind, with home users connecting their PCs to the Internet without wires and working in their bedrooms, sitting rooms, kitchens, and even in coffee shops, gyms and railway stations. And it turns out that you can even use your PC as a sort of free telephone.

· If Last Mile is right, then the WiFi revolution could happen much, much faster than anybody has dreamed.

City by city, neighborhood to neighborhood, our politics are becoming more concentrated and polarized. America must not only stop making dumb mistakes, like starting trade wars with Europe and China; it must also put in place new policies that enhance our creative economy.
It is a sad irony: America's creative economy sparked a demographic shift and a political polarization that now threaten to choke that economy off. What America desperately needs now is political leadership savvy enough to bridge that gap.
[ Creative Edge Creative Class War: How anti-elitism could ruin America's economy]

Trivia 'nuff fer ya?

So What is your score? ...Get it here: Score for Imrich is: 13 Jozef: 24; Cold River: 15; Survivor Story: 22

I decided to test one of my most treasured theses: that France is the America of Europe?
· Testing...
· The King and Di: Polish Institute of Gerontological Science Travels From Paris to Bratislava[link first seen at Wendy James]

Weblogs, Weather: COLD ENOUGH?
500 below zero:
Hell freezes over.
People in Maine start saying...Cold 'nuff fer ya?

· Maine [link first seen at Vrbov ]
· Expert Bloggers [ via John Quiggin for expertise in economics ]

Friday, January 16, 2004

Bizarrrre Bush: I-don't-read-newspapers boast...
According to the latest Media Audit, Internet's officially mainstream (as if you hadn't figured that out already).
But regarding newspaper comparisons, this strikes me a bit as apples vs. oranges. Newspapers have specific uses: disseminating news and advertising. The Internet is used for so many things, news being only one small component. It's not a fair comparison. More interesting, in my mind, is Media Audit's finding that there are more heavy Internet users than heavy TV viewers. That's remarkable, and truly significant. The best way to stay on top of deal news and trends all the time as it happens is by checking out Google.com and Amazon.com ...

A rainish day and a visit to Lilly's vet meets a slow day ( newswise), but once again there are plenty of substantive new blog entries:
Webloggers Adopting Political Reporters
A proposal to have bloggers adopt individual campaign reporters to track and critique their work is gathering some momentum on the web. It's generated a lot of back and forth between bloggers and journalists over whether this will improve campaign coverage and media accountability or just set off another round of mindless media bashing. New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen has collected the postings on the adopt-a-journalist campaign on his PressThink weblog, and added his take on the idea.
· Press Think [ courtesy of Romenesko]

Are Arabs, in a sense, the Irish of the world?
· Journalistic analogy: Ireland plays the part of the Arab world, perhaps of the larger Muslim world, while Britain plays the part of the West

I eat, drink, live, sleep, dream of less soccer, sweatshops & station disasters...But greed almost always trumps ideology.

What could be more global than soccer? The world’s leading professional players and owners pay no mind to national borders, with major teams banking revenues in every currency available on the foreign exchange and billions of fans cheering for their champions in too many languages to count. But in many ways, the beautiful game reveals much more about globalization’s limits than its possibilities.
· Foreign Policy magazines are exploring the absurdity of Football
· Not Sparing the Sweatshop Rod
· Australia: Waterfall disaster

Birthday honour
When the coffee was ready, I poured it into a mug (one with an Australian Museum logo: something I bought in Sydney), carried it to my study, sat at my desk, switched on my Apple Mac, put a Telemann concerto for woodwinds on the stereo at low volume and started the day's work. It was still dark outside. The day was just beginning. It was a special day in the year, but at the same time it was an absolutely ordinary day. I was working at my computer. Maybe one of these years I would have the kind of dramatic birthday when I would want to sail a boat out to the middle of Tokyo Bay and set off a massive firework display. And should such a birthday ever come, I would charter the boat without hesitation, no matter what anybody might say, and I would head out to Tokyo Bay in the depths of winter with an armload of fireworks.
· But today, at least, was not such a day. This year's birthday was not such a birthday

