Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Like Bookslut, I like this headline: Laura Bush Urges Doctors to Prescribe Books. Czech Doctors also prescribe hop. Hope & Hop ...

Stop The Presses! Water from Morava River Turning Into Liquid Gold
Results of the Czech Beer Competition for 2003 have just been announced.
The big winner is Zubr, the beer brewed by the Zubr brewery in the medium-sized Moravian city of Prerov (not that far from Morava River)

· Liquid Bread [Eurosavant ]
Special to Press Think: Interview with Jeff Jarvis

Jeff Jarvis started Entertainment Weekly. Now he's a born again journalist who got religion about the Web. So how has his press thinking evolved?
I never tell the priests of high media what they should do. They get grouchy if you try that. In fact, one of them just said so this week, Jack Shafer in Slate: The journalistic priesthood abhors advice.
What a grouch..

· Press Think [via Tim Porter]

Correspondents Call White House Press Briefings “Useless”
You watch the daily White House press briefing and think you’re getting the scoop of the day? Not so, say veteran correspondents. The news, if any should happen, takes place in the morning “gaggle,” when the cameras are off.
· The whole briefing is Hollywood [Washingtonian ]
· I'm a political junkie. I eat, sleep and think news and public policy and current affairs [ Pittsburghlive]

Hear hear ...

Legislative Profits As lawmakers ride the gravy train, state's residents pay the freight
Paul D'Ambrosio of the Asbury Park Press led a team of Gannett New Jersey reporters in studying state legislators who profit from public service, finding that "New Jersey's laws, regulations and patronage practices provide state lawmakers with a grab bag of financial rewards," including no-bid contracts, larger pensions and government jobs.
· Lawmakers operate almost free of ethical scrutiny [via TheScoop]
· Taxing Dark Secrets [BusinessWeek ]
Howard Bashman Shock! Horror! A judge's ideology can affect the outcome of cases!
We have studied thousands of votes by federal appellate judges, who are randomly assigned to three-judge panels, which then make decisions by majority vote. According to our research, judges appointed by Republican presidents show more conservative voting patterns, while Democratic appointees are more liberal.
· Even in ideologically-charged areas many cases are resolved by application of precedent rather than ideology... [How Appealing]

Monday, September 29, 2003

Subtropical Twist, Shout and Rainbow
As I keep telling my friends, it was me who first put Sydney on a map of the world in 1980. Well, I am told that Andy Warhola did not know where Sydney really was until I wrote him a fan letter in Slovak and Hungarian... Since (2000 AD) when I dived into the Brisbane River the kangaroos no longer dominate the banks of the river. Indeed, look at Brissie now decorated with lions and tigers even dragon tails...(smile)
For 12 days in 2001, the Good Will Games stopped the world. It was an opportunity for Brisbane to show the world what a young, ambitious and diverse city can achieve.
For many, many, years of my life in exile I believed that Sydney was the center of the Australian Universe.
However, as someone once wrote to truly observe Australia, it helps to be at least a thousand kilometres away from Sydney.
Like Rome and Prague, much of Brisbane's charm is river: the Brisbane river snakes its way through the suburbs and sustains thousands of verandahs every day and night. Indeed, some of the most impressive verandahs are situated around the Story Bridge. However, the majestic colonial building 'Yungaba', an indigenous word meaning land of the sun seems to capture best my impressions of Brisbane.
It takes one look from the lookout on Mt Coot-Tha to commit Brisbane to lifelong memory. The lookout is the roof of the city. On a clear day, you can see the distant line of Moreton and Stradbroke islands, the Glasshouse Mountains to the north, the mountains behind the Gold Coast to the south and Brisbane at your feet with the impressive Story Bridge which shares the same design engineer as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. On a rainy day the view is peppered with rainbows over Boonah, Nundah, The Gap.
At the base of the mountain there sits a garden and a cemetery. To philosopher, each of these symbolise mortal life and mortal death. Apart from the immortal thoughts my other memories are of a winding upward road and an occasional view of the marvellous outlook through rare breaks in the gum trees ...
How many exiles could say honestly that Sydney or Brisbane or Melbourne is their home? A home is not just where you live; it is where you belong. I seem to belong nowhere and everywhere. To single out one city in particular would be a nearly impossible task.
Somehow, my head belongs in Australia, but my heart belongs in Central Europe. My tribal soul belongs in the granite of the High Tatra Mountains as the soul of Australian soil belongs to the hundreds of Aboriginal tribes:
Brisbane (city site) mianjin place shaped like a spike
Doomben dum-ben species of tree fern
Enoggera yawagar or yowoggera corroboree ground
Hamilton (sandbank) mooroo-mooroolbin long nose
Indooroopilly yinduru-pilli or nyindur-pil-ly gully of leeches
Keperra kipper young man
Mt Coottha kuta mountain of dark native honey
Mt Gravatt kaggar-mabul place where echidna lives
Moggill moggill large water lizard
New Farm binkin-ba place of land tortoise
Nudgee murgin-murgin or nar-dha place of black ducks
Nundah nanda or nunda chain of water holes
Pinkenba dumben or doomben or pinken-ba place of tortoises
Sandgate warra or moora open sheet of water or river
Toowong gootcha or
tu-wong a name for honey or
call of koel cuckoo
Woolloongabba woolloon-capemm whirling waters or place of the whiptailed wallaby
Wooloowin kuluwin species of pigeon

Do the native tribes have words for LIONS?
· Brisbane head and shoulders above [Saying goodbye on a High Note]
Dovidenia Phil, Robert, Vanessa, at al. (I will especially treasure the framed views of rainbow and the Story Bridge, thanks Walter and Vanessa)
Whenever I come across plastic and redneck kindofish (sic) characters: bullies at work, or cowards in print; bashers of pregnant women in the safety of their homes, or liars around the parliamentary bar,... this saying tends to commit itself in my mind: The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort, but where he stands in time of challenge and controversy.
-King (Martin Luther)

So True Cowards & Crowds
GAS BAG, EH? Someone called Norman Finkelstein says
In contrast to bursting windbags like Vaclav Havel, Hitchens is too smart to take his vaporizings seriously.
This is a former Marxist, but very much a member of the implacable left. Oppose Bush and anyone who defends any of his policies at all costs.
This fashion of hatred for Vaclav Havel among the left is fascinating to me. Must return to this. In terms of practical politics, Havel's a social democrat, really. In principle he's probably close to, say, an American lefty on a range of social issues. But he opposed the Soviets. And this is unforgivable. He opposed the Soviets eloquently (and bravely). Ergo, he is a bursting gasbag. I realize that Havel's worst crime, however, was to support the overthrow of a totalitarian regime in Iraq.
Imagine Finkelstein in Havel's shoes facing a choice between prison and freedom, all based on whether he shuts up or not. He'd fold the very first time he was interrogated and sign anything they put in front of him.
The piece is a rant about Christopher Hitchens, by the way, not Havel. For a good time, read Hitchens' response.
· Hitchens [via Pragueblog]
Exclusive Perspective Why we're all the way with the USA
Central European perspective on modern history and even a lesson in Czech grammar by someone who is stuck inside the # 1 industry in Washington.
· Antipodian perspective [SMH ]
Erudite Gossip
While sense and sensibility are the basic equipment of any good literary critic, the mixture will vary in each individual case. Judging from the essays in ''Twentieth-Century Attitudes,'' most of which originally appeared in The New Criterion, Brooke Allen is a critic in whom sense decidedly predominates: one can more easily imagine her reading Pope than Keats.
· Twentieth-Century Attitudes [NYTimes 28/09/2003]

Sunday, September 28, 2003

I was at a friend's house when the television happened to be paying tribute to that flower of Australian music genius, Slim Dusty. Life in exile is making me Antipodean more and more, because I found the death of Slim unbearably painful. I had to hold the tears as memories of my old pub, Wilston Hill Hotel, flooded in....Lauren's salty eyes were staring at TV with an expression of real pain...Slim Dusty was a global citizen well before the weblog was even invented!

