Tuesday, December 6, 2011

William Pridden, Western Tasmania, Broken Hill, and Arkaroola

1. Asked Lord Wiki to help me find more Australian books to order.

2. Found an Australian author who had the same birthday as me—Jon Cleary.

He wrote a lot of books.  

I'm going to order one of them.  

3. Ordered a book by Andrew Denton's father.  Kit Denton.

The book is Breaker, and it's about Breaker Morant. 

4. Went to bed and had lots of dreams.  In one: I have a memory of sitting at a table with Julian McMahon.   My sister-in-law and her husband were there too.   I think back to it and feel I didn't appreciate the moment enough.  I was too shocked, maybe?   But also, I had been very distracted by other things.   

I also dreamed about lots of cats, and I dreamed about political discussions.

5. Found an old dream about Thaao Penghlis. It's from October 26, 2007. Back then I didn't know he was Australian.

Days of our Lives stuff too. Maybe Sammy? And Tony DiMera. I have a small crush on him, and I'm thinking I like the actor when he plays someone good. I never liked him when he was bad.

I did know back then that Thaao Penghlis played Tony DiMera. I was probably just too lazy to try and spell the name.

Now that I think of it, though.  I agree with my dream-self.  I much preferred good Tony vs. creepy bad Tony (who was usually really Andre DiMera).

6. Wondered. Do I not like bad people in general?   I mean of course I don't like bad people.  But do I also not like the fictional villains?  Do I want everyone to be good?

No. 

Some villains can be very intriguing.  I had a thing for Bellatrix last year. I may have liked her more for her looks and charisma, though, and less for her story and actions.

Maybe I'm not a big villain fan.  But what I do love is the bad guys who turn good, like Julian McMahon's character on Charmed.  And I totally love Ben on Lost. 

I think sometimes Stefano on Days of our Our Lives (Tony's uncle)  has shown a soft side, and I think I liked that.  

I loved Hannibal Lector, but not for his evilness. I liked the idea that he had a soft spot for Clarice Starling.  

7. Impressed somewhat with how the author William Pridden writes about Aboriginal Australians in his book Australia, It's History and Present Condition (1843).  The book was written over 150 years ago.  As I'd expect, there's racism, ethnocentrism, and condescending attitudes.  Pridden definitely sees Christian culture as the correct culture, and the natives as unfortunate savages.  That's for the most part.  But he DOES try to understand their culture, and he does show some respect for them.

I like this passage.  It comes after Pridden has described the brutal murder of a native child by another tribe.

Pridden says:

But while we justly condemn and pity and cruel and cowardly acts of this description, which, unhappily, too often figures among the deeds of the natives of the Australian Bush, we are by no means to suppose them wanting in all feelings of kindness and humanity, still less would it be correct to consider them deficient in true courage.  Every allowance ought to be made for the disadvantages of savage life, for the complete ignorance of these people, for the difficulty which they frequently have in procuring necessary food, and for the consequent cheapness in which life is held among them; and then these and other arguments are duly weighed, we may learn not to abominate less the crimes of savages,  but to pity more the unhappy being who commit them.   Indeed if we go somewhat further, we may take shame to ourselves and to all civilized nations, in many of whose practices a counterpart may be found for the worst sins of the uncultivated, uncivilized heathens. 

What Pridden says is definitely ethnocentric.  Pity those who are not cultured as we are.   You're either a civilized Christian or a savage heathen.  But I think Pidden is trying to open the minds of his readers.  He's trying to get them to understand that although tribal violence occurs, it doesn't mean the native Australians are horrible.   He also reminds his readers, at the end of the passage, that so-called civilized nations also commit acts of brutality.  

8. Went to Tallygarunga.

I lurked in the chatroom for a moment and saw something about someone's health that made me anxious.  HOPEFULLY, everything will be okay.

Anyway.....

Today I'm going to read a story thread called Everything That's Old Is New Again.

It's about Frankie Dean and Marilyn (Ro) Dean in America.  It's a continuation of the other story, Crawl Home.

9. Started to read.

10. Decided I should go back and read the final posts in "Crawl Home" first. 

11. Learned that Frankie Dean's girlfriend gave birth to Frankie's baby.  Or did I already know that?  

Ro doesn't know.  She doesn't even know that Frankie had a girlfriend. And Frankie doesn't know that Ro was dating his best friend.    So many secrets.....

12. Saw that Frankie has the same thoughts as I did about the cigarette packs in Australia.  His post says, They got those ugly warnings on packs in Australia," Frankie tutted. "'Smoking causes cancer', all that. Words are bad enough, now they add pictures of diseased lungs and crap. Kind of makes me want to collect them all, like kids do with Pokemon cards or something."

I think they have a few packs that are more sad than gruesome.  But some of the other packs remind me of Garbage Pail Kids type things.  I can totally imagine people collecting them, especially tourists from overseas.

13.  Saw that Frankie wants to help his sister escape. Well, I knew that was coming, because I started reading the other story and it mentions that Frankie had assisted Ro in escaping.

