Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hiatus

I need to take a break.

I'm a bit of a mess right now.

I have posted all the posts I've been working on this past week....so that should keep you guys busy for awhile. Just scroll below to find them...There's Judy Davis, Frank Brennan, Van Tuon Nguyen, Helen Reddy, and my favorite...Julian Burnside.

I'll still probably be around to respond to comments.

I'm just not up to researching and writing right now.

Sorry.

Judy Davis

Judy Davis.

I think I know who she is.

Is she the one in the Woody Allen film? Husbands and Wives....

And I think she was in Impromptu with that actor my sister likes. What's his name?

My mind is drawing a blank....

Wait....

I got it.  

Hugh Grant.

Let me make sure I'm right about who Judy Davis is....

I am.

That's good.

Baby Judy was born on 23 April 1955.

Birthday website time!

She's a Taurus and an 11. My last 11 was Julian Burnside, I think. I loved writing about Burnside. Hopefully I'll love writing about Davis as well.

Judy Davis was born in Perth. Her family was Catholic. For school she went to a place called Lorento Convent. I can't find any current websites for that place, so I'm guessing maybe it closed down.

Davis later attended The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). This is in New South Wales, so I guess she left Perth.

Did I write about this place before? I can't remember.

Okay. I probably did because Toni Collette went there. There's a few names I recognize from their alumni list. Three actors from McLeod's Daughters attended the school.

Davis married an actor Colin Friels. They've been together since 1984. That's pretty impressive for a celebrity marriage. They did have some problems in their marriage; something that included a court order. Yikes. But they overcame that. And Friels overcame something else...Pancreatic Cancer. Wow. He was diagnosed in 1997. Lord Wiki says he's one of the few patients to go into long-term remission. Yeah, I've heard most people die of that. Well, I hope he continues to do well.

Okay. Now Lord Wiki goes into her career.....

Her first real movie (if I'm getting this right) was My Brilliant Career. I need to read that book. Why haven't I read that book yet?

Speaking of books....

I've decided to stop buying nonfiction.

I read enough nonfiction stuff online.

I think for now on I'm just going to buy fiction books, preferably mostly young adult and children stuff.

I have seven nonfiction books left on my bookshelf. Once I get through those....I'm done. I might read an occasional autobiography (such as Helen Reddy's) and a VERY occasional self-help book (there's an eating disorder one I'm interested in). But that's it.

Back to Davis.....

She won a BAFTA award for My Brilliant Career. BAFTA is British. I just learned that about ten seconds ago. I'm looking at the awards for 2008. It doesn't seem they differ much in opinion from the American awards. Well, at least in terms of movies. For TV shows it's definitely different nominees and winners.

My Brilliant Career came out in 1979.

In 1981 she portrayed Israeli leader Golda Meir in a docudrama. Well, she played the younger version of Meir. Ingrid Bergman played the older version.

In 1984, she was in A Passage to India. I sadly haven't seen that movie either. Davis was nominated for an academy award. So, who did she lose to?

Sally Field.

Is that where Field did the You like me. You really like me speech? I've seen Field's movie...Places in the Heart. Gennie James played the little girl in that movie. James was in the movie Alex the Life of a Child. That's the movie that pushed me into becoming obsessed with Cystic Fibrosis. And Cystic Fibrosis is why I met Tim....

But back to Judy Davis.

She was in a movie called High Tide. It's about a woman who tries to reunite with her child that's being raised by its paternal grandparents. She received AFI awards for that.

Basically Davis has been in a bunch of movies I've never seen.

I'm not in the mood to list all of them.


I'm going to see if I can find any interesting info for the two films I've definitely seen.

Well, there's not much from Lord Wiki. He just lists awards. She received the Independent Spirit Award for Impromptu. I'm looking at their nominees for 2009. Charlie Kaufman has a new movie. I like his stuff; well, at least the two I've seen (Being John Malkovitch and Adaptation). I also saw part of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I loved the little bit that I saw.

For Husbands and Wives, Judy Davis received many awards...National Board of Review, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Southeastern Film Critics Association, National Society of Film Critics....oh well, I'm tired of naming them. You get my drift, right?

She was nominated by the big guys, but didn't win. For the Oscars, she lost to Marisa Tomei. Whatever happened to Tomei? I haven't seen her in awhile. Oh well. It seems she's in stuff. I just haven't seen any of it. I'm out of touch when it comes to movies.

I think I'm done with Lord Wiki.

So far, I feel this post isn't very exciting. I hope it gets better.

I'm going to look at IMDb.

It seems currently Davis is on a TV Show called The Starter Wife. Is that American or Australian?

I feel completely out of it here.

Okay. It's American. What channel is it on?

The USA network?

Really.

I don't think I ever watch that channel. I haven't added it to our favorite channel list thing on our TV. 

I kind of always pictured the USA network to have trashy stuff. I didn't know they had shows starring award-winning Actresses.

Well, you learn something new everyday....

Now I'm going to look at the trivia/bio stuff.

IMDb says she often plays brittle neurotic women. I'm neurotic. I might be brittle too. But I'm not sure what that means exactly. This dictionary has two definitions when applied to people. First, there's easily hurt or offended. That's DEFINITELY me. Then there's lacking warmth, depth, or generosity of spirit. I don't think that's me.

Davis has two kids. Charlotte and Jack. I like both those names. I love the second one.

She did Romeo and Juliet at school with Mel Gibson.

Her family can trace their family back to the original British settlement in Perth. Wow.

She didn't get along well with the director of A Passage to India. That's David Lean and it seems he didn't do any movies after A Passage to India. Maybe Davis traumatized him or something. I'm joking. There was probably another reason for his retirement.

Davis was miserable doing My Brilliant Career. Now things are getting more interesting.....

She was not allowed to see movies as a child.

She began filming Celebrity two weeks after giving birth to Charlotte. And in the midst of playing supermom, her husband had pancreatic cancer.

Although she works in a lot of American film, she insists on living in Australia. I wonder if that's still true. How does she manage to do a TV show? Maybe she lives here temporarily?

All right. I think I'll go find another website now.

You know....maybe I'll go on YouTube and see if I can watch some of her work.

Here she is playing Judy Garland. Is she really singing or did they dub in Garland's voice? I'm going to guess Davis is lip-syncing. If not, I'm very impressed.

I'm going to watch her interview on The View...even though I usually strongly dislike that show.
 

This is about The Starter Wife. Debra Messing is there too.


I love Davis' voice.

She says she doesn't like doing award shows. She's not into all that Hollywood stuff.

She says she's shy. I think a lot of actresses are.

Here's another interview with Davis. Her voice is so low. It reminds me a little bit of Mercedes McCambridge. in The Exorcist. I can totally picture Davis and her voice saying Now kindly undo these straps.


Interesting. It seems she never did an Enough Rope Interview. I guess because she's shy. Maybe I can find other interviews though. Well, I know I found the one on YouTube, but I'd rather read transcripts. I'm better at reading than listening. Plus, then I can copy and paste the interesting stuff I want to quote.

Here's an article about Davis. Maybe it's more of an essay. I don't know.

They say that some critics have compared her to Katherine Hepburn. I can see the similarities...although I haven't seen much of Hepburn's work.

About a Brilliant Career, Davis said I thought it was a children's film. It was so simplistic. What's wrong with children's films? I think simplistic can be very nice sometimes.

The New Age
sounds like a movie I might like. It's by the same guy who made The Rapture with Mimi Rogers. Have any of you seen that movie? It's about religion. I liked it.

Or maybe I won't like this one. The synopsis doesn't sound that interesting to me.

The essay says that in American films, Davis is usually part of an ensemble cast. In Australian films, she's more often the star, and the one that carries the film.

Here's a story about Davis having an uncomfortable encounter with Germaine Greer. Apparently Greer really liked the movie that Davis didn't like.  A Brilliant Career. Greer saw the movie as iconic feminism. She grabbed onto Davis in a party and paraded her around to meet her friends. Davis wasn't happy about that and wanted to get away.

Okay. Here's an interview that was done in 2001; not long after September 11. It's about the movie The Man Who Sued God. That actually looks like a pretty good movie.

She liked working with Billy Connolly.

Davis says Connolly is shy and hypersensitive. Doesn't that describe most people who choose acting as a career?

Davis fell in love with Judy Garland while playing her. I can totally imagine how that would happen. I sometimes fall in love with the people I research, but then I usually move on the next day when I have to write about the next person.

Davis says she doesn't spend much time in self-reflection. We differ strongly there. I'm so often reflecting on myself. That's one of the reasons I hesitate going into therapy. I think of therapy as being more for people who never think about themselves...the ones that are always in denial. I mean I go for denial sometimes, but I at least think and consider the thing I'm trying to deny. I think some people don't even consider or think about what they're hiding from themselves.

Here's another essay. It's from Bomb Magazine. The author says, Mention Judy Davis, and immediately many women (and men) will say “My favorite actress.” I’m one of them.

