Friday, February 25, 2011

Bourke Street, Mortal Kombat, Gwyneth Graham, and Books

1. Saw Australian art on my iGoogle Art of the Day widget.  I was proud of myself because I immediately suspected it was Australian.  The title is Bourke Street.  I know there's a Bourke Street in Australia somewhere.  Melbourne, maybe?  That's why I thought the painting might be Australian.

 Although I figure there's Bourke streets elsewhere in the world; so I wasn't 100% certain.  Then I saw the name of the painter (Tom Roberts) and I knew for sure it was Australian.

2. Looked up Bourke Street.  It IS in Melbourne.  I'm glad I remembered that. Lord Wiki says it's well known for having lots of shops and restaurants.  The old post office is there; the one that was turned into a shopping area.

3. Looked up Bourke Street on Google Maps. There's one in Texas. It's 3.5 hours southwest of us.

There's also a Bourke Street in Sydney.  It's in the Bondi Junction area.  

Google Maps lists five Bourke Streets in Queensland.

There's a Bourke Street in Adelaide, and there's a Bourke Street in Launceston.  

4. Read article about the Green Party defending Gillard on the carbon tax thing.   They defend the tax, and they defend the lie.  Is it okay to break an election promise?  Christine Milne from the Greens says, There is a saying from a gentleman in the House of Lords,  When I'm wrong I change my mind. What do you do?

Sometimes we break promises.   If we do it too often, it's probably best to stop making them.

One thing I question though.  If Gillard was breaking a promise she made to the Green Party, would Milne still defend her changing her mind?  And if the promise-breaking brought about something that pleased the Liberal Party, would Abbott complain about Gillard being dishonest?   

As for the tax itself, Milne would like to see it going towards more efficient public transportation.  I like that idea.

5. Listened to Russell Hitchcock, Judith Durham, and Mandawuy Yunupingu sing I am Australian.   I love to hear that song, and I love to sing it.  I'm back to believing I probably sing pretty bad.  Tim laughed a little too hard about this weeks Modern Family.  You know how you laugh extra hard when you can relate to something?  Well, this episode had Gloria singing a lot.  She thought she sang good, and in reality she sang really bad.  Jay (her husband) was very annoyed by it, but didn't know how to break the bad news to her.

I'm joking.  Tim laughs hard at a lot of stuff, and he probably can't personally relate to all of it.  I still believe he thinks I sing bad though...or at best, extremely mediocre.  It's not going to stop me though.  I'm pretty much addicted to singing.   It's one of my drugs.

6. Read article about the Northern Territory intervention thing.  At first I was impressed because the beginning of the article says ARCHITECT of the controversial Northern Territory intervention Mal Brough has declared the radical policy he masterminded to end a crisis in Aboriginal Australia a comprehensive failure, amid escalating violence and dysfunction in Alice Springs.   

It sounds like a politician is admitting he made a mistake.  How amazing is that! Not that amazing, because I read the rest of the article, and saw that Mal Brough is NOT admitting he made mistakes.   He feels he had a good plan, but the Labor party is messing it up.

Brough wants a prison camp built for substance abusers.  He says it wouldn't be like a prison. It would be a place for craft-learning, trade schools and manual work.  The place would not be voluntary.

I kind of like the idea....under one condition.  It has to be there for ALL Australians, and not just Aboriginal Australians.  If it's only for Aboriginal Australians, then I'd call it government sponsored racism.  I'd say anytime someone is displaying problems with alcohol they get sent there. You get drunk and beat up your kids, you go there. You drink and drive, you go there. You get in a pub brawl, you go there.

Oh.  Wait. I have another condition. There HAS to be safeguards against abuse and exploitation. I'd say any guard or counselor, there who physically or emotionally bullies a patient, gets fired. The expectations for these professionals should be no less than the expectations of teachers at schools.

 7. Read that Mortal Kombat (the video game) is being banned in Australia. That kind of surprises me.  I don't know much about the game.  Is it super violent?  The commenters on the article don't seem too pleased.

Lord Wiki says that it's because of Mortal Kombat that America came out with a rating system for its games.   And he says the game is very gruesome.  Some people like seeing blood and guts....bones sticking out.   It doesn't mean they're evil. What about people who work in emergency rooms?   How about surgeons?  People who perform autopsies?   They don't mind seeing cut up bodies.  

If you enjoy killing people in video games, does it mean you'd enjoy killing them in real life?   Do violent video games encourage violence, or do they provide a safe (and legal) outlet for violent feelings?  Maybe people play violent video games, get their aggressive anger out, and then refrain from hurting people in real life.

