Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Double Digits DownLoaded Double Dragon

Downloads of the Adobe Acrobat e-book reader have increased by 70% this year over last and more than five million copies of Microsoft Reader have been distributed. Random House trade imprints now publish lead titles as print books and e-books simultaneously. And e-wholesaler OverDrive reports about 450 publishers offering a commercial e-book list.

The OeBF is a trade association of e-publishers and e-vendors organized to create digital standards and promote electronic reading

''MY DEAR FELLOW citizens,'' Vaclav Havel said in his inaugural address as Czech president, ''for 40 years on this day you heard from my predecessors the same thing in a number of variations: how our country is flourishing, how many millions of tons of steel we produce, how happy we all are, how we trust our government, and what prospects lie ahead of us. I assume you did not propose me for this office so that I, too, should lie to you.''

Culture of Self Deception

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Law Lessons (4) Displays the Virtue of Brevity and Expressiveness

In late 1996, the Court of Appeal in New South Wales passed upon the use of the word fuck by a policeman to his (female) subordinate. Although the decision turned on other points, a question arose whether it constitutes offensive behavior to use the word, and its variants, in a police station. The decision in Commissioner of Police v. Anderson (CA NSW unrep 21 October 1996) thus provides an interesting starting point for a bit of harmless etymology.

4 Letter Word

Monday, July 29, 2002

Doctor says 'Drink beer every day for healthy sex life'

A Czech doctor is advising men to drink beer every day to keep their sex lives active.

Prague-based Dr Pavel Zemek said: "If men drink two beers a day they can stave off impotence."

Dr Zemek of the Czech Centre for Gerontology says his research shows beer can have a "powerful effect" to stop the arteries becoming blocked.

He told Slovak daily Narodna obroda: "On the basis of clinical tests we can say moderate amounts of beer lessens arterial sclerosis, one of the causes of erectile dysfunction."

But he's warning against excessive drinking.

He said: "Drink too much beer in one go and the positive effects are negated, but, as the saying goes, a little bit of what you fancy does you good."

a little bit of what you fancy does you good
Who is afraid of Slogging through the 'blogiverse'

William Safire, in his weekly language column in the New York Times Magazine, discusses the origin and meaning of the word 'blog' IMHO : "The first use I can find of the root of blog in its current sense was the 1999 'Robot Wisdom Weblog,' created by Jorn Barger of Chicago."

Corporate crime is a warning to Al Qaida, says P.J. O’Rourke.
If Americans will screw their own grannies on Wall Street, imagine
what they’d do to Osama bin Laden.

Corporate corruption has its advantages. It endangers everything in which we have, over the past many years, invested our time, effort, and money--particularly Republican control of the House of Representatives. And our 401(k) plans aren't doing so well either. In this period of gloom--with liberals seeking to make hay from capitalist foibles and our own capitalist foibles reduced in value to bales of ditto--it behooves us to look for a moment at the bright side of corporate corruption.

Bales of Foibles
The Plot Thickeners
Brand-Name Authors Hire Writers to Flesh Out Their Bare-Bones Stories

How do big-name authors find the time to produce all those fat novels? Easy! They simply hire small-name authors to write the books for them.

In Life's Lottery Winning Plays a Key Role: Take Note Losers

Sunday, July 28, 2002

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."

- George McGovern
Reality blurred by star-spangled politics

All the world might be a stage, but Hollywood actors should probably stay off it.

Hollywood's A-list has morphed into a political epidemic that cannot be contained. Once content to limit their extracurricular activities to fashion advertisements, adulterous sex and sunbathing, actors have recently taken an interest in how to run America - nay, the world.

Emma from Sydney

Friday, July 26, 2002

The unbearable duress of being reviewed ...

22 July 2022

Milan Kundera fans are wondering why his latest book, Ignorance, which has already been available in Spanish for two years, is still not available in Britain. According to Faber, the book will be published here "to coincide with publication in the States and it is just down to what the author wants". So why has Kundera decided to delay publication in England for so long? His last book, Identity, in 1998 was criticised by The Times for the "clumsy English translation", and the Evening Standard said it was "an impossible novel to review", but otherwise it was greeted with enthusiasm. Perhaps the answer lies with the Birmingham Post, which had the gall to suggest that a central character, Chantal, was prey to "a heightened selonsciousness [sic]". The czeech of it!

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Theodore Dalrymple had just refused drugs to a prisoner in heroin withdrawal. “You’re a butcher, a f***ing butcher!” he screamed. “Take him away,” the doctor ordered...

Spectator & Storyteller

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Aleksandr Ginzburg Samisdat Relived

Soviet dissident who spent 20 years in and out of labour camps, but who was none too pleased to be set free in America

One of the most significant Soviet dissidents, and for 20 years a thorn in the side of the authorities, Aleksandr Ginzburg was the founder of the samizdat poetry journal Syntaxis, the first independent magazine to appear in the Soviet Union.

