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

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Cold Stream: Our Little Soulful Secret
A water bearer in old Czechoslovakia of Mannor Born era had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.
The bearer said to the pot, Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.
Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.
You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.
To all of my crackpot friends, have a great life as earth smiles with flowers and also remember to smell those flowers.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Amazon.com Ranking 557 as at 30 March 2004....I will be honest the people who tell other people that I am chorrible (sic) are the best advertising for Cold River than most of my family members Media Dragon is so broke, so unsuccessful and so self-failed that, like every other sole survivor you could name, he doesn't need to pretend that his next mistake will be his first...

Choreography, finally, becomes a profession. In making ballets, you cannot sit and wait for the Muse. Union time hardly allows it, anyhow. You must be able to be inventive at any time. You can’t be like the cook who can cook only two dishes: you must be able to cook them all.
George Balanchine, Balanchine’s Complete Stories of the Great Ballets

Sir Peter Ustinov, actor, director, producer, playwright, raconteur and a host of other things ...

Malcolm Pasley recently died, and Jeremy Adler writes:
Malcolm Pasley was the doyen of Kafka editors, whose stewardship of the great critical edition of Kafka's works earned him an international reputation. In a distinguished career he laid a new, secure foundation for Kafka studies, explained the writer's practice, and helped to preserve his work for posterity.
The whole Kafka-manuscript debates (and there are a lot of them) always get us in a tizzy. From Max Brod's outrageous betrayal (tempered, vaguely, by the fact that his was an understandable refusal to do as he had been instructed) to Brod's (ab)use of his position as controller of the manuscripts all the way to the current state of affairs poor Franz K. can't be pleased by how things turned out.
· Lightning was a mad grin in the room, thunder a shudder over all the earth
· Parsley (sic) is Able to Kook Them All: We very much like the idea of the past, present and future being connected
· See Also International Literary Prizes: Why There Are No Good Prices Left

Monday, March 29, 2004

Perhaps you will blame me for having spent so much of my time in Music Halls, so frivolously, when I should have been sticking to my books, burning the midnight oil and compassing the larger latitude. But I am impenitent. I am inclined to think, indeed I have always thought, that a young man who desires to know all that in all ages in all lands has been thought by the best minds, and wishes to make a synthesis of all these thoughts for the future benefit of mankind, is laying up for himself a very miserable old age.
Max Beerbohm, "Music Halls of My Youth

Glory/Beauty/ Witch/Rich: The Rest Of The Story - BBC Listeners Get The Chance
BBC has hired prominent writers to write first-parts of stories and will challenge listeners to complete them. Eight novelists who will each write the first half of a short story for BBC Three. Their work will be published in a leaflet and distributed to coffee shops, libraries and on the internet. Readers will have six weeks to complete their chosen tale, with the winners showcased on BBC Three later this year.
· Cold Stories
· See Also Olympic Poet Wanted. For What, We're Not Sure
· See Also Everyone is a poetic critic: Power to the Con People

Shut Up & Write: How Elites from Spinning Houses and Politics are Subverting World:
· See Also Words are no longer enough. The all authors must be like Imrich all-singing, all-dancing, good looking if possible and, if not, with a sufficiently troubled past to keep the public interested
· Sued To Fame And Fortune
Average Hollywood Movie Now Costs $100 Million... Hollywood's Record Year (Despite The Pirates) Hollywood movie studios took in almost $11 billion in 2003 - a record!
· See Also Escape To Reality (On The Screen) Movie documentaries like Cold River are hot these days
· See Also Lynden Barber, film critic for The Australian newspaper: It is a poacher-turns-gamekeeper appointment

The McKids range will be designed, made and distributed by Chinese firm Shanghai Longhurst.

Say Hi To Electronic Paper
Maiden electronic paper is ready for the consumer market. This 'first ever' Philips' display utilizes E Ink's revolutionary electronic ink technology which offers a truly paper-like reading experience with contrast that is the same as newsprint. The Electronic Paper Display is reflective and can be easily read in bright sunlight or dimly lit environments while being able to be seen at virtually any angle - just like paper. Its black and white ink-on-paper look.
· E-Ink 03/25/04
Australian Citation Laureate for 2004 goes to hearty economist whose head looks remarkably like Ned Kelly (Juraj Janosik)
· See Also It was a only matter of time, and all I have to say is: "What took them so long?
· Internet: Banning the Chinese Dragon
· Michael McDonough’s Top Ten Things They Never Taught Me in Design School: 1-9 are all true. 10 is ultra-true...
· Medicine: Heart Map

