Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kindertransport, Australian Realism, Drops, and Crazy Tourism Ideas

1. Considered quitting my fiction blog thing.  I have Pottermore now; and Tallygarunga. I think I have enough of the  Harry-Potter-universe in my life. 

I don't know if I'll quit it completely, or just stop writing in it as frequently.

I'm tired of doing it, but giving it up makes me feel sad.  I'm attached to the characters.

I was thinking, though, that I don't have to let them go.  I can still make up stories about them inside my head.  It would be great for times that I'm bored—those times where I don't have access to a computer, book, or interesting conversation; and deep thoughts aren't running through my head.   I'm very good at daydreaming most of the time.  But there are other times I sit there thinking.  This is so boring.  When is it going to be over?   I should think about something interesting while I'm waiting.  What should I think about?   I can't think of anything.

This happened to me recently.

But, anyway, if it happens in the future, I'll try to think up Julia and Alex stories. 

2. Went to sleep and had an Australia-related dream.  My sister puts up a message on Facebook.   She says she's surprised to learn this actor she likes is Australian; and that his love interest doesn't come from the same time period as him (maybe it's like the movie The Lake House?)  My sister says it's strange that despite reading my blog every week, they didn't know about this. I'm thinking, since when do you read my blog every week?   

Then there's something about the actor wanting to become an American citizen.  He was told he could do this, but then learned later that it was less simple then he had been led to believe. 

3. Felt conflicted about the 19 children being sent to Malaysia.   I understand sending children there with their parents or guardians.  That makes sense to me.  But why are they sending unaccompanied children there?

I don't know.  Why would parents pay a ton of money to send their child off a on a dangerous boat heading to a far away land? They would have to be extremely desperate and worried for their kids.

It's like the bible Story where Moses is put in a basket and left to drift in the sea. 

Or was it a river?

I understand the government is trying to send a message to people in far off lands.  Don't get on the boat!  Don't put your children on the boat.  But maybe they're going too far with the message?

The only thing that makes me hesitate condemning the situation is the question of whether life for children in Australian detention centers is that much better.

4. Hoped that some of the adult asylum seekers, being sent to Malaysia, will unofficially adopt the children.  I hope someone out there watches out for them.

It reminds me of stories I heard about the Holocaust. European (often Jewish) parents would send their children away with the knowledge they might never see them again. But they clung to the hope that somehow their kid would survive.

5. Consulted Lord Wiki about the Kindertransport.  Well...and first I had to do some googling to find out it was called that.  

Nine months before World War II, parents from Nazi-Germany, and other countries, sent their children on a train to England.  There were 10,000 of them.—mostly Jewish.

Lord Wiki says some lived in foster homes, some lived in hostels, and some went to live on farms.   A few were reunited with their parents after the war.  Most learned that their parents had been killed.

But, no. Countries like Australia shouldn't be sending away unaccompanied children.  They should at least see if anyone in the community is willing to take them.  

Lord Wiki says this is what England did. They asked for foster parents volunteers, and 500 people came forward with offers.

6. Introduced to Coles' Down Down advertising campaign, thanks to Andrew's blog.  

7.  Enjoyed reading Iwasn'tbloggedyesterday's post.   She talks about her life by showing the various shoes she has worn.   There are baby shoes, high heels, nursing shoes, jellies that would get small rocks stuck in them, etc.

At one point her arthritis was so bad she had to wear gym shoes all the time.   She was probably mistaken for an American tourist.  

8. Learned that Andrew is having major fantasies about some guy at work.   I was amused because someone in comments said, Ha! You should listen to Asher Keddie as the obstetrician Nina Proudman in the series Offspring. Her internal conversations are hilarious, but they can drive a person nuts :)

There were other funny comments as well; and I liked some of Andrew's responses.


9. Learned that Fruitcake has camera issues.  They might even be worse than mine.   And you know what, I don't even think I have camera issues usually.  I think I have SYDNEY camera issues.    Who in the world loses a camera twice on a holiday? I don't, except when I'm in Sydney.

Fruitcake might have more of a photography issue.   Although the flower example displayed on her blog doesn't look all that bad to me.   She says it's her seventh attempt. That's fine. This is why God invented digital cameras.  We can make 30 attempts if needed.  And people do that!   I'm learning that from my Flickr stalking.  I end up having to look at the same scene five time...sometimes much more than that.

