Tuesday, February 28, 2006

If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure ;-! Bridget Jones would be weeping into her chardonnay ... the Most Important Emotional Needs

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Theatre of Noise: swallow's truth
The belief that men and women can't be friends comes from another era in which women were at home and men were in the workplace, and the only way they could get together was for romance

If men are from Mars and women ar from Venus, it may explain at least one o their shared beliefs: Men and women can' be real friends. Blame the sexual tensio that almost inevitably exists between an red-blooded, heterosexual man and woman Point to the jealousy that plagues man rational people when a significant othe befriends someone of the opposite sex. Boi it down to the inherent differences between the sexes. It just can't be done. Right

Can men and women be friends? [Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener. Marriage. An expensive way of getting your laundry done for free. Love is a temporary insanity curable by marriage ; A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience Getting Screwed While Everyone Else is Getting Laid ]
• · There are some wacky household/electronics combinations out there (Internet Fridges) but few top the Fireplace TV which will be on display at the Smart Home Show at the NEC Birmingham from next week The Fireplace TV ; Near the end of "Brokeback Mountain," the film widely touted as a breakthrough gay romance for straight audiences, the wife of one of the lovers tells her husband as he is leaving for one of his "fishing trips" that Brokeback Mountain is his pretend place. Movies specialize in such private fantasies, but they are also expert in using the arts of pretending to criticize — in the hope of changing — reality. "Brokeback Mountain" represents this kind of make-believe. Can movies change our minds?
• · · Just add Cold River: The Cold Truth of Freedom as it is yet another opportunity in life to spread pollen: TextbooksRus.com ; Buy.com ; Inkleaf ; Cold River tells readers, over and over again, that not having enough of some things in life—money, space, clothing—is more than made up for by having plenty of another thing, namely, the love of your family: Books For Christians ; Bigger Books
• · · · When a man repeats a promise again and again, he means to fail you anyway: Are you afraid we'll invade your space, rule your life with an iron-stiletto and force you to quit your weekend golf to go shopping for bed-linen? Then you're likely to be a commitment-phobe. Here's a quick question for the blokes: does the thought of being in a relationship conjure up a stream of feelings along the lines of, "there goes my freedom... my privacy... and 90% of my sex life"? Why men won't commit ; Is romance brewing in your office? Czech Freud said happiness was composed of love and work. But combining the two together? That spells more trouble than it's worth. Commitment phobia is a healthy way of avoiding divorce. Let Barranquero be ;-) In the signature homewrecking story of the 20th century, an intern in a humble blue dress seduced a dashing, smooth-spoken president. When Dan Rather asked Bill Clinton why he did it, the ex-president responded, "Just because I could." Almost everyone I know has either been the homewrecked or the homewrecker. Everyone can say, even Minna Monaghan, they've nursed a cheated heart, whether it was their own, a sister's or even a lover's. To be able to talk about adultery without pain, anger and judgment -- that's a tall order ... Lust and Desire: To Honor or Ignore?
• · · · · Sam and the City: The Ultimate Dating Blog ; Engage keen young texters at Ocean St Thirroul or any other street in the world Online Investigation: Why Hire Private Investigators?
• · · · · · Until Debt do us part ; Sexually transmitted debt is a flippant term for a serious problem Sexually Transmited Debt

Monday, February 27, 2006

For blogs, it is the best of times, and the worst of times -- depending on who you listen to. The empowerment of the little media dragon: Blogger Buzz-Kill?

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Diverse wisdom of the bloggers’ democracy
The empowerment of the little guy is one of the most powerful and most democratic benefits of the internet age.

ALL over the world bloggers have toppled leading politicians and journalists. Businesses are the latest targets of their campaigns. Disgruntled customers know that a rubbish reply from a plc’s customer relations department is no longer the end of the road. They can start up a free weblog to highlight experience of a shoddy product or poor service. If that experience strikes a chord, hundreds of other disempowered customers are only a Google search away.

Bottomless Blogs and Cups [Here's how to solve Google's Beijing problem Breaking China; Conspiracy theories about everything from Iraq to Hurricane Katrina to spiked writers are polluting the mainstream media. Gossip dressed up as investigative journalism ]
• · The public editor's office of The New York Times has been busy this year. Byron Calame, the second journalist after Daniel Okrent to fill the post, has so far been called to editorialize on two particularly controversial Times pieces: James Risen and Eric Lichtblau's report on NSA wiretapping and Kurt Eichenwald's article on a teenager involved in child pornography on the Web. (Both first appeared in December 2005.) Empty Promise: the meaningless transparency of the public editor column ; Karl Marx himself saw capitalism in a positive light; in its very progress he saw its demise. There is something anarchic about media dragons and computer viruses. They are chaotic and unruly. To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated at, regulated, docketed, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, weighed, censored, ordered about... Anarchistic aspirations
• · · Trashy magazines junked! A limitless appetite for nothing may have been sated at last. A limitless appetite for nothing may have been sated at last ;
• · · · When reporters cloud the truth ; The major difference between my work and Outlaws of America is that Berger writes from the perspective of today's generation of radical activists The Way the Wind Blew: a History of the Weather Underground
• · · · · Liberalism is not conducive to happiness ; What Bloggers are listening to Today's Hot 35
• · · · · · In a Dark Time ... The Buzzing Eye Begins to See What is AuthorBuzz? ; Add a little of universal unconditional love french, brittish, japanese, even german Add Cold River: Truth is On My Side

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Life is all about finesse. Risotto Recipes and Dirty Man Lyrics are on my mind. My Saturday night fever at Pelican River with the stunning view of the city was filled with dancing to the most amazing voices on earth. There are not many star chefs spread across the culinary universe who can match S skills. Not content with the bussiest week at work S slaved all arvo with unshakeable self-confidence to make the table look creatively crowded. It wasn't the place setting, which was a model of simplicity: a glass or two, polished to a shine, a knife and a fork each. And it certainly wasn't the table itself, which was a snowfield of china, custom-made candles. It was the memories of all the other truly great meals I have eaten, clamouring around it, as if trying to get a look. It was the memory of my mum who once cooked funghi porcini mushrooms. Like a moth to the flame, I'm forever circling back to New Zealand blancs, lured by their beauty in spite of the obvious hazards. It's all too easy to get burned by drinking five bottles in one night ... but I keep trying. Ach, I don't just listen to crackly old soul music like Nick Cave Are You The One That I've Been Waiting For? you know. Sometimes I listen to crackly NEW soul music too of Joss Stone variety ...

A fresh performance of a 'classic' is only like a new edition of an established masterpiece of literature. And the literary critics do not have to review new editions at any length; they merely publish a paragraph drawing attention to the blue buckram, the gilt-edges, and the bold lettering. They are not expected to sit up late on a chilly night writing a column about nothing new at all. It is a pleasant task sometimes to do this writing about nothing new; it is a challenge to ingenuity, a sort of Chardin problem of setting whites in the foreground against whites in a background that is not far back enough; but the task and the pleasure need not be carried too far—certainly not beyond the extent of a column, with the midnight hour at hand, and the temperature falling, and a distance to cover before the weary scribe gets to his pillow, resigned to the thought that whatever he has written will not be read, ever again, after twelve o'clock the next day, but will go down slowly and unobserved into the general dust.
-Neville Cardus, review of a concert by Sir Thomas Beecham and the Hallé Orchestra (Manchester Guardian, Oct. 20, 1938, courtesy of Richard Zuelch)

Jozef Imrich is no stranger to multiple points of view on book marketing. Two zillion books a year are published, of which top one hundred are given the Big Rush, and all the rest tend to drown without a trace ... In these crazy times, we have to keep our eyes on the things that matter most: the shelf life of our books ... Is Anyone Buzzing Your Book? Get people buzzing, take the BUZZ YOUR BOOK marketing class with international bestseller M.J. Rose. The course is like Prozac for authors… Language of bohemian buzz ups: A whiter shade of grey

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Come Early Morning: How to survive the end of an affair
Your relationship died for a reason, and that should be celebrated, not mourned. But it makes no attempt to gloss over the pain of such splits: Break-ups hurt like a mother------, But they are not the end of the world. The pain is temporary, and if handled properly, they can even be life-changing.

