Friday, July 31, 2009

Lindsay McDougall (thanks Nurse Myra)

Well, we're back from Chicago. We had a nice time. I saw my first cousins. Our kids played together. It was cute to see.

I have no idea who Lindsay McDougall is.

I guess I shall go and find out.

It's a radio person. Male? Female? I'm not sure. I think of Lindsay as a girl's name. But in Australia, there's Norman Lindsay. That's a LAST name though.....

Lord Wiki doesn't have a full entry on Mr. (or Mrs.) McDougall. He just has an entry on the duo itself. They call themselves Jay and the Doctor. The other part of the duo is named Jason Whalley. So I guess he'd be the Jay. McDougall must be the doctor.

The two of them were (or still are?) part of a punk band called Frenzel Rhomb. They started doing their thing in 1993 in Sydney.

McDougal plays the guitar. I still don't know if this person is a boy or girl. I am feeling it's a boy, but I could be wrong.

Lord Wiki says McDougall also organized the creation of a compilation album called Rock Against Howard. That's regarding John Howard. It was inspired by America's Rock Against Bush albums.

I found songs on YouTube from the American album, but not the Australian one.

I'm not a fan of Bush or Howard. But I'm not sure I applaud making anti-albums like that. It seems so...negative and hateful. I'm not saying Bush and Howard don't deserve hatred. It just seems to me that it would be better to make a positive album.

For example, instead of making an album against Bush, how about making an album that's FOR someone who is not like Bush.

I think sometimes we put so much energy into being AGAINST something. We don't direct enough energy towards being FOR things.

You know, it's kind of also like one of the rules from Charmed. The witches are supposed to protect the innocent; NOT punish the guilty. So, I think we should spend our time and energy helping the victims of Bush and Howard rather than spending our energy on hating Bush and Howard.

Well, there IS some good news here though. The proceeds to McDougall's project went to refugee charities. So he did use some of that energy to help victims of Howard.

Still, if it was up to me, I'd probably label the album Rock for Asylum Seekers. I'm sure there could still be some anti-Howard lyrics in there.

I guess in a way, it's a matter of semantics.

I'm probably just rambling here so I can avoid reading about McDougal's music career. This stuff really does bore me. I hate reading and writing about which album came out when.

I'll do a little bit of it anyway.

Their first album album (not just EP thing) was called Coughing up a Storm. I like that name. In America, the same album was called Once a Jolly Swagman Always a Jolly Swagman. That's very cute. I like the whole "Waltzing Matilda" reference. I wonder why they used that for Americans rather than the coughing thing.

They did an album in 2003 called Sans Souci. That's what my mom named their lake house. It hasn't quite caught on though. I think she was hoping we'd all say things like Let's go to San Souci this weekend! We don't quite do that. We all call it simply the lake house.

Ah! There's another album with an Aussie cultural reference. For the Terms of Their Unnatural Lives. That's a cute play on the novel title For the Term of His Natural Life.

The album title makes me think of True Blood. I'm totally loving that show. I watched part of it last night. My other new favorite (Drop Dead Diva) was also on, so I was flipping back and forth between the two. Then Drop Dead Diva ended, so I could put my full concentration on the last half of True Blood. There was some very suspenseful scenes involving Anna Paquin and a horrible church. Just when I got to the good part, Jack came downstairs and I had to turn it off. I'll need to try to catch it again this week.

I probably should just TAPE the shows and watch them religiously. But I'm getting bad at all that. I got so behind on Medium. Our DVR ended up erasing them before I watched them. Now I have the last Eli Stone episodes taped. I need to watch those.

See? I'm rambling again. It's avoidance.....

Anyway, I'll be a good girl and get back on track.

Maybe I'll listen to some of their music on YouTube.

Here's a song called "Mum Changed the Locks".

Well, THAT video is one of the most disturbing things I have ever watched on YouTube. Lovely. Uh...well, the dog is cute, I suppose.

Here's a song called "Russel Crowe's Band".

Well, the animation is cute. I like the Monopoly Money bit.

I probably don't like the song much...neither the lyrics nor the music.

I'm reading now about how these punk band people started hosting a radio show.

In 2004, they temporarily replaced some of the Chasers who did a morning show. The Chasers were busy doing election type stuff.

The funny thing is...prior to this, the band's music was actually banned from the station. Why? Frenzal Rhomb had criticized the station for always playing the same forty songs.

I think all radio stations do that. You turn on the station for the first time and think I LOVE this. They play awesome songs. I haven't heard this song in SO long. Then a few weeks later, you get sick of that awesome song and realize they play it way too much.

We listen to Sirius music at the lake house. My parents put on this instrumental station when we eat lunch. It seems almost every lunch we've had there, the past few weeks, features the theme song from The Mission.

The Jay of Jay and the Doctor left the radio show in 2007. McDougal still works for the station. He now co-hosts with people named Robbie Buck and Marieke Hardy.

Lord Wiki lists features of the Jay and the Doctor program. Some of it seems somewhat funny. I guess I'd have to listen and see.

I'm done with Lord Wiki now, and he pointed me towards the ABC website for the show.

The show provided wake-up calls. You leave your name and number in their guestbook. And then I guess you hope for a phone call from Jay and the Doctor.

I like this: They ask people to send them tourist photos from around Australia. The catch is they want you to look totally depressed in the photos. That's pretty funny.

The site has some excerpts from the show. I guess I'll listen to some. This one features Borat. According to him, the Jews are not just responsible for every war. We're responsible for the end of the dinosaurs. If that's the case....I apologize for that. I mean I really don't feel that guilty about the Jesus thing. I'd definitely feel guilt for the dinosaurs.

Borat makes reference to Home and Away which once featured his alter-ego's fiance. He mentions a character named Colleen. Was that Fisher's character?

Okay. No. Fisher played Shannon, not Colleen.

Well, that was pretty long. I don't think I'm going to listen to a second least not right now.

This article has a photo of McDougall.

Oh. This makes me like McDougall. The article says he's angry because he was used in a video that preaches anti-downloading. When he lent himself to the video, he thought it was simply about surviving as an Australian musician. It turns out it was a video directed at high school students--teaching them how evil it is to download music illegally.

McDougall says, I have never come out against internet piracy and illegal downloading and I wouldn't do that - I would never put my name to something that is against downloading and is against piracy and stuff, it's something that I believe is a personal thing from artist to artist.

He also says, I'm from a punk rock band, it's all about getting your music out any way you can - you don't make money from the record, the record companies make the money from the record. If they can't make money these days because they haven't come onside with the way the world is going, it's their own problem.

My feeling is the Internet has changed everything. There's so much you can get for free. People are DOING so much without any payment. People are writing. People are making videos. People are making websites.....

I think the illegal downloading thing is pretty silly. I can go to the library and get books for free. Why can't I go to a website and get music for free? I can also get music free from the library. We can check out CDs there.

This website has the video that angered McDougall. I'll watch it.

So far, it seems to be a woe-is-me kind of video. It's not easy being a rock star. It's not all parties, big houses, and hotel-room-crashing.

Yeah. I thought being an asylum seeker in a detention camp might be tough. But being a rock star?  That's where the REAL hardship occurs.

The video talks about the Internet....the good and the bad. One of the Veronicas twins talks about how it allows your music to get an international audience. But then if people listen to your music for free, how do you make money? Are rock stars becoming poor?

Just for the record, I DON'T download illegal music anymore. I used to...via Napster and some other site. Now I take the legal route. I download from I-Tunes. But I usually just listen to stuff for free on YouTube. Is that illegal? I don't know. Maybe it's illegal for some of these videos to be posted on YouTube. I can't see how I can go to jail for watching....

These rock stars make it sound like they're on the verge of poverty.

One guy says if we don't support the artists, they won't exist anymore. Hey! That's kind of like Tinker Bell.

Maybe when we listen to music for free, we should clap our hands. Maybe that will help the artist continue to exist.

Seriously though. I can imagine it might be quite damaging if rock star people stop making any money. They'll have to find day jobs, and will have less time to do music stuff. But I don't think that will happen. They can make money via concerts. They can sell t-shirts. And there will always be people out there who are willing to buy the CD. There are people out there who like to have a tangible object in their hand. They like to OWN things.

I like I-Tunes. I think paying a dollar for a song is pretty reasonable. I much prefer that to buying a CD. I used to hate liking ONE song, and having to buy a whole CD just so I can listen to it.

McDougall is on Twitter. He seems fairly active. He's done about thirteen post in the last twenty-four hours. For the most part, he seems to respond to other people. He's interactive about the whole thing.

Here's an article about McDougall on an animal liberation website. Is he vegetarian?

Ah! He's a vegan. And he makes me feel a bit guilty. He says, I always knew the problems with dairy, but used the 'at least I'm doing something' defence to justify my cheese and egg lovin' diet. Then, about a year and a half ago, I realised that it wasn't any defence at all, in fact acknowledging the problems but not doing anything about it was almost as bad, if not worse, so I cut out all dairy products, too.

I agree with him. I hate that I agree. But I do.

I'm such a horrible hypocrite for eating dairy and eggs. I'm NOT going to become vegan. But I do want to be better; eat less dairy and eggs. I did make a good choice the other day for breakfast. We ordered room service for breakfast. I wanted the French toast, but I figured that probably had a lot of eggs. Instead I got rye toast. I'm not sure if that has eggs, but I'm pretty sure it has less eggs then French toast. Maybe? The recipes I'm seeing for rye bread do include eggs. I guess it would depend then on what kind of bread you used for your French toast. If you used bread without eggs, you'd just have the egg batter. But if you used a bread like Challah (which has eggs) and then added an egg batter, that's a hefty contribution to chicken cruelty.

I'm thinking I DON'T want to become anal enough to check the ingredients of everything I eat; avoiding all dairy and egg. But I'd like to avoid things that are heavy in dairy and eggs...especially if it's made by companies that don't try to use organic free range type stuff. So it's probably bad that I ate cheese pizza the other night. And it's probably bad that I recently bought a can of processed cheese.

I REALLY need to put more thoughts and ethics into my eating.

McDougall says some honest upfront type things here. No, seriously, it does feel good to be in a group of people doing the right thing, when the majority of people aren't, it 's probably how people brainwashed by a cult think. But I realise that's just a superficial feeling of superiority, and I would feel a lot better if everyone in the world was vegan, and I was no different to them at all.

I sometimes feel all superior to those around me eating their huge sausages and steaks. But then I remember dairy cows are often treated like shit too. And here I am eating nachos with tons of cheese....

My feeling is we don't need to strive to be on the top of the ethical chain. Instead, I'd rather us ALL be a little more ethical. I think meat-lovers should eat a little less meat, and try to get it from ethical sources. Vegetarians should eat a little less eggs and dairy. Vegans...well, I guess they're ethical enough, at least food-wise. Although it would be hypocritical of them to eat any chocolate or coffee that is not fair trade. I think it would be wrong to care about the mistreatment of animals, but support the mistreatment of humans. Hey, humans are animals too. Right?

