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

Monday, June 28, 2004

84-year-old Bob Bemer, computer pioneer who developed the code that allows computers to understand text as a series of numbers, passed away June 22 in Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas. His USA Today obituary says his personal motto was...((((DO SOMETHING!) SMALL) USEFUL) NOW!

Congo word 'most untranslatable'
Ilunga means a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Culture Wars
For years the left has dominated our cultural institutions. Now the right is fighting back. For dispatches from the front line, join The Bulletin's Tim Blair, Fairfax columnist Greg Hywood, and ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine. Are our universities, museums - and even Radio National - diverse enough?
The culture wars are the battle for ideas that's raging in our institutions, such as universities, courts, churches, schools…they involve subjects such as the environment, the right sort of marriage, Aborigines' history. Recently in the New York Times, writer David Brooks said that the university educated class in America has now split into two groups, which he calls professionals and managers. Professionals are teachers, some lawyers, academics, journalists—people who tend to work in the knowledge industry. On the other hand we have managers, who tend to work for business and corporations; often involved in making things. These two groups, he said, have different beliefs and this lies at the basis of many of the culture wars and much public debate in our time.

· Counterpoints [ courtesy of www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/counterpoint/] [[ Who are Britain's top 100 intellectuals?]]> (( Who are Dragon's 50 Coolest Blogs?)) (((Blogging: Bill Gates has a reputation for coming late to the party, then making a big splash when he arrives )))
· · See Also Bullyboy Bolt meets his match in Senator Mackay: Bolt sends dozens of emails a day, however, he probably got more than he bargained for (( LAT editor: We've got to try harder to be heard out here))
· · · See Also Editor fears gangs want him dead ((
Libya called allegations that its leader Muammar Gaddafi ordered the assassination of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah mere lies and nonsense
· · · · See Also A libel allegation [against Seymour Hersh] has been reduced to a request for a correction, which is a little like a demolition artist placing an order for nitroglycerin but settling for nitrous oxide ((Besides choosing the highest security settings for Internet Explorer, Windows users could download an alternate browser, such as Mozilla or Opera. Mac users are not in danger)) (((Search Engine Optimization Submission Placement Ranking )))
· · · · · See Also Kobe case court reporter sends secret transcripts to media ((WT founder Moon has always had a flair for the unusual: The name of the senator who gave permission for Moon to use the Dirksen Building remains a mystery))
· · · · · · See Also We're witnessing "historic" spat between president, press
· · · · · · · See Also Britton: I thought former Sun-Times boss Radler was a snake

Try not to regret the past too much. Most often, the past drops away from you because it’s ripe.
Colette, letter to Germaine Patat (undated)

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: You didn't care if you were brave or weak. You just became nothing
One of the great things about life is that it can always get worse, just when you think it can't. Some kinds of storytelling are built on this grim joke, and Touching the Void is a very pure and powerful illustration of it.
Indeed, it's full of the most acute moral dilemmas, terrible physical suffering and unbelievable endurance. Several earlier attempts to turn Joe Simpson's best-selling book into a feature film have failed. When life is stranger than fiction, fiction often fails. It shirks the void, trying to tame it. Non-fiction can leap over the edge, shouting: Shut up! This really happened.
Yates has been vilified, even assaulted by a fellow climber, but Simpson says Yates saved both their lives. Simpson wrote the book, while recuperating from his injuries, in order to defend his friend's actions.
Yates is no less candid and it's clear that surviving has had its own toll. Simpson has grown stronger; Yates appears to live with a terrible doubt about his own character.
Much of the writing on the film bangs on about the triumph of the human spirit. There is that, but it's just as much a great film about human frailty and regret.

· Touching the Void [link first seen at Simpson's website ]
· · Barista: The Day After Tomorrow: This movie was awful. Everything was absurdly amplified and accelerated: centuries of gradual change isn't fast enough, it had to be compressed into weeks
· · · See Also Critic: Coverage of best-sellers is like absurd comic theater (( Love in the Time of Cold War))
/· · · · See Also Transcript of The Poor Editors' regular Saturday-night poker game with Dick Cheney
· · · · · The production of souls is more important than the production of tanks…. And therefore I raise my glass to you, writers, the engineers of the human soul Summer reading suggestions with Cold War River ((Clinton Book Sets Non-Fiction Sales Record: Clinton's My Cold River sold more than 400,000 copies in the United States in its first day of release))
· · · · · · See Also What you should know about jobs in publishing ((Who'd have thought that the biggest reviewing-controversy of the year would be Cold River and the Pillar of Storge @ Amazonia))
· · · · · See Also How the terrorists' own words can help us stop them: Making two fundamental errors. The first is imagining that the enemies can be beaten back, largely unilaterally, with Cold War tools

