Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jon Blake, Breastfeeding, Animal Lovers, and British Children

1. Thought of a benefit to listening to Australian Radio.  Yes, I can get the same information from reading.  But one thing I can't get from reading is proper Australian pronunciations.   Listening to the radio will help me with this.  I might hear names of places. That will be good because  I often have trouble pronouncing these correctly.  I'll also find words that we also have in America, but are pronounced differently in Australia.

2. Googled Jon Blake because someone on my blog Facebook Page suggested that I learn about him.

Lord Wiki says that he, unfortunately, died recently—a few days ago.

Actually, it's worse than that.  I mean it's unfortunate that he died.   I think untimely death is always sad.  But what's even more sad is that Blake suffered severe brain damage in 1986 from a car accident.  Since then, he has been dependent on care from others.

3. Watched news report about Jon Blake.  The story gets worse and worse.  Blake was taken care of by his mother.  Then she died, and he was taken care of by some doctor his mother had met.   I guess his mother had left this doctor the house...and her son.

It sounds though like mother didn't take good care of Blake while alive.  The news report says he spent 25 years stuck in a darkened room.  His son later fought for custody of his father.  He wanted to give his dad a better life. Things were looking slightly better for Blake. Then he died.

I'm guessing that the son was just a child when his father had the accident.

4. Found fan website about Jon Blake. They say it was Blake's mother who had to fight for custody of him.  Well, maybe she fought for custody of him, and then later Blake's son fought for custody.  

From what I'm reading here, I'm guessing I misunderstood the news report.

The fan page has excepts from articles that make it sound like Blake's mother was very loving and dedicated to her son.  Maybe the news report meant to say, since his mother died, he's lived in a dark room.

5. Re-watched the news report.  I want to make sure I heard things correctly.

Well, they do say, Just a few weeks ago the future was  looking bright, as he moved in with his son Dustin to a new home and new beginning after twenty-five years of being confined to a darkened room.  Is that a mistake in the news story; or did Blake not have optimum care from his mother?

6. Saw that there were problems with my blog post yesterday.  I had to fix that. I think it was due to the dodgy internet at the lake house. Maybe.  Anyway...this morning, I found the blog post, I wrote yesterday, in my draft section. Well, about half of the post was there. But there was stuff on that which didn't end up on the version of the post that got published.

Oh, it's hard to explain.  Just pretend you understand.  

7. Looked at an Australian online maternity wear shop called Maternal Bliss.  I heard about it in an email—not from a pregnant person, but from a man whose wife owns the shop.  

8. Disturbed by something I saw on Statcounter.  I was looking at Exit Links, and it shows someone going to post-edit for one of my posts.  The only person who should be going there is me.   Hopefully, it's just a Statcounter glitch and not a hacker.  I quickly skimmed through the post and didn't see anything unusual.

9. Read article pushing Australians to come to America to shop.  The idea is that things are so cheap here. You go on holiday, and if you buy stuff you need (or want), then the trip pays for itself.  

I'm not an expert on math or economics;  but I'm wondering if this is like the idea where you "save money" by buying a huge bag of candy when there's a deal of getting another huge bag free.   You get two huge bags of candy for the price of one.  But did you really need or want two huge bags of candy?  Did you even want one huge bag of candy? 

I'm thinking if an Australian has been looking to go on a holiday and they've also been needing a new wardrobe; it might make sense for them to take their holiday in America. They can go sightseeing and shop.  But if an Australian was not planning on doing a holiday; and they just need to buy a few things—it would probably be more economical to just order it online from America. 

I could be wrong.

I wouldn't mind a small bag of candy. Or a medium one.

10. Amused by a commenter on an article about extended breastfeeding.   Cyb says, As a new breastfeeding mother of a 7-week old, I am puzzled by one of the advantages described for extended breastfeeding; the 'close connection', the 'little chats', the 'time spent looking into each other's eyes'.
Am I the only mother whose mind wanders each and every! time she breastfeeds? I can't get through one (boring) breastfeeding session without simultaneously reading a newspaper or book or watching the French Open on TV, or having my eyes droop into sleep.
I'd probably have a better bond with my child and a lot more eye-contact if I bottle-fed her due to the logistics of having to ensure the bottle was pointed in the right direction.

