Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Qantas, Amro Ali, Animal Encounters, and Climbing Uluru,

1. Loved this line from Cloudstreet.  

All night Cloudstreet ticked, but it didn't go off.

It probably doesn't make sense unless you read it in context.

I think this might end up being one of my favorite books.

2. Read article that says Qantas pilots are alarmed because Qantas will no longer be showing a John Travolta safety video on the flight.  

Why are they alarmed?

Because in the the Book of Revelations....we are told when one of the seven seals is broken, John Travolta will no longer be the spokesperson for Qantas.

This is the beginning of the end.

They think Qantas is getting rid of the video because John Travolta says in the video, There's no-one I'd prefer to have at the controls than a Qantas pilot.   

The pilots think they're getting rid of the video because that's no longer true. They think Qantas is outsourcing their pilots.  

I'm with the pilots when it comes to outsourcing. If I go on a Qantas flight, I want pilots that have been trained by Qantas.  I'd feel better knowing where my pilot's training is coming from. I'd also want to know why Qantas is outsourcing pilots.  Is it cheaper for them?   If it is cheaper for them,  I should be seeing discounts in the fare price.  I don't want to hear that Qantas is making cheap choices so their executives can make more money.

I'm not really with the pilots about the video. I don't know if they need to be getting all alarmist about it.   Maybe it was just time for a change.  And anyway....why is an American the spokesperson for an Australian company?

3. Read article that says, when the John Travolta flight video premiered, the Qantas staff was embarrassed about it. They called it cringe-worthy. 

Maybe Qantas got rid of the video, not because they wanted to retract the message in it; but because they realized the whole thing was an embarrassing mistake.

4. Watched the John Travolta Qantas video.

I didn't know Travolta was a pilot himself.

I love how everyone looks so calm and happy as they get into the crash positions.

And I love the guy who multiplies as he looks for the exit rows.  What?  Did someone spill water on him?   

5. Read Fruitcake's post about shopping.  She talks about how the big retailers of Australia are complaining that they're losing sales because Australians are shopping overseas.  When shoppers shop overseas they don't have to pay the GST thing.  The big retailers want laws changed so Australians do have to pay a GST. Then there will be a level playing field. And then we don't have to worry about these big retailers going out of business and we don't have to worry about all the employees losing their jobs.

It's a convincing argument and I've actually believed it at times.

Fruitcake does a fantastic job of arguing against it.    She points out that it's not just about the GST.   It's about the high Australian dollar. When your dollar is so high, it's cheaper to buy things overseas.

Fruitcake says,

The price of a dollar is also bruising many other businesses which won't be helped by the extension of GST.

Every player in the tourist trade, for example, from the pilot who flies a plane to the proprietor who makes scones and tea in a dinky little small-town tearoom is suffering. These are people who do not have any way to gain more customers from extending the GST. 

Fruitcake also says some of the big retailer's business losses can be blamed on themselves for being mediocre.   

I guess in summary...what she's saying is the problem isn't the GST, it's the high dollar and mediocre business practices.  As for the poor workers who might lose their jobs if Australians don't stop buying their stuff from she says,  Do I care if the Big 3 go broke? No. Their employees will survive because someone with more initiative will soon arrive to take over their share of the market.

6. Read Andrew's comment on Fruitcake's blog.  He thinks one of the main problems is the music played in these stores.

I like when music is playing in stores.

He also complains about the perfume.  I'm with him on that. Although it's been a long time since I've faced the scary sprayer people.  It could be because I don't often go in department stores these days.

Anyway, Modern Family had a funny episode about the perfume. Phil is offered a perfume sample, but before he accepts or refuses the sample, the guy sprays him.  Because of earlier tension during the day, Phil has a moment of temporary insanity.  He grabs the perfume bottle and starts spraying the employee.  He refuses to stop and security is called.   

7. Tried to figure out how I should approach our 2012 Australia trip.

Should I take the Rhonda Byrne approach—visualize the Australia dollar going down, and visualize myself on a beach in Australia.    If I wish hard enough, will the universe bend to my desires?