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Top 10 eBooks Library Patrons Are Reading

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Google is Enough: Surf the net while surfing waves
A surfboard has now been developed that lets surfers surf while surfing. The prototype board has been built by Devon, shaper, Jools Matthews
· Surfing has come to mean browsing the net rather than riding ocean waves on a plank [ courtesy of Road to Surfdom...]
· · See Also Blogging With The Boss's Blessing[Link Poached from MEdia Dragon Under Surveillance : Roundup for 2004]
· · · See Also Robert Samuelson calls blogs the fast food of the news business
· · · · See Also See me in post-communist court... Let's see what you're made of
· · · · · By Antony Loewenstein The promise that democracy would spread from a liberated Iraq was as poorly scrutinised as the notion advanced by the administration that the Geneva conventions did not apply to the war on terror
· · · · · · See Also Google reveals its caring side: Giving away code, planning a billion-dollar float and eyeing an Antipodean office

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

G'day Webdiarists. No Webdiary this week - I'm travelling and chatting on radio to launch my book, "Not happy John! Defending our democracy". Here's my itinerary. I hope I can meet some of you at the launches and that you can tune in to an interview. The book is the result of four years of conversations we've had on Webdiary. Thank you to all those who've read and contributed to Webdiary ...Not happy John!

The Blog, The Press, The Media: The Web of Power & Sources
Whether information is cited from anonymous sources or stated on the authority of the news organization, it is politically useless without trust, accuracy, and an understanding of its origin, context and purpose. To be good, journalism, whether it relies on anonymous sources or not, must meet these needs...
A few days ago, Jeff Jarvis related an exchange between Rafat Ali of PaidContent.org and an anonymous reporter from a self-described "professional publication" who accused Ali of breaking the embargo on a news story.
· Relationship between reporters and source [ courtesy of Tim Porter]
· · See Also Anxiety Attacks Pay Off
· · · See Also Banking on a blockbuster
· · · · See Also Cosgrove a leading Speaker
· · · · · See Also Read any good blogs lately?
· · · · · · See Also Amazing...since Road to Surfdom linked to this link last week over 100 readers came, saw and dozen emailed me about this article
· · · · · · · See Also Online News: 7 Lessons for the Future

In the struggle for more freedom of expression, activists' new worry is being labelled 'political' The guessing games of civil society

Stiff Political Spirit of wide screen TV and electoral bear pits:
It sounds a bit too good to be true: John Clarke writing and directing a telemovie from one of Shane Maloney's comic detective stories, starring David Wenham as the deadpan catastrophe Murray Whelan, a Labor Party hack who becomes a reluctant sleuth.
The Murray Whelan series began about 10 years ago when writer Shane Maloney - a one-time manager of the Comedy Festival who had also worked on Melbourne's doomed bid for the Olympics - decided to invent a shambling character who ends up on the trail of murder. Stiff, which introduces Murray Whelan, is mainly set in Sydney Road, Brunswick, and is replete with Turkish characters, including the beautiful Ayisha (Tamara Searle).
Maloney is not insensitive to his luck in being adapted by his friend John Clarke. John is a man who reinvents everything he touches. He sends up politicians without ever impersonating them. He presents the organisation of the Games and makes it worse than we could ever have expected. He's not someone who'll settle for the relentlessly plot-driven puzzle.
Clarke is as equipped as anyone possibly could be to make comedy drama out of those woebegone Murray Whelan stories that soothe the mind like a drug even as they insinuate that politics is a nightmare and family life can be a sad thing. He's a man who likes to contemplate the cusp between the realistic and the fanciful. He also has the greatest respect for the common person's sophistication in the face of artistic work.

· Winter of our discontent: Comedy doesn't have have a better friend than drama... the work of Kafka is funny [SEEN @ SE7EN ]
· See Also Clever dicks of Antipodean telemovies [ via Isobel Kerr]
· See Also Free Whelans Murrays, Pauls, Johns...
· See Also Wenham back to slay
· See Also Small screen, big ambitions
· See Also The Political Games
· See Also Who dun it?

Monday, June 21, 2004

War and peace and fire in her blood as well as the redemption of love

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Hazzard county
n The Great Fire, one of the leading characters speaks of his joy in escaping from Mosman to embark on the great journey, the pilgrimage, to Europe. Only when the equator had been passed did he feel safe. Hazzard points out that she is not bashing Australia, but attempting to portray the boredom of the late 1940s, when the only way to leave was on a ship that took six months.
World War I was called the great adventure. The young men must have had the feeling of so little to lose. They were destined to toil, as their fathers had toiled. There must have been the feeling that 'I could just go on having the life that everyone was having around me ... I would have gone, [but] not the second time to the Second World War.
In conversation, and in The Great Fire, Hazzard stresses the word trapped when talking of those times. Trapped, you were trapped. You couldn't leave ... This idea that there was no future.

