On the news today we're told that there needs to be more money spent on Olympic "hopefuls" if Australia is to do well at the next Olympics. Many more millions of dollars need to be poured into the Australian Institute of Sport. Blimey, the last Olympic Games are only just finished, and here they are whingeing about not enough money being spent on the so-called (possibly) (future) "elite" athletes. It is said that the government must spend more money on fostering talent in the sports - that is athletics and swimming - even to the point of putting money into the training of kids who even just look as if they might have potential! Potential to win medals, that is! Excuse me?
And, where are the people demanding money to go into the fostering of kids with great potential to be our funture scientists? Scientists who may,one day, discover a new vaccine or a cure for some deadly disease or (God forbid!) an effective way to deal with climate change? And, where, pray tell, is the money to help young musicians achieve their potential - and give the world enjoyment and entertainment of a slightly better class than sports viewing?
Oh, no, sorry, We are only interested in sport! We are a "sporting nation", didn't you know?
Oh, scientists? Oh, they can look after themselves and, after all, science doesn't produce much of a spectacle to watch, does it? Bit boring, really! Oh, yeah! But, guess what? If we don't encourage our scirentists to do well, there just may be a few even bigger spectacles than the Olympic Games, when the weather patterns become even more ferocious than they have been.
And, as for music, who needs it? Well...everybody, really, if we desire a civilised society.
Just who are these people who insist on obscene amounts of money being spent on sport?
After very recently saying that we are no longer racists, the horrendous story of the disgustingly offensive abuse dished out by an Australian man on a bus last week seems to prove otherwise. He apparently objected to a young French woman singing a little song in her native (French) language. The rant and insulting outrage shown by this bogan was filmed by another passenger and showed such an ugly scene that I, and millions (I hope!) of others cringed in disbelief. The clip of that short 'video' has apparently 'gone viral' and spread across the world. My son, who lives in England, has seen it and wonders if he should venture 'back home' at all, if that is what to expect of Australians.
I tried to explain that this was a rare and randon occurrence, but information I have gathered (from speaking to others) tells me that, sadly, this is not so. That it is true that many Australians ARE racist - although not as blatanly offensive as the bus passenger.
One newspaper report (and there were many) had the comment that the abusive man would now be feeling very embarrassed and sorry for his actions. I beg to differ. I think that the abusive, screaming man would, by now, probably be basking in the 'glory' of being a 'star' of TV and the Internet and be looking to his mates for praise. What a horrible thought...though probaby true! What have we become?
And, when you examine the feelings and hear the opinions of oh-so-many 'ordinary' Australians on the subject of refugees, you can see that the term "racist" appplies to all the people who harbour some sort of misguided resentment to the people who are fleeing oppression and attempting to find safety in a free & democratic nation. I hang my head in shame!
I am currently writing a eulogy for a woman (an Australian) who has died - in her eighties. She never married. When, in her early 20s, this woman (then not much more than a girl) had a very brief shipboard romance with a young Chinese man. Her mother (also on board the ship) was horrified and warned the young Chinese man off...(so to speak).
I have been wondering how shocked people would be nowadays if a young Australian woman fell in love with a young Chinese man. Not at all shocked, I would imagine. Am I right?
Sure, I know that many people are criticising us for being racist.....but this story of a young woman in the 1950s being warned off having a romance with an Asian man demonstrates that, all those years ago, we were much more intolerant of other races. Is that what it shows? (If anything).
Would this lady have remained unmarried if her shipboard meeting was in another era? I wonder.
Life is always a bit of a roller coaster. Today I tried to speak to someone whose (20 something) son has just begun treatment for Leukemia. He (the Dad) had trouble even speaking. Then I heard that I had made a friend happy by helping him buy a car that he didn't think he could afford. (I didn't help him financially, but just - in a roundabout way - helped him find it). My nephew is now recovering form major cancer surgery and is doing almost ok. So these are just a few of the ups and downs of my day. Some simple 'ups' involve my ability to actually get the house clean and tidy, but a more tragic 'down' is hearing from a friend of the trauma she is experiencing as her son battles serious mental illness. Even the dreaded ECT is unable to help him this time, it seems. Such is life!
My apologies for speaking as a "grumpy old woman" about the Schoolies thing. It upsets me and annoys me and I find it difficult to accept the fact that parents and kids alike simply say, "everyone does it" and that's it! No questioning its validity & no questioning its reason. "Everyone does it" - end of conversation.
