Thursday, April 25, 2013

Toward Eternity at Howell: MeDia Dragon Bohemian Heroes Orwell & Havel

Plainly Anzac Day is more important to us all than Australia Day, if attendances at Dawn services are anything to go by What does it mean to be 'Australian'?

After Orwell - on the wait for a truly political modern British writer After Howell is Settled ... ~ So it is a boon to Anglophone literature that New York's Theater 61 Press has published The Havel rock n roll:-) Collection, allowing non-Czech speakers to read a significant selection of Havel's plays for the first time. These five volumes, featuring eight plays, are the most comprehensive collection of Havel's plays published in English to date After Havel a Collection of Memories

Spies like us Spooks, oligarchs and spin in Le Carré’s modern-day London. John Gapper reviews ‘A Delicate Truth’ Spies like us

James Bond of Eternal Drinking ~ Another Jack travelling through Yugoslavia

How to Tell a Joke on the Internet ~ A serious non compliance writer uses his Amazon success as somewhat of a personal ad for a “research assistant”. Best-Selling Author Seeks Female Participant for Erotic Novel Research

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Domino Effect

Interconnectedness and Systemic Risk: Lessons from the Financial Crisis and Policy Implications Complex links among financial market participants and institutions are a hallmark of the modern global financial system. Across geographic and market boundaries, agents within the financial system engage in a diverse array of transactions and relationships that connect them to other participants. Indeed, much of the financial innovation that preceded the most recent financial crisis increased both the number and types of connections that linked borrowers and lenders in the economy Two Degrees of Syststic Separation

Abstract Taxpayer compliance research has tended to focus on why people evade their taxes rather than on why the vast majority of people do willingly comply with their tax obligations. Whilst tax administrations globally seek to improve the efficiency of their revenue collections, there is growing recognition of the need to have a deeper understanding of why taxpayers comply voluntarily. A person’s internal motivations to comply are commonly characterised as his/her ‘tax morale’, the ‘key’ to the puzzle of understanding taxpayer compliance behavior. Behaviour

Seminal dispute resolution theorists Ury, Brett and Goldberg said that: ‘[D]isputes are inevitable when people with different interests deal with each other regularly.’1 Echoing this, the current Australian Commissioner of Taxation (the Commissioner), has recently said: ‘[I]n relation to the application of tax law to complex facts, some level of disputation is inevitable.’ Tax Disputes System Design

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

All that I have written now seems so much straw

“How I love the dying words of St.Thomas Aquinas: “All that I have written now seems so much straw!” Finally he saw. At the very last minute. He knew—and he was wordless.
If it takes ninety-nine years to attain such a moment, fine! We are all bound up with the creator in the process. The ninety-eight years are so much sticks of wood to kindle the fire. Its the fire that counts.”
 —  Henry Miller, “My Aims and Intentions”

“Where readers used to see, perhaps, a paragraph thanking the writer’s editor and agent, a few key researchers, and maybe a family member or two, now we are confronted with a chapter-long laundry list of name after name. [Sheryl] Sandberg’s seven-and-a-half page section, for instance, thanks more than 140 people for contributing to her 172 page book.”
Rulers of my childhood in the good old straw peppered Czechoslovakia ~ –The New Republic

Story-telling has evolved from ancient rock markings to the current age, where brands are able to effectively tell their stories via blog posts and social media dragons platform. No matter how fast we leap from first childhood to second childhood of grand fatherhood our brains still respond to content by looking for the story to make sense out of the experience. No matter what the technology, the meaning starts in the brain Seven great escapes in children’s literature

Trends Beyond Bitcoins, New York New York ...

“The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.”
― Tom Waits

It might seem that Bitcoin is just like a fiat currency issued by governments. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Jack Hough says precisely that it's a purely online currency with no intrinsic value; its worth is based solely on the willingness of holders and merchants to accept it in trade. In that respect, it's not so different from fiat currencies like the dollar or Euro, but whereas governments back such money, Bitcoins lack central control.
Historically, money arose from, and in conjunction with, this power. (This point has been made repeatedly over the years, most recently in David Graeber’s controversial Debt: The First 5000 Years , a surprise publishing hit for an anthropologist Bitcoins Anthropology of Trust

The art and culture site Animal inserted a letter purporting to be from New York Post Editor Col Allan into some copies of the paper Friday Pranksters insert ‘apology’

According to a report in the Courier-Mail, Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls has just announced the sale of seven government buildings in the Brisbane CBD. This transaction has all the dodgy features we’ve come to expect from Queensland asset sales
* The buyers are “assorted funds managed by the [state-owned] Queensland Investment Corporation”. So, as often seems to be the case, we are selling assets to ourselves Nicholls says “the sale proceeds will be used to reduce state debt. The government will also save about $130 million in interest payments.” Of course, this is double counting – the whole point of reducing debt is to save interest payments. But what does the $130 million Double Counting

