Thursday, December 31, 2015

Silvester of Imagined Communities: "This is New Year's Eve. How about living it up a little?"

INK BOTTLE“A memoir is how one remembers one’s own life.”
~Gore Vidal,Palimpsest

31 Dercember aka Silvester was huge night in my teenagehood  as we partied like it was our last night on earth ;-)

“My bookshelves, like my writings, are haunted by the ghosts of influences past, all remembered with great tenderness, much as one recalls an old flame from Tatranka school days: Chapek, Havel, Kundera, Kafka, Orwell Tolstoi ....

Come, children, gather round my knee;
Something is about to be.

Tonight’s December Thirty-First,
Something is about to burst.
The clock is crouching, dark and small,
Like a time bomb in the hall.
Hark! It’s midnight, children dear.
Duck! Here comes another year.

To all of you who, like me, suspect that chance is in the saddle and rides mankind, I hope that the year to come treats you not unkindly, and that your lives, like mine, will be warmed by hope and filled with love.

cows and cats links

Indians worship cows because of the way they congregate at the edge of the cold river in the evening. It is an undeniably mystical thing and it makes sense to worship them.

Diageo, the distiller of single malt whiskies including Lagavulin and Oban, has teamed up with Nick Offerman (actor, author, woodworker and scotch enthusiast) to create a new video series called “My Tales of Whisky.” 

“The point of a party is to make us forget we are solitary, wretched and betrothed to death; in other words, to transform us into animals.” Michel Houellebecq offers some handy tips, over at The Believer. Pair with this Millions review of Houellebecq’s The Map and the Territory.

“We can never know what to want,” Milan Kundera wrote in contemplating the central ambivalences of life and love. Ambivalence about what we want may be among the defining features of being human and the uncomfortable luxury of changing one’s mind among life’s most essential arts, but nowhere is our indecisive oscillation more potentially disastrous than in love.

From the first, her work insisted that a single life contained the life of our times. The Outsider with the Public Voice: How Joan Didion Mirrored Us Back to Ourselves

Tassie Tulips

The Quietus best music of 2015 list.  Observations are oriented toward smart MEdia Dragon listeners ...

Obama opens White House doors to forge CEO alliances Reuters.

 After nastygram from George Orwell estate, seller withdraws t-shirts bearing slogan “1984 is already here” [The GuardianBut see comment below from reader Gitarcarver (episode attributed more to CafePress over-reaction than to estate’s letter)

An interesting thing happens when you read certain of George Saunders’ stories. At first, you see the satirist at work, skewering American meanness and banality with the same unsparing knife’s edge as earlier postmodernists like John Barth or Donald Barthelme. Then you begin to notice something else taking shape… something perhaps unexpected: compassion. Rather than serving as paper targets of Saunders’ dark humor, his misguided characters come to seem like real people, people he cares about; and the real target of his satire becomes a culture that alienates and devalues those people ...
In Saunders’ own words, “a good story is one that says, at many different levels, ‘we’re both human beings, we’re in this crazy situation called life, that we don’t really understand. Can we put our heads together and confer about it a little bit at a very high, non-bullshitty level?’ Then, all kinds of magic can happen.”  
Imagined Communities ...

Tyler Knott Gregson is one of those new generation digital poets. He is what The New York Times labels “the literary equivalent of a unicorn”. Rather than waiting to be published, he posted his work on Instagram and Tumblr. His 560,000 followers are proof of the fact that people do still enjoy poetry. 

The folks at resume-writing startup Enhancv came up with this resume of Darth Vader for just such an occasion. Enhancv offers an online service that automatically critiques your resume with suggestions to improve it.
Darth Vader’s resume is an example of the kind of modern resume anyone can use, even if the job seeker is looking for a role that serves humanity and doesn’t destroy it.
For instance, the “what-I-accomplished-at-my-last-job” phrasing of Vader’s resume can be copied by anyone. As Supreme Commander, Vader, “Oversaw the construction of the two biggest weapons of our time — the Death Stars.”
Imagined Darth Vaders resume

Deutsche Bank’s probe into Russian trades widened Financial Times. I’d love to know the politics behind this one…

"It's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.''
~ What BILLY CRYSTAL's character Harry says to Sally (Meg Ryan) in the 1989 American romantic comedy film written by Nora Ephron

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thousand Colours and Shades of Sydney; Royal Missions, Gay and Holyland affair

Donald Trump of Czech Girl Ivana fame Isn’t a Fascist; He’s a Media-Savvy Know-Nothing New Yorker

**Media Dragon AU: Malcolm Turnbull's first 100 days as PM: agile, disruptive, but problems persist

**Media Dragon UK: Jeremy Corbyn’s first 100 days as Labour leader

Unions royal commission: final report delivered: Findings 'small tip of an enormous iceberg'

Dyson Heydon.