McDougall is a very strict vegan. He avoids ALL the animal stuff. He's an ingredient reader.

McDougall says, But there were times in my life when I realised things were a little off kilter. Like when friends would say how they could never hurt their pet, or how much they loved their horse, and I'd think, 'but you still eat meat, isn't that the same.

I think about things like that. People get sad when they see a lonely-looking puppy in the pet store. Then those same people will go to the food court and get a hamburger.

How do they do that?

They might be like me...forgetting ethics when they order lunch.

They might believe that farms animals live a Charlotte's Web life.

I don't know.

McDougall is asked about which countries are most vegetarian tolerant. He comes down hard on America. I was about to debate him on that. America has a lot of vegetarian restaurants...just like Australia does. But I think there is a difference. In America, you can get good eating in the big cities. The thing we noticed about Australia is that even the smaller cities have vegetarian stuff. Well, we've been to only a few small cities. I'm really making a leap here. I'll just say that in my limited experience, I've noticed Australia's small cities are more vegetarian friendly than America's.

McDougall is VERY strict in the vegan thing. He's like a PETA person. No animal products in the house. No circus. No zoo.

I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I feel when you're so militant, and advertise the fact, you kind of scare people away. Although some people think I'm scary and militant. I guess scary/militant is in the eyes of the beholder.

No, but when I first became vegetarian I bought a PETA type book. It pushed me to being vegan. I felt it was something I HAD to do. I drove my family nuts. I think Tim wanted to strangle me. I probably kind of wanted to strangle myself. It was hard to find food. I'd find something and think it was okay. I'd buy it, eat it, and then learn it had some wrong ingredient.

I gave the whole thing up after about a month. I did stick to being a vegetarian. That's never been too hard for me. I've never loved meat all that much. But the whole vegan thing backfired. I mean maybe that's why I'm so unethical when it comes to dairy and eggs. Maybe things would have been better if these books didn't make me feel like a nasty human being if I ate one lousy little Lucky Charms marshmallow. Maybe I would have stuck to a more ethical diet if I read a book that pushed the idea of REDUCING rather than fully eliminating.

I have trouble with these extreme organizations. They make it very hard to get to the truth. They make it very hard to be ethical. In their eyes, the only RIGHT thing to do is eat NO animal product whatsoever. I don't think that's helpful. Because let's face it. The whole world is not going to become vegan anytime soon. What would be more helpful is if they distinguished between practices that are horribly cruel and practices that treat the animals fairly okay.

Let's take zoos. Is it helpful to say, all zoos are horrible. Stop going to them! Or is it better to say Some zoos are good. Some zoos are bad. Avoid zoos where you see these things going on.....
There's that saying. Choose your battles....

So no. I'm not impressed with organizations like Animal Liberation and PETA. I'm sure they do SOME good. But I think sometimes they do more harm than good. It's the same way that the preacher yelling on the street, that we're all sinners, totally turns me off from Christianity; and how Richard Dawkins and Robert T. Caroll make me want to hate science sometimes.

It's hard to find that balance. I don't think we should shut up. I think we should be able to share our beliefs. There is a chance that someone will listen and make a change; because of us, and what we've said. I think we just have to guard against going too far and alienating people. Well, we're always going to alienate SOMEONE. I think I might offend some people by simply BEING a vegetarian. But if you can promote your message without offending too many people than you're probably doing an okay job.

And if you can live a highly righteous vegan life without acting snarky and oh-so-superior to others....then you're doing a REALLY awesome job. I'd surely fail at it. I already failed at becoming vegan. If I ever succeeded, I MIGHT become a little snarky about it. I most definitely would have a superiority complex. That might be okay though because I have such low self-esteem in other areas. It would all probably balance itself out.

Well, enough of that. I'm going to watch Jack play his video game. Then I'm going to watch more McDougall videos on YouTube.

Here's something called "Ben Lee vs. The Doctor". I think it's a Triple J thing. They're doing some kind of busking contest. I watched about half and then I got bored.

Here's McDougall doing a vegan video. It's about the food pyramid. It features McDougall chewing on a bike tire. Yum. The video is actually more comical than didactic. It's cute.

Here's another Triple J thing. It's called "Priceless Pleasures, Looking" I like that. It promotes people watching and looking at nature. The whole idea is that we can entertain ourselves without spending money. That's a valuable message. And it's cute and funny. I laughed out loud at least once.

Here's McDougall trying to set the world record for hot dog eating.  That's vegan hot dogs. He doesn't get too far.

Here's a Jay and The Doctor thing. I guess that was a promo for their show. It's interesting. It involves bees. Bees make almost anything interesting. At least I think so.

Now I'm going to listen to some more Frenzal Rhomb stuff.

Here's "Forever Malcom Young".

It's cute. Tim might appreciate the red balloon scene.

Who is Malcolm Young? Is he a random fictional type character, or someone famous I should know about?

Well, Lord Wiki says he's a guitarist with AC/DC. So he is real. I'm guessing that's probably who Frenzal Rhomb was talking about in the song.

I'm looking at the lyrics. Angus is mentioned and he's part of AC/DC too. So I guess that confirms that the song is about AC/DC Malcolm Young.

Here's a video called My City of Sydney. I'm going to watch it, and then I'm going to end this post and go to something else.

Okay...interesting. It kind of moved too fast for my brain to follow.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Banjo Paterson (Thanks Gina)

I know who Banjo Paterson is. He wrote "Waltzing Matilda".

I did forget about him at one point. When I read about certain current Aussie celebrities naming their children Banjo, I thought they were naming it after the instrument. I didn't quite understand what the deal was with that. My friend Gina set me straight. Then she suggested I do an entry on the Banjo guy.

My mom has told me at least twice that "Waltzing Matilda" is a song about tea. Apparently this is what some tour guide told them when they were in Australia. I think tea is PART of the song. But I don't think it's the main plot.

I forgot the exact story, but I think it involves a swagman stealing a sheep and then dancing with the sheep. I think the sheep might be dead. It makes me wonder how the story might have progressed if the other characters of the song hadn't come along. You know what some people like to do with farm animals.....

I'm pretty sure Paterson wrote some other songs as well. I forgot which ones. I guess I'll find out soon.

I think he's on one of the Australian dollar notes. I forgot which one.

Well, let me start my research.

Lord Wiki has a photo of Banjo Paterson. He's pretty handsome. I do remember seeing him on money. I'm trying to figure out which one has him. I want to say the five dollar note, but I think that has Queen Elizabeth. Maybe Paterson is on the back?

Baby Banjo was born as Andrew Barton on 17 February 1864. He'd fit in well with my family. My new nephew's birthday is on 14 February. My dad's is on 19 February. My older sister's is on 22 February.

Birthday website time!

Paterson was an Aquarius.

He is an 11 in numerology. That's one of the MASTER numbers. It totally fits a guy who becomes famous enough to have his face slapped on a money note.

My favorite numerology website says this about the 11: The 11 is also known as the psychic's number, it's the most intuitive of all numbers and it represents illumination and deep insight. The 11 is also very sensitive, charismatic and inspirational.

As for the negative: 11's can be overly fearful, timid and impractical. They often walk the edge between greatness and self-destruction and they might indulge too much in self-criticism.

Does any of that fit Paterson? Maybe. Maybe not.

Paterson wrote "The Man From Snowy River". I forgot about that.

Lord Wiki says Paterson spent most of his childhood in a town called Binalong. It sounds a bit like Bennelong.

I'm looking at Google Maps now.

Binalong is about three hours south-west of Sydney. It's not too far from Goulburn...about an hour away. It's also pretty close to Canberra. We were in that general area. We could have visited Paterson's childhood home. Oh well. I guess we missed that. Maybe we'll return someday. I doubt it though. There's too many other places to go.

Ah...okay. Lord Wiki says the town is named after Bennelong. I thought that might be the case.  It's just a different spelling.

Paterson moved to the town when he was five.

He was born in a place called Narrambla. It's near Orange. Orange is actually one of the places we considered going to for our 2009 trip. At one point, I had us driving to Dubbo and visiting places like Orange and Parkes. See...there's way too many places in Australia that I want to go to.

Binalong is about three hours south of Orange. I wonder why the family moved.

Daddy Paterson was a Scottish immigrant. Mommy Paterson was Australian-born.

Lord Wiki says the family was related somehow to Edmund Barton. I wondered that when I saw that Banjo's real name was Andrew Barton. I thought maybe it was a coincidence, but I wasn't sure. I'm still not sure though. Lord Wiki might have made one of his mistakes.

The family left the town near Orange because Paterson's uncle died. They moved to take over his farm. Lord Wiki says this was in Yass. That's close to Binalong...about thirty minutes away. But I think Lord Wiki is trying hard to confuse me here.

Paterson had a governess for his early childhood education. Later he went to school. This happened once he could ride a pony. I guess he rode the horse to school.

In 1874, Paterson started going to boarding school at Sydney Grammar School. He'd be around ten years old then. Lord Wiki says he did well. Sydney Grammar School is the one near Hyde Park and the Australia Museum.

Lord Wiki says that at that time Paterson lived in a cottage in a Sydney suburb called Gladesville. It's about twenty-two minutes away from the school; and that's with modern transportation. Isn't that commute kind of long for a student? Did they not have boarding at the school itself?

Maybe Lord Wiki made a mistake. Perhaps Paterson moved there after he finished school; or towards the end of his schooling.

When he was finished with high school, Paterson went to work for a law clerk. He did that; and at the same time he did some writing. He started having his work published in 1885. That was in the Bulletin, the now canceled magazine that once contained Norman Lindsay's racist work. That's also the magazine that Donald Horne transformed.

What did Horne do again?

I'm trying to remember....

Oh..... I think he removed the part about it being for white Australians.

Paterson began using the name Banjo for his writing. He got that name from one his favorite horses. I wonder if it was the one who took him to the bush school.

Paterson was a nationalist.

I think nationalist means someone is patriotic. I'm reading what Lord Wiki has to say about it. There seems to be some potential racist overtones.

I know many people would argue that there is nothing wrong with having love for your country or ethnic group. I'm not sure if I agree or not. I was once very proud of being Jewish. I had extra love for MY people. Now I'm not like that. I don't see Jews as being any more my people than anyone else. I feel we're all fellow human beings.

I don't see anything wrong with waving a flag every now and then. I think it's great to love your country. I think the problem comes when you feel your country is superior to others; or there may be an excessive worry about being invaded by outsiders. I don't necessarily mean invasion as in war, but things like intermarriage or too many neighbors speaking a certain language.

There are Australians and Americans who worry that their countries are going to lose their whiteness. It would be a more sympathetic situation if they hadn't stolen the country from nonwhite people.

In 1889, Paterson published a pamphlet with his nationalist views. It was called Australia for the Australians. I wonder if I can find it somewhere online.

I just realized I've been spelling Paterson's name wrong. I had to go back and change it all. That was a pain.

In 1890, Paterson wrote "A Man From Snowy River". Lord Wiki says he captured the heart of the nation. I guess it was pretty popular. He'd be about twenty-six then. So he had some good success at an early age.