The Final Earthy Campfire
This blog starts and ends with Daily Dose of Dust...
Oh it's-a lonesome away from your kindred and all
By the campfire at night we'll hear the wild dingos call
But there's nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear
Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer ...

· A Pub With no Beer is about mateship, the friendship of drinking together as equals contrasted with the misery of loneliness in exile [Cold Ashes]

Frail Pope still inspires
IN THE MOST WATCHED event last week in Slovakia, Pope John Paul II, completing his third visit to the post-communist country, attracted hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, who attended the three masses that he celebrated.
· The Last Slavic Mass [SlovakSpectator]
· Cardinal George Pell(Australian)
Waltzing around the 'real' Australia
The International Rugby Board rejection of 'Waltzing Matilda' as an Australian icon shouldn't surprise, writes historian, author, and former farmer's daughter Jacqui Murray. After all, fewer and fewer people living in this country feel any cultural connection with jolly swagmen, billabongs and coolibah trees...setting aside beachwear and cask wine.
· Matilda [The Brisbane Institute]
Talking Back
Oral history adds a new dimension to the nation's past
Look at the official transcripts of a 1988 meeting of the central committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party and you're likely to find topics such as "missiles in Europe" or "threats from the West" on the agenda. Talk to one of the seven members who actually attended the meeting and you'll discover another, unmentioned issue: the shortage of toilet paper. Seriously.

· Oral history: Do not even whisper Sir John Harington!!! (Gods on of Queen Elizabeth I) [The Prague Post]
The tide has come in and gone out a few times
An edited blog is a contradiction in terms. It's a characteristic of the Internet in general that forms like the blog emerge with great exuberance and edgy promise and then the overseers move in. That's a pity. We need frontiers of plain-speaking, even it's politically incorrect. I understand why the Bee did what it did, but it leads to a restraint on free-thinking, which is lamentable.
· First Draft [Tim Porter]

Sydney Icon is on the hunt, unmasking and honouring bloggers who are serving, for better or for worse, the virtual world.

Presenting Global Bloggers
What kinds of personae do we make? What relation do these have to what we have traditionally thought of as the 'whole' person? Are they experienced as an expanded self or as separate from the self? Do our real-life selves learn lessons from our virtual personae? Are these virtual personae fragments of a coherent real-life personality?
-Sherry Turkle

media & the net: Paging The world's best blogs Introverted, but Brainy, Life in L.A.
Some estimates say there are about 500,000 blogs in this new frontier called the blogosphere. Golly, even Barbra Streisand has one of them.
So we decided to wade through it and serve up the world's best. It's purely subjective, but what the hell?
· Surfing 20 Virgin Drafts: i.e. Winds of Change, Open Sewer, What's New Pussycat? [Icon SMH]
There is no history, only erotica...
· Erotic Sheets [Clean Sheets]
The new female fantasy
Sydney, says trendy author Candace Bushnell, is much like New York: I look around and see all these great single women all the time, and there are really no great-looking single guys for them to go out with.
· Time to Turn This Tragic Trend: Sydney, I Will be Back [SMH]
Film Swimming Pool
One of the best-loved and most influential French films of all time is René Clement's 1960 crime thriller Plein Soleil, or Full Sun. It used the sexiness of the French Riviera to throw human evil into stark relief. But Full Sun was based on the novel The Talented Mr Ripley by English writer Patricia Highsmith — it wasn't French at all.
Swimming Pool is. It's written and directed by the highly successful François Ozon. Ozon deliberately exploits the love-hate relationship between the British and the French to explore the tension between the head and the heart…
Ozon likes to look beneath the surface. He shows us the elegance of the Thames and the Houses of Parliament and then takes us under ground. Here we meet a sour-faced woman in her 50s who reacts with pointed rudeness when she's recognised.

· François Ozon [Jana Wendt:Sunday]

Agents CNNNN wins exclusive interview with my Agent, Herr Miller
Mission came to a happy conclusion this week after Iron Curtain's secret agent agreed to be located by A Current Affair for $500,000.
· As Seen on 28 September 2003 AD on CNNN [CNNN.com]

Saturday, September 27, 2003

So Many books, so little time...

Maybe There Is Such a Thing as A time-travelling Rich Librarian
Henry De Tamble, a rather dashing librarian at the famous Newberry Library in Chicago, finds himself unavoidably whisked around in time. Henry drops in on beautiful teenage Clare Abshire, an heiress in a large house on the nearby Michigan peninsula, and a lifelong passion is born.
Apparently the movie rights have already been auctioned, and Brad Pitt is going to produce it and star in it. Read an excerpt here.

· Chrono-Displacement Disorder [Amazon viaDigitallibrarian]

Lucky NY & 13
NY Book Country
· Book Industry Approves 13-Digit ISBN [Bookweb ]
· Measuring Prices and Price Competition Online: Amazon and Barnes & Noble [Bookweb ]
First Lady Joins GMA to Encourage Child Literacy
· ABC News' Good Morning America launched Book Drive America [Bookweb ]
Wired community: Future Is Still Full of Surprises
The idea of the ‘information society’ has taken hold in sociological and political analysis. Information technology, it is argued, is forming new virtual and actual networks that make up communities, both local and global...
· Access [Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology(WordDocument)]
· We Media: How audiences are shaping the future of news and information [New Directions for News(NDN)]
· Caregiver Tech Slowly Evolves [Wired ]

Marketplace will bridge digital divide
Desktop and hand-held computers and Internet technology, wired or wireless, have reached American households and businesses faster than any other technology in the past century, reaching 50 million people in just a few years, according to the Pacific Research Institute.
· digital divide digital divide [ EmpowerAmerika]
Expert stresses ethics
There's been a serious erosion of ethics in recent years and it represents a great danger because what is today foreshadows what will be tomorrow.
Corporate wrongdoers were punished swiftly in the 1930s and "being ruined meant something," Bowman said. Today, however, "the mention of business ethics draws a laugh," he said. We as Americans have lost our sense of outrage.

· Outrage lacking over wrongdoing [Daily Mail]
No New Panther Under Sydney Sun
Penrith Panthers, (Sydney, Australia) the state's biggest club, is the focus of an investigation amid revelations that its chief executive, Roger Cowan, has charged the club millions of dollars for services provided by his family company over the past 30 years.
· Panthering... [SMH ]
· Armless bandits [SMH ]
· ... The Tax Man's Armful Tale [NewHeavenAdvocate]
Curious about the most emailed story from my favourite newspaper in the world, the Sydney Morning Herald?