Saturday, March 27, 2004

FAME aside, what do Kerry Packer, Jozef Imrich, Laurence Olivier, Bob Hawke, Rupert Murdoch, Maggie Smith, Paul Keating, Clive James, Trevor Kennedy and Malcolm Turnbull have in common? E(l)ection fright. An own-goal by the NSW Government and ALP chieftains will headed to polling booths today for local government elections and referees will also test drive 2004 Federal Election Probability Calculator

Quick and Savvy: A Portal for Local Politicians
St. Cloud (Minn.) Times has invited elected officials into a blog portal
http://miva.sctimes.com/miva/cgi-bin/miva?Blog (offering them the opportunity to blog as much as they want). At this stage, it shows one thing: blogging does not come naturally. However, in the best moments it provides a unique perspective and certainly adds transparency to the political process. With a bit of extra training for politicians this could be truly intriguing to your readers.

· See Also Intriguing Bloggers
· See Also Nothing to fear but fear itself
· You take the bullet, we'll make a soft landing: Ministers and
their advisors

· Centrelink's breaching policies do the unemployed more harm than good
· See Also Recent policy has abandoned the people in pursuit of the bottomline
· See Also Why does consultation with the public require professional submissions?
· See Also Slavery exists today - and will still exist tomorrow unless we act to stop it now
· See Also How the media cover gang rape, sport, power - and prejudice

There is MEdia Dragon who does not get enough love, but there are also 100 Movies That Deserve More Lov

Why RSS & Memory Erasure Are Everywhere
So many blogs, so little time. If you want to stay at the top of the information food chain, you gotta read 'em - lots of 'em. And you have to do it every day. But as that list of must-read blogs grows, hunting and gathering the latest posts becomes a daily drain. You could hire an assistant to read them for you.
· See Also RSS1
· See Also RSS2
How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity
· See Also A First Layer of Scouting: Digital Information Librarian Marcus P. Zillman
· See Also Library of Congress to Undertake Major Update of Global Legal Information Network
· See Also How creative work builds on the past and how society encourages or inhibits that building with laws and technologies
· Memory erasure, in Eternal Sunshine's world, is just the next logical step up from breast augmentation and Prozac
· Hungarian Concrete casts new light in dull rooms
· See Also Genre is still thriving in the underground
· See Also Now anyone can be one of the bloggers who Never Gonna Let You Go without the epic of the freestanding lasagna

Friday, March 26, 2004

First thing first, Czech Out Noam Chomsky: Turning The Tide & New Technorati redesign Launched

Writers, Journalists, Storytellers... Thomas says outrage keeps her going on White House beat
Helen Thomas complains that she's not called on at White House press briefings: I'm in the back row now so I'm ignored . . . They don’t like my questions. That’s okay, just so somebody asks them, but they just don’t want me to ask questions. Geov Parrish asks Thomas what keeps her going:
· Outrage. And interest in the world, and knowing that I'm lucky to be alive [link first seen at Romenesko ]
· See Also Howell Raines: The Times not only occupies a central place in our national civic life but also plays just as important a role as the ethical keystone of American journalism

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

UNCLE RUPERT (International Edition)
Dear Readers,
I want to let you know that a splendid edition of Uncle Rupert is just making its dramatic appearance, in Australia and around the world.
Uncle Rupert links in with other political, social and economic objectives that we share. For example, a front page excerpt from the book The Human Mirror, contains a call for a new vision, a new image, a new consciousness of self.
At the end of the book is a Call to Action by Victory Over Want (VOW). Here is an account of what VOW is all about and its importance in seeking - and, I hope, finding - a path to human cooperation, peaceful change and a more peaceful and prosperous world.
The Uncle Rupert story is lively, often amusing and sometimes bordering on fantasy; but it is also practical and offers ways in which a world of more equal opportunities and more equal enjoyment of life may be found.
The characters are not only curious, amusing, fascinating, but many of them have whimsical names that may sometimes - repeat, sometimes - conceal a real person. For example, who do you think might answer to the name of Sterling Bodger? No prizes are offered for giving the correct answer.
I hope you like Uncle Rupert and, if you do, please recommend it to your mates and family.

