BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Friday, October 31, 2003


School Cooks Claim to Win $95M Powerball. Absolute proof that there is justice in the world and that hope dies last. Each of the 15 cooks/lunch ladies and 1 janitor put a QUARTER ($.25) of each of their paychecks in for the powerball. They now, with the cash option, get $2,100,000 each AFTER TAXES.

Antipodean Machiavellis
The Packer family today denied having any knowledge that former federal politician Graham Richardson and Qantas director Trevor Kennedy had a role in the purchase of their former Offset Alpine Printing Pty Ltd business.
Machiavelli Restaurant:
R e g u l a r d i n e r s i n c l u d e : John Howard, Jeff Kennett, James Packer, Gough Whitlam, Graham Richardson, Mark Taylor, Bob Carr, Peter Collins, Bob Muscat, Trevor Kennedy, Ita Buttrose, Liz Hayes, Stephen Loosley, Carla Zampatti, Mike Munro, Nick Whitlam, Barry Humphries, John Singleton, Bruce Gyngell and Anne Fulwood.
· The fire that warmed investors' hearts [SMH]
· Packers deny knowledge of scandal [Age ]

Justice has been rerouted
From present to future tense;
The law is so in love with the law
It's forgotten common sense.
- Ogden Nash

Frrrakenstein Monsters
S py Leak Violates Patriot Act.
Politicians made great hay out of the fact that moral absolutism is a given in Homeland security law. Section 802 of the act defines, in part, domestic terrorism as acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.

· You are either for us or against us [Newsday ]

Annoy enough people

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
-Herm Albright
The new politics: criticise and perish
The almost unfettered progression of ‘third way’ styled governance by both left and right worldwide creates a minefield for those who criticise policy or advocate against government in the pursuit of social justice. Traditional forms of social critique, says author and social researcher, Dr Clive Begg, find no home in the ‘third way’ as political parties gallop further to the right to gain power at the expense of traditional social democratic principles.
· Only Way: only power on the block [Brisbane Institute]

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Dissing Dissent

I am grateful to have become an American and to now belong to a country that has had an inspiring and enduring and true commitment to letting "a hundred flowers bloom," as Mao, hypocritically, once said. What has made the U.S. such a beacon to people like me is that it has always been principled, confident and strong enough to let its people debate and criticize government policies without suggesting that the critics are somehow less than patriotic.
When our government loses its tolerance for a full range of views on national and world affairs, it is veering toward the authoritarian world that speaks in one voice, the very political model it has so often stood against; even fought against. I hope I will never again have to live in such a world.

· In White House Actions, A Troubling Echo of Life in Communist China [LATimes ]


Politics Without Romance
Bureaucracies grow with no limit and no regard to promised functions. Pork-barrel dominates legislatures, tax systems are loophole systems. Public choice does little more than incorporate a rediscovery of this wisdom and its implications into economic analyses of modern politics.
· Wisdom [CIS ]

FRANZ KAFKA: I am literature! Bloody hell.
Kafka makes novelists nervous.
Why is that? Where are Kafka's descendants? Only a handful--Borges, W.G. Sebald, Thomas Bernhard--have successfully "channeled" the Kafkaesque in any meaningful way. The result has been queer. His influence seems to cause a mutation in the recipient, metamorphosing the novel into something closer to a meditation, a fantastical historiography, an essay, a parable. What is it about Kafka's lessons for the novel that cannot be contained within the novel in the form as we have come to know it? How does Kafka lead novelists away from the novel?

· Is it possible to be alive? [New Republic]

It's something we don't want to take with us to our graves
I want to start from some imagined, highly improbable, highly fantastic but not impossible fact and move from mental reality into social reality. That is, I think, the way of true art: not from the bottom up but from the top down.
· Schnacksi: Kafka's "Metamorphosis" [Philly ]


Bestselling author of FIRST, BREAK ALL THE RULES and NOW, DISCOVER YOUR STRENGTHS Marcus Buckingham's next two books, again to Fred Hills at Free Press, for publication in 2005 and fall 2006 respectively, by Joni Evans at William Morris (world).

AmeriKa As Author Magnet: International authors find refuge in the U.S.
Attracted by freedom to write and a large literary marketplace.
That Argentine, or Australian, or Czech, or Slovak author you have bought a ticket to hear is probably flying in from his or her home in the United States — the world's most powerful author magnet. Not only does the place offer freedom to write, but it also offers an abundance of publishers, lots of creative writing programs where authors can find a day job, and a large literary marketplace.

· A day job [Toronto Star 10/26/03 ]

Adding Up The Futility Of Writing
The economics of being a writer in Canada just don't add up. Out of that $32 book price, the author gets $3.20. "In Canada, a country of more than 30 million people, a novel is considered to have sold respectably if three thousand copies leave the shelf. You do the math: 3,000 x $3.20, minus 15 per cent, minus hundreds of dollars in expenses, minus your advance on these royalties, divided by four or five (depending on how many years the book took to write), equals, on a bad day, a fairly deep sense of futility.
· Why You Want To Be A Loser [The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/25/03 ]

Have Sivilized Blog, Will Travel to Nippon Club
Josh Marshall, who's been perhaps the blogosphere's biggest innovator when it comes to including actual reporting on his blog, took up a collection to raise money for a trip to New Hampshire. Marshall says he'll spend the last week and a half or so before the Democratic primary reporting on the Granite State campaign exclusively for his TalkingPointsMemo blog.
The fund drive was a huge success, raising nearly $5,000 in less than 24 hours. In fact, Marshall says he's raised far more than he needs for the trip and is offering to give some back.
Like all good ideas, this one is subject to refinement, and it strikes us that there's one shortcoming to Marshall's plan: There are already hundreds of reporters in New Hampshire; what difference does one more make? Why not raise money to report on an undercovered political event at the NSW Bear Pit?
So how about it, who wants to pony up to send me to cover the events taking place at the Nippon Club?
About Last night is my favourite time to blog about. Last night I discovered that our old neighbour from Birriga Road James Houston of Raw Fame is doing shoots for Thorpe new range of underwear, IT.

