Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tax Exemption, John Wood, Satan, and Storms

1. Finished reading The Good Parents.  It was a pretty good book, but I'm glad it's over, because now I can read The King's Speech!!

2. At bedtime, Jack and I read the Harry Potter chapter "Xenophilius Lovegood".   It was kind of strange to read it after learning about Aaron Barr and his attack on journalists and other supporters of WikiLeaks.  Mr. Lovegood was brave enough to stand up against the corrupt Ministry of Magic and print the truth.  But all that changed when the Death Eaters went after his family.

I'm hoping Aaron Barr was only evil enough to threaten careers and reputations.  I hope he hasn't threatened anyone's life or family.

3. Dreamed about Oprah.  I'm with her in a room.  She sits at a desk.  I stand over her.   She has gotten a bill from Australia.   She opens it, and is not happy with what she sees.  I see the bill amount, and it's really not that much (for someone as wealthy as her).  I'm thinking she's being a bit cheap.   But then I learn she's not upset about the amount. She's upset because Australia has given her a refund/rebate.   She doesn't need the money, and it's going to be a pain to process it (for some reason).  I timidly suggest that maybe she can donate the extra money to charity.

4. Read Andrew's rant against the Liberal Government.  He points out that the religions who want the right to discriminate get a lot of financial support from the government.   And they pay little taxes themselves. Since that's the case, I change my mind about it being okay for them to have the right to discriminate. I still think they should have that right to ban who they want to ban from their schools. However then they should lose any support from the government.

5. Read Australian government page about religious tax exemption.  They ARE inclusive in their definition of religion.  I mean it's not limited to major religions like Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, etc.

They say the rules are belief in a supernatural being, thing or principle, and acceptance of canons of conduct that give effect to that belief, but that do not offend against the ordinary laws.

It's kind of funny that the government is encouraging a belief in the supernatural.  I mean it IS an encouragement.  Religions are getting special privileges.  What about organizations that do NOT believe in the supernatural?  How about atheist organizations?  Are they tax-exempt?

6. Read editorial about religion and tax-exemption.  Lucy Saunders talks about how Nick Xenophon wants to change the tax laws, so religions can't get exemption just for the fact that they believe in the supernatural.  They would need to also show that they benefit society as a whole, and not just in the fact that they get people to believe in the supernatural.

Hey, if it's so important to get people to believe in the supernatural, why stop at churches and other religious organizations.  Why doesn't the government give exemptions to the TV producers who make shows about hauntings.   Isn't that encouraging a belief in the supernatural?  How about publishers who publish books about astrology, numerology, ghosts, vampires, etc?  Should they get tax exemption?

7. Read more from the government page on tax exemption. I scrolled down further and saw there is a third way to be exempt (if you're not into the supernatural, and you're not a charity).  There are certain qualifications you have to meet.  For example, you have to have a presence in Australia. I think they mean you have to BE there, and not just own property there.

Anyway, it's a bit confusing. I can't see why atheist groups in Australia would NOT be exempt.  

8. Took the lazy way out and emailed the Atheist Foundation of Australia.  To my credit, I did TRY to find the answer.  I did Google, but the sites that seemed to have the answer wouldn't open.  They probably DO have the answer somewhere on the atheist site.   I'm just too lazy to go through all of it.  Maybe I'll try though.

Okay, I went through some of it.  All I found for now is a statement about tax law benefits.  The atheist Foundation wants tax exemption to go to organizations that do works of charity.  This would not include spreading the word of any deity.  It makes me think that they're not getting exemption benefits.   If ALL nonprofit organizations received benefits (whether they pushed a belief in the supernatural, or not) would the atheist Foundation be less against religious exemption?  Well, I would hope so.  I would think they were awful if they believed THEY should get exemption, but supernatural organizations should not. Then they're the ones being unfair.

So I'm going to assume that the atheists are NOT getting the benefits. Hopefully, the atheist Foundation will return my email and I'll learn if I'm right or not.   

9. Tried to figure out if Geoffrey Rush had been impressed with the British John Wood, or the Australian John Wood. Someone sent me a link about an Australian John Wood who is a stage actor (as well as TV and film actor).   I decided I should try and figure out which actor attracted Rush's admiration.  I watched some of the Rush video again.  The play he mentions is called Travesties.    Lord Wiki says the original cast of this performance included a John Wood.  I clicked on Wood, and got the article for the British actor.

John Hurt was in the show as well.

10. Watched some scenes from Blue Heelers.  The Australian John Wood is a star of that show.    You can see him in the credits at 2:38.

Some woman on the show believes that she's been attacked by the devil.  Hey!  There's a question.   What about people who worship Satan?  That's supernatural.  Would they get a tax exemption?     Although I think some Satan groups are actually atheist.

Yeah.  Lord Wiki says I remembered correctly.  The Church of Satan doesn't believe in the supernatural.   

