Saturday, November 15, 2008

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think maybe someone did something VERY nice for me.

Today, I got a very special email. It was from the Kevin Rudd website saying I should click a link to confirm if I wanted to be added to his mailing list.

I think what someone did is add my email address for me. I'm so grateful because now I'm on the list; and I didn't have to lie.

I feel included now!

Thank you so much to whoever did that. It means a lot to me.

In other news, I'm reading three books right now.

First: I'm reading a book my dad pushed me to borrow. We were walking in the Botanical Gardens and saw a sign teaching about a tree that was thousands of years old. My parents acted amazed about that. I had to interject and say Well, the Aborigines were around before even that!

My dad told me he had this book I should read. It explains why some cultures ended up with technology, agriculture, political systems, etc. and others did not. Immediately, I assumed this book would be the type to offend me. I asked who wrote it. I THOUGHT my dad said David Irving.

I started freaking out. David Irving? Do you know who David Irving is? I thought my poor dad had been a victim of a sneaky intellectual con.

My dad said no, it was NOT David Irving.

With relief, I said good because David Irving is a famous Holocaust denier!

Still, David Irving or not. I was very weary about this book. I kind of hoped my dad would forget about it. He didn't. About an hour after we arrived home, he rode his bike to my house with the book in his hand. (must admit I'm impressed he managed to do that. The bike riding thing is pretty new for him). He handed me the book and when I saw the author, my perspective totally changed.

The book is Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and the author is Jared Diamond. I haven't read much of Diamond--just an essay in a book edited by Peter Singer. But from the little I know of him.....he's totally on my list of awesome people.

One of the things that Diamond believes is that we (humans) are apes. We should not belong to a separate scientific classification. I totally agree with this. We are closer genetically to chimpanzees than gorillas are to chimpanzees. Yet they are both apes and we are something else. On a scientific level, that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

After knowing that Diamond wrote the book, I became actually excited to read it. The funny thing the preface , Diamond immediately addresses the concern I had when my dad first mentioned the book. He says:

Why did history unfold differently on different continents? In case this question makes you shudder at the thought that you are about to read a racist treatise; you aren't. As you will see, the answers to this question don't involve racial differences at all.

Okay, it's not like I expected my dad to give me some kind of Rush Limbaugh thing. I have more faith in my parents than that! But I thought maybe there were would be some subtle (hard to notice) prejudice things about the book--if not racism, than maybe at least ethnocentrism.

I'm on only page 69 of the book; so far I'm pleased with what I'm reading.

I also started reading the Tony Horwitz book I bought at Powells. One for the Road. It's about his adventures hitchhiking in the outback.

I couldn't find the book this morning so I picked Tracks off my shelf. That's Robyn Davidson's book about her adventures in the outback.

I think it's sort of a good idea to read multiple books at once. I'm not keen on doing that with fiction. It might get weird But with nonfiction, I think maybe it will slow me down and let me savor things more. I think one problem I have is when I have a lot of books on my bookshelf, I rush through them because I can't wait to get to the next book. If I read three books at once, I'm less likely to do that.

Hell, maybe I should just read ALL my books at once. That might be.....

Well, it would probably be very confusing.


Louisa said...

Dina you crack me up! Book sounds interesting though I was also interested to read some Holocaust Denial books a few years ago...the way some people think is totally screwed up. Wait til you read the stuff about Australia denying white treatment of indigenous Australians around the time of settlement. Appalling! And what about our own John Howard's treatment of some of our history, wanting to ignore it and focus on the "good stuff" even in schools. Ugh! Don't get me started...wait, that's my fault not yours. Anyway...good to see you in blogland!! :)

traceyleigh said...

Loved Tracks. It's a great read. Guns, Germs and Steel sounds quite interesting. Something that Tyrone would love to read. I'm not reading anything at the moment, I just can't seem to get into reading mode.

Jayne said...

Tracks is a good read,one of my favourite books :)
Yay, now you can get Rudd's newsletter :)

Dina said...

Louisa: I have a hard time understanding some people. Or maybe I DO understand them and that's what scares me. It's hard to believe that some people can think a certain way. It's hard to be tolerant. But I guess there are some things we shouldn't be tolerant of. Like Holocaust denial. I have read a little bit about the denial of what happened to Indigenous Australians--the Windschuttle guy and all that.

