Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Italian playwright Ugo Betti once penned an observation about fate and destiny that fits the mesmerising films Mal and I wached on the long weekend - that soulful Indian film Before Rain and the powerul story Doubt and a film which David Stratten gave five stars on the weekend Gran Torino, an exchange at the barber captures my Iceberg club manners so well ;-). We wonder but in the end there is always a certain peace in being what one really is, in being that completely. The condemned man has that joy.

Benefit Of Doubt and the Melting-Plot Class Six Decades of Dream and Hope but little reinforment
Sixty years ago, a document of fewer than 1700 words (even less than the Charter 77 of Vaclav Havel fame, gave birth to a dream. As I observed the celebrations and the articles marking the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, I ponder on this Revolution within the context of "world historical revolutions". Like revolutions, the declaration's words are inspiring. The challenge is enforcement. Words to Honor at Latitude East!

The Uiversal Declaratin of Human Rights proclaimed by UN in Dec 1948, the year Lidka was born, envisioned a world that respected the dignity of every human beings.However as we know these days only the executives know what dignity stands for at work, the rest of us a powerless slaves to rules and more rules. One of the articles 26.1 states that everyone has the right to education. Directed by Laurent Cantet, the film Class follows a year in the life of a French schoolteacher working in a tough multi-cultural section of Paris. Based on a best-selling autobiographical novel by François Begaudeau, who plays the main character, "The Class" is brought alive by the performances of the non-professional actors playing the students. One of the hottest films of the year was watched by John and Patricia Azarias who each speak eight languages. Bob and Helena Carr who also have interest in education were also at the Paddignton Verona cinema on Australia Day or the New Year of the Ox (I see you've brought home a kangaroo). However, I am not sure how good Carr's French really is and whether the reference of students disliking politicians was fully appreciated by the ex pollies in the crowd.
Laurent Cantet cast real students and teachers in The Class, his piercing docudrama about a melting-pot middle school in Paris. The French director was convinced it was the only way to make the movie realistic. They say what they really mean ...
So many young professional actors are artificial. Also, I wanted to improvise and I thought it would be easier to do with actual students. The head of “The Class” is played by Francois Begaudeau, whose autobiographical novel about his teaching experience inspired Cantet to make the film. Begaudeau, who co-wrote the screenplay, is a youthful teacher challenging his restless students to think, read and write in a rough environment that’s not exactly conducive to learning. Laurent Cantet’s realist movie exceeds two hours and remains confined to the four cold war type multicultural walls of a school ... "The Class" ("Entre les Murs")We wanted to capture the energy and unpredictability
The film reflects issues that society has to face, even if it doesn’t want to look at them. How can school help integrate children into society? How do children relate to adults? How do you build a community with people from so many different backgrounds?

• At Cannes, “The Class” was the first French film to win the Palme d’Or in 21 years Fleshing out the characters; [ wiki sky; Mark Thomas, a regular on the British comedy circuit, has a keen eye for the absurdities of modern life: and what could be more absurd than a globalised economy which provides rich people and powerful corporations with an opt out card marked TAX HAVENS . Cull bankers, invade Jersey . . a cutting edge agenda for 2009 ]
• • With the economy close to actually starting to shrink, the former governor of the Reserve Bank has pinned the blame for the financial turmoil on executives who took excessive risks to secure multi-million dollar bonuses Huge executive bonuses broke economy ; Mullenweg's WordPress has become the No. 2 blogging platform behind Google's Blogger, signing up 10,000 new bloggers daily. WordPress creator Mullenweg is many bloggers' best friend ;
• • • Agency analyst Russell Tice shed new light on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic spying last week when he told MSNBC that the NSA blended credit card transaction records with wiretap data to keep tabs on thousands of Americans NSA Whistleblower: Grill the CEOs on Illegal Spying