10. Saw that the Australian dollar is worth 1.05 American dollars today. It's getting lower. Or America is getting higher.   Maybe it's a bit of both.  

11. Read article that says Unions NSW wants DIY (do it yourself) reality TV programs to warn their viewers about asbestos.

I think it's a reasonable request.  People should be aware of the dangers.

I do wonder though about the motivation of Unions NSW.  Are they really that concerned about the health of DIY people?   Or is it more a matter of them wanting the jobs for themselves. Do they want to scare DIY people into leaving the work to professionals?  

Sometimes we warn people about stuff because we want them to take the necessary precautions.   Other times we warn them because we don't want them to do something.  We hope our warnings will make them think twice about doing the thing in the first place.

12. Saw website, for DIY people, about removing Asbestos.  

It looks complicated and scary.  Personally, I'd call the professionals.  But that's just me.

I'm not a DIY type when it comes to construction issues.   If I was into it, I'd probably be willing to go through the whole daunting process.

I am DIY when it comes to cutting and coloring my hair. And we're DIY when it comes to educating our child.  

That's about it, probably. 

13. Read article that says indigenous infant mortality rates have declined by 55% in the last two years.

It's nice to hear positive news for a change.  I hope the improvements keep coming.  

14. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called Like Seven Inches From Midday Sun.   It stars those two characters that make me think of The Exorcist, Eudoxia Karras and Jason Miller.

The story takes place in Brighton Beach.  This is that (real) place in Melbourne which has the colorful beach box things.

15. Started to read the story.

Eudoxia is eagerly waiting for her date with Jason.  He's coming over to her place, and she's cooking.

No wait.

I got that wrong.

She's going to his house, and she's going to cook.  He has the bigger home and she has the cooking skills.  It sounds like a good arrangement.

16. Found out my Australian of the day is John Anderson; but not the same John Anderson from yesterday.

They were both born in Scotland though.

17. Saw that today's John Anderson was born thirty-five years after yesterday's John Anderson died.

He grew up to be a philosopher, educator, and controversialist.

What is a controversialist?   I'm guessing it's someone who talks about controversial things?  

This dictionary site says, it's someone who likes to disagree with other people and say things that make people angry or think about a subject.  

It kind of sounds like an internet troll.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with disagreement.  But if someone actually LIKES the drama brought on by being controversial, I would say they might be a troll.

I don't like the drama caused by disagreement, but I'm also not the type of person who will stay silent in order to avoid drama. I guess I'm the type who speaks out and then feels really nervous about it.

The other keyword in the definition is "angry". If people say things just to get others angry, I'd say that's also a good sign they're trolls.

I do like making people think about things; but I'd rather them not get angry at me.

18. Thought about how trolls don't just exist on the internet. They're in the "real world" too.  I guess here we call it pushing buttons.

I think maybe in Australia they say stirring the pot?  

Actually, I don't know.  I saw an Australian using that term once, so I assumed it was Australian.   But he could have gotten it from another culture.

19. Wondered if I ever stir the pot, push buttons...whatever.

I can't imagine that I never do it.

I'm not perfect.

But I think I'm more likely to do it if I'm already angry or annoyed.

You know, I'm thinking about this incident that happened this summer.  I started a conversation with Tim that led to someone else being incredibly annoying.   Then I sort of bitched them out about it.   Did I innocently start the subject—just wanting to talk about it?   Or did I know the other person would join in, annoy me, and then I'd have an excuse to be bitchy.

I really don't know the answer to that.

It's crazy when we don't know our own intentions.

Anyway though....

I don't think I purposely stir the pot just for the fun of it.   I mean if everyone is getting along, I'm not going to think, Oh, this is boring.  What can I say to cause some drama?

I like it when people are getting along.  

20. Went back to reading about John Anderson.

He went to uni in Scotland and studied math and physics. Then he became more interested in philosophy.  He got a Masters of Art Degree in philosophy, and became a philosophy lecturer at various universities.   One of those universities was the University of New South Wales. He taught there from 1917-1919.

Then he worked at the University of Sydney from 1927-1958.   The Australian Dictionary of Biography says, Over the years he was probably the professor most often in the news as a result of controversial utterances not fully comprehended by those who took exception to them.

That's kind of funny.  But is it fair?  Is it true?  Probably in some cases. I've made people angry when I've shared my feelings.  Based on their responses though, I can tell they didn't fully understand what I was trying to say. Is that my fault or their fault?