Monday, April 22, 2013

Shakespeare, Proust, Holly Grail

"I do think that if a book is really well written, it's terribly difficult to see how it's done. I think it's part of the mystery of writing that the real great hands always conceal how they do it. And an awful lot of bad writing is due to people trying to write like great writers and not really seeing that the outer covering has nothing to do with it at all."
Anthony Powell, interviewed by Michael Barber (Paris Review, Spring-Summer 1978)

This selfish desire - let’s not pretend it is an altruistic or philanthropic urge - is nowadays catered for under the aegis of “creative writing”. In the UK and elsewhere in Europe, this is a fairly new state of affairs. But in the US, where “creative writing” has been on the scene for longer, many universities operate a policy of basic segregation: there is an “English” (or “literature”) department and a “creative writing” department, and the two lead separate existences, in a strange sort of academic isolation. However, things are changing. The relationship between “English” and “creative writing”, especially in the UK, is shifting. Composition

Hoarder, moneylender, tax dodger — it's not how we usually think of William Shakespeare

THE EARTH, AS I can feel it, is pressed together at points and ruptured in parts. And so events seem to fold into each other, like burial and birth. It’s not like the smooth and undulating beauty of a ribbon streaming out. No. The earth buckles with the stories it holds of all those who have cried and all those who have croaked

A rare psalm book from 1640 could fetch between $15 million to $30 million at a Sotheby's auction on Nov. 26 in New York. Holy Grail of Rare Cold River Hymnal Stories Could Fetch $30M "Spraying cold water on a witch hunt is one of the duties that a critic should be ready to perform." By the Book

Proust famously preferred to write in bed, and, between chronic illness and predisposition, ended up spending much of his life there. “It is pleasant, when one is distraught, to lie in the warmth of one’s bed, and there, with all effort and struggle at an end, even perhaps with one’s head under the blankets, surrender completely to howling, like branches in the autumn wind,” he wrote in “Pleasures and Regrets,” his first book, a collection of prose poems, philosophical reflections, and sketches, published in 1896, when he was twenty-five THE THRILL OF PROUST’S HANDWRITING

Australians often forget just how odd our flora and fauna seem to Europeans.  That Wallace Line which defines the boundary between our fauna and what’s in the rest of the world was only recognised in 1859, but long before that travellers’ tales were full of strange rats, greyhounds that hopped (i.e. kangaroos), swans that were black in defiance of Aristotle*, and double-ended reptiles.  Curious Minds is the story of the naturalists who came to our shores and began to identify and classify our strange world. * Aristotle used the example of white swans as an irrefutable fact, i.e. because all swans were white, etc. Black Swan Event

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fanatical Terrorists Creating the New Normal

There is no great sport in having bullets flying about one in every direction, but I find they have less horror when among them than when in anticipation.
Umberto Eco

US authorities are investigating if the Boston Marathon bombing Russian American suspect killed in a shootout was a follower of controversial Australian Muslim cleric Sheik Feiz Mohammed The family of the brothers are ethnic muslim Chechens

As I try to grasp the significance of the fact that a Chechen named Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a member of the ethnic group I have been studying for years at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and writing on for years in scholarly journals (that I have hosted on my website at under Publications), reached out to me to learn about his people, then committed an unspeakable act of terrorism in Boston, I wanted to mention the one thing that is notably missing in this story. The Chechen people. Most Americans know very little about this small Muslim ethnic group. While nothing can legitimize the despicable act of terrorism perpetrated by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, I believe ethnic and historical background might provide some much needed context.
First of all, the Chechens I have met, including the members of the small tight knit community here in Boston, tend to be a rather Sovietized, secularized, moderate Muslims. The ones I know tend to emulate George Washington for freeing the 13 colonies from British oppression. The Chechens dream of the same thing for themselves from their historic nemesis, imperial Russia/Soviet Union/the post-Soviet Russian Federation. Marked Souls ~ Tsarnaev Brothers

We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love.
R. D. Laing

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Death, Drinks & Taxes

A new drug is out. Everyone is talking about it. Death. Take it, and you have one amazing week to live. It's the ultimate high. At the ultimate price ~ Drinks From Behind The Iron Curtain

For young Soviets, the Beatles were a first, mutinous rip in the iron curtain ~ The band inspired dissidents and musicians. Vasin was a diehard Beatles fan. The Beatles' music had given him, he said "all the adventures of my life", for which "I was arrested many times, accused of 'breaching social order'. They said anyone who listened to the Beatles was spreading western propaganda." More than that, in the USSR, the Fab Four "were like an integrity test. When anyone said anything against them, we knew just what that person was worth. The authorities, our teachers, even our parents, became idiots to us." Beatles drowning in cold river

