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

Friday, December 31, 2004

A history, in words and pictures, of the People Who Love Being Different. Us Macs, we would much rather listen to the devil talk than hear an angel sing... (smile) The Cult of Mac
Newsmap is a graphic representation by Marcos Weskamp of the shape of the news of the moment and of the day. It monitors the thousands of news feeds that are tracked by Google News and creates a display of headlines whose sizes reflect the number of recent articles. The geometry of the news

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Ray Banks: The Secret Dead Blog Interview
Everyone else is doing it, so why don’t we?

Our first guest in this new (possibly short-lived) author interview series: the redoubtable Ray Banks, author of The Big Blind, which is fresh from the incubator at PointBlank Press.
If you’re a noir fan, you owe it yourself to read this novel. If you owe Ray money, he’ll be around to collect on Thursday.
Without further pointless introduction, here’s the Man Himself on PVCu frames, haikus, Grolsch beer, and fat goths.
So tell me about the *real* Ray Banks. Dig deep down into your soul. What fuels the pulsating core of your sensate heart? (In one word only, please.)
Rage at myself, rage at the shite that passes for fiction in some circles, rage at a lot of things. I’m an angry young man. One day I hope to be an angry old man with a stick.

Rage [Will Du(r)st: 2004 was to news stories what haggis is to debutante balls, what Quakers are to internet hacking, and what Paris Hilton is to mule skinning Top News Stories of 2004 ]
• · Here are the Top Ten most outrageous statements we have heard this year from members of the media.
• · · Memigo recommends news articles you will be interested in based on your ratings and those of other users that are similar to you ; Findory
• · · · You have hit the latest blog: Pipeline so Tap In...
• · · · · Best British Blog competition It is a Duck Dragon
• · · · · · Blog News ; [Blogs in 2004 Blogpulse ]

’05 Mind-reading monsters, pop philosophy and books with absurdly long titles - 2005 is already shaping up to be a memorable year in publishing. Stuart Jeffries predicts next year's bestsellers - and pitches a few ideas of his own. But why so many colons?

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Of Tsunami of Biblical Proportions
Please visit petit Laila Lalami's site for her breaktaking reflections.

Since Saturday, I've been trying to figure out what a proper response would be to the disaster currently unfolding in South Asia. I type something, erase it, start over. I can't think of a 'proper' anything-no response, no word, no feeling seems quite adequate. I struggle to find reference points, ways in which the catastrophe could be anchored, compared, examined. But I was not yet born when Agadir trembled. I have only vague memories of television images of Armenia. And Bam was knocked off the news within 48 hours. But this. This is different. The magnitude of the horror seems so great, so unbelievable that no natural disaster of modern times seems to compare. As I write this, the toll is believed to be 80,000, and is expected to climb with the spread of disease.

• Being six feet three inches tall sometimes isn't enough Even as we insulate ourselves, we're not as remote as we think we are [In the world of 50's and early 60's romantic comedy, where Tony Randall first made his name, irony was a tightly boxed thingMr. Irony: sweet nothings]
• · As reported on various literary blogs a number of literary awards have been announced in 2004 … reminding me there’s nothing harder to relate to than success. Your parents were right; an English degree won't get you a job. Old friends say homeless man was literary genius
• · · If languages are living things, as the philologists like to say, then English is a sort of Frankenstein creature, originally built of spare parts - a little French, a little Anglo-Saxon, some Norse and Danish The Year of (Your Catchphrase Here)
• · · · In Coming Up For Air, Orwell contrasts his protagonist’s memories of the English countryside on the eve of the First World War with its reality on the eve of the Second. A favorite fishing-pool has become a rubbish dump full of tin cans; a stretch of the Thames that used to harbor herons and alders has become a wasteland of rowing-boats, canoes, punts, motor-launches, full of young fools with next to nothing on, all of them screaming and shouting and most of them with a gramophone aboard. Orwell for Christians
• · · · · The precise midpoint of the 21st century's first decade will arrive on Jan. 1. As I write, that's five days away. Can we please agree on what era it is we're living in?
• · · · · · A Short Story is Like
… an iceberg: nine-tenths of its meaning is submerged. Ernest Hemingway
… a stone thrown into a pond. Ali Smith
… a slap in the face. It must immediately sting, make itself known at once, and it must leave a red mark for hours to come. -Martin Booth
… lighting your way through a dark cave with a tiny birthday candle. “Avi”
… being in a darkened room, [and] a novel is like being in a darkened field. -Dan Chaon
… a kiss in the dark from a stranger. -Stephen King

… a kick in the teeth in the dark from a stranger. -Cory Doctorow
… a weekend guest, [and] a novel is like a divorced relative staying with you. -Lev Raphael
[via Cup of Chicha]

Thursday, December 30, 2004

A time of extremes as politics mixed with pop culture: Drowning Private Blogger Imrich Culture At War - The Year Pop Culture Was Politics

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Media Dragon Dynasties of ‘45 AD
Who loses in sex in the city where the tv talent circus is looking pretty threadbare, and the ones trying to do the freak show aspect of it are looking silly?

There are worse combinations, we suppose, but looking back at what should have been a year of serious debate and international soul-searching, 2004 was instead a year in which television went from covering news in an insipid manner to actually creating its very own insipid storylines which were then imposed on the world with an unforgivable seriousness. "Both in Canada and the United States, television not only reported the news and created hit shows, it also became the news. The sex was more implied than dramatized. The stupidity was to be found in the fuss about it."

The Year of Sex & Stupidity
• · Everybody is scratching their heads about the money-making opportunity with blogging BlogBridge is a new kind of Cold River Blog reader; [Paul Cosway intends to drag the transistor radio into the Internet age It's the 'pure entrepreneur' who often leads the way]
• · · Sex and The Spectator: Scandals Turn the Tables Someone should bottle that magazine's tap water
• · · · The siren call of the digital home has computer and entertainment giants jockeying to colonize your living room with slick new gadgets and services. That means a confusing 2005 for most of us, but a happy hunting ground for gizmo lovers Early Adopters' Paradise
• · · · · If we all hate consumerism, how come we can’t stop reading? What we need to see is that consumption is not about conformity, it's about distinction! People consume in order to set themselves apart from others... It is often claimed that a growing economy is like the rising tide of the unique Cold River that lifts all boats. But a growing economy does not create more antiques, more rare art, or more downtown real estate, it just makes them more expensive. Many of us fail to recognize how much of our consumption is devoted to these positional goods. Understanding the Rebel Reader; [Pricenoia is an international Amazon price comparison engine. Search, click the link of the correct result, and compare prices Go buy it!!! ! !!!]
• · · · · · Google goes in search of the neverending Cold River

Best-Selling Books list reflects not only the blockbusters but also the rhythms of daily life. 9% of all USA Today bestsellers are diet books. Yet today the New England Journal of Medicine reports that two years after going on a diet, on average, people weigh more than when they started.
USATODAY.com - Our lives are an open book

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Back where I come from Icy Antarctic air chills Christmas All the Time
As if torrential rain and hail were not enough to dampen the summer, erratic weather patterns yesterday swept icy cold river air over the state and even brought light snowfall.

