Wednesday, December 31, 2003

From Boxing Day Bruises to Silvester Hangovers
A Survivor Takes Virtual World by Storm, With His Tale of Escape
A cellar door to the soul ... baffling the uninitiated.
· Cold River: Runaway failure [ courtesy of You Can't Improve on Perfection & Lust]
Yesterday's Writing On Your Palm article is titled, " How Much Is an eBook Worth?", and is an interesting discussion on what consumers are willing to pay for eBooks. It seems that many PDA owners are looking for free or inexpensive eBooks and applications, and complain if something costs more than US$5 or $10.
My number one traffic source again this year is my affiliates. In fact, my affiliates send thousands of visitors a day to my sites...

· Talk is cheap, show us the money [ via Digging Deeper into My #1 Traffic Source ]
Trends 2004 Cold Japanese River
Japan is now considered the " Empire of Cool ." I have to admit, I do have a weakness for Japanese toys, food, and artwork.
Japan is reinventing itself -- this time as the coolest nation on Earth. Analysts are marveling at the breadth of a recent explosion in cultural exports, and many argue that the international embrace of Japan.

· If it's Japanese, the world wants it: Japan is hot [blatantly pinched from Looking at what's on eBay to determine the health of the economy ]
· Generation E.A.: Ethnically Ambiguous [ via Swing Voter]
Everybody who lives in New York (Sydney), (Praha) believes he’s here for some purpose, whether he does anything about it or not.
Arlene Croce, Afterimages

About Last Night has lived in New York for the better part of two decades now, and you'd think he'd have gotten used to it.
In a way, I suppose I have, but even now all it takes is a whiff of the unexpected and I catch myself boggling at that which the native New Yorker really does take for granted. As for my visits to Smalltown, U.S.A., they invariably leave me feeling like yesterday's immigrant, marveling at things no small-town boy can ever really dismiss as commonplace, no matter how long he lives in the capital of the world...
· Poland is the most pro-Amerikan country in the world — including the United States [ courtesy of The most desirable places to live in Amerika ]
2004 may see ‘bit of a gold rush’ for digital tunes
This will be the year downloadable music, environment friendly transport, eBooks go legitimate...
What were the great books of 2003? Guardian and Observer critics and celebrities make their picks.

· Music to Our Ears [ via Best Books Of 2003]
Media Dragon figures out how to get big ratings
One way: Blog a tree-parter called Porn in three Cultures: French, Bohemian and Antipodian Queenslander Warren Cahill tells me that Sex is where the money is (smile)

Dirt and light and water conspire to make the most of the little seed...
History is the story of the mighty oaks; the acorns get little ink. There are too many seeds, and their existence is too transient. So historians, in professional retrospect, tell us which of the acorns got lucky.
Racy works like "Anecdotes About Mme. la Comtesse du Barry," the story of the courtesan to King Louis XV presented the king as a very flawed human being - in fact, a dirty old man, incompetent and decadent. Thus a book overlooked by the elite helped to strip the monarchy of its sacred aura and may have ultimately helped to open the royal path to the guillotine.
Revolutions have come from less.

· And it becomes a mighty Australian oak [blatantly pinched from How porno books helped topple the Bohemian & French aristocracy ]

Hillary Clinton Most Admired

Hillary Clinton Most Admired
My monograph has a dubious honour of being presented on the same page as:
Living History, Hillary Rodham Clinton and miserable failures like Bin Laden
· Hillary
Saddam Hussein is apparently ready to name names of people and countries he had underhanded dealings with while he was President of Iraq.
· Sadam

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

If you love your neighbour, I mean reeeeally love your neighbour, or you want others to reeeeally love you, then you need to ride the two-strokes ... four-strokes...miracle! Harley-Davidson even produced a scooter for awhile!

Warning: This Celestial Toy is Not for Everyone
Join Secret Society and not even FBI, MI6, KGB, ASIO will have the power to touch you... Past Treasures of Bill Clinton & Current Pleasures of George Bush exposed. Early on Saturday, Sydney time, scooters will attempt to catch the first pocketful of comet dust.
· Sneaky Devils Decoded [ via Remember This Dangerous Liaison is for Life]
· Scoop: Dragon Riders [ courtesy of Fags, choppers, cut-downs, mods and rats ]
Polution free cities Alternative Transport
Green ideas for 2004...
· Online Gas Scooters [ via Cheap Electric Scooters ]

Santaless Cities
If we were physical we would have killed each other. In 1986, she quit and didn't speak to her father for nearly a year.
· Then they resumed talking, at high volume... [ courtesy of Murthy ]
· Familiar Families [blatantly pinched from Amerikan v Prahe]
True Blue Aussie in claim to throne
Aussie man has been identified as the rightful King of England by a leading historian.
Medieval scholar, Dr Michael Jones says he can prove Queen Elizabeth's claim to the throne is illegitimate and it should belong to Michael Abney-Hastings.
Mr Jones, one of Britain's leading historians, believes he has proved through painstaking research that the Royal Family's right to rule is based on a lie.
He says King Edward IV, who reigned from 1461 to 1483, was not of royal blood; he was the illegitimate son of a French archer.

· King Louis XI: Royal claim [ via Sunday Telegraph(UK)]
· Top Icons [ via Adventuresinbureaucracy ]

Monday, December 29, 2003

Like most yearbooks, the one from Oakville Trafalgar High School leaves space beneath the photos of graduating students for them to acknowledge the friends, teachers and events that made their high school years memorable.
But this past spring, the message from Grade 12 valedictorian Andrew Ironside was anything but cryptic.

I am not the most popular person, not even close
A lot of you were jerks ... Andrew Ironside, now a student at Brock University, was elected valedictorian at his Oakville, Ont., high school as a joke, but made the most of the opportunity.
A lot of people in our grade, the grade that elected me, do not know my name. They just know me as that blond kid with the freaky eyes.
Mr. Ironside, who had his own page in the yearbook, had been elected valedictorian in a vote carefully orchestrated by his peers and designed to embarrass him.
But when graduation night arrived, he gave a speech that transformed a malicious high school joke into an ad libbed sequel to Revenge of the Nerds.

