Saturday, January 31, 2004

Soros, a Hungarian emigre to the US, concedes that he is open to such accusations. "I can be seen as a traitor to my class and my adopted country, but I am proud to take that role. I think there are values which transcend class and country. I think my country can be wrong and that's the value of an open society and that is the value which has made America great.

A Sense of Possibility, a Blast of Fresh Air
Within minutes of meeting the Herald at his plush west London abode, he complains about George Bush's "Orwellian truth machine" and its use of "doublespeak".
In the United States today you do have a pluralistic, free media. Neverthe-less, the truth machine is capable of manufacturing truth, so that the majority of people in America continue to believe that Saddam was somehow connected to September 11, when all the evidence points to the opposite...
The less faith we have in authority, the more trust we place in our own judgement.
The Nobel Prize-winning writer Gunter Grass said the German Weimar Republic collapsed and the Nazis took over in 1933 because there were not enough citizens. This was the lesson he had learnt: Citizens cannot leave politics just to politicians.

· Victim-turned-perpetrator [ See Also Life is a struggle for survival ]

Empowering events were almost without exception described as joyous occasions. Participants experienced a deep sense of happiness and even euphoria in being involved in protest events.
· Life should get better - healthier, wealthier, happier, more satisfying and interesting. Is this the case?

Sleep, baby, sleep
Now that the night is over
And the sun comes like a god (DEUS)
Into our room
All perfect light and promises.

Like medicine or pornography, Labor Party Machine is a subject in which a person is either deeply versed or utterly ignorant. Labor History, according to a tired saying of many parliamentary historians, is merely the propaganda of the victors.
Everybody Loves to Hate the NSW Labor Right

New Sensation, the rock anthem chosen by some crafty Labor spinmeister to introduce Mark Latham
Public attitudes to politics and politicians, Mackay says, reflect a level of cynicism bordering on contempt and despair bordering on disgust...
Pragmatism, Mark Latham and the Labor machine were the winners, and conscience, the rank and file and John Howard the losers in the closest thing to a real debate. Cherrypicking evidence to support the case of the 53 most wanted Members.
· Real Debate: Tumor-ridden body politic of Conscience? Let's not be wise now [ via I wouldn't have thought anybody's ever had me rattled in politics?]

Changes in fashion are the tax levied by the poor on the rich
Tragedies suffer from the moral defect of attaching too great an importance to life and death.
It was said of one politician that he'd been created to show how far the human skin can stretch

Seeing how the other half lives
Parliamentarians' of experiment of living on minimum wage raises questions about intent.
Deputy Petr Bratsky and three other politicians have been living on the minimum wage that single mothers such as Monika Jelinkova struggle with.
It's either a sincere attempt to see how the other half lives or a cheap ploy for self-promotion that insults the poor.
These are typical responses to a radio and newspaper challenge taken up by four parliamentarians who agreed to live on the minimum monthly wage -- 6,700 Kc ($257) -- for one month beginning Jan. 1.
The members of Parliament -- Senator Zdenek Barta (unaffiliated, part of the Christian Democratic caucus), Deputy Petr Bratsky (Civic Democrat), Deputy Stanislav Krecek (Social Democrat) and Deputy Michaela Sojdrova (Christian Democrat) -- normally are paid 46,000-64,000 Kc monthly, not including a stipend of 5,000 Kc for mobile telephone calls. This month they budgeted for only 3,900 Kc, what the average family of four living on a single minimum wage has after paying rent.

· Experiment: Prague
· Poor in line for hard Labor

Southern political personalities, like sweet corn, travel badly. They lose flavor with every hundred yards away from the patch. By the time they reach New York, they are like Golden Bantam that has been trucked up from Texas -- stale and unprofitable. The consumer forgets that the corn tastes different where it grows.
[ See Also Reality: The Louisianans, like Levantines, think it naive. When I was a young man, fresh out of Tulane. I was full of civic consciousness. I joined with a number of like-minded reformers to raise a fund to bribe the Legislature to impeach Huey [Long] ]
· Danger lurks for corporate perks

Friday, January 30, 2004

The political economics perspective
This paper analyzes the political economics of different strategies to implement revenue neutral reforms of a complicated income tax system.
Tax Cut
Tax Morale
SSRN (Social Science Research Network), January 2004
Corporate Tax Avoidance

Fear of untruths being revealed: Law lord hits wrong target on evidence over Iraq war
Why does it come as no surprise that Lord Hutton took the stick to the BBC and its reporter Andrew Gilligan and in the process exonerated the Blair Government over the dossier justifying the war against Iraq? Because in the view of judges, and most other long-in-the-tooth lawyers, the media invariably is out of line, and if it makes a mistake, as Gilligan did, then the crucifixion is so much easier.
· Hutton report excerpts [link first seen at Something's fishy: One-sided verdict is not the final word]

The US is Now in the Hands of a Group of Extremists
Money is the lifeblood of terrorist operations, he's talking about your money -- and every other American's money?
· The US must examine its global role and adopt a more constructive vision-George Soros MUST READ [ courtesy of Googlish webdiarist alive]

Thursday, January 29, 2004

A full house: Campaign Poker
The metaphors of horse races and sporting to describe the run for the White House are so tired as to make one want to puke. A far more useful analogy of the current campaign is poker. The best campaign cardgame is Texas No Limit Hold-em. It takes 5 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master....
The players are the candidates, the chips are the dollars available. The cards are the voters.
There are two tables. George's and the Democrats. The finest example of this point is the current administration, who bluffed their way into the White House. In Campaign poker the cards are important, but the size of your stack, how well you can bet and bluff is a far more important factor in determining if you can go the distance and win all the chips at the last table. One of the things that you can do is raise the other players past the chips they have causing them to fold and loosing the game. This is the current Bush Strategy. George Bush has the most chips on his table and is waiting for the winner of the Democrat's table.
Right now, the first hand is over. Kerry won this hand, Dean came in third, Gephart had the loosing hand and is out of the game. Among the Democrats Dean has the big stack. He has the most money, but the people behind him do not understand how to use this power. Having the most chips is no guarantee of winning the game. To be able to win one must have good cards and play them well.
Remember I said that the cards were the voters. The Deaniacs carpeted Iowa, but like a lot of other things they missed the the voters. Running around with T-Shirts and telling folks without an internet connection about all the wonderful stuff on the website is as useful as explaining Fucsia to the Blind.

