Friday, December 31, 2004

Bloggers at Front Line of Relief Efforts... Cholera, typhoid and hepatitis stalk survivors... If you want to find out more information about this week's tsunami of biblical proportions in Southeast Asia and how you can help the victims, the best place to go is a new blog in the Indian Ocean region that's compiling everything from requests by organizations seeking donations to victim lists. Blogs are at the forefront of the tsunami recovery effort.
Tsunami tragedy is a reminder of life's fragility but also of the strength that carries on through many of the people who will start to rebuild their lives in the wake of destruction. It is hard to comprehend the complete impact of this earthquake Easing the pain and a sense of promise ...

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The true horror emerges
For vivid reporting from the enormous zone of tsunami disaster, it was hard to beat the blogs.
The so-called blogosphere, with its personal journals published on the Web, has become best known as a forum for bruising political discussion and media criticism. But the technology proved a ready medium for instant news of the tsunami disaster and for collaboration over ways to help.Raw Details From Scene of the Disaster

Across the Indian Ocean rim, stories of incredible devastation emerged as one of the largest and most complex relief efforts ever undertaken swung into action.
The UN said that at least a third of the victims across the region could be children. Carol Bellamy, executive director of Unicef, said: We're concerned about providing safe water and preventing the spread of disease. For children, the next few days will be the most critical.

Lots of Powerless Children Among the Tsunami toll which tops 120,000 [Tsunami Blog ]
• · Asia Tsunami Death Toll Soars Past 77,000, American ABC News
• · · Global aid organisations have launched urgent appeals for donations to help survivors of Sunday's Indian Ocean earthquake disaster Asian disaster: How to help
• · · · Faced with searing images of suffering and grief in South Asia, people are finding an instantaneous way to reach out to tsunami victims: on their home computers Amazon Donations, as at 3 am, 77,412 people donated $4,337,088.57; [Witness the phenomenal response to Amazon's call for tsunami charity -- $3.5 million at midnight ]
• · · · · AS President Bush remakes his administration for his second term, the most important member of his new cabinet may turn out to be the one he was unwilling - or unable - to replace: Treasury Secretary John Snow. The Cabinet of Incuriosities ; [The mandatory sentencing fad that swept the United States beginning in the 1970's has had dramatic consequences - most of them bad. Why Some Politicians Need Their Prisons to Stay Full ]
• · · · · · You Hate Me? I'm Listening... To understand how polarized politics became in 2004, just glance at a blogger's e-mail; [Here's a test of how much trivia you accumulated during this year Pratfalls, Catcalls and Spitballs: A Year in Ephemera ]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Bestest (sic) newspaper in the world, Sydney Morning Herald, Reports and Cares
The sea and wreckage of coastal towns around the Indian Ocean yielded up tens of thousands of bodies today, pushing the toll from Sunday's tsunami close to 71,000. Alexa Moses tells her story: A tsunami, when it approaches, is silent. The sound of roaring thunder ... then screaming. Our resort had about 250 tourists staying in it and perhaps 60 Thai staff. We had watched the tourists dance and eat and drink at the Christmas Eve party on the beach. We don't think more than 20 people survived ... swallowed up by the savage sea Czech out this positive story by Don Arthur Tsunami and clear communication ...
Rich nations have been tight-fisted and too slow in offering help to devastated communities in southern Asia Rich countries poor at lending a hand.
Rejecting a United Nations official's suggestion that it had been a "stingy" aid donor, the Bush administration on Tuesday announced another $20 million in relief for victims of the Asian earthquake and tsunamis and dispatched an aircraft carrier and other ships to the region for possible relief operations. You cannot buy a decent tent in rich areas of Washington and Sydney for $35 Million these days ...
If we donated the equivalent of $5 per person ( a cost of an eBook)...
Canadians would raise $185,500,000
Americans would raise $1,470,000,000
Australians would raise $101,000,000
Britons would raise: $298,000,000
That's $2,054,500,000 on top of what the governments are pledging to give. And that's just 4 nations...
Calculation came via email from a friend of Petra Nemcova

Invisible Hands & Markets: HOT Talk, COLD Reality
Unfortunately, there has been no failure of imagination with respect to what pundits (and Hollywood film directors) tell us is an even worse disaster still to come. That is to say, there has been no failure of them to imagine worst-case scenarios that go beyond the evidence.