I also learned that another Eastern Surburb character, Ernie Page, a former MP who was liked by everyone at the Parliament House even cleaners, is attached to Richard Talbot Motorist Action Group, and likely to get most of the votes as his group is cleaver enough to suggest that NRMA members should appoint Ernie as their proxy for 2003 AGM. To boot, they have a website
Last night current MP Joe Tripodi of Fairfield Fame had actually made a core promise, in front of George Torbay, to buy a copy of my book Cold River. It was Ronald Reagan who said during his presidency that there had been times when he wondered how you could do the job if you hadn't been an actor. (grin)
While Garry David McIlwaine exRyde MP, who was desperately searching for someone at the Nippon Club around 7 pm, and out to shock me again by promising to borrow my book 100 times from a library...(smile)

· I never thought I’d say this, but: No More Contributions! [TalkingPointsMemo ]

Metrosexual City

Trendsetters Sex and the City: The power of 1
About one-fourth of Americans now live alone. As their numbers grow, these singles are becoming a significant cultural and economic force. Even though single people are not organized politically, the sheer numbers, the weight of those numbers is eventually going to force change, slowly.
· Demographic revolution [CSMonitor ]

Tuesday, October 28, 2003


I have already suffered greatly at the hands of Craig and his capability to deliver with his tongue. And his quite amazing ability to turn simple into exaggerated and extravagant tales.
Folbigg Tragedy
During the decade that she killed her four children, Kathleen Folbigg filled her diaries with her deepest thoughts. Lee Glendinning has read them all.
· The diary of a mother incapable of love, and compelled to kill [SMHerald ]
· The diary of my old Communist mother County incapable of giving freedom, and compelled to kill [Corpse]

Monday, October 27, 2003

River of Freedom

Land of the Free? After South Korea ...
Press freedom in Australia has taken a battering in the past 12 months, according to the latest world rankings published by the international media monitoring organisation, Reporters Without Borders.
Australia plummeted from 12th place in the 2002 index of press freedom, Czechs and Slovaks moved to 12th place this year, to 50th this year, behind New Zealand in 17th, Britain (27th), the United States (31st) and South Korea (49th).

· Media restrictions given a black mark [SMH ]

Landlord class
Should the housing boom turn to bust, bankrupting some debt-laden property investors in the process, they will have one thing going for them. Renting an apartment is relatively cheap at the moment.
· Housing [SMH ]

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Breaking the law
Glenn Reynolds, as Professor of Law, who had completely lost the plot during the debate on Iraq war is regaining his senses and has digged up this masterpiece in the comfort of his American study room:
There are too many laws — many of them contradictory or obscure — for any person to actually avoid breaking the law completely. (My Criminal Law professor, when I was a law student, announced to us that we were all felons on the first day of class. There were too many felonies on the books for us not to be: Oral sex in Georgia? Oops!) And given that many laws are dumb, actually following all of them would probably bring society to a standstill, just as Air Traffic Controllers and pilots can make air travel grind to a halt by meticulously following every safety rule without exception.
The other problem is that law is like anything else: when the supply outstrips the demand, its value falls. If law were restricted to things like rape, robbery, and murder, its prestige would be higher. When we make felonies out of trivial crimes, though, the law loses prestige. As the old bumper stickers about the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit used to say: It’s not a good idea. It’s just the law.

· Instawisdom [ MSNBCviaSamizdata]


Speaking of blood donations, I am at the crossroads, so please email me with suggestions where the best, most social, points to give blood in central Sydney are. Somehow the Red Cross nurses appear to display great sense of humour, and some even rique acquired bohemian reading taste! Did you say legs, Neville? (I deny I corrupted Neville. However, Neville was a victim I created during the Red Cross drive two years ago for more blood. Somehow most lively friends and clayish enemies (out of 46 to be exact, I even asked Spanish Felix Monero, Dutch Pieter Keuning, Pommish Ernie Hall and convictish Robert Abel (no I did not ask Bruce Boland:*) I put on a spot in Brissie were not willing and more to the point were really not able to give blood.)
By the way, is any PHD student doing any research into how many politicians give blood regularly? I understand that Australia has more politicians per population than average, but the ratio of those pollies who give blood, especially after they get elected, is rather low. Are most pollies sick; scared of the needle; or just not prepared to be exposed to really rique sense of humour?
Patients given artificial blood
Doctors have for the first time successfully used artificial blood to treat patients.
The product is a powder which can be stored for years, say scientists at Stockholm's Karolinska Hospital.
It is made from donated supplies of real blood, which normally has a shelf-life of just 42 days.

· Blood supplies are stretched [Theirs BBC]

It is not our stars, dear Horatio, but ourselves...

Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Yeah, I was alive during the 1980s, but Tears for Fears reminded me of something important in our own time.
Look at the Blogstreet list of "top blogs." Notice something about them? Most are on the same topic, politics.
· The problem isn't with the lying liars. The problem is with the millions who enjoy being lied to, who prefer being lied to, who see balance as imbalance, and imbalance as balance [Corante: MOORE'S LORE: new technology: Dana Blankenhorn ]

Speaking of tears of laughter and misleading headlines, yesterday some readers of Technorati abstracts assumed that I was richer than Madona or even the Queen...Not So. Just ask the Dragon! (smile)
6. And richer, even, than Jozef Imrich, NovoRiche Blow-in (6) (Cosmos)
dangerousmeta! 135 inbound blogs, 150 inbound links Created 18 hours 34 minutes ago (Cosmos)
To stars, writing books looks like child’s play. You know it’s coming. The pithy comment. Get ready. “So when’s Michael Jackson going to throw his hat in the ring?” [Boing-ng-ng-ng]
Media Dragon 62 inbound blogs, 66 inbound links Created 20 hours 5 minutes ago (Cosmos)
ts of money and publicity to be made in kid lit. It was a time, after all, when a young British woman — who didn't have a famous name when she started — wrote a series of books about a boy named Harry and, legend has it, became richer than Madonna. · And richer, even, than Jozef Imrich, NovoRiche Blow-in [The New York Times 10/23/03 ] ·
The AppleSurf Reader 5 inbound blogs, 5 inbound links Created 20 hours 30 minutes ago (Cosmos)
The restaurants exist, and in some cases thrive, for no apparent reason. To Stars, Writing Books Looks Like Child's Play

Families: Time to retaliate? (smile)

Families: Time to retaliate? Australian Diaspora
Australia likes to think of itself as a place where people want to live but, increasingly, it is a place people like to leave. But not my Lauren, even the carrot of living in the center of Prague does not seem to make her to change her mind about being close to my sisters Eva and Lidka.
I know Czech language is not easy especially as Prague dialects include verbs and adjectives peppered by more surfixes and prefixes than bullets shot through Sydney Streets on any given day. However, it is my turn to retaliate as I had to live for almost four years close to sister of the one who must be obeyed in steamy Brissie (smile). Still, Brissie gave me an opportunity to study the Hanson phenomenon first hand.

On a sober note, is anyone out there aware of any great Australian swimming coaches contemplating a move to Prague? If you are please alert me via jozefimrich(at) ...My dream is that my girls might one day pick up some of the finer points of the Bohemian slangs.
· Expatriates have a world full of reasons for leaving [SMH ]

In case you missed the lighter Europeanews....
· Yes. Yes. Yes. Australians falling for Germans karaoke [Herald Sun]

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Political Diamond Quiz

You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or a right. There is only an up or down: up to man's age-old dream -- the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.
· Separation of Powers and a system of Checks and Balances [Friesian ]
· Advance produces some mixture of gains and losses, benefits and harms. [TechCentral ]

Andrew Refshauge
Greiner remains a non-voting member in support of Rees. But two weeks ago, on October 9, she phoned Rees to talk frankly about her concerns with an accelerating campaign against Ashrawi. A file note of their conversation reads: KG: "I have to speak logically. It is either Hanan Ashrawi or the Peace Foundation. That's our choice, Stuart. My distinct impression is that if you persist in having her here, they'll destroy you. Rob Thomas of City Group is in trouble for supporting us. I think he must have had a phone call from New York. And you know Danny Gilbert [partner in the law firm, Gilbert and Tobin] has already been warned off."
SR: "You must be joking. We've been over this a hundred times. We consulted widely. We agreed the jury's decision, made over a year ago, was not only unanimous but that we would support it, together."
KG: "But listen, I'm trying to present the logic of this. They'll destroy what you've worked for. They are determined to show we made a bad choice. I think it's Frank Lowy's money. You don't understand just how much opposition there is. We cannot go ahead. If only there was progress in the Middle East, this would not be such a bad time."
SR: "I won't be subject to bullying and intimidation. We are being threatened by members of a powerful group who think they have an entitlement to tell others what to do. This opposition is orchestrated. The arguments are all the same - that Hanan Ashrawi has not condemned violence sufficiently, that she was highly critical of Israel in her address to the UN's Johannesburg Conference on racism, and wilder accusations that do not bear repetition."
KG: "But you're not listening to the logic. The Commonwealth Bank - I was at a reception last night - is highly critical. We could not approach them for financial help for the Schools Peace Prize. We'll get no support from them. The business world will close ranks. They're saying we are being one-sided, that we've only supported Palestine."
SR: "Kathryn, we need to avoid the trap of even using the language of 'one side'. That's not the issue. We are being bullied and intimidated and you are asking that we give way to it. The letter writers and the phone callers who this group encourage have spent weeks bullying a 25-year-old colleague of mine who handles the foundation's administration. You are asking me to collude with bullying."
KG: "I'll tell you how serious this is. Bob Carr won't come to the dinner. He'll flick the responsibility to [his deputy, Andrew] Refshauge at the last minute. And you won't get the Town Hall. It is more than Lucy's life is worth. They will desert us as well."
SR: "I've never given way to bullying. Public life is too much characterised by cowardice. If we give way I'd be so ashamed I couldn't face myself. The image of the Peace Foundation would be shameful. Our reputation would count for nothing."
KG: "My friend, I am telling you what the reality is. The foundation will be destroyed. I'd hate to see its work come to nothing over this. Our critics are saying it's an awful choice."
SR: "These critics are 'they' and 'them', invisible but powerful people. They stay powerful because they are invisible. They bully and intimidate in the same breath they behave as unblemished pillars of the community. Do you mean to say that in cautious, often gutless Australia we are not going to follow through on this? No. I remain completely committed to our decision."
Watch this space.

· Public life is too much characterised by cowardice [SMH: Ramsey]

Upper house

When Canberra opted for self-government in 1989, the territory had no need of an upper house to do business. So if our newest parliament could do without one, why do other state parliaments cling to the old-fashioned notion of upper houses, which many view as an irrelevant appendix to the body politic?
· Bicameral [Sunday ]
· Unicameral [SoutherlyBuster ]

My family is still waiting to get the land back taken from my grandfather in 1948. That precious piece of soil where Vrbov viaca (hot) spring baths are today.

