Friday, November 29, 2013

Secrets of the masters

‘If corruption is a disease, then transparency is a central part of its treatment.'
~Version of John Hatton as sunlight is the best disinfectant ...

Not even in the most extreme conspiracy theory would we have imagined, before these investigations, how wide and how deeply entrenched and those corrupt networks were.

 The Global Muckraker : ‘The biggest criminals write laws that make their crimes legal’Digging into the law firm’s connections and legal reports, we found out that it was managing contracts for Alcatel, the massive French telecommunications company. Later it was proved that the law firm paid most of the bribes to public officials in order to get mobile contracts for Alcatel from the then-public monopoly of the telecommunications company,ICE. The officials who got payments included Costa Rica’s former president Miguel Angel Rodríguez. Secret of the masters

Pay-it-forward vs. Pay-what-you-want Pay-it-forward is a pricing scheme in which patrons are told that a previous customer has paid for them. The new customer then gets the opportunity to pay for someone else. Such random acts of kindness have been reported at toll bridges, coffee shops and drive-thru restaurants, and they drive the business of Berkeley's Karma Kitchen. Greater good

Film or Book

"The imagination says listen to me. I am your darkest voice. I am your 4 a.m. voice. I am the voice that wakes you up and says this is what I'm afraid of. Do not listen to me at your peril."
~John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation

What's The Better Storytelling Medium? Books Or Movies... "Films are great, but they just don't have the same...inclusion that books have. You're merely an observer: you aren't feeling everything the character feels, aren't reading every single one of their innermost thoughts, all of their doubts and fears and hopes." 

Nazism was a triumph not so much of the will as of modern sales techniques, especially film, Hitler’s favorite mediumfor swaying emotions... Adolf the Film maker

Weeks before Lolitaappeared, Dorothy Parker had a story in The New Yorker. It was about anolder man and a young woman. The title: “Lolita”... Slavic Mirror News

Forget the affairs, brawls, and political ambitions. Norman Mailer had one overriding concern: getting published...Getting into Dewey Classification System

Wild Walkeys

"Theater is essentially poetry. Film is essentially documentary, passively recording whatever data flow in front the camera. Is the enemy naturalism, which says if it looks authentic then it is authentic? For me, the very essence of theater is to reveal to the audience the invisible forces that shape and color and carbonate our lives. Write that on the blackboard a thousand times."
~John Guare, preface to Landscape of the Body

For the first time, the 2013 Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism include prizes for Multimedia Storytelling and Podcast (the latter within the broader Radio Documentary category).
The new categories represent a significant, if still cautious, embrace of the digital age by Australia’s premier journalism award-giving body. Their inclusion signals some recognition of all those are-they-or-are-they-not journalistic forms that we associate with the rise of the internet. Walkley awards recognise online journalism it is time-we all did

"The most valuable thing I have learnt from life is to regret nothing. Life is short, nature is hostile, and man is ridiculous; but oddly enough most misfortunes have their compensations, and with a certain humour and a good deal of horse-sense one can make a fairly good job of what is after all a matter of very small consequence."
~W. Somerset Maugham, The Narrow Corner

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


The Greeks believed that libraries were places of great healing, and that poetry and literature revealed deep spiritual truths. I still believe that today, that seeing alternatives played out in a novel can give you an idea of what to do in your own life, and that sometimes a made up story has more insight into heartbreak, despair, loss, frustration, and failure (and joy, and hope, and love) than any life coach-supplied affirmation or self-help to do list. Every other Wednesday, I will be answering questions about life's quandaries with a little bookish insight. This is an extension of my Kind Reader column, and you can find past entries at Book Lover

In almost every culture, there is a story or a myth of a young man who is sent by his family to infiltrate and destroy an enemy of some kind. A tyrannical king, a fearsome dragon, whatever. But when the son arrives, the king greets the warrior with wine and women, or the dragon lulls him to sleep with alluring songs. He enjoys himself so much, that over time, he forgets who he is, what his mission is, and the family he is supposed to be defending.  Bookslut at her best