Anyway, I liked that he helped her get out of the hospital.  The hospital's goal is to prevent Ro from killing herself.  What Frankie is doing is getting Ro to not WANT to commit suicide.  I think there's a big difference.

Our society puts so much energy into trying to prevent suicide.   I think we'd be much better off if we put more energy into treating people better in general.  If we were all more compassionate towards each other, I think there'd be much less people wanting to kill themselves.

14. Finished reading the old thread, and now I'll read the new one.

Ro has been an escapee for two days.  She and her brother are walking down Santa Monica Pier.  I've been there once...maybe twice.

15. Learned that Frankie doesn't like the ocean.

16. Saw that Frankie might want some fish and chips, but assumes they won't have it in America.

I would think they might.  Los Angeles has a large international community.

If not, he can apparate himself over to Disney World.  Epcot World Showcase has Fish and Chips.  

17. Found a fish and chips shop in Santa Monica.  The business is called H. Salt Fish and Chips, and was started by a British guy who came to the United States in 1965.

18. Saw that H Salt Fish and Chips is a chain restaurant.    There's many locations for Frankie to choose from.  I can't guarantee it's any good though.  It might not taste like Australian fish and chips.  

19. Wondered if we have fish and chips shop in Fort Worth.  

20. Found that we do. It's called Zeke's Fish and Chips.  

Google Maps says it's only about twelve minutes from us.  Cool.  Maybe we should go there someday.

I'm looking at their menu and they seem to have a lot of vegetable things.  

21. Saw that my Australian of the day is William Edington (de Margrat) Armit.

I'm not sure what the parentheses means.

It could be a Belgium thing...well, because Armit was born in Belgium. 

22. Read down further and learned de Margrat was a third Christian name that Armit adopted.

23. Learned that Armit migrated to Queensland in his early twenties.

He worked as a stockman, and then did police work. 

As a police officer, he got in trouble for being on too familiar terms with his subordinates. I guess he'd be like the professor who insists everyone calls him by his first name.

Armit actually got fired for this. But he pleaded his case and got his job back.

That's good.

24. Learned that Armit did some exploring work in Papa New Guinea.   Back then though, it was just New Guinea.

25. Started to look at Fredweng's day 11 in Australia Flickr set.   He seems to still be in Tasmania. 

26. Saw that Fredweng went to Lake St. Clair National Park

This Tasmania parks site says Lake St. Clair is at the southern part of Cradle Mountain.  

27. Found Lake St. Clair National Park in relation to Strahan, the town Fredweng was visiting on his day ten in Australia.   According to Google Maps, the park is about 2 hours west of Strahan.  

I wonder if Fredweng did a day trip to the park.   Did he return to Strahan at night, or did he end up staying near the park?

28. Learned from this picture and this one that Fredweng stayed near the park.  

29. Mapped out Fredweng's probable journey on Google Maps.   He went from Dove Lake to Strahan to Lake St. Claire.   I thought maybe he went out of his way; but it turns out he probably didn't.  The journey is a total of about 4 hours. 

30. Mapped out the journey from Dove Lake to Lake St. Claire.   Google Maps still has you going towards Strahan.  

I do see though that Fredweng went an hour out of his way.   If he skipped Strahan, the journey would have taken him only 3 hours.

He could have stayed in Queenstown instead.  That's right on the path.

Maybe there was something about Strahan that Fredweng wanted to experience.

It IS very pretty.

31. Looked at day 10 photos and remembered it was Dove Lake that I thought was very beautiful, not Strahan.

Strahan looks okay, but from what I see in the photographs,  I wouldn't go out of the way to stay there.  

Maybe there's something special about it, though.

I'm just curious why Fredweng stayed there instead of Queenstown.

I'm nosy.

32. Liked these pink berries

33. Confused by this photo.  It's supposed to be a Tasmanian Tiger?    It looks like a house cat to me.

Maybe Fredweng misread something?

Or maybe it's a joke.

As far as I know, Tasmanian Tigers aren't literally cats.  They're marsupials.  They're not feline.

34. Looked at photos of the Tasmanian Tiger (the thylacine).  And, as I remembered, they look nothing like a cat.

35. Went to Funtrivia to take another Australia quiz.

Today I'm going to do a quiz on Broken Hill.  I don't think I know much about Broken Hill, so I'll probably get a lot wrong.    

36. Got question #2 wrong and learned the first person to find minerals to mine in the area was Charles Rasp.  

Well, I might be wrong.   Other people might have found stuff, but Lord Wiki says Rasp was the first to see the economic potential for mining in the area.

37.  Got question #3 wrong and learned Broken Hill is known for lead, silver, and zinc.

38. Got question #4 wrong.   It was a true false question over whether there was a World War I battle in Broken Hill.  I said false.  The quiz maker says the answer is true.   He believes the 1915 attack by Turkish men should count as a World War I thing. The men were from Turkey and Turkey was at war with the British Empire.

I guess it could count.  I remember reading about the attack, and I think saw it as a terrorist attack.  But I guess terrorist attacks count as war attacks.

