Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bits and Pieces of 12 Days to the Mas: Somehow, even the sound of divorce bells do not seem as dark when you look around - the sun still rises and the ocean is just as mysterious ...

Appreciation is like looking through a wide-angle lens that lets you see the entire forest, not just the one tree limb you walked up on.

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing ...

What you put out comes back. The more you sincerely appreciate life from the heart, the more the magnetic energy of appreciation attracts fulfilling life experiences to you, both personally and professionally. Learning how to appreciate more consistently offers many benefits and applications. Appreciation is an easy heart frequency to activate and it can help shift your perspectives quickly. Learning how to appreciate both pleasant and even seemingly unpleasant experiences is a key to increased fulfillment.

The best things in life are not free but priceless.
-Benjamin Lichtenberg

Life is the greatest bargain—we get it for nothing.
- Slavic proverb

Nothing is more disgusting than the crowing about liberty by slaves, as most men are, and the flippant mistaking for freedom of some paper preamble like a Declaration of Independence, or the statute right to vote, by those who have never dared to think or to act.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, December 14, 2006

There are so many movies I want to recommend. However, I stop with this one On Earth: As It Is in Heaven

Do experience the beauty of life, and you will take home a piece of heaven with you.
As it is in Sweet Sweeden

This is one of the best things to come out of Sweden since Abba - a completely charming, disarmingly frank, robustly opinionated and sweetly tuneful film about a small-town choir, a famous conductor and the redemptive power of singing.
Some people had to drive all the way to Poseville (Roseville) to view it

Monday, December 11, 2006

Snipppets of cafe literature (Surry Hill - Sydney Dec 06) Dinosaurs or democracy?

Describing managers as dinosaurs is perhaps not very kind – but for visiting organisational experts Joan Goldsmith and Ken Cloke, it’s by way of being a wake-up call.
It’s not that managers don’t perform valuable functions, but that these ought to increasingly become the responsibility of employees to take on for themselves, explains Cloke.
The reality is that organisations are moving toward more democratic, participatory structures. And the things that can’t be managed – a list that includes trust, creativity, innovation, values, commitment and integrity – are much more the stuff of leadership.

These are the things you can lead people with. But you can’t stand over someone’s shoulder and design a step-by-step process for them to follow that will end up with them becoming creative.

Cloke and Goldsmith heralded The End of Management and Rise of Organisational Democracy in a jointly authored book back in 2002 and followed that up with The Art of Waking People Up: Cultivating Awareness and Authenticity at Work (both published by Warren Bennis). In New Zealand last month as guests of Massey University, they talked about how to create a democratic organisation and ran workshops on dispute resolution.
The two subjects are totally intertwined, says Goldsmith.
That’s because conflict resolution is at the heart of the change process and at the heart of any democratic organisation. What we’re talking about is everyone, at every level of the organisation from factory floor to boardroom, having skills in confronting conflicts, preventing them and resolving them when they do emerge.”
Cloke has a shorthand description for conflict in organisations.
We call it the sound made by the cracks in the system. What happens in organisations is that you get individual conflict but you also get chronic conflict.”
These are costly cracks.
We believe and know, because we’ve been working in this area for 25 years, that a conflict is not just something that isn’t working but is something that if it were fixed and made to work would allow the organisation to become far more effective.

It’s not a question of boundless sweetness and light. The point is that conflict can be both positive and energising if it is well handled. What they’re talking about is a higher level of conflict and higher order of resolution technique.
It’s to do with the attitude toward conflict and toward learning.
What we try to do is help managers not to fear the conflict but to take it on and use it as a learning opportunity both for themselves and those directly affected.
If swept under the carpet, conflict tends to expand – creating more widespread fissures in the system. It’s an issue that Cloke in his role as director of the California-based Centre for Dispute Resolution, knows plenty about. He says there is now a tool that provides organisations with a detailed ‘conflict audit’.
“This looks at the chronic sources of conflicts, how much they’re costing the organisation, how much managerial time is spent resolving them, what can be done to prevent them, what can be done to manage or resolve them better. This is a very powerful method that has saved companies millions and millions of dollars.”
But few companies have yet embraced it – though lack of conflict resolution ability is a major stumbling block in the creation of a democratic organisation. Hierarchic structures just don’t provide enough opportunity to resolve strife, says Cloke.
It’s difficult to have those face-to-face conversations in which informal problem solving or conflict resolution can take place. It’s very difficult for personnel to have a conversation with engineering or with sales. And this is what leadership does – it brings together disparate parts of the organisation into a single conversation.

Cloke and Goldsmith talk about ‘linking leadership’ that builds bridges between different teams. Or, as Goldsmith puts it: They make porous the boundaries between departments and organisations and provide a context of values and of human wellbeing for the work people are doing.
While the past few years have brought a whole raft of ‘leadership’ initiatives, Cloke doesn’t think many companies have got the whole picture. The language may have shifted but it hasn’t always been accompanied by a real shift in organisational power.
“The shorthand answer to your question is that we don’t see enough of a large scale transformation at this point in the way decisions are actually being made.”
Both he and Goldsmith – whose long-term collaboration means they’ve had “several years of trying to figure out how to argue better with each other” – reckon New Zealand offers a good case study in conflict resolution. That, ventures Clone, could partly be due to living on an island. There’s no place else to go to avoid conflict. Also because we have an indigenous population with a long history of conflict and a very intelligent decision to work these issues through.
That we’ve been able to make a stand on nuclear arms, resisted jumping to warlike solutions and made efforts to make amends for the historical pain caused by colonisation is something to admire, says Goldsmith.
Conflict resolution is still a very young field, says Cloke. But everyone involved in it understands that it has transformational power.
I don’t think we will be able to stop global warming, or solve problems in the Middle East or stop the war in Iraq or any of those things unless people figure out how to talk with each other and engage in joint problem solving.
People are capable of coming together in their conflicts and understanding each other and this is really part of the purpose of management. So we see conflict resolution as a place where management does become leadership – and you can’t do without leadership.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ach, Beware: The working memory is where new information is combined with existing emotions and knowledge, and is assessed for rejection, modification or long-term storage.
Survival and emotional data have the highest priority for making it to long-term memory. If your information is not related to these matters, it is automatically accorded a much lower priority by the recipient.
The main factor that will lift your management information up from the low priority is the strength of emotional content or connection it makes with the person.
Considerably less significant, but still enough to move out of short term and into working memory is information the brain thinks is new, makes sense and is relevant to the person’s life.

The trick to persuading
Brain research has revealed what makes good management communications:
• Information is delivered in ways that maximise the amount which gets into the brain in the first place (visual).
• Information will make sense against the existing knowledge of the audience and will be of use to the audience.
• It is likely that the information forms a great mental bridge between what is already known by the audience and what they do not know.
• To be that mental bridge, the manager provides a real-life context for the information, will use metaphors to make the information more relevant, and will get the audience to immediately act on the new information.

The art of management remains
The research has uncovered patterns of brain operation that free us of wishful notions of people being driven by logic, higher ideals, or economic incentives. We now know that information about physical and emotional safety of primary importance, followed by information that is relevant to individual’s lives and makes sense within their experience.
The art of management will be to use this new knowledge to bring about behaviour change that is not a match with what people’s brains may be prepared to accept easily ...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Terry has been keeping me occupied on the script of all scripts in 2006 and it looks like the year of BOND 007 will also prove busy ... (PS: Michael R. and his MJR 007 number plate will be even more valuable on ebay in 007 ;-)

Cold River Review Deep Voices from the Foreign Past
No one can deny that Cold River is flowed everywhere in 2006.

A culture can evolve no faster than its language evolves. Language actually defines the frontier of the knowable. I take the language issue very seriously. I see us as being imprisoned within the limitations of our language. You can’t plan social strategy that you can’t talk about. You can’t build a work of art that you can’t describe somehow. So the goal is always to push language to its outermost limits and then beyond that. Wittgenstein said that “the appetition of language was for the unspeakable”. Not to be content with it or to contemplate it, but to take the unspeakable and speak it and thereby extend the frontiers of language.