On Friday President and Mrs. Obama released their most recent tax return for the entire world to see.  They continued a longstanding tradition of sitting presidents releasing their returns, even though no law requires that they do so. The tradition began under the late President Richard Nixon The IRS Should Report on Tax Returns Filed by Members of Congress Forget about the Bahamas, Panama, Cayman Islands, or Fiji. If you want to avoid paying taxes and have no problem with dicey business practices, Europe has a lot to offer.
Europe is far from innocent in the international offshore tax evasion industry, as the Tax Justice Network (TJN) recently demonstrated. Many European countries, with their stable infrastructure and professional personnel, provide fertile ground for businesses or individuals to evade taxes The 'who's who' of European tax havens

Avoinding taxes odd strategies Tax competition – in which countries fight to lower taxes – not only hits the poor, it doesn't even help the economy grow Heard that countries should 'compete' on tax ~ THE GREAT DIVIDE: Tax System Stacked Against the 99 Percent 99%

With growing availability of the Internet around the world, double-digit growth rate, and stronger-than-ever financial reports of the major players in this market jurisdiction free (Google, Facebook and the like), online advertising is expected to be a key player in the twenty first century global economy Digital Reality Bitcoins Bitdragons

Congress could control the IRS’s abuse of the tax law. Using insights from the literature of administrative oversight, this Article proposes that Congress provide standing on third parties to challenge IRS actions. If properly designed and implemented, such “fire-alarm oversight” would permit oversight at a significantly lower cost than creating another oversight board. At the same time, it would be more effective at finding and responding to IRS abuse of the tax system and would generally preserve the IRS’s administrative discretion in deciding how to enforce the tax law. Monopoly on Truth

Memory is like a Chest

“I think memory is the most important asset of human beings. It’s a kind of fuel; it burns and it warms you. My memory is like a chest: There are so many drawers in that chest, and when I want to be a fifteen-year-old boy, I open up a certain drawer and I find the scenery I saw when I was a boy in Kobe. I can smell the air, and I can touch the ground, and I can see the green of the trees. That’s why I want to write a book.”
― Haruki Murakami

The notion of fate lies at the heart of the book. Ursula's seemingly insignificant choices transform the course of her life.

 In Salon (Slovakia), in To hesitate is fine, Ilma Rakusa discusses the national labeling of writers “Europa has the shape of my brain ~ Forgotten authors ripe for rediscovery The curse of the forgotten authors ~ Agent Query Letters That Actually Worked for Nonfiction

       The Festival spisovatelů Praha ran 17 through 19 April; yes, I'm a bit late with that news, but nevertheless Siegfried Mortkowitz's Preview: Prague Writers' Festival in The Prague Post is worth a look for information about the risky literary trends ~ a lifetime of unpacking the tragic ironies of Communism in gorgeously intricate prose miniatures Makine has been compared to Stendhal, Tolstoy and Proust ~ DOING THEIR BEST WORK AT NIGHT: Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, and other artists. If I had my way, I’d still keep my student schedule of staying up until 3:30, and arising at noon.

Liesl Schillinger on Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings: “This theme of self-invention is the subject of most of the great American novels, from “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to “The House of Mirth” to “The Great Gatsby.” Enveloping and thoughtful, Wolitzer’s novel describes this process in a fresh and forgiving way.” That misanthropic wag H. L. Mencken once wrote that his definition of happiness included "a comfortable feeling of superiority to the masses of one's fellow men" - something he suggested was more easily achieved in this country than elsewhere Happiness

Hector Tobar on Laleh Khadivi’s The Walking: “…a book that manages to convey painful truths with a rare combination of grit and tenderness. That makes it not just an important addition to the literature of California’s immigrants, but also a universal story of suffering and resilience told with elegance and compassion.”

Kent Shaw on Mary Szybist’s Incarnadine: “… sophisticated, wry, faithful, divine, contradictory, tragic and allusive. Deeply allusive. Which is the nature of faith, the Human History of faith.” Everyone has angels, but who has an angel’s child

 Good and evil are the twin opposites of our ethical compass, and the struggle between good and evil is a conceit that powers the narratives of a huge variety of literature. Stories, from religious texts to fantasy novels, depict good protagonists fighting against evil antagonists for the salvation or protection of the world. The problem of the portrayal of evil in such narratives, though, is that although it evil meant to be an inscrutable monolith, it is nonetheless fascinating. A look at evil in literature
Counter and Strange: Contemporary Catholic Literature Catholicism is made of “all things counter, original, spare, strange