Birth & Obituary of Dissident Samizdat

Monday, July 22, 2002

The theme of exile appears to hold great fascination for literary critics ... and a week or two had hardly passed after my vanishing trick from my homeland before I began to be bombarded with enquiries about how exile was affecting my writing: "Are you still able to write?"
"What does exile mean to your writing?"

Sunday, July 21, 2002

How Can I Serve? A Path of Spiritual Activism

“If you are coming to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you are coming because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
--Australian aboriginal woman first quoted on Victory Over Want Discussion Group
Connect - Contribute - Create

The Art of Serving

Bloggers of the united kingdom dare to enter ...

Looking for Cool Sites

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Creative Courses: Writing on Cold River

In the last decade, the number of creative writing programs at colleges and universities has nearly doubled, according to figures published by Associated Writing Programs, a non-profit organization based at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
In 1992 there were 55 master's of fine arts graduate programs in creative writing in American colleges. Now there are 99. The number of universities offering creative writing degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level is 330, up from 175 a decade ago, reported David Fenza, Associated Writing Programs' executive vice president.
Moreover, the vast majority of the nation's 2,800 college English departments offer courses in writing fiction and poetry, he added.
Little wonder, then, that the dorms and quads are alive with the inspired clickclackclick of typing on computer keyboards--not to mention the gnashing of teeth, an inevitable byproduct of the search for the perfect adjective.

Searching For Words

Friday, July 19, 2002

While hoi polloi do not show much interest in high culture, it is not undemocratic to promote it at the public expense.

Think, wrote the cultural critic Eunice Lipton, "about Michelangelo, van Gogh, Rodin, Picasso, Pollock. Could these artists be lesbians, Asian Americans, Native Americans?" Her point was that if they had been any of these things, they would not have been recognised as "artist-geniuses" (her term); and this by implication shows that the notion of high culture in the western tradition embodies everything that is exclusive of other cultures and elitist within its own.

Cold Culture

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, the people, the people.
People Must Prevail ...

Naked Past of Slavs

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Recognition of Pro-Formalist Movement Gets WorldCom, Andersen Off Hook

Washington, D.C. ( — In a surprise decision that exonerates dozens of major companies, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that corporate earnings statements should be protected as works of art, as they "create something from nothing."

Installing the WorldCom exhibit at MOMA

"One plus one is two. That is math. That is science. But as we have seen, earnings and revenues are abstract and original concepts, ideas not bound by physical constraints or coarse realities, and must therefore be considered art," the Court wrote in its 7-2 decision.

The impact of the ruling was widespread. Investigations into hundreds of firms were cancelled, and collectors began snatching up original balance sheets, audits, and P&L statements from WorldCom, Enron, and Global Crossing. Meanwhile, auditing firms such as Arthur Andersen (now Art by Andersen) were reclassified as art critics, whose opinions are no longer liable.

"Before we had to go in and decide, 'Is it right, or is it wrong?'" said KPMG spokesman Dan Fischer. "Now we must only decide, 'Is it art?'"

In Congress, all further hearings into irregularities were abandoned in favor of an abstract accounting lecture given by Scott Sullivan, former Chief Financial Artist of WorldCom, which had been charged with fraud for improperly accounting for $3.85 billion.

Creative Accounting
What shameless propaganda and obvious PR maneuvering for Dubya, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz’ nasty little war plan! What a travesty of journalism! What an assemblage of hearsay and unexamined assumptions! What a monumental piece of arrogance! How much lower can PBS stoop?

Could you possibly concoct anything more one-sided? You should call the series "Right Angle"—and I don’t mean "correct."

Wrong Angle
Everybody wants something from 7-Eleven.

At all hours they come, with a sweet tooth or a lonely soul. They want routine: Dark Mountain Roast coffee, two hazelnut creamers and three sugars. They want thirst relief: 52 ounces of lemonade to carry the construction worker till lunch. At night they want something more -- conversation, maybe a little excitement. Choose your diversion. The college students want a break from studying. The late-shift workers want a snack before bed. The "retired pimp" comes to pick up girls. (He strikes out.) The self-labeled hustler tries to sell electric toothbrushes. (Seven so far tonight, he swears.) The visiting Vegas dancer wants beer. (Try up the road, just over the Maryland line.) A rail-thin woman buys four packs of crackers, two Go-Go Taquitos and a breakfast sandwich, then waits 20 minutes for the 2 a.m. delivery of fresh doughnuts. She buys three.


7-Seven: Looking for something cold during the hot summer months?

Friday, July 12, 2002

Czechoslovak born Jozef Imrich is dead and living in Australia

You won't have a clue who Bessie was,
and there's no reason you should. Yet Bessie has
her own niche in the political history of the Iron
Curtain. She is the only dog to receive a Political Asylumn.