Holy war
At the heart of the conflict are the vast property holdings seized from the church by the Communists in 1948 and never returned, despite the restitution of property to most private landholders in the early 1990s.
· Clash over property [Prague Post]

Joe Stalin said who votes doesn't count, it's who gets to count the votes...

Friday, October 24, 2003

Gabriel García Márquez said Life is not what one has lived, but what one remembers and how one chooses to tell it.

I'm not Gabriel García Márquez or Agatha Christie. But I had a sister Aga once who hooked me on folklore stories, even folk dancing, as well as stories written by characters like Gabriel and Christie.
Aga like no one else I have ever known understood that life on this earth was a hard bastard. At 22 Aga had even trouble drawing breath. Breathing is painful when you are diagnosed with leukemia. The paradigm is the girl whose throat is filled with toxic elements and she is not even able to cry for help.
What story does one tell after you happen to say final goodbye to your 22 years old sister when you are barely 17? After such an experience escaping across the Iron Curtain is not such an impossible dream.
My ordinary story entitled Cold River takes many leaves from Agatha Christie’s novels. Deep inside me I seem to understand so well Burkean conservatism which was meaningfully expressed by Agatha: justice rarely comes from the state, but from civil society – a private detective, a clever old spinster. I admit I do not have the skills to reach as deep as Agatha. My writing does not do justice to my hows and whys feelings in those mysterious regions of my heart. What words and notions should be used to describe how it took ordinary boys to demolish one of the last great communist taboos: crossing the forbidden Iron Curtain.
Many readers know that in Christie and Burke’s worlds wisdom resides in the very old and the very ordinary. Thirst for truth and freedom is a dynamic force, and a dynamic force is a very dangerous thing.
In ‘Destination Unknown’, a communistic scientific community turns out to be a veil for a crazed megalomaniac.
Her protagonists stand, novel after novel, against those who seek to disrupt the natural order and interpret the world with a misleading ‘rationalism’. As one of her heroes explains, We’re humble-minded men. We don’t expect to save the world, only pick up one or two broken pieces and remove a spanner or two when it’s jamming up the works. Or, as another heroine asks, Isn’t muddle a better breeding ground for kindliness and individuality than a world order that’s imposed? There is a clear natural order it is only disrupted by greed, wickedness or misguided political ambition.
Like Agatha, I have learned to appreciate the simple things in life -- an encouraging email from a reader who almost deleted my story half way through the book, but now has read it three times...
Around one hundred publishers rejected my story, but I stood my ground. There are conspiracies that this blog is just a devious plan to double traffic on Double Dragon Publishing (as if dragons needed it :*). I thought I was simply linking soulful stories: at times, my email feels more like I dropped a hand grenade into a political hornet's nest.
· Work-in-Progress: Muddling through revisions [Saloon: Mr Michael Orthofer, Managing Editor, at The Complete Review ]

Thursday, October 23, 2003


Suddenly the computer screen is awash with what it means to be an unAustralian.
The nation whose passport I carry doesn't even really have a name, except the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is the bureaucratic result of a seventeenth-century compromise. English identity” may in fact exist – but to be English is in truth to find the whole idea of identity rather awkward
· In very Exalted moments: Albion. [ ]
· Dear corragated grammar avengers [Guardian ]

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Having kofis today with underground librarians and bloggers so consider this entry dedicated to one and all who serve inside great brothels of life...

Libraries are brothels for the mind
Libraries are battles for ideas. Which means that librarians are the madams, greeting punters, understanding their strange tastes and needs, and pimping their books. That's rubbish, of course, but it does wonders for the image of librarians.
Libraries were the original internet. All knowledge was available even in a local branch library. You could order a book and, if they didn't have it, they'd get it from a library in Yorkshire that did. This would give you the double pleasure of having the book you wanted and the knowledge that a Yorkshireman would be searching in vain for it. Of course, many libraries now have free internet access, which is useful for looking up things online, such as the library opening times.

· I used to be a Pimp [Guardian (UK)]
· Celebrity librarian [NY Times]

Cold Revenge

Sentence Imposed for 1968 Sabotage
Communist-era leader gets six-year term for blocking broadcasts. Former Communist functionary Karel Hoffman was sentenced to six years in prison Oct. 13, making him the first person ever convicted for his actions during the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of the country.
· Lucky 13? [Prague Post]
· Red Rights? [Prague Post]

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


Sweet Reward: Tax Notes of Known World
He had never considered writing fiction full time before. Mr. Jones was the author of an acclaimed collection of short stories and the winner of a $50,000 literary prize, but he was also the son of an illiterate and impoverished mother. As a young man he lived briefly in a homeless shelter and learned to view a steady paycheck the same way that a drowning man might view a lifeline.
To think about being a writer was to think that I had the whole world, and I really didn't, and I knew I didn't," said Mr. Jones, 53, who spent nearly two decades proofreading and summarizing news items for Tax Notes, a trade magazine, before he was laid off in January 2002.
But he decided to dive into his first novel without much of a safety net. To his astonishment, his tale of a black slave owner, an aching and lyrical exploration of moral complexities, has become a literary sensation since its publication in August. Janet Maslin in The New York Times called that novel, "The Known World" (Amistad/HarperCollins), stunning. Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post hailed it as the best new American fiction to cross his desk in years.