Back to more normal topics..where were we?
Ah, yes. The house is not sold and I am still reading autobiographies. Christmas is coming and so there will be no time for people to be thinking of changing their direction and buying a house. So perhaps next year we might have some interest shown? Will we ever make the move north?
As for the reading. I know I had decided to start reading more fiction, but not quite yet.
Meanwhile, I have a eulogy to write. An easy one, as the niece of the lady who died has written two pages of notes about the lady's life, which I will transcribe and make into a bit of a story.
I'll enjoy that!
I have just sent off a letter to the editor of our daily newspaper. Unfortunately, due to the word limit, I could not include the second part of my composition. So, I have included the whole letter here:
Dear Editor, You know something? Schoolies Week (and just the part on the Gold Coast) boosts the economy there by tens of millions of dollars, as thousands of teenage kids wreck themselves. The drunkenness, foul language, violence (yes, violence) and sex, all necessitating not only police presence but the presence of government first aid providers, is hardly a good way to mark the supposed wonderful passage from dependent adolescent to mature adulthood. For some of these kids it is the first time they have been away from their parents. Who is there to guide them? No mum, no dad, no teacher. And that is just the way they want it - and just why they are ‘celebrating’. But it seems all wrong. And, yes, I know that some kids are OK and some kids do just have fun and some kids go to other places. But, even so, I have trouble combining, in my mind: kids, alcohol and the surf at Torquay.
I could find no accurate figure to tell how many deaths have occurred as a result of Schoolies Weeks, but it’s certainly more than one - and one is one too many! Time to say “No”!
Way back in 1959 a wise (U.S.) judge, Phillip B. Gilliam, uttered words that might be taken heed of…(and I paraphrase): “Always we hear the cry from teenagers ‘What can we do, where can we go?’ My answer is, “Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons, and after you’ve finished, read a book. Your town does not owe you recreational facilities and your parents do not owe you fun. The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no one will be at war, in poverty or sick and lonely again. In other words, grow up, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Start behaving like a
responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. That some day is now and that someone is you”.
A couple of days ago, I posted a blog about "Schoolies" and how I thought it was such a bad idea. I condemned the notion that young people were attending places to "let their hair down" and have fun, now that the time had come to no longer have to listen to parents and teachers telling them what to do. A lot of "grumpy old person" raves were in my post about it. Now, I am so upset to hear that a 17 year-old "Schoolie" girl has fallen to her death from an umpteenth-floor balcony at the main Schoolies' resort place on the Gold Coast. I cannot get her out of my mind. I cannot get the thought of her parents (and how they are feeling) out of my mind. But I also cannot get the thought out of my mind that surely this will wake up people to have a serious re-think on this whole stupid "Schoolies" thing. Please!
Not a great follower of sports on TV, but watched a little bit of cricket tonight. The comments from the "commentators" can be ridiculous at times. Tonight, in the 10 minutes I was watching, heard someone say that "Michael Clarke may be making his own history here" ! Excuse me? The same person went on to say that Michael Clarke was "using his feet". What is that supposed to mean?
Back to more mundane (or usual) topics.
The Agatha Christie autobiography I had ordered arrived in the mail today. No one told me that it was about a zillion pages and in the tiniest print imaginable! I think we have all become used to the (lazy?) way if modern publishing, with large print on large pages and thick paper. (Must be a cheaper way of presenting an easily read book, that makes the readers think that they are reading a 'big' book). Still haven't finished the Judi Dench autobiography, so will be a while before I tackle Agatha Christie's gazillions of words. (Sigh!). But I know I will enjoy it, once I get over the shock of tiny words in massive amounts of pages!
There's this awful thing called "Schoolies" happening around Australia at the end of the final year 12 exams. Final year students celebrate their new-found adulthood by going to places noted for party 'atmosphere', where they proceed to risk wrecking their lives, in the form of over-indulging in alcohol, drugs and sex. And this all because they have left school and consider themselves free of restrictions and free to be adults. They consider it to be a wonderful situation to be in, where they are no longer looked after by school teachers and parents.
I would sincerely like to tell them that they have a very rude awakening coming up. Being "looked after" by school teachers and parents is actually a lovely place to be. And, to think that you are finally free of shackles and free to indulge in all the wonderful (?) adult (?) activities revolving mainly about the consumption of alcohol is so far removed from being free and being adult that it's not even on that radar.
