Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Why Irish Novelist Colm Tóibín Doesn’t Want To Be Called A Storyteller

“A particular problem with English people: they seem to think that everyone in Ireland is a writer, and very few of us are writers. And that somehow or other writing comes naturally to us, which it doesn’t. So people love saying to you, “‘h, you Irish—you’re such MAR-velous storytellers, all of you!’”

Revealed: CIA Used Dr. Zhivago As Weapon During The Cold War

Omar Sharif and Julie Christie in the film Doctor Zhivago“This book has great propaganda value, not only for its intrinsic message and thought-provoking nature, but also for the circumstances of its publication: we have the opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder what is wrong with their government, when a fine literary work by the man acknowledged to be the greatest living Russian writer is […]The Guardian (UK)

Under the Influence of Accents

A Tour Of British Isles Accents In One Unedited Version

British accents
Professional accent and dialect coach Andrew Jack covers a dozen or so accents from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and even the Isle of Man – all in 1’25″. (video)
22 Words

How Can You Be Against World Literature?

What does a critic oppose, exactly, when she takes a stand “against world literature”?

Gospel According to Hollywood

As far back as I can remember, Easter weekend in my Toronto household has involved Mass, new white shoes for first my little sisters and now my little daughters, and a burnished, eyebrow-rippling Charlton Heston on our TV, solemnly hamming it up as Moses for hours on end. My wife, who grew up hundreds of miles away in Milwaukee, likewise remembers Mass, ham, and Bible movies as Eastertime staples. For the Bible has been a source for movies since the earliest days of cinema – adaptations of Christ’s passion, and of the stories of Salome and of the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter were made in the early 1900s, while the earliest movies about the Ten Commandments and the Great Flood came out in the 1920s. Gospel According to Hollywood

Put Cameras in the Supreme Court Australia, Canada, and England all allow cameras in their high courts. So should the U.S. Gospel According to Villawood

"Supreme Court protects free speech selectively": Bob Egelko has this article in The San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, April 21, 2014

Infiltrating Attractive Island - Wicked Putin etc

China is building large covert informant networks inside Australia's leading universities, prompting Australia to strengthen its counter-intelligence capabilities.

Chinese Spy Network at Unis, Newsagencies & Post Offices Down Under

"(Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union," he said. "And every day, he goes further and further. And God knows where is the final destination."
Pro-Russian administrations are popping up all over eastern Ukraine, after pro-Russian protesters overran government buildings and set up roadblocks. Cold War looms over Ukraine via Moscow Putin and his old KGB colleagues; Chances of being murdered in this crazy world How to avoid getting killed tomorrow

In 25 breezy pages, Lewis Dartnell gives a rundown of the history of agriculture. Once all the canned food you find in abandoned supermarkets is gone, could you grow your own crops? You could if you had a few implements such as a manual hoe, plow, seed drill, scythe and thresher taken from museums. How to survive after the inevitable Chinese Russian armageddon

Rioting, kidnapping, breaking and entering, violence: For Elizabeth Russell, warfare was a way of life, as Shakespeare learned the hard way... Wicked Lady

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Neville Wran: Praise, controversy and 'Balmain boys don't cry' quote marked time in office

His success was built on ruthlessness, authority in party and parliament, an unerring instinct for what the voters wanted and pioneering exploitation of television's political clout 

Jill Hickson aka Wran and Neville Wran had two children together: Hugo, whose godfather was Mr Turnbull, and Harriet, whose godfather was Kerry Packer. Mr Wran had a daughter, Kim, with his first wife, Marcia Oliver, who also had a son from a previous marriage.
Mr Wran became the chairman of the CSIRO, advised on Australia's bicentenary and thrived in business, including his chairmanship of the cleaning contact company Allcorp and his merchant bank venture with a young Mr Turnbull, who is now a Liberal frontbencher in the Abbott government. Mr Wran had been a university friend of Mr Turnbull's mother, Coral Lansbury.

Nifty: My first years down under serving as Crown Employee this kind of Balmain BoyForget the budget, just spread bread on the waters Carr on Wran Slides; Gerry Gleeson Path of Power

The power of the word and the many possibilities of Cold River story are living within the lines of those who lived to tell the tale such as more than magical Garcia ...  In accepting his Nobel, Mr. García Márquez said: “Poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination. For our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.”  Crown Employee discovers Gabriel Garcia Malquez (sic)

Gabriel García Márquez, novelist, journalist, master of magical realism, is no longer telling stories ... NY Times ... AP ... Reuters ... BBC ...Kakutani ... Guardian ... Edmund White ...Telegraph ... Independent ... WaPo ... LA Times ... Boston Globe ... New Yorker ...WSJ ... Paul Berman ... Financial Times ...Peter Carey ...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photojournalism by Pernilla Holmes