The book's cold-river approach struck more than a nerve among discontented women everywhere. We're two people who have both experienced truly self-esteem-crushing, spirit-breaking, gut-wrenchingly painful break-ups. 'Are you sure you want to make this call, sir?' And I had a moment. No, I don't want to make this call. I've made this call before. This call never works out. The last shreds of my dignity still intact. The next day, he joined Alcoholics Anonymous and began to turn his life around. That relationship changed my entire life," he says. "On the heels of it, I got sober, I made some career choices, I stopped borrowing money. I became a different person.

• Laughing it off: Break-ups hurt like a mother------ The last shreds of my dignity still intact [Free Jozef Imrich! He's been dumped by stoned suburban housewife ;-) Saving Bob Marley from his fans ; Russia: Olga Gurova is helping to fill the information gap on underwear that developed during the cold war. Soviet underwear was not about sex, it was about sport Red stars and bras ; Amerika: Some Christian ministries attempt to spread the word of God on street corners. JC's Girls Girls Girls prefers strip clubs Jesus Loves Strippers ]
• · Verkhoyansk is the iciest city on the globe. It's now trying to use the frigid record to attract tourists. The Cold War at the Arctic Circle ; East to West Migration: Russian Migrants in Western Europe
• · · Influence for fashion has long been sought from the most remote corners of the world. But where might this process be leading us in the era of globalization? A Global Sense of Fashion ; Your taste in music can reveal a lot about you, giving accurate clues to your personality. What's Your Soundtrack? ; And what you don't know about Facebook: It may be more sinister than you think Facebook for Big Brother
• · · · With tougher times ahead, critics are wondering how much of that success is down to the new rules and how much to benign global conditions. The return of macroeconomics ; A n article on the secrets behind the Index of Forbidden Books It was the most ambitious censorship drive the world has ever known
• · · · · In modern academe, leaders face spotlight. There is little forgiveness; School of Hard Knocks Summers Postmortem, Beyond Cambridge ; We didn't think we were hiring Dag Hammarskjold ; What Larry Summers's resignation means for Harvard and the university system. The End of Summers
• · · · · · Eternity is a long time to go without sex Forget the virgins: Is there sex in heaven? ; Moments Of Clarity

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Time and the world, money and power belong to the small people and the shallow people. To the rest, to the real men belongs nothing. Nothing but death ... We have to stumble through so much dirt before we reach home. And we have no one to guide us. Our only guide is our homesickness.
-Hermann Hesse we have no one to guide us. Our only guide is our homesickness ..

Hands up those who have heard more than they ever wanted to hear about Gift of life aka Sam Chisholm and his lung transplant, or Eddie McGuire's Broadmeadows upbringing Google takes the personality out of media

Like US based Digg, News Bump wants you to rank stories specific to trends generated Down Under Everyone loves a good NewsBump

The Blog, The Press, The Media: Ruddock's shield not totally safe
All leaks by federal public servants are punishable under the Crimes Act with two years in prison.

THE Federal Government is planning exemptions to its promised shield law for journalists' sources that are so broad that reporters might still need to go to prison to protect informants in the public service.
The Government had promised to introduce shield laws after Canberra journalists Michael Harvey and Gerard McManus faced the prospect of going to jail last year for refusing to reveal a confidential source.
But details of the Government's plan show that it does not want a federal shield law to protect communications that are made "in furtherance of the commission of a fraud or other serious criminal offence".

Giving journalists' sources a right to confidentiality [I am Stoked Watermarking Streets: BlogStreet : Top 500 ; The most unusual example of an inherited housing supply is undoubtedly Cairos City of the Dead, where one million poor people use Mameluke tombs as prefabricated housing components. The huge graveyard, the burial site of generations of sultans and emirs, is a walled urban island surrounded by congested motorways Inspirational Quotes ; Say what you will about John Richards' salary , you can't fault the guy on his altruistic side. Beginning in March, Richards is launching an ambitious series of benefits for local charities--with plans to produce more throughout the year. They're highlighting one cause per month through on-air promotions The Stranger's Blog ]
• · There's increasing concern that teens are finding trouble online at social-networking sites. Dark side of the web ; If Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, authors of Naked Conversations, are correct, any management that looks askance at corporate blogging is similarly trapped in the past. "Our passionate advice," they write, "is to join the conversation now. The Suite Spot; Zillow Gets Zillions of Users
• · · Mark Bahnisch: Research cited in the Atlantic Monthly suggests that a study of productivity across nine countries found that 37% of time at work was wasted - but laid the blame at the door of poor management and supervision, rather than blog addiction It’s Monday and time to get back to work ; After waiting for the humour and fallout from the Dick Cheney quailtards and lawyers shooting spree to subside, it becomes clear that the back story coming out of this incident is how the rules of the media game have changed - Jay Rosen at Press Think: Rolling back the real quailtards ; Don’t Fence Me In - Findory : Media Dragon ; Which is a better indicator of blog networking Social Networking in the Blogosphere: Blog Roll vs. Links in Posts
• · · · Signs and Blogs Never Sleep ; 27,999,999 blogs Theme competition; E.L. Doctorow has been given the PEN/Faulkner Award for THE MARCH. He won the award in 1990 for BILLY BATHGATE. Blogger Doctorow ; Jason Kottke reflects on a year as a full-time problogger. Oh, what a year ; Oh, what a FeedProfit.com
• · · · · Dragon Media ; Thinque The Secret to Success ; Guest Blog Column: Part 1- WHY I BLOG
• · · · · · The Media Dragon Loves When : Scoble goes topless to sell books ; How to get Robert Scoble’s attention: Scoble invites developers to excite him ; Are newspaper columns about blogs dying dying?

Friday, February 24, 2006

I know a man who gave twenty years of his life to a scatterbrained woman, sacrificing everything to her, his friendships, his work, the very respectability of his life, and who one evening recognized that he had never loved her. He had been bored, that's all, bored like most people."
-The Fall (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, Borzoi Books, 1960.) Tr. Justin O'Brien. p. 37

Perfection, which is the passion of so many people, does not interest me. What is important in art is to vibrate oneself and make others vibrate.
-George Enescu

On a whim the other day, I bought a paperback called Improbable. Of course, if you read this blog at all and happen to be aware that I enjoy reading quite a bit, you would understand that it wasn't very improbable that I would buy it, even though I wasn't looking for a new book Shit happens: Improbable by Adam Fawer

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Lust for Life: Give it up for Moravian Mendel
With all the hoopla over Darwin Day (justified in my opinion) I thought I'd point you to this article, Gregor Mendel: The father of genetics.