When Jack was on my boob, I was usually thinking of other things.  Or doing other things. Yes, there was some loving glances and bonding moments. But we didn't spend the whole session gazing lovingly into each other's eyes.

I don't agree with Cyb on the bottle-feeding thing.  I don't have much experience with bottle-feeding, but I'm guessing that once you have the bottle in the right position, your mind can wander, and your eyes don't need to be glued to the child.  

I'm definitely in support of breastfeeding.  I think it's economical, environmental, and has various health benefits. I also strongly support sustained (extended) breastfeeding.   Jack was weaned when he was 4.5.  However, I don't agree with ALL the so-called benefits of breastfeeding.   Like Cyb says, it's not always a major bonding experience.  Since his time of weaning, there has been no reduction in bonding between me and Jack. You can definitely bond with your child without them being on your breast.

The other thing I disagree with is the whole breast milk poop thing!  I often hear that breastfed babies have pleasant smelling shit.  I don't like the smell of any shit.  Okay?    But I much prefer the smell of regular shit to breast milk shit.  On the plus side, I think the smell lasts only up to the time the baby starts eating solid food along with the breast milk.

I guess that would be a negative for those who actually enjoy the smell.

11. Listened to discussion of live transport on ABC radio from Sydney.   A young Aussie farmer expressed regret about what happens to the cows, but asked people to rethink banning live transport.  He said it's their livelihood.   How much horrible stuff happens in the world in order for people to avoid unemployment?  We look down at people on the dole, or who sit in the street begging for money.  But maybe by doing nothing, these people are helping the world more than those who get a pay check by causing harm.

In defence of the farmer though; he didn't want things to continue as they were. His idea is that the live transports should continue, but better training should be given.

I think he has a good point. If the industry is horrible, does it need to end; or can it simply be improved?

Another women came on and tried to make the point that ABC is jumping on the animal rights bandwagon.   She said last week there was a story about chickens; and now there's a story about cattle.  Heaven forbid we talk too much about animals!   She also suggested that the video could have represented only a minority of the slaughtering industry in Indonesia.   Maybe things aren't as bad as we are being shown.  Maybe it's all sensationalism pushed by the Animal Rights agenda.    I think she has a valid point; but when she ended her call with a reminder of all the babies aborted in Victoria, I then understood where she was going with her message. It seems she's one of those who assume that those who care about animals don't care about humans.  Or we care about humans, but not as much as we care about animals.

First of all, humans ARE animals.  Second of all, you can care about the treatment of animals and also care about the treatment of humans.  One doesn't negate the other.  I personally don't see abortion as murder; but some people do. That's fine.   The thing is you can be pro-life AND you can care about the welfare of animals. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

12. Noticed from Statcounter that my blog had a jump in popularity around last May.  I mean that since May 2010, my blog has gotten more traffic. What's interesting is that this correlates with me quitting the biography posts.   It could be just a coincidence.  But, anyway. I'm glad I quit the posts.   It was a lot of fun while it lasted, but I prefer the type of posts I do now. It gives me much more freedom and variety.  And I think learning is more enjoyable that way.  

13. Read article that says swearing is going to be a crime in Victoria.  Well, it's been a crime for awhile; but if you were caught doing it, the police would have to give you a court summons. With the new laws, police can issue fines right on the spot.  

I think that's a bit over the top.  If it was up to me, I might make it illegal to swear AT people.  That can be abusive.  But then again, people can say really mean things to each other without using profanity.

If I'm walking in Melbourne and stub my toe, I think I should be allowed to say shit! and not be fined.