Cold River Review The River Less Traveled

Swimming in deep waters of the Amazon has been a real joy in 2006 - despite a few spiteful characters from the incestous (sic) Shire ;-) Cold River on Amazon

While I never wanted to be part of the richest club in the world the destiny took me in the direction of the unexpected ;-) Cold River by the Richest clubs of them all - Forbes

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

From 1997 until 2005 Graham was the patron of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association. Cynthia Coleman, who invited him to be patron is reported as having said:

“He came to every conference, he gave a fabulous technical talk, and he always said ‘put me up in the cheapest accommodation so I can meet the most people’ - he made himself available to everybody.”

Without any doubt, nearly everyone who heard Justice Hill speak at conferences on issues such as public private infrastructures became interested in tax issues. I first met him in late 1990s at one of the NSW Public Accounts Committee seminars and my interest in taxation was never the same ;-)
His greatest contribution to revenue law was in the area of practising, teaching and deciding revenue issues. Professor Patrick Gallagher had this to say of Graham as an academic:
' In that time, he had created an unannounced reputation as one of Australia's leading tax academics - albeit his academic work was always 'part-time' - in name at least. The quality of his teaching was exceptional and his writings and legal research (which have been fully catalogued recently by Colin Fong), in the form of papers, judgments and public addresses - not to mention the Stamp Duty service he wrote with Bill Cannon and Michael Aitken - were at the cutting edge of practical tax analysis .'

Sunday, November 19, 2006

WHEN it comes to freedom of speech we are in danger of losing our sense of perspective, as well as our sense of humour. The latest proposal from Attorney-General Philip Ruddock is to ban books that praise terrorism and to censor TV shows like Big Brother. The status quo in Australia is shifting, writes George Williams
THE most depressing aspect of yesterday's landmark High Court decision on the Freedom of Information Act is the virtual how-to guide it includes for ministers of the Crown who want to keep documents secret. In killing off Michael McKinnon's four-year fight to get hold of documents about abuses of the first-home owners' scheme and the government tax revenue from bracket creep, the court backed four of Peter Costello's seven arguments stating their release was not in the public interest. Scrutinising our political masters just got harder

Catch a Fire of Freedom Noyce of Loud Note
conTROVERSY is the lifeblood of a university that is doing its duty. It has long been thus and it is today. Modern societies expect contemporary universities to be working at the frontiers of knowledge, discovering new insights that advance understanding and improve wellbeing. Discovery, whether in the biosciences or nuclear physics or other fields, raises questions that challenge orthodoxy within the disciplines and also in the wider community. Complex matters give rise to competing views and values. Restricting academic freedom

THE John Howard–Peter Costello leadership rivalry is moving towards a denouement of sorts. While the outcome is unpredictable, it is worth posing a question that goes beyond the standard political calculations over which man will ultimately prevail. Is there a point when a government’s longevity ceases to be compatible with the best democratic interests of the nation and, if so, are we approaching that time with the Coalition government, no matter whether led by Howard or Costello?

The longer a government remains in power, the less it is willing to be accountable ; Why property investors love the tax man
• · Nicholas Gruen Improving capital taxation in Australia; Roy Davies, a librarian at University of Exeter, United Kingdom, has put together an impressive collection of links relating to financial scandals Scandals of Real Note ; Trust in business is falling, industry chief warns
• · · Legislative anarchy ; Court ruling says the days of tax exiles are numbered
• · · · Before the moratorium on income trusts was announced recently, they were costing Canada's treasury about $500 million a year, on target to reach $800 million or more - much more. No corresponding figure is available for the taxes Canadian firms and wealthy individuals are not paying Ottawa by parking their money in offshore tax havens. But the numbers are big, billions big. Overseas havens favour the wealthy ; Billionaire Roman Abramovich owns a large amount of property in London Londoners complain that it is expensive, dirty and over-crowded - but not everybody agrees. The capital, which is home to 7.4 million people, is also home to 23 of the world's richest people. With this tally, London was named yesterday as the 'unchallenged magnet' for the world's billionaires. No other city holds such a captivating power over people who have enough money to live in a palace anywhere that they choose. Research shows London is now home to the world's super rich

Monday, November 13, 2006

Internet stocks stage comeback. By Emma Connors, 18/11/2006, The Australian Financial Review, Page 38. Australia's internet and new media companies are attracting strong interest from investors. Their prospects are increasing daily as the number of broadband connections in the nation exceeds 3.5 million. Outstanding performers include online accommodation booking service, job site and domain-name registry Melbourne IT. Highly regarded companies planning to list soon include Hitwise and RP Data. The online advertising market in Australia is worth $A1bn and growing rapidly. However there are no guarantees - iiNet shares have declined 64 per cent in the year to November 2006. It's a sign of good IT leadership when a CIO takes a different path from his competitors. The Road Less Traveled

Brave Blogging World SEARCHER'S VOICE Hard Times
No one can deny that these are difficult times for traditional publishers and information services.

Competing with voluminous, universally available search services pouring data upon a waiting world at no visible cost — in other words, living in the “Google Age” — leaves services which have to charge to survive struggling. At the same time, trying to charge for content with an end-user market that, in large part, never experienced online before the Web puts the pressure on the content provider to come up with product that consistently and noticeably beats the freebie content every time. That’s a tall, tall order. To satisfy it fully, traditional content providers would probably have to restructure their whole systems, incurring significant, if not massive, cost burdens, and all at a time when their current market hold is decreasing, probably along with their ability to raise capital. In the grip of this challenge and, possibly, clinging to the subconscious, psychological support of the self-inflated ego, many traditionals seem more inclined to simply declare anything they produce, anything bearing their brand, as ipso facto top quality and worth whatever they charge. And, following the internal logic of this semidelusional position, they choose to prove it to those amazingly unobservant end users, unaware of the glory before them, by the most logical approach, to wit, denying them the content until they can learn to show it a proper respect.

When carried to extremes, the whole process can begin to look like a curriculum designed for Lemmings U. In an era when the one universal, first-and-foremost complaint of all information consumers is the issue of overload, an era when people reject the idea of a vacation lasting longer than 7 days because of nightmare visions of digging out from under an avalanche of e-mail messages, an era when not even need or greed can drive people to search one more search engine or even go further than two (three max) pages into Google search results — in this era of answers, answers everywhere drowning questions and questioners, someone wants to hide their data and wait until searchers clamber over hill and dale until they find it. Puh-leez!

And it gets worse. Some producers waver between a pro-Web and anti-Web strategy and come up with a composite business strategy. I’m looking for an analogy here. Zoological ones come to mind. How about “a camel is a horse designed by a committee”? No, that won’t work. After all, despite a somewhat nasty disposition and a distinctly uncomfortable riding surface, a camel can survive in hard places. A camel works. What about a mule? But a mule works too. In fact, it is stronger than the horse, its maternal parent, but no matter how well the hybrid works out, a mule is sterile. It can’t increase its numbers on its own. Sooner or later you’re back working with jackasses.

One classic example of a failure-bound composite business strategy — the me-first one — offers a whole range of mistakes. It wrongly identifies the true competition, attacks allies, diminishes both product quality and brand awareness, and sticks it to end users — all in one fell swoop. For example, this month the Financial Times (FT) will — once again — alter its information flow to its outside carriers. Factiva and LexisNexis, which once operated under a 4-hour embargo delay for Financial Times content — a delay expanded to 12 hours late last year — have to suffer a 24-hour delay.

FT apparently hopes that despondent Factiva and LexisNexis users will migrate to its site,, where you can get some current content for free and paying can get you more. For example, you can access an FT archive — a rolling 5 years — plus other services for $119 per year or $9.92 a month, while $300 per year or $25 a month will buy all that plus access to 500 World Press Monitor and Archive sources and more. Going to FT’s partner in digitization, ProQuest, may even get you a rolling 10-year FT archive.

Whoopee! Meanwhile, Factiva and LexisNexis offer FT archives reaching back almost a quarter-century (26 for Factiva, 24 for LexisNexis) with full-text collections of other sources numbering over 8,000 (Factiva Publications Library) and 34,000 in LexisNexis. Both Factiva and LexisNexis are busy finding new current business and financial sources to supplement their collections — now more than ever.