Should I be very pessimistic with a quiet tiny hope that the universe will surprise me?   I can accept the idea we're not going and instead look forward to my imaginary trip.

Is it better to expect disappointment?

I personally think the universe prefers us to expect the worst. When we expect the best, I think the universe thinks we're being cocky and demanding.

8. Read article about a teenager in Sydney who had a bomb strapped to her.

She's okay fortunately.

I hope they catch the person (or people) who did it.

Well, actually, she may not be completely okay. I'm sure she'll suffer a lot of post traumatic stress disorder.

It's terrifying.

I'm nervous enough just watching a fictional movie that features people strapped to bombs. 

9. Went to Tallygarunga.

Today I'm going to read a story thread called Nice To Meet You.  

It takes place in the Narragyambie Shopping Centre, in a shop called Hoots and Whispers

Hoots and Whispers is described as being, The local pet store, Hoots And Whispers breed not only a fine selection of mailing owls, but also rats, mice, cats, puppies, and various lizards for students wishing to have a slightly.. different pet.   This shop, however does not sell nor carry rabbits or serpents.   

Why not rabbits and snakes?

I have guesses about the rabbits.   They're an invasive species in Australia.   Not everything has to be indigenous in order to be welcomed in Australia; but the problem with rabbits is they breed really fast.

Is the pet shop afraid that by selling rabbits they might contribute to the problem?

Or maybe it has something to do with magicians.  Some people confuse magician magic with wizard magic. Magicians use rabbits.  It's like their symbol.  Maybe the store doesn't want to feed into the magician-wizard confusion?

10. Wondered if I'm reading too much into this. Maybe the pet shop owner simply doesn't like rabbits and snakes.  

11. Looked at the characters in the story. There's Oliver Coleman, a six year Spencer student; and Susan Summers, fifth year Sturt student.  I've read stories with Susan in them before; but it's been awhile.

12. Started reading the story.

I can see that Oliver Coleman's role-player is a big fan of the Weasley twins.  He/she uses James Phelps as Oliver's face claim.   Oliver Coleman is a twin himself; and his twin is named James. So she named her twins after the Phelps twins, and used their faces.  

13. Saw that Susan wants a cat.  James does too.  Oliver doesn't want a kitten because too many other people want one. I guess he wants to stand out a bit. 

14. Saw that the pet store is open to Muggles. They have a special place in the back for the magical animals.  

15. Started watching another Muslim-Australian comedian; Amro Ali  I've watched two minutes, and I've already laughed a few times.  

He pokes fun at the way society views Muslims and Arabs, but not in an angry white-people-are-stupid-and-racist way.  That's the vibe I got from Aamer Rahman, and I didn't like it.

16. Continued to watch the video. I laughed a lot around 2:40, about the catching Bin Laden stuff.

I'm having trouble hearing some of the jokes, so I'm sitting here wondering should I laugh, or be offended?  

17. Liked the Vegemite joke.   It's cute.

Then again, when is a Vegemite joke not cute?

18. Finished watching the Amro Ali video.  I thought it was great—very funny. He pokes fun at Muslims and also society's attitudes towards Muslims.  

19. Saw that Amro Ali has a website.    It looks very brainy.  I guess he's an intellectual comedian.   Well, no...that's rude.   It's like I'm saying most comedians are dumb. That's not what I mean. It's just that Amro looks EXTRA intellectual.

20. Saw on this page of Amro's site that he has his own consulting business called Cordoba Concepts.  

He works with diplomatic issues involving the government and other important people.   

And he does stand-up comedy.

Amro says, This contradiction between diplomacy and comedy has earned me the nickname, the diplomedian.

I think comedy is a great path to diplomacy.   

21. Went back to Tallygarunga.

I'm going to read the biography of Oliver Coleman.  

He was born in New Zealand.

He's tall and likes to change his hair color often.