I don't know who my favorite actress is. I probably don't have one.

I feel like I'm totally failing with this entry.

Sorry.

Link
I'm going to look at Google News. Maybe I'll find something there.

This article says Davis stars in a recent miniseries called Diamonds.

It's about the blood diamond thing.

I hate diamonds.

I mean as a gemstone they're okay...in the spiritual or geology kind of thing. But I hate how they're used as a status symbol. I just don't understand all that.

Well, I'm glad they did this movie. Maybe it will brainwash more people into sharing my viewpoint. No, I'm joking. We have all have our loves. I love Australia. Some people love jewels. That's fine. I just hope they try to buy ethical ones.

Why am I having such a hard time with this entry?

I'm going to try again to find more interviews.....

No luck.

Here's an article about her suing a newspaper for defamation.

Davis shuns the media. She lives a private life. And that probably explains why I can't find that much information about her.

Apparently she went to some council meeting. Reporters were there and they wrote about her. She didn't like that. The newspaper said she stormed out of a meeting because she disagreed with the idea of floodlights. Davis believes the newspaper was trying to push the idea of her being a child-hater. I guess people who love children like floodlights, and those who hate children are against floodlights. I love children so that must mean I love floodlights. What are floodlights?

Okay, it's lots of light over a large area.

I wonder why Davis was against it. Well, I guess that's her private business.

She won the case though.

Anyway, I feel for her. I know what it's like to feel misunderstood and ganged up on. It's NOT fun.

I give up on trying to find out stuff about Davis.

Instead, I think I'm going to return to IMDb and look at the descriptions of her work. I'll see if there's anything that looks particularly interesting to me.

Before My Brilliant Career, she was in an Australian movie called High Rolling. Well, it doesn't actually look like something I'd like. I just want to make note that My Brilliant Career wasn't technically her first movie.

My Brilliant Career sounds good. It's about defying family expectations. I like that. I can see why Germaine Greer might have taken a liking to the film.

Ah! I might have found something. I got to A Passage to India and remembered the clash between Davis and David Lean. I googled that and ended up finding another interview! It was done in 1997.

Davis says she's never been political. That's something else we don't have in common. I'm somewhat political.

I like this quote from Davis. It's raw and honest. She's told she's like her characters in that she doesn't care about being popular. Davis responds, I do care if I’m popular. I’m just not good at playing the game. I wish I was better at it. I can relate to that. I like being popular. I like being liked. The problem is I happen to be the type of person who's not liked by that many people. I'm difficult. I'm weird. I have a hard time pretending something I'm not. And that which I'm not is what most people are comfortable with.

Davis says she was frightened of David Lean.

She said she tried on costumes for him and he dismissed them. I guess he was acting insensitive and difficult.

Davis says she likes working with Woody Allen. I have to admit. I like the guy. Yeah, it was kind of rude of him to run off with his wife's daughter. But they're still together. Maybe it's true love. I don't know.

Anyway, I'm getting tired.

IMDb is working slow so it's hard to click on all the movies to see if I'm interested in any of them.

I'm going to give up.

Bye.

Julian Burnside

I think Julian Burnside is a lawyer.

I'm guessing I got his name off the list of Australia's Living Treasures.

Well, let me go talk to Lord Wiki so I can see if I'm right or not.

Okay. I'm right. He's into law. He's a barrister and human rights advocate....a lot like yesterday's Frank Brennan.

Like Brennan, Burnside is strongly against mandatory detention of asylum seekers.

Burnside was born on 9 June 1949. That would make him a Gemini. I know this because his birthday is two days after my niece's.

Birthday website time
!

Burnside is an 11 in numerology.

This website says this about the 11: you have the potential to be a source of inspiration and illumination for people. You possess an inordinate amount of energy and intuition. There is so much going on in your psyche that you are often misunderstood early in life, making you shy and withdrawn. You have far more potential than you know.

That sounds like an interesting person. It's not all sunshine and lollipops though. The website also says You may often be frustrated, largely because you have extremely high expectations of yourself. But these expectations can be unrealistic, and can prevent you from accomplishing anything. You can be very impractical, envisioning a skyscraper when all that was necessary was a two-story house.

I'm trying to think if I know of anyone like that.....

Little Julian was born in Melbourne. His daddy was a Urologist.

Burnside went to Melbourne Grammar School. A lot of famous people went to this school, including: Barrie Humphries, Malcolm Fraser, John Brumby, and Alfred Deakin.

He went to Monash University. I think that's where Peter Carey went for a short time.

Burnside studied law and economics. He wanted to be a manager consultant. Tim did this for awhile. I think. What it is basically is going into a company temporarily and helping them improve things.

While at school, Burnside competed in mock court. His performance was very impressive. In a New Zealand contest, he was named best speaker. Burnside had a conversation with the Chief Justice of New Zealand, and was inspired to become a barrister.

Burnside finished his degrees in 1973. By 1976, he was admitted as a barrister by the Supreme Court of Victoria.

He was admitted to the Queen's counsel in 1989. I have no idea what that means, but I kind of have deja vu here. I feel I've looked it up before. Oh well, I'll do it again.

Lord Wiki says these days, Queen's Counsel is more often called Senior Counsel.

I don't really understand it. Basically though, it's an honor. Isn't that enough information? Or am I being lazy today?

Burnside works mostly with commercial law. That's pretty much law that deals with businesses.

He has worked with many wealthy clients.

You know who this guy reminds me of?

Eli Stone!

For those of you who never were blessed with watching the show; Eli Stone was about a superficial ambitious lawyer who worked for a greedy law firm. He starts having these spiritual visions and transforms into a lawyer who wants to save the world.

I'm not sure if Burnside had hallucinations that were messages from god. But it does seem like he made some type of transformation.

At first he was a commercial lawyer...representing the rich and powerful. Then in the late 1990's he started doing more humanitarian stuff. He began to take on more pro bono cases.

It seems it might have started with the big waterfront dispute of 1998. Instead of taking the side of the corporation, he fought for the side of the union. Ah, interesting..... I wonder why he did that.

Burnside worked against the Australian Government in the Tampa Case. He and his wife set up a program called Spare Rooms. It provides free legal representation and free accommodations for refugees. That's awesome. I wonder which refugees get to use it though. I mean since they're stuck in detention. Are some refugees not in detention? Does Burnside pull them out somehow?

Burnside is awesome. He's like a superhero.

You know who else he reminds me of. Batman! He does all this rich people stuff. And Lord Wiki says he still does commercial law. Then at the same time, he does this heroic stuff.

Burnside also works to help Indigenous Australians. He worked on a case for a victim of the stolen generation, and they won. They sued the South Australian Government and won 500,000 dollars.

In 2004 Burnside became a living treasure. Yeah, I think that's how he ended up on my list. And I am GREATLY honored to have him there.

He wrote a children's book. It's called Matilda and the Dragon. That's a very cute title.

All right. I'm done with Lord Wiki.

I am NOT done with Julian Burnside.

Where should we go next?

He has his own website. That might be a nice place to go.

He has a quote from James Thurber on his site. It says, All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.

Although it's stated in a sexist way, it's a good question. I'll have to think about that one. What am I running from? What am I running towards?

Burnside's website is a little confusing to me. It's a bit overwhelming.

Here's a speech he did regarding Australia needing a bill of rights.

All right. This is going to be a bit challenging. For some reason, all the pages on his website have the same address. So....I can't really link you up to the exact thing I'm looking at. I guess you're on your own if you want to see it. I'm not sure if the website is at fault, or if my computer is messing up somehow.

In the 2020 summit in Canberra (I think the one which Clate Blanchett went to right after giving birth) the idea of the bill of rights was brought up. Many people opposed it.

Burnside thinks people oppose the bill of rights because they imagine a US type Bill of Rights things. What? You guys don't all want the right to bear arms?

 Some of our laws are good though. I think? I like the freedom of speech one.

Burnside says, Modern Bills of Right do not concern themselves with the right to bear arms or the quartering of soldiers. They are concerned instead with the sort of rights recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: equality before the law, the right to life, protection from torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment, freedom from forced work, freedom of movement, privacy and reputation, freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief; freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and freedom of association, protection of families and children, humane treatment when deprived of liberty, and so on.

I could stand behind something like that.

Burnside really seems negative towards our Bill of Rights. Are they that bad? I do think they need an update--a major one.

Burnside says something very interesting here: Within the scope of its legislative competence, Parliament's power is unlimited. The classic example of this is that, if Parliament has power to make laws with respect to children, it could validly pass a law which required all blue-eyed babies to be killed at birth. The law, although terrible, would be valid. One response to this is that a democratic system allows that government to be thrown out at the next election. This is not much comfort for the blue-eyed babies born in the meantime. And even this democratic correction may not be enough: if blue-eyed people are an unpopular minority, the majority may prefer to return the government to power. The Nuremberg laws of Germany in the 1930s were horrifying, but were constitutionally valid laws which attracted the support of many Germans.