· Shirley Hazzard: Characters who can't wait to escape [Elsewhere A diplomat's daughter ]
[Elsewhere with Jana Wendt The Great Fire I nearly died there. I died spiritually there]
· · See Also Cold River cools @ Amazon, but there's no iceberg ahead...
· · · See Also Brilliant debuts: Artistsque Bloggers
· · · · See Also The best book club
· · · · · See Also It was seventh time lucky for Australian author Anna Funder, whose book Stasiland won Britain's richest award for non-fiction
· · · · · · See Also Sydney Film Festival 2004
· · · · · · · See Also The scent of horror that can't be washed away

Friday, June 18, 2004

It is Friday and Blogjam #13 is being laced with bad apples & turbulent thoughts on the fastest-surfing blog in Washington...

The Blog, The Press, The Media: A Cold Medium: Political Disillusionment with the Internet
He doesn't understand, most people don't understand, the full power of the Internet. You can't use it exclusively. But the power is much more than fund-raising. There's a real community out there.
· Business Week interviews Howard Dean [ courtesy of Operation Shoe Fly: Shoes for the kids in Afghanistan]
· · See Also Trying to Motivate Young Voters, Hip-Hop Goes Political
· · · See Also Barista: But can they make their blogs wag their tails?
· · · · See Also Numerous bloggers hosted by Weblogs.com are offline and scrambling to find new hosting after blogging pioneer Dave Winer abruptly closed the free service last weekend
· · · · · See Also Turning the Tables on E-Mail Swindlers: Everyone online, it seems, has received an offer to share a fortune. For some dedicated pranksters, it's an invitation to strike back [ courtesy of On the face of it, everyone on the Internet should be rich by now just as I am! Scamorama www.scamorama.com ] (Is there an axe in your global head)
· · · · · · See Also Ancient Imrich Family Secrets, Unlocked: Every family has a mystery, and ours is Rich

Thursday, June 17, 2004

From ZNet, a response to Stanley Fish's recent op-ed in The New York Times

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Revisiting the Hanan Ashrawi affair
I'm getting pretty tense because my (second) book 'Not happy John! Defending our democracy' will be launched on Monday in Canberra, Tuesday in Sydney, Thursday in Melbourne and Friday in Brisbane. Webdiary columnists Harry Heidelberg, Jack Robertson and Antony Loewenstein have each written a chapter. Antony dissected the Hanan Ashrawi affair for the book. To refresh your memory, a director of the Sydney Peace Foundation and Prize committtee, Professor Stuart Rees, who also heads Sydney University's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, reflects on the scandal and the politics of media derision.

· [link to Second Book] [link to First Book: Off the Rails: The Pauline Hanson trip ] [Czechout Margo Kingston] [visit Antony Loewenstein ]
· · See Also Democracy's Children: Pain-in-the-ass Democracy
· · See Also Killing the Big Other: Concept of Irony and Either / Or
· · See Also Medieval Jewish Philosophy
· · · See Also First-Time Author Wins BBC Book Prize: Debut author Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall[ courtesy of The Little Literary Magazine That Could: Border Crossings ]
· · · · See Also Doctors of Preaching or the Practicing: People with the Spirit and people with Ph.D.'s
· · · · · See Also Barista:So you thought the internet was free...
· · · · · · See Also Yann Martel: Life After The Booker

From ZNet, a response to Stanley Fish's recent op-ed in The New York Times

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Revisiting the Hanan Ashrawi affair
I'm getting pretty tense because my (second) book 'Not happy John! Defending our democracy' will be launched on Monday in Canberra, Tuesday in Sydney, Thursday in Melbourne and Friday in Brisbane. Webdiary columnists Harry Heidelberg, Jack Robertson and Antony Loewenstein have each written a chapter. Antony dissected the Hanan Ashrawi affair for the book. To refresh your memory, a director of the Sydney Peace Foundation and Prize committtee, Professor Stuart Rees, who also heads Sydney University's Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, reflects on the scandal and the politics of media derision.

