Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wearable Flags, Baulkham Hills, Museums, and Hillsong

1. Tried to introduce Australian music into Jack's musical education.  He's really into popular music right now.  I want his repertoire to include Aussie music.  So far, he hasn't showed much interest.

Tonight, I showed him some Hilltop Hoods. 

Then, since he's into Michael Jackson, I figured he might appreciate some other retro stuff. So I turned on some INXS + Jimmy Barnes. Jack saw the name and said, I've heard of iincks. I couldn't help, but laugh. It's a fair mistake, but it was cute.

2. Saw that an Aboriginal actor named David from the movie Australia, Rabbit Proof Fence, and Crocodile Dundee has died. I guessed it was David Gulpilil, but it was another David.

People often come to my blog via keywords related to David Gulpilil dying. I'm guessing these rumors might increase now.

Why do people think Gulpilil is dead?  

3. Looked at the IMDb page of the actor who has died.  He was only in his forties.  It's very tragic.  I hate when people die young.

4. Read Decoybetty's old post about Australians liking the Australian flag as clothing. The post was mentioned in a currently popular meme in which people promote their most popular post, their most controversial post, their most overlooked post, etc.    The Australian flag post was Decoybetty's most overlooked post—or the one in which she got a surprisingly low response.

Tim and I did notice a lot of flag stuff sold in Australia.  Is it different in America? I don't know.  It's not something I'd buy, so it's really not something I'd notice.

I do know we have American-flag stuff and other patriotic merchandise around the 4th of July. I'm not sure if it's readily available at other times.

Decoybetty says, Now as Inspector Climate (who is reading over my shoulder as I type this) pointed out, that I shouldn't really be talking about Australians and their flag habits because he's been to America and there are American flags on everything....cars, buildings, homes, t-shirts. And that's true, we do put the American flag on things. But we don't wear the ACTUAL FLAG.

Yeah.  I guess that would probably be the difference. In America, there's usually a background along with the flag.  I have an Australian flag t-shirt.  It's just the flag itself with no background. One of our Australian friends bought a t-shirt with an American flag on it while in Hawaii.  It didn't just have the flag.  It had a white background and some kind of message on it as well.

5. Read the comments on Decoybetty's post.   Frisky Librarian (AKA Gleeful) says, I think it's a certain subset of the Australian population that enjoys wearing the flag.  She's agreeing with another commenter that said it's usually bogans who wear the flag.  I think it's the same in America.   It's a certain part of the population that wears the patriotic stuff when it's not the 4th of July...or tourists, maybe. I used to assume people wearing t-shirts displaying the American flag were a certain type of person.  But then we went to Australia and I bought an Australian flag t-shirt, a jacket with the Australian flag, and an Australian towel.  So it got me thinking that people I see in America wearing American flag t-shirts might be foreign tourists who are excited to be in my country.  

6. Found a website that sells wearable American flags.  So it's not just an Australian thing.   Americans can wear their flag too.    

They say this shirt is one of their most popular products. It's definitely a wearable flag, and not just a flag on a shirt.  

7. Found another website that sells American flag stuff.

They have an American flag bikini.   People can wear that while they carry their American flag beach towel.  The store isn't patriotic in an ethnocentric way.  They also sell flags from around the world, including Australia's.

8. Went back to sleep after having insomnia and had a short dream about Australia.  I see a video segment that shows a thrill ride that looks familiar to me.  The announcer on the video says that this ride in Baulkham Hills is the best thrill ride in Australia.   I'm glad to hear that since it's near where we live.  Then I remember that it's not true.  We don't live in Sydney. We only visited there a few times.   I'm somewhat disappointed.  

The thrill ride thing was a stand alone attraction rather than one at an amusement park. And it wasn't really a roller coaster.  It was more like riding on a fast bus or train.

9. Decided to read about Baulkham Hills.  It's interesting that out of all the places in Australia; I dreamed about that specific one.

Lord Wiki says it's a north western suburb of Sydney.  On Google Maps, I can see it's between Parramatta and Castle Hill.  I think Castle Hill is where Jaclyn Moriarty's Ashbury High series takes place. 

Okay. Yeah.  A Google search confirms that for me. 

10. Continued to read about Baulkham Hills .  Lord Wiki says it was originally the home of the Bidjigal People.   One of them was Pemulwoy, the resistance fighter.   I remember reading about him.