So what happens to the user? Both Factiva and LexisNexis have a policy of merging masses of sources into large groupings. It’s highly unlikely that most users will even notice the absence of the most-current FT information. Many times that won’t matter, as some other source will have supplied sufficient information. Sometimes it will matter, because FT will have met time-related user needs before other sources or because FT will have stronger, more informed and informative coverage. Most likely users simply won’t notice. They will think that they have searched FT because they see older FT references in the results. Over time, the breaking-news enthusiasts will simply come to think that FT isn’t a reliable source for the latest information, even in its own areas of focus. (For those not in the business field who don’t know the Financial Times, it amounts to the U.K. equivalent of TheWall Street Journal.)

Whether the marketing strategy works or not, whether the number of subscribers increases on, the devisers of this strategy have apparently ignored one key factor — a factor, by the way, that the real enemies of all traditionals (Google et al.) hardly ever forget — namely, the interests of the user. This kind of strategy decreases the quality of the content, depriving it of the benefit of full currency. People who use the established outlets for FT will simply not be getting the best FT has to offer, and, depending on which service they are using and which pricing plan, they may not even be getting their money’s worth. Imagine someone having to go back into LexisNexis to check FT a day later under a price-per-search-statement package. But, in any case, it means searchers have to waste their time doing second searches, either a day later on services they know or clicking over to another Web site (

Maybe the benefit of gathering more registered users and opening up more advertising revenue opportunities makes the business strategy appealing to FT managers, as it has to other traditional content providers. But I don’t believe that any strategy that disregards the full interests of customers can truly serve the long-term interests of vendors.

Winners think like winners. And, as one big winner is so fond of repeating, “First, do no evil.” ; Calling all moguls: a new haven for mega rich
• · This rocks: Search Engines ; Packer goes public on his desire to go private
• · · With Members back home and no floor and committee activity in October, it can be challenging to keep congressional Web sites fresh and interesting. But election years are exactly when constituents are looking for information from you, so your site needs to remain relevant to their needs The October Challenge: Stagnant Web Sites ; The government is likely to introduce its media reform legislation into parliament this week, but what's not in the Bills might be as important as what is, writes Jock Given Should we rely on the regulators?
• · · · Newspaper magnate Lord Northcliffe famously said 'news is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising'. And when it comes to government in Australia a culture of suppression of information is endemic among politicians and civil servants. - Strike a blow for media and cultural diversity German Labour Rebecca Kaiser and Cuban Liberal Luis m Garcia Waging a cultural revolutionary war

Friday, November 10, 2006

Just too busy being busy at Bay? It's not often that I break into song, probably because whenever I do, bad things seem to happen. Birds fall from the sky; normally gentle domestic animals suddenly turn rabid and terrorize peaceful suburban neighborhoods; fistfights break out amongst flower-bearing Hare Krishnas at Jervis Bay… Still how nice to anticipate the moment of song, peace and tranquility ;-)

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You'll fight with your best friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did. You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back...
Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.
- Anonymous Media Dragons

Children of Men Catch a Word
Imagine building a friendship with someone you thought you could trust - only to have that person deceive you! This happened to two famous women in the 1980s.
Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.

-I Know This Much is True never grapples with anything less than life's biggest questions....a modern-day Dostoyevsky with a pop sensibility. In his view, it's not just the present that's the's also the ghosts of dysfunctional family members and your non-relationship with a mocking, sadistic God, whom you still turn to in times of trouble -- which is all the time. [Oprah Winfrey's benediction]

Never underestimate the power of understatement. Many people wonder why Jane Austen's "Emma" has lasted in our hearts so long, and why we linger over her love. Emma's true love is finally recognized at the end: Mr. Knightley. It begins with him declaring his love for her, as they stand alone in a garden. The air is thick with emotion. What does she reply? Austen says: "What did she say? Just what she ought, of course. A lady always does." We end up filling in the blank with our own emotion, and when we think about it months later, we don't remember the absence of words, but the emotion we felt.
Also, it is usually better to show the emotion than to try and put it into the character's words (show it through actions and reactions). In real life, this is often the case.

Writing about Wtiting ;
'To do our work, we all have to read a mass of papers. Nearly all of them are far too long. This wastes time, while energy has to be spent in looking for the essential points.
I ask my colleagues and their staff to see to it that their reports are shorter.
The aim should be reports which set out the main points in a series of short, crisp paragraphs.
If a report relies on detailed analysis of some complicated factors, or on statistics, these should be set out in an appendix.
Often the occasion is best met by submitting not a full-dress report, but an aide-memoire consisting of headings only, which can be expanded orally if needed.
Let us have an end of such phrases as these:
'It is also of importance to bear in mind the following considerations', or 'Consideration should be given to the possibility of carrying into effect'. Most of these woolly phrases are mere padding, which can be left out altogether, or replaced by a single word. Let us not shrink from using the short expressive phrase, even if it is conversational.

Reports drawn up on the lines I propose may first seem rough as compared with the flat surface of officialese jargon. But the saving in time will be great, while the discipline of setting out the real points concisely will prove an aid to clearer thinking.' Winston Churchill, 9 August 1940 'Brevity' - Memo to the War Cabinet
• · Entertainment and Poisone; ‘Community media is undoubtedly the way of the future’ –Rupert Murdoch (The Australian, 29 June 2006)
Think very carefully before you purchase a digital free-to-air television set or box. Depending on where you live, you might lose an entire channel. This may come as a surprise. It is unlikely that you will have read about it in the news or seen a warning sticker on a set-top-box. We were told that digital television would offer more television, not less. In fact, the underlying principle of digital conversion was that households who purchase digital receivers would still get to see programs shown on conventional analogue television. It was supposed to be ‘TV for all’, delivered free-to-air, whether through microchips or rabbit ears, right up until the analogue switch-off date. Why would any of us purchase a digital television set if we were going to get less television? Where is OurSpace on Digital Television? By: Ellie Rennie
• · · Online Opinion article: Australian literature on the nose? ; So here’s a question for you — Is it enough just to believe that governments should interfere less in both the economy and citizen’s personal lives, or does a person have to believe this for the right reasons? Is Andrew’s definition too narrow? Keating Musical: Liberal Light on the Hill ; Fearless and flexible: views of gen Y
• · · · Out of India, a daughter claims her inheritance; Some Writers Deserve to Starve: 31 Brutal Truths About the Publishing Industry

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Media Dragon blogs less, but it reads more. Gems like this caome from one and only David aka Barista: A community doesn’t recover its arts community quickly. Once it dissipates, you can’t just fire up a few kids with some guest lecturers and get it going again. It is an intergenerational ecology, a habit of affection between artist and audience. You can pump money into it, but it goes to imported talent, unrooted in the local world. Federal Square doing its hub stuff, inducing thousands to have fun on its slopey bits

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Bathtub Test

It doesn't hurt to take a hard look at yourself from time to time, and this should help get you started.

During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalised.

"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."

> -
"No." said the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

How To Finance a Hollywood BlockbusterStart with a German tax shelter. Behind them dust billows up from trucks that crisscross a giant, uninhabited new town where dozens of ugly, high-rise blocks are hurriedly emerging. This, Spain's biggest single housing project, will soon be home to up to 40,000 people. Raiding Germany's coffers

Sample Of Nobember and Movember Things: Conquering 'Everests of Data' - Anyone can sue anyone at any time

• Tax evasion is like pornography, says Julie Segedin, tax manager at Beattie Rickman. “You may not be able to define it very easily, but you know when you see it.”
And just like pornography, it’s almost impossible to find people who will talk openly about using it. But the wealthy, who are under suspicion of doing their utmost to pay as little tax as they can, are not finding things as easy as they once did, tax experts say. Virtual world: tax man cometh ; Taxman muscles up in hunt for rich tax-dodgers • · > Hungary Commemorates Anniversary of 1956 Revolution Hungary remembers 1956 uprising; Another measure of how inequality has widened since Ronald Reagan was elected shows in the ratio of CEO pay to the average working person. It rose from 42 times in 1980 to 85 times in 1990 and 431 times in 2004. The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class; The next time you submit a Freedom of Information request to a NSW Government department and feel cheated when the pages come back all blacked out, try clicking on the NSW Crown Solicitor's website to better understand what's happened. Trust us, we're government
• · · Library Research ; Wired & Scary moments


1. Take into account that great love and great achievements
involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R’s:
Respect for self,
Respect for others and
Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a
wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate
steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for
your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the
current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your
love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order
to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

"To my surprise," Media Dragon sang, "I continually experienced a strange, yet pervasive, lack of optimism for the future of the new brave world and a lack of confidence in business and the economy. For lack of a better term, it might be called '2000+ Odessey Blues'.
Overheard - Buying high-capacity PC storage is like owning a 20-bedroom mansion. It's great having all that extra space, but at the end of the day someone has to do the vacuuming. The vacuuming challenge in data-storage is how do you manage and organise the ever-increasing amount of information?