It's probably a little bit of both.—maybe more one than the other, depending on what's being said and who's in the conversation with me.

21. Liked one of Anderson's philosophical views...if I'm understanding it right.

It's that no one can know everything about anything.

He also believed that nothing was above criticism.  I agree with this...in theory.

I get upset when people criticize the Harry Potter books.

And I don't like critics who talk as if their opinion is absolute.

He's a terrible writer.

No.  You THINK he's a terrible writer.  That doesn't mean he is a terrible writer. And the fact that he has sold many books proves that much of the world disagrees with you. Why is your opinion more valid than their opinion?

22. Learned that John Anderson was not aloof with his students.  He would socialize with them.  Apparently this type of behavior from a professor was rare in the 1930s.

23. Consulted Lord Wiki about John Anderson.  Sometimes the Australian Dictionary of Biography goes over my head.   I figure if I read the same information in a different form, it may help me understand.   Plus, it also helps for me to read about something multiple times.  

24. Learned that John developed a type of philosophy called Australian Realism. I asked Lord Wiki to explain it to me, and I didn't understand what he was saying.

You know what. Maybe I'm just not smart enough for philosophy.  

25. Followed a link that Lord Wiki provided. It's a page about Australian Realism.

This too goes over my head.

I start to understand it, or imagine I'm understanding it.  Then something else is said that's in contradiction to what I thought I had learned.

What I'm getting here (and I could be totally wrong) is that Australian Realism has the idea that things exist outside of us knowing about it. Then we end up knowing about things by using our senses.

Oh......

I think I'm starting to get it.

The website says realism is the opposite of idealism.  In idealism, there's a belief that things exist only if someone's there to witness it.

I think I'm more of a realist than—at least with that definition.   I believe things exist even if no one is around to see them.   Plus, when is nothing around as a witness?  Maybe there's no humans, but there might be other animals.   If a zombie walked into a building and was seen only by a cockroach, does that mean the zombie didn't exist?

26. Learned more about John Anderson from Lord Wiki.

At one point, he associated with the Communist Party of Australia.  But he lost some interest when he realized Stalin's communism was a dictatorship.

John became a pluralist and libertarian.  I think I could be called that. I'm all for freedom and diversity.

I'm less of a libertarian when it comes to finances.  I believe in taxation. I think the government should take some of our money and use it for the common good...although unfortunately sometimes it's wasted.

I'm a libertarian when it comes to morals.  I think there are some absolutes, like don't murder someone or do something reckless that can likely cause an accidental murder.   But in terms of sex, drugs, and stuff like that; I think people should be free to make their own decisions.

Well.....

That's not completely true.

I don't think adults should be having sex with children.  I would find it very hard to tolerate a society in which that is allowed.  But then other people find pornography and homosexuality intolerable.

I think it's very wrong for parents to kill their toddler.   Other people think it's equally wrong for a mother to kill the embryo inside of her.

Can a society exist in which everyone decides on their own personal morals and ethics, and there are no laws regarding these things?

If we went around and asked people, What is absolutely wrong? What should society never tolerate?   How many things would everyone agree upon?  

Something I've wondered about is whether I'd protest a law that forced others to follow my own moral beliefs.

What if a law was made against meat-eating?  Would I stand up and fight for the freedom of meat-eaters?  Or would I stay quiet because I wanted what was best for animals?   I think it would be the latter.   Then I have to ask, if I wouldn't fight against the law, why don't I fight FOR the law?

Do I not fight for anti-meat laws because I think people should have the right to eat what they want to eat?   Do I not fight them because I feel it's a lost cause?  Do I not fight for the law because I'm too lazy and am hoping someone else will do it?

Or maybe I don't fight meat-eating because then I may find myself getting in trouble.   If they outlaw meat, who says they won't someday outlaw dairy products. How about honey?   What if they outlaw pets and zoos?  What if the health nuts get involved and I'm no longer able to eat artificial sweeteners and refined sugar?

27. Decided I prefer a society in which there are minimal laws, but society can work to convince others to make the "right" choice.

Then that makes me think about smoking though.  I know in some cities, the government says you can't smoke in restaurants and bars. I like that because I hate the smell of smoke, and sometimes it makes my eyes sting.  But maybe it would be better if the government didn't interfere; and individual places decided if they wanted to allow smoking or not.  

