Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Thank You, Strike Again

The definition of recession Is when your neighbour loses his job. Depression takes place when you lose your job. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, fear of death focuses the mind wonderfully.

How low-wage service workers are changing the face of labor. Last year, Crawford joined the “Fight for 15” campaign, a labor and community-supported project that aims to improve conditions for workers in Chicago’s central business districts. The campaign demands a $15 minimum wage and the right to form unions without interference from management Thank You, Strike Again Apple, Walmart and McDonald's all underpay their workers, but who pinches the most pennies? Where Are Workers Most Underpaid: Apple, Wal-Mart or McDonald’s?

Worker centers and other non-union labor organizations have grown immensely over the past two decades, with some in the labor movement hoping their growth will help revive a moribund labor movement. It was perhaps inevitable, then, that the same forces working for decades to destroy unions are now launching an attack on worker centers. Big Business Aims to Crush Worker Centers

When water becomes scarce, conservatives become environmentalists. If any problem is potent enough to overcome conservatives’ animus against government, it might be water scarcity. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, fear of death focuses the mind wonderfully Water of the Never Never

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chi Chi Bella at BrugeS

While Champagne region gal, Lea, invaded her beloved Melbourne, Gabbie stormed into French part of Bruges ... Both are journaling and Blogging and posting spontaneous images wherever they dance on the ceiling ....

“Humans had built a world inside the world, which reflected it in pretty much the same way as a drop of water reflected the landscape. And yet ... and yet ...
Inside this little world they had taken pains to put all the things you might think they would want to escape from — hatred, fear, tyranny, and so forth. Death was intrigued. They thought they wanted to be taken out of themselves, and every art humans dreamt up took them further in. He was fascinated.”
― Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

In the serious world of Slovakian industrial river transport, the locks are the size of hydro-electric schemes and the barges could sit squarely in the middle of two football pitches end to end and not leave a lot of room for players around the edge.  These iron giants have names like ‘Bratislava Hulk Haulage’ and are not to be trifled with.  They are captained and crewed by grim-eyed, unshaven Romanians in grimy overalls who live on vodka, deep-fried pig’s blood sausages and any dinghy sailors they can run down and gut. The Unlikely Voyage of Slovakia      “To shoot a man because one disagrees with his interpretation of Darwin or Hegel is a sinister tribute to the supremacy of ideas in human affairs -- but a tribute nevertheless.”
 George Steiner quotes (French born American Critic, Scholar and Educator, His works include Language and Silence (1963) and Fields of Force (1974), b.1929)

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.
Gilda Radner

When GOD solves all of your problems, You believe in HIS abilities.  When He does not solve your problems, it means that He believes in your abilities.
- by George Doorman uncle of Leo Schofield

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why writers drink: Life is a Grindstone

Life is given to us,
we earn it by giving it.
-Distilled from the letters written by Mark, Mathew, Lukas, John & Jozef

Always thinking, always drinking ~ Life is a Grindstone.  It will either wear you down or polish you up, depending on how tough you are. Is it an overly keen awareness of their own mortality that leads the hyperarticulate to the bottle? Hunger was constitutional with him,/wine, cigarettes, liquor and need need need Why writers drink

Every rejected and unpublished novelist harbors a secret and implausible fantasy: One day, not only will she (or he) be published, but the sleeping literary world will also awaken and recognize her (or his) genius and pile accolades and prizes upon her (or him) -rejected-47-times-irish-novelist-finally-wins-recognition

Behavior and blame. The idea of moral agency is under attack from sociology and biology. Yet finger-pointing endures, like any other guilty pleasure. The lack of freedom that would be entailed by a general causal determinism need not [rule out responsibility and blameworthiness]. Even if our attitudes and actions are fully explained by genetic and environmental factors, it is still true that we have these attitudes and that our actions express them.” Blame or blame worthiness is a troubling concept

Whether or not he was an apologist for violence, an enemy of virtue, Machiavelli knew that in politics, one should never confuse hope and reality What Machiavelli Knew

There is nothing the body suffers which the soul may not profit by.
~ George Meredith

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tribute to Creative Linda

"I'm not just retiring from the company, I'm also retiring from my stress, my commute, my alarm clock, and my iron."
~ Hartman Jule

After two decades of working for all Australians, we all owe Linda a tribute.

The journey is the reward. And what a soulful journey Linda had at different libraries and various strategic teams. The fruits of her labour will be useful for many agencies and in many jurisdictions. Bob Woodruff noted that there is no limit to what a man can achieve as long as he doesn't care who gets the credit. Linda was a silent achiever and was never afraid to share her ideas, stories, and good sense of humour... In retirement, every day is Boss Day and every day is Employee Appreciation Day.

When Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote about food, it was about metaphors and ideas. “Cooking is a language through which society reveals its structure” The Culinary Triangle

"I work harder now that I have retired from corporate life, than when I actually worked, but I love it."
~ Catherine Pulsifer

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Killing Fairfax with Digital Rivers of Gold

“Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman. Believing what he read made him mad.” - George Bernard Shaw

At least 13 if you counted the number of working journalists who turned up yesterday to the launch of a book, Killing Fairfax, which chronicles the demise of their employer. Mind you, the room was sprinkled with newsworthy businessmen, including media scions James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch, who helped Fairfax journalist Pamela Williams tell the story of how the once-proud media company lost its business to digital start-ups. Smell the smoke coming under the door ~~~ Journalists and editors Jennie Brockie, Leigh Sales, Kate McClymont, John Alexander, Amanda Wilson and Peter FitzSimons watched on as Fairfaxian Williams told the audience she felt both Murdoch and Packer were "trained to hunt from birth."

After all, these men have "primal vendettas built into their DNA". Google links

Your taste in art – Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh – far exceeds your budget. What to do? Call Susie Ray, master of the art of deception How easy is it to copy a famous painting?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lightning Strikes Everyday to Bhangra Beat

There is a correlation with Slavic folk dance tradition and Indian folk dance tradition.
Dance is believed to have the power to end wars and make women fertile. Tatranka goral folk dance had a higher purpose than just entertainment. These traditions, like all art forms, have their functions. It is not mere dance. It is not mere play. It has a function in the society. These folk dances serve purposes beyond the performance itself. They are to placate the gods of nature to make the crops grow and animals healthy. Epidemics like smallpox were eradicated by dance performances.
"They were used for eradicating bad spirits and resolving disputes between groups. Fragile communities conserve their heritage through rituals, folk arts, crafts and performance that are passed on from one generation to the next

A Bollywood film is a combination of singing, dancing, fights, hardcore action and kissing sequences — it has everything ... Shakespeare might have called this Much Ado About Nothing Except the Dance. Every few minutes a group of brightly dressed dancers emerges from over a hill behind a tent to rock us to that bhangra beat "I no make him roti so he eat an onion" ~~~ How does one even begin to describe "Benny Lava phenomenon" when it is hard to even comprehend it Antipodeans, Amerikans even Europeans go crazy for Vennila AKA Benny Lava

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Underdogs in Books & Life

This blog has been secretly written by J. K. Rowling(over) ~ JKR asks: "Does anyone speak as beautifully about writing as Stephen King and Dr Cope?" (Ach and happy secret birthday ...) King of Kings: Who doesn’t love to read Stephen King talking about writing?

The opening shot of Star Wars: a small rebel spaceship passes overhead, pursued, a few moments later, by Darth Vader’s ‘Star Destroyer’, and – famously – the latter ship just keeps coming and coming. No words are spoken, but that first thirty-second shot gives us everything we need to know about the situation: the rebels are small and ill-equipped; the Iron Curtain Empire is huge and terrifying. What’s more, this vast disparity in scale humanises what could otherwise be a rather cold and mechanical spectacle, and before a single character appears on screen, we already know which side we’re on The Tortoise and the Hare ~ Media Dragon could do worse than to get writing advice from the likes of these very successful scribes

Some bookstores are so great, they are worth a roadtrip to see them ...

The entire basis of espionage is trust. Spying could not exist without it. If such trust is imperfect or not quite complete, then it is like all other varieties of trust. Ask yourself—do you, does anyone trust absolutely his spouse, his doctor, his lawyer, his best friend, his employee, his mother? Trust is selective. In practice, the agent trusts his case officer to protect him, to keep secrets that are a threat to his life and the lives of his entire family. . . . In return the case officer trusts the agent not to set him up for capture, torture, imprisonment, and perhaps death. . . . Within an intelligence service, colleagues may dislike one another and often do, but they trust one another absolutely. It is part of the contract, part of the mystique. It is the indispensable element. Its perversion makes treason possible and all but undetectable among professional spies, but when uncorrupted it is the code that drives the system.
Bookshops at KGB And Stasi and bezpesnost

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Warriors United by generosity charity and spirit of service

Few of us - especially of the younger generation - know that the spirit of Anzac Day, which has such solemn significance to New Zealanders and Australians, has a deep Sikh connection. Senator Bob Carr highlited this connection tonight at the Sikh gathering at Castle Hill. He recalled how one Sikh invaded Matraville in 1974 and how attitudes to foreigners changed ... A Decade of Service ~ National Body of Sikhs

In peace-time the Sikhs are difficult men to command : but put them in a hot corner, and they live up to their title of Singh, which means lion Remember Them

Friday, July 19, 2013

Healing Power of Written Word

'Art doesn’t do well in the dark. But that’s where we’ve put it'
~ "In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself--that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle." (H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy) Gabbie's mentor at 16th Street ~ Geoffrey Rush

Sure, it sounds cheesy, but there is more and more evidence of the extraordinary healing power of writing things do. Write about your most profound fears, your feelings of loneliness, of regret and grief. Then hide it somewhere where nobody will ever find it, don't tell a soul, and we'll all carry on making cynical wisecracks on Twitter like it never even happened Why you really should keep a journal ~ A controversial Harper's essay about the waning relevance of poetry is just the latest in a long history of similar writings—whose authors share a few particular characteristics. Literature for Dead

Fiction, but memoir. Here you know Motive and act who made them so. Life falls in scenes; its tragedies Close in contrived catastrophes. Much is evasion. Some years pass With Some years later. In this glass Reflection sees reflection’s smile And self-engrossment is good style. Fiction is fiction: its one theme Is its allegiance to its scheme. Memoir is memoir: there your heart Awaits the judgment of your art. But memoir in fictitious guise Is telling
truth by telling lies

Australia is making some great films from The Sapphires to The Rocket to Satellite Boy. So why aren't aren't audiences watching more of them – at home and abroad? Why don't we watch more Australian films?

History of Australia over the last 50,000 years

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Difficult Focuses

“When everything is easy one quickly gets stupid.”
― Maxim Gorky {a quote I came across on a train to tatarari of new castles}

In such a short time, Mrs. Fischer and I had achieved a degree of friendship that allowed periods of silence without awkwardness. I felt comfortable with her. I was reasonably sure that she would never shoot me or stab me, or set me on fire, or throw acid in my face, or lock me in a room with a hungry crocodile, or dump me in a lake after chaining me to two dead men. Such confidence in a new acquaintance is more rare these days than it once was. Deeply Odd: TAXING TIMES

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

PressThink - Jay Rosen

PressThink, the blog, is primarily about about the legitimation of the modern press, meaning: the various justifications for it, and how they match up with actual practice– or don’t. I take these ideas seriously. I think journalists should too A few principles for how I operate as a critic

For a people to resist tyranny, they must think of themselves as a people. Thus Stalin regarded free association as a greater threat than free enterprise When Evil Was a Social System The moral burdens of living under communist rule in Eastern Europe

Benjamin Disraeli: Politician of wit and principle, or “a bizarre, overdressed, bankrupt novelist who liked the sound of his own voice”? Both, perhaps Disraeli, by Douglas Hurd; The Great Rivalry, by Dick Leonard - review

Want to Learn How to Think? Read Fiction ~ There’s no antidote to black-or-white thinking like reading “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Monday, July 15, 2013

The safest memories are those you never remember

Who ruined the humanities? The academy, says Lee Siegel. Literature belongs to the world of lived experience, not the college classroom Critics of Humanities

A writer--and, I believe, generally all persons--must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art."
Jorge Luis Borges, Twenty Conversations with Borges"

A lot of people believed in Australia for 1,000 years before its discovery. There had to be a commensurate weight – somewhere Down Under – to counter the northern land mass; an “unknown Southland” which was crucial to maintaining the balance of the world. To confuse matters, the continent was dubbed La Australia del Espiritu Santo – in honour of the House of Austria Literary guide to Australia
Aussie restaurateur, Paul Mathis has invented a new letter of the alphabet to replace the word "the" because he thinks it is more efficient Ze Kold Riva

Memories are not stamped on the brain. They are, in fact, malleable, rebuilt when recalled. Proust, it turns out, was no neuroscientist... The safest memories are those you never remember ~ On Writing in Books
What do the names Jimi Hendrix, Sylvia Plath, and Terry Fox have in common? Two notable commonalities for which they are all remembered – bright, burning passion, and the fact that they died too young Those who died young … ~ Five Literary Magazines That Restore My Faith in Publishing ~ stories are good for you ~ Life's Too Short... What Makes You Put Down a Book?

And I wish desperately for qualities
Moments like this demand, and which I lack.
Philip Larkin, "The Dance" (courtesy of John Podhoretz)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Many Happy Returns Christopher Lidka Steve ...

Anyone entrusted with power will abuse it if not also animated with the love of truth and virtue, no matter whether he be a prince, or one of the people.
— Jean de la Fontaine, born on this date in 1621

All my birthday boys and girls are kind ;-) ~ We can tell our children that there is no Big Bad Wolf, but we can’t assure them that they won’t be prevented from reaching their goals by an unseen bureaucracy intent upon burying them in paperwork Kafka for four months old Lamars

While many read fiction stories simply for pleasure, a recently released study by two psychologists found that immersive literature can affect the behavior of those who identify strongly with central characters. This can cause readers to reflect the strong qualities of main characters in their own lives, according to lead researcher Geoff Kaufman, a post-doctoral researcher at the College’s Tiltfactor Laboratories. How literature affects behaviour

Another of the books most likely to be left unfinished, E.L. James' erotic romance "Fifty Shades of Grey," was a bestseller that didn't turn everyone on. "I am embarrassed for all of us," one reader commented What makes you stop reading a book?

Hemingway was right when he said, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” Hemingway was wrong when he continued, “If you read it you must stop where the Nigger Jim is stolen from the boys. That is the real end. The rest is just cheating.” For if we stop where Hemingway instructs, we may read the actual wish of many whites – that someone else would take their “black problem” or their “Indian problem” or their “immigrant problem” away – but we miss Twain’s most important critique: White men like Tom Sawyer will forever manipulate the Huck Finns of the world

Financial Terms Every Serious Blogger Should Know

James Gandolfini Will a Tax 'Disaster,' tax professor covers sooo many serious and curious tax matters - even the sopranos

Who knew that blogging would someday become a legitimate career choice? And that a blog could be classified as a real business? Ten years ago, blogging was considered something cat lovers did in their spare time, and now it’s a bonafide business venture Tax Treatment of Bloggers and Media Dragons

Odd IRS Registration plates - blogged by tax professor

The ability to publish inexpensively, and to reach potentially millions of people in seconds, has made it possible for people who’d never be able to — or even want to — be hired by the institutional press to nonetheless publish and influence the world, much like 18th century pamphleteers.
Durbin brings to mind something Mark Twain said: "Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself." Who is a journalist?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Oddest Divide: why history repeats itself

Stephen King warned that the widening wealth gap and sense of “entitlement” between older generations and cash-strapped youths had echoes of the conditions which led to the 1381 uprising of British peasants against the aristocrats who ruled them Europe’s rich 'could face uprising similar to Peasants' Revolt'

Figures show the number of Newstart recipients increased by almost 19 per cent - to 685,000 people - in the year to May Poor falling through the gaps in our rich and lucky country

Even now it amazes and annoys me: that until the moment Art Cooper told me to write the fucking story, it had never even occurred to me to use in my published work the voice in which I had been speaking to myself for years. That is, it hadn’t occurred to me to publish work…in my own voice. How stupid is that? All this is to say that this story, or rather the editorial injunction that birthed it, taught me that a vivid writing voice is less a matter of talent—far less—than license.My Body Stopped Speaking to Me

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Blackbirding: yesterday's offshoring model today and tomorrow

FINANCE professionals face a nervous end to the financial year as employers eye offshoring roles and greater use of technology to boost productivity, as a raft of major companies step up their focus on costs amid soft activity Offshoring Watch

I am one of the nearly one in five people under the age of 25 who are unemployed in Australia. I'm 24 years old, have two university degrees and have been on Centrelink payments for six months. I am classed as a job-seeker and having just reached my six-month threshold, I have to undertake a skills test that Centrelink believes will help me gain employment Pass it on: give Gen Y more than a foot in the door

Telstra axes jobs in offshoring drive We’re expecting to move those 170 roles across [to India)
IBM Australia is in the midst of axing up to 1500 Australian staff in a reshuffle that will send many jobs offshore to Asia and New Zealand, according to sources IBM

ANOTHER day, another how many hundred jobs to go?
IBM is reportedly letting go 1500 or so people from its Australian operation, shifting jobs to cheaper offshore locations. Rio Tinto is shedding hundreds of jobs from its Western Australian iron ore mines. The ANZ bank says about 600 jobs are going offshore to help it keep its profits up. We already knew that General Motors was cutting more than 1000 jobs, and now it's started leaning on its remaining staff to take a pay cut and on the government to pay more protection money. Falling into the unknown abyss

Australian economist Martin Feil was most damning when he said offshoring was “just another form of blackbirding”, placing foreign workers into a form of slavery. By off shoring, Australian bosses don’t have to worry about foreign workers’ “holidays, sick leave, occupational health and safety, overtime rates ... or superannuation”. Offshoring is a hermaphroditic word. It doesn't really describe one thing or another. What it means is transferring jobs from Australia to countries that have lower labour costs than Australian wage rates. This is regarded as a big productivity gain for firms as it reduces their costs and increases their profits. blackbirding

As recently reported, the Royal Bank of Canada has brought in 20 workers from India to learn part of the bank’s information-technology system. Once trained, these workers will help relocate 45 current positions to an “RBC offshore development centre” in Bangalore The biggest downside to sending jobs offshore is the loss of opportunities for unemployed Canadians

Monday, July 08, 2013

Group from Darling Point

"If we seriously contemplate life it appears an agony too great to be supported, but for the most part our minds gloss such things over & until the ice finally lets us through we skate about merrily enough. Most people, I'm convinced, don't think about life at all. They grab what they think they want and the subsequent consequences keep them busy in an endless chain till they're carried out feet first."
Philip Larkin, letter to J.B. Sutton, Oct. 30, 1949

The Darling Group met again at the Xenos and we solved the world emerging matters of concerns even made a historical reference to Swift and good catholic boys who drown their fear of death in Reschs Pilsener ... Even days of the bear pit were recalled and quotes along these lines: 'In our secular age, biographers rarely give a person's spiritual life the attention it deserves ...

Where was the freckled boy who used to peek / into the front-hall mirror, off to school?”
“I am badly oppressed by a gnawing sense of waste. I had real plans for my next decade and felt I’d worked hard enough to earn it. Will I really not live to see my children married? To watch the World Trade Center rise again? . . . But I understand this sort of nonthinking for what it is: sentimentality and self-pity.”
"A partnership with men in power is never safe."
Phaedrus, Fables

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Baffling Case of Why Gabbie still and always wants waking

“Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed? Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts? Can the writer renew our hope for literary forms? Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so that we may feel again their majesty and power? What do we ever know that is higher than that power which, from time to time, seizes our lives, and reveals us startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down here bewildered? Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love? We still and always want waking.”
- Annie Dillard - courtesy of literary agent who was bewildered by Cold River :-) Nicole Aragi

The Melbournean Gabbie invaded sydney circa 7 /7 / Google and Media Dragon honour Franz Kafka’s 130th birthday with a doodle. Kafka's hrobak is part of gabbie's ancestry :-) (Czech out chapter 1)

Shakespeare is part of the air Gabbie breathes and allegedly in New York and LA there are many theatre companies which attract authors and actresses from all over the world.

The conversation about immigration reform centers on all the people who want to come to the U.S. But the flow of migrants in and out of the country has changed markedly over the past decade Why So Many Americans Are Leaving the U.S.—in 1 Big Chart
An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.( — Jean Cocteau)

The ‘border security’ provisions of the new immigration bill solve a problem that isn’t. Amerika's Iron Curtain

Never trust an atom. They make up everything... Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French café, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress: “I’d like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream.” The waitress replies: “I’m sorry, Monsieur, but we’re out of cream. How about with no milk?” Bohemian humour
Joshua Cohen on Sam Byers’ Idiopathy: ““Take it or leave it” — the only catch phrase for dark literature, and dark life.”

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Naughty Present Tense

There is no denying its resonance, but I must confess that I have never understood L.P. Hartley’s contention that "the past is a foreign country." For me, what is foreign is the present; the past is poignantly familiar, a land where everything that was ever lost continues undiminished in a perpetual July of deep lanes shuttered with branches and little owls hunting in pairs along a hedge—and anything true or exact that happens now is immediately absorbed into the fabric of that eternal summer.  Present is a Foreign Country

Monday, July 01, 2013

The Power of Revision: Orwell from Howell

"Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."
George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

The power of revision. What we write depends on how we write. Our modern faith in rewriting – again and again – began with the typewriter... The power of revision Revising your writing again? blame the cold river
The disconnect between our perception of reality and reality itself leads to errors, which have had a salutary effect on the history of ideas. Why It's Good To Be Wrong

Go to a bookstore (if you can find one), head to the unnamed section holding novelty books – lists, quotations, books about books – and behold the future of hot war World is Right About This Orwellean Story

“Republican literary writers are in my experience as rare as ski bums in my grandmother's mountains In Pihov where I skied with selected friends ;-)

Weekend in a nutshell: crazy aRt sales at Darlinghurst ...

Jen Jen, Kevin and other ecclectics such as Malchkeon were spilling out the doors and some bidders had to wave paddles high above their heads to be seen by the auctioneer, as more than 500 people turned out for the final dispersal of Margaret Olley's distinctive bric-a-brac and domestic artworks at the National Art School in Sydney yesterday. Olleymania

Rain takes toll not just in the wallets as basic bamboo green chair bought by Margaret at Mitchell road antiques for $60 sold at action on Sunday for $5000 - only rich Nude Zilanders could be the highest bidders Harris park landslide caused by Sikh dancing at Viki's 21st birthday party ~ Billu family was Born to party