That's a scary thought. I never thought of it that way. I think that's why Burnside wants this bill of rights thing. He believes the bill of rights would protect Australians in case Parliament goes a bit nuts.

The blue eyed baby thing might seem pretty silly. But Parliament can and has created laws that are very unfair. One of them is the fact that innocent asylum seekers can be held in detention for the rest of their life.

Now if detention was held at a luxury resort, it might not be so bad. But the way Burnside describes Woomera, a hostel might be seen as luxury in comparison. Reports from 2001 say there were three working toilets for 1500 people. Holy shit!

Oh, I love what Burnsides says here. He first explains that one of the arguments against the bill of rights is it will protect unpopular minorities. He responds: At one level, the complaint is accurate. In Australia today, the people whose human rights are at risk are not members of the comfortable majority, but members of minority groups who are typically powerless and often unpopular and almost always politically irrelevant. Whilst, in terms, a Bill of Rights protects the rights of all, its primary use is to protect the rights of the weak because the strong are already safe.

If that's not enough....Burnside then gets even more awesome!

The criticism is all the more surprising when you consider that many of those who advance it proclaim themselves to be devout Christians. I had thought, although I haven’t checked recently, that much of Christ’s teaching was concerned with the protection of the weak, the unpopular, the despised and the oppressed. It seems a curious thing then that practising Christians should object to a law which achieves that result.


Now I see why Burnside won all those mock court things. This guy is amazing. If I believed in such things, I'd believe he himself is the second coming of Christ. And he would be a god that I could totally stand behind.

I've been a bit sad that Eli Stone was canceled. But who needs a fictional character when we've got the real thing here?

Burnside talks about the argument that a bill of rights doesn't work. He agrees this can happen...especially when you have an evil president who finds ways to work around the laws. I won't mention any names....

Okay, never mind. I will.

He talks about Bush and Guantanamo Bay--the fact that putting it in Cuba helped Bush avoid some of the laws. But Burnside argues, No Constitution, no Bill of Rights, no statute, no other document, can protect rights unless the rule of law is strong. If the political opposition is weak or absent, if the media are cowed or complacent, if the courts are not fearlessly independent, the promises contained on bits of paper will achieve nothing. That is not our problem in Australia.

If that's not a problem in Australia, why do we have that problem in America? What has gone wrong with us?

I guess it's sort of what Al Gore talked about in his book The Assault on Reason. But I forgot most of what the book said.

I hope Obama can stop the evil. I have to admit though that I was a bit disturbed with him wanting to hide the torture photos. For a brief moment, I became a bit paranoid. I started thinking what if all this time he was on Bush's team. I thought maybe he faked being a democrat so all the disillusioned people would vote for him.

I understand his fear that the photos will create more hatred towards America. But you just can't work that way. It's like a child saying to his parent. Don't come upstairs. I don't want you to come upstairs. If you see what I did, you'll be mad at me! Okay well yeah, but the parent isn't going to turn around and say Okay. I won't see it. I don't want to be mad. Everything's okay.

All right. I'm not going to stay on his website any longer. The web address thing bothers me. Even links to other websites have the same address. I can't work that way.

Yeah. I'm anal.

This Forbes website includes a photo of Burnside. It says he houses refugees in his own Melbourne Mansion. He also buys paintings from unknown artists so they can make money.

I love this guy.

Why can't all rich people be like him?

The sad thing is though I'm cynical. A part of me thinking....okay, he's this great guy who does great things for strangers. But maybe he beats his wife. Maybe he ignores his children. I don't know.

I'm not sure if Burnside has children though. I haven't seen it mentioned yet.

Here's a website for the Spare Room thing. The link system here is as annoying as the other website. But it does give valuable information on how people can help the asylum seekers. They can open up their homes to them; if they have the room. If not that, they can write letters to people in detention centers, or visit the detention centers.

There's a PDF file that you can download which responds to myths about asylum seekers.

Some of these myths are:

1. Boat people are queue jumpers.

Nope. Not true.

2. Asylum Seekers are illegal.

Nope. Not true.

3. Australia already takes too many refugees.

I won't say that's not true because it's a bit subjective. It all depends on what someone's definition of too many is.

The PDF thing has some comparisons though.  Britain has one for every 530 people. Australia has one for every 1583 people.

I wonder what the United States has. Well, I'm too lazy to do a lot of searching, but this website has various immigrant information for America.

4. We're being swamped by hoards of boat people.

No, not really. But again, it's a matter of perspective.

5. They're not real refugees anyway.

Wrong. Well, 84% wrong. I guess that means sixteen percent are not real refugees.

I'm looking at Google News now. Burnside is involved with some drug thing; something called Vioxx. Have any of you heard of this case?

I'm trying to figure out if Burnside is on the good side or bad side. I SHOULD say my side or the other side. I don't know much about any of this, but I'm already pretty sure I have a side.

It seems to be about drug companies pushing doctors to push drugs to patients.

I hate that.

I really do.

This article says, The Federal Court was told the company aimed to identify 100 patients of each targeted general practitioner who were not taking Vioxx and could be recommended to take up the drug for their condition.

It seems there were risks to the drugs, but they were downplayed.

Recently in my eating disorder research adventures, I found information about chemical issues in the brains of people with eating disorders. The website I consulted was good though and stressed that there are many other factors that contribute to the problem. They didn't take on that dreadful message of oh just pop a few pills and you'll be happily eating like a normal person. Is it SO much more complicated than that.

Anyway, people with eating disorders seem to have issues with Serotonin. I usually stay far away from even suggestions of psychiatric drugs, but I decided to have an open mind. I looked up some of the drugs given to people who have ED. I looked at the list of side effects and some of them are worse than having the damn eating disorder! Sometimes these drugs might be needed. But I really think they should be a last resort.

Again though, the website (which has become sort of my bible lately) stresses other types of treatment....more emotional therapy. I haven't gotten ANY treatment. I'm not sure if that's okay or not. I didn't even really consider getting treatment because I PHYSICALLY got over the problem on my own. A lot of the websites I read push the idea that you must have treatment to recover. But I did find a study that looked at people who recovered without professional intervention. The thing they did have in common is they all had someone standing behind them....helping them. I never had that. Most members of my family didn't believe I had a problem. I tried talking to them about it.  They ignored it and denied it.

I've realized recently it's not over. The eating problems ended but all the emotional problems remained. In John Marsden's book, So Much To Tell You the main character mentions Anorexia of Speech. I realize now what I did last year. I replaced excessive limiting of my food intake with excessive limiting of what I said to people. It was another way to feel in control. It was another way to feel protected and guarded.

But NOW I'm dealing with stuff by blabbing on and on about it in my blog.

I HAVE thought of professional therapy, but I doubt I'll do that. It's a lot of money. And no that's not a good excuse. If I knew it would work, I'd definitely do it. But I know it doesn't have a 100% success rate. I know of people with eating disorders who have been through extensive therapy. They're still screwed up; probably more so than me.

I think in the end I have to work it out on my own. Writing about it helps. Doing the research helps.  And I have some friends that let me talk about my problems. I think that's better than any therapist I can find. The thing is....I couldn't deal with a one-sided relationship where I talk about my problems and someone just listens. I like a back and forth kind of thing. I like a relationship where we both share our problems, and we both listen to each other.

Should I shut up now?

Yeah.

Back to Burnside.

I THINK he's on the good side; fighting the people who are suing the bad drug people.

See though. This is why I never fully trust the medical community. I mentioned this to my dad recently and he made some remark about me putting my trust in alternative medicine. That's so not true though. I don't fully trust EITHER of them. I listen to what both of them say with a grain of salt.

I'm SO rambling here.

Maybe I SHOULD take a drug....one that stops excessive writing.

I worry that I'm annoying you guys. But see that's one of the problems I have to overcome....worrying about what other people think. This is my blog. I can talk about whatever I damn well please. If I wanted to talk about scary purple dinosaurs that would be my right.

Let's look at Twitter. Is anyone mentioned my new hero? Yes. Apparently he's going to be talking at some editors conference in South Australia. Cool! It looks enlightening. Natasha Stott Despoja is going to be there too.

Anyway, I'm going to go play a game with Jack before I'm labeled a neglectful parent.

I'm back. The sentence above was supposed to be the conclusion. I wrote it hours ago. But I was talking with my sister about Burnside. She asked me why he had made that Eli Stone transformation, and I realized I never found out. I feel I've missed something important here.

I'm not sure if I can find the answer, but I shall at least try.

Here's an interview on ABC. Maybe it will reveal something.

What I told my sister is that I think it had something to do with the waterfront dispute. This might confirm that. When asked about it Burnside says, It sort of shook me to the foundations.

Did something in that case change his viewpoint?

The interviewer says, Julian Burnside began as a blue blood corporate barrister, revelling in the intellectual cut and thrust of the courts. Yet almost by accident he developed a moral purpose, pouring his talents into human rights cases and the arts.