· Read the whole thing: we’re even saddened to learn of the deaths of old enemies
[ Source Press is a political player ]

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Tax and Body Parts

Soon assume blood donation will also take a similar turn as the banks become drier and drier …
State lures organ donors with tax deduction
The Wisconsin Senate has passed a
bill calling for a state income tax deduction of up to $US10,000 ($13,000) to cover expenses for residents who donate their organs.

Supporters say it is the most ambitious move by an American state government to increase transplants. The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved by the State Assembly in November, passed in the Senate last Thursday by a vote of 28-2 and will now go to the Governor, James Doyle, a Democrat, who has said he will sign it into law.
No one, rich or poor, would receive any additional money for donating. All they would do is lose less money.
Why higher taxes are healthy An election is looming so stand by for all the doublespeak

Sydney has gone for the fast money and fatuous celebrity worship - and suffered for it

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Reporter says raid of home "felt like slow-motion robbery"
Citizen reporter Juliet O'Neill, whose home was raided on Wednesday, writes: I will remember what happened to me as part of how the post 9/11 world works. Some Canadians of Muslim faith and Middle Eastern origin have told of the early morning knock on the door from the RCMP. Because of my everyday work as a journalist, I've now experienced myself something that I realize would be more difficult to endure without a lawyer, without knowing my rights, and being confident of media attention.
· I woke up and thought I was in some totalitarian state

Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein tried to get New York Post reporter Keith J. Kelly to stop writing about Talk magazine by offering him a book deal to write a history of Irish Americans

Codes of conduct in Australian and some overseas parliaments
The conduct of ministers and members of parliament is often in the news. In Australia some parliaments have adopted codes of conduct for members while others have a code governing ministerial behaviour. Only three parliaments have codes relating to both ministers and members. All Australian parliaments have adopted registers of pecuniary interests.
· Interested Interesting [See AlsoDiscrimination in electoral law: using technology to extend the secret ballot to disabled and illiterate voters (PDFormat)]

Monday, January 26, 2004

In Sickness, in Health and in the Tax Code
Three marriage-related op-eds: Law Professor Dorothy A. Brown has an op-ed entitled In Sickness, in Health and in the Tax Code; attorney Shari Motro has an op-ed entitled Single and Paying for It; and Professor Laura Kipnis has an op-ed entitled "
· Should This Marriage Be Saved? [ via How Appealing]

Howard Dean: I Lead With My Heart And Not My Head
Look, I’m not a perfect person. I have my warts. I sometimes say things that get me in trouble. I wear suits that are cheap. But I say what I think and I believe what I say, and I’m willing to say things that are not be popular. Saying the politically popular thing is easy, but is that what America really needs now?
· Howard Dean has warts: The Only Chance We Have Against George Bush

The Truth is out....must send dogs to silence those who oppose.
Goldilocks was right, and if she were a working journalist today, she'd agree with me that this week the Boston Globe handled a story with too much heat, the New York Times with too much ice, and that the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call got it just right.
· Globe, Too Hot; River, Too Cold: Roll Call gets the stolen Democrat files scandal just right

Sunday, January 25, 2004

First Jim Henson, then Mr. Rogers, now we lost Captain Kangaroo himself, Bob Keeshan. O Captain! Our Captain!

Hugo nominee is a worthy sci-fi novel
The great man is he who does not lose his child-heart. He does not think beforehand that his words shall be sincere, nor that his acts shall be resolute; he simply abides in the right.
Mencius on resolve

What would you do if you did not have to do anything?
Just about everyone's had a day when they've wished it were possible to send an alternate self to take care of unpleasant or tedious errands while the real self takes it easy. In Kiln People, David Brin's sci-fi-meets-noir novel, this wish has come true.

· Kiln People [ via blogcritics ]

Fortune magazine released its 2004 Report on the 100 Best Companies to work for...
Congratulations to J.M. Smucker (#1) for being the best place to work! We especially liked their code of conduct:
Listen with your full attention,
look for the good in others,
have a sense of humor,
and say thank you for a job well done.
No wonder they've been in business for 107 years!
At thought Scooter Store (#58), there is a 14-minute huddle every morning to discuss the day's goals.

Peco's deeper ties to Fumo
If you're a Peco Energy Co. customer, every time you flick on a light, you are routing money to a little-known South Philadelphia nonprofit group controlled by close aides and allies of State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo's. Mario F. Cattabiani of the Philadelphia Inquirer, continuing his investigation of a non-profit connected to state Sen. Vincent Fumo, used state audits and IRS records to find that customers of utility company Peco Energy have been funding the Delaware Valley Regional Economic Development Fund, which is controlled by Fumo allies.
· Fuming Customers

Troubled bankers called to account
They had it all. Money. Gorgeous women. A fabulous playground of a city and all the trading in the world. But the dark side -- over the thin line between trading and roaguing, between swinging self-confidence and brutal arrogance -- took its toll. Their great ride is over, and currency trading will never the same.
· National Australia Bank's currency trading scandal
· Booze, bravado and male honour make for a culture of violence

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Unhappy with Our Short-comings?
The World Social Forum, a global movement seeking alternatives to globalization other than those discussed at the World Economic Forum at Davos, is wrapping up its fourth annual meeting in Mumbai, India, this week. The event site features news links, resources, and press releases in English, French, and Spanish. The first WSF was held in 2001 in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre. This is another great example of the Internet being used as a platform for aggregation of alternative news, and mobilization of activists on a global scale.
· World Social Forum: 'Another World Is Possible' [link first seen at VOW: We challenge the orthodoxy, so you don't have to]

If we stay maleable and fluid we can always reshape or be reshaped
Weblogs are more than the sum of its parts: more than vibrant public forums and frequently updated streams-of-consciousness, alternative forms of publishing and online outbursts of gonzo journalism, and personal diaries. They are the embodiment of online self-organising social systems, are essentially characterised by management decentralisation and ultimately threaten to destabilise current organisational structures and re-invent the scope of management. Provided that weblogs are not co-opted by rigid corporate policies that aim at stifling the creative spirit that fosters innovation - one of the reasons for having weblog communities at the first place - weblogs can be successfully deployed within the organisation with a pervasive effect across all the stages of the value chain "achieving a greater return on connection from employee, customer and partner relationships". As an extension, they can possibly involve all interested groups; regardless of their level of attachment to the company.
Cross-fertilisation among individual thoughts and ideas unfolds
[See also Spinning Yarns around the Digital Fire - Storytelling and Dialogue among Youth on the Internet ]
· River as a metaphor is powerful - as a symbol for the flow of life, its continuity, and its ability to hold myriads of things while still representing unity and oneness

Friday, January 23, 2004

The lure of the unknown writer proved absolutely irresistible for many virtual readers. Thank you one and all readers at Amazon for challenging the orthodoxy of the publishing world, so the next generation of writers don't have to! Imagine... Phew, how tough it has been for ordinary storytellers of my calibre running on literary water. Today you put me in the three figure current. Cold River is ranked as 710 as at 9 am Sydney time...
· Now, Ice cold beer, anyone?