11. Decided I should probably put one of those warnings to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders about dead people on my site.  A part of me has resisted because I feel...well, isn't it obvious that I'm going to talk about dead people on my blog?  And even if I talk about living people, eventually they're going to die.

But still...it seems the polite thing to do.   Maybe it's more of a courtesy thing?   I'm wondering do most Aboriginal people stay away from these exhibits, websites, movies, etc. when they see there will be images, mentions, and voices of those who have died?   Or does it just help them to do know what to expect.

12. Put up my message.

I'm looking at Aboriginal websites, such as this Koori History one.   They have the warning too.  So it's making me conclude that it's more of a be-prepared warning rather than a stay-away warning.   Otherwise, I would think the Aboriginal sites would simply avoid mentioning the names of people.  

It definitely seems to be more of a polite/politically correct thing rather than a real warning. I think it's logical to assume that if you go on a website about Australia (especially one specifically about Aboriginal-Australians), that there's going to be talk of people who are now deceased.  

13. Went back to reading about Baulkham Hills.

Lord Wiki says it's known as the Bible Belt of Sydney; and it's the headquarters of the infamous Hillsong church.  

14. Watched Abbe May's Taurus Chorus video.  The link was sent to me in an email.  It's interesting in an odd kind of way.  I'm not sure I like the song though.

In general, it's not really my kind of thing.   It's the kind of song I'd like only if I began to associate it with a positive memory.   If I was having a great time, and heard the song; then next time I heard the song, I'd probably like it.

15.  Went to Tallygarunga.   I read the newest post on the Paper Airlines story thread.  This is the one that takes place in the Ministry of Magic, and features two names associated with The Exorcist movie—Eudoxia Karras and Jason Miller.  

There's one new post by Jason.  He flirts with Eudoxia. That's about it.

16. Related to a scene in Sheridan Hay's The Secret of Lost Things.  I actually related to both characters in the scene, in different ways.

Rosemary has feelings for a co-worker.  She's already been warned that he's gay.  She thinks she's okay with that, but realizes such knowledge cannot keep you from falling in love.

In college, I fell in love with my gay best friend.   Although I didn't know he was gay until after the love bit came. Once I knew, I couldn't just turn the feelings off.   I was respectful and understanding of his sexual preferences; but secretly there was a part of me that hoped he'd change.  It wasn't about being homophobic.  It was about wanting him to love me in the way that I loved him.

I'm sure it's not a rare situation.  There must be lots of straight people in love with gay people. And I'm sure there's lots of gay people who are in love with straight people.

The other thing I could relate to in the story was the attitude of Rosemary's co-worker.   She asks him to come to her apartment for dinner, and he rejects the invitation.  He doesn't like socializing.  That reminds me of me.

I do go through stages.  In college, I was social.  But honestly, I think that's because I had crushes on so many different people.  I would go out and be social in hopes of seeing certain people. I was like a predator.

Now when I do social things, it's pretty much just for the purpose of giving Jack social opportunities.  I talk to my mom friend while our children play.   I can't imagine asking Tim to babysit Jack so I could go out to lunch with my friend without our kids.  I have absolutely no interest in that.   Fortunately, my friend here doesn't care as well.  And we both see that we have plenty of time to chat while the kids play in the other room.

When Jack was a baby, I did seek out social opportunities for myself because I needed that connection with other moms.  But again, I talked to moms while we both took care of our children.  I rarely had time for myself in those days. If I got a babysitting offer, I'd want to spend it alone, not on any girl's night out type activity.

17. Thought about how I don't mind (and often enjoy) very short adult-only social experiences.

I just totally felt like Dr. Martin Clegg when I typed that.


When we were in Australia, Tim and Jack went to the playground while I chatted with my new friend for about 20 minutes.   In Hawaii, my friend and I had some nice short walks together. This weekend, I had a brief walk outside with my sister.

All of that was lovely.  I just wouldn't be interested in carving out an evening or afternoon for the sole purpose of having child-free adult socializing.  If I had my choice, I'd rather use that time to work on my blog or read a novel.

18. Wanted to clarify that I'm not a total loner...not that's there's anything wrong with that.

I've taken those psychological tests before, and I'm pretty much in the middle of extrovert and introvert.  I do like being with people. I think it's just that I get my fulfillment from Jack, Tim, our almost weekly visits with the family, email conversations, etc.    