Unfortunately, as devastating as Sunday's tsunami was, the recent mismanagement at UNICEF, the United Nation's Children's Fund, may be an even worse disaster. Under the leadership of James Grant, who directed UNICEF from 1980 to 1995, the lives of an estimated 20 million children were saved, but under the leadership of outgoing executive director Carol Bellamy, UNICEF switched from promoting the essential health needs of children to promoting children's rights - and with disastrous consequences.
In a world of unlimited options and bottomless pockets, there would be no conflict between pursuing children's health and children's rights," writes Independent Institute Research Fellow Wendy McElory. "But UNICEF's new report cries out for increased funding precisely because money is limited and all goals cannot be pursued in tandem." McElroy further notes that setting sound priorities will be even more important if overall funding of the U.N. is tightened in the wake of the oil-for-food scandal.
Perhaps 2005 will be a year for setting priorities based on accurate assessments of real-world risk.

• "UNICEF's 'Rights' Focus Is All Wrong," by Wendy McElroy Common Sense [Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be different and exceptional Slightly bigger than a credit card, a flexible 7cm square scanner has been developed to allow any would-be industrial spys to get their copy on, even over non-flat surfaces ]
• · Howard's $11 billion corporate dole program Where’s the mutual obligation with this dole?; [Tax grab on employees costs jobs ]
• · · Harvard University's Sailing Pavilion, which pays $1 a year for its Charles River digs, a working man's club Math Skills in Decline
• · · · The World's Banker: A Story of Failed States, Financial Crises, and the Wealth and Poverty of Nations
• · · · · The Ledger is an economic education newsletter published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston for educators and the general public A Little Reading: The Ledger
• · · · · · Is the iTunes Music Store finally coming to Australia?

It is a little difficult to square the Christmas message of peace on earth ... and the body bags arriving from Mosul. The rise of Christianity was, as is true with all innovations, spiritual or material, a reaction to a bankrupt & intolerable status quo. Do we consider ourselves so unimportant or helpless that we can't imagine that it is within your power to rearrange the status quo, making the world more sensible place to live? Do we think ourself to be so unaware and undiscerning that we let creative destruction just happen to us? Sir Karl Popper: Conjectures and Refutations

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES
As psychologist Victor Frankl observed concerning Hitler's concentration camps. They, even the SS, cannot steal your ability to choose the attitude with which you will address the day.

The average taxpayer -- whether a hawk, a dove, or somewhere in between -- should ask how these white elephants are contributing to countering the main threat--al Qaeda. They don't.
They merely provide welfare for constituent industries and unions that are far from poor. In fact, buying these unneeded systems takes money away from less glamorous, but more urgent, security needs-for example, armor for personnel and vehicles.... Merely throwing wads of cash at the politicized security bureaucracies does not ensure that the troops or the nation is protected.

• SECURITY NOT MEASURED BY MILITARY SPENDING Greater Government Spending Has Not Enhanced National Security [To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all One Christian feeling hijacked by politics ]
• · Ken Mehlman, Bush campaign manager, reveals the bottom-line marketing strategy that led him to victory. It's the exact same strategy that sells cars: market segmentation. If you drive a Volvo and you do yoga, you are pretty much a Democrat," Mr. Mehlman told an assembly of the nation's Republican governors here. "If you drive a Lincoln or a BMW and you own a gun, you're voting for George Bush We are Volvo v. Lincoln nation
• · · A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War
• · · · The last personality cults: Self-obsessed despots are out of fashion in most places, but not in North Korea, Turkmenistan and Togo Toughs at the top ; [Nahr al-Bard: Well on March 2nd, 1973, Yasser Arafat transmitted by shortwave radio orders to eight Black September operatives who were holding Ambassador Noel and his deputy Curt Moore hostage in the basement of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan. He issued orders to murder them under the code name Cold River twice I Call Him the World's Longest-Living Terrorist]
• · · · · If the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, then it is necessary to take a step back from the transient issues of the day, which so often transfix our capital city, and assess the state of liberty in America. Is American Liberty Imperiled? ; [The Voting Booth Project: Where Art and Democracy Meet? Anatomy of a Vote: A barrel of monkeys, a barrel of fun ]
• · · · · · 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? Reversal of Riches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Forwards this Tsunami Relief Site

