Sunday, July 29, 2007

NSW Parliamentary Press Gallery Gone Mild ...

Its advertising and circulation are being drained away by the Media Dragons, and its owners seem stricken by a failure of the entrepreneurial imagination needed to prosper in the electronic age. Surveys showing that more and more young people get their news from television and computers breed a melancholy sense that the press is yesteryear's thing, a horse-drawn buggy on an eight-lane interstate.

The American press has the blues. Too many authorities have assured it that its days are numbered, too many good newspapers are in ruins. It has lost too much public respect. Courts that once treated it like a sleeping tiger now taunt it with insolent subpoenas and put in jail reporters who refuse to play ball with prosecutors. It is abused relentlessly on talk radio and in Internet blogs. It is easily bullied into acquiescing in the designs of a presidential propaganda machine determined to dominate the news.

Newspaper reporters were once heroes of the culture, played in films by the likes of Clark Gable or Robert Redford. Not Today ... I am not afraid of death anymore, says Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I feel it is a natural, but by no means the final, milestone of one’s existence Not today

A prosperous, lucky country turns out to have been founded on genocide. Clearly, Australia urgently needs an intelligentsia to help it emerge from its dark moral labyrinth. Why Intellectuals Like Genocide?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Why Speak?

In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Creativity is what makes humanity move. We were created to participate.

I was among soulful friends this weekend at French Pause at Bronte and the Kellet Street Aparatif and dining with Dr Cope at Mal's place. Well Dr Cope is rather fond of Mal's cooking as well as the German Wolfgang von Goethe or Greek philosopher Aristotle as both liked to stress that the roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

Ach, Aristotle understood friendship, its uses, its pleasures, and its ultimate good. He would also have understood how deep conversations can keep it alive. Tides of opinion about creativity have ebbed and flowed at the Leichart (sic) markets of Orange Grove school fame - so what length one should go to in order to pursue our dreams and our creativity... Midlife is the perfect time to reinvent yourself. It’s time to stretch your wings and try something new, something exciting, something … creative. To write. To paint. To dance. What food do we need to feed the wings and the soul?

As the season of believing seems to wind down let me gently remind you that many dreams still wait in the wings. Many authentic sparks must be fanned before passion performs her perfect work in you. Throw another log on the fire.
-Sarah Ban Breathnach

Each of us has natural talent and/or passion . You may not know how yet, but you have something to contribute with your life. You were put on this planet to live a joyful life. You were put here to be happy and through that happiness - you will improve the lives of others around you. It is my belief that part of what we all need is to connect with our own creativity.

The scope of creativity is vast. Creativity is a part of the way we live our lives. The choices we make. Creativity is a way of living, painting, capturing the world around us ... Sunlight, water, and air are passed about more equally than coal and oil.

Goethe was a new kind of hero, and man who brought art and life together in a way that did not look like a grubby compromise. Goethe's Bright Circle

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
-Joseph Chilton Pierce

Creative people revel in making something out of nothing, so when a new year and a blank calendar appears, the possibilities seem endless. Suddenly, impossible editors aren't so intimidating, artistic debuts are only one workshop away and sales goals are easy to achieve. Inherent within the human spirit is the desire for fulfillment, a longing to carry out our creative aspirations by reaching new heights of accomplishment. Yet often the yearning can be suppressed by fear. Perhaps we aren't feeling good enough, smart enough or able enough to pursue and fulfill our dreams.

Art Links: Still Glides the Cold Stream

There are no problems - only opportunities to be creative.
-Dorye Roettger

What’s to tell between a banal work of art and one that takes banality as its theme?
The problem with assessing much modern art is that it's hard to tell the difference between a banal work and one whose theme is banality. So, how might we make a case against Damien Hirst? Damien Hirst's new skull is studded with thousands of flawless diamonds—but does that make it a flawless work of art? Doubting Art

Negative freedom is freedom from tyranny, while positive freedom is the freedom to realize your desires.

Save your city by giving money to the arts! Yeah, sure A study of media obsession with studies

Digital technology will end the archaic film distribution system and hasten the decline and fall of the Hollywood empire. Is Tinseltown really about to disappear from our cultural radar screens? Maybe... Terry McGee: Reel Glides on the Cold River

What is prayer, and how can it work? This is not just a question of religion, but of neurophysics – and logic... Are silent prayers transmissible to, or readable by, a supernatural being?

I would have been a happier man if I had been a painter, says Clive James, and indeed a happier man if I had been a gravedigger Don't worry, be happy

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.
- Montaigne

Every day last week has been filled with activities from swimming at the Iceberg to gym at the Seals Club at Carr's French colloured Maroubra to movies such as Clubland, Zodiak, and Lucky Miles. June and Richard were moved by the Antipodean take of the Lucky Miles.

Blast from the past took us to Darling Point boating club where Michelle from Brissie and Bek together with Adriane shared sailing stories in their secret voices. Having a cup a tea at Richard's place at Mona Road among his amazing drawings and his bohemian collection of Julian Ashton paintings is much treasured. The story how Richard managed to get scholarship at the Ashton school of art at the Rocks is truly fascinating. With such prominent artists as William Dobell, John Passmore, John Olsen and Brett Whiteley among those who attended, the art school became famous to several generations of students and continues it's rich heritage in educating art students today. Richard, an architect by trade discarded the comfort of regular wages in 2001 in order to follow the footsteps of Whiteley and Dobell. The Julian Ashton Art School, is a very historic Australian art school in Sydney. Founded in 1890 by Australian artist Julian Ashton, it is Australia's oldest continuous art school. It is Australia's oldest continuous art school

Exotic stories come to me in mobile format as Bawa and Dial are walking and living the hot streets of India and the Namesake is another great movie to acquire from your local DVD store.

The highlight story of this month, a month of memories of drowning and death, was sitting alongside Mal, Jenny and Kevin at the front rows of Belvoir Theatre and spy Geoffrey Rush to excel like no other actor in the world!

There’s a mirror in my entrails where everything’s reflected.

Exit the King presents Ionesco’s favorite hero, Berenger, as the fumbling king of a deteriorating country. It’s one of his most optimistic plays. As the finale of the Exit’s Absurdist Season, it has not just an apt name but also a vividly absurd set -- the huge colorful throne could be an upholstered lifeguard tower, flanked by mushroom-stools out of Alice in Wonderland. At Belvoir people are aware that more than 100,000 Australians are now over 90. Within a generation that figure is likely to double or treble as the sheer weight of numbers from the baby-boomer generation filters through the system.

The characters show the king’s country as a candied place where people in ridiculous disguises connive and flatter and lie; and any hopes for the show, at least at first, are just as false. Berenger seems to think his nation and power are intact, but his courtiers tell him otherwise. The doctor and his first wife, Queen Marguerite, seem to be staging a takeover. His second wife, Queen Marie, is on Berenger’s side. She’s the voice of optimism, wearing pink tights and a wedding cake on her head. When the doctor says something negative, she urges Berenger to “Sweep him off his feet in a whirlwind of willpower!” But of course it’s the royal willpower that’s failing. In Prague there are to people who are admired Tom Stopard and Geoffrey Rush... is extraordinary at every turn... a landmark production in the history of theatre in this country

As we are informed, the King must die by the end of the play. The play itself is simply a matter of getting there, as Berenger howls against his fate, moving from denial to terror to pathos to a final, moving acceptance. Ionesco has literalised the tyranny of the ego, which at the point of death refuses to contemplate its own annihilation, and will give anything - even the destruction of the entire world - if only it can go on living. But even the King, who once, we are given to believe, could command the sun itself, has to bow before death.
Rush is a great clown, and this role gives him plenty of scope for physical humour, especially in a scene in which (as the Guard announces) The King is Marching! But his skill is evident in his restraint; he never allows grotesquerie to degenerate into mere cartooning. Like Ionesco's writing, he keeps his options open: anything is possible at any time. He plays the full range of the text, from broad comedy to brutality to sheer pathos, until he becomes the everyking we all are, alone and afraid in our shabby kingdoms, facing the dark. Review of Exit the King

There is a famous prayer, called the Serenity prayer, which was originally composed by the German theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. The prayer says, "God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other." It has been a guide and comfort to media dragons, to soldiers and to alcoholics. It can also be a useful guide for policy makers when thinking about the future, and especially about the future of the internet.