· If I can be elected valedictorian, anything is possible [ courtesy of Reflection and soul searching: Ordinary Canadians who showed extraordinary courage.]
· If I can be published, anything is possible :=) [blatantly pinched from Canadian Dragon]
> Hidden Donations
Todd Lighty and Mickey Ciokajlo of the Chicago Tribune used internal campaign finance records to show that Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan's campaign committee has failed to disclose thousands of dollars in donations and has hidden contributions made by employees that the sheriff pledged not to accept. In some cases, $125 money orders bearing the names of Al Capone and Dr. Jack Kevorkian and contributions made in the names of deputies' ex-wives were recorded by the campaign.
· Al Capone and Dr. Jack Kevorkian [blatantly pinched from Google ]
· Delinquent Taxes Unpenalized [ via Scoop]
The Journalism of Complacency
I know this sounds both personally naïve and institutionally self-serving - after all, I've been a journalist for 40 years, 35 of them with The Times - and I'm aware of not just the blatant betrayals of the public interest by the likes of Blair and Glass but the more systemic, more damaging betrayals represented by what I've come to think of as the four horsemen of the journalistic apocalypse: superficiality, sensationalism, preoccupation with celebrity, and obsession with the bottom line.
· Journalists who are among the comfortable and therefore not among those who wish the afflict the comfortable [ courtesy of TimPorter ]
· Paul Krugman posits a few rules for political journalists in 2004 history will not forgive us if we allow laziness to rule [ courtesy of An Australian journalist gets a taste of Department of Homeland Security hospitality ]
Our Lord Awards
WHEN I was mayor, the nickname that stuck was Lord Jim. It was usually used with affection, so in this week's column I am announcing the Lord Jim Awards for the year.
· Lord Jim of the Rings [blatantly pinched from Sunday Mail]
He looks like a chimp. He grins like a chimp, pouts like a chimp, walks like a chimp and even writess like a chimp would if chimps could write ...
· Aussie Chimp [ courtesy of The bones in the mass graves salute you, Avenger of the Bones ]

Sunday, December 28, 2003

A certain amount of brick-throwing might even be a good thing. There comes a moment in the career of most artists, if they are any good, when attacks on their work take a form almost more acceptable than praise.
Anthony Powell, Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant

Golden Age
The Internet is still a free country, and I’d like to think this level of interest and activity will last forever, but this may be remembered as the Golden Age.
The dynamic and democratic nature of the Internet (at least at present) ensures that arts debates will no longer be confined to the pages of newspapers and periodicals but will be open to anyone with smarts and a knack for expressing him or herself. Every day I happen across new sites written by people who are at least as passionate about books as I am and can express their passions in an intelligent, charismatic way. Three or four years ago it would not have been possible for me to read their opinions, or for them to read mine. While online debates can be splintered and diffuse and sometimes clubby, I'm heartened by the sheer number of them. Who knew so many people cared about books?

· 2003: a real literary culture online developed [ via Saloon: Fortunately there is room for disagreement]
· 10 Technologies to watch in 2004
Sydneysiders stand in front of the estate agents, staring at the photographs, their jaws dropping... Looking back at a year of economic & political carping.

03's company: what a crowd
The scent first went to the Dobermans. A sniff, a whiff in the sultry days as 2003 began, and they quickly divined that the year would be a stinker. Some seasons were like that. And it would probably also stay hot, they figured.
Now at the end of the year, they had been proven right. In the office at Tried and True Trustees, Sisyphus worked the abacus and shook his head and the dogs became very still, though their nostrils flared and their exhalations whistled faintly in nervous staccato.

· AMP. What a dog [blatantly pinched from Finally, there was zzzzzzzzmh. ]
· You've been a good mate tradition is alive and well in NSW [ via SMH Terrigals and Trogs dine out on Carr's fate ]
· Bones to pick [ courtesy of Praguepost]
Dead-Tree Reporting: Media Notes Extra
I find that writing the online column helps generate ideas for my dead-tree reporting.
· Howard Kurtz [ courtesy of Daniel Weintraub ]
The "winners" of the 2003 Weblog Awards "Best Looking Blog" category
· wizbangblog [ courtesy of Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2003 ]
· CBS News Disaster Links [ courtesy of Google News Goes Global ]
· Tracking E-mail Alerts [ courtesy of poynter ]

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Everything had gone wrong in the Oblonsky household
Just so there should be no mistake as to which of the two sorts of family is going to be the subject of the story. In the main, it's the unhappy families that make the better novels.
You can see that as tragedy avoided: Pip not having to drown in the cold, unpeopled waters of his distaste, Pip learning to accept the limits of being a person born to people; but the assertion of human interconnectedness - the wall in which we must be bricked, the hard face the world will always turn against our longing to be free - is tragic too. Just because the thing we long for cannot be, is no reason not to long for it. Why else do we go on turning pages but in the hope that this time the glorious unfamilied, unfettered universe behind the sun has been attained?

· Turn blood to water [ courtesy of Guardian ]
· Eragon: Meet the 21st-century Tolkien [ via Double Dragon Publishing: Where and when is Middle Earth to you? ]
Congratulations, Pavel Nedved.
Europe's Football Player of the Year is a Czech for the first time in decades.
· The night Czech Nedved made his absence felt [ via nicmoc ]

Friday, December 26, 2003

Have Yourself a Merry Little Boxing Day
How dare we question our leaders who have blisters and blood from making us and our families safer, richer and happier? Biting the very hand that feeds Us? We are an unpatriotic, flag-hating conspiracy freak if we doubt the regime our honest politicians are sooooo proud of creating! It's stuff in journals like the Wahington Post that makes me sit up. Usually, when political journalists in the trenches say something this momentous, it means something. It speaks of a lack of faith in leadership; a disafection in the fourth estate. Readers sit up, listen and ponder.

Under Bush, Expanding Secrecy
Last Monday, the Supreme Court announced it would consider an effort by Vice President Cheney to keep private the records of the energy policy task force he ran. On Friday, the White House announced that it has known for two weeks about an attack on a convoy carrying Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer -- but had decided not to divulge the information. Later that day, President Bush announced a disarmament deal with Libya reached during nine months of secret negotiations.
· It is a banner for government secrecy: I Rule, Therefore I'm Golden [ courtesy of Washington Post ]
· Chomsky has written about the selective memory and the morality of convenience [ via Independent ]
· Lord Black: Friendship and Business Blur in the World of a Media Baron [ via Thoughtlines: On the dust jacket: blurbs by an impressive set of conservative thinkers...]
God is not a right-wing boxing zealot
God has given us two eyes, two ears and two arms and two hands, but only one heart. And it's in the center and a little bit to the left.
In the heart of the Bluegrass, a Bible Belt preacher is rallying people to political action around what he calls "basic religious values." Think you can describe his politics? Think again. This man of the cloth wants "regime change" in Washington.

· Washminsters [ via Salon]

It's greed, not ideology, that rules the White House
Why the US wants Iraq's debts cancelled - and Argentina's paid in full
· NO Ideas [ via Guardian(UK)]
Marshals to fly as funding row ends
Up to six armed air marshals will be on board flights from Australia to Singapore as early as Boxing Day after the Federal Government and Qantas broke the impasse over who would pay for their seats.
I do not like it.Now the terrorists will do anything to spot the armed Marshalls.
· Frankenstein Monster: Can of Terrorist worms is open
· Monstrous politicians eroding Australia's social fabric [ via SMH ]
· Officer under investigation [ via ]
Czech their consciences at the door as they enter
They become voting drones for the parties' elite, making up the numbers.
As Richard Face, the former minister for gaming and racing, told the Independent Commission Against Corruption recently when asked if he could remember voting on a parliamentary code of conduct: "I don't recall it, but if you've ever been down to Parliament, you troop in, you sit down and you get counted."