Sex Under the Stars
Voyeurs and exhibitionists drawn to outdoor fun have discovered erotic pleasures in normally placid parks that have nothing to do with walking the dog.
· Dogging [SMH ]
A piece of good news:
· Amina Lawal, the Nigerian woman sentenced in a shari'a court to death by stoning, has been acquitted and set free (Speaking of Sleeping (Dogs) Sperms...) [Littlegreenfootballs]

Friday, September 26, 2003

Lessons on leadership
John Uhr finds lessons for John Howard in the story of Bob Hawke’s prime ministership
BOB HAWKE is back, larger than life. The recent publication of a book called The Hawke Government, edited by Susan Ryan and Troy Bramston, brought Hawke back to Canberra. The book was launched on September 11 by Simon Crean, who then had to watch as all the media attention moved from him to Hawke, and not back again. Crean served in the Hawke ministry but it is hard to imagine Hawke serving in a Crean ministry.

· If there ever is a Crean ministry [Political Science Program, Australian National University25-9-2003]
Labor needs to build bridges...
· Lawrence’s pillars of wisdom [APO ]
A paradise bombed
In the lead up to the anniversary of the Bali bombing the media will be full of heart wrenching stories about the people who were killed and their families. Dr Adrian Vickers has stepped back from the trauma of that event to write about the place of Bali in the Australian creative imagination, how it has changed yet keeps pulling us back.
· Bali [The Griffith Review]
Canadian FOI Access
Vancouver journalist Ann Rees spent a year assessing the effectiveness of Canada's freedom of information laws. In a report published in the Toronto Star, she concludes that "the public's right to access government information is often subverted, delayed and denied by politicians and their advisers who appear more concerned with protecting the government's political image than the public right to know." In addition to the withholding of information, government officials often are given the identities of requestors, despite a provision saying such information can be released only on a need-to-know basis.
· Right/To/Know [Star(Canada) ]
Fields of Despair
The Bush Administration fails to connect the dots between American wealth and Third World misery. The US war on terrorism suffered a huge blow last week - not in Baghdad or Kabul, but on the beaches of Cancun, the site of the latest world trade talks.
· Trade [SMH ]
· Unlucky family in detention [SMH ]

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
· And that has made all the difference.

---(Robert Frost, The Road Less Traveled)
Stop the presses! Dean blows up big, thanks to the Internet! It’s a great story, but can Web-based fund-raising really predict the mass market?
In 1970, George Mcgovern, the way-long-shot antiwar candidate, began to experiment with the novel political fund-raising technique of direct mail to finance his unlikely primary race.
This political marketing strategy, according to an article that appeared in New York in September 1972, was the brainchild of Morris Dees, who would become among the most prominent southern liberal activists but who was then the head of a publishing company that sold special-interest books through the mail.

· Fund Raising [NYorker]
Current Distractions: Online Opinionbarometer ...

The Web's Multi-purpose Nature = Power
Vietnamese journalist An Nguyen, currently at the University of Queensland, Australia, has published a paper on First Monday http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_9/nguyen/ about online news. It offers profiles of the online-news environments in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, drawing on studies like Eurobarometer What makes the web even more powerful than television of the 1960s is its multipurpose nature. The Internet is not just for entertainment and the news but is already a crucial part of today's daily work; and a more dramatic dependence on this medium is a matter of course in the future.
· An Nguyen [First Monday ]
Magic? House swapping: a solution for would-be-buyers

Australia's property boom means prices are growing faster than people can save leaving many house-hunters looking for any leg-up they can get to enter the market. A potential solution, known as house swapping, allows would-be-buyers the opportunity to use the tax system to their advantage.
Investor costs are also $18,000, minus $12,000 in rent. But because of negative gearing, those costs are tax deductible, meaning the real figure is just $3000.
Just take a look at the difference, Claire is up for $12,000 while the investor is up for $3000 to own exactly the same property..

· Logic Prevails? [Current Affairs]
You, Sir, Are a Bore

So Gray Davis has upset everyone by saying, You shouldn't be governor unless you can pronounce the name of the state.
· Why can't American politicians come up with imaginative insults? [Opinion Journal]

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

These Are Historic Times: Is it to be Lincoln or Sisyphus?

Like Sisyphus, we have pushed our terrible rock nearly to the top of the hill. We need only a few dramatic final and critically symbolic shoves — either the capture of Saddam Hussein, proof of bin Laden's demise, textual or material evidence of WMDs, or the finalization of a legitimate government in Baghdad — to go over the top, showing the discontented at home how far we have come. But just as Sisyphus was forever doomed to start pushing his rock anew — once it cascaded back just as he reached the apex — so shall we too have to start all over again should we lose our nerve with the summit now within sight. And such large boulders roll faster and in deadlier fashion downhill than during the slow and arduous push up.
· So will we — if we do the same and push our rock over the top [National Review]

Interview with Dennis Miller. (via Occam)
I always wondered how Hitler happened. I even went so far as to read William L. Shirer?s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I read all 1,200 pages and at the end of it I remember thinking, ?Yeah, but how does Hitler happen?? Part of it has to do with the Left mislabeling people as Hitler. It?s like Pierce Brosnan at the end of the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. He dressed everybody up in the same Bowler cap and overcoat, and then he walks right through the middle of them without being noticed. The Left is so busy saying John Ashcroft is Hitler, and President Bush is Hitler, and Rudy Giuliani is Hitler that the only guy they wouldn?t call Hitler was the foreign guy with the mustache who was throwing people who disagreed with him into the wood-chipper.

· Labeling [AmericanEnterprise ]
Cold War Mummy

Toasting Sydney Soul Privately...
· Comrade, Little private deal: Socialising Loses [SMH ]

During The dark days of the Cold War an archeological expedition headed by Soviet scientists were given a mummy by the Egyptian government. They carefully prepared it for shipping and sent it back to the Soviet Union for further study.
Among other things, the scientists wanted to determine the mummy's age.
But the scientists were rudely pushed aside by the notorious Soviet secret police (KGB) who insisted, Leave it to us; we'll find out.
After a few days the secret police made the astounding announcement that the mummy's age was 3,402 years."That is amazing comrades," cried the Soviet scientists. How did you ever determine it?
That was easy, reported the secret police.
The mummy confessed.
I know...it's a lousy joke but there is a moral to the story: A little confession is good for the soul!
· However, Before You Sign Anything Czech Out My Very Own Rich List
How Appealing
Media Dragon owes a lot of links to Howard who this weekend reached no 51 @ Blogstreet Directory of 145330
Adam Liptak had an article headlined Experts Say Court Panel Is Less Likely to Delay California Vote. The fourth and fifth paragraph of Liptak's article refers to Howard. To boot, Kause mentions Howard as well. How appealing and well deserved too!!!
· Earnest exclamation points? They're all ironic. I swear! [Kausefiles ]

I repeat tis (sic) is not my website. Over!
· JI [JI ]
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
- Dorothy Parker

Free your mind, and your weblog will follow
To really get into weblogs as a writer, try to keep moving to stay with the flow. The old advice to a budding jazz musicians applies: "If you make a mistake and hit a bad note, don't stop! Hit it again and keep going". Too much worrying will make a burden of posting, making work of what should be fun.
· Burden of posting [mcgeesmusings ]

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Capitalism's Next Revolution

As you shop for new classes this week, consider this: the pandemic of corporate narcissism, greed, rigidity and sheer cluelessness that you have been reading about all summer is a sign of the ripening conditions for economic revolution. We are facing a once-in-a-century opportunity for wholesale innovation and extreme creativity comparable to the rise of mass markets and mass production nearly 100 years ago. It is a time for a new generation—yours—to reinvent capitalism for our times. Your fresh insight and heart can ignite the next wave of wealth creation capable of carrying the global economy to new heights of prosperity and community. Here is why.
We are living in a period of “disruptive capitalism,” because we have changed more than the companies we depend on as consumers and employees. Today, we have all become history’s shock absorbers, struggling to reconcile our new needs with the demands of an exhausted business model. A chasm has developed between organizations and us. It is filled with our stress, outrage and frustration. Anxiety is widespread and most people feel that they are being forced to fight over an ever-shrinking pie. How did we get here? ....