Victim of a consumer Rip-off? Want justice? Rip-off Report™ is a worldwide consumer reporting Website & Publication, by consumers, for consumers, to file & document complaints about companies or individuals who ripoff consumers.
Victim of a Rip-off Artiste?
No matter how much time passes, I still can't get over the incredible story that came out this summer about AOL's customer retention call center. For those not following it, here is a short summary of the key events (compiled by my colleague Harry Sheff and reported on our blog): Your Call Is Not Particularly Important To Us

Sample Of Nobember and Movember Things: Constant Change Is The Only Certainty: You're ugly, Sydney: echo of Keating
AGE has not softened Paul Keating's acid tongue. Sydney's vanishing future. As John Hatton noted in Jervis Bay last week: There's an old saying in Australian politics: What do you do when the electorate feels betrayed? Betray them again …

Everyone is re-reading the story of ugliness as the Blue Mountains burn. Mayor Harry and Trees are another topic at dinner tables. There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we take strong action now. The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response. Change is the only certainty in this world and choice- the only power we have over it, whatsoever. Nevertheless, choice can become overwhelming, too.

• Country spirit remains unbroken - just like the drought You're ugly, Sydney: feisty Keating tells; If change is the only certainty in the universe, it is inevitable that things will sometimes grow, and sometimes decay. Some men will grow more gifted
YOU'RE in your mid-twenties and the world is at your feet. You have big dreams and ambitions but things don't go according to plan. Rites of passage
• · Political correctness, as much as fundamentalism, is responsible for our state of absurdity, writes Umberto Eco. Silence is a decree all should fear ; Overhead on radio: "Thank God my daughter finally has a role model who isn'ta princess or a prostitute!" Chris Master on ABC: as told to ABC-TV's Kerry O'Brien this week Chris was compelled to out Jones because "it was impossible to avoid the elephant in the room" Freedom of information is a controversial area. Media organisations in particular take strident viewpoints in favour of full access to governmental documentation. Witness the editorial in The Australian on 7 September 2006 following the High Court's dismissal of that paper's appeal of the Federal Treasurer's refusal to disclose Treasury working papers on bracket creep and the first homeowners' scheme. The Australian's editorial criticised the decision's: "emasculation of the FOI Act" and the Treasurer's "legal trickery and up to $1.5 million of taxpayer money to fight against the public's right to know just how little they truly get back when taxes are cut". The irony of the ABC case of course is that it was a media organisation resisting an FOI request, as opposed to being aggrieved by having a request of its own rejected. Media Dragon & Google Involved In Digital Democracy
• · · Sam seeks sunny side of men; Sweden has a reputation as a nanny state, so it shouldn't be any surprise that it has joined the ranks of countries buffeted by nannies. The fault is not of the nannies themselves, but of politicians who try to pull a fast one when paying for their children's care. Hey nanny no

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Outsourcing hits a new class of workers: Journalists

JonesTown and this article are big hits this month, tickets for the Glebe Bookshop seminar with Chris Masters are all sold and the venue at Sydney Uni is huge HC Nelson is ready to rock n roll ... The long arm of 'offshoring' reaches into the news industry

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Conquering 'Everests of Data' - Anyone can sue anyone at any time
An excerpt from The Street-Smart Writer:

Libel and slander both are forms of defamation; defamation is the legal term for any published false statement about a living person or organization (yes, you can defame a company!) that injures the subject’s reputation. “Injury to reputation” generally is considered to be exposure to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or financial loss.

Libel is the written act of defamation, slander is the spoken act; no one can sue you for slander for what you write. Whether libel or slander, the defamation must be published—communicated to someone other than the subject of the defamation.

Defamation law is a complex subject, full of exceptions, “privileges,” defenses and the like. The following is a general overview:

Fact vs. Opinion. Most state courts recognize a distinction between statements of fact and opinion; “true” opinion cannot be proved or disproved and thus cannot be defamatory. Contrary to what many people believe, however, the mere fact that your statement is in the form of an opinion will not shield you from a defamation lawsuit. In other words, simply adding “in my opinion” to your statement is not enough, if the statement otherwise is defamatory; you must have disclosed facts to justify that opinion. WRONG: “My co-worker John Doe is a filthy cheat.” This is defamatory: an unproven, pejorative (“filthy” and “cheat”) statement about a private (non-public figure) individual. Adding “in my opinion” to the statement doesn’t help. INSTEAD: “I saw John take five toner cartridges from the supply closet and put them in his car. I believe he is a cheat.” This is your opinion based on disclosed facts, and (if true) is not defamatory.

Humor and Parody. As with true opinion, certain other statements are considered nonfactual because they are understood to be meant humorously or as satire. Authors often rely on this, but beware: If reasonable persons could find truth in the material and it would damage the subject’s reputation, it may be defamatory.

Name Calling. Under the law in most states, mere name-calling (“he’s a jerk”) is not defamatory because epithets cannot be proved true or false, and reasonable persons understand that they are not meant to be assertions of fact.

Fiction. In fiction writing, the Supreme Court interprets the First Amendment to hold an author and publisher liable for publishing a defamatory statement only upon a showing of negligence—that is, a plaintiff in a defamatory-fiction lawsuit must show that the publisher of a defamatory statement knew or should have known that a “fictionalized” character was objectively identifiable as a real person.

Public figures. If you write about public figures (politicians, movie stars, professional athletes, celebrities, etc.) you have additional protection: Public figures must show that the defamatory statement was published with “actual malice.”

Defenses. In the United States, truth generally is an absolute defense to defamation: If what you say is true, it cannot be defamatory (a minority of states, however, allow the defense only if the statement was made in good faith). Most states also have a variety of “privileges” that may protect statements made in particular contexts, such as in court or in the legislature.

Just remember this: If you want to write something negative about a person, company, or group, you either must have documentation to back up everything you write, or you must frame it clearly as your opinion that is based on facts.   

While the pen is mightier than the sword, many writers lack a shield [Multi-published author Jenna Glatzer and publishing law attorney Daniel Steven take you into the murky waters of the publishing industry and fill a lifeboat full of safe firsthand instructions and advice about how to avoid being scammed by publishers, agents, and phony contests The Street Smart Writer: Self-Defense Against Sharks and Scams in the Writing World ]
• · If YOU think the password protection on your MS Word file is keeping it safe from prying eyes, chances are you're wrong. The time it takes to crack password-protected Microsoft Office files has tumbled from a 25-day average to a matter of seconds, thanks to a decades-old code-cracking technique that until recently was not viable. Code cracking is the new pot of gold ; Apple is certainly not the first to try to build a product that crosses the great consumer electronics divide between the TV and all that digital video and audio content taking up ever-larger sections of PC hard drives. Others have sought to cross it, most have failed. I don't expect the same from Apple. Apple's iTV: Bridging the Big Divide
• · · Web-based mentoring: what it is, why it’s important, why it’s the next phase of learning for people, and why organizations are flocking toward it Tradition Meets Technology with Web-Based Mentoring

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Road rage, drug addiction, unhappy relationships, domestic and workplace violence: at the core of these lies anger. Dr. Deepak Chopra states that the most common cause of illness was anger. If so, Dr. Shoshanna is one of the world-class healers of all time
As seen on Media Dragon ;-) Stop the Fighting in Your Relationship

Sunday, October 22, 2006

All in all, there is a great deal of reason to be excited about the A ustralian Literary Review (ALR) as it is the new supplement to The Australian newspaper, appearing for the first time on 6 September. The review "explores the work of the country's leading writers and thinkers and provide a chronicle of developments in literature, culture, politics, scholarship and the arts".