Mendelian genetics was an inevitable discovery, as the nearly simultaneous rediscovery of "Mendel's Laws" around 1900 show us

Czech Boy Gregor Mendel [Hip-hop has gone to sleep. It needs more active dreamers if it is to prove that it is now more than merely another Internet menu item. The Color of Money ; Rembrandt’s late self-portraits: that intimate, unflinching scrutiny of his own sagging, bloated visage. Life may have bashed him, says Robert Hughes, but it had not beaten him Connoisseur of the ordinary ; Literature can have a powerful influence on political culture - just look at how often the term “Orwellian” gets an airing whenever issues like state surveillance, the mangling of language or the power of propaganda are being discussed. Nineteen Eighty-Four has done a lot to define the terms of these debates Kafkaesque nightmares ]
• · Can society demand what it's owed, the happiness of the scientists be damned? My students are so smart ; When I was having lots of cybersex, I kept a notebook by my computer so I could jot down details about my cyber partners More Sex With Girlfriend X Publishers want authors to be young and photogenic, but booksellers are democratic pragmatists; they are interested not in you but in your book, particularly the price and the cover. Then they ask who the distributor is and whether the wholesalers have it in stock. Young and photogenic
• · · Quail Hunting with Dick Cheney Contagious Film Festival ; Scientists are split on the different ways men and women think Getting lynched ; You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby Words of Today
• · · · Type "Czech brides" into Google, and you get more than 27,000 Web sites promising romantic life partners, subservient women "unspoiled by feminism," and everything in between Former model brings real life to romance biz ; Jordan - A Whole New World by Katie Price
• · · · · Why Jim Born balances life as a cop and life as a writer Lawman fights crime on the page and off ; Everything the Shakers made is breathtaking in its beauty and simplicity. Why these lovely things so bewitch us is a mystery Shining Tree Of Life
• · · · · · Book reviewers impressed by a new work’s “honesty” can only rely on the aroma test. Alas, a pile of literary manure can smell like a bed of roses. Bluff ran like a river through his schemes ; “I’m not a grammar freak,” writes Jeremy Clarkson. “But when someone says myself instead of me I find it more offensive than if they’d said spastic wog”The worst word in the language ; OH Baby! Where were YOU when I was single? Dating has been around forever. But with the emergence of a new set of rules for Generation Y, dating has never been so confusing Luv for Generation Y: Just a game?; Little Mother's Milk in the shops ? ; With few exceptions, of which the Pickwick Papers is the finest example, happy writing rarely makes good and enduring literature 'The Bohemian Bourgeois

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Australian Master Tax Guide by CCH is likely to become a compulsory reading for one and all State MP before the State Election of March 2007 AD.

Revenue Sharing: The GST Experiment circa 2007 AD
Bohemians, Iron Curtain Breakers and other mischief makers have long recognised that the study of Australian tax law is an exciting discipline. We should not use this guide as a cruch, but instead always look at it as the working tool to unlock the intricacies and complexities of Australian income tax law and practice.


The commencement of GST on 1 July 2000 caused radical changes to Commonwealth/state revenue sharing. GST revenue collected by the Commonwealth is channelled to the states and territories, in return for their agreeing to abolish certain taxes and charges (1-115). The distribution of GST revenue is also conditional on the states applying horizontal fiscal equalisation principles. The Commission continues to determine the equalisation formula and also proposes an equitable allocation of GST revenue. The allocation reflects the capabilities and needs of each state, as well as the fact that not all states levy the whole range of taxes to be eliminated.

In Ha & Hammond 97 ATC 4674, a majority of the High Court (4:3) held that business franchise licence fees imposed by New South Wales on tobacco were in reality excise duties and were constitutionally invalid (under s 90 of the Constitution, only the Commonwealth has the power to levy "duties of excise''). By implication, this meant that similar business franchise licence fees imposed by the states and territories on alcohol and petrol were also constitutionally invalid. To minimise the potentially serious impact on state and territory revenues, the federal government increased the rate of duty imposed by the Commonwealth on tobacco, alcohol and petrol and returned the additional revenue raised to the states and territories (less the Commonwealth's administration costs).

These arrangements ceased when the GST commenced on 1 July 2000 and the states and territories were required to progressively eliminate certain state taxes (and the federal government eliminate wholesale sales tax). In return, GST revenue collected by the Commonwealth would be channelled to the states and territories. State taxes such as financial institutions duty, debits tax, "bed taxes'' and stamp duty on listed marketable securities have now been abolished, with the remaining business stamp duties (eg on credit and rental arrangements, leases and mortgages) to be phased out by 2010/11.

This is the case that got me hooked on the complexities of tax laws as at the time of this judgement I was the Clerk to the Public Accounts Committee who was on long service leave in Prague. On my return in September 1997 Michael Egan, the State Treasurer at the time, made sure I read it back to front and up side down inside out ;-)

Full High Court, 5 August 1997

Constitutional law - Duties of excise - Exclusive power of Commonwealth Parliament - New South Wales law imposing licence fees on retail and wholesale sale of tobacco - Fees calculated upon basis of tobacco sold in an earlier monthly period - Assessments issued in respect of unpaid licence fees - Whether fees or amounts payable duties of excise - Whether duties of excise are confined to taxes which fall selectively on locally produced and manufactured goods - Whether fees or amounts payable merely fees for licences to carry on business - Business Franchise Licences (Tobacco) Act 1987 (NSW), sec 41 - The Constitution (under cl 9 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1901) sec 90.

The two plaintiffs in the first action conducted a duty free store in suburban Sydney and sold, by retail, tobacco products to the public. Neither held a retailer's licence under the Business Franchise Licences (Tobacco) Act 1987 (NSW) ("the Act"). The plaintiff in the second action carried on the business of selling tobacco for resale in New South Wales and appeared to have held a wholesaler's licence at the relevant time.

Under the Act, each of the plaintiffs was prohibited under penalty from selling tobacco, whether by wholesale or retail, without a licence. Licences were issued on application, for periods of not more than a month. The fee payable for a retail or wholesale licence under sec 41 of the Act was a specified percentage of the value of the tobacco sold by the applicant for the licence in an earlier monthly period (from June 1995 onwards the specified percentage was 100%). The penalty imposed for selling tobacco without a licence was the licence fee which would otherwise have been payable by the holder of a licence plus a penalty of twice that amount.

The Chief Commissioner for Business Franchise Licences (Tobacco) in New South Wales issued notices of assessment to the plaintiffs in the first action claiming over $2m under the Act. A notice claiming over $20m was issued to the plaintiff in the second action.

The plaintiffs contended that the provisions of the Act which purported to impose a liability to pay the amounts claimed by the Commissioner and calculated in accordance with sec 41 were duties of excise which New South Wales was not empowered to impose. Under sec 90 of the Constitution, the Federal Parliament has the exclusive power to impose duties of customs and of excise. Ha & Hammond 97 ATC 4674 ...

Why is it that we have enough memory to recollect the most minute circumstances of something that has happened to us, but not enough to remember how many times we have recounted them to the same person?
-La Rochefoucauld, Moral Maxims and Reflections

The Westminster system, under which ministers are responsible for wrongdoing by their departments, is dead in Australia The ground rules for when ministers' heads must roll

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Engineering democracy
Truly representative elections, lacking in even some advanced nations, are an essential first step

Much handwringing has resulted since Hamas, a group on the Bush administration's terrorist list, won a sizable majority of legislative seats in Palestinian Authority elections in January. But the planners of the recent elections there could have learned a thing or two from European election conventions, such as those in effect in the Czech Republic.