· [link to Second Book] [link to First Book: Off the Rails: The Pauline Hanson trip ] [Czechout Margo Kingston] [visit Antony Loewenstein ]
· · See Also Democracy's Children: Pain-in-the-ass Democracy
· · See Also Killing the Big Other: Concept of Irony and Either / Or
· · See Also Medieval Jewish Philosophy
· · · See Also First-Time Author Wins BBC Book Prize: Debut author Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall[ courtesy of The Little Literary Magazine That Could: Border Crossings ]
· · · · See Also Doctors of Preaching or the Practicing: People with the Spirit and people with Ph.D.'s
· · · · · See Also Barista:So you thought the internet was free...
· · · · · · See Also Yann Martel: Life After The Booker

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I will be straight about it: politics is an imperfect game... And yet it is the best game we have for making the country work better.
Petter Garrett

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Meet Joe Blog: MEdia Dragon
Why are more and more people getting their news from amateur websites called blogs? Because they're fast, funny and totally biased
· Blog Fathering [ courtesy of IHT: The Blog father of 'www' finally gets his due ]
· · See Also I Believe the National Enquirer: Why don't you?
· · · See Also How Google Took the Work Out of Selling Advertising
· · · · See Also Website Analysis Isn't a Game: VisitorVille, a website-traffic analysis package that essentially crosses the DNA of SimCity with that of the traditional chart- and graph-centric tools businesses
· · · · · See Also What purpose, apart from the blood sport that it affords readers, does savage reviewing serve?
· · · · · · See Also CRAP & WEE (WAR & PEACE) : Look within the self-organizing anagrams, double meanings, homophones, charades, containers, and hidden kabalahs...

Monday, June 14, 2004

No bossy blogs? I shudder at the thought

The Blog, The Press, The Media: John Quiggin: A Real Bargain
For those of you who like end-of-financial year bargains, here's one that's hard to beat. The Australian government has a scheme under which it matches donations to certain aid projects on a $3 for $1 basis1.So if you give $500, the matching funds can bring the grant up to $2000 which is enough to buy books for an entire school in a poor country. In addition, the donations themselves are tax deductible, so if you're one of those groaning under our top marginal tax rate, the effective cost is only $250.
· $$$ WOW [ courtesy of VictoryOverWant ]
· · See Also BBC 'will not ask for more cash' [ We all have a crush on Bookslut]
· · · See Also Is PBS Finding New Politics? US PBS is supposed to be neutral politically. But now some critics wonder if PBS is adopting more of a political slant...
· · · · See Also Amazon Gets Into The Hollywood Movie Business (Los Angeles Times 06/05/04) [ PR Bloggers and the Evolving View of Marketing ]
· · · · · See Also Newsroom management: It should be invisible to readers
· · · · · · See Also This White House and administration are far more secretive than the Nixon crowd

Goodwill, mutual respect, transparency... what's fuelling the blogosphere will soon fuel all markets. Bloggers are learning this faster than other people. This is the main reason we read and write them. This is the main reason people like you, me and Brad have decided to join the conversation.

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: For Budding Authors, a Rapid-Fire Publisher
Hot off the presses has taken on a newly literal meaning with the installation of the first instant book-printing machine in an American bookstore.
Take a floppy disk or CD-ROM to Bookends in Ridgewood, N.J., or e-mail the store a file, and pow! - in as little as 17 minutes a perfect-bound paperback version of your novel, family memoir, or favorite Bulgarian desserts can be printed.
Best-selling books are so outside the norm that they're an anomaly.

· The more books we print, the more salespeople we have out there [link first seen at Why the SMH is the best newspaper in the world ]
· · See Also W h a t i a c t u a l l y M e a n w h e n i s a y I l o v e y o u: T h i r t y s c e n a r i os
· · · See Also Canadians are less willing to make the imaginative leap necessary to enjoy a movie about domestic politics
· · · · See Also In Love with Sound
· · · · · See Also Never On Sunday: NewTown would have loved blogging, because he was forthright in his condemnation of his enemies
· · · · · · See Also Turning memories of a lighthouse job into a bestseller

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Morry Schwartz, Australian Developer of Black Inc, adds another story Schwartz, meaning black, has a knack for rising from the near-dead. This Antipodean publisher specialises in building circulation for literary nonfiction as well as literal office blocks

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Quest for Good and Fight against Evil.
As popular fiction, Rowling's novels perform a feat that's a bit like what John Le Carre did when he made the world of Cold War.espionage into an endlessly fascinating game of chess.
It's also the point where the vision and the encircling atmosphere of the Harry Potter world gets distinctly darker and creepier. It's not only Voldemort and his followers who are dark and malignant. This is a world where the Ministry of Magic can let loose its Dementors on those it deems to be outside the law and allow them to suck any identity or happiness out of them.
It's potent, imaginative stuff, and these hooded, faceless ghouls who swirl through the Azkaban world are symptomatic of the way Rowling sees the wizarding world as existing on a knife edge between impulses towards good and evil; and the way the legal, official world can be very black indeed, and there is no just society for anyone to take shelter in.