28. Tired of thinking about morals.

29. Learned from Lord Wiki that John Anderson didn't believe in supernatural beings.  He also didn't believe in non-natural realms.

I disagree with him there.

I believe in supernatural stuff.

30. Continued to think about morals even though I don't want to think about it.

I guess if I'm honest here.....

I like laws that support my morals; and I dislike laws that would prevent me from doing what I want to do.  And then there's stuff in which I don't care either way—like (adult consensual) pornography and prostitution.   I'm not personally into those things, but I'm also not against them.  

And there's drugs.  I'm against them, but don't feel it helps to outlaw them.  And it's hypocritical.  Why outlaw marijuana, but not alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and psychiatric medication?  Why not outlaw junk food?  Studies are showing they can have a drug-like effect on people and they can cause major medical side-effects. 

31. Saw that the stocks here have plummeted, and we might have a recession. 

But America isn't falling alone.  We seem to be taking everyone down with us, including Australia.

The Australian dollar has gone down.  It's now worth 1.049 American dollars. That's the lowest I've seen it in awhile.

32. Decided money has made the world way too complicated; and it would be better if we went back to trading goods and services.

33. Went to Mousie's magical Aussie music database.  

Today I'm going to listen to Holy Grail, another Hunters and Collectors Song.   One thing I don't like about them is the & symbol.  For some reason, Blogger messes that up.   If I switch to edit HTML and then come back, it looks all weird.   Here I'll do it here....how about Jack & Jill.    See?  It adds this amp thing.   What the hell?    Then I have to go back and erase them.   I didn't erase the one between Jack and Jill so you could see what I'm talking about.

Anyway....here's the video.



I've heard it before.  And I knew what the song was before I heard it.  Sometimes I don't know I know a song until I actually start listening to it.

And shit.  The amp crap has come back. I have to fix it again.  

Maybe I should just avoid using that symbol for now on.

34. Alarmed and confused by headlines reading "Tourist Figures Fall off a Cliff".   I thought there was a dreadful accident, but then I wondered what do they mean by figures? I started picturing statues of tourists falling off a cliff.   

It turns out it's about tourism numbers. There's no literal cliff here.

Here's the article

It says Australians are off visiting foreign lands, and not many foreigners are coming to visit Australia.  There's a tourism deficit.

This tourism guy (John Lee) says tourism companies should do things to attract Chinese people.   They're the key market.

Well, fine.  What are we? Chopped liver?

Really.   I think Australia is attractive enough.  It has beautiful beaches, weird animals, nice people, awesome accents, and cool giant things.

The only thing Australian tourism needs to do is make it more affordable....unless they want to only cater to wealthy people.  

35. Thought about what I think would have been a better alternative to the Oprah thing.   Instead of spending all that money (3.5 million) to bring her to Australia;  I think Australia should have offered a monthly sweepstakes where they give people around the world free plane tickets to Australia.

From my previous adventures on the Qantas website, I'd estimate that average economy ticket prices are about $1400 round trip.  Let's say you make it family friendly and allow people to take up to three people with them.  That would be $5600.  Let's round it up to $6000. If you divide 3.5 million dollars by 6000 you get.....

583 months.

That's 48 years....which is kind of ridiculous.

Is my math right?

36. Redid my math on the calculator.  It seems to be right.

So let's change it to allowing people to take a whole crowd with them...like Oprah did.   Each winner would be allowed to take 20 guests.   Or we could have multiple winners.   But let's say 20 people are given free plane tickets to Australia.

That's $28,000 a month.  I'll divide that 3.5 million by that.   

That would give Australia a ten year campaign.

What happens after Oprah's Australia week is months in the past?  How about years?  Are people still going to be thinking about it?   I doubt it.  They'll have watched other travel shows, and they'll have gotten other ideas into their head.

I think a ten year campaign made up of regular average people would have been better.

Yes, Oprah is famous and influential.  But other people can make an impact too. They'll tell their friends about Australia. They'll take pictures. They'll blog about it.  They'll make viral YouTube videos.  

I think the winners will make other people interested in coming to Australia.

Some of those people might wait around hoping that they'll win too.  But if people can afford it, they'll go ahead and buy their own plane tickets.  

It might be good to shave off some of the contest years, or winners per month, and use some of the 3.5 million to give away prizes to people already in Australia. 

