Monday, August 1, 2011

Reactions, Orangutans, Dieting, and Love

1. Decided, with Tim, that if Australia is worth 1.01 American dollars or less; we'll go to Australia in 2012.

We'll look at the dollar comparisons in November.

2. Dreamed about an Australian.

My cousin Jennifer calls me over to a room in which I made the bed.  She points out that I've put one sheet over another sheet.   She's not mean about it.  But I'm mean back.   I get very defensive and fight back with my own complaints.  I scold her and the other people in the room for changing the sheets of the bottom mattresses.  I say we lay on couches and those don't get their sheets changed.  Why do you change sheets of mattresses no one even lies on?  It's a waste of water.   

I act very intimidating.

Then it ends up people are under the covers of the bed. They reveal themselves and one of them is Cherie from Offspring (Deborah Mailman).  I'm embarrassed that I was horrible in front of her.

Later, while alone, I think that it's okay.  I was just playing a character.  Later, she'll see one of my nice characters.  I argue with myself though. I wasn't just acting. I really felt angry. Then I tell myself that's part of acting—getting yourself to feel real emotions. 

3.  Noticed, when looking at Statcounter, that there's a definite increase in people wanting to see Rachel Carpani naked.

What's the deal, people?

4. Noticed that most of these seekers of naked Rachel Carpani are American.  She must be becoming popular over here.

5. Learned about Melbourne Open House from Andrew's blog.   It happened this past weekend.   Melbourne opens buildings up to the public, and curious people can visit for free.

Here's the list of buildings.   It's really cool. Each item on the list links to a page with more information about the building and what was provided on the open house day.

It seems like most of it involved guided tours which I don't really like. But I do love the idea of the whole thing.

6. Read Fruitcake's blog post.  She returns to the subject of the forwarded email about tolerance and Muslims.   Fruitcake has figured out another reason for why the email may be offensive.  She says, Now that I've actually thought about it, I think the reason the email sounds aggressive is because it carries a bit of untruth.   It assumes that ALL Muslims are humourless fundamentalists, and that is unfair.   No matter how clever the email is,  I have to admit it is mean-spirited. 
 
Then I have to ask whether my initial reaction to the email was prejudiced.  Would I have reacted the same way to the email if it involved Jews or Mormons?  Would I cringe, worried that the Jews or Mormons would get angry?   Or would I laugh imagining that the Jews and Mormons would laugh too?  

I also have to ask whether some of my prejudice is warranted. There have been cases of artists being targeted because they presented Islam in a negative or humorous light.  One filmmaker was killed because of it.  

Then there was the Danish incident in which a newspaper published comics involving Mohammed.    Lord Wiki says the Danish newspaper did this to stand up against self-censorship; and to ask why is it that other religions can be the subject of jokes, but not Islam?  

Well...because it could be dangerous.

We can't expect everyone to laugh at jokes involving religion, racial groups, gender, and other controversial subjects.  Sometimes the jokes are mean-spirited and sometimes they're offensive.   I think it's understandable for people not to laugh. I think it's understandable for people to speak out against the joke.  Hey, that's not funny. It's hurtful. It's mean.

But the response of some Muslims to the Danish incident went way beyond simply speaking out against the jokes.

There were boycotts and protests....which is somewhat reasonable.  But then there were also incidents of Danish embassies being torched.

There were death threats.  Some of the cartoonists had to go into hiding.  And from what I'm reading from Lord Wiki, they weren't empty threats.  Murder was actually attempted in some cases.

I cringe sometimes when I feel the ADL (Jewish anti-defamation league) is overreacting to something. And sometimes I feel Jews are too quick to label others as being anti-semitic. But as far as I know, Jews don't make it a practice of trying to physically harm those who offend them.

7. Wondered though....is it fair to judge a whole group based on a few bad apples?  Do all Muslims react to jokes and criticism of their religion with violence?  Do most of them?  About half?  Is it a small minority?

Are most Muslims tolerant, but their reputation is smeared by a minority that isn't?

Or is there really a double standard in society?   Is everyone a fair target except for Muslims?  

8. Realized there are now two questions for me regarding all of this.

A) Where do you draw the line between funny and offensive?