· Order a copy of Uncle Rupert at Magellanbooks
· James Cumes: Authorsden
· Real Memories of Kokoda Trail

Knowing how energetic James is, it is likely that he will invade Weblog Conference; his European residence is not far from the venue. So if you happen to escape to Austria this summer please say G'day to this Australian born internationally recognised author and future Nobel Price winner...
· See Also BlogTalk: 2nd European Conference on Weblogs Vienna, July 5-6: 2004

Designers are the key to creating effective and attractive websites. Darryl Nelson meets half a dozen of the best.
· Web Spinners

She stepped forward, kissed me and laid her head against my shoulder, leaning prudently forward to keep the rest of herself out of contact with the rest of me. Both of us sighed deeply. I felt as if I had just sat through a complete performance of La Traviata compressed into one and a half minutes.
· Literary biography: fresh, dry, surprising: Bloomsbury and Henry James via Kingsley Amis, Girl, 20

Lightish Links: Gambling With Data Terminals
With personal bankruptcy filings at historic highs, a growing number of grass-roots organizations contend that the phenomenon is fueled, at least in part, by the explosion of legal gambling in the United States over the past quarter of a century. And here's data to back up the claim - a study shows that bankruptcy rates are highest where casinos are.
· Russian Roullette [Christian Science Monitor 03/18/04]
· Be The Smartest Person On Your Block! (On Paper, Anyway...)
· See Also An Invented World (It's Nice In Here)

· See Also Victor Gruen had invented shopping malls in order to make America more like Vienna. Alas, he made Vienna more in the end like America...
Meanwhile, old news is rehashed with an oh-so-scientific study of how your choice of supermarket reflects your character. Right. I'm off to Lidl.
· 'I'm rich and I'm living well. Shopping here is part of that'
· The feeble-minded gullibility of consumers is at the root of much unhappiness in that dogs us

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Booksellers with kiosks have found the axiom made famous in W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe on target: Build it, and they will come. Who Needs an Agent? You Do!

Double Dragons Take Flight
Passengers on American Airlines flights during the month of February who pick up the airline's publication, American Way, will discover a feature article by Chris Tucker entitled "Book Tour -- The conventional wisdom is wrong:
· Real bookstores are not dead
Ingram Product Will Allow Booksellers to Order Direct From Publishers
Ingram Book Group unveiled "pubsource," a new enhancement to its "ipage" Web site that provides booksellers with the ability to check availability and purchase book products directly from three participating publishers: Random House, Holtzbrinck Publishers Group, and HarperCollins.
[ See Also Pubsource ]
Kiosks Bring BookSense.com In-Store
Rather than hope customers will use and/or buy from their Web sites when they can't get to the bookstore, some booksellers have decided to bring their BookSense.com Web sites to customers by creating Web kiosks in their stores. Booksellers with kiosks have found the axiom made famous in W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe on target: Build it, and they will come.
· Build it, and they will come
· See Also William Faulkner only opened mail from publishers, and then with a slit to see if it was a check. If not, the letter went into his enormous pile of unread mail
· Perhaps there’s a delicious irony in that, these days, Hollywood comes to Australia for famous names. So the joke’s on it.
· See Also Ancient Indians made 'rock music'
· See Also Absinthe, the mythical herbal liqueur beloved of turn-of-the-century artists and blamed for driving some of them mad
· My sole reason for existing is to serve as a warning to others

One of the longest journeys in the world is from Vrbov to Vienna. For many people, yes. But if you’re media dragon ....

Aussies Pull Broadband out of Air
Australian company launched a wireless broadband service in Sydney this week that lets laptop and PDA users roam up to nine miles away from the base station and still get a speedy connection.
The technology, called iBurst, fits in a potentially lucrative niche.

· We need to get teams of varying sizes into our client's [ courtesy of Unwired Australia ]
· See Also NASA develops handsfree web browsing technolog: Look Mum No Hands...
· See Also Trends to Watch
· Social Change Online's Mark McGrath looks back on how unions have used the web in 2003
· See Also Blog Survey: Expectations of Privacy and Accountability [ some via Barista ]
· See Also 110 page PDF presentation by Jenny Levine and Steven Cohen on Blogging and RSS

Monday, March 22, 2004

Singer Challenges Bush's Ethics and steps up to this barrel of fish with a 12-gauge shotgun and scores hit after hit. By the time you finish the book, you're surprised by two things: that you're starting to feel sorry for Bush and that Singer has managed to make bashing Dubya the most boring spectator sport this side of golf.

The News about News
It is possible that the public is simply of two minds. It wants a more entertainment-infused, more sensationalized, more interpretative style of news, and the media have given it to them. The public then feels repulsed and derides the messenger for delivering it.
It is also possible that this declining trust has only a little to do with the press, that these attitudes toward the news media are only a reflection of a declining trust in all institutions.
Brushing off these issues as a sign of public hypocrisy or general skepticism, however, seems too glib. The public attitudes aside, something is changing in the news media. Faced with declining audiences, many major news institutions have changed their product in a way that costs less to produce while still attracting an audience.