The proportional vote [Stolen pleasures Courier Mail, 21/02/2006, Good Life, Page 10
Author: Rory Gibson Why convict James Squire's head isn't featured on an Aussie banknote like other notable Australians is a national disgrace. If such an honour can be bestowed on the likes of Dame Nellie Melba, Banjo Paterson, Reverend John Flynn and Mary Reibey, then surely the man who produced the country's first commercial ale deserves a start. Income Tax Reform; Low fertility and the degrading of motherhood are class issues, which explains why the so called chattering classes are so concerned about them: it is the women of this class who are not having children or are leaving them in child care. As in all things, if it is happening to the chatterati then it matters to the nation … Oh No Children, We Forgot Motherhood, Did We? ]
• · In this article for Griffith Review 11 – Getting Smart: The Battle for Ideas in Education, Gavin Moodie argues that national strategies to expand education need to be more broadly based. Research to excellence ; Michael Evans fears the mysterious drawing power of the Bermuda Triangle MacMedia off to a tax haven ; Listen son, your problem is you believe in free enterprise and I don't Sherlock Holmes couldn't work out these deductions ; ATO outsources debt collection Australian Financial Review, 21/02/2006; Private companies will earn 12 to 18 per cent commissions under Australian Taxation Office plans to outsource debt collection from thousands of recalcitrant small businesses, according to Tax Office union officials Also ABC 2000: ATO outsources debt collection
• · · The Politics of Literature 101: Did Father Know Best?; Rankism -- still lies ahead, poisoning our minds and increasingly corrupting our interpersonal and political behaviors. If the right emphasizes liberty and the left equality, should the radical middle
emphasize dignity? The biggest barrier of all, rank abuse
• · · · Centrelink audit finds 1.5m dead customers ; It's independent, opinionated and always looking under rocks Crikey - a two-way conversation
• · · · · Shot property Bulletin with Newsweek, 28/02/2006 It's not as if there were not enough warnings. Something as simple as a Google search could have saved the homes and savings of thousands of investors who are confronted with losing everything in the $450m-plus Westpoint property debacle; Long ago the Spanish philosopher, George Santayana, said those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them Abolishing negative gearing a recipe for disaster ; The silly season is over and a new year brings a new boss for Australian Customs - along with new challenges. Carmody's choice
• · · · · · Age, 21/02/2006, Keith McEwan Letters, Page 10 - How much longer will we continue with the fiscal vandalism of negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions to housing investors (resulting in a $2.6 billion revenue loss to the Government in the 2003-04 financial year)? This has been the main cause of house prices doubling in recent years, denying people who are not home owners the opportunity to join the 70 per cent of those who have achieved this goal. Overpriced and over here: Housing affordability; A royal commissioner does not make an allegation - far less does he initiate prosecutions. What he does is investigate and report to government on his investigations. A royal commissioner is charged with high office, to investigate without fear or favour, no matter how wealthy a person may be, or how influential he is Costigan hits back at Packer 'ignorance' - Costigan rejects Packer's barb

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Anyone who's paid attention to this blog for longer than seven seconds will understand why I am super excited about the sentiment expressed in an email from a friend from the good old Czechoslovak army: Have no mercy. Your enemy doesn't: We both knew about violent reactions as we both lost many teeth during the fights with older soldiers ;-) Provocative director takes us to the edge of Cold River

David Cronenberg's films are full of images that make us recoil. But what we are really trying to hide from is the messy business of being alive. Cold River tells readers, over and over again, that not having enough of some things in life—money, space, clothing—is more than made up for by having plenty of another thing, namely, the love of your family. Forget marrying a selfish Australian ballerina: Where have all the babushkas gone?

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The depths of pleasure: a hormonal storm in a tea cup
Literary snobs have always been rude about romantic fiction, but the genre is one of the oldest and most distinguished in literature and the writing has never been more interesting ... As Jane Austen put it, to hazard all, dare all, achieve all

Like Valentine's Day itself, it is seen as something slight and sentimental, aimed primarily at women. What's romance? Usually, a nice little tale where you have everything As You Like It, where rain never wets your jacket and gnats never bite your nose and it's always daisy time. We all know that at different times in our lives love assumes a greater or a lesser importance. There are times when we ache, rejoice, weep, make fools of ourselves and possibly even die for it; and times when it recedes to being negligible, inconsiderable, risible, a hormonal storm in a tea cup. Great books about love remind us of the former; bad books about the latter.

• Arranging the blind date The language of love - Dangerous Minds [ Ejaz Haider will stay away from a living intellectual if he can help it; Eleven French writers demand the right to poke fun wherever and whenever they want The right to blaspheme ; If you've ever watched a movie and thought "as if", Larry Williams is with you on this one ... ONLY in the movies does everybody take their coffee "black". And people are always saying "keep the change" when they buy something. Only in reel life ; IT IS tough being a yuppie in Sydney; or, to put it more kindly, it is tough being a member of the creative class ... Academics, scientists, writers, multimedia whiz-kids and other "culture workers", especially the mortgage-strapped younger ones, are confronted with a Hobson's choice: stay poor and disgruntled in the inner city, or move to a cultural wasteland up or down the coast. The problem with NSW is that there is only one Byron Bay - and it's full We can find happiness in this urban life ]
• · Custom has long been the authority in matters of love. Men and women have turned almost unthinkingly to tradition and prevailing social norms for guidance in the tender passion Restatement of Love ; I'm in love, and at this moment I'm making some heart-shaped fried eggs in a rare and extensively considered collision of love and irony. Consuming goods is only a displacement activity for our eternal appetite for sex The cost of loving
• · · Beware, be wary on your hunt for the perfect (you name it); for you are the hunted Shopping Paranoid ; In praise of Jozef Imrich: I’m a romantic—a sentimental person thinks things will last—a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t. - F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise Men We Love; The boomer taste in movies tells the story. In the 1970s they loved "The Graduate," with Dustin Hoffman as the guy with the freshly minted college degree who indulges in an affair with Mrs. Robinson, but marries her daughter. In praise of a few ladies.
• · · · Love in the conservative world. ; The most romantic libertarian valentine? "I'll treat you like property! Do you mean public or private property?
• · · · · A new issue of American Sexuality is out, including an article on Benefits Of Adolescent Sexuality and female sexual frustration ; You are a 35-year-old heterosexual woman, married to the same man for eight years ... What if this is not the first time that desire has led to arousal, to excitement, and finally to disappointment? What if you have not climaxed in a few days? Or weeks? Or what if you have never experienced an orgasm? You start worrying about why you cannot reach that elusive pleasure point that seems so easy for everyone else. What’s wrong with you? You start to dread sex with your spouse because you fear orgasm will never come. What’s a girl to do?
• · · · · · Laura M. Carpenter's landmark study, Virginity Lost, appears at a time when being a virgin, incredibly, might be a marker of Cold River and coolness Not That Innocent ; All the good ones are taken ... you're in your 20's, single, straight and looking for love, the statistical odds of finding a full-time partner are better if you're a woman So Many Men, So Few Women ; What's so hot about 50? Sex and the female boomer is not booming. With apologies to Jane Austen, I would venture that it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman of 45 and upward in possession of a good libido must be in want of a partner. What's So Hot About 50? ; The inexact science of penis measurement On the Matter of Size

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Progress celebrates Pyrrhic victories over nature. Progress makes purses out of human skin. When people were traveling in mail coaches, the world got ahead better than it does now that salesmen fly through the air. What good is speed if the brain has oozed out on the way? How will the heirs of this age be taught the most basic motions that are necessary to activate the most complicated machines? Nature can rely on progress; it will avenge it for the outrage it has perpetrated on it.
-Karl Kraus, The Discovery of the North Pole

It's as if there were an A-list of a few extremely lucky, well-trafficked blogs--then hordes of people stuck on the B-list or C-list, also-rans who can't figure out why their audiences stay so comparatively puny no matter how hard they work. "It just seems like it's a big in-party," one blogger complained to me. ... Coda - The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom

The Blog, The Press, The Media: How to Almost Live on Blogging
It's easier than ever to earn money blogging. But it's not a recipe for quitting your day job, says the author of a new book on keyword advertising. Wired News interview by Joanna Glasner

Enter a Google search for Harold Davis, and some resulting links will inevitably lead you back to Google.
As the author of two books on Google, operator of a blog called Googleplex and longtime user of Google's keyword advertising program, Davis is among the more hard-core followers of the popular search site.