I'm reading what Lord Wiki has to say about the poem. He talks about nationalism; gives me a different perspective. For Australians at the time, there wasn't quite yet an Australian nation. It was separate colonies controlled by Great Britain. The Federation thing happened in 1901, so this was the decade living up to it.

I think I was picturing Paterson as the nationalists of today...keep immigrants out and keep us pure. But his nationalism was probably more along the lines of wanting unity for Australians and freedom from Great Britain.

And now I know which dollar note he's on. Lord Wiki says it's the ten dollar one. Here's something I didn't know. The full poem is printed on the note in microprint. It's some kind of security measure. That's pretty cool.

I think I'm going to go listen to some versions of the poem on YouTube.

The editing in this one is impressive. It uses scenes from the movie version of the poem. The narration is good too.

Here's Slim Dusty singing the poem. I prefer it being sung. I guess that's because I'm not a big fan of poetry.

Banjo Paterson published that poem and others in a book. It sold very well. Even to this day, it's still reprinted.

A couple of years after Australia became a federation, Paterson got married. He married Alice Emily Walker. They moved to Queen street in Woollahra. That's in Sydney, right?

Okay. Yes. It's right near Moore Park. I zoomed in on the map so I could see Queen Street. It intersects at Oxford near Moore Park.

The lovely couple had two children, a boy and a girl.

Besides poetry, Paterson also worked a journalist. He was a war correspondent for the Second Boer War in Africa. This was in 1899, before he got married.

For World War I, Paterson spent time in France as an ambulance driver.

He also traveled the world as a vet.

Is there anything this guy didn't do?

He died in 1941 from a heart attack. He was seventy-six, so he led a pretty full-length life. That's good.

I'm going to read about "Waltzing Matilda" now.

I was wrong. I thought the Matilda was the sheep. Lord Wiki says it's a bag slumped over one's back. I thought that was the swag.

I'm lost and confused.

There is tea-making in the poem, but I do think my mom's wrong about it being the main theme.

The poem was written in 1887. That's before he wrote "The Man From Snowy River". Then why did Lord Wiki talk about that one first?

The song version is known as the unofficial Australian anthem. When there was that vote to see which song should be the anthem, it came in second place.

Yikes, Lord Wiki is trying to drive me insane. Now he's saying it was written in 1895.

Maybe he wrote a draft in 1887 and then wrote the next draft in 1895?

Legend has it that Paterson was staying at a bush station in Queensland called Dagworth Homestead. The hosts played a celtic tune called "The Craigeelee". Paterson liked the tune and decided to write a song around it.

I guess he didn't copy the tune exactly. Someone named Christina Macpherson wrote the music to the song. Lord Wiki says she was probably inspired by a Scottish song called "Thou Bonnie Wood Of Craigielea".

I'm so lost. Is this the same song that inspired Paterson in the first place? I'm trying to imagine this scenario. Well, looking at the names....they do look alike. I'm going to guess it's the same song.

YouTube has a video of a guy singing it. It does sound a lot like "Waltzing Matilda".

I think I've watched this guy's videos before.

There's arguments behind the reasons for Paterson writing "Waltzing Matilda". Some thought it was a political statement of some sort. Other people say he was just trying to flirt with Christina at the Bush Station. Maybe she hummed the song, and then he hit on her by making up some lyrics?

Now here's where my mom might have gotten the tea idea. In 1903, the Billy Tea company used the song as its advertising jingle. That made the song even more popular.

Lord Wiki says in 1941, some Americans had the song copyrighted as an original composition. Yikes. Did they think no one would notice the song was an old Australian one? Well, there was no Internet in those days. I guess it would be easier to pull something like that off.

Oh wait. I don't get this. They were able to keep the copyright. And Australia had to pay the American company to play the song at the Olympic Games in Atlanta. What the hell? That is absolutely nuts.

I'm going to check out some version of the song on YouTube.

Here's a very weird version by Tom Waites. His voice is hard for me to get used to.

Here's Rolf Harris. His voice is adorable. The recording explains the meaning of the song. The video also has lots of cute Aussie animal photos.

Here's a boy's choir singing it....a bit haunting. I think choirs always sound a bit spooky; maybe because horror movies seem to use them in their soundtracks.

And here's Tina Arena. She sings very good.

Here's a parody of the song. It's Eminem inspired....pretty cute. My favorite part is around 1:28.

And here's another parody. I like this one a lot.

All right. Enough of that song for now.

Back to Paterson.

He wrote two novels....An Outback Marriage and The Shearer's Cult. Have any of you read them? Well, if you want to read the marriage one, it's online at Gutenberg. I've been reading Wuthering Heights online via Gutenberg.

They also have the Shearer's Cult. Maybe I'll read it someday.

There's a school named after Banjo Paterson. It's in the Gold Coast...A B Paterson College.

  I still keep spelling his name wrong.

Another famous poem that Paterson wrote is "Clancy of the Overflow". I think I've heard it before, but I'm less familiar with it than I am with the other songs.

The character Clancy pops up in "A Man From Snowy River". That's cool. I like when characters from one story make cameo appearances in others. Stephen King does that a lot in his novels.

I think I'm going to leave Lord Wiki now.

Where should I go next?

I think I'll visit the Australian biography dictionary thing.

Paterson had six younger siblings.

His nickname in childhood was Barty. I guess he didn't love that...otherwise he wouldn't have used the name of a horse as his pen name.

This website says he moved at the age of seven not five. Although maybe he moved when he was five, and then again at seven?

The bush school he went to was in Binalong. Maybe he lived in Yass and went to school in Binalong. Or maybe Yass is the name of the general area and includes Binalong.

Paterson was popular....well-liked.

He was good at tennis.

He loved horses.

Okay, I have some explanation now of his boarding school living arrangement. He lived with his grandma in Gladesville.

His first poem published was called "El Mahdi to the Australian Troops".

Paterson was definitely successful. He wasn't one of those poets who are finally appreciated after they die.

Here's a website for a Waltzing Matilda museum. It's located in Winton Queensland. Have any of you been to it?

Here's a website for a musical group called Wallis and Matilda. They play Banjo Paterson stuff.

Their site has the words to many (perhaps all?) of his poems. You can hear clips of Wallis and Matilda singing each song.

There's a Banjo Paterson restaurant. Their website plays really uplifting happy music. It makes me want to do something inspiring and magical.

If I'm reading this right, the restaurant is located in the house in which Paterson lived with his grandma.

It's believed that the building (called Rockend) was once an Inn. Then Paterson's grandma bought it in 1866. He came to live with her in 1874.

I like this restaurant. It has a whole vegetarian menu.

There's a Banjo Paterson Best Western Motor Inn. It's in Lakes Entrance. That's in Victoria, right? I think it's east of Melbourne?

Google Maps says I'm right. It looks pretty close to the Snowy Mountains. A person driving from Melbourne to Sydney might stay at this motel. Or maybe it would be out of the way a bit.

This website has a history of "Waltzing Matilda".

They say Paterson was traveling with his fiance. Her name was Sarah Riley. But that's not the girl he married. He married Alice Emily. What happened here?

This trip with his fiance happened in 1895. Lord Wiki said he had gotten married in 1903. I guess he had a love before Alice Emily.

Sarah and Banjo went to Queensland. They went to a property near Winton, the place that has the Waltzing Matilda Centre. Things are starting to fall in place in my little brain here.

The property was managed by a guy named Bob. Bob's sister was Christina Macpherson...that girl who helped write the famous song. She was an old schoolmate of Sarah's. Ah! And earlier I read that Banjo might have been flirting with Macpherson. I pictured him traveling alone and kind of having some fun while his girlfriend was not around. I figure most guys do stuff like this...many females too. But he might have been flirting right under Sarah's nose!

It was a rainy day.

Christina played that Scottish song. What instrument did she play it on? No one knows. Some say it was a autoharp. Others say it was likely a zither---some kind of string instrument.

All right. So Banjo is here with his girl. He hears her friend play a song. It's in his brain.

Then he goes on a walk around the property with Bob. They go to a watering hole. They see a dead sheep.

That could have been inspiration.

Four months earlier, something had happened that also might have led some inspiring to Paterson. There were some fights between Bob and the shearers. The shearers burnt lots of his sheep because they were angry. The police and bob pursued them. One of the shearers committed suicide by jumping into the water. No, wait. That's what happens in the song. In the Bob story, the guy shot himself. But maybe he fell into the water after shooting himself.

The writer of the website says exactly what I was just thinking. I was struggling to put it into words, but now I see he has done it for me: One aspect that seems odd is that the song gives the impression of remarkable sympathy for the plight of the working class in the face of the power of the land-owners and their friends the police. Did Bob and Christina Macpherson really enjoy hosting someone who wrote songs that romanticised their opponents?

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. Can you imagine it? You invite your old school friend to visit your property. She brings her fiance. You tell them of recent battles you've had. Then that friend's fiance writes a song giving sympathy to your enemies. How did Bob and Christina feel about that?

Well, I guess she was okay with it. She did help Paterson tweak the song. Did they spend too much time with each other? Did Sarah get jealous? Is that why she and Banjo didn't get married?

Here's an ABC radio transcript about the history of the song. Apparently some historians are rewriting history. They've even written a book. Banjo and Christina: The True Story of Waltzing Matilda.

Peter and Sheila Forrest argue that the song is not an allegory for socialism.

I didn't realize it was supposed to be an allegory for socialism. And here my mom thought it was just about tea.

The Forrest people think "Waltzing Matilda" is just a fun song that helps represent Australia.

Peter Forrest says, I think we need to let "Waltzing Matilda" be. We need to say, "This is a simple little song, it simply means Australia. Let's not have it captured by any one section of opinion. Let's give it back to all Australians."

It's the Forrest people who believe that Banjo Paterson was just trying to flirt with his fiance's old school mate. Yeah. I can totally imagine that being true. But that doesn't have to mean the song completely lacks political meaning.

A professor named Ross Fitzgerald agrees with me. He says, It'd be almost impossible for him to ignore the reality of the shearer's strike, especially where he was at Winton, at Dagworth Station, because everybody would have been talking about it. I mean the strike was only defeated a few months before January 1895, so, whether it was consciously in his mind, which I would have thought it almost certainly would be, but it would certainly be unconsciously in his mind, so the two things aren't mutually exclusive.

Exactly. The attraction to Christina could explain the REASON for writing the song. But that doesn't mean the song is lacking some kind of deeper meaning.

This might not have been an angry passionate man who said I'm going to write a political song that makes people think! I'm going to push the idea of socialism.

It might simply have been a guy who used his songwriting skills to impress a woman he found attractive. And the property setting and current events could have inspired him to choose those particular lyrics.

I was about to quit this post, but I just found a whole website about Waltzing Matilda.

It has a drawing of Christina. She looks a bit angry.

The shearer who committed suicide was named Samuel Hoffmeister.

Sarah's family owned a property 2oo kilometers away from the MacPherson property.