This is how you make yourself free and make yourself adult: Do something useful. Help someone. Anyone. Do something kind for anothet human being. Make something. Something for anyone.....a friend, a relative, a neighbour - or someone you don't even know. Offer to help in any way you can. Be a real adult and take responsibility for yourself as a valuable member of the community. Seek out a (paid or non-paying) job. Help a disabled person. Help you mother. Help a friend. Do something together with friends that will add to someone else's pleasure. It doesn't have to be something big like working overseas for a charitable organisation; it can be just mowing someone's lawn, or cooking something for your grandmother. Guess what? Being a kind, helpful person, filling every day with something practical or joyful can give you a better 'high' than booze....and there's no hangover!
"Schoolies" is nothing but a display of stupidity, helped along by indulgent parents too afraid to upset their kid by saying "no", when the kid claims that "everyone else is going/doing it" - whatever.
I live in hope for the day when "Schoolies" is looked back upon as one of the stupidest activities ever.
Tonight Australia is having a "Click Frenzy" shopping 'experience'. How ridiculous! People are supposed to be (and probably are!) registering to buy things on-line in a certain time frame beginning at 7 o'clock tonight. (Not sure how that affects the differing time zones of the states. Perhaps it's one state at a tme, who knows?). When you search "Click Frenzy" up pops a down-counting digital clock thing, letting customers know how much time is left before selling begins. It's crazy! The most crazy thing about it all is that there are people who are crazy enough to believe all the hype around the upcoming "sales", with all their wonderful bargains - and just in time for Christmas shopping! How gullible are people? Don't answer; it may send me into a spiral of depression!
It will be interesting to see how this so-called "Frenzy" is reported in tomorrow's media. More hype probably, as well as inevitabe reports of sites being so overloadede that they crash. (That's for sure!)
Meanwhile, I bougbht a lovely cardigan on eBay this afternoon; no fenzy attached.
While I am enjoying writing my blog, I have been wondering how to make it more accessible. I'm happy to have it attached to my Weebly site, but would simply love to have a blog with its own name that people can log onto and maybe even receive notification when a new blog has been written. Have been trying to think up a catchy title for this proposed blog of mine. Suggestions welcome.
BTW, I squashed 178 snails last night. (Couldn't sleep afterwards!)
Attempting to keep my garden looking its best. The current weather pattern is most conducive to the multiplying of snails. As it has been raining this evening, the snails will be on 'walkabout' (slither-about?), so I am about ot go outside, armed with a torch, some disposable gloves and wearing old boots. My aim is to tread on as many snails as I can. It's a horrible "job" and I feel like a murderer, especially when the snails have their little eyes out on stalks, as they slither along. But they are eating their way through the plants at an amazing rate. Holes in all the succulent leaves and lengths of flower stems stripped to almost nothingness. So, this is my confession....I am about to murder at least 100 snails by torchlight. Is that too horrible for words?
Well, haven't found my dance yet, but have written a nice little candle tribute for some children to say at their grandfather's funeral service. Perhaps I've been too busy to "find my dance" (?).
Writing a eulogy for a man who has died too young...well, not a truly young man, but, at 58 years, I consider that way too young.
His 6 grandchildren will light candles, as the celebrant says:
(Names of the children)" .........as you light these candles, they are a reminder of your loved Pop - your love for him and his for you. The lights represent his life - and his courage throughout his illness - as they also represent your courage and strength as you look to the future without
These little candle-lights are lights to signify love....and to remember".
That's nice, isn't it? I hope the words help.
Watching Colin Hay (ex-"Men At Work" musician) on TV tonight talk about his new CD, entitled "Finding My Dance" was interesting, if not a little illuminating. He recalled speaking to an Aboriginal man after one of his earlier shows, where the Aboriginal man suggested that Colin had "lost his dance". Colin now thinks, many years later, that he may have "found his dance"; it's an inner search apparently. Now I'm thinking that perhaps I have "lost my dance".
Time for some inner searching, I think.
Have you found your dance?
Or have you ever LOST your dance?
Did you ever think that you had a dance?
Think about it!
Enough of the philosophising. Tomorrow will be back to talking about the latest book, or what's interesting in the weekend papers.