Human Characters
We have undertaken space travel because the desire to explore and understand is part of our character. This is how President George W. Bush announced his visions for new space programs.
SMH undertakes a historical exploration of puzzling characters such as GGs...
· Daughters of convict sluts - were able to look down on Governor Lachlan Macquarie's home from the top storey of the orphanage

Paul O'Neill continues to try and explain why he was so involved in Ron Suskind's new book. He says he wanted to participate in a book that reveals the inner workings of the Bush administration because he believes the current political system badly stifles meaningful debate on public issues and needs to be fixed. And in his own words:
I hope people will read it because I think it makes a contribution to illuminating, especially for young people, what I consider to be a bipartisan, broken political process.
PS: Winners of this year's John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott medals, Kate DiCamillo and Mordicai Gerstein, respectively, were announced today at the 2004 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in San Diego...

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Timeless Trends?
In the immortal words and nightmares of the bon vivant, I don't finish throwing up until 10 at the earliest.
· I'm sexy [ courtesy of Travel Times][See also Objects impart not only memories but lessons]
· Marriages embraced by the state ...

Neophobia: Fear and Loathing
Despite old-fashioned wisdom about looking before you leap and fools rushing in, new research shows that caution can actually kill you.
· New experiences: being risk-averse may shorten your life.

No greater joy in this world than to watch a young child that you love grow: to contemplate each new step, rudimentary word, each fresh understanding; that unique combination of the faintly comical and the seemingly miraculous.
Opinions differ, but my family has embraced anti-boy products, such as the throw rocks; slogan, pajamas that read Boys are smelly and the latest my daughter wears a T-shirts emblazoned with Boy Basher.
· There's too much boy-bashing going on [link first seen at Normblog]

Linguistic Ecology: Preventing a Great Loss
The acquisition of a second tongue destroys the 'naturalness' of the first. From then on, nothing can be self-evident in any tongue; nothing belongs to you wholly and irrefutably; nothing will ever 'go without saying' again.
Living in two languages, between two languages, or in the overlap of two languages? What is it like to write in a language that is not the language in which you were raised? To create in words other than those of your earliest memories, so far from the sounds of home and childhood and origin?
I laughed at things others considered serious and . . . they spoke at length of matters I would not think of divulging in public.

· I am Reaching out in more than one language [ via On The Trail Of An Elusive Translation: The Voynich manuscript]
· Other women: Gianna's started seeing them as characters in a coming-of-age story [See Also Those three or four words on the cover can make all the difference to a book's chances of success ]

If you have to choose between explaining something as a cock-up or a conspiracy, choose cock-up every time...

Czech out Eurovants blogging about Poles and US Visa Regime.
Tim Dunlop keeps this blogging thing and Desire to control information in perspective.

Human Nature
Dr Fischer is a multi-millionaire, his fortune founded on human hygiene. Fischer has a Most Unusual hobby: to expose human greed.
· Only Human [link first seen at GG]
· Soros Interview: Second Half

Thanks to Barista for his kind mention.
I don't pay heartstarters for the hungry mind for these kind mentions, so the only logical conclusion is that Bog father helps to drive blogging further...(smile)

· Blog Further [ via Barista ]

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

The pundits are whispering that Bob Carr is likely to run over Amerika

Verbal shrines: Red Flags or Grinding Axes
Veteran journalists are coming to some grim conclusions about their industry. Are they raising red flags or merely grinding axes?
Much recent criticism of the media falls along conventional political fault lines - that the press is either too 'liberal' or too 'conservative.' In the years since Sept. 11 the criticism also has been politically polarized: We're not patriotic enough. We're not skeptical enough. We're anti-American traitors. We're flunkys for the White House and the Pentagon.

· We're not patriotic enough. We're not skeptical enough... [ via Romenesko ]
· It's not our job to be sources. The taxpayers don't pay us to leak! Our job is not to make your job easy... [ via Dismissive nature of some remarks in piece are striking ]

New Year, New You, New Australian DIARY OF CIRCLES is here
Wendy James gets a response from Susan Hill in relation to the art and practice of diary keeping.
Speaking of diaries, I received a short note from Darren about his latest initiative called Blogger Idol.
So showcase your digital diary over the next month by posting 1 entry per week on a common theme.