I wonder how Banjo had met Sarah in the first place.

Cool. This page gives the answer. He met her through his law partner. They were engaged for eight years. Wow. Isn't that a long time? She was a cousin of Banjo's law partner.

I'm going to quit now. I'm horribly curious though about what happened with Banjo and Sarah. I also want to know how he met Alice Emily. I'm wanting celebrity tabloid crap here. That's horrible of me.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No, I Don't Stand By That

I'm reading Susan Mitchell's book Stand by Your Man. It has short biographies of three Prime Minister wives....Sonia McMahon, Tamie Frasier, and Janette Howard.

Now I'm not a militant feminist.

I don't think women need jobs outside the home to be complete.

I wear a bra.

I like pink frilly things sometimes.

I believe in choice. If a woman wants to be a corporate executive, she should do her best to live that life. If a woman wants to stay home and raise three kids, that's lovely too.

With that in mind, I have to TRY to respect McMahon, Frasier, and Howard. They made the choice to be the kind of woman that stands behind her husband. Well, maybe I don't have to respect it. Maybe I just need to accept it....accept that other people make choices that I wouldn't make.

I'm all for spouses and partners supporting each other. I believe they should be there for each other as much as possible. But I don't believe one should stand by the other. I believe BOTH should stand beside each other. They should be mutually supportive.

I've read only half the book so far....all of Sonia McMahon, and half of Tamie Fraser. Both seem totally fine with the life they lived; making sacrifices for their political husbands. It's hard for me to relate to them.

One passage in the book has especially unnerved me. It talks about Malcolm Fraser's relationship with his children.

....Malcolm's routine did not allow him much time to enjoy them. When they were in Canberra, he left home at eight am, returned for dinner between six-thirty and eight pm. But he didn't want the children jumping all over him during this time as he wanted to have a chat with his wife, and relax.

That annoys the hell out of me. I don't care how busy you are. If you have free time, dedicate at least a portion of it to your children.

I think not doing so is both mistreatment of the children and the wife.

The children aspect is obvious. Most children love their parents. They want to spend time with them. They get sad when mom or dad is constantly saying, I'm busy. We'll do it another day. Not now. Maybe tomorrow.

Yes. I know you're exhausted. I know you had a busy and stressful day at work. I understand you want to just sit in front of the TV for two hours. But first play with your children for a few minutes. It doesn't have to be a long time. Twenty-thirty minutes is probably enough.

We might say Fraser is lovely in that he wants to spend his time chatting with his wife. What a nice husband! But I don't think you can be a good husband if you're not being a good father. The two go hand in hand.

First of all, Tamie had been working all day too. She had three kids. I imagine that's very hard work. Both parents have spent the day working. Malcolm comes home and has the nerve to request peace and quiet. What does Tamie do when she is overwhelmed and wants peace and quiet?

Now I think we ALL have some days where we need our extra space. I don't think it's wrong for a parent to come home every so often and say, Look. I had a horrible day. I can't deal with the kids right now. Do you mind if I shut myself in the den?

That's fine, in my opinion. But then the favor needs to be returned. If the stay-at-home parent is especially stressed, ill, or depressed, the other parent should try as hard as possible to provide that parent with a break. Perhaps the job-parent could take a day off. That's likely to be too difficult. But they could come home early perhaps. I think sometimes all that might entail is skipping the after-work chit-chat with coworkers.

They could at least skip the evening poker game, book club meeting, or scheduled work-out session.

I can't admire marriages in which one parent feels they are entitled to come home and have child-free relaxation. Well, I guess I'd make an exception for couples who don't actually have children. Then they DEFINITELY have the right to expect a child-free evening.

The second thing is Tamie was very supportive during her husband's career. She made sacrifices. Despite her shyness, she made speeches and did interviews. She answered lots of mail. She appeared as the woman-behind-the-man at various political events. Tami supported her husband's career.

A stay-at-home mother's career is her, not just HER children....THEIR children. To me, that's reason enough for Malcolm to have spent time after work playing with the kids. He needed to support his wife's career as she supported his. Playing with the kids is a way of saying. Hey, what you do is important. I'm going to do it too.

Susan Mitchell does say that Malcolm spent time with the kids on the weekends.  Tamie arranged family picnics. That's nice, I suppose. It's better than nothing. To me it's not enough, though. Well, maybe it would be okay if he or she spent a huge percentage of the weekend bonding with the children. That would make up for the neglect during the week. But if it's just one or two short games of tag during the picnic, that would not be enough for me. I feel twenty-thirty minutes of undivided attention should be the minimum one gives their kids PER day, not per week.

Maybe I'm just too picky.

I think I'd be horrible playing the part of a politician's wife.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chris Watson (Thanks Jack)

Chris Watson is probably a Prime Minister.

I sort of remember when Jack suggested that I write about him.

Jack likes helping me come up with topics.

I'll start doing the research....

Watson is the third Prime Minister. I know the first one is Barton. Who was the second?

Lord Wiki says it was Alfred Deakin. I recognize that name. I think he has a school named after him.

Back to our man of the day....

Hi, Chris Watson.

Lord Wiki lists Watson's birthday as c. 9 April 1867. What does that c mean? I'm guessing it MIGHT mean his exact birthday is not known. I'll skip the numerology and astrology stuff for now. I don't want to work with a maybe-birthday.

The reason I'm guessing his birthdate might not be known (besides the little c) is Lord Wiki says there are mysteries surrounding his birth. Mystery might be the wrong word here. I can't really think of the right one. Questions, maybe?

Watson told people his dad was a British seaman named George Watson. Apparently, this is a lie. His real dad might be a man from Chile. And there's a good chance Watson himself was born in Chile. This would make him the only Australian Prime Minister not born in Australia or the UK.

Watson's mom was a Kiwi. She and her husband sailed the seas with their baby. Then they split up and the mom met the Watson guy. Little Chris took the new man's name.

Lord Wiki says that none of this stuff was known until after Watson's death. I wonder if Watson himself knew. It's possible that his mom kept it a secret from him.

Watson lived in New Zealand as a child. That's where he went to school. Later he moved to Sydney. I'm not sure if the whole family moved there, or if he moved by himself.

In Sydney, Watson worked for newspapers. I don't think he went to university. It seems he learned through his job. I guess he read the news. He met writers. He learned stuff. All this led him to becoming interested in politics.

Watson helped start the Labor Party. He had been involved with trade union stuff. In 1892, he became vice-president of the Sydney Trades and Labour Council. Lord Wiki says that's now called the Labor Council of New South Wales. The current vice-presidents are Russ Collison, Barry Johnson, Marilyn Issanchon, and Michael Williamson. Maybe some day, one of these four people will be Prime Minister. You never know.....

Oh! Watson actually eventually became president of the organization. He had settled some dispute, and I guess those in charge were impressed with him.

No wait. He didn't become president of the Labor Council. He became president of the Labor Party. Oops.

Oh no no. I'm totally getting this wrong. He WAS president of the council and then chairman of the Labor Party. The dispute had been between those two entities. I guess they were both happy with the outcome. One wanted Watson as president and the other as their chairman.

Watson was a popular guy!

There's a lot of stuff here that's going way above my head.

I'll try and take this slow....

Watson was elected into the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. What is that?

I'll have to go read about it.

It's the lower house of Parliament....not Canberra Parliament but the local New South Wales one. Here's their website.

The current Member for Kiama is Matthew James Brown. I chose to look at him, because we've been to Kiama.

Back to Chris Watson and stuff I probably won't understand.

Lord Wiki says Watson, and a Labour leader named James McGowan, voted to keep George Reid as the Premier. It has something to do with them wanting the Federation thing worked out.

I'm pretty lost here. I have no idea what Reid has to do with the Federation. There's a whole entry about him. I don't feel like reading it all.

Maybe when I read about Watson on another website later, they'll explain things in a way that's easier for me to understand.

It seems Watson and the rest of the Labour Party supported the idea of the Federation. But they seemed to have some reservations about the details of the whole thing.

There's something about a referendum here. I'm feeling very stupid. I'm not sure if I should just forget about it...skip it. Or should I read it slowly and try to understand.

I guess I better do the latter. Otherwise, I'll feel like a failure.

Anyway, don't take anything I say as gospel because I may be getting things wrong here. And I'm also getting this information from Lord Wiki. He's sometimes wrong about things. Okay?

On 3 June 1898 there was a referendum. I guess it was about Federation. The Labour Party opposed it, Watson included.

Watson got really mad about something. What? I'm not sure.

Then the referendum was passed on 20 April. I'm assuming that's April 1899. The Labour Party opposed the commonwealth constitution, but their vote didn't carry enough weight.

The first Federal election was held in February 1901. Watson got in via the seat of Bland. That seat didn't last long actually. It was abolished in 1906.

Watson soon became the leader of the Labour Party. I guess it wasn't yet the Labor Party. Lord Wiki keeps changing the spelling. When did it actually make the change?

Lord Wiki says that happened in 1912.

I'm going to go back and change my spellings. I want to be historically accurate here.

Watson became Prime Minister in 1904. He was part of the Labour party, not Labor.

Lord Wiki says Watson was the youngest Prime age thirty-seven. I thought the person I recently wrote about was the youngest. Wasn't he? Who did I just write about? I have to go back and check....

It was Stanley Bruce. And I'm wrong. He was thirty-nine when he became Prime Minister. I didn't write that he was the youngest. I just wrote that this seemed like a young Prime Minister age to me.

Watson is even younger. He's close to my age. I'll be thirty-seven in a few months.

Watson was Prime Minister for a very short time; only four months. Then a few years later his seat in Parliament was abolished. Poor guy. He got a new seat though, so it's not so bad. He took the seat of South Sydney.

At the age of 42, Watson retired from politics. Well, he retired from Parliament. He still was part of the Labour Party. Maybe by now it was the Labor Party. Anyway, he worked for them. But then he was expelled because of the whole Conscription issue. Like Billy Hughes, he supported the idea. The Labor Party did not.

Watson was then involved with road stuff. He was one of the founders of the National Roads and Motorist Association (NRMA). It gets confusing because it turns out there's an Australian insurance company called NRMA. If you Google NRMA, you find this. It's a page asking you which NRMA you're looking for. I think the website belongs to the insurance company, but they're nice enough to point you to the other NRMA.

The NRMA that Watson helped develop was aimed at improving early road conditions.

Watson's first wife died in 1921. A few years later he married a waitress. He met her when she served him at a restaurant. That's pretty cool.

They had a daughter together.

Watson died in Double Bay.

What year?


In 2004, the Labor Party had a celebration to honor the 100th anniversary of Watson's Ministry. I guess maybe they felt guilty for expelling him from the party. Watson's daughter was at the celebration.

There's a Canberra suburb named after Watson. That actually sounds familiar to me. Did we stay near there?

Yeah! I just looked it up. That's where our holiday park was. That's the place where we tasted pink musk sticks for the first time. Oh....I miss all the magpies. Lord Wiki says there are television stations in Watson. I remember Tim mentioning that. I guess he saw them on one of his runs.

