Sunday, June 26, 2011

Peace, Ministry of Magic, Clergymen, and Age

1. Had another dream about going to Australia and failing to tell people we're coming.  Tim, Jack, and I are in Melbourne.  There are people I want to see, and I could email them on my Blackberry. But I'm not good at mobile type emailing.  I ask Jack to do it for me, and for some reason he refuses.   I realize I have one person's phone number.  I could call her, but I feel insecure about that. I have doubts that she wants to hear from me, or see us.  And then I remember she's visiting Tasmania, anyway.   

2. Read editorial written by Martin Flanagan.  After reading it, I was curious to who Flanagan was.   So I asked Lord Wiki.

He's a journalist who writes a sports column.

He's also the brother of Richard Flanagan, the Tassie author. I should have suspected that.  

The editorial was about the Palestinian-Israeli football team. Flanagan and some others are going to Israel to meet the players.  Flanagan is impressed with the whole business, and so am I.

I don't often have a lot of understanding about why Palestinians and Israeli's hatefully and violently fight over a tiny piece of land.  Flanagan is more understanding than me.  I know I'm going to a deeply troubled region. I also know I'm going to a powerful land. Three great religious dreamings emanate in one way or another from there.   

Flanagan uses the term power of place.   I think for some Jews and Palestinians, there IS a power of place.  For others, I think the power of place comes out of the animosity towards the other group.

It reminds me of the time that Jack came to the lake house with fake cat vomit.   He showed it to his cousins, and they played together. Then suddenly, there was a huge tearful fight over the cat vomit.    My sister and I were dragged into the drama. Suddenly, we realized that this was cat vomit we were talking about; and it all seemed so silly.

No, I'm not saying that Israel is like cat vomit.  I'm just saying that sometimes we cling to something simply for the fact that other people are clinging to it as well.  

I'd say for many Jews, they hate Palestinians more than they love Israel. And for many Palestinians, I bet they hate Jews more than they love their land of Palestine.

I think the Palestinians and Jews who reach out to each other and try to make peace...I think they're the ones who truly love the land of Israel.

3. Saw on the SBS Facebook Page that they're going to have interviews with the show's participants on Tuesday at 8:30.  I wish I could see it, but I haven't even yet been able to watch part two or part three of the show. I think soon I'll resort to getting the spoilers from Lord Wiki; or elsewhere.
 4. Disgusted by an article about an American evangelist preacher.  He drove drunk in Australia, and received no punishment.   Why?  The New South Wales magistrate said he was a person of good character.   The preacher may be a good person, but he did a very bad thing.  He should have been punished.

The preacher believes God has forgiven him.  I don't know how he knows what God forgives and doesn't forgive.  But fine.   If he wants to believe that, it's his business.  However, just because a god forgives you doesn't mean the courts need to forgive you.  Well, they can forgive you after you receive the appropriate and usual punishments for the crime.

5. Read the comments from the article.  It seems I'm not the only one disgusted by the story. People are asking if the drunk driver would have gotten the same mercy if he was an atheist or Muslim.   

I don't know....

6. Read another disturbing article about the thalidomide issue.   Apparently former Nazis profited from the whole thing.   Or maybe one Nazi.   His name was Heinrich Muckter.  No wait. There's another Nazi guy; Otto Ambros.  Otto ended up working for the British company that sold the thalidomide drug to Australia.

The other troublesome thing is that the government failed to give timely warnings to the public.   Some doctor named William McBride tried to warn the world about the drug's dangers.  Ten months after the warning, no Australian state had stopped use of the drug.  A year after the warning, the health Minister of Victoria refused to ban it.  He says that the medical community wanted him to use his influence to calm the public fears.

People put way too much faith in the medical profession, or at least drug companies.  Well, I think we put too much faith in doctors who put too much faith in drug companies.

I think we need to remember this story when we talk to parents who are afraid to vaccinate their children.  They need to be provided with scientific study papers plus intelligent and honest answers to their questions. It's not fair to insist that they simply trust in doctors, drug companies, and the government.  If parents have been failed by these groups before, it's not impossible for them to imagine that they may be failed again.

In some cases, fear isn't based on real dangers; yet the paranoia is still understandable.

7. Received advice on how to watch Go Back To Where You Came From. I'm not sure it's 100% legal, but I do think it's ethical.

It could be legal.  I'm not sure.   

8. Figured out that I have to pay to follow this advice to watch Australian television. They do have a free service that will block your IP address, but it won't go as far as letting you watch television from another country.

It's not that cheap. I'm not sure if I'm up to spending the money at this point.

I have it bookmarked for future reference.  

If it gets to the point where I want to watch a ton of Australian television, I'll do it.  Right now I really just have Offspring and the last two episodes of Go Back To Where You Come From.  I already figured how to get Offspring via YouTube.  I'll keep up with that.

What I really wish is that the geo-blocking stuff would end, and everyone around the world could watch everything they wanted.

9. Went to Tallygarunga.  I'm going to read a story thread that's new to me today.   It's called Climbing

It takes place in the Victorian Ministry of Magic which is located in Melbourne.

There's two characters involved.  One is Jason Miller, the Minister of Magical Law Enforcement.   The other is an Auror named Olivia Branxton.  

I feel like I've read a story with Jason Miller before. I could be wrong.  I may have just seen his name around.

10. Started to read "Climbing".

Olivia has flushed herself into the Victorian Ministry of Magic.  This is the same method used to get into the London Ministry of Magic.

I wonder if it's a universal Ministry of Magic type thing.

11. Learned that Olivia has recently become the head Auror.  She seems to be pretty pleased with herself and her new position.