Trade union Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon has laid bare a roll-call of “louts, thugs, bullies, thieves, perjurers, those who threaten violence, errant fiduciaries and organisers of boycotts” in his findings on the two-year inquiry into union corruption.
In the scathing final report, which details examples of “widespread” and “deep-seated” misconduct within the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Australian Workers Union, the Transport Workers Union, the Health Services Union and the National Union of Workers, Mr Heydon called for an all-powerful “regulator” with the power to shut down unions and employer groups.  He refers former trade union boss turned Victorian MP Cesar Melhem to Victorian prosecutors for consideration of possible corruption and false accounting charges.
Former Health Services Union secretary Kathy Jackson is also referred to prosecutors to consider whether she should be charged for obtaining property and financial advantage by deception.
Justice Heydon said the conduct had taken place in a wide range of industries and unions.
"These aberrations cannot be regarded as isolated," the report said.
"They are not the work of a few rogue unions, or a few rogue officials.
"The misconduct exhibits great variety. It is widespread. It is deep-seated.
 Royal commission into union corruption refers Victorian MP Cesar Melhem and former HSU secretary Kathy Jackson to CDPP
Political vendetta seems to be the commission’s agenda, says Justice R.S. Sodhi. India Legal experts question validity of DDCA probe panel

The criminal headquarters of one of Sydney's most notorious underworld figures "Teflon" Tony Vincent could easily have been the inspiration for Tony Soprano's fictional strip club, the Bada Bing.
Back on a balmy Sunday afternoon in the late summer of 1997, the upmarket Sydney suburb of Woollahra was rocked by a huge explosion in Tara Street.
At first it was thought that the neighbouring Turkish embassy had been blown up.
Drinkers at the nearby Lord Dudley Hotel were astonished to see a man staggering past the hotel with half his buttock blown off.
The trail of blood from the man's mangled posterior led the police to the scene of the crime, where they found the remainder of Gibson's bum cheek. With it was his wallet.
Meanwhile, staggering down the street, dazed and injured and wearing only one shoe was Tony Vincent jnr. Buried under the rubble, crime scene investigators found a stolen car in the foot well of which was a size 9 Nike running shoe.
Kate McClymont peers inside Lady Jane’s, the seedy parlour where underworld plans where hatched and came unstuck

Former ‘comfort women’ are asked by South Korean officials to accept accord with Japan

A terror financing investigation has uncovered about $500,000 in Australian cash sent to Indonesia to arm and train extremists and support their families. A joint investigation between Australia and Indonesia found the cash was raised and transferred by an Australian man identified only by the letter L. Mr Santoso said information from Australia's counter-terrorism financing watchdog AusTrac was crucial to uncovering these Indonesian networks. Australian donors sent $500,000 to Indonesia to fund terrorism

What ISIS Really Wants:
Islamic State theologians have issued an extremely detailed ruling on when "owners" of women and children captured by the extremist group can have sex with them, in an apparent bid to curb "violations" in the "treatment of female slaves".
The ruling, or fatwa, has the force of law and appears to go beyond the IS's previous known utterances on slavery, Cole Bunzel, a leading IS expert at Princeton University, said.
 Islamic State issues 15 rules on sex with slaves  ; French national Charaffe el Mouadan was killed in a U.S.-led coalition air strike on December 24. IS leader ‘linked to Paris attacks’ killed

SOLDIERS and police allegedly held an orgy at a police station during the hunt for terror suspects in Brussels, according to Belgian media outlets.
An internal investigation has been launched into the reports of eight soldiers and two policewomen allegedly partying and holding an orgy in the Ganshoren police station, which had been changed into makeshift barracks for soldiers, De Morgan reported.
A senior police officer reportedly discovered the soldiers and policewomen in the act, according to La Dernière Heure.