Sydney bookseller offers a sweet deal if you’ll dump your Kindle at his door. (The Bookseller) Pages & Pages, run by the Australian Booksellers Association president Jon Page, said it will give customers a $50 gift voucher when they buy an e-reader from his shop and at the same time as dumping their Kindle e-readers into a bin in his shop. said he is taking the action as part of a movement to raise awareness of Amazon¹s business practices, including its locked-in Kindle system and low corporation tax payments

Coffee! It is the great uniting force of my Daily Rituals book. It’s what brings together Beethoven and Proust, Glenn Gould and Francis Bacon, Jean-Paul Sartre and Gustav Mahler. This should hardly be surprising. Caffeine is the rare drug that has a powerful salutary effect—it aids focus and attention, wards off sleepiness, and speeds the refresh rate on new ideas—with only minimal drawbacks. And the ritual of preparing coffee serves for many as a gateway to the creative mood Kofi

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mixed Feelings

“Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.”
– W.H. Auden

“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”
― Stephen King

Damien Ober on Chris DeRose’s Congressman Lincoln: “(D)elivers a thrilling account of the dramatic events, bizarre characters, weighty issues and nuts and bolts procedures of the tumultuous 30th Congress.” lincoln

Impartial writer, Carrie Tiffany, wins the inaugural Stella Prize, then shares her prize money with other Media Dragons

Mighty Mare Black Caviar: White & Salmon Streamers

"Fiction is Truth's elder sister. Obviously. No one in the world knew what truth was till some one had told a story."
Rudyard Kipling, "Fiction"

She truly was the people's horse, so what better way to honour Black Caviar upon her retirement than with an Elton John-esque ditty.

Randwick was awash with traditional black and white for Australian Derby day on Saturday, but hundreds of racegoers broke the strict dress code to salute the champion mare by donning hints of her signature salmon pink...So it was not just Black Caviar's jockey Luke Nolen donning salmon and black ... Salmon and white streamers burst across the public lawn moments after Black Caviar crossed the line four lengths clear; a tickertape finale to a night of celebration never before seen on a Randwick Doncaster racetrack. Malchshkeon could not believe how stunning her eyes, her face, her manners were as she walked past her.  "It was all very emotional.  The light was tricky, the build up impossible.  As ever, the juggernaut that IS Black Caviar gains speed with every turn she makes." Black Caviar, the world’s top- ranked thoroughbred sprinter, was retired four days after extending her perfect career record to 25 victories Queen of Turf: Black Caviar in Sydney

Fashionistas seeking to take out the Vogue Australia & GQ Australia Style Stakes may need to be careful with their colour Choices at the races ... White Sydney & The unbeaten Black Caviar

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Let's make a dent in the universe ~ Steve Jobs

"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap."
--Cynthia Heimel

The fear of being laughed at makes cowards of us all. You must lose a fly to catch a trout

"Every man has the right to risk his own life in order to preserve it. Has it ever been said that a man who throws himself out the window to escape from a fire is guilty of suicide?"
I still read to escape, and because I slip into books to get away from the things that are making me mad/sad/angry/frustrated, I know I am not as well-read as many of my contemporaries.  Heh.  Yeah, I read a lot but I’m not well read --Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking risks, and that means you're not going anywhere. The key is to make mistakes faster than the competition, so you have more changes to learn and win."
--John W. Holt, Jr.

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures."
--William Shakespeare

Monday, April 15, 2013

Luck is unreliable ~ Risk is our Business: Predictive Where the puck will be

   “Risk is just an expensive substitute for information.” 
-Adrian Slywotzky and Karl Weber

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
 ~Anais Nin quotes (French born American Author of novels and short stories.

“A RISK is a potential for a LOSS.  The LOSS is the realization of that negative potential.  A RISK is running across a busy street blindfolded.  A LOSS is getting hit by a car while doing that.. “Thoughtfully assessing and addressing enterprise risk and placing a high value on corporate transparency can protect the one thing we cannot afford to lose: trust. A review of the use of complex systems applied to risk appetite and emerging risks in ERM practice

Like a well-prepared meal at a fine restaurant, ERM is best taken one course at a time, not mixed up on a single, giant plate. “Enterprise risk management is no panacea, and I know some people who question whether it really exists. But anything that gets people and the institutions they’ve built to look at risk from multiple angles, with an eye to building value, is a most welcome thing Summit on Fraud
“The concept of ‘inherent risk’ is impossible to measure or even define. The idea of looking at risk absent all hard controls, soft controls, or mitigations, provides little or no useful information in most cases.” Organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to manage and control risks. Armoghan Mohammed looks at why the dynamics of risk are changing Predicting Risk
ERM is really about managing residual risk – that is, things that could happen. That’s what senior management needs to know ... Risk taking is an integral part of business for every financial institution. Traditional thinking is the higher the risk the greater the reward. But, the most rewarded firms are  those that have consistently balance risk and reward and understand the level of risk that the firm can profitably absorb Absorb

“Risk and time are opposite sides of the same coin, for if there were no tomorrow there would be no risk. Time transforms risk, and the nature of risk is shaped by the time horizon: the future is the playing field.
- Peter Bernstein, Against the Gods

Science Versus Art in Risk Management: Lessons from Merrill Lynch

“One of the greatest contributions of risk manager – arguably the single greatest – is just carrying a torch around and providing transparency.”   
~Enterprise Risk Management, (Chapter 5 “Becoming the Lamp Bearer” by Anette Mikes)

“Enterprise risk management is a contact sport. Success comes from making contact with people.”