12. Learned that dragon eggs may have been smuggled into Victoria.

13. Learned that Jason doesn't like Olivia's husband.  Why?  I don't know.  Jason doesn't seem to know either.   That makes sense.  Sometimes I don't like people, and I can't explain why.

14. Continued to read the story.  The main theme seems to be paperwork.  Olivia wonders if her promotion will lead to her having a less active role of Auror.  Will it be more administrative?

Jason assures Olivia that she can still go out in the field.

15. Decided to read Jason Miller's biography.

He's 32, and was born in Melbourne.

His Patronus is a hawk.

16. Learned that Jason has a nice body.  He works out ,and Auror work is physically challenging.

He doesn't just have muscles from his job, but scars as well.

17. Decided that Jason reminds me of our friend Greg.  Jason is a very colorful guy. A fun-loving individual, he loves to be around a crowd of people, having fun and cutting up when it's acceptable. However, when needed, he's a very serious, hard working guy. He is loyal to the core, and is the one that many look to when in need to guidance. Some would call him a leader, but he just calls it charisma. At work, he is the guy that can boost moral, and cause people to crack a smile.   

That's TOTALLY Greg.  Greg is a workaholic, but also a funaholic.  He's full of spirit and kindness.

18.  Learned that Jason's father was an Unspeakable in the Ministry of Magic.  What's that?   Should I know that from reading the Harry Potter books?   I don't.  See, this is exactly what I was talking about before.  I'm a fan of Harry Potter, but not a very good one because I don't remember things.  

19. Consulted one of Lord Wiki's cousins.  She says an Unspeakable is someone who works in the Department of Mysteries.  

20. Learned that the Unspeakable father of Jason died a mysterious death.

Later his depressed mother died of a drug overdose.

21. Learned that Jason had a wife—Alyse.   Things didn't work out.   She had a miscarriage, and she couldn't handle Jason being far away in Africa.   Yeah.   Distance can be hard on relationships sometimes.
22. Learned that Jason is very wealthy, but doesn't flaunt it.  It's one of his secrets.  I think that's pretty wise.  If you're extremely wealthy and people know about it, it's really hard to know who's your friend because they truly like you, and who's your friend because they're gold-diggers.   

23. Started to read chapter eleven of Fruitcake's blog/book.  It's about the Referendum.

Wow!  Fruitcake is much older than I expected.  I thought she was around my age.   I don't know why.  It's like when I thought HappyOrganist was in her sixties or seventies and she turned out being younger than me.  

I wonder if bloggers give off a kind of age aura.

If people didn't know my age, what would they expect from reading my blog?  Do I seem like I'm 38?

Anyway, Fruitcake was born in the 1950's.  She's about two decades ahead of me.  She's close to my parent's age.

24. Fascinated by what I'm learning from Fruitcake.   She talks about the Australian school system in the past.   From 1920-1960, textbooks rarely changed.  That's the great thing about the internet. We don't need textbooks, and we don't need to rely on outdated information.

Fruitcake has actually scanned part of her old textbook. She wants to show how the subject of Aboriginal Australians was presented to school kids.

The chapter from the excerpt she scanned is called "Other Features of Australian Life."

The chapter is fairly positive towards Aboriginal people; but the first line is of the article is A Vanishing Race.  They're interesting folks, but they're far away and will be gone soon.  So don't worry too much about it.  

Would it be too optimistic of me to imagine other parts of the book had information about how the arrival of the white Europeans negatively affected the lives of the first Australians?

25. Read the rest of Fruitcake's blog post.  She talks about the events that led up to the Referendum.   I was going to summarize what she says, but that's silly.   She says it so well.   It's better if people follow the link and read it for themselves.  

26. Learned from the Australian Dictionary of Biography that my Australian of the day is Robert Allwood.  He was a clergyman.  

Robert was born in Jamaica in 1803.  He lived in England and did church career stuff there. Then in his late 30's, he and his wife moved to Sydney.

Robert worked at St. James Church on King Street. I think one of my past Australians of the day worked in the choir there.  Which man was he?  I'm going to go look.   Maybe they worked at the church at the same time.....

Nope.   The choir guy was George Allman.   He wasn't born until 1883, so he and Robert weren't quite contemporaries.  Allwood retired from St. James Church when Allman was a baby.   

27. Finished reading the information about Robert Allwood.  There's not much I want to report.

28. Started to listen to a song that was recommended to me via email.   It's Little Bit of Something by Little Red.   The video I'm hearing it from was done at a concert so the sound quality isn't so great.  But even with that problem, the song sounds pretty okay.  I mean I like the song better than some songs I've heard on videos with good sound quality.

29. Learned from Lord Wiki that Little Red is a band from Melbourne.

30. Started listening to Slow Motion by Little Red.   This has better sound. The beginning of the song reminds me of 1980's music....or maybe late 1970's?   I don't know.    I'm not really an expert on music genres.  

31. Decided that the instrumental part of the song reminds me of TV theme songs from the 1980's.    OR it could be the song played at the end of a 1980's movie. 

No...maybe it would be the song played at the beginning.  I picture a bunch of high school kids gathering up their books from their lockers and walking out the school door. They walk down the steps, and some guy makes eye contact with the girl he's been interested in.   She smiles at him, and then....

Well, I don't know what happens next.  I have writer's block.  

32. Made the mistake of watching a trailer for the next episodes of Offspring.    It's all very dramatic, and now I'm wanting to know what's going to happen. This is a problem because I wasn't planning on buying more episodes until November!!

33. Read the comments under the trailer video on Facebook.  People are guessing what the big Offspring tragedy is going to be. They're guess is pretty much the same thing that I was guessing.   It's going to be a Cherie thing, or something with Billie's pregnancy.