Olmert's conviction shows that even a prime minister isn’t above the law, and will, under certain circumstances, pay for his corrupt behavior. But this isn’t enough.
The most complex corruption case ever brought to an Israeli court is ending with the bitter taste that justice has not been done to the fullest with senior elected officials, even though they have been branded with the stigma of flagrant wrongdoing. The Supreme Court’s verdict, handed down on Tuesday on appeals against Judge David Rozen’s conviction and sentencing of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and others, represents a retreat by the legal system into a skeptical approach and sends a public message of extreme leniency toward crimes of government corruption.   Israel Must Stop Tolerating Corruption: Olmert - Holyland affair

A book to be published in Hong Kong in the new year says Zhou Enlai, communist China’s much-respected first premier, was probably gay despite his long marriage ...Book says communist China’s first premier was gay

Floods of biblical proportions leave cities, towns and villages under water Czech out this video as it shows the sad story ...a pub ... a pub ... krcma
Centuries-old pub gets washed away due to heavy flooding in the U.K. 

I endeavor to be wise when I cannot be merry

"I endeavor to be wise when I cannot be merry, easy when I cannot be glad, content with what cannot be mended and patient when there be no redress." 
Elizabeth Montagu

The unsuccessful self-treatment of a case of “writer’s block” Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Successfully replicated On Media Dragon ...

Our society is supposedly drowning in a flood of information brought on by the frenzied pace of technological change...
The maintenance of self-esteem is a continuous task that taxes all of the individual’s power and inner resources. We have to prove our worth and justify our existence anew each day.  Life of self-esteem

“Long ago,” he said, “long ago, there was something in me, but now that thing is gone. Now that thing is gone, that thing is gone. I cannot cry. I cannot care. That thing will come back no more.”
The Wall Street Journal has published this wonderful editorial each Christmas since 1949, In Hoc Cold River of Anno Domini:
When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar...

The Outsider with the Public Voice: How Joan Didion Mirrored Us Back to Ourselves
“Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs,” Joan Didion wrote in one of the early masterworks that turned her, over the course of the half-century that followed, into a patron saint of the personal essay and one of the most recognizable and influential voices of our time. In The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion (public library), biographer Tracy Daugherty delves into the wellspring of Didion’s character with a responsible and generous willingness to examine her life, trace her intellectual and creative development, and transmute what he finds into larger insight not only on what made Didion a great writer but on what it means to be one, both for the writer and for the society whose collective memory she or he reflects, preserves, and shapes. The Outsider with the Public Voice: How Joan Didion Mirrored Us Back to Ourselves

Wallabies live in the bushland in and around Frenchs Forest.  

“Real self-esteem is an integration of an inner value with things in the world around you,” Anna Deavere Smith wrote in her invaluable advice to young artists. But howoes one master the intricacies of that integration?

In the Sydney zodiac, 2015 was the year of Salim Mehajer – a man whose lurid excesses and legal struggles transfixed a city that suspected, wrongly, it had seen it all Salim Mehajer

Police shut down photo exhibition of naked natural women because they’re ‘indecent’ Independent  

coyote links

'Ah, the joy of suckling! She lovingly watched the fishlike motions of the toothless mouth and she imagined that with her milk there flowed into her little son her deepest thoughts, concepts, and dreams.' Alyssa Milano shares intimate breastfeeding photo and quotes Kundera

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


  1. “You just watch yourself. We’re wanted men. I have the death sentence on 12 systems.”“I’ll be careful.”
    “You’ll be dead!”
 Since Genesis, no story has been free of gossip about all kinds of topics. Without Cain and Abel, there is no Chaucer, no Boswell, no Jane Austen, no Proust, no Henry James, most of all no Imrich 

War photography is brutal and beautiful. Indeed, the intensity of war makes the aestheticization of violence inevitable ...

They’ve got a special kind of charisma—it’s like reverse charisma, or anti-charisma. Charis-meh. They’ve got the platform, they’ve got power, they’ve got the opportunity to change everything, and instead they…don’t. They are the biggest nothing-doers in the world this year, and this is their reward ... The Worst People of 2015 Esquire. According to some name droppers, Imrich should be higher ...