· Darren Rowse [link first seen at Livingroom ]
· True Diary of Tim Dunlop: Rich and Succint [ via Surfdom ]

After the Velvet Revolution, I Count Myself Lucky to be Living in the Age of Digital Revolution.
If at first you don't succeed and if you feel on the Net like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people make Blog Father the First Blog of the Rest of Your Life:
· My So-Called Blog Father [ via Searching God Father]

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

What is Happiness?
To laugh often and much,
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of childen,
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends,
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition,
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,
This is to have succeeded.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
· Politics of Happiness
[ via Mathematics of Happiness = P + 5E + 3H
· Bullies in the China Shop of Humanity

The Cardinal Sins of Blogging

Online addicts abandon the real world
Gabriele Farke celebrated her 40th birthday in a chat room. Her real-life friends had long since given up on her.
· The blonde in Bus Stop: Caught in the Net
· Blogging of Happiness


The playwright Tom Stoppard once wrote that, when people asked about the deep existential themes in his play Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, he felt like a smuggler's dupe standing before a Customs officer: He had to admit those things were in there, but had no idea how they got there. Something similar happens every year at the Sydney Festival. The Sydney Festival began in earnest 4 months after I arrived in Australia. The Family Friendly Festival's ability to blend high-brow art and popular culture is the reason why so many vodka and barkadi (sic) loving locals are so passionate about exploring Sydney during Mid Summer Musical Evenings. What would the internationally recognised summer party scene be without mango dakeries (sic) at the Barracks or my very own Antipodean Club 77 (Klub, Charter, 77 is now closed)?
Without any doubt Leo Schofield, the son of a country publican with passion for telling stories, is the most artistic character the Emerald City ever created. Leo even painted the city of exiles in deep milticultural colours and now new talents continue the graceful tradition of lifting our hearts and making us think differently. Sydney somehow becomes kinder just like my childhood Vrbov used to manage to metamorphose during St Servac celebrations.

The Days of the Digital Cities are Numbered: Stopczecher
We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.
THE cream of Australia's theatrical crowd gathered at Walsh Bay for the opening of the $42-million Sydney Theatre.
Ussual suspects included Jackie Weaver, Barry Otto, Gough Whitlam and Bob Carr. However, playwrights David Williamson and Sir Tom Stoppard also attended the marathon nine-hour performance and party.

· Tom Stoppard: Who's that? ...Nobody, sir. He's the author [Website about Tom Stoppard was born "Tom Straussler" in Zlin, Czechoslovakia on July 3, 1937]

Geraldine O'Brien, at her brilliant best, describes heartily the city of my exile...
They have been called Sydney's incidental magic but they are not the million-dollar harbour vistas from the plate-glass of Point Piper. Rather, they are glimpses and views that, piece by lovely piece, are disappearing from our city.
Yet these, even more than the postcard vistas, have been what anchor us - geographically and psychologically - that give us our sense and spirit of place; that are, if you like, our dreaming.
Sydney has always had an immediate, sensuous, physical impact: for two centuries, from the first recorded European responses, visitors and locals alike, painters, writers and Everyman have celebrated its moods and ever-changing moments.
· Everyday magic of a beloved city
[ next generation of exiles Pushed to go Bush]

LOVE AFFAIR: Booked solid

So call us nerds. But we just can't help getting excited about East Bay libraries.
Yeah, we know that compared to their counterparts around the nation, they're rather underfunded, understocked and short-staffed, and at least one local branch is downright moldy.
But to dwell on those sorts of details is to miss an essential point: Libraries are free! Walk in with only a library card, and walk out with armloads of books, music and movies -- yours to enjoy for the next several weeks.
What's more, things are really looking up. Thanks to citizen support, local libraries are expanding their hours, beefing up their collections and updating their buildings.
So if you haven't stopped by in a while, you might just be amazed by what you see -- including these, our top 10 favorite things about East Bay libraries:
We fell in love with the Orinda Library for its generous parking availability alone. Then we saw the community art gallery, the theater, the embedded coffee shop on the main floor. Best of all, the building was obviously designed with readers in mind -- plenty of padded window seats and comfy chairs make it clear that browsers are welcome here. It's the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon....
Last on this list, but certainly not in our hearts, are our local librarians -- who totally rock. Forget all the spinster stereotypes. These men and women are tough, smart, savvy, hip and seem to relish each opportunity to help their patrons solve research quandaries or find great books. And hey, no shushing.