It seems Lord Wiki might have lied about Burnside's daddy being a Urologist. He was a neurological surgeon. Although maybe he did both?

He DOES have a daughter. That's who he wrote the children's book for.

Burnside's first marriage broke up, mostly because of his work schedule.

Okay. Here we go! I found it.

Burnside says, The MUA case was a turning point for me because until then, I had been basically apolitical. But I was shocked to discover through the case because it was very plain that the Government and Patrick's had been up to their eyes in a conspiracy to break the law. I never imagined that governments would do things like that. So, it shook me to the foundations.

I don't know if this is a coincidence or one inspired the other, but the interviewer asks a question that is very similar to the Thurber quote on Burnside's website.

The interviewer says In life, we move towards some things and away from other things over time. What do you feel you're drawn more towards and what are you moving away from?

Burnside says, Um... Well, I do like red wine. And I love making sculpture out of found objects and I love writing, I love reading, I love my job. I'm not attracted to hypocrisy and cant, dishonesty, laziness, politicians and that stuff. So, I'm going away from them as far as I can.

I still need to think about that question....

What do I want to move towards? What do I want to move away from?

Let's see.....

Okay. Here it is.

I want to move towards people who make me feel accepted; the type of people who don't make me feel I need to hide parts of myself. I want to move towards people who care about others. I want to move away from....well, I guess I want to move away from the people who are not like the ones I want to move towards. Does that make sense?

Helen Reddy

I don't know much about Helen Reddy, but I've always loved her in Pete's Dragon. I didn't know she was Australian until I got into this whole Australian obsession.

I have one song of hers that is not from Pete's Dragon. I call it the unhealthy parenting song. The real name is "You and Me Against the World". On the surface it sounds very loving and sweet. But I think deep down it's controlling and suffocating.

You and me against the world
Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world
When all the others turn their back and walk away
You can count on me to stay


What I would ask if I was that child....why would everyone else turn their back on me? Am I worthless? Is the world made up of totally cruel people? Are you the only nice one out there?
Yeah, I can count on you to stay. I can also probably count on you yanking me back again every time I try to get away.


Now I'm not dismissing the fact that there are situations where parent-child teams are fighting against the world. One example is if you're in an Invasion-of-the-Body-Snatcher situation. Then it truly might be the two of you against the world.

I did have a we-against-the-world feeling with Jack for awhile. It was from when he was about two months to five months. He pretty much hated everyone but me. He was against the world. But he got over it.

I think in all relationships there's healthy love and unhealthy love.

Healthy love says I love you and I'll be there for you. You can count on me.

 
Unhealthy love says No one will ever love you as much as I love you. I'm the one person you can count on.

First of all....that's vain.

Second of all....it's insulting.

Helen Reddy should be ashamed of herself for that damn song. No, I'm joking.

Okay, let's go talk to Lord Wiki.

Little Helen was born on 25 October 1941.

Another Scorpio.

Speaking of that, I'm kind of tired of being on a cusp. Jack found this cute website yesterday that had kid horoscopes. They have this thing where you can see how your signs match up with your friend's sign. We did it for Jack and a few people. I've seen things like this before, but liked how this one was written. Yeah, probably because it's written for kids and I'm childish.

I wanted to do it for myself, but I didn't know if I should put me down as a Sagittarius or Scorpio.

Anyway, Birthday Website Time!

Reddy is a 5 in numerology. That's the freedom one. I picture a 5 Scorpio as someone who really needs their distance. I picture that person as better off running around the world and having sex with many different people. I don't think they'd be happy in a traditional marriage.

Who knows though if Reddy fits her signs. She might. She might not.

Reddy was born in Melbourne. Her parents were both in show business. They were part of the Australian Vaudeville scene. One parent was Irish and the other was Jewish, but I'm not sure which was which.

Reddy went to school at Tintern Girls Grammar School. I don't think I've encountered that name before.

Lord Wiki has a list of notable alumni from that school and Reddy isn't on it. I wonder what that means? Did Lord Wiki make a mistake somewhere?

Reddy performed with her parents on stage from a very early age.

When she was a older teenager, she got married and had a child. I wonder how old she was.

In 1966 she won a contest on the TV show Bandstand. This enabled her to move to New York.

In New York, she met an agent from the William Morris Company. They lived together for four days and then got married. He also became her agent. Wow.

They moved to Chicago and then made their way to Los Angeles. Hey, I lived in Chicago in 1972 and 1973. I wonder if this was the same year she was there! We might have even run into each other. Well, I was a baby then, so I probably didn't run much yet. I might have CRAWLED into her.

No, wait. It couldn't have happened. Lord Wiki says she was in Los Angeles by 1970. This is when she finally got her recording contract. Her career quickly zoomed off. In 1971, she did a cover of "I Don't Know How To Love Him". I've actually never heard her version before. I like it. Her accent is very interesting. It doesn't sound exactly Australian...maybe more Southern?

In the United States, the song went up to #13 in the charts. People started paying attention. How old was she then? Let me do the math....

Okay. She was thirty.

In 1972, Reddy cowrote a song called "I am Woman". Apparently this is a huge important song. I've never heard it until today....at least that I can remember. It was #1 on the US charts, but according to Lord Wiki it took awhile for it to get there.

I do like the lyrics a lot.


You can bend but never break me 'cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer 'cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul


In 1972, Reddy won a Grammy. In her acceptance speech she referred to to God as a she. I wonder if that caused a stir back then. It was the 70's so I kind of doubt it. These days, it seems rather commonplace. I don't think it would be that shocking for most people.

Reddy became very popular in America during the 1970's. I'm wondering if my parents liked her at all. I wonder if I heard her music when I was toddling about the apartment. It's not someone I've heard them talking about though, so I'm doubting it.

Lord Wiki lists some of the songs.

Delta Dawn went to #1 in 1973. My sister's name is Dawn. She would have been about three when that song was popular. I wonder if my parents played it for her. Okay, this song actually does sound familiar to me. But other people have sung the song...Bette Midler, Tanya Tucker, Waylon Jennings.....

It's kind of a depressing song; at least from what I'm reading from the lyrics. I think it's about getting old and dying. It's probably not the thing you want to sing to your toddler.

Here is Reddy singing "You and Me Against the World" to Kermit the Frog. Great. She's pushing co-dependent relationships with amphibians.

That song came out in 1974. She didn't write it. American Paul Williams wrote it. He also wrote a song called "I Won't Last a Day Without You". I'm not sure if that sounds very healthy either.

BUT Williams co-wrote the "Rainbow Connection" and I think that's one of the most awesome songs ever.

Oh! He also wrote one of my favorite songs!!! "Flying Dreams" from The Secret of Nimh!

I think it's a MUCH healthier love song.

Love it seems Made flying dreams
So hearts could soar
Heaven sent These wings were meant
To prove, once more
That love is the key


Oh yeah. Back to Reddy....

I'm not going to go over all her songs.

Lord Wiki says the last song she did to hit the charts was in 1981. This was I Can't Say Good-bye To You. It sounds like something Glenn Close might sing in Fatal Attraction.

You say it would be better if we stopped seeing each other
if you had only met me first when you were free 'cause now you've got commitment

i should not expect things from you.....
i can't say goodbye to you no matter how i tried
you're such a part of me without you,
i would die deep, in the heart of me

i know that you and i were meant to be be together i can't tell you goodbye

Lord Wiki says Reddy helped launch Olivia Newton John's career. She encouraged her to come to the United States. And then John met someone at Reddy's house who had the connections to put her in Grease. Oh well....he was the film's producer. That's a pretty nifty connection.

Lord Wiki pretty much glosses over Pete's Dragon. What's the deal with that? I LOVE Pete's Dragon. And I love its lyrics.

I'll copy a few of my favorites.

There's It's Not Easy....

Life is lollipops and raindrops with the one you love
Someone you can always be with
Argue and agree with

I like how it gives this idealistic version of love, but then switches to realism. Sometimes we argue with those we love, and that's okay. I suppose the always be with part can be too intense if taken literally.

Candle on the Water is a classic.

A cold and friendless tide has found you
Don't let the stormy darkness pull you down
I'll paint a ray of hope around you

I think this is a healthier way of saying what Paul Williams tried to say. It's not saying I'm the only one who is there for you. It's saying life is tough for you right now. So, I'm here to help. And it's just referring to one unfriendly tide. It's not talking about the whole damn world being mean and cruel.

These lines have some frantic elements to it.

Remember the night when you first confided
Things went so right that we both decided
Now we're together and life is perfect Don't ever disappear


But since I have some abandonment issues sometimes, I can relate to it. Although my attitude is more along the lines of. Hey, things are too perfect here. Somethings going to go wrong. You're going to disappear, aren't you?

This part is a little bit like the Paul Williams song.

We're walking down a road of our own
The rain can never fall
I'm glad I don't have to be alone


It kind of seems to imply that life will be great as long as no outsiders intrude.

I do love these lines from the same song.