"Fiction has always seemed more honest to me, ironically. I don’t see the world in terms of memoir, probably mostly because I’ve never read a lot of memoir. The memoirs I have enjoyed “read like fiction,” as the saying goes. I don’t really believe in a difference between novel and memoir—all narrative is invented, as far as I’m concerned—and see the distinctions as little more than marketing labels. The nonfiction label is a popular one. Passing the story off as a memoir would have perhaps made for an easier sell—even before writing much, since you can sell memoir with only an outline. But it just wouldn’t have been right for me. I wanted to be able to rearrange chronology, turn some characters into composites. I wanted to revise history. I wanted to invent characters’ perceptions. (All of this takes place in memoir, but we pretend it doesn’t, or apologize for it, if we admit to it.) If I’d edited out the more obviously invented parts, I wouldn’t have been able to tell a story that felt worth telling."
        ~via or BY Jessa

Uvda Hollywood Mitteleurope Israel & Spies

Latest spy game playing itself out in Hollywood or (Also known as Aka Media Dragon's Double life of Villawood ) 

More than 60 years after a congressional Committee on Un-American Activities held hearings aimed at rooting out communist spies from Hollywood, a Hollywood producer has proudly revealed his own clandestine efforts on behalf of Israel. Among the bohemian thespian community long rumored to be a real-life James Bond, the Hollywood producer behind box office hits including Fight Club, Pretty Woman and LA Confidential has spoken about his life as an Israeli secret agent and arms dealer, saying he was proud of working for his country.
Arnon Milchan gave a lengthy interview to the Israeli documentary programme Uvda, broadcast on Monday on Channel 2, confirming claims made earlier in an unauthorised biography that he worked for an Israeli agency that negotiated arms deals and supported Israel's secret nuclear weapons project. Milchan  Arnon Milchan, who was born in what is now Israel, gave an account to Israeli investigative programme Uvda. Innocence of Agriculture

As the last big unregulated industry, the art worldattracts pirates, rogues, eccentrics, bullies, and snobs. Ruling it all is the dealer-king... King of Deals

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kino/cinema is the best mirror: You are not alone. Other people suffer, too

“To bring our conversation full circle,” he goes on, “I’m trying to make movies like they used to make in the 1970s. We didn’t know then that we were living in a golden age of American movies. And why? Because there was an explosion of young directorial talent, eager to do something new, fuelled by European art cinema. Making films whose stories were valued by their proximity to real life, not distance from it.”
That’s a good line, and we both know it. We take another pause on that one, unified this time, not awkward. “We need narrative art,” Payne concludes. “Art is a mirror. And cinema is the best mirror. The most verisimil-mirror.” He smiles. “We need movies to give us context. And the best message that any art can give, which is: ‘You are not alone. Other people suffer, too. You’re not alone.’”
Somehow our conversation, like a road trip, got to some place genuine. Or maybe Payne was here all along, and it just took me a while to catch up.  Why Can't Hollywood Just Celebrate The Ordinary In Life? 

As someone who was born in old mortuary which was built duringt the Black Death Plague 1348 to 1350, I appreciate this story more than most people: 18-year-old Simon Winchester needed money. Luckily, he found an occupation: mortuary assistant. All went well until all went horribly wrong... Memories of Vrbov oldest mortuary

Jay Rosen

I am joining up with the new venture in news that Pierre Omidyar, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill are creating, along with Liliana Segura, Dan FroomkinEric Batesand others who are coming on board to give shape to this thing, which we are calling NewCo until we are ready to release the name.
Because it doesn’t exist yet, NewCo could take many forms. Only a handful of those possible paths will lead to a strong and sustainable company that meets a public need. Figuring that out is a hard problem, to which I am deeply attracted. So I signed up to be part of the launch team. This post explains why I made that decision and what I hope to contribute. Pressthink becoming NewCo


Crikey has obtained an email from ABC chief Mark Scott explaining how ABC journalists’ salaries ended up in print. ABC of journalists; Comparisons Women's weekly

Back to the memories. Mike Carlton ABC Speech 26Aug2011          

11 Characteristics of Evil

  1. Evil intersperses cruelty with kindness.
  2. Evil assumes other people are as fake as It is.
  3. Evil likes to toy with other people’s boundaries.
  4. Evil takes a victim stance.
  5. Evil would rather kill the person doing the questioning than take a realistic look at itself.
  6. Evil does it for kicks.
  7. At it’s heart, Evil is parasitic.
  8. Evil is smooth-talking and impulsive.
  9. Evil, it would seem, reduces living things to commodities, especially those foolish enough to lick its knee.
  10. Evil ruins childhood and refuses kids the tools to grow up.
  11. Evil is mindless suffering and a blind compulsion to act out a painful past.
Koren Zailckas, who has written a novel about a smooth-talking, evil woman, gives us this list of Evil's characteristics as seen in characters from 11 novels.