- John Fraser, Enterprise Risk Management, (Chapter 5 “Becoming the Lamp Bearer”)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

January in April: An Almost Physical Need to Tell It

And all was as it should be. I was young (and bohemian;-)
Edwin Arlington Robinson, "Isaac and Archibald" (courtesy of Patrick Kurp)

“That’s it.That's it...7/7 1984 and 1Q84 are fundamentally the same in terms of how they work. If you don’t believe in the world, and if there is no love in it, then everything is phony. No matter which world we are talking about, no matter what kind of world we are talking about, the line separating fact from hypothesis is practically invisible to the eye. It can only be seen with the inner eye, the eye of the mind.”

“Jozef Imrich has written the War and Peace of escapes. Havel tackled free will, Tolstoy the meaning of life, Imrich practiced what they preached... " “When I was growing up, Czechoslovakia was still a country where people darned their socks.” Memories of the Iron Curtain: Who is more of an outlaw than a saint?

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." A sole survivor's life can be a fate worse than death: The names of some writers float through the air like those anonymous insects – midges? gnats? flies? – that swarm in the summer. We ignore them until accidentally ingesting one. Such was my understanding of Robert Fulford. I knew he was a journalist and vaguely associated him with Toronto. In preparation for our visit to that city I read his Accidental City: The Transformation of Toronto (1995) and a very different sort of book – The Triumph of Narrative: Storytelling in the Age of Mass Culture, which he published in 2000 An Almost Physical Need to Tell It

Casanova opens his memoirs with: "I begin by declaring to my reader that in all that I have done throughout my life, good or bad, I am sure that I have earned merit or blame, and as a consequence I believe myself free.

“Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won't suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when the person looks back-she will hear her heart”
~ Paulo Coelho quotes (Mystical author, one of Brazil's most successful novelist)

You couldn’t invent a character like Alfred Jarry, the absinthe-drinking, excrement-smearing playwright and star of Parisian literary life...Merrrrdrrrre

Saturday, April 13, 2013

There is no such thing as an artist

“There is no such thing as an artist: there is only the world, lit or unlit as the light allows. When the candle is burning, who looks at the wick? When the candle is out, who needs it? But the world without light is wasteland and chaos, and a life without sacrifice is abomination.”
- Annie Dillard

As the River Runs is a terrific read, with convincing characters, luminous settings, and authentic Aussie dialogue.   Above all, it has a compelling plot, highly relevant to contemporary Australia.
Ours is the driest continent on Earth and prudent governments around the nation are setting up infrastructure to get us through the next period of extreme dry weather.  Stephen Scourfield’s story is based around the perennial fantasy of damming the Kimberley in the monsoonal north and piping it thousands of kilometres south to Perth.  The tale involves an ambitious politician called Michael Mooney who hatches his plans in secret as part of his private campaign to be the next Premier.  To suss out the likely opposition up north, he despatches his Chief of Staff Kate Kennedy and a sleazy political fixer called Jack Cole, both of whom are ‘in the know’ though their levels of cynicism and self-interest are different. Their guide is Dylan Ward, a former Greenie who acts as a go-between for mining interests, Aborigines, and environmental causes.  Dylan knows nothing about the proposal for a dam; he thinks he’s escorting these two around to spruik a solar energy proposal As the River Runs

Anyone who’s ever been to Tasmania can’t help but contrast the exquisite beauty of the island with the sense of menace that derives from its convict past, the dispossession of the Aborigines, a shocking massacre in recent times and its often hostile weather and environment.  Koch’s story portrays the bushrangers’ hideout as a kind of Eden masquerading as a Utopia.  Martin is beguiled by the peace and solitude of the Nowhere Valley, where he is required to work as a farm labourer until taken up by Lucas Wilson and groomed as a disciple.  Lost Voices

Poor Franz. The irony and complexity of his work have been reduced to one hopelessly inept adjectival cliché: Kafkaesque

A female war photographer writes a memoir, Shutterbabe. She hates the title. It's a best seller. Welcome to a so-called post-feminist literary career Shutterbabe Tash

Rich and poor, rectitude and laxity, sacred and profane: Moscow has always abounded in contrasts. Flowing through the city’s dichotomous terrain: vodka... Water of Mos Cow

"A story with a moral appended is like the bill of a mosquito. It bores you, and then injects a stinging drop to irritate your conscience."
O. Henry, "The Gold that Glittered"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April Lirpa

"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself."
--Soren Kierkegaard

You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March...