· The public senses this and says it doesn't like it [ via Tim Porter]

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Obey the inner voice telling you 'we can't put this in the paper: Ex-Watergate writer laments 'idiot culture' Their interest in truth is secondary to their interest in huge profits. Good journalism should challenge people, not amuse them

Little Book Makes Big
The reality of the publishing business these days is that it's the rare little book that gets any traction in the marketplace. All the more remarkable then, for Matthew Sharpe’s stunning, offbeat coming-of-age novel, The Sleeping Father, which, though rejected by 20 publishers and published by a small press for only a $1,000 advance, has become a hit.
· The two-book deal with a big publisher is supposed to be the Holy Grail, But it turned out, in this case, that the Grail was made of Cold River [ courtesy of New York Observer 03/17/04 ]
· See Also The 21st Century Media Dragon Niche Goes Mainstream
· See Also Vt. editor "naive" about freebies?
· See Also Media Roundup from the Road: Complacency, Bureaucracy, and Fear
· Claims of Fabrication: Aboriginal author Sally Morgan's My Place is one of the most successful Australian books ever published
· See Also Based On A (Not Really) True Story: How much fictionalization should be tolerated...
· Blurbs: you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours
· Jewish Book Week Online Archive

Saturday, March 20, 2004

When politics is brought to book
Writing just after the Second World War, George Orwell noted how adjectives like epoch-making, epic, historic, inevitable, inexorable... are used to dignify the sordid process of international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually takes on an archaic colour, its characteristic words being: realm, throne, chariot, mailed fist...".
At a time when public debate is dominated by the "axis of evil", dodgy dossiers and the war in Iraq, his observations are as pertinent as ever. Appropriate, then, that the Cheltenham Festival of Literature Spring Weekend this year is to focus on politics and the political use of language.

· Cheltenham lures an inspiring line-up of writers for a timely look at the political use of language
· In short, novelists grant due authority and prestige to values that are underrated or overlooked by the mainstream

At last, what poets had been saying for centuries was scientific fact. Rejection really does hurt. We can have a broken bone or a broken heart. We can feel the pain of a stomach ache or of heartache. We can be hurt by a dog's bite or by a biting remark...

From the outside, Looking In
Despite a dream life in a farmhouse in the French countryside, Isabel Huggan is still searching for her place in an alien land.
Time passes unevenly from place to place, has different weight and value. Here, it seems to have collapsed, folding in and compressing itself into something deep and dense, a richer, thicker brew than I, a child of the New World, have been accustomed to. The air I breathe as I walk by the Ourne is full of old souls, the noise of the water falling over the dam is like the sound of distant voices. Layer upon layer of lives come and gone.
In some ways I exist at a level beneath language, where words do not touch me, but at the same time I am forever trying to "catch on", to know and be known. I am not myself, at the same time as I am more myself than ever, for there is also constant clear definition...
A line floats into my head, so perfectly appropriate that it makes me laugh aloud: "If you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with." Easier said than done, of course. I know all about homesickness - sipping maple syrup from a spoon while listening to a cassette tape of loon calls, endlessly writing letters to friends asking for news, sifting through old photographs, weeping on the telephone. I've been there, that strange and dangerous place where longing can blind you to everything else. And so you learn to live with mal de pays as with a chronic illness or disability, you salt your days with nostalgie. Then finally you wake up and compare yourself to the millions of displaced people in the world who will never see their homes again, and you feel ashamed, and you stop.
The ghosts of the silkworms are as silent as they were in life, and you sleep without interruption, except for the hourly tolling of the bell at the mairie coming clear and sweet across the fields. It always rings the hour twice, as if to ensure that its message is heard: Listen, it says. Pay attention. This is where you are.
An exile in Darkness and Light
There's method in our sadness
Social rejection can be so painful that it sometimes leads to violence. But, researchers are finding ways to recover from ostracism, including social snacking.

· We often try to hurry others through the healing of social pain

An insightful feature can be digested by indulging in the latest edition of the SMH Good Weekend: 20 March 2004, p 18 about Billy Connolly. While there are many abondoned, abused and now rich as @*#%, there is only one Jozef Imrich ... Snippets:
Alcohol kept his mood and aggression levels elevated. I did not mind a good punch-up at all. I used to delight in being the world's only violent hippie....
For five decades, he has had a persistent nightmare, like Jozef, about drowning. What normally happens is he discovers he can breathe under water.