· Frank Assessment of the House of Evil [ via SMH: repy stands for rely]

It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape.
I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

Since today is a boxing day, I wanted to write something about the quality of leadership in workplaces today, but Adele did it for me. Mentors and Managers like Dr Cope, Mr Brian, Ms Azarias were the lions in the NSW Parliament House, but today the heads of departments are being replaced with jackals and hyenas.
One can only imagine the level of frostiness between certain lions and hyenas. It would be like imagining boxing gloves unraveling the strands of a thick wet rope. Something evil often unraveling comes along, but it’s not what we foresaw. Then we learn that a short period of industrial democracy can be preferable to a long period of fearing. Workers all live in an age of constant boxing between peril and heroism. There is something about misleadership that says we should do something, and we had no idea what that might be. Hopefully, the day of cryptic judgement is coming (eureka smile)

Discovering what works on the shop floor
For too many Australian workers, the summer break is like a reprieve from prison. Worn-out and browbeaten, they retreat to the coast to recuperate from yelling bosses, distrustful managers and tension-filled environments. For 21st-century industrial prisoners, a month off is not enough.
· Distrustful CEOs, SESs & Managers [ via SMH ]

Thursday, December 25, 2003

As Krusty, the Klown, would say: ‘Have a Kooky Christmas, a Happy Hanukkha, a Crazy Kwanza, and a...very respectful Ramadan.

The 411 on Faith
Now that we're in the season of Ramadan, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, check out for the 411 on every religion.
Season's greetings to Media Dragon readers -- and a big thank you. We rely on you for tips and feedback and look forward to hearing from you in the new year.
SUBMIT YOUR TIPS FOR THE VIRTUAL 6 DEGREE OF SEPARATION: What websites and stories do you find most ironical, trendy, savvy? Which dragon tails about political and managerial bullies have been missed by the journalistic profession? Send a link and I'll publish a selection.

· Greetings [ via Ideas ]
Messages of peace and remembrance
Miracles do happen, helped along by the unquenchable spirit of human optimism and faith ... all people have the right to be themselves, even if they differ in creed or colour, opinion or ethnic origin.
· It says that the human spirit cannot be dimmed forever [ courtesy of My Reading Stable by Ebenezer Scrooge (smile)]

Welcome to Sydney Warfare
Sydney is in the midst of one of the worst periods of violent crime in more than a decade. Gangsters in charge of the state.
· Yes Minister [ via SMH: Hard Irony Intended]
Imrich & Upton Offered in E-Book Format
Speaking of e-books, a site called TeleRead which advocates building well-stocked national digital libraries, has released Upton Sinclair's classic expos of the press, "The Brass Check." The e-book is available as a Word document and in Microsoft Reader format. ASCII and Gemstar versions are in development, but for those who can't wait, the site also offers the first nine chapters of the book on the web
· eBook Alive @ Christmas [ via Adobe Version]
Surviving the digital age
Motley Fool has an interesting analysis of American Greetings, the old-line greeting-card company that's making a valiant attempt at surviving the digital age. AG took a bold line and made its e-greeting business ( a paid service, even though many of its competitors offered free online greeting cards.
· Motley Fool [ via Greeting cards ]

PS: I was frank with Matthew: he would starve rather than thrive if he advertised on my blog...
From: "Matthew Furlong"
Subject: I visited
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 17:02:09 -0800
Hi there,
I hope this email finds you well. I just visited your weblog, (, and I find it very useful for our products and services. I am currently working on increasing our presence on the internet and I was hoping that you'd be interested in generating revenue from your site.
Here are some sample sites that we have adversiting.
(1) - you can see our ads under Sponsors
(2) - you can see our ads under Sponsors
I can pay you $20/month by putting 2 text links on your index or home page as our Advertiser. Please note that you have full control of your site on where to put the text links.
If you are interested in this offer, please respond back so I can send you the 2 text links that I would like to advertise on your site. Also, email your Paypal address so I can send you your first payment.
Best Wishes,
Matthew Furlong

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

1) You don't have to love everything you're told is great, 2) You don't have to claim greatness for everything you love, and 3) You don't have to dispute the greatness of the works and artists you dislike.

Wishing one and all good and evil, saints and sinners A Very Happy Christmas Eve

In Castro's Gulag—Librarians
Hentoff: While American librarians — whom John Ashcroft calls "hysterics"—deserve credit for being on the front line against this secret fishing for subversives, none have been threatened with prison time by Ashcroft. But 10 librarians in Cuba have been put away for 20 years and more for not going along with Castro's endless Banned Books weeks." So why aren't American librarians protesting that?
· Why Aren't American Librarians Protesting Abuse Of Cuban Librarians? [ courtesy of Village Voice 12/16/03 ]
· a complete poster-size folio of Audubon's 'Birds of America,' valued at as much as $7 million. [ via NYTimes ]
On and Off the Record:
This was a year in which the publishing industry kept its literati tendencies in czech and infused a Hollywood-style razzle-dazzle into contests and other promotions intended to nudge books into at least a glimmer of the popular culture spotlight. With book sales down from last year, publishers are being forced to abandon their high-brow position above the fray and dive right in with movies, TV and other competing forms of popular culture.
· Year of Book [ via Los Angeles Times 12/21/03 ]
Dumpster can be a gold mine
It was the first time I had ever been to the dump,'' Massey recalled, wrinkling his nose. ''I said, 'I'm not going to get dirty,' so I wandered over to a shed where the recycling was stored. I notice there's a big barrel for recycled paper that's full of discarded tax forms from an accounting firm.'' Each form had the person's name, date of birth, Social Security number -- all the information necessary for taking out a line of credit.
· Aspiring identity thief [ via Google]
How About That?
My stormy life.
· Nobody's Perfect [ courtesy of Google ]
Holidays Films
[ via Time Top 100]
Rivaling summer as the time to roll out blockbusters or wannabe blockbusters are the busy weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now that the memories of Seabiscuit, Mystic River, The Cat in the Hat, and others have receded, a broad collection of film adaptations from literature are gracing screens across the country. Among them are film versions of House of Sand and Fog, a 2001 Book Sense Book of the Year finalist, and Cold Mountain, the 1998 Adult Trade winner of the American Booksellers Book of the Year Award (the precursor of the Book Sense Book of the Year), as well as Book Sense 76 picks Girl With a Pearl Earring and Big Fish: Mythic Proportions.
· Cold Rivers&Mountains [ courtesy of Small Beautiful]

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Judging by the Site Meter, most of you have more important things to do this week than read blogs. For those diehards who can't get enough czech this out...