11 Characteristics of Evil

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Letters some Czech some French

What we’ve lost in never writing letters by hand anymore. Bespoked

Have We Lost The Art Of Literary Letter Writing? "So can contemporary writers -- and nonwriters who are overwhelmed by email, i.e., pretty much everyone I know -- take away any lessons from our literary ancestors' less fraught relationship with correspondence?" 

Reality show for writers

Hold on to your monocles, friends—the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013 is “selfie.” It’s an informal noun (plural: selfies) defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” It was first used in 2002, in an Australian online forum (compare the Australian diminutives “barbie” for barbecue and “firie” for firefighter), and it first appeared as a hashtag, #selfie, on Flickr, in 2004 Word of the year media dragon was born 2002 - million Internet years agoA novelist craves solitude. Reality TV craves intrusion. So, what happens when writing becomes a broadcast spectacle? Reality show for writers 

Art became philosophical in 1964, when Andy Warhol(a) erased the line between art and reality. For Arthur Danto, it was a conversion moment... Slavic twist

J. Hoberman on Louise Steinman’s The Crooked Mirror: “As noted by Louise Steinman in “The Crooked Mirror,” her firsthand report on what remains of Jewish life in contemporary Poland, four out of five American Jews are of Polish-Jewish descent — a diaspora within the diaspora.” Bent mirror

MEnander the first MEdia Dragon

The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:33 quotes Menander in the text "Bad company corrupts good character" (NIV) who probably derived this from Euripides (Socrates,Ecclesiastical History, 3.16).
Menander would take me out of media dragon because 'talking about oneself is a feast that starves the guest.’ The natural world, the world of art and literature, the human mind and body—these things were so fascinating, why waste time talking about oneself?

“A hundred and fifty years ago two armies slaughtered  themselves here.” 

Nothing prepares us for this opening up into history, presumably the Civil War, and yet it reads as though inevitable. In his essay on Dante, Eliot assures us that "genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” 

They remind me of Nick Adams leaving the important things unspoken in “Big, Two-Hearted River,” the best thing Hemingway ever wrote Reflection of Cold Rivers

In the historical context of Bohemian Cold River and its symbolic Charter 77 or Antipodean Charter of 1992, Richard Jackson wrote a a soulful poem which everyone needs to hear   “Everything All at Once.” Its thirty-four lines are plain-spoken and digressive almost like something coming out of information disclosure unit ....Jackson’s poem communicates a sense of something lost, something essential missing from the scheme of our existence ...

There’s a buck beyond the far end of the field
but he doesn’t know he’s dying—couldn’t know,
that is, the patience behind the sights he’s caught in.
The dignity of just being alive, the freedom of it.
So many sounds coming from the grass and the trees.
On the farm further past the woods, a finger of smoke
desperate for a word to contain it. A few dilapidated
clouds. We have come here following a map from
memory. The horizon refuses to go on. You can feel
the sun as it flees. How is it we feel the need to lose
what we love? There’s a star or a planet just starting
to shutter behind the leaves, as if to deny the darkness.
You can hear the buck knock its knees together
then urinate on them, rubbing it in, to attract whatever
doe is nearby. He won’t come into the field just yet.
How many times have we practiced our own deaths?
Our truths seem as packaged as these bales of hay.
A hundred and fifty years ago two armies slaughtered
themselves here. Maybe that is what the buck senses.
Far beyond that horizon a woman looks into the bomb
crater that was her home, the last word
in a sentence of many words. She could live on any map.
The early mapmakers created worlds that put them
at the center. One described the earth as a yolk
in an eggshell. Believe me, it is that delicate.
Aren’t our first words for what we don’t have
or have lost? Don’t we want everything all at once?
The light’s shredding. There’s still time to fire.
What is there to feel but the way sometimes we seem
safe and something in our own voice surprises us
as we sense we cared more than we expected. The buck
hides inside his own meaning. The silence of the hawk
just overhead seems to stop time. Some words are
wounds that do more damage than a shot that rings out.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

50 Rob Allen / JFK / Dr Who / There is a river of girls and women in our streets

THERE is a river of girls and women in our streets. There are so many that the cars are forced to use the sidewalks. The women walk in the street proper, the part where, in other cities, trucks and bicycles are found. They stand in windows too unbuckling their shirts, so that we will not be displeased. I admire them for that. We have voted again and again, and I think they like that, that we vote so much ... There is a river of girls and women in our streets 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Prayer Journal