I guess the question is whether the Turkish men were ordered by the Turkish government to carry out the attack?  Was it a state-sanctioned action?   

39. Got question #6 wrong and learned that in World War II, all of Australia's gold reserves were sent to Broken Hill for safe-keeping.

The quiz-maker says they were trying to keep the gold safe from the Japanese. 

That makes sense.

40.  Got question #7 wrong and was reminded that June Bronhill was the singer who was born in Broken Hill. 

41.  Got question #9 wrong and learned that the Sturt Desert Pea is associated with Broken Hill.

I remember reading about that flower a few weeks ago. It was mentioned in the quiz about state emblems.

42. Got question #10 wrong and learned there was a nurse in Broken Hill named Vivian Bullwinkle.

Lord Wiki says she's known as being the sole survivor of something called the Banka Island Massacre.   In this massacre, twenty-one nurses were shot from behind by the Japanese.  

Bullwinkle was also shot, but the bullet missed her important organs. She escaped the Japanese by pretending to be dead.   She kept herself still until the Japanese were out of sight.  

43. Got question #12 wrong and learned an artist named Jack Absalom had his own TV show.   I chose Pro Hart, because his was the only artist name I recognized.   I shouldn't have done that, though, because I don't remember hearing about him having a TV show.   I do remember he was in a commercial though. What was it for again?   I want to say vacuums...

44. Watched the Pro Hart commercial.  It's not for vacuums.  It's for Stainmaster carpets. Still, though.   I was on the right track....carpet stuff.




45. Started to watch a clip from one of Jack Absalom's shows.



In the video, Absalom is in a South Australia place called Arkaroola. It's a wilderness sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges.

Lord Wiki says Arkaroola is a good place for people who like astronomy.  It has some very large privately owned telescopes.   Here's a website about the astronomy opportunities at Arkaroola. 

46. Went back to the Broken Hill quiz.

47.  Got question #16 wrong and learned that the mining company BHP Billiton was started in Broken Hill.
 
48. Got question #17 wrong and was reminded that the major train journey that stops at Broken Hill is The Indian-Pacific. I forgot which one it was. I guessed The Ghan.

49. Got question #20 wrong and learned the Royal Flying Doctors has a base in Broken Hill.

The Royal Flying Doctors website says Broken Hill is the headquarters for the south-east section of the organization.

50.  Got question #21 wrong and learned the Silver City Mint has the largest acrylic painting in the
world. 

51. Learned that the Silver City Mint and Art Centre website is under construction.

52. Got question #22 wrong and learned people can see the school of the air in Broken Hill.   I said they couldn't, because I thought it was a trick question.  You can't see the school of the air because it's a radio thing.

But I guess you CAN see it.  You can't see the actual radio waves.  But you can see the people using the radio.

53. Went to the School of the Air website for Broken Hill.

They actually have a tourism opportunity.  You can listen in on a lesson.

54. Got question #23 wrong and learned there's a park near Broken Hill called Mutawintji National Park.   It has old Aboriginal carvings. 

55. Got question #24 wrong and learned there's another park in the area called Kinchega National Park.

56. Got question #25 wrong and learned Broken Hill is also known as the Silver City.  

57. Finished the quiz.   I got 9/15 right.   The average was 12/15.   I didn't do so great. But that's okay.  I learned a lot today.

Hopefully some of my learning will stick in my memory.  

58. Went to Flickr and found a photo of some Mutawintji Aboriginal art.   It's pretty cool.  

I wonder how old it is.

59. Went to this Mutawintji tour website.  They say the carvings are at least 8000 years old.  

60. Started to watch a clip from Thank God You're Here.  It was listed as one of the videos on my YouTube recommendation thing. 



I like that clip less than other Thank God You're Here clips I've seen.

Here's one of my favorites.  It's with Josh Lawson.



I also love this Hamish Blake one.   I can't embed it, but here's the link.  

61. Continued to read William Pridden's book.

I find it fascinating.  I hardly daydream through it.  The parts I'm reading about today are mostly about Aboriginal hunting.  I just finished reading about women catching frogs.

The book says emus are practically deaf.  I wonder if that's true, or something that was wrongly believed back then.

62. Consulted Lord Wiki. He says emus have good sight and hearing.  

63. Thought about how my attitude towards William Pridden is somewhat similar to his attitude towards Aboriginal Australians.

He respects the Aboriginal Australians, yet sees them as being inferior because they're from a different culture.

I'm the same with Pridden.  I respect him.  I think he describes things well.  I think he's open-minded and has insightful ways of looking at things.  Yet I have prejudices towards him because of his time period.   I think of my time period people as being more enlightened.  I think of us as being superior.

I make allowances for Pridden because he comes from the bygone days.  And I feel surprised when he exceeds my expectations.

Pridden says we need to remember that Europeans are capable of brutal violence.   In the same vein,  I find I'm reminding myself that my time period people can be equally guilty of ethnocentrism.   We can be just as ignorant as people from the 1800's.   We're more politically correct, at least when it comes to some things.   But I'm sure in the twenty-second century, people will look back at us and scoff at many of our viewpoints.