There are some things we cannot change—the laws of science and of economics, the behavior of others, and sometimes our own desires and concerns. But there are many things that we can change, if we have the courage. And we need to have the wisdom to know what we can change, and how we should try to achieve change. We need this wisdom and courage because what the world morality will look like in the distant future depends greatly on what we do in the near future and on what we do now. The Middle Ages is a period in time. But medievalism just keeps moving forward. Geeking out on medieval quests is as old as Don Quixote. From dragons to scholars, one man's journey through medieval studies

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Short History of Tax Shelters
A. Tax Planning Over the Ages.
1. Tax advisors have been figuring out ways to reduce taxpayers’ tax liability forever.
a. In Ancient Rome, farmers of small farms would obtain relief from taxes by transferring their lands to the nearest military chief or large landowner and rid themselves of tax obligations. The peasant farmer was better off. Tied to the land anyway, he could live in the same house, farm the same land, and use the same animals. Only the tax picture had changed; the Roman tax man would now have to deal with the small farmer’s master, who had the wherewithal to handle the Roman tax man. Adams, For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
(London and New York: Madison Books, 1994) at pages 113-14.
b. During the Middle Ages in Syria, Egypt and other areas of the Islamic world, the land tax could be avoided by newly conquered native populations if they became Moslems—unfortunately for the tax collectors, mass conversions of native populations to Islam drained off a large percentage of their tax revenue. Adams, For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization (London and New York: Madison Books, 1994) at page 132.
c. In the 1600’s, landlords in Russia developed an interesting tax avoidance scheme. A new landlord would pay off a peasant’s debt and refinance the peasant on his own land. Poll taxes were based on a census, which was conducted every five years. Before the census was taken, new serfs would not be taxed since they were not on the census rolls. (The Russian government eventually had to pass a law preventing this practice.) Adams, For Good and Evil:
The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization (London and New York: Madison Books, 1994) at page 169.
d. In Charleston, South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century, real estate taxes were based not on the value of the house or other structure situated on a lot but on the footage of the portion of the lot directly next to the street. Tax planning led to houses being built on deep lots which were very narrow where they fronted the street. Thus, a typical house built during that time might be 10 foot wide but 80 or even 100 feet deep—many of these houses still exist today.
2. The search for shelter continues. See The Wall Street Journal (“WSJ”) on
10/13/05: The Search for a Safe Tax Shelter

A Short History of Psychopaths
Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work. By Paul Babiak, Ph.D., and Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.; published by ReganBooks, (Web); 353 pages; $26.95.

Psychopaths and the damage they inflict on others are a popular topic in books these days. Nearly all of these books, however, concentrate on criminal psychopaths and are based on prison interviews. Snakes in Suits fills an important gap, examining the chaos that can result when a psychopath enters the workplace.

One hallmark of psychopaths, who make up about 1 percent of the overall population, is that they seek opportunities to promote their own self-interests unburdened by conscience.

With that as a motivating factor, psychopaths in the workplace operate in three general ways: some bully, some manipulate, and others are "puppet masters," adept at operating through others.

The authors provide advice on what the average employee should do if he or she believes that a coworker or boss may be a psychopath: Document everything, never confront the individual, and be prepared to seek work elsewhere.
Psychopaths may come to a corporate security department's attention when they cross the line of what is permissible behavior in the workplace, which could result in an investigation into harassment or criminal activity.
Perhaps the book's most valuable advice is that companies always conduct preemployment screening—checking educational, technical, and work references thoroughly. Doing so may give the human resource department the red flags it needs to spot the signs of psychopathic behavior before the person is hired. But the authors also note that it is not illegal to be a psychopath. What companies should be focusing on is whether someone exhibits inappropriate workplace behavior.
The authors also warn readers not to try diagnosing psychopaths, but they do describe behaviors and recommend actions that can protect a company and its employees.
The authors mix discussion and case studies to explain how psychopathic behaviors can cause problems in the workplace, and the liability companies can incur if those problems are not addressed.
Written exclusively for Beautiful Minds and Hearts