· It sometimes seems that Potty Harry Potter is going to take over the world rowlingova [Are They Out to Get him? What, exactly, makes the richest author so universally unpopular? ]
· · See Also After 23 publishers' rejections silent fury for author who lifted stones of Germany's scared senseless past - Stasiland [Link Poached from In Search Of Book Buzz: political books have been gold for more than a year, and more are on the way]
· · · See Also Should we care who the next Pope is? For millions of Catholics in the developing world, it’s a matter of life and death
· · · · See Also Hegel hits the beach & Royal George pub: Basking in the blinding Antipodean light

Communism is neither an ec[onomic] or a pol[itical] system—it is a form of insanity—a temporary aberration which will one day disappear from the earth because it is contrary to human nature. I wonder how much more misery it will cause before it disappears.
Ronald Reagan, Reagan, In His Own Hand (written 1975, collected 2001)
· · · · · See Also Put aside for a moment your opinion of Reagan (either way) and think instead about the implications of these Amerikan letters
· · · · · See Also Reagan's impact on culture: mixed bag of a controversial figure with legions of detractors as well as admirers
· · · · · · See Also Lost In Translation [Link Poached from But one thing I can't live with, which I would criticize, is to be in competition with my book. A writer should allow the work to speak for itself ]
· · · · · · · · See Also Literary giants in the running for Franklin award[Link Poached from Judging A Lit Prize - Exhausting: Alpha literary transparency?]

Saturday, June 12, 2004

A matter of life and death

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Best Review So Far of RSS Agregators
Tired of browsing around the Web for timely information? RSS readers deliver exactly the news you need--fast.
Our blogging buddy Bob Stepno has authored the best general article we have seen so far about the wonderful world of RSS, including pocket reviews of all of the most popular aggregators.
· News on Demand [ courtesy of PCworld]
· · See Also Passwords can sit on hard disks for years [courtesy of Virus-proof your PC in 20 minutes, for free ]
· · · See Also Seth Godin: Needles, haystacks & magnetism: Having met some successful people, I can assure you that they didn't get that way by deserving it
· · · · See Also Free Expression Policy Project about the information commons movement: Well worth reading, though I'm sure the word "sex" in the URL will get it banned at any agency using filtering software
· · · · · See Also Are blogs coming to your library shelves?
· · · · · · See Also eMail Bankrupt: legal pundit Lawrence Lessig has thrown up his hands in the face of 200+ daily incoming personal (that's non-spam) e-mail messages
· · · · · · · See Also ExpatriateConnect, a new website database aimed at enlisting some of the nearly one million Antipodean Dunlops overseas

Friday, June 11, 2004

My older brother, Vladimir Imrich, who sadly passed away in March this year was named after Lenin, as during Second World War Russians were seen as liberators. By 1958 when many Czechoslovaks ended up in jail, Russians were seen as rapists. (I will not bite into the temptation to elaborate on the Iraq comparison here.)
So by the time I was born I was more likely to be named after John Lennon rather than Stalin. In fact, I was named after my father and my Polish grandfather...

My brother never left Czechoslovakia or the soil of the split brotherhood. In fact, he never travelled anywhere. But, one of the few politicians he admired was Ronald Reagan! Why? Intellectually, the facts can be twisted by the historians according to the colour of the political pendulum. Soulfully, what Reagan provided is beyond historical facts as he was one of the people who gave hope not so much to my brother Vlado, but hope to some of his four children: Aga, named after my sister who died as a result of working in a chemical communist factory, Marcel, Lukas, Tomas. The last born, Tomas came into the world four months after the Chernobyl explosion so he, like many others, was born with many disabilities. Tomas will forever be a little child who must be cared for fromthe time he opens his eyes till he goes to bed again...

Many past and present world leaders and veterans of the Cold War struggle against communism are making their way to Washington for the funeral service.
They included former Soviet communist leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who will formally represent Russia ...Reagan returns to capital for last time

Tim Dunlop came, saw, Kingstonised, and blogjammed yesterday #12 Blogjam and now more than dozen dirty penended comments rule the blogosphere.
Tim also observed that Ronald Reagan died and I would've liked former Czech citizen, Jozef Imrich, to say a bit more about his opinion of the former US president. You kind of get a sense of his feelings from this brief post...

Today, Czechs and Slovaks are full of praise for the American people who greatly influenced the fate of millions living in Central and Eastern Europe.

Way back when (pick your date), exiles had a simple goal for themselves and their country: to be politically incorrect Amerikan leaders were important, but the models for future were closer geographically and politically to Prague

It is the nature of human existence that we know that sometimes in history "things happen" unexpectedly, overnight: one day Man leaves our planet and walks on the moon; in one day, symbolising Charter 77, you rock the river and the Iron Curtain; in one day you become a beach boy and marry a balletina; in one day, the Berlin Wall crumble; in one day your daughter of Velvet Revolution, named after Alexander Dubcek is born, and the world is never the same again.

There is no history, only biography and few write about it as well as Milan Kundera!