This Unitarian church website says there are theistic satanists and non-theistic satanists.  The former actually believes in Satan, and worships him.  The website says,  Evidently, except for a few isolated instances, most so-called "devil worship" is largely a symbolic expression. Actually carrying out acts of earthly evil is rather rare. The same cannot be necessarily said of those religions which try to make an appeal to a supernatural good.  What they're talking about is the fact that horrible acts (like 9/11) in the names of Gods and religions that are supposedly good. Really. Who has caused more death, destruction, and psychological torture. Satan worshipers, or Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc?

Anyway, I can't find an Aussie Satanic organization online.  But if there is one in Australia, I can't see why or how the government could deny it a tax exemption.  

11. Found out that The King's Speech play was not written by David Seidler. It was written by Mark Burgess.  Although there could be TWO versions of the play.  Anyway, I learned that fact from The King's Speech book.

Also, I looked at the Academy Awards website. Seidler is nominated for best original screenplay.  If he had written and published/produced a play version first, I think it would in the adapted screenplay category.

You know what's weird.   There are TEN movies nominated for best picture.  I thought there was usually only five.   

12. Read article about how the Northern Territory News has fun front page stuff—stories of UFO's, crocodiles, and stuff like that.  I went ahead and became a friend of their Facebook Page.   Their online page looks fairly typical to me.  Maybe their hard copy version looks more like a tabloid.  

13. Learned I have something in common with Lionel Logue. His grandson describes him as a reluctant driver. That's definitely me!  I had thought, from my earlier research on Geoffrey Rush, that he too might not be a driver.   I just checked out this interview, and it confirms that.

I did eventually learn to drive, and I managed to get around a bit.  Now my fear has returned, and I don't drive much.  Tim works from home now, so he's able to do the driving that we need.  I still drive a little bit though.  I'd rather not lose the skill completely.

14. Read about the cyclone warnings for Darwin. I'm going to be Jewish here and just say....OY!

I'll also add, I hope everyone stays safe.

15. Read that the weather is misbehaving around Adelaide as well.  There's some scary thunderstorms there.  Again....I hope everyone stays safe. 

16. Read article that says the Labor Party is not doing so well in New South Wales.  They might lose some power in the local Parliament come next election.  

17. Decided to read about Barry O'Farrell.  He's the Leader of the Opposition in New South Wales, and therefore he might become the new Premier. Lord Wiki says that O'Farrell is supportive of homosexual rights, and voted to give them the right to adopt babies.

Here's O'Farrell's website.  It's running a bit slow for me.   I'll try to look at it at another time.  Maybe.

18. Watched Entertainment Weekly interview with Geoffrey Rush and Tom Hooper.   The interview talks about how the movie was criticized because King George VI was seen by some as being anti-semitic.   Maybe.  Yeah.  But I think anti-semitism was pretty popular in those days.   And I would want to know his degree of anti-semitism.  Did he hate Jews?   Did he want them killed?  Did he want them expelled from England?  Did he cheer when he found out Hitler had put them in death camps?

I think most people I know (that are not Jewish) are at least slightly anti-semitic.  We all have our prejudices, and I'm not going to concern myself with mild and benign forms.

19. Read article about the accusations of anti-semitism regarding the King.  He wrote a letter to someone expressing disagreement about Jews going to Palestine in 1939.  

In the same year, America refused to let the St. Louis onto its shores. This was a ship filled with Jewish refugees.  So although they weren't as evil in their antisemitism as Germany,  England and America were not 100% Jew friendly.  However, England took in 288 passengers from the rejected St. Louis ship.  All of these Jews (except one) survived World War II.

 20. Liked what is said by Scott Feinberg on his siteGeorge VI may have been an anti-Semite, or he may just have been slow to appreciate the extent of the problems faced by the Jews of Germany as Hitler rose to power, as most people were at the time. Either way, those personal shortcomings had nothing to do with the way that he overcame his speech impediment and became a more effective leader, and should therefore have no bearing on the way that people evaluate a film that is about those aspects of his life.

Should we also complain that Lionel Logue wasn't fully and honestly exposed? Did the movie mention anything about him being a Christian Scientist and/or Spiritualist? No. Did it mention that he didn't like to drive?  No.   

Now from what I'm reading, it's Feinberg himself who brought up the whole anti-semitism thing. He got an anonymous email, and decided it was his duty to report it.  

Anyway, I'm not really into the king or any royalty people.  I'd be much more disillusioned if I found out Lionel Logue was anti-semitic; mildly so if he was mildly anti-semitic, and severely so if he was severely anti-semitic.

21. Liked this bit from The King's Speech:  Logue could sense the king's nerves , however, and to take his mind off the ordeal ahead, Logue kept him chatting about the events of the day, right up until the moment just after eight o'clock when the opening notes of the National Anthem came through the loudspeakers.

I can relate to that. Sort of.  It's not the exact same thing,  but recently I realized that I'm less shy in shyness producing situations when I've been talkative beforehand.  When I'm literally alone or in a situation where I'm alone amongst people, it's like my voice gets out of practice. It kind of gets weak.  I try to talk when needed.  A squeak comes out. Then I'm embarrassed and clam up even more.