2004 AD & the Story of Our Teeth: A Poor Cousin of the Middle Class Teeth
Caroline's is the face of the working poor, marked by a poverty-generated handicap more obvious than most deficiencies but no different, really, from the less visible deficits that reflect and reinforce destitution. If she were not poor, she would not have lost her teeth, and if she had not lost her teeth, perhaps she would not have remained poor.
· Not just bureaucrats who cheat the poor but also the poor who cheat themselves
· Citizen impotence, our specifically modern experience of poverty [link first seen at Rebeccablood]
· Electronic Elections: a new electronic voting system based on open-source software created in Australia
· Interactive Voting Map

Chorrible Examples(sic)
Inequities in social costs are aspects of industrialized poverty for which economic indicators and objective verification can be found. Such is not true for the industrialized impotence which affects both rich and poor. Where this kind of poverty reigns, life without addictive access to commodities is rendered either impossible or criminal. Making do without consumption becomes impossible, not just for the average consumer but even for the poor. All forms of welfare, from affirmative action to environmental action, are of no help. The liberty to design and craft one's own distinctive dwelling is abolished in favor of the bureaucratic provision of standardized housing, as in the United States, Cuba or Sweden. The organization of employment, skills, building resources, rules, and credit favor shelter as a commodity rather than as an activity. Whether the product is provided by an entrepreneur or an apparatchik, the effective result is the same:
· citizen impotence, our specifically modern experience of poverty [link first seen at Rebeccablood]

Taxing Witches

Readers are often surprised to hear that Cold River is a representation of reality. Those in the corridors of power with generous imagination and a gift for milling rumours know too well that I did not drown because I am a witch rather than rich (smile):
Indeed, the witch of Morava River kissed me with her tongue until the leaves on the trees, the soles of my shoes, and even my thoughts, felt like leaden tongues.

Have a Thick Skin: Put something new into the world
(Please help spread the rumour... I am not just a bouncing czech; I am a wicked witch; burning kryptikal grin)
Amateurs are writing as they’ve always written. Self-consciousness, self-doubt, awkwardness, and overcompensation are perennial hallmarks of the beginning writer. The reason today’s amateurs seem more profoundly un–profound could be a simple matter of exposure...
Sharing great discoveries is largely why weblogging got so hot and sultry in the first place. Big, heavily funded sites weren’t acknowledging the grace notes and hidden talents of the web, so it was up to webloggers. For some webloggers, it still is. Wired doesn’t need your help as much as undiscovered sites, which may be offering equally good (or better) material.

· When the kidnapper called the blind woman, he told her that she’d never see her son again

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Reality blogging with Road to Surfdom and Cast Iron Balcony
As a parent, the government's mantra of "choice" is meaningless to me. School fees of around $10,000 per child per year (in Melbourne) for two children? Not possible for us. I know the pundits always say there are legions of taxi drivers out there who manage to "sacrifice" to send their kids to private schools, and if the rest of us would cease our wickedly spending ways we could too, but take it from me-- as a non-smoking moderate social drinker who who sees approximately two live plays a year and whose work clothes hover between chainstore tragic and sheer embarassment, and who is relying on her 1991 Nova to last at least 7 more years, there is not $10000-20000 worth of fat to trim in this family. And the fees are only the beginning-- then you'd start on the uniform, the ski trips, the China excursions, etc. so that little Tarquin isn't socially ostracised.
Some choice. And then we get the pleasure of seeing the little Tarquins beat my child for a place at University with an ENTER score of 87.55 to her 96.5. Oh, and our taxes are helping to pay for it!
I'm having a Marge Simpson moment. Grrrrrrrrr.

Big Bad Taxmen miss death in tax office
A tax office official in Finland who died at his desk went unnoticed by up to 30 colleagues for two days.
The man in his 60s died last Tuesday while checking tax returns, but no-one realised he was dead until Thursday.
The head of personnel at the office in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, said the man's closest colleagues had been out at meetings when he died.

· Everyone at the tax office was feeling dreadful - and procedures would have to be reviewed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

It comes as no surprise that nearly a third of our young people who want to get into a university have missed out ("Degrees of separation: thousands rejected", Herald, January 19) when our Government spends its resources on the military and not education... Letters, SMH 20/1/04 Denis Doherty, Glebe

Broken Earth of Good & Evil
Joan Kroc, the late widow of the McDonald's founder, has left almost $2 billion to the Salvation Army.
The religious charity said today it was "humbled" by the generosity of one of the biggest bequests ever made.
The money will be used to develop community centres across the United States which will be named after Ray and Joan Kroc.

· Salvation Army [ courtesy of Google ]

Die Broke
You are not a corporation - you are a human being. Your money shouldn't outlive you. You should exit life as you came into it: penniless. Your assets are resources to be used, for your own benefit and for the benefit of those you love. Every dollar that's left in your bank account after you die is a dollar you wasted. Use your resources to help people now when you know they need it, when it will do the most good, rather than hoping they'll be helped when you're dead. The last czech you write should be to your undertaker… and it should bounce.

High housing prices not just Antipodean problem
The topic dominates dinner-party conversations: braggarts boast of the killing they've made on their houses, while the timid or the young worry about how they'll ever afford anything bigger than a shoebox to live in.
Now the French, the Spanish, the Irish and soon maybe even the Germans will be able to play the same game.
Europe has long been an oasis of housing sanity. People only bought houses to live in them. They didn't buy them as part of a pension plan, a route to early retirement, a clever way of paying the school fees, or because they were frightened that if they didn't buy one now they could never afford one later.

· Not any more. Europe is fast catching the housing bug

Rising homelessness in the capital challenges shelters; no solution in sight.
· Mean streets: Salvation Army's homeless shelter [ via Prague Post ]
[link first seen at Gentlemen: A staggering array of porcelain plumbing ]

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

In a nation without aristocracy, Hookes was one of those rarities, a prince among men; honest man who spoke his mind...
· A celebration, then a senseless tragedy: David Hookes

As the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was fond of saying, Everyone is entitled to their own opinion – but not their own facts.