· As a drowning man might view a lifeline [NY Times]

Show Me A Real Man...
Philip Marchand thinks that the world of Canadian literature could do with a good, healthy shot of testosterone. I don't know if there is any wider significance to this year's rash of novels populated by feminized or ineffectual men. There has always been this tendency in Canadian literature, particularly French Canadian literature, but it has never seemed so blatant as now. Regardless of the cause, Marchand finds himself pining for the strong male characters of Mordecai Richler, or at least the suave calm of Robertson Davies' men.
· Show v Tell [Toronto Star 10/18/03]
· Show Me Real Journalists

Intellectuals Who Distrust Freedom

Vladimir Nabokov called attention to the West's ingrained distrust of emigres in a reproachful letter he sent to Edmund Wilson, the essayist who had extravagantly praised Lenin's regime, which may have had a hand in the assassination of Nabokov's father in Berlin in 1922:
American commentators "saw us merely as villainous generals, oil magnates, and gaunt ladies with lorgnettes" who had only selfish and base motives for opposing Lenin. That stereotyping made their testimony unwelcome and unweighed, the great Russian novelist regretfully wrote to his future ex-friend.
Martin Amis quotes Nabokov's letter in his recent book, Koba the Dread, and then argues that the emigres were very broadly the intelligentsia. They were the civil society, which was crushed and forced into exile by the professional revolutionaries of Bolshevism, who were perversely lionized by many in the chattering classes in the West.
Merciless toward the failings of the democracies but ready to tolerate the worst crimes as long as they are committed in the name of the proper doctrines.

· They have survived even the end of the Cold War [WashingtonPost ]
· Proust's Madeleine: waves of memory of Soviet times past [LRB ]


> Blogging About Bessie
The quality of any weblog in journalism depends greatly on its fidelity to age old newsroom commandments (virtues) like check facts, check links, spell things correctly, be accurate, be timely, quote fairly. And as Roy Peter Clark says, if you’re telling a story and there’s a dog, get the name of the dog. Bessie!
· Uncertainty in uncertain times is an acceptable option. (Inaction, though, is not) [Tim Porter/First Draft]

Mmmmm ICAC barred from MP's computer
The NSW corruption watchdog has been stopped from examining computer records seized from the office of NSW upper house MP Peter Breen, Legislative Council president Meredith Burgmann said today.
· Mossish Affair [News ]

There are a lot of bloggers doing their finger-walking on these two stories

Repetition Our Stories
Rebekah Amaya faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Grace Headlee, 4, and Gabriel Amaya, 5 months.
The coroner said both children drowned and determined the deaths were homicides.
Amaya, a registered nurse, was being returned to Lamar from a Colorado Springs hospital, where she was treated after she cut her wrists in the suicide attempt.

· Drowning [Fox ]
· Suicide [NYPost ]


Has this piece of writing come directly from one of the Czechoslovak Samizdat magazines circa 1977?! Is Australia ready for Democratic Republic?
Ordinary Person
I'm a pretty ordinary sort of person. I love my kids, work hard, like to spend time with friends with a bottle of wine and good music and hate being cold. I also hate injustice, cruelty and hypocrisy. And I certainly don't like being misled, misrepresented and manipulated.
It has become increasingly obvious to anyone that this is what has been happening over the past year, to me and to every other Australian in this wonderful sunny country. We have been implicated in one of the biggest scams of all time.

· Extraordinary Times [Webdiary: Sue Roffey]

Driving Dangerously

I am an occasional HOV violator, a rampant speeder and a firm believer in civil disobedience in the face of unreasonable laws. If pre-war Germany was inhabited by like-minded souls, World War II would have never happened.
· Faulksy Fascism? [AdventuresinBureaucracy ]

Monday, October 20, 2003


Matchless in its Sydney Shell Sail Splendor, the Opera House is unrivalled as a Symbol: it is a threshold that presides over the old and the new world. The House of Sails is symbol of human ingenuity, technological genius, and touches the sailing dreams of every migrant in different ways.
That shell is more than a shell: it�s alive, it speaks to people. Some people come here to find themselves. Before the luminous shell icon wildness within Greiners, Lowys and Imrichs is one, a fragile one.
Happy Birthday to you! Creative & Unique SOH

Short Term Political Point Scoring
Rumours have been circulating all week that the former Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson is about to reveal in the Bulletin that a decade ago, the current Liberal aspirant Malcolm Turnbull was sent by the prime minister, Paul Keating, to canvass with the Senator For Kneecaps some future options...Taking self interest loaded leaf out of Wran's biographical books?

Labor, Liberal ... Politics Without Any Lines or Shames Top end of town turns out for the Turnbulls
For Sale Sign
Nobody here ever opens their own home for these functions other than for their own self-interest, no matter how altruistic they might appear to be. There was certainly the expectation there, that they could be called up to support Malcolm in some way or another.
· Rent a AAA-list crowd: Me, Myself and Michael in High Society Boys Do not Cry [SMH ]

Apathy in the Middle Players, Pollies, Pokies, Porkies: Powerless Always Suffer Most
We could make a big difference in a tight election.
· Poker Players [SMH ]

Carr's, (train driver's son), ship out message does not shape up. If John Howard had said what Bob Carr said last week about a series of shootings between people of Lebanese descent, he would have been crucified. He would have been accused of racism, Nazism, dog whistling, dividing the nation, channelling Pauline Hanson, exposing his black xenophophic heart, you name it.
[Sun Herald 19 October 2003]
· Shots that Shook Sydney [SMH ]

Sunday, October 19, 2003


For 19 years I've been so lucky to be with a ballerina who first kissed me under the lamp post at Circular Quay opposite the Opera House.
It seems symbolic, but we also got married on 20 October 1984, the year (of Orwell) Opera House celebrated its 11th birthday. 19 years is a long time to spend in any relationship, let alone a dangerously intimate one with Bohemian and Antipoedian mix. Every marriage, no matter how obscure and no matter how dynamic, has its own mesmorerising raw energy. How many times have we found our selves in deep water over small and not so small issues? One of the symptoms of an approaching marriage breakdown is the belief that ones ego is terribly important. It is fatal to fall for the ego game. Ours is a great friendship because we are both survivors of numerous personal tragedies. Lauren has had the dysfunctional yet priviledged teenagehood and Granville rail disaster nightmares to cope with and my life was invaded by totalitarian tragedy before even I could swear: Kommunist ****. As painful as our journey have been, our ability to see tragedy and suffering as a constant source of redemption is what makes our friendship to thrive.
Having our first daughter born exactly 9 months after the Velvet Revolutiont is, perhaps, one of the most remarkable illustrations of how hope can spring from the most appalling of tragedies.

