Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Castles, Elephants, Profanity, and Left-Behind Children

1. Dreamed about museum (in America) that had lots of Australia-related exhibits.

2. Dreamed that I wondered about Laura Dern's connection to Australia.  I asked the question aloud, and she was sitting across from me.  She said it has something to do with her husband.

3. Got an email from the atheist Foundation of Australia.  They are NOT tax exempt.  To me, that seems very strange and unfair.  Although I personally think it would make more sense if charities only received tax benefits from the government, and not religious or philosophy organizations.  

4. Disheartened to read through Facebook, seeing all the work that needs to be done in Queensland, and then hearing about damage appearing in Darwin.

5. Read about Butterfly Boucher, because my friend saw her in concert. She was born in Australia, but lives in Nashville now.   

6. Saw that my video project from yesterday is now on YouTube.   It's "Solitude is Bliss" by San Cisco.

I don't really like the least not yet.   There's too much static....or something like that.  

7. Listened to Butterfly Boucher sing "I Can't Make Me"   It reminds me of some song I've heard before.   Or maybe I've actually heard THIS song before.  

8. Looked up the Elephant and; Castle hotel in Adelaide.  Why? Lionel Logue's parents once owned it.  It's a restaurant/bar hotel, and not the sleepover kind.   

From what I see on Google, there seems to be a lot of Elephant and Castle places around the world.   I guess it's a popular name for some reason?

Lord Wiki says the name was first used for a UK coaching inn.  The term itself is believed to come from a corruption of the term la Infanta de Castilla.  Corruption? I guess that means someone misread or mispronounced something.  It could be like misheard lyrics. Anyway, reaching way back to the 14th century, there are statues that feature an elephant carrying a castle on its back.

There's an American chain restaurant called Elephant and Castle.  We don't have any in Texas though.  

9. Bewildered by the fact that Lionel Logue and his wife (Myrtle) left their two-year-old son to go on a six month American adventure.  I actually heard about that before, but today I read about it in detail.  I can't imagine leaving a young child for such a long time.  Although I might err in the opposite direction.  The most I've left Jack is for 3-4 nights.  It makes me nervous to be in a different city than him, much less a different continent. I'll get over the issue...eventually; probably when he's like 30.

10. Read touching interview with David Seidler about his own struggles with stuttering.   I really love this quote, If you're born with two conflicting traits — in my case, I was a born ham, but I was a stutterer — and if you want to be the centre of attention but you can't talk, you find another channel, and that's writing.   I can totally relate to that . I didn't stutter, but I was painfully shy at times. I've always felt that I express myself better through writing.

Oh, and now this interview says it WAS Seidler who wrote the stage play that Tom Hooper's mother read.

The interview says that the profanity-treatment scenes come from Seidler's own experiences. During his teen years, he got very angry. He jumped up and down on his bed shouting out profanity. A few weeks after that, his stutter faded away enough that he was able to do a school play.

Wow.  I think it shows that there can be benefits to profanity. It reminds me of the study published a few years ago that showed using profanity can help with pain relief.   

11. Read article about Cyclone Carlos in Darwin.  There's warnings for people to stay out of the flood water.   It's dirty, and can cause infection.  It's not a good place to swim and play.  Some people have to go in though...maybe for retrieval and rescuing purposes.  For those folks, the article suggests wearing closed and protective shoes.   

12. Read about the sleeping deprived mother who forgot to take her baby with when she went to pick up her older child.  Oops!   I have dreams like that.  It's usually along the lines of Tim and I are out somewhere, and then I realize we left Jack alone somewhere.  AND he has no way to contact us.   I usually panic, and want to rush back to him.

The mother who left her baby ended up calling 000, and the fire brigade went to her house to check on the baby.  He was fine.  That was smart thinking on her part. Fortunately, everything was fine.   The baby was asleep, and not crying.  It seems this is what worried the mother the most. And yeah.   I would be the same.   

13. Read that Alan Dershowitz is joining Julian Assange's legal team.  That's good. I like Dershowitz...even though he's a lawyer.  I read some of his stuff during my college Jewish-pride days.  The article says that Dershowitz is going to working within the free speech angle.  I remember Dershowitz being big on all of this.  There was something he said in one of his books.   I've tried to find the exact quote, but I can't.  It was along the lines that it's NOT okay to defend the free speech of only those who agree with us. If we really believe in free speech, then we need to defend the rights of the opposition to speak as well.   

14. Read article about the reporter in America who might have had a mini-stroke on TV. She was doing a report on the Grammy's, and suddenly started speaking gibberish.  The article says it was similar to the odd behavior of a sports reporter in Queensland.  It ended up that this guy had epilepsy.

It just makes me wonder more about Tony Abbott's weird moment of silence.  I really do think it's likely that he had a seizure.  Can't those be brought on by stress?

Yes.  They can.  I just found an article about it.  And I read about various seizures. I think if Abbott had one, it would be in the category of Absence Seizures.  

15. Watched this fascinating 1936 film about house-building.  They talk about the use of timber, and how brick is made.  

16. Read that there were flash floods in Melbourne.

17. Intrigued by this passage in The King's Speech:   The new clinics may have been in, most cases, housed within hospitals and nominally under medical supervision, but the practitioners who staffed them, like Logue, tended to come from schools of speech and drama.  

I'm wondering then whether my favorite scene in the movie was invented for dramatic purposes; and whether it was  expressing sentiments that are more common today than they were sixty years ago.    In the movie, the King (or not yet the king) acts very offended when he learns that Logue is not a real doctor.  There's this idea that Logue is a quack. Then Logue has to defend himself.