Every once in a while — perhaps thrice a lifetime, if one is lucky — a book comes along so immensely and intricately insightful, so overwhelming in beauty, that it renders one incapable of articulating what it’s about without contracting its expansive complexity, flattening its dimensional richness, and stripping it of its splendor. Because it is, of course, about everything — it might take a specific something as its subject, but its object is nothing less than the whole of the human spirit, mirrored back to itself. The Cold River in 3980 AD aka MMMCMXLLL
Early in Walter Olson's time at the Manhattan Institute, after Wolfe’s New York novel The Bonfire of the Vanities had made a gigantic popular success, "I put together a roundtable on “Today and Tomorrow in Tom Wolfe’s New York” with Terry Teach out, Richard Vigilante, the late Walter Wriston, and others. MI published it as an envelope stuffer one-off with, if memory serves, a cover letter in which Wolfe himself mentioned observations the various participants had made, but in his own words. Not to say I was awe-struck at this, but for the next few days I wandered the streets of New York talking to the trees."

"We are the saddest men in the history of the world … we are infinitely disgusting, and infinitely sad.” We are the Sonderkommando, the Jews who work in the gas chambers, who cheated death in order to spend their time scurrying over dead Jews for valuables. “Nearly all our work is done among the dead, with the heavy scissors, the pliers and mallets, the buckets of petrol refuse, the ladles, the grinders.” 
Rudyard Kipling's “If—” was an instant hit, a poetic paean to moral generalities, a classic of righteous certitude. But read it again; note the mounting anxiety 

The very wealthiest families are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield their income using maneuvers available only to several thousand Americans.

My Dad’s yellowing reports on work could apply today FT

The Origins of Totalitarianism Part 1: Introduction Emptywheel

That is his latest Upshot column about power couples for the NYT, here is an excerpt from Tylor:
Of all the causes behind growing income inequality, in the longer run this development may prove one of the most significant and also one of the hardest to counter. For instance, the achievement gap between children from rich and poor families is higher today than it was 25 years ago, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center. 

One of the noteworthy reading things I did in 2015 was to go back to Dostoevsky after years and years away. I did it with one of his late works, and definitely among the best things he ever wrote, Demons (Bestia aka Bessy alternatively translated as The Possessed). It’s a major novel of his coming in at over 700 pages, and possibly the book of his that has aged the best.
He was a tall man with close-cropped hair, courteous and reserved, but there was a dark energy about him.  Every spring, with the melting of the snows, he would give in to black moods that would last for days during which we all kept away from him.  It was rumoured that in his youth he had killed a woman who had been unfaithful and that her spirit returned year after year to haunt him.  One only had to be near him to sent the taut quality beneath his reticence, the knife edge of bitterness arising from that old betrayal ...

"I have a problem. I live with a terrible demon inside me who is very frightening, who has this ability to wrap his scaly tentacles around all of my sterling characteristics and take over. He doesn’t come out as much as he used to, but he’s still there and he wants to destroy every good thing that happens to me and take down a few people if he can. He is a fearsome entity driven by fear who invades my core and tells me that I am not deserving of happiness and he persuades people who love me to stay away for the rest of their natural days On living with an inner demon

Court in Turkey considering a doctor’s comparison of Turkish President Erdogan with “Lord of Rings” character Gollum aka Golem, and the results are preciousss [Sarah McLaughlin, Popehat]

When Martin Luther nailed an essay to the door of a German church, he forever altered what books look like and how they're marketed and written...  Nailing Storytelling ...
Motion Blur
A former Ernst & Young partner was sentenced to eight years in jail at the end of last week for his role in a tax fraud scheme

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO thinks that suggestions that Apple avoids tax are “total political crap” and claims that “Apple pays every tax dollar we owe.”

Once upon a time, there was a safe welfare state called Sweden, where people rarely locked their doors.
Now, this country is a night-watchman state — each man is on his own. When the Minister of Justice, Morgan Johansson, encourages breaking the law, it means opening the gates to anarchy. Mr. and Mrs. Swede have every reason to be worried, with the influx of 190,000 unskilled and unemployed migrants expected this year — equivalent to 2% of Sweden’s current population. The number is as if 6.4 million penniless migrants who did not speak English arrived in U.S. in one year, or 1.3 million in Britain.