Dishonest Socialisation of Loses: Are there parallels to be drawn or not?
Our goal here can’t be to find truth – that’s a job for philosophers and theologians. What we can do here is sort through the factual claims being made between now and election day, using the best techniques of journalism and scholarship.
And I can think of no better job for a journalist than holding politicians accountable for getting the facts right, regardless of their party or political philosophy.
Like the anarchists, Roosevelt diagnosed a growing awareness among Americans of genuine injustice. He believed, as few other politicians did, that the comforts of middle-class life blinded many of his fellow countrymen to the hardships endured by the majority of humankind - hardships whose effects might be lessened by political action.
And so, although Roosevelt opened his first address to Congress by pledging himself to fight the 'evil' of anarchism, he moved immediately into a much longer section of his speech titled 'Regulation of Corporations.' He proposed to address the great 'social problems' and the 'antagonism' of the day - the radicalism that threatened Americans' safety by trimming the excesses of unfettered capitalism.

· Corporate Welfare reaching new heights: (Kosciusko, Australia)
· The most evil corporate entity ever... (US)
[ via Political Fact Czech ]
[ courtesy of Is this a great job, or what?]
· Is Mina Naguib, the hackiest double dragon living in Montreal, or what?

The Dual Commandments: Act Like Nothing's Wrong
The coldest current to swallow Amazon up in years:
(1) If you like Cold River, give it to your friends.
(2) If you have an allergy to Cold River, send it to the bullies at school, work or parliament...
Just because I write about horrors of absurd communism doesn’t mean I always identify myself with other forms of barbarism such as ruthless capitalism.
· COLD RIVER: The Hunt for the Book That Is Best to Give to Bullies of this World [ My Virtual Middle Earth Digital Exposure: May the Ghost of the Morava River Protect the Powerless]
· Digital Silver Foxes: What is the son of Barbara Bush reading in 2004?

January Stories
The Des Moines tax preparer was accosted at work Thursday night by a knife-wielding man who tried to rob her.
Rankins backed him down with a stapler.

· I felt the power of the Lord
Rising homelessness in the capital challenges shelters; no solution in sight.
· Mean streets: Salvation Army's homeless shelter [ via Prague Post ]

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Fear in the tank, hope on the horizon
MIKE MOORE’S recent Oscar-winning documentary, Bowling for Columbine, depicted an America in the thrall of fear, largely of itself. Recently, North American ‘privatopias’ have arrived in Australia. The opening of Australia’s first gated community, the Gold Coast’s Sanctuary Cove in 1985, marked the start of a new residential development form that has become common across the nation. Although the outright gated community remains relatively rare, exclusive (ie. exclusionary) residential communities are now mainstream suburban products.
· Gated Estates [link first seen at Few Australian politicians in living memory possess the Queensland premier's sensitivity to voters’ wants and fears]
· Concept of Evil

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Vertical GST
Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation was originally devised as a principle for distributing federal government grants to the states and territories, but has now become the basis for apportioning GST revenue: There has been considerable agitation, on the part of New South Wales and Victoria, for Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation to be abandoned, and replaced by a per capita approach for distributing GST revenue;
GST revenue forms a significant part of state and territory budgets;
Different states, and territories, levy significantly varying rates of tax within their own boundaries;
States' and Territories' need for GST revenue depends, to a varying degree, on the state of production within their own jurisdictions.

· Paper by John [link first seen at APO ]

Does the way we measure poverty matter?
This paper notes that both poverty estimates at a point in time and poverty trends over time are sensitive to variations in the equivalence scales, in the level of the poverty line, in the selection of the indicator of the level of resources and in the choice of poverty index itself.
· National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra
· Global Democratisation: We the Peoples: Building a World Parliament...


My family is off again to Homebush Aquatic Centre where the NSW age swimming championships are being held covering ages 13-19 years/Over Age; covering the long, long, period from 13-19 January...
Swimming in our family emerged out of summer days splashing at Andrew (Boy) Charton and Bondi Iceberg pools, but the love of swimming came from the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef...
While many swimmers fall into the shooting star category, it is the healthiest sport on earth and almost as tough as ballet where extremely intensive dedication and love are a must. But, unlike ballet, swimming is objective. It is the ego, H2O and the clock...

True Passion Motivates Most Swimmers
The Middle Earth Europeans seem to be everywhere even at Homebush Aquatic Center and some even work for the IOI Scientific Committee (ISC) which in its maiden newsletter for the Athen Olympics poetically noted:
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
Are the ones who do!

The Olympics are still young and full of promises, for those who believe in them. I hope James Cumes might one day blog more about the true Olympic Spirit.
Meanwhile Dr. Tom Verhoeff, ISC Chair, writes that until IOI'99, the preparation and execution process suffered from a scaling problem...
The GA had very limited time to assess the tasks for approval and translation. This gave rise to long, intense, emotional discussions (a few well-informed persons versus a large group with little information), taking place under severe time constraints...
(As a result,) the ISC acts as an intermediary between GA and the HSC in the preparation and execution process. In all of this, it is important to remember that the ISC is intended to represent the GA. In fact, most ISC members have been GA members and they often return to the GA after serving on the ISC.
Now, we turn our attention to IOI 2004 in Athens, Greece. If the contact person has changed for your country from the one used in 2003, please send an email to Mr. Spyros Bakoyiannis, Greece, so he will have an up-to-date list of the country contacts. The contact person is necessary for sending out country invitations to IOI 2004...
· Olympiad Newsletter (PDF format) [ courtesy of Turning Dreams to Realities]
· Thorpedo in Swimming to Athens mode [link first seen at NSW Swimming Championships ]
· Bidders begin 2012 Olympics race

True Blue Olympic Colours & Spirits: People over 60 in Wales will be given free access to swimming pools in the first move of its kind in Europe. The move follows a scheme which gave schoolchildren free swimming during last year's summer holidays... (Politicians of all colours take note)
Sadly, Gray - who first found fame delivering confessional, humorous stage monologues such as Swimming to Cambodia man is missing


Last Mile: Dreams Come Alive
Computerised lamp posts look like being the basis of the biggest data network ever, as the world's traffic monitors set about controlling cars with wireless. And the result could be an absolute windfall for a startup company which, it seems, owns all the relevant patents.
The excitement about WiFi has, at last, started penetrating through to the consumer mind, with home users connecting their PCs to the Internet without wires and working in their bedrooms, sitting rooms, kitchens, and even in coffee shops, gyms and railway stations. And it turns out that you can even use your PC as a sort of free telephone.