You know what to say when I want direction 
You don't turn away when I need protection 
Your voice is the sound of an angel singing 
Music I wait to hear.

And then there's these pro-immigrant lyrics of this song.

There's room for everyone in this world
If everyone makes some room
Won't you move over and share this world
Everyone make some room
Even a dragon deserves a place, a wide open space With no reins, no chains
He wants to play games, dance with you Give him a chance to sing his song
He only wants to belong


I think Julian Burnside should sing this song next time he's doing a speech about asylum seekers.

Oh! Lord Wiki says that Pushing Daisies had an episode that paid homage to Pete's Dragon! I wish I saw it. I've never actually watched that show before. Have any of you? Is it good? Is it still on? Well it is, but it looks like it's going off the air. Sad. I guess I'll catch it on reruns someday...somewhere.

All right. Let me get back on track. Reddy moved to Norfolk island in 2002. Later she moved to Sydney.

She has Addison's disease which is a kidney problem.

She's retired from the music world and is now a clinical hypnotherapist. Jack would love that. One of his current obsessions is hypnosis. He's convinced that soon he'll be able to use mind control on me. Lovely. If I start acting weird, you'll know why.

Ah, maybe I should say, if I start acting NORMAL......

Lord Wiki has her marriage information. She was with a guy for twelve years. That's pretty good....1983-1995.

Oh and her marriage to the agent lasted a fairly long time too. 1968-1981. With him she had a another child.

Well, that's it for Lord Wiki.

I'm going to go feed us some lunch. Then I'll be back to look elsewhere around the Internet.....



I'm back.


Here's her official page. It has a cool collage on it.

The website acts a bit possessed on my Firefox browser. I had to open it in Opera.

It's hard for me to link to individual pages unfortunately.
 

Reddy has a flower named after her in Holland. Cool.

In the height of her career, she lost both her parents. I can imagine that was really hard.

She has strong spiritual faith.

I personally haven't felt very spiritual lately. I think it's because I had a hiatus in lucid dreaming and my lucid dreams are a huge part of my spirituality. But last night I had my first lucid dream in weeks. I'm very happy about that. It was very short and involved Thaao Penghlis on a big screen.

I'm thinking Reddy might be one of my people. She's all into weird spiritual stuff. I wonder if she does past life regressions. I did that once. I wish the woman who I saw lived in Fort Worth. She's a clinical psychologist. If she was around, I probably would want to seek professional help. I'd love to work with someone who deals with both spiritual and psychological issues.

Anyway, in June, Reddy is going to be in the United States speaking at a conference called Paranormal Exploration Transformation Conference.

On her site, Reddy has a list of books that she recommends. This should give me insight into her character.

She recommends:

1. The Feminine Mystique (Okay, so she's probably still a feminist)

2. So Moses was Born What is this? Okay, it's written by someone who claims to have a past life in Biblical times. I always find myself a bit skeptical of these books. I won't say it's not true. I have no idea. But I take it all with a grain of salt. I believe in reincarnation. BUT I think it would be very easy to make something up about knowing famous people from the past, and make lots of money off of it.

3. In Defense of Food This book pushes real food vs. the stuff most of us are eating. The book's website says In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become. That actually sounds fairly interesting. Have any of you read it?

4. The Greatest Story ever Sold This is one of many Anti-Bush books she has her on list. So we're on the same page there.

All right. I'm tired of listing stuff already. Yes, I'm lazy. Jack "hypnotized" me earlier today. In one of the sessions he told me to lay down on the couch and do nothing. I told him I don't need hypnosis for THAT. I do it all the time.


Reddy names some films she likes.  I'll quickly list the ones I've heard of: Sicko, An Inconvenient Truth, What the Bleep Do We Know, and Who Killed the Electric Car.

I think Reddy is my kind of woman.

This website has some quotes from her.


I always believed that I could make it or I would never have spent so many years trying to get here.
Did she make it because she believed in herself? Or did she believe in herself because she somehow knew she was destined to make it?

I don't think any one person is the cause of all of someone else's problems.

That's kind of stating the obvious. I'm trying to imagine a situation where that would be false. Maybe two people stranded on an island, and it's all the fault of one person that they're stuck there? Yeah, that would work.

All right. I'm going to stop with the quotes. They confuse me because they don't give the context in which things were said.

Here's her MySpace page. She's very beautiful. I love seeing photos of beautiful women who are older than 50. It makes me feel inspired. The other day I was looking at my sister's People Magazine. They had this thing where they showed a famous woman for every age. I thought the women in their fifties were the prettiest.

Her last log in was on May 20. That's not too long ago.

I keep seeing her autobiography mentioned. I need to read it.

All right. Jack wants to play a game. I'll do that and then read this interview I just found...

Well, we didn't play the game. Jack wanted to play Clue Jr. but I couldn't find the directions. While I was searching online, he started playing with the little pieces. He's content doing that, so I'm going to write some more for awhile. Then we'll play a game together.

All right. The interview....

She lived in Chicago from 1967-1968. That's when my parents got married. And they got married in Chicago. Do I know where? No, I forgot. That's sad. At least I know the date though. It was August 20....the same date as Jack's birth. What's funny is my nephew's birthday is the same day as my sister's anniversary. My birthday was around the same day as my grandparent's anniversary...but not the exact day.

I really go off on tangents, don't I?

Reddy believes in out-of-body experiences. She says It only takes one [ experience ] to understand that you are not your body; you are inside a body—one that you can leave and still exist. I've read other celebrity autobiographies that talk about this...Ellen Burstyn is one. There was another as well, but I forgot. Maybe Goldie Hawn?

I wonder if that's true. Does experience make us spiritual, or is it beliefs? My experiences made me more spiritual. I've never had a classic definite out-of-body experience, but I've had very intense lucid dreams that have felt like something that's more than just dreams. They feel like out-of-body experiences at times. In fact, I have instances where I feel myself leaving my body. Those experiences open my mind to the possibility of there being a spiritual world. But since they happen within a dream, the experience is somewhat ambiguous and I can't take it as definite proof of anything.

I'm wondering though.... If an atheist had an out-of-body experience, would it make them a believer? Or would they use science to dismiss it. Would they discount the whole thing?

Reddy believes in spirits and angels. She doesn't believe in negative energies. I used to believe this. Now I don't. I believe in evil. I believe in negative energy.

Reddy believes Elvis Presley was King Tut.

Okay.

She says,
And I do believe that people of a certain spiritual path have a succession of famous lives, and the object of the lesson there is to become immune to adulation. You can't be a true spiritual teacher if your ego is swayed by the crowd.

I like that. I think it could be true.

Her last performance was in 2002. She doesn't plan to go back to it.

She does do past life regressions.

She says she loves living in Sydney, and says it reminds her of how America used to be. Bill Bryson said the same thing.

Okay. Onto another interview.

This one is from Talking Heads.

Reddy was the first Australian to win a Grammy.

Reddy says she recognized and was bothered by sexism at the age of four. That's pretty impressive. If I didn't have a child like Jack, I'd probably be skeptical. But I do have a child like Jack so I can believe it.

Her professional debut happened in Perth.

She stayed with her grandmother a lot while her parents were performing.

Her father had an attraction to America--I guess in the way that I have a thing for Australia. Reddy believed that being a star in America made one a global star. That's probably true in some ways.

She got married when she was nineteen. Her marriage ended during her pregnancy. I think that can be one of the hardest times on a marriage; that and the first year of the baby's life.

Reddy's prize for Bandstand was going to New York. She had high expectations and left with her three-year-old daughter. Then it ended up there was no recording contract waiting for her. What happened?

She struggled for five years before finding success.

She has alcoholism in her family tree. She's not a big fan of the substance, but will have a glass of wine every so often.

Her son was born the same week as "I am Woman" reached the top of the charts. Wow. She says it was an emotional time for her. I can imagine that's a bit of an understatement.

She's not a big fan of the 1980's. She says,
The '80s were not a good period. Not for me and certainly not for music. That's a bit opinionated. But I probably agree with her. I like 80's music, but I prefer 70's music. And the 1980's weren't too happy for me. The beginning was nice. The late 80's were rough. I'm not sure if that's about the decade though. I think it's about leaving childhood. I think I had a rough time going from being a child to a teenager. I was always very immature. I still am. The difference is now I'm PROUD of my youthful attitude. As a teen, I was ashamed of it.

During Reddy's successful year (if I'm reading this right) all these bad things happened to her. Her mom died in July. Her dad died in September. She was almost in a plane crash. Her aunt got cancer. Reddy says, And so, people were constantly, you know, congratulating me on all the success, and what have you, and I was just a total mess inside because every time the phone rang, I'd think, "My God, who else has died?"

My death year was 1985...or maybe 1986. I think 1985. The first child I ever babysat died of some kind of horrible immunity problem. I think it was my first real experience with death and dying. Jason was the brother of my younger sister's best friend. So Melissa learned about death really early on. I think she was in second grade when he died. He was a really smart adorable child. He reminds me of Jack. The dynamics in my relationship to Jack reminds me a lot of the relationship I had with Jason. I feel we relate to each other in the same way. I've sometimes imagined that maybe Jack is Jason reincarnated. Who knows....