Coda: At the iceberg on Australia multicultural flags flew above the Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Japanese, Ausie teams. The Ausie teamand Scottish teams won - Appreciations to Penni and familia who let me swim with the tyre and hopelessly falling off surf board - but at trivia Mal and I did help ;-) Ravisi is north from the iceberg!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day, also known as Anniversary Day, Foundation Day and Invasion Day, is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, the day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, marking the start of British colonisation of Australia. In 2008 AD a trio of Oscar-winning Australian actors have added a touch of glamour to an Australia Day luncheon in Sydney. Actors Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush joined NSW Premier Nathan Rees and a host of Australia Day ambassadors at Sydney's Darling Harbour on Friday. Oscar winners celebrate Australia Day

Australia and the Boy from Buzz
Brandon Walters: the boy from Oz

Language is very powerful: True blue bash The Book of Proverbs
ECONOMISTS, always fond of metaphors, often say credit is the "lifeblood" of the economy alongside the "beating heart" of the banking system …

Australia Day - why not have two metaphoes?

The Book of Proverbs (Chapters 12 & 18) teaches that words can play a decisive role, whether for good or evil. They can be a destructive as sword thrusts or the means of healing. Temperate language is essential in the process we are now engaged in, if there is to be progress. Intemperate language is rarely constructive. Vilification and demonisation are well known techniques which may seem to be expedient in regard to the mobilisation and shaping of domestic public opinion or some other narrow political objective when simple facts are not helpful or sufficient. In order to bless, excommunicate, christen, pronounce guilty, call the base runner out, bid three no-trumps, or declare war, it is not sufficient for any old speaker to say to the hearer “I bless”, “I excommunicate”, etc. One must have a position within blogging community like Kevin …

‘The rich are unlike you and me….” the novelist/social critic F. Scott Fitzgerald was supposed to have uttered in frustration over the crass insensitivity and arrogance of the moneyed class in the midst of the Great Depression. Almost directly proportional to the rate of joblessness, foreclosures and credit crunches which rented most Americans in the ’30s was the rate of wasteful extravagance displayed by this class as they retreated to enjoy themselves behind gated houses and country clubs. If this kind of duality sounds familiar, it is. The “sins” of the ’30s are back to haunt us almost eight decades after—and if we don’t watch out, with more toxicity and devastating effect than in Fitzgerald’s time.Yes, sir. The rich are really something else. And, judging from the reactions of each and every country to the enveloping global financial tsunami, in the end the rich may get even richer and the poor poorer when all the coping measures and stimulus plans shall have been put in place. That is the supreme irony in this meltdown. Those who have caused it in the first place through a combination of mindless deregulation and reckless banking practices may end up keeping their loot, so to speak, and passing the burden of recovery to the millions of taxpayers out there who are already reeling from the downturn.