"History is bright and fiction dull with homely men who have charmed women."
O. Henry, "Next to Reading Matter"  

Erich Fromm fled the Nazis, dined with presidents, lectured to thousands, sold books in the millions – all the while searching for his authentic self The Cure for Loneliness

“If I never meet another psychopath again at my taxing environment, it'll be far too soon”

Monday, April 08, 2013

New Non-Fiction: How To Be Interesting After Swimming Across Cold River

At indexed, a Seattle writer named Jessica Hagy diagrams life. She crosses one idea with another mathematically, and the result is a new lens -- a new and often invigorating way to look at the world. I wondered how all this came about, and in a recent interview Hagy was kind enough to share the origins with me.
"It started with the “How to Be Interesting” post on that went viral, attracting over 1.4 million viewers so far, with tens of thousands liking, linking, and tweeting the article. I was pondering personal assets in business, modern virtues if you will. I thought that being interesting was the greatest one. It’s more vital than hustle or education, more important than good networking. It’s a core attribute that draws people toward each other, and greases the wheels of love and commerce and politics. From that point, I noodled out what it meant to be interesting: and those ideas are now this book " New Non-Fiction: How To Be Interesting

Indexed like catalogued Media Dragon, In Internet years, the blog is about a thousand years old ... Perpetually teetering realism and absurdity, every topic feels equally at home

This Just In: Imgembed

Looking for images to post on your blog? The new site Imgembed lets you browse over one million images by keywords and find images you can embed for free. As you can see by the keyboard photograph embedded above, the site gives you an embed code with the artist’s name in the frame–a great way to credit the photographer behind your image How To Find Images for Your Author Site, Ethically

There have never been more books published every year and it’s very difficult getting noticed amid some very tough competition. For this reason, January Magazine has introduced ... This Just In

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The secret life of Them: i.e. Former Speaker of Mother of Parliament

As the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of former parliamentarian Richard Torbay deepens, a Herald investigation has uncovered links between Mr Torbay and his associates and a number of Centrelink leases across the country totalling almost $48 million He could charm the knickers off a nun; EXCLUSIVE by Barclay Crawford Questions raised over Richard Torbay's evidence ~ Richard Torbay is the only story in his home town ~ Revealed: Torbay's close links to Obeid

High-profile popular former MP Richard Torbay went to great lengths to conceal certain aspects of his seemingly perfect life. Business shirts hid his multitude of tattoos and corporate entities disguised his vast real estate empire The secret life of Richard Torbay ~ Tripodi 'in secret campaign to help Torbay's party plan

Political influence is a bankable commodity as lobbyists gear up for change Charming army with links to party HQs ~ Lobbyists oppose kingmaker's plan to cash in on Abbott links Lobbyists oppose kingmaker's plan to cash in on Abbott links

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Creative Cooks: Secret Structures, Hidden Crimes - lawyers & accountants rule

It doesn't matter who the front man for your corporation is, as long as it's not you
-Jason Sharman quoted it in a context of exAC and other straw men of Panama or other tax havens

Haven sent: It all began when Australian journalist Gerard Ryle received a mysterious package in the post Mysterious mail == Irish-born director Gerard Ryle His great-grandfather, Maurice P Ryle, was the editor of the Kerry People

The story of Portcullis TrustNet and its birthplace — the Cook Islands — is in many ways the story of the offshore system itself. One of those who helped oversee the introduction of the legislation was Mike Mitchell, a New Zealand lawyer who served as the Cook Islands' solicitor general in the early 1980s.   Five years later, in keeping with an apparent pattern of tax-haven officials moving freely between government and industry, Mitchell decided to go into the offshore business himself. He left his post as solicitor general in 1986 and established an offshore services firm in 1987. The firm, initially called Pacific Trustee Company Limited and then International Trust Corporation Limited, was named TrustNet in the early 1990s and, eventually, Portcullis TrustNet Lawyers and accountants help rich manage their money [ Maiden Report]; [ Google Links; This is like something out of Cold River: On November 14, 2006, a man going by the name Paul William Hampel was arrested at a Canadian airport on charges of being a Russian spy. Litany of intrigue: Wickenby of Six Steps; US Offshore accounts used in law-breaking] - {Video - Tax Havens 101: The high cost of going offshore, Video - 1% caught hiding trillions; Interactive Map}