Tsunami Toll: Millions Now Need Help: Tassie quake linked to Asian disaster
An undersea earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami across southern Asia was set in motion by another quake off the coast of Tasmania last week, a seismologist said.
At least 12,600 people are believed to have been killed as a result of Sunday's earthquake and tsunami waves which swamped the coasts of Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and the Maldives, and measured 9.0 on the Richter scale.
The quake's precursor was a smaller but "very large" undersea quake - measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale - which hit about 900 kms south-east of the Tasmanian coast at 1.59am (AEDT) on Thursday, the seismologist said.
While it caused no damage and was barely felt by anyone in Australia, Geoscience Australia duty seismologist Dr Cvetan Sinadinovski said the Tasmanian quake set the scene for a much larger tectonic disturbance.
The fact that it also occurred on Boxing Day - which also was just two days before the anniversary of Australia's 1989 Newcastle tremor - was purely coincidence...
• · The Indo-Australian plate is moving northwards at a speed of seven centimetres per year ; [A Rare Tsunami, and a Change in Geography ]
• · · Tsunami Will Require Biggest UN Relief Drive
• · · · The Earthquake: So Catacylsmic It Literally Moved An Island
• · · · · With No Alert System, Indian Ocean Nations Were Vulnerable
(See also yesterday’s links below)

Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
PSALM 126:5-6

Viktor Yushchenko claimed victory today in the rerun of Ukraine's presidential election Yushchenko turns the tables

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Our children are smarter than French kids
But dumber than Canadian kids
For many years, James Bau Graves has been thinking about culture and how our cultural values and choices are influenced by political and economic power. Arts by the people and for the people

We like Indian spices in our home-cooked meals. We're preoccupied with bottoms. Our children are smarter than French kids but dumber than Canadian kids. And almost everything about our lives is getting better.
Those are a few of the insights Australians received about themselves in 2004. It's time to pick through the avalanche of survey data released this year and assess what we learned.
The most exciting discovery was a fat report from the Bureau of Statistics called Measures of Social Progress 2004, which raised the possibility that every day in every way we're getting better and better.

Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek sends you tumbling back toward reality. Far from attaining a better life, consumerists experience alienation and fear. Always wanting more, their sense of accomplishment is ephemeral and they are strangers to contentment. Always in danger of losing what they have but do not own, a sense of urgency and futility are their constant companions.
More healthy, more wealthy: a year of living easier [[Don't Lose Sight of the Real Scandal War on the Floor of UN; Politics: Top 100 links in the world Quiet, or I'll call democracy ]
• · The powerful impulse at the root of suburbanization is the simple desire of ordinary people everywhere to own a piece of land, however humble, where they and their families may live in relative comfort and peace. The suburban house is the idealization of every immigrant’s Dream—the vassal’s dream of his own castle
• · · James Carroll reminds us that the birth of Jesus represented a challenge to greed and empire The Politics Of Baby Jesus; Robert Conquest's The Dragons of Expectations
• · · · Perhaps the tragedy in Mosul should best be viewed in the perspective of history and not the passions of the moment, and in light of other wars that at times went badly and not as planned Nuts: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death
• · · · · This week a US woman paid $50,000 for a kitten cloned from her dead pet. The process is risky and misguided The immoral in pursuit of the inimitable
• · · · · · Jesus was for "the least" of us; he was for the poor, sick, hungry and downtrodden. He was radically egalitarian, hanging out with prostitutes and beggars. He was the model of a bleeding-heart do-gooder. If only politicians would shut up about Christianity and instead work harder at living like the bloke who inspired it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 27, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 26, 2004

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

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

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

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

Bush waving not drowning

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Capitalizing on a Politician's Clout
Chuck Neubauer and Ted Rohrlich of the Los Angeles Times investigated the family connections of Rep. Maxine Waters, finding that “family members have made more than $1 million in the last eight years by doing business with companies, candidates and causes that the influential congresswoman has helped.” The story is the latest in a series of articles by The Times tracing the activities of elected officials’ relatives.

