Saturday, April 16, 2011

Earthquakes, Conspiracy Theories, Flinders, and Australian Jews

1. Had a dream about our Australian friends.  We're all together.  One of them starts imitating Jay from Modern Family.  He sounds exactly like him.  I get this idea that people are better at imitating people with a different accent than they have.  My idea is we notice speech patterns more when it comes from a different accent. If we have the same accent, we pay less attention.

2. Dreamed about my blog.  I see a commercial on television showing two gay men kissing. They're really making out; pretty much sticking their tongues down each other's throat.  I'm wondering what the commercial is for; and at the end I realize it's for a Texas law firm. The kissing seems to have had nothing to do with the service they're selling. It's like they stuck the kissing in just to get the viewer's attention.    I'm thinking it's a bit too much and consider writing about it on my blog.  But I'm worried people will automatically assume I'm anti-gay.   They might assume it's a gay thing, and that I'd have no problem with a man and woman kissing in the ad. I'm thinking that's wrong, and no matter who who kissing who, I would see it as a weird thing to put in a law firm commercial.  

I also dreamed about my Harry Potter character. It's not something I have done much in the past...dream about fictional characters I've created.   It happened to me when I tried writing a novel a few years ago.  But it was a minor character, and I think I just got a brief look at him.

But in this dream, I interacted with the character.  I gave her a haircut, actually.   It started as a punishment, but in the end we grew to like each other.  And the haircut ended up making her look very cute. I didn't know who she was until I asked her name, and then asked what her sister's name was.  When I realized it was her, I started thinking maybe I can use this experience in the story, but tell it through her eyes.

I don't know. It was pretty fantastic experience. It's not everyday you get to meet your character and give them a haircut.  

3. Read about earthquake in Queensland.  What in the world is going on with that state?  Fortunately no one was hurt.

4. Looked at Gerroa on Google Maps because that's where my characters are right now.  I'm very glad to see there are lots of trees in the area.   I need that for my story.   I knew there were some trees, because we walked through them to get to the beach.   But I need some substantial bushland.  From the satellite map, it looks like there's enough.  Plus, this is all taking place in 1997-1998 so there might have been even more trees. There's probably been some development between that time and now.  

5. Found an interesting quote in Robert Drewe's Grace.   Lately Sister Joseph had decided to accept conspiracy theories.  She would believe them initially and only discount them if and when they were revealed to be exaggerated or false. Nowadays she found this more sensible and safer than the other way around.

I'm trying to figure out how I feel about that.  I probably don't agree with it.  The problem with conspiracy theories is they usually villainize somebody...or many people.   Because of that, I don't think it's fair to readily accept a theory without looking at the evidence first, and considering alternative viewpoints.

At the same time, I don't think it's wise to readily dismiss conspiracy theories, or to have excessive trust in the establishment.

My feeling is it's best to be open-minded towards both sides of the story.

6. Asked Jack what is his favorite thing to do when we visit cities.  He said visiting parks.  That's good!   It's easy and cheap.   Plus, Tim and I like it too. There seems to be a lot of parks in Melbourne, so we shouldn't have trouble finding any.

7. Decided to make changes to our Aquarium Day, since Jack says he doesn't care about the tall building thing as much anymore.   Because of that, we can just stay north of the Yarra River.    Google Maps has us walking on Flinders Street.  I've heard of that street before, so I figure it's important and interesting.  

If we're not too tired after the art museum, we can go to Birrarung Park.

8. Looked at Flinders Street on the map site Andrew sent me.  I can see Flinder's Street Station.   I've heard of that.  I think it will be nice to visit there; or at least pass by it. 

9. Saw two McDonald's on Flinders Street.  What's the deal with that?  Is one not enough?

10. Googled restaurants for Flinders Street and saw that Degraves Street is supposed to be a little Paris.   Tim might love that.  He's into French food lately.   It may have started when we were in London, and he fell in love with this French bakery.   Or it might have happened before that, and that's why he sought out a French bakery.   He did talk about going to Paris when we were in London.   I talked him about of it because I thought it would be a pain to go all the way there within a one week trip. Anyway, it kind of surprised me because prior to that he didn't seem to be a big fan of France.

The other day we were talking about our next international non-Australian trip.  We talked about the UK, and I reminded Tim that he wanted to go to France as well.   He said he changed his mind and it was just about the food for him.  It seems he'll be happy as long as we can find a good French bakery. Hopefully Melbourne has one.  

11. Looked for more information about Degraves Street. This Melbourne site says it's good for coffee and snacks, but doesn't specify that it's a Paris-type thing.  

12. Looked at a Degraves Street website.  Well, it's less helpful than I expected.   I think it's pretty much just a place for businesses to advertise; and I don't think many businesses have used it to advertise.

13. Intrigued by the Lord of the Fries restaurant, but I think it has way too much mayonnaise on the menu, although they do offer vegan alternatives.

 I also question the validity of making barbecue sauce the topping for American fries.  As far as I know, the most popular fries/chips topping here is ketchup (tomato sauce). 