· Life Model [The Crimson]
Make no mistake
Make no mistake, indeed; our current leaders are in love with fiction, with turning the unreal into the real, if they can get away with it. So it seems only fitting that fiction be turned on them. It is after all, the poets, playwrights, novelists, and political survivors who tend to reveal the truth to us, and speak to our souls.
· Prefer COLD Fact To ANGRY Fiction [TruthOut ]

Political marketing as party management
Political marketing has attracted increasing attention from political commentators in recent years, yet relatively little academic work has been conducted into its nature - either theoretically or empirically.
· Thatcher in 1979 and Blair in 1997 [National Europe Centre, Australian National University (PDF file)]

Ethnic community capital In Sydney
In this paper Walter Lalich identifies a wide array of religious and secular facilities in Sydney that have been developed by ethnic communities as a consequence of post-1945 demographic and cultural changes.
· They collectively invested scarce material resources [Australian Centre for Co-operative Research and Development, University of Technology Sydney (PDF file)]
But one can't help recalling the bland indifference on the part of the Germans, who saw themselves as decent, honest people, to what was happening inside the Nazi concentration camps.
· Let’s look at the Australian people as they really are [David BurchellAPO]
The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect

As anthropologists began comparing notes on the world's few remaining primitive cultures, they discovered something unexpected. From the most isolated tribal societies in Africa to the most distant islands in the Pacific, people shared essentially the same definition of what is news. They shared the same kind of gossip. They even looked for the same qualities in the messengers they picked to gather and deliver their news. They wanted people who could run swiftly over the next hill, accurately gather information, and engagingly retell it. Historians have pieced together that the same basic news values have held constant through time. "Humans have exchanged a similar mix of news . . . throughout history and across cultures," historian Mitchell Stephens has written.
· A hunger for human awareness [Journalism ]

Monday, September 22, 2003

Hit & Run: The Vision Thing
How did I misappropriate Orwell? I'm not suggesting Orwell would be for or against the war in Iraq (I have no clue where he would stand). I'm talking about our leaders' strategy here, not the actual war. Our leaders' PR campaign has been an ever-shifting series of possible explanations, and it bears some eerie resemblances to 1984 and Animal Farm. Obviously this isn't a dictatorship like Oceania and Manor Farm were. But the observations on how leaders go about lying to the public apply to all societies, not just totalitarian states.
· Orwell [Published in Reason Comments- circa Sep 19, 2003]
Find the cost of freedom,
Buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you
Lay your body down.

Josef, a former coffin maker in New York, said he is not privy to the ongoing negotiations. But he said that prior to the Times article, no one in the United States or the Czech Republic seemed interested in the video, including TV Nova and Czech TV.
· Hlava (Head) [Prague Post]
· Plan to honor expelled Germans stirs passions [Boston ]
Fair & Balanced Water Reserve

Real Estate agents are holding auctions for rental properties, forcing prospective tenants to bid against one another. Dam of greed is likely to burst sooner rather than later...
· Successful Failure [ Jim Soorley]
· Two incomes, more debt? [Christian Monitors]
· Reserve::Nowhere to Run [SMH ]
· My ExtendedFamily [WereRich Family]
· Family Stories [Forbes ]
At some point, just before oblivion of the sound of trees falling in the forrest takes us, someone will finally utter these fateful words:
eBooks are not so much different to paperbacks...

I have to brag about this! If you do a Google search for Cold River this site comes out at number 3 and 4 of about 2 million. That’s pretty good eBook surfing ...
The Open eBook Forum, www.openebook.org, suggests that Online reading, once viewed as a refuge for the nerds and as a faintly disrespectable way to read book, is rapidly becoming a fixture of publishing life for readers of all ages, backgrounds and interests.
I view this as a logical and inevitable move that more and more readers will make in the near future. I await the day when eBooks growth is routine, and no longer newsworthy. Reading will never go completely virtual, but readers have certainly noticed that with better quality Palm eReaders they can move towards saving space and creating less dust on shelves at homes and offices.

According to New Farm Organic Price Index, Organic farming makes up a fraction of farming in America, the industry is growing about 25 percent a year. Organic retail food sales in the U.S. reached $7.8 billion in 2000, up from $6 billion in 1999.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

But listen here, there ain’t anything worth doing a man can do and keep his dignity. Can you figure out a single thing you really please-God like to do you can do and keep your dignity? The human frame just ain’t built that way.
*Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men

Only On Sundays

Meanwhile, Kristofer Cieslak passed along some famous and not-so-famous, first sentences from his favorite novel...
Jerzy Kosinski's Being There:
It was Sunday.
Is it Sunday! and a satirical Christian Unrest online magazine, Ship of Fools, recently held a competition to rewrite the Lord's Prayer in 160 characters or less. The winner, British college student Matthew Campbell, produced this:
dad@hvn, ur spshl. we want wot u want &urth2b like hvn. giv us food & 4giv r sins lyk we 4giv uvaz. don't test us! save us! bcos we kno ur boss, ur tuf & ur cool 4 eva! ok?

Sunday @ Nine
It all started when Premier Carr claimed advertising man John Singleton had threatened to target him in a $5 million campaign...
· Week of Vitriol [Sunday]
· Latham on the Hill [Sunday ]

In the Bag
As my gypsy family prepares for the big change, a journey back to the deserted island called Sydney, it is time for In the Bag, the game that challenges you to put aside pride and admit what creative works you really like.
The rules: you can put any five works of art into your bag before departing for a desert city monitored by the good guys at ASIO (smile), but you have to choose right now. No stalling or dithering—the secret armies of the night are pounding on your front door. No posturing—you have to say the first five things that pop into your head, no matter how uncool they may sound. What do you stuff in the bag?
Here are my picks:
PAINTING: Richard McSweeney, Cannonberry McKell Park, Darling Point
MUSIC: Kristofer Cieslak, Guralu Ci Ci Nezal (slow movement guitar, accompanied by Polish Vodka on Icy Lemon)
BOOK: James Cumes, Haverleigh
BTW, If you happen to be visiting Frankfurt at the time when the city of books manages to pack every season into a week, please consider stopping by Stand 3.1 C149:
James' and Jozef's coffee hause.
FILM: Milos Foreman, Lásky jedné plavovlásky aka Blonde in Love, (1965)
POP SONG: The Black Eyed Peas, Where Is The Love?
(My Children infected me with this song ...)
Open Democracy serves up a first class stories inspired by human misery...