The whole thing reminds me of a great story by Spencer Holst (in his collection The Language of Cats, out of print), where a beautiful girl chats up a lonely old guy during a costume party, and he completely falls for her, and the story ends with her whispering to him, It's midnight, take off your mask. Of course, he wasn't wearing one.
· Ouch............. [ via Observant Gianna ]

Thursday, March 18, 2004

How News Spread on the Internet: Blogjam Spreading Sport and Good Will
On my rough count, there are 100 times as many political bloggers in Australia as there are sports bloggers. Therefore, I unsyllogistically conclude that Australians are 100 times more interested in politics than sport.
· Webdiary: Tim Dunlop [ via RoadToSurfdom ]
· See Also Lord Sedgwick of Strathmore (OA, DFC, DSC, VC, KPMG, WTF, IOOF)

Are you afraid of the wages of sin?? If so, you don't want to visit my spooky Media Dragon!
Since the word is already out, I guess I might as well confirm it: Yes, I have sold out to The Man™ and will soon be blogging for cold, hard cash.
Which is pretty cool, isn't it? What's even better is that I'll be blogging for the Washington Monthly, a magazine I admire ...

· See Also How News Travels on the Internet [link first seen at DayPop ]
· Jesse Ruderman: Experience Google's new look [link first seen at Google ]
· Can Jason Calacanis challenge Nick Denton’s blog kingdom? Either way, he’ll pay for it
· Richest Writer

How News Spread on the Internet: Blogjam Spreading Sport and Good Will
On my rough count, there are 100 times as many political bloggers in Australia as there are sports bloggers. Therefore, I unsyllogistically conclude that Australians are 100 times more interested in politics than sport.
· Tim Dunlop [ via RoadToSurfdom ]
· See Also Lord Sedgwick of Strathmore (OA, DFC, DSC, VC, KPMG, WTF, IOOF)

Are you afraid of the wages of sin?? If so, you don't want to visit my spooky blog!
Since the word is already out, I guess I might as well confirm it: Yes, I have sold out to The Man™ and will soon be blogging for cold, hard cash.
Which is pretty cool, isn't it? What's even better is that I'll be blogging for the Washington Monthly, a magazine I admire ...

· See Also How News Travels on the Internet [link first seen at DayPop ]
· Jesse Ruderman: Experience Google's new look [link first seen at Google ]
· Can Jason Calacanis challenge Nick Denton’s blog kingdom? Either way, he’ll pay for it
· Richest Writer

Not only did we come to regard political speech as manipulative, but ... They called themselves poetic politicians, and the rhyme scheme went something like: Me-Me-Me-Me-ME; but MEdia Dragon hopes to link to stories about all of us especially the powerless...

Winans advises Stewart to scrub prison toilets with gusto
Winans, who did time for his WSJ misdeeds, advises Martha Stewart not to pay someone else to do her prison tasks:
Immerse yourself in humility. It's good for the soul. ALSO: Offer to host or appear on 'Saturday Night Live.' Your situation, in the context of all the horrible things that can happen to people, is a tempest in a teaspoon. Poke fun at yourself!
If another journalist uttered this line, the assessment might smack of moral indignation, sprinkled with a dose of the Schadenfreude evident in much of the proselytizing about the tawdry affair. But out of the mouth of Foster Winans, it sounds like the insight of a man who has walked in Blair’s shoes

· Felon's Recipe for Martha Stewart's Prison Living
· If I were Jayson Blair, I’d have a real hard time finding a reason to live right now
· See Also Cautionary Tale: Feeding Elizabeth Smart case gossip

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Maybe it's just ego, but I like to think of myself as an Internet power user after all I use Onfolio and even Netsnippets ... Yet ironically, I am not a supernetman because if I enter Cold River in Amazon search engine Cold Mountain gets the primary link....How powerless is that!

Book Babes
Under his guidance, Grove/Atlantic found that perfect blend of literary values and commercial success several years ago in Charles Frazier's "Cold Mountain."
What's more important is that, from top to bottom, the book world has become a marginalized medium, fighting to be heard above the din of a mass-market, TV-obsessed world. Every publisher must cope with the reality that, because the chain stores are so powerful, distribution and marketing are now one and the same. Critics are a conduit between publisher and reader, but it's an open question whether they exercise their clout effectively enough.

· Literary Profiling
· See Also Writer spins intrigue of web
· See Also Google News Creator Watches Portal Quiet Critics With 'Best News' Webby
· See Also China Was Top Jailer of Journalists in 2003
· Deep Web Research site [link first seen at Invisible ]
· See Also Deep Web Research site has a useful overview though many links are old or dead [ via Barista]

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Hate to say I told you so a long time ago I had a fixation on political divisiveness in Amerika. I swear the New York Times is reading ME... But it is not just Amerika's love affair with strong biases. Political prejudices are always on its deathbed, but never seems to die!