14. Read disturbing article that says Australian researchers have found bowel cancer is increasing in younger people.  Getting that type of cancer used to be rare for that age group, and when it did happen it was usually with someone who had a family history of cancer.  Now it's happening to people who don't have an apparent genetic predisposition.  Scientists aren't yet sure why there's been an increase; but there's guesses that it may be related to obesity, alcohol consumption, and meat consumption.

Great! Another thing for me to worry about.

I'm so sick of worrying about disease and disaster.  Sometimes I look forward to dying, simply for the fact that when I'm dead, I won't have to worry about dying.  That will be true whether there's an afterlife or not.

15. Looked up my Australian of the day on the Australian Dictionary of Biography.  Today's person is William Allen.   I thought maybe it was the William Allen I talked about a few days ago—the reverend who didn't like theatre.  But it's not the same.  The William Allen for today died in 1856.   The Reverend William Allen died in 1919.  

Today's William Allen was a man of the sea.  He encountered a mutiny at one time, and was able to fight off the whole thing.

He was born in England.  In his adult years, he moved to South Australia and did the sheep farming thing.  He also did copper mining.  William Allen was successful in business.  He donated a lot of his earnings to the Church of England.

That's about it.

16. Decided to watch a bit of the third episode of Offspring.   I meant to watch it yesterday, but I didn't get around to doing it.

17. Had a hard time not watching the whole episode, but I want to save some for tomorrow, and Thursday.  I might even leave some for Friday.

18. Received package from Powells. It's good I got the package because I needed something to cheer me up.   I tried to play Sims 3 today, and the whole thing is a disaster.  When I launched the game, they asked if I wanted to download an update.   I said yes.  Then the game stopped working.   I did research and saw bunches of MAC users are having the same problem.  I was a tiny bit annoyed with myself for downloading the update patch thing without getting more information.

A tech support person on the Sims 3 forums suggested uninstalling the latest expansion pack.  I did that.  But the game won't start. It keeps telling me to upload the patch....the evil patch.

I have less tolerance towards the mistake of the Sims 3 creators (EA Games) than I did with Blogger.   Why?  Because the Sims 3 is expensive. If I pay for a game, I think it should work. Yes, sometimes glitches happen.   But as someone else pointed out, how does the same problem happen to so many people? It seems like EA games sent out their product without thoroughly testing it first.

Then again, maybe it's working for many MAC users and we're just not hearing from them. Who speaks up on tech boards when things are going well?

19. Took photos of my new books!

Hopefully the books will be good!  I'm still reading Pescador's Wake.   It's great.   I'm just being slow.   I'm not good at reading at the lake house.   That's sad.   I should get myself to read more there.  I end up using most of my alone time for the internet.   Or maybe it's the fact that I don't have a ton of alone time.  It's easier to surf the internet when other people are in the room talking than it is to concentrate on a novel.   

20. Listened to more ABC radio.  They talked about people who work with cattle.   They pay a levy that is supposed to go towards promoting and securing animal welfare.  Now all this bad stuff happens, and understandably, they feel betrayed.  They've handed over their hard earned money because they thought it was going to a good cause. Now they're seeing it was a complete waste.

Yeah. I'd be mad too.

I'm going to try to find an article about this.

21. Found an article.  The cattle farmers pay a levy to Meat and Livestock Australia, and Livecorp.    If I'm understanding this correctly, the farmers pay $5 per animal sold.

Now the Australian Beef Association is angry.  The associate chairman says, We're very angry about it.  Meat and Livestock Australia assured us they were doing proper surveillance of abattoirs in Indonesia.

It's really bad when you put your trust in something, and they let you down.

22. Looked at the website for the Australian Beef Association.  This is horrible, but it's making me want a steak.  That's really sad because I've been vegetarian for almost six years.   And this is coming after tales of abuse. What's wrong with me?    I should probably watch the Four Corners video.  I was thinking to myself that vegetarians shouldn't have to watch the film; only meat eaters. v But maybe that's not true. 