The family of a Russian geologist has paid a terrible price for defending (and marrying) members of unpopular minority groups.
· Price [Open Democracy]
· The Soviet archives exposed [Open Democracy]

In the End, the KGB Won
Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion, is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal. He writes about Russia for the paper's editorial page. According to Common Sense Wonder, Kasparov has a rather worrisome piece on what is going on in my former homeland, Russia:

Russia now is entering an extremely dangerous phase of property redistribution, which is shaking the country's weak economy from top to bottom. The Putin regime's recent, blatant attack on Russia's largest private oil company, Yukos, run by the outspoken oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, illustrates this trend. One of Yukos's major shareholders, Platon Lebedev, has been jailed on charges widely seen in Russia as having less to do with justice than with signaling to all Russian business that no one is safe...
Astonishingly, nearly 50% of the top positions in Russia's governmental structures are occupied by Mr. Putin's former KGB colleagues. This newly emerging Russian ruling elite (no longer content with having squirreled away billions of dollars in foreign banks), sits in ambush, anxiously awaiting the moment when it can cut the throat of U.S. imperialism. Five years ago, then FSB chief Vladimir Putin spoke the truth when he said, "There are no ex-KGB officers!" Will the West ever learn?
So now, not only are they in charge of the government, but they are also able to make a lot more money.
· Russia [WallStreet (subscribersonly)]
Michael Heyward less Shona Martyn less Fiona Inglis less

The Booker Prize judges have ignored the uncrowned king of English letters and two past winners in favour of an unpublished writer
A piano teacher from Birmingham, whose first four novels were rejected by publishers, has beaten Martin Amis to the last six of the Man Booker Prize. 'I suppose it is a strike for all those of us who have unpublished books under our beds and wonder is it worth going on. Well it is,' Clare Morrall declared. 'Keep going'!
· Agentless Rejected Author Beats Literary Majors For Booker Nomination [The Guardian (UK) 09/17/03]

Publishing translations
Disappointing news as another publisher is giving up publishing new translations: Czech-oriented Catbird Pres:
When I checked in with Wechsler, I learned that the current squeeze is putting him out of business. He'll maintain his backlist and website, he says, but cutting his losses on any future books, saying that favorable reviews have not convinced the chains, Amazon, and distributors to stock his wares.
· Lost in Translation [Saloon ]
I couldn't help but wonder if it was denied officially yet...

Is It Official!: Schwarzenegger is 5 inches Shorter Than Imrich!

Six two is apparently the height Schwarzenegger decreed for himself years ago. The "official" schwarzenegger.com Web site lists him at six two; so do bodybuildinguniverse.com, celebguru.com, allmovieportal.com, and musclememory.com. Brandon dug the height out of one of Schwarzenegger's books about himself, though she might have had reason to wonder.
f I’ve piqued your curiosity, click bellow
· Six two? No way, I'd guess 5-10 or 5-11 [Chirader ]
New Blog! Press Think
Political stories don't just 'happen' the way hailstorms do. They are artifacts of a political universe that journalism itself has helped to construct.
Jay Rosen is a press critic and writer whose primary focus is the media's role in a democracy. A member of the faculty since 1986, he is the current chair, and teaches courses in media criticism, cultural journalism, press ethics and the journalistic tradition, among other subjects.
· What Are Journalists For? [PressThink]
· BookCrossers [ BookrossingCock]

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Of Books And Mortality

It's easy to see old brittle books and wonder at their fragility. But encountering them later in life one wonders:
What are 20 years to a book that survived the Inquisition? I, meanwhile, am more than twice the age I was when I saw it last. I am married, I have children and I am mourning my father, who died this year. I can't help thinking that part of the dread I felt seeing those fragile books as a teenager was unconscious anticipation of the moment when I would see them again as an adult and realize that I was the ephemeral one.

· So It Is Written: Books Are Memory [The New York Times 09/19/03 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/19/books/19FAIR.html]

Banned Books
Tomorrow marks the beginning of Banned Books Week...
· Libraries Memories [ALA]
· Virgin Palm Digital Media Edition
Margin of Freedom in Australian media
Australia is often cited as an exemplar of the failure of media policy to guarantee the quality and independence of broadcasting. But in its development of arguments about ‘freedom of communication’, this outpost of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire offers a surprising lesson in the significance of local experience in promoting a culture of informed citizenship.
· Regulating for freedom [Open Democracy]
· Regulating Karrtuns [Open Webdiary]

Abuse kills one child a fortnight
An international table comparing child deaths from abuse and neglect places Australia in a worse position than Spain, Greece, Italy and Ireland, but better than the US, New Zealand and Britain.
· Children, Our [SMH ]
The Quiet Antipodean

Rabbit-Proof Fence is a compelling story that plays to the sense of guilt felt by Australians. But sometimes a culture of guilt needs a cold bath of factual analysis.
· Whitewash [NewCriterion ]
· Aborigines victims of irresponsible word games [Australian ]
Trends Revolve
Instead of fawning over a hot young actor in Tiger Beat, teen girls are now going ga-ga for Jesus’ teachings in Revolve, a magazine that’s slicked up the New Testament (search) for girls ages 12 to 17.
· Teenagers [Foxnews]
Country music icon Slim Dusty dies aged 76

Not So Dusty
First came Johnny Cash, now in Australia, another pillar of the industry, and one whose life had some parallels to Cash's, Slim Dusty, has died of kidney cancer in Sydney today.
Born David Gordon Kirkpatrick at Kempsey, on the NSW mid-north coast, in 1927, he wrote his first song The Way the Cowboy Dies at the age of 10.
A year later he changed his name to Slim Dusty and later went on to record a string of hits including The Pub With No Beer, the biggest selling record by an Australian.

· The Way His Music Lives [ABC ]

Friday, September 19, 2003

Cold War Heroes Take on Castro
We keep hearing, thanks to Reuters and other pro-terror outfits, that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. It's worth noting from time to time that there is such a thing as a genuine freedom fighter. Three of them--Vaclav Havel, Arpad Göncz and Lech Walesa, who served as postcommunist presidents of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland respectively, have written an open letter urging fellow Europeans to take a stand against Fidel Castro's brutal dictatorship.
Let's hope their appeal doesn't fall on deaf ears.

Titans of Freedom Havel, Goncz and Walesa
Exactly half a year ago, Fidel Castro's regime imprisoned 75 representatives of the Cuban opposition. More than 40 coordinators of the Varela Project and more than 20 journalists and other representatives of various pro-democracy movements landed in jail. All of them were sentenced in mock trials to prison terms ranging from six to 28 years -- merely for daring to express an opinion other than the official one.
The recent European experience with peaceful transitions from dictatorship to democracy, be it earlier in Spain or later in the countries of Central Europe, has been an inspiration for the Cuban opposition. Europe in particular should not hesitate. It is obliged to act by its own history.

· Heros Building a Free Cuba [WashingtonPost]
Constitution Day

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Happy 216th birthday to the US Constitution. History

· The reminder via [Slightly Off Center]
· Pious Bias: Lies and the lying liars who attribute them to the other party [SlateI]
· Pious Fun With Bush v. Gore [SlateII]
eZuckerman: Mama don't let your babies grow up to be bloggers
I find I'm being drawn kicking and screaming into the world of blogging. For the past year or so, I've consciously decided not to create a public, single author blog. I use LiveJournal to maintain a blog, under a pseudonym, for a limited group of friends. And I've been experimenting with a group blog on IT and development, called XDev, which lives at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/xdev
· Blogging [Ethan]
· Blogs offer peeks inside small firms [Boston Herald]
A Life Worth Reading
For the past few weeks, since I began this weblog, I've been struggling to figure out just why people would ever want to post their day-to-day lives on the Internet for the masses to read. I've been grazing among the blogs and chewing that question like a tough mouthful of cud.
It seems to me that we all want a life worth reading, a life worth remembering. Nowadays to accomplish this, we turn to the great plains of the Internet. And the net IS a lot like the plains. Ages ago, early pioneers left the confines of their narrow cubicles in search of a new life. They found it in the fertile grounds of the World Wide Web. But what once was a heartland is now overgrazed and us bloggers are like dustbowl farmers planting tiny seeds of hope in a field of sand.
We’re hoping someone might take interest in our miniscule bit of life. That someone might stop, if just for 30 seconds, and acknowledge our existence. We're counting on some way to add significance to our lives, to be remembered and to be reassured that the hell we went through during puberty wasn’t for nothing!

