Monday, February 7, 2011

Julia Gillard, Doubt, Faith, and Julian McMahon.

1. Read a lovely editorial by Kevin Rudd.   It's kind of like a gratitude/praise thing.  He talks about the people who are helping Australians get out of Egypt; people who have put their whole heart and efforts into helping others.  Then he says, We saw this same Australian character writ large in response to natural disasters across Australia. While the start of 2011 has certainly tested our strength we have also seen many causes to be proud of the Australian spirit.

2. Thought about how I sometimes choose to follow a blog, and then later I see the blog and don't remember what it is, or why I'm following it.

3. Plagued by self-doubt and low self-esteem regarding my blog....and other stuff. I hope I don't feel like this all day.

4. Read extremely depressing article about fires in Perth.  Sixty-four homes have been lost. But numbers don't matter. Hearing of ONE family learning that they've lost everything....that's bad enough.  Yeah.  I know. We should be grateful for the preservation of human life.  It's still hard to lose things though....photo albums, drawings that your kids made, favorite stuffed animals, etc.    There's the whole nostalgia thing.  Then there's the cost of rebuilding.  Can you get enough money and resources to restore the life that you once had?

5. Read article about stuff the government is doing to help people who've been effected by the Victorian flood.  Some folks will get financial assistance, if they qualify. There are various grants available.

6. Read article in which Wayne Swan admits Australia's economy might suffer a bit because of the weather problems.  How dare he!  If he was any good at his job, Australia's economy would be fine!   Actually, I think it's his fault that there was a cyclone in the first place.  

Seriously though....yeah, I think things will be tough.  Unfortunately.  I have faith Australia will persevere.   And it's not because I have this undying love for Australia; and I wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to this fantastic country.  I think we can just look at history.  When it comes to Australia, Mother Nature makes the Tiger Mom's methods sound like gentle-parenting.  Well, she's kind of that way with a lot of countries....including the United States.  Australia takes the abuse, and still manages to survive and be wonderful.

7. Read article about Jeff Kennet being against multiculturalism.  He wants migrants to sign up for Australian values.  You know....when I see these types of things, I don't think they often specify the values people are supposed to agree on.   What ARE Australia's values?  Mateship?   Avoidance of the Tall Poppy Syndrome?  Sense of humor?  Good balance of work and leisure?  Are there others?    And which of these values are disliked by migrants?

Kennet says, People make the choice to come to Australia and have to accept our way of life.

Okay.  But maybe they need to specify what that life should be like. I'm thinking of all the Australians that I know.  Some are gay.  So, does that mean all migrants need to be gay too?  A few are really into sport.  Should this be a requirement?  One of my Australian friends loves food and wine.   Should that be expected of all new Australians?   

I know of an Australian who uses herbal medicine and practices acupuncture. Should all new Aussies be required to follow that path?

PLEASE.   If you really want everyone to follow the EXACT some culture, please give specific guidelines regarding what you expect.  What should I wear? What should I eat? What should I believe? What should I read? What TV shows should I watch?   What slang words should I use?   What should my goals be?  What should I be afraid of?

8. Read that bakeries in Adelaide are having problems with Salmonella. I'm TERRIFIED of Salmonella.  They think it's coming from custard.  That scares me.  What is it about custard?  Does it have raw eggs?  Unless I'm reading it wrong, this recipe seems to show that you cook the eggs.    Why would someone take the risk of serving raw and/or unpasteurized eggs? 

9. Started to watch a Four Corners episode that my friend sent to me.  Well, she sent me the link.   It's about Julia Gillard. 

I guess Gillard is mysterious, and people don't think they know the real her.   Maybe she needs to update Facebook every five minutes?  Would that help?  Maybe she can do a blog, and pour her heart out to strangers?

This video has beautiful shots of Sydney Harbour.  I'm so in love. Why does it look so much better on this show, than it did on Oprah?

Hey, how about a Julia Gillard reality TV program?  Would that make people feel as if they know her?

10. Was thinking about Lionel Logue and Christian Science, and decided I really do believe in spiritual healing.  I don't think it's the answer to everything. I believe in vaccines, and the use of some drugs.   I believe in surgery and blood transfusions.  But I also believe in stuff like acupuncture, Reiki, and....simple prayer.

11. Watched more of the Four Corners video, and saw some pictures and videos of Julia Gillard in her younger years. 

12. Went to take another Traveler IQ test, and ended up on a quiz that Jack made! I know we made some quizzes before....a great educational activity. But I didn't remember that we made an Australian one, specifically.  Anyway, my score was 107,133. My ranking is 6/11.