Anyway, a few months after Jason died, my grandfather died. And then sometime around all that, my great grandpa died. Or maybe it was my great grandma? I kind of forget. Oops.

Reddy's tragedies were compounded by the fact that her husband had drug problems.

In the early 2000's she found out one of her ancestors was on the First Fleet. He had been sent to Norfolk Island. Then Reddy moved there and lived on the farm that he had once owned.

She says Sydney is her favorite city. Cool.

I think it's neat that she left Australia and then came back.

Reddy says, Well, you know, I am a sixth generation Australian, and I was born and raised here and spent the first 24.5 years of my life here. So, there was always a very, very strong attachment.

She talks about her out-of-body experience. It happened at school. She fainted and then saw her body from above.

Reddy says she kept it a secret for many years. She was afraid people would label her as weird and crazy.

I'm tired of doing the Twitter thing. I'm going to skip it for today.

I feel I should end this now, but I feel kind of attached to Helen Reddy. I don't want to leave her yet. It's like that song. "I Can't Say Good-Bye To You".

But I guess I shall say good-bye. I've been working on this way too long. One day I'll get her book, and that way I can say hello again.

Van Tuong Nguyen

I don't think this is going to be a very happy post.

I'm pretty sure I know who this guy is.

He's the one who was found guilty of drug possession and THEN killed for it.

I've seen bits and pieces of the story before.

I know that Kevin Rudd let Nguyen use his Bible at some point; maybe hold it before being executed. I don't know.

I know his lawyer was Julian McMahon.  But I'm guessing it wasn't the actor.

All right. Lord Wiki. Tell me the sad story.

I don't know if I want to hear it.

 But I feel I should.

Nguyen was born on 17 August 1980. If he were still alive, he'd be celebrating his 29th birthday this August.

Birthday Website Time.

He's a Leo like Jack.

He's a 7 like me.

I picture a 7 Leo as someone who's passionate, entertaining, and well-educated.

Nguyen was a twin. He's the first twin I've researched. I think?

The twins were born in a refugee camp in Vietnam. The mother and her babies migrated soon after to Australia. Mommy Nguyen married a Vietnamese Australian when the twins were about seven. It seems the stepdad wasn't the best father. He beat the kids.

Nguyen went to school at St. Joseph's Primary School. Then he went to Mount Waverly Secondary College. I guess he would have been there in the late 1990's.

He had intentions to do university studies at Deakin University, but his financial situation prevented him from doing so.

He spent his young adult years working in various sales positions.

He started his own computer sales business in 1999. He would have been only nineteen at the time. That's pretty impressive.

Nguyen's twin got into some legal trouble. Lord Wiki says Nguyen wound up his business. I'm not sure I know what that means. I'm guessing he closed the business in order to have money to help his brother. Maybe?

Nguyen found a new job.

He took a long break from the job for six months. This was between June and December 2002. In his confession, Nguyen claimed to be on acne medicine that required him to take a four month leave. What? I don't get that. What kind of medicine would that be? Was Nguyen telling the truth? I have my doubts, but I guess it could be true. Maybe the medicine made him really drowsy. Maybe it made it hard for him to work?

Unlike Schapelle Corby, Nguyen doesn't deny carrying drugs. Well, he might have in the beginning. But at least in the end, he admitted to being involved with drug trafficking.

He claims he carried the drugs to help pay for his brother's legal fees. His brother got in trouble for drug trafficking himself; and he had also attacked someone with a Samurai knife. Yikes.

Nguyen wanted a quick way to pay back all the debts. He contacted someone who gave him Heroin to transport. The package was supposed to go from Cambodia to Melbourne. And it would pass through Singapore.

My parent were in Singapore recently. They liked it.

I'm scared of it. I'm scared of places that have strict drug laws. The funny thing is I've never done any drugs. I don't even drink. I've never tried to smoke anything. But I'm paranoid that someone's going to slip something into my backpack when I'm not looking.

Okay, now Lord Wiki says it's Thailand that Nguyen emigrated from. I'm confused. Is this a mistake? Or maybe the mom and the twins stopped in Thailand before coming to Australia. Who knows.....

Anyway, Lord Wiki says this drug trafficking adventure is the first time Nguyen went overseas since his emigration.

In Cambodia, he had to go to a garage to be with the drug people. They forced him to smoke some heroin. Why? Did they want him to become addicted? Can you be addicted the first time you try it? And was he really a Heroin virgin?

I've googled a bit here. I'm not getting any definite answers that I fully trust. But from what I'm gathering it seems that Heroin is at first a psychological addiction. Then soon it becomes a physical addiction.

In Vietnam, Nguyen was given instructions on how to hide the heroin. He was supposed to crush it up and strap packages of heroin to his body.

In Singapore, he waited at the airport. There he triggered a metal detector. The airport security folks found the drugs. Then Nguyen confessed to also having drugs in his checked luggage.

Lord Wiki says Nguyen had 396 grams of heroin. That's about fourteen ounces. It was more than enough to qualify him for Singapore's strict drug law death sentence.

I really don't know what to feel.

I'm sorry for this guy. I don't think he should have died. I wish he were still alive.

But do I think it's unfair that he died? I don't know. I think the laws of Singapore are pretty well known. Why would someone take the risk? I'm not going to sit here and be all self-righteous. Oh selling drugs are bad. You should go to school and get a job. You should be a decent citizen. I actually do believe in most of that stuff, but I live a privileged life. I don't know what it's truly like to feel financially desperate. My feeling is okay yeah....make an illegal delivery. Get your money. I can see the reasoning behind all that, but why take a job that forces you to go through Singapore?

Although maybe those jobs are the ones in which they are most hiring. And maybe those are the jobs that pay the most money. The higher risk...the higher the pay.

Nguyen went on death row in Changi prison.

An appeal was made on his behalf. It was rejected in October 2004.

On November 17 2005, his family got written notice of his execution. It was to happen on December 2 2005.

I just looked at my Livejournal entry for that day to see what was going on in my own life. That morning I announced that the day before my brother-in-law had received his new lungs. We were all so happy, relieved, and excited. It's funny how on the same date one family can experience something wonderful, and another can experience something horribly tragic.

John Howard made a last minute plea on Nguyen's behalf. He wrote a letter, I think? Apparently he had a meeting with the Singaporean Prime Minister that morning. Later Howard was angry because the Prime Minister had never mentioned that the execution was taking place.

There was a poll done in 2005. 47% of Australians thought Nguyen should be executed. 46% did not believe that. It's pretty split down the middle.

Lord Wiki says Australia doesn't have a death penalty. I didn't realize that; but I can't say I ever thought about it. Of course they once had a death penalty. We know what happened to Ned Kelly. But all that was stopped in 1973. The last actual execution happened in 1967.

Appeals were made for Nguyen three times in November. That makes me feel a little better. I think the saddest thing would be to be in a foreign country and just forgotten about and ignored. It makes me feel better to imagine that Nguyen knew that people were trying to save him.

No, wait. Lord Wiki was just talking about the government making three attempts. Other groups made more attempts.

This is all making me a little teary-eyed. I don't know. I guess I just hate the idea of someone having no one on their side. That's just so sad. But Nguyen did have people on his side. That's good. I don't think he was a bad person. He just made a really bad mistake.

All right. Let's see who tried to help and who was accused of not doing enough to help.

The Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty apparently received a lot of letters of support after Nguyen was sentenced. Their website is very minimalistic.

On November 25 2005, an appeal was made by Australian Catholic Bishops.

The day before the execution, a lawyer tried a last minute legal approach. He charged Nguyen with drug offenses in Melbourne. I guess this was kind of like saying. You can't punish the guy in Singapore because we have to punish him in Australia.

It didn't work. It was a fairly clever plan though.

Lord Wiki says that Amnesty International was criticized for not doing enough...for not working with other groups that were working to save Nguyen.

Lord Wiki talks about how Singapore defended their decision. They expressed regret but said this is their way of protecting their citizens from drugs. I agree with them in a way.

This is all way too complicated.

I don't know. Does Singapore have less drug problems than less strict countries? Do they have less crime? Are they better off because of these laws? If so, maybe it's all for the best.

I'm looking at statistics now. Out of sixty countries, Singapore is ranked #53 in terms of drug offenses. Germany, the UK, and Canada have the most drug offenses per capita. Now the question is what constitutes a drug offense? I'm guessing it's getting arrested for drugs rather than actually using drugs.

What causes more problems...the drugs themselves or the laws surrounding the drugs. Do drugs cause problems in society, or does the illegality of the drugs cause the problems?

I'm going to look at Singapore in terms of other crimes.

Well, never mind. I can't find statistics for Singapore.

I guess I could look elsewhere.

Let me see....

Well, Lord Wiki says it has a low crime rate....

If horrific strict laws keep the crime rate low, is it worth it then to execute a few individuals?

I don't know.

Maybe it is.

Lord Wiki talks about the Vigils that were held. The leader of Singapore's opposition party participated in one. He disagrees with the harsh punishments, believing they harm the couriers but do nothing to the big bad guys...the drug bosses. Yeah because the drug bosses will just keep hiring new people.

A Catholic Church in Melbourne held a vigil. At one point, the boys went to their primary school. I'm guessing it was St. Joseph's then. They rang their church bell twenty-five times at the time of the execution. The twenty-five chimes were to signify Nguyen's age at the time of death.

A liberal member of Parliament named Bruce Baird wanted to hold an official moment of silence. The Minister of Veteran Affairs disapproved and so did members of the RSL. Some believed that a drug criminal shouldn't be honored.

I don't think it has to be about honoring someone. It can just be about showing sorrow.

In Queensland, the Parliament debated for an hour and then finally voted to hold the moment of silence. People who voted against it walked out before it began.

Nguyen's funeral took place at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne. More than two thousand people attended the service. Some Victorian Members of Parliament were there. This drew criticism from some....the idea that they were glorifying crime.

The then premier of Victoria Steve Bracks did not attend. He didn't want to glorify Nguyen in death. But he didn't complain about other MPs attending. I have a feeling he just wanted to stay as politically neutral about the subject as possible.

I wish I could just end this here.

I hate this subject.

I don't like this post.

But I feel I should look elsewhere so I will.

This blog is all about the death penalty--specifically Asian ones. It's written by an Australian activist who was part of the campaign that tried to save Nguyen. The blog talks about Nguyen's family--their grief and guilt. It says that his mother said in a documentary, The people who have millions of money, they are the people who bring drugs . . . they never get killed.

His brother blames himself.


The documentary says this is what Nguyen wrote as his last journal entry.

I have reflected about what will take place at 6am and I can only smile, because I know I will be returning to heaven to watch over all those who have touched my life.
That's pretty sweet.

The blogger said Nguyen had no prior criminal record. Of course that doesn't equal not ever committing a crime. It could be that he was just never caught before. I'm doubting that though. I'm guessing he probably was innocent before the one crime.

It's really sad.

Am I saying that too much?

An Anonymous person responds to the post. They say, Yes how sad it is for those who have been given the death sentence. Sad indeed it is for those who have had their first taste of heroin, who have been enslaved by that poison that will slowly but surely drain the life from them. Sad it is for their loved ones, who will watch the drug-addict take his/her own life. How many mothers have lost sons in this way? Who tells their stories? Who sensationalizes their woes in the media? You see an occasional documentary on drugs but there are too many lives destroyed by drugs to highlight individually. Families pulled asunder by drugs are now just a nameless statistic. If you people are so grieved over one execution, it is good that you do not know the names of the countless many who have been put to death by heroin and other poisons. It is good you that you do not comprehend the enormity of the collective grief drugs have caused. It is good you continue to be blissfully blind.
I think they do make a good point.

The blogger responds. He says that people in the campaign to save Nguyen were often parents of drug abusers that lost their life. He says they knew that the death of Nguyen would NOT reduce the amount of people who use drugs. The death penalty does not deter the people behind the drug trade. The 'big fish' are almost never hanged, and if they cared about the lives of their couriers who are caught, they would not be involved in trafficking. Intercepting the drugs does reduce the amount that gets through to the streets, but interception does not need the death penalty to work.

Is that true though? If people were just arrested and not killed, would the number of traffickers be still reduced? Or do people need the threat of death to scare them away from trying?

This blogger also writes in support of Nguyen. A reader responds in opposition. He says,
To say Australia should apply pressure to a successful, prosperous society in order to impose Western values that are in no way universal, and to do so in protection of drug dealers who profit off of human torture and misery, is nothing but cultural imperialism.
Think about what drug dealers, especially of a horrific drug like heroin, do to a human being’s life. They make profits over an activity (heroin addition) that is no better than torture and slavery.
Singapore is s successful society that has found a way of dealing with this problem that is in accordance with it’s culture and traditions.
Australia has no more right to impose it’s values on Singapore than Singapore does to impose it’s values on Australians (imagine if the Singapore gov’t tried to apply pressure to force Australia to implement the death penalty.)
It’s the height of Western arrogance to condescend to an Asian society in this way.
I think he makes some good points there.

I just tried to find the story of Kevin Rudd's involvement; him giving Nguyen the bible. I'm not finding it. Maybe I dreamed it?

I'll keep looking. No, I can't find it.

But I AM right about Julian McMahon being the lawyer.

I'm going to stop reading. I think I understand how I feel about this all now.

I think Nguyen was a good person. I think it's tragic that he got involved with all of this. I think it's tragic that he died.

I'm glad people tried to help him.

I'm glad people mourned for him. I think he deserves a moment of silence. I think he deserves to be grieved. I understand he'll be missed.

BUT I don't think Singapore was wrong for doing what they did. This is their law. They have the right to inflict this law on outsiders who try oppose it. That being said....I probably never want to go to Singapore.

You know I've never really taken a stand for or against the death penalty. My feeling is this. If someone I loved was murdered, I'd probably strongly support the death penalty. I might even support torture. If someone in my family committed a capital offense, I would probably be strongly against the death penalty.

I just checked back at one of my old blog entries. It's about Schapelle Cody.

I was wondering if my opinion had changed about the whole thing. It stayed the same somewhat, but changed in other ways. Back then, I had the attitude that the crime didn't fit the punishment, and that was that.

I still believe that.

I definitely don't think Nguyen's punishment fit the crime....not by a long shot.

I think where my opinion has changed is that now I believe these countries have the right to have these laws.

Maybe my feelings are different in this story though because Corby insists she's innocent. It terrifies me to think of an innocent woman close to my age being executed for something she might not have done. Of course, she might HAVE done it. It's all very ambiguous.

Nguyen is guilty. Maybe that makes a difference for me.

I don't know. In a way it doesn't make a difference.

He made one big mistake.

It's really too sad.

And I'm just confused.

I feel lost.






Frank Brennan

Who is Frank Brennan?

I have no idea.

The name sounds a little familiar.

I shall go talk to Lord Wiki.

Well, I have found myself in a situation I have not yet faced in this blog's history.

I went to Lord Wiki, and it turns out there are two Australian Frank Brennans.

One is a politician; a member of the labor party. The other is a priest and a lawyer.

I'm guessing I meant to write about the lawyer. I think the new few people on the list are involved with legal cases. I think I was on some kind of legal roll.

All right. Whatever. I might be wrong here.

But I'm going with the lawyer.

Oh crap!

I just realized there's not two Australian Frank Brennans. There's three! The one I missed is a writer. He and his wife wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Emma Darcy.

I'm still going to go with the lawyer.

Lord Wiki doesn't have that much information about him. He doesn't have much information about any of the FB's.

There's no birthday here. Maybe we'll find it later.

Frank Brennan is a Jesuit Priest.

He's a lawyer.

He's a professor at Australian Catholic University. The school has campuses in various locations. I'm not sure which campus Brennan works at. It might be Sydney because Lord Wiki says he was the founder of a social justice center in Sydney. This was called Uniya.

Brennan stopped being director in 2000 though; so he could have moved since then.

Uniya was around from 1989 to 2007. I wonder why it closed down.

The issues they centered on were a) indigenous reconciliation b) refugees and asylum seekers c) Australia's role in the Pacific and South East.

Those sound like good issues to stand behind.

The center was named after another Uniya; a mission in the Northern Territory back in the 1880's. This mission differed from other missions of the time because they wanted to preserve the language and culture of the local people. That's very refreshing.

In the 1970's, Brennan worked in Redfern with Ted Kennedy and Mum Shirl.

He's included in The National Trust of Australia's Living Treasure list. I bet that's where I got his name in the first place. I think maybe I just lifted people from that list.

From 2001-2002, Brennan worked in East Timor.

In December 2008, he became the chairperson to the Australian Government's National Human Rights Consultation Committee.

That's about it for Lord Wiki. He does have a bunch of links on Brennan though. I might follow those.

Here's the Uniya Website. They have a picture of Brennan. His smile reminds me of one of the men that Tim works with.

Brennan has written books. It seems most of them are about reconciliation. I love that word. I love it's meaning. I also love it's sound. Another word I love is redemption.

In the late 1990's he spent time at Georgetown University. When I think of that place, I think of The Exorcist. The movie takes place there. Tim worked there for awhile and would go jogging near the famous stairs. I can't remember if he said he actually climbed up the steps. I'm going to assume he did. Tim is very ambitious when it comes to fitness. A few weeks ago he participated in a hundred mile bike race.

I'm going to explore the Uniya Website in general.

It's located in King's Cross.

The word Uniya is an Aboriginal word meaning meeting place.