B) If something is offensive, what is a fair and reasonable response?

I think A is impossible to answer because it varies so much.   What's offensive to some is not offensive to others. It might even make them laugh.  And I'm only talking about the population targeted in the group.  It's expected that an anti-Asian person is going to laugh at a joke about Koreans.  But sometimes a Korean person himself might be amused.  Others might get angry about that joke.

I do have an answer for B.  In my opinion, it's not okay to react to an offensive joke with violence or to encourage other people to be violent. It's not okay to torch a building in response to offensive cartoons.

I think the correct response is to not laugh.  And you can add a simple I don't think that's funny. 

You can write an editorial about it.  You can stop associating with the person who told the joke.   You can stop liking them. You can stop buying the newspaper that published the offensive joke. To me, that's fair and reasonable. 

I stopped watching Mel Gibson movies when I started to get the idea he was anti-semitic.   I didn't try to burn down his house or anything.  And I would feel disgust and hatred towards any Jew if they tried to cause any violence against Mel Gibson.

9. Read article about controversy at the Melbourne Zoo. 

The zoo has posted signs in favor of the government requiring food manufactures to specify whether or not their food contains palm oil.  At this point, palm oil can be listed as vegetable oil.  I guess palm oil is less healthy than vegetable oil?  

Then the chief executive of Malaysian Palm Oil (Yusof Basiron) came to the zoo and complained that the orangutans were being mistreated.  He says they're tropical animals and shouldn't be forced out into the cold.

Was Yusof truly concerned for the orangutans, or was he merely trying to get back at the zoo for speaking out against palm oil?

The zoo says the orangutans are not forced out into the cold.   They have outdoor enclosures and indoor enclosures.  They have access to both of them in cold weather.

I wonder. Since orangutans are so genetically close to humans, what would be in their physiology that requires them to live in a warm and tropical environment? Maybe they're living in a warm climate simply because they haven't managed to migrate.  My guess is that since they're so much like humans, they ARE able to adapt to various weather conditions.   Although also like humans, there are certain weather conditions in which it would be more difficult to adapt.  I can't imagine that most orangutans or humans would enjoy bitter cold weather.   And most of them probably wouldn't enjoy being out in mildly cold weather for long periods of time.

I think as long as humans and other apes have reasonable access to comfortable climate conditions; small amounts of time in less favorable conditions probably won't cause them great harm and suffering.   

10. Wanted to add that I could be wrong about all of this. There MIGHT be something in the orangutan's body that requires it to be in warm weather. I'm really at a loss of how to research that question.

But my guess is that just because a species is indigenous to a certain environment, it doesn't mean they have an absolute physical need to be in that environment. 

11. Read article that says Kevin Rudd's heart surgery was successful.  He's on the road of recovery.   That's good.

He received a heart valve from a cow.  I hope the rest of the cow was eaten. I'm all for dead animals not being wasted.

12. Saw this website which talks about the benefits of using biological valves rather than mechanical ones.  They say although mechanical ones usually last longer, with a biological one you're less likely to have to use an anticoagulant.

Why don't we want to use anti-coagulants too much?

13. Consulted Lord Wiki about artificial heart valves and anti-coagulants.  Well, I'm not sure what the problem is with the anti-coagulants; but the challenge with the mechanical heart valve is it can lead to blood issues.   The anti-coagulants prevent these blood issues.  So then I guess my question is whether it's better to avoid the blood issues by using an animal heart valve or by taking the medication.

14. Decided since Kevin Rudd is a former Prime Minister, he probably has received the optimum treatment method.  So I'll probably just assume that biological valve replacement is a better option then the mechanical valve.

15. Read article about obesity.  Joseph, Proietto, a professor or medicine at the University of Melbourne thinks its pretty much hopeless for obese people. Once you're fat, you'll be fat for life.   You might be able to lose the weight for a year or two, but eventually it will come back.  

Dr. Proietto believes we should put more effort into stopping children from becoming obese in the first place.  And the best thing to do for those who are already fat is to give them bariatric surgery.

For the most part I'm agree with him. I've seen too many people go on a diet, lose weight, be super pleased with themselves; and then they gain the weight back again.