I'm going to take the other quizzes that we made.

I got 120,448 on Jack's Random Places quiz.  That's sadly worse than my score the last time I took the quiz.  

I got 132,172 points on a test about places that are important to us. That's actually lower than Jack's highest score.  No, I shouldn't be surprised.   

13. Watched more of the Four Corners video.  A friend of Gillard's said she was not an intellectual, but was intelligent. What's the difference?   I guess maybe an intelligent person has the brains, but they don't bury themselves in books and websites. I'm probably the opposite. I'm an intellectual, but not overly intelligent.  I LOVE to learn; it's just that my brain doesn't seem to hold on to information for very long.  

Oh....This is very interesting.   Young Gillard (just out of school, perhaps?) tried to join a faction of the Labor Party....the Socialist Left.   They rejected her.   People in the video say she wasn't seen as left enough because the left people were very pro-Palestinian, and anti-Zionist.   They didn't like Israel.

I guess Gillard didn't hate Israel enough for their taste.

Wow.  I'm kind of relating to this Prime Minister.  They talk about how she was rejected (or scorned) by the left and the right.  I believe Jews DO deserve a piece of land to live on where they can't be beat up, round up, and stuck into ovens.  But besides that, I agree with a lot of stuff on the left....so much so that some people on the right like to call me Communist.

Here's what I think.  I may be wrong, but I'm going to say it anyway. I think most people who are anti-Israel are also secretly Holocaust deniers. They may not say it publicly because it's so controversial.   But if you believe that Jews were systematically murdered and that other countries weren't willing to take in enough refugees, how could you NOT support there being a Jewish country?  Now I'm not talking about people who criticize Israeli policy, or speak out against unfair violence against Palestinians.  I'm talking about people who feel it is wrong for Israel to exist....period.   

14. Read two editorials on multiculturalism published in the Herald-Sun.  They're both very well written.  The first is more positive and inspiring.  I probably prefer it.   The second is more about pointing out our faults.  It talks about how we need to do more than provide simple acts of symbolic acceptance.  It's not just about showcasing elements of various cultures.  We need to make sure there's more equality.   

I'll admit it.   I have some prejudices against Muslims. We do some multicultural stuff. Sometimes we eat Falafel and Hummus.  I eat pita bread.  I enjoyed the Morocco pavilion at Disney World.  I like watching belly dancers.  But I don't know if any of these symbolic gestures help me to overcome my prejudices.  They're fun and they taste good, but they don't really move me forward.

What helps more is hearing Tim talk about his Muslim friend.  They joke around with each other about being Jewish and Muslim.  They seem to have a very light-hearted and fun relationship, and it breaks through my stereotype of Muslims being very intense and serious.  It helped to talk to a Muslim mother at the airport about which candies had gelatin in them.  It was just two mothers having a little chat.  It helps me to hear Muslims speak, or read what they've written so then I can think we're not so different after all.  Well, we are different.  Because I'm me, and they are them.  But it goes the same way with other female American Jews who live in Texas.   We may live in the same place.   We may have the same ethnic background.  We may have the same gender.   But we still have MAJOR differences between us.   But we also have similarities.  We have a common ground.  We ALL have a common ground.   We're humans living in a world with fires, cyclones, salmonella, floods, crocodiles, Box Jellyfish, etc.  

You might like Vegemite.  I don't. But I bet both of us wouldn't enjoy being stung by an Irikandji.  

We can always find things in common with people.  

15. Watched more of Julia Gillard video.  She once identified herself as being a socialist.  She says that's no longer true.  Can one be moderately socialist, without being accused of communism?

And how about people who speak out against socialism; But then when their child has a problem, they happily accept programs sponsored by the government?   What's the deal with that?

There's a guy in the video who sort of reminds me of Timothy Spall.  His name is Paul Howes, and he's part of the Australian Workers Union.    

16. Took this fun map quiz that combines Australia history and geography.  I did okay, but not great.  My score was 75, 812 points.  My ranking is 14/22.  I didn't know Australia had an earthquake in the 1980's.   Now I've forgotten where it was though.

Lord Wiki says it happened in Newcastle in 1989. Thirteen people died, and there was a lot of destruction. It wasn't a huge earthquake....only 5.6. I guess maybe the buildings weren't earthquake friendly?   