Noah John Rondeau (1883-1967) was known as the Adirondack hermit. He lived in a wilderness area of Cold River, New York, dubbing his hermitage Cold River City (population 1) and himself as mayor. Rondeau began staying in his hermitage even over the harsh winters after 1929. He was forced to move after a 1950 storm leveled much of the forest around his hermitage. Some details about Rondeau are offered on the "Adirondack Lives" web site: http://www.adirondackhistory.org/newadklives/ and at http://www.adirondack-park.net/history/noah.john.rondeau.html). The first link has good photos. There are also two books on Rondeau: Noah John Rondeau, Adirondack Hermit by Maitland C. DeSormo and Life With Noah: Stories and Adventures of Richard Smith with Noah John Rondeau as told to William J. O’Hern.

Adirondack hermit: Noah John Rondeau [Swim your way into my hermit-like 20% discounted pants ]
• · John Dugdale is amused by pomp, pretension and piffle in his annual awards Literary reputations on the line
• · · A Little Journal for Nearly Every Literary
• · · · Following my recent bent toward the pedantic and odd, I thought I'd share too much. Here goes: Pulling out a nosehair is one of the most bracing things I ever do.
I really should explain, because what I said isn't what I mean at all. By bracing, I don't mean 'jumping into a cold river' so much as 'brace yourself', and by 'pulling out a nosehair' I mean 'sitting there, with the end of the hair firmly pinned between my thumbnail and fingernail, all ready to pull, flesh willing, mind weak, with the neurons right on that verge of firing, asking my brain "now? now?" and hearing back "ye- I mean, just a sec, no. go. now! No. Ow! Doh." Feel free to reveal things to him that you would tell to no one else. Jozef understands. All the best secrets, here for the taking!
• · · · · We agreed too that the picking up of the fragments had been an extraordinary business; it being amazing that the human body should be blown into pieces which exploded along no anatomical lines, but rather divided as capriciously as the fragmentation in the burst of a high explosive shell The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
• · · · · · One of the leading intellectual voices of the late 20th Century has been silenced. Author and social critic Susan Sontag, one of the strongest voices of intellectual opposition to US policies after the September 11 attacks, has died An almost lone voice of intellectual opposition to US policies

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Even though I had nothing to do with it, I figured that I would mention that we (well, Rich) rule the world. Didja notice? Forbes 400 Richest Publishers in 2004 Imrich Family: Good to the Last Drop

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Global Storming: Saving Journalism
Ed Driscoll recounts the blogosphere's top-10 media-related stories and achievements of 2004 The Year Of Blogging Dangerously
The only way to save journalism is to develop a new model that finds profit in truth, vigilance, and social responsibility. Saving Journalism would make a fine New Year's resolution, and Professor Philip Meyer in Chapel Hill has a few suggestions, based on years of research and experience

You have probably noticed by now that journalism is being phased out. Our once noble calling is increasingly difficult to distinguish from things that look like journalism but are primarily advertising, press agentry, or entertainment. The pure news audience is drifting away as old readers die and are replaced by young people hooked on popular culture and amusement. We used to think the young would pick up the habit and be more like us as they got older. They didn't.

How to nurse the good stuff until it pays; [Freewheeling bloggers can boost your product—or destroy it. Either way, they've become a force business can't afford to ignore (Dot Blog Boom? Well, a new blog gets created every 3 seconds) Why There's No Escaping the Blog ]
• · The Myth of National Victimhood - All Wrapped and Delivered for Christmas [Americans typically measure their freedom by looking backward or forward—backward to the early republic or forward to their ideal republic How well does America do in its pursuit of olympic freedom, when compared with other countries?
• · · The Most Overhyped and Underreported Media Stories of the Year Geov Parrish: 2004 Media Follies! (BTW, no relation to Ken Parish); Few pundits are as respected on both sides of the aisle as Michael Barone, and he picks up the theme in his latest syndicated essay: Once upon a time, liberals were the folks who wanted to change society. ]
• · · · Britain's new freedom of information law, going into effect Jan. 1. Wow. From schools to prisons, police authorities to government departments, (even Costa type) railway bodies to local councils, any public body must be prepared to release information on its files. The right to know: a guide to digging out the truth; [BUT Hundreds of thousands of government documents are destroyed in the great Freedom of Information Act scandal ]
• · · · · A single Blogger against the Parliamentary Press Gallery (smile) ; Czech out the Blogosphere Round Up with Cold Poem ;
• · · · · · Backpages: Buying and importing song birds ; [Another Christmas, and another grey hair. But don't blame it on the publisher or on stress. Going grey takes on a different hue ]

Millions go shopping for comedy while tragedy gets the flicks: If I was ever asked to do a top ten links I lust for this site would easily feature... The notorious Bookslut (smile)
Is the following an appropriate metaphor for my Cold River at Amazon.com? It opened at #509 and within two years it is closing at #1509,000 (smile).
In the Amazon basin, the world’s largest waterlily blooms for just two days. On the fist night, the flower opens, attracting Kafka’s beetles with its scent, pure white colour and warmth - the flower actually heats up. Later that night, the flower closes, trapping the beetles inside but providing them with food. Gradually it changes colour from white to pink to purple.
On the second night, pollen is released onto the beetles, the flower open and the beetles fly off looking for another warm flower, which the pollinate. The first flower then closes and sinks.
So says German photographer Theo Allofs whose Amazonian water lilies can be spied at the Australian Museum (College Street in Sydney)
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Wxhibition

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: A rosier picture all round
If our songs perish,
We'd lose all we cherish;
Living would then be in vain.
(Our Czech Song, 1932)
I have a confession to make. I made the movie Titanic because I thought I could talk the studio into letting me dive and film the real ship, 12,500 feet down in the North Atlantic. I was an avid wreck diver, and it was the ultimate shipwreck. Making the movie itself was actually secondary in my mind

With its robust state and national museums, its hundreds of commercial galleries, its thousands of artists, its ranks of dedicated curators and scholars, and its overflowing art schools, Australian art is too rich and complicated to grasp in a lifetime, let alone a few months.

Comings and goings [ Looking good ]
• · I had my first backrow kiss during a movie by Milos Forman, Like a House on Fire (Hozi, ma panenko), The film you watch on a date can make or break a fledgling relationship; [Let the 100 flowers...' you know, 'Let's open the door and let's see the first courageous people to go through so that we know whom to shoot right away Interview with Milos Forman - the director talks about life during the Cold War and his thoughts on politics]
• · · Millions went shopping for comedy this weekend. With the holiday season bringing families to theaters in droves, it's appropriate that the ultimate family film, Meet the Fockers topped the charts 'Fockers' is king of Christmas films ; [When Gertrude Stein writes: “A shawl is a hat and hurt and a red balloon,” she is redefining these words by contextualizing them in a way that renders their meaning, at first, absurd. But she is not negating meaning, just rearranging it. Language poetry does to twentieth-century poetry what Kabbalah did to medieval Judaism]
• · · · Carl G. Jung: In the subway there is a riddle disguised as a declaration. It is engraved in gray stone on a wall of the station at 42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas, atop a staircase to the platform where the B, the D, the F and the V rumble by. There's a twist: we are part of nature, so if we defeat nature, we defeat ourselves. It's like a double negative, a Catch-22. If we win, we lose Nature must not win the game, but she cannot lose
• · · · · As the old line goes: I don't know much about art, but I know what I like. I kid you not I love this show. Tonight, tonight, I will watch the last double episode of Love My Way which was produced in Australia by John Edwards and Claudia Karvan. Without any doubt, like Soprano, this series are filled with classy scripts and excellent cast...The series marked a coming of age for Foxtel and a fitting sign-off for a year in which it successfully introduced a digital service. Love My Way: Like the fox said to the prince, Please.... tame me!

