book – Land of Two Halves (New Zealand)

Rave review for Joe Bennett, a British expat’s tour of New Zealand.

First I must declare Joe is cheap, distrustful, grumpy & masochistic. He must be inept too to have so much trouble travelling the best travel country in the world.

Joe stayed in motels rather than superb hostels.

He shuns excellent public transport, insisting on hitchhiking far reaches of New Zealand.

It’s profane, absurd & funny. Very funny. This should be mandatory reading for every wide-eyed newby backpacker issued a tourist visa to New Zealand.

To read the first philosophical treatise on hitchhiking pick-up A Land of Two Halves.


book – Fall On Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald

Fall On Your Knees (Oprah #45)
I can’t deny it. I read an Oprah Book Club selection.

Touted original, complex, explosive, shocking, dark, epic and emotionally gripping — I loved it just as much as Oprah ( :

It’s like a feminine John Irving novel. The main theme is sisterhood, a world more foreign to me than that of the llama herders of Peru.

Kudos to this Canadian author on her first novel.

2007 – predictions from 7 (if you count Balmer) thinkers

The one I like best:

Chris Anderson is the editor in chief of Wired magazine

I’M WILLING TO bet that 2007 is the year that somebody figures out how to make video advertising work in a YouTube world. And if I’m right, the TV industry is going to get very rocky, very fast.

I doubt that the same disruptive force will hit movies, however. The big-screen home-theater boom created a market for high-def films, and that factor-of-10 increase in downloading time bought Hollywood another five years or so to figure things out.

I also think that this will be a big year for video gamers, and not just because of the delightful game-play innovations of the Wii and the power of the Xbox 360. (I can’t wait for Halo 3.)

Equally important is the fact that all of the current generation consoles now have built-in Internet connections. Their role as a bridge from the Net to the TV isn’t just a big deal for gaming, it’s also potentially a breakthrough moment for online video of all sorts.

We knew gaming competed with television for time, but now we’re learning that mainstream acceptance of networked gaming may also create the greatest competitor for the broadcast distribution model itself.

What will they think of next? – Los Angeles Times

(via Boing Boing)

Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More

lists – year end 2005

BushI have always loved lists, especially around New Years.

I find I can skip entire years — then catch-up by scanning lists of the Best of ____.

For the 237th straight year, has posted a lists of lists for 2005.

For example, Roger Ebert’s best movies of the year. (I have seen not one of them.)

Or go straight to America’s Finest News Source, the top 10 stories of the year from

books – Anthony Daniels UPDATED

I must be the first to blog Anthony Daniels, an excellent though little-known British travel writer.

  • Coups & Cocaine, South America, 1986
  • Sweet Waist of America: Journeys around Guatemala, 1990
  • His 1992 book on Liberia, Africa is a shocker.

    Daniels interviewed the liberator Prince Y. Johnson, an insomniac psychopath who relished showing visiting Western journalists video footage torturing predecessor Master Sergeant Samuel Doe.

    The picture painted of Africa is searing.

    Yet Liberia is not the worst train wreck in Africa.

    Butchery, genocide, an economy ruined by stupidity, corruption & greed — this I can understand.

    But the biggest surprises came from tales told of well-meaning foreign aid gone horribly wrong. Some of the worst pain inflicted on the simple villagers of Africa was wrought by tall, smiling Scandinavians.

    Bono be warned.

    Monrovia Mon Amour: A Visit to Liberia

    books on .mp3


    Libraries where I live offer books on .mp3 on a CD disk.

    I love listening to audio books when I travel. I am loading up now for my next trip (Mexico & Central America). Three books ready for upload to my mp3 player:

  • The Worst Journey in the World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
  • Running with the Bulls, My years with the Hemingways, by Valerie Hemingway
  • Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts
  • Ripping books from CD, in comparison, was slow & painful. Death to the audio CD.

    Use the IMPORT function on your iTunes (or other inferior) music software to get the track order sorted correctly.

    I am very happy with my Rio Cali waterproof mp3 player — but the way to go today is with the iPod Nano, the first good iPod.
    Rio Cali 256 MB Sport MP3 Player