Let Me Introduce you to our Eight weeks old Lilly
This happy-go-lucky red and white (Blenheim) four legs of smiles is part of my swimming familia.
· Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with Mona Lisa Smile [ via From Bessie to Lilly]

The secret Sydney recipe for earthly delight: get fit, drink and be married
We have all felt the irrational knot welling up inside ...
· Opposite of Life [ via in My Place]
· A little bit tipsy [ via I just might be the happiest man in the world]
The Loophole Artist
Few Americans have heard of Jonathan Blattmachr, a partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. But among the 16,000 or so lawyers in America who specialize in trusts and estates, which is to say in the passing of wealth from one generation to the next, he enjoys the status of a Hollywood star. In these circles, his first name alone prompts recognition.
· Helping the superrich keep their richer [ courtesy of How to Save the world]
· Taxing Letter 2003 AD style
Truth and consequences
Michael Kinsley, who has his moments (but oh, those quarter-hours!), recently put his finger on something that’s always irritated me. We all know that politicians never tell the truth, but I don’t mind flat-out lies—that goes with the territory. What drives me wild is their inability to say anything without spinning it. The day any politician of either party makes so blunt a remark within earshot of microphones—and declines to retract, moderate, or invert it before the day is out—you’ll know the barometer of cultural health in America is moving in the right direction. But don't hang by your thumbs waiting for it.
· About Politics [ courtesy of About Last Night]
Playing Favorites - What Your "Favorite Book" Says About You
What's your favorite book?" is a stupid question.
Really, it's not about books at all, it's about distinguishing yourself through your distinctions, choosing a work that gives the fullest picture of the person you'd like the world to consider you to be. That's why everyone always says Catch-22 - not because they think Heller to be easily as good as Roth, Mailer, Updike and Vonnegut rolled into one.

· Imrich, Roth, Mailer, Updike and Vonnegut rolled into one [ courtesy of Adobe: The Guardian (UK) 12/17/03 ]
· Year of Book [ via Los Angeles Times 12/21/03 ]
Barnes & Noble's Book/Gatekeeper
Sessalee Hensley is in charge of buying fiction for Barnes & Noble. "How many copies will be bought - of Proust, McMillan, John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen and Ms. Hensley's favorite, Barbara Kingsolver - how they'll be apportioned among the 652 Barnes & Noble branches and 200 B. Dalton Booksellers in her fiefdom, how they'll be placed and positioned--this is all part of the gig. 'There are some books that I've gone through three, four, five revisions of how I'm thinking about them,' says Ms. Hensley, 48. Concern that she's decided wrong sometimes keeps her up at night..."
· Concern that she's decided wrong keeps publishers up as well [ via OpinionJournal 12/18/03 ]

Monday, December 22, 2003

Not normally to blow my own trumpet, but you’re probably reading this right now because you found the link in The Google so there are probably a few things I need to clear up. Without wanting my new found celebrity status to go to my head, I’m still pretty chuffed with the bestselling status along Cold Mountain and Mystic River (smile). And I wouldn’t put it past me that I’ll still be as chuffed this time next week as I drink and drink under the Christmas tree...

Adobe Opens Hot e-Bookstore
Czech out Cold River: Always the Bridesmaid? (smile)
It's hard to believe they hadn't done it before, but Adobe has just now opened an online store to sell e-books in the PDF format ( And they're using with Overdrive's Content Reserve to power the store (
· Well, as traffic goes through the roof, it would seem I rock the e-book market [ via Dude, Where's My eStore ]

Return to the dark tunnel: the writing cure
Sonja Linden on how people who have endured torture can reclaim their lives by writing their stories, and a poem from Zimbabwean Novell Zwangendaba on the language of violence that grips his country.
· Art and healing [ via ]

Journalism Review
Story by Mark Glaser, who took an e-mailed quote from Crosbie for his article, A Look Back at 2003, and What's on the Horizon for the Online News Universe
· Journalism Review 2003 [ courtesy of OJR ]
Technorati Growing Pains
Stories have always had the capacity to show us the best as well as the worst of ourselves...
· Amazing rise [ via dave sifry the creator of technorati ]

Pekar: Baker

Pekar: Baker
Little things we like: American Splendor -- mini review of Harvey Pekar's American Splendor ... Now is the time to check out Harvey Pekar's brilliant autobiographical comic, just before the film version makes a national hero out of him. Pekar is a downbeat hospital file clerk from Cleveland who writes about the mundanities of his daily routine, from spending empty weekends in front of the television to the dangers of getting stuck behind old Jewish ladies at supermarket checkouts, and it makes for compelling reading.
· Interview [ courtesy of Guardian (UK)]

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Did Anyone Sit Back and Ask What is Right?
No way. They all had their snouts too deep in the trough and their brains too busy working out how much they could get away with to give a damn about anyone else. It's been that sort of year in politics and business, but lots of Australians without the cash or the clout of the elites we can't trust any more took a stand for what's right at great personal and financial cost.
· So much for the rule of law in NSW [ courtesy of Last Column for 2003 by Margo Kingston]
Zuzana Stevichova's Ordeal
The Czech tourist found yesterday after surviving four nights in the Snowy Mountains hopes to join her family at home for Christmas after being discharged from hospital last night.
Zuzana Stevichova's sister thanked rescuers who spotted her sister, dehydrated and hungry, in inaccessible country on the banks of the Jacobs River in the Kosciuszko National Park about noon yesterday.

· Antipodean Bohemian Drama [ courtesy of SMH ]
More Powerless
Mike Moore has posted a bunch of new letters from the troops in Iraq and a message of his own with them.
· Moore [ courtesy of ]
Tyrrany of Land Speculations
The Prime Minister has urged the Carr Government to release more land for homes as he moves to shift the political onus on to the states to solve the housing crisis.
John Howard told The Sun-Herald it was "predictable" that the states reacted coolly to a recommendation by the Productivity Commission that stamp duty be scrapped and replaced with other taxes such as land and payroll.
They don't want to give up money, despite the fact that they will be wallowing in money from the GST.

· GST [ via SMH ]
How Steve Lazarowitz Writes Australian
Tasmanian Dragon... Steve's novel is tight and action packed, a sure fire crowd pleaser. From the beginning we see that there's more a foot than meets the eye, all surrounding a deep mystery about man's first trip into deep space. British Bloggers
· Writers [ via Blogger ]
· Partner in Crime [ courtesy of Guardian(UK) ]

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Another view from Iraq
The images were shocking. I couldn't make myself believe this was the same Saddam Husajn that slaughtered hundreds of thousands and plundered my country's wealth for decades. The humiliation I experienced was not out of nationalistic pride or Islamic notions of superiority or anything like that as some readers suggested. It was out of a feeling of impotence and helplessness. This was just one old disturbed man yet the whole country couldn't dispose of him. We needed a superpower from the other side of the ocean to come here and 'get him' for us. I was really confused that day I went out and almost got myself killed by those Fedayeen and angry teenagers in the Adhamiya district.
· Fedayeen [ via healingiraq ][ courtesy of Not Much]
Become obsessed with blogging
Blogging is easy and it's not hard to incorporate it into your life. You don't have to disclose personal facts unless you want to. Go ahead and make stuff up. Embellish. Kick things up a notch. A year from now I'll be picking up your paperback bestseller, A Year of Office Politics, for $12.95.
· Truth Always Prevails [ courtesy of Blogger ]

Sacked author makes another killing
The boss looked like a pig, his secretary was a brainless blonde, the computer geek was a sexual pervert and the senior broker was a chronic drunk.
The tension they supposedly created in an insurance company was so distressing that Bruno Perara, 46, turned to violent fantasy and wiped them all out in a novel called Little Murders Among Partners.
The book, inspired by his workmates' characters, cost him his job after selling only 858 copies - half of them bought by the company's 450 staff. But the author, an administrator, has ended up $A120,000 richer.