And speaking of Britain, as Michael Walsh writes, “Things Getting Ugly at the Chunnel as ‘Migrants’ Attack.”

LARRY KUDLOW: ‘Show Me the Money’ Could Yet Emerge As Battle Cry Against ISIS

Lucien knew that there exist four types of desperado: 1) Those who live and sleep at the market, beggars and pickpockets, less harmful.  2) Those who hang about the station and sleep inside the locomotives, semi-harmful.  3) Those who stroll about The Tram, harmful. 4) And finally, those who operate in the mines, extremely harmful.
They are either demobilised soldiers, or adolescents from families stuck in a downward spiral, fleeing famine and other drudgeries such as “Today it’s your turn to feed the family, shift your ass and go get us some palm oil, salted fish, cassava flour, and matches,” or else defrocked students.
Their age, according to the seasons and the frequency of trains at the station whose metal structure: eight to thirty. At thirty-one years old, they become suicidals or city highwaymen who’ll slit your throat once night has barely fallen...

Spin Doctors Rule ... Magic Crypto Trick

'I just need to make it to 34 and I’ve beaten Jesus at living.'
~Sarah Millican (May 29 1976)

Much used — and abused — but little understood, realpolitik is about not only the art of the possible but also the messiness of politics ... 

Abbott now charges clients $1000 an hour to provide media strategies to corporate clients in crisis situations. This may include public scandals, negative sharemarket announcements or legal disputes.
"I'll go in and coach the CEO on what to say, because they have no idea of how to talk to the media," she says $1000 an hour

Our political future on holiday (part 1) Unqualified Offerings

With several historic northern towns hit by major flooding (and The Sundiscovering 'traces of cocaine' in St Paul's cathedral), the Crosby story didn't get much oxygen the day after it was leaked to the Sunday Times.
"A reward for political service is exactly what it says," the paper said. There was "no point pretending the honours are for making a contribution to the greater good of the country… such titles are dispensed by party leaders to people who have most helped them defeat their opponents"
Mr Cameron has been criticised for his approach to the honours list – at one point even finding a gong for his hairdresser (who fought a noble battle on behalf of the country against its leader's expanding bald spot) Prospect of Sir Lynton lord of spin triggers laughter ...

Britain’s baroque system of honours rarely decorates the kind of punter to whom Lynton Crosby, the political strategist, has devoted his life’s work. The system assumes that a charity grandee or municipal executive necessarily serves their community better than the proprietor of a printing firm in a Bracknell business park who employs 12 locals.
The wonder is not that Mr Crosby might receive a knighthood in the new year, at the recommendation of David Cameron, the prime minister he served so well, but that he would care for one. If steering a Conservative election campaign that was universally panned until the night of the result did not bring its own reward, then scrambling the egos of a puffed-up commentariat surely did.
Media Dragons Spinning Under the Surf of Life Beat Beaches In Sydney ...
The politics of hope has a spurious respectability but reeks of snake oil. It elides good intentions with good outcomes and treats the status quo as a baseline that can only be improved on. For normal people in the actual world, the status quo is superior to many plausible alternatives. Things can be made worse not just better by well-meaning politicians.
“The last time they met a punter,” said Mr Crosby of his critics after May’s general election, “was when they picked up their dry cleaning”. Those who disdain the element of fear (Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is a topical example) tend to do so from a great height, as if there is something below-stairs about worrying for one’s safety or job when there are so many big ideas to be moved by and noble crusades to join.
They also conflate fearful politics with extremism. It is truer to say that fear (of social change, wage competition, outsiders) is what propels fringe parties; fear (of incompetent government) is what ultimately stops them being trusted with power.
Mr Crosby did not win the general election for Mr Cameron. He brought organisational shape and analytic rigour to a candidate who, given the competition, should have won anyway.
This foreigner, however, reads our country better than most native pundits. Too many have what the French called déformation professionelle, the tendency of those immersed in one line of work to see everything through that lens. Because they are passionate about politics, they believe voters are too, or can be if inspired.
Mr Crosby knows we are passionate about securing what we have worked for. We respond to cold, instrumental politics because it takes us seriously. The typical Briton is precarious: an interest rate rise at the wrong moment or the deterioration of their local state school can wound them irrecoverably. You do not need to have a lot to fear losing it.
FT on Odd Adelaide Bred Spinning Media Ethics on Fear 