Following on the heels of the decision by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to launch The First Tuesday Book Club, this new periodical represents a welcome addition to cultural dialogue in this country. The saltiest vocabulary ever heard in Gleebe Bookshop comes from Jennifer Byrnes as Jennifer has peppered Cold River with her eyes ;-) The publication is a joint venture with The Australia Council (the federal arts body which provides funding for cultural activities), The University of Melbourne and Melbourne University Publishing (which The Australian erroneously refers to as Melbourne University Press). The saltiest vocabulary ever heard in Gleebe Bookshop comes from Jennifer Good chance, real possibility, strong likelihood

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Novel Ways to Promote Your Novel: 2-to-1 chance - 50-50 odds
For most authors of fiction, the very idea of promotion is distasteful. It's not uncommon for novelists to break out in hives or develop a nervous twitch when faced with the reality of marketing their books.

As a published author, you know that you must promote your book and you scurry to find your comfort zone. You'll sign up with, of course, put up a website and solicit reviews through the traditional magazines and sites. Those of you with more nerve will try to arrange book signings and, uh-- maybe attend a few local book festivals. And mostly, you'll be met with disappointment. 

Hard-selling hawker  [ With news of Regan's book and TV rollout of OJ Simpson's IF I DID IT sucking the oxygen out of yesterday's National Book Awards day, one big question in the trade is whether the new circus coming to town will keep other authors out of the media ring. Included in that competition for attention is HarperCollins' own lead author for fall: Michael Crichton's NEXT releases on Tuesday, November 28--nestled right in between Fox's Monday and Wednesday Simpson interviews and Regan's Thursday book laydown. Possibly the strangest developments yet for books but will they work? Doh ; ]
• · Garcia captures the exquisite pain of leaving Cuba, too. Like all families, his was told: when you go, that's it, you are considered a traitor and you can never come back. You will never see a Cuban sunset, a Cuban beach, again. Garcia has lived in Australia with his grateful parents since 1972. He's married now, with children. He published his book in June. In July came news that Castro was ill and in August he handed over power to his younger brother, Raul, at least temporarily. I thought you'd like to know that some of the most moving and sincere feedback I have received to my book, Child of the Revolution, has come from people who grew up under Communism in what used to be the Soviet bloc.
Perhaps a little colder than tropical Cuba, but the experiences were identical. Luis
• · · Have Australians lost faith in a politics that is larger than themselves Ordinary is now the way to be
• · · · A workforce experiment at Best Buy's headquarters allows employees to decide how, when and where they get the job done. Throwing Out the Rules of Work
• · · · · John Alexander, AFR Boss, November 2006, pp.82-87. There’s more to Swedish style than Ikea or Volvo. When it comes to doing business, the Swedes are world-class leaders at calculating when enough is enough. How do these Swedish companies succeed, he wondered, with their long holidays, generous sick leave and remuneration, mandatory parental leave, endless coffee breaks, and long meetings in which decision-making was avoided? How has Sweden achieved such an impressive track record in corporate sustainability and international profitability? The Swedish message

Sunday, October 15, 2006

In a rare act of common sense, we get a Sydney based play Bangers and Mash in the same week as the world faces another movement of note ;-) How to Save the World and Find True Love...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Writing a Marathon

Like most writers, there are times when I shake my head and think, "What am I doing?" This usually happens after a string of rejections, or when the final few dollars from last month's checks have been spent and I'm scrounging for new ideas and assignments. At those times a nagging voice deep within me begins to shout, "You can't do this! You're not good enough! You'll never finish this!" Learning how to deal with that voice is one of the most important lessons I've learned as a writer, and for me that lesson came from the most unlikely of places.
You are ... how old ;-)

By the way, Tim Flannagan might as well ask ... of Terry McGee and Buz Luhrman Are you character driven or Cold River escape driven?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Black Friday and game of Trivia with creative minds of Chris, Johns. Trevor and Gayle caliber mix rather well on this very hot night in Sydney ;-)

Daniel Pink thinks the creative types shall inherit the earth. Pink -- author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future (Riverhead) and plenary speaker at ABA's upcoming Winter Institute -- says a sea change is already taking place in our business and personal lives. We are moving from the Information Age (where lawyers, programmers, and accountants ruled) to what he dubs the Conceptual Age (artists, inventors, and designers, your time has come!) Winter Institute Speaker Daniel Pink: Right-Brainers to Rule the Future

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Criminalization of Political Processes

"To the victors belong the spoils"1 and "money is the mother's milk of politics"2 are adages growing in obsolescence in the context of a recent trend to criminalize conduct which historically had been deemed politically acceptable.

While political patronage flourishes in some spheres of government (from presidential appointments to local clubhouse politics), some legislative limits have been imposed and criminally enforced. In addition, Some political benefits procured by way of campaign contributions have been criminalized despite recognition by the U.S. Supreme Court that ...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The week has been peppered with the sweetness of the Blue Mountains blossom, Agatha Christie plays (Pauline's touch), Little Miss Sunshine, (Everyone pretend to be normal) and deep stories of how there are really only five types of relatives or wives or ex-wives - the characters just tend to jump from one album to another album ... Although last year a separation was not a music to my ears this year a divorce is a greatest gift I could ever wish for ...

The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class

Another measure of how inequality has widened since Ronald Reagan was elected shows in the ratio of CEO pay to the average working person. It rose from 42 times in 1980 to 85 times in 1990 and 431 times in 2004. At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin reportedly said in answer to whether the nation now had a republic or a monarchy: A republic, if you can keep it.

Prescient words from an extraordinary man, and we hardly need wonder what he'd say now. Unlike the Founders, this shameless Congress shares the guilt of a morally depraved president who believes no one has the right to challenge him, champions the use of torture and the denial of habeas and due process rights to anyone on his say alone, now (law or no law) authorizes wiretaps and illegal surveillance on anyone, and calls dissent an act of terrorism in direct contradiction to what Thomas Jefferson believed when he said: "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." Having now made a mockery of constitutional law, this Congress and president have moved the nation to within an "eyelash" of a full-blown national security fascist police state. It's given the president the right to act solely on his own authority as a virtual dictator to do whatever he pleases in the name of national security as he defines it. It simply means the rule of law has been abolished and ordinary people no longer have constitutionally protected rights. All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Like it's Media Dragon's fault that Google didn't just buy this blog for a cool billion ... Are we capable of exacting the worst kind of revenge on Google if enough of our blogging life is ruined or taken from us by missing on such amazing opportunities ;-) I don't have a ton to say about the Google acquisition of YouTube. That's because to me, it's more an eyeball landgrab than a search development ... Google's decision to splurge $1.65bn (£880m) on the video site YouTube will no doubt have critics of the new dotcom boom rolling their eyes in disgust If you can't beat 'em ...Beginners discover blogs easy as 1, 2, 3 Blogosphere probes 'GooTube' deal News that Google has bought video-sharing website YouTube has set the blogs chattering. Among the questions being asked are how the deal will affect the two companies, what the copyright implications will be and whether Yahoo will follow suit with a similar deal Google bets big bucks: Google boss lost in tide of blue rinse

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Golden Age of Gobbledygook: Google Idol
Brin and Page initially took over the garage when Google had recently been incorporated with backing to the tune of $1 million from investors ... bringing the most-used parts of MySpace, eBay, Craigslist, YouTube and Google into one!

To all those Google users out there -- how do you feel about the web search giant becoming your personal librarian? In fact, the company is already heeding this call for many millions of Google users all across the globe these days (and nights). This blog entry over at ZDNet discusses a quote from Google co-founder Larry Page, who said this at the introduction of the "Google Books" project that aimed to scan every possible book into digital format: "Even before we started Google, we dreamed of making the incredible breadth of information that librarians so lovingly organize searchable online."