I don't think it's completely impossible though. I just think it's VERY hard.

I think it's moderately difficult to go on a restrictive diet and stick to an exercise routine long enough to get to a healthy weight.  Yes, you're tired of eating carrot sticks instead of Tim Tams, but it's so exciting when you get on the scale and see those pounds dropping and dropping. It's so nice when you're tight clothes suddenly feel comfortable.  And then there's that bittersweet moment when your favorite shorts no longer fit you.  

But then you start getting tired of carrots; and you get tired of saying no to popcorn at the movies.   It gets too hard to eat the artificially-sweetened microwaved apple while everyone else at the table is eating a sundae.

Then.....

In response to the low-calorie intake, the body adjusts itself.  The metabolism slows down.  

A few months before my sister's wedding, I decided to lose weight.  I think I started when my weight was in the high 120's.  I wanted to get down to about 112 pounds.  My plan was to go on a strict diet.  Then after the wedding, I'd go off the diet and I could go back to eating whatever I wanted.   By the time of the wedding I was 109 pounds.   At the end of the wedding weekend I was 114 pounds.   I gained five pounds in three days.  That was a bit shocking because usually I don't gain weight so fast.  I think the next day I was up yet another pound.  Scary!

I realized if I wanted to stay this thin I had to keep up with the dieting.  And I did!  I lost even more weight.

But eventually I got tired of walking 8-10 miles a day.  I got tired of weighing all my food. I got tired of being so restrictive.  I got tired of all the rules.

I figured I could stop all the rules and just eat in moderation. Who needs all these rules?  I might not be able to stay at 98 pounds, but I could still be thin enough.  

Well, it didn't work out that way.  Without strict rules I couldn't keep my calorie intake low enough.   And because of all my dieting, my metabolism was very slow.   With dismay I watched the numbers on the scale get higher and higher.  Within 2-3 years I was up to 140 pounds....more than I had been when I started dieting in the first place.

I know my story isn't unusual.  I think a lot of us start out with a load of willpower.  Then we lose it and the weight comes back.

How do you get the willpower back?    I have no idea.   I would really like to weigh a little less than I do now.—be at around 125-130.   But it seems as much as I want that; my desires for eating too much wins out in the end.  

 16. Read article that says an Australian study indicates people should not eat too much sushi because seaweed has too much iodine.  It can mess up your thyroid.  I've read about having too little iodine, but not having too much.   I forgot what I learned though. I just remember thinking that I should eat more iodine for some reason.  And I worried because we didn't have iodized salt in the house.

Well, this website says it's a problem for your thyroid if you eat too much OR too little iodine.

Anyway, it's not a huge deal really.  The article doesn't say we need to stop eating sushi all together.   It says to limit ourselves to 2-3 sushi rolls a week.  That sounds fairly reasonable.  I can't imagine most people eat more than that on a regular basis.

17. Went to Tallygarunga.   Today I'm going to read a story called Gonna Cut You Down.   It takes place in Tallygarunga's library.  

The stars of this story thread are Tamarah Blair and Adele Devylissia.  Tamarah is a student and Adele is the assistant librarian.   The two are related in some complicated way. 

Tamarah is sisters with Jezabel.   I think they're connected by their father?  Stuart Blair.  Then Jezabel's mother is Adele.   So I guess that would make Adele the mother of Tamarah's sister.

I hope I have that right.

18. Started to read the story.

Oh!  This is a continuation of the Spencer Party story.  I never read the end of that.

Tamarah had bullied Améa, who is another daughter of Adele.   I never found out what happened after that.   But now I see she received detention...detention with her victim's mother.   Ouch.   That would be awkward.

The story thread is interesting. I especially like the supernatural aspects.   Adele is telepathic.   Then Tamarah is the type of person who loudly broadcasts her thoughts.   I think that's interesting.   I'm wondering if I've read stuff like that before, in other stories with telepathic people. Did Edward Cullen or Sookie Stackhouse encounter anyone with loud broadcasting thoughts?  It sounds vaguely familiar to me, but I can't think of any examples.  

19. Impressed with Adele's restraint.  She's very calm with Tamarah. It would be hard for me to be nice to someone who purposely caused a lot of hurt and embarrassment towards Jack.