Sydney Opera House celebrates 30th birthday
Boats crammed the harbour and people crowded the foreshores as the Queen opened the Sydney Opera House on October 20, 1973. Those who worked on and in that magical building share their memories of its first 30 years.
· Under Full Sail [ ABC]


Sentence after sentence that I agree with and couldn't have said better myself...

Don't let them get away with murder
The Penrith Panthers (Sydney Footbal team living in fibro houses had beaten cafe Latte Eastern Surburbs silvertails) didn't think winning was an impossible dream, despite the odds! I don't have much hope at the moment for a top-down commitment to values of honesty and humanity. Even Simon Crean seems prepared to give Bush a standing ovation. How can he? What sort of leadership is that?
If the politicians won't behave properly, the people must challenge them - again and again. They are not ethereal beings but fallible, the same as the rest of us.
Can we please be a democracy rather than just pretend we live in one? Can we please start talking together rather than behaving as if discussing politics or human values is the equivalent of parading dirty underwear? Our politicians are answerable to us. Put your head above the parapet. Write to them, demand answers, ask them how they justify their decisions, organise your own forum. Don't let them get away with murder.

· Don't let them get away with murder [Margo Kingston: SMH]

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Shires & Kingdoms

October 2003 AD, Dubya upgrades Australia from 'deputy' to 'Sheriff'.
The word sheriff descends from the old Anglo-Saxon term -shire reeve: 'shire- from OE (scir) - an administrative subdivision of the kingdom, a county...
One and only Mike (Ritzish) Carlton writes My old sixth-class teacher, John Beaky Morris, has sent me what he says is an old Ethiopian proverb that may be helpful when President Bush addresses Parliament in Canberra next week. When the aristocrat comes, the peasant bows low and farts silently, it goes.
· A local administrative agent of an Anglo Saxon king [Webdiary ]

Fox has long demonstrated a clearer commitment to changing public policy than to reporting it. People are proceeding from radically different sets of facts
· Some so different that they're altogether fiction [Washington Post]

Ding to a New Study

Tall people earn considerably more money throughout their lives than their shorter co-workers, with each inch adding about $789 a year in pay, according to a new study. If this is true, I should make a killing! Hmmmm..... At 6'3, I disagree, while Bill Gates is smiling all the way to his huge Library Room
· Height does matters for career success [Yahoo ]

Friday, October 17, 2003

Our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King

The Two-Income Trap: Going broke over Lattes
Today's two-income family has 75 percent more earnings, inflation adjusted, than their parents had a generation ago. The reason, of course, is because today's average family has two people in the workforce, instead of one. But this year, more children will live through their parents' bankruptcy than their parents' divorce.
What they discovered shocked even themselves: the effort to keep the kids in a good school district when one parent is laid-off is the main factor driving Americans into bankruptcy court, not all those trips to the Niketown store.

· Foreclosures: Silent Shame [Salon ]
· Wealthy bosses have good reason to worry [SMH ]

the second soul of the unhappy- Goethe, the dream of those who wake- Matthew Prior, the thing with feathers that perches in the soul- Emily Dickinson, the worst of all evils, because it prolongs the torments of man- Nietzsche

Ah. Uncle Franz. He always was too optimistic: Man proceeds in a Fog
The historical record is our great shared reservoir of human experience. Past episodes are amenable to systematic analysis and reflection exactly because they are past. We can concentrate on understanding, rather than on acting or reacting or refusing to act. And there is a further benefit.
The role of historians - who are scientists of the human - is to unscramble myths...

· Struggle of men against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting [SMH ]

I did not care about glory, or money, or fidely old age, because I was sure I was going to die very young, and in the street.

Band of Brothers
By this path we came to the enigma of The Count of Monte Cristo, which the three of them had carried over from previous discussions as a riddle for novelists: how did Alexandre Dumas manage to have a sailor who was innocent, ignorant, poor, and imprisoned without cause, escape an impenetrable fortress, transformed into the richest and most cultivated man of his time? The answer was that when Edmund Dantes entered the Chteau d'If he already had constructed inside him the Abbot Faria, who transmitted to him in prison the essence of his knowledge and revealed what he needed to know for his new life: the place where a fantastic treasure was hidden, and the way to escape. That is: Dumas constructed two different characters and then exchanged their destinies. So that when Dantes escaped he was already one character inside another, and all that was left of himself was his good swimmer's body
· Truth of my soul: having lived that life in order to tell it [Guardian: 1]
· Years of solitude: Kafkaesque riddles [Guardian: 2]
· Russian roulette and Fidel Castro [Guardian: 3]

Khemlani - klaim and kounter klaim
A second allegation that has floated around in the national media in recent weeks concerns money laundering through a local Ryan restaurant, Jindalee Oriental.
· Mon(k)ey Mon(k)ey... [Crikey ]

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Face it, I'll never be rich: My surname is just loaded with Irony
Why do migrants still believe in the rags-to-riches fairy tale? In this final extract from his explosive new book, Michael Moore explains why the corporate bosses will never let the new world dream become a reality
· Less is Moore [The Guardian(UK)]

The First Draft of Mystery
Glenn was a good editor who prized a good read more than anything else about a story. That's what I liked about him. In this business editors are of two schools. Some like facts and cram them into a story until it is so overburdened that practically no one will read it to the end. And some like words and never let the facts get in the way.
· There are a lot of would-be novelists in newsrooms [Poynter ]

· Political Wisdom: Pressure mounts to ship migrants ... [SMH ]

Pro Activism

Some people believe that social movements are fueled by misery—that communities only start standing up for themselves when things get really bad. It's an appealing thought in difficult times. However, fear is historically a lousy engine of solidarity. Progress and optimism go hand in hand. When people are hopeful about the future, they are inclined to demand positive change.
But if the misery theory is wrong, so is the belief that activism dies when the going gets tough. Few progressives doubt that the past two years have been the most politically trying in recent memory. Nevertheless, union members, globalization activists, immigrant rights advocates and anti-war groups have persevered. This fall, just when we need some good news, those of us concerned with social and economic justice can see a remarkable number of our efforts bear fruit.