8. Started to read Gabriella Coslovich's editorial on racism. She says, SADDENED and galled. That's how I felt when I read this week's news about Australians' attitudes to racial and cultural minorities, their prejudices against Muslims, Jews, Asians, and, most ludicrously of all, the original inhabitants of this country, the Aboriginal people.

Well....See.   she was much more optimistic than me.  When I saw that 1/4 of Australians had antisemitic thoughts, I saw it as oh my goodness 3/4 of Australians don't have problems with Jews.   AWESOME!    I really thought anti-semitism was more popular than that.  Again though, it depends on the level of anti-semitism. If 1/4 of Australians despise Jews and wish them harm; I'm disturbed.   If 1/4 of Australians are a little weary of Jews and have some misconceptions, I'm fine with it.

Coslovich goes on to point out that the findings of the study were NOT all negative.  Most Australians are open to  They're open to being inclusive. They don't want to be prejudiced.

However, one out ten Australians is racist....bad racist.  They think certain groups are inferior and superior.  They believe in keeping the races separate.   This is the type of racism I don't tolerate.  To me, the 1/10 number is disturbing. I wish it was 1/100...or lower.

Is America any better?  I doubt it.  It could be worse.  

When I first started reading Coslovich's editorial, I mistook her for one of those people who have their head in the sand and claim they're totally color-blind. Oh my Goodness!  I can't believe the world isn't as perfect as I thought it was!  

I turns out I misjudged her.  I think she has a very realistic and fair picture of things.  I especially love her last paragraph.  I feel weird quoting it because it's kind of long.   So maybe you can just go and read it for yourself.  I will try to paraphrase it though.  Basically she's saying we shouldn't be scared to have open and honest discussions with each other.   But we shouldn't let the discussion get... hijacked by political expediency or the likes of shock jocks and sensationalist scribes who are not at all interested in sincerely debating the issues, but who wish only to fan the flames of hatred and misunderstanding, and who would have us believe that the deviant minority is the majority. Okay.  Well, I directly quoted a little bit of it.  She says it so well.  I couldn't do it justice by just paraphrasing.  

9.  Read Sarrah Le Marquand's editorial on racism.   

I love what she says here, A misplaced sense of cultural superiority is not a uniquely Australian quality. Nor is feeling scared from time to time. Or even a little bit angry. It's called being human. A universal experience if ever there was one. Be it human nature or tribalism, a degree of friction is sadly inevitable in any multicultural society. It's what happens when you put a bunch of different people together and expect them to get along.

It makes me rethink my position on feelings of superiority.  Maybe it's not as awful as I thought.   I mean it IS kind of bad, but maybe in small doses it's just human.  I'd say it's okay as long as you control the feelings, and give yourself a reality check now and then.  If you have a little group pride, no worries.  If you have so much group pride that you think other groups are worthless and should be murdered, banned, and exploited....then THAT'S a problem.   

10. Intrigued by what Sarrah Le Marquand says about Muslims.  Given that 48.6 per cent of Australians identify themselves as having anti-Muslim attitudes, clearly there's much more work to be done on the part of moderate Muslim leaders in distancing themselves from extremism and debunking commonly held perceptions that theirs is a faith incompatible with inclusion.

Should a group be held responsible for the prejudices directed at them?   Is that fair?

I'd say it was slightly fair. You can't blame Muslims for all anti-Muslim feelings. Some people are just hateful, and nothing you can do can change that.  I've learned that in my experiences being Jewish.  Some people will hate Jews no matter what you do. They obsess over any misdeeds the Jews have done, and then when they run out of stuff in that area, they simply make things up.

But a hated group can make things better by welcoming open dialogues, having a sense of humor, and distancing themselves from extremists. I don't think you can just assume and expect people to understand that you don't agree with extremists.   You have to speak out.   Like....yesterday I spoke out against American extremists.   I love some of them (because they're my friends and family members) but I want to be clear that I don't agree with them.  I want the world to know that not all Americans have ethnocentric superiority complexes.   

11. Read that there's a whooping cough epidemic on the Sunshine Coast.  Free vaccines are being offered to parents and grandparents of people under six months.   I'd say it should be offered to EVERYONE.  It's not like parents limit their babies contacts to themselves and grandparents.

I still believe that many people aren't getting their shots because they're too cheap and/or too lazy.    OR they might be scared of needles. Maybe they should come out with one of those nose spray things.  It would be really interesting to do a study of why people aren't getting vaccinated.  What percentage of these people are anti-vaccines?  And what percentage are just procrastinating?   I wanted to get the shot for a long time, but it took me a long time to finally get it done.

By the way, it didn't hurt me at all.  I didn't even feel it. I know it's probably different for everyone....but I thought maybe that piece of news might offer some people some encouragement.