He usually likes to wear jeans and a t-shirt.  Sometimes he'll wear more trendy clothes.

22. Saw that the Coleman twins are very inspired by the Weasley twins—not just in looks and name.   Like the Weasley twins, the Coleman twins are pranksters.  

23. Saw article that says, a study shows, if Australia builds a high speed rail in Sydney; it could get people to Brisbane in 3 hours.  And the train tickets might be as low as $75.

That sounds pretty good.

How much does it cost to fly there?

I'm on the Qantas site now.

A one-way ticket costs between about $112-175.   So the train could provide some savings. 

The train adds about 1.5 hours to the journey.  That's not too bad.

I think the most important thing is it's better in terms of climate change.  The trains are better for the environment.  

24. Saw that my Australian of the day is a convict.   I think it's the first convict I've encountered since beginning my Australian of the day ritual.

His name was John Anderson.  

He was born in Scotland in 1790, two years after the First Fleet came to Australia.

John was arrested for an uprising.  He arrived in Sydney when he was thirty-one.

Two years later he became a teacher.  His classroom was in a chapel.  

It's interesting that they let a convict become a teacher.  I guess he wasn't viewed as being a dangerous criminal. 

25. Went to find a song on Mousie's database

The song I'm going to listen to today is "When The River Runs Dry" by Hunters and Collectors. 

I don't mind the song. But I don't love it.

26. Felt very eager to continue my stalking of Faun070's Flickr account.  

I'll start where I left off—Faun070's Uluru album.  

I hope they didn't climb Uluru.  But I guess if they did, I'll still be fond of these two guys.   It's hard not to feel at least a little love for those starring in the Flickr accounts you're stalking.

Oh no...they are going to climb it.  

I wish they didn't.

Oh well.

I'm sure there are things I do that bother other people.

27. Wondered if climbing Uluru is akin to drawing cartoons of Mohammed.

It's fun for some; and hurtful and offensive to others.


I prefer the reactions of the Aboriginal people.  They don't threaten or cause violence towards those who ignore their wishes.   They ask nicely and accept that some people aren't going to listen.

We could argue that they're turning the other cheek—letting people walk all over them. The Muslims fight back.  They defend their honor.

But you know what? People are still drawing pictures of Mohammed.    Five years after the Danish newspaper had the Mohammed cartoons, there was a Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. 

Violence rarely solves anything.  In the end, it just gives the other side more motivation to fight back.  

28. Watched government video asking people not to climb Uluru.  

And I read this editorial which talks about the issue.  The author chose not to climb it even though it is legal to do so.  She or he says there has been talk of the government forbidding the climb.  But some worry that without the offer of the climb, there may be a drop in tourism.

Some commenters disagree.  One person says, All the Aboriginals in the area we spoke to said they didn’t really mind if we climbed or not, it was the white park rangers that said it was disrespectful. So I would go back and climb it any day.

I'm not surprised that some Aboriginal people said they wouldn't mind people climbing.  I'm Jewish.   If someone asked me whether or not I minded a pork sandwich being brought into a synagogue, I'd probably say no.  I don't care. I'm not religious.

I'm sure there are some Aboriginal people who really don't give a hoot about their religion.  It wouldn't surprise me if some of them were more concerned with making money off of a tour than respecting the sanctity of the Dreamtime.  

But I think if the elders of the community have said this is disrespectful, it's nice to listen.

29. Read comment on editorial that said, Nonetheless some of my mates did decide to climb it. They argued that Uluru, being a sacred place to the Aboriginals, can be compared to, for example, a catholic church and that, since Aboriginals are allowed to enter ‘our’ sacred places, that gave them the right to enter their ‘church’ too. I disagreed, but many people do see this as a justification.

I think entering a Catholic church is akin to visiting Uluru—walking around it, taking pictures, exploring the area.

I see climbing Uluru as being akin to VISITING a Catholic Church (when you're not Catholic); climbing up on the alter, and touching all the stuff that is up there.  