The husband, daughter and son of Rep. Maxine Waters have business links to people the influential lawmaker has aided.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters' family members have made more than $1 million in the last eight years by doing business with companies, candidates and causes that the influential congresswoman has helped.
In varied ways, they have capitalized on clout she accumulated in a 28-year career as an elected official who built her power base among African Americans in South Los Angeles into a national platform.
Waters has built a strong political base from the under-represented and disenfranchised with a trademark in-your-face style and attention to issues that affect minorities, the poor, women, children, AIDS patients and prisoners.

Special place in the hearts and minds of a lot of African Americans
• · As Davidson Loehr mentioned a few weeks ago (in “ The Corporation Will Eat Your Soul” ), Fortune magazine ran a cover story on Mussolini in 1934, praising his fascism for its ability to break worker unions, disempower workers and transfer huge sums of money to those who controlled the money rather than those who earned it. Living Under Fascism [ You may know the story of the frog and the scorpion. A scorpion wanted to cross a swift river, and asked a frog to carry him on his back. The frog asked “How do I know that you won’t sting and kill me as soon as you get on my back?” “Well,” answered the scorpion, who was good with words when he wanted something, “then I wouldn’t be able to get across the river.” “Well,” said the frog, “then how do I know that you won’t sting and kill me as soon as we’re across the river?” “Oh,” said the scorpion, “because I’ll be so grateful for the ride, why would I want to kill you then?”]
• · · Tragedy like this bring many sad memories Who would have thought that in the middle of summer Morava would be as freezing? I still get cramps just thinking about the temperature of the water ... Four members of a family drowned yesterday when a father and his two brothers tried to save his 12-year-old daughter from a rock pool during a Christmas trip to a western Victoria national park. Four members of family drown in rock pool ; The bodies of three children have been found in a van that plunged down a bank into a river in New Zealand. Awakino River ; Casting light on the shadows of drowning tragedy
• · · · Welcome Powerline and Instapundit readers! Glenn and the PL guys were very kind to link to this letter. They got a couple things wrong: first, I am Brian Mattson, and Cpt. Dan is my brother. No nativity scenes or festive cheer in this part of the world
• · · · · An uncertain outlook? Ten Surprises for 2005
• · · · · · Pvt. Federico Daniel Merida, 21, of Biscoe, a tiny town south of Asheboro, pleaded guilty during a court-martial in Iraq to shooting the Iraqi national guard private Falah Zaggam

Naughty and Nice Santa suggests getting naughty pillows for your Girlfriend or Wife This Secret Santa was a Little TOO Secret

Tracking Trends Great & Small: The Persuaders
Men are more likely to want to marry women who are their assistants at work rather than their colleagues or bosses Why men are attracted to subordinate women

Each year, legions of ad people, copywriters, market researchers, pollsters, consultants, and even linguists—most of whom work for one of six giant companies—spend billions of dollars and millions of man-hours trying to determine how to persuade consumers what to buy, whom to trust, and what to think.
Increasingly, these techniques are migrating to the high-stakes arena of politics, shaping policy and influencing how Americans choose their leaders.