I have been mostly ignoring the phenomenon of the awful "Fifty Shades of Grey" books after reading an early (dismissive) crit. of the first book but have been dismayed to see these books escalating up the 'best seller' lists. So, today I was very pleased to read a newspaper report, where a writer described the books as "a bad literary joke" and "a triumph of marketing over substance". This writer also stated that "millions have bought these books" and that "millions have wished they had kept their money in their pockets". I agree with all this, but what made so many people buy this trash? Was it really marketing? Or was it mere stupidity and people being unable to think for themselves? A combination of the two, I imagine.
Meanwhile I will return to my biography reading and then branch out into some decent fiction.
Well, today is, indeed, another day. (What a silly saying!).
Am going out to lunch with a group of 'girl friends' ...most of whom have long passed the stage of really being able to fit the "girl" category, but I am reluctant to say that I am going out to lunch with a group of women or a group of ladies. Not sure why is doesn't sound as good as 'girl'!
Another 'girl' friend has just emailed to tell me how much she has enjoyed reading Agatha Christie's autobiography; a book that has been available for many years and which I have never previously thought of reading, but had a quick search on eBay and found a copy available for only $10, so will buy it.
So, there we have today...another day, indeed!
Too tired to write another word. Tomorrow is another day. Talk then.
There are times when even I have to stop reading. Yesterday was one time, as I was busy preparing words for a funeral. Today I will have little time to read as I have relatives coming to stay overnight. My (adult) nephew is in the throes of chemo and radiotherapy treatment for an aggressive cancer. He and his wife and small child live in a country town 6 hours from the hospital in the capital city. Tomorrow is a big day for him as he will discover what sort of surgery he will be offered after the doctors check on how much of his tumour has shrunk with the chemo and other therapy. The little family is stopping over with us as it is halfway between their place and the hospital. My nephew has been feeling a little better lately and is eating once more. He has requested a lamb roast for dinner tonight so that is what I will be cooking.
I have some 'new' toys to amuse his little boy and I have made up beds for them all to sleep in tonight. So, apart from a quick read while I have lunch, and just before my visitors arrive, there will be no more time for reading.
But, what better reason could one have for foregoing the pleasure of reading? To provide food, company and comfort for those you love. Who needs a book?
No time for reading today, except for the last litttle part of Saturday's paper. Went to speak to a family whose (87 year-old) father died two days ago. Writing a bit of his history for the funeral on Thursday. He was, in his day, (as they say) a well known and liked politician. I am unsure why no-one in authority (as yet), has come forward with the offer of a state funeral for him. Perhaps at 87, he has been all but forgotten by the community for which he worked so diligently all those years. Still, let's face it, it is the family who will most appreciate the presentation of a "good" funeral. "Dignitaries" may give moving tributes, but they are soon washed away.
We'll see what the newspapers have to say about him.
Meanwhile, no more books to sell on eBay for a while.
And, no-one inspecting our house for sale. Que sera, sera.
Whilst reading the weekend paper and dipping into Judi Dench's (sort of) biography, titled, "and furthermore", before starting on the fiction books I bought yesterday, I have been busily selling children's books on eBay. One (old) Noddy book fetched $12.65, which pleased me no end. But, when my next (also old) Noddy book reached $28 at the end of the auction time, I was extra pleased. Also sold a copies of "Sam and the Firefly", "The Big Jump" and two Roald Dahl fun books, "The Twits" and "George's Marvellous Medicine". My collection of children's books somehow keeps growing although I continue to cull. They (children's books) are something that I cannot resist. Partly probably because of all the years I taught and tutored young children, forever aiming to promote a love of - and an interest in - reading and partly simply because I am obsessed with books and reading!
I'll let you know how well the Noddy book eBay sales go after tomorrow....when the eBay 'auction' ends.
Meanwhile, I may have broken my "read only biographical books" habit!
It happened like this: Bought stuff to cook for a semi-special dinner (next Monday). Decided I needed a lemon and, as those on our tree are not ripe yet and, as I had seen dozens of lemons at the op shop the other day, I went to buy some there. They had none. So, as I felt oblliged to the dear lady at the op shop, who tried so hard to find me a lemon (!), I browsed for a while and ended up buying a useful (drinking) glass and two books to read. One is by John Marsden (of the "Tomorrow When The War Began" fame), called "The Night is For Hunting" and the other book - quite different - is "The Widow's Tale", by Mick Jackson, a story set on the Norfolk coast (UK), which should be lovely, even if mainly for the scenery descriptions....and also for the fact that it was not so long ago short-listed for the Booker Prize.