Monday, July 16, 2007

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are so confident while the intelligent are full of doubt.
-Bertrand Russell

They can't get inside you.
-J[ozef], 1984, George Orwell

Just an ordinary life: When it comes to appropriating other people's stories - all the great, sexy things …Like attracts like - by thinking negatively, you attract negativity. Think positively about attaining something you desire, and you attract that outcome. The bien-pensant pissants and detectives of my dear Watson, those newtownish arch-Machiavellian characters, tend to provide much of parliamentary commentary such as how Mark Swinson is missed due to the broken pelvis. The stories are not the same in Russell Groves office occupied by Patricia and Rebecca and Francis. Terror and Travel suspects: Time to uncork the enormous potential of clerks

Can we change the heart of parliamentary bureau? Who is Who and What is Where
This year, the popular television show The Sopranos, a fictional account of a mob family, comes to an end. Unfortunately, in the real world, organized crime is not ending, it’s booming … It is taking off like a Bondi tram ;-)

Fraud is an ancient and familiar concept. The Bible, indeed starts off with two fairly stark cases of deception (I must say immediately, with a murder sandwiched between the two), one of which, indeed, if committed nowadays. Right at the beginning of the Book of Genesis, some of you may recall, the serpent deceived Eve, an unwitting accomplice, into inducing Adam to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and thus precipitated mankind into the mess we are in now. In relation to a mess of a different kind, a few pages further on, Jacob, rightly described as a "smooth man", defrauded his father Isaac of the mess of pottage due to his brother Esau ("an hairy man"), by impersonating his brother.

Build your House of Parliament upon the River ; [Oddities and Numbers – & The Second, Third and even Fourth READING between the lines Sydney man drowns in Munich river ; Ah, Mr Bond, we weren't expecting you ]
• · What Your Sign-off is Really Saying - Find out what business etiquette experts have to say about the expressions we use to end work-related e-mails. Avoid using any word you wouldn't want to see on the front page of Media Dragon or The New York Times with your signature next to it.; IT was a bold plan to scam $150 million and send it to offshore banks, nutted out in the confines of a downtown Sydney pole-dancing club. It almost succeeded. Now Sydney's own Ocean's 12 are in court, charged over a conspiracy to rip off the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme. Former Lady Jane's nightclub boss Thomas Anthony "Tony" Vincent, 66, and his 11 co-accused faced a commital hearing yesterday on a range of charges including recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime, conspiring to cause a loss and dishonestly obtaining financial advantage. Former Lady Jane's nightclub boss ; The Herald's 'title deeds' with its tales of the rich and fatuous rarely strays outside the eastern suburbs. But Title Deed moved elsewhere spying on the ex-Usher Warren Cahill and the Macbeath designer, Jane Johnson, who shared a penthouse next to historians at Erskenville - The place is for sale for three quarters of the million dollar - Reading Hansard and poetry of parliamentary life and death
• · There's only been writing in Australia for just over 200 years, compared to this endless oral tradition. It does seem that it's a difficult place to write about, because it's so big and so old and there's been so little writing so far. 'I'm a giant fraud' ; I've become a lot more spiritual because of him. You've got to tell these stories
• · · The internet has given people the anonymity to say what they like - as rudely as they like Cyberspace: it's the new toilet wall ; Not even in George Orwell's wildest nightmares would he have suspected we could be so naive. Even in his most dystopic visions it is doubtful he would have suspected the change over the past decade in the Western world's approach to privacy Say goodbye to that quaint notion, privacy
• · · · Better than the real thing: virtual friendships thrive despite bans; Should we all lie down on the highway and let the author drive back and forth on top of us because he is the author? Grand theft author
• · · · · GERALD Stone's top-selling book, which makes explosive claims about the decline of the late Kerry Packer's beloved Nine Network, has ruffled media feathers since its release a week ago. I was dying to publish Nine expose

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday, stunning Sydney on Sunday: The water is getting cooler and cooler at the Bondi Iceberg, especially after the Russian Kozak dancing ...

Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
-Mae West

Grace is the sense in spite of anxiety, suffering, confusion, and discouragement, that we are accepted by our higher power and that in the long run everything is going to be Okay. As John Newton wrote in his great song, Amazing Grace, ... how sweet the sound that saved a poor wretch like me.
-Harry Holleywood

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Steve wherever in Singapore you are with Tong Ling ;-)

There is an Indian proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.
-Rumer Godden

If you don't find it in the index, look very carefully through the entire catalogue.

Sunset is an angel weeping holding out a bloody sword.
No matter how I squint I cannot make out what it's pointing toward.
-Bruce Cockburn, Pacing The Cage

An Amazon employee described the Long Tail as follows:

We sold more books today that didn't sell at all yesterday than we sold today of all the books that did sell yesterday.

Eternal vigilance the price of freedom?

Friday, July 13, 2007

A cigar," said the altruist, "a cigar, my good man, I cannot give you. But any time you need a light, just come around; mine is always lit.
-Karl Kraus on Black Friday many black Fridays ago ...

He will aways be a slave who does not know how to live upon a little.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away...

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of
credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a
debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all
four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a
Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who
sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows.
You shred them.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and
produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market
it worldwide.

You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month,
and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy....

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stress Management via by the Turbo 2.2 - Tyson

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how
long you try to hold it."

"If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with
the burden."

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!"

And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

a.. Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
b.. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
c.. Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
d.. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
e.. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
f.. Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird,
sleep late.
g.. The second mouse gets the cheese.
h.. When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
i.. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
j.. You may be only one person in the world to some people, but to one person, you may be the world.
k.. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
l.. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Wise people store up knowledge. Prv 10:14 NKJV
- Lovers of Wisdom: Written exclusively for Beautiful Minds as well as Hearts

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Today my best friend, Christopher, is celebrating golden birthday. How time flies as we both remember Bondi in the 1980s, the English classes under Tatiana, Spanish club with Saturday cabaret. How nice to hear Christopher to say - I'm old enough to know better, but still young enough to do it anyway ;-) Play something we can dance to!

The Russian Odessa is never the same after Nokolai and Irena, Anna with Rudi, Yvona with Anthony and Lidka with Mal invaded the dancing floor. Goral dancing brings together people from all walks of life... and erases their differences! It does not matter how old you are... it does not matter who you are or what you do for a living... all that matters is that you want to dance! One of the luckiest immigrants to the Australia has to be Christopher who now has Lidka, Olek and Kuba

Words are important. Their history. The weight of centuries of connotations built into their very structure like fossils. I have known Christopher for over 25 years and we have not exchanged one crossed word … Do we see some memoir as short vignettes, like a mosaic, that make up the total; sort of like an impressionist painting? Or as everything related? Words in Deep River

A fish-out-of-water memoir Our search for meaning
Christopher and Media Dragon are pleased that this month our favourite Czech film maker, Milos Forman, once again returns to the international screen with Goya’s Ghosts

As a young man, Forman saw his parents dragged into the Auschwitz concentration camp, never to return. He saw his country nearly ravaged by the Russian troops in 1968 and became part of the Czech New Wave after attending the Film Institute at the University of Prague. But in 1971 the director started to lay claim to international territory when his first American film, Taking Off, landed the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then he has won two Best Director Oscars and led eight actors to Academy Award-nominated performances, including Jack Nicholson’s first win for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and F. Murray Abraham’s only Oscar statuette for Amadeus.