· If Last Mile is right, then the WiFi revolution could happen much, much faster than anybody has dreamed.

City by city, neighborhood to neighborhood, our politics are becoming more concentrated and polarized. America must not only stop making dumb mistakes, like starting trade wars with Europe and China; it must also put in place new policies that enhance our creative economy.
It is a sad irony: America's creative economy sparked a demographic shift and a political polarization that now threaten to choke that economy off. What America desperately needs now is political leadership savvy enough to bridge that gap.
[ Creative Edge Creative Class War: How anti-elitism could ruin America's economy]

Living Taxes

Two angry middle-aged men, Veni Vedi Vinci, are in a Tatra Mountain resort and one of them says, 'Boy, the food in this place is really terrible.' The other one says, 'Yeah, I know, and such small portions.'

Having the last laugh: Our Public Hanging
If you're reading this right now, I guess I'm dead. I've got some bad news for you (besides the fact that I am dead). Every time I blogged, I thought I was putting my life on the line...
You are more restricted by being alive. Just as I had always suspected, God is a Underground Maker...(smile)
It stops all that speculation about how I managed four marriages and three divorces, the names of my 25 cats, and the real reason I missed 15 airplanes getting from Saigon to Da Nang.

· I am no longer Rich... The endless closing credits [ via Down Under: WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND ]

Which one of the five choices makes the best comparison? LIVED is to DEVIL as 6323 is to:
2336; 6232; 3236; 3326; 6332

Friday, January 16, 2004

I eat, drink, live, sleep, dream of less soccer, sweatshops & station disasters ... But, greed almost always trumps ideology.

What could be more global than soccer? The world’s leading professional players and owners pay no mind to national borders, with major teams banking revenues in every currency available on the foreign exchange and billions of fans cheering for their champions in too many languages to count. But in many ways, the beautiful game reveals much more about globalization’s limits than its possibilities.
· Foreign Policy magazines are exploring the absurdity of Football
· Not Sparing the Sweatshop Rod
· Australia: Waterfall disaster

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Lobbying by public servants has delayed the introduction of any new disclosure rules for bureaucrats by at least a year.
This is despite the recent recommendation of the Commonwealth auditor that the Government provide more detailed disclosure of the remuneration of ministers and top bureaucrats.

· Truth in PS

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Is anger really so bad? Isn't it better to sort of let out anger than bottle it up? This week is the 400 year anniversary of the King James Bible.

Black's wife
Barbara Amiel, whose fourth hubby is Conrad Black, took home a salary and bonus of $276,000 in 2002, all of it coming from the Chicago Sun-Times - even though she reportedly hasn't set foot in the Sun-Times building in over four years.
The dollars involved may be small compared with the millions her husband was pulling out of Hollinger International, but Amiel's behavior fits the same disturbing pattern, according to disgruntled shareholders: treating a publicly held company like a personal bank account.

· If this was a cow, there wouldn't be an udder that wasn't sore [ courtesy of Romenesko]

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Pay to Play
Shannon D. Harrington, Clint Riley and Jeff Pillets of the Bergen Record have a two-part series on pay to play in New Jersey, a system that encourages politicians to reward their big contributors with juicy - and perfectly legal - no-bid contracts financed by the taxpayers. One story focuses on the lucrative law practice of M. Robert DeCotiis, finding that the DeCotiis firm billed at least 128 government entities nearly $26.6 million during the 21⁄2-year period.
· Why attempts to curb the pay to play phenomenon have failed. [ courtesy of The Scoop]
[blatantly pinched from ABCNews: mathematical truth]


Online addicts abandon the real world
Gabriele Farke celebrated her 40th birthday in a chat room. Her real-life friends had long since given up on her.
· The blonde in Bus Stop: Caught in the Net
· Blogging of Happiness

What is Happiness?
To laugh often and much,
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of childen,
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends,
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition,
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,
This is to have succeeded.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
· Politics of Happiness
[ via Mathematics of Happiness = P + 5E + 3H
· Bullies in the China Shop of Humanity
Labor has lunged for the small business constituency by promising to cut the red-tape headaches associated with the GST.
· Policy Making [ Tax Matters The offshore finances ]
· Filming Tax [ courtesy of SMH ]
· Still Dirtishly Expensive: First Home Buyers
The playwright Tom Stoppard once wrote that, when people asked about the deep existential themes in his play Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, he felt like a smuggler's dupe standing before a Customs officer: He had to admit those things were in there, but had no idea how they got there. Something similar happens every year at the Sydney Festival. The Sydney Festival began in earnest 4 months after I arrived in Australia. The Family Friendly Festival's ability to blend high-brow art and popular culture is the reason why so many vodka and barkadi (sic) loving locals are so passionate about exploring Sydney during Mid Summer Musical Evenings. What would the internationally recognised summer party scene be without mango dakeries (sic) at the Barracks or my very own Antipodean Club 77 (Klub, Charter, 77 is now closed)?
Without any doubt Leo Schofield, the son of a country publican with passion for telling stories, is the most artistic character the Emerald City ever created. Leo even painted the city of exiles in deep milticultural colours and now new talents continue the graceful tradition of lifting our hearts and making us think differently. Sydney somehow becomes kinder just like my childhood Vrbov used to manage to metamorphose during St Servac celebrations.

The Days of the Digital Cities are Numbered: Stopczecher
We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.
THE cream of Australia's theatrical crowd gathered at Walsh Bay for the opening of the $42-million Sydney Theatre.
Ussual suspects included Jackie Weaver, Barry Otto, Gough Whitlam and Bob Carr. However, playwrights David Williamson and Sir Tom Stoppard also attended the marathon nine-hour performance and party.