Well, I'm not going to give into my desire for a steak.  Wanting something is not the same as going after it.   So I'm still going to refrain from watching the horror video.  

23. Looked at the Meat and Livestock Australia website.  They have an official statement about the Four Corners footage.  They regret that it happened.  But they don't take any responsibility; and they don't really apologise.

They want to work to make things better. That's good.   But it makes me wonder....why didn't they try harder to help the animals before?  Do they really care?  Or do they care only because they've been caught by a television show?

Maybe they did care.  Maybe they were working to make things better.   Maybe Four Corners just happened to film some horrible exceptions in a society that takes good care of their animals. It's possible and a nice thought; but I'm seriously doubting it's reality.

24. Found an American alternative to Arnott's Shapes.  It's Wheat Thins!  They've been around for a long time, but now they have flavours.  They remind me of Shapes, and they're very good.  

They don't have as many flavours as Shapes does.  But I like the few that they have.

25. Read article that says smoking is eventually going to be banned in Australian prisons.  I'm usually in support of smoking bans, but I'm unsure of this one.  It's different when you ban smoking in restaurants, clubs, schools, shopping centers, etc.   People can go home eventually and smoke there.   Prisoners are stuck in prison.  If they want to smoke...tough luck.

Then again, if you're a cocaine addict and you get sent to prison it's unlikely you'll get cocaine.   It's the same with heroin.

I guess I'll say I support the ban.  But I do feel for the prisoners.

Then again, maybe it will be a crime deterrent.  If people are addicted to their cigarettes, maybe they'll fear smoking-free prisons, and refrain from committing crimes.

That's probably not true.  If loss of freedom, violence, ruined reputation, and prison rape doesn't deter people from crime, I'm guessing mandatory quitting won't either.  

26. Started reading another Doc Jenson editorial about Lost. It includes videos.  I just watched one of the opening of the final episode.  It's beautiful.  

I had tons of deep thoughts about Lost on Saturday night.  Or maybe Sunday night?   I think some were inspired by Doc Jenson.  I was thinking all this stuff, and not knowing if they were original thoughts or if I was unconsciously plagiarising Doc Jenson.  Maybe it was a little of both.  Well, see I had read his editorial last week and didn't fully understand some of it. I'm thinking maybe I read stuff, absorbed it, suddenly understood it, and then imagined I'm the one who came up with the stuff.

I don't know.  

Anyway, I thought about how Lost is like real life.  We seek out the truth, but we can never find it.  There's all these unsolved mysteries.  I think there's this idea (from those who believe in an afterlife)  that one of the biggest rewards of dying will be that we get all the answers.

I don't think that's true.   I think we'll still be lost and confused.  We won't die and suddenly say Ah!  The Methodists were right all along, or Looks like the Hindus hit the jackpot.  We'll keep questioning, wondering, and arguing.

I thought about Lost and how we were led to believe that certain characters had all the answers.   First there was Ben.  I thought he knew the secrets of the island; and just didn't want to tell anyone.   Then we learn he doesn't know much of anything.  Jacob is the one with the answers.  He's like god. Then in the end we learn that Jacob got all his answers from a woman who murdered another woman immediately after she gave birth.  She lied and told Jacob and his twin that she was there mother.   Can we trust that she was honest?  Can we trust that she was good?  Can we trust her advice was the right thing to follow?  How do we know Jacob was on the righteous path?   Maybe his "wicked" brother (who defied the "mother") was the one doing the right thing.

We're left hanging on that account.  We're left hanging on a lot of things.  It's frustrating.   But in a way it's fair.  It's like life. Will we ever know for sure what happened to Lindsay Chamberlain's baby?   Will we ever know the identity of Jack the Ripper?  Will we ever know who murdered Jon benĂ©t Ramsey? 

Maybe...but probably not.   

27. Decided I will shut up for now and read more of the editorial.  

Wow.  I now know that there are blog posts longer than mine out there.

