Vermont C. “Roy” Royster was editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal from 1958 to 1971. As a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he was still very much a presence in the company. And I always made it a point to read the weekly column he continued providing after he assumed a chair in Journalism and Public Affairs at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Without fear or favour
Monday, December 30, 2013
The Man who understood Safron alerted me to this Forbes story and all those Tax lessons
Last year Mark Zuckerberg caused a kerfuffle by generating what many called the biggest tax bill ever for an individual, about $1 billion in taxes. That was impressive, but much of it was done via withholding as part of his Facebook pay. Besides, Facebook got a tax deduction for every dollar Mark his Jewish example
Saturday, December 28, 2013
The day we met esquire joe hockey and Michael Nolan CHRISTmas in legal terms
“It’s hard to tell authors that it’s worth starting a new relationship with any of these new services,” said Ted Weinstein, an agent in San Francisco. “It is literally an unsustainable business model.”
Here is how Scribd and Oyster work: Readers pay about $10 a month for a library of about 100,000 books from traditional presses. They can read as many books as they want.
“We love big readers,” said Eric Stromberg, Oyster’s chief executive. But Oyster, whose management includes two ex-Google engineers, cannot afford too many of them. This could be called the Sizzler problem. In the 1990s, the steak restaurant chain tried to beef up sales with an all-you-can-eat salad bar, which got bigger as it got more popular. But as more hungry customers came, the chain was forced to lower quality, which caused customers to flee, which resulted in bankruptcy.
“Sure, if you had a buffet and everyone ate everything, it wouldn’t be a profitable business,” said Mr. Adler of Scribd. “But generally people only eat so much.” Only 2 percent of Scribd’s subscribers read more than 10 books a month, he said. These start-ups are being forced to define something that only academic theoreticians and high school English teachers used to wonder about: How much reading does it take to read a book? Because that is when the publisher, and the writer, get paid.
The companies declined to outline their business model, but publishers said Scribd and Oyster offered slightly different deals. On Oyster, once a person reads more than 10 percent of the book, it is officially considered “read.” Oyster then has to pay the publisher a standard wholesale fee. With Scribd, it is more complicated. If the reader reads more than 10 percent but less than 50 percent, it counts for a tenth of a sale. Above 50 percent, it is a full sale.
Both services say the response has been enthusiastic, but neither provided precise numbers. Looming over these start-ups is Amazon, which has already dabbled in the subscription area. Kindle owners who are members of Amazon’s $79 annual Prime shipping service are eligible to borrow from a library of 350,000 titles. The program has had limited impact because users can borrow only one book at a time, and it offers few best-sellers.Partially Read
Friday, December 27, 2013
We build too many walls and not enough bridges.
Mikhail Kalashnikov developed the AK47 to match the firepower of German weapons Mikhail Kalashnikov's automatic rifle became one of the most familiar weapons on the planet. AK47 brings odd memories of Czech army days 1977-79 when Bin Ladin was on CIA side
Thursday, December 26, 2013
"Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission's accomplished": Barton Gellman will have this lengthy article in Tuesday's edition of The Washington Post.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
A number of taxing characters want to know Why Cold River is such a Failure ... The secret is out!
Monday, December 23, 2013
People had made difficult choices in a world in which those choices had perhaps seemed the best possible ones. And suddenly they had to account for those choices in a new world in which all the rules had changed. What might have felt like the best possible decision in difficult circumstances suddenly no longer seemed liked the best possible decision when judged by the gaze of a new world. In some ways this book is my attempt to explain why the fall of communism in Eastern Europe was not a fairy tale’s happy ending. Cold River
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Pritchett knew all about the echo in his short stories:
Like his writing, Nabokov’s scientific obsession with butterflies was rooted in nostalgia. He was a taxonomist in a time machine. Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg, Russia to an aristocratic family, and spent much of his childhood at the family’s country estate in Vrbov of Vyra
The French biographer Pierre Michon is obsessed with uncertainty, with what scholarly inquiries can’t reveal about the lives of artists The Page Is Truth: THE “Taxing Lives” of Pierre MICHON
Teaching people to write is charlatanism, says Geoffrey Hill. More therapy than poetry. “The idea that you write to express yourself is revolting” Media Dragon: poetry should be shocking and surprising
Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky spent his first full day as a free man in the German capital reconnecting with his eldest son and his parents, whom he had not seen during the 10 years he spent in prison in Russia. But even as he recovered in a luxury hotel on Saturday, Mr. Khodorkovsky began planning how to use his newfound freedom, holding meetings with German officials and organizing his first public appearance. One day after he touched down in Berlin following a decision by the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, to pardon him for his crimes, Mr. Khodorkovsky, 50, stayed clear of the knot of cameras and reporters who had gathered outside the Adlon Hotel, desperate for a glimpse of the man who came to symbolize Mr. Putin’s authoritarian reach and intolerance of political critics.Khodorkovsky: a journey beyond hatred
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
When two words will do This is from a headline in the FT this morning: There are occasions when a two word analysis will do. This is one of them. Callous bastard. Not very parliamentary, I know. But totally appropriate.