· Fruits []

Vaclav Havel

The Soul of a Nation
Just recently friends of mine sent me a couple of photographs of Aung San Suu Kyi. The nonviolent struggle of this woman for her fellow citizens' freedom dwells in my soul as a stark reminder of our struggles against totalitarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe.
Thousands of human lives have been destroyed, scores of gifted people have been exiled or incarcerated and deep mistrust has been sown among the various ethnic groups. Human society is, however, a mysterious creature, and it serves no good to trust its public face at any one moment. Thousands of people welcomed Suu Kyi on her tours, proving that the Burmese nation is neither subjugated nor pessimistic and faithless. Hidden beneath the mask of apathy, there is an unsuspected energy and a great human, moral and spiritual charge. Detaining and repressing people cannot change the soul of a nation. It may dampen it and disguise the reality outwardly, but history has repeatedly taught us the lesson that change often arrives unexpectedly.

· To talk about change is not enough, change must happen [WashingtonPost ]

· Why the beer belly may be a myth [BBC ]

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

World's Largest Book Fair Opened a New Chapter for mmmwwwwaaa and James Cumes. The word at The 55th Frankfurt Book Fair was that the Cold River experienced the first thawing of the ice and the fair has initiated a steady stream of inquiries... Even Hollywood received a nod at the world's largest book fair in a special forum highlighting the symbiosis between the printed word and the movies. For the first time, a cinema at the book fair showed films and TV series based on popular books. Surrounding forums and discussions aimed to encourage exchanges between writers, publishers and filmmakers.

From its Inception, the Frankfurt Book Fair Symbolized the Freedom of the Word
Author Susan Sontag, 70, who is of Polish-Lithuanian Jewish descent, received the German book trade's prestigious Peace Prize on Oct. 12. Announcing the award in June, the prize jury cited her role as an intellectual ambassador between the United States and Europe and for her human rights activism.
Sontag is the fourth American to receive the prize in its 54-year history. Last year's winner was novelist Chinua Achebe of Nigeria. Past winners also include Octavio Paz and Hermann Hesse, both Nobel Peace Prize laureates, and Vaclav Havel, the former Czech president and anticommunist dissident.
The Book Fair finished on Monday. According to James Cumes, attendance had been up 8 percent this year, with almost 300,000 coming through the gates in six days.

· A writer unafraid to speak the truth [Common Dreams]

New Chapter

World's Largest Book Fair Opened a New Chapter for mmmwwwwaaa and James Cumes. The word at The 55th Frankfurt Book Fair was that the Cold River experienced the first thawing of the ice and the fair has initiated a steady stream of inquiries... Even Hollywood received a nod at the world's largest book fair in a special forum highlighting the symbiosis between the printed word and the movies. For the first time, a cinema at the book fair showed films and TV series based on popular books. Surrounding forums and discussions aimed to encourage exchanges between writers, publishers and filmmakers.

From its Inception, the Frankfurt Book Fair Symbolized the Freedom of the Word
Author Susan Sontag, 70, who is of Polish-Lithuanian Jewish descent, received the German book trade's prestigious Peace Prize on Oct. 12. Announcing the award in June, the prize jury cited her role as an intellectual ambassador between the United States and Europe and for her human rights activism.
Sontag is the fourth American to receive the prize in its 54-year history. Last year's winner was novelist Chinua Achebe of Nigeria. Past winners also include Octavio Paz and Hermann Hesse, both Nobel Peace Prize laureates, and Vaclav Havel, the former Czech president and anticommunist dissident.
The Book Fair finished on Monday. According to James Cumes, attendance had been up 8 percent this year, with almost 300,000 coming through the gates in six days.

· A writer unafraid to speak the truth [Common Dreams]

Against all odds, Peter Finlay dances on the literary high wire...

Downward Cultural Spiral: Not bloody likely!
You may think that one of the ways in which you can test this book . . . is to ask yourselves the question . . . would you approve of your young sons, young daughters—because girls can read as well as boys—reading this book? Is it a book you would leave lying about your house? Is it a book you would even wish your wife and servants to read? The genie was well and truly out of the bottle, the supply had created a demand, and the appetite grew with feeding.
· Unflinching flirting with taboo [CityJournal ]
· Evaluating John Paul II's Papacy: A Czech View [EuroSavant ]

Slavic sentence structure

Five literary translators on the art of turning written Czech into readable English.
Artists in their own right, they face twin daunting challenges: interpreting, culture and sensibility into English of reading each book or poem in its original form.

· Channeling the voice and soul of the original author to re-create the experience [ PraguePost]


I am guilty of spending hours upon hours in the last seven days surfing the real waves from Moolloolaba (sic), Byron Bay and all the way to Cronulla, however it is great to read that the Web is making its timely mark. I planned to do some blogging, but somehow I have failed to deliver...