These days I feel people are overdependent on the opinions of those who've gone through medical school. It's as if doctors should know how to solve any problem, even if it's not really a medical issue. For example, why are doctors so often asked parenting advice?  Are parenting classes offered in medical school?  Maybe they are.  I don't know.

I do know that when I was new to parenting and reading parenting books, I felt more trustful of parenting books that were written by pediatricians.  A fancy degree and a medical practice seemed to make their opinions more valid. Why?  I don't know. I think we've been brainwashed to feel that way.

Anyway, I'll keep reading the book to see if it says anything about the king being disturbed by Logue's lack of a medical degree.

18. Read article that says Carlos caused more rain in Darwin than Yasi caused in any town.

19. Saw a photo of Edward Pierson Ramsey, and decided to figure out who he was.   I see a lot of photos of people lately.   Every so often, I get a twinge of curiosity, and decide to look them up.   Often, there's not much in their biography that interests me.  

Lord Wiki says Ramsey was a zoologist.  To me, that's interesting enough. But what makes me like his story even more intriguing is he had no formal training in zoology.  He did go to school for medicine, but he dropped out.

I'm going to read about him on the Australian Dictionary of Biography.  Speaking of that site, I was pleased to see that Mark Logue had mentioned it in his acknowledgment section. It's a very useful website.

Ramsey's interest in natural history reached back to his childhood. Later, he'd go on to become a curator for The Australia Museum.

I think about my own life.  I have two degrees.  One is an undergraduate degree in psychology. The other is a graduate degree in education.  I have absolutely no degree in Australia.   Which of the three subjects do you think I know most about?  Of course, we'd have to take in consideration the fact that my degrees were obtained a while ago, and it's likely I have forgotten much of what I learned. But even taking that into account, I think I have learned a LOT more about Australia than I ever learned about psychology and education.

20. Read an article about Qantas.  It seems they've gone up in terms of profit.  Most of the article goes over my head.  But I THINK it's a good least for Qantas.  

21. Read about the childhood of King George VI in The King's Speech. It really shows that wealth, fame, and privilege are not guarantees of a happy upbringing.  

22. Read that there are going to be big storms in South Australia.

23. Read about South Australian Member of Parliament speaking up in favor of gay marriage. Ian Hunter compares the laws against it to the White Australia Policy. I cannot disagree with him there.  

Hunter says, Australia enjoys freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Therefore, arguments based on religion have no place in this debate … A private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples is not a proper basis for legislation.   I'm not sure if I agree that Australia has such freedom of religion..... seeing that organizations get tax breaks for believing in the supernatural.  

24. Saw an old photograph of Ormond College in Melbourne.  It's a beautiful building.  I'm not sure if I've seen it before, or not.  Lord Wiki says that Weary Dunlop and Peter Singer were both residences of the college.

I think it's neat that Australia universities have these colleges.  I wonder if any American schools have them.  I feel as if I researched this before, but I don't remember the answer.  

25. Saw an old photo of Government House in Hobart.  It's a very beautiful building.  Lord Wiki says it's a Gothic Revival type building.'s no wonder that I like it.

Here's the Government House's website.   This page has several interior and exterior photos.

26. Had conversation with Tim about Australian colleges within universities. He thinks maybe they're sort of like our fraternities, but a little different?   The Australian thing seems more classy.  I have always seen fraternities in a negative light...snobs getting wasted.    But maybe the Australian version is classy on the surface (like on the website) and more like the fraternities in real life. I hope not.

27. Had conversation with Tim about tax exemption, and legalized discrimination.  I'm really lost about how I feel.  A part of me thinks that as long as a company or organization doesn't get money from the government, they should have the right to discriminate.   If a restaurant doesn't want my type to come inside, do I want the government to force them to open the doors?  I don't think so.   I think it would be better for all parties to be open and honest.  Also, if you disallow discrimination couldn't that lead to inappropriate participants.  For example, what if a born again Christian wanted to attend an atheist support group.   Wouldn't that be annoying? 

Anyway, I was all for legalized discrimination until I started thinking more.  I thought that to make good money most companies will NOT discriminate.  What will happen if a local cafe says no black people?  Not only will they not get black people, they won't get people who are against racism.   It seems they might lose a lot of business.  But then I started thinking.....what about companies that are extremely popular already  Will the general person have enough willpower to stay away from them, because of their discrimination policies?  Or would a lot of people say, Oh, that's a shame....but I REALLY love their ice-cream.  Or Yeah, I know they don't hire homosexuals, but think of all the good they do for orphaned puppies.  

What if Facebook started to discriminate?  Let's say they said no one over seventy could participate.   Would the rest of us quit?  

28. Read editorial about the falafel incident. David Penberthy talks about how Muslims aren't known for having a great sense of humor; but then some guys responded to the falafel comment with humor instead of anger and violence. I think that's great. I think the two things that can most help form connections between various cultures are food and laughter.  

Although I do know that joking can take you only so far.   If someone is determined to despise you for your ethnic origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc, jokes are rarely going to help you.   But if you have someone who is a little prejudice, but somewhat open-minded; joking can help.

29. Looked at the Parental Intelligence Newsletter.   It's a homeschooling thing, AND it comes from Australia.  It combines two of my interests.  

30. Watched the long stabby thing clip from the Today show. I'm not sure if it was truly newsworthy. But it was cute.  

31. Watched Nicole Kidman sing Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend.  For some weird reason, I had that song on my mind today.   

32. Listened to Come What May from Moulin Rouge.  I like this song. I don't think Nicole Kidman is a great singer, but the song is still pretty.  I don't think songs always need great voices.

Her voice reminds me of the voice of one of my middle school/high school friends.  She thought she sang great.  I imagined I sang better. I don't think either of us liked each other's voices.