· Ages ago, early pioneers left the confines of their narrow cubicles in search of a new life [ CowboyX]
TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
Daily Kos: Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation
This Modern World
Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall
Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things
Scripting News
MaxSpeak Weblog
USS Clueless

Thursday, September 18, 2003

CARPE DIEM - Seize the Justice!

Our role in the terror
Since the second anniversary of September 11, we have had sober reminders that military force alone cannot eliminate the threat of religiously inspired terrorism. There has been the dramatic, if disputed, reappearance of Osama bin Laden; new reports that Islamist extremism is again gaining ground in Afghanistan; and in the wake of horrific attacks by Hamas, the Israeli right has called for the expulsion of Yasser Arafat - a move that would almost certainly provoke a new spate of suicide bombings.

· The only way to create a safer world is to ensure that it is more just [Guardian ]
One Term Bush: Grassroots Campaigning
George Soros earned the moniker the man who broke the Bank of England when he reportedly made US$1-billion in a single day through currency speculation that drove down the value of the pound in 1992.
· Americans Coming Together [National Post]
· Soros (Spelled Backwards) [JozefImrich]

Revelation led to Threats
Journalists have relayed to me that the minister's office have labelled me as a troublemaker, mentally unstable and this was a personal vendetta against the hospital following alleged disciplinary actions by MHS.
· Ancient Townhall [SMH ]
Storozynski to take the helm
Alex Storozynski, 42, will lead amNewYork's newsroom after spending nearly eight years at the Daily News, where he wrote editorials. Storozynski calls his new job a once in a lifetime opportunity to attempt to get young people to read newspapers. I want them to find out what's going on in their world and in their city.
· It's going to be short news stories. It's going to be very big on local content [Newsday ]

Shamless Alexander
Alexander Pierre Luboknovich, famed practicioner of the Russian folk art of water comedy, features @ Liberal Oasis
According to Alexander, these words come up BIG with google searchers: hot sex, hot chicken, hot chicken sex, hot naked girl, hot naked chicken, hot horny sex, foolish amateur, googlish womanizer, mutant hen, fornicating chick, california vegetarian orgy, ogling fetishizer, submissive russian, loose hippie phish, fried fish, barry zito, howard dean, lewinsky nude, aardvark beckham, kournikova, serious saliva, stop spam, free cable, oort cloud, pacinian corpuscle.
· Free Cable [Luboknovich ]

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Selling the Public Square

Government institutions and public-minded nonprofits are increasingly accepting corporate money to make ends meet. While most of these partnerships are touted as win-win deals, many also blur an important line between private and public interests.
· Editorial [CSMonitor]
· Ashcroft Bars the Doors to Democracy: This is what democracy really looks like [Common Dreams]
· Under Blair, Britain has ceased to be a public square [ Guardian]
The corporatist idea that elected representatives are merely representing interests has led them to apply pressure directly on the politicians. The result has been a remarkable growth of the lobbying industry, which has as its sole purpose the conversion of elected representatives and senior civil servants to the particular interest of the lobbyist. That is, lobbyists are in the business of corrupting the people's representatives away from the public good.
John Ralston Saul

Deflation 2004 AD Drifting Bubble
It's time we woke up to the contradiction at the heart of individualistic capitalism.
· there are no economic problems that a Great Depression wouldn't cure [SMH]
· Destination will be tears [SMH ]
Fields of Love
I have learned that there is one thing that makes life worth living and to be without it is worse than death. That thing is love. It is the most simple, most wonderful thing you will ever experience in life. Reach for it. Even at great risk, reach for love. If you don't, you will regret it, I promise you, and no one wants to have regrets when they die, believe me I know, for I have many regrets. My final words are this: Love simply and simply love.
· Nothing is quite as uplifting [Dead Letter]

White Slavs, White Slaves, and White Australia:
Ms Simaplee's case is interesting to an historian not because it represents a new trend, but because it is another example in Australia's long history as a destination in an international traffic in sex workers. And responses to this traffic - often referred to as 'white slavery' - tell us a great deal about Australian society.
· Political prostitution [SMH ]

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


I fear that book reviews are just an opportunity for a critic to strive for humor, and to appear funny and smart and a little bit bitchy, without attempting to espouse any higher ideals—or even to try to understand, on a very localized level, what a certain book is trying to do, even if it does it badly. This is wit for wit’s sake—or, hostility for hostility’s sake.… I call it Snark, and it has crept with alarming speed into the reviewing community, infiltrating the pages of many publications.
· Critics on Reviews [PW ]
· Book Reviews Survey [Slate]
· Self-declared art-lover [Spectator ]
The Yes Minister website
Sir Humphrey: You know what happens: nice young lady comes up to you. Obviously you want to create a good impression, you don’t want to look a fool, do you? So she starts asking you some questions: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?
Bernard Woolley: Yes

· Definite Maybe [Yes/No]
The Guardian of the Web

Editor in Chief Emily Bell says the success of the Guardian Unlimited didn't happen overnight. Britain's second most popular source of online news matured through consistent investment, international word-of-mouth and a commitment to innovation.
· Virtual News [OJR ]
· Professors [Journalism ]

Top Sites, Blogs for California Recall
The state's gubernatorial recall has been a multimedia circus of sniping, legal action and online organizing. With nearly a month to go until the vote, here are our awards for the best online efforts so far.
· Circus&Bread [OJR ]
Imagination...has its wise men and its madmen...Those gifted with imagination are more at home with themselves than the prudent...It cannot make madmen wise, but it makes them happy.
- Pascal

Sweatshops On Our Shores
A seamstress and member of the Chinese Progressive Association says sweatshops are sweatshops, whether in the garment industry or high-tech.
· Trade Testimonials [TomPaine]
· The big companies are following a new business model : Pay Chinese wages, but charge U.S. prices. [ Seattlepi]
· New York's New Beggars [NYPost ]

Can You "Celebrate" Diversity?
We Celebrate birthdays, sporting victories, jubilees. We do not celebrate diversity. To do so is to misuse language. 'Celebrate diversity!' is a vacuous exhortation, yet it has become the rallying cry of a depressing number of muddled, though presumably well-meaning, participants at library (and other) conferences across the nation.
· Google generated 320,000 hits when I entered the term 'workplace diversity' and 16,500 for 'celebrate diversity.' [Library Journal]
· 'Brick Lane': A Village Girl in London [NYTimes]
· Booxie Reviews [Boox]
Mit Lopdun: Lsot for wrdos
My wisecrack isn't an original, I stole it from Tim Dunlop.
iprmoetnt should be spelt iprmoatnt.
· Spilling Czech Presented by [ The Road to Surfdom]
· Oujrnailsts Ndee Mroe Sxe [Poynter ]

City of Exile
Round Up
· And the Olympic winner is Sin..nii [Economist ]