Amazon-derived network map
An article in New York Times features this Amazon-derived network map by social network analyst Valdis Krebs.
· Nation of polarized readers
· See Also MSNBC.com has a useful polarized map of the Murdoch empire as a kind of birthday present to the evil master of the universe
· See Also Speaking of evil masters... West against Russia: Should we laugh or cry?
· See Also Russia's love affair with strong leaders
· Soros: Media Freedom across Eastern Europe

Beware the ides of March! That was how the soothsayer warned Caesar and so I warn you too. Hopefully, you wont end up the same way Caesar did.
Of course, if Caesar had the ability to read ebooks, hed have been able to avoid his fate, since all of Shakespeares works are easily obtainable in ebook format. Hes have gone and looked at the ending of the play "Julius Caesar", hed have known he was going to be betrayed and hed have stayed Emperor of Rome, instead of dying and having a salad named after him. The moral of the story?

· You never want to be caught without the right ebooks, and Double Dragon Publishing is just the place to get em! Czech out what we have this month

Monday, March 15, 2004

Local News
No matter what your beat is, the site I'm about to tell you about likely covers it. Topix.net takes the idea of news aggregation one step further than sites like Google News and 1stHeadlines.com , categorizing news stories on the Web into more than 150,000 pages.
I was impressed that Topix.net even has a page dedicated to news in my neighborhood (even though it included a story from halfway across the state!).
· A Local Google News
· Emedia [ via GoogleDork ]
· See Also Utility called Xpdf converts PDF documents into text files: available for Windows, Linux/Unix and OS X

Julianne Schultz gives an overview of the way the internet and information society has changed the way we understand the network society and the development of community level politics and activism.
· Networks: mates, nodes and cells

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Publishers strive to monopolize distribution and commoditize talent. But blogs commoditize distribution, restoring the writer's monopoly on talent.

Kos Kudos: Turtleneck is an Internet-only celebrity
He runs a hugely influential website called "Eschaton," at atrios.blogspot.com. It's a "blog" -- a sort of news junkie's online diary. He started the site back in April 2002, because it's better than yelling at the TV set. These days, he says, 40,000 viewers visit Eschaton every day, including bigwigs like columnist Michelangelo Signorile and New York Times attack pundit Paul Krugman.
· Atrios specializes in scoops that reporters should be digging up but don't
· Steve Outing gets credit for scooping everyone but Glenn Reynolds by reporting that Instapundit is now selling blogads
· Hey Bloggers -- Especially You Popular Political Types -- Why the Hell Don't You Accept BlogAds?
· See Also Weblogs
· See Also Blogads

Don't dismiss blogs as the online rantings of B-list writers. Interlinked and meritocratic, seething with fierce debate and rivalries, they're the best thing to hit journalism since the rise of the political pamphlet. If Adison and Steele, the editors of The Spectator and The Tatler, were alive and holding court at Starbucks, they'd be WiFi-ing into a joint blog...
On the surface, the battle between Andy and Atrios is a minor spat between a drama queen and a shrinking violet, but it has deeper rippes.
[ courtesy of All kinds of people at the keyboards are blushing now ]
· See Also Joshua Marshall: The indispensable political blog

Media Dragons spot the beginnings of a trend: Creating A Marketplace of Ideas
Do we get the culture we deserve? William Osborne takes a look at the way America and Europe promote their cultures. There is, he reports, an obvious reason why Europe has more orchestras, operas, and dance companies and why the citizenry seem more culturally literate.
· But First, The Bill... How different the American and European economic systems are ...
· See Also German Angle

Twenty, thirty, at the outside forty years from now, we will look back on the print media the way we look back on travel by horse and carriage, or by wind-powered ship...

Inevitable Trend
But the real power of the [printless] business model resides in the potential of digital advertising. Except for direct mail, until the Internet came along no advertising medium existed in which the advertiser could be sure his message was received by his targeted audience. We go to the bathroom during commercials...
· The Death of Print?

The French Film Festival
It's often said we make too many films in this country, but if Australia matched France in terms of film per head of population, we would make more than 75 movies a year. The French Film Festival is the biggest festival of its type here in Australia and it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in a fascinating culture
· 75 movies a year
· See Also Sam Tanenhaus has been named editor of the New York Times Book Review
· See Also Publishers, Note: Amis Available

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Look at the movie Miracle from the perspective of a great Russian player who was on the rise in the Soviet system in 1980, but just green enough to have missed being part of the defeated Olympic team. That man is now the oldest player in the NHL and one of my personal all-stars, a crafty strategist with unreal vision and a feather touch:
Nobody in the theatre seemed to recognize him, Igor Larionov, in part because he is just a hockey player, and also because he hardly looks like a professional athlete: he is short and compact, with a thoughtful, boyish expression that, along with a proficiency at chess and an occasional quoting of Pushkin and the wire-rimmed glasses that he wears away from the rink, has earned him another nickname—the Professor.