Well....it's not literally a squeak. I don't sound like a dog toy.

The funny thing is...the last time I thought of this was when I signed up to the The King's Speech interview thing.   I wanted Jack and Tim there, not just so Jack could have a valuable learning experience.  I wanted them there for selfish reasons.  I rarely am shy anymore, but there are occasions when it happens.  I definitely think The King's Speech thing would be intimidating for me.  I could totally picture it making me very shy, especially if I sat there alone waiting for 15-20 minutes.  But having Tim and Jack there, made me comfortable and outgoing. Unfortunately, I wasn't comfortable and outgoing enough to say something brilliant and coherent enough to be included in the video.    Still though.  I didn't end up feeling like a shy awkward loser.  

I don't know if my experiences could be applied to other shy people, especially children.  I'm thinking it might be worth a try though.  If parents have a shy child, and they're driving them to a party...would it help to engage them in conversation on the way there?  Maybe even get silly and loud.  When the child got to school, the silly mood might carry over to the party.  In contrast.... if the parent and child are both quiet and contemplative in the car, this quiet mood might carry over to the party.  

22. Listened to a new song by The Waifs called "Angela".   It's from the album Temptation which is coming out 4 March. That's pretty soon.

I'm feeling a bit lost, honestly.  A music company emailed me and asked if I'd like for them to send me stuff.   Since they ARE actually Australia related (and not a garden furniture company) I figured it would be fun.  The thing is I'm a bit loss at what to do.  I'm not that technical savvy.  

I think I'm allowed to share this music?  I hope.  I don't know how to do that with "Angela."   It was an MP3.   But they sent me a link to this song.   Falling.   Well, that's okay. I like this song better, anyway.   

23. Read email (from music business people) about a group called San Cisco.  I never heard of them, so this is fun.   It's something new....for me, at least.   These guys like to skateboard and play Nintendo 64; well, when they're not doing music stuff.  Nintendo 64. That's very old school.   Do they prefer it to the Gamecube, and Wii?  Jack is a HUGE Nintendo fan.   He could probably name the years when each game system appeared.

Oh!  This is so cool.   They've given me press photos.   I love having pictures for my posts.

San Cisco

I bet there were photos of the Waifs as well.   I kind of remember seeing them.   I just didn't pay attention to them, or recognize them as press photos.    

Here.  I'll post something now.  

The Waifs with some apples

Back to San Cisco.....  Here's a video.   It's on YouTube, so I know for sure that I can embed/link to it.  

I like the song.

San Cisco was invited  to be at a festival in the UK called The Great Escape.   It's 12-14 May.   Although when I look at the festival website, I don't see them on there.   I'm confused.   Maybe they declined the invitation?   Maybe I'm looking at the wrong place?  Or maybe they're going to the festival, but they haven't confirmed 100% yet. 

Now I'm listening to a San Cisco song on iTunes.   I think I am allowed to share these MP3 songs.    On the website, it says "Free for posting".   I think that means I'm allowed to post the MP3 here.   The problem is.....I don't know how to post MP3 songs on my blog.  Well, this website says you pretty much take an image+the MP3 and create a movie file.    Then you post the video.   That makes sense.   I've done it before, but not for the purpose of showcasing a song.  

Maybe I'll try it another day....since I already have one video for this post.  I'm feeling kind of lazy.

Never mind.   I decided to try it.  I just used a random photo from London.   If I was good at this music reviewing/promoting thing, I'd use one of the San Cisco press photos.  Maybe I'll advance to that level later.  But anyway, this way I can promote San Cisco AND promote our London photos at the same time.   You know me.  I always have to bring our lives into the picture.  

23. Learned that YouTube is in read-only mode, and you can't get videos up online right now.   I'm not sure how long that will last, but I may not be posting the video today.

24. Learned that Darwin's Cyclone is named Carlos.  So far, he's causing moderate damage.  I hope it doesn't get worse than that.

25. Decided to give up on getting to be #1 in the Traveler IQ quiz.    I've been working so hard at it, and I haven't even gotten into the top 25 yet.  Hell, I haven't even beaten my old score yet.  Tim was able to advance so quickly, which really indicates to me that geography is not my strong point.   I mean don't get me wrong.   I think I'm okay at it.   And I'd probably beat most Americans when it comes to Australian geography.  But this practicing is getting time-consuming, and I would rather spend my time on something else.  You know what?   I've been really slow with reading my books lately.  I think this might correlate with me doing these quizzes.   

You know, I feel like I have so much on my plate.   I can't handle it well.  And I don't have a job, quintuplets, , a chronically ill child, etc.  I have SO much free time.    I'm so lucky.   The problem is I'm overfilling my free time with more and more assignments and activities.  I REALLY need to balance my time and prioritize better.

25. Decided I will probably have to post my San Cisco project tomorrow.  YouTube is still doing their maintenance.