BohemiAntipodean Samizdat

Sunday, January 30, 2011

AT FIRST glance Matthew Chesher's drug bust appears to be an act of sheer stupidity by a 44-year-old father who should know better. This latest episode is another reminder that there's something rotten at the heart of the government of NSW. Consider the case of Scott Gartrell, the man who replaced Chesher as Carmel Tebbutt's main adviser. Until last week Gartrell was chief of staff to Tebbutt. Instead of sticking around to steer his boss (and fellow warrior of the Left) through what is likely to be her last election campaign, Gartrell chose to up and run A rotting government, as if voters needed reminding
NSW Roads Minister David Borger covered the ALP logos on campaign posters in his electoral office in Sydney's west - because he thought he was sticking to the rules NSW minister 'sticking to rules' ; After the arrest on Friday night of Matthew Chesher - a longtime Labor staffer and husband of Education Minister Verity Firth - over the purchase of an ecstasy tablet, Ms Keneally said today she was "furious" over the new crisis. Keneally fed-up with 'self-indulgent behaviour' Mr Chesher's arrest is another in a series of tawdry episodes for the Keneally government. In September, Ports Minister Paul McLeay quit cabinet admitting to viewing online porn and gambling sites from a parliamentary computer. Former Roads Minister David Campbell resigned after being filmed leaving a gay sauna, while Ian Macdonald was forced to resign after charging airfares to the taxpayer without permission. Former Labor MPs Karyn Paluzzano and Angela D'Amore were both punted from the party for rorting parliamentary expenses

Like Media Dragons Super Rich The Rise of the New Global Elite
F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he declared the rich different from you and me. But today’s super-rich are also different from yesterday’s: more hardworking and meritocratic, but less connected to the nations that granted them opportunity—and the countrymen they are leaving ever further behind

In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.

• Transglobal community of peers who have more in Common with one another than with their countrymen back home ; Business blog [THEY are the Macquarie Street globetrotters. Labor premiers and ministers spent 428 days and almost $2 million on taxpayer-funded trips overseas since the 2007 election. The pollies' grand world tour ; Commercial-property broker CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. (CBG) said Tuesday that employees in China made payments to local government officials in violation of company policy and possibly U.S. foreign bribery laws CB Richard Ellis has zero tolerance for illicit or unethical activity in any form]
• · Tommy Sheridan - latest in a distinguished line of pollies to be jailed for perjury in a libel case ; The Darwin Awareness Engine™ helps users track Web and Enterprise 2.0 events, uncover emerging trends and gain faster understanding of complex issues. To demonstrate the value of this new way to present time-sensitive and contextual information, we have dedicated a Darwin Edition to information relating to Wikileaks, the organization that shares controversial information and one of the hot topics in today’s news Media Dragons of Darwin Awareness
• · · Saatchi & Saatchi Prague brilliantly tapped a cultural phenomenon in a new campaign for T-Mobile that swept across the Czech Republic over the holidays Czech out a Czech Christmas custom; Czech dabing parody, part II, Hooligans
• · · · It's been an exciting time for The King's Speech star Geoffrey Rush. He garnered a standing ovation for his performance in The Diary of a Madman at Belvoir St Theater, then rushed over to a local Sydney station where he watched The King's Speech lead the pack at the Oscar nominations. The British monarchy saga earned 12 nods, including best picture and acting honours for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and a best supporting actor nomination for Rush. "I've been texting people in between interviews and there's a lot of excitement going on across the globe from our team," says Rush. "It's really wonderful. It's sort of like Ben-Hur proportions. It all seems a bit crazy, you know? " Love's locks lost for brushes with lunacy ; Nikolai Gogol's Diary of a Madman ; King's Speech: bbb-but what about Geoffrey Rush?
• · · · · John Malkovich was brilliant playing Casanova, although sometimes the switches between characters were hard to follow. IN HIS 57 years, John Malkovich has gained an important insight into the art of seduction: women hold the real power ; Martin Haselbock, who conducted the Sydney Symphony in the sellout production starring John Malkovich, rejected claims that the work was ''laughed off the stage'' when it premiered in Vienna earlier this month. However my highest accolade goes to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; they covered several operas in one night (it seemed) and did so memorably." So remember, arts lovers: go early, go often John Malkovich being Casanova John Malkovich: 'I don't need to be liked' ''All five Vienna performances had extremely positive reactions with cheers, bravos and standing ovations,'' Haselbock said. ''We are booked to do five more performances in the same theatre next year.'' Hollywood icon John Malkovich
• · · · · · AMONG the speakers at this week's funeral of former NSW Liberal upper house member Frank Calabro, the first Italian-born representative elected to an Australian parliament, was former NSW premier Nick Greiner. Greiner recalled going to see Calabro in the early 1980s to seek his support for a tilt at the NSW Liberal leadership. Calabro told the Hungarian-born Greiner he would, as he saw in the younger man talent and energy. Greiner said Calabro went on to add the crucial clause: Us wogs have to stick together. Fitting tribute ; The whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks is the extension of a Facebook culture that reflects our prurient appetites for status updates and a constant drip of minutiae about everything from what we are eating to international intelligence. Next up: secrecy.