Winning Ugly Together; [It would be an easy task to taint wiki sky; Mark Thomas, a regular on the British comedy circuit, has a keen eye for the absurdities of modern life: and what could be more absurd than a globalised economy which provides rich people and powerful corporations with an opt out card marked TAX HAVENS . Cull bankers, invade Jersey . . a cutting edge agenda for 2009 ]
• · Book review: 'Power without Responsibility' focuses on ministerial staffers and their close political and personal affiliations with ministers. Ministerial staff have become a threat to good policy advice; Madoff, Talansky, Merkin, Olmert, Netanyahu, Adelson, one-time top GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associate Adam Kidan, Rahm Emanuel, and all their comrades in Washington, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, London, Ottawa, and Paris brings to mind the Hebrew saying “ba’al ha’mea ba’al ha’dea” or “the one with the money calls the shots” or even more telling, “he who has the gold makes the rules. Calling the shots; Is Madoff the tip of a money laundering pyramid in Israel?
• · Memories of communism … Marian Gula East Champion of Truth; It would also be good if they stopped referring to tax havens as low tax jurisdictions. They’re not. They’re promoters of regulatory abuse behind a veil of secrecy - which is something quite different - and tax is just one of the areas in which they undermine democratic governments in fulfilling their mandates. West Champions of Truth; In a year that will shape the future of the global economy, we look at the names to watch in 2009 List of Names
• · · FIRST Gordon Brown, then Barack Obama, now a fictional character is having a pop at the Isle of Man! One of the most famous modern day fictional crime fighters has been tackling a case with links to the Island. Isle; Seven Pounds in the Fin Review. The first 45 minutes of this enigmatically titled film starring Will Smith (the man who seems ideally suited to play Barack Obama, when the time comes) is baffling and inscrutable. It's a kind of abstract expressionist mosaic that hovers between pretension and intrigue. Smith plays Ben Thomas, an Internal Revenue Service agent, and his behaviour seems, at first, mercurial, explicable only to himself. The role requires quite an acting range as Thomas encounters the seven people whose lives he is going to change. We know very little about him, what motivates him or anything that might give us an inkling of his background. He's existential but only just. What we come to know is that he's on a mission of self-redemption and has chosen seven worthy and deserving characters to assist him in a kind of Operation Wickenby in reverse, but without the need for seized laptops or exotic tax havens. Drama of Seven Pounds of Flesh: Story from the heart that keeps giving
• · · · Satyam Computer Services chairman Ramalinga Raju has resigned after saying he falsified earnings and assets, prompting a collapse in the stock of India's fourth-largest software-services provider. Qantas, which has exposure to Satyam Computer Services, said its business risk from an information technology contract with the company is "manageable". Satyam, which means "truth" in Sanskrit, slumped a record 78% in Mumbai trading. This is a black day for India ; Should we publish an annual list of the country's 10 highest tax-payers? Or make each citizen's tax return public? Neither is as crazy as it may sound, and both ideas have been adopted overseas. They should be part of a meaningful debate in Australia about tax. Stranger than F(i)action
• · · · · Ttips on better management of your social networking. LinkedIn etiquette: five dos and don'ts / Facebook etiquette: five dos and don'ts ; Most swimmers would know Terry 'Tex' Parsons. If you don't, all you need to know is that he is a pom, a loudmouth and can't swim. That combination led him to take on a bet after a few jars that could well be the end of him. On Sunday in January 2009 AD at 10.30am Tex attempted to swim the bay...and back. Many people joined Bergers on the pool deck for what was certainly a spectacle, a pathetic spectacle, but still worth a BBQ on the pool deck Not waving, socially drowning
• · · · · · Ten Stupid Things Managers Do To Screw Up Performance Appraisal ; On a recent memorable occasion, Gabbie, Mal and MD, were exposed to the performance of Shakespeare as it goes from strength to strength. The Complete Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)) is a parody of the plays written by William Shakespeare with all of them being performed (in shortened form) during the show by only three actors 37 plays in 97 minutes Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't. The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool A dish fit for the gods

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

They came to witness history. For some, the wait that began before dawn and ended as dusk announced its chilling approach was a new beginning. Or a turning point. But they all wanted to be there for history and for posterity. It was a night when it didn't seem to matter that the temperature was below freezing and the wind was cutting through the thickest overcoats. A night when it began to sink in that the once unthinkable had happened in America. And for once, the stars and their bling were overawed or eclipsed … Internet into overdrive as millions express Obama hopes: We feel that he is an inspiring figure

Hope Over Fear Obama should bring out the best in all of us
A New Era Of Responsibility? The Conundrum That Is Barack Obama

Emotions matter. People talk about hope and optimism as if they are fake, false things; phantasms that have nothing to do with the real world. Yet what historian would write about war without talking about the emotions of the time - fear, hatred, envy, revenge and, sometimes, the urge for peace? How can you understand the rise and fall of stockmarkets without comprehending the role of fear, greed and crowd psychology?