Basically, Doc Henson argues that the last episode of Lost can be viewed with a perspective that's atheist friendly.  He defends the show against those who say it's pro-Christian propaganda.  It's definitely not pro-Christian.

I wouldn't go as far to say that it's atheist.  But I guess I can see Doc Henson's argument.  And I think Henson himself doesn't necessarily believe it's an atheist story.  

He says, Do I really think Lost was an argument for atheism? No. But I don't think it was an argument for religion, either. If Lost was Biblical in anyway it, it was as Lamentation, not dogmatic. If God exists: Where? If he insists on distance: Why? Is it so wrong to want better forms of proof than 2000 year old scriptures interpreted by flawed followers? That's a legit question that deserves a gracious, reasonable answer — especially when you have whackos promising us rapture and preaching hate toward Others not like them.

I really like his quote there.

I like to imagine that the Lost characters floated into a happy spiritual world together and lived happily ever after.   But I think what Henson is saying is that atheists can watch the show and interpret the finale as saying death is the end. There's nothing more. 

28. Decided the last season of Lost was probably most compatible with people like me.   We're spiritual, but not religious. We don't believe in God.  We don't believe in eternal punishment.  We believe in an afterlife, but a type where it's up to you to create heaven, hell, or something in-between.

I think the last season was less compatible to atheist philosophies; but more atheist-friendly than born-again Christian-friendly.  

29. Found the bits from Doc Jenson's previous Lost editorial that might have given me my deep thoughts.   He says, The origin and evolution of Jacob's spiritual beliefs are as intellectually dubious as a Doc Jensen theory. Over the course of Lost's final act, we learned that Jacob had inherited the Island dogma of his mother, who raised him in isolation from the world and taught him never to question the perspective she had given him or trust anyone who had a different one.

Well, I don't know if I'd say I plagiarised Jenson's ideas and turned them into my own deep thoughts.   I think it's more that I was inspired by his thoughts to come up with my own thoughts.   Or it's probably likely that I read other people's theories last year, forgot them, and now imagine that they've come from my own brilliant mind.  

30. Saw trailer for Oranges and Sunshine.  It gave me goosebumps.  

The movie is about the British children who were sent to Australia...in a not-so-ethical manner.  

It looks beautiful, but sad.

I love the title.

31. Went to the movie's page on IMDb.  It's an Australian-British thing.

The writer and director are from the UK.   The star (Emily Watson) is British.  But then the other stars are Hugo Weaving and David Wenham.

There's an Offspring person in it; Kate Box. She played Alice, the wife of Dr. Chris Havel.

32. Saw that Oranges and Sunshine was filmed in England and South Australia.  

Wait!  I think I remember this movie now.  I think it's the one takes place in Perth, but they filmed it in South Australia because Perth is too modernised.   They needed a place that looked like 1980's Australia.  

33. Searched and found a forum conversation that confirms my memory is correct.  Oranges and Sunshine IS the film with a Perth setting and a Adelaide filming location.  

I think seeing South Australia as the filming location jogged my memory.   I then remembered hearing of a movie filmed in Adelaide that was about the British orphans.

34. Looked at the release dates for the film. Sadly, there's none for the United States.   It's been shown at film festivals in South Korea, Italy, and the UK.   It was released to general British folks in April.  It's coming to Australia on 9 June.    If anyone gets to see the movie, please tell me if you like it or not.

35. Had a weird thing happen—one of those coincidences.   Okay,  I think I fixed the Sims.  So kudos (maybe) to EA games for that.   When I play Sims, I've been naming newly created neighbours after famous Australians.   I'm getting them from my list of Australian biography posts.  I did Penny Wong last time, and the next person was Harold Holt. But I'm skipping him because I've already named Sims after all the Prime Ministers.  So the next person on the list was Cheryl Kernot. This is weird.  Why? Because it was the post about her that looked like it was hacked this morning. 

So I feel something out there is trying to tell me to pay attention to Kernot today.  Why?  I don't know.