Cross Pollination [They spend their days sifting through reams of market research data. They conduct endless surveys and focus groups. They comb the streets, the schools, and the malls, hot on the trail of the "next big thing" that will snare the attention of their prey--a market segment worth an estimated $150 billion a year.
Merchants of Cool ]
• · The Guru of marketing, Jim F. Kukral (Kral means king in Slavic languages) Blog To Riches
• · · Memory loss apparently has its advantages, but I'm here to remind you what 2004 was all about. Remember these? A chemical breast, Christoids vs Halloween
• · · · Love 'em or hate 'em, these guys were hot in 2004Celebs Go Up: Entertainment highs in '04; [John Hart Ely wrote in Democracy and Distrust that the continuance of democracy depends on the meticulous cultivation among citizens of distrust in government. We should all, he argues, be so many jumpy watchdogs. On one level he’s right. We citizens should cast a skeptical eye on all claims made by governing officials and hold them accountable for choices good and ill. But intellectual skepticism about policy is perfectly compatible with efforts to encourage citizens’ trust of one another, and, more importantly, their trustworthiness in the eyes of others. Turning Strangers into Political Friends ]
• · · · · The odds are that when you fire up your browser, you go straight to your favourite search engine The year search became personal
• · · · · · Liberty is indivisible. Our commitment to it is not tested by easy cases: a fair trial for a middle-class Anglo-Saxon accused of driving offences; or a fair hearing for a critic of foundation hospitals or top-up fees. We are tested by hard cases: the potential terrorist who threatens to kill hundreds or even thousands; or the playwright whose work seems to insult deeply held religious beliefs. On such criteria, we often turn out to be less liberal than we thought we were The principles of freedom ; [TRUTH ABOUT TERRORISM ]
• · · · · · Text of Pope's Christmas Day message [An amazing trend is emerging in my old country more foreigners are dipping their toes in the healing springs on my grandfather’s land in Vrbov and tourists love the ancient region of Spis. It is great to see so many strangers to exploit Spis Castle which ovelooks the residence of my cousin Andrej Imrich

Saturday, December 25, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SINGLE most important fact about the birth of Jesus, as recounted in the Gospels, is one that receives almost no emphasis in the American festival of Christmas. The child who was born in Bethlehem represented a drastic political challenge to the imperial power of Rome. The nativity story is told to make the point that Rome is the enemy of God, and in Jesus, Rome's day is over. The politics of the Christmas story
Speaking of Santa, have you heard of the patented Santa Detector (U.S. Patent 5,523,741)? For all of you non-believers, I guess this means that the U.S. government acknowledges the existence of Santa Claus. To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act: Anatole France

Eye on Politics, Peace & Christmas: Democracie are like fires. They go out when left unattended...
T here has been so much violence in Iraq that it's become hard to distinguish one senseless act from another. But there was a picture that ran on the front page of this newspaper on Monday that really got to me. It showed several Iraqi gunmen, in broad daylight and without masks, murdering two Iraqi election workers.

Opinion polls show a big majority of Poles want their troops out of Iraq and also want Europe to have a common defense policy, something Washington views as a possible threat to the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Washington's ebbing influence in this most pro-American swath of Europe reflects a broader phenomenon this series of articles has explored: Some of the largest challenges facing the U.S. now flow from the sources of its great power.
Its democratic domestic politics can leave it deaf to even its closest friends abroad. America's sheer size and might breed resentment and, in the geopolitical marketplace, stir competition. Its economic example spurs Europe to band together to compete. Its faith in elections prompts an effort, in Iraq and Afghanistan, to impose democracy through arms. For many abroad, America's goals inspire, but its actions often exasperate.

Why Does Lech Walesa Question Amerika? ; [Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune Democracy Stalls Around the Globe; New York Daily News editorial Darkest before dawn of freedom; China's Third Way could collapse if it goes wrong The snake and the hedgehog]
• · If Richard Face had still been a policeman, he might have been jailed. But arguably because he was a politician he got off with a $2500 fine and a three-year good behaviour bond for lying to the corruption watchdog. Richard Face, former father of the House
• · · Determining parliamentary parties: a real status symbol ; [Sharon Beder takes a look at the increasing use of ‘strategic lawsuits against public participation’, or SLAPPs, by corporations against individual citizens and groups for exercising their democratic rights. Democratic Audit of Australia, Australian National University (PDF file) ]
• · · · The Australian Democrats pride themselves on being a really democratic party. But can they continue to allow all rank and file members to influence policy-making? Policy-making in the Democrats: Time for a Chat ; [ Only the bold need apply ]
• · · · · A touch of madness could be a criterion for membership of the NSW Parliament. Anybody well versed in the tried-and-true maxims of politics accordinnnnng to Yes Minister will be puzzled by the hopes and curious expectations raised in this charmingly told story. Chika: Aiming for the top ; [The only weakness of this Moravian is that you are a hothead... Have you considered anger-management classes? If I couldn't control my temper, half of Prague's journalists would be running around without teeth Mirek Topolanek ]
• · · · · · Remember conspiracy: just because someone with a lot to lose if he's proven wrong says he isn't wrong, doesn't mean he isn't wrong. Uh-oh! I'm channeling Ex-Governor John G. Rowland; [Essential Reading: Provided by the United States Government ]

