Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day, although not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1 ... Includes hoaxes, pranks, gag gifts, trivia, history, quotes, messages, funny party ideas and April Fool recipes. The Motley Fool: Prophets of note

Setting goals can be useful, so long as you know what the right goals are. But as Drake Bennet points out, life is so damned complicated... Ready, aim ... fail (Fail Better ;-)

It's the greatest show on Earth Seriously
Everyone else is getting a bailout. Why not the publishing industry? Democracies need books as much as they need banks and cars. One did not only read God’s word; one touched it. Many of us are old enough to remember when families routinely kissed the Bible. It is difficult to imagine lavishing the same loving attention on the computer screen.

Like a lot of writers, I am wondering when Congress and the administration will propose a bailout for the publishing industry. Carnage is everywhere. Advances slashed, editors fired, publicity at subsistence levels, entire imprints vanished into thin air. Moreover, unlike some of the industries that the government, in its wisdom, has decided to subsidize, the publishing of books is crucial to the American way of life.
As the literary critic J. Hillis Miller has noted, an online text has a “fragile, fleeing, and insubstantial existence” compared to a book. A book is forever. A screen of text is not.
Cold War River: Stalin would kill not just you for the wrong thoughts: he would kill your family, down to the last child. Not even the Czar at his worst did that…

Books are essential to American life, and if publishing perishes; [A tale of sadness and forgetting. It may be hard to believe, but Milan Kundera informed on one of his countrymen in 1950. The man got 14 years hard labor... A Tale of Sadness and Forgetting; Marx was wrong. The opiate of the masses isn’t religion, but spectator sports and arts. It is easy to forget how close we remain to the prehistoric men and women who first found beauty in the world Our art instinct is theirs ; Down with Facebook: not just because of the fake “friends,” but because of the stultifying mind-numbing inanity of it all, the sheer boredom …Let’s face it, Twitter marks an advance in freedom and any backlash against it is doomed. For the fault lies not in our Tweets but in ourselves. How we love to put our Twitter faces on ;]
• · From TED, Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for "practical wisdom" as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy The real crisis? We stopped being wise; An except from So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government by Robert G. Kaiser Robert Kaiser is the ultimate Washington insider: part of inside the beltway
• · Historians speculate that the modern tattoo arrived in Russia in the nineteenth century care of English sailors, who mixed with Russian criminals when misbehavior got them jailed while docked in Russian ports. The English yen for tattooing can be traced to the explorer James Cook, who encountered tattoos while visiting Tahiti in 1769. The Tattoo Archipelago ; The credit crisis has provided a series of unpleasant lessons about the importance of financial services. The first lesson was about credit: we began to realise that it would not always be possible to extend our overdrafts or refinance our mortgages cheaply. The second lesson, as queues formed outside Northern Rock, was about savings: there is no iron law of economics that says that the money in your savings account is 100 per cent safe. L Does nobody want to take money from the poor?
• · · On the surface, it might seem that more and better information about the government’s decisions (and decision-making processes) is always preferable, especially if the information is provided before events transpire. In Defense of Secrecy ; What Galileo and Darwin should really be remembered for: making us feel smaller
• · · · What would it be like to be brought up by George Orwell? Pretty grim, you might think. You would be wrong George Orwell's son speaks for the first time about his father; The economic downturn is a profound threat to the autocratic regimes of the world, from China and Russia to Venezuela and the Persian Gulf states Tinted life
• · · · · Womanizer, bribe-taker, statesman—the cynically brilliant Talleyrand inspired an equally colorful biographer Charm Offensive; Behind the carefully constructed persona of suburban squire, John Cheever waged a tumultuous battle against himself.. Behind the carefully constructed persona of suburban squire, John Cheever waged a tumultuous battle against himself—a struggle that only found its way into his very last works of fiction Commuter Literate
• · · · · · Warren Buffett is a fabled investor and money manager who has earned a fortune for himself while enriching others, and done so without the aid of Arabian oil, a rich father, or clever financial arrangements The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life ; We don’t need a “new capitalism.” We need to go back to a truer, deeper understanding of Adam Smith, A.C. Pigou, and other thinkers, says Amartya Sen - Story set to light up our era Capitalism Beyond the Crisis ; Newspapers have not really so much lost readers as lost the ability to monetize them. There is hope yet, as James DeLong explains Preparing the Obituary: Have that drink, media dragon!
• · · · · · · It is given to very few writers of fiction to create an imperishable character. Let us give thanks then to John Mortimer for Horace Rumpole, old rogue and old hero of the Old Bailey Mortimer Rests His Case