The 300th person to go through customs gets a free ticket to Sydney Wildlife World.     

The 405th person gets a free shopping spree.  

The 500th person gets a free lifetime's supply of Tim Tams.  

Disney World did that. They would randomly approach people (via some weird system) and give people prizes.  Some were very small and some were huge. I do think it made it more exciting to be there.  

37.  Wanted to clarify that although Australia would pay for airfare, the tourists would have to pay for their own lodging and other expenses. So tourism companies could get a lot of money.

Oh...you know what....it should be the private companies that give out the random prizes. That would encourage people to choose their restaurants, hotels, attractions, etc.

The 10,000 visitor at the zoo this month gets a free cuddle with a koala!

How about a hotel that picks a random time each day.  Then whoever calls for room service at that time gets a free meal.

I'd have some restrictions though.  Otherwise someone might say, I'll take everything on the menu. 

38. Asked Tim how much our Australia trip coast minus the plane tickets.

We figured out it was about $5000.  We stayed for about 4 weeks so that's 1240 a week.

I think that's a reasonable contribution to Australia's economy.  Some winners wouldn't be able to afford that, but they could go for a shorter time. The contest wouldn't dictate how long you stay in Australia.  Some winners might stay for a week. Other winners might stay for six months.

As some might spend less than we spent in Australia, others might spend much more. They might go to more expensive restaurants. They might stay in five star hotels. They might go on private tours.....
 
39. Went to Flickr so I can look at more Faun070 photos.

I'm going to look at his Melbourne album.  And while I do that I'm going to listen to the "Holy Grail" song again. I like it.  

Here's a picture of Mackenzie Street. Is it famous for something?  It seems like Faun070 purposely took a photo of that particular street. 

40. Googled the street. It doesn't seem to be a huge deal.  I'm guessing it means something to them personally.  Maybe they stayed near there?

Or it could be the name itself.  We sometimes take photos of streets and businesses that have the same name as us, or people we know. 

41. Decided to listen to iTunes while looking at the photos.  I'll use the DJ.  It will be fun to see what songs come up.

42. Started to listen to Christine Anu and The Wiggles sing "Taba Naba".




43. Wondered about the meaning behind this statue at Carlton Gardens. Why are the children holding animals on their head?

44. Started to listen to a song called "To Wish Impossible Things" by The Cure.

45. Proud of myself for knowing this was a photo of the Royal Exhibition Building before looking at the caption.  

46. Started to listen to "Life and Death" from Lost. 

It's so damn beautiful.




47. Loved seeing the Australia flag on this photo.  

48. Thought the kangaroos looked sweet on this statue

49. Liked this photo.   It's kind of mystical.  

50. Started to listen to "Buddha's Delight" by Haley Bennett.

51. Saw a statue of Adam Lindsay Gordon.

Who is that?  

52. Consulted Lord Wiki about Adam Lindsay Gordon.

Lord Wiki says he was a poet, jockey, and politician.

He did a famous leap (on his horse) at Blue Lake in Mt. Gambier.

53. Listened to "Departing Sun" from Lost.



And now I'm listening to the theme song from Maisy.



The cute little voices in the background are done by The Umbilical Brothers, an Australian comedy duo.  

Jack was a fan of Maisy when he was a toddler.

54. Reminded of Epcot when I saw this mini Tudor Village in Fitzroy Gardens.   The German pavilion in World Showcase has a mini village thing.   

55. Listened to "I Got A Plane To Catch" from Lost

I an embedding my own video for that because I used it for our London trip.



There's a very bad edit at 1:23.   But I like the rest of the video.   

56. Touched that there's a JFK memorial in Fitzroy Gardens. 

I have a few tears, but that's partly because now I'm listening to this song.




It was sort of my personal theme song for our 2009 Australia trip, and I featured it in this post.

And I think that's one of my favorite posts.   

57. Felt like giving huge hugs to Tracey, Gina, and Michelle. 

58. Figured I better stop embedding videos in this post.  

59. Saw a photo of 1010 building.   Is that the very eco-friendly one?

60. Googled the 1010 building.   I don't think it's the building I was thinking of. 

61. Found the building.   It's Council House Two.  

62. Liked this statue of Dame Edna. 

63. Proud of myself for knowing this statue was Dame Melba before reading the caption.