ANALYSIS: Obama aims to involve entire US in economic turnaround --- 'Emotions matter. The hope created by Obama is a real and useful commodity . .; [Hey Google captures all analysis: Americans have high hopes for the presidency of Barack Obama, and the United States is being swept by a wave of optimism ; One of my favorite books is F. G. Bailey’s unjustly neglected masterpiece Humbuggery and Manipulation: The Art of Leadership Another Presidential Inaugural Speech ; This can only go so far. No government can ultimately rely on the printing press to keep everything pushing along. But I'll leave the last word to Lord Skidelsky: The crisis has rightly led to a revival of interest in Keynes. But he was a moralist as well as an economist. He believed that material wellbeing is a necessary condition of the good life, but that beyond a certain standard of comfort, its pursuit can produce corruption, both for the individual and for society. Key Ness ]
• · The most important thing in sport is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. 15 memorable quotes from Election 2008; As he assumed the presidency, Barack Obama declared that it was time to "set aside childish things," to put away "petty grievances," "worn-out dogmas" and "stale political arguments." He promised a new era of responsibility – suggesting that what has come before him was irresponsibility. Analysis: Obama's Speech
• · During World War II, George Orwell was unable to find a publishing house willing to publish Animal Farm, and several of them acknowledged that it was because they were uncomfortable with the provocative content (i.e., what they perceived as being criticism of Stalin at a time when the West considered the Russians a crucial ally). Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. How will the David Gregory theory of journalism apply to the Obama administration?; Last winter, I asked a national political correspondent I know about the media and Barack Obama - was it really as far in the tank for lanky Illinois Senator as it appeared to be? Yeah, he said. And the reason was simple: "Obama is a growth industry." Will Media Hucksters Wreck A Great American Story? They're Trying...
• · · In the meantime, one enterprising blogger has started a campaign to link the words "Cheerful Achievement" to Obama's biography. Sounds good. Obama Googlebombed; For the hard right, inauguration day was an occasion to keep bashing Obama, but serious conservatives are warming to him Conservative pundits don't quite know what to make of Barack ...
• · · · Obama is in the White House but mama still complaining about money because of this thing called the recession. Who Should Obama Look to for Advice?: Jimmy Carter ; Obama outlaws torture, rendition flights and secret jails run by CIA Hopes for the Obama Presidency
• · · · · it is hard to imagine what world would look like without the small and shrinking number of people who engage in painstaking, firsthand research in order to separate the truth from the body of supposed facts, and who keep the rest of us honest. What Will 2009 Bring for Journalism?; Most Americans don’t think of their government as an empire, but in fact the United States has been steadily expanding its control of overseas territories since the turn of the twentieth century. The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland; Our Jewish past is largely a tragedy, and the state of Israel is a continuation of that tragedy. Should Jews leave Israel?
• · · · · · Yes he can: Obama to keep BlackBerry; Everyone was blogging about Tuesday's inauguration -- even the people who were putting it on. A blogger's inauguration

Thursday, January 08, 2009

It has been over a year since The Time magazine published its feature The 25 Best Financial Blogs. A great deal has changed. Some of the blogs on the list are gone or no longer have regular posts. Others have grown and become better. Financial blogs end up being either labors of love or ways to promote small money management or paid newsletter businesses. It would seem to be a tough way to make a living. The 25 Best Financial Dragons

We should expect the worst, but hope for the best Living well is the best revenge
In December, Fast Company published an article called "The Most Influential Women in Web 2.0" featuring about a dozen amazing women who work in the Web 2.0 world. The list included BlogHer founders Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins, and Lisa Stone. Kaliya Hamlin, who is the founder of She's Geeky, a women and technology conference taking place in Mountain View, CA on January 30-31st was also on the list.

But as with any "best of" or "most this or that" list, it's bound to be incomplete. So, when Lynne d Johnson from Fast Company asked me to blog a list, I thought I'd create a nonprofit technology category and acknowledge the work of these awesome women:

Women in Nonprofit Technology Who Rock ; [Jeff Jarvis, founding editor of Entertainment Weekly and journalism professor at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, is probably best known as a new media pundit, via his blog and a column in London’s Guardian. LJ Talks to Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? ; There are lots of other aspects of blogging tools that have helped to shape the practice of blogging that I haven’t gone into here - RSS, for example, or the practice of making public corrections - but this gives you a grounding. Of course, there are plenty of blogs out there that ignore many of these conventions and are blogs nonetheless Ignorant blogs ]
• · Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz runs a blog offered in 11 different languages. It is available in English, French, German, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The blog, created in 2004, is well known among IT industry workers around the world. Not only does it provide information on the latest technologies and industry trends, but is also used to flag the company's latest announcements. Schwartz is known as the CEO Blogger. The Emergence of the 'Power Blogger' ; WHICH IS MORE DANGEROUS, a gun or a swimming pool? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? These were some of the questions raised in Steven Levitt’s best selling book, Freakonomics, which successfully tapped the public’s growing interest in economics minus the complex equations prevailing in most of its literature. ‘Freak’ economics: Economics sans complexity
• · Regardless of the occasional language brilliance that comes pouring out of these fingertips, I don’t consider myself much of an intellectual. I peruse some of those so-called trashy celebrity magazines and read blogs, some written by those that remain anonymous. OK, maybe you don’t regularly read reviews of professional wrestling programs via a blog, but don’t judge me. Attention bloggers: It’s time to make you famous; Blogging couple with quadruplets wins award
• · · Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honor to belong to all those categories and now especially the last. The issue of credibility gets complicated here. For a professional journalist, the stamp of a name and affiliation means everything. For a sometimes anonymous blogger publishing from the comfort of a bedroom, this is not always the case.
But essentially, these citizen journalists champion the idea of free speech. It's refreshing evidence of a rejuvenated public interest in reporting the news. Champions for the idea of free speech ; Times responds to blogger’s claims of ‘cut-and-paste’ journalism
• · · · Tom Mangan works nights as a copy editor and page designer at the Mercury News. He spends a couple of his off hours each day betting on his idea of journalism's future. How to Make Your Blog a Paying Business ; Blogging's Not Journalism—It's Therapy ; With the rise of online media, from YouTube to Facebook, WordPress to the New York Times, journalism has expanded over the course of the last decade into a new era. “Journalism” may not be guaranteed work all of the time, but it is most certainly in my eyes one of the main focuses of future careers for students. Journalism vs. blogging: the present and the future
• · · · · Jay Rosen, the founder of Assignment Zero, a project where journalism is run by the public rather than the media, seems to be re-affirming his beliefs about citizen journalism and new media.Rosen has long believed that citizen journalism promotes social democracy. Recently, he published an essay on how the Internet is weakening the authority of the press that further expands on his idea. Citizen Journalism as Legitimate Threat to Big Media Dragons? ; Salam Pax, the 'Baghdad Blogger,' is back in Iraq -- and Twittering
• · · · · · A chance encounter by an alert blogger in Taiwan with a wire story in The China Post in early October began a chain of events worldwide that led to uncovering a literary hoax in New York -- and the cancellation of an "Oprah-approved" book. True story. Read on. How 'citizen journalism' blogs uncovered a Holocaust hoax ; THE hoaxer who duped historian Keith Windschuttle into printing specious science in the respected right-wing magazine Quadrant is a Melbourne writer and self-described urban farmer. Too often we give unjustified credibility to bloggers who are, at best, practicing amateur journalism or simplistic punditry. Quadrant hoaxer an anti-GM warrior ; Corvida Raven, author of the blog, made the Fast Company list of "The Most Influential Women In Technology: The Bloggers." Here, she shares her sources of inspiration. 6 Sources of Inspiration for Tech Bloggers

Friday, January 02, 2009

Shaw PS - showing the way? Ian McPhee of Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) fame, noted last year My presentation today is intended to provide a broad perspective on public sector governance to act as a 'spring board' for the more specific aspects of governance that will be addressed in later sessions. I mainly refer to governance in the context of agencies (where the CEO generally reports to a Minister), rather than statutory authorities (where the CEO generally reports to a board) given the more limited information available relating to agency governance. PDF format Sense of Purpose

We should expect the worst, but hope for the best New Media Dragons Bring Out Best Of Traditional Journalism
Arianna Huffington, creator of the popular blog, The Huffington Post, believes that both old and new media are joining forces to bring out the best in one another.

According to Ms. Huffington, bloggers are growing in stature in the world of traditional media, while journalists are increasingly moving into the world of blogging. "There's this real convergence, where basically you found that the best and most accurate rose to the top, whether it originated from Time magazine or from Nate Silver's, which did not exist before the election," she told Reuters, referring to the Web site that gathered and analyzed political polling data during the 2008 election."The convergence is going to keep growing, as we saw in this election period, two years and four years from now, I'm sure," she added.