So, two books that are not true stories to look forward to reading. (I've broken the habit....maybe?)
Who would have thought? Little Noddy, the little wooden man, whose stories amused children for ages...and are apparently still popular.....Little Noddy, 'the nodding man', is actually making me money. I have some Noddy books from 'way back'. I seemed to collect them, not only for my children and grandchildren, but, in the days when I taught 5 year-olds (for those oh-so-many years), it was always my end-of-year treat to read to them a series of Noddy books, chapter by (short) chapter, as bribes for "good work". Now, as I clean out my book shelves, I am reluctantly shedding Noddy and his little friends. Not giving him away, but selling the books on eBay.
I have discovered that the Noddy books with the (politically incorrect) Golliwog pictured on the cover are in demand, as is the book that has (naughty!) Noddy sharing a bed with Big Ears the Brownie.
So, as I sadly say goodbye to my Noddy book collection, I am also smiling as I watch "Noddy Gets Into Trouble" (so far) reach $12.65 - and still time to go.
A few more Noddy books and I'll have enough money to buy myself a book to read......but not Noddy!
The (late) American poet, Randall Jarrall is quite well known for his quote of, "Read at whim! Read at whim!" A man after my own heart, he was also well known for saying that adults can only understand literature if (and only if) they can imagine how children read. Hard to qualify this, but I can see what he was getting at. And it may be one of the reasons that I LOVED seeing all the little children in my care, during my teaching career, find enjoyment in books. It may also be relevant when I observe my own obsession and fascination with the need to read to small (very small) children...and how it is something that MUST continue as the child grows. It's not all to do with the child learning to read words, but for the child to appreciate literature...doesn't have to be 'high brow'....and for the child to be able to use his/her imagination in such a way that reading gives him/her pleasure. This is something that he/she will keep for life and will help him/her THROUGH life.
Despite me 'pontificating' about literature, I have to admit (once more) that I am currenly engaged in reading not 'true' literature, but 'life writing' in the form of memoirs.
I have finished reading "For the Love of Julie" and can now report that, until I reached the last few chapters, I was unaware that the author, Ann Ming (Julie's mother) was the person who, using her persistence and tireless campaigning, managed to have the 800-year-old 'double jeopardy' rule overturned in the U.K. (It took her 17 years to achieve this - finally also finding justice - as the killer of her daughter was jailed for life).
Early morning found the little dog harrassing a tortoise who was attempting to walk across our front grass towards the house. Have no idea where he (it?) came from, but he/it was very damp and had a coating of green slimy stuff on its shell, so must prefer damp surroundings. As there is no appropriate body of water near our house, apart from a very small pond, and, as the dog was becoming more and more excited - and the tortoise more and more inclined to pull its head in and remain static - a remedy had to be found.
We fetched a laundry bucket, placed the (wee-ing!) tortoise in it and took a walk to the nearest dam. (Little dog firmly on lead).
Releasing the tortoise on the downward facing grass-lined dam edge, we left him (it?) there to enjoy itself.
At this time of year, tortoises often go wandering in search of a mate. We only hope that this particular tortoise is successful in the area around the dam where he was placed this morning.
BTW, it was such a lovely morning for a walk!
Continuing to read the true story, "For The Love of Julie", by Ann Ming, I am finding it rivetting. Almost ashamed of being so enthralled by such a tragic story of a daughter being murdered, but the incompetence of the (UK) police, in the first instance, for not being able to find the poor girl's body that was almost 'under their noses' while maintaining the line that she probably 'just ran away', was enough to keep me wanting to read more. Then the incomprehensible horror of the mother finding the body, folllowed by the debacle causing the abandonment of the first court case, after the perpetrator of the crime was (quite easily) found, makes you want to now more. Court case declared null & void owing to neglect of 'those in charge' to inform the jury that they had to appoint a foreman - and that their decision had to be unanimous. Nothing was done according to law; some of the jurors slept through most of the trial and a re-trial had to be set. It's hard to put the book down and I am hoping that it is the intrigue of the tale and the fact that I wish to see "justice done'' that is making me read with such eagerness.
On a totally different tack: The house-selling saga that is ours has not progressed. Had an email three days ago, via Estate Agent web-site, asking if a person could come and "