Friday, December 24, 2004

Don Arthur Halelujas Christmas gifts and the Diderot effect

Ach, that special Grandfather Frost
Mother Russias children are disappearing rapidly. There are 160 deaths for every 100 live births. Cardiovascular disease is on the march. Sexually transmitted infections are rampant. The causes are varied, and solutions are elusive, but one thing is clear: Big bad trouble is looming.

Invisible Hands & Markets: Funny kind of guerilla
David, the one and only Barista who deserves the ownership of the Starbucks chain, was the kind of child who adored cubby houses. When visitors came, I had to be dragged away from building mines under the house. Eventually I got into big trouble for setting fire to the roof of one wth my home made miner's lamp. My family would suggest that David and I have a lot in common (smile)

I still love tents. And wee hoosies in the back yard. I have lived in a succession of granny flats; the best had tons of louvers. At a purchase price of just $35,000 this is a genuine short-term housing option that could be used in a variety of applications. It is lightweight, transportable, requires no more skill to erect than an Ikea product, and is very affordable." says Col James, the architect. Bit of glass might help, and some flywire.

• (B)ankers Beware: Child-Turned-Adult Passion Heralds the End of the Era of Mortgages [One of NSW's oldest boarding schools, Hurlstone Agricultural High School, maintains "traditions of bullying and preferencing" where senior students claim privileges over younger ones. The Experiences of the Nitra Army Baracks and The Bear Pit found at Schools as well]
• · Why Are So Many Insiders Selling? Major white collar crime will impact the U.S. economy over the next five years. Note that they wrote will. Not could Three Years After Enron It Looks Like No One Learned a Thing ; [PUBLIC PENSIONS, PRIVATE JACKPOTS: Some government workers retire with big payouts -- funded by you ]
• · · In a sign of Australia's worsening skills shortage, a Victorian transport company has hired 60 "guest" welders from China because it cannot attract locally based tradespeople. Fly-in fly-out; [My Deakin University course in anthropology is starting to pay off at Christmas time: It's good to be seen to give. o post cards and send presents is no mere, harmless indulgence. They are invariably dispatched by social inferiors seeking to curry favour with their superiors. One author explains why he won't be sending any cards or gifts this Christmas ]
• · · · Every now and again a person who reads the newspaper learns something interesting that people who don’t read the newspaper only learn by first hand experience A New Way to Pay Old Debts ; [Let’s say that again: There is no Social Security crisis: 2029 (25 years to go!) The Reality is written in Kabalah; just open your eyes]
• · · · · A multimillion-dollar jury award against Todd McFarlane Bankruptcy latest twist for Valley's McFarlane; [A gang of thieves escaped with as much as $76 million from a bank in Northern Ireland National Australia Bank]
• · · · · · So a comic walks into a bar, does a set and still can't feed his kids. Or his pets. Or his pets' kids. So what does he do? He gets a lawyer, forms a coalition and threatens to strike. Hardened by decades of low wages and even lower self-esteem, some 300 New York comedians have decided to unite to ask the city's comedy clubs for, well, A little respect. (Oh, and more pay) ;
*Reality flash: iPod Users Switch to Mac OS X
For the Wall Street Journal, Tim Hanrahan and Jason Fry write, “In Monday’s column, we predicted that the combination of the iPod’s popularity and the increasing worry over viruses, security holes and spyware in Windows PCs will lead to the second coming of Apple Computer as a home-computing power. To say that struck a chord would be putting it mildly. Boy, did we ever get mail — including a significant number of people who said that the iPod, Windows security concerns or a combination of the two had made them switch to a Mac or plan to do so.” [Paid WSJ subscription required.]

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 23, 2004

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

Dear Colleagues,

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

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

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