The Unbearable Lightness of Being had a remarkable success when it was published in English in 1984, the year Lauren my soulful mate crossed the Iron Curtain by herself to meet my family.
By 1984 Orwell's dystopian vision of a world ruled by totalitarian ideologies was seen to have been frighteningly prescient, particularly from the perspective of the eastern bloc countries. The cold war was at one of the hottest stages it had ever reached, with Reagan in the White House and Andropov in the Kremlin.Yet even in those bleak years, those with hearing sufficiently sharp could detect the first faint creakings of the ice-cap as it began to shift. Kundera was one of the keenest listeners to the break-up of the international order ...

Vaclav Havel said on many occasions before his death that Ronald Reagan was certainly one of the greatest statesmen of the recent era. The Czech President Havel, recalling the experience of the people in communist Europe: "The previous circumstances in our lives could be compared to a shroud of thick, impenetrable and stifling fog hanging over our whole lives. All of a sudden, with incredible speed, the fog we used to take as something virtually irremovable dispersed. Suddenly we saw an amazingly colorful landscape that had until then remained unseen. The first moments after such a radical change were marked by a universal feeling of joy. We were amazed at the beauty of the world which had until then been hidden from us, surprised at how dazzlingly bright the light of freedom was. But soon the amazement and elation passed away and we all found that the world which the fog had for so long concealed from us contained a great deal of surprising phenomena, new interrelationships, new problems and new tasks. An urgent need to build a whole new world became obvious."

Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of a new book entitled Reagan's War makes many thoughtful points about the so-called bumpkin who won the Cold War.

Czech political scientist Jiri Pehe offers his assessment of the Reagan legacy in ending Soviet communism. There is an irony to Reagan's masterful intuition in that even his closest advisers describe him as uninterested in the intricacies of politics

Like the Hungarian Amerikan journalist Andras Szanto, I too realised when I was serving in the Czechoslovak army from 1977 to 1979 that the Emperor did not have clothes. There were just comedy of mismanagement errors wherever one looked. I escaped from communism in 1980 a year before Reagan became the President.
In the current orgy of commemoration, Ronald Reagan's steely resolve in the face of the communist threat is taken as an article of faith.
The Great Communicator, we're reminded, put the world on notice that he was serious about bringing down the "Evil Empire." And that he wasn't afraid to spend big to win.
But the burnished vision of Reagan as St. George, single-handedly slaying the fire-breathing dragon of totalitarianism, is an exaggeration. In fact, communism's epic meltdown was more of a suicide than a capitulation.

Crooked Timber provides a critical biographical look at the contribution of the US President. However, some of it flies in the face of what people like Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel believe was Reagan’s contribution.

Former Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel advised that He was a man of firm principles who was indisputably instrumental in the fall of Communism.

Ronald Reagan was no god. But he understood that however mortal he was, he was, for eight years, the President of the United States.
Tomorrow will mark the anniversary (June 12, 1987) of his remarks at the Brandenburg Gate. That week I was using the email at the NSW Parliamentary Library and the boss Dr Russell Cope observed on a number of occasions the foggish salty eyes on this Bohemian. There were many hopeful comments about the speech broadcast on Radio Free Europe poring in from friends who were stuck behind the Iron Curtain.
This speech was delivered to the people of West Berlin, yet it was also audible on the East side of the Berlin wall: General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

We blog and link to stories because as bloggers, many of us seem to project hope even if we link to shocking stories of our corrupt times and when we despair we just remember:
When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it, always.
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Parts of what I may say may strike readers as a statement of the obvious. Unfortunately, in an era of fiscal conservatism and lowest-common denominators, it needs to be said . . . [it is] a pressing time for Canadians to position culture at the centre of the social agenda.
– Max Wyman, Lions Bay, B.C.

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Does culture matter? A practical guide to making it matter
Talk about the benefits of the arts in our lives is all very nice. So is talk about the value of culture and the importance of nurturing a Canadian identity (especially one that does not have Idol anywhere in its title). Unfortunately, few authors today can afford themselves the luxury to talk about art’s grandeur, all of its wonderful promises for bettering our lives and still be taken seriously the morning after.
· The Defiant Imagination [link first seen at ]
· · See Also Script Supervision: Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies, and part 3 of there's no such thing as paranoia [Are They Out to Get him? Richest Author of all Times]
· · · See Also Multinational Grab in Multicultural Garb
· · · · See Also Most everybody lies... and here's why: Men, women see it differently
· · · · · See Also A consulting firm, wins the right to compete for work advising legislatures of young democracies
· · · · · · See Also It is amazing how much you can tell about a society from its laws