· Tom Stoppard: Who's that? ...Nobody, sir. He's the author [Website about Tom Stoppard was born "Tom Straussler" in Zlin, Czechoslovakia on July 3, 1937]

Geraldine O'Brien, at her brilliant best, describes heartily the city of my exile...
They have been called Sydney's incidental magic but they are not the million-dollar harbour vistas from the plate-glass of Point Piper. Rather, they are glimpses and views that, piece by lovely piece, are disappearing from our city.
Yet these, even more than the postcard vistas, have been what anchor us - geographically and psychologically - that give us our sense and spirit of place; that are, if you like, our dreaming.
Sydney has always had an immediate, sensuous, physical impact: for two centuries, from the first recorded European responses, visitors and locals alike, painters, writers and Everyman have celebrated its moods and ever-changing moments...
In Parramatta, Mrs Macquarie had urged that towers be built onto St John's Church, thus adding a powerful focal point to the picturesque view from Old Government House. That view survived until the 1980s when the Taxation Office, without any thought at all, developed a new office which Walker says is "completely in your face".
· Everyday magic of a beloved city
[ next generation of exiles Pushed to go Bush]

Monday, January 12, 2004

Something can exist which is much more powerful, and which we cannot imagine at all. In 1889, the editor of the San Francisco Examiner, having published one article by Rudyard Kipling, declined to accept any more of the author's work. The reason? 'I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling,' he explained, 'but you just don't know how to use the English language. This isn't a kindergarten for amateur writers.' Eighteen years later, Kipling (who had already written 'The Man Who Would Be King'), was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Double Dragon Pick Speaks the Language of Booklovers
Veteran singer-songwriter, John Hiatt, sings the language of music lovers in his newly penned lyrics for the unreleased song Cold River exclusively with customers.
Mothers teach us not to blow our own horn, but I recently received an email from a librarian who has recommeded my Cold River to other libraries and also included a link to this article:
I find the gestalt of the book world oppressive; it gives me a pain and it makes me grumpy. I find the movie-person's view of the arts much more congenial, whatever quarrels I may have with it. And I'm often left wondering: how can books people say of themselves that they love books when they look down their noses at 90% of the books that get published? They disdain not just Stephen King but also self-help books, visual books, and trash biographies; they relish little more than an intense discussion about what's a real book and what's not. (My staggeringly original response to this tiresome issue: They're all books, for god's sake.) IMHO, what books people love isn't books; what they love is their own standards, and their fantasies about what literature should be.

At times, it looked like my story would not be published. Then, the publishing stable of Double Dragon tried my Real Tail and the rest is history. So my gratitude goes to all librarians for keeping the ghosts of Morava River alive!
· Dreams and death shine a light on literally truth

Klima's simple style cloaked a fascination with moral uncertainties, divided loyalties, small betrayals and, above all, tortuous relationships between men and women. His books may well contain a higher incidence of adultery and infidelity than those of any other serious modern writer.
I have never been divorced. I love my wife. Like everybody else we have been through a period of problems. But not all my novels are based on my personal experience. Or, better to say: one experience helps you to invent more stories.
[ Bohemian writing My Beloved Prague ]
· Amazon's not-really-sekrit 800 number: 800 201 7575
In literary Amazon, the richest surname in the 21st century may be Jozef Imrich. (smile)[ courtesy of Boing]
What Would We Do Without Experts?
Experts Remind Staying Warm Important After Cold Contributes to 5 Deaths--headline, Canadian Press, Jan. 6

Barista of RICH Life

When I think of Tamara, I remember George Bernard Shaw's bitter joke: The more I see of the moneyed classes, the more I understand the guillotine.
· Classes [ via Barista ]
· I have closed more companies than anyone in the world, so no one knows better about all the things that can go wrong in a business

Sunday, January 11, 2004

In America's first political mass media stunt, they constructed a 10-foot-high ball of twine, wood and tin, covered it with Whig political slogans, and rolled it first from Cleveland to Columbus and then from town to town across the country (hence the expression "Keep the ball rolling").

Keeping the Ball Rolling: The Sport of Empire
Football, like many games, involves penetrating an opponents territory. But unlike chess or basketball, violence is integral to football. To like football, you have to enjoy seeing large men hit each other. You have to enjoy a clash of small armies and the drama of combat.
· The war metaphor fit in other ways [ Real Game I want to like Howard, I really Do ]

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Latest Thoughts On Taxes
· Middle Tax

What Would We Do Without Experts?
Experts Remind Staying Warm Important After Cold Contributes to 5 Deaths--headline, Canadian Press, Jan. 6

Expect a flood of unexpected experts predictions in 2004
Poor v Rich: Biblical Repetition...
This is pretty much it . Stop the world, time to get off.
Homelessness: Choice Or Necessity?
· Bad Year for Howard's battlers... losing out
The unique provisions arise from a secret memorandum of understanding between Iran and Australia, aimed at reducing the number of asylum seekers.
Under the deal, Iran agreed to accept the return of asylum seekers, and Australia agreed to grant extra visa privileges to well-off, well-educated Iranians.

· Axis of Battlers: Rich Ones
The dead man had threatened to expose Figliolia's
alleged tax-evasion schemes...

· Tax, Death and Trouble
· Slovakia's Tax Reforms Now Being Put To The Test

Public Enemies Number One

The business of uncovering corruption is not for the faint-hearted. In France, Eva Joly, the country's best known magistrate, lived under 24-hour police protection for six years: six years spent in the knowledge that someone out there was being paid to track her and, given the opportunity, kill her. Joly didn't investigate Colombian drug barons or mafia networks - her work took place in a country which is one of the world's most civilised. She was investigating corruption among French politicians, lawyers and company directors. Corruption is usually a crime of the elite, of those with access to money and power.
· Businessmen, some of whom had already been fingered for corruption, moved their money into the media, knowing that no editor will publish defamatory material about one of the group's major shareholders
· Capone Dead At 48; Dry Era Gang Chief [ via L. Dennis Kozlowski ]

He was a man of high intelligence and innovative concepts whose talents, especially in international affairs, were widely respected by both friend and foe. Yet he was so motivated by hatreds and fears that he abused his powers and resorted to lies and cover-ups.
· Nixon: His Story

Rowland on apologized
Rowland on Wednesday again apologized for accepting gifts at his summer cottage and lying about it, but he insisted he never provided any favors or took any actions in exchange for the gifts:
Tonight, I humbly ask for a renewed opportunity to earn back your trust, to redeem myself in your eyes and to continue to lead this state. As you can imagine, I've had many sleepless nights over the past few weeks.

· Trust

Friday, January 09, 2004

Tax stories are out of season. But taxes continue, and that's a very good reason to pay attention to the ongoing tax software....

KISS of Auditing
Business Application Software Developers Association (BASDA) plans to develop a set of standard software and practical guidance to simplify tax compliance and tax audit requirements worldwide.
· NB: Government announces partners in its search for Common IT Language 15/12/2003
[kindly sent by Phil BASDA ]
What We Will Do in 2004
Just the Kind of Guy Whose Finger You Want on the Button
Freedom, prosperity and peace are not separate principles, or separable policy goals. Each reinforces the other, so serving any one requires an integrated policy that serves all three. The challenges are many, for the world is full of trouble. But it is also full of opportunities, and we are resolved to seize every one of them. If some of us drop a few pounds in the process, that's O.K., too.
· Pounds Powells

Cynicism is so 2003. Let's make the new year the beginning of a better world.
The role of money in politics feeds the disconnect between citizens and representative government.