· Little Murders [link via If in Prague kill time @ Tulip ]
· Scotty Tulip
The end of the American & Australian dreams
Where is this taking us? Thomas Piketty, whose work with Saez has transformed our understanding of income distribution, warns that current policies will eventually create "a class of rentiers in the U.S., whereby a small group of wealthy but untalented children controls vast segments of the US economy and penniless, talented children simply can't compete." If he's right--and I fear that he is--we will end up suffering not only from injustice, but from a vast waste of human potential.
· Goodbye, Horatio Alger. And goodbye, American Dream.
[ via Roadtosurfdom]
· Aussie $700bn credit binge [ courtesy of Gittins]
· Negative Gear [ via Road to Nowhere]
Another year, another war, another conga line of suckhole quotes to commemorate. As 2003 comes to a close, it's time to rejoice in the bum jokes again.

Mark Latham's 2003 prize is an orgasmic "oooooohhhh" sigh
G'day. This is the last Webdiary for the year, folks, so thanks to all of you who wrote and read this year. And what a bloody big year it was, although I reckon next year will be even bigger.
· Keeping with Webdiary tradition, the Pollie Waffle Awards is On Now [ via Margo Kingston]
Back on 10 December Chris Shiel said: Angie, you're beautiful
Many more than three cheers for Angela Catterns for knocking the Parrot on his arse, after 94 consecutive survey wins. Must say, although she has great taste in music, Angie's voice is a touch too strong for Back Pages, which is pretty sensitive at that time of the morning. But Angie, I still love you baby.
GPO Box 9994
Sydney, NSW, 2001
Phone:General: 02 8333 1234
Talkback: 02 8333 1000
Fax:02 8333 1203

· Parrot v Substance [ courtesy of In 2004 Dial 702: Angel Catterns]
Knowledge is only additive, you cannot remove knowledge, you can only add to it. We read each other's stories and make an implicit actionable sense in that we are confrontied with a need to assimmilate what they've said, or to accommodate it into our world model (which may mean to dismiss it), but we're still taking a mental action that changes the way we've previously thought about the issue.

A Cryptic story of ideas
The loose ends offer me a sense of the possible, a landscape that can go anywhere, a sense of adventure that keeps coaxing me back to explore a little more. I wouldn't want it tidied up in a tight focused and deadlined bundle because I know, philosophically, to do so would require closing off many of these possibilities, discarding the undiscovered territories. It's an ongoing story, a story of ideas, a story of what's needed, what's possible, a story of senses where there's no way to end the plotline, no way to limit the cast and no way to cut it off in time for the capping colophon.
· Unhemmed as it is uneven [ courtesy of Teledyn ]

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Queer But Funny
I also think there is real value, cathartic release, in applying to humour to the situation and being able to openly laugh at what we once feared
Why fear him if he was never a threat?

Hitler has only got one ball,
The other is in the Albert Hall,
His mother, the dirty bugger,
Took the other when he was small.
· Seriously Forgibbings & Blunt [ courtesy of Usher of the Black Rod (Max Willis smile)]
· Blogging For Money [ via Cryptic Living Room]
The politics of justice
When the government influences legal rulings, can the return of tyranny be far behind?
During my 55 years in pursuit of justice, I have faced a number of situations that would have inspired Kafka to write an entire library of books. I won't argue my legal claims here, since in most cases they haven't been decided yet, and I will leave that to the judges and courts to weigh in light of the law.

· Kafka [ via Prague Post

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Straight men, fixers and maddies
Politicians in the first category have their appeal, as the elections of John Cain, Nick Greiner and John Bannon attest.
Fixers, however, last longer, as evidenced by the tenures of Bob Hawke, Neville Wran and Bob Carr. That's because fixers aren't too disruptive and tend to get enough things done to create the illusion of progress.
But it's the out-and-out maddies who, for good or ill, change everything. Think of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Joh Bjelke- Petersen and, yes, Kennett and Keating. (Incidentally, far from being in the straight-man category, John Howard is madder than any hatter.) Maddies, for good or ill, make news, make waves, make trouble and make history.

· Ah [ via VOW]
If books are not the most perishable products of human civilization, they have, throughout recorded history, attracted the homicidal attentions of every conquering army.

Damnatio memoriae
In 1562, a Franciscan friar who had accompanied Spanish troops to Mexico ordered the burning of thousands of Mayan hieroglyphic books, in an attempt to eradicate the repository of local spiritual beliefs and to pave the way for Christianity.
· bibliophobia [ courtesy of Ghostwriters ]
Warning: This Link is Not for Everyone
Democracy on the Cheap
After the 2000 presidential race, many Americans saw new voting technology as the obvious means to avoid the millions of votes lost due to voter error around the nation. Following that botched election, Florida spent millions of dollars for new touchscreen voting equipment.
· The Failure of America's Electoral Infrastructure [ courtesy of Voting Trail: Gerrymandering Fix]
· Wealthy Campaign Donors Stifle Minority Voices [ via ]
In our hands
Everett Ehrlich, Bill Clinton’s undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs, on the economic reasons why the Internet is bringing about the decline of the two major political parties:
To an economist, the "trick" of the Internet is that it drives the cost of information down to virtually zero. So…smaller information-gathering costs mean smaller organizations. And that's why the Internet has made it easier for small folks, whether small firms or dark-horse candidates such as Howard Dean, to take on the big ones….
Companies solved this problem by creating massive bureaucratic pyramids… Now, however, with internal communications networks and the speed of the Internet, you don't need a horde of people in a big pyramid to handle all that information. Firms have become "flatter" and "faster," and the "networked" or "virtual" company has come into being -- groups of firms that use shared networks to behave as if they were part of the same company….
But the Internet doesn't reinforce the parties -- instead, it questions their very rationale. You don't need a political party to keep the ball rolling -- you can have a virtual party do it just as easily.