12. Saw article about Gwyneth Graham. She's in trouble for claiming she could cure cancer.  I thought of Lionel Logue's confidence in healing people with speech defects, and thought....well, what if she CAN cure cancer?  I gotta consider the possibility.

I looked at one of her ads though....or at least I think it's hers. And it MIGHT be toned down, because of the charges against her. The ad says, 100% effective non invasive therapy, phone now for appointment.    That sounds like bullshit to me.   The 100% is a red flag.  Nothing is always effective.  At least....I'm very doubtful. I would guess it's one of those things that people go to, are not cured, and then are told it's their fault for some reason.

I do wonder why this woman is being targeted though.   here's so many people offering miracle cures out there....especially with weight loss.  And how about dentists who promise to make me beautiful by straightening my teeth? What about parenting gurus who promise better behaved children?  

I'm curious. Is Gwyneth Graham in trouble for making false claims, or is she in trouble for promoting New Age beliefs/alternative medicine?  

Was she deceptive?  Was she out to take money from innocent sick people? Or did she simply promote a belief that isn't popular in mainstream society?

Well, I guess we'll know more as the story unfolds.  

13. Listened to Seeds You Might Sow from Bran Nue Dae.  

14. Saw that Tom Hooper FINALLY answered the questions on The Daily Beast's Facebook Page.   My question was included!!! I sort of expected to be edited out of this thing as well.   My question is #7.   I asked about research done for the film.  It seems Hooper did a lot of it.  That's good.

One of the books he read was by John Wheeler-Bennett.  Lord Wiki says Wheeler-Bennett was the official biographer of King George VI.   Another book that Hooper mentions is Sarah Bradford's The Reluctant King.

Maybe I'll read one of those books someday....although I'm more interested in Logue than the King.    AND I'm doing so bad with my book reading lately. I've been reading so slow lately. Well, I'm probably reading at the same speed. I doubt that has changed. But I haven't been giving myself enough book reading time.  

Speaking of books....Jack and I started reading the Harry Potter series again last night.   We talked about rereading the series.  I just didn't expect us to go only two days between reading the last book and starting the first book over again.  We're addicts.   

15. Liked Hooper's response to a question about the film's R-rating.   He's not happy with the fact that it has received the same rating as Saw IV.  He says, Yes it contains the word "fuck" but the word is being used in a comic scene not in its sexual sense or in its aggressive sense but as an unblocking mechanism in the context of speech therapy.

I really think context is a huge thing here.

16. Read that Paypal cut off the account for Bradley Manning, the American whistleblower who gave information to Wikileaks.  Then many people signed a petition, and Paypal reinstated the account.   It's nice to know that petitions can work sometimes! I feel bad because I haven't been giving Manning the attention I've given Assange.  I've been pretty much ignoring him.  

I just skimmed through a few things...including Lord Wiki's thoughts.  From what I can see....Manning seems like a brave man who's being treated horribly by the American government.  

I guess I'm looking at the story as one of those summer blockbuster movies. A person in the military discovers a horrible secret.  They put themselves in danger and risk everything to bring the story to the public.  I can't think of specific examples, but I'm pretty sure I've seen movies like that.

Anyway....all this stuff makes my blood boil.    It's DISGUSTING.   Instead of punishing whistleblowers, why doesn't the government work on being less evil?  

The American government is SO much like the Ministry of Magic. It's a bit depressing.

17. Read article that says George W. Bush has canceled his participation in The Young President's Association Global Leadership Summit.  Why?  Because Julian Assange will be speaking at the event.  You know when I first read that I was disgusted and angry. What a coward.  But that's not fair.   If someone refused to go to an event with a speaker I was strongly against, I'd probably be okay with it.  What if Aaron Barr was invited to speak at such an event?  Would I be okay with someone refusing to attend the same event?  Yes. I'd probably be very pleased with them.

Some people see Julian Assange as a villain, and I have to accept their right to have that opinion.   Refusing to attend an event is a fairly peaceful act of protest. I prefer that to cutting off funds of an organization, or pressuring an organization to cut off funds. It's better than making threats against someone, and going through with those threats.  

So although I don't agree with Bush, I respect his decision to stay away from the event.  What I would NOT respect....what would make me if the Young President's Global Leadership Summit took back their invitation from Assange.  I like that they're brave enough to let him speak.    Kudos to them for that.

18. Started to wonder how Assange is going to attend this event. Isn't he avoiding the United States right now? The event is in Colorado. 

Here's the website for the event.   It's this weekend.   I don't see Assange on the speaker list. Bush is still listed.  Maybe this was all a joke.