Speaking in his home town of Adelaide, Mr Briggs said the incident occurred on a recent official trip to Hong Kong when he invited the woman and several other officials out to a private dinner. Minister Jamie Briggs quits Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet after 'incident' abroad Jamie Briggs, an ambitious MP who overstepped the mark

 "Political scandals are not really about ministerial accountability. Rather they are tests of prime ministerial leadership," Dr Scott Brenton from  University of Melbourne wrote in a paper on such matters Political scandals principally a test of leadership
'One-armed butlers – they can take it but they can’t dish it out.'
Tim Vine (March 4 1967-)

 “…the only guilded butler in North America…”  “In Canada, graduating butlers fresh from school can expect annual wages in the $50,000 to $60,000 range, climbing to $75,000 within five years. After 10 years, according to Mr. MacPherson, butlers can look forward to six-figure salaries.”  Finally: ““If you think you love people, but you’re not sure you love people, it’s not the profession for you.”” It makes me wonder. What happened to Polish born Thomas Mann  that colourful porsch driving Rene Rivkin's Perfect butler gets his just rewards

This magic bitcoin trick is sonething Thomas would do ...
I love this scene from Digital Gold, Nathaniel Popper’s entertaining book on the history of and people behind Bitcoin. Wences Casares, a successful internet entrepreneur and Bitcoin enthusiast, is at a party of millionaires and billionaires and he wants to impress the crowd:
To prove how easy this all was, Wences asked Blodget to take out his phone and helped him to create an empty Bitcoin wallet. Once it was up, and Wences had Blodget’s new Bitcoin address, Wences used the wallet on his own phone to send Blodget $250,000..the money was then passed to the phones of other people around the table once they had set up wallets. Anyone could have run off with Wences’s $250,000, but that wasn’t a risk with this particular crowd. Instead, as the money went around, Wences saw the guests’ laughter and wide-eyed amazement at what they were watching.
Wences is something of a character. Russ Roberts did a good interview with him on EconTalk.

Start-Up With Bitcoin in Its DNA Stumbles on Fund-Raising Trail New York Times


Monday, December 28, 2015

More Bad Luck in Sydney

Whatever we do we will not mention fires and car birthing ...Various fires in Sydney continue to feature as one the most notorious events in the history of the Australian insurance industry...At Botany Bay National Park wild walkers whisper about the latest Lebanese stocktake as allegations flood in about the latest socialising losses in Sydney ...

Salim Mehajer's family has become one of the biggest developers in the Auburn council area after Lebanon-born father Mohamad Mehajer quit his job at the Arnotts biscuit factory and got into the building trade.
Mehajer snr was sentenced to 3½ years in jail in December 2013 for conspiring to cheat and defraud the National Australia Bank of more than $3 million. The court found a Mehajer loan application included false documents intended to present his financial position as "much rosier than it really was".

2015-  "Mr Mehajer got two big Christmas presents on the same night," said Cr Campbell. "It was outrageous." Fire damages Auburn property belonging Salim Mehajers sister

2014 - Auburn councillor Salim Mehajer owns house damaged in suspicious blaze
1993 - 2015 - NSW Labor politician Eddie Obeid and his family have been hit by more bad luck, with police investigating a suspicious fire (...yacht) at their Bellevue function centre in Restwell Street, Bankstown Eddie Obeid's Bankstown function centre hit by a suspicious fire

Is Yogurt the Secret to Happiness?

