Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chalk, Birthdays, Masks, and Michael Ronaldson

1. Read article about children drawing with chalk, on a footpath, outside a cafe in Melbourne.  The council says it's not okay because it counts as graffiti.    I think that's ridiculous.   Children's art is precious; and since chalk easily washes away, I can't see how it's a problem.   However, I DO disagree with the practice if the children are blocking the footpath as they draw.  I don't think that's really okay. People could trip over them; and it might be hard for some folks to walk around or step over them.

Maybe the footpath is big enough?  Then I wouldn't see it as a problem.

Oh.  I just read the article more closely. The owner of the cafe says the footpath IS wide enough.   So yeah.  What's the problem?  I say let the kids do their drawings.   

2. Read a note written by the Gay Marriage Rights in Australia Facebook page.  It's about Julia Gillard.

They say:

As far as I'm concerned, it is utterly bizarre for a female, unmarried, childless, Atheist, Prime Minister to be using cultural tradition as an argument against progressive law reform.

If decisions were and should be made on the basis of protecting cultural traditions then we would never see any progressive social reforms at all and someone like Ms Gillard would never become Prime Minister. We would still have the white Australia policy, women being denied the right to vote and gay men in gaol for expressing their natural sexuality.

I think that was very well said.

3. Read Andrew's post about nuclear fears.   I think he's wise when he says, Nuclear experts are assuring us that reactors built in the future will be failsafe. I would guess the same claims were made about the ones that went wrong in the past.

When someone assures you that they'll make sure things are better next time, you do have to wonder then why things weren't okay this time.  I mean it's not like earthquakes are totally unexpected in Japan.

4. Read one of those birthday letters on an Aussie blog.   I see them every so often.   The mother (or father) writes a letter to their child, describing the child's life, personality, and accomplishments.   I guess it's kind of like a time capsule.   The child can later read it and see what they were like at age 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc.  I'm wondering if it's some kind of Australian tradition?  I don't think it's that common in America.   

Did it start with blogging, or does it have a history beyond that?  I'm guessing that it started before blogging.  Maybe people used to keep those letters private, but now that they have blogs they share them with the world.

I imagine it would be nice to look back at your childhood in that way. Not only does it give you details of your life, but you see all the parental love showered your way. I have very little record of my own early childhood.  Once in awhile, my mom will remember a story and share it.   But I'm sure there's so much she's forgotten.  I think it's the same for most of our generation, and those born prior to that. Our early years are clouded in mystery.

These days, people keep blogs and journals.  If they don't have that, they probably at least have tons of photographs to record those years.   

5. Watched a video clip of a film with Ruth Cracknell.  It's called The Singer and the Dancer.   Cracknell plays a woman living with her daughter.   The daughter treats her in a very condescending way, and Cracknell acts the part her daughter seems to wish for her to play.   She acts old, out of it, and incompetent.   A doctor comes to pick up Cracknell, and once she's out of her daughter's view, she's free to act like herself.  She smokes and puts up her feet.  She acts more like a teen than an old lady.

I'm sure this happens to a lot of people.  They put on a mask so they can live up to the low expectations that some people have of them. Or they might put on the mask to live up to so-called higher expectations.  A young teen might act studios, innocent, and pure at home; then once away from the house they might put on some eyeliner, lipstick, and a whole new persona.  

Who is to blame; the person wearing the mask, or the one for whom the mask is worn?

I'd say both are probably to blame. Sometimes we have expectations of people that are too high; or we don't give them opportunities to show their true self.  Other times, people are too cowardly to be themselves, even if they have no proof that we wouldn't accept them for who they are.  

6. Looked at my new Sydney coffee table book.  It did its job well of promoting Sydney. After looking through it, I got all excited about returning to Sydney.  

7. Read some of Michael Ronaldson's first speech to Parliament.   He talks about being a Liberal, and says As such I believe first and foremost in the innate goodness and sense of the Australian people. More than that, liberalism is based on trust—trust in ordinary Australians, both as individuals and as a collective group. This trust in ordinary Australians manifests itself in a preference for minimal and dispersed government. This trust in individual choice means a recognition that the free market is not only good but is necessary for the creation of individual choice and private wealth, which are social goods in their own right. 

It's a kind thing to say.  It's nice when people say they trust us.  But what if the trust isn't deserved?

My friend talks about this when she emails me. The free market might be a good thing if it weren't for the fact that people are greedy.   

We can probably trust people to take care of themselves.   But can we trust them to take care of their neighbors?   Can we trust them not to exploit those who have less power and money than they do?    Probably not. At least not as a whole.

8. Read more of Michael Ronaldson's speech.   He says, While liberalism is based on a foundation of trust and individual liberty, the ideologies of the Left—Labor and Greens—are based on the premise that a select few know what is best for ordinary people.

All right.  I'm going to leave Labor out of this.  At this point, they boggle my mind. Well, at least their leader does.  So, let's just leave it between the Liberal and Green party.    The Green's know what's best for ordinary people?   Really?  Which party believes that ordinary citizens have the ability to decide whether their relationship can stand up to the institution of marriage?   Which party believes there needs to be laws that dictate who can marry and who cannot?   Which party believes that severely ill people are capable of deciding whether they want to end their fight early or not?  Which party believes that the government needs to protect terminally ill people from offing themselves?

The Liberal Party is about trust and freedom?  Give me a break.

9. Read an open-letter to Julia Gillard.   I LOVE what Jess McGuire says here.  Imagine if the people voting in the 1967 referendum had approached political and civil rights issues the way you claim to do. I’ve got nothing against Aboriginals, but you know, they’ve never been counted as actual people – they’ve been listed under Flora and Fauna act for as long as I can remember, and gee I’m a bit conservative about social issues so let’s not shake things up. 

That's funny, and also very sad.

I also love McGuire's lines here....109 years after Australian women were finally allowed to vote and stand for election for the Federal Parliament, we have our first female prime minister. It seems to me as though you’re happy enough to embrace societal changes when they benefit you personally. How thoroughly disappointing you seem unable to muster up any empathy for other citizens who are being denied equal rights.

I really hope that Gillard reads this, and other stuff like this. Maybe there's hope that she'll come to her senses.    

10.  Watched Modern Family, and they had yet another reference to something Australian.   This time it was Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  The theme of the episode itself went very well with what I wrote in #5.  That was some fun synchronicity for me today.  

Speaking of synchronicity, I had some toe synchronicity last night and today.    First, last night while talking to a friend,  I looked down at my toes and suddenly decided I must cut my toenails immediately.  They've been too long for a long time, and I ignored them. But suddenly, I treated it like an emergency.

Then in the middle of the night, I woke up to a pretty awful burning pain in the back of my left big toe.  I put some medicine on it, and it soon went away.   I just used that antibacterial cream you put on cuts.  The pain was nowhere near my nail, so I don't think it had anything to do with my nail-cutting adventure.

This morning, Jack called up to me because his toenail was bleeding. I had to put medicine on it.  He picks on his nails a lot, so there's a reasonable explanation.  Although it's not common for them to actually bleed. 

What is the meaning of toe synchronicity?   I don't know.    This morning I looked up toe in my favorite dream dictionary website.  I figured I could treat it as a waking dream type thing.  They say, To dream that you hurt your toe or that there is a corn or abrasion on it, means that you are feeling anxious about moving forward with some pan or decision.    Except that I'm really not; at least I don't think I am.  At this moment I don't have any plans (or pans) or decisions that are making me anxious.