I miss Canberra.

I'm going to exit Lord Wiki and read another website. I hope to understand things better.

Here's the Aussie government Prime Minister site. Their writing is usually pretty easy for me to follow.

I think one of my problems is I'm a little stressed this morning...for VERY trivial reasons. We have a family reunion in Chicago on Saturday, and I don't know what to wear. It's casual. I don't have to squish into anything fancy. The problem is I'm very cheap and lazy about buying clothes. The cheap part isn't so bad. You can find good stuff at thrift stores, and it's much more eco to buy things via that route. But the lazy part is bad. I rarely have the motivation or energy to go clothes shopping. Plus, Goodwill kind of grosses me out. I'm fine once the clothes are home and washed. But the store itself is a little....I don't know what word to use. I guess I feel it's kind of dirty. It might just be my perception.

Anyway, I SHOULD have gone shopping this weekend, but I didn't think of it. Tim said he might come home early from work this week so I can go.

Otherwise, I'll have to wear one of my old dresses. Those who read all our Aussie trip reports will know the dresses. I wear the same five dresses all the time. My family jokes about it so I guess I'm a little self-conscious. Even my NIECES bring it up all the time. They keep asking me why I'm wearing the same clothes.

I do have skirts that I could wear, but they make my butt look huge.

I'll probably wear one of the old dresses...probably the purple or blue one.

Anyway, that's my current drama.

Back to Watson.

Although he had a very short time in office, he had a strong impact on Australia government.

The website says, John Christian (Chris) Watson arrived in Australia in 1887, aged 20. Within three years, he had a job, a wife, and a cause – labour politics.

The guy works fast.

Watson quit school in New Zealand when he was ten. He went to work for a railway construction site. See kids? Don't drop out of school. You might end up as the leader of a country someday.

By the time, Watson was thirteen he was doing the newspaper work. He was an apprentice. Later he moved to Sydney and got jobs with The Daily Telegraph, The Sydney Morning Herald, and the Australian Star.

He was a very successful school drop-out.

Watson was involved with rowing and football. He had athletic school. He was also good at playing cards.

The early 1890's is when the whole Labour Party thing started gaining ground in Australia. Watson was involved with it's beginnings.

In 1892, he supported miners on strike in Broken Hill.

In 1893, he worked to help the unemployed. That year he also organized some kind of unity conference. It was held at Miller's Point. That's where Luna Park is.

This site is confusing me as much as Lord Wiki did.

I guess the most important thing to know is that Watson was the first Labour Prime Minister. He's pretty much the father of the Labor Party.

This page of the site says Watson established the solidarity rule. They which he was expelled from the Labor Party. I'm not sure I understand that. Are they saying it was his solidarity rule that got him expelled. The Labor Party didn't like it. Did it have something to do with war conscription? Or did he once establish a solidarity rule (whatever that may be) and that rule allowed the Labor Party to later expel him?

I'm googling here without much luck.

I think I'll try to find another website.

Here's the Australian Biographical Dictionary site. That's usually interesting. I'm not sure if it will be any easier for me to understand though.

Watson's daddy was part of a ship named Julia. I love trivia like this. Julia was a Brig. Lord Wiki says it was a type of ship popular in the 18th and 19th century. There's a picture here. It looks like a basic explorer the type Captain Cook sailed on. Oh, and they're popular with pirates. So, it's like a pirate ship.

The Endeavor....I can't believe I forgot Cook's ship. Was it a Brig? Nope. She was a Barque. I'm dumb when it comes to Nautical stuff. To me, all those old history ships look alike. What can I say?

Let's return to Watson.

His daddy sailed from Chile to New Zealand on the Julia. Why? Okay, well he was a chief officer.

He found love in New Zealand. He and his new wife hopped back on the ship and sailed to Guam. That sounds like a fun and exciting life.

A few years later, Watson's mom was back in New Zealand with a baby. Soon she had a new man.

This website says Watson lost his job, and that's why he moved to Sydney.

I wonder if he ever returned to New Zealand to visit his mom, or if she came to visit him?

And what happened to his biological father? Did he completely disappear from the picture. Did Watson ever know about him?

This website says Watson was handsome with sapphire blue eyes. I don't think he's that great-looking, but maybe it's just a bad photo. Or maybe he's not my type.

Watson was into the whole trade union thing. I think I already knew that.

The website describes Watson as being friendly and well-likable.

I'm reading about all the Federation stuff here. I understand it a little, but probably not enough to try and explain it. The idea I'm getting again is that Watson supported the idea of the Federation, but there were aspects of it that didn't please him. I think he tried to change things but couldn't change them as much as he wanted. He had to kind of compromise.

I might have this completely wrong.

At one point, Watson changed his beard and he looked like a viking. I love the little bits of information this website provides.

Watson didn't have much love for Barton. He did like Deakin, though.

In 1920, Watson shaved off his beard. I'm not sure why that's important, but I'm reporting it anyway. Honestly, beard stuff is easier for me to understand than all this political history stuff.

I wonder if this post is as awful as I imagine.

What I think is this: The more I read about all of it, the more I'll understand. I digested a little bit today. I'll add some more early Prime Ministers to my list. They might actually already be on the list. I'll check. If they're not, I'll add them. When I read about the other guys, I'll learn even more. Eventually, I'll understand most of it....hopefully!

P.S-I just checked. Both Deakin and Barton are on the list. They're probably only 3-4 weeks away. So, we'll be back to this subject soon.

Monday, July 27, 2009

PJ Hogan

Is PJ Hogan related to Paul Hogan?

I don't know.

I don't know anything.

I shall go and learn.

Oh crap. He's a film person.

Why do I say oh crap?

I realized yesterday that film people posts take me a long time. I end up wanting to watch all these video clips. Then I have to read interviews. And....Well, yesterday I worked from about 10-5 on the Naomi Watts post. I did have a few breaks in there, but they were short ones.

In comparison, I do some posts that take me only one or two hours.

Well, hopefully this won't take me all day.

Lord Wiki doesn't have a lot of information on Hogan. It might end up being a rather short post. We'll see....

Hogan is the guy responsible for Muriel's Wedding. He directed it.

Lord Wiki doesn't have a birthday for him, but does say Hogan was born in 1962.

He spent his childhood on the North Coast of New South Wales.

For school he went to Mt St Patricks College. The school is in Murwillumbah. I'm going to look that up on a map.

It's about two hours south of Brisbane. So it's close to Queensland.

Lord Wiki says Hogan had a rough time in school. He was bullied.

I was thinking about bullying last night because Tim, Jack, and I watched the first Harry Potter movie together. Harry Potter deals with all that bullying stuff in such a beautiful thought-provoking way.

For me, the Harry Potter series has two big lessons in terms of bullying and all that mean stuff.

1. Sometimes even good people resort to bullying behavior. All it takes is a sense of righteousness and superiority; plus the support and cheering of a friend.

2. There ARE bad people. They choose the path of evil for various in hurting others; quest for power; not wanting to be on the side of the weak; and/or a sense of entitlement.

The thing I wonder is this. When a bully watches or reads Harry Potter, do they recognize themselves in the villains? Do they sit there and think Hey, I'm like Draco Malfoy. Has anyone ever been changed through this thought process. Hey, I don't want to be the villain of my school. I'm going to be nice for now on.

Or are bullies in denial? Is it all self-perception? Do the bullies read Harry Potter and see themselves in Harry, Hermione, and Ron? Do they see their victims and targets as being like Draco Malfoy? Well, we HAVE to call him names and threaten him. He's bad. He deserves our wrath.

There are some people out there though who are so incredibly mean. I can't imagine how they'd fool themselves into believing they're the good guys. So what do they think when they read Harry Potter books? Maybe they just avoid reading them? Or do they look up to Malfoy as a hero? Do they roll their eyes at Dumbeldore?

Anyway, I should probably get back to Hogan.

In 1994, he did Muriel's Wedding. He would have been thirty-two at the time. The movie launched his career, and also it launched the careers of Toni Collette and Rachel Griffith.

According to Lord Wiki, the movie caught Julia Robert's attention. She chose Hogan to then direct My Best Friend's Wedding. That came out in 1997.

A few years later, Hogan made a film called Unconditional Love. For some reason, it wasn't released until 2003. What's up with that?

He did a remake of Peter Pan.

He did a pilot for a remake TV show of Dark Shadows.

He helped write a musical called American Mall. I've never heard of that.

He directed Confessions of a Shopaholic. Really? I didn't know that. I thought Jerry Bruckheimer directed it.

Well, I was wrong. Bruckheimer produced it.


Hogan is married to an Australian film director named Jocelyn Moorhouse. She's responsible for the movie How to Make an American Quilt.

It's interesting that both Hogan and Moorhouse are Australians, and they both have movies with American in the title.

That's it for Lord Wiki. No, wait. Maybe I'll stay with him for awhile. There's not much in his entry for Hogan himself. But maybe I can find some information in his entries regarding the films.

We'll start with Muriel's Wedding. Hogan wrote the screenplay. There are some autobiographical aspects to it. I'm reading the plot here; refreshing my memory. And you know, it does deal with the whole bullying thing. The bullies in this movie are NOT like Voldomort or Draco Malfoy. They're not evil. But they do think they're superior to Muriel. They treat Muriel like crap. Now Muriel is socially awkward. And she's not a saint. She makes some selfish choices in the movie. Could we say she deserves what she gets? Do the mean girls dish out Muriel's rightful punishment?

I personally don't think so. I think the popular girls are bitches. But what I wonder is do they KNOW they're bitches? Do they recognize that in themselves? Well, they're fictional, so probably not. But how about real life mean girls? Do they know they're the mean girls, or do they look at the Muriel's in the world and think SHE'S the mean girl, not us.

Muriel's Wedding won awards and nominations. Hogan got an AFI nomination for best director and screenplay. Sadly, he didn't win. Who did win then?

Lord Wiki says the 1994 winner for best director and writer was Rolf de Heer for Bad Boy Bubby.

Ah! Rolf de Heer helped make that movie Ten Canoes. I've heard of that, but don't know much about it. I'll add him to my little list. He also made a movie adaption of Richard Flanagan's One Hand Clapping. I read that. I didn't realize there was a movie version out there.

Lord Wiki doesn't have much to say about Hogan's contribution to My Best Friend's Wedding. He talks mostly about the soundtrack. I did like that soundtrack. It might be the best part of the movie.

I'm reading about Unconditional Love now. Rupert Everett from My Best Friend's Wedding is in it. I guess I can conclude that Hogan enjoys working with him. Lord Wiki's description of the plot of Unconditional Love confuses me. I stopped reading midway through.

Maybe I'll learn about it elsewhere.

There's a few interesting things in Lord Wiki's entry on Peter Pan.

Here's something I didn't know. Princess Diana's boyfriend Dodi Fayed was a film producer. He was the executive producer of Steven Spielberg's Hook. He had planned to one day produce a movie version of the original Peter Pan story. As a way to honor his son, his father helped produce Hogan's Peter Pan. Because of this, the movie is dedicated to the memory of Dodi Fayed.