Now that I think of it. My college social urges (feel like Martin Clegg again) was probably NOT just about hunting for romance.  I didn't have my family there. I was alone.  And I probably needed to be with people so I could feel less alone.

Anyway...yeah.   I need a nice mix of alone time and other-people time.  If I'm alone for too long, I start to feel bad...on edge.   If I'm around people who are very social, and seem to expect too much out of me in that regards; I begin to feel suffocated.  

19. Read article about Rupert Murdoch's apology.   I really don't know if it's a sorry-we-got-caught kind of thing, or if he was apologizing for not being more aware and in control of what was going on in his empire.  The guy is definitely not innocent; because if you own a company, part of the job is making sure nothing unethical is happening.  I'm not sure though if he was a deliberate and knowing participant in the drama.  If I took the time to read more about it, I might have a better idea.  But I don't feel like it.

20. Absolutely disgusted with the Smithsonian Museum in America.  Well, actually I'm disgusted with their past behavior.   But now they've done the right thing.   So I guess it's okay.  They had the remains of dead Aboriginal people, and now they've finally returned them.   

The bones were taken sixty years ago.   Aboriginal Australians tried to get them back, but the Smithsonian kept refusing.  Yet, there are laws in America that say museums can't keep the remains of Native Americans.  So you can keep the remains of native dead people as long as they don't come from America?    That's ridiculous.  

I remember being angry with England because they had Aboriginal remains.  I never stopped to think that my own country was being as awful.  Although, really. I can't say I'm that overly surprised.

21. Wondered why I get so angry about stolen bones.  I'm not a big believer in the importance of dead bodies.   To me, the discarded body is meaningless and worthless.  Although I try to respect that other people and cultures don't feel the same way.   Still respecting cultural differences isn't enough reason to make my blood boil.

I think it might be more about disrespecting another culture.   Well, and it's also about taking something that's not yours.   If you take something from another culture, and they don't ask for it back...fine.  Keep it.   But if what you've taken is important, and they ask for it back, they should get it.    The exception would be if you needed the object to destroy Horcruxes.   Then you should definitely keep it, at least until the Horcruxes are destroyed.  But something that's important to a group of people shouldn't just be kept locked up in a far away museum.   

22. Saw that my Australian of the day fits in well with what I just wrote above. It's Charles Anderson, a museum director. I'm excited to find out which museum.

Charles was born in Scotland in 1876.

In his schooling years, he won many science awards.

In 1901 he became the mineralogist at the Australia Museum in Sydney.

We saw minerals at that museum.  Tim took photos. Here's one of them.

In 1921, Charles became the director of the Australia Museum.  

23. Saw that the Australia Museum site has a page about Charles Anderson.  There's not much written there; but they do have a photo.  

24. Watched a Natalie Tran video.  It's about body shivers. I liked it less than I liked the other videos from her I've seen.  

25. Decided to watch another Natalie Tran video. Maybe I'll end up liking it more.

I watched this one.

I liked it better than the last. I can relate to it. It reminds me of Jack and myself. We're picky and paranoid about such things. We'll happily share germs with each other—the three of us in our immediate family. But beyond that, we're a bit anal.

26. Decided to read about the Hillsong Church.

I'm wondering if I went too far in calling it infamous.  It's just that I can't ever remember hearing anything positive about it.  I think I've heard negative things.  But I can't remember the details. 

Lord Wiki says the headquarters of Hillsong is in Baulkham Hills.  That's the mother ship.

For some reason, I thought it was started by Americans.  But it turns out it wasn't. It was started by a husband and wife from New Zealand; Brian and Bobbie Houston.

27. Learned the general beliefs of Hillsong. They're Pentecostal.  They believe in speaking in tongues.  They're against homosexuality, stem cell research, and abortion.  They believe in creationism, and think this should be taught in schools.

28. Learned that Hillsong has a big music thing.  They have their own music label.  Here's one of their songs.

I think it's pretty.  I can't say it's the first time I've liked a Jesus-related song.  

29. Started to read about the controversies of Hillsong.

The first one was about a government grant given to the Hillsong community for helping an Aboriginal Community.  It's alleged that they used some of the money to pay staff members.  I'm not sure how that works; whether it's allowed for some grant money to go towards salaries. Is using money for salaries illegal, or just frowned upon?

In the next listed controversy, Lord Wiki says that the founder's father confessed to sexually abusing a child thirty years earlier.  Brian Houston (the founder) convinced his father to resign.