Google Advertising Tools: Googleplex blog [ Googleplex ; ]
• · What's the best way to bring digital tools to young people in the developing world? One Laptop Per Child? One Cellphone Per Child? One Simputer Per Child? The race to bridge the digital divide is heating up Building something that can pass Koffi Annan's cursory inspection ;
• · · When social values collide, the results can be cataclysmic. But for the internet to become a true force of democratization, we must accept that we'll all be offended by it eventually In Defense of the Culture Clash ; Sam Decker, a veteran marketing and e-commerce pro from Dell, wound up at Bazaarvoice
• · · · For awhile, I've wanted to combat the news overdose by summarizing the day's stories in 10 words or less. Here's a first stab, from MediaPost's Online Media Daily: Today's Online Ad News: 10 Words or Less; The Internet makes markets more efficient and people more free, says Milton Friedman. It’s the best means we have to foster globalization Free Markets and the End of History
• · · · · Tim Blair is currently doubled up with laughter about the fact that someone submitted a Leunig drawing to an Iranian newspaper running a Holocaust cartoon competition. As I say, Tim Blair thinks all this is hilarious, though he was somewhat less keen to see the funny side a while back when he accused blogger Tim Lambert of misappropriating his work. Alarmed and amused ; If Australia is to keep pace with international production trends and to provide viewers with the range and quality of television experienced around the rest of the world, argues the committee, then now is the time to get serious about getting digital Digital television: who's buying it?
• · · · · · Digital TV growth and policy ; Whistleblowers, and governments, need more protection ; Last year in May bloggers and Crikey were warning Qantas managent about staff rorting. Nothing new under the Finnish sun ... Is Qantas in business for staff or customers? All things being equal, we read in the AFR that CEO Geoff Dixon is determined to remain at the helm until the beijing games are over. So expect more much More staff troubles for Qantas -- More worries for Qantas than its profit

Monday, February 20, 2006

The hippies, claimed economist Andrew Oswald recently, are having their quiet revenge on how money doesn't make people happy But marriage, sex, socializing and even middle age do

Daniel Gilbert Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Sausage? and how money can't make you happy, but making the right comparisons can; when it comes money and happiness, economists and psychologists have got it all wrong; why don't men love women with money? Arianna Huffington finds out; does money make you more attractive? Dan Savage investigates an article on the economics of prostitution; neuroscientists are poking holes in old-fashioned economics; and much more.

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: Olympics are a sporting bacchanalia
During the Olympics, the mirror neurons of whole nations will be electrically identical

At about the same time that Homer invented the epic hero, the Greeks started a religious festival dedicated to Zeus. The Gods, they decided, might like to see the human form in motion. Naked men competed in a single race, 200 yards long. The winner received a branch of wild olives. The Greeks called this celebration the Olympics

To Tiger Woods [And yes, Soviet Communism is just getting started. Will Wilkinson on solidarity: More than a feeling. Solidarity: More Than a Feeling ; Think again. Communism isn't an ideology but a religion; like Christianity it has its saints, its scriptures, and its iconography Manifesto for the dawn of communism ]
• · The sad fact of political science is that politics trumps economics—and always will, unfortunately Politics Trumps Economics? ; THERE is a growing perception that company directors and executives are self-interested actors, using their positions to pursue their own ends rather than what is best for the company and its shareholders. Positive thinking to beat bad apples
• · · Pricing Corruption ; What will it take to wake us up to the ever-tightening grip of oligopolies over ever more of our global marketplaces? Wake Up To Old-Fashioned Power of New Oligopolies
• · · · THE Reserve Bank has thrown its weight behind the NSW campaign to claw back billions of dollars in GST siphoned each year to other states, because the NSW economy "has fallen behind the pack" NSW is getting ripped off: Iemma ; Anyone who thinks that the federal income tax code is baffling now ought to brace for what lies ahead: big changes and uncertainty Cracking the Tax Code; And you have $1. How should you spend it to do the most good? Bang for Your Buck
• · · · · On the 20th anniversary of Perestroika, a rare book appears: Marx and Russia. Still no history of Marxism written in Russia ; The emerging Cold War on Asia's high seas ; The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion U.S. Has Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies
• · · · · · Australia's top spies were in the dark about the Iraqi wheat bribes scandal, the government said on Sunday, as it continued to deny knowledge of kickbacks by wheat exporter AWB Ltd. Spies in the dark about AWB bribes ; On how the Western democracies, so keen on exporting their political model to the rest of the world, seem to be perfecting the art of shooting themselves in the foot. In the name of democracy ; Seven Questions: Domestic Spying ; Who love to spy on whom in the world community Who Do You Love?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Today Bronte was buzzing with the sound of happy and sad reunions ... a group of friends gathered to pay respect to million pieces of memories created by Kate. I will never look at large earings in the same way ...

OpinionJournal announces the launch of the OpinionJournal Federation of top political Web sites and blogs. Sometimes in journalism, the medium is the story. So it is with the ongoing saga of The Blogs vs. The Mainstream Media. With Web 2.0, the second generation of the Internet has arrived. It's worse than you think. America's free press has been threatened with violence before. The Ghost of Horace Greely

The Blog, The Press, The Media: A noble lie —Ishtiaq Ahmed
Plato wanted the ruler, the philosopher-king, to tell his citizens in Athens that God had ordained a perfect social hierarchy consisting of rulers, auxiliaries (warriors) and farmers. Of course Plato, like other Greek thinkers, did not consider the slaves, who were always a large segment of the population, as human beings. They were living instruments as his rebellious pupil, Aristotle, defined them.

The idea of a noble lie descends from the founder of political theory, Plato (427BC-347BC). He spent a lifetime trying to prove that truth is better than untruth, but deviated from this principle when dealing with the best interests of the state. He argued that it was permissible to tell a lie if it made the state strong and stable

Political power vested in the philosopher-king [Winter Olympic Games The day before the BIG day - Opening Ceremony ; Journalism is the discipline of collecting, verifying, analysing and presenting stories and images in a fair and neutral manner Abusing freedom of expression]
• · When deciding whether to broadcast offensive material, the BBC must weigh up giving a platform to extremism against the journalistic duty to inform Regulation, responsibility, and the case against censorship; Extremists are not interested in distinguishing between artistic merit and gratuitous provocation: they want total silence Schmucks and miniskirts
• · · One thing publishers and editors have to ask themselves when faced with the prospect of publishing something highly contentious or inflammatory is: what good will it do? Pictures, provocation, and free expression ; Say what you think. The importance of giving offence We live in societies, so the argument runs, that are more diverse than ever before
• · · · Jacob Weisberg on Dick Cheney's assault on the public's right to know Smoking Gun ; Filled with headless nudes, upside-down legs and vast, inflated breasts, Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue is a giant package of artificial cheese. Topless bodies found in brainless magazine
• · · · · US plans massive data sweep: Little-known data-collection system could troll news, blogs, even e-mails. ADVISE ; Gregory Rodriguez on why there's no such thing as free speech (but is it a good thing, too?). Mark Twain once wryly observed that Americans had the great good fortune to enjoy the freedom of speech——and the good sense never to use it. No Such Thing as Free Speech ; But who says freedom of speech isn’t a little negotiable?
• · · · · · Husband, father, and blogger, Michael Bérubé hardly looks like a menace to society. But is he? Dangerous Minds ; A couple of days ago Chris Pirillo lamented that in the blogosphere scoops no longer matter Scoble lamented the devious power of blog networks ; Do Scoops Matter? Does Attribution?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I am grateful to June, Richard, Gina, Steve, Gwynne, Christopher and Lidka as well as Michael for the extended family they provided for me this week.