Marilynne Robinson on Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal: “It is the religious sensibility reflected in this journal that makes it as eloquent on the subject of creativity as it is on the subject of prayer. O’Connor’s awareness of her gifts gives her a special kind of interest in them. Having concluded one early entry by asking the Lord to help her “with this life that seems so treacherous, so disappointing,” she begins the next entry: “Dear God, tonight it is not disappointing because you have given me a story. Don’t let me ever think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story — just like the typewriter was mine.”” O Dear

Coming across a kindred spirit in a text can cause sweating, crying, even disrobing. Thus Marshall Berman’s first encounter with Marx... Spirited encounter

On May 18, 1922, Proust, Joyce, Picasso, Stravinsky, and Diaghilev gathered at the Hotel Majestic, in Paris. It was thegreatest dinner party ever... Two days after the birthdaY party  SWANN’S WAY, by Marcel Proust, is 100 years old. Proust

Sadly, it had not occurred to me to wonder how filthy books might be…. Cold River

A peek behind the curtain at book-making from Making words

Have a look at a collection of most unusual cookbooks. Food Odd Food

Thursday, November 21, 2013


There’s nothing like the sun

There’s nothing like the sun as the year dies,
Kind as it can be, this world being made so,
The stones and men and beasts and birds and flies,
To all things that it touches except snow,
Whether on mountain side or street of town.
The south wall warms me: November has begun,
Yet never shone the sun as fair as now
While the sweet last-left damsons from the bough
With spangles of the morning’s storm drop down
Because the starling shakes it, whistling what
Once swallows sang. But I have not forgot
That there is nothing, too, like March’s sun,
Like April’s, or July’s, or June’s, or May’s,
Or January’s, or February’s, great days:
And August, September, October, and December
Have equal days, all different from November.
No day of any month but I have said –
Or, if I could live long enough, should say –
‘There’s nothing like the sun that shines today.’
There’s nothing like the sun till we are dead.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Anonymous History: larger-than-life persona

“The only true voyage of discovery is not to go to new places, but to have other eyes.”

- Marcel Proust

Tributes to the fabulous Doris Lessing come pouring in:
… from novelist Justin Cartwright in (The Telegraph)
… from Margaret Atwood in (The Guardian)
… and from James Lasdun on discovering her work later in life. (The New Yorker)
Are hotels the new literary havens? New parliamentary libraries in action

Cindy Wolfe Boynton on Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett’s A House in the Sky: “Its examination of evil and goodness asks readers to not just consider the contents of others’ hearts but, perhaps more important, the contents of their own.” (Doing Nothing

Simon Callow on Michael Blakemore’s Stage Blood: “A most unusual book indeed; one whose scope goes far beyond the theatre, though it is a landmark in writing about the life of the stage.” (Making a difference tell it as it is

And what of the anonymous author? Vulnerable words

Angelica Huston has stories aplenty to tell in her new memoir. With writers like this who needs cemeteries?

Scott Onak on Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest: ” a confident and engaging debut that poignantly depicts the final act of a life, the memories and loves that can (and can’t) be regained, and the mysterious visitor that we all become, eventually, to ourselves.” (Deep Down

Serial killer, Joseph Paul Franklin, cites the impact of Hilter’s MEIN KAMPF as instrumental in his rampage in what will likely be his final interview before lethal injection. And what of serial killers?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quotes mixing cold water and oil - adding egg and vinegar / stories

“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.”

- Doris Lessing (RIP)

"What is always overlooked is that although the poor want to be rich, it does not follow that they either like the rich or that they in any way want to emulate their characters which, in fact, they despise. Both the poor and the rich have always found precisely the same grounds on which to complain about each other. Each feels the other has no manners, is disloyal, corrupt, insensitive--and has never put in an honest day's work in its life."