For the first time in history, electronic publishers can offer readers an opportunity to hear voices from the margins at a speed of light. In electronic publishing, the unexpected happens all the time, and my story is a good example.

We hear often of the sweeping developments that take place across the world. Cold Wars, Hot Wars, economic booms and busts, the rapacious scramble for resources: we hear the warnings of countries, the shouts of other countries in greedy triumph. We rarely see the ways in which these changes impact mere individuals.

My small personal voice dreamed and dreamed about telling a story. All dreamers are, however, aware of Gumperson law of corollary. Gumperson put my dreams to tell my story together in his now famous law which runs like this: "The probability of something happening is in inverse proportion to its desirability."

I am a Stranger Here

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Vote with Your Remote:
Phil Donahue for National TV Host
There’s a new election just around the corner -- and Phil Donahue is the candidate who deserves your vote. In fact, all of us who are interested in watching stimulating television and hearing independent voices and fresh points of view on corporate TV should tune into MSNBC on July 15 at 8pm and weeknights thereafter, to vote with our remotes.

Phil Donahue is perhaps the most honest man on television. Despite his strong feelings and opinions, he's incredibly open and empathic, willing to risk his own embarrassment to discover new insights

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Democracy is a process by which people can collectively make decisions for the better of society and its members. Extended to our workplaces and communities, democracy is a process through which many of our social ills - from lack of affordable housing, to the need for well-paying jobs - can be resolved. It is a process by which we, the people, can improve our lives, our communities, and our future.

But to fulfill this vision, we must bring democracy to the people. We must make it accessible, practical, and engaging. Only when people are informed, involved, and empowered will democracy be something that we do as opposed to a staid, unmoving object. The following three proposals would invigorate democracy:

eMocracy our daily bread

Thursday, July 04, 2002

Through reading and travel, we escape the deadening effects of habit, says Alain de Botton. That’s why a journey and a book make perfect companions.

Summer promises us two of life’s great joys; escaping home and reading books — joys that are intimately connected, for not only do many of us read when we’re on the road, but literature and travel are also two of the most effective ways of expanding our horizons.

Books Travel the Best
Two Jewish men tried to climb the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, because a water stain on one large stone has led some ultra-Orthodox Jews to conclude that redemption is near and the Messiah is on his way.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the chief rabbi of the Western Wall - also known as the Wailing Wall - said today the water stain was discovered four days ago by worshippers who pray at the base of the wall.

Some Jewish mystics believe it is a sign the "wall is crying," signalling the coming of the Messiah, he said.

Rabbi Rabinovitch and the Israel Antiquities Authority are closely watching to see if the 10-by-40 centimetre stain - found on a stone about halfway up the wall - grows or disappears.


Leos Janacek is in one way a very easy composer to "place" - but in all other ways, extraordinarily difficult. The easy way to pigeon-hole him is as a Czech composer, whose works have folk-music fingerprints all over them. For those who can tell their Slovakia & their Bohemia from their Moravia, he was a Moravian through and through, albeit with a particular soft spot for Slovak music too.

Moravian River of Music

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

What is your realm of real influence?

H20 is Mine

My friend MobyLives and Writes:

Guerilla of every author's dreams . . .
Freelance writer Tess Crebbin caused a fuss in a Munich Sushi bar when she left behind her copy of Helen Fielding's "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason." "I left the restaurant and all of a sudden there's this commotion and a Japanese waiter is chasing me down the street saying, 'You left your book!'" Crebbins says. "I told him, 'Take it back.' He looked at me like I was crazy." Actually, as Rob Brookman writes in this article from Book (via the Utne Reader), Crebbin is one of the "guerilla readers" participating in an effort organized by, which "encourages people to experience what it terms 'the karma of literature' by registering books at the site and then depositing them in public places, like coffee shops, airplane seat pockets, and park benches."

under bridges, on airplane seat pockets, in restaurants

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Do You Know How to Listen?

According to a new study, young women speak more frequently and frankly about sex and sex-related subjects than men do. But this isn't true. Men speak about sex and relationships all the time. It's just in code...

Sport & the City

Escape & the River

Cold State
Newspaper budget-cutting has triggered a sharp drop in the number of reporters assigned to cover the nation’s increasingly important statehouses.

"There are state offices, like the Department of Insurance, that haven't seen a reporter in years," one journalist told us.

(More at Cold Sad State )

SPAM PREVENTION: set up multiple e-mail addresses. Use one for personal use and one or more disposable ones - those you would not mind abandoning if need be - when registering at Web sites, posting to news groups or taking part in chat sessions.

Try using a complex e-mail address. Spammers use "dictionary attacks" to sort through possible name combinations at large Internet service providers and e-mail services in the hope of finding valid addresses. A good explanation of how to determine the origin of a junk e-mail message is available at

Snappy Spam