It's getting quicker to get a billion: Google's place as a personal librarian [There's California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on a summer evening newscast, boasting about the state budget he had just signed. There he is again, minutes later, featured on a video clip of the broadcast posted online by his political opponents. It highlights the 11 words Schwarzenegger regretted declaring that day: "Uh, no, there really is no plan to end the deficit." Political hopefuls exploit gaffes online ; Is news that Google is buying video sharing website YouTube for $1.6bn the silliest deal since eBay bought Skype for over $2.6bn? Jason Stamper's Blog]
• · There were red faces in the Googleplex yesterday after the company was forced to admit that the Official Google Blog had been hacked over the weekend. Hackers post fake notice on Google blog ; Google has added an 'Interesting items for you' module to the personalized home page interface as noted in the Google Operating System blog Recommend Searches, Pages & Gadgets
• · · In his blog, Matt Cutts of Google explained that, "PageRank is computed continuously; there are machines that take inputs to the PageRank algorithm at Google Google Updates PageRank ; Is the 'New New Internet' really new?
• · · · Like it's my fault that Google didn't just buy this blog for a cool billion YouTube, me jealous; The ambitious today are all on the Web. Writing words, posting pictures, uploading video. It's all about visibility. It's all about being there, being seen in all the right places. Get Published To Get Ahead
• · · · · Irony Behind the Google Click-to-Call Hoax ; Google is not alone in recognizing the power of local ad revenue. ... states that provide user-generated content, photos, local calendars, blog communities, and yes ... Local is crucial for online newspapers
• · · · · · As Hurricane Rita approached Houston in 2005, the Houston Chronicle set up a weblog in which its science writer gave up-to-the-minute updates about the storm's status and in-depth information about the science associated with Rita. Blogs changing journalism, Mattingly tells BP journalism faculty ; It already has its own Google Video site, but still trails YouTube, which recently announced that ... News of the talks was first reported on the Techcruch blog. Google May Be Vying for Site

Saturday, October 07, 2006

If I had woken up twenty five years ago, in my newly acquired homeland Australia, with the face I have now, I would have screamed the house down. Not even the wild wild Polish Parties with the hugest of hangovers would my eyelids have been this droopy, the lines between mmy euebrows so deep, the bags under my eyes such precise storm-cloud grey

Reasons why the Australian language is so hard to learn for exiles like mmmwwaaa:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present..
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail
18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France (Surprise!). Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? Is it an odd, or an end?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

P.S. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"? (courtesy of Walter and Vanessa)

Friday, October 06, 2006

If Tolstoy were living in 21st century Australia, he would have to ditch his famous observation, in Anna Karenina, that happy families are all alike but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. In Australia they're all unhappy about the same things: childcare, mortgages and petrol ... CUT! Has economy everywhere lost our way?

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Walk of life:
via email - You walk step by step down the darkest hall.

Your progress is only transfigured by the illumination of the touches of experience. Each torch is drawn to the wall, and held by frozen human hands of pervious travelers. As you turn the final corner, you stretch out your hand and pierce the veil. For a short time you are blinded, then as your eyes adjust they are awaken with the richness that they behold. Tables dressed in gold braiding rich and full. Candles multi crystal coloured reflect light, all colours mingle to display the purest light known to human kind. Silver platters full, reaped with produce from the golden garden of all times and worlds, the famed garden of Eden.
As you approach the table, your hunger is eating at your very being, climax's towards the delight of your existentialistic existence. The table is set for your own banquet of life. Beware the taste of the sweeter food, don't over eat and always chew your food.
Through out the meal your taste buds blossom and bloom with the delights as you savor each mouth full. Dreams enhance you as you hope that it will last for ever. BUT WILL IT ? Have you remembered to stay away from the dark side. Who's very thought triggers memories phasing like flashes of lighting causing questions of your own memories. Your heart beats faster and faster. Racing and pacing, pumping with a rhythm that cancels the very beat of life itself. Be comforted and lend yourself to peace. Float within its arms for you are beheld and cherished by the spirit of humanity.

The spirit is your guide for the journey, it will answer all your questions. But can you ask the right questions ? You finish your banquet and move along the path. Each step is ane step for the continuation of your journey. Remember that each step, questions may be asked and fulfillment is possible, but only with hunger as the toll for the delights and knowledge.

Remember that each step has a life of its own. Born at the touch of your foot. Death when you have passed. For each of your steps is but just a passing phase. But never fear nor sorrow for with each step you kill means another birth.

So sample only the good things, reject the dark side and ask many questions of the spirit. Listen to its guidance and judge harshly your environment. For many surprises will arise in the west, while you seek the east for a sign.

May your light be available, as the moon is at half crescent. Not a full moon to blind, nor a too soft moon which is food for the shadows of deception to grow in your path. For a crescent moon brings warmth and support to the soul. Remember to be at peace and one with the world and it will seek peace with you. Enjoin together and join with the spirit to celebrate the greatest gift of all, life !

• · Even a few extra pounds can bring early death Message for us all ; A few extra pounds mean shorter life
• · · MaxSpeak, You Listen!: G'DAY, GOOD LIFE, BLISS
• · · · with a complimentary photograph of Nick Roussos, CPSU member: Work to live or live to work? Dr Caroline West argues for a radical rethink of work/life balance as we struggle to find time for our lives - while working harder than ever. Definition of the good life ; Climate change is getting to be like that old joke about the weather: everyone talks about it, but nobody does anything. Sydney's food law breaches 1 day 7 hours old

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tonight Barry Jones and Jennifer Byrnes created another colourful atmosphere at the GlebeBookshop. Naturally, knowledge and science dominated the memoirs we had to have ...

All readers of the Media Dragon will remember that Barry Jones first came to public prominence as Pick-a-Box quiz champion, and from then on he has embraced a myriad of passions and causes. A Thinking Reed spans his remarkable career, from a lonely childhood in Melbourne of the 1930s and 1940s to the fight he led against the death penalty to his crusade to make science and the future prominent issues on the political agenda. He has worked tirelessly on both a global and local scale to rethink education, to improve and preserve our heritage, to revive the nations's film industry, and to build a better Australia. Almost unique among politicians, Barry Jones is held in enormous public affection. And while he reveals many insights into the political process - both the problems of office and the atrophy of Opposition - he concentrates above all on the life of the mind; a mind with deep, passionate and often witty insights into history, philosophy, music and literature. A Thinking Reed is a generous gift from an extraordinary Australian PS: Ach, Nifty, Neville Wran, laughted at the same places at Mal ;-)

In this context, reading the thought-provoking and hard-core irony bitten letters to the editor inside the newspaper which Mark Scott wounded - just like his father wounded the TAFE system - somehow the generational dots of comedy or errors are joined together ...

A skills shortage of employers' own making

Sorry to disappoint the boffins at the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, but broad-based skilled migration ("Skills crisis: migrants get fast-tracked", October 4) will never solve a skills shortage.

Recruiting overseas hairdressers will, for example, create more demand for accountants, then both professions create more demand for building tradespeople to build their homes, then more demand for cooks and all the other skilled workers already in short supply - including hairdressers. The consequent population growth will put more pressure on our limited water resources and create demand for engineers and construction workers to build the desalination plant the NSW Government recently put on hold. Spend the money training Australian youth and mature workers instead and the skills crisis can be solved.

-Dick Harfield Leichhardt

Rosemary O'Brien (Letters, October 4) wonders if people do their community service. They do. I am required to do at least 200 hours over six months for the crime of being unemployed. Centrelink doesn't know this but I had done about 300 hours before I registered. You see, I get more out of volunteering than I put into it. I can also get training credits from Centrelink. I am going to put mine towards a trip to China to do a TAFE course that is going to get me back into the paid workforce. By the back door, so to speak.

-Warren Heggarty Yagoona

Oh, woe is us. After spending many years in the building industry it beggars belief that employers and government are whingeing again about something they have created: a skills shortage.

When there was a union of substance in the industry, the first thing about which we would have a discussion, argument, plea or strike was how many apprentices would be employed on the site. This was determined by several things: the size of the project, its duration and the number of carpenters, electricians and so on. Employers had to be dragged kicking and screaming to employ apprentices. They and the government are complicit in the debacle we are now seeing.