Novelist, Mary Wesley, commissioned her own coffin and used it as a coffee table until she needed it. Open Cold River

There’s music and poetry floating around in space. How ’bout a little fiction? Stories of Unrealities

 "Granted that theatre, if it was good, was a distillation of life, the two were not interchangeable. There was always exaggeration in the theatre, and necessarily insincerities gave an illusion of truth. No living people were ever so good or so bad as those who spoke the lines."
~John P. Marquand, Women and Thomas Harrow

 "There's nothing more, well, naked than writing a play. If you write a book and the critics pan it, you can comfort yourself by believing that you are a misunderstood genius, but when most of an audience walks out on you after the first act, it's your own fault, and it's one of the worst in the realm of human experience." ~John P. Marquand, Women and Thomas Harrow

"For intellectual authority, the appropriate version of Descartes's cogito would be today: I am talked about, therefore I am." ~Zygmunt Bauman, The Individualised Society

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Inferno of Dante upon the end of journey of political life

If you were going to set your political reputation on fire, Wednesday was the perfect day. It was the day Bob Carr chose to resign from the Senate without serving a minute in the chamber to which he had just been elected. It was a perfectly bad day for such a cynical revelation, as fires raged across the state, invoking, in his ill-timed self-absorption, the image of the narcissist emperor Nero, playing the lyre while Rome burned. Day of Remembrance

Love of Tender

Can someone please explain the difference between the Obeid leases at Circular Quay not being put to tender and the second casino licence not going to tender? Both are equally smelly in my book. ~Peter McHenry Mosman SMH 13/11/2013

EDITORIAL: Public has right to see why Packer was awarded Huge Prize Never Get Between A Premier And A Bucket Of Money Planning One Stop Shop

New planning laws proposed by the state government do not fix the corruption of the previous system under Labor, nor do they ''return planning power to the community'', as Barry O'Farrell stated during the 2011 election. Satirical News Speak

Air of Unrealities

Eddie Obeid Snr is a fascinating study of old-school Machiavellian political power. Migrating from Lebanon to Australia at the age of six, Obeid became a businessman and ultimately a millionaire, at which point he was groomed by the famed Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson to enter the NSW Legislative Assembly Machiavellian study

The son of corrupt former Labor MP Eddie Obeid installed an associate in the Cruise Bar at Circular Quay ''to keep an eye on things'', claiming his family had a secret interest in the venue. The bar is owned by Ferrari-driving publican Chris Cheung, 47, a big ALP donor and a long-term friend of Mr Obeid's son Moses. Revealed: Obeid links to Circular bar

A PUBLIC servant had incompetently and arrogantly made a water allocation to Eddie Obeid's family farm notwithstanding a complete absence of verification, according to the counsel assisting the Independent Commission Against Corruption Ian Temby, QC. Air of Unrealities; Servants to the Powerful
Water official Sue Heaney suspended after Obeid family run-in over Cherrydale Park farm water allocation Water officer on ice after heated argument FORMER NSW Labor minister Joe Tripodi said he wasn't trying to dig himself out of a hole during his repeat visit to a corruption inquiry Tripodi fronts ICAC for second time

A majority of apartment owners will be able to force their neighbours to sell their homes under proposed laws being drafted by Fair Trading Changes to Strata - forced sales on the Orwell's agenda

Digital Laundry & World News

One of the things David Williamson's play Rupert never quite captures is the way Murdoch has carried the plain unvarnished manner of an Australian journalist to the very pinnacle of those hubristic heights from which the mighty world of the embattled media may seem like the merest equation or job of work.

Like Peter W Clark, Paul Barry is Australia’s most successful business biographer – he has a rare talent for understanding complex narratives and unpacking them. Czech out his latest biography - BREAKING NEWS: SEX, LIES AND THE MURDOCH SUCCESSION Paul Barry Allen & Unwin, $39.95 Rupert Murdoch is the most powerful figure in the history of the media and one of the most remarkable. Britain's recent phone hacking scandal with its horrific human toll on victims and journalists alike shouldn't blind us to the fact that this man not only owns Fox News ("fair and balanced", one of the most brilliant misnomers in the history of the world), The Times and The Sunday Times, even the Times Literary Supplement, but who - OK, at a couple of removes - brought the world The Simpsons Breaking Stories

AustralianSuper, United Super, the trustee of building industry fund Cbus, and Industry Super Holdings, a company that owns various industry fund entities, have ploughed at least $3 million into the site, guided by Crikey backer Eric Beecher. Superfund setting news website

Clive Palmer's decision to tell a story about Karl Marx on his first day as one of the richest parliamentarians in the world seemed, like many things he does, bizarrely appropriate. The plagiarised story about Marx, a scholar of the power of private wealth over politics, points to the problem Palmer presents to the quality of democracy in Australia.
Seeing Palmer speaking at the National Press Club, the media hanging on his every semi-coherent sentence, called to mind the reason Marx objected to democracy: that the wealthy would inevitably use their resources to influence the electoral system in their own interests. It's an observation particularly pertinent in the context of Palmer Karl Marx could have predicted Clive Palmer