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Is Nike going to see a massive increase in revenue and market share from this? No Are they going to generate some good feelings and low-level buzz? Yes.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: The Teenagers gender spilt in blog use is 50-50
Teenage boys and girls are using blogs, easily publishable online diaries, in many more similar ways than has been predicted
· Teenagers reach out via weblogs - they use them for 'self therapy' [ courtesy of NewsIsFree: Your own Advanced News Reader and Feed Publisher ] [ via Microsoft's Sacred Cash Cow ]
· · See Also Circle of self-interest hides the truth
· · · See Also Broadcasting tzar: Flint's going was surprise for everyone
· · · · See Also Making Apples More Corporate: Mac users now have an Office suite equal to Windows (Apple Airportexpress) (( Siliconvalley: Airport Express and the Reality Distortion Field ))
· · · · · See Also 101 ways to improve your news site (
Notes from Danny O'Brien's NotCon Recap of Life Hacks: 220 index cards getting a cheap laugh
· · · · · · See Also Blogging is not about site traffic or competition about the cleverest of writing
· · · · · · · See Also The recent trend of books being adapted for the screen is making America stupid. More stupid than it already is

Monday, June 07, 2004

Plagiarism begins in a "receptivity to outside influence". Did Clinton influence Latham or did Latham borrow from Clinton?
Someone once said that you can add to the truth, or subtract from the truth: either way, it's no longer the truth

Read All About It, About It, About It: Just washed ashore Not Happy, John By Margo Kingston
She rages, she hammers, she explains - but most importantly she CARES
- Phillip Adams

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Being the Time-Poor
You shop, you bank and you may even bid. But how many online services do you really know about, or would be game enough to try? Would you book a car service through cyberspace? What about logging on for Cold River?
· Special Delivery: Look @ what you can Book online [link first seen at They're out to get me, says the Richest writer of all ]
I always felt disconnected, a weirdo, an outsider. But now I feel there are lots of people who think like me...
· · Marian Keyes Corrosive nature of guilt: Keyes admits she used to spend morbid hours on the Amazon website
· · · See Also Library of Congress: If librarians don't care about their history and contributions, why do they think anyone else will care? [ There is a 1996 directory of Slavic librarians (doesn't list me, so it isn't retrospective) which is updated off site ]
· · · · See Also In the virtual stacks, pirated books find readers
· · · · · See Also Barista: Gender writing & blogging
· · · · · · See Also Boynton: When I sense that I am becoming too comfortable in what I am doing I will consciously move on to something new
· · · · · · · See Also BackPages: Ironically, Tim Blair's borrowed word count in yesterday's postings at Spleenville: 64%%

Sunday, June 06, 2004

DidTheyReadIt didtheyreadit.com, can clandestinely track when and where their e-mail is read. When you use DidTheyReadIt, e-mails that you send are automatically and invisibly tracked.

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Bill Cosby lambastes some lower-income black parents for irresponsibility
The Cosby story — like others before it — has shown that a news story can grow legs thanks more to repackagers in the blogosphere than to "legitimate" print and broadcast outlets
· Bill Cosby & the Blogosphere [ courtesy of Where Librarians Go To Hack ]
· · See Also Bloggers Unregulated: WHAT A CRAZY MARKETPLACE
· · · See Also Boy crazy Washingtonienne, not of NSW Parliament or Nippon Club Phame: Senator sacked me over tales of congress
· · · · See Also Outsourced IT staff fingered porn stash wanker
· · · · · See Also Tax bucks, blues and blogs with Hillary Bray
· · · · · · See Also Media Dragon: weblogging is a more frequent topic in NY and Sydney news
· · · · · · · See Also wURLdBook extends your reach into the Internet!

Saturday, June 05, 2004

C>apitalism is the worst system in the world to edit a cultural magazine—except for all the others... We have had to struggle with commissars and secret-police censors; you have only to deal with bank managers …and unsexy parliamentary librarians

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Milder book review runs
It's many a disgruntled author's dream, but it almost never happens: A publication prints a second review of a book after the author complains about the first one.
This time it happened.
t seemed very personal ...It seemed a review not of the book but of me.

· Reviews [link first seen at Roland Emmerich & a new Cold River age ]
· · See Also When unprovoked niceness comes to a book review editor, there's reason to be suspicious
· · · See Also Bohemian culture 'is now the norm': pioneers of alternative lifestyle gave modern world more than literature and hedonism
· · · · See Also American Childhood: When I grow up, she declared, her eyes bright with ambition, I want to be a teenager!
· · · · · See Also Reaching for the Ring: Hard to get published
· · · · · · See Also August Highland has created 80 different personas
· · · · · · · See Also Small Publisher

Friday, June 04, 2004

Blogjam creator Tim Dunlop is back!
Political blogjams--online journals featuring commentary, often highly opinionated--have rapidly become a presence in the campaign landscape. Now some established news organizations are hiring established bloggers or creating their own. How much impact does this instant punditry have on mainstream political reporting?

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Truth in journalism: Read All About It, About It, About It
Most people will sooner trust the Psychic Friends Network than they will your average reporter. It’s no wonder, since the mainstream media’s take on the world often bears as little resemblance to the truth as “reality TV” does to the life of anyone born outside of the planet Zoltron.
· Perhaps the day will come when journalists will climb up from the bottom of the list of the least trusted [ courtesy of ]
· · See Also Watchdog journalism keeps people in power accountable to the public. That's a vital function in a democracy, and asking astute questions is at the heart of it
· · · See Also The Memorials will continue until Morale improves
· · · · See Also Google Culture: Googol (10100), a term coined by the 9-year-old nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner, who asked him to think of a name for a very large number
· · · · · See Also Page Rank
· · · · · · See Also Google offers several field searches [ Joichi Ito: Japanese entrepreneur spreads blogging gospel ]
· · · · · · · See Also Sex-driven society won't let sleeping blogs lie

Thursday, June 03, 2004

The virtues of polymathy, and why Brave New World is scary.

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Nothing lasts for ever
It is a melancholy thought for published authors that, as they speed home hopefully towards their word processors, they may be supported by crushed literary dreams. A recent newspaper report revealed that the aggregate sold by the tonne for use as landfill and in motorway foundations often includes pulped books.
In the week of the Britart blaze in east London, this strange image raises the larger question of the shelf life of culture. The way that a No 1 paperback can end up as M1 asphalt shows that publishers are ruthless about the pulping of unwanted stock. But the mere fact that a company such as Momart can make a huge business from artwork warehouses around London demonstrates the existence of a taboo about the art.

· Literary Taboos [Diving Into Ice cold river, anyone?][ A survivor can't be too careful in his choice of reviewers Unfortunately, in exile life you are often forgotten by your readers and only remembered by your enemies ]
· · See Also Anna Karenina on Oprah: The newest selection (the 5th) for classic book club choice is the first on her long list that she admits she's never read
· · · See Also [ Soulful Gianna Sharing, photographic, His Story]
· · · · See Also Excellent Research Art & Science Databases

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Old Fashioned BLOGJAM#11 is coming soon...
Meanwhile, a smug president of the Canberra Press Gallery, Malcolm Farr, guffawed that he couldn't understand what it was all about, except that some journos still followed the Carl Bernstein/Bob Woodward style of journalism - What did they know and when did they know it How terribly old fashioned of them...

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Drawing parallels between Times and the case of Wen Ho Lee
It seemed inexplicable. No correction, no apology. Then, as now, the editors had seen a case collapse. Then, as now, critics had long called for an accounting
· The Transparency Era at the New York Times [ courtesy of Editors ]
· See Also One thing about journalism that is both natural, yet occasionally distorting, is the megaphone effect
· See Also News Online: 7 Lessons
· Padraic Pearse McGuinness [ via Paddy: MediaWatch]
· See Also Surfers Searching for thoughtful right-leaning Australian blogs
· See Also Joi Ito: A college dropout, he is the founder and chief executive of Neoteny Co., a venture capital firm that has raised $40 million
· See Also To Their Surprise, Bloggers Are Force for Change in Big Media
· See Also Bookmarking!
· See Also Bloggers find ways to profit: a labor of love, are becoming a moneymaker for writers who are selling advertising on their sites
· See Also Blogvertising (GapingVoid)
· See Also Back Pages: Backjamming #10
· See Also More Google:BETAR
· See Also Authoritarian (sic) Blogs
In case you haven't seen this: Google pageranks: This allows you to measure your website's standings vs other websites in terms of "Googlejuice" i.e. how highly Google ranks your sites PageRank Report Statistics
http://amediadragon.blogspot.com: 5/10

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Finally, a Hollywood movie where librarians are portrayed the heroes we really are...We are the Heroes in The Day After Tomorrow!
Just barely, the movie does fly. Emmerich carves out moments of humor that deepen the emotions of the story, like when the New York librarians refuse to allow frigid survivors in the library to burn books for warmth, then insist only bad books can be incinerated.
I think I will go see the movie just to see what "bad" books NYPLers use to stoke the fire.

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Bush dynasty ex-wife set to spill the beans
A new book on the Bush dynastyis set for release just six weeks before November's knife-edge presidential election. The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty by Kitty Kelley will have an initial print run of 500,000, and the main source is believed to be Sharon Bush, the ex-wife of Neil, President George W Bush's wayward brother.
· Wayward Brothers
· See Also Be very afraid: A review of books on the environment
· See Also How to be a philosopher
· See Also When life's an open blog
· See Also Halley Suitt writes about being a woman, not a man