In my bohemian Freudean eyes and mind, S stands for Sweetheart - Chef extraordinaire, connoisseur of oysters, champagne, pinoir noir, ancestoral scotch and politically correct havana cigars ;-PPP What a cultural week peppered with Indian monsoonish birthdays, Kobe Jones japanese dining and Golden Coast stories of Norwegian proportions ....

Successful publishing is often described as a balance of art and an ugly science. There is one thing worse than being exploited – not being exploited. Not only are physically unattractive teenagers, like Jozef Imrich, likely to be stay-at-homes on prom night, they're also more likely to grow up to be criminals The Ugly Face of Publishing Crime - I'm too ugly to get a job ;-)

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: Authors in a flap over cut to book royalties
In Australia, it is the industry norm for authors to maintain a 10 per cent royalty for first and subsequent editions.

PENGUIN, the nation's biggest publishing house, plans to cut the royalties of Australian authors whose books go into reprint in a move writers say will punish them for success.

Penguin's stable of Australian writers [Publisher cuts royalties to Australian authors ; The book-selling industry remains competitive Barnes & Noble CFO says growing online sales profitably ; I have more confidence in the dead than the living ... Cold Water aka Cold River finds its mark mark in Barnes & Noble: Women Who Do Elvis and Jozef' Iron Curtain Brought to Book ; Damn those Communists! They're trying to win the Cold War in retrospect. Another World Was Possible: A Century of Movements ]
• · Maureen Dowd's 'Are men necessary?' - dumb and dumber ; Czech born - Tom Stoppard on Free speech as inherent right or group consensus ... How did the concept get into such a mess? Playing the trump card
• · · Getting work down under; To quote a minister, ... a group of academics is no substitute for commonsense Why Australians dislike academics
• · · · The utopia of cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, and mobility brought about by the liberalization of the Soviet bloc during the 1980s, which climaxed with the collapse of communism, to a great extent legitimated the process of the destruction of the state. Another frequent reason to return is the wish to be buried "at home" Fluid citizenship ; The news about CIA "torture flights" and secret prison camps on European soil currently occupies public debate all over Europe The neighbour as spy
• · · · · David Copperfield couldn't keep these kids from running around wild. I can do that Do you want me to refund your money and leave? ; Gathering to discuss bills to promote competitiveness, House members end up talking about dating and culture. Everybody agreed on one thing. I concede that the Democratic Party is also plagued by 24-year-olds who are remarkably self important. But can they get a date? Sex and the Single Scientist
• · · · · · Positive Psychology is the most popular course at Harvard. Is happy the new sad? I want to reawaken people’s desire to do good, people’s desire to improve their lives and the lives of other. I wasn’t depressed. It was closer to what Thoreau says, that most men live lives of quiet desperation. I was okay, but okay wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough for squash and it wasn’t enough for my subjective well-being. People have lost their sense of awe and idealism ... They’ve lost their sense of gratitude, wonder. The Science of Smiling ; Joel Marks discusses a moral moment: Real epistemology, or on being your own scientist The words “and other” are a part of the name of this column because occasionally I like to discuss topics other than morality and ethics Real Epistemology, or On Being Your Own Scientist ; With the Beatles On Ringo, a Passage to India, and a Wonderful, Ink-Stained Life
• · · How life on Earth got going is still mysterious, but not for want of ideas In the beginning... The origin of pieces ; Michael Gazzaniga on why all clones are not the same All Clones Are Not the Same
• · · · A look at how blade escalation and plastic have feminized today's young men Shaving Like a Man ; I've always been proud of my irrelevance. Someday the Sun Will Go Out and the World Will End (but Don't Tell Anyone) ; As the back cover blurb of this book states, 'suicide is an ageless concern that has been with us as long as man has existed Suicide

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Last year was my saddest Christmas ever. I never imagined that one can experience so much pain and still breathe. Just amazing how persistent life is! Even my Mamka spent most of her time at hospital during the Christmas of 2005 ... My cousin Andrej Imrich summarised the chapters of my book Cold River during the sermon dedicated to my Mamka yesterday. Auntie Maria was a humble joy giver!

Over 140 people gathered at the wake in a school canteen where Mamka was a chef who cooked every school day for over 100 student for over two decades. Gitka my sister is an angel. Thanks for everything ...

Maria – A Sanctuary of the Human River
-White Christmas 1957

Swimming is the first thing we ever do.
Before we breathe, before we cry, before we crawl,
we swim in the waters of the womb. Then the walls close in
and we tumble -- turn into position, ready to dive into the open air.
- Fiona Capp