30. Vaguely remember hearing about the next controversy.  Hillsong had connections to an organization called Mercy Ministries.  Oh...maybe this is what was American. And somehow it's all connected to Gloria Jean Coffee.

Mercy Ministries exists to help women.  Some of their practices are a bit suspicious.

Okay, and yeah.  Lord Wiki says this group was started in the United States.  

What would happen is women would accept offers for help from the services, thinking they'd be getting trained professional counselors.  Instead their treatment was very religious based; kind of similar to exorcisms. 

31. Found out that Gloria Jean Coffee was involved because they were a sponsor for the Mercer Ministries.  But they pulled their support in 2009, probably because of all the controversy.

32. Tried to figure out if I knew Gloria Jean Coffee was an Australian company. It's familiar to me.  Did I see it in Australia?  I guess so.  But I don't have that direct association for some reason.

33. Saw that there's lots of Gloria Jean Coffee stores in America.  But they're not really in places I visit.  So I must have seen it in Australia.  Or we might have seen it in London.  

34. Learned from Lord Wiki that Gloria Jean Coffee was originally an American company.  Later it was bought by Australians.  Although I'm confused. If I'm understanding things right...they owned the stores around the world, but not the American stores.  That might have changed in 2009.  I'm not sure.

I'm confused.

35. Learned that the Australian CEO of Gloria Jean Coffee is a board member of the Hillsong Church named Nabi Salah.  Lord Wiki says he grows coffee trees in his backyard.  That's pretty cool.

36. Went back to reading about Hillsong controversies.

A former church member (Tanya Levin) wrote a scathing book called People in Glass Houses : An Insiders Look of Life Inside and Outside of Hillsong.

I guess it was pretty well-known. Andrew Denton interviewed her about it.  I might watch that later.
37. Saw Lord Wiki accusing Hillsong of doing Australian Idol vote stacking.  I guess this means they gave a contestant too much support.  

38. Remembered the last controversy that Lord Wiki mentions.  It's the guy who pretended to have cancer, but he really didn't.  Although he was from a different religious group; The Planet Shakers.   But I guess he was also connected to Hillsong.   Maybe he was supported by their music label?

39.  Started to watch the Andrew Denton interview with Tanya Levin.

40.Intrigued about Tanya Levin's last name. As far as I know, that's a VERY Jewish last name. I think it might be one of the priestly name things? I may be wrong. And I don't really know what I'm talking about. I am pretty sure it's Jewish though. So I wonder when the family switched from Judaism to Christianity. Was it a few generations back, or several?

41. Consulted Lord Wiki about the surname Levin. He agrees. It's Jewish. It refers to descendants of the tribe of Levi. They were the Levites. Lord Wiki says their job was to minister to the priests. I'm not sure what that means.

Oh well.

Let me get back to watching the video, before I get too distracted.

It's interesting. Tanya talks about both the good and bad aspects of growing up in the church. She talks about feeling close to God, and feeling invincible. She says the church gave her the sense that she could do anything...overcome anything.

On the negative side of the coin, the church used fear tactics. Tanya learned to be terrified of Satan.

She says she started questioning the church at the age of 16, suddenly feeling it was all a charade.   She started getting skeptical about the speaking in tongues stuff.   Then what really changed her was working for the Salvation Army.   They showed Tanya a different type of Christianity, one that was more humble and charitable.  She compares the two groups. While the Salvation Army focuses on serving the community, Hillsong focuses on making money and recruiting people.

42. Started watching part 2 of the interview.   Tanya talks about becoming more disillusioned when Brian Houston told the congregation about his father's transgressions.  Tanya was disturbed by the fact that there was concern shown for the sexual abuser, but no concern shown for the children he had harmed.

Yeah.   That would bother me too.

She then talks about something called prosperity theology.  She shows a book Brian Houston wrote.  You Need More Money.  The idea is that God wants his followers to be rich. 

It reminds me of Rhonda Byrne's The Secret.  It's this idea that the main purpose of spirituality is to obtain material wealth.  

43. Wondered about my past judgments of Andrew Denton.  I remember him annoying me at times because he said things that seemed negative towards co-sleeping and homeschooling.  I can't remember what exactly.  But he seemed equally harsh towards Tanya Levin leaving the church.   I thought he was atheist, and Lord Wiki confirmed that.  So maybe that's just his style of interviewing.   Whether he disagrees or agrees with you, he acts a bit disagreeable. He plays the devil's advocate.