30. Started to look at Faun070's photos of North Queensland.  

I have this feeling that he's the type of guy who might ignore crocodile warning signs.  But I guess he survived because there's a lot more albums after this one.  

31. Liked Faun070's shorts in this photo.  

32. Liked this photo of Four Mile Beach.   Maybe we should go there someday.   We've been to One Mile Beach and Seven Mile Beach.   We should add to our mile beach experience collection.  

33. Got idea that Faun070's partner is a risk taker.  I'd be way to scared to sit on a railing like he's doing in this picture.   

Oh!  Never mind. It's not as high as it looked.  

34. Saw a photo of the Mossman Gorge.

I don't think I've heard of it before. Lord Wiki says it's in the Daintree National Park.    I HAVE heard of that.

35. Thought Faun070 had a nice smile in this photo.

36. Liked this photo of the Australian Brush Turkey.

You know Faun070 is really good at labeling his bird photos.  I'm wondering if he's a bird expert.   Or does he have some kind of bird guide? 

Maybe he has Andrew's bird book.  

37. Wondered about the pinkish-purple things in this picture.  They look kind of like beetles.  But maybe they're just flower bits.  

38. Started to look at Faun070's second album of North Queensland pictures.

In this photo set, they go rafting.

They saw a platypus.

Oliver Coleman from Tallygarunga wishes he had a pet platypus.

I wonder if he knows they're venomous.

39. Loved this photo of the Atherton Tableland.   It's BEAUTIFUL. 

And here are some cockatoos in the trees

40. Wondered if there are crocodiles in this river they're rafting in.

If I was Queensland, I'd probably be checking the swimming pools for crocodiles.  

41. Googled Tully River (where the rafting adventure took place) and crocodiles.   I found this on a government site.  

The report is from July 15, 2009.  A crocodile was spotted in a watering hole of the Tully River.    Six days later, Faun070 and his partner went rafting in the river.

I swim in the ocean though; and there's always the chance there may be sharks.

But I'm more scared of crocodiles.

42. Started to look at Faun070's Brisbane photos.  

In this one, it looks like the Ibis is trying to eat lion vomit.  

Here's some yummy donuts.  

43. Saw a photo of St. John's Anglican Cathedral and wondered if Faun070 is going to climb up on the alter. 

It looks like his partner is thinking of trying

44. Thought this was a great picture of kangaroo-human-emu bonding. 

The guys are at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.   It looks nice.  

On this page they say koala cuddling has been banned in New South Wales since 1997. In Queensland it's legal, but koalas can be cuddled for no more than 30 minutes a day.

That sounds fair.

I think it would be invasive to give them too many cuddles.  I'm guessing thirty minutes is reasonable.  Hopefully if a koala seems resistant, they don't force it to be held.   

I'm confused about New South Wales though.   I think some kind of koala interaction was offered at Taronga and Sydney Wildlife World.  Was it not cuddling?

45. Looked at Taronga's website.    It looks like you can get your photo taken with a koala, but you don't hold it.   It stays in its tree.  

46. Felt a lack of interest in holding a koala.

I'd rather feed the lorikeets.

47. Started to look at Faun070's album of the Sunshine Coast.     They went to the Australia Zoo.

I wonder if they saw Bindi.  

48. Liked this photo of Kanyana Park.

49. Saw photo of the most venomous snake in the world; the Inland Taipan.   It's not really the deadliest though, because it's shy and doesn't hang out in human areas very often.  

50. Loved this quote on the animal hospital window, and I definitely agree with it.

Those who love to pet and baby wild animals "love" them.  But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.

51. Saw picture of film set being built for Narnia III.

I didn't know it was filmed in Australia.  

52. Looked up The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader on IMDb

It says it was filmed in Queensland. 

53. Wondered if I want to continue with Faun070's photos tomorrow.  He has a lot of Australian albums.  Or do I want to move onto someone else's albums?

Or should I take a break from Flickr stalking for awhile?

Well, I'll figure it out tomorrow......