Sunday, April 26, 2009

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
--Revelation 21:4


When a young person dies, it is a tragedy. Leukemia took my sister Aga at the age of 22, and this week cancer took my nephew Tomas Imrich at the age of 23. Tomas was affected by the Chernobyl nuclear fallout as he was born in 1986. This is a heartbreaking tribute to my little nephew, Tomas, who passed away at the innocent age. We will all feel cheated always that they were taken from us so young. Profoundly disabled Tomas took his first steps right into his mother’s arms. Tomas was the apple of his grandparents’ eyes, and in his grandma’s eyes, he could do no wrong. He was our precious little angel; he was always under the watchful eye of his family and had never even spent a night away from home without his sister, Aga, who was born a year and one day after my sister Aga past away in 1975 …
Tomas died on 24 April, the Chernobyl catastrophe began during the night of April 26, 1986, 120 km from Kiev, and generated marked anxiety in the population regarding their own health and the effects on pregnancies. The maximal atmosphere pollution and radioactive precipitation in Kiev from April 29 to May 2, 1986, reached 1.5-2.5 mRad/hr. As a result, an increase of developmental abnormalties was found in 5-12 weeks old human embryos in Slovakia My family is mourning the loss of Tomas

Tomas was a ray of sunshine Only the good die young
You were the most amazing individual 'old soul' in a young man's body. Life is hard for all of us hard but what Tom and his mum went through was a million times worse. At the age of 18, Tomas lost his father. Not only did he lose his best friend, the circumstances of his dad’s death were tragic for his innocent mind to fathom. Despite every effort and unconditional love and support from her family, friends and teachers, he lost the battle to cope with the pain of loss:

Imagine there's no countries (with nukes)
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

We do not know what would have happened if Magda was pregnant a year earlier with Tomas. We do not know whether his eyes would see better and his ears hear could hear further. We do not know what profession he would choose and whom he would marry. We do not know what opportunities life would have created for him. We will never know what potentials life would have provided for Tomas if he was not born so close to Ukraine and if it was not for those strange dying days of the communist regime … Tomas touched many, many people in his twenty-three years. It seems a short time, it is a short time in comparison to the span of many other lives, but his youth did not limit or diminish his effect on the world. His presence radiated throughout this little town of Vrbov …
His life, his unique gifts, his wordless love … Today is our chance to say 'thank you' for the way you brightened our lives, even though it was a very short life and filled with much pain and sorrow. Family and friends cherished Tomas’s vulnerability as it was also his strength …

“What are you doing, nana?” My daughter Gabbie asked a decade ago.
“Just giving Tomas some food,” grandmother replied.
“You mean you have to feed him yourself?”
“Yes, that’s how he gets his food.”
“How come?” Sasha asked.
“Oh, he was born that way,” Grandmother answered.
Well, that was the way Tomas was born: we have to feed him and take care of him ...

He taught us about patience and perseverance and strength. He taught us about the value of each human life and what really matters in any life. In a world where fashion and fad and products and sales gimmicks seem to dominate the definition of value and worth, Tomas quietly offered another perspective. Sitting with him at home in all of his simplicity and beauty, We often relearned that those material things and desires don’t really matter at all. What matters is our human connections. What matters is the cultivation of our closest loving relationships. What matters is the daily performance of our common humanity. That is what Tomas taught us. He brought that light of understanding to us …

• The vulnerable Tomas lives in me; he lives in you; he lives in all of us Lasting Tribute ; [ Vrbov circa 1251; Lasting peace; 23 years and counting Chernobyl: The Horrific Legacy; Effects of Chernobyl Disaster ]

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Every year we remember,
In April and November,
The boats on the water, carrying the brave
They heard the deadly order to run through the water
It's time for you to jump boys
You're fighting to be free

On Anzac Day we carried on an unbroken tradition of watching the march. The ill-fated Gallipoli campaign Australian soldiers fought during World War I symbolises the spirit of the Australian people: In our willingness to persevere through misfortune and adversity, to remain hopeful in the dry gullies, in our capacity to reach out when floodwaters rise and bushfires ravage. The Anzac spirit clearly continues to exert power. It taunts and troubles us. Aussies keep the faith on Anzac Day: Anzac Day runs deeper than nationalism or military pride

Blood Brothers: The Anzac Genesis and Marches Diggers remember Anzac legacy
The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was a First World War army corps of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force that was formed in Egypt in 1915 and operated during the Battle of Gallipoli. The corps was disbanded in 1916 following the evacuation of Gallipoli. The corps is best remembered today as the source of the acronym ANZAC which has since become a term, "Anzac", for a person from Australia or New Zealand

WHETHER you are a patriot on Anzac Day, or merely a humanist moved by the notion of courage and camaraderie, this weekend always provokes a discussion of past misdeeds and heroism … For a time Aboriginal diggers were not permitted to march...they were not even allowed to enter RSL clubs. Aboriginal diggers commemorate Anzac Day
Hearing snippets of war songs at parades or on television on Anzac Day has made Peter Coates want to dig deeper as a mark of respect and remembrance. The particular power of war songs, or anti-war songs, are in their strength and diversity of emotion: sorrow, action, anger, remembrance, fear, mateship, loneliness, love, generosity, authority and protest.
I Was Only 19 is without doubt the most famous and realistic Australian song of the Vietnam War. It was written and sung by John Schumann when he led the far left and undervalued Australian group Redgum. Redgum produced a large number of great songs, but perhaps too critical of the social order, principled and deep for the commercial music industry.
Bagpipes have ushered in thousands of people who have gathered at
The Cenotaph in Sydney's Martin Place
The Sydney skies were clear for the annual Anzac day parade Many of the World War Two veterans, now in their 80s and 90s, are unable to walk, but are travelling in taxis and jeeps along the route of the march. One of them, 84-year-old Stilton Woodhouse, says it is a day to remember those who never came home from war: It's not an occasion of celebrating war but of thinking of those that we lost during the bad times, when things were really bad.

Anzac Day's message: the best offer their own lives ; [Even with the best of intentions I cannot do justice to Anzac words or images Google captured Anzac coverage ever so well; Week after the Sikh New Year, Vaisakhi, when Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh made his maiden visit. The Sikhs welcome all to their temple with astounding generosity Sikh Band in Sydney on Anzac Day: Three years after Sikhs were allowed to march]

What makes you a Central European writer? That is a subject for another day, and one that's not likely to be resolved anytime soon. One consideration, though, must surely be the ability to convey a sense of place when writing about Slavic Bohemia. I left home in search of happiness, sorrows were lurking on my liquid path and they came along. In exile is the experience of someone living inside strict laws, bound by them, marked by them, yet oddly sustained by them. Nothing seems stripped away, nothing made nice for the sake of restoring the semblance of hope. Here is sin, but also belief, doubt, compassion and vengeance:

This book is one thing
My fist is another
You take this
And you'll get the other
Beautiful song, scary lines
Nawal El Saadawi: How Does the World Change?
“They told us that the year 1989 is a crucial year in world history. Europe saw the fall of a wall. In China, a tank stopped for a man. In the United States, Bush senior became president. The end of the Cold War heralded a new era. States disappeared, new areas of conflict arose. What impact have these crucial changes had on us?
When I read these words I feel I do not…

A third of the world's biggest and most vital rivers have suffered significant changes over the last half century. Natural habitats – trees, water, wildlife – give us a sense of deep pleasure. At the same time, we feel anxiety about the possibility of nature’s loss World's Major Rivers Are Drying Up

Cure for an obsession: get another one Bound to Burn: Those super powers who own God, absolute truths, nuclear weapons, money, and media
Truth is one, but error proliferates. Man tracks it down and cuts it up into little pieces hoping to turn it into grains of truth. But the ultimate atom will always essentially be an error, a miscalculation. (René Daumal, The Lie of the Truth)

We can talk up wind and solar power all we want. But billions of people in China and India will never trade 3¢/kwh coal for 15¢ wind or 30¢ solar. Time to get real … Like medieval priests, today’s carbon brokers will sell you an indulgence that forgives your carbon sins.

Humanity will keep spewing carbon into the atmosphere, but good policy can help sink it back into the earth.; [Knowing East Germany would soon fade into memory, West German photo journalist Karlheinz Jardner set out for points east in 1990 East Germany, Up Close and Personal; Suicides AHEAD … Think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were a politicized financial disaster? Just wait until pension funds implode… When Did Your County's Jobs Disappear? An interactive map of vanishing employment across the country Slate: An interactive map of vanishing employment across the country ]
• · We want political leaders to be like us, but at the same time not like us .. SO, THE PRIME MINISTER snapped at a flight attendant for serving him a meal that he had not ordered. Irregular guys; Nearly ninety years ago, prime minister Billy Hughes returned triumphant from an overseas trip and announced a public private partnership to construct a nation-building communications network Kevin Rudd's partner
• · Research Service, Parliament of New South Wales - my old stomping ground Homelessness in NSW ; An upcoming audit finds strengths and deficits in Australian federalism The trouble with federalism
• · · Asia looks and feels very different now compared to the days of the Cold War. The sense that Asia now works differently can be traced to a single source - the re-emergence of China Rising China: power and reassurance ; Our love affair with China is cooling but far from over: I reached a point a few years ago where I stopped reading anything on China that included this quote from Napoleon: China is a sleeping dragon. Let him sleep. If he wakes, he will shake the world. China is a sleeping dragon. Let him sleep ; Michael McHugh has shifted the terms of the rights debate A different approach to a charter of rights; Workers of the world, unite!” Karl Marx said that workers had “first of all to settle things with their own bourgeoisie.” Now may be the moment, argues Leo Panitch Thoroughly Modern Marx
• · · · Carr urges action against rights charter; Now, I'm very fond of Bob Carr, one of the few true intellects in Australian politics. If you want to discuss books or US politics, Bob's your uncle. NEW South Wales? New? There's nothing very new about South Wales. It's become Elderly South Wales, even Old. Oh, what a state I'm in
• · · · · Premier Nathan Rees told the service Neville Wran and Bob Carr would never have become premiers and Bob Hawke would not have been Prime Minister if not for Short Short remembered as Labor's saviour; Roger Wilkins to the Rescue: Bumbling Bob Debus was useless as the NSW Attorney General in the Bob Carr NSW Govt and now in Kevin Rudd's Labor-Union Govt is doing what he does best Looking clueless trumps egg on face
• · · · · · I reckon Geoffrey Robertson is a bit of a Trickster, so are Andrew Denton and Tina Fey, as are most great story-tellers, as was Bill Hicks. Tricksters ; Art entertains, inspires, and goads. But it also deepens our grasp of the human condition by taking us into the minds of others Art in Darwin's terms

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
- Bertrand Russell, Christian Ethics from Marriage and Morals (1950), quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

There is a lot of it about this April, and most of it concerns poison called bailouts and Damian McBride.Whatever you do, Do not blame it on the bloggers …
The poison expressed in McBride's infantile stratagem has fed back into the bloodstream of the party he was supposed to be serving Labour pains

Federal Spending Binge Risks Massive Stagflation Bailout Baloney
The Obama economic plan will transform the U.S. economy as significantly as did LBJ's Great Society, if not FDR's New Deal. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it will increase federal deficits by more than $1 trillion annually for the next decade. How exactly will it be paid for?

As even Karl Marx once reluctantly admitted, the capitalist system has created more wealth more quickly than any other economic system in history. Yet, despite its obvious success, the system is poorly understood and almost never loved. And this ignorance and lack of affection for self-interest and profit and competition always makes capitalism vulnerable—especially during recessions—to crack-pot schemes and reforms that strike at the root of its economic performance… The idea that the rich can pay for much of it through higher taxes is fantasy. Until recently, the government never had borrowed $500 billion in a single year. Overseas purchasers of U.S. debt will be harder to find. Asian investors are troubled with their own faltering economies, and oil-rich Arab countries have been hit by falling oil prices. To sell all the debt, interest rates likely will have to rise--perhaps substantially. To deal with that problem, the Fed might agree to buy most of the debt, roughly equivalent to printing money, which almost always sets off inflation.

The idea that the rich can pay for much of it through higher taxes is fantasy; [ The search for profit and the avoidance of loss ; Mortgage relief plan could land Australia in crisis Australian taxpayers are yet to reach into their pockets to bail out banks Ahmed Fahour; Alex Mitchell is one of the political writers I’ve always enjoyed reading. Today he excels himself in The New Matilda, with a post on other journalists–specifically economic journalists–that really goes for the jugular. Note to economics writers: your beloved free market is dead. Now tell us the real story about the global financial crisis Alex Mitchell of Bellevue Hill Fame]
• · In the Loop might persuade future historians to see suppressed macho rage and shame as a key part of both ends of the New Labour story, from the Kinnock disaster in 1992 to the Iraqi debacle just over 10 years later - and perhaps even the McBride fiasco. McBride fiasco; The Labour hierarchy is trying to dismiss ‘Smeargate’ as the actions of a rogue operator. But Damian McBride was part of a wider dirty tricks team at the heart of Downing Street The Master of the Dark Arts
• · Number 10 email scandal ; Damaged beyond repair; < Journalists knew all about the character assassination plots run from No 10. So why did we help to spread the poison? The Brown cabal motto: smears, not ideas
• · · The Sydney media are conducting a private campaign for the resignation of NSW Premier Nathan Rees, argues Alex Mitchell. Unfortunately, the biggest casualty is political journalism Journalism As Blood Sport ; Destroying NSW the mutant force: Saturday, 18 April 2009 | The Australian Financial Review | Alex Mitchell A takeover of NSW Labor has made it completely dysfunctional. Anyone investing in NSW should have a careful look at how this state is Governed. RIDING INSTRUCTIONS FROM SUSSEX STREET A weapon of Mass Destruction... Hard copy only
• · · · If you thought financial management in NSW had hit rock bottom, you were wrong. Bob Walker explains why selling NSW Lotteries might not be such a good idea Mission sale of money printers; It is somewhat strange that a man who sits on the boards of the ASX, Future Fund, QIC and United Group appears to now have less credibility than Alan Bond’s former adviser and a 27-year old greenmailer, Poison of contracts
• · · · · Cybercrime is becoming increasingly personal as criminals collect data from social networking web sites, data breaches, and other sources, according to this issue of the biannual McAfee Security Journal. The 9 articles discuss the use of social engineering techniques, along with phishing scams, malware, Trojans and click fraud. Cybercrime gets personal ; Few Web sites are immune from being compromised and are used as a host to deliver malware to their unsuspecting visitors. During 2008, Symantec observed more than 18 million drive-by download attacks and more than 23 million misleading application attacks. These two attack types represented Web attacks from 808,000 unique domains, many of which are mainstream Web sites, including: news, travel, online retail, games, real estate, government and many others. Web based attacks
• · · · · · The COI has launched a consultative review of draft guidance on measuring the quality and value of government websites. The guidance, produced in co-ordination with the Cabinet Office, will create a common framework for government departments to measure the cost effectiveness and performance of their websites COI engages the public on improving government websites ; UK Central Office of Information

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Although I'm a heart guy, I don't let my allegiance stop me from taking an interest in recent work on the soul and soulful music: it is a landscape of creativity, energy, and enthusiasm

Winter muse. Um … When DoJo Cuts sing, they are in effect singing for the Whole Wide World. Their hip-hop calling card is We Love Universal Language Flowers bloom, rainbows arch in the sky and love is painful … Dojo Cuts - 1-2-3
played on The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show - BBC 6Music. Listen carefully Jeden Tva Tri - Ek, Dore, in You might get Dvorak, Handel and Bach, but you might also get Can You Feel The Love Tonight and Pirates Of Dojo Cuts ... Sasha: Musician for all reasons and seasons

Some Internet memes are meant to last more than a day or two. Like everybody else, I watched the moving Susan Boyle performance on YouTube earlier this week, and then I watched it again and again. What makes this so special? The quality of her singing alone doesn’t account for the craze (and maybe that’s why there’s already a backlash brewing). What makes the performance so magical, I think, is the transformation we are allowed to witness Susan Boyle: A plus for homely singers

Media Dragons Soapbox in cyberspace: best blogs
Let blogging addict Bryan Appleyard guide you to a pick of the world's best blogs, with The Australian's pick of best homegrown blogs at bottom. BLOGGING allows you to instantly broadcast your thoughts to the world - and for the world to answer back. So how do you join this global conversation?

The Australian Online at has a swag of bloggers covering everything from social statistics (George Megalogenis’ Meganomics) to literature (Stephen Romei’s A Pair of Ragged Claws) to House Rules, the new political blog straight from Parliament House in Canberra. There are also blogs from writers, correspondents and columnists – Janet Albrechtsen, Geoff Elliott, Amanda Meade and Caroline Overington, Jack the Insider – and a new economics blog called Current Account.

The Australian Online ; [A police officer won the blog prize for his account of life at the front line of fighting crime Patrick Cockburn wins Orwell prize for political journalism ]
• · • · Italian-style Cittaslow (pronounced Chittaslow) slow-food … Dr Raj Patel is an activist, an academic and also the author of Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System. Today, in a lecture recorded at Melbourne University, he asks why there are hundreds of millions of people who don't get enough to eat and, at the same time, hundreds of millions of people are overweight! How did the global food system get so messed up Food glorious food ; HOW TO COOK A MEDIA DRAGON Novels and memoirs with food memories and recipes have become all the rage
• · Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the Net Generation, internet users in their twenties do not dominate every aspect of online life. Generation X is the most likely group to bank, shop and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people) Generations online in 2009; Gabbie only wants the best … If you need proof that new iPhone models are just around the corner, check out the latest refurb deal from AT&T: you can now get a refurbished 16GB iPhone 3G for just $149 Get a refurbished 16GB iPhone 3G for $149
• · · · · An address to the Naval, Military and Air Force Club of South Australia (Inc) by Jeremy Cooper, Deputy Chairman, ASIC ASIC - Investing in 2009; Don't give a five cent problem five dollars worth of worry . 75% to 90% of all doctor visits, medical and psychological, are now recognised as financial worry and stress related. Here are two tips to avoid paying such a high price for worry. New York Times' Financial Pressures Intensify
• · · As per Rabindranath Tagore's famous poem, when God told Valmiki to write the Ramayana, the life-story of a king yet to be born, Valmiki reportedly asked God: "But how can I write an accurate account of what has not even happened?" God then told Valmiki: "It does not matter what Rama will be or what he will do. What the ages will remember is simply what you shall write. That will be the only truth." This piece is not about the epistemological nature of truth. No. It is not. While the humor is brilliant at times and the writing style very "catty" in the best style of gossip journalism, there is also no denying the fact that some of it (especially the more salacious bits) may be thought to be defamatory (whether the rather transparent monikers make the defamation legally defensible is of course another matter). Relying on bitter bloggers bad for journalism; Break Journalism Rules When You Blog?
• · · · No one can deny the Internet is a life-changer. As a social networking tool, it is nonpareil. Many married couples would never would have met but for the Internet. Employers find employees and vice versa from around the globe—people whose paths never would have crossed but for the magic of cyberspace. But the Internet has its downsides, and one of those is that it is causing the demise of American journalism—as we know it or have known it for centuries. The Internet is single-handedly responsible for the death this year of the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, and the conversion to online publishing of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Christian Science Monitor Internet, Bloggers' Half-Truths Are Killing Newspapers and Journalism; US Now Has Almost As Many Paid Bloggers As Lawyers
• · · · · There is only one God Role of Faiths in Building Peace & Harmony in Australia & the Asia-Pacific Region: Bawa Singh Jagdev - Sikh Council of Australia ; Like Mr Jagdev, a winner of the prestigious award for volunteering, Andrej Imrich has worked tirelessly for the little people Andrej Imrich
• · · · · · In the case of memoirs, trust and authenticity are fundamental to the unspoken contract between reader and writer. How much do authors owe their readers? ; Why did you leave grandma?; Papa Bear blogger visits Family Life blog

Glasgov ... Vrbov Boiling Susan

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A story of a genuine sports car ... It was love at first sight and that was well before she drove off from the car dealer .... Owned by only one master, a lady driver, who looked after it with special care. Due to change in circumstances, she would rather sell this car than keep it in storage. It is a much loved car, and the owner hopes to find someone who will love it as much as she does ... Going - Going .... Gone - Adopted by a young car lover ;-)

Snapshot: Nissan NXR 1994, red manual, one owner with good service history, in good condition with 184,000 km, Rego till December 2009, great balmy weather car with targa top. For Sale $7,000 ONO Many of the NXRs in Sydney are selling for over $10,000

Picture or Video 010

NX was another radical departure for Nissan’s low-cost 2+2 seater chameleon sports car. This time, while the removable targa roof stayed, the innovative removable hatch disappeared. A more sophisticated platform ensured sharper dynamics, while the Pulsar’s excellent 105kW 2.0-litre twin-cam engine provided performance to match the pretty styling – although the oval headlight nose treatment was not to everybody’s taste. The cabin was also pure Pulsar, so refinement and comfort levels also rose. Two models were available – the base NX and well-equipped NX-R. The latter added air-con, anti-lock brakes, a CD player, alloy wheels and power windows to the standard specification of power steering and power mirrors.

Picture or Video 008

Heart Racing Red: Nissan NXR Targa Coupe 1994 Red/Black Trim - Good Vintage 4 Cylinder Naturally Aspirated Horsepower Hero
THE 1990s became the era of the niche market with the marketing gurus of car manufacturers busily identifying particular socio-economic groups that provide small market segments for special models. This approach is light years away from Henry Ford's "any colour as long as it's black" philosophy. One such niche market is the "semi-sporting but practical" two-door coupe concept, offering the image without the restrictions of a true sports car

The Japanese and Europeans produced cars aimed at the young, upwardly mobile pre-family segment, designed to have sporty performance, good looks and all mod cons, without the price tag associated with true prestige motoring. The Nissan NX, a two-door coupe styled in the Nissan design studios in California, fits the formula well. It has a 2.0-litre, twin cam engine with several innovative features and gives spirited performance. The transversely-mounted engine drives the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox or four-speed automatic. There were two models in the range, the NX and NX-R - the latter gaining features such as electric windows, air- conditioning, ABS, central locking, driving lights, cruise control, upgraded sound system and alloy wheels with low profile tyres.
Suspension on the NX is by MacPherson struts and coil springs at both the front and rear. Steering is power-assisted rack and pinion and the brakes are power-assisted discs all round, vented at the front. Tyres are 195/55 VR14 on six-inch rims. Bridgestone Potenza tyres were fitted as standard. The body styling is on the bland side but has the attractive feature of removable roof panels - similar to the previous EXA model - that can be stored in the boot to give open-air motoring without the inconvenience of a soft-top. The body overhang at the rear is quite short, giving an upswept bob-tail effect. Inside, the doors and centre console provide plenty of pockets and bins for storage, and the seats offer good support. The interior colour scheme is grey and bland but the instrument and control layout is comprehensive and functional.
The rear seat only provides space for two children but the back folds flat to give extra luggage space. Road performance is a strong point. The engine has good pulling power in the low to middle range and spins willingly up to 7500rpm, with plenty of go if maximum performance is required.
The manual gearbox is nice to use and the auto has a push-button overdrive. Ride and handling are a good compromise between touring comfort and outright sports car handling. There is good turn in and slight understeer when driven fast into tight corners. The NX is a proven package of Nissan components and service problems are rare, although there have been reports of premature clutch wear on manual models. Take note as to whether the clutch pedal engages close to the top of its travel and have the car checked by an expert if in doubt. The NX is a good compromise between a family sedan and an out and out sports car. It has good performance and handling, the ability to remove the roof panels for open-air motoring and the intimacy and style of a two-door coupe. A fine choice for the buyer looking for style, sporty performance and reliability, the forgotten NX shouldn't be disregarded.

• Foxy from all angles A MINT GRAN NXR: highly recommend to all true blue car lovers; [ Let the truth be known, car enthusiasts enjoy showing off cars like the Nissan. The classic Japanese muscle cars should be driven and not placed in a showroom or hidden in a collector's garage NX-R on You Tube - where Sky is the limit ; A weekend/hill climb car ... a reliable engine that stirs the memories - and what memories! Some of us remember the car more than we remember the year ;-) The Nissan NX Club Forums: Share Your Passions; Meelup Hill Climb Glen Douglas, whose 1993 Nissan NXR Coupe, wins many speed events 1:04.5400 ]
• · Dream cars: toot that horn Veteran heavy metal ; A must-read collection for anyone who loves cars -- or has loved cars! Car lovers: Vintage ; Eric Bana aimed for something that can resonate with car lovers. The Australian actor has just been given an unvarnished assessment of the automotive love of his life: a 1974 Falcon Coupe. Exactly, twenty years younger than Nissan NXR Six hundred horsepower and leaf springs ... are you mad?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

At Easter time we overheard a question: What do we call today, the day before Easter? Maundy Thursday is the day before the Good Old Czechoslovak Friday. Anyway over Easter I received the good, bad and the ugly news from old home. My sister Gitka has been travelling between Poprad and Prague to look after my eldest sister Eva and my brother in law Franto as both are recovering from operations. My youngest nephew, Tomas, has also been taken to hospital. Sadly, Tomas bore lots of crosses in his life as he came to this world profoundly blind and deaf. His mum, Magda, was pregnant during the Chernobyl fallout and his is one of the sad statistics of the nuclear disaster. Tomas, however, has given lotof joy to my family especially my late parents, Jozef and Maria, who found him very easy to look after as he was a real miracle in so many other ways ...

The balmy weather made sure that we invade the Blue Mountain on the Easter Saturday and have dinner with my old boss Dr Cope. On Easter Sunday June treated us to blessed lunch in a circle of 12 friends and family. On Sunday night Lidka repared authentic Central European meal which rivals my late mum's skills. On Monday, in a melting pot style, we celebrated to coming of Sikh new year Vaisakhi also known as Baisakhi. It is an ancient harvest festival in Punjab, which also marks beginning of a new solar year, and new harvest season. Baisakhi also has religious significance for Hindus and Sikhs. It falls on the first day of the Vaisakh month in the solar Nanakshahi calendar, which corresponds to April 14 in the Gregorian calendar. The cooking at Dial's was again outside this world ;) A time for moral renewal as well

DURING THE 1970S AND EARLY 1980 S, AUSTRALIANS WERE SLOWLY being forced by a number of Royal Commissions into the uncomfortable realisation that organised crime had established itself quite firmly in their country. First, there was:
the Moffit Royal (commission into Licensed Clubs in NSW (1973-74) then:
the Woodward Royal Commission into Drugs (1977-79)
the Williams Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs (1977-80)
the Costigan Royal Commission into the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union of Australia (1980-84); and
the Stewart Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking (1980-
Each inquiry revealed complex webs of organised crime that none of the existing law enforcement agencies had the necessary powers, the national scope or the resources to effectively attack. Highly sophisticated criminal networks were identified spreading across State and Territory borders and, in some cases, into the international arena as well.
Over time, it became clear that these inquiries were not revealing isolated pockets of organised crime, but a culture of organised criminal activity that was steadily gaining hold in Australia. It was no longer a question of whether organised crime was operating here in Australia but what form the action against it should take … Crime Pays?

Enemy of the corrupt A royal commissioner does not make an allegation
Australia's fight against tax cheats owes much to Frank Costigan, who shone a torch on the grubby habits of the rich

Thirty years ago Frank Costigan, QC, took on three untouchables: the media mogul Kerry Packer, the criminal combine of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union, and the tax evasion industry.
Bottom-of-the-harbour tax schemes had been revealed by this time. Indeed, it was in the early months of Costigan's work that Fraser and his young treasurer John Howard introduced - to uproar and disbelief - criminal penalties for those promoting or taking part in these scams. But then Costigan discovered two things: members of the crooked union he was investigating were the backbone of the bottom-of-the-harbour industry, and these frauds were being committed by even the most "respectable" families in the land on an unimagined scale.
Names were faked. Documents were junked. Suing was pointless because the signatories were broke. Prosecution was dangerous. The then commissioner of taxation admitted "he would not be prepared to have his officers exposed to the possible physical danger which might flow from close contact with painters and dockers".

To open the files of yellowing press clippings from the early 1980s is to return to a lost world where the rich took it for granted that they should pay little; [So rather than rely on the wisdom of even the best-intentioned Left, I went off and read the thinkers that many humanities academics opposed.Politics and truth; Google On Costigan ]
• · Bottom of the harbour schemes divulged a big drug smuggling ring; Speech by Dr Ken Henry, Chair - Australia's Future Tax System Review Panel How much inequity should we allow?
• · The Prime Minister would be better employed attending to the glaring tax haven immediately under his nose — at Westminster. It has been revealed that in addition to trousering vast sums of public money in bogus expenses claims; A Democratic Initiative for VICTORY OVER WANT (VOW) The first is freedom of speech and expression - everywhere in the world.
• · · You know, maybe I'm just a naive liberal. It is not for nothing that power does go to our heads. Then again, maybe I just have seen enough under totalitarian system and also under subjective democracy that largest animals do believe that they deserve to go through needle tiniest opening. It is easier for camel to pass through the eye of the needle than to find a public servant who is willing to serve the nation without first asking what is in it for me… Servant is greatest among you ; Going for the bankers is tempting for politicians—and dangerous for everybody else A time for correction and brown paper bags
• · · · THE rich are paying more tax; the rich aren’t paying enough. Depending on which statistics you use, you can make a convincing case either way. Heads-I-win-tails-you-lose capitalism; Figures released in Britain this week show that, much like in the United States, the savings rate tripled in the last quarter. Despite monetary and fiscal efforts to the contrary, people are relearning to live within their means Whistling in the dark ; Efforts by the United States government to interdict the supply of drugs coming into the country have failed. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Mexican drug cartels operate in 230 cities in the United States How to Combat Mexican Drug Cartels ;
• · · · · There is at least one bit of good news out of the global recession: tax havens are on the run. Now the Group of 20 is threatening to apply the blowtorch. Send in the cavalry and watch the tax havens run for cover ; Why bother with the G20: The G20 discussions of tax havens, bonuses and regulation are distractions from the real issues facing the global economy
• · · · · · Has the G-20 Learned the Lesson? ; Big economies are leaning on offshore tax havens. But greater abuse may be taking place at home. Geneva bankers are insisting that Gordon Brown, the champion of deregulated markets in London and the British Isles, favors tax cheats at least as much as he says they do. The G20 and tax: Haven hypocrisy ; In yet another sign that financial centres are losing each other's confidence, Geneva bankers are insisting that Gordon Brown, the champion of deregulated markets in London and the British Isles, favors tax cheats at least as much as he says they do Geneva bankers have a word for Brown's tax attacks: hypocrisy; British Prime Minister speech on tax havens The beginning of the end of offshore tax havens and offshore centres

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I once was an over-achiever
A true journalistic believer
But now I relax
With a phone and a fax
And a large curly-coated retriever.
(actually the retriever has passed on, but there are other dogs).
-Mungo MacCallum

I know in my bones that theatre is one of the greatest human connectors. It's communication, it's entertainment, it's engagement, and it's emotion. Gabbie’s teachers and mentors are moving in a powerful territory. As James Longenbach noted: when a student complains that a poem is boring, I say, That’s fine. But it’s your fault … Richard III

Can we change the heart of theatre? SILLY, wordy and almost terrifyingly quick, Travesties is a theatrical treat, but only for those able to keep up
People who a few months ago were still keen on making major purchases, are putting all, or some, of that cash aside for a rainy day. One rainy night in April before Easter we went to check out Travesties. While Newton was rather disappointing last year in Stoppard’s Rock n Roll, everyone shines in the new production of Travesties. A road accident in old Czechoslovakia always attracted a crowd of onlookers and road to hell and travesties in Sydney is no different … Even Neil Brown treated himself to the play which he first saw in London in 1974 when a quote along these lines was used in the play: My art belongs to dada; and mamma’s not too bad.

In belt-tightening times, making the case for more theatre more difficult than ever.
One of the characteristics of modernist culture at the beginning of the twentieth century was the radical liquidation of the inherited structures and the creation of a bold phantasm for the organizing of an unprecedented society and a revolutionary art. In respect to this historical project, the political aesthetics of Dadaism, Joyce's fictional innovations that marked the height of high modernism in Ulysses, and the Soviet Proletcultur in Russia which Lenin spearheaded, ran parallel courses and allowed for extraordinary travesties in merging the concepts of aesthetic, literary, and political action. Shaping these political and aesthetic dimensions into one vision, Tom Stoppard's Travesties brings together Lenin, James Joyce and Tristan Tzara in a dazzling display of a time when an incipient communism expressed the last political installation of the left modernist project and when the work of art was used as a special kind of laboratory for designing and testing this project.
Like The Importance, Travesties is a shocker built on the simple structure of the paradox and parody. It is pure sport of the mind, with obscene limericks, Beethoven's Appassionata and Every Little Breeze Seems to Whisper Louise, and Carr playing the role of raconteur of the WWI days when Zurich, swarming with cafe conspirators, exiles like James Joyce, Lenin and Tristan Tzara, was the place where ideology merged with reality.