17. Looked at this website about the 1989 Newcastle earthquake.  It says that most of the damage was done to unreinforced masonry buildings. Lord Wiki says these are not really safe in earthquakes.    I wonder if our house is unreinforced.  I honestly have no idea....unfortunately.  

18. Watched more of the Four Corners video.

You know, I watch this and just can't bring myself to love Gillard.  She's way too political.  I mean she seems so avoidant of admitting mistakes. She tries to present herself as being so perfect, which makes her seem incredibly NOT perfect.

19. Read some of the Alice Springs book.  That and the five minutes I've seen of Wolf Creek has really made me lose interest in ever having an outback adventure.  I'd like to go to the populated places...like Alice Springs or Broken Hill.   But I really don't want to be lost in a place where our car could break down, and there's no one around to rescue us.  Oh, and if someone does drive by, they might be some crazy killer.

OR what if we drive by and someone else is stranded?   We'll feel compelled to pick them up, but I'll be scared it's some kind of evil trap.  It would be very stressful.

20. Got an email saying that Malcolm Turnbull wants to hear from me.   It was a lie though, because he wants to hear from people in his electorate. I'm not in his electorate.  I'm not even in his country.    If you ARE in Wentworth, you can go to Turnbull's website and give your opinion on marriage equality.

While we're on the subject of Turnbull.....I think I'd put him in my list of sexiest Australians.   I don't know who else is on that list?   Hugo Weaving, Geoffrey Rush.....and Turnbull.    Oh, and how could I forgot.  Jimmy Barnes....mostly the 1980's version.  I feel horrible leaving out Julian McMahon; very guilty.  But I like him more in a thank-you-for-leading-me-to-Australia way.   

Whitlam was kind of sexy without his shirt.

21. Watched more of the  Four Corners video.   A woman on there talks about how Gillard doesn't always pick up on the populous vote.  I noticed that.   Support of gay marriage seems to be popular, and she doesn't support that.  Defending Julian Assange is popular in Australia, and she doesn't support that.  A part of me feels I should admire her for standing up for her beliefs, even if I disagree with them.  But I think I'd be more willing if I UNDERSTOOD why she feels the way she feels.   It seems more to me that she's being stubborn just to be stubborn.

Maybe the title of the video is appropriate.  Who IS Julia Gillard?  Why does she do what she does?   Why does she believe what she believes?   What does she eat for breakfast, and what's her favorite flavor of ice-cream?  Does she take a shower in the morning or evening. Does she wash her hair everyday?  Does she have a lot of dirt under her fingernails?

Now I'm watching the bit about the United States secretly supporting Gillard.

The Wikileaks cables show that the United States had a thing for Gillard.  The question remains though....whether they actually had any influence over her being elected.   Did they?    Does the United States have that amount of power over Australia?  And if they do....how is it done?   

It IS disturbing that officials in America don't like Rudd, and he's out. They like Gillard, and she goes in.   But I can't say for sure that it means anything.

It's like I love The King Speech, and want it to win the Academy Award.  But if it does win, that doesn't mean I had a part in getting it to win.

Maybe that's a bad analogy. I'm much less powerful than the American government.   I'm kind of ignorant about these things.  What power does the American government have over the Australian government?   If they do have some power, in what form?   Money?   Threats?  Bribes?

Oh....goodness.  The more I watch all of this, the less I like Gillard.  There's this stuff about the carbon trading whatever.   If I'm hearing this right, she gave Rudd advice when he was leader, and then when she became leader, she sang a totally different tune.

She seems very avoidant when she answers questions.

When will Australia get a new Prime Minister?

Maybe all politicians are this bad, but I think others are better at faking not being fake.

22. Decided to stick to doing just the whole Australia quizzes versus the specific state ones.  I don't know if I want to get THAT detailed about my geography.

23. Picked the one Traveler IQ quiz I'm going to stick with. I'm going to practice and TRY to get to number one. I'm not even in the top 25 yet though, so I have a lot of work to do. My top score is 142,142.   I need 711 more points to get on the list of winners. 

24. Asked my online tarot website if I should go to Hobart.  The first bit tells me about my circumstances.   It says, A new love may come into your life or you may be faced with a choice that causes you great distress. This may be whether to stay in your current relationship or leave, or a choice between two lovers.    I think that fits.   I'm trying to choose between Hobart and Adelaide.    