19. Found another article about the Young President event thing.  Assange appeared on a screen...I guess by satellite.  Yeah. Why didn't I think of that?  That happened today.  Bush heard of it, and canceled his invitation.

Well, I think it's great that the conference attendees got to hear Assange instead of Bush. big loss there.

20. Listened to the 14th song on the ARIA chart for Aussie singles; Bliss N Eso's Addicted.  From what I can hear....I like the lyrics.

21. Looked at lyrics for Addicted.   I don't know if I love all the lines, but I like some.

I like this bit:

Since a fetus, explored life's subtle secrets
From my fingertips to my unique double helix.
I can see history.  I can see the past lessons.
It's your right never be afraid to ask questions.

 I think the song has some unschooling spirit to it.   Maybe these lines....

They spoon feed but I won't be taking that sedative.
Cause my thoughts are way to precious to be wasted on the negative.  
I keep them critical yet positive to break the chains.   
Every dawn is a chance to make a change.  

I know it's not really about unschooling.  I'm just interpreting the lines in my own little way.  

To me, the minds of the young are too precious to be wasted in a school room. Schools are the chains; or at least one of them.  And by saying no to school, we're breaking those chains. We're freeing our minds.  

I know. I sound like a radical.  When it comes to education, I am one. Although I'm not the most radical. There are others who make me look conservative.  Seriously.   

22. Listened to 16th song on the ARIA Australian singles chart; Just Got Started by 360 feat. Pez   That's an interesting band name.  

23. Listened to The Festival Song by Pez, and maybe 360 feat. as well.   I'm SO confused.   I don't know if there's a group called 360 feat Pez.   Or is there one group called Pez, and another called 360 feat.?  I tried to ask Lord Wiki.  He says there's a guy named Pez.    Oh...okay....and there's a guy named 360.   So we have 360 and Pez.   They sometimes work together.   Is there a feat too?

I'm too tired to figure all this out.  I'm just going to leave my ignorance intact....for now. I do like the songs though.  

24. LOVED Tony Alquit's comment on The Daily Beast's Facebook page.  It's in regards to Bush canceling his appearance because of Assange.  The Daily Beast asked its readers if they thought this was the right thing to do.  Alquit says,  Of course! Assange's cavalier and arrogant attitude in Iraq resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 American troops & 100's of thousand Iraqis as well as corresponding violations of customary and; statutory international law... uh, wait, that's Bush. Never mind.   

25Saw that someone had mentioned the Garden of Unearthly Delights on Facebook.  I went to see what it was, and saw that it's an art festival in Adelaide.     

I love the name.   

They have drumming monkeys. But not real ones.  Only puppets are getting exploited in this show.  

26. Watched a video of the Amazing Drumming Monkeys.   It's cute...but maybe a little too  didactic.  But I guess a lot of kid stuff is that way.  Maybe I'm not used to it anymore.  Jack's kind of past the stage of watching educational programing.  The only thing of that type we still watch is Electric Company; and I think they do a pretty good job of not being overly preachy.    

It's funny. When I was looking at the festival thing, I picked an event at random, and it was the monkey thing.  Well, it probably wasn't completely random.  Monkeys are kind of attention-grabbers. I saw the monkeys, and followed the link.  

Then I decided to look at another event/program.  I didn't know what to choose, so I figured I'd find out what's going on now.   It's 8:30 here, and so I think it would be 1:30 in the afternoon there.    Guess what show was on at 1:00-1:30?   The Amazing Drumming Monkeys!  It's like my mind was all connected to Adelaide time.

Anyway, the show playing now is an Irish/Iranian comedian (for children) named Patrick Monaham.   Well, actually I'm seeing from YouTube that his work is not specifically for children. But I think the program he's doing at the festival is family-oriented.   

27. Decided to stop blogging early tonight so I can work on my book reading.   I'm almost finished with Vernon God Little.   I'd love to finish it before bedtime.    I'm liking it more than I thought I would.   I don't love it though.   I'm looking at my Shelfari shelf right now.   The last book that I read and liked a lot was After Summer by Nick Earls. Okay, but that's not including our nightly chapter of Harry Potter.

Anyway....After Summer was nine books ago. That's sad. I've read nine books in a row that I either didn't like, or at least I didn't love it.  Maybe it's not the books. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm in some kind of mood.

I hate admitting this, but I have to include The King's Speech in the nine.  I liked it.  I thought it was interesting. But it didn't blow me away like the movie did. And maybe I was turned off a bit by Mark Logue's subtle harshness regarding his grandfather's spirituality.

Well, all I know is that the book didn't add fuel to my Lionel Logue fire.  The movie had more magic....maybe because it was partly fictional.  I think most biographical films add things to give the story more tension and emotion.