Monday, September 15, 2003

Memory of Running
Stephen King uses his power for good, not evil. He wants you to go listen to an audio book called Memory of Running. King says it's the best novel you won't read all year:
So why can't you read it? Because -- so far, at least -- no publisher will touch it with a 10-foot pole. Publishing houses, once proudly independent, are today little more than corporate wampum beads, their cultural clout all but gone. Novels that were neither dopey best-sellers (think James Patterson) nor dull serious fiction (think William Gaddis, Paul Auster, and their overpraised ilk) were one of the first things to go when the conglomerates took over. Dull or dopey: These days that's pretty much your choice at the bookstore.
· Memory of Escaping [EW via BookSlut]
Tribute to Democracy
When Margo and Webdiarists put pen to paper, we, the readers who think the childhood story of Stone Soup is not silly, discover the things we care about, what we fear and what we long for, and what we're trying to figure out...
...First they came to get Pauline Hanson and her mate Tim Blair and I said nothing as I was not antimigrant, then they came to fetch Professor Bunyip, and I smiled and said nothing because I never sympathised with ideas coming from Dan Quayle. Then they came to get members of the other parties and I said nothing because I did not believe in spins produced by other Eastern European Parties. Today I question the historical value of selfspun spins written by Western Webloggers or Journalists about things Self Made Labour Leaders who care less and less about blood and other bodily matters of those they claim to represent...
· New Dawn [Webdiary ]
· Still it's not exactly true that All Bloggers Don't Think For Themselves [MD ]

If Not Dean, Who?
If the pundits have been consistent about one thing in this campaign, it's the argument that the Democrats will get slaughtered if Howard Dean is their presidential nominee.
· If Dean loses in the primary, the party will probably lose in November 2004 [TomPaine ]

Man In Black: Johnny Cash
Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, (haunted) hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.
I wear the black for those who never read...
Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.

· Rainbow of Hope? [CommonDreams ]

Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003
Convicted Corporations Receive Perks Instead of Punishment Unwanted Refugees a Global Problem
· Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists [ProjectCensored ]
Satan set to wait out Sabres while playing in Slovakia
Miroslav Satan is unhappy with the progress of his contract negotiations and told the Buffalo Sabres he will play in his native Slovakia until they reach a deal.
· Why Doesn't He Just Sign With the Devils? [Boston ]
The New Amateur Journalists Weigh In
Which is not to say that 90 percent of news-related blogs aren't crap!
After two years of reading Weblogs, my short list of favorite news commentators in the world now includes an Air Force mechanic (Paul Palubicki of sgtstryker.com), a punk rock singer-songwriter (Dr. Frank of doktorfrank.com), a twenty-four-year-old Norwegian programmer (Bjorn Staerk of http://bearstrong.net/warblog/index.html), and a cranky libertarian journalist from Alberta, Canada (Colby Cosh).

· Breathing in Blogworld [OJR ]

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Golden New Yorker: As Ever, Standing Apart

Like Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald, The New Yorker may be the most storied magazine in modern history. More than two dozen books have been written about its history, and over the years, no magazine has succeeded as consistently in maintaining a sense of originality. True, other publications can boast a higher circulation than the New Yorker's 958,000. And many have greater reach on Main Street and Wall Street, not to mention at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But how many have a mystique for publishing memorable writing? Under new editor David Remnick, the magazine seems to be once again reinventing itself, with Remnick insisting that he didn't sign on to be a museum steward.
· Creative Streaks [CBS Marketwatch 09/12/03 RegistrationRequired]
How do you get a job in journalism?
Jeremy Vine Radio 2 presenter
Never take no for an answer and never stop knocking until the door has fallen off its hinges.
Piers Morgan editor of Daily Mirror
Sleep with the editor. It may be a cliché, but it worked for me at The Sun - though Kelvin complained about my stubble afterwards.
Other than that: work hard, play hard, dress smart, think smart, file on time and remember that factual inaccuracy is never, ever acceptable.
· Sleeping With Enemies [Telegraph(UK) ViaTimPorter]
Real life Russian tragedy
"The Return", a Russian film about the harrowing reunion of a father with his sons after a 10-year absence, won the Venice Film Festival's top prize, the Golden Lion, on Saturday.
First-time director Andrey Zvyagintsev dedicated the award to the 15-year-old star of the film Vladimir Garin, who tragically died a couple of months after shooting. He drowned in the region where the film was set.
There are only two actors here. Those who've seen the film know there should be three actors, three heroes up here. But two months ago he died tragically," said Zvyaginstev, who was greeted with a standing ovation.
We want to dedicate this victory to him.
The spare, brooding picture tells the story of two boys whose lives are changed forever when they go on a fishing trip in rugged Russian lake country with their newly returned father.

· The Return (Vozvraschenie) also won the award for best first feature [NZHerald ]
Media Dragon is on the hunt, unmasking and honouring bloggers who are serving, for better or for worse, the virtual Antipodean world. The blogscroll was stolen in the middle of the day from the local Parish. (as @ July 2003 AD)
My bohemian licence really just wanted to create something speculation-provoking and perhaps useful and fun.

Presenting Antipodean Bloggers (#5 September 2003 AD)

What kinds of personae do we make? What relation do these have to what we have traditionally thought of as the 'whole' person? Are they experienced as an expanded self or as separate from the self? Do our real-life selves learn lessons from our virtual personae? Are these virtual personae fragments of a coherent real-life personality?
-Sherry Turkle

media & the net: Paging Bargarz Fisking from the belly

Are Weblogs one more tool in the arsenal used by writers to define the undefinable?
The value of blogs like Bargarz is that they are sharp, chatty and seem to undertake in depth research and do that extra mile of legwork. Bargarz is one of those bloggers who post extensively on depleted uranium. My reading about North Korea or Iraq and other issues of international importance would not be the same without it.
· Bargarz[Bargarz]

EXTRACT from 22 September 2002:

Tim Dunlop comments on ideological profiling.
Although I indulge in the practice myself, I must admit I find all the labelling--and the knee-jerk pidgeon-holing that tends to go with it--tedious. When the put-down becomes an end in itself, it ceases to have much value.
Agreed. Several Oz bloggers have recently admitted to have leftish tendencies (Jason Soon, Gareth Parker, me) while still supporting current US policies. Does this mean we are right wing? No. Does this mean we always support US policy? Also no.
Nice ideas and I agree with much of it but there is a sting in the tail.
For starters John Quiggin states and Dunlop repeats a highly selective definition of Fisking;
So maybe John Quiggin is onto something in using 'left-brain' and 'right-brain' as the pertinent distinction:
The blogs I think of as left-brain are analytical, rational and linguistically complex. Right-brain blogs are mostly emotive, irrational or anti-rational, and based on sharp putdowns (Fisking) rather than logical critiques.