· Web [ courtesy of VOW ]
· Playing Doctors & Nurses: Bastions of Secrecy [ courtesy of SMH ]
Sara Bauer writes an open letter to young women who work at chain bookstores
You're lonely, Young Women Who Work at Chain Bookstores, and you want to find someone who understands you. You dream of a man who will hold you in the dark, listen to you talk about your deepest fears, and take you shopping at Hot Topic. You size up customers as potential allies, and you try so hard to make friends with those who are like you, who bear the cross of Not Fitting In. You tell them you love their T-shirt, that no one around here listens to Indie Rock Band Depicted on Customer's T-shirt; you try to smile, take deep breaths, and not appear desperate.
· It's hard—it's so hard, I want to take you into my arms and promise that it will get easier, but it won't [ courtesy of Mcsweeneys]
· Publisher Lemniscaat freely distributed 7,000 books in trains [ via Expatica ]

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Jiri Grusa
Two weeks ago Jirí Grusa (Jiri Grusa) had been elected the new president of International PEN. We were a bit surprised that there was no English-language press coverage at the time, but we figured a fair amount would follow in the week to come. Boy, were we wrong.
Two weeks have now passed, and not only have there not been the big summary articles about the PEN Congress and the changing of the guard we expected, there don't seem to have been any mentions. Not even an AP report tucked away among the incidental arts coverage in any major or minor American or British newspaper or magazine.
Shame on them all !
The best we can do as far as pointing you to additional information and English-language coverage is this pathetic Radio Prague report, Jiri Grusa on his plans as PEN Club President.

· We'll look for additional coverage, but don't hold your breath. [ courtesy of Saloon ]
· What was Atta doing in Prague? [ via Black Cerny]
Writers Pay Ahead of Time
There's a habit they have, not of paying back, but of paying forward; I know of no other branch of literature where the established "names" so keenly encourage wannabe writers to become their competitors. I came back from that event determined to be a writer. After all, I'd shaken hands with Arthur C Clarke, so now it was just a matter of hard work...
· More than half the skill of writing lies in tricking the book out of your own head [ via Bookslut ]

Our sea still girt by the rich
If you need proof that the rich are getting richer, just look at the residents of Darling Point-Point Piper. Not only are they the wealthiest in Australia - again - but their incomes have jumped another $20,000 in a year.
· Be Wise & Rich: Gear Negatively Get Others to Pay Backward; Be Fool & Pay Rent [ courtesy of SMH ]
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Had a very shiny gun
And if you ever saw it
You would turn around and run...

Mikulás, or St. Nicholas Day, is the real kickoff of the Christmas season in the Czech Republic. Sort of a cross between Halloween and Christmas, the streets are full of people dressed in costumes and families taking their children to meet the people in costumes.
Devil Sadam [ via Arellanes ]

The Caught You Red-Nosed--Uh, -Handed
We hold on to an image of ourselves as a nation of people who give others a fair go. While this is often challenged, I’d like to think that we will all continue to aim for a fair society, to share opportunities and be welcoming.
If we think about what it takes to create an Australia where each of us loves and is loved, and dismiss the pressure to have that "perfect" Christmas experience, I believe Christmas can be a powerful time of hope, not trouble, for all Australians.

· Message [ courtesy of OLO]
CNN Sampson and Delilah: Science proves beautiful women makes men stupider
Men do not actually drool more, but their spit becomes super-charged with testosterone. Scientists at the University of Chicago paid 41 heterosexual male students US$10 each to examine their saliva. Researchers took saliva samples when the students arrived at the laboratory. They were then led to believe the rest of the test was running behind schedule and made small talk with research assistants who acted as "stimuli" during the five-minute wait. Fifteen minutes later, scientists took another saliva sample. The testosterone levels in the saliva of men who had spent time with one of five fetching female assistants jumped by 30%.
· Are you surprised that women are attracted to cads? [ via NYTimes]

Monday, December 15, 2003

A Lot of Name-Calling About My Donations
Many other wealthy Americans and I are contributing millions of dollars to grass-roots organizations engaged in the 2004 presidential election. We are deeply concerned with the direction in which the Bush administration is taking the United States and the world.
· by George Soros [ courtesy of CommonDreams ]
· Rep Smith’s isn’t the only case that deserves Justice’s scrutiny [ courtesy of Soft Money]
· Hard Money [ courtesy of Tom Paine]

In a second attempt, London's Mail manages to find someone to accept their award

Books remain a favourite online purchase
Rebel throw–backs livening things up . . .
After decades in the doldrums, turning down awards has suddenly become cool, observes Andrew Crumey, the literary editor of Scotland's The Scotsman newspaper. First there was Hari Kunzru turning down the Mail on Sunday's Llewelyn Rhys Prize, then there was Benjamin Zephaniah turning down an OBE because it reminded him of "how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised. Turning down prizes is nothing new"—John Berger gave half his 1972 Booker Prize money to the Black Panthers. However, "That all seemed so long ago. Now, he says, Kunzru and Zephaniah have suddenly reminded us that in an age saturated with identikit wannabes lusting for fame and fortune, there are still people who see writing as a potential force for social change.

· Mixture of rising fortunes and falling profit margins [ courtesy of ]
Modern-Day Slavery
Christine Evans, John Lantigua, Christine Stapleton, Jane Daugherty and Connie Piloto of the Palm Beach Post explore the condition of illegal migrant workers in Florida, finding that "five modern-day slavery cases prosecuted in the past six years by the U.S. government have roots in Florida.
· Masters [ courtesy of Scoop ]
· Modern Day Australia [ courtesy of SMH ]

Sunday, December 14, 2003

The Saudi Connection
David E. Kaplan of U.S. News & World Report spent five months tracing the relationship between Saudi Arabian money and terrorism, finding that over the past 25 years, the desert kingdom has been the single greatest force in spreading Islamic fundamentalism, while its huge, unregulated charities funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to jihad groups and al Qaeda cells around the world. Saudi charities played an important role in a $70 billion campaign to spread the message of the ruling Wahhabi sect. Saudi largess encouraged U.S. officials to look the other way, some veteran intelligence officers say. Billions of dollars in contracts, grants, and salaries have gone to a broad range of former U.S. officials who had dealt with the Saudis:
· ambassadors, CIA station chiefs, even cabinet secretaries [ via Scoop ]

*Real Scoop: CNN: Saddam Caught Like A Rat In A Hole
I don't want to drag the expresident of Czech land into Amerikan presidential race, but there is a moral and civic duty on Vaclav Havel ...I am just curious as many Czech in the blogosphere ...Is Howard Dean electable in his heart?

Some regimes are blogger's wet dream, in the sense that they have absolutely no instinct for morality.
Meanwhile, Australia is shaping up Amnesty International driest nightmare in 21st Century AD.