 “There’s a famous saying that goes something like, ‘If an image doesn’t need a caption to be understood, then it’s art’. That works for me; it’s about a work’s universality
Valley of Light

New Brave Tax World

As millions of Americans rushed to file their taxes before today's deadline, they may have been more preoccupied with "where did that receipt go?" than "where will my tax money go?" But a new project called The New IRS is urging people to think about it, and submit their preferences, called "Personal Allocation Plans," through its interactive website. The project will then issue a report on April 17 aggregating those responses and comparing them to the projected federal budget.New IRS lets you allocate tax dollar

At the age of 46, depressed and aimless, Rod Dreher read the Divine Comedy. In Dante’s tale of of psychological crisis, Dreher found a way out of his own... Every day above the ground is a great Dante Day

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vision 2100: Confidence Games

This Article examines the successes and failures of current tax whistleblower regimes, with particular emphasis on the states. It considers and then refutes several popular arguments against permitting whistleblowers to submit tax claims, under either a state’s False Claims Act (FCA) or standalone statute, including: (i) whistleblower statutes have historically been used to uncover and prosecute fraudulent behavior, not mere noncompliance with the law; (ii) the “knowing” standard of liability under FCAs creates new liability on taxpayers in jurisdictions permitting false claims pertaining to tax; and (iii) tax law is more complex and uncertain than other areas of the law and therefore off limits to whistleblower actions.
Tanina Rostain (Georgetown) presents Confidence Games: Lawyers, Accountants, and the Tax Shelter Crisis (MIT Press, 2014) (with Milton C. Regan, Jr. (Georgetown)) at Duke today as part of its Tax Policy Seminar hosted by Lawrence Zelenak:

Daily coffee habit linked to lower risk of liver cancer, study says.

Futurology is alive and well, though futurologists are almost always wrong. Still we listen, yearning for salvation from our human condition. From predicting AI within 20 years to mass-starvation in the 1970s, those who foretell the future often come close to doomsday preachers Glass must be Half Full...

Sad Sad Week Vale Ashni

May His Soul Rest in Peace ... In his death we have lost a trusted friend.

 दिवंगत आत्मा को शांति

One of the best-described of all charismatic leaders is Jesus. About 90 face-to-face encounters with Jesus are described in the four gospels of the New Testament.
Interaction with Kindness

Dante on life ...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

NSW, Australia, Premier Barry O'Farrell Resigns

It's been an extraordinary day in NSW politics this week / Even a single night is too long in politics as  on Tuesday was to mark the last day of ICAC's inquiry into Obeid-linked company Australian Water Holdings, which is now in its fifth week Barry O'Farrell in witness box

PS: Sydney, once home to the Rum Corps, is now apparently home to the Penfold Grange Corps, writes Tony Wright in a sketch piece surrounding today's events.
Barry O'Farrell Resigns

(PS - the world of lobbyists Down Under:  The ICAC has been following the influence of Eddie Obeid through a series of inquiries. The next, codenamed Operation Spicer, is expected to expose how influence peddling and backroom deals crossed from the Labor Party to the Liberals with the change of government in 2011.
Lobbyists Tend to take the low road) / “The thing about Barry is he wasn’t an overt control freak. He was a covert control freak, he had all these Machiavellian devices to keep hold of everything.”
Cuddly Barry O'Farrell was really a cranky bear

Bear Pit and it's secrets in the sunlight"McCutcheon Breeds Cynicism: When it comes to campaign finance, the public's perception of corruption matters; But what if the public doesn't care?" Dahlia Lithwick has this jurisprudence essay online at Slate

Former NSW premier, Australian foreign minister and diarist Bob Carr has given an interview in Brisbane where he's spruiking his new book.

Mr Carr has said Mr O'Farrell had no alternative to resign, but would not be drawn on whether Mr O’Farrell’s “significant memory fail” about being gifted a $3000 bottle of 1959 Grange wine was plausible.

“Given that the Premier’s resigned, I don’t think there’s any more in argument, the point is he’s accepted the case and that’s really all that matters at this point,” he said.

"...As the evidence was emerging I think even his closest friends and supporters would saythere was going to be no alternative to this. It was decisive of him to get to the point quickly rather than to fight on.
Having attracted ridicule about the parts of his diary that focus on diet and exercise, Mr Carr - who gave up drinking three years ago - said he wouldn’t know how many calories were in a bottle of ’59 Grange.
“Too many... wine is full of sugar, and after wasting too much of my life savouring good wine, I reached a decision that the disadvantages outweigh the joy of the stuff,” he said.
“As tempted as I am by a wonderful pinot noir from time to time, I think being clear-headed is the better course.”