-Wayne Murray Marrickville

Outsourcing Knowledge

Monday, October 02, 2006

Every cliche has its day, so here goes: It is an ill wind of power that blows nobody any good - We live in a strange world - PDF version Stephen Handelman is the author of Comrade Criminal: Russia’s New Mafiya and a consultant for Freedom House’s annual Nations in Transit survey Thieves in Power: The New Challenge of Corruption

Simplicity has emerged as one of the hot management trends of the new century. But is it really new, or just commonsense? Keep it simple

Art of Living & Change Across Frontiers: Running with Change
The winds of change rarely smell sweet.  As soon as organizational changes are announced, you can smell detractors, naysayers, doubters, critics--all those who resist the changes. When you are the manager of a change-supporting project, you are going to be a target of this resistance, directly or indirectly.

You will have the opportunity to influence the workforce in a constructive way during your project to counter the resistance. If you fail to fully take advantage of this opportunity, your project objectives will be much more difficult to achieve. Think doing nothing or remaining neutral will be a viable safe tactic? It’s as good as joining the resisters.
When You Must Be Ready to Respond to Resistance
First, how do you know you are in an organizational change supporting project? One obvious example of such a project is where a new, more powerful software system is being created to replace another. There are usually concurrent consolidations in user roles and departmental realignments.

Sometimes, though, an organizational change occurs when the scope of an organization’s role changes, as when a chunk of work is delegated to an outsourced organization. Projects can generate from these organizational changes as systems and procedures must be adjusted.
Finally, an organizational change common to IT is centralization or decentralization, which occur randomly to all organizations depending on factors such as shareholder satisfaction, newly hired leaders and whether the CIO salary has recently been publicized. You may manage a project that supports any of these or similar efforts. Any of them may produce that special odour of resistance.

Reactions You Can Expect
Understanding general types of workforce reactions will help you prepare to respond appropriately and avoid embarrassing and destructive reactions.

Active Resistance. Many workers may feel that they, their department, even the organization may come out worse off once the changes have occurred. They may not hesitate to express their fears to you, using for instance:
? Verbal complaints in project meetings (“We should not be developing a new system when our existing system can be updated more cost-effectively.”)
? Actions to avoid working in the project or doing certain tasks (“Our team will not be a good choice for this activity. Perhaps you should go with contractors.”)

Allowing active resistance to exist throughout the project, even when the best interest of the organization is the motivation, keeps the workforce from focusing on project objectives and reduces productivity.

Passive Resistance. Some workers and team leads will have concerns over the efficacy of the change and your project, but will not be obvious about it. There may be no objectively clear behaviour that you can put your finger on. Many times, resistance is conducted by not doing something that needs to be done. Examples of passive resistance (or evidence thereof) are: 
- Quietly spreading any news or rumour of anything negative or unsuccessful with the project
- Not prioritizing high-priority project work, so that deadlines are always missed, then giving excuses for not completing work on time or to the expected quality
- Avoiding documentation of project issues so that they cannot be successfully resolved
- Constantly requesting delays to wait for organizational decisions before starting or completing project tasks.

It is easy to underestimate the problem with this insidious type of resistance. As the project progresses, it gradually erodes the ability of individuals and teams to complete work efficiently.

Have fixed, regular places for worker input and issues. Don’t let the passive resistors get away with spreading rumours and sabotage. Give them every opportunity to voice their concerns--appropriately. 
- Bad--Activate your workers in a standard way on the issue resolution process.
- Worse--Let the issue resolution procedure fall between the cracks as your project gets more intensely busy.
- Better--Make a special effort to emphasize the importance of the issue resolution procedure. State how anything other than aggressive resolution of project issues will be seen as substandard performance in any project group. Explain how issues about the change strategy as a whole are also important and should be brought up in the appropriate organizational feedback method (not the project).

Organizational Change and Your Career
Of course, you like to bask in the knowledge that the organization will benefit from your selfless sophistication in change management leadership. But think of yourself for a moment. What skills will take you as a project manager to the next level? Positive political and interpersonal skills will.

Like it or not, there is more organizational change in your future. The more practice you get at influencing the workforce during difficult changes, the more you will come out smelling like a rose.

The CIO as Driver of Organizational Change [We live in a strange world. Change insinuates itself into the very fabric of our lives, yet most people have a hard time dealing with it. It’s no wonder an enormous body of knowledge revolves around every conceivable aspect of change. The Change Game ; ]
• · Suppose you lend a friend a DVD to watch on the agreement that he will mail it back to Netflix. If you find out your friend forgot to return the movie to the rental company, would you trust him with another DVD? Promises, Lies and Apologies: Is It Possible to Restore Trust?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

There are no solutions, just better managed risk ... I gather that is why every working writer needs a holiday at the Blue Mountains. It is such a joy to show Mal the spots I love to visit like the sweet cottage at Boronia Street at Bullabara where donkies and parrakites (sic) punctuate the landscape. To go and sip wine at Fairmont of Peppers Fame is rather divine especially when the stories are told by Dr Cope.

If writing a book was a challenge imagine getting involved in the film project, however, Terry has me hooked on 60 scenes and as I am rarely afraid of failures, except for relationship failures, most of my weekends will be creative - no doubt about it ;-) as I am told that Cold River, in short, a filmmaker's dream ...

The Sun Screen Song via Ray of Coolum fame - one of my favorite songs, is commonly referred to as "The Sunscreen Song".  It is what sounds like a commencement speech, set to music.  In fact it is not a real commencement speech (though it should be!), but rather a column that appeared in the Chicago Tribune on June 1, 1997 entitled "ADVICE, LIKE YOUTH, PROBABLY JUST WASTED ON THE YOUNG" by staff writer Mary Schmich Solong! Pay the street corner muscians and encourage them. For some reason, music on an early morning brings untold connectedness

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: We need everyday heroes
Jim Owen, now a partner and director of corporate values for an Austin, Tex. investment firm, said he drew on cowboy ethics for his book because “we’ve confused rules with principles. “Does Wall Street need more rules? No.

Jim Owen, now a partner and director of corporate values for an Austin, Tex. investment firm, said he drew on cowboy ethics for his book because “we’ve confused rules with principles. “Does Wall Street need more rules? No. We need people of principle who will say ‘Here’s where we draw the line.”
Instead of examining every issue to see if it is legal, we need to look at “Is it the right thing to do,’” Owen said.
“In our society we have people in leadership who have not earned our trust,” he said. “...Many of us learned our values from early Western movies. The question was always ‘Are you a person someone can count on?’”
The American obsession with winning has warped the country’s ethics, Owen believes. Many companies have a code of ethics, but most such statements “are just words,” he said. “Cowboys are about action, not words.”
“We need everyday heroes: the single mom in Oklahoma City with two kids who holds down two jobs and helps her children with their homework at night...The person with cancer who has the courage of thinking how to handle the future...

The answer is winning at life, not winning at business [ The Tapeworm is my nickname for the insider system that runs our current political economy and financial system ON THE TAPEWORM TRAIL ; Antony on My Israel ]
• · Promina chief executive Mike Wilkins says the group remains in search for possible acquisitions though the company has no immediate takeover plans. Promina said net half year profit fell 5.7 per cent to $216 ... The notions of justice, of pursuing and protecting the common good by treating all people fairly — or as we say in Australia, “giving everyone a fair go” — are deeply embedded in the Australian psyche. ;-) Mike Wilkins ;
• · · The extraordinary expansion of company legislation and corporate governance codes across the world since the collapse of Enron, the energy trader, has had many unintended consequences. One of the more paradoxical is the damage that has been done to business ethics. When compliance is not enough ; The saddest thing about Don Chipp's death is that he passed away a disillusioned man. The idealistic politician who founded the Australian Democrats to "keep the bastards honest" concluded that the bastards had won. Like John Hatton, Don did not seem the type to rattle easily. A gravel-voiced politician who talked to everyone even this bohemian blogger ... Don Chipp died believing the bastards had won

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

There are very few politicians who walk the talk and Kevin Rozzoli is one of them. It is great to see Kevin's dream finally realised. He gave birth to a book which most publishers shy away from as most people assume that parliaments and legislatures are irrelevant ... How right/wrong we all really are! Today, parliaments are dominated by executives as never before and we assume that we are too weak to change this fact. However we should never give up our hopes and dreams - real democracies require participation by one and all as we all have blood on our hands if we have handed over our powers to a few masters who know how to wiggle preselection processes ...