· L...Love Letters Librarians! [ via Librarians Showing off Bookplates ...most of these images would get raised eyebrows in a work environment; there's an awful lot of nudity... and worse! ]
· Fewer books ?

Googling about Goggles
These underwater goggles are allowed to flood with water instead of air, which relieves swimmers of the discomfort caused by ordinary air-filled masks in deep dives. Being fluid, they equalize with the surrounding water pressure.
· My Wishlist [blatantly pinched from Google ]

Monday, January 12, 2004

Something can exist which is much more powerful, and which we cannot imagine at all. In 1889, the editor of the San Francisco Examiner, having published one article by Rudyard Kipling, declined to accept any more of the author's work. The reason? 'I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling,' he explained, 'but you just don't know how to use the English language. This isn't a kindergarten for amateur writers.' Eighteen years later, Kipling (who had already written 'The Man Who Would Be King'), was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Double Dragon Pick Speaks the Language of Booklovers
Veteran singer-songwriter, John Hiatt, sings the language of music lovers in his newly penned lyrics for the unreleased song Cold River exclusively with Amazon.com customers.
Mothers teach us not to blow our own horn, but I recently received an email from a librarian who has recommeded my Cold River to other libraries and also included a link to this article:
I find the gestalt of the book world oppressive; it gives me a pain and it makes me grumpy. I find the movie-person's view of the arts much more congenial, whatever quarrels I may have with it. And I'm often left wondering: how can books people say of themselves that they love books when they look down their noses at 90% of the books that get published? They disdain not just Stephen King but also self-help books, visual books, and trash biographies; they relish little more than an intense discussion about what's a real book and what's not. (My staggeringly original response to this tiresome issue: They're all books, for god's sake.) IMHO, what books people love isn't books; what they love is their own standards, and their fantasies about what literature should be.

At times, it looked like my story would not be published. Then, the publishing stable of Double Dragon tried my Real Tail and the rest is history. So my gratitude goes to all librarians for keeping the ghosts of Morava River alive!
· Dreams and death shine a light on literally truth

Klima's simple style cloaked a fascination with moral uncertainties, divided loyalties, small betrayals and, above all, tortuous relationships between men and women. His books may well contain a higher incidence of adultery and infidelity than those of any other serious modern writer.
I have never been divorced. I love my wife. Like everybody else we have been through a period of problems. But not all my novels are based on my personal experience. Or, better to say: one experience helps you to invent more stories.
[ Bohemian writing My Beloved Prague ]
· Amazon's not-really-sekrit 800 number: 800 201 7575
In literary Amazon, the richest surname in the 21st century may be Jozef Imrich. (smile)[ courtesy of Boing]

Ten Million
Ten, 10, million blogs by the end of 2004? It isn't news to observers of revolutions like me that blogging has woven itself deeply into the fabric of neometrosexual society ...
For a of brilliantly informed and non-academic approach to culture, Terry Teachout is the guy. He's the drama critic for the Wall Street Journal and the music critic for Commentary, but no, he is not what you might expect from someone who regularly contributes to both those magazines. He is tremendously well-informed, and tremendously interested in the world. In the course of a week, his subjects will range from recent architecture to obscure plays and ballets to classic cartoons to how high tech changes Middle America's experience of culture, and then on beyond that. In his range of interests and enjoyments, he keeps goading me (in a good-natured way) to broaden my own horizons.

· Elk Grove

Sunday, January 11, 2004

I'm a village idiot - nothing more, nothing less. I don't fear life and I don't fear death...I am better than you are and you seem better than I could ever be (smile)
You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.
1 Corinthians 7:23 -

LOL: Please look at me! I'm important! Listen to me!
Who reads these weblogs? Nobody! Maybe fellow weblog authors read each others weblogs out of a sense of desperation...the feeling that if they read someone else's weblog, someone will read theirs. It's kindof like cooperative advertising too, people will cross-post, linking weblog entries to each other's weblogs
· Bloggers [blatantly pinched from This person suffers from a serious personal attention debt ]
· The Unluckiest Man [ courtesy of Dishonoured Hacking]