Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holy Season Blinded by Irony

It makes very little sense to characterize irony, strictly speaking. …It’s the sound of a tree falling in a deserted forest, unfortunately. People want to believe things are alright, authorities have the answers, and it is safer to conform, anyway. Who can blame them?

High culture was concerned with truth. Now it propagates nonsense. Fake ideas have replaced real ones; fake intellectuals have supplanted genuine scholars.. The great swindle ; Culture once meant intellectual heights and aesthetic ideals. Now it means petty entertainment. Mario Vargas Llosa and. Gabbie explains at Yullies and the Satellite

Happy Holidays! At ChristMas Media Dragon is Important for Everyone Paradigm Shift Blinded by Irony

Rituals bind us, in modern societies and prehistoric tribes alike. But can our loyalties stretch to all of humankind? There are certain words that pry open our imaginations and make us think about things otherwise ignored.

When Thomas Kuhn used it in 1966 to describe accepted scientific theories, and gave us the phrase “paradigm shift,” he launched a thousand articles, several hundred books and quite a few careers, some just distantly related to science. That kind of word raises curiosity and pries open the imagination, encouraging us to think about what we might otherwise ignore. My favourite is “palimpsest.” When I first noticed it in print, four decades ago, it struck me as odd, beautiful and full of promise. It’s a term that engages many writers and continues to attract new meanings but to some readers it still seems slightly far-fetched, maybe outrageous.

Far-fetched ; Justin Smith loves kids, he really does. But please stop telling him that a philosopher cannot realize his potential unless he becomes a parent... Must Philosophers Be Parents? [Pleasure is the beach, a new sweater, a pineapple Popsicle. Joy is dropping Ecstasy, falling in love, having children. Zadie Smith parses the distinction.. ; Charles Rosen’s world comprised a piano stacked with music, a desk and table laden with papers and books, and long, discursive conversations..Expressions of suffering and terror ]

• · Do you sneer at things predigital, use words like “disruptive,” tap the wisdom of the crowd? Get a grip: cyberguru... You’ve become a Media Dragon; Hunter-gatherers, esoteric cults, revolutionary brigades: We’ve always had a capacity for in-group imitation. And we are as ritualistic today as we've ever been Human rites

• · · Elegies for ink and paper abound, but are physical books going away? Not necessarily. Handwriting, on the other hand, is toast. As the world of print recedes, what is lost and what is gained? How we read; Mismatched Silver says you’re not alone.

• · · · A writer should carry a notebook – always. “ Live only for today, and you ruin tomorrow. ”; Bring Up the Bodies; “It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass.” An unforgettable portrait of Grass Behind the Cold War River

• · · · · Jozef Imrich has had way too much life for just one memoirs and so has Patti Smith who is Planning 'Just Kids' Memoir Sequel - Hell Bent; Scott Sturgis on Seth Casteel’s Underwater Dogs: “…will let any family get up close and personal with swimming dogs. Maybe even better than real life.” Underwater Dogs'; The debut collection of poetry might just deserve its own taxon in the categorizing of literary contributions An Uneven Debut From a Poet That Went on to Astonish

• · · · · · “When the guns talk,” goes a proverb, “the muses fall silent.” Nonsense. War stimulates creativity. The Great War was the great exception. ; Meredith Blake on Benjamin Lorr’s Hell Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga: “…part undercover investigation, part initiation, as Lorr, almost against his better judgment, becomes more and more committed to the practice. ; Cost Of Cold River in 2012 AD

Monday, December 24, 2012

Historical novels are treated like a tramp in the parlor of letters

As we’re in the midst of the season for family, friends, food and that ever-elusive concept of relaxation, Media Dragons are going to be merry with Gabbie, Phil, Kristen George, Vicki, James, Steve and all those soulful creatures who pepper our lives ...

[D]on’t you believe it. Nobody has solved the problem of how history should be written, and for the same reason that nobody has solved the problem of how poetry should be written, or how chess should be played or how houses should be built—because there is no such problem. We have been told, so often as to be nearly persuaded, that history must be scientific, or it must be imaginative, or it must be impartial, or it must be impersonal. But why all this “must”? Why should there be only one kind of history? And we are particularly puzzled because, as far as we know, there are a great many different kinds of history, and we find it very difficult to say one kind is really so much better than any other that it is the only kind we can allow the name to. When I Lived in Modern Times

“Remember, the mind thinks in pictures and symbols, not words. So as we worry, we are seeing ourselves failing. We can sometimes bequite vivid imagining this failure. We see ourselves embarrassed, flopping, standing with egg on our faces. The rerunning of these tapes in our heads becomes a habit, and it then affects all our behavior.” --- Alan Loy Macginnis in, “Confidence” Every achievement was a dream before it became a reality

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Two Turtle Doves: Now we are all MENdels

Mankind are always happier for having been happy; so that if you make them happy now, you make them happy twenty years hence by the memory of it. A childhood past with a due mixture of rational indulgence, under fond and wise parents, diffuses over the whole of life, a feeling of calm pleasure; and, in extreme old age, is the very last remembrance which time can erase from the mind of man
-Sydney Smith, Elementary Sketches of Moral Philosophy

Center in Prague uses rodents to understand human genetics A century and a half ago at St. Thomas' Abbey in Brno, the monk Gregor Mendel carried out pioneering experiments on pea plants that are now studied in biology lessons in schools the world over Largely unappreciated during his lifetime, Mendel produced a body of work that helped demonstrate how characteristics are inherited, giving rise to the science of genetics. It took another 100 years for researchers to work out the structure of DNA, the inherited genetic material, but since then the tools of molecular biology have allowed progress at a breathless pace. of Mice & Men

Heart of Havels: Tvrdohlavi like Media Dragon

"You can't order remembrance out of a man's mind."
-William Makepeace Thackeray, The Virginians

Commitments without empowerment are words without meaning ... Artist Jiří David's 15x17-meter neon heart was lit above the entrance of the Altiero Spinelli building of the European Parliament in Brussels Dec. 17, the eve of the first anniversary of Václav Havel's death. The heart first adorned the façade of the Prague Castle toward the end of Havel's time as head of state and during the Prague NATO summit at the end of 2002. In honor of Václav Havel, who died one year ago Dec. 18
Wrap Text around Image David’s art career starts in 1980s as member of underground movement of artists calls Tvrdohlavi ... "Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things." Cicero, De oratore

Speech by Commissioner of Taxation Michael D'Ascenzo at his farewell dinner, 29 November 2012 'It has been great and I have been fortunate'

A teacher with only months to live has embarked on a journey across the US to find out whether he really made a difference in his former students' lives. People like Havel made a difference

Monday, December 17, 2012

Failure, then, failure!

"As a (bohemian) bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place."
Proverbs 27:8

Part One: William James on failure, from Varieties of Religious Experience

Failure, then, failure! so the world stamps us at every turn. We strew it with our blunders, our misdeeds, our lost opportunities, with all the memorials of our inadequacy to our vocation. And with what a damning emphasis does it then blot us out! No easy fine, no mere apology or formal expiation, will satisfy the world's demands, but every pound of flesh exacted is soaked with all its blood. The subtlest forms of suffering known to man are connected with the poisonous humiliations incidental to these results.

And they are pivotal human experiences. A process so ubiquitous and everlasting is evidently an integral part of life. "There is indeed one element in human destiny," Robert Louis Stevenson writes, "that not blindness itself can controvert. Whatever else we are intended to do, we are not intended to succeed; failure is the fate allotted." And our nature being thus rooted in failure, is it any wonder that theologians should have held it to be essential, and thought that only through the personal experience of humiliation which it engenders the deeper sense of life's significance is reached?

But this is only the first stage of the world-sickness. Make the human being's sensitiveness a little greater, carry him a little farther over the misery-threshold, and the good quality of the successful moments themselves when they occur is spoiled and vitiated. All natural goods perish. Riches take wings; fame is a breath; love is a cheat; youth and health and pleasure vanish. Can things whose end is always dust and disappointment be the real goods which our souls require? Back of everything is the great spectre of universal death, the all-encompassing blackness... Lectures VI and VII: THE SICK SOUL

It’s always embarrassing to admit that I just don’t get a book. But honesty requires me to say that I can't believe I am only now getting around to linking to Emma Garman's history of the royal sex scandal - A BOOK which will mystify even fellows from the bear pit Baby Daddies and Dandy Scandals: Who’s my baby’s daddy?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Art of Empowerment: Lessons Learned by National Treasures

While Media Dragons crisscrossed the Mittleuropean landscapes, Kellie Tranter posted without fear and without favour interviews with John Hatton. We hope to have as much energy as John at his vintage: swimming in the morning, reading Sydney Morning Herald between the lines, painting sacred sites, practicing flute, gardening and all that before the jervis bay greets the noon it must be the wheat germ ...
Anti-corruption fighter John Hatton AO is a former politician, and a National Trust nominated Australian Living Treasure. He was an Independent member of the Legislative Assembly of the New South Wales Parliament from 1973 to 1995 and was instrumental in instigating the Wood Royal Commission into police corruption in New South Wales. When I stood as an Independent candidate at the 2011 NSW election I proudly accepted John’s unsolicited endorsement of my candidature. John Hatton is an insightful critic of modern society and politics and still a committed social activist. Modern democracy, according to John, “consists of a series of political parties to which the citizenry are not invited”. I caught up with him recently on the NSW South Coast. I didn’t need to ask searching and probing questions: I merely pressed “record”. Here’s what he had to say. Antipodean living Treasures

He has pledged the rest of his life to empowering communities and individuals to fight for true democracy; Google on empowerment

Well known local Woollamia artist, sculpture and ardent environmentalist Randall Sinnamon will be exhibiting at the Lady Denman Maritime Museum and Gallery later this year to mark the 20th anniversary of his first exhibition at the gallery in 1992. That first exhibition was entitled Thoughts and Pictures from the Aviary (his first studio) and was inspired by Jervis Bay and surrounds.
Now twenty years later Randall determines to amuse and challenge his audience with opportunities to reflect upon themselves and the social world in which they live, using sculpture, painting and printmaking as a means to express a continuous and passionate investigation of nature and humanity. Randall prefers not to state the aim of his work but to leave it completely open for the spectator's personal interpretation.Vera Hatton

Thursday, December 13, 2012

For the Love of God

For the past 700 years, banking and art have shaped our understanding of value, speculation, and profiteering... For the Love of God

It is a positive joy to put out the fires of hell Gold, Golden, Gilded, Glittering

Of course poetry teaches us how to live, lifts the veil from our eyes.

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar. Imagine what it's like to be what you perceive. To accomplish that connection requires "a going out of our nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own." I take that to mean that the more distinctly we imagine the plight of another, the more empathy we feel, and the more beauty we appreciate. As Shelley put it, "The great instrument of moral good is the imagination; and poetry administers to the effect by acting upon the cause."

• But there’s something else: Poetry makes you weird [2012 was the year of 50 SHADES OF GREY. So, what does that mean? 'Fifty Shades' dominates publishing in 2012 ; Michael Schaub recaps his reading of the year over at I’m barely living proof ]
• · The staff at The Atlantic talks about what they read in 2012. Writing books is a great thing for a musician to do. It’s a way to make money without having to play and sing all the time. If, like Mr. Young, the musician has broken a toe, given up marijuana, had trouble writing songs or otherwise begun needing a change of pace, the rock book answers prayers. Mostly publishers’ prayers. Since sales of Keith Richards’s “Life” went through the roof two years ago, these bios and memoirs have begun turning up everywhere. The Best Book I Read This Year ; NetGalley posts its favorites from 2012 An unforgettable debut that stole the hearts
• · · Janet Maslin reminds us of some notables’ notable books from 2012. The Stars’ Year to Rock ’n’ Write ; On this day in 1976 Saul Bellow delivered his speech in acceptance of the Nobel Prize. At this point, Bellow had written only fifteen of his twenty-nine books, but among these are his major prize-winners — The Adventures of Augie March (1953), Henderson the Rain King (1959), Herzog (1964), Mr. Sammler’s Planet (1970), and Humboldt’s Gift (1975). These were proof enough, said the Academy, of Bellow’s’ exuberant ideas, flashing irony, hilarious comedy and burning compassion.’ …Bellow's Human Comedy
• · · · The Guardian explores darkness in literature During the long days of summer, it's easy to forget the dark. Darkness in literature: Kathleen Jamie's Darkness and Light ; Here’s a sneak peek at Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir, MY BELOVED WORLD, She includes an especially painful encounter with illegal drugs in her description of her beloved first cousin Nelson smoking three-and-a-half packs of cigarettes a day
• · · · · Joseph Conrad would be 155 years old now. The Atlantic ruminates on that. Art Is Long, Life Is Short ; David Evans on Padgett Powell’s Edisto: “Offbeat, playful and very, very funny…” Striving for The Great American Novel, to comic effect
• · · · · · Scott Martelle on Scott Berg’s 38 Nooses: “Berg does a remarkable job with the story and its aftermath, drawing on memoirs, contemporary reports and presidential papers to re-create — and offer an easy road map through — a complicated narrative.” The story of the Dakota tribe rebellion and the largest government-sanctioned execution in American history is told in remarkable detail ; Thornton McCamish on Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams: “This unforgettable novel simply asks us to witness a fully imagined life as real as our own, and one as sad and mysterious to the man who lived it as it is to us Minimalist but magical tale of a life stripped bare; Howard Goldblatt, premier English translator of Chinese fiction, was a late bloomer. “I was amazingly stupid for the first 30 years of my life” Interpreter

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Unpredictable World of Bluest Mountains

"I have become convinced that movie people and politicians spring from the same DNA. They are both unpredictable, sometimes glamorous, usually in crisis (imagined or otherwise), addicted to power, anxious to please, always on stage, hooked on applause, enticed by publicity, always reading from scripts written by someone else, constantly taking the public pulse, never really certain, except publicly."
~ Jack Valenti (quoted in Burton Paretti, The Leading Man: Hollywood and the Presidential Image)

NSW businessmen and politicians sure can pack a room. Former Labor MP Eddie Obeid and his family left a smell like a "dead cat" on a failed coal mining deal, a businessman has told a NSW corruption inquiry. John Kinghorn, the founder of RAMS Homeloans, also told the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on Wednesday he was so "furious" a director of a mining company was querying the $500 million venture he wanted to "chop his head off"; New South Wales Labor minister Luke Foley has vented anger towards former colleagues for their demonstration of "shameless contempt" for environmental protection and coal exploration licence approvals Foley said the "cowboys were in control" and the NSW Labor government declared itself "open for business" after the departure of former Premier Bob Carr Google on Corruption ; Tripodi unaware of any corrupt activity; Transcripts of ICAC

[I]f there was an age when "fiction was king,” surely it was the Victorian era, when writers like Dickens and George Eliot and (in a very different American context) Harriet Beecher Stowe were treated as profound social critics and moral sages. Almost all major novelists since then have at least occasionally suffered from the feeling that they came on the scene too late.

Capturing Sunday Conversations at Boronia House of Bluest Mountains ...

Friday, December 07, 2012

Who is more to be pitied ...

“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?”

― Kurt Vonnegut

The Director's Role: You are the obstetrician. You are not the parent of this child we call the play. You are present at its birth for clinical reasons, like a doctor or midwife. Your job most of the time is simply to do no harm. "When something does go wrong, however, your awareness that something is awry--and your clinical intervention to correct it--can determine whether the child will thrive or suffer, live or die.
-Frank Hauser, Notes on Directing

L.A. Times book critic David L. Ulin went to see "Gatz" last weekend -- that's a live stage version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby." Ulin's review is forthcoming in the L.A. Times, but he gives us a preview of his thoughts -- and then we talked about what makes an adaptation successful

To think of shadows is a serious thing Rebus reborn

The cranky detective is back with a spring in his step

Christopher Fowler on Ian Rankin’s Standing In Another Man’s Grave: “Rankin gives us bare and melancholy locations, ruminations on mortality and an inner darkness born of his hero spending time in too many autopsy rooms, but Rebus remains crime fiction’s most consistent character, even though his television incarnation conjures a slightly different figure.”
an ancient monastic practice, whereby Irish monks would set themselves adrift in a boat with no sail or rudder, that God might choose where they would end up. You might, not wholly without cause, ask yourself what class of an eejit would travel any distance without some reliable means of setting a heading.

Melancholy ; Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it. At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own. [Dream like a river that never runs dry; If some frail tubercular lady circus rider were to be driven in circles around and around the arena for months and months “Up in the Gallery” — Franz Kafka
• · A MILLION-dollar property owned by a Chifley man jailed for drug and firearm offences failed to sell when it went under the hammerThe lap of luxury in Chifley
• · · Who Am I?;Cheyrl Strayed’s highly acclaimed, WILD, heads to the big screen with Nick Hornby attached for the script.
• · · · His Master’s Voice: Czesław Miłosz and his dialogue with British, Irish and American poetry. ; The Book Haven goes to Lagrasse, home of “Banquet des Livres”
• · · · · Visiting old friends in London – very old friends ; I was 16. I was hunched over in a sloshy waterbed, a green blanket tangled around my legs. This is how I began reading Записки из подполья, or Notes from Underground. I’m not sure what I had read before that…
• · · · · · In the backwoods towns of Round Mountain, time circles like a winding mountain road. Friends disappear and show up again, older if not wiser. Small incidents—a night of drinking, a robbery, a strange visitor—loom larger as the decades pass Due to unforeseen circumstances”/”leaves on the line ; Dick Cheney does have a heart. The first one nearly killed him a few times—he’s had five heart attacks. Dick Cheney's heart to get its own memoir

Literature is indispensable to the world. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way a person looks at reality, then you can change it.”
― James Baldwin

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Whatever the Weather

"She knew with suddenness and ease that this moment would be with her always, within hand's reach of memory.
"She doubted if they all sensed it--they had seen the world--but even (Jozef) was silent for a minute as they looked, and the scene, the smell, even the sound of the band playing a faintly recognizable movie theme, was locked forever in her, and she was at peace. Her soul knew a moment's calm, as if it had been uncrumpled and smoothed under an iron."
~ Stephen King, Carrie

After the eastern beaches coastline resembled the Red Sea of Bondi and Clovelly the "night lantern" visited Malabar beach last night at the outlaws place ;-) Ghostly blue Malabar

Media Dragon aka Taleb is back. Antifragile goes much further in developing his Black Swan idea. Little wonder that men such as King are paying attention: after pouring a vast amount of taxpayers’ money into the financial system, British regulators, like those elsewhere in the western world, urgently need to know whether or not the economy is any less prone to violent shocks.
Taleb has plenty of advice to offer us on how to become more antifragile. We should embrace unpredictable change, rather than chase after an illusion of stability; refuse to believe anyone who offers advice without taking personal risk; keep institutions and systems small and self-contained to ensure that they can fail without bringing the entire system down; build slack into our lives and systems to accommodate surprises; and, above all, recognise the impossibility of predicting anything with too much precision. Instead of building systems that are excessively “safe”, Taleb argues, we should roll with the punches, learn to love the random chances of life and, above all, embrace small pieces of adversity as opportunities for improvement. “Wind extinguishes a candle and energises a fire,” he writes. “Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos, you want to use them, not hide from them.” As life advice goes, it all sounds very wise, if not cheering; although Taleb at times almost slips into the tone of the popular self-help guides that he professes to loathe (he opines on everything from French banking to the merits of orange juice). Indeed, the core philosophy is so darn sensible, in a home-spun way, that some readers may wonder why Taleb felt the need to present his work in such a long form (it is divided grandly into seven books-within-a-book, with titles such as “Book IV: Optionality, Technology, and the Intelligence of Antifragility”) or to write with a tone that at times veers towards the didactic.Agile Taleb

The story of the Book of Kells, of the mystery surrounding its provenance and the anonymity of the master scribes and artists who executed it, is a splendid romance. Few emblems of medieval European civilisation have caught the imagination of the international public to the same degree. Every year tens of thousands of visitors to Dublin file through the Long Room of Trinity College to view its intricately decorated pages. The artistry, colour, exuberance and wit that went into the making of this illuminated version of the four Gospels, described in the 11th-century Annals of Ulster as “primh-mind iarthair domain”, “the most precious object of the western world”, are an enduring source of awe and admiration. Here is a spark of brilliant light shining for us out of the Dark Ages. Let there be Light

Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Archivist of Affronts

In Claudio Magris's splendid Danube, the story of Ferdinand Thrän, a 19th century cathedral restorer and author of a diary of all the injustices of his life, titled File of Rudenesses Received:

If genuine writing is born from the desire to account for the copious inconvenience of living, then Thrän is a real writer. Literature here is accountancy, the ledger of profit and loss, the balance sheet of an inevitable deficit ...Thrän impartially records the knavish pettiness of men and things, the intrigues of building-inspector Rupp-Reutlingen and the malevolence of the storm that ruined the central nave for him, filling the cathedral with flakes of plaster, the decision which assigned him a salary with no pension attached and the nervous fevers with which he is afflicted, his eleven falls from horseback – imputed to the poor quality of his old nag, which was, however, the only sort of horse he could afford on his income – and the deaths of four of his children, the frequent accidents which cause him to fall of the scaffolding or end up in the Danube, the inconvenience and risk of being impaled while being fished out with a boat-hook. Tragedies and mere vexations are all put on the same level, because the real tragedy of life is that it is, solely and entirely, a nuisance.The Archivist of Affronts

And yet… There is something about coming to a new city, even an old new city, that makes me feel like saying: if only I lived here, I would not grow old; I would not be prone to fatal illness; the memories I hold dear, the memories that constitute me and give me my orientation in the world, would not constantly slip further into the irrelevant past. This is where I need to be, not that other place I just happened to end up.

Friday, November 30, 2012

In the Footsteps of History

He was one of the first people I met in Sydney, and fate kept throwing us back together at random. At the movies, at the beach, at the bar. Finally we gave up, took the hint, and became good friends.

"My characters tell me so much and no more, with reference to their experience, their aspirations, their motives, their history. Between my lack of biographical data about them and the ambiguity of what they say lies a territory which is not only worthy of exploration but which it is compulsory to explore."
"The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don't hear. It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, and anguished or mocking smoke screen which keeps the other in its true place."
Harold Pinter, "Writing for the Theatre"

Among the more fascinating letters to editors are those from lawyers. Surely an editor somewhere must have a wall of framed threats from lawyers, which cause either considerable mirth or lots of pain. These are just two instances of bullying by lawyers, who hide behind ''instructions'' in making outlandish threats to people who seek to throw light on murky behaviour by corporates and politicians. Unfortunately, it is something editors experience on almost a daily basis. Matrit wolf in sheepskin clothing

In life and on the page I most enjoy the company of knowledgeable people, not trivial pursuers but those with a ready grab bag of bright shiny bits. I mean generalists, hunter-gatherers of fact, proudly messy non-specialists, foxes over hedgehogs. On the writing of one such:
“It is, in a beautiful sense, thinking aloud, at its most congenial, conversational, richly anecdotal, and always observant. He is the world’s best companion for looking at a Venetian building or Gothic carving. He can tell you that the stone flowers that seem to be mere decoration at the top of a cathedral column grow wild in the fields round about. He takes nothing for granted; his readers are children to be taught, to be beguiled into learning.”

`Not What We Are, But What We Have Never Been'
Coelacanth: the word held their attention longer than the big bronze-colored fish. When I caught up with them in the Houston Museum of Natural Science, my younger sons and a friend were arguing over proper pronunciation, and not one was even close, all pronouncing the first “c” as a “k.” It’s SEE-la-kanth, a sound nearly as exotic as the fish. My fourth-grade teacher, Miss Gertrude Martin, told us the story of a fisherman in 1938 netting a species thought to have been extinct for 65 million years. She would already have been a middle-aged woman when the “fossil-fish” was discovered, but Miss Martin told the story breathlessly, as though it were a fairy tale and she was a little girl. Ever since, I’ve paid attention to any mention of the coelacanth.

It isn’t notably pretty but its fate has been fortunate. Not only was it resurrected from extinction – it tastes bad and makes predators sick, which accounts for its rare but ongoing existence. One source reports: “Coelacanth flesh has high amounts of oil, urea, wax esters, and other compounds that are difficult to digest and can cause diarrhea. Where the coelacanth is more common, local fishermen avoid it because of its potential to sicken consumers.” Elizabeth Spires includes “Coelacanth” in The Wave-Maker: Poems (2008). It’s prefaced by fragments attributed to National Geographic:

“Once thought to be extinct…
lives at depths of up to 1500 feet…
dies of shock when brought to the surface…
almost nothing is known about it…”

“I saw you in a book: bubble-eyed and staring,
mouth spookily aglow with a sourceless yellow light.

“Extinct, you cruised among cold silences
until a hand roughly hauled you out of your element,

“and for a moment you lived, only to die again,
in shock at a world too bright, too dry, too thin.

“Mute, you speak volumes: the weight of water pressing
on you like an enormous question, your ancient saucer eyes

“peering, constantly peering, through ragged curtains of Time.
What, what do you see? O tell me, tell me, tell me.

“You and I, we live in depths profound and ceaseless,
we swim against cold currents until, netted,

“and gasping, we are shocked to find out
not what we are, but what we have never been.”

That is, I presume, not extinct, though dead, which reminds me of this.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Magic of seven wonders of the world: The Strangers Who Resemble Us

With an escape across the iron curtain on Seventh of the Seventh, seven wonders of the world, seven deadly sins, and seven days of the week, one could be forgiven for thinking the numeral seven had special significance to humans. 7; “Even my death will be contested,” said Albert Camus. He was right. The pensive existentialist remains a discomfiting but indispensable presence...

Why do hundreds of people attend a conference called “Boring”? Because banality is appealing, especially when it approaches absurdity... Surprisingly Interesting

Keats was firm about what makes great literature. A poet must dwell in uncertainty, he said, “without any irritable reaching after fact and reason” This Strange and Contradictory Media Dragon; Take a page from the heartfelt and ribald correspondence of Sherwood Anderson, Theodore Dreiser, and Wharton Esherick What makes a good friend?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Let the fingers do the talking

"Communication is too alarming. To enter into someone else's life is too frightening. To disclose the poverty within us is too fearsome a possibility."
~Harold Pinter, "Writing for the Theatre"

It was this missive that provoked the allegations of brain death, half-wittedness and idiocy. ''I have absolutely no problem with you including my correspondence in whatever publication that surprisingly somehow allows you to be gainfully employed,'' Doyle wrote back that day. ''In fact Nathan, subject to you being comfortable with everyone realising that you are in fact as I suspected completely brain dead I would be more than delighted for you [to] share that fact with the world. ''I do not usually provide gratuitous legal advice to idiots incapable of independent thought but if you do publish the emails Nathan it is you who has published them so when the jokes about you start circulating please do not think that I will in any way be liable for the outcome to your reputation (if you have one).'' She told Fabian that ''attempted blackmail isn't really the best way to go about luring potential clients but I must say Nathan that I would not have expected anything less from you. Now take your publication and your threats Nathan and shove them up your arse.'' Emails fly in fiery clashes

Crikey on legal battle

Want to be a top global thinker? A survey suggests that your best bet is to become a political dissident or a tech visionary; Happiness hype. Here’s what we know: Happy people are typically married, healthy, religious. Here’s what we don’t know: Does happiness makes life meaningful? Happiness

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Have you read your media dragon?

The C.P.J. reports that government officials and their allies are now suspected of being responsible for more than a third of the murders of journalists, a higher proportion than killings attributed to terrorist groups or criminal enterprises. Using War as Cover to Target Journalists

Stories are the most durable texture of life for us. Not forms of societies, but stories. Stories are really what keeps everything together, in a way. When you are abandoned by stories - when you go back beyond the invention of writing, beyond the literary tradition - you feel of course lost: because one needs stories. Am I the only one a little disturbed by this poster's attempt to change the flinty Susan Sontag into an aphorism-spouting love guru? Probably just me, I know. Over the past couple years, I've become very hesitant to mention the titles of books I hate. And I do occasionally keep reading the books, even after deciding I hate them, because Hazlitt was right. There is pleasure in really hating something, really just holding it in your hands and wishing it harm and destruction. Part of the hesitancy is, you know, what if I am reading this wrong. What if I'm only 50% through and at 80% something clicks and I see what the author was doing. And it's not like I don't want to warn people off. But while there is pleasure in hating something, and there is pleasure in the reading of a hatchet piece, to me there is not a lot of pleasure in writing a good hatchet piece. I get a little bored halfway through. I'd much rather talk than write my way through hating something, and I do, endlessly, to the people around me. Obviously, I am reading a book that I hate right now. I hate it with a cleansing self-righteousness. I make fun of it in my head, and I feel superior in every way to its aims. And I will miss it once I get to the final page, because being in awe of a novel doesn't really give you the same kick. Have you read your Roberto Calasso or Jozef Imrich ;-)?

It seems like a strange time to be defending the ultra-rich, but Douglas Smith's Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy kind of does that, trying to draw our sympathies to the class of nobles that were sent into exile, arrested, or executed during the Revolution. (Minor complaint: There had to have been more eccentric ways for these people to spend their money, and Smith is for the most part quiet about it, except for the guy who always traveled with his own cow, to secure a private supply of fresh milk. I guess probably turning your characters into eccentrics is not a great way to provoke sympathy, though, and so the rich people are only mildly crazy here.)It seems like a strange time to be defending the ultra-rich

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Silent Killer

We can pretend that we’ve got this stuff figured out and we’re in this queer utopia and it’s all wonderful. We can invent our own identities and create our lives, but it’s also not nearly so perfect as I think many folks would like us to believe.

Many leaders fail to appreciate the risks that arise from failing to manage the way that ideas and information flows within their organisation. How to use failure as a strategic tool When learning from mistakes is welcomed and honoured within the culture, people are more candid, leaders are not kept in the dark, and learning happens

A commonality of theme binds us together, that need to make sense of the evil that lurks all around us, the inherent injustice, cruel unfairness and undeniable banality of life NoirCon is a theatre for all that is noir

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Magic Keywords: Thanks of Giving at Citizen's Corner

Scientists have uncovered water in Australia that is thought to be more than 1,000,000 years old. Vintage drop - our oldest water found
The singer is more important than the song: What makes stories memorable and ensures their spread around the globe? Tania, Irena and Dominique will answer this questions tonight at Citizen's Corner filled with all sound and fury ...

In a nutshell, media dragons are serious comedians, artists who know that in most human lives, absurdity and sorrow are woven together too tightly to be teased apart--and that it is comedy, not tragedy, which illustrates that fact most fully. Life is too complex to be painted solely in shades of black. Even as Shakespeare made room in Lear for the Fool, so does A media dragon make room in his theatrical sermons for the pungent humor that, as Henry James so truly said, is the saving salt.

When is personalized search not personalized search? A recently discovered shift on how Google may alter your search results based on what you — and others in aggregate — previously have searched for may have you wondering how to answer that question. To understand the latest development, I think it’s helpful to go back and review the “flavors” of personal search that Google has, flavors that often all get mixed together. Let’s dive in. Of “Magic Keywords” & Flavors Of Personalized Search At Google

UK's 'last typewriter' produced;

An App That Turns Any Surface Into An iPhone Keyboard Innovation Engine

Digital staffing: the future of recruitment-by-algorithm Recruiters will deem candidates unemployable if they fail to find information about them online. Unless you are hiding an undesirable history or do not exist, you are now expected to have an online profile. The big implication is that you need to invest a considerable amount of time managing your digital reputation. The only thing worse than not having a profile is having an undesirable profile. Indeed, your chances of being headhunted online are inversely related to the amount of inappropriate self-disclosure found in your Facebook or Twitter profile. Egosurfing - self-googling - is now more important than updating your CV Unless you are hiding an undesirable history or do not exist, you are now expected to have an online profile

Thanksgiving History
The man behind The Man: how a strategist called Jim got Barack Obama back into the White House

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Atomic Memories: Antipodean History

"'The best thing for being sad,' replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, 'is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then--to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.'"
~~T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Owen Richardson on Robert Drewe’s Montebello: “…Drewe uncovers good material about the fate of the Australian soldiers and sailors who witnessed the tests, many of whom died young of cancer.” Living in the Shadow of Atomic Waste

Army chief David Morrison's speechwriter, Malcolm McGregor,has secured the support of the Defence Force to continue employment as Cate McGregor. The former journalist and political staffer to John Hewson and Bob Carr shocked the political establishment yesterday by choosing to publicly confirm the transition. During my days and times of my life as the Crown employee there were many characters who had a personalities made of “many bright, shining splinters.” Nothing quite cohered. They were strangelly brilliant disasters, elegant and obscure ... Parliamentary Officers on level 10

"At this time the thought of death was never far from Mozart's mind. A letter to his father says: 'I never lie down at night without reflecting that--young as I am--I may not live to see another day. Yet no one of my acquaintances could say that in company I am morose or disgruntled.' It is this mood that is reflected in in the C major Quintet. No music could be further removed from morose or disgruntled thoughts or feelings. But the happiness that shines through it is not the relaxed indifference of evasion: it is the result of having considered death to be 'the best and truest friend of mankind.'"
Benjamn Britten, program note for Mozart's C Major Quintet, K. 515 (1973)

Wade Davis just won the Samuel Johnson prize for his book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest. I'll probably get around to reading it, because if people die in a remote location, or at least lose some bits of themselves to frost bite or exposure or gangrene, I am usually there. Just now getting around to reading The Lost City of Z, it is satisfying all of those needs right now. (Davis is also the author of The Serpent and the Rainbow, so you know he knows how to tell a motherfucking* good story about peril.) via Media Dragon book lover

(Mis)Treatment Strategies

"Omission and simplification help us to understand--but help us, in many cases, to understand the wrong thing; for our comprehension may be only of the abbreviator's neatly formulated notions, not of the vast, ramifying reality from which these notions have been so arbitrarily abstracted."

-Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

In January 2013, Mr Chris Jordan AO starts as Federal Commissioner of Taxation in charge of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). He follows Mr Michael D’Ascenzo AO, who was not reappointed after his seven-year term. Business may be cheering the appointment of a former KPMG partner as the nation’s tax chief from January, but one of his predecessors has warned: Chris Jordan will have to be just as tough a tax collector as any commissioner plucked from within the Australian Taxation Office But his main job is to keep that revenue – about $750 million per day – rolling in to fund government to do what the public wants it to do. Google

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Early Europeans: Rum Corps or NSW Corps

They were nicknamed the "Rum Corps" because of their monopoly in trading in spirits.Early European Dragons

Fairfax created A number of headaches for coal mining schemes.
THE family of New South Wales Labor power broker Eddie Obeid received $30 million and stood to make a further $70 million using inside information on coal exploration licences provided by disgraced former mining minister Ian Macdonald. Not only is this ''the most important investigation ever undertaken'' by the Independent Commission Against Corruption but ''it is corruption on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps,'' counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson, SC, said in his opening address on Monday. Fairfax Digging Deep

Former luminaries of the state Labor Party continue to crank out material for future Liberal Party election ads. In the exciting words of Geoffrey Watson SC, counsel assisting the inquiry, the level of corruption to be investigated is "probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps". The alleged superstar has been former ALP powerbroker* Eddie Obeid, so much so we'd suggest he send an invoice to the Libs. Though if the alleged dollar figures are right -- and there are so many zeroes involved, it looks like a bubble machine run amok at a children's party -- sending Obeid any dough could be a coals-to-Newcastle scenario. (*Or powerbreaker; we're never sure which.) If it is corruption then
Google on 100 million rum deals the biggest abuse of power by elected later European politicians Corruption on a scale in exceeded since the days of the rum Corps

Coda: Answering an employment advertisement to work in the United Kingdom placed in a national newspaper seems an innocent enough action. Yet for some Czechs, this simple response to a seemingly legitimate job has led to a life of servitude by falling victim to the crime of human trafficking.  Bohemian Slaves

St Mark Square in Venice flooded

Royal Commission into child abuse and cover up

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Renaissance Man visits Bluest Mountains

His paintings are not beautiful. They spark no great emotion and can be fiendish to untangle. But what they do show is rare technical ability. Beneath the megalomania is a man who knew exactly how to use his brush, combining expert Flemish-style accuracy with the showy baroque of Old Master painting. "Soft Construction with Boiled Beans", 1936, shows Dalí's savage vision of his country during the Spanish civil war. A fleshy, decomposing figure rips itself apart against a sky that is almost Raphael-like. He said: "I am a man of the Renaissance, I would sign a pair of pants if someone commissioned me to. Renaissance Media Dragon

Note to myself Michael finished his 9 years and 6 months project in Blue mountains ... Alchemy at Surry Hills and Jenny are pleased

Australian mayors: what can and should they do? Smarter government the economics of online services in US - This report talks about eGovernment changes being made in the American state of Utah. The key to this improved service is eGovernment - the process of delivering information and processing government transactions digitally through web, phone, mobile, and point-of-purchase channels. 1,000 online services; UK digital efficiency; Cell me the money: unlocking the value in the mobile payment ecosystem; Internet Activity, Australia, Jun 2012

Friday, November 09, 2012

This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us

Why read books? To learn, yes. But also to escape the messiness of life, to establish a sense of superiority, to distract ourselves from ourselves... Cold river 101

In the first section of the anthology, “The Flash Nonfiction Form,” Bret Lott notes, “There ought to be an explosion of recognition, a burst of self-awareness that gives my reader the understanding that these few words she’s read have had hidden within them a realm far larger than any she could have imagined.” 
Bret’s definition is really a definition of all excellent art. A painting is taken in through the eyes, but can magically bloom, in the viewer’s brain, into words and sounds and aroma. A ballet is just movement of a dancer’s arms and legs and torso but can be translated, in our minds, into a universe of feelings and associations. Brief nonfiction prose tells a story, provides information, but that is only the surface of what is possible. The author is trying to create, though language, image, metaphor, the possibility for that “burst of self-awareness” that the term “flash” implies. It doesn’t just go by in a flash: it illuminates, like a flash gun. Recently, the journal TriQuarterly (re)published the anonymous essay The Facts of the Matter.  The piece troubles many of the conventions of creative nonfiction–including the obligation to be factual–in service of the argument for factualness in nonfiction Matters of fact

The Story of America: Essays on Origins
ASKED ABOUT HER busy career, Harvard professor and frequent New Yorker contributor Jill Lepore recently said, “Either you’re going to run out of breath or you’re going to trip.” (She also has a family and has written six books.) In her latest offering, The Story of America, a collection of essays mostly published in The New Yorker, the history professor has tripped.  Lepore started writing for The New Yorker in 2005 and since then has filed 86 pieces—blogs Wonder Woman

Media Dragon stared in disbelief the first time a straw rose up from my can of soda and hung out over the table, barely arrested by burrs in the underside of the metal opening. I was holding a slice of pizza in one hand, folded in a three-finger grip so that it wouldn't flop and pour cheese-grease on the paper plate, and a paperback in a similar grip in the other hand—what was I supposed to do? The whole point of straws, I had thought, was that you did not have to set down the slice of pizza to suck a dose of Coke while reading a paperback ... How Authors Write


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Blake: Honouring Excellence in Photography, Poetry and Popular Creativity

"Artists (like Tash) are artists because they have an extra sensitivity--a skin less, perhaps, than other people; and the great ones have an uncomfortable habit of being right about many things, long before their time."
Benjamin Britten, "Freeman of Lowestoft"

Each year the Blake Prize raises questions about issues of belief, doubt, human justice and social values. Photojournalism provides a reflection of the human experience that transcends history, language and culture ... A single photograph can educate, motivate, captivate and inspire. A single poem can stir the heart and soul ... The Blake finalist works will be shown at Sydney's S.H. Ervin Gallery from until December 16.
The Blake Society has established two prizes that challenge artists and poets to investigate ideas and issues surrounding spiritual thought and religion in contemporary art and literature. There is no such thing as injustice or justice in art. You have to participate and that is it ;-)

The World Inside the Mind of A Monk In MMXII AD Tash made another history by being one of the rare the antipodean bohemian finalists for the 61st Blake Prize, John Coburn Emerging Artist Award and the MUA Blake Prize for Human Justice. The View From Mandalay Hill
Natasha Murray
Prize Year:

61st (2012) Dimensions:

40 x 40cm

Bathed in light, a novice monk watches over the sprawling city of Mandalay from the lookout on Mandalay Hill. The hill itself is a site of pilgrimage for many Burmese Buddhists who make the 240m climb to worship at the Sutaungpyei Pagoda.

This is Tash's hymn to the formidable structures that dot our and foreign landscape like frozen music. Tash is alert at every dawn, dusk and between to capture them empty and in the mysterious light...musings of the monk resonated with Media Dragon as Elliot inspired the gathering at the Blake Praize with his existential observations - Who am I? Why am I here? Photographs like stories can be so cathartic and so enlightening and comforting and educational and they can give people a sense of a world they didn’t know before. They can make the isolated feel included; they can make people who feel misunderstood feel better understood. And the great works of art will always be with you. They’re not fickle the way people are ...

Between Days: Darkness and Light: Light, colour, paint and perspective all come under intense scrutiny, especially on Wednesday afternoons

The Sacred in Literature and the Arts

(Nota Bene:The Blake Prize was established in 1951 to find art to decorate churches)
Not so Hungarian Nude Zealander, Kevin Roberts, who has two first names like Jozef Imrich, shared last night with the world his views that there is an entire generation of people who value creativity and innovation. They will make art, products, music, books and brands that will decrease our impact on the environment and improve our quality of life. The media have a saying, "If it bleeds, it leads", and you just need to turn on your computer/mobile/tablet to know that media is a magnet for bad news. The world is sometimes painted as being so bleak that we forget that there are some real causes for us to celebrate. Kevin lists 10 reasons to be optimistic about our creative future

CODA: This year, the Human Rights Awards will be celebrating 25 years of recognising the efforts of Australia’s finest who have promoted and protected human rights in Australia Human Right Awards

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Market Glut - Too Many Media Dragons?

“In order to write the book you want to write, in the end you have to become the person you need to become to write that book.” ― Junot Díaz

"We're pumping out all these graduates while the readership for literary fiction is shrinking. I think everybody knows that." Market Glut - Too Many Writers? Here’s one Link that goes with the bushels - a convertible bookcase - from holding your books to holding your corpse. Vcourtesy of BookRiot

Levi Asher comments on an advance screening of the film adaptation of Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD. I don’t want to say that these cold river memories on kindle have to be simple, but I want to clarify my language. I want them to be direct without sacrificing the kinds of music, the picture-making I’ve always been interested in. “There is nothing static, relaxed or dull in any of the stories in this book, so don’t come here if you’re in the mood for gentle reverie or immature, superficial awe... In a book as short as this, what’s left out is as important as what’s left in. There’s a sense of each character’s life beyond the page which reveals Sole survivor's surviving skill. On The River - Two Graves Full

After David Ogilvy’s wildly popular 10 tips on writing and a selection of advice from modernity’s greatest writers, here comes some from iconic writer and painter Henry Miller Legacy of Writing Tips and even more tips Writing tips from two-time Booker winner, Hilary Mantel Dead Are Real

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Resisting Amazon On Cup of Melbourne

Resisting Amazon - A Few Unintended Consequences For The Behemoth "'At a certain point you have to decide how far you want to nail your own coffin shut,' said Michael Tucker, owner of the Books Inc. chain here. Amazon wants to completely control the entire book trade. You're crazy if you want to play that game with them.' Unintended monopoly

Pay-What-You-Want E-Book Bundle Makes $1M In Two Weeks "An experiment from major authors including Neil Gaiman and Cory Doctorow, which allows readers to pay the price of their choice for a collection of ebooks, has shattered all expectations, racking up sales of more than $1.1m (£700,000) in under two weeks." Cold River Echos

How To Write A Book In A Month (Many Do!) "It's hard to explain the program - and even tougher to describe why anyone would sign up to create 1,667 words a day (that's the pace you need to maintain to finish on time) - and yet it's become phenomenally popular, with an estimated 300,000 writers from around the world participating this year Words words words ...

Ian McEwan On The Novella: 'The Perfect Form Of Prose Fiction' "It is the beautiful daughter of a rambling, bloated ill-shaven giant (but a giant who's a genius on his best days). And this child is the means by which many first know our greatest writers. Readers come to Thomas Mann by way of Death in Venice, Henry James by The Turn of the Screw, Kafka by Metamorphosis, Joseph Conrad by Heart of Darkness." Kafka et al

Publishing Industry In Trouble? Uh... No For all the complexities that publishing faces, the notion that books are somehow less of a factor in the cultural or information ecosystem of our time doesn't hold up to the evidence Facts of Publishing Life

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Everything That’s Wrong with Political Journalism

Jay Rosen has been on the journalism faculty at New York University since 1986. Jayis the author of PressThink, a weblog about journalism and its ordeals (www.pressthink.org), which he introduced in September 2003 a year after Media Dragon was born. So what is the job of a political journalist today? Is it to describe the reality of American politics, as a “straight” reporter would? Or is it to defend reality and its “base” in American politics… more like a fact checker would? Jay was alerted to the find by Alec MacGillis of the New Republic. He was exasperated by this brief report in the Washington Post, which appeared at The Fix, the Post’s top political blog. If you don’t know it, The Fix is a reporting and analysis franchise built around the many talents of Chris Cillizza, a star reporter and key presence on its most important beat: national politics. Everything That’s Wrong with Political Journalism in One Washington Post Item

Though blogging at its best can provide an insightful view from the outside, it has now been subsumed into the mainstream. Five years ago there was an exciting new kid on the writing bock: "blogging". An ugly word – brutish and heavy – it seemed to describe something thrilling and even a little mysterious. Blogging was a new kind of writing, by a new kind of writer, with a new kind of content and a direct relationship to its audiences, who were engaged and vocal in response. It apparently democratised letters but also carved out a new place for the authorial voice. The 18th-century coffee house was being reborn, short circuiting the ponderous processes of paper. The digital writer was re-inventing the commerce of telling stories, advancing opinions and creating a genuinely free marketplace where expression had to fight for its audiences on its own terms. The optimistic view of it was that as "conventional" journalism ebbed from really important parts of our national life, the corruption that inevitably follows a decline in scrutiny could be compensated for, and indeed reversed by the new form.Blogging enriched the Orwell prize, but times have changed

Blogging is a combination of science and art. The science part requires that bloggers use the latest search-engine-optimization tactics. The art is to hone writing and editing skills. But it doesn't have to be as difficult as that may sound. As a longtime blogger and journalist, Paul Chaney has learned what works for him, and what does not. Based on his experience, here are nine suggestions to help you become a better business blogger. Blogs are the forerunners of social media and some consider them to be antiquated and out of style. But blogs can help you or your company in a way that social media cannot, especially for search engine optimization. 9 Blogging Lessons for Ecommerce Merchants
We are the reckless, we are the wild youth, we are chasing the visions of our futures, one day we’ll reveal the truth. Many students have blogs with hopes that they may have a positive effect on their future ...; Every blogger basically needs 1 thing: audience. Best Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts; She has more than 1,000 followers on her blog, runs a successful Etsy store called Paulie Antiques, works for Impulse, a student-run magazine, styles for films and writes for Teen Vogue. She's also a costume design student at the University of Illinois.

CODA: A Bulgarian digital rights activist is the proud owner of your Facebook name, username, and email today. Bogomil Shopov bought this information for 1.1 million Facebook users for $5. Bulgarian blogger buys data for 1.1 million Facebook users for $5

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A history of faking it

"We do not rest satisfied with the present. We anticipate the future as too slow in coming, as if in order to hasten its course; or we recall the past, to stop its too rapid flight."

_Blaise Pascal, Pensées

Fear is sharp-sighted, and can see things underground, and much more in the skies... Europe under the Soviets. How were its agricultural, conservative, religious regions forced behind the industrial, atheistic ... Iron Curtain? The Crushing of Eastern Europe History flows from geography. Place is everything. So says Robert Kaplan. What about the impact of ideas? They’re no match for high Tatra mountains and bohemian indian summers...

To see a Venice or Prague audience cowering as Rossini's feisty Rosina hurls darts at the wall in a rage—and makes a feint at the stalls—is to realise how powerful Aleksandra Kurzak's stage presence can be. A me dia dra gon soprano who loves to die

The brain likes a challenge—and putting a few obstacles in its way may well boost its creativity. JI takes a hard line ...

Without yarrow and camomile stuck to their teeth, the poor Neanderthals would have died of dietary boredom. Eats shoots and leaves clues

Reality of Illusions: Old World of Cold River & Recent Universe of Hot Tin Roof

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens.

The psychopathic society. Our era is marked by a casual callousness. Empathy is down, narcissism up. What good news!... Psychopathy's Double Edge

David Copperfield on illusions, far-flung homes, and rope tricks (gone wrong) Better than reality

Most provocative illusionists, thinkers, people with the bravery to challenge convention and imagine the future. Back to the Brave Future

Democracy and independent journalism depend on one another but their interests are not always aligned ... Beyond press freedom How literature became data: The dispiriting tale of intellectual failure begins on a Friday in MMII

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunny Bondi - Snow Choked the Frogs and other Bohemians

Feeling jet leggish (Emiratish) We just could not believe what We were reading at sunny Bondi Snow and gales hit France and Switzerland over the weekend, possibly leading to the death of a homeless man in Paris, while searches continued for a missing windsurfer and a 12-year-old British boy who vanished Saturday in the south of France while cycling in a gale.

We left France and Italy filled with Indian Summer Weather on 26 October... Three temperature records were broken in Merle this October after high south winds brought warm air to the country in the midst of fall. At the same time, a spell of cold and precipitation brought by so-called Cassandra cyclone poured early snow over much of Central Europe this weekend ...

As Orwell put it, "Words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details." So back to surreal land of characters filled with Barrowman ... "Write as the wind blows and command all words like an army!" . Joes like me dia dragon can’t stop touching them, smelling them, scribbling in them, and reading them – 6,128 of them, to be exact... A life in books

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Golden Caves of Pech Merle & The Black Wine of Cahors

You could hardly visit Cahors without seeing the city’s trademark image: the Valentré Bridge. A unique example of medieval defense, it has three towers. The bridge is located at the northwest corner of downtown. Don’t forget to look for the devil statue atop one of the towers... At midnight We grab a baguette and a bottle of water and Czech out the circus

Pech Merle is a cave which opens onto a hillside at Cabrerets in the Lot département of the Midi-Pyrénées region in France, about 35 minutes by road east of Cahors? It is the home of one of the few prehistoric cave painting sites in France which remain open to the general public. Extending for more than a mile from the entrance are caverns the walls of which are painted with dramatic murals dating from the Gravettian culture (some 25,000 years B.C.) Some of the paintings and engravings, however, could date from the later Magdalenian era (16,000 years B.C.) The number of visitors is limited to 25 persons and there were only seven of us as it was out of season Last treat before we head for Milan via Laon

Amazing Grace surrounds the place called Laon ...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend @ Eton & Wick

Eton is an historic town nestled in the centre of Royal Berkshire. At one end of the High Street is the celebrated Eton College (arguably the most famous school in the world) and at the other end is Windsor Castle - the official residence of the Queen of England. These two keys attraction alone make Eton a worthwhile place to visit but add to that our eclectic mix of shops, cafes, restaurants & pubs and you have the recipe for a great day out. Wick

At Eton The world smiles in flowers

Bawa is only uncle to Few Sikhs, But he is that figure within the Punjab household who kind of looks after things: the worker, the person who they could all depend on. He becomes unpredictable and undependable and inconsolable and it throws everyone’s world upside down....

Friday, October 19, 2012

Look It is Lukas's Name Day: Rugby Games of Opera

Rugby is a market town in Warwickshire located on the River Avon. The town has a population of 62 thousand (including Marcel and Lukas) making it the second largest town in the county all of us dining, wining and Singing for Lukas name day

In the eighteenth century Bath was re-designed as an outdoor showplace for Georgian society. Almost the entire town centre is a coherent and attractive map of honey-coloured limestone terraces.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Everything Changes even Rouen Antiques and Hotel de Bourgtheroulde

Knowledge doubles every 15 years. This is how long it took me to return back circa of 1997. But much of what you know is wrong. What to do? “Stop memorizing things and just give up”... ruins of our existence

The capital of Upper-Normandy, Rouen like Paris, sits on the Seine, an hour from the capital. The city of the Impressionists, Rouen has inspired countless artists over the centuries. The places is filled with a sensory overload, it is the city where Joan of Arc is ever-present... Malckeon came across a famous mansion (name pronounced "boor-trood) is a bank (open during banking hours) built at the time of Law Courts (early 16C in Renaissance style). Seeing the inner courtyard is why you would visit. In it you will see elaborate gables and roofline with an octagonal tower. Along one side is a carved frieze with historical illustrations. The outer face is also worth looking at with basket-handled arch doorways like the window arches. "Everything changes, even stone." Claude Monet wrote these words in a letter and vividly demonstrated them in paint, conveying a wondrous combination of permanence and mutability as the sun daily transformed the facade of Rouen Cathedral. Extending the building's encrusted stone surface to the richly varied impasto surface of his painting, he portrayed the cathedral perpetually re-emerging in the suffused light of early morning. Town with a Thousand Spires and it is not Prague

The St-Maclou quarter or antiques area - All around St Maclou church you will find antique shops - so many that is the second highest concentration of antique dealers per square metre in France!! Here all aspects of the antique and antiquarian trade are represented: pottery, picture framing, restoration work, book binding etc. It is fitting that these ancient crafts should be housed in this one of the oldest surviving parts of Rouen under the gothic splendour of St Maclou ...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mistral of Reims: Marie Cecile - Lea and Kulture of Koronation

Coronation City, Champagne town... Reims, one of the main gastronomic centres of France is eager to show you the legacy of its glorious past and to lead you into a prestigious realm of the most celebrated and festive of wines. Czech Out Louise for crepes

Over French luncheon and dinner with MC and Lea as well as Gama these kind of stories kept stirring me in different time zones ...  "When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, 'What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?'
"'They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,' Pa said. 'Go to sleep, now.'
"But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa's fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.
"She thought to herself, 'This is now.'
"She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago."
_?Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods (courtesy of The Rat)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Story of Zofka in Champagne

Family lores makes us who we are or become. In my case, the amazing stories of my mother's mother sister Ota, and also my father's sister Sofia were defining. They both migrated at young ages and the myth of their heroism were inspirational with surreal consequences for me and media dragons ... It was in champagne region where story of Aunty Zofka aka Sofia began.

Bits of Imrich exile stories are mentioned at abc tales and cold river. Coda:How to write a 400-page, historically accurate stories in five months? Take pains in the research, of course. And listen to the voices in your head... Well all those childhood voices ...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Town of Many Roads in Alsace

The only thing we know about the future is that it is going to be different
-Peter F. Drucker

Strasbourg (City of the Roads) is France’s cute northeastern metropolis and the intellectual and cultural capital of Alsace. Situated only a few kilometres west of the Rhine, the city is aptly named, for it is on the vital transport arteries that have linked northern Europe with the Mediterranean since Celtic times. Stras of Bourg Precursors of the textile industry in the Lake Valley, the Garnier-Thiébaut weaving mills, one of the world's leading companies in terms of hotel linen ...

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Silva Nigra

"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."

We tend to fake smile, fake laugh, think we’re smart and good-looking. We’re neither, probably. But it is ... ok ... Inspiration and creativity comes from within but draws from observations >and experiences. So take any opportunity to travel when you can. Experiences, especially foreign ones, help you see things from a different perspective and help spur the creative process. Travel to Broaden the Mind

The Black Forest aka Schwarzwald is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres. (Low Tatras heights) The name Schwarzwald (German for "Black Forest") derives from the Romans who referred to the thickly forested mountains there as Silva Nigra (Latin for "Black Forest") because the dense growth of conifers in the forest blocked out most of the light inside the forest. To be at the heart of the Forest and walking the darkest corners is a strife worthy of Shakespeare ... King Ludwig’s ‘fairytale’ forests and castles

In mittleurope filling a gap in the “ideas market” is Quirky.com, a place where ideas are populated by people through collaboration. Inventors pay just $10 to submit their ideas and the member community – consisting of over 270,000 – then make decisions on which products should be developed, including how they should be developed. wow...

Monday, October 08, 2012

Moonshine, Karlovy Vary, Utopias and Spas

Everywhere in Bohemia Utopias are possible Such as Ontario or zameNske spa...

The Castle Spa is located in the heart of the Carlsbad spa area, in the vicinity of the Market and the Hot Spring Colonnade... The first project of a spa facility designed in the style of architectonic modernism was prepared in Karlovy Vary on the threshold of World War I, i.e. at the peak of bloom of the development and the "Golden Age" of the town. The building of a unique complex of the Castle Colonnades commenced in the very heart of the spa zone, where the most precious Carlsbad springs rise from the ground. One of the fundamental ideas of the new structure was to connect the colonnade leading around the Upper Castle Spring with the Market Colonnade, and thereby, to build a worthy abode for the ruler of all Carlsbad springs, who has been safeguarding all the natural curative resources for next generations at this site. Here Russians have facelifts and all kinds of other mmedical procedures performed and debates about diet rages in every spa :-)

PS: The death toll due to illegal alcohol use in the Czech Republic has climbed to 28 with the latest fatality reported in the village of Borzice-u-Blatnice. Last month the country’s health authorities introduced a sweeping ban on the sale of strong liquor in the wake of a wave of poisonings from drinking vodka and rum laced with methanol, the biggest such incidence registered in the past three decades. Moonshine is called rotgut for a reason

Oliver Wendell Holmes described the camera as a “mirror with a memory.” At that time, photography was not yet routine; a single picture could capture a person for life. 10000 images of one trip ...

Monday, October 01, 2012

Mel Nik & All That Jazz (Praha's Message to Lidka)

First visit...


 Second you end up....

Mel Nik Krypt 

Ked |Lidka neockuje tak spieva Po Cesku Spanielsky alebo Italiansky :-)

V době, kdy se zde narodila a žila kněžna Ludmila, byl zámek obýván vdovami českých králů a knížat. Teprve za vlády císaře Karla IV. se město stává věnným majetkem českých královen a kněžen. Jeho poslední manželka dala přestavět zámeckou kapli v gotický styl. Jako poslední zde žily manželky Jiřího z Poděbrad. Poté byl hrad obýván různými šlechtickými rody.
V roce 1542 byl hrad přestavěn v renesanční zámek a nechalo se přistavět severní křídlo s věží a arkádami, které jsou bohatě zdobeny sgrafity. Během třicetileté války zámek velmi zpustnul a v roce 1646 byl zastavěn hraběti z rodu Černínů. Ten potom koupil panství od císaře Leopolda I. Poslední dědička z rodu Černínů Marie Ludmila se v roce 1753 provdala za Augusta Antona Lobkowicze.
Rodina Lobkowiczů vlastnila zámek až do příchodu komunistů. Od roku 1992 začal současný majitel Jiří Lobkowicz zámek rekonstruovat. Mel's Bohemian Place

"Le Nozze di Figaro" was composed by Mozart by command of Emperor Joseph II., of Austria. After congratulating the composer at the end of the first performance, the Emperor said to him: "You must admit, however, my dear Mozart, that there are a great many notes in your score." "Not one too many, Sire," was Mozart’s reply.Only in Slavia with Franto Dominique a Tomas

So the four of us, Janka, Pavel etc, went to a jazz club called Reduta to hear amazing voice created by Eva Emi ... Praha is filled with art & creativity Kevin is writing from the Augustine Hotel in beautiful Prague…

Coda: Planes bound for Prague will no longer be landing at Ruzyně Airport; at midday Friday the airport was officially renamed Letiště Václava Havla Praha, or Václav Havel Airport Prague at a lavish ceremony in Terminal 2. Some 80,000 people signed a petition organised by the film producer Fero Fenič to rename the airport to honour the late former president, who died in December. What a Great Timing to be in Prague

Thursday, September 27, 2012

High Tatra Ritz - Hotel Gitka

Through all the seas of all Thy world, slam-bangin' home again.
Rudyard Kipling, "M'Andrew's Hymn"

The High and Low Tatra mountains are rated among the most popular locations in Slovakia throughout the year, with Tatranska Lomnica, Skalnate Pleso and Hrebienok the most attractive destinations in the High Tatras, and Chopok in the Low Tatras. High Tatra. If hotels used to mimic wealthy homes, now the ideal home looks like a hotel. Jozef Imrich reports—and starts by getting a hotelier round to inspect his place... Hotel High Tatra aka Gitka 

An exhibition just under way at Prague's Leica Gallery offers a rare and illuminating insight into the poverty and drudgery experienced by many working-class people in Czechoslovakia during the economic crisis of the 1930s. Indeed, "Stern Light: Socially Conscious Photography in Interwar Czechoslovakia," composed of works held in private collections, is the first show of its kind in Prague Stark black-and-white photos portray mý old countrý

There are myths that touch internal chords that we don't really understand. Something about High Tatra speaks powerfully to me, so much so that my heart lifts each summer when I think of my childhood. The scale is right, the people agreeable, and there's even a clean air ... If my life were somehow to arrange itself differently--very differently, to be sure--I could see myself living there.