I suppose I might manage to not be horrible.  

Adele asks Tamarah why she hates Améa and then tries to explain why Améa acts so difficult.   Améa is afraid of being hurt again.   Adele says, The only loves she knows have been the ones to leave her, Améa really has no reason to suspect that your family will be any different to her.  


That's the problem with trust being lost.   Sometimes we don't just lose trust towards those who have hurt us.  We lose trust in those who MAY hurt us in the future. If one person caused us pain, why should we believe others won't do the same?    I also think the universe has a wicked sense of humor.  If we get enough courage and strength to trust again, it's likely we'll end up putting trust in another person who doesn't deserve it.  Well, I think this time it's actually going to be okay.  This time it's going to work out.  This person is different.   This time I can be happy.....

We trust again. We get hurt again.  Then we're back to where we started.

20. Thought about how it's probably a karma thing rather than just bad luck.  I find I get hurt in the same ways over and over.   It's so repetitive.  These things probably happen because of something I did in a past life.  I'm betting I hurt others in the same way I'm being hurt in this life.

I'm doubting my problems will end in this life.   But my soul will grow from the lesson and I'll be a better person in my next life. I won't cause others the same type of pain because I know how it feels.

21. Decided that in many stories, the Améa situation would end with her realizing she CAN find love.  After many struggles and fights, she'd grow to accept her new family.  She would love them and realize there are people in this world you can trust.

I think in the real world, it doesn't often happen that way.  I imagine Améa would slowly grow to trust her new family.  She'd finally open her heart to them.  She'd love them.  They'd love her.   Then something would happen and she'd be betrayed once again.  Maybe the family would purposely abandon her—disown her.   Or maybe it would be something out of their control. Maybe after she grew to love them, they'd all die in a magical spell gone wrong.  

I know.  I'm awfully pessimistic.

22. Loved these lines from Tamarah's post.   So what if she lost something in the future? Everybody loses something. Everybody dies. Everybody goes away. That was how life worked. You suck up the pain, move on, and try to find some other refuge. That was how being a human being worked.

I think strong people keep opening up their heart, because although they know they'll probably get hurt in the end, love is worth it.   

What's the alternative?  Living alone and hating everyone?   That might get boring after awhile.

Maybe there's a middle ground.   Love...but love cautiously.  Someone like Améa doesn't have to alienate everyone she comes in contact with; but she also doesn't have to give her whole heart to anyone.  She can give...I don't know  75% of her heart?   Maybe 50%?  

I don't think it needs to be an all or nothing thing.  

In terms of loss, everyone endures it.  It hurts like hell.  But I think in most cases it's survivable.  

23. Learned that my Australian of the day is Henry Charles Lennox Anderson.  I wonder how many Andersons are left on this list.

Probably a lot.

24. Learned that Henry was born at sea in May 1853.  That rhymes!

When he was a couple months old, the boat landed in Sydney. Landed....is that the right word?

Probably not.

25. Learned that Henry won academic prizes for agricultural chemistry and Shakespearean literature type stuff.  I don't often imagine science people being good with literature type stuff.  It's silly of me. I'm probably subscribing to some type of stereotype.

26. Learned that Henry did some teaching and spent much of his life doing agricultural work.

Later he did work with libraries.  He was appointed as librarian of the free public library. Although he was reluctant to take the job at first, it seems that eventually he got really into it.  He ended up going to London to attend a library conference.  From there he brought back the idea of using the Dewey cataloging system.

At some point, Henry was accused of doing bad things related to the library.  It didn't involve young children, or anything like that.  It was book stuff and postal stuff.   I don't really get it.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography says, In 1900 a Legislative Assembly select committee on the working of the free public library inquired into Anderson's alleged abuse of postal concessions, the inclusion of some of Judge Wise's books among 5000 volumes sold to Angus and Robertson, undue preference shown to those booksellers as agents for the library, and the presence of 'decidedly “blue”' books.

Most of that just goes WAY over my head.  Although I think I understand the abuse of postal concession things.


What are blue books?

What is wrong with showing preference to booksellers as agents for the library?  What does it mean to be an agent for a library?