A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.
- Joseph Stalin

In the age of Internet it is easy to prove how wrong the Man of Steel was ... Each and every story counts! *At 7.34 pm, Barista links to some of the hearty personal stories and links in relation to practical help.
*At Midnight the Fairfax Digital quotes a survivor: How the hell anyone survived gets me [Indeed, it is surreal how I identify with that observation. It is exactly what I said in the summer of 1980] Survivors give surreal accounts of lucky escapes
Humbled by nature's power The great wave demonstrated an ancient truth. Now all that we can do is offer to help

In the Eye of Tsunami: Boxing Day Tsunami's ring of death
So far more than *22,000* people were killed after a powerful earthquake unleashed tsunami waves that crashed into the coasts of South-East Asia.

A warning centre such as those used around the Pacific could have saved most of the thousands of people who died in Asia's earthquake and tsunamis, a US Geological Survey official said.
None of the countries most severely affected - including India, Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka - had a tsunami warning mechanism or tidal gauges to alert people to the wall of water that followed a massive earthquake, said Waverly Person of the USGS National Earthquake Information Centre.
"Most of those people could have been saved if they had had a tsunami warning system in place or tide gauges," he said yesterday.
"And I think this will be a lesson to them," he said, referring to the governments of the devastated countries.

Devastated Asia counts its dead [This time Threat to Australia has passed, say seismologists ]
• · Up to his chest in raging water, Boree Carlsson clung desperately to a pillar in a hotel lobby as a giant tsunami pounded Thailand's Phuket island. Quiet island holidays turn to terror and despair
• · · via Google hundreds of links: Subjective judgment indicates that ironically BBC (rather than the geographically situated Australian Broadcasting Commission) seems to have the most detailed coverage Tsunami - the killer waves
• · · · Earth churn spawns killer
• · · · · The Independent has a helpful if horrifying country-by-country report on the impact of the earthquake and destruction. Indian Ocean Erupts

Memeorandum compiled the following links:
There is Something Strange Happening With the Sea
WELLIGAMA, Sri Lanka, Dec. 26:
Disaster struck with no warning out of a faultlessly clear blue sky.
I was taking my morning swim around the island that my businessman-brother Geoffrey bought on a whim a decade ago and turned into a tropical paradise just 200 yards from one of the world's most beautiful beaches on the Sri Lankan mainland.
Joe Gandelman: Far away, yet even with newspaper accounts the Internet made it seem MUCH closer...because some local weblogs...Jeff Jarvis: Later I found out that my friend had been rescued by boat with a mild concussion and lacerations from all the wreckage...Orrin Judd: THE FORTUNATE: It Seemed Like a Scene From the Bible; Tim Blair; Laura Rozen: Michael Dobbs has a startling first person account of being swept to sea by a tsunami while swimming off the coast in Sri Lanka this morning; Rickheller @Centerfield: The Washington Post's Michael Dobbs was caught in it, and is lucky to be alive; Lambert @Corrente

*Update:* The tens of thousands killed by the tsunami which devastated South-East Asia could be eclipsed by the death toll from the resulting epidemics unless the unprecedented humanitarian challenge now in front of the world is met Epidemics threaten to double the death toll

Monday, December 27, 2004

The decision by Birmingham's Rep theatre to call off a play after protests by the city's Sikh community turned violent at the weekend, has reignited the debate on what, if any limits, should govern freedom of speech. What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Suddenly, the literary world is interesting again
David Brooks has done well on his first set of Hookies. David looks at the best political essays of 2004. They are all provocative and a joy to digest

Some people say that the age of the public intellectuals is over, that there are no longer many grand thinkers like Lionel Trilling or Reinhold Niebuhr, writing ambitious essays for the educated reader.

Hookies and Hookers ; [ Here are a few we liked that he missed Orrin Judd ; Not long after my arrest, in 1987, I began thinking of suicide. I was 23 during those weak times of my life. My literary escape from punishment ]
• · As a writer, I have found that reading for pleasure can be either the best of times or the worst of times, to borrowed a hackneyed phrase. In 2004, it seemed to be the best of times for me as I discovered three fabulous authors whose books swept me away How to thrill a thriller author; [ Are sexy mags more important than Cold River? ; The swimmers -- outnumbered by media photographers. The tradition dates back to 1980, the year of my escape Naked Germans Jump in Ice-Cold Lake for Good Health ]
• · · Future of Books ; [The World Wide Web is dead. And Bill Thompson thinks the web sucks, wants to cure the addiction to HTML, and do online publishing properly Ach Based on A True Story ]
• · · · Libraries will survive the digital revolution because they are places of sensuality and power Paradise is paper, vellum and dust
• · · · · Tim Porter and Jay Rosen exchange: Rethinking the News Factory (Again) Assembly Line of Paper Boys ; [Of all the writers of historical mystery fiction, Max Allan Collins has the highest ratio of real people to invented characters. We have long heard of people writing advice to soap-opera characters or sending letters off to Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street
• · · · · · Library of Parliament emerging from cocoon The Library of Parliament, a round, stone wedding cake tucked against the back of the Centre Block, has suffered a half-century of winters since its last refurbishment ; [Google, current heavyweight among systems for searching the Internet]

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Thank you for diving into Media Dragon, and please keep swimming in the virtual river. I am delighted to share with you colourful topics of interest, rainbow of digital links and resources, tips on new search tools, and techniques. This has been a challenging and productive year for dragons, draculas, as well as Google, and I wish you all good health, peace, the joy of friendships and family, and of course, lots of interesting things to read, in 2005! Remember to share the greatest gift of all at your local Red Cross blood bank Best Wishes for the Holiday Season and Happy Hunting

Eye on 2004 Wrap Up: Rich Get Richer Life, Love, and Crossing over the River
'04: Say goodbye to the year of the monkey. ‘04 AD marked two decades of living under the same roof with with the ballerina of my life. If you ask me, the best gift is a daughter. The best of the best of gifts is to have two daughters. That and letting my three girls to wrapp up a muggie Christmas week with full-fledged Feast of Seven Fishes. Seven fish and seafood dishes at a sitting is an awful lot for a family of four. But I've always loved the idea of this Czech-Australian Christmas Eve tradition, a seven-course (or, in Slavic translations, 12- to 13-course)...
Like the famous soccer adage, 2004 was a game of two halves for the Imrich family. The first half was filled with negative changes as we settled back in Sydney while the second half was full of happy moments, culminating in Alex becoming the swimmer of the year at her High School. Swimming, if it is to be executed properly, is a sport that demands much. It is you, H2O and the clock. To survive in a squad a woman must have talent on top of a soaring ambition, she must learn subtlety as well as power, she must have patience alongside a sense of urgency at 4 am most mornings and, above all else, she must have character.