The final bit of the reading says, Look forward to enjoying the fruits of your labour and celebrating a job well done. It's time to take stock of your life and begin thinking about what's next.   That sounds pretty positive.   I guess Hobart would be a good thing then.  

25. Was going to ask about Adelaide, but then remembered there was a reading where you could ask to choose between two lovers.  Instead of lovers, I'll substitute cities. 

The outcome if I choose Adelaide is You will be a stronger and more confident person for doing so. Through courage and determination you will triumph over adversity.   I'm not sure I WANT adversity on our holiday.  

How about Hobart?  You will experience a change in fortune, a new phase in your life. Sometimes our fate or destiny will bring about changes that we have little or no control over and all we can do is go with the flow.  

That sounds a bit scary too.

26. Used my old homemade spiritual message card things to see what I'd get.   

For Adelaide I got, Smile more.  That sounds pretty positive.

For Hobart I got You need some yellow.   I have no idea how to interpret that.  What is the yellow Chakra?   Maybe that will give me a clue?   

This website says it's about courage and self-confidence.  Okay.  But does that mean I need more courage and self-confidence if I go to Hobart?   Maybe I'm not confident enough for that town.   OR does it mean that going to Hobart will give me the confidence and courage that I need?

27.   Decided to use the close-your-eyes-and-pick-a-sentence-in-a-book method.   I'm going to use A Fraction of the Whole by Steven Toltz.  I like that book.  

For Adelaide I got..... The irony of their immortality projects is that while they have been designed by the unconscious to fool the person into a sense of specialness and into a bid for evelasting life, the manner in which they fret about their immorality projects if the very thing that kills them.

Okay.   It's hard for me to understand that....at least out of context.  I might have understood it while actually reading the novel.

For Hobart I got Patrick decided that the box would be opened only once a month, by him.

Yeah.   That wasn't much help either.  You know....I'm just having fun with all this. For me personally, forced divination methods don't work.  I trust more in synchronicity, weird things, and dreams.  For example, a moment ago I was trying to type Adelaide and I suddenly could not spell it correctly.  I kept mistyping it. I take that as a negative omen.

I know.  I'm weird.

28. Realized that despite my obsession with The King's Speech, I have not had many dreams about it....or maybe no dreams?  This is further evidence against one of my Australia-obsession theories.   This is where I was a fan of Charmed, liked Julian McMahon, kept dreaming about him, and that led to an interest in Australia.  But if that was true, then I'd be dreaming excessively about The King's Speech.   I don't often dream about stuff that I'm a fan of.  Julian McMahon was the exception.  He still IS the exception.  The dreams are still there, and this has been going on for over ten years.  In most of the dreams (since after 2005), I'm searching for him.  I usually fail in this quest. Lately, it doesn't even seem that I want to find him.  It's more like I know this is what I'm supposed to do, so I keep doing it....to humor....something?   Maybe the universe.

But you know, I'm going to keep searching.  And when I find this dream version of Julian McMahon, I'm going to ask him whether we should go to Hobart or Adelaide.  He'll tell me...maybe.  Then I'll probably wake up, and realize I've forgotten what he's said.  Then I'll have to start the whole damn search over again.

29.  Impressed by Jack's geography skills.  I watched him take some Traveler IQ quizzes.

30. Read article about something called Wurdi Youang rocks.  It's an ancient Aboriginal rock formation that might be evidence that they were doing astronomy a LONG time ago.  Here's a whole website about it.  The formation is in Victoria.  

31. Found 1870's photo of Adelaide Parliament. I tried to see if it looks the same. It doesn't...unless I'm looking at it wrong.  

Lord Wiki says a new one was built in 1889.  I wonder why?   And is the old building still around?

I'm seeing websites that mention the old Parliament House, but none of them provide much information.   This travel website has a photo, so I guess it's still around. Maybe it's not open to the public though?   

32. Tempted to read more Lionel Logue stuff, but decided I'm going to wait until I get the book.   And tonight I want to practice my geography.  Jack's watching, so it's educational for him as well.

33. Finished looking at Australian pictures from the 1870's.  Tomorrow I'll start on the 1880's.  

34. Looked at Australia weather.   It looks like there are nice days in Melbourne, Hobart, and Canberra. Sydney might be okay. Adelaide would probably be too hot for me.

35. Read a bit of an article about water buybacks that I totally don't understand. And I'm too tired to read much into it.  

36. Struggled not to give into my temptation to read more about Lionel Logue.  Maybe I'll just watch the trailer again. That should satisfy some of my craving.