The mystery and the reality of our lives consist in the understanding that we are coming from somewhere and that we are going somewhere, and that between these two mysterious phases God allows us to live and to know that we live while we live. Out of what is darkness to our imperfect minds, for sixty or seventy or eighty years we are living in the light, in the open.
~John Lukacs in a memoir called Confessions of an Original Sinner

We have ideas, many of them, every day. We have them, but we don’t often reflect on them. Mostly they just come and go... The constrained scope, the proportional structure, the "handsome, clever and rich" heroine who is somehow likeable: Emma is the perfect novel... Novel 

Is Yogurt the Secret to Happiness? Alternet. Junk science! First, not double blind, placebo controlled. Signs of researcher bias too. Second, how much yogurt actually has in the way of good bacteria in it depends a lot on a. how it was cultured and b. whether it was kept cool enough all the time since it was made. No evidence in this writeup as to whether they bothered testing any of the yogurts for their probiotic content, so it appears completely uncontrolled for that too. Third, I can tell you that as much as I like yogurt (plain!), ice cream makes me happier ANY time.

Czech out the original and legalversions of the classic poem,'Twas the Night Before Christmas
cows and cats links
Information Age. Information Overload. Information Explosion: Our problem isn't a deluge of information, but a lack of  self - knowledge 

‘Animated Life: The Living Fossil Fish’ New York Times (furzy). This is a great story with nerd appeal. I recall reading a book about it when I was a kid and being intrigued.

Some of the caddies were poor as sin and lived in one room houses with a neurasthenic cow in the front yard, but Dexter Green’s father owned the second best grocery-store in Black Bear—the best one was “The Hub,” patronized by the wealthy people from Sherry Island—and Dexter caddied only for pocket-money.

The Strangest, Most Spectacular Bridge Collapse (And How We Got It Wrong) Motherboard

The Purpose Of An Essay – How You Persuade

Before the eighteenth century, most pictures didn’t have titles. The public gallery changed everything Richard McSweeney Artist of real famous name When art had no name 

We have ideas, many of them, every day. We have them, but we don’t often reflect on them. Mostly they just come and go. How many ideas did you have today? What was their character? Some you might describe as big or small, simple or complex. Is it possible to gain a better understanding of ideas, their types and value to us? Is it possible to establish a taxonomy of ideas?

“I’m torn between making broad sweeping statements and getting at a truth that’s practical and mundane, truth in the trenches, sort of, which is much closer to how I experience the actual act of writing an essay.” Tin House 

INK BOTTLE“If being a kid is about learning how to live, then being a grown-up is about learning how to die.”~ Stephen King, Christine

An article on TIME uncovered similarly interesting findings in relation to the effect that mindfulness has on the brain. The research found that practicing mindfulness reduced both pain intensity and emotional pain (in comparison to a placebo group), and that people who practiced mindfulness seemed to use different brain regions to reduce pain than other groups.  Acts of mindfulness

The simple act of saying thanks is a brilliantly effective tool for improving morale and productivity, but it seems to be in shockingly short supply How a little bit of thanks goes a very long way

THIS ISN’T UNHEARD OF: ‘Human chimera’: Man fails paternity test because genes in his saliva are different to those in sperm

HISTORY: Hitler really did have just one ball: historian. “After Hitler’s arrest in 1923 following his failed Beer Hall Putsch, the future Führer underwent a medical exam, according to documents found in a Bavarian archive by University of Erlangen history Professor Peter Fleischmann. At the Landsberg prison, Hitler was examined by Dr Josef Brinsteiner, who found that he suffered from ‘right-side chryptorchidism’, or an undescended right testicle, Fleischmann told Bild.”

New York Times, Liquor Taxes and Sexually Transmitted Infections

THIS ISN’T THE 21st CENTURY THAT TELEVISION ONCE PROMISED ME: Company selling ‘fake hymens’ to Muslim women in Germany — which burst with fake blood to trick husbands into thinking they are virgins – sees sales surge as migrant influx spikes.

In 1975, two equally important events happened in the life of prolific political journalist Mary McGrory; she won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for her coverage of Watergate, and it was revealed that she was on President Nixon’s enemies list. There was no love lost between the two. “If he were a horse, I would not buy him,” McGrory wrote of Nixon.

In John Norris’s new biography “Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism,” readers learn that Nixon’s hatred of McGrory led to her being audited by the IRS three years in a row. McGrory was the winner in that regard. Her significant charitable giving resulted in receiving a bigger refund than she had realized. As detailed by Norris throughout the book, McGrory usually emerged the winner in any tussle with a political figure. Read more

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Vale James Joseph Carlton

Like Lionel Bowen, Mr Carlton was a decent, warm-hearted and generous person.