Monday, December 16, 2013
~Richard Leigh (1649-1728) was a late and rather minor metaphysical poet who poses the question memorably in the beautiful Greatness in Little
More than most of us, poets seem drawn to the very small, and to perceive within minute worlds still smaller worlds. Conceived as fractals in Mandelbrot’s sense, Blake’s grains of sand display levels of self-similarity. The conceit has a playful appeal, like matryoshka dolls, and suggests the existence of a busily mysterious universe. It leaves unresolved the question of where on the scale of worlds we humans dwell. How small are we, and how big? Grains of High Tatra Rocks
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Monday, December 09, 2013
Friday, December 06, 2013
“It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.” (South Africa, 7 July 2000) When people are determined they can overcome anything (Johannesburg, South Africa, Nov. 14, 2006)
~Mandela, like Havel and Hatton, showed us the true meaning of courage and dignity ...Mandela's most inspiring quotes
I Love Bondi, but I live in Rose Bay ... Why? It's my husband's fault, let's just call him The Bondi Curmudgeon. After eight years living in Bondi he gave me a ultimatum. It was either him or Bondi. He won (by the thinnest of margins), and I followed him into 18 months of exile, 78km from Bondi Pavilion. The commute wore out his patience faster than a trip up Bondi Road in peak hour, and he agreed we could live anywhere in Sydney. Except Bondi. My crafty solution is Rose Bay, less than 5kms away from the Bondi Pavilion. Bay of preferences
The government's behavioural insights team, known as the nudge unit, is at the forefront of global efforts to apply lessons from the behavioural sciences to public policy. What the insights show is that when governments better understand the way citizens think, the more effective they can be when encouraging us to act in the public interest. Turning Nudge Theories
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Lots of colleagues came to pay respect to Elaine from Dr cope, to TP ... The absence of Greig and David remains a mystery to most ...
“To me, since death is the most important thing about life (because it puts an end to life and extinguishes further hope of restitution or recompense, as well as any more experience), so the expression of death & the effects of death are the highest planes of literature.”
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Allow me to offer my heartfelt congratulations to the NSW government for the contempt with which it is treating residents of Haberfield (Motorway extension demolishes young family's dreams December 2). As late as last Thursday, Minster Duncan Gay's office was silent on the true proposals of the West Connex project. Then on Friday residents received phone calls or letters stating their properties are to be acquired for the project. To residents, some of 40 years, this is an outrage. Our property is not being acquired, but is now all but unmarketable. Many of my neighbours will be in the same financial mess thanks to the secrecy of this entire saga. The West Connex website is a waste of cyberspace, and Minister Gay's office is an absolute dearth of information. Location of exhaust stacks? Further acquisitions? Who knows? One thing is certain, and that is the smell of legal action currently enveloping the suburb. It is time for the NSW government to compensate all affected residents. Graeme McKay Haberfield Coda: Greater Western Sydney has a population two million and is home to just over one in 11 Australians. It very much represents modern Australia.
Monday, December 02, 2013
― Stephen King, The Stand
The guys and gals at Google honour the voice of the millenium Amazing sound of Maria Callas - that divine voice from Carmen
Nancy's older sister Marie got a job at Australian Paper Mills at Matraville and Nancy began working there aged 14, sorting paper for recycling into cardboard. She also took up her first issue. One of Nancy's work companions said workers were not allowed to take toilet breaks in work time. Nancy thought this was wrong, and she told her fellow employees during their break that they should take off their underpants and wash them in the hand basin. She then took the wet garments and hung them on a line at the bottom of the stairs leading to the boss's office. Nancy Hillier relentless rebel with many causes
― Arthur C. Clarke
“I've never been lonely. I've been in a room -- I've felt suicidal. I've been depressed. I've felt awful -- awful beyond all -- but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me...or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I've never been bothered with because I've always had this terrible itch for solitude. It's being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I'll quote Ibsen, "The strongest men are the most alone." I've never thought, "Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a ****,***, and I'll feel good." No, that won't help. You know the typical crowd, "Wow, it's Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?" Well, yeah. Because there's nothing out there. It's stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I've never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. I hid in bars, because I didn't want to hide in factories. That's all. Sorry for all the millions, but I've never been lonely. I like myself. I'm the best form of entertainment I have. Let's drink more wine!”
― Charles Bukowski
A period of loneliness in his life inspired Uberto Pasolini’s poignant drama Still Life. Let's quote Ibsen, "The strongest men are the most alone" A period of loneliness inspired Still Life
Friday, November 29, 2013
‘If corruption is a disease, then transparency is a central part of its treatment.'~Version of John Hatton as sunlight is the best disinfectant ...
Not even in the most extreme conspiracy theory would we have imagined, before these investigations, how wide and how deeply entrenched and those corrupt networks were.
"The imagination says listen to me. I am your darkest voice. I am your 4 a.m. voice. I am the voice that wakes you up and says this is what I'm afraid of. Do not listen to me at your peril."
~John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation