Friday, September 27, 2013

Digital Crowns

In the immortal words of James Burnham, "If there's no alternative, there's no problem."

This short essay describes the mechanisms by which cryptocurrencies—a subcategory of virtual currencies—could replace tax havens as the weapon-of-choice for tax-evaders Digital Crowns

You’ve no doubt all heard the story from PWC of the Australian King of the Cross, Abel Safron and Al Capone, the notorious American mob personality that was finally caught because of tax evasion. He coined the audacious statement, "the government can’t collect taxes on illegal money." And whether you’re involved in organized crime or not, there’s nothing surprising about cheating on your taxes. If you’ve ever worked a job that’s mostly tip-based, for example, you’ve probably done it. But you’d better believe that some of the richest and most ethically turned people have been caught red-handed cheating on their taxes. And here they are. 10 Most Surprising People Caught Cheating On Their Taxes

Law School in Six Words

HemingwayInspired by the tale that Ernest Hemingway won a bet that he couldn't write a story in six words by scribbling on a napkin:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog recounts Marquette Legal Writing Professor Lisa Mazzie's challenge to her students to describe law school in six words. My favorites:
For sale: law degree, no promises.
1L: scared; 2L: burnt; 3L: done.
Law school: my personal debt crisis.
Don’t outsource, let our lawyers work.
"But I’m tenured!’ the professor replied.
My professor is rich. I'm not.

Stories We Tell By Taxing Officers

"Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die."
~Stories We Tell From Film Maker's Heart

“There is only one way: Go within. Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids you write. Put it to this test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write? Above all, in the most silent hour of your night, ask yourself this: Must I write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, “I must,” then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity. Your life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, must become a sign, a testimony to this urge.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 A British newspaper wants to take its aggressive investigations global, but money is running out. Guardians of Freedom

Certain lunch a lotters after a beer or two have a gift for telling stories – stories that mislead, stories that lack evidence and logic, stories that offer no real insight. “It’s a novel to be savored for the way it pries open the ordinariness of everyday life and finds within that banality the joys of being alive... Novels entertain and instruct, but can they mend a broken leg, lift a depression, reverse a reputation of a characters like Stark? On the promise of bibliotherapy... Cold river cured many insomiacs

Against Bardology. TheShakespeare studiesindustry is continues to boom. But is there anything new, true, and important to say Nosing Nu under Ze Son

Berlin in the '20s: Brecht, Dietrich, Dada, Auden, sex, violence, human worthlessness. It was all grist for George Grzosz...Art Deco of Mittleurope

Boethius in a cell, Rousseau in the forest, Wittgenstein in a hut. Quiet is good and necessary. But even solitary geniuses need an audience...Jozef Imrich in a bear pit

Making a living is nothing; the great difficulty is making a point, making a difference—with words Lee Siegel has put down his hatchet and taken a turn toward the self-serious, from worrying about literary mediocrity to fretting about mortality... The dense criticism ~ False Positives

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chi Chi Bella her Bohemian World of Oysters & Stars

"Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice."
~ Samuel Johnson (quoted in James Boswell, Life of Johnson)

Gabbie has a truckload of courage and her mate Gordon is the Star ;-) Lessons Learned at Film Club - courtesy of Sweet 16 Street! 

Please let me address a misperception. ‘Fight Club’ was a huge failure. Most of the hardcovers were going to be pulped. They were unsold when the movie opened… and then the movie was a flop. It has taken years ( decades ) for the story to build an audience. What’s amazing is that it still resonates for young readers; it’s never become dated. ( he shakes his head in disbelief ) Like Cold River Fight Club Was a huge Failure ;-) 

 The Wall Street Journal previews "New York's taste makers" were asked to talk about what they were most looking forward to reading, hearing, and seeing Gabriella's Culture Vulture in New York Nu Jork

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Literary Motherhood

"Nothing human is alien to the pen of a novelist. And when we read, nothing human is alien to us either.” 
—Julia Alvarez 

You once said that Hitler and Stalin were your travel agents. Does that mean that you have to thank them both for what you have become?
I’ve been racking my brains about that this very night, Miss.
And what about God?
I thank God there is no God to see what we’ve done to the world.
What about the devil?
I saw him yesterday on TV kissing babies and grinning ear to ear.
You are not making any sense, Mister, she says to me. How is it possible to believe in the Devil and not in God and then go around crossing yourself from time to time?
I agree with you Miss, I tell her. Making the sign of the cross must be an inherited habit with me, since I come from a long line of village priests.
~ Antipodean Bohemian In Conversation with Cold River 

František Vláčil’s Marketa Lazarová (1967) is a virtual terra incognita. Thirty years after its release, it was named overwhelmingly by a poll of Czech critics and filmmakers as the best movie ever produced in Czechoslovakia, yet it remains little known outside its native land. Even as national epics go, Marketa Lazarová is unusually off-putting to outsiders. Violent and anti-heroic, the movie opens on a note of mordant self-deprecation (“This tale was cobbled together and hardly merits praise”) and goes on to represent thirteenth-century Bohemia as a backwater of Conan the Barbarian’s Hyperborean Age—the province of halfwits, rapists, and brutes. Third Prague Spring
Now is the time for all good men to fail. Good women, too. Fail early and often, and don’t be shy about admitting it. Failing isn’t shameful; it’s not even failure. Such is the message of a growing body of self-help and leadership literature. “Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them?” asks the Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, in which she argues that a willingness to court failure can be a precursor to growth. Dweck holds, persuasively, that successful people are not the ones who cultivate a veneer of perfection, but rather those who understand that failing is part of getting smarter and better. Losing is the New Winning

Elif Shafak presents the best of literary mothers The Mothers of Parliamentary Literature

“I don’t think any poetry is written that isn’t primarily written to the self, in a way… I’m always talking to myself. But I seem to want somebody else to listen to it. I need, I do want an audience. So it’s a strange thing. It’s a very private conversation that then, you make public, kind of like the starfish flipping its stomach out.”
— Kay Ryan 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Being Scared of Iron Curtains

"Be scared. You can't help that. But don't be afraid. Ain't nothing in the woods going to hurt you unless you corner it, or it smells that you are afraid. A bear or a deer, too, has got to be scared of a coward the same as a brave man has got to be."
~ William Faulkner, "The Bear"

At least one is never bored in hell, I kept reminding him, only in paradise. I’m what you may call a part-time pessimist. I could smell the evils to come as well as he could, but I tend to be of a cheerful temperament. I wake up most mornings full of hope. Still, I can’t deny that in the thirty years since we had these conversations, I’ve grown progressively more exasperated about our species and foresee a day when I will no longer be able to bring myself to read newspapers and watch television out of concern for my mental health. Already I have to ration myself. I give Tom Friedman sixty seconds; George Will thirty. Can one, perhaps, take a broad view and say that we end up by being the opposite of what we once were? I mean, was there ever a case of a young pessimist becoming an optimist in his old age? Not unless he lost a few marbles along the way.  Looking it in a Face

Most police officers take on the job because they want to serve and protect their communities. But there’s a lot of responsibility and power that comes with carrying a badge and gun. And sometimes, good cops turn bad. Very, very bad, especially in the movies. Spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen these films, we’re going to be revealing some key plots twists and endings for some of them, so read at your own risk. We just hope none of these films were based on true stories. Ten Most Corrupt Movie Cops  

Violence in literature is explored by acclaimed author, Jhumpa Lahiri. Bohemian Velvet

"Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry."
~ Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

Friday, September 20, 2013


'Tis pleasant, sure, to see one's name in print;
 A book's a book, although there's nothing in't.
~ Lord Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers

A schoolboy treats a lady to dinner in a restaurant. He has only one rouble, twenty kopecks. The bill comes to four roubles thirty kopecks. He has no money and begins to cry. The proprietor boxes his ears. He was talking to the lady about Abyssinia. This is one of the eIght images from Anton  Chekhov and his note books on CNS

The Premier, himself a former journalist, is without doubt one of the most skilled media managers ever to occupy public office in this country MEdia rules in the court of Carr

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Random quotes of good & evil

"When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me."
- W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

What use is poetry? None. Poetry, as poetry, is pointless. Whatever import it has is due to what it says, not what it is... Bohemian Life is Taxing

 “Some say that a twist is most effective when the reader figures it out a split second before the author reveals it. But Lahiri shows that a twist can be even more devastating when you’ve been afraid that it might happen all along.”  When you hear that a novel features a ”twist,” you might imagine a big reveal: A man you thought was dead is alive, or he’s actually a woman Badges of stories 

Rae Earl makes a case for burning personal diaries.Cold River is Burning

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Burke, right? Wrong. But good luck tracking the source... John Hatton's quote

Horror writing gives the Devil his due.  Are the people clutching their wounds in pain real? Not to Evil. Evil assumes other people are as fake as It is.  Why is it so hard to hold Evil accountable? Because Evil’s damn good at playing the victim. Ain’t no party like a pity party cause a pity party don’t stop. 666

Koren Zailckas makes her picks for The 11 Most Evil Characters in Books - Evil comes to us in human form, and the image it first puts forth is reasonable, even charismatic. Evil arrives to the job interview with a killer resume and big talk about improving profits. It shows up to the first date with a fistful of flowers and a magnetic smile, holding open doors and saying what it senses you most want to hear. We are 333

… while The Washington Post offers up its own selections. The Men from the Cold River

“You write in order to change the world … if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change"

―James Baldwin

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Daily Bread & Jay Rosen

There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.~ Walter Lippmann, American journalist, 1889-1974

PressThink is ten years old. To celebrate I’m asking its readers to de-lurk. Want to play?In Internet years, the blog by Jay Rosen is about a thousand years old

How paperwork validates power

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be.”
― George Carlin
“When you’re a historian, you really oughtn’t to be knocking on the doors of power; your job is to keep the powerful gawake at night.”
~Simon Schama
Society has the right to ask all public agents to give an accounting of their administration? Governmental accountability was henceforth to be “recognized as an inalienable, individual right [and was to become] the foundation of representative government.”
From a lesser-known early work of Marx concerning a dispute between the Prussian tax authorities and winemakers of the Mosel region—a dispute that was to generate innumerable notes, dossiers, and reports, but no just resolution of the winemakers’ claims—Kafka educes a theory of the praxis of paperwork. Here, we have Karl Marx as media theorist, propounding a conception of paperwork as “a refractive medium [in which] power and knowledge inevitably change their speed and shape when they enter it.” In its unpredictability, paperwork “accelerates and decelerates power [and] syncopates its rhythms, disrupts its cycles, which is why paperwork always seems to be either overdue or underdone.” How paperwork validates power—and obscures meaning
“There are in fact no masses; there are only ways of seeing people as masses.” A science of ourselves. In 1930s Britain, amateur anthropologists researched “beards, armpits, and eyebrows” and the “shouts and gestures of motorists” A science of ourselves
Some poems were like drawings, he used to say, gesturing with a quick downward zigzagging stroke of the pen, and some were like paintings. You were lucky if the poem came quickly, all in one piece. He would often quote Frost, from “The Figure a Poem Makes”: “like a piece of ice from the Cold River on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting.”
We are all storytellers and story-attentive beings. Otherwise we would never be loved or have a country or a religion. How to be a Witness and To Write

Tom Stoppard's evergreen comic masterpiece

"The critical task is necessarily comparative, and younger people do not truly know what is new."
Pauline Kael, "Trash, Art and the Movies" (quote for Gabbie in New York New York ;-)

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, pretty much everyone ends up dead - including the courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
In Tom Stoppard's evergreen comic masterpiece, the hapless pair's last days are chronicled; days largely spent trying to make sense of their interactions with other characters as the epic Hamlet unspools just off stage. In the hands of director Simon Phillips, the wit and playfulness of Stoppard's writing will be front and centre.

Tom Stoppard's much-loved play explores the Shakespearian and Beckettian vision of the life we experience as endless play alongside Cold War River and Strangers Dining Rooms in the Taxing Sydney Harbour...

If actors need an audience to make their existence meaningful, as The Player suggests they do in this bohemian play, then it must be a very happy and fulfilled bunch of actors treading the boards at the Sydney Theatre Company.  Tim Minchin and Toby Schmitz impressed even the Chinese guy who had series of micro sleeps on his way to the abyss of death Unstoppable Guildenstern

"'Tis said that courage is common, but the immense esteem in which it is held proves it to be rare."
Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Courage"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

― Charles Bukowski

Yiyun Li on Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens: “The book seems to ask: Is there ever an unselfish revolutionary? Dazzled by their own heroic egos, these characters don’t see they are but small players in a larger game called history.” Dissident  Rivers 
 I say almost because “Dissident Gardens” is, in the end, a genre-bender after all: a fairy tale retold through the looking glass. Cicero, an Alice in disguise, is led by Rose the Red Queen to a successful coronation. “But how can you talk with a person if they always say the same thing?” Queen Alice asks in Lewis Carroll’s classic. King Cicero doesn’t ask, because he doesn’t expect people on either side of any disagreement to have anything new to say. Is that a pessimistic view of America, where the real conversation — about race, about class, about the country and its politics — remains to be held?

Wishes & Desires

"Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure."
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night

The master novelist discusses spooks, the ‘secret world’, Edward Snowden and Syria with his neighbour Philippe Sands Best Writer in the world Conversations with John le Carré
Storytelling and sex. For our ancestors in the Pleistocene, the ability to craft narratives wasn’t just charming; it was key to survival... Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines illustrates this on two tiers: In armchair-travel fashion, the book acquaints readers with the Australian Outback, while simultaneously describing how Aboriginals sang stories walking at a specific pace so that geographical markers within the story would guide their journey.  Storytelling

Perhaps the best way to try to get through Kerouac’s poems is to approach them not as literary texts but as private ramblings of the sort you might find in the files of a psych ward. Making one’s way through them, one gradually discerns Kerouac’s preoccupations, but a voyeuristicfrisson is not the same as an aesthetic experience. Herewith, selected purely at random, one of Kerouac’s creations in its entirety:
Walking on Water
Nothing Ever Happened
Not Ever Happening
True Story
Old Story
New Story
Old & New
Holy Cow
Holy Cats
To The Feast
Story Book
Story Words
"Anyway, It Happened”
Nothing Happened
Everybody Invited.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Almost Maybe Living on Borrowed Time

"If the world were clear, art would not exist."
Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

For the makers of Borrowed Time, the answer lay in going it alone. Convinced there was a potential cinema audience for their film, they resolved to raise the cash for distribution through crowdfunding website Kickstarter, which launched in the UK in October 2012. They figured that if people really did want to see the film, they might be willing to pay up front. 

“What attracted us to it was being able to raise the budget but also you’re really building your audience when you do it,” says Kaempfer, who also ran a social media campaign. “The whole concept of Kickstarter is a sense of involvement. People back the project but they also buy into the story. They become part of the story and it can have a happy ending or an unhappy ending.” Battle of screens

No society that loved its children would divorce them so completely from contact with soils, forests, streams, and wildlife. No society that loved its children would create places like the typical suburb or shopping mall. No society that loved its children would casually  destroy real neighborhoods and communities in order to build even more highways... No society that loved its children would build more shopping malls than high schools. No society that loved its children would leave behind a legacy of ugliness... Loving Children: A Design Problem

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Time Makes The Wool & Copper Grow Fonder… Happy Wedding Anniversary

"[T]o actually make art we have to turn it all off and walk away, let it bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 33 and 1/3 minutes. When we return, it’s like magic or it’s a total failure."
`Matt Hart

Freesia. Copper or Wool. Copper has long had a traditional meaning of prosperity, good luck, and good fortune. Couples who celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary can indeed celebrate their good fortune in finding one another. The Old Testament has a passage (Proverbs 31) describing wives of noble character as women who select wool and spin yarns with eager hands.

Clea Simon reviews John Dufresne's No Regrets, Coyote, which "touches on issues of life, death, family, and the craziness of those living on the edge..."

In poetry, David Yezzi honors these “extraordinary creatures,” walking mysteries, and gives them a voice. In Robinson’s title essay, she writes: “It may be mere historical conditioning, but when I see a man or woman alone, he or she looks mysterious to me, which is only to say that for a moment I see another human being clearly.”

Esolen reminds us of Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead (2004) and her most recent book, the essay collection When I Was a Child I Read Books (2012), and of the vulgarization of higher education. He writes:
“Whenever we meet a human being, then, we meet that extraordinary creature who can think of time past and time to come, and times that never were. We meet one whose next thought rarely has to do with food or the act of sex but with shaking a bough of wet leaves to see the drops spatter and splash, or with a jest to cap the jest of a friend as they sit on a shady porch, or with one who walks down to the quiet graveyard to place a vase of flowers at her mother’s headstone, to stand awhile there, and say a prayer, and think of her while the cardinals whistle their love calls from the trees.”

From superhero movies to techy sitcoms to captains of industry, geeks have been running the show for years. But now that 'geek chic' is in the dictionary, and Topshop is selling 'dork' T-shirts, what is the future for nerd culture? how the outsiders won

Why, in the end, do we read memoir? What’s in it for us – these stories about someone else, these hundreds of pages of adversity and self-discovery, triumph and tarnish and gleam? The Signifying Life: In Praise of the Outward-Looking Memoir

Why have't I seen this before? Communist last supper

I believe that my observations have always led me to find that the so-called realist moves about the world with a closed mind, ringed as it were with concrete and cement, and that the so-called romantic is like an unfenced garden in and out of which truth can wander at will.
— Joseph Roth, born on this date in l894

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Must We?

"Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy."
F. Scott Fitzgerald, notebook entry

Farewell, hatchet jobs. The literary world has become too small, too interconnected, too beleaguered for stinging reviews. What a shame... Cold River Warm Reviews
Are today’s writers biography-worthy? Orwell and Waugh, for instance, did things. Now writers get degrees and become professors The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters
Orwell underestimated how bad it could get, according to Tom Engelhardt Not even the author of "1984" could have envisioned a world dominated by a single superpower

It reminded this viewer of a Tandberg cartoon after the 1984 election in which a beaming, champagne-quaffing Andrew Peacock is told: “Congratulations Andrew! They said you couldn't win and you didn't!” Election coverage a circus, with ringmaster Kerry O'Brien saving a surprise for the end
~ Google on 

“Too clever is dumb.”
― Ogden Nash

Friday, September 06, 2013

Barking Up the Tree

“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where's the self-help section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.”
― George Carlin

I have worked with some sensational people in my lifetime. (Dr Cope, Patricia Azarias, MV) It seemed less important when I was young and focused on carving out, but it is clear to me now. None of us is as strong as all of us. Creating and maintaining formidable teams is an art. It was this article from the Barking Up the Tree blog that provoked me to ponder the best teams I have worked in and what made us such a creative force...MON of Dream Teams

The challenge for magazines, as with all media, is to tell stories that people care about; to become part of an unfolding narrative that connects across media and into lives in unique ways. Great stories command premiums and the magazines that succeed will be ideas factories assembling design, images and content in ways that people love:
All Ranks Are Local: Why Humans Are Both (Painfully) Aware and (Surprisingly) Unaware of Their Lot in Life Psychological Inquiry: An International Journal for the Advancement of Psychological Theory, June 2013.  People are unaware of the shape of the distribution of outcomes and their specific rank in that overall distribution, yet when made aware of their local rank, their preferences and behaviour can shift dramatically All Ranks Are Local: Why Humans Are Both (Painfully) Aware and (Surprisingly) Unaware of Their Lot in Life

“I don't like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: "Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, 'There is no "I" in team.' What you should tell them is, 'Maybe not. But there is an "I" in independence, individuality and integrity.'" Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, "We're the So-and-Sos," take a walk. And if, somehow, you must join, if it's unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don't participate; it will be your death. And if they tell you you're not a team player, congratulate them on being observant.”
― George Carlin with conversation with Jozef Imrich Jan 1997 - 20th anniversary of the Charter 1977

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Six Lesser-Known "Golden Ages" of Media Dragons, 2002 – 2013

I can’t raid my past for raw material because my past is so dull, so I have to make it all up.
-Jim Crace

Six Lesser-Known "Golden Ages" of Media, 1991 – 2005
I just finished reading Spontaneous Mind, a book of interviews with Ginsberg. (From the sixties:”Be kind to cops; they’re not cops, they’re people in disguise who’ve been deceived by their own disguise.”)
Do you hate it when your friends, co-workers and office enemies become successful? Then be careful where you work. What outfits like PostBourgie have done—it is now too late to stop the Grape Drink Mafia!—is gather together a super-smart (or sometimes just super-aggressive) group of people that will go on to success and perhaps even dominance in media. (You could say something similar about n+1, but they're all basically unemployed novelists, and there weren't that many of them anyway. What about The New Inquiry? Well, only time will tell. Check back in later 2013.) s()x Degree I'd Separation

Who rules the language, rules the world. Orwell knew that - First the Saturday People,” runs an Islamic slogan, “then the Sunday People”: first we’ll deal with the Jews, then move on to the Christians.) Slogans

According to Residents of strong Snowtown and some legends who suggest that wisdom and humility go hand in hand. One cannot learn, they say, but by one’s own mistakes – and one cannot learn by one’s mistakes if one isn’t willing to listen when one’s mistakes are pointed out to one. You’re Only As Good As Your Last Prolonged Period Of Self-Loathing

“Sometimes, on darker days, it seems that my job as an editor comprises little more than hacking away at the Gormenghast-like tangle of poorly crafted words in order to admit sunlight for the few well-composed ones that are left,” Robinson wrote. “An editor friend told me she felt much of her working life had been spent 'spinning straw into brass.'" Admitting Sunlight