· Professor [link first seen at Miracle ]
· See Also The Oprah site is by far the richest, but Today and Good Morning America also have online extensions of their book clubs

Just as Sydney lived in Dark Ages until 1980, we hit a critical mass of really valuable stuff that was online, I think, about 2000 when Jozef Imrich became part of the revolution (smile)

The mind Googles
Google rules the world of wisdom for now, but the next step is a knowledge source that thinks before it looks.
In the beginning - before Google - a darkness was upon the land. We stumbled around in libraries. We lifted from the World Book Encyclopedia. We paged through the nearly microscopic listings in the heavy green volumes of the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature. We latched onto hearsay and rumour and the thinly sourced mutterings of people alleged to be experts. We guessed. We conjectured. And then we gave up, consigning ourselves to ignorance.
Only now, in the bright light of the Google Era, do we see how dim and gloomy was our pregooglian world.

· In the distant future, historians will have a common term for the period before Google: the Dark Ages

Friday, March 12, 2004

That Difficult Second Book - It's Stacked Against You
Apart from the justly renowned big guns, there are two kinds of writer at work in the English-speaking world today. First, there is the 'writer', who enjoys wide media coverage and is an expert manipulator of soundbite culture. The 'writer' has virtually no readership and keeps him or herself in play by the constant massaging of the literary media. Then there is that almost-forgotten figure: the writer, who stays at home, keeps regular hours, does the work, accumulates a readership and is virtually invisible.
· Second Blood Worth Drawing

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Irony of News
The irony is that the greatest threat to newspapers' struggle for continued relevance may be not the new media companies, but members of the disenfranchised public who cannot find the news they want or need in their local paper so they're, to borrow from Scoop Nisker, going out and making some of their own.
· Local News: The Public's Journalism [link first seen at http://www.timporter.com/firstdraft/ ]
· See Also Political reporters need a new job description
· See Also When you're good at two- or three-word sound bites, they're going to be calling you

BBC has a World Book Day opening lines quiz:
Nippy, nice. No hernia or knicker-flashing getting in and out. Stylish with comfort ie my teeth don’t rattle in your head on country lanes and my kidneys don’t dislodge on the speed humps in my road.

Ridiculous Advances
Granta-editor Ian Jack puzzles over the huge amounts paid for politicians' stories.
Why do publishers do it ? I have heard several explanations. The publicity adds glamour to the imprint, it's good to have a politician at your party, and, well, you never know, it might be a good book. However, the most convincing one I have heard is: because we're stupid.

· Thanks for the memories [link first seen at 5 ballots in mayor's race linked to the dead ]
· See Also Comprehensive analysis of lobbying in Florida's capital: Some make as much as $4-million a year
· See Also Nearly one of every four dollars given to local candidates comes from just 10 donors
· Kawamoto's coffers paid for traffic tickets and other car costs

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Maiden Blogjam
Welcome to the first instalment of a Blogjam which we hope will be a weekly round-up featuring what the blogs are talking about. With an election likely in Australia this year, and one due in the United States, and little matters like Iraq on the agenda, this is going to be a big year for politics and therefore a big year for the political blogosphere as well.
· Blog Jam [ courtesy of Road TO Surfdom]

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

He who wills great things must gird up his loins;
only in limitation is mastery revealed,
and law alone can give us freedom.
Goethe, "Natur und Kunst" (trans. David Luke)

My Amazon Addiction...
From the day their book first lands in stores, most writers will start spending minutes, hours—nay, days, weeks, months and years—tracking its progress on Amazon.com. Never mind that the online retailer accounts for only about 10 percent of a trade book’s total sales (slightly higher for business books, somewhat lower for children’s). By my count, the reviews and the ranking system on Amazon.com count for about 95 percent of writers’ hopes, anxieties and dreams
· Amazon Epidemic...

You'll excuse me, I hope, for suggesting that the embargo is the absurd practice by which publishers distribute advance copies of newsworthy new books to the media only after individual editors have signed a quasi-legal document denying their right as members of an otherwise free press from reporting or reviewing the contents of such titles. But in the age of the blog, embargos (thank God) are becoming unworkable...
· See Also Embargo Kold River! (If You Can)
· Burning down rivers

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Ballet is the one form of theater where nobody speaks a foolish word all evening—nobody on the stage at least. That's why it becomes so popular in any civilized country during a war.
Edwin Denby, Dance Writings [ via Lauren]

The Well-Read Accountant
It's World Book Day. And who's celebrating most? Accountants. Why? A new survey in the UK for World Book Day reveals that "accountants spend more time reading books for pleasure than any other profession.
· Number crunchers are nation's top page turners [ via The Guardian (UK) 03/05/04]
· See Also Even One Star * Tales of Escapes Win Bean Counters

Blog Epidemic Analyzer shows the linkings between blogs visually and interactively Measuring not the popularity of a site but how good dragons are at injecting ideas into the mainstream...