· New Year's Resolve: Hope requires that one believe in a better future
[ via 2003 Best of The MMIII]
If a country hears the siren song of paranoia, regulation, and carrier control, other nations that don’t listen will grow much faster, deliver much better Internet connections to their businesses for much lower costs, and hence take the future...

Dangerous Ideas
Dispelling some myths about technology: Technology neither asks nor answers political questions. In a democracy, the people do. Technology merely generates and reports information.
· Moore's Lore: Blaming RFID for privacy violations is like blaming the U.S. Postal Service nine-digit zip code for letter bombs [blatantly pinched from Apple A Day: 24x7]

There may be uses for the links created within these artificial social networks... but if you want to get at the real social networks, you’re going to have to figure them out from the paths that actual feet have worn into the actual social carpet....
The market, with enough choice, has always decided policy. What’s new is users as developers are increasingly forming policy. What’s new is falling search costs and switching costs as low as click allow rapid abandonment of bad policy. What’s new is the cost of feedback, expressing demand, group forming and networking is dramatically falling to drive powerful emergent patterns."

· Many-to-Many

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Boy, was I late on this one: God as a Gambler
Who is this that darkeneth knowledge by words without counsel?
So thundered God in the Hebrew Bible to his servant Job. That upright and blameless man had dared to challenge the Lord's unfairness in stripping him of his wealth and killing his children.

· Bible Belt [blatantly pinched from Poker Pro]
· You Win Some Dirt and You Lose Some toys & Art of Sleeping
Tax Avoidance
Unaware apartment buyers could become the victims in a real estate GST-avoidance scheme worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Back in the future children read about naughty writers like Churchill. I do not think these disclosures will make people think any less of Churchill. I think if people had to choose between the Inland Revenue and the man who saved Western civilisation they would opt for the latter.
The Inland Revenue seems to have decided, after an initial investigation, that the complaint was without foundation. Inspectors, however, remained convinced that "some curious work was going on in this connection
Officials believed that a family trust had been set up specifically to handle the money so that it could be classed as capital rather than income.
· Loopholes
We can't understand why the ATO doesn't accept the umpire's decision... Psych tests comes but once ... or twice ... or three times a year?
ATO naturally is determined to avoid the missed warning signs that took place during the employment of George Petrolous (sic). Their difficulty is to persuade the rest of the current managers who belong to union to accept the precautionary measures the politicians consider necessary.
· Thin end of the wedge

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

All Movements Begin Underground
Stirling Newberry explains why we feel so blessed in this blogosphere. He knows the variety of voices and the dynamism of the space. He is himself part of the rebirth of remarkably clean, free and forceful politics online. And he knows how apt is the spherical image of this new linked, democratic, planetary zone we're in.
The model of business, politics and culture is shifting from the pyramid to the sphere. "Circles" is a sort of key to the Internet transformation. The eye is the first circle. Emerson wrote in 1841. The horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary picture is repeated without end. It is the highest emblem in the cipher of the world.
Stirling Newberry had Emerson's next line by heart, it turned out: St. Augustine described the nature of God as a circle whose centre was everywhere and its circumference nowhere:
That's the image you should have of what's happening on the Internet. Anyone on any given day can be the center if he has the best observation that resonates. There is no boundary of the circle... You get to sing a song and listen to the echo. You get to hear... how other people have taken what you've done and turned it into their center.

· Pyramid and Sphere [ via Stirling Newberry ]
Blog For One and All, But Especially for the Poweless Among Us
We're living in Internet time, kids, and we're not going back. We got here, in Morris's quick summary, by push and pull. The push is the shriveling audience for network news. Lyndon Johnson used his famous three-set console to keep an eye on ABC, CBS and NBC and see what 70 percent of the country was watching with him. The nightly news exposure gets 18 percent of the electorate these days. And though some pols will triple their TV buys to make up the difference, "it's the last gasp of a dying system." The pull, Morris says, is the fact that one quarter of the country is on a computer during prime time; 70 percent of Americans have regular Internet access. It's an entirely new age in politics.
-- I admit, I only occassionally checked in on Howard Dean's blog this year, but this thing simply changed politics, the media, and America in general like nothing since Drudge. When Dean wins in November, Joe Trippi will take a post in the administration that completely alters the way communities and governments function. Finally, a future to look forward to. · Blog For America
Rex's Best Blogs
Fimoculous (a.k.a., Rex Sorgatz) has comeout with its annual 30+ Best Blogs. Sorgatz identifies some of the usual suspects, as well as some you probably hadn't heard about but should know.
· Listing, which is always worth a look [ via E-Media Tidbits: Remember the Poweless and Give Bullies a Fearless Serve]
A number of good examples of the Best of 2003
Time to start planning now for the Best of 2004
· BBC profiles leading women who made international headlines
· in India has an online gallery of notable pictures
· San Francisco Chronicle profiles prominent locals who passed away
· Ravalli Republic features the best local news stories
· UK's Telegraph newspaper site has a review section on the best photography exhibits
· Best discoveries of the year by its travel writers
· The San Francisco Chronicle's site also has a review of the best books
· Times Picayune highlights the best local books of Louisiana writers
· Seattle Times reviews the year in rock music [ via E-Media Tidbits ]

Revenge: Brazil begins treating Americans as terrorists
Because US treat Brazillians that way.
Tit for tat retaliation is what destroys global trade and relationships. And the current executive, if it were a pin up girl, would have really big tits.