I haven't checked the news yet but the crowds at the dawn service and the march seemed bigger this year. The crowds lining the length of the march were very deep and it seems that as the numbers of older veterans dwindle, the crowds get bigger and bigger. For the march, we bagged a great perch on a pedestrian overpass overlooking Adelaide St (it soon filled up). We had an excellent view of the entire length of the march and the experience of seeing the servicemen and womens' faces light up and wave up at us was unforgettable. Of course, we all waved, cheered and thanked them back.
And if that wasn't prize enough, I copped quite a few air kisses from some old nurses, God bless 'em. Mrs Bargarz and I, along with many others in our area, cheered and yelled ourselves hoarse thanking and geeing up the marchers and they lapped it up, even the oldest and frailest diggers. For awhile, the barriers seemed to go away and all marchers received rousing cheers. Aussies, Poms, Yanks, Vietnamese, Serbs, Greeks, Poles, Dutch and yes, even the French got some cheers. One particular stand out moment for me was when I gave my Aussie flag to a child next to me who was perched on his dad's shoulders. They were both delighted and the kid was soon waving that flag like a manic mini semophorist. They were Chinese-Aussies and they were just as enthusiastic as any white-bread Aussie could be because that's exactly what they were - Aussies.

Bargarz on some predictions:
Ship of Fools
Remember the dire predictions and scenarios that were trafficked so wide and far before (and also during) hostilities? I'll admit that I've been less than flawless in my predictions but then again, I'm not too proud to admit mistakes and I also don't have to stoop as far as some of the pundits and "experts" who had received media attention out of all proportion to their predictive prowess.
People such as failed MP Carmen Lawrence who recycled from a grab bag of tired and discredited arguments in order to make a scattergun and emotional case against the use of force in Iraq. It's too much to extract but Lawrence's claims were comprehensively debunked by John Nicolay here.
Or Labor MP "heavyweight" Laurie Brereton who seemed to believe his own party's PR releases rather than the plummetting popularity of his own leader;
Federal Labor heavyweight Laurie Brereton said if Prime Minister John Howard did not listen to those opposed to war, it would be political suicide.
"If he's not prepared to listen then he's on the path to the end of his political career," Mr Brereton told AAP.
Or actress Judy Davis who protested the decision to send our bloodthirsty troops;
"Definitely those young people should not have left the other day at Woolloomooloo to kill, to massacre, potentially to massacre Iraqis, 50 per cent of whom are children under 18."
Or actor John Howard who decided to cast the issue as a fight against children;
"What has Iraq done to Australia apart from buying a great deal of our wheat ?" Howard asked. "What is our fight with the Iraqi people? What is our fight with Iraqi children?
"We are partly responsible for the deaths of half a million Iraqi children because we are part of the blockade of that country that is denying them medicines and equipment."
Or MAPW (Medical Association for Prevention of War - Australia) who released a report with much fanfare here and overseas of its "credible estimates" that there would be truly massive casualties in Iraq.
Andrew Stephen, New Statesman, Mar 31: And they thought it was going to be so easy. They really did believe it: that troops would be welcomed in Iraq, with flowers and hugs and kisses, as liberators for whom they had been waiting so long.
· Foolish? [ Google]
So, here is the proper use of A or An: Use an in place of a when it precedes a vowel sound, not just a vowel. That means it's "an honor" (the h is silent), but "a URL" (because it's pronounced yoo arr ell). This confuses people most often with acronyms and other abbreviations: some people think it's wrong to use "an" in front of an abbreviation (like "MRI") because "an" can only go before vowels. Poppycock: the sound is what matters. It's "an MRI," assuming you pronounce it "em ar eye." Example an apple ; an hour.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Their most perceptive observers paint a picture of journalists working at the Parliamentary Press Galleries as a pack of docile Faust, who make a pact with political masters in order to fulfill professional ambitions. Hollywood suffers, as does parliamentary journalism, from a belief that people are far more interested in the inner workings and machinations of the business than they are. It's common for Hollywood writers to write books that they think will be colossal, and often they're not. Web is in uncharted waters in terms of what the potential political coverage might be. Web, like samizdat literature, is built on rational Absurdity ... Irony of being irrelevant one moment and most relevant the next. Read by media monitoring units, ignored by friends and coworkers. Yet bloggers link stories which even Prime Ministers and Premiers are not in a position to ignore...

Puzzle: It's not exactly true that Bloggers Don't Think For Themselves
Are bloggers barometers of opinions? Are tough talking politicians afraid of real bloggers? Why are bloggers seen by some politicians as tormentors?
Web is becoming a weapon of mass communication and even a place for a colourful political labelling. Like most labels, terms like "left" or "center" are problematic and inaccurate. The problem with words begins with the blogger.
I'm very supportive of people expressing dissenting views. We need bloggers who can generate ideas and links from as many angles as possible. Being out of touch with humanity, however, is another thing.
Whether one leans towards left, right or hangs around the center meaningful linking requires a blogger with time to invest, and also a certain personality. What kind of personality? Well, I suggest a sort of Imrich test: Bloggers who think the childhood story of Stone Soup is silly (or cynical) should probably not start blogs. Bloggers who believe it’s a heartwarming story with worthwhile insights into human nature are probably more likely to be constructive and deliver fruits worth digesting.
Most of us know who those bloggers who fail to be moved by this story really are. They are those who email you off the group discussion list and make fun of others behind their back. They are those who attack the powerless in our society such as single mothers, unemployed people, and always accuse those on the opposite side of the political pendulum of being irrational. They tend to play the blogger not the ball. We also know too well bloggers who grovel to those in the position of real power and who know no shame when it comes to spreading lies about any issue or anyone in the name of the next promotion within their political parties. If you blog in order to impress your Chanel Nine boss, Premier, or Prime Minister, you get find out on the web. We can read you like a book.
· People's Empire Strikes Back [WebAdvantage]
Irving Kristol once said something to the effect of there are no ethical problems in America that a Great Depression wouldn't cure

Hollinger critic plays ethics cop, but ignores some offenders

Robert Feder, a TV/radio critic for Hollinger's Chicago Sun-Times, spanks Chicago television and radio execs for all but ignoring some of the most clear-cut ethical lapses ever witnessed in this market. Of course, Feder fails to mention the Sun-Times' parent company's terrible ethics record. ALSO: Feder notes that two TV journalists were photographed for a boutique's magazine ad. What he doesn't mention: Sun-Times political writer Steve Neal appears in full-page restaurant ads.
· Full Monty [SunTimes viaRomenesko]
A Left-wing or Right-wing outfit
Jennings says his broadcast plays news straight down the middle. 'I don't think anybody who looks carefully at us thinks that we are a left-wing or a right-wing organization. 'We have been criticized, a little bit to my surprise, by people who think I was not enough pro-war. That is simply not the way I think of this role. This role is designed to question the behavior of government officials on behalf of the public.
· Wrong/Right [USAToday ]
Times are strange. Not so long ago everything was extroverted, all about scandals and shock tactics. Now we don't know if Saddam is dead or alive, or if it's Osama on tape. Deceitful politicians who have lost all sense of nuance act otherwise, but Harry Potter is right: "The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters." Today things are ambiguous and cryptic. No one knows which way the wind blows. Certainty is suspect, even scary. This upheaval is causing tremors in the art world. There's no paradigm shift; no major fractures have appeared. But change is in the air. Batons are being passed.

Is Good Art Making A Comeback?

Thrillingly, for the first time in a while, art seems more important than the system. The professionalism of the recent past, the thing that made the late-'90s art world seem corporate and unsafe, is morphing into something less predictable, more homespun. The fringes feel frisky, good new artists and galleries are appearing, hype and fashionableness matter less, those capacious galleries don't seem as off-putting, and art is becoming the focus again.
· Babylon Rising [Artnet.com 09/10/03]

Kyle Gann writes that criticism has been reduced to shorthand that renders it toothless.
· 'How many words do you need?' [PostClassic (AJBlogs) 09/05/03]