Tucked away in the folds of the ancient mountains that embrace the Kezmarok and Poprad valleys, lay a royal town called Vrbov (a place with dual meanings: willow and boiling water).
A weeping place at times. But mostly a happy little village of a few hundred souls with a robust sense of humor.
It gets dark early in December. The Vrbov definition of winter: streets are snowbound, the road is quiet, the mountain air is very, very cold. That day in 1957, Vrbov was gripped by mid-winter night frostiness. It was two evenings before Christmas Eve. Children and dogs no longer romped in the snow watched over by women wearing headscarves and long dresses. All the children were inside warm houses listening for the bells of Saint Nicholas's sleigh; and motherly figures were bustling about with Christmas preparations.
Every twig is draped in red and green memory.
Slowly, like the heavy curtain of a play's final act, white night descended upon the small mountain village. It was impossible not to notice how suddenly the temperature dropped and how the fragile leaf-like frost built up icicle by icicle on the glass in the windows. Footpaths lay buried under piles of snow. Snowmen stood in public places lording over Vrbov territory. The village was all wrapped up in white like a giant Christmas present.
For more than 700 years, Vrbov's 200 or so chimneys had faced the winter northerly wind which would wake up in Poland (to be exact, in Krakow) at around five, pass through Zakopane ten minutes later and almost immediately strike Vrbov's isolated white streets with a vicious force. The blizzard, like the thunder, in the High Tatra Mountains, could be heard in full voice across both sides of the border.
That night, birds were perched on the low branches of every poplar and seemed to be watching a human figure walking briskly below. The whipping wind shouting in the tops of the poplars didn’t seem to bother that determined little figure, bundled up in a black woolen shawl and long skirt, plodding doggedly through the milky snow, leaving deep footprints that soon vanished like liquid silk in the gale. There were few paths more heavily beaten or more slippery in winter than those leading to a cream terrace situated in the Horna Ulica (Upper Street).
She stumbled often. Yet with every slip, her determination to dive headlong into the deep white emptiness and her stubborn resolve to reach her destination in the face of nature's hostility only seemed to increase. The air, cold as ice, appeared to have taken shelter in the warm flood of her whistle.
The happy whistle was interrupted when she almost slipped on the steps leading to the cream terrace she knew well. Now she wiped the snow off the ends of her chestnut hair and removed her shawl. Aware that her teeth had bitten into her lip, she took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. Her breath steamed in the evening chill. On the other side, the sound of footsteps grew louder; and when the door opened, a familiar odor of pharmaceuticals wafted out, embracing her with reassurance.
Number Seven at Horna Ulica looked like a set for a Christmas movie; except instead of a facade of shopping centers, it had a facade of white forests and a garage door hidden by one-meter snow banks. The terrace house was as private as a priest's confessional. Confessions, in the shape of exceptional happenings, often stopped here. The inside was full of warmth from the open fire, huge divans, bright-embroidered cushions and the smell of baking and pharmacy rolled into one.
A pale orange light radiating from the street lamp just meters away gave the moment a mystical aura. The soundtrack of knives and forks clinked invitingly. A middle-aged man wearing a white coat opened the wooden door and looked down at the petite woman who stood five-foot-three. She had sky-blue eyes and wore her slightly grey-streaked, honey brown hair in a bun. The corridor felt like holy ground, a place where she took off her shoes because custom also demanded it. Shoes were removed so that the dirt and chaos of outside were left behind.
No one ever forgot the first time they met the only man in Vrbov who got away with wearing a white mask and rubber gloves. People marveled that anyone could be so at ease and at peace with the world and at the same time claim to be a keen supporter of a local soccer team. A team that seemed to lose every match. To the men of Vrbov, he was a “city boy,” as he could not tell a difference between a goat and chamois. It was even less well known that the medical profession had a stronger connection to music than animals; and that doctors were often good musicians. Doctor Rusniak was often found polishing his precious musical instrument, using the soft chamois cloth in the living room of his home, where an upright piano had pride of place.
“Ahoj, Maria!” called Doctor Rusniak, the keeper of every woman’s secret fears and wishes. Welcome was in this greeting and an amiable curiosity. Peach skinned, Maria Imrichova, born and bred on Vrbov’s customs, was more likely to kiss than to shake hands -- even with a person she was meeting for the first time. If you were in Vrbov, you kissed. Doctor Rusniak kissed Maria on her rosy cheeks three times without thinking about it. For someone who could not manage one kiss without looking embarrassingly awkward not so long ago, he had come a long way.
Politeness was his old trademark: “After you,” “No, no after you.” He stood out in a village crowd, not just because he always dressed impeccably, but also because his deep educated voice belonged to another part of Czechoslovakia -- Bratislava maybe or even Martin. He spoke proper Slovak, like a radio announcer or the school principal -- and even better. Every one around him sprinkled shs and cheshes in their sentences as often as they could. This was the Spis region!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

God said to Abraham, "Leave your country, your family, your father's house, and walk inward to the land I will show you." This is what true spirituality demands: to leave everything we know; to relinquish everything we are...simply trusting that when we get "there..." we will know. Buddha did that. So did Lao Tzu, Jesus, and Mohammed. They all left home.
But we do just the opposite. Worse! We take refuge in those who taught No Refuge. We imitate those who demanded No Imitation. We study each other's floor plans, and borrow each other's furniture, when what we really need is to leave home."
-Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro

Exiles pretend to be thick-skinned, but there is one thing that makes us feel homesick and existential. The death of our parents who live in our old home country. My father passed away on 29 April 1992, two weeks before Gabriella was born. My mum past away this weekend and I know how it feels to think of yourself as being parentless and home-less. She will be buried on 14 February, the date of my dad's birthday ... I feel the loss. Somehow pain is deeper than all thought!

Happy people have no history.
-Leo Tolstoy

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Work like you don't need the money, Dance like no one is watching, And love like you've never been hurt!
-Quote overheard at Two Good Eggs; now renamed as Two Naughty Sperms ;-)

Thanks to rebellious S Jozef Comes Alive ;-P AND SO IT IS ... the sexiest voice on earth could never accuse him of being boring or so she says... He would have regarded that as the most vile of insults. He made his characters larger than life, their foibles greater, their failings sharper and sometimes he made them much funnier than they were. Sometimes even if you had played in the day's events they were more colourful on the replay, when S of GMV fame was commentating about them. It was cutting but not malicious, it was informative without being labored. It was terribly, terribly cynical, but he always left you with a laugh or a scoff ... She had a price on her head by CIA. He had a price on his head by KGB and on the night of the violence they melted the opposites into ashes. How very, very, true ... opposites do attract even if the attraction is peppered with mischief ;-PPP Will this mischief be his greatest love in his life? Only time will tell!

I know that not everyone is interested in blog navel gazing, but this study by Lada Adamic and Natalie Glance about blog behavior is pretty interesting — and it has a cool blogo-diagram too. Let's look at the diagram first BLOGS AND BLOGGERS

The Blog, The Press, The Media: We’re going to be the establishment
Can Media Dragons revolutionize progressive politics?

We have no interest in being anti-establishment,” says Matt Stoller, a blogger at the popular Web site MyDD.com. “We’re going to be the establishment.”
That kind of flamboyant confidence has become the hallmark of blog evangelists who believe that blogs promise nothing less than a populist revolution in American politics. In 2006, at least some of that rhetoric is becoming reality. Blogs may not have replaced the Democratic Party establishment, but they are certainly becoming an integral part of it. In the wake of John Kerry’s defeat in the 2004 presidential elections, many within the Democratic leadership have embraced blog advocates’ plan for political success, which can be summed up in one word: netroots.

• Aggressively pioneer Internet outreach Netroots: Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night [Literature has been slow to grasp the implications of Einstein's theories: a difference between a piece of literature that unavoidably provokes and one that is merely provocative Relativity and responsibility; Work is a dirty word unless you hold public office The refuge of the descendents of the rich and noble families who squandered the fortunes acquired through slavery ]
• · The European media may have behaved in a provocative fashion this week, but it was provocation in a good cause Drawn into a religious conflict ; The Politics of Personal Self-Destruction
• · · It may seem odd that scientists in the Internet age spend years on a line of research without having first determined that their mountain had not already been climbed Pity the Scientist Who Discovers the Discovered

Friday, February 10, 2006

Ethicist once aptly stated: Attraction is a feeling. Love is a choice...
Rather than having no love story, it is, as it has been wisely said by Theodore Roosevelt: ‘Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure than to live like people who ... neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows no victory nor defeat.’

Marriage vows in an objectivist church would probably run along the lines of "Do you promise to attempt to dominate and subdue this woman until such time as you grow bored?" "Maybe." "Close enough. And do you promise to applaud this man`s production until such time as you find someone with a bigger ... corporation?" "Whatever." "By the power vested in me by having scammed you guys out of a marriage license fee, I now pronounce you man and appendage. May you be unencumbered by small persons."
-Rob Slade, reviewing "Atlas Shrugged"

Artists are not, on the whole, intellectuals; they do not try to be particularly articulate and, when they do speak of their art, they do not do so in the terms of the critic or connoisseur. But that is not their job. They simply do it.
-Peter Ackroyd, J.M.W. Turner

Many contemporary novelists are drawn to the subject of millionaires and their money; Auchincloss' concern, however, is not with wealth per se but with the ways in which rich people's means of earning, preserving, spending and losing their fortunes illuminate the principles by which they live. Principles of Interest

Art of Living & Literature Across Frontiers: The Geography of His Imagination
Though he has been hailed by critics as one of Ireland's major living novelists, and though this year marks the 20th anniversary of his first book, John Banville has remained unfamiliar to American readers. Why?