Riverdeep Emotions; [Another day, another billion-dollar capital raising - Valad Property Group became the latest ASX-listed property group to tap into a buoyant market for property securities to fund a significant strategic offshore move. Valad is poised to become Australia's 10th largest listed property group with its $2 billion acquisition of the British property funds management company, Scarborough. To help fund the acquisition, Valad has raised $1.3 billion through the issue of new securities under a non-renounceable entitlement offer. Recent capital raising by property funds including Centro Property Group, Centro Retail Group, ING Industrial and $3 billion by Westfield Group total more than $6.7 billion. Marvell: Is Going Private Its Best Option?; Two new High Court justices will be the pick of the crop, but whose crop. YOU may not know it, but the Howard government is about to appoint a new High Court judge. This is likely be announced soon so the new judge can take over from Ian Callinan. The Constitution requires that he retire on 1 September, when he turns 70. This will mark the start of substantial change to the High Court bench. The Chief Justice, Murray Gleeson, must retire by August 30 next year, while the greatest dissenter in the history of the court, Michael Kirby, will retire on March 18, 2009. The result is that during 18 months three of the seven, or nearly half, of the High Court will be replaced. Two of these appointments will go to the winner of this year’s federal election. Discerning judge of character ; A feeling of helplessness is a huge problem facing us all today. The sense that nothing you do will make a difference, so why try? Many people give up at the immense scale of the task of making the world a better place. There is a saying I love: "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time"...One Pizza at a Time ]

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Renowned physicist, Francis Maitland Balfour may well have had Vaclav Havel, John Hatton and Tony Vinson in mind when he said:

The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness
to an opponent, tolerence
to a friend, your heart
to your child a good example
to a father deference;
to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you;
to yourself respect;
to all men, charity.

Today is 7 July 2007 such a significant date 07/07/07 comes once in a lifetime for 6 Billion Others who are sharing this small world. 27 Years ago I would have loved if more people realised that for everyone to have enough food, receive medical care and have a decent home. That's the good life. When you have everything and your neighbor has nothing, you aren't happy in life. At Parliament House one rarely comes across large number of public-spirited individuals who believe, as I do, that in a democracy all citizens should be treated the same. Memory Almost Full

Ach, a certain Tax Investigator in UK has this to say: I can offer you an anecdote from my own experience when I was lured to Slovakia by the Foreign Office. They had recently set up a police unit specifically to investigate what they described as corruption but what we might describe as plundering the State's assets by those in power and their chums. The officer in charge of the unit had recently been denounced by the Prime Minister in their Parliament as an enemy of the people because he had started to investigate some of the Prime Minister's friends and business colleagues. The call for his dismissal was refused by the Minister of the Interior I am pleased to say but I did find myself being wheeled onto the local telly to assure them that I would be very happy to investigate our Prime Minister's business associates and friends ...In Central Europe the Communist Cancer will take many more decades before it is eliminated ..

Can we change the heart of politics? Changing the rules
How often have you heard the phrase, “Rules are meant to be broken”? I have to admit I have been a king rule-breaker, especially around my teens and, ok, my twenties. Breaking rules brings up one big challenge though: you just end up being defined by the rules you tried to break in the first place. These days I don’t want to just break the rules. I want to change them.

W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne recently penned a story Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant. According to them Blue ocean strategy challenges companies to break out of the red ocean of bloody competition by creating uncontested market space that makes the competition irrelevant...This book not only challenges companies but also shows them how to achieve this. We first introduce a set of analytical tools and frameworks that show you how to systematically act on this challenge, and, second, we elaborate the principles that define and separate blue ocean strategy from competition-based strategic thought …
My favorite example in the book is Cirque du Soleil. They changed the rules of the circus. They dropped the animals and kept the extraordinary physical skills, dropped the sawdust and opened theaters, dropped the circus menu format and told stories. Amazing stories of dreams and magic and emotion. Lots of emotion. They added to the attention-grabbing spectacle of the traditional circus, the attraction drama of great theater. That’s a lot of rules to change in a business that has defended its traditions for centuries. The rewards for Cirque have been huge, with global audiences and the inspiration of great artists like Canadian theater director Robert LePage.

Cirque of Ocean Colours ; [ Laugh and the world...; Back in July Webdiary completed its divorce from Fairfax When Webdiary went independent ; The Lives of Parliamentary Others Trolleys of Truths Down Under; Blue Oceans of Wages of Spin: Walter Secord ]