They have to share the power.; [Love and Consequences etc Famous Literary Hoaxes: Whatever you do, don't blame Oprah; It's the latest story that touched, and betrayed, the world Oprah Fooled Again ]
• · In media circles, there is a joke about facts that are too good to check. This week Oprah Winfrey and the New York publishing industry stumbled on yet another unverified account in the form of a Holocaust survivor who said his future wife had helped him stay alive while he was imprisoned as a child in a Nazi concentration camp by throwing apples over the fence to him. Nearly three years ago Ms. Winfrey was famously duped by James Frey, the author of “A Million Little Pieces,” his memoir of drug addiction and recovery in which he embellished several details; for example, he wrote that he had spent nearly three months in jail when in fact he had been held for a few hours. An outraged Ms. Winfrey rebuked Mr. Frey on television, telling him that he “betrayed millions of readers.” As Another Memoir Is Faked, Trust Suffers ; We run out and buy these books and then we get kicked in the teeth
• · Woman's struggles, cancer blog connect with others worldwide Local woman's blog has global impact; How do you make a go of blogging?
• · · These same media, however, have turned a blind eye to much more significant literary hoaxes. These include Alex Haley's counterfeit "Roots," Rigoberta Menchu's Nobel Prize-winning fraud, "I Rigoberta," Margaret Mead's fanciful "Coming of Age in Samoa," and leftist superstar Edward Said's repeated claims of being a Palestinian refugee. Memoir, meet the fact checker. Fact-checker, meet the memoir. ; Bigger frauds to fry than Rosenblat
• · · · I went straight to Google and typed in Fake Memoirs. Like a mushroom that sprouted up overnight, a stub on Herman Rosenblat had popped up at the top Wikipedia’s list of notorious authors of fake memoirs and journals Laurie Fendrich, a painter who lives and works in New York; How wonderful to have no scratches on your face. Yet difficult, too, I imagine. How pleasant it must be to be pleasant. How lovely to be lovely.
• · · · · The Bush administration's decision to drop planned anti-money laundering (AML) regulations aimed at the $2 trillion hedge fund industry has been denounced as "inexplicable, ill-timed and unwise" by Democrat Senator Carl Levin. Withdrawal of hedge fund AML rules "inexplicable"; ANDREW PEACOCK who was once married to a Rossiter girl. had a special friendship with Shirley MacLaine in 1978 but Australia's relations with the United States were far from intimate. Foreign affairs with a spicy tang; The holiday season can be a bit of a bummer for die-hard theater lovers Song Lyrics and Memoirs for All Seasons

• · · · · · Carrie Fisher won’t let you feel sorry for her, which is greatly to her credit in this age of needy, tell-all celebrity memoirs, but neither can she relax or stop joking. She writes: “If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable… The title of Carrie Fisher’s funny, sardonic little memoir is a bit misleading. Drinking seems to have been the least of her problems. Pills were more her thing, and for a while hallucinogens. As a teenager, she dropped so much acid that her parents called in the greatest LSD expert they knew: Cary Grant. Princess Leia’s Wit Tames the Dark Side: When two celebrities mate, something like me is the result ; In the end, one is never really sure what one is supposed to be taking from this book: whether one is reading the memoirs of someone who has shared a significant number of curious, thought provoking moments with the religious, or whether one is meant to be engaging in something like an 'edgy quest for meaning'. In any case, the experience may well leave one with their own sense of 'nothing'. Since Nietzsche wrote of the death of God, the question of valuing 'value' itself has been a central concern of western thinking

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Where were you be counting down to the New Year? Thousands of people said hello to the new year at the bay and harbour of fire in Sydney, but the best view did come from Gilbert Street ;-)

The traditional telephone call to wish family and friends a 'Happy New Year' is increasingly being replaced by a text message and blog entries.