Another piece of trivia: Finding Neverland was supposed to be released that year. The producers of Hogan's movie, for some reason, held the rights of the original Peter Pan play. They refused to allow the Finding Neverland People to use lines from the play unless they waited to release their film. I guess they didn't want the two movies competing with each other. What? I guess the world can handle only one Peter Pan movie a year?

I love Finding Neverland and Hook. I haven't seen the Hogan version yet. I need to watch it.

American Mall was produced by the same people who brought us High School Musical;  but American Mall had much less success. It seems Hogan isn't too much responsible for the film. He didn't direct it, and he's only one of three writers.

Lord Wiki doesn't say much exciting stuff about Confessions of a Shopaholic. He says it got bad reviews. I knew that already.

I'm going to move onto IMDb now.

They say Hogan was born in Brisbane. I guess then later he moved down to New South Wales.

He helped out with his wife's movie How to Make an American Quilt. Hogan was the second unit director. I have no idea what that means.

Lord Wiki says the second unit team is the group that films the less important stuff. They film stuff like scenery and objects. That's pretty cool. I never knew that.

According to IMDb, Hogan's first job in film was as a writer for something called Getting Wet. It's a short film thing. It actually won an AFI award for Best Short Fiction.

I tried finding the movie on YouTube and ended up with The Hogan Family.

I miss 1980 TV theme song music.

In 1986, Hogan directed and co-wrote a movie called The Humpty Dumpty Man. The guy who helped him write it was one of the producers of McLeod's Daughters. I can't find much information about the movie.

Two years later, Hogan and McLeod's Daughters man teamed up again for To Make a Killing. In America, they called it Vicious. Is it my imagination, or are Americans often changing the name of things?

In the early 1990's, Hogan did some writing for TV shows. Then finally in 1994 he had his big break with Muriel's Wedding.

In 2007, he directed an American television show called Nurses. Eliza Dushku from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the stars. I can't really remember Nurses. Did it not survive past the pilot? What channel was it on?

Well, here's a clip from the pilot.

In my opinion, it's pretty awful. I'm not sure if Hogan is to blame, or the writers and/or actors. Can a director rescue a program from bad actors? Can writers write something so good that even the worst actors can't mess it up? Is there writing so horrible that even the best actors can't make it okay?

I personally feel that the writers have the most influence on whether something is good or awful. Maybe it's because I write. I don't know. I've watched Days of our Lives and thought holy shit. These actors are TERRIBLE. Then the show fires a writer and suddenly the same actors seem very talented.

All, in all though....I think for the most part it's an even collaboration. A successful project needs to have good writing, actors, and directors.

IMDb lists some future projects of Hogan, but they won't let me read the details. Apparently you must sign up for their IMDbPro. It's a bit expensive. $12.95 a month. I might be able to justify that if I was trying for a career in film. I do understand our world's current economy issues. IMDb is a great website. They provide tons of wonderful free stuff. I don't blame them for wanting some money. I wouldn't mind donating a bit. I wish they had a cheaper kind of program...not for professionals, but for curious bloggers like myself. Maybe something for about $25 a year. They could still have the Pro thing as well. And that could provide even more goodies than the $25 a year one.

Anyway, the new upcoming Hogan Projects are Let's Make Friends and Chasing Vermeer. I'll try to see if any other websites are more forthcoming.

Well, Lord Wiki says Chasing Vermeer is a children's book. It's illustrated by Brett Helquist, the same guy who does the illustrations for A Series of Unfortunate Events. Chasing Vermeer is an art mystery type story. As for the movie, Lord Wiki doesn't say much. Brad Pitt is supposed to be the producer.

This website has information about Let's Make Friends. It's about a yuppie woman who is desperate for a best friend. A water delivery man decides to try and fulfill her wish.

I'm going to stay on this site because it has some good stuff about Hogan.

It says that Hogan had a very rough life in 1988. I did too. That was one of my bad years.

One day, Hogan sat at a Melbourne coffee place. He was quite blue. Across the street he watched women at a bridal shop. Suddenly, he wondered if one of the women might be an impostor. And that gave him the idea for Muriel's Wedding.

It's like the episode of Friends with the wedding dresses.

Hogan says, I wanted to put a character like Muriel on the screen...I'd had enough of the homogenised, beautiful leads characterised by an act of heroism. I wanted to see a character like I once felt - not good for anything, but with a desire to be noticed. She doesn't have a talent for anything except being herself. And I put a value on that.

I think that's what is so great about Muriel. She's imperfect. She's human. She feels REAL. Returning to the subject of Harry Potter.... The three main kid characters aren't saints. Hermione can be a know-it-all. She's arrogant at times. Ron has issues with jealousy. I can't think of much negative stuff about Harry Potter himself. Anyway though, for the most part, despite their minor flaws, the characters are close to perfect. Ron, Hermione, and Harry are heroes. They break the rules, but they do so in order to do wonderful brave things. Not only are they heroes, but (at least in the movie) they're cute and attractive. They're easy to love. In real life, most people are not like them. Ron, Hermione, and Harry are less than perfect. The rest of us are MUCH less than perfect.

One flaw that many of us have is the desire to be liked by those who treat us like crap. A while back, I wrote another post about Muriel's Wedding. I said it reminded me of the Eric Hoffer quote, People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them. Muriel wants to be liked by the mean girls. She wants to be accepted by them. It seems she'd rather have their love and affection than attention from the friend who truly cares about her.

I think this unfortunately common scenario explains why bullying thrives in schools, the internet, and the workplace. If we look at the situation as a hierarchy, I'd put the bully on top.

Right below him is the friends of the bully. These are the people that the bully is friendly towards. He likes them. They like him. They support each other.

Below that (on the third level) we have the people who WANT to be friends with the bullies, but have not yet been accepted. They strive to be part of the clique. They're eager for attention from the bully and his friends. Any positive feedback will be hungrily lapped up. They happily lick the bully boots. If licking the boots entails hurting those below on the hierarchy, they are perfectly willing to do so.

On the fourth level are the targets of the bully. At this point, they probably don't desire friendship from the bully. They just want to be free from the teasing, ridiculing, pranks, etc. The people on the fourth level often feel isolated. They may try to befriend those on the third level, get them on their side. But it will rarely work. The third level people don't want to be fed by nice people. They'd rather lick the boots of the mean people.

There are a few people who stay outside the hierarchy. Some of them are apathetic. They don't care about the bullies. They don't care about the victims. They want no part in any of it. Others involve themselves because they want to make things right. They're like JK Rowling heroes. Unfortunately, I think they're rare.

Am I one of them? I want to believe I am. I don't think I've ever been much accepted by the mean girls. I'm usually either the one that's the target, or I'm ignored by them. What I wonder is this. If the mean girls ever accepted me into their group, would I happily join? Is my hatred of bullies merely a reaction to their rejection of me? Would I like them if they liked me? Or would I stand up to them and say I don't want a part of your cruelty?

There is another variable, and that's the fact that sometimes we don't realize someone is a bully. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between unwarranted cruelty and righteous assertiveness. This is especially true when we're hearing only one side of the story. Some people follow the bully because they don't realize it's a bully. They think they're following the hero of the story. I HAVE fallen for that trap, and I'm trying to be much more careful now.

But what if I DID know someone was a bully. What if I did know that they targeted people who were relatively innocent? If that bully adored me and showered me with attention, would I push her away? Or would I lavish the attention? If I chose the less decent route, would I admit this to myself. Hey, I'm friends with a bully. I'm a mean girl now. I'm finally part of a clique! Or would I be in denial? Would I convince myself we're not mean? Would I convince myself our clique exists for righteous purposes? Would I tell myself that our targets are horrid individuals who deserve to be ridiculed and harassed?

Here's an interview with Hogan. He's asked why he hasn't worked for awhile. I guess there was a lull between his movies. Hogan says he'd rather not work than make something he didn't love. I agree with long as you have the money. I think sometimes those in show business get a little desperate. There's nothing wrong with making crap once in awhile. Naomi Watts did Children of the Corn. Besides, one person's crap is another person's treasure.

Hogan says he read all of the Shopaholic books and loved them. It's kind of sad that the films flopped. I wonder what went wrong.

Hogan says he can relate to the shopaholic thing. In his youth, he had some issues with credit cards.

They had a very tight budged for Muriel's Wedding. The original Nightmare on Elm Street had a low budget as well. And that movie did very well. A big budget is definitely not needed for a movie to be of quality.

Hogan and Julia Roberts argued sometimes on the set of My Best Friend's Wedding. Hogan talks about it in a very polite and respectful way.

He lives in both Australia and America.

One of his kids is autistic. He says because of this, the child can't go to public school. Don't they have programs in public schools for autistic children? I thought they did. Now I believe autistic children probably do better if they're homeschooled or in special small private schools. But it's not like they can' t go to the public school. Right? 

Maybe I'm wrong.

Here's an interview about Peter Pan.

He's asked if his directing style changes when working with kids. Hogan says,
No, it’s exactly the same. I treat the kids exactly like I would any other professional actor. I expect a lot from them, and I think they really appreciate that. Kids don’t like to be patronized.

That's fine. But I think both adult and kid actors want to be treated decently. Some directors go a bit too far to get that perfect shot. Some director's behavior borders on abusive. Did any of you see the making of the Exorcist? William Peter Blatty sounds downright scary at times. He put the actors through a lot of shit.

If Hogan treats the kids like he treats the adults, I just hope he treats the adults well.

Here's an article about My Best Friend's Wedding. It's the same website that had the article about Muriel's Wedding. The content is great. My complaint is their font is so damn small. What's the deal Urban Cinefile people?

Hogan says Julia Roberts wanted the movie to be a Julia Roberts movie. Hogan wanted it to be a PJ Hogan movie. Here we have two egos at battle.

They each wanted a different tone for the film. Hogan fought for his ideal tone, but he did let Roberts have control of HER character.

The website says the movie breaks the romantic-comedy convention because Julia Roberts plays a character that isn't always sweet and sympathetic. Like Muriel, she makes some selfish choices. I think that's what makes both movies interesting. Now I'm wondering if it was Hogan who wanted the Roberts character to be like that; or was it Roberts?

I love what Hogan says about the movie. I don't want to quote all of it. I'll try to summarize. He basically says that the character does really bad things. He wanted the audience to watch her angrily, but at the same time wonder if they'd be capable of doing the same things. Love can make us desperate. Love can make us selfish. Love can make us mean.

Hogan does say some nice things about Roberts. He says she's the heart of the film.

Hogan talks about doing two wedding movies in a row. He says weddings are great settings for drama. I've NEVER been to a wedding where there wasn't some HUGE drama that ruptured a family or a relationship; people behave very badly at weddings.

My wedding had some drama--nothing really huge though. I don't think any relationships were destroyed. It's more stuff we look back at and laugh about.