Tracey: The first time I heard about the book was on your LJ. Remember when you asked your Australian friends to recommend books for me......I love Tracks so far.

Jayne: I like the book so far. The print is a bit small though. I guess it's good exercise for my eyes.....

Mim said...

Guns, Germs and Steel is a good read, fascinating stuff, I really enjoyed it.

Diamond also wrote Collapse which looks at past civilizations and societies and why they collapsed into ruin, also very interesting.

Bettina said...

yeah, I think reading all your books at once might be a little confusing......... lol

Cellobella said...

Now I want to get on the list - and I don't even find Rudd adorable!

Dina said...

Mim: I should probably read all his books. I especially want to read The Third Chimpanzee.

Bettina: Maybe one day I'll do it for a psychological experiment ; )

Cellobella: Maybe once you're on the list, he'll start to grow on you!

Stephen Moore said...

We are closer genetically to chimpanzees than gorillas are to chimpanzees. Yet they are both apes and we are something else. On a scientific level, that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. - Dina

Actually, on a scientific level, it is well accepted that we humans are apes. There really is no debate about it. It's in the non-scientific world that this debate occurs in. How people could deny it I don't understand, but some do. I guess they don't like thinking of human beings as animals, so to deny that they have to deny that we are apes too.

Guns, Germs and Steel is a good read. There have been critiques of Diamond's thesis. I can't remember what those are, let alone how valid the critiques are, but I have they vague remembrance that some are worthy of consideration. Nevertheless, it's an interesting and thought provoking read.

I used to be able to read multiple books at once. Indeed, I found it difficult to read one at a time. Big difference now though. Hard to get through one. But I try.

Dina said...


There was a Stephen Moore on Stephen Colbert the other day. When I heard it announced, my heart skipped a beat. I was less excited about you being possibly famous and more offended that you'd come to the United States without telling me ; )

I agree about the chimpanzee thing. I think it's about Judeo-Christian influences on our culture. The bible says we are above the other animals.

The thing is though...I think even people who aren't Christian or Jewish believe it. Maybe just because it's how we've been raised.

I glimpsed a bit of the critiques of the Guns, Germs, Steel book on Amazon. I didn't want to read a lot of it. I'd rather read the book first and get my own opinion. I did see something about it being too politically correct and that it was anti-Caucasian. I haven't read much of the book, but I didn't get that at all. It has actually made me feel better about white people. As the book shatters the idea that certain races are inherently less intelligent, I think it also shatters the idea that certain races are inherently evil.

I'll need to read more of the book though. I'm sure there will be some stuff I'll disagree with.

Louisa said...

Windshuttle! That's his name...I was drawing a blank this morning. Complete nutcase!!

Ariane said...

My other half has a theory that people should not live in cold climates - it makes them testy. His evidence for this theory is that people who live in tropical paradises have not developed nuclear weapons. :)

Dina said...

Louisa:Yeah! He does sound like a nutcase.

Ariane: I would agree with him. Cold weather makes me cranky. In fact, I'm cold right now and feeling cranky. And it's not even that cold yet. I won't attack anyone with nuclear weapons though. I promise.

MsJamie said...

Oh Guns, Germs and Steel sounds so interesting! I'd like to read that.

Dina said...


I bet you'd like it. Are you reading anything good lately?

Stephen Moore said...

I've done a google search on my name a few times, just to see what there is of me out there on the net. I couldn't find myself, but there are at least three other people with the name "Stephen Moore" that have high google rankings - an economist, a cricketer, and an actor - plus many others. It's a little depressing not being able to find oneself, but I suppose the advantage is that it makes it more difficult for nutters to find me. :^Þ Never knew I had such a popular name.

Dina said...


I think it was the Economist that was on Stephen Colbert.

I find my name if I google myself. I'm the 6th thing on Google. Although there is a Facebook entry before that. That MIGHT be me.

I should keep looking. Maybe I'll find my name twin somewhere.

Oh cool. There's a scientist with my name.

Jack said...


NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Dina said...


Yes, it's pink! I'm sure you will love it.


Retarius said...

You're on Rudd's mailing list? Phwooah! He's on mine...but he won't reciprocate. Is it something I blogged?

G,G & S is a mighty fine work. He does a particularly good treatment of why the Spanish conquered so easily in the Americas.

Dina said...


I bet it IS something you blogged!!