Pulitzer Vox etc

The Pulitzer Prizes Just Demolished The Idea That Edward Snowden Is A Traitor  to-the-snowden-story-system-a-pulitzer-might-have-gone

Ezra Klein on Vox’s Launch, Media Condescension, and Competing With Wikipedia


Monday, April 14, 2014

Centuries of Iron Curtains

To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a border crisis is just a border crisis. 
History of European border changes (short video).  Many lessons in that one  Border changes

Chapter one of Cass Sunstein’s On Rumours

Instructions for Lovers: teaching them, how to demean themselves towards their Sweet-hearts How to sweet talk your lady circa 1656 ; How to compliment lady circa 1663

Winner -take all

The New Brave Slav(e)s - Winnetous of the Old World

The author who has captured most aptly young people’s experience of life in foreign countries nowadays is Zuska Kepplová. In her prose debut Buchty švabachom/Sweet Buns with Gothic Script (2011) she articulated the fictive nature of the conflict between home and the world: “(...) none of us left. We did not pack our cases in the middle of the night; we did not swim across the Danube and climb over barbed wire. We simply did what everyone was talking about: Today you can travel, go to good schools, get to know people and speak to them in foreign languages... We wanted to join in, take part in the world. Scoop it up with a large spoon. Break our teeth on it. We did not leave anyone or anything. And if so, only symbolically.”  First Death in the family and Morava River in Australia

Pilgrim, remember these words, whenever you wade into water.
(Inscription in the sands.)

Water is the strongest.
How many have waded into water before you?
Ask the days, when you return.
Follow the flight of heaven’s birds and the heavenly

bodies, the counter-currents, the shine and the
dulled fury of the surface that hungers.
Share your food with water, with the fishy smell and

the ducks.
Don’t disturb them while feeding.
You step barefoot into water and you carry your life in

your hands.
The cormorants’ shriek is more intelligible to water

than human words.
The shrilling of the kingfishers, whose nest the

fishermen knocked over, will forever be repeated by
the reeds as their most cryptic song.
Murmur accompanies every movement, but there are

more silent surfaces too.
Water journeys onwards.
Traverses the bodies of pilgrims.
Splashes over them.
Have you praised that language?
Have you heard that tongue?
Where were you, if you were not by water?
Carry water in vessels, whenever the opportunity

Give water to flowers and the slender arboreal kinds.

Water is the strongest.
Speech that is uttered by water will remain in the land,

and above the surface it shall be borne afar. The riverbank, fortified by the alders’ roots, is
a rendezvous of the land’s defensive powers.
The secret of the soil’s fertility is guarded by the trees,

to which the rivers tune their flow.
The sough of the willow leaves is an echo of the mother

Whether you have a brother or none, along the

waterline you are blood brother of the savage who understands all important things, even though he understands no others. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Vaisakhi to Sikhs in rainbow turbans & saris

 Fifteen years of the Complete Review Posted by: M.A.Orthofer

       The first reviews -- a batch of forty-five -- were posted at the complete review fifteen years ago today, on 5 April 1999. 

       Which is pretty much all I have to say -- I don't really know how to mark these (non-)occasions. 

Shortlist: NSW Premier's Literary Awards 

       They've announced the shortlists for the (Australian) NSW Premier's Literary Awards. 
       Among the categories: there's a: 'Community Relations Commission Award for a Multicultural NSW'.   The winners will be announced 19 May Three days after few hangovers ...

The Czech Magnesia Litera awards have been handed out, and as Jan Richter reports at Radio Praha, Guide to wartime Prague wins top literary award, as the non-fiction category winner, the unusual Průvodce protektorátní Prahou by Jiří Padevět also took book of the year honors. 
       The fiction category winner was Skutečná událost, by Of Kids & Parents-author Emil Hakl; see also the (Czech) Argopublicity page. 
       The translation category winner was Robert Svoboda's translation of Esterházy Péter's Celestial Harmonies (get your copy of the English translation at Amazon.com orAmazon.co.uk). 

       I'm already won over by an article that reveals that the chief rabbi (of both Prague and the Czech Republic), Karol Sidon, admits:
I couldn't read anything but what is considered lowbrow sci fi literature which I really love
       But how great to hear that he went on to write his own (and publish it under a pseudonym) -- and that, as Jan Velinger reports at Radio Praha, Prague rabbi pens literary hit of season, as the first volume of his planned tetralogy, Altschulova metoda (see the (Czech) Torst publicity page), has become a big hit 
       Sounds pretty wild -- I'd love to hear more about this.