Dealing with tax avoidance: why Australians do it better than the Brits The Budget also contained a change to legislation which will allow HMRC to demand payment details from card payment processors. They will have to provide information about credit, debit, and charge card sales made by retailers. This will include the retailer's name, address, VAT number if available, and bank account details HMRC expands use of data mining for tax avoidance;The identification of beneficial owners in the fight against money laundering ~ Who really lives at One Hyde Park, called the world’s most expensive residential building? Its mostly absentee owners, hiding behind offshore corporations based in tax havens, provide a portrait of the new global super-wealthy A Tale of Two Londons

Friday, April 05, 2013

Satire & Venom of Lightness without Being

Prizes, fellowships, and an emphasis on collegiality have tamed the poetic impulse. What does poetry need? More spleen, more satire, more venom... The best poets, however, never forget that the path to light often leads though the dark

A teenage Paul Muldoon sought advice from Seamus Heaney. Muldoon sent his poems, and asked what was wrong with them. “Nothing,” ... Heaney replied

Abysses are monstrous, terrifying, and, in literature, ubiquitous. Here they are in Baudelaire, there in Nietzsche, everywhere in ... Kafka:   I and the Abyss

The business of literature is chaotic. Always been that way. Technology evolves, but the question remains: What is the ... value of a book?

“I never attacked anyone weak,” says Renata Adler. “Only bullies, secure in their fiefdoms. Fear didn’t come into it. Maybe it should have”... Cowards driving us crazy

What's so shameful about the emotional clarity and moral imperative of getting even? Why all the hypocrisy surrounding revenge? Eye for an Eye: The Case for Revenge

Mary MacLane's I Await the Devil's Coming, the early 20th century memoir that I wrote the introduction to for the reissue, is getting a lot of attention. I wonder if that is mostly because she is immensely quotable - "It is not deaths and murders and plots and wars that make life tragedy It is Nothing that makes life tragedy

But life is not a swimming pool, contained within four walls and measured in laps and tenths of seconds. It is an ocean; unfathomably deep, wide and changeable, and completely unable to be controlled by human hands Swimming Studies

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Keeping it Real

Thought for the day from Twitter:
Roses are red, violets are blue / While you #Facebook me, they're watching you.

If you have watched and shared PSY's "Gangnam Style" video or gone into an unknown restaurant simply because it was full of people and appeared to be popular, you have the basis for understanding what makes things go viral. In Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger's new book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, he identifies six principles that cause people to talk about and share an idea or product 'Contagious': Jonah Berger on Why Things Catch On

80/20 Rule Keeping it Real

Steeped in history and tradition, many of our core institutions have struggled to maintain their relevancy in the modern world.

A common thread among failing institutions that leads to their unravelling is an inability to meet the needs of everyday people in a contemporary way. Without changing with the times institutions will simply cease to be relevant

Rise and Rise - A soufflé doesn't rise twice [James Cameron is a “mad scientist”—and the director of the two highest grossing films ever made—Titanic and Avatar. Apple Computer founder and CEO Steve Jobs was a “mad scientist.” So were Ludwig Beethoven, Henry Ford and Amelia Earhart. Who could deny their gigantic contributions or their incredible gifts? How to Lead a “Mad Scientist” ; Want a radical suggestion for harnessing creative thinking? Immerse yourself in silence Quietly Creative ; Netfix mission may well be the most important document ever to come out of the Valley ]

• · 5 Great Online Tools for Mining Public Records ; Top tips for finding research information

• · · Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art Think Different ; Edge theory – the idea that change happens at the margins, free from the stifling orthodoxy of the centre – is something I have often spoken and written about. The 20/80 Rule

• · · ·, Insanity is popularly defined as doing the same things and expecting different results - Rudeness at work is rampant, and it's on the rise. Nearly everybody who experiences workplace incivility responds in a negative way, in some cases overtly retaliating. Employees are less creative when they feel disrespected, and many get fed up and leave. About half deliberately decrease their effort or lower the quality of their work. And incivility damages customer relationships. Incivility at work takes its toll ; Online social networking is vastly popular and permits its members to post their thoughts as microblogs, an opportunity that people exploit, on Facebook alone, over 30 million times an hour. Major memory for microblogs ; Insults fly as the score-settling begins Labor's rich history of colourful language was on show at ICAC this week. As Shakespeare once said, `willing to wound but afraid to strike'—the definition of a coward Fairfax journalist Rod Allen - PR agent and former journalist dies in clifftop fall

• · · · · The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire’.- David feels humanity is indeed entering a new age, which he calls the Shift Age. This is driven by three forces: the shift to globalization of culture and politics, the flow of power and influence to individuals, and the acceleration of electronic connectedness My Book Review of Entering the Shift Age; Once in every five times that someone clicks a search result, it goes to one of five websites: Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia or Amazon. These Five Websites Captured 20% Of All Search Result Clicks