Has the emotional pendulum ever swung so widely between triumph and despair in a poli-cultural year?
Poli-culture would not be poli-culture without extremes, without the contrasts of joy and despair, success and failure, love and hate. And in a stream-of-consciousness kind of way, memories of the 2004 poli-cultural year can pitch the mind wildly from one to the other, both locally and globally.

• The top 20 reasons why 2005 may be the most interesting year in Washington empire - ever. Expect the Unexpected [The highs; the lows; the oh, no's of publishing! A Tale of Two Dragons ]
• · Gone and best forgotten: Adam's only chore in the Garden of Eden was naming the beasts and birds. When you try to choose a name for a new Internet domain or an e-mail account, you're likely to discover that your first choice was taken long ago. Naming Names
• · · Sang in private, Bohemian Art Show Rhaspody; [Do not make New Year’s Resolutions. Sounds ironic, but resolutions are the worst place to start on the path to success. ]
• · · · I often ask my father, the Dowbrigade, why he spends so much time blogging. It seems like such a waste of time. Even if people are reading it, they don't affect your life so what differnce does it make? Many people now accept the computer as the key metaphor for themselves and for their place in the world without any need for "Room 101" Dowbrigade
• · · · · When only the worst will do ... Jack Kelley was the Jayson Blair of 2004 Journalism itself was responsible for much of bad news; [2004: High-stakes as elsewhere even in Praha]
• · · · · · Some of this year's products: iPod copycats, iPod copycats that smell, laser pointers, Sushi discs. Best and worst gadgets of 2004

Saturday, December 25, 2004

As Krusty, the Klown, would say: ‘Have a Kooky Christmas, a Happy Hanukkha, a Crazy Kwanza, and a...very respectful Ramadan.'
In this holiday season, I love to hear the voices of bright, feeling people. I might not always agree but I enjoy the thinking. These "learnings" from Maya Angelou struck a chord:
-- I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
-- I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.
-- I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
-- I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
-- I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
Kevin Salwen and Maya Angelou on Making a Difference

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Story Of Nick together with Scared of Santa photo gallery
Bishop, legend, saint, fairy story, retail therapist, and film star ... How did a pile of bones in an Italian basilica become the soft drink-swigging patron saint of brides, and our last remaining link with the original meaning of Christmas?

It is probably true to say that no human being in history has ever become so encrusted with layers of religious and secular iconography as St Nicholas. The pile of bones that has been crumbling away for nearly a thousand years in a basilica in the port of Bari on the heel of Italy has acquired a thick, inscrutable patina: bishop, legend, saint, fairy story, retail therapist, and film star

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!; [We loved the variety of expressions as each expression tells a horrifying story Images: Too much eggnog, Santa? (Foto number 7) ]
• · Mikulas, aka Santa, is a child's window to the world Check this list of the best Christmas films of all time
• · · Two economists say that regular sex brings people as much happiness as a $50,000-a-year raise--so no need to kiss up to your boss if kissing your partner is more fun
• · · · During my first year at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, a few of us were sitting around one afternoon when several of my male classmates announced -- with far less irony than you'd imagine, that they had become writers in order to attract women. You Can't Get a Man With a Pen
• · · · · In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen people... He explains that online sales show that the market size of stuff below the break even threshold for physical distribution is often larger than the market for the "hits" that make it into stores. The Long Tail of Double Dragon
• · · · · · We each view reality from our own unique perspective, only a community of minds can show us the truth; [Looking for a New Year's Eve date? Check under fiction at your local bookstore. Best Singles Scene: Barnes and Noble Bookstores Rated New York's Best Pickup Spot; Festivus began on "Seinfeld" and is catching on. Spreading Darkness Fooey to the World: Festivus Is Come]

There are as many different kinds of blogs as there are human impulses: sex blogs, dating blogs, political blogs, technology blogs and music blo. Sometimes, too, the realization that no one is reading sets in. A few blogs have thousands of readers, but never have so many people written so much to be read by so few. By Jupiter Research's estimate, only 4 percent of online users read blogs. If this were beer, I'd be an alcoholic For Tony Pierce Some, The Blogging Never Stops

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Cyber Salon
Tom Robins cybered that the price of self-destiny is never cheap and in certain circumstances it's unthinkable, but to achieve the marvelous it's precisely the unthinkable that must be thought. Before this year, blogs were a curiosity, a cult phenomenon, a faintly embarrassing hobby on the order of ham radio and stamp collecting. But in 2004, blogs unexpectedly vaulted into the pantheon of major media, alongside TV, radio and, yes, magazines, and it was Power Line, more than any other blog, that got them there.

If 2003 was the year blogs burst onto the scene, 2004 was the year they became respectable. Today, the scribes behind Wonkette, Pressthink, and Powerline (Time magazine’s first-ever blog of the year) share their thoughts on journalism’s most untamed frontier.

Ruthless Media Dragons [Whenever I want to take the pulse of popular culture, I check out some of the sites that list the most popular stuff people search for: Podcasting, iPods, Digital Media Servers/Centers, Juice boxes ... Santa Delivers New Forms of Media Delivery ]
• · Based on billions of searches conducted by Google users around the world, the 2004 Year-End Zeitgeist offers a unique perspective on the year's major events and trends. We hope you enjoy this aggregate look at what people wanted to know more about this year. Zeit (time) + Geist (spirit) the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era
• · · Destiny’s Child spread the story of Survivor and as advertised on Cold River on Christmas Eve (smile); [Honestly Biased]
• · · · With the assistance of like-minded bloggers, we believe we can be more effective and, at the same time, can avoid the money-chasing and other problems that so often hamper effectiveness. BloggerCorps first success story
• · · · · I can only imagine the idiocy he has to deal with from the media after every game. Chad Pennington’s battle with the NY media: You need a place where you can explain yourself. You can write as much or as little as you would like, but the words will be all yours. Hey Chad , get a blog ! ; [ The Blog of the Year, or the Year of the Blog?]
• · · · · · It's a scenario from hell Documentary filmmakers say securing clearance rights is a growing problem, and it will get worse ; [Ben McGrath, The New Yorker: Thomson wasn’t surprised. He had been officially reprimanded in June for publishing a book without the U.N.’s permission. The book, Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: A True Story from Hell on Earth The Whistle Blows On The United Nations ]

Friday, December 24, 2004

Tim Dunlop reveals his inner most secret. The chiefs at the ASIO reading statements along the following lines are on the alert: Christmas is upon us and that means posting is going to be light for a few days. Probably some of you don't know, but I am in fact Santa Claus. Yes, it's true, as those who've sat upon my lap will realise. Blogging, incidentally, is just a new-fangled way of sorting out who is naughty and who is nice. Anyway, as you can imagine, things get a little hectic around here at this time of the year So please excuse the lack of posts for the next few days while I deliver Christmas cheer to the boys and girls of the world
Prominent among the urges that inspire and drive a person in life, is the urge to be a somebody. It is quite human, especially in the early stages of life, to want to do something to win laurels and admiration of all around. There's a pitfall though — the very process of becoming a somebody may subtly reduce you to a nobody To be a Somebody, Remain a Nobody

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Son, It is White Christmas and We Need to Talk
Graham Freudenberg is one of those rare writers and storytellers just like Johno Johnson who have never lost sight of ordinary life. Graham might have moved from Woolahra to a tropical island and a younger Graham might have moved to church nearby, but the reality is that the new generation is losing the common touch ...

Son, could you come in here for a second? Well, I'm sorry, but that newspaper's just going to have to wait, because we really need to talk. Son, your mother and I have been worried about you. Your grades have been slipping, you've been spending less time with your friends, and you've been shutting yourself in your room for hours at a time. Now, I know it may make you feel uncomfortable to talk about it, but this Supreme Court obsession of yours has become a problem

My Picks of Their Picks ; [Have you caught up with the news that Peter Maher's aggressive Rehame outfit has lost the very lucrative NSW Government 'whole-of-government' electronic media monitoring contract with effect from January 1, 2005. Shame About Rehame ]
• · Depressed and disheartened by 2004? Then take a dose of 1958. The year Jozef Imrich was born Thoughts on New Matilda and Old Nation: Graham Freudenberg; Andre Hairdryer's google profile
Does the Victorian police minister Andre Haermeyer have a sense of humour or is he subject to a google bomb, perhaps from Premier Steve Bracks? Tap the cop's boss' nickname Andre Hairdryer into Google and his official page via the Victorian Premier's office is the first result.
• · · Steve Outing What Mainstream Journalists Can Learn From Bloggers ; [Tim Porter Learn from the Bloggers, My Children ]
• · · · Called Speegle, it has the look and feel of a normal search engine Speech takes on search engines
• · · · · As my literary agent is well aware me and the Apple go a long way back Am I responsible for this iTunish mess?
• · · · · · Today the Washington Post Co. announces that it is buying Slate from Microsoft Corporation, our home since we began publishing in 1996. When the transaction closes in mid-January, we will leave the splendiferous House of Gates for the munificent House of Graham Sold!; [Sam Schechner of Slate Stardom admits that it's not the media, but ginger organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union that are doing the FOI digging Freedom From Information ]

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Hallelejah! Another spam email from uncle Rupert in my inbox
Office of Rupert Murdoch ( Newscorp )
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 10:07 AM
Subject: Holiday message from Rupert Murdoch
Importance: High

Dear Colleagues,

As children we were taught to count our blessings. But corporations also do well to count their blessings, and News Corporation has none greater than each of you: the men and women whose talents and hard work have made this Company what it is today.
2004 has been a banner year for us. Virtually all our divisions - from our satellite, broadcast and cable television operations to our film and print media assets - performed superbly in competitive markets and helped contribute to another year of record revenues and profits.
This year was also marked by the overwhelming support we received from our shareholders for our proposal to reincorporate in the United States. While this move has had little or no effect on the work you do or on our business operations, I am certain it will be remembered in years to come as a milestone in News Corporation's development as one of the world's truly great media companies.
The reincorporation puts us in an even better position to do what we do best - deliver quality news and entertainment to millions of people around the world every day of the year.
The coming year will present its own challenges. As successful as our company is, we operate in one of the most competitive industries on the planet and our competitors are constantly looking to knock us off our perch. But this company does not fear competition. It thrives on it.
The blessings that we share at News Corporation have been earned the old-fashioned way: through our sweat and effort. At this very special time of year, I want to thank you all for making this company what it is - and offer you and yours my wishes for a joyous and healthy Holiday and Christmas season.

All best wishes,
Rupert Murdoch
News Corporation chairman and chief executive

Kapitalism: He who dies with the most toys, wins.
Hari Krishna: He who plays with the most toys wins.
Judaism: He who buys toys at the lowest price wins.
Katholicism: He who denies himself the most toys wins.
Anglicanism: They were our toys first.
Greek Orthodox: No, they were OURS first.
Branch Davidians: He who dies playing with the biggest toys wins.
Atheism: There is no toy maker.
Objectivism: Toys are Toys.
Islam: You must force the world to play with this exact toy, other toys are forbidden.
Polytheism: There are many toy makers.
Evolutionism: The toys made themselves.
Socialism: You will have toys eventually.
Taoism: The doll is as important as the dumptruck.
Mormonism: Every boy may have as many toys as he wants.
Fascism: We have ways of making you play with your toys.
Libertarianism: You can do anything you like with your toys as long as its consensual.
New Labour: We have firm evidence that masses of toys do exist somewhere.
Voodoo: Let me borrow that doll for a second...
Jehovah's Witnesses: He who places the most toys door to door wins.
Pentecostalism: He whose toys can talk wins.
Existentialism: Toys are a figment of your imagination.
Confucianism: Once a toy is dipped in the cold river, it is no longer dry.
Buddhism: What is the sound of one toy playing with itself?
Bussorah of Wicked Thoughts Cracks the Toy World

Personality clashes and what one insider calls "the perennial cultural divide between the creative and the corporate" have plunged Australia's most prestigious literary prize into discord. Miles Franklin Literary Award

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Ach Santa, wishes are horses and readers can ride
Everywhere, being popular seems like the most important thing in the world. We often think that being the center of attention would be fantastic — like being a famous movie star or an Olympic Swimmer.
That's what Jesse Aarons thinks in Bridge to Terabithia until he meets Leslie Burke. Yet the speaker in Emily Dickinson's poem, "I'm nobody! Who are you?" readily admits to being an outsider. What's more, she even seems to like it. She says it would be "dreary" to be "somebody."
Is she crazy? Who would want to be an outsider?
Think about it for a moment. Who would really want to be an insider?
As an outsider, a "nobody," the speaker is not forced to be "public." She does not have to face the scrutiny or disapproval of people who are likely to be jealous of her popularity. She does not have to play games, put on an act, or keep trying in order to be a somebody. She can be herself and be comfortable.
What's more, she is not alone.
Are you nobody?: Everyone feels like a "nobody" at some point in life.
What Does It Mean?
The poem's first stanza tells how the speaker meets a fellow "nobody" — a friend. Together, the two nobodies can enjoy each other's company and their shared anonymity.
Anne Shirley, the heroine of L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables book series, knows what it is like to be an outsider and to have a special friend. Her best friend and kindred spirit is Diana Barry.
As a pair, they aren't really nobodies anymore. That's why the speaker says, "Don't tell! / They 'd banish us, you know." She understands that once you have another "nobody" at your side, you aren't really a "nobody" anymore. And she doesn't want to be banished or kicked out from what she sees as a society of nobodies.
She's comfortable there.
In the second stanza, the tone of the poem changes. The speaker sounds confident. Perhaps it is her discovery that there are other people like her — other "nobodies"-- that makes her feels strongly that being a "somebody" isn't such a great idea.
She realizes that having a friend who understands you and accepts you as you are is more important than being admired by a lot of people or being in the "in" crowd.
In the poem's second stanza, the speaker also makes a strange comparison. She says that being a somebody is like being a frog. What does this simile mean? Aside from Kermit, there aren't many celebrity frogs around.
A lot of people -- kids and adults -- feel lonely sometimes. Emily Dickinson's poem "I'm nobody! Who are you?" expresses how being a loner can sometimes be a positive thing.
Why does the speaker choose that amphibian as her representative of a public creature?
It's because frogs make a lot of noise. The poem says that frogs, though they can croak and make themselves heard and be noticed, are noticed only by "an admiring bog." The b(l)og is the frog's environment, not the frog's friend. So who cares what the b(l)og thinks?
That's what the poem says about being a "somebody" who gets noticed by an admiring public. Frequently, the relationship is impersonal and distanced, not like a real friendship. Somebodies may have many admirers, but they might not be able to make those personal connections that real friendship offers.
Being "nobodies" helps bloggers, writers, storytellers, find each other.

Imagine this: a stack of books in every bath house, big house, cat house, clearing house, dog house, dream house, glass house, lower house, rooming house, trade house, upper house, and outhouse.
Imagine this: every parent reading to every child every night; a dog-eared, rumpled book on every teenager's night stand; real books in book bags; books (in use) in every boat, bus, cable car, subway, streetcar, subway, train, trolley.

Santa, you can imagine all of them, create all of them, dream all of them, and then see, hear, smell, touch, taste and even intuit the resulting world of wonder from all of them [I might be rich yet I am Nobody]
• · The largest Canadian Double Dragon (epublishers) is bucking the trend ... Bookworms turning to internet bore into local profits ; [Humans will download their minds into computers one day. With a new robotics firm, Hans Moravec begins the journey from warehouse drones to robo sapiens ]
• · · Mark A. R. Kleiman The pro-war-novel-of-high-literary-merit category seems to be rather thin.
• · · · Shakespeare described imagination as "a gift that I have, simple, simple; a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions: these are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater; and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am thankful for it." An enjoyable article about the work involved in reading and how it devolops the imagination
• · · · · The New York Times released the winners of the 2004 Best Librarian Awards. Congratulations to them all!. Here's The List of the Guilty
• · · · · · The Polish Librarians Association has issued an "Appeal for Cuban Librarians" calling for the release of their Cuban colleagues Solidarity of the Underground Stack

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Unfortunately, as a mere practicing lawyer, Denise Howell was unable to follow or understand most of the article. That's more a criticism of me, of course, than it is a criticism of his article, which I'm sure that I'd find quite good if I could understand it Sipping Illegal Latte
Robert J. Ambrogi highlights 13 websites, launched this past year, that merit your review, including an online legal bookstore, an e-discovery resource, a new meta-search engine, and a collection of historical documents on the civil rights movement Recommendations For Recently Launched Law-Related Websites

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Fast Chat: The Wonkette
Ana Marie Cox, the Monica Lewinski of the Blogosphere - or is it the Anna Nicole Smith?, started writing as the Wonkette in January '03, delivering a gossipy, satirical blog on D.C. politics. Now she's working on her first novel.

They're locked in this mutually pleasurable sort of Tracy-Hepburn relationship, but it's not as entertaining to everyone else as it is to them. Watching Tracy and Hepburn is fun for the audience. Watching bloggers and mainstream journalists go at it—for one thing, you know they're not going to fall in love at the end.

• The Wonkette stands on the shoulders of giants and shakes it What's the relationship between bloggers and mainstream journalists? [War and politics, the staples of so many bloggers, have reached a downturn in their blog-ability ]
• · Blogging I told you so!; [There’s a vast alternative to Dan Rather. The Blogosphere’s Smaller Stars ]
• · · Search Engine Resubmission Myth ; [A New Book: The Google Story ]
• · · · A fraudulent document and a fallen television icon propelled a trio of online writers to Internet stardom earlier this year when they used their Web site, Power Line Local site a top dog in Web logs; [Desperately Marketing Google ]
• · · · · Do you know that there is a marketing revolution happening online this very moment? Marketing Revolution With BLogs And RSS ; [The popular Internet search engine Google may be creating a new great wonder of the world, much like one Alexander the Great created long ago.
Google wants to create new world wonder
• · · · · · Recent court developments have been grim for those who cherish a free press. Punishing the Press - via - Appealing Howard Bashman

Search engine Google has offered geeks and non-geeks alike an early present this Christmas. Launching Google Print, the company hopes to begin the long task of integration between searching offline content in the online world. Google Launches Print Service

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Tapping Reservoirs of Raw Emotions
Causes of failure are always more complicated and varied than are the reasons for success. Science teaches are that humans are more alike than different, with the primary differentiator being culture. A great writer is not made simply by his delivery, though superb story-telling is prerequisite. Rather, what sets a great writer apart is his ability to be different and to share that difference when he observes people in real life situations. The artful storyteller holds a unique mirror before our eyes; and we recognise truths, revealing truths, about ourselves.
Strangely, it is mostly Slavic writers who create a pulpable sense of energy and expectation. They teach me how to open my eyes and my mind. They know how I feel and exactly what I need. Boing Boing picked up yet another interesting/creepy angle on a slightly different story we all need ...

Boing Boing randomly happened to read Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code right when it came out. When he told my pal Vann Hall about the novel, he said the basis of the plot sounded like a non-fiction book from the early 1980s called Holy Blood, Holy Grail. A few months after Da Vinci Code hit it big, he noticed that Holy Blood, Holy Grail had also made it to the bestseller lists, more than twenty years after it was first published. Now it seems that the Holy Blood, Holy Grail authors are suing Dan Brown for ripping off their research.

Da Vinci (Legal) Code ; [Free eBooks for your PDA ; Looking for a rare read? Just Google it ; Juvenile Nonfiction: Cold River as Top 12 at Christmas 2004; River name: Morava; Street name: Imrychova (surburb of Prague called Kamk) named after Karel Imrich (1907-1944), a leader of an illegal group Meopta, Karel was killed during the WWII on 11.10.1944 at Draanech]
• · Apparently, publishing house Random House is thinking about jumping into the online retail business themselves , trying to sell books directly to the public. Cold Rivers Going Digital
• · · Oprah's impact on book sales bigger than expected
• · · · Exclusive: Google Apparently Considered Online Store
• · · · · New Matilda is a weekly newsletter of independent political commentary: Spoil Your Loved one or even Better Surprise Your Enemy Give them a gift to remember you by Want a different tune?
• · · · · · Fly Away: Cold River Causing Floods @ Amerikan Airports ; [Nothing attracts scrutiny so well as size and success, so welcome to the majors, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). Much Ado About Google ]

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Every now and then super-search-engine Google changes the way they rank results. For quite a while now the system they had in place has worked in our favour: type in a book title and the author's name and, if we have the book under review, chances were very, very good our review-page would be one of the top few results. But last week things changed, and that is no longer the case. Google dance: There isn't actually a name for whats wrong with the steps [Same with Media Dragon - without being ranked highly by Google our kingdom is dead; Blogstreet is still ranking us highly, but without Google Media Dragon Is No More

The Blog, The Press, The Media: The ruthless old media dragon
Gallup finds journalists not trusted, but research indicates some highly developed moral reasoning.

The American public thinks journalists are ethically challenged, according to a Gallup Poll. Yet another study shows journalists have highly developed abilities when it comes to moral reasoning. What gives?
First the studies. The American public doesn't trust reporters. This according to Gallup's most recent poll rating of perceived honesty among certain professions. Less than 25 percent of the people who responded the survey rated reporters' ethical standards as high or very high.