Anyway, I think I'm going to quit here. And it's not even one o'clock yet. Cool. I have a whole day ahead of me. I'm going to see if Jack wants to read some Harry Potter with me. Well, I asked and he said no. Maybe later.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts.

When I think of her, I think of The Ring.

That's not great because The Ring scares me.

I've been doing this thing to try and help increase my lucid dreams. It involves getting out of bed when I wake up in the middle of the night, and staying awake for awhile. I woke up at my usual time last night (wee hours of the morning actually). I didn't go upstairs, though, like I had planned. Why? Because due to my upcoming post, I thought of The Ring. And then I was too scared to be upstairs by myself.

Besides The Ring, I haven't seen much of Naomi Watt's work. Tim brought one of her movies to the lake house a few weeks ago. I watched part of it, and then I left, because it got too confusing for me. It was some kind of political thriller involving banks.

Naomi Watts used to remind me of someone. I think? I have vague memories of seeing her for the first time and thinking she reminds me of.... But now I can't remember who it was.

Anyway, I guess I shall start doing the research.....

Baby Naomi was born 28 September 1968.

She's a Libra like my younger sister.

Birthday website time!

She shares my numerology number. We're both 7's! I love our number. We're the learning people.

Watts was born in England. Her mom was Welsh. Anthony Hopkins is Welsh. Right? I'm pretty sure he is.

Watt's dad was a sound engineer who worked for Pink Floyd. It seems both her parents were artistic type people. Mommy Watts did costume design and stuff like that.

Watts has an older brother. He's now in the United States playing photographer. Here's his website. I like the front page. It seems the guy has an interest in hip hop.

When Ben was five and Naomi was four, their parents separated. A few years later, her dad died. Mommy Watts and the two kids moved to Wales to live with their grandparents.

Watts said her mother was a hippy. She'd get her parents to agree to providing for them by threatening to send their grandkids into foster care.

In 1982, Naomi and her family moved to Sydney. Lord Wiki says her grandmother was Australian so that made it easier for them to get citizenship.

Watts seems to consider both the UK and Australia as being her countries. She has love for both of them.

How old was she when she migrated?

....I guess about fifteen.

Watts attended Mosman High School.

Lord Wiki says she attended several schools. Could she not find the right fit?

At one point she went to North Sydney Girls High School. Nicole Kidman was a student there as well. They became friends. They're still friends. How sweet.

Watts had the acting bug. She caught it in the early 1980's when she saw the movie Fame. I guess she did some acting during her high school days, because Lord Wiki says that in 1986 she took a BREAK from acting.

She went to Japan to do some modeling. That didn't work out well for her, because she didn't have the right body type for runway stuff.

Watts had an awful time in Japan. She came back to Australia where she did some department store work. Then she worked for a fashion magazine. During this time she ended up taking a drama class. That brought back her love for acting. She quit her job, so she could dedicate time and energy to her passion.

That was very brave of her.

I felt like saying something along the lines of I WISH I had been brave enough to take time off to dedicate my full self to writing. But I guess I didn't need to do that. I managed to write screenplays and novels while in college and graduate school and then later while working. My job was part-time, though. It might have been harder if my job had been full-time.

For a moment, I thought maybe if I hadn't been doing school or working, I'd have all those extra hours to attend to the business side of writing. That's what I usually neglected, and it's probably the reason for my failure. I was great at doing the writing. I was horrible at trying to find agents and publishers. I'd send out few letters, get a few rejections, and then give up and move on to the next project. But if I had the extra hours, I probably wouldn't have filled them with what I NEEDED to be doing. I'd probably watch TV, surf the internet, and procrastinate in other ways.

Now that I think of it, maybe I don't think Watts was brave. I probably see it more as a foolish choice, but she got lucky and succeeded. I think a lot of times, people say I'd like to do this, but I'd need to quit my job to pursue it. It's probably better to keep your job and then pursue your passion during your off-hours. Yeah, it would be hard if your job keeps you extremely busy. And if you can AFFORD to take the time off, more power to you. But I feel that when people do have that extra time to pursue their passion, they spend less time on it than they had planned. They end up filling up their time with other stuff—visits with friends, trips to the pub, Facebook, soap operas, etc.

As for Watts. Let's see where her career took her.

Lord Wiki has paragraphs about her work. I'm going to skip that. I prefer getting that stuff from IMDb.

Well, I did skim a little. It says she was in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I just saw that. I don't remember seeing her. Well, IMDb says she wasn't in it. Maybe she had planned to be in it and then something changed.

Lord Wiki says that Daddy Watt's laugh can be heard in certain Pink Floyd songs...."Speak to Me" and "Brain Damage".

Naomi Watts dated Heath Ledger for two years. Did I know that? I probably did, and forgot. I guess.

Her current love is Liev Schreiber. I know him as the guy from Scream. The lovely couple has two sons.

At one point, Watts played nanny to Nicole Kidman's children. They were best friends. Was that not a little awkward? I wonder if she was payed; or if it was more along the lines of, I'll let you live with us if you help take care of the kids. I think the latter situation would feel a little less weird. Maybe it's just me, though. Maybe other people would feel okay about hiring their best friend as the nanny.

All right. I'm going to move on over to IMDb. I'll look at the trivia page first. She's known as the queen of remakes....I guess because she's been in a lot of remakes. I know The Ring was one. And then there's King Kong. I don't know about the others. I guess we'll soon see.

She didn't meet Nicole Kidman at school. They met at a commercial for bikinis. They shared a taxi ride home. How cute.

She's a vegetarian. Cool.

She likes baked beans. I don't. They're okay, I guess. I don't love them.

Her favorite horror movie is Don't Look Now. Is that the one with Donald Sutherland? Okay. Yeah it is. I've never seen it, but it was featured on some list show....scariest horror movies, or something like that.

I think now I'll look at her career.

In 1986, she was in an Australian movie called For Love Alone. She must not have a huge part because her character doesn't even have a name. She's listed simply as Leo's girlfriend.

In 1990, she did two episodes of a TV show called Hey Dad! YouTube has a clip.

I'm surprised that show lasted for so many years. The scene I just saw was pretty awful. Does it get better than that? I guess its no worse than stuff like Full House. And I liked that show. Maybe I just have bad-sitcom intolerance right now.

Robert Hughes was one of the stars of the show. I'm guessing this Robert Hughes is not the guy who wrote The Fatal Shore. That would be funny if he was.

Watts did one episode of Home and Away. That same year she was in a movie with Nicole Kidman called Flirting. It's the sequel to the movie The Year My Voice Broke. That movie was Australian? I didn't realize that. Or maybe I did know and I forgot.

Marshall Napier from McLeod's Daughters was in the movie too.

Here's the movie's trailer. I'm not sure if Watts will be in it.

In 1993, Watts was in a movie called Brides of Christ. No wait. It was a miniseries. I'm not sure how big a role Watts had. Russel Crowe was in it. I'm not sure how big his role was either.

Here's a scene from the show. I like how Mr. McGregor pronounces economics. It actually looks like a good series. I bet I'd like it. I like nun stuff. I used to love Agnes of God and Sister Act. Oh! And I love The Sound of Music.

Also in 1993, Watts did an American film. Matinee. I don't think I remember that one. John Goodman was in it. Kellie Martin from Life Goes On was one of the stars as well. I've always thought she was cute. I especially liked her in that milk carton girl movie.

Actually, it looks like Watts did three movies (besides the nun one) in 1993. I don't know if any of her roles were substantial, though.

Well, it seems she had a starring role in Gross Misconduct. It's about a student who seduces her teacher. It's an Australian film, but one of its main stars was American Jimmy Smits. Two years before he worked with Gillian Armstrong. I wonder if that Australia connection got him connected to this Australian movie. Maybe?

Here's a scene from the film.

Let's jump ahead to 1995. That's the year I graduated from college and met Tim.

Watts was in an American movie called Tank Girl. I don't remember it at all. It's a science-fiction type comedy thing.

Tim just came up. He remembers the movie! He saw it. He didn't remember Naomi Watts being in it, though. We just watched a clip together. She had brown hair, so maybe that's why he didn't recognize her.

In 1996 we have Children of the Corn: The Gathering. It looks like Watts was the star. Is that the first sequel to the movie?

No, Lord Wiki says it was the fourth. He also says soon there will be a television remake of the first movie. I hope it's good. The actual Stephen King short story isn't bad at all. I liked it. It's very creepy. I often think of it when we're driving on a quiet deserted road somewhere.

Here's a scene from the delightful movie. I'm going to watch it. I hope there's not anything too scary. These days I have less of a stomach for slasher stuff.

The Naomi Watts part doesn't begin until 3:56. At least I think that's her.

I have to admit it. I didn't watch the whole clip.

I'm ready to move on.

From 1996-1998 she was in some things. I'm not going to list all of them. I'll briefly look at them though to see if there's anything that interests me.

In 1998, she was in a TV show about one of my favorite subjects...Dreams! How did I miss this one? It was called Sleepwalkers. It sounds really good. People are sent into other people's dreams to help them. It kind of sounds like the Dennis Quaid movie—Dreamscape. Then there was a more recent movie which I didn't really like. I think Jennifer Lopez was in it. That was The Cell.

Sleepwalkers was canceled after only a few episodes. I wonder if it was horrible. But it might no not have been.  Sometimes good shows are canceled. And sometimes bad shows live on for a LONG time.

Here's a scene from the show. Miracle of MIRACLES. Wonders of wonders! They let Watts keep her Australian accent for the show. I thought Hollywood had a law against that: All Australian actors must use an American accent or the world shall implode upon itself. Seriously. There are many Australian actors on American TV shows. How many of them use their Australian accent? I can think of only one....Emile de Ravin in Lost. Julian McMahon was allowed to keep his accent for Another World but not in future TV shows. Can anyone think of any other Australian actors in American television that are using Australian accents?

I'm going to skip a bunch of movies and stuff that Watts did in the late 1990's.

In 2001 she was in Mulholland Drive. I heard of it, but I don't think I've seen it. It came out the year Jack was born. I didn't see many movies then. I think I remember hearing it's about dreams, so I might like it. David Lynch is the director. Lynch made the Elephant Man. I totally forgot that!

The movie sounds confusing. I'm trying to read about it, and I'm having a hard time making sense of it. I'm getting the idea that it might be like Jacob's Ladder. I'm guessing it's the type of film where you don't know what's real and what's fantasy/imagination.

Here's the trailer from the movie.

My guess is it's all a dream. But then whose dream is it?

I'm going to watch an actual scene from the movie. I can't tell much from the trailer.

I just had a flash of an image of the person that Naomi Watts reminded me of. But then I, maybe that IS Naomi Watts. I don't think so, though.

This is going to be bothering me all day.

No! I think I know who it is!!!

I'm so excited.

She was on Days of our Lives. She played Carrie at one point. She was also in one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.

I'm going to try and figure out her name.

Here we go. Tracy Middendorf!  She was also on Lost.

Here's a scene from Days of our Lives.

She doesn't look exactly like Watts, but I do see some resemblance.

Back to the David Lynch thing.