The website says, We believe that faith and justice go hand in hand. Our faith means to stand up for the dignity of each person. And so, Uniya is committed to act for changes to government polices and practices that affect the most marginalised people in our community.

I like hearing that. I sometimes forget that people actually do GOOD things in the name of religion.

The website has a bunch of speeches done by Brennan. I should probably read a few.

This one is about child abuse in refugee detention centers.

It's sad. Brennan talks about seeing a child with bruises on his leg from a baton hit.

The government denied any children being injured. They said only adults were injured and the injuries were all minor.

Who do we believe?

Here's a speech detailing Brennan's opinion of Australia's refugee policy.

He says Australia receives 75,000-80,000 migrants a year. Most of them are in the special skills or family reunion category. About 40,000 Australians LEAVE each year.

Brennan says there are three ways for humanitarian migrants to come to Australia. I don't really fully understand the first two. I think it's basically that they go through a legal formal process. In the third, they arrive on boat.

Brennan said there weren't many of these refugees before the Vietnam War. After the war, many boats came. The people were welcomed to Australia for the most part. There was no mandatory detention. That changed in...well, I'm confused about the date. I think it might be in the late 1980's or early 1990's.

The problem was it seemed there were people coming into Australia who weren't genuine refugees. They weren't fleeing an acute dangerous situation. Some of them were there to seek economic prosperity; or they wanted to avoid the whole long-winded immigration process.

I can see the need perhaps for short-term detention. Maybe a few weeks. Those in charge can use that time to process the refugee's information; make sure they're really a refugee. Meanwhile the refugee can perhaps do some kind of orientation.

But these detentions sometimes last for years. That's crazy.

In the early 1990's a Cambodian man spent four years in detention. Why?

Currently a lot of refugees come from Iraq and Afghanistan. They are sent to detention centers in Woomera, Port Hedland, and Curtin. I know Port Hedland is in Western Australia. I'm not sure about the other two. I shall look at Google Maps.

All right. Woomera is in South Australia. It's about six hours north of Adelaide.

Curtin is...well, there's one in the ACT. Is that where the detention center is?

Anyway, there are all these people who are in a kind of purgatory. They can't go back to their countries. Australia doesn't seem to want them. I'm sure the United States doesn't want them. No one wants them. They're stuck in detention centers. It reminds me a lot of what the Jews went through after World War II.

Here's what some Palestinians have said: We do not want to be kept in isolated detention here at Woomera indefinitely. We cannot go to any court. We are no longer being detained to assist with the processing of any claims nor to assist with our removal or deportation in the foreseeable future. We understand that we cannot be released from detention unless you issue us with some form of visa. We think it would be very unfair to be kept in prolonged detention as punishment for having come to Australia or as a deterrent to other Palestinians thinking of coming here. Afterall we have not been convicted or even charged with any criminal offence. We can see no reason for our continued detention. Please release us into the Australian community until it is possible for us to go home or to a third country.

It's really sad. I've seen Australians and Americans criticize Israel for mistreating the Palestinians. Yet when the Palestinians try to escape, how does America and Australia treat them? It's like Jews again. America and Australia criticize Germany and the Nazis. But when it came to accepting Jewish refugees a lot of them turned their backs.

I think the thing that makes me feel a little better is that it seems the people who most criticize Israel are usually also the same people who criticize the whole detention center thing.

Someone in the government (I'm confused about who) said this about detention: Nobody is forced to remain in detention. Detainees can choose to leave detention by leaving Australia. They can go wherever they wish to any country where they have, or can obtain, the right to enter, and we will do our best to facilitate that.

There's something so sad about that. It gives the idea that these people have a bunch of countries waiting out there with open arms. But is that true? I doubt it.

Interesting. Here Brennan talks about same-sex marriage. I'm very curious to see his viewpoint. I'd think his Catholicism would make him against it. But then I think his passionate defense of human rights would make him support it. Which will it be? Let me go see.....

Well, at the very least he does agree in legal partnerships between homosexuals.

I'm not sure he agrees with marriage. He says, I am firmly of the view that the Catholic Church is fully entitled to insist that sacramental marriage is available only to a man and woman who have a commitment to the bearing and nurturing of each other’s children, and if they do not have an openness to the bearing of children, then in terms of Catholic theology, it cannot be a marriage and it often will be invalidated. Now, that is clearly to be distinguished from a situation of civil law, where what you’re looking at is the basic means that are to be available within the society for people to live ordered lives together.

It seems there's a strong emphasis on having children. So if a heterosexual couple got together and didn't want children, should they not be included in marriage as well?

You know, I'm fine with whatever rules the Catholics want to enforce in terms of Catholic marriage. If they want only men marrying women; and these people marrying only if they plan to have children...fine. If they want all Catholics marrying a donkey or leaf insect, that's fine too. I think religious groups have the right to make restrictions. I just don't think religious groups should push their rules and beliefs on everyone. It's not fair.

Ah! I think Brennan and I might actually be on the same page here. He says, Now there, I don’t think the uniquely Catholic position has any entitlement to win out unless you’re in a society where the majority of persons in that society are themselves Catholic, in which case you would then have to scrutinise whether the uniquely Catholic perspective did in any way interfere with the fundamental rights and liberties of others who were not Catholic, even though they were only a minority in that society.

I swear. I read that after I wrote what I just wrote.

It's like some Jewish people follow a rule that they never mix meat with dairy products. I don't see anything wrong with that. I would see it as very wrong if they tried to make ALL of us follow the rule. What if there was a law in Australia or America that said no restaurant could serve dairy with meat? I think that would be very unfair. But on the other hand, I think it's perfectly okay for a Jewish restaurant to refuse to serve milk and meat together.

All of this is making me think of something. Brennan talks about how he thinks homosexuals should have the right to partnerships; that the Catholic Church shouldn't impose discrimination. Yet he feels that Catholic schools should have the right to hire teachers based on their religious viewpoints. He says, I think society is the better if the Catholic Church is able to say in the school context “we would prefer to choose teachers who can provide a model to our students of the model of sacramental marriage within the Catholic tradition.

I agree with that. Yet I'm very critical of the Boy Scouts in America because they do not let homosexuals join. Lord Wiki told me it's not just homosexuals they exclude, but atheists and agnostics as well. They are NOT my type of people...these Boy Scouts. I don't like what they stand for. I wouldn't want to do anything to support their organization. I wouldn't want Jack being a Boy Scout. But I should support their right to have this organization. If they want to be closed-minded, that's their business. I have my right to dislike them, and hope they stay a nice distance away from me.

I guess it just makes me sad because I know there are positive aspects of Boy Scouts. I think it's sad that they choose to be this way.

Okay. This makes me feel better. Lord Wiki says The Girl Scouts are less prejudice. They allow homosexuals, but it's a don't ask/don't tell kind of policy. They say they don't accept the promotion of any lifestyle of sexual orientation. I think that's fair, but then I have to wonder what constitutes promotion. I mean I can imagine them not allowing a woman to come in and talk about how she loves being a lesbian. But what if two fathers pick up their daughter? What if something simple like that is seen as promoting a lifestyle. Where do you draw the line between promoting a lifestyle and denying/hiding a lifestyle?

Girl Scouts also welcomes people who don't believe in God. In 1993, they voted to allow children to substitute the word God with something else when doing the Girl Scout Promise. That's awesome.

Why can't the Boy Scouts be more like the Girl Scouts?

You know, it's easy to say well homosexuals can ignore the Catholic Church. They don't have to be Catholic. They can choose another religion....one that accepts them. Children don't have to be Boy Scouts. There are other organizations out there they could join.

The problem is it's not always that easy. What if you grew up Catholic? What if you like being Catholic, but you happen to be gay? I can imagine that it's not so easy to break away. I think your feelings would be hurt. It's hard to want to be part of a group that rejects a huge part of you.

What if an atheist child has friends that are all joining the Boy Scouts? How does that child feel to be left out?

I don't know.

I really don't.

I think private groups have the right to make rules and limit their membership. But at the same time, I really wish they wouldn't. I wish they'd be open-minded. I wish they'd open their hearts. I wish they'd realize that being excluded and rejected hurts people's feelings.

Maybe there should just be revenge. Maybe Gay and Atheist people should join together and make a really awesome club for kids. It will the most fun club in the whole world. And then they'll tell people they're not allowed to join if they believe in God or are heterosexual. I think they SHOULD let me in though because I came up with the idea in the first place.

Well, I'm tired of reading speeches.

I'm tired of writing in general actually. I think I'm going to end this soon.

I want to look at Google news though; see if there's anything current on Brennan.

Here's a recent article.

Brennan is speaking out against Aboriginal jobs being cut in rural areas. Apparently a program called community development employment projects (CDEP) has been abolished. Why was this program cut? I don't know. Is it a budget thing? Was the program not working out?

Anyway. Jack's computer isn't working. He wants to use mine. And usually I say no or just give me a few more minutes (which then turns into like thirty minutes). But now I'm welcoming the excuse to conclude this.