· Never before has the House of Representatives operated in such secrecy [TomPaine ]
· It is easy fall under the spell of extreme curiosity about what the powerful actually think [ courtesy of Dr Bill McKell, NSW Parliamentary Historian]
· The need to be bolder, take more chances, challenge the notions of traditional journalism [ courtesy of Tim Porter]
Many recent bestselling books have titles stating directly or indirectly that politicians and political partisans in general are flat-out liars; they fabricate, spin, deceive, and prevaricate.
· Politicians, Lying Brain Teasers, Mathematical Puzzles [ via Surfdom ]

The path of least resistance
In his memoir, A World Transformed, George Bush Snr explained why he hadn’t sent his troops storming into Baghdad. "Trying to eliminate Saddam . . . would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible . . . we would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq . . . there was no viable ‘exit strategy’ we could see, violating another of our principles.
· As many have observed, it’s a pity his son can’t read. [ courtesy of Adams ]
This year is Going down in history, film, books and music, more than ever before, old is the new new.
Breakthrough in Berlin Wall
The breakthrough film – the one German film-makers have been after for years – arrived on producer Stefan Arndt's Berlin desk as a five-page fax with much of the text missing.
Five years later, Goodbye, Lenin!, the story of an East German family at the end of the communist era, is the highest grossing European film to date – and it hasn't been released in the US yet. Not bad for a low-budget €5.2million ($8.6 million) art-house venture.

· People don’t like to talk Russian anymore [ courtesy of ABCTales ]
Lessons in humiliation
True humiliation for a novelist in these sales–conscious times notes means having your book turned down because you don't look like Monica Ali, or being thrown out into the street by your publisher of 20 years for being stuck in mid–list inertia. The English novelist responsible for the most scarifying account of literary humiliation ever put into print died a hundred years ago this month. For anyone professionally involved in the world of books, to read a resumé of the melancholy career of George Gissing (1857-1903) is the spiritual equivalent of a dose of castor oil.
· Selling sobering 63 copies [ via Are You Talking About Me? ]
Everybody Gets Lucky Once: The power of winning by sharing
As a male blogger, I feel I have a special duty to women to give them my best links, to extract the most beautiful or the most telling trend, to pay tribute to them with elevated language.
There are far more ways to make an idea "unique and special" than by keeping it private.

· Blog’n kulture [ courtesy of Economist ] [ links via Dina ]

Saturday, December 13, 2003

You never would have guessed that I would give my life for saints/sinners Soros and Hatton! Indeed, John and George will always be my heros; even beyond my grave. (smile) Please note this one teeny, tiny step closer to a less corrupt world. 1996 was the year the one and maybe only uncorruptable politician and genius painter, John Hatton, escaped from NSW politics. It was also the year Open Society Institute’s Programs began one of the foundation’s central efforts to improve the functioning of democracy and, in particular, to promote an understanding of the influence of money on politics and to explore solutions that reduce this influence. OSI’s long-term goals have been to reduce the corrupting influence of very large donors to political parties and candidates, to increase public trust and participation, and to open the system so that candidates without access to financial resources can be heard by voters.

Plague of Worldwide Corruption
The consensus seems to be that political corruption is so rampant and detrimental to the American political body that any measure to slay this monster is welcome. The NY Times ran an editorial titled “ A campaign finance triumph ” and blithely noted:
The Supreme Court delivered a stunning victory for political reform yesterday, upholding the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law virtually in its entirety. The court rejected claims that the law violates the First Amendment, making it clear that Congress has broad authority in acting against the corrupting power of money in politics. The ruling is cause for celebration, but it should also spur Congress to do more to clean up our political system.
· Good Case [ via NYTimes ]
· Campaign Finance [ courtesy of Soros ]

The privatisation of war
$30bn goes to private military
· Fears over 'hired guns' policy
· British firms get big slice of contracts
· Deals in Baghdad, Kabul and Balkans

· Private corporations have penetrated western warfare very deeply [ courtesy of Yahoo Deserters]
Sometimes you learn skills in the communist Czechoslovakia that seem to be always in demand. Anyone needs some powerful powder such as anthrax? (wicked smile) Even Australian troops based in Iraq named a dog Antrax. How much is that doggy in the window? Shopping Mall: Map!

You Cannot Trust Anyone This Days...
London's Mirror goes shopping in the Balkans for Semtex and ends up buying 13.5 kilograms of the stuff (they'd paid for 15). That's enough to do some serious damage.
· There Is No Longer Honour Among Thieves [ courtesy of Scotty]

Where Taliban go to find warm beds and recruits
Weapons are everywhere since the Soviet days in Afghanistan. We can fight for another 15 years. We have Kalashnikovs, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, and explosives. We have all kind of weapons. The only thing we don't have is something to counter B-52s.
· Needed: warriors, not guns [ courtesy of Christian Science]
Cold River: Hot Mega-Sale!
Cold River has come a long way since 1980, and this week it celebrates its spring with 35% off (club members 44.89% off) its Multiformat eBook. Hurry, this sale only lasts through Sunday, December 14.

$2.75 Is this the Cheapest 400 page tome of the brave new eworld of publishing?
One dragon eats quiet slice of humble pie and claims dubious literary history. Lock up your reading loving wives!
· Cold Reality backfires on Dragons: All you need is discount! [ courtesy of Hitting Jackpots]

Classic Literature: To Have or Not to Have
I started Haverleigh yesterday and as the cover promises, I couldn't put it down. I've been moved to tears a few times already. It kind of reminds me a little of Neville Shute's On the Beach, or even an Australian Gone with the Wind. Great for lazing around under the beach umbrella!
· Nothing like a cracking sex scene to open a story, either [ via Sanctuary ]

The literary cash-currency in tulips, hookers, guns, and drugs
Eastern Europe since 1990 has been a crossroads of iron rule, cowboy commerce, old hatreds and new licentiousness. In other words, a place where literature thrives, as it does in the wake of all great upheavals.
· Eastern European fiction [via Bookslut ]
Top 20 Definitions of Blogging
What is a blog? Why blog? Who should blog (journalists, marketers, CEOs, techies, educators, scientists, hobbyists)? Should blogging be pure or can you make money with a blog? Will blogging change everything?
· Globing About [ courtesy of Like a Toy, a Boat...]

Friday, December 12, 2003

It started on a dark and stormy night with the courage and persistence of seven nurses working at Camden and Campbelltown hospitals who complained to management about shoddy care there. The guillotine has been busy, but there are still heads to roll ooo

You are Here to Help Us Enjoy the Unlimited Power
First there was a government spin of all spins about a fictional gun at Cecil High School and now the NSW readers are learning about how the government almost managed to get away with burying its mistakes.
There had been "a whole lot more" patient deaths due to bad management at two south-western Sydney hospitals than the 19 investigated by the Health Care Complaints Commission.

· Too Many Cover Ups [ via SMH Editorial]
It is possible to commit no mistakes -- and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is writer's life ...a life filled with fear of missing out on something, anything, whatever!

Final Fire Sale: serious and comic relief
Sole survivors rarely enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame, particularly when their work covers an obscure escape.
IMRICH, but I am also the least expensive out of the entire collection ...
You can question the literary value of Cold River as much as you like, but I defy you not to find the story evocative. It is hard now to convey what restricted lives we lived in those far off 1970s in Czechoslovakia. We were watched constantly by secret police...