Kevin Rozzoli's new book Gavel to Gavel was launched by Nick Greiner in the Strangers Bar at Parliament House, Sydney on 26 September, 2006. At the launch, Nick Greiner regretted the fact that he did not create a legislative atmosphere in which a framework for a better and a long term independence of the speakership was set in concrete ... The opportunity create by HUNG Parliament was missed so these days we have NSW Parliament and Parliamentary Committee System in the hands of Ministerial advisors and spin doctors ...

The book takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the corridors of parliament as seen through the eyes of a practitioner of thirty years’ experience in the ‘bear pit’ on Macquarie Street. The author’s seven years as one of its most highly regarded Speakers provides the background for this detailed and informative study of parliamentary practices and procedures.

As Kevin notes: the failure of present day parliaments to hold governments to account for the actions they take on behalf of ordinary citizens demands radical reforms. Instances of ministers and governments thumbing their noses at the community are legion; examples need not be listed here as readers will relate to many cases in those areas which particularly concern them. By Kevin Rozzoli & Ken Coghill: Renewing accountability

Kevin Rozzoli was the Member for Hawkesbury in the NSW Parliament, 1973-2003. He entered the Parliament at a by-election, one of four, which the ALP contested with some vigour following Federal Labor's very high vote in that region on that celebrated day, 2 December 1972. The Labor challenge did not pose a serious threat, thereafter the Liberal Member for Hawkesbury could count on a long career untroubled by a challenge from the other side of politics. Mr Rozzoli had a brief stint as Deputy Leader of the Opposition under John Dowd, during an unhappy time for the Coalition. He was purged in the coup of 1983 which brought Nick Greiner to the Liberal leadership.

His flowering was as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, 1988-95. All of his second term the Government was in a minority: his absence from the floor and his rulings were of more than usual importance. Following a succession of undistinguished Speakers from the 1950s, Kevin Rozzoli is regarded highly by those who regard the decorum of parliamentary as a matter of the first moment, a very boutique constituency which is perhaps why the behaviour of the Chair has not been discussed in the public domain all that much for fifty years.

Mr Rozzoli is attached to the University of Sydney where he is reflecting on his years in public life. After receiving an expression of interest, David Clune and the Chairman discussed how best Mr Rozzoli can contribute. Our suggestion was as follows.

[We] suggest a project which draws on your long and varied parliamentary career. You may choose to emphasise one period, such as occupying the Speaker's chair during successive parliaments – during one the Government enjoyed a big majority, during the Parliament was hung. You may choose to deal with the challenges of being in Opposition, particularly when the cause looks hopeless, the transformation occasioned by improved electoral prospects, how inward a party can look when government does not appear to be in sight. What we are seeking is work which illuminates the practical world of politics, a world rarely glimpsed by academics and other students of Parliament. Use your own experiences to draw some conclusions about politics and parliament. You could undertake that task at any of several levels though we do hope you will err on the side of frankness.

Mr Rozzoli proceeded to make a submission in the following terms.

I wish to apply for a financial grant in respect of a book I am writing on the processes of parliament with a particular emphasis on the Parliament of New South Wales. The book will provide a special focus on the Legislative Assembly, its rules and procedures and as a subset of that focus on the Fiftieth Parliament during which Premiers Greiner and Fahey governed without a majority in either house. The Fiftieth Parliament was particularly interesting from a procedural perspective and is an excellent basis from which study the interaction between Government and Opposition, their respective relationships with the public and the media, and the relativity of the evolving process over the past sixty years. I will be examining present day demands and the changes we have seen in communications, the level of public education and awareness, as well as modern attitudes to accountability and ethical considerations.

The book will address the elements that draw individuals to seek a parliamentary career, the role of a parliament in relation to the people its members represent. The book will also covers such issues as parliamentary privilege, the sub judice rule, the committee system, the Speakership, the role of a member, ethical considerations, the way legislation evolves and how the general public can better understand the process.

I will also detail the functions of the two chambers and their relationship to government and non-government members. I will give an outline of the administrative functions of the Parliament, the Parliamentary Library Hansard, Bills and Papers, IT, parliamentary organizations and so on. I will then deal with the scrutiny of Parliament, the various public accountability bodies, Auditor General, Ombudsman, ICAC and so on, and the role of the media.

Finally I will look into the future making some suggestions on improvements to process and the need for a more formal constitution for New South Wales. Throughout the book I will draw on my thirty years experience as a member of the Legislative Assembly and in particular my seven years as Speaker. It is intended to be a practical book that will provide information and enlightenment not only to those with a direct interest in the parliamentary process but to anyone who wants to take better advantage of our democratic system.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It is not everyday one acquires a friend who is like a sister to you and it is not every day that Vanessa invades Sydney. It was a joy to show off Sydney at its most glorious - filled with sun and reflections of azure and all kinds of blues and greens at Bondi Iceberg ... The Marble Bar is also such an amazing treasurer. I have been so fortunate to add a soulful set of sisters like Vanessa and Gina to my four blood sisters. Life is too short but memories - like blog entries - tend to live beyond the graves ...

There are no solutions, just better managed risk ... Jozef Imrich led several lives and met a brutal exile. In short, a filmmaker's dream ;-)

The Sun Screen Song via Ray of Coolum fame - one of my favorite songs, is commonly referred to as "The Sunscreen Song".  It is what sounds like a commencement speech, set to music.  In fact it is not a real commencement speech (though it should be!), but rather a column that appeared in the Chicago Tribune on June 1, 1997 entitled "ADVICE, LIKE YOUTH, PROBABLY JUST WASTED ON THE YOUNG" by staff writer Mary Schmich Solong!Pay the street corner muscians and encourage them. For some reason, music on an early morning brings untold connectedness

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: We need everyday heroes
Jim Owen, now a partner and director of corporate values for an Austin, Tex. investment firm, said he drew on cowboy ethics for his book because “we’ve confused rules with principles. “Does Wall Street need more rules? No.

Jim Owen, now a partner and director of corporate values for an Austin, Tex. investment firm, said he drew on cowboy ethics for his book because “we’ve confused rules with principles. “Does Wall Street need more rules? No. We need people of principle who will say ‘Here’s where we draw the line.”
Instead of examining every issue to see if it is legal, we need to look at “Is it the right thing to do,’” Owen said.
“In our society we have people in leadership who have not earned our trust,” he said. “...Many of us learned our values from early Western movies. The question was always ‘Are you a person someone can count on?’”
The American obsession with winning has warped the country’s ethics, Owen believes. Many companies have a code of ethics, but most such statements “are just words,” he said. “Cowboys are about action, not words.”
“We need everyday heroes: the single mom in Oklahoma City with two kids who holds down two jobs and helps her children with their homework at night...The person with cancer who has the courage of thinking how to handle the future...

The answer is winning at life, not winning at business [ The Tapeworm is my nickname for the insider system that runs our current political economy and financial system ON THE TAPEWORM TRAIL ; Antony on My Israel ]
• · Promina chief executive Mike Wilkins says the group remains in search for possible acquisitions though the company has no immediate takeover plans. Promina said net half year profit fell 5.7 per cent to $216 ... The notions of justice, of pursuing and protecting the common good by treating all people fairly — or as we say in Australia, “giving everyone a fair go” — are deeply embedded in the Australian psyche. ;-) Mike Wilkins ;
• · · The extraordinary expansion of company legislation and corporate governance codes across the world since the collapse of Enron, the energy trader, has had many unintended consequences. One of the more paradoxical is the damage that has been done to business ethics. When compliance is not enough ; The saddest thing about Don Chipp's death is that he passed away a disillusioned man. The idealistic politician who founded the Australian Democrats to "keep the bastards honest" concluded that the bastards had won. Like John Hatton, Don did not seem the type to rattle easily. A gravel-voiced politician who talked to everyone even this bohemian blogger ... Don Chipp died believing the bastards had won