We're all related," a nurse comments near the end of the novel, "only people don't take time to think about it. In his novels, truth is elusive, but it matters; the self may be a prison built on shifting ground, but it exists - a cannily constructed novel about sex, betrayal and self-deception ...

A Murderer's Life [A screaming comes across the sky: Call me Ishmael 100 Best First Lines from Novels; Social capital is in itself neither good nor bad; it may be put to both positive and negative ends Is social capital declining? ]
• · Our television networks are required to show a certain amount of Australian content each year and also an Australian drama quota The drama about Australian TV drama ; Who is the greatest artist of the 20th century? This economist has figured out the answer. The Count loves to count
• · · From the people who brought you The (unofficial) Latham Diaries Latham Diaries ; Childlessness is one of Australia’s current national preoccupations Oh no children, we forgot motherhood, did we?
• · · · This one wins, in my opinion Kid's allright : Indy environment; We live in a strange world, don’t we? And to this Jozef quickly adds, with a lot of strange people. Knowledge is Not Power and Other Paradoxes
• · · · · Is creating virtual slaves for sex and possibly housework wrong? In 2068, robots could subjugate humanity to their infernal will. Instead of being scared, why don't we marry them?; We ask: what is time? The question of all questions for which we have never had so much time. Like the wind, we are always in its midst but can’t get a grip on it and yet everything that exists is enfolded within it. Cold Truth of Time
• · · · · · Moral Heuristics or Moral Competence? Reflections on Sunstein ; BMW has recruited four authors from Random House UK, including Karin Slaughter, James Flint and Simon Kernick, to write 45 minute audio books featuring their cars BMW Test-Drives Audio Books ; Harper's Brian Murray says in the announcement of the "pilot" initiative, "Our goal is to develop new digital products based on our books while creating new revenue streams for our authors." As Harper Pilots a Free Book on the Web

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sargeant Maher was born with a gift of laughter 'are you rich? no im poor' and a sense that the world was filled with ethical love affairs at work. Granted: it is OK to have affairs while your wife is pregnant with your fourth child ... When I finally caught up with Sargeant Crumblin, she was almost as tall as I am in her high heel shoes. It was love at first sight and work related ...
If my new book was read yesterday with professional objectivity rather than selected stories, it would be realised that the dates on the official document should have been 3 February rather than 31 January and the official document should cacoon Gerardo Barranquero. No one has a monopoly on truth or ethics not even the future commissioner Maher! As I said, Mr Barranquero, truth will set you free if you share your full story with Mrs Barranquero ...

Unfortunately, I announce my client won't be answering bail, he was murdered last night Murder stops underworld trial

Eye on Politics & Law Lords: The myths about shared parenting
On the face of it, such sensible proposals might be expected to meet with universal acceptance. Indeed, the average citizen might even be moved to congratulate a government on such family-friendly initiatives.

The Federal Government tables significant changes to the Family Law Act with a view to encouraging both parents after divorce to share parenting of their children. At the same time, the government announces that $400 million will be spent in setting up 65 family relationship centres across the country for the purpose of counselling couples with relationship problems and, if they decide to separate, to assist them to manage the aftermath in a sensible manner.

Little more than a mirage: A triumph of style over substance [Has history teaching fallen victim to a politically correct, new-age approach to curriculum and are students receiving a fragmented understanding of the past? Why our greatest story is just not being told ; The cost is trivial, the gain is great Achieving a world free from want ; Personal wealth is all relative, especially in a world of virtual finance and credit ratings Want to be rich? Ask for a billion-dollar loan ]
• · Battling for political power is, to men and women of a certain temperament From loss to ideas to power ; Economics - Fred Argy - posted 27/1/2006 Joblessness and income inequality: has Australia taken the wrong turn? Victors, as Winston Churchill knew, not only write the history, they define the terms of justice. Today, with Saddam Hussein in the dock, the moral complexities of trying war criminals haven't gone away. Spoils of war
• · · The New Corporate Outsourcing Big Business has learned how to love Big Government ; Debnam repeats promise to rein in DPP
• · · · Calling the new tax commissioner to account ;
Taxing and spending, if it’s done carefully, is no bad thing, writes Nicholas Gruen What’s wrong with churning?
• · · · · Make poverty history: tackle corruption ; Immaterial Labour is seen by (post)Marxists and capitalists alike as the motor of the new economy Reality check: Are We Living In An Immaterial World? ; Ending the divorce between loyalty and family law would bring the law into line with rightly held moral standards. It would also lead to fairer property divisions and probably result in fewer divorces Time to end the divorce between loyalty and the family law
• · · · · · Centralising regulation does not always deliver the best results, argues John Quiggin Benefits of diversity ; The AWB oil-for-food scandal continues to build daily, going from bad to worse for the Howard Government. National watchdog is needed

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.
—Catherine Aird

A priest once came across a Zen master and, seeking to embarrass him, challenged him as follows: ‘Using neither sound nor silence, can you show me what is reality?’ The Zen master punched him in the face ;-P
Your Honour, how far is the Town Hall Station from 2 Market Street? Is it less than 1 km?

Let me count the ways in my next book as to the reasons why characters like Gerardo Barranquero of Avocado Consulting should be considered a horrible warning ...

Loyalty and marriage are theoretically inseparable. Marriage is one of the rare circum-stances in contemporary life where a person expressly declares that they will act loyally towards another. Phrases such as “for better or worse”; “in sickness and in health” are ways of saying “I will be loyal to you”, or “I will stay with you even when it hurts”.
Yet loyalty plays no part in our marriage and divorce law. It is little wonder that parties to family law proceedings are left shaking their heads (and often much worse) when their partner who has fundamentally betrayed them is not held to account for this.
While we have a right to choose our partner (over and over again) this does not mean that disloyalties should have no adverse legal consequences. The “garden variety” betrayal (such as where one partner has a deficit in terms of their contribution to house work or the bank balance) should be left in the garden. However, fundamental betrayals; those that destroy the core of a relationship need to be actionable in the law.
Ending the divorce between loyalty and family law would bring the law into line with rightly held moral standards. It would also lead to fairer property divisions and probably result in fewer divorces Time to end the divorce between loyalty and the family law
The myths about shared parenting Little more than a mirage: A triumph of style over substance

CODA: Web of Deception: It's a little late, but Geoffrey Knoop apologizes via the NYT for his role in the JT Leroy hoax. He claims "that he had come forward out of concern for his son, family members and others affected by what he called an all-consuming web of deceit. He said he and [partner and co-conspirator Laura] Albert separated in December, in large part because of stress caused by the deception."
I know it makes a nice story for the Times, but it doesn't really count as "coming forward" after you've been caught and exposed. I believe the term of art there is "fessing up." And, as noted in yesterday's short NY Magazine citation, all that stress and concern hasn't prevented Knoop from looking for other ways of generating cash from the fraud. He denies that he's looking for a book deal, but the indicates to the Times that he "has hired a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer and said that he hopes to sell a movie about his experience." (Secondary irony: Frey's fraud imperils the film version of his "true" story, while Knoop expects his hoax to do the opposite.) We live in a strange world, don’t we?
And to this Jozef quickly adds, with a lot of strange people: Strange Irony of Life
CODA: In 2068, robots could subjugate humanity to their infernal will. Instead of being scared, why don't we marry them?
The Politics of Personal Self-Destruction