• · · · · · Older people who have low expectations for a satisfying future may be more likely to live longer, healthier lives than those who see brighter days ahead They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them for yourself Pessimism About the Future May Lead to Longer, Healthier Life, Research Finds; Here’s a reason to visit New York’s Times Square. Midnight Moments: A Digital Gallery takes advantage of the Square’s famous lighted signage and displays synchronized digital art every evening. I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing I Promise To Love You

Monday, April 01, 2013

Out of Clutter Find Simplicity

We all know what Albert Einstein achieved. He was passionate about what he did and was utterly dedicated to his work and used three basic rules for work:
• Out of clutter find simplicity
• From discord find harmony
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity ; Boeing commercial airplanes chief Jim Albaugh has the benefit of hindsight, and has candidly admitted that the global outsourcing strategy to save on costs, has completely backfired. "We spent a lot more money in trying to recover than we ever would have spent if we'd tried to keep the key technologies closer to home," Albaugh told a large audience of students and faculty, according to the Seattle Times. What you can learn from Boeing

The Next Big Thing How to Analyze Information

Has some interesting intell insights from the Cold war and beyond. Eg. •The key intelligence skill is that you have to know what you’re looking for in order to find it

Herbert E. Meyer served during the Reagan administration as special assistant to the director of Central Intelligence, and vice chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council. He is widely credited as having been the first senior official to predict the fall of the Soviet Union. He’s also, written a number of good books (including How to Analyze Information: A Step-by-Step Guide to Life’s Most Vital Skill, and The Cure for Poverty: It’s the Free Market: History’s Greatest Invention), plus he often speaks to groups of business executives.

The Next Big Thing From The Official Who Predicted Communism's Demise ; [ Danielle Sacks, Fast Company, January 25, 2013. The former spy who stumbled upon a covert career with the CIA in, of all places, a classified ad, shares how a life undercover informed her more conspicuous role in the corporate world Work Like A Spy: An Ex-CIA Officer's Tips For Business Success; A growing number of social media sites such as Neighborland and Neighborly in the USA and Hukkatila.ry in Finland aim to create local engagement and change ]

• · IPsoft’s Eliza, a “virtual service-desk employee” that learns on the job and can reply to e-mail, answer phone calls and hold conversations, is being tested by several multinationals. At one American media giant she is answering 62,000 calls a month from the firm’s information-technology staff. She is able to solve two out of three of the problems without human help. Rise of the software machines: The attractions of employing Czech invention of Capek - robots; Industries as diverse as software, real estate services and even manufacturing are moving towards the subscription economy. Here’s why you should take advantage of this Why you should subscribe, not buy, services

• · · Growth of the Digital universe infographic Cloud Infographic – Big Data Universe ;. By Paul Krugman- A couple of years ago, the journalist Nicholas Shaxson published a fascinating, chilling book titled "Treasure Islands," which explained how international tax havens - which are also, as the author pointed out, "secrecy jurisdictions" where many rules don't apply - undermine economies around the world. Not only do they bleed revenues from cash-strapped governments and enable corruption; they distort the flow of capital, helping to feed ever-bigger financial crises. Treasure Island Trauma

• · · · How much trust do you have in what you read or hear in the following media? Trust in media; Business Insider 10 Companies That Are Radically Changing The Way We Work ; By the end of this talk, there will be 864 more hours of video on YouTube and 2.5 million more photos on Facebook and Instagram. So how do we sort through the deluge? At the TEDSalon in London, Markham Nolan shares the investigative techniques he and his team use to verify information in real-time, to let you know if that Statue of Liberty image has been doctored or if that video leaked from Syria is legitimate. NB. You’ll need to watch this at home or on a standalone. TED: Markham Nolan: How to separate fact and fiction

• · · · · The Future Role of Civil Society, highlights key trends and possible trajectories for civil society and its relationship with other sectors through to 2030 Emerging Civil Society Models Point Way to Creating a Resilient Society; City councillors too often get panicked by the slightest amount of political pressure Bega council plays politics with Woolworths ; The authors studied how being anxious impacted peoples' openness to accept advice and their likelihood of following poor guidance Why Anxiety Makes You a Sucker for Bad Advice

• · · · · · There’s a crisis in the housing market — and it’s not about mortgage rates and property prices. Renters are increasingly squeezed into tiny places with unaffordable rates, writes market analyst Catherine Cashmore Housing affordability A tiny shack for $300 a week? The real crisis in housing; Central bankers cannot identify epic asset bubbles for two primary reasons: lousy economic theory and an unwillingness to take responsibility Comparing Australian and US housing