Sunday, November 17, 2019

Well-Behaved Packers and Stories

rain lets up
and the price of umbrellas
comes back down!

- Kerry 


Packing some power

His father and grandfather have been immortalised on the small screen, but James Packer says he "knows nothing" about a new play about his famous family which makes its debut on the stage of the Belvoir on Saturday





Kerry and James Packer in 2004.
Kerry and James Packer in 2004.
Photo: Rob Griffith
Called Packer & Sons, the play is by Tommy Murphy, who was also responsible for the excellent Mark Colvin’s Kidney and Holding the Man.
Directed by Belvoir's artistic director Eamon Flack, it is being billed as "a play about power and what it does to the men who wield it."
But when PS approached Packer this week about the new play, he admitted: "I know nothing about it".
Granted, he has probably been pre-occupied in recent months, with both his personal and business lives. He is not expected back in Sydney until his shining edifice at Barangaroo, the towering casino, is completed in around a year's time.
Who would want to be Packer, eh?
Sure, you’d get the money and fame, but what of the decades of family dysfunction, the domineering father figures and the shackles of the family business?
I’m talking about the men of Sydney’s legendary Packer family, of course - Sir Frank, his sons Kerry and Clyde, and James, son of Kerry, and the last to (literally) wear the Crown (Resorts, that is, James’ gaming and entertainment group).

We want to confound people': Packer and Sons makes business personal

Playwright Tommy Murphy developed a "complex sympathy" for 


       At Publishers Weekly Ed Nawotka finds Translations Pay Off for Amazon with their imprint AmazonCrossing. 
       They've published: "more than 400 books, from 42 countries and in 26 languages" -- with some notable (sales-)successes; they're also bringing out more non-fiction titles



Australian non-fiction (in alphabetical author by title)


Life Stories (in alphabetical order by title):


And from elsewhere (in alphabetical order by title):


What was your favourite nonfiction read of the year?

I can’t decide between The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela, by Sisonke Msimangbecause it made me rethink the way we demonise women who don’t behave the way we expect them to; Accidental Feminists, by Jane Caro because it’s an homage to my generation and all the things we achieved for women; and Blooms and Brushstrokes, A Floral History of Australian Art, by Penelope Curtin and Tansy Curtin which is definitely my most drop-dead gorgeous coffee table book of the year.

Vivaldi Italian Kitchen and Pizza at Villa Matra

perched asleep
on the Japanese bell:
a butterfly!


Breezy afternoon at my old local with my Malchken and Dr Cope the Centennial Hotel 🏨 that is as old as moi


Una Sinfonia Di Sapori A Symphony of Flavours


Enjoy a symphony of culinary concerti, each with its distinctive movements of regional dishes and flavours —
Antipasti, Insalate e Contorini, Primi, Secondi, Pizze Rosse, Pizze Bianche, Calzoni, and Dolce, in a harmony that will tantalise and delight your taste buds.

GPO has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to MEdia Dragon Year


The game is fixed in DC: politicians come and go, but the bureaucracy chugs along protecting and advancing its own interests. Two perfect examples unfolded in the most recent presidencies. Barack Obama chose a nuclear deal with Iran as the legacy achievement of his foreign policy. He pursued it relentlessly to our detriment, both in actual ability to stop Iran from getting nukes, and in subjugating our entire foreign policy to this one goal.
The Deep State loved it. They were all in on his side, and the media had never more completely acted as palace scribes dutifully parroting every administration talking point and obfuscating or attacking contrary views. They faithfully misinformed the public to the best of their ability, and in the end Obama, the bureaucrats, and the media rammed the deal through while the American public showed 2-1 disapproval. It was a victory for the Deep State.
Shift forward to the 2016 election campaign and the collusion between Democrats and Deep Staters to stop the Trump train and then, after it left Inauguration Station, to derail it. The Trump-Russia witch hunt is an egregious example of the power of the state being abused for partisan political purposes.



How Amazon’s quest for more, cheaper products has resulted in a flea market of fakes WaPo. “Despite Amazon’s algorithms designed to detect fakes, shoppers can type the phrase ‘YSL dupe’ into the site’s search bar and find knockoff handbags with Yves Saint Laurent’s logo.” Of course, the WSJ broke this story back in September.



Has The Publishing Business Become Too Reliant On Huge Hits?


Though the hits-driven nature of publishing has not changed in recent years, the nature of those hits has. Due to a number of coalescing factors—including a shrinking physical retail market and an increase in competing entertainment driven by the proliferation of streaming TV platforms—book publishing has watched as a handful of megaselling titles have begun to command an ever-larger share of its sales. – Publishers Weekly



Nirmal Purja summits all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in just six months

Nepalese climber Nirmal Purja
This is just a bit insane. A few days ago, Nepalese climber Nirmal Purja “reached the summit of 26,335-foot Shishapangmain Tibet, finishing a season that saw himsummit all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in just six months and seven days.
Previous record? South Korean Kim Chang-Ho back in 2013, finishing in… just under 8 years!! That’s right, he beat the record by seven and a half years! As part of his Project Possible 14/7, he was also the first to reach the summits of Mount Everest, Lhotse and Makalu within 48 hours.
Over the course of those climbs, Purja and his team also took the time to save a few people, climbed K2 when “heavy snowfall forced most of the teams on K2 to abandon their attempts,” and got a special permit from the Chinese authorities to climb Shishapangma.
Project Possible consisted of three phases. During the first, Purja climbed Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse, andMakalu over the course of 30 daysin April and May. On Annapurna, he and his team fixed the ropes to the summit. On their descent, they learned that Malaysian climber Wui Kin Chin was in distress and alone above 7,500 meters. Purja organized the rescue and helped get Chin off the mountain (Chin died five days later).
While descending Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak, Purja’s team found three climbers who’d run out of oxygen. The team gave up their own supply and helped the men down. To finish off phase one, Purja climbed Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu in under 48 hours. He tagged Everest and Lhotse in the same day, despite waiting in line for hours en route toEverest’s summit. That delay gave him time to snap the most viral photo of the Everest season.





Literature’s Cult Of The Sad, Suffering Female



Leslie Jamison considers “the enduring appeal of the afflicted woman — especially the young, beautiful, white afflicted woman: our favorite tragic victim, our repository of rarefied, elegiac sadness” — and considers other approaches, both those of other sorts of women writers to suffering and those to life and its misfortunes that don’t focus on despondence. – The New York Times Book Review


Leslie Jamison considers “the enduring appeal of the afflicted woman — especially the young, beautiful, white afflicted woman: our favorite tragic victim, our repository of rarefied, elegiac sadness” — and considers other approaches, both those of other sorts of women writers to suffering and those to life and its misfortunes that don’t focus on despondence. – The New York Times Book Review


SO MUCH COMMUNISM IN ONE HEADLINE: 1 million ‘cannibal’ ants found trapped in Soviet-era bunker used to store nuclear weapons.



LawFare:”What is “executive privilege”? In the specific context of information disputes between the executive branch and Congress, the Supreme Court has never addressed—let alone answered—that question. Nevertheless, as the Trump administration repeatedly relies on that constitutional doctrine to reject demands for information and testimony, the question has been at the forefront of a spate of journalism and legal commentary. Almost every blog,newspaper and magazine has, at some point in the past year, published an “explainer” on executive privilege and its related doctrines or provided some descriptive account of the history of the doctrine. I have contributed several such pieces to Lawfare, and othershave done the same. Each of these pieces takes a different angle or addresses a different controversy. But each largely makes four basic points: (a) The concept of executive privilege is hotly disputed; (b) there are very few relevant court cases and none that provide definitive answers; (c) there are a number of historical incidents, from the administration of George Washington to that of Barack Obama, that are of debatable—and contested—significance; and (d) the legal resolution of these highly disputed questions is likely of little practical significance. The last point is the result of three things: Civil lawsuits largely take too long; the executive branch controls criminal enforcement mechanisms; and Congress itself lacks any real enforcement mechanism—short of reviving its long-dormant authority to arrest people, which itself would pose a number of legal and practical problems. Indeed, the contours of the long-standing dispute over executive privilege and related doctrines such as testimonial immunity have become so familiar that the only remaining question to be explored is often whether each subsequent invocation of the doctrine fits within recent past practice, represents anexpansion or is outrageous in its departure from practice.



GPO has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 and made them available on govinfo, GPO’s one-stop site to authentic, published Government information. Through these digitization efforts, the public can access records of Congressional Hearings for free. These include the transcripts from meetings or sessions of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress, in which elected officials obtained information and opinions on proposed legislation, conducted an investigation, or evaluated the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law.  This project is part of a multi-year effort to digitize a collection of nearly 15,000 Congressional Hearings from Kansas State University Libraries, which serves the Nation as a Federal Depository Library. The digitized documents include many historical sessions. As part of this project, GPO plans to digitize nearly six million pages, of which approximately 230,000 pages have been completed. Some interesting information the public can expect to find in the Congressional Hearings includes: