Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lucky Escapes in Sydney

“Books don't offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw.”
― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

When the wind funnelled down Mitchell Street at Chiefley it twisted street and traffic signs and uprooted a large pine tree inside Chiefley Public School.Stormy Story of Sydney

The group of 12 people had just finished eating dinner and had stood up to head back inside when the timber balcony, measuring about six metres by four metres, suddenly gave way Lucky escape: 10 hurt in balcony collapse at family dinner

All kind of quality builders are invading Sydney : a good source of future infrastructure disasters Planning Alerts

Sydney is a festering hellhole of a place to live. With a statement like that, this article was always going to be subjective, but I've listed a few good things underneath. My advice: come see the place, but be careful about staying ... Impartial views

“To write poetry and to commit suicide, apparently so contradictory, had really been the same, attempts at escape.”
― John Fowles, The Magus

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ikaria: Real & Imagined Lives & Laughter

"If you try to write 'good lines' you'll likely wind up with strings of dumb, unconnected applause lines. The audience will probably applaud--crowds of supporters are dutiful that way, and people want to be polite--but they'll know they're applauding an applause line, not a thought, and they'll know they're enacting enthusiasm, not feeling it. This accounts for some of the tinniness of much modern political experience."
~Peggy Noonan, A Sunday Thought ("Peggy Noonan's Blog," The Wall Street Journal, Feb 2013 AD

Instead of 'mood-boosting books', imagine doctors handing out prescriptions for gloomy masterpieces by Samuel Beckett and Thomas Hardy. Martin Chilton looks at the appeal of 20 great depressing stories Depressing books could be just what the doctor ordered; Inside Cold River - black dog

On the island of Ikaria, in Greece, there are more centenarians than you can shake a stick at. In Loma Linda, California, the Adventist community has a lifespan that's five to seven years longer than the average American's. These are people who eat a Mediterranean diet, and we've long inferred correlations between that and their prosperity and longevity. But we haven't had solid research to show us how important their diet -- as opposed to other factors genetic, lifestyle, and social -- actually is. Pivotal research in the New England Journal of Medicine today confirmed well-worn notions that the Mediterranean diet -- including produce, olive oil, nuts, etc. -- significantly reduced Attacks and Strokes, as compared to a low-fat diet. Now, to make these foods as accessible as corn sugar. ...Live slow, die old ~ drink at least seven glasses of wine while reading cold river

Do you fantasize about being a tenured academic? A globe-trotting journalist? A novelist? How our unlived lives shape our lived experience... “Every modern person, has their own repertoire of elsewheres, of alternatives—the places they go to in their minds, and the ambitions they attempt to realize—to make their actual, lived lives more than bearable. Indeed the whole notion of escape—that it is possible and desirable—is like a prosthetic device of the imagination. How could we live without it?
“We may need to think of ourselves, as always living a double life, the one that we wish for and the one that we practice; the one that never happens and the one that keeps happening. Who Could I Be Now

The idea that humans are by nature free is persistent, powerful, and, says John Gray, “one of the most harmful fictions that’s ever been promoted”... Silence of the Animal Soul

There are times in life when we are galvanized by inequity. So it was for a group of women who were touched by a panel at the recent Vancouver Writers Festival and determined to do something to right a perceived wrong. Needs € fears of readers

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Give Me Everything You Have

“Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it ‘creative observation.’ Creative viewing.”
– William S. Burroughs

Singh, who first took up running at 89, is now planning for his final two marathons in Australia and then Hong Kong at the end of February, according to the Times of India. But he said he plans to continue to run at least four hours a day to serve as an example for others. At 101 "Turbaned Tornado" Fauja Singh gives everything he has

Crickey of the global samizdat publishing, David Corn of Mother Jones, wins the George Polk Award for Political Reporting give it all

Will naked authors be a boon to the book business? (Bare it for Books) bare it for cold river

“The need to write comes from the need to make sense of one’s life and discover one’s usefulness.”
― John Cheever

Traces of Kumbaya

"All the plays that have ever been written, from ancient Greece to the present day, have never really been anything but thrillers."
Eugène Ionesco, Victims of Duty

Gone is the rigor of Montaigne. Today’s essayists are yarn-spinners, tall-tale tellers, humorists parading as autobiographers... says as much when he admits to appropriating the life stories of his partner, Hugh: “His stories have, over time, become my own. I say this with no trace of a kumbaya. There is no spiritual symbiosis; I’m just a petty thief who lifts his memories the same way I’ll take a handful of change left on his dresser. When my own experiences fall short of the mark, I just go out and spend some of his.” Memoirs of writers: The Best, Worst, and Most Dysfunctional Romances in Literature

In a word, the serious writer must take serious vows if he is to concentrate on his chief aim. A vow of silence, except through his work. A vow of consistency, sticking with writing to the exclusion of other fields. A vow of ego-chastity, abstaining from adulation. A vow of solitude, or at least long periods of privacy. A vow of self-regard, placing the self as writer before the self as personality. A vow of solitude

A baffling human type is the man or woman with a cerebral appreciation of humor who is incapable of being intentionally funny. I knew a computational mathematician for almost seven years before I recently heard him laugh. It’s a good laugh, too – helpless, open-mouthed, full-bodied – the sort that’s contagious. His torso, shoulders and arms bounced up and down like a marionette’s, and his eyes watered copiously Baffling Human Nature

An old-fashioned spin on bookselling with a nod to how we all love to get presents ~ Buying your way to the Bestseller lists? It really doesn’t work ~ The Wall Street Cold River is Dead

"Oh words, what crimes are committed in your name!"
-Eugène Ionesco, Jacques or the Submission

An award was given in the UK this week for the book-review hatchet job of the year. It was for Camilla Long’s demolition, in the Sunday Times, of Rachel Cusk’s Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation. Want to read some of it? Of course you do. Hatchet jobs and the art of the good bad review

Friday, February 22, 2013

Turn Your Wounds into Wisdom

Sometimes you come upon something that just feels good. It's worth reading and won't take but a few moments

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio
"To celebrate growing older, I wrote the 45 lessons life taught me:

- What other people think of you is none of your business ... Lessons Learned

Is better to be mad with the rest of the world than to be wise alone (against ) The world is full of sound and fury. There is frenzy, there is fever but i shall keep my composure, my serenity, my sagacity. ...
Nothing brings a book of 900-year-old parchment to life as much as realising that you can still see the hair follicles of the unfortunate beasts who gave up their hides for it. The illuminated “Silos Apocalypse” manuscript may date from 1091, grapple with the end of the world and contain page after page of miniatures depicting devils, foxes, snakes and the angel of the abyss. But it is the marks on that long-dead animal skin that make its history really hit home.; Bookslut features a fascinating piece on a forgotten gem of travel literature Crossing Borders

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Where the Customer is not King

Unlike the maniacally smiling baristas of Pret A Manger, Vienna’s café waiters are permitted eccentricities... The great Viennese cafés, for all their aura of imperial grandeur, seem to me havens of democratic humanity. The democracy comes from the way all conditions of people, young and old, shabby and smart, sociable and solitary, can be gathered under high chandelier-hung ceilings. I even find it reassuring that the waiters – unlike the maniacally smiling baristas of Pret – are permitted their all-too-human eccentricities and grumpiness. They have a reassuring permanence, they are part of the order of things; the waiters, after all, are the ones who remain and set the tone of the establishment, while customers come and go. Where the customer is not king

US electronics engineer Shane Todd was found hanging in his Singapore apartment Police State of Statements

Another part of the feeling that the modern human is misplaced in urban society comes from the realization that people are still genetically close not only to the Romans and the 17th-century Europeans, but also to Neanderthals, to the ape ancestors Holland mentions, and to the small bands of early hominids who populated Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago. It is indeed during the blink of an eye, relatively speaking, that people settled down from nomadism to permanent settlements, developed agriculture, lived in towns and then cities, and acquired the ability to fly to the moon, create embryos in the lab, and store enormous amounts of information in a space the size of our handily opposable thumbs. Misguided Nostalgia for Our Bohemian Past

Art and violence. Theater and film have always delighted in depictions of suffering. But how much is too much ...Like Freud, Aristotle thought that repression carries more dangers than representation. Yet his theory of catharsis — for him, the raison d'être of tragedy — isn't unlimited. There are experiences better left undramatized. The test of an action's moral suitability, however, lies in its artistic ends, not in its inherent balefulness Saved: Doer and dreamer, realist and romantic

For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of WWII In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, lost in the taiga Soviet geologists came upon a family of six in remote Siberia. They had lived off the land, undetected, for 42 years. Then civilization had its way with them... Russian Family

In search of timeless art. Hear a song over and over again: the magic fades, the melody grates. What if you discovered an immortal song, painting, poem, novel? "I wish this would last forever Hallucinations can be brilliant, bothersome, even frightening. Imagine hearing Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” for days on end... Oliver Sacks on drugs

Gabriele d’Annunzio had discolored teeth, little hair, one eye, and a libido that thousands of lovers couldn’t satiate... Think Wilde crossed with Casanova and Savonarola; Byron meets Barnum meets Mussolini - and you would have some of the flavours, but still not quite the essence, of this extraordinary, unstoppable and in many ways quite ridiculous figure. In The Pike, Lucy Hughes-Hallett has taken on the vast and frequently thankless task of trying to capture this strange genius, ten years after the most authoritative literary biography to appear in English thus far, Gabriele d'Annunzio: Defiant Archangel by John Woodhouse. The Poet-King of Fiume

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Literature Saved My Life: Why Our Adversaries Are Insane

"The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane."
-Mark Twain, "Christian Science"

Literature inspires many things. Hotels, for instance. 10 Of The World’s Greatest Hotels Inspired By Literature
David Laskin on David Shields’ How Literature Saved My Life: “The title’s assertion that literature might save a life, though Shields layers it in so much irony that I’m probably crazy to take it even remotely literally, has its appeal.” Big questions on truth, fiction and the information stream ; Can reading mend morals? Maybe, but maybe not Literature's Moral Limits

“On this day in 1809 Abraham Lincoln was born, and on this day in 1926 Carl Sandburg’s two-volume biography, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years was published. Sandburg researched, wrote and talked about Lincoln his entire life, and he clearly felt that he had not only an affinity but a mission. They shared Midwestern roots and frontier poverty, an up-by-my-bootstraps attitude, a love of the common man and a zeal for social reform. His Lincoln would be a story of the best of the American Dream: the railsplitter and country lawyer risen to the ‘elemental and mystical,’ the embodiment of men ‘who breathe with the earth and take into their lungs and blood some of the hard and dark strength of its mystery,’…” Lincoln and Sandburg

Vladimir Sorokin is being hailed as the Tarantino of Russian Literature. Find out why. Like Swift or Orwell, but even more like the Strugatsky brothers, Sorokin laughs at the familiar and invents a fantastical realm. Able to condense five centuries of history, Sorokin describes reality in the context of the eternal. Life, confined into the only form possible for it, is doomed to last indefinitely. At least until the oil runs out. What happens next is described in his latest book “The Blizzard.”
Using Leo Tolstoy’s story “Master and Man” as a starting point, introduces his favorite technique in his writing repertoire – the literalization of metaphors. So in Sorokin’s work the “malenky chelovek,” the small man of Russian literature, has become even smaller. Now he fits on a dish, drinks out of a thimble, but swears like a trooper Day of the Oprichnik

Rebecca Armstrong makes the case for giving up on telling people not to judge a book by its cover, and just go ahead and make. In the last fortnight Sylvia Plath's 'The Bell Jar' and 'Anne of Green Gables' have had their covers sexed-up to try and appeal to new audiences good covers The Bell Jar

"He had only one vanity; he thought he could give advice better than any other person."
-Mark Twain, "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg"

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Live Anger of Music: Sarah Blasko aka Blaskow

Come down to the ocean
Come down and I'll baptise you
To the ocean once more

Come lay down in the soil of youth
Come lay down where you and I were born
In the soil of youth I'll bury you
I'll bury you once more

Come now to a foreign land
Come now, we'll start again
In a foreign land we'll start again
We'll start again once more

-Bury This By Blaskow

Sarah Blasko has some anger in her. It may seem an incongruous thing to think amid this rather beautiful concert, which never overplayed its somewhat larger hand (a 40-piece orchestra joined her four-piece band) but always felt pitched higher and richer Anger really is an energy

As she prepared for her I Awake national tour with orchestras, she and musical partner Nick Wales were creating the soundtrack to Rafael Bonachela's new work Emergence, one of three new pieces for his latest Sydney Dance Company program, De Novo. Yet the prodigiously talented artist maintains her customary cool, the picture of grace under pressure, even as she recovers from a throat issue. IT'S crazy times for Sarah Blasko; THE Sydney Opera House and YouTube last night and tonight got together to broadcast online Sarah Blasko’s performance with the Sydney International Orchestra. Blasko performed at the iconic Sydney landmark on the back of success of her latest album I Awake, as part of the Music at the House 2013 series. Sarah's dad, the inimitable Nikolai David Blaskow was in the audience sitting in front of us and even Bohemian and Bulgarian dragons did not think her dad was as emotional as Malchkeon when Sarah sang for him the lovely tune of Bury This ... Something of a revelation

Sarah Blasko Bury This - I Awake

Time is a river, a violent current of events,
glimpsed once and already carried past us,
and another follows and is gone.
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Writers are Tarts

Tarts. That’s what we are, really, us writers. Not just in the general sense of loving attention – also in the more specific, ‘professional’ meaning of the word. Our living depends on how good we are at attracting people’s attention and, more importantly, their money. We deploy all sorts of tricks to achieve this, above and beyond the actual content of our books. They’re the literary equivalents of fishnet stockings and bright red lipstick. It was only chatting to a friend recently that I realised just how many tricks there are Writers are tarts

The assassin came to his home dressed as a postman. When the historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard opened his front door, the man — whom Lars describes as ‘looking like a typical Muslim immigrant’ in his mid-twenties — fired straight at his head. Though Hedegaard was a yard away, the bullet narrowly missed. The mild-mannered scholar (70 years old) then punched his assailant in the head. The man dropped the gun, picked it up and fired again. The gun jammed and the man ran off. More than a week later, he has yet to be found ‘I may be killed if I write this’

True Stories adopted to a movie: WEST of Memphis, which is co-produced by New Zealand director Peter Jackson's WingNut Films, is a 2 ½-hour documentary that examines in considerable detail a shocking case of multiple murders and miscarriage of justice that became a cause celebre in the US. Tragedy but where is the ring of truth; Damien Echols of the West Memphis 3 talks to the Big Mac Blog Post Film interview

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Words are Sacred: The Accidental Pallbearers

A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”

I tried to resist writing this— especially after my plea against categorizing authors. Plus, so many of us hide our age in this world of never-get-old, unearthing this information, even in our Googlized world, was difficult. 40 isn’t over-the-hill for debut authors. Here’s a list with books you’re sure to recognize, compiled by (Randy Susan Meyers) Debut Novels by Writers Over 40 ; The hilarious Amy Poehler is set to pen a memoir Treat Yourself to a New Book by Amy Poehler

Daily Routine Words invented by authors and doctors

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”
- Tom Stoppard

“Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.”
- Nadine Gordimer
Take Cold River and call me in the morning. Doctor’s might do well to prescribe a bit of reading. People suffering from anxiety, depression or relationship problems will be offered self-help books on prescription from their GPs, it was announced today.

“And poems are like angels. They visit often, but you’ve to be watching out for them, and you’ve to believe in them to benefit from their gifts.”
– Frank Delaney

GPs to prescribe library books to combat anxiety, depression and relationship problems ; The author of “Insane City” spent his childhood reading “Richie Rich,” “Archie” and “Batman” comics: “pretty much anything unlikely to inspire intellectual development.” By the Book [Boys and girls, do not try this at home. Hunter S. Thompson’s liver and kidneys were professionals. Daily Routine ; A little controversy goes a long way in the book world, where tweets from prestigious publishers resembling Kanye West lyrics cause people to flip out. In the case of the books below, notoriety and controversy have added an extra facet to their reputations, propelling discussion and (in some instances) fierce debate that involved censorship. Here are our picks for the most infamous passages of famous books. Some spoilers follow. Here are The 10 Most Notorious Parts of Famous Books - Spoilers Ahead]

• · FREEDOM, a legendary anarchist bookstore in east London, was firebombed on Friday morning. This is the store that Peter Kropotkin helped found in the 19th century, and the home of a monthly newspaper that published Emma Goldman. No one was hurt, and no one seems to know who did it, or why. The store was uninsured. ; Stephen King cracks the seal on DOCTOR SLEEP, his sequel to THE SHINING. 'Doctor Sleep' -- EXCLUSIVE

• · · The virtual blood, sweat, and probably non-virtual tears of digital self-publishing are explored Attention 'artisan authors': digital self-publishing is harder than it looks ; Bestselling author, Jennifer Estep

• · · · When enjoying the luxuries of a western city, I like nothing better than to read accounts of the !Kung bushmen and Ik tribe. Call it comfort savagery. My latest armchair travels are with Jared Diamond. Will Self talks “armchair anthropology” through books ; Charles DuBow talks about his upcoming release New Voices: 'Indiscretion' novelist Charles Dubow

• · · · · Brad Meltzer has a chat about his latest bestseller, THE FIFTH ASSASSIN Not every author can say they’ve written eight New York Times best-selling novels ; Sameer Rahim explains why it was inevitable Costa Book Award: who would dare refuse Hilary Mantel her crown?

• · · · · · Here are ten now-common words that some famous writers just made-up 10 words invented by authors ; Peter Craven on Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl: “If there’s something a bit sick-making about the way this book turns out – and there is – a fat fraction of the world is going to feel the shiver and the sparkle of how it unfolds A bit sick, but chick lit and melodrama make it a winner

Friday, February 15, 2013

G'day Pub 3 - Bellevue hotel: Amazing Technicolour Pub

John Singleton singled media dragons out to include the good view pub as our third lucky samplings of glorious food down under. The food critics included interstate personalities, Tony and Tina, who were partial to tis experiment at the heart of Paddington... Bellevue Hotel deserves 11 out of 10 so trust us and experience simple tastes in a friendly atmosphere ...

A meteor or meteors streaked across the sky over Chelyabinsk, Russia as we read the French menu in old Antipodean inn. You'd have to spend a week in Paris to taste eye fillet cooked in as many ways as it is served at Bellevue Hotel. Multiway fish fish was so traditional it was almost like eating it at Arras ...

Pairing a restaurant with the perfect chef can be as rocky as finding one’s soulmate. Some never do. Epicure and Short Black mourn weekly over the latest broken hearted eatery left reeling when its head chef walks out for a younger, trendier establishment. But like all good love stories, when the perfect partner is found, it’s like fireworks. Damien Pignolet and Claude’s, back in 1981, was one of those magic combinations and as a young food writer, I have always wished I was born just a little earlier. Pignolet, together with Tim Pak Poy, created what was touted as the quintessential French dining experience, receiving much acclaim across the country.

FIRST it was pink for breast cancer awareness, then it was black for the Rugby World Cup and this week John Singleton has repainted the Bellevue Hotel yet again. The pub will remain pink and blue - the colours of the gastrointestinal disease charity Bellevue Hotel; Heritage on the walls

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Romance comes in Many Forms: Are we not like Two Volumes of One Book of Hot River?

To love another person is to see the face of God.
- Les Miserables

Shall we compare our hearts to a garden
with beautiful blooms, straggling weeds,
swooping birds and sunshine, rain
and most importantly, seeds.
- Grey Livingston

...when you can be your true self with someone, and you only want to be your true self because of them. Curious where Media Dragons head in Sydney in the search for some romance in time for St. Valentine's Day? SilluY: Before I met my Malchekeon, I'd never fallen in love. I'd stepped in it a few times ;-) Righto lovers, Valentine’s Day is on Thursday 14th of Feb and the bookings at Yullis were coming in thick and fast ... soo next year you have to book early

Love is no respecter of age or practicality
Neither morality: unabashed
She enters where she will
Unheeding that her immortal fires
Burn up human hearts...
- Phillip Pulfrey, from Beyond Me a fine wine, the older the better. An old man in love is like a flower in winter. Love means nothing in tennis, but it's everything in life. True love is like Mittleuropean ghost, which everybody talks about and few have seen. Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly ... Love is being stupid together. When love is not madness, it is not love Love doesn't sit there like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all of the time, made new.

Romance is dead - it was acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenized, and sold off piece by piece.
- Lisa Simpson not Sullivan, The Simpsons

The early tradition of Valentine's Day was that it was the date that birds began to choose their mates, only later did the romance extend to the human population. The first reference in print to Valentine's Day is found in Geoffrey Chaucer's The parlement of foules [The Parliament of Fowls], circa 1381:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
[For this was Saint Valentine's day, when every bird of every kind comes to this place to choose his mate.]

Saint Valentine was a priest of the early Christian faith who lived in ancient Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. At that time, 14 February was treated similar to a public holiday to honour Juno, the celebrated queen of the Roman gods and goddesses of women and marriage. Love is like playing the piano. First you must learn to play by the rules, then you must forget the rules and play from your heart. Saint Valentine’s Day

Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.

For many, this will be an inconvenient Lent. St. Valentine's Day, typically celebrated with sweets, falls a day after Lent begins. For Bohemian Australian who like corned beef and suds on St Patrick's Day, that holiday falls on a Friday, which is a day of abstinence. Two popular holidays happen to fall on inconvenient days for Catholics. St. Valentine's Day is the day after Ash Wednesday and St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday. No Absinthe. Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense.

Valentine’s Day is like Christmas and birthdays – a time of year that only serves to remind many of us that we are alone and unloved ;-)By Belinda Beckett

We claim there ain't

Another Saint

As great as Valentine.

Each day we should love more
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.

Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.
- William Shakespeare

Coda: A brief stop in New Zealand inspires strong feelings for Auckland Which city wins my Valentine?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

All These Years, and Now…

“Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.”
- Iris Murdoch (we are not always proud of ourselves for liking this quote But ...)

What state are literary journals in? How are they changing? Those questions were at the heart of a discussion led by the editors of the White Review, Jacques Testard and Benjamin Eastham, at the launch of Issue Six at Foyles bookshop in Jan 2013 AD - Czech out cream de la cream references such as “Alien vs Predator" by Michael Robbins is considered as being “the most viral poem in the history of the internet” The present and future of literary journals

So it’s Saturday and I have my coffee and a few minutes and I’m a fluttery mess. I’ve had twelve years (with a three year hiatus tucked in there for other bits of life that pulled me away, both literally and figuratively) to write and learn and fail and learn and write a little more, fail a little more, learn and write and… holy hell, it came together. The tumblers fell (some being wrestled and hammered; it was ungainly, trust me) into their places and the lock was un-ed. All these years, and now…

The rack and the iron maiden have got nothing on the torture of writing. Is Writing Torture?

If bestseller status is any indication, it’s time to start joking about Hitler. Or is it? Hitler satire a controversial but unoriginal hit

Erika Dreifus reexamines Holocaust Literature

Selling used cold River? How’s that gonna work? Amazon Poised to Sell Used E-books of Cold River
Relationships between writers and publishers are fraught, marked by mutual admiration and mutual suspicion. Consider Thomas Bernhard and Siegfried Unseld Safety Net

Saturday, February 09, 2013

How to Paint a Battle and Richard Crookback

"An artist is a man of action, whether he creates a personality, invents an expedient, or finds the issue of a complicated situation."
Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea

God: On thin ice - The God of the Old Testament was not a nice guy - or one who operated with a just mindset.  Just consider how that leader fired Adam and Eve as property managers of Eden for one violation and without due process.  And how dare ask a father like Abraham to kill his son. 

One was an upstart clad in pink and purple, the other an acknowledged genius. Florence wasn’t big enough for both Michelangelo and Leonardo How to Paint a Battle and Think About War

Self-plagiarism, false memories, literary kleptomania. What happens, Oliver Sacks wonders, when our most vivid thoughts are not our own? Literal memories ... Literary criticism has become a way to pursue tenure, complains Joseph Epstein. “Literary culture itself seems to be slowly if decisively shutting down Lucking Out
Richard Burton was an Anglican priest, a scholar, and a librarian in the Human Search Engine mode. His Anatomy is stuffed with thousands of quotations, at least a dozen a page; all is patched and woven together, but "with as small deliberation as I do usually speak." ... melancholy is "the rust of the soul," an "inbred malady in every one of us," and media dragons should keep busy :-)  Robert Burton's "Rhapsody of Rags" The king and the parking lot. He was small in stature, weak in strength, with a curved spine and a face “little and fierce.” The myth of Richard III meets reality

Our bruised arms hung up for monuments”: on August 22, 1485, the body of Richard III was stripped naked, thrown over the back of a horse, and taken from Bosworth battlefield to Leicester, “the deade corps . . . as shamefully caryed”, in the words of the mid-Tudor chronicler Edward Hall (1497–1547), “as he gorgiously the daye before with pompe and pryde departed owte of the same towne”. There, the chroniclers tell us, he was buried in the Franciscan convent of Grey Friars. In one of the earliest accounts, the antiquary John Rous (c. 1420–92) mentions that Richard was buried in the choir. In his Anglica Historia (manuscript completed in 1512–13), Polydore Vergil (c.1470–1555) extends Hall’s timespan and adds that this took place two days after the battle and without any funeral rites (“sine ullo funere”). After the Reformation, the church of Grey Friars was destroyed, and for centuries its precise location was lost.Richard |||

Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Heisenberg: Scientific progress has always required heroic minds, not necessarily heroic morals Moon Man

A Tale of Two Taxing Cultures

"All idealization makes life poorer. To beautify it is to take away its character of complexity--it is to destroy it."
Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent

In competitive capitalism with its sharp elbows and lack of human trust, the members of the NSW Parliament seemed to have all those intangibles we longed for.  Some of us would watch, with a longing which mirrored an ache, their simple lives of peace and harmony

Of course we can all guess how many participants in Libor fraud have gone to prison for it. (Clue: it’s a very round number.) The “whore’s drawers” and the Libor scandal – a tale of two cultures; RBS fined £390m for manipulating rate, with five more financial firms under investigation Greed and dishonesty laid bare as scale of Libor rigging revealed

State and local governments lost $39.8 billion last year because corporations and the wealthy shifted profits to offshore tax havens, an amount roughly equal to what they spent on firefighters in 2008, according to a new report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). The federal government lost $150 billion in revenue to the same practices. The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens

The plaintiffs, and the other members of the class—who number in the thousands—are American citizens who had bank accounts in UBS in 2008 when the UBS tax evasion scandal (of which more shortly) broke. The accounts of the three plaintiffs were large—$500,000 to $2 million each. The plaintiffs had not disclosed the existence of the accounts on their federal income tax returns, as they were required to do. ... Call Suit by 'Tax Cheats' a Travesty Posner: Tax Cheats Suing UBS for Not Stopping Them From Cheating Like Suing Parents for Not Raising Them to be Honest

Federal income taxes are up, and some state taxes are too. That can create a double whammy. One of the most noted state increases is in California. In November, it enacted a high 13.3% income tax rate on top earners Tax exodus

Anyone who has had sufficient contact with lawyers knows that the business of law has more than the average rate of psychopaths.  So, there was no need for Kevin Dutton to confirm in his book "The Wisdom of Psychopaths" that law ranks as the line of work with the second largest number of psychopaths.  BUSINESS INSIDER sums that up nicely. 20 Signs That You Are A Psychopath

Friday, February 08, 2013

Ze Sydney Society

"It is not the clear-sighted who lead the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm mental fog."
Our Polish konnection - Jozef aka Joseph Conrad, Victory

It's no surprise to Gerardo Robledillo that Sydney and Melbourne are the third and equal fourth most expensive cities in the world. The computer scientist is Spanish, lives in Prague, and has never been to Australia. But his website,, compiles cost of living rankings for cities crowdsourced from expatriates all over. And ''almost every single person writing from Australia complains about the cost of living there'', he says. Sydney and it's Society

In play an adult can become like a child, fully absorbed in the here-and-now. Play, not work, brings us fully to life...
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man I put away childish things

Finding a niche in life, work, and livelihood... The economy goes up and down throughout history. Even when the economy overall is booming, a significant portion of people in the world suffer financially. When the overall economy is struggling, numerous people still do well financially. The factors causing a sizeable percentage of people's financial fortunes to be opposite the tide of the overall economy are many, and are the topic for another blog article. Today's blog article is about improving one's prospects for earning a living in the law by finding a niche in life and the law
  The Dalai Lama has spoken of finding a way to be happy right now, no matter where one is in life and work. I agree. As a response to those studying accounting to earn a living even if they abhor the idea of being an accountant, Bill Evans underlined how when we take care of the music, the music takes care of us. When a lawyer takes the best care s/he can of clients while always improving as a lawyer, his or her law practice will take better care of the lawyer By Jon Katz, a criminal defense lawyer

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Gene Sharp: The Machiavelli of Non-violence

How to make a revolution . Start with an 85-year-old pacifist, an Oxford-trained academic who works out of his home in Boston Gene Sharp: The Machiavelli of non-violence

Finding yourself in a hole, at the bottom of a hole, in almost total solitude, and discovering that only writing can save you. To be without the slightest subject for a book, the slightest idea for a book, is to find yourself, once again, before a book. A vast emptiness. A possible book. Before nothing. Before something like living, naked writing, like something terrible, terrible to overcome.

VLVT The color revolution How to make a revolution

Out went neutral tints, in came indigo, crimson, lime green. The transformation was total, and all to sell things. Velvet Consumerism

John Brockman’s Edge question for 2013 asks more than 150 intellectuals, “What should we be worried about? A new kind of misplaced worries is likely to become more and more common. The ever-accelerating current scientific and technological revolution results in a flow of problems and opportunities that presents unprecedented cognitive and decisional challenges. Our capacity to anticipate these problems and opportunities is swamped by their number, novelty, speed of arrival, and complexity.
Every day, for instance, we have reasons to rejoice in the new opportunities afforded by the Internet. The worry of fifteen years ago that it would create yet another major social divide between those with access to the internet and those without is so last century!

。。。 no technology in human history has ever spread so far, so fast, so deep. • those without is so last century ; Forget what you’ve heard: Print is not dead, e-books are not the future, or at least not the only future. CLD RVR: Old-fashioned books are back [What is a poet’s biography for? A New Life, declares the subtitle of a book on John Keats. But the arguments are old, even if some details are not... Irritable Reachings: On John Keats ; For love of women and art. Was Raphael a chaste saint who sublimated his passion into his work? Or was he a womanizer who died in the arms of his mistress? Raphael: worn out by love, or work ]

• · The Internet has prompted an age of self-examination, or at least self-exposure. Navel-gazing is our passion. Psychoanalysis is not. Why? Psychoanalysis and the human talent for unhappiness. Beyond the couch ; Big Crit and its discontents. An algorithm can tell you what Animal Farm says about animals, but it can't tell you what it says about Stalinism... Big Data is the new big thin。。

• · · Disgust and delight. What excites our desire – a naked body, a boiled lobster, a cigarette – is simultaneously what threatens to trigger our revulsion Nausea ; Reading Chekhov again. His stories, like Kipling’s, never lose flavor and never disappoint. New Age to neuroscience, Daniel Goleman to Malcolm Gladwell, advice books have a new name: “nonfiction with a strong takeaway”. The Power of Positive Publishing

• · · · “Poetry is nobody’s business except the poet’s, and everybody else can • off.” - Philip Larkin 50 years after her suicide, Sylvia Plath is hardly forgotten = Wedding celebrants, most of them Poles and Germans, drank rivers of vodka by the shot. ; “I get a fine warm feeling when I’m doing well, but that pleasure is pretty much negated by the pain of getting started each day. Let’s face it, writing is hell.” Business in literature: are there practical, applicable lessons there?

• · · · · “This is the Eve of St. Agnes, on which young virgins obedient to various bedtime rituals — having eaten only a salt-filled egg, or having put sprigs of thyme and rosemary in their shoes-are granted a vision of their future lovers. Agnes is the patron saint of virgins, martyred at the age of twelve (ca. 305) for choosing to die rather than become the wife of a Roman prefect. In Keats’s famous ‘The Eve of St. Agnes,’ Madeline retires dressed in white, pledged to look only heavenward for her vision of the forbidden Porphyro; this allows Porphyro, who has hidden himself in her bedroom closet, to have full view of her…” ; “Many of the novel’s epiphanies take place over food, while characters are making chowder, braising endive, or biting into a tortilla chip.” The Lost Art of Mixing:

• · · · · · The phenomenon of dead authors posting on Twitter and Facebook. …safe to say that amazing things will most likely be happening in MY literary career right now Status Updates; Wendy Smith on Jim Harrison’s The River Swimmer: “…has the dreamlike quality of a fairy tale, complete with magical beings and a poor, questing hero. “Existence is a series of footnotes to a vast, obscure, unfinished masterpiece.” Jim Harrison’s new novellas explore the nature of self and self-discovery; Near-death experiences seem to be a goldmine for would-be bestselling authors Publishing world cashes in on heavenly journeys ; Can it be true? Do people really see a light at the end of a tunnel when they have a near-death experience?

Monday, February 04, 2013

House Hunting in Strange Lands

Foreign buyers are snapping up real estate in Australian cities and this trend is set to continue。 According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data, international investors own a record $2 trillion of Australian financial assets. Property development is an art, that is why every developer is not equal ; Around a quarter of Asian property investors wants to buy Australian real estate, according to a survey of visitors to major Asian property-buying websites. Australia is desirable for its minimal time-zone difference and close proximity, and its perception as having a resilient economy. Australia’s high dollar has not appreciated as much against Asian currencies as it has against the US dollar and euro Asian buyers set sights on Australian property

Freedom's just a hop away:Trend of overseas buyers investing in Kangaroo Island set to continue Overseas buyers hungry for House Hunting in ...

O verseas investors' appetite for Sydney nonfictional estate sharpened in 2012。 Australia, for its part, tightened its rules in 2010 to ensure that investment in its market by foreign non-residents “doesn’t place pressure on housing availability for Australians.” Understanding what’s sparking demand in real estate can offer insights into the health of the market and what’s driving prices, and to better predict cycles – by knowing, for example, how a slowdown in China’s economy might affect local markets.

Unlike in other countries such as the United States and Australia, neither the Canadian federal government nor industry keeps track of the numbers of foreign buyers or where they come from. Anecdotal evidence about foreign buyers abounds, yet hard evidence is lacking. Rumours are rife about foreign buyers. In Toronto, Russian and Iranian buyers, flush with cash, are snapping up condos. In Vancouver, Chinese investors are buying luxury apartments. In the Maritimes, wealthy Americans and Europeans are acquiring coastal vacation property.

Crucial bit of missing information may be driving home prices ; Australian-listed property is having a remarkable resurgence. Last year it was the best-performing sector of the Australian sharemarket, with a total return of almost 33 per cent compared with 20 per cent from the broader market Rising trust in property [ Some have access to all new and “hidden” listings that may be suitable for you; Foreign Investment Review Board (the FIRB) ]

• · OFFSHORE buyers are expected to come to the rescue of Sydney's ailing prestige market this year, with new visa arrangements targeting wealthy Chinese just one of the remedies. Visa change helps foreign buyers target trophy homes ; Partners Group's Sydney-based managing director Martin Scott says many of the investment opportunities emerging in the real-estate secondary market are in Australia. Wheels turning the deals behind the deals

• · · FOREIGN countries are "secretly" buying up large chunks of NSW farmland by establishing shelf companies, trust funds, and extended settlements to avoid scrutiny. Australia is the great foreign-owned land as more NSW farms being sold overseas; Chinese developers are starting to venture overseas, chasing wealthy locals who are buying apartments from New York to Sydney as the government restrains the property market at home China Developers Chase Rich Buyers Abroad Amid Curbs at Home

• · · · One by one all the money-laundering loopholes in a broke world are coming to an end. First it was Swiss bank accounts … Now, it is the turn of real estate. While hardly a secret, for decades the ultra-luxury housing segment in any country was the target not so much of local wealthy individuals and business, but foreigners, for whom the grass was always greener, and sought to put their money into "hard assets" abroad to save it from local confiscation. Is The Money-Laundering Driven Real Estate "Boom" Ending? ; Money Laundering Activities Related to Residential Real Estate Straw buyers ; Cash-loaded Chinese are flooding California's high-end home markets and U.S. brokers are in heaven over that situation. Many of the deals are reported to be all-cash transactions Chinese Buyers Boosting California's Housing Market

• · · · · Foreign buyers are restricted to one home, for their own use only, with additional property buying hurdles in Beijing and Shanghai Property buying hoops in China; THE South Australian Tourism Commission says freedom isn't a state of mind, it's an island - Kangaroo Island. It's other claim - that the island was "Australia's first free settlement, with sealers, escaped convicts and runaway sailors calling the island home" - may also well be true. Kangaroo Island: Freedom's just a hop away; TWELVE private jets ferrying multi-generational families from New York to the wild coasts of Kangaroo Island over Christmas was enough to inspire entrepreneurs James and Hayley Baillie to expand their portfolio of luxury tourism properties into Victoria Holy Days fot the Rich

• · · · · · Whether the buyer is Czech or foreign, the allure of Prague’s history has always been a factor in its real estate market Prague's Charm Retains Its Value ; Money laundering is undertaken in a number of ways. Criminals may buy and re-sell real estate or luxury items such as cars or jewellery. They may pass money through a complex and intertwined web of legitimate businesses and ‘shell’ companies. They may use businesses that send money overseas and operate in a similar way to conventional banking systems without being subject to the same level of regulation. They may use a number of people to carry out small transactions or cash smuggling to avoid alerting authorities. They may even gamble

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Poacher turned Gamekeeper, turned Poacher again

Unable or unwilling to collect $70 billion in unpaid bills of tax cheats, the Greek government’s turning to higher taxes for those who can’t evade them has pushed property taxes up 600 percent in less than three years.
Hong Kong's free market means we are open to criminals taking advantage of the liberal regime. It is shocking that a young mainlander from Guangdong managed to move in and out a record HK$13.1 billion with a local bank account over a period of eight months since 2009. At a rate of HK$50 million a day ...
Tax evasion ghosts and moonlighters on HMRC prosecution hit list  Ghosts & Moonlighters
A new report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) finds that U.S. corporations report a huge share of their profits as officially earned in small, low-tax countries where they have very little investment and workforce As certain as Tax Haven and Complicated as Machiavellian Hell

When the burglar is unscrewing your window locks, would you pay him a fat fee to clean your windows while he's at it? Yet that's what the government does. Last year these four firms said they earned some £400m from the state, and they help to denude this same state of the tax that pays them. But far worse, the government has invited the burglar in to be consulted on the best kind of locks for the future. Now the old lag is in the pub selling the pin code to the locks to all his burglar friends. Socializing loses the smart avoiders;Tax avoidance like David and Goliath

The Obeid case is sensational in its nature, but not alone in existence. Corruption in Australia is more widespread than you might think. What is important is how it is reported, and how anti-corruption policy is shaped. Media accountability does not fall into the shadows here. More scrutiny must be given to politicians and public officials, but greater accuracy is needed when it comes to understanding corruption.
The old adage ‘blood is thicker than water’ today has been both reinforced and heavily questioned as it is revealed the tight-knit Obeid clan holds a secret $3.4 million stake in Australian Water Holdings.
ICAC public gallery witnessed a masterclass in probing, with his examiner discovering how young MO navigates a vortex MO's of mining, political, land and family interests in the pursuit of profit. MO's trick, it seems, is to move quickly and not worry about the fine print. "I'm not a detail person," he told the hearing, which is examining the circumstances surrounding a 2008 decision to open a mining area in the little-known Bylong Valley for coal exploration. He who must be obeid; references Google on ICAC Examination of Obeid Family business Affairs

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Falling Slowly

"Who knows what true loneliness is--not the conventional word, but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion. Now and then a fatal conjunction of events may lift the veil for an instant. For an instant only. No human being could bear a steady view of moral solitude without going mad."
Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes

The links between the Czech Republic and Ireland are long and extensive: Celtic Boii tribes came to the Czech lands in the second century B.C. before traveling westward to Ireland. Along their journey, they passed on a rich heritage and even named both countries, Bohemia and Éire, as well as the Vltava River, which translates to "wild water" in the old Germanic language of those ancient tribes.

Irish missionaries worked alongside Cyril and Methodius in Great Moravia in the ninth century," Kelly says. "Irish Franciscan monks established a monastery in Prague in the 17th century on what became Hybernská street, and legend has it they introduced the potato to the Czech lands. Jakub Smith, an Irishman, was also rector of Charles University in the mid-18th century. In the 1920s, Czechs, including Alfred Navrátil, helped establish the sugar processing industry in Ireland, while in the 1940s, Kelly says, Karel Bačík was a founder of the world-renowned Waterford Crystal factory.
Irish and Czech people have a similar, wry view of the world

Gérard de Villiers’s best-selling espionage thrillers also serve as intelligence drop boxes for spy agencies around the world... Set in the midst of Syria's civil war, the book offered vivid character sketches of that country's embattled ruler, Bashar al-Assad, and his brother Maher, along with several little-known lieutenants and allies. It detailed a botched coup attempt secretly supported by the American and Israeli intelligence agencies. And most striking of all, it described an attack on one of the Syrian regime's command centers, near the presidential palace in Damascus, a month before an attack in the same place killed several of the regime's top figures. "It was prophetic," I was told by one veteran Middle East analyst who knows Syria well and preferred to remain nameless. "It really gave you a sense of the atmosphere inside the regime, of the way these people operate, in a way I hadn't seen before." Gérard de Villiers, the Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much

Now this is bad, very bad. These days I can hardly step away from this desk and not find myself gravitating to a used-book store and pulling out my credit card. I can almost always justify my purchases as sensible, reasonable courses of action. All addicts do this. Still, those book outlays add up quite dramatically when the monthly Visa bill comes due. Man can live on books alone, but he needs more bread to do so

We may pay little attention to how we walk. Our gait, however, may eventually identify us as surely as a fingerprint...Leg up high, knee unbent, toes skyward. It’s wholly unnatural and artificial, but should mask the way you really walk. No one will ever know it is you

Gone are the days when it was possible to write on a plain note card "Grab him if you can," as apparently Gilbert Ryle, professor of philosophy at Oxford, did for one of his students in the 1960s. References

Friday, February 01, 2013

GDay Ausie Pub (2) Newtown Hotel: Same Same But Different

When we first walked the streets of Newtown back in the summer of 1980 we looked for the signs of a new town, but then it was a rather stale almost old looking town with little bohemian character. How things change Newtown is a different animal in 2013. Ach, when we only knew some Beatles songs and our dictionary told us to translate every suburb literally. For example, when we strolled the the lanes of Redfern we assumed that red ferns were hidden in some Aboriginal quarters ;-)

With the catchy tagline ‘Same Same But Different’, Sydney’s iconic Newtown Hotel reopened its cage for business with a swish new makeover few weeks ago.
The 130 years young building at 174 King Street had particular significance to our community as an LGBT watering hole for many years before it closed in 2007. It reopened as a mixed bar with a ‘cheap and cheerful’ ‘Freaky Tiki’ makeover in 2010 but soon closed again for a major restoration.Creatures new and old

King Street is the main street of Newtown and centre of commercial and entertainment activity. From the air the street looks like a longest snake inside the Kakadu National Park. The street follows the spine of a long ridge that rises up near Sydney University and extends to the south, becoming the Princes Highway at its southern end.

Greek restaurant the Animal upstairs is worth tasting from a very inviting balcony from which to view all the action of King Street. The Animal boasts a tasty Greek inspired menu with share plates like braised octopus with baby onions, red wine and cinnamon and Executive Head Chef George Diamond’s Mum’s dolmades with dill yoghurt. Or get a protein hit with meat from the charcoal and wood spit. Even vegetarians like Malchkeon should not be disheartened as there are plenty of meat-free options to keep your conscience at bay. the Animal

Coda: GDay Pub 1: Paddo