Journalists: More Ethical than People Realize? [ Ten examples of bad journalism ]
• · John Jerome: Only writing secret I know - for shrinking a project to manageable size How do you eat a dragon?
• · · 10 Things We Learned About Blogs ; [If you're going to peddle opinions for a living, self-assurance is essential. If you don't have it, you need to bluff. People don't want to read a lot of - Oh dear, this is so terribly complicated, I just can't make up my poor little mind Many's the pundit who has retired on full disability after developing a tragic tendency to see both sides of the issue ]
• · · · Iraqi Bloggers, In the News And Critiquing It
• · · · · Puff the Media Dragon ; [Warhol’s 15 Minutes: has everything but Bela Lugosi declaiming Bevare! Bevare the media dragon! although De Niro is almost at the level of Lugosi these days: He pulls faces, he grimaces, he parrots his old schtick]
• · · · · · Popdex Citations Your BlogStreet or Mine: Who's in your Neighborhood?

Monday, December 20, 2004

Reality bites Bankrupt Santa needs the Ca$h

The Blog, The Press, The Media: The Pursuit of Knowledge, From Genesis to Google
Every morning brings us the news of the globe, and yet we are poor in newsworthy stories.

One warm afternoon in the late 19th century, two middle-aged office clerks met on the same bench of the Boulevard Bourdon in Paris and immediately became the best of friends. Bouvard and Pécuchet (the names Gustave Flaubert gave to his two comic heroes) discovered through their friendship a common purpose: the pursuit of universal knowledge. To achieve this ambitious goal, they attempted to read everything they could find on every branch of human endeavor and, from their readings, cull the most outstanding facts and ideas. Flaubert's death in 1880 put an end to their enterprise, which was in essence endless, but not before the two brave explorers had read their way through many learned volumes on agriculture, literature, animal husbandry, medicine, archeology and politics, always with disappointing results. What Flaubert's two clowns discovered is what we have always known but seldom believed: that the accumulation of knowledge isn't knowledge.
The desire to know everything on earth and in heaven is so ancient that one of the earliest accounts of this ambition is already a cautionary tale. According to the 11th chapter of Genesis, after the Flood, the people of the earth journeyed east, to the land of Shinar, and decided to build a city and a tower that would reach the heavens.

Google [Ex Google ]
• · As the people I hang out with on Freenode are painfully aware of by now, I’ve been on a blog platform testing binge. Stephanie reviews 13 free weblog-hosting platforms
• · · Jeffrey Rosen on blogging and privacy: One of the first sex scandals of the blogosphere ended, of course, in a book deal. In May, Ana Marie Cox, the Internet gossip whose Web log, Wonkette, focuses on Washington, published a link to another blogger who called herself the Washingtonienne Your Blog or Mine? The border between public and private; [A look at the Florida political bloggers who matter -- and one who broke news. ]
• · · · Apple's Steve Jobs was chosen a Person Who Mattered.
• · · · · Google Does it Again How fast this is... I type pretty fast, and it updates with every single keypress... Power of Suggestion
• · · · · · Jay Rosen is a press critic and writer whose primary focus is the media's role in a democracy. More Undercurrent: Action in Greensboro on Open Source Journalism

The Net has made us bigger, but not necessarily better. Is Google God? Maybe not, but it's way up there

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: I have spent my life learning other people's lines
Can a novel start a war, free serfs, break up a marriage, drive readers to suicide, close factories, bring about a law change, swing an election, or serve as a weapon in a national or international struggle? In Kharkov I have seen all kinds of queues—for the film Tarzan, butter, women’s drawers, chicken giblets and horse-meat sausage. But I cannot remember a queue as long as the one for your book in the libraries ...
An Actor with a Brain — In this era when actors spout off to look like "good guys" in the face of terror, Herbert Lom...

Lesson learned — Roger Simon links to this excellent portrait of 87 year-old actor Herbert Lom in the Independent. Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru was wise to change his surname to Lom. It is one of many wise decisions he has made in his long life. Another was to emigrate to England, from his native Czechoslovakia, in January 1939.

Herbert Lom: The odd fellow [As political consciousness and knowledge grow more prevalent in the broad culture, leading literary stars lag behind, as does much of the literary establishment. The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary. Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news—things which on their own merits would get the big headlines—being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact A Few Notes on the Literary Establishment ]
• · And have yourself a wonderful Mangaian night
• · · How we became barbarians Getting in Touch with Your Inner Terrorist ; [Some of them are deliberate. The lies the spin doctors spin. Some are matters of blindness, some lack of imagination, some of shallowness. Some of propriety. Some of fear. The simple fear of saying things that no one else is saying. Sometimes it's from being stuck in the trees and never seeing the forest, let alone the earth from which it grows or the relationship to the sun and the air and sky and the rain and the rivers that run underground. Non-fiction is full of lies. ]
• · · · In Defense of Academic Publishing: An Interview with Willis Regier
• · · · · The Killing of the Monster: There are many virtues to the democratic spirit, and one of them is humility; a humility that sometimes stops intelligent men making asses of themselves in public... Whatever happened to heroes? [But for some of us hope is the thing that gets stuck to the bottom of your shoe like a bad book deal. I’m a living example of how the writing life goes wrong as evidenced by my own recent publishing misadventure. See, the life of a novelist is a perilous one ]
• · · · · · Artists’ are not the only people who are — or could be — creative.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Six sleeps to Christmas and the nights are anything but silent. Community carols

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Balance in the Service of Falsehood
The Media's Failure to Challenge Official Deception Over Iraq was the Product of a Journalism with Built-in Bias

The British and US governments stand accused of lying their way to war on Iraq, both at home and abroad. But while a series of what were widely regarded as nobbled inquiries have at least gone through the motions of holding them to account, there has been no attempt to hold the media to account for its role in making war possible. To his credit, George Monbiot argued on these pages earlier this year that "the falsehoods reproduced by the media before the invasion of Iraq were massive and consequential: it is hard to see how Britain could have gone to war if the press had done its job." But an examination of this failure, and its roots in a mass media with a long history of protecting and promoting the powerful, is conspicuous by its absence.
Like egomaniacal rulers forever, dating back to the cave, our pollies demonized the people they wanted to kill. They have "weapons of mass destruction," they asserted. Yeah, like we don't. Like India doesn't. Like Israel doesn't. Like Pakistan doesn't. Like China doesn't. Like Russia doesn't. Why don't we invade them? Or ourselves?

WMD [The Plight of Whistleblowers]
• · BzzAgent.comis a company which creates marketing campaigns for consumer product clients. There is no such thing as bad buzz.
• · · Best Of The Web Forbes: Extreme Blogging
• · · · 100 most useful websites Cream of the crop
• · · · · The Best Legal Web Sites
• · · · · · Promise and pitfalls of e-printing

Saturday, December 18, 2004

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains. This was a message my youngest daughter received at her primary school graduation on Friday night. We send children to school to find meaning. Everything else is secondary. We humans want to believe in our own species. On nights like that the joys of parents and their fears come out of hiding. Words in certains songs do that to parents: “We are the feeling in your song; We are the rhythm that color your song; We are the pain that makes the melody strong.”

Stephen Covey said that there are only two lasting bequests we can give our children; one is roots, the other is wings. However, a faith is often what holds people's lives together. It is an attempt to resolve the tensions of everyday life by promising an idealized future in which one will be rescued from all the problems of ordinary life.