More Time Online Than Watching TV
A new survey by British research firm NOP claims that for the first time the Internet has overtaken television in the amount of time that consumers spend with it. On average, according to the research, Internet users spend 3.5 hours a day on the Internet, and 2.8 hours watching television.
· Virtual Surfing [Guardian]

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Reporting the Rhetoric

Andrew Cline, a former reporter turned academic who regularly polices the intersection of journalism and politics, says journalists are constantly bamboozled by slick-talking politicos because they fail to see through the rhetoric.
Journalists could report persuasive tactics as verifiable events if they knew how. Instead, they rely on partisan pundits to tell them what it all means. And the result is their reporting does more to transmit propaganda than to interrupt or challenge it.

· Structural biases of journalism [Tim Porter/FirstDraft]

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Waking up to strange bedfellows
To me politics is not a religion, it is about making things work in the way that I think makes sense.
Life at the pragmatic centre is hardly boring. It is a very challenging place to be. It is an open place, a marketplace where good ideas are appreciated. Laurence, Latham and Coombs had good ideas this past week, so good that I don't want to make a single knit picky point about any of it except to thank them for their contributions to our wonderful public life.

· Tonight I will get into bed with some trepidation [Webdiary: Harry Heidelberg]

Monday, October 06, 2003

Praha: Tycho Brahe

The mother of cities does seem to nurse a grudge against her famous foreign sons - take Franz Kafka, who died of lingering tuberculosis at 40, and Rainer Maria Rilke, who died of leukemia at 51. But Brahe's bladder did not burst and Mozart was almost certainly not murdered.
· I am in the region of death [NthPosition ]

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Kafka, my Friend

Perhaps everyone who reads has a writer who is closer to them than any other. What is the cause of this proximity? No doubt one could give a psychological explanation of this apparent intimacy. Yet, beyond this useful analysis, and not despite it, this feeling of complicity has to with a secret bond, tie or alliance. I can still remember the day that I picked from the shelf in my local library my first book by Kafka.
· It was The Castle [In Writing]

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Is Havel a top runner for the Nobel Peace Prize?
Let me be the first in the Antipodean world to go
on record as saying that Vaclav will has got it!

· Nobel Man [Zpravy ]

Via Lucis The Great Moravian bishop Causes Unholy Alliance
Hell, most of us have common ground on some things - why are we so loathe to admit it and work together when we can?
John Amos Comenius (Latin Name, in my home country known as Jan Amos Komensky) was born in 1592 in Nivnice, Moravia (now in the Czech Republic) and died on November 15, 1670. Komensky is the moral reference point for the idea of an universal education. A contemporary of Galileo, Descartes, Rembrandt, and Milton, Comenius contributed greatly to the Enlightenment. The father of modern education,
a status earned by his years of hardship. Komensky came to develop a philosophy, pansophism, which stressed political unity, religious reconciliation, and educational cooperation. This philosophy of pansophism related education to everyday life and advocated systematizing all knowledge, teaching in the common language of students rather than in Latin, and establishing a universal system of education with opportunities that included women and peoples of all nations.
As bishop of the Protestant Moravian church, he was persecuted by the Catholic Hapsburg dynasty both during and after the Thirty Years War. As a refugee, he came in contact with many of the intellectual leaders of his time in Germany, Poland, Sweden, England, and Holland.
His major work, The Great Didactic, was written from 1628 to 1632 and was translated into English by M.W. Keatinge in 1896. His other works include The Gate of Languages Unlocked (1631; Eng. trans., 1659) and The Visible World (1658; Eng. trans., 1659), which is considered to be one of the first illustrated books for children.
Throughout his life, John Amos Comenius worked for educational, scientific, and cultural cooperation, enlightenment and understanding. May his philosophies serve as the inspiration of educational alliances.

· The Gate of Multipartisan Tongues Unlocked [Webdiary SMH]

Friday, October 03, 2003

Second Reading: The need to be accepted is in many of us
Finally! After years of trying, I finally had a short article accepted by our denominational magazine. All my friends from church would see it. I would be praised for my efforts...
Well, much to my disappointment it didn't work that way.
Not even the pastor remarked about my article. It was a lesson. Non-writers have no idea, no inkling, not even a hint of how difficult it is to be accepted and published today. They take it all for granted.
Even family members don't understand the difficulty in writing a piece that hits the market. They have no idea of the sweat and blood and tears that go into writing an article that will be accepted, paid for and published.
It's a wonderful feeling to have work accepted. It's even more wonderful if someone will pay for something dreamed up in our own heads and there's nothing else out there exactly like it.
The need to be accepted is in many of us.
But why do we write?
There is also the feeling in many of us writers, that if we don't write we'll cease to exist. Then what? Could the world keep turning without us?
But my article was not in vain. I received a couple telephone calls from old family friends. They said the article was beautiful. That's all I needed to hear. I was accepted!
It's difficult being human. It's even more difficult to admit we're human and all our frailties that come along with it.

· Disappointed Writer? [AbsoluteVodka ]

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Thinking through radical evil

Sometimes life goes to school with philosophy, sometimes philosophy goes to school with life.
The first thing one noticed about him was his accent. It, like him, was one of a kind. It was a mix of guttural German and the brogueish, Scottish English he picked up in Aberdeen. His speech was punctuated by Yiddishisms, Hebrew, Greek and Arabic. Since he learned most of his English reading P.G. Woodhouse, who wrote about aristocrats, he would often unconsciously insert a posh phrase such as Right-O, which sounded funny coming from such a man of the people.
In God's Presence in History, he proposed his 614th commandment, for Jews to follow: Never grant Hitler a posthumous victory. The Holocaust may be incomprehensible, but Jews could refuse to collude with the Hitlerian goal of ending their 4,000-year history.

· Dangers of Playing Indifferent [NationalPost ]