· Fancy tat
Hundreds of political jobs for relatives under Socialist Australia
Just how incestuous is politics? Crikey found 125 examples of political nepotism in early 2002 but we're now above 160 thanks to our vigilant subscribers.
· All entries to [via Crikey ]
· Changing research practices in the digital age

Monday, January 05, 2004

To protect your rivers, protect your mountains.
-Emperor Yu of China, 1600 BCE

Children and Refugees have and always will be the Mountains of Our Fragile World
Viliami Tanginoa died three years ago at the Maribyrnong detention centre. Now that the coroner has reported, Peter Mares looks at why...
· A death in the rain [ courtesy of Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology]
[ via Human rights 2003 ]
Law Enforcers Under Stress
· Soooo True: Jan Komensky is turning in his grave

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Afternoon on the Amazon: Take Two; In Association with base price: $5.95
Shock! Horror!... How ANY Book Can Become An Amazon Bestseller.
Daredevil Blogger Drudge published a 2003 Bestselling List without approval from the Lords inside Bookscan. Unauthorisation nonfiction sale data and the nonfiction chart from BookScan, reproduced below, mixes together hardcovers and paperbacks. (The asterisks, which were added by us and are not part of the official literary chart, denote paperback editions.)
1 The South Beach Diet 2,305,000
2 The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? 1,508,000
*3 Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution: Completely Updated! 1,301,000
*4 Seabiscuit: An American Legend 1,140,000
5 Living History 1,085,000
6 Atkins for Life 1,055,000
7 Cold River 000,000 ($5 smile)
Unlike Amerika and Australia, in the Brittain sales figures are treated less like state secrets; they even print them in the newspaper. The Guardian presented, and analyzed, sales of the top 100 paperbacks for 2003.
50 Paperback
How to raise taxes and keep friends
Voters do not mind taxes that have a specific purpose
Just before he took over the reins, Mark Latham helped Labor scramble atop a tax policy barbed-wire fence. His call for tax cuts to high-income earners prompted some of his colleagues to shout that he’d got it wrong, because a healthy and progressive tax take was needed to fund more services.
· Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology
· Understanding Anderson [ courtesy of SMH ]

Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.
-- Edmund Burke - (British statesman - 1756)

Saucy Goodness, after 2003, with its Swiss trading scandals, jailing of prominent portly stockbrokers and bankrupting of name-dropping private investigators, one could hardly imagine an improvement in the quality of scandal...
Naked City of the Sun Herald informs Sydneysiders that a major investigation is underway into alleged meeting between a senior ATO official and Chris (Rambo) Seage, a former ATO audit manager and now considered persona non grata by the ATO. Seage has ruffled feathers since he appeared on Four Corners in July, alleging corruption among audit staff and police. His latest crusade against his employer involves a letter sent to Assistant Treasurer Senator Coonan requesting an investigation into allegations of senior ATO staff enetraining some of Australia's biggest corporates.
(Cryptic Expo of 1988)

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Books are back, and their pages are filled with politics, biography, and history
Like a battleship, book publishing doesn't turn on a dime, so the old year's trends don't usually determine a new year's books. However, conversations with literary agents, who are always trying to sniff out what publishers want, turn up a few trends in publishing that may affect our reading in 2004 and beyond.
· The readers are back [ courtesy of 1/1/04]
[ via Graceful Amazon: Thanks Jeff Bezos ]

Friday, January 02, 2004

Political Junkies Freewheeling 'Bloggers' Are Rewriting Rules Of Journalism
They used to be known as the boys on the bus: the big-name columnists, network TV producers and reporters for large-circulation newspapers who had the power to make or break a presidential candidate's reputation. Now they've got competition.
In the 2004 election, the boys (and girls) on the bus have been joined by a new class of political arbiters: the geeks on their laptops. They call themselves bloggers. Their mission: to remake political journalism and, quite possibly, democracy itself. The plan: to make an end run around big media by becoming publishers on the Internet.

· US Today overview of political blogs [ via US Today]
· Making yet another impressive, but vain attempt to shame the shameless [ courtesy of NRO'S Crystal Ball: great predictions for 2004 ]
· Paradox: Political parties more orthodox; religions more fluid [blatantly pinched from Electronic Voting Firm Hacked: 2004 Election ]

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Marketing Plot: Cold River is about hot exposure on Google
I want to wish you all a happy New Year. I also want to thank you for being a valued visitor and friend. At Media Dragon, 2003 was a breakout year. We are now sponsored by environmentally friendly makers and marketers of savvy scooters. We have vaulted to number 5 & 10 on Google for the highly treasured keywords "cold river" We are also being recognized even more in the industry by large players like the Sydney Morning Herald.
I know you will enjoy links and investigative reporting scoops in 2004. Be sure to read Jozef eBook Cold River and his forthcoming profile of the Sydney.

Have a terrific 2004
Jozef Imrich

The success of the Tolkien books and now films are rooted in the clear, compelling moral logic of his stories: good against evil...
· Rejecting Dilday's critique of the cult movies [ via Open Democracy]
· Library beefs up its eBook collection... [blatantly pinched from Ideas that will matter in 2004...]
PS: Consider a position with the Open Democracy as they are opening savvy global workshops in 2004.
The Year That Was
The Net now makes it possible to take the pulse of readers by tracking what types of stories they search for and e-mail to friends. Many sites have taken advantage of this interactivity in creating year-end features. Rather than just pick and tell readers what the "Top Stories ofthe Year" are, journalists can now easily ask readers their opinion.
Here is's survey and's survey.
Most E-Mailed Articles of 2003
The brave New South Wales newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald is taking a leaf out of the city of New York. I expect other sites to imitate it in the future. At least, I hope they do. The New York Times has mined its 2003 e-mail data to create a smart series of slideshows showing the Most E-Mailed Articles of 2003. Iraq
and Jayson Blair were among the popular stories, not surprising, but so were from tales of sushi memos and yarns about talking fish.
And the Times was kind enough to waive the usual charge for archived articles and let users read these treats for free.
The slideshows include: Most E-Mailed News Articles ; Most E-Mailed Opinion Articles ; Most E-Mailed Magazine Articles ; Other Fare From the Top 100.

Top searches of 2003
Yahoo and Lycos have posted excellent summaries of the
top searches of 2003. In addition to overall searches, they've broken downthe searches by category --everything from the Top Jennifer Searches tothe Top Iraq-related searches.
Top Yahoo searches of 2003
Yahoo's top news searches were:
Cloning, Hurricane Isabel, Saddam Hussein, Laci Peterson, Affirmative Action, Elizabeth Smart, Jessica Lynch, Iraq War, Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Rush Limbaugh, Cold River (smile)
Lycos' Web's Most Wanted 2003
Iraq War, Kobe Bryant, Space Shuttle Columbia,
Federal Do-Not-Call List, SARS, Michael Jackson arrest, MS Blaster/Lovsan Computer Virus, First Human Clone, Super Bowl XXXVII, Laci Peterson, Media Dragon (grin)
Amazing how different the lists are, eh? I never would have guessed.
Google usually does its own wrap-up of the year-in-search, but it hasn't posted its 2003 round-up yet (as at 1/1 2004). Here's last year's
2002 for comparision.
Google and Czech this page in the coming days for the 2003 summary:
Have a happy New Year's!