Happy New Year to Gabbie (Rory) and Sasha of Roxy fame

So --- Stastlivy Novy Rok to my sisters and families in Prague and Poprad and Vrbov

Auntie Zofka Gerard Lea Marie Cecile in France -- ""Bonne Année"" auntie Otta's family in Germany -- ""Gutes Neues Jahr""

Holidaymakers ""Hauoli Makahiki Hou"" Kevin of Irish fame -- ""Aith-bhliain fé mhaise dhuit""; Luciano and Caterina of Italian fame -- ""Buon Capo d'Auno"" Steve in Japan -- ""Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu"" ING partners in Netherlands -- ""Gelukkig Nieuwjaar"" Norway -- Christofer and co from Poland -- ""Szczesliwego Nowego Roku"" Portugal -- ""Feliz Ano Novo"" Begonia in Spain -- ""Feliz Año Nuevo"" Ton Ling family -- ""Gung Hay Fat Choy ""

Lanai Vasek often wonders just how many people wake up on New Years day with a hangover and a handful of regrets. More often than not we celebrate the New Year slurring resolutions we’ll never keep, and promising ourselves “this year will be different”. Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde once said ”Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account”. My New Year's resolution is not to pay attention to bad resolutions ...

2008 achieved a depth of realism that Hollywood could not imagine ... New Year Bring Out Best Of Resolutions
The powerless understand powerul better that vice versa which is why they are pressured to be silent. Some brave souls among us sometime try to break the code and share stories which tell us what the emperor is really like with no clothes on.

How was 2008 for you? It is bound to go down in history as a big year, not least thanks to economy but each year is really framed in terms of characters we come across be it successful fliers like Pappadopolous, or to be sure Shaw. Because it is people who make things happen. There are many heros as well as villains in my life. I will probably never know the names of many of my villains. Which character in the government thought up the idea of giving bags of money to the banks rather than to people?
Every man and woman carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place known or unknown actual or visionary. For myself the most beautiful place on earth is where heros like Mal place their feett be it TASSIE or Bronte ;-)
According to Ron: Well, 2008 turned out to be even tougher than we feared. But, hey, we made it through. So now comes 2009, with all the gloomy predictions. It's understandable if your "Happy New Year" wish ends with more of a ? than a ! this time around.
Is there a light at the end of this tunnel? Don't know, because we can't see the end yet, or so the economists tell us. And now the entire nation has slipped into the downhill tube that Michigan entered about seven years ago. So even if you could sell your house and get out of Michigan, there's really no economic hot spot where you can go. Face it folks. Our only option is to make this place what we know it can be, what it should be.
Somehow, all this adversity has to become opportunity. And that is entirely possible. Why? Because more and more people in Michigan have stopped looking in the rearview mirror and started figuring out the road ahead. It has taken awhile -- and a lot of pain -- but we understand now that what was will not be again, and our focus is finally shifting to what's next. ...
History and literature are filled with stories of people who stood on the brink of disaster and found themselves doing things they never thought they would have to do, could do, or would ever want to do. They stopped waiting for help, stopped hoping for things to go back to the way they were and changed the reality on the ground. They put aside old enmities and pulled together -- not by choice but because they had no other choice.We all know people who have survived some kind of personal disaster -- an arrest, illness, divorce, job loss, what have you -- and who can look back on it and say, "At the time, I thought my life was over, but if it hadn't happened, I never would have changed. Yes, it was terrible, it hurt, but today I am better for it."

2008 turned out to be even tougher than we feared; [ The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers ... as told by Erich Fromm in Man for Himself; Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers ; Nobody ever said that work was fun, but it beats death plan in the waiting room of God. From backwater of the High Tatra mountains to parliamentary intrigue in the city of wild men to Masterminds of the offshore tax schemes]

An excellent leader has three qualities: a love for the people, moral and ethical integrity, and courage to take a stand and position even when there is resistance to change. Martin Luther King, Jr. had all three qualities. Without one of these qualities, a leader is handicapped. Without two of these qualities, he is doomed to failure. With none of these qualities, tyrants can exist, but not leaders.
-Harry Holleywood