Monday, January 03, 2011

I wish for all of you the happiest and most hopeful of new years. May you laugh often, cry only when you want to, and never be bored in MMXI! Happiness seems an unintended side effect, like hives or a dry cough, the occasional byproduct of right living ;-)
And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not…
Is happiness ever unmixed, a pure state like pain or terror? And doesn’t it tend to evaporate as we become conscious of its presence? It’s not synonymous with pleasure, though like some pleasures it seems dependent on self-forgetting. Aquinas says happiness is rooted in "goods of the soul." Davis’ idea that being in a Haydn symphony may constitute uncomplicated happiness is suggestive. Being in implies not passive hearing but engaged listening – but listening to what? Music that is elegant, ordered, intelligent and spirited, with an impression of unlikely inevitability. Davis’ friend Edgar Bowers put it like this in From J. Haydn to Constanze Mozart (1791):
I carry one small memory of his form
Aslant at his clavier, with careful ease,
To bring one last enigma to the norm,
Intelligence perfecting the mute keys.
Many ideas we once thought were true turned out to be hard to unlearn...
History should never be used to inculcate virtuous citizenship. Yet it offers the richest imaginable source of moral examples – The essence of great fiction, drama, and life itself

The old year passeth Earlier the roadside dust was sweet. The fermented fruit, the brandy, is sweeter still, carried into the world on the walker’s boot
This has been quite a year for Mrs. MD and me, in some ways challenging, in others gratifying.

We've seen a hundred movies, dozen of plays, read every Vanity Fair magazine (the Spectator or the Financial Times if time permitted,) taken a full-fledged vacation, driven up to Kings Canyon and Uluru, spent a wonderful month in the red center reading books and more books ....
What Mrs. MD and I won't do is take our good fortune for granted, starting with the astonishing fact of our being together. It is, I suspect, exceedingly rare for two people in the middle of life to make a marriage as close as this one has become. When you survive Iron Curtain, every day is a surprise and a blessing. Like Theodore Dalrymple we have never been a one-book reader, devoting attention to a single volume at a time:
Often I read more than one book at a time. When I tire of one I fly to another. This is because the world has always seemed to me so various and so interesting in all its aspects that I have not been able to confine my mind to a single subject or object for very long; therefore I am not, never have been, and never will be the scholar of anything. My mind is magpie-like, attracted by what shines for a moment; I try to persuade myself that this quality of superficiality has its compensations, in breadth of interest, for example
Like Dalrymple, we are no scholars of anything but enjoy learning something about almost everything. Shakespeare was the keenest of cullers, and in that we also recognize ourselves. To cull is to select with discernment, whether the sweetest blueberry or the tartest book.
No one doubts that an ordinary man can get on with this world: but we demand not strength enough to get on with it, but strength enough to get it on. Can he hate it enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing? Can he look up at its colossal good without once feeling acquiescence? Can he look up at its colossal evil without once feeling despair? Can he, in short, be at once not only a pessimist and an optimist, but a fanatical pessimist and a fanatical optimist?
-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (May John Hatton Movement rocks in 2011)

... Turn the clock to zero, honey [How AK-47, more than A-bomb, changed history: If somebody were to tell you that the long tragedy of human warfare entered a new and deadly phase in the fifth decade of the 20th century, the historically literate mind almost certainly would jump to the invention of the atomic bomb, which ushered in an age of anxiety and the long balance of terror between the United States and the Soviet Union. Avtomat Kalashnikova - How the rifle I used in Czech Army change the history of the world ; The man of science, like the man of letters, is too apt to view mankind only in the abstract, selecting in his consideration only a single side of our complex and many-sided being. Hopes for 2011]
• · Father Dionigi recognized in his charge’s spirit a state similar to that of St. Augustine in his youth. He gave Petrarch a pocket copy of the Confessions, which the poet had not read. The book was Petrarch’s cherished companion for forty years. It journeyed with him to a mountain top, and once, in its owner’s pocket, it was near drowning with him in the sea. The Nativity of Our Common Adam; As Much as Can Be Made of Life Here’s a profound hole, yet no deeper than a coffin
• · · “To light a fire is the instinctive and resistant act of men when, at the winter ingress, the curfew is sounded throughout nature. It indicates a spontaneous, Promethean rebelliousness against the fiat that this recurrent season shall bring foul times, cold darkness, misery and death. Black chaos comes, and the fettered gods of the earth say, ‘Let there be light.’” Voltaire possessed an endless appetite for putting himself in harm’s way: duels, insults to nobility ; We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exist. Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute -- the foundation of the human condition -- and should be better. What makes music sad
• · · · Art as Empathy,” David Foster Wallace noted in the margins of a Tolstoy essay. Wallace’s archive shows he was not such an abstruse postmodernist…While many children are capable of conjuring imaginative tales, the grade-school Wallace has an unusual empathy for the adult double-bind of finding purpose in a job that also brings misery Art as Empathy ; On the eve of a pivotal academic year in Vishal Singh’s life, he faces a stark choice on his bedroom desk: book or computer? Cold River or computer?
• · · · · With Amazon, publishing is now beholden to one profit-obsessed company. What happens when you sell a book like it’s a can of soup?...Where once a publisher had to worry about competing for shelf space, now its entire list of books could be available to customers. Amazon; Depressing Russian Literature
• · · · · · Describing the paintings in words risks sentimentality or banality, which they never possess And thus abstract art is brought to shame, Even if we do not deserve any other; Ever dream of quitting your job and moving to a farm? This book will make you rethink that dream. The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love