Warning: Blogs Can Be Infectious
The most-read Media Dragons aren't necessarily the ones with the most original ideas.
There is a lot of speculation that really important people are highly connected, but really, we wonder if the highly connected people just listen to the important people.
To satisfy their curiosity, the researchers began analyzing data from Intelliseek's BlogPulse Web crawler, which regularly mines thousands of blogs for references to people, places and events.

· MicroCulture
· Blog Pulse
· Google Rank
· Blog Epidemic Analyzer
· Then Again Very few bloggers on Net

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Twentysix years on, has the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade - on tonight - lost its edge...
Mellowed in mainstream

When traffic goes wild
NAVEL GAZING....Are blogs influencing the outside world? Absolutely. The Guardian reports today that its most popular story of the past week was loaded ten times as much as its #2 story. Blogs accounted for the difference: The page loaded 456,671 times was a story, originally published by the Observer, about a secret Pentagon report which warned the Bush administration that global warming could destroy the American way of life as they knew it.x
· It's them damn liberal bloggers faults
· See Also Daily Kursor

Google Blog records everything from the release of new versions to the special logos Google puts on to mark such events as Halloween, Christmas and St Patrick's Day. It can point you to new tricks for finding what you seek, and to sites where expert developers are discussing their Google projects. Author Aaron Swartz has some credibility with the company; he recently got a tour of their offices, duly documented with his digital camera and posted on the blog.
· See Also Google Blogspace
· Subways

Cross promotion
The other day Tim Dunlop suggested to Margo Kingston that she publish a regular piece about blogging on her Sydney Morning Herald Web Diary and he offered to put it together for her. She thought it a good idea and so it will happen. The idea is to provide a regular round-up of what's happening on the blogs or what the blogs are talking about or something like that.
· Any other suggestions, let Tim know
It was just everyday people talking about their everyday life and pointing to interesting things on the internet that made me think I could do it...
· See Also Confessions of a Media Dragon

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Found In The Age Of Writing: Bright Bohemian Things
There are very real differences between being a 'young writer' and an 'older writer' and even an 'old writer'. My conclusion is that old writers have the greatest advantage in that they can offend people at will without consideration to consequences. After all, it's not like they're in this business for a long career. And younger writers? they have an advantage because if there is one thing publishing takes to be successful it is TIME, usually just a bit more than you're willing to give.
· BookNinja 02/04
· See Also When an author's political convictions genuinely mattered

Blogging On...
Your blog's great—nice dirt on Dork Arley!—but can it buy me a beer?
It takes a lot to make me rethink my place in this city, and even more to make me question my very existence. But lately, irrational social fears are keeping me up at night. Something is going horribly wrong, and I have finally traced the problem to its source: blogs.
Or, more specifically, the Blogosphere—a land where the smart get smarter, the connected connect to one another, and the losers go home. The Blogfather here is Nick Denton, owner of Gawker Media, a top-tier blog conglomerate named for its flagship, gawker.com

· Just Gawking [ courtesy of Backpages off]

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

The Uncommon Editor
During her 46 years in the publishing business, Judith Jones has become the mouse that roared. If any single human being possesses unerring taste, it is possible that she is that person. Her publishing "finds" include a manuscript by an unknown teen-ager named Anne Frank, a cookbook by an unknown chef named Julia Child and a book of poetry by an unknown scribe named Sylvia Plath
· Judith Jones

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Börsenblatt reports on a recent Italian marketing ploy that apparently worked out quite well: publisher Sperling & Kupfer had an ad agency distribute 30,000 copies of the first chapter of forthcoming books (6 aprile '96 by Sveva Casati Modignani and Il nuovo senso della vita by Paolo Mosca) in 25 hospital waiting rooms in Bologna. When the books then came out sales were considerably higher than anticipated -- the first chapters apparently hooking quite a few readers (and the publicity surrounding the stunt presumably also helping).

Getting To The Soul Of Things
As traditionally understood, the soul is something that is both within us and yet superior to us, a repository for the most precious (or in some accounts "divine") aspects of us. The soul survives when the rest of us dies, it can continue indefinitely (like a kind of hardy seed preserved in arctic tundra), and may even reinhabit a bodily form at another time.
· Hollywood, said Marilyn Monroe, is a place where you get $1000 for a kiss “and fifty cents for your soul. So what is a soul?
· See Also Reason to Czeer Up: Who in the right mind would want to live for Ever?