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement..
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair, and to try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greastest hazard in life is to risk
The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, and becomes nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave, he's forfeited his freedom.
Only the person who risks is truly free.
- Leo Buscalia

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Donna’s Year 6 Self Examining Book & Powerpoint of Memories
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

I mentioned the other day that Dvorak’s String Sextet was written in “A major, that most divinely innocent of keys." Now a reader writes to ask:
Is there something intrinsic to the key of A major that makes it more innocent than any other? Is it innocent only when strings are playing in it?
Keys are often said to possess characteristics associated with various extra-musical emotional states. While there has never been a consensus on these associations, the material basis for these attributions was at one time quite real: because of inequalities in actual temperament, each mode acquired a unique intonation and thus its own distinctive “tone,” and the sense that each mode had its own musical characteristics was strong enough to persist even in circumstances in which equal temperament was abstractly assumed. Though highly specific with respect to different repertories and listeners, these expressive qualties fall into two basic categories, which conform to the basic difference—often asserted as an opposition—between major and minor: major is heard to be brighter and more cheerful than minor, which in comparison is darker and sadder.

D minor: it's not just a key, it's a living!
• · Picture a mundane aspect of everyday life that most readers will recognize: you're in touch with a coworker on the other side of the planet via email or IM, and at the same time you get an SMS telling you to bring home a carton of milk Sociology of Mobility
• · · The earth is always changing as man develops and has to deal with new combinations of elements; and the writer who is to be anything more than an echo of his predecessors must always find expression for something which has never yet been expressed, must master a new set of Phenomena which has never yet been mastered….
• · · · So did you really read all those Christmas stories, or just set them out like decorations? Here's a quiz from the Guardian for you holiday/lit know-it-alls. Literary Scrooge: God bless us, every one

Friday, December 17, 2004

Blogging Professors

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Building More Blogging Bridges

Renee Blodgett posts in, On Peace & Doing Great Things With Blogs, about a very useful activity by her client iUpload's involvement with Spirit of America, including news on the Arabic blogging tool project:
“Let's take politics out of this. As Dan Gillmor pointed out at the event, this project transcends politics; it leaves politics aside to do 'something right,' and I'd add -- 'good.' He also highlighted Mohammed and Om Alis (brothers) courage to get this grassroots project off the ground in a country that is still at war, its infrastructure has been brutalized and its citizens have been inflicted with a great deal of pain for over three decades.

Knowledge Management
• · Journalists around the world have long agreed on a set of values that help define whether a story is newsworthy. But a new book about online news argues that these rules are in flux: "Newsworthy" is slowly being redefined online by an increasingly participatory audience. Redefining the News Online
• · · Amanda Gilligan living in Sydney, Australia. age: 27 hair: blonde eyes: blue nails: french manicured vegetables: raw music: loud car: roof down camera: canon stars: cancer snobina and the gong: hsc degree things daytime: halflings book:lotr/mockingbird/ulysses poet:wannabe Snow Goose Is Finally Mine!!
• · · · Dan Gillmor’s Interview in OhMyNews

Every immigrant is broken, sometimes beautifully.
-Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, de Kooning: An American Master Find another migrant in the world who is as beautifully broken as I am (smile)

There is a strange phenomenon. Britain is getting older. In fact, the population is older now than it has been for over a century. Yet at the same time our culture has never been more adolescent. Young people may be a dwindling minority, but they exercise an extraordinarily powerful influence on the cultural stage, from television and newspapers to film and art.

Literature & Art Across Frontiers: Kafka on the Shore of New Castle
Swimmers of the year at a school do not just happen; they are natured. When was it last time you experienced a truly great mentor? You know - someone so engaging that it simply captured your child imagination and drove you to tell others about it? Characters like Marta Chamillova, Russell Cope, Patricia Azarias, Jim Collins and Mary Wood do not swim in many rivers of our lives. Their leadership and teaching is never accidental. Among those whom I like, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I admire, I can: all of them make me feel like there is a miracle in every simple feather. Somewhere, somehow, a swimming coach and water polo coach created an atmosphere for my 14 year old daughter to value champions. The intangible value of coaching ebb and flow in our lives, but there is no question that without these great personalities who take genuine joy in the successes of those under them we would be very poor (no pun intended). No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible. Enjoy the swimmer of the year award Alex... so never ever stop dreaming and always treat triumph and disaster in the same way. St Patrick’s mentors assert, We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope...

Kafka on the Shore is many things: the title of a song, for one, a painting for another. And the novel's central character is Kafka Tamura -- though he doesn't actually spend much time on any shore. Not any real one, anyway. But this is a Murakami novel and, as in all Murakami novels, as one of the characters observes: "The world is a metaphor, Kafka Tamura". No doubt: the kid is practically drowning in that metaphor -- but then aren't we all?

More like a curse than a prophecy
• · Sydney Taxi Literary Drive to Ryde
• · · Gone are the days when the air here used to be permeated with the elements of community and innocence. In the past few years, something strange has happened. Thanks to the spread of mobile phones, digital cameras and the internet, surveillance technology that was once mostly the province of the state has become far more widely available. Move over, Big Brother - via Tomalak's Realm
• · · · AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT... GOOGLE, whose mood seems to parallel mine today, directs my attention to the news that Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons has won Britain's 2004 prize for bad sex in fiction. "We all knew this was coming," she says. So to speak. The Inevitable Is Announced
• · · · · There Ain't No Sainty Claus

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Mature Adults Only! Kekoc Does It Again: You take off your inhibitions ... # 2005 Australian Full Monty Blog Awards - Nominations #
Ach, Reporter hangs out at nudie bar while Moyers signs off With the biggest story of our time. Furthermore, the venerable tech writer talks to OMNI about his plans to leave old media for a new media venture What's Next for Dan Gillmor?

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Maybe it's time for NYT editors to start talking to readers
Everybody else in the world seems to think that journalists are law unto themselves, but times are a changin’

This revolutionary idea is proposed by Times public editor Daniel Okrent:. If the editors did the explaining themselves, maybe I wouldn't have to do it for them. In an age when the press is so widely regarded as a predatory and uncontrolled beast, the failure to allow readers a view inside the cage can only aggravate their worst suspicions.

Wind Blowing Southerly way ; [MSM has a better track record than anything else out there (TNT); BaltSun series on Minidoka internment camp upsets some readers (Sun); Photo of kids saluting flag with left hand creates stir (Orlando Sentinel); Oregonian hears from over 190 readers after dropping "Dear Abby" (O); Getler: WP readers have interesting challenges to some stories (WP); "We need to invite readers into the process," says Guttman (Maine ST)]
• · A judge's case against the Boston Herald and four of its writers is significant because it uses an exchange on The O'Reilly Factor to try to prove the malicious intent of a newspaper reporter. When reporters who write stories, then go on the air to discuss them, things tend to escalate. ...If their appearances are going to be used to craft evidence of malice and reckless disregard for the truth in a print story, we're in very dangerous territory Judge's libel suit may end era of the reporter-celebrity; [ Earlier: Herald editor says "our sourcing is very strong" on story ]
• · · Marqui is paying bloggers to blog for $800 a month and $50 a qualified lead. The bloggers can say what they want and we won;t fire them. That’ll be worth its weight on gold
• · · · the public's right to know
• · · · · Best Tips of the Year If you're gaga for Google, try supple Soople
• · · · · · The rapidly growing use of the Internet by ordinary citizens to express political opinions and participate in electoral activities - one of the medium's most promising aspects is on a collision course with federal campaign finance law