Exiled to the Far End of the Opera House; [ In praise of a great teacher ; We were lucky last year to watch I Sydney Rush’s knockout portrayal at exit the King. Geoffrey Rush Debuts on Broadway in Ionesco’s Exit The King]
• · Stories and storytelling are passions The name game; Because people lack the brainpower to weigh someone's true merits quickly when first meeting them, we may mistakenly rate the person high or low on imaginary scales of intention and capability - or simply - warmth and competence Just because I'm nice - don't assume I'm dumb
• · · The stories on the weekend reminded me of Sir Humphrey asking Sir Arnold how the FOI was going. Sir Arnold replied Sorry I cannot tell you. It is a secret. ….Allan Kessing was accused of leaking two highly-confidential Australian Customs Service reports to The Australian newspaper in 2005, sparking the biggest overhaul of airport security in the country's history. Former Customs official convicted of leaking confidential ; Monica Attard: When Allan Kessing worked for Australian Customs he was charged with writing two reports on the state of airport security in Sydney Allan Kessing
• · · · This week Allan Kessing, the whistleblower who says he's been wrongly convicted of passing on information about the parlous state of Sydney Airport security to the media. As he prepares a final appeal to the High Court, he talks to Sunday Profile. Allan Kessing, Sydney Airport whistleblower ; Kessing s report on the security problems at our airports was gathering dust until it found its way onto the front page of The Australian. So to thank Mr Kessing for his efforts, a grateful nation charged him with leaking the report. Media Watch: Democratic Sabotage (16/10/2006)
• · · · · Whistleblower protection: a comprehensive scheme for the Commonwealth public sector - report of the inquiry into whistleblowing protection within the Australian Government public sector, Blowing the whistle, or speaking out against suspected wrongdoing in the workplace can be a very risky course of action. Outcomes can fall far short of expectations...Australia is blessed with a very high standard of public administration and professional conduct within the public sector. However, wrongdoing within the sector does occur from time to time and legislation on whistleblower protection is piecemeal at best." Whistleblower protection

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Whenever you get the urge to go out and buy, or buy, or buy — head to the Iceberg, the local cafe or bar, get yourself a strong coffee, bluetongue beer or glass of wine (invest the extra buck in the good stuff!), sit long and hard and keenly, swim far into the mind’s labyrinths, then put pen to Moleskin and make this world worth moving in! The brain does weird things, hence: poetry… No one seems to realize that the destruction of poetry as a tradition would not destroy poetry itself …

In the meantime plunge into The coldest and best online journals

Uncertainty is more beautiful still Ability to capture the subtlest shades of the financial palette
From Higher Aims to Hired Hands:The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession.
People with MBAs are not necessarily great business people writes Greg Leader Cramer Business schools stand accused of churning out identikit management footsoldiers equipped with the latest buzz

Something happened to management culture decades ago and now being a Master of Business Administration, especially from Harvard, is rather on the nose. MBA, it's being said, can also stand for 'Mediocre but Arrogant', or 'Management by Accident'

• MBA: Mostly bloody awful My Life Would Have Been Different if I did not come across managers with MBA ; [Ten ways to respond to the stock market collapse - Realize any investment is always a risk. Waiting for Godot: I'm still as mean, arrogant, silly, paranoid and scared as ever; 10 Best Ways to Bring in Blog Traffic The President is more than the present moment ]
• · Leather and lace: inside the secret world of the bikie chick The man police allege may be fuelling Sydney's bikie war and is a force behind its newest gang, Notorious, has warned Sydney to prepare for more bloodshed. Strike Force Raptor: This will end in another Milperra – it all started at Winston Hills Hotel a day before the fathers day ; Google: SYDNEY'S bikie war exploded again last night as a man was ambushed in an underground carpark. He was sprayed with bullets as he stood in the car park on Punchbowl Rd, Lakemba, at about 11.35pm on Saturday night 29 March 09 What is alive in the bikie body clock is also ticking; Ross Coulthart is co-author of Dead Man Running Bikie wars fuelled by drug and crime ; Here is a sign of the times. Line up the names of the Bandidos and Coman- chero shot at Milperra's Viking Tavern on Father's Day 1984, and those of their bosses. Tony McCoy, Gregory Campbell, Jock Ross, Anthony Spencer, Mario Cianter, Leroy Jeschke, Ivan Romchek, Robert Lane, Michael O'Keefe. Secret men's business – no more
• · Who is to blame for the world economic crisis? Does market capitalism have a future? Big questions – in Paris in 1938... Beacon of Liberty Amid Depression; Banjo's journey from bad guy to mentor is pure poetry Like wind loves a window
• · · Rainbow of cinematic poetic content. Like poetry, film tells a story by compressing time, and through an emotive, image-based structure. There is a syntax of images, a rhythm. And it works with light—a material light. Film language is unavoidable—it’s part of our unconscious, our desires, memories, etc., and is very captivating and powerful. Movies With Poetry: A voice comes to one in the dark. Imagine …; You will not have roses thrown at your feet. You will not make money. You will not become the celebrated guest poet at universities & bookstores coast-to-coast. You will not be invited to read your poetry all over the world. You will not have multiple book release parties. … You simply will not. Poetry Is To Money As Ice Cream Is To Mud
• · · · If this is accurate, heads are going to roll: ROGUE Defence spies have been accused of hacking into Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon's personal laptop computer to steal bank details - to track his financial connections to a wealthy Chinese businesswoman Politicians can be compromised by travel gifts: security expert; THE acting Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, says the political and media focus on links between politicians and Chinese interests is bordering on the absurd. A confidant of Mr Howard, former NSW premier Bob Carr and Mr Rudd Google: Touch of Yellow Peril deja vu; Reveal their secrets … Protect our own Helen Liu 'spy' storm widens; In the dying days of the woeful George Bush administration, former NSW premier Bob Carr wrote to the White House asking for a presidential pardon to be granted to the convicted corporate fraudster Conrad Black. Bob Carr bats for his mate Conrad Black
• · · · · It was a vintage performance as former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett - hardly pausing to catch his breath between the barbs . (Former NSW premier) Bob (Carr) was very good, a lovely man; read a lot; got on well with the fourth estate - in short, did nothing. Red China aka NSW a hopeless failure; Rudd is yet another victim of the "got to be loved" syndrome in public life. I first saw it when I worked for Bob Carr - how the lure of public adulation can transform a serious intellectual into someone obsessed with media management and opinion polls. Both (Carr and Rudd) came from the school of hard rocks, teased and humiliated by their adolescent peers. Both sought comfort in the solidarity of the Labor movement. No one should underestimate the emotional side of politics; It is believed that Ms Liu is well connected within Australian Labor Party (NSW) circles close to former NSW premier Bob Carr Diamond Hill International ; ALP sources said yesterday Ms Liu was well known in NSW Labor circles and was reportedly close to former NSW premier Bob Carr and his wife Helena. Cold War Bomb is ticking
• · · · · · Ethics -- NSW-style. Ethics of NSW MPs -- annual reports a joke ; Pat Sergi, Tony Labbozzetta, Nick Scali and Francesco Madafferi … Talk about the pot calling the kettle black ; New life for Orange Grove

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day, although not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1 ... Includes hoaxes, pranks, gag gifts, trivia, history, quotes, messages, funny party ideas and April Fool recipes. The Motley Fool: Prophets of note

Setting goals can be useful, so long as you know what the right goals are. But as Drake Bennet points out, life is so damned complicated... Ready, aim ... fail (Fail Better ;-)

It's the greatest show on Earth Seriously
Everyone else is getting a bailout. Why not the publishing industry? Democracies need books as much as they need banks and cars. One did not only read God’s word; one touched it. Many of us are old enough to remember when families routinely kissed the Bible. It is difficult to imagine lavishing the same loving attention on the computer screen.

Like a lot of writers, I am wondering when Congress and the administration will propose a bailout for the publishing industry. Carnage is everywhere. Advances slashed, editors fired, publicity at subsistence levels, entire imprints vanished into thin air. Moreover, unlike some of the industries that the government, in its wisdom, has decided to subsidize, the publishing of books is crucial to the American way of life.
As the literary critic J. Hillis Miller has noted, an online text has a “fragile, fleeing, and insubstantial existence” compared to a book. A book is forever. A screen of text is not.
Cold War River: Stalin would kill not just you for the wrong thoughts: he would kill your family, down to the last child. Not even the Czar at his worst did that…

Books are essential to American life, and if publishing perishes; [A tale of sadness and forgetting. It may be hard to believe, but Milan Kundera informed on one of his countrymen in 1950. The man got 14 years hard labor... A Tale of Sadness and Forgetting; Marx was wrong. The opiate of the masses isn’t religion, but spectator sports and arts. It is easy to forget how close we remain to the prehistoric men and women who first found beauty in the world Our art instinct is theirs ; Down with Facebook: not just because of the fake “friends,” but because of the stultifying mind-numbing inanity of it all, the sheer boredom …Let’s face it, Twitter marks an advance in freedom and any backlash against it is doomed. For the fault lies not in our Tweets but in ourselves. How we love to put our Twitter faces on ;]
• · From TED, Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for "practical wisdom" as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy The real crisis? We stopped being wise; An except from So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government by Robert G. Kaiser Robert Kaiser is the ultimate Washington insider: part of inside the beltway
• · Historians speculate that the modern tattoo arrived in Russia in the nineteenth century care of English sailors, who mixed with Russian criminals when misbehavior got them jailed while docked in Russian ports. The English yen for tattooing can be traced to the explorer James Cook, who encountered tattoos while visiting Tahiti in 1769. The Tattoo Archipelago ; The credit crisis has provided a series of unpleasant lessons about the importance of financial services. The first lesson was about credit: we began to realise that it would not always be possible to extend our overdrafts or refinance our mortgages cheaply. The second lesson, as queues formed outside Northern Rock, was about savings: there is no iron law of economics that says that the money in your savings account is 100 per cent safe. L Does nobody want to take money from the poor?
• · · On the surface, it might seem that more and better information about the government’s decisions (and decision-making processes) is always preferable, especially if the information is provided before events transpire. In Defense of Secrecy ; What Galileo and Darwin should really be remembered for: making us feel smaller
• · · · What would it be like to be brought up by George Orwell? Pretty grim, you might think. You would be wrong George Orwell's son speaks for the first time about his father; The economic downturn is a profound threat to the autocratic regimes of the world, from China and Russia to Venezuela and the Persian Gulf states Tinted life
• · · · · Womanizer, bribe-taker, statesman—the cynically brilliant Talleyrand inspired an equally colorful biographer Charm Offensive; Behind the carefully constructed persona of suburban squire, John Cheever waged a tumultuous battle against himself.. Behind the carefully constructed persona of suburban squire, John Cheever waged a tumultuous battle against himself—a struggle that only found its way into his very last works of fiction Commuter Literate
• · · · · · Warren Buffett is a fabled investor and money manager who has earned a fortune for himself while enriching others, and done so without the aid of Arabian oil, a rich father, or clever financial arrangements The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life ; We don’t need a “new capitalism.” We need to go back to a truer, deeper understanding of Adam Smith, A.C. Pigou, and other thinkers, says Amartya Sen - Story set to light up our era Capitalism Beyond the Crisis ; Newspapers have not really so much lost readers as lost the ability to monetize them. There is hope yet, as James DeLong explains Preparing the Obituary: Have that drink, media dragon!
• · · · · · · It is given to very few writers of fiction to create an imperishable character. Let us give thanks then to John Mortimer for Horace Rumpole, old rogue and old hero of the Old Bailey Mortimer Rests His Case