James Joseph Carlton, who died on Christmas Day aged 80, was born in Sydney on May 13, 1935. Tribute to a Politician with Huge Heart and Clever Mind

Mr Carlton belonged to the ART Selection Committee for Integrity Awards ...
The  community is presented with an incomplete picture of our politicians and our parliamentary systems, in particular, the picture rarely includes those politicians who conduct themselves with integrity, respecting the need for honest, open and accountable government.  In addition, there is  no public recognition of their integrity and no system to reward or encourage such integrity. The “Parliamentary Integrity Awards” are intended to fill that gap. Acccountability/integrity awards

Strange Roots: MEdia Dragon's (Drakula) Blood Tree

The mystery and the reality of our lives consist in the understanding that we are coming from somewhere and that we are going somewhere, and that between these two mysterious phases God allows us to live and to know that we live while we live. Out of what is darkness to our imperfect minds, for sixty or seventy or eighty years we are living in the light, in the open.
~John Lukacs in a memoir called Confessions of an Original Sinner

The Strangest, Most Spectacular Bridge Collapse (And How We Got It Wrong) Motherboard

Graham Greene had a taste for rebellion. "I was ready to be a mercenary in any cause so long as I was repaid with excitement and a little risk.” Like Imrich, Green found both ...

The Purpose Of An Essay – How You Persuade

“I’m torn between making broad sweeping statements and getting at a truth that’s practical and mundane, truth in the trenches, sort of, which is much closer to how I experience the actual act of writing an essay.” Tin House 

Kevin Hardcastle’s collection Debris Stories is new this month from Biblioasis. Their blurb:
The eleven remarkable stories in Kevin Hardcastle’s debut Debris introduce an authentic new voice. Written in a lean and muscular style and brimming with both violence and compassion, these stories unflinchingly explore the lives of those—MMA fighters, the institutionalized, small-town criminals—who exist on the fringes of society, unveiling the blood and guts and beauty of life in our flyover regions

The student revolt in Paris in 1968 gave rise to a generation of leftist thinkers and turned Roger Scruton into a conservative. At 71, he is still settling scores ... 

An element of case management like organizing medical records, if done in-house, “cannot be expensed to the file,” as this vendor of offshore (India-based) physician services reminds attorney clients

“The point of a party is to make us forget we are solitary, wretched and betrothed to death; in other words, to transform us into animals.” Michel Houellebecq offers some handy tips, over at The Believer. Pair with this Millions review of Houellebecq’s The Map and the Territory.

Corruption: Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini banned from football for eight years by Fifa 

Jim Copland in Crain’s New York: the notorious Martin Act, wielded by New York’s attorney general, “creates a risky climate for companies by putting too much power in the hands of a single politician.”

The literature of listening. Flaubert called himself a human pen; Svetlana Alexievich, a recent Nobel laureate, calls herself a human ear ...

Paul’s MFA project is Five Things, a website and book that form “an archive of information and stories about humans and the things that we love.” Among the very cool, interesting, and diverse people Paul has tapped for Five Things are: author and musician JB Morrison; founder Jaime Derringer; photographer Dan Rubin; iconic British New Wave band Madness bass player Mark Bedford; branding specialist and designer Debbie Millman; Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn, and many other talented people. My five things
*Punj Pat

If tempted to idealize the U.K. justice system, be aware it was in a London court that Saudi millionaire beat rape charge by arguing that he “tripped” into sexual congress [New York mag]

"Bedell told Lincoln she had four brothers, several of whom planned to vote for him, and that, “if you will let your whiskers grow, I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you.” She then wrote, “You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be president.”

HISTORY: Hitler really did have just one ball: historian. “After Hitler’s arrest in 1923 following his failed Beer Hall Putsch, the future Führer underwent a medical exam, according to documents found in a Bavarian archive by University of Erlangen history Professor Peter Fleischmann. At the Landsberg prison, Hitler was examined by Dr Josef Brinsteiner, who found that he suffered from ‘right-side chryptorchidism’, or an undescended right testicle, Fleischmann told Bild.”