· I've done what I survived for, to bear witness [ via Palm Digital]

Exclusive Deal: @ Fiction Wise
All descriptions of Cold River are, like the escape itself, bound to end in failure, but that has not prevented readers from making the attempt.
Club: List Price:$4.24; You Pay: $2.75; You Save: 44.89%
· Cold River's First & Last Fire Sale: Freedom is worth fighting for, dying for, selling your soul for, and writing for ... [ courtesy of Wisely Sponsored by Google for Christmas]
Corporate citizenship and the role of government
Good corporate citizenship integrates social, ethical, environmental, economic and philanthropic values in the core decision-making processes of a business.
· Public policy case [Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library]

Patricia Andreu and Scott Zamost of NBC6 in South Florida have an undercover investigation of personal injury protection insurance fraud, in which criminals stage accidents and then refer "injured" victims for medical treatment to be billed to insurers.
· Stage [NBC6Scoop ]

Howard Zinn talks about the American government's history of repressing dissent.
· Another McCarthy Era: Dissent [ via Tom Paine]

Newsman doesn't regret his columns
Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer believes he made it into the New York Times' series on race a few years ago because he refuses to pull punches on the topic:
If your goal is honest journalism, I figured, you can't just trot out the preapproved phrases. You have to take a chance. You have to walk out on the wire and try to entice people to look.

· You have to take a chance [ via Romenesko ]

Call it the law of political gravity: What goes down (an economy, a president’s stature) must go up. So why are we always shocked when it happens?
Michael Wolff says people who cover politics are literalists, while politicians are illusionists:
They are engaged in a perceptual act designed to wow the literalists. A further complicating factor is that we literalists know we are being manipulated. But there is no real way to make the act of manipulation the news.

· Reversal of Fortune [ courtesy of Russ ]

Musing & Blogging as Sinful Pleasure
It is amusing to read post by J.D. Lasica to his New Media Musings weblog. Sick with a flu bug, he wrote:
Since blogging is more fun than work (for me, anyway), I'm going to toss off the occasional entry here or there while I'm on the mend.
I doubt that most journalists would choose to continue their workwhile weathering a bad bug, but it doesn't surprise me that blogging doesn't feel like work to Lasica. For many, it really is fun.

· Altruistic Fun [ courtesy of News Media]

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Practical magic - Your initiatives
Send Sydney Morning Herald a brief outline of your organisation's innovative health-care initiatives and we'll publish a selection of them on this website
· A Herald series [ courtesy of]

Having lived through his 34th war, veteran BBC reporter John Simpson reflects on the campaign to oust Saddam Hussein and the media's role in what was the most heavily reported war in history.

Living History
I find the need to go to more and more difficult places, I'm not so keen to go to Switzerland and the US because things are so easy. I like toughness.
· Antony Loewenstein reports [ courtesy of SMH ]

No Gag
Dread that the Jackson "media circus," the O.J.-esque "feeding frenzy" we've witnessed in the last few weeks, will drag on for months, further cheapening the already rather cheesy fabric of American life?
· In the superstar world the most corrosive virus is permission [ courtesy of Phoenix ]

SBS hosted and televised the Walkley Awards
First the TV nightmare and now cold Web revenge...
· Disservices to Journalism [ via BARISTA]
The Insiders
· Whistlers [ via Crikey ]
· Just what sort of exotic dancers? All is revealed
No one is better qualified to write about parliamentary environment than my former boss, Dr Russell Cope. For over 30 years he was the Parliamentary Librarian of the New South Wales Parliament, and generations of parliamentary officers and students of Parliament have found his writings of great interest. Anybody can write a story about the parliamentary rituals, but only a great observer can consistently distill something profound from the stuff of everyday life at Parliament.
· Parliamentary Culture [Blog -City]

Parliament Houses Have Evil Within Them
That the combination of alcohol, stress and tiredness should have been the causes of Andrew Bartlett's uncharacteristic conduct in Parliament last Thursday night points yet again to one thing: Canberra's Parliament House is one of the most destructive working environments in Australia.
When citizens lack confidence in the basic institutions of democracy, the nation is in very deep trouble. Parliament is a great institution that selfish parliamentary clerks are in the process of destroying. Let me count the evils ways in my next book entitled Almost Klokan: (Kangaroo)...( Rumor has it you must live long as it will take me 20 years to finish it =:) smile)
· Parliament is on fire (literally) [ via SMH ]
Wasn't me

I still read a lot of press, the only difference is that now I cut many articles out so that I can blog about them later...
· XRated [ courtesy of Loïc Le Meur's WebLog]

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

It is possible to commit no mistakes -- and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life...
There can be no triumph without loss
No victory without suffering
No freedom without sacrifice

Cold Advise

Meanwhile my short story @ ABCTales received over centenary readers...
Furthermore my long monograph has a dubious honour of being presented on the same page as:
Un Unfinished Life, John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963; Benjamin Franklin; I Am a Soldier, Too; Bill Clinton: An American Journey; (sic) The Jessica Lynch Story; and being stuck between Living History, Hillary Rodham Clinton and miserable failures of Bin Laden & Georges Clemenceau statures...
· Reading Palms Digitally [ courtesy of Google ]
A List Apart: Fantastic Web design and coding resource.
A VC blogs: One more VC weblog, and the quality is as high as the other ones. This one is by Fred Wilson of Flatiron Partners.
Adam Smith Insitute Weblog: Eclectic economics weblog.
BBC News Technology: One of the best tech reporting online.
Geoff Goodfellow: An American in Prague.
BusinessPundit: Weblog completely focussed on business issues.
Chris Putnam: A US high-schooler's weblog.
Erik Benson: Thoughtful, almost philosophical posts by a technologist working at
Fast Company Now: Weblog by some writers at Fast Company.
Forbes Wolfe: On nanotechnology.
David Isenberg: Weblog Guru
Jeffrey McManus: A developer relations manager at eBay.
Loic Le Meur: A French entrepreneur's weblog.
MarketingWonk: Wow, another name change for this fine marketing weblog, formerly known as MarketingFix, erm Up2Speed.
Matt Certo: Internet Strategy weblog by the President of a Web development company.
MobileTracker: On mobile phones and all issues regarding that sector.
Professor Bainbridge: A corporate law professor's eclectic mix of law, business and economics, current events, and wine.
PVR Blog: The case study on how to do the perfect vertical weblog. By Matt Haughey.
Seattle PI Microsoft Blog: Yeah, the name says it all.
Susan Mernit: Media and tech news, gossip,San Francisco Bay area, New York and whatever.
Techdirt: Technology site somewhere in the middle between journalism and weblog.
Tech-Knowlogy: "Detroit Free Press technology columnist Mike Wendland's E-Journal about computers, the Internet and living digitally".
The Entrepreneurial Mind: Dr. Jeffrey R. Cornwall holds the Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

· Recommendations for your Christmas online reading [ courtesy of Stefan Smalla]