I'm going to watch a scene.

Well, that is an excellent scene. Naomi Watts isn't in it, though.

Who is that actor? He looks so familiar to me....


Patrick Fischler. That took some detective work, I'll tell you.

He was in Lost. You know I had a feeling he was in Lost, but I can't think of who he was. Oh. The janitor? Maybe that's it. No, wait. He's not the janitor. He's the security guy. I'm getting myself confused.

Let's get back to our Naomi Watts. Soon after Mulholland Falls, she was in another David Lynch project. It was called Rabbits. It featured human-rabbit people. Wow.

It sounds very odd.

I need to eat, because I'm feeling very odd.

Let me go do that, and then I'll come back to this.

It will be time to face one of my fears.

I shall probably not be sleeping much tonight.

Yum. That was a very good lunch. Indian food. I'm surprised that it was that good. I usually don't like our Indian restaurant much.

The Ring came out in 2002. I didn't see it at the theater. We watched it at home. It's odd that I saw it. I didn't watch many movies in those days. I kind of remember that I had a high interest in seeing it, though. I wonder why.

Here's a piece of trivia. The little girl who plays the awful Samara is the same girl who does the voice for Lilo in Lilo and Stitch. She's going to be in the sequel to Donnie Darko. Was she in the first one? Yep. She was. I haven't seen that movie either. I've heard of it, though. It seems like something I might like.

I don't think I want to watch any clips from The Ring. No, thank you. Instead I think I'll watch some of the parodies of it from Scary Movie 3.

Here's one. It's funny. Oh, come on. Cindy, the news is on! Another little white girl done fell down a well. Fifty black people got they ass beat by police today, but the whole world gotta stop for one little whitey down the hole.

And then there's this great scene.

Some of the Scary Movie Franchise is really stupid. But it's nice sometimes for comic relief. I NEED that relief.

Let's leave The Ring and move onto Ned Kelly. This is where Watts got together with Heath Ledger.

I'm getting bored. Let's just fast-forward.

She was in King Kong. She was in the sequel to The Ring.

The movie we watched at the lake house is called The International.

Simon Baker starred in the the Ring Two with her. I didn't know that.

I'll be brave and watch a scene.

Watts DOES remind me of Middendorf!

Oh shit. I'm already getting scared. The murder are happening again.

Well, I wasn't brave enough to watch the whole clip. I fast forwarded through it.

Scary stuff.

I'm sick of this post. I want to end soon, but I'm sure I've missed a TON of stuff.

Maybe I'll read an interview.

Here's one about The International. Watts says it's a thinking-man thriller. Maybe that's why I didn't like it. I'm not a thinking-man...or at least my thinking isn't advanced enough for that movie.

Watts uses a Blackberry. I don't....not yet at least. The idea scares me a bit. I'm already addicted to the Internet as it is. I don't need it following me. Every so often, I'll check my email via my cell phone. But I don't write people back or anything.

Watts had a three-month-old baby when the movie was filmed. She talks about how the sleep deprivation is brutal. It is! I can't imagine trying to work at a job as well.

Because the movie is about banks, the interviewer asks Watts if she has ever been in debt. She says because her family struggled with money, she's very careful with what she spends. She's never been in debt. She says she has borrowed money only once. I admire that, but I don't think it's a trait that comes from struggling financially. I think some people struggle BECAUSE they buy beyond their means and go into debt. And of course, the banks push people to do it.

It's really sad.

Here's an interview from 2001 regarding Mulholland Dr. There are photographs for the interview. Guess who did them? Brother Ben!

Watt's mom had a string of bad boyfriends.

You can tell Watts has mixed feelings about her mother. There seems to be some disrespect and resentment, but also some love.

Watts said her mother went on holiday to Australia. She liked it and decided to move the family there.

She reminds me a bit of the character Cher played in Mermaids.

Watts loved the idea of acting as a child. She begged her mom for acting lessons. She finally got her wish. Then the Japan modeling experienced soured her. She never wanted to be in front of the camera again. When her friend invited her to do a drama class, Watts at first resisted. But I guess she ended up fun. She went back into acting.

She says her beginning years in Hollywood were horrible...humiliating. I can imagine it's quite the crush to one's ego. Some will make it and their ego will be restored....then probably destroyed again a decade or so later.

Watts says, Hollywood's a surreal place, and it really is an assault on your spirit. I can imagine that's true. There's something dark about that place. I'm sure there IS some good in it. I guess I see the negative. The drugs. The eating disorders. The Plastic Surgery. The fakeness. Let's do lunch!

I shouldn't say that, though, because I did a semester of film school, and my classmates were very nice and down to earth. I also spent a lot of time online with screenwriters and filmmakers via American Zoetrope. I met a lot of very nice people. But we were all unsuccessful behind-the- scenes people. Maybe the nastiness is more likely to occur in the actors and/or successful people. Maybe STRUGGLING screenwriters and directors aren't so bad.

Watts says she has to leave Los Angeles every three months to clear her head. I don't blame her. This interview is old, though. I wonder if she still does it. Where does she live now?

She was in America during September 11 and started feeling all patriotic. She said (with tears) And it became really clear to me that this is my home and I'm not walking away from it. I didn't know how to express it to my mother because she's conflicted about her children being in America. But right now I feel like going out and holding up an American flag. I've always felt different from Americans, but we are in this together. It's not about defining what culture you're from - we are all human beings on the one planet.

That's sweet. I think most of us felt that way. We all suddenly loved America and wanted to wave our little flags. But for many of us...those feelings passed. We came back to reality.

Here's some lovely tabloid stuff: Watts with Isla too. It looks like Watts is now living in New York City. Now THAT Place....I like. I think it's much better than Los Angeles. I miss it!

This article says Watts and her boyfriend were in Israel recently. Schreiber's grandfather was a Zionist, but he never made it to Israel. They took the trip in honor of him. They planted some trees. That's good. The world can use more trees. There's a video attached to the article of them planting the trees. Schreiber refers to Watts as his wife. I guess they got married?

This interfaith website talks about Schreiber and Watts. Schreiber's parents separated when he was four too. He and Watts have something in common there. I wonder if that helped bond them together at all.

Ah! His mother was a hippy just like Watt's mom.

I didn't know this. The website says Danial Radcliffe is Jewish. Adam Sandler can add him to the Chanukah song. Or maybe he's already been added.

Watts was interviewed on Inside The Actor's Studio. I should probably watch that. I'm sure it has some good stuff.

It's making me feel guilty. They're listing all these movies I didn't mention. Sorry about that.

Watts talks about how her family is made up of strong matriarchs. She sees herself as the wimpy one.

She said she's shy. The host guy says that's something many of his guests have in common.

I JUST realized something. Watts reminds me of someone else--at least in this interview.

She reminds me so much of Tess in McLeod's Daughters! Maybe it's not the way she looks...more the way she acts. Maybe it's her mannerisms.

Watts says she was devastated about moving to Australia. She was fourteen at the time. I can imagine that would be hard. Moving to a new city in the SAME country can be hard at that age.

I'm watching the second video of the interview now.

She reminds me SO much of Tess.

Watts says she made deals with her mother regarding moving to Australia. One of the conditions was that her mother would have to let her take acting lessons.

You should see the stuff I was offering to Jack if we moved to Australia—weekly trips to the zoo and museum...Luna Park too (but I took that back after he was injured on their slide). I promised him long trips back home so he could spend quality AND quantity time with his cousins.

At one time I told him we might get a rabbit. I think that was more for me, though. I like rabbits--although probably not the David Lynch kind.

Watts said her first film was not a good experience. It was demeaning. She seems to have a very fragile self-esteem. I can relate to that.

You know I have to say....I find Watts to be much more appealing when she's being Watts. I mean I like her as herself. She's very pretty. There's something lovely about her.

She auditioned for Tank Girl nine times.

Watts was paid five thousand dollars for Children of the Corn. That's pretty cheap, isn't it?

Onto video three of the interview....

Watts has an adorable smile.

They're talking about Muholland Dr. I'm confused.

Both Watts and Mr. Actor Studio think Betty is the fake one. Do I know what that means? Not really.

There's a lesbian scene in the movie. They talk about that. Watts says she feels it's easier doing a sex scene with a woman. She says with a man it's not equal. They both have their shirts off. Yes. But that's a bigger deal for a woman. With two women, they're both in an equally vulnerable state.

She did a masturbation scene. She said that was very humiliating for her. I can imagine. She's a shy girl. Anyway, she cried while they filmed it, because it was so difficult.

This website lists the ten best masturbation scenes in film. Watt's scene is number five. It says it shows her crying, so I guess they used the take she's talking about.

I'm on part four now. Watts believes everyone has a dark side. I agree. But I think some people have more dark than others.

It seems in the end Watts liked making the film. She liked working with Lynch. But there were bad times...times she wanted to run away back to Australia.

I like what she says. Well, I can relate to it. It's about self-doubt. I have it a lot with this blog. I love it. But several times a week I start to totally lose faith in myself. No one is reading it. People are laughing at me. I'm a bad writer. I'm ridiculous. I'm not saying anything interesting. I should quit.

When things got really bad, Nicole Kidman cheered her up.

When my self-esteem sinks, no one can really cheer me up. I start to feel people are just trying to make me feel better. If I'm not believing in myself, there's no way I can believe that someone is believing in me. Does that make sense?

They show clips from a movie called Ellie Parker--a story about an actress. It looks good.

I can't find part 5 of the interview. I'll skip to part six.

She doesn't like the world nice.

She likes people who have self-doubt. She doesn't like people who are too smug.

I feel the same way.

I talked to my sister about this a week or so ago. We talked about someone I know who never pokes fun at herself. She never admits to any self-doubt. She tries to put on this air of complete confidence. I said this is so unlike my sister. My sister has a great self-defecating sense of humor. She doesn't take herself too seriously. She can laugh at herself. It's probably my favorite thing about my sister.

My sister said she feels she does this, because she's so insecure. My sister said something like she worries she has too much self-doubt. It's hard to explain, but I think she felt it was a negative.

I don't think so. I mean it IS bad in a way. I have low self-esteem. And it CAN be crippling at times. It can be incredibly PAINFUL at times. But I'd rather be like us than like someone who is so insecure that they can't laugh at themselves. And yeah. I DO feel these people are insecure. I think if you go beyond the surface, it's my sister and I who are more confident. It takes confidence to be able to laugh at yourself. It takes courage to admit your mistakes. It takes courage to admit that you feel like a complete loser at times.

I guess what I'm saying is my low self-esteem makes me very sad at times, but I'm kind of grateful for it.

Watts hates hearing her voice tape-recorded. I don't like hearing my voice either.

Besides acting, Watt's dream job would be painter. Her nightmare job would be telemarketer.

Here's an interview from the Ellen DeGeneres show. Watts looks a bit like Nicole Kidman here.

Ellen is funny. I should watch her show more often. They talk mostly about motherhood and breastfeeding stuff.

Anyway, I'm going to quit now. I've spent WAY too much time on this post.