Also, why do they call them fries instead of chips?

On a positive note, whatever you call them, they look very delicious.

14. Got idea from googling that there are more restaurants on Flinder's Lane than Flinders Street.

15. Looked at Federation Square Website.   The art museum is there, so we'll be in the area.  We might be able to find a restaurant in there.  Maybe? It might have only over-priced touristy places.   If you've ever eaten there, and have any place to recommend....please tell me!

16. Just suddenly connected Flinders Street and Flinders lane with Matthew Flinders.   Yeah.  It took me long enough.    But...anyway....I like Matthew Flinders.   Well, I like the fact that he's the first person to use the name Australia for Australia.   I just reread the story from Lord Wiki.  I wanted to make sure I was remembering it correctly.   The story is that Flinders wanted Australia to be called Australia, but it hadn't caught on with everyone else.  People finally starting adopting the name, but Flinders was on his deathbed, and didn't get to experience the name's acceptance.

17. Had deep thoughts from quote in Robert Drewe's Grace Funny how the Dreamtime is supported by the same politically correct crowd who shout down the Christian fundamentalists for flogging the identical horse.

I think there's a lot of truth to that.  I think many of us look at the Dreamtime with cultural respect.    Then we look towards Christian creationists and roll our eyes.

I've seen many atheists debating Christians about their beliefs on the origins of our planet?   I don't think I've ever seen a debate between atheists and those who believe in the Dreamtime.  I wouldn't be completely shocked to know such debates have happened; but I'm assuming they're much less prevalent.

Why is this so?   I have my theories.    I think there's two things about Christianity that annoy the rest of us, and reduce our tolerance towards them.    First, there's the fact that they're high in number.   When you have a lot of followers you have a lot of power.   You have a lot of influence on society.   That can make people antagonistic towards you.   Second, Christians do have a reputation (often deservingly, I believe) of pushing their beliefs on others.  This can range from being very overt—like literally FORCING people to join the flock.  Fortunately, I think this is in the past, for the most part.  But even today, you have people knocking on doors, passing out flyers, yelling on street corners, etc.   

There's the subtle pushing.  We had Christians at our house.   They talked about how they disliked the way Christians pushed their beliefs on others. That's wrong, they said.  You have to let people come to Jesus on their own.   I would have liked these folks much more if they had said, That's wrong.   There are many great belief systems out there.  We should respect them all.   

Still, all that being said, I do think it's unfair to ridicule Christian creationism while glorifying the Dreamtime. My feeling is people should believe what they want to believe.   If they don't laugh or roll their eyes at my beliefs, I won't do it to them.  I think any belief is fun and nice, as long as people don't feel the need for everyone else to believe the same thing. 

18. Read something shocking in Robert Drewe's Grace.   It's about the plan in 1939 to move thousands of Jewish refugees to The Kimberley.  This was thought up by a group called the Freeland League.  A character in the book says the state government was on board.  The general population was fine with it.  The Christian churches were in support.  So, who was against it?   According to this character, it was the Australian Jews. He says, They wanted the Holy Land, or nothing.

I wonder if that's true.  I definitely wouldn't be surprised if SOME Jews were against it.  If it was the majority though...well, I'd find that shameful.   I can't help but wonder if the world would be free of the Israel mess if The Kimberley absorbed a bunch of Jews. Although maybe there, they'd encounter opposition as well.  We're not talking a few hundred Jews.  There would be tens of thousands.   Kimberley wouldn't be the same Kimberley she is now.

Lord Wiki says it was John Curtin said no to the mass influx of Jews; but often politician's opinions come from being pressured from outside sources.

19. Found some information about the Freeland League on this site.  It was a group of Jews led by a British Jew named Isaac Steinberg.  They wanted to find a thinly populated land that they could cultivate and populate.  The Palestinian land was not seen as one of their options.   This site doesn't say that it was the Australian Jews who were against it.   They put the blame on the Federal government.

20. Read the Australian Dictionary of Biography's entry on Isaac Steinberg.  They say For their part, many Australian Jews criticized the proposed settlement: some feared that it would provoke a wave of anti-Semitism in Australia, while others saw it as a threat to the Zionist cause.   That's sad.   I've heard it about Jews in America too, the idea that they didn't rush out to help Jews in Europe.  I think these days Jews are more likely to stick together.  Maybe this is partly out of guilt for their inaction during World War II.   When Jews say "Never again", I think this is partly what they're referring to.

Someone used these ideas on the Magic is Might site; actually it was on my spin-off site.  They said they want to America for a visit.  While they were there, they tried to talk to American wizards about what was happening in the British wizarding world. They were disappointed to find that the American wizards were apathetic.  It's not happening here, so let's not worry about it.  I think unfortunately that was the attitude of some (or many?) Australian and American Jews.  Also, they probably thought things along the lines of We're happy here. People accept us. We're assimilated.  Let's not rock the boat. 

In their defense, they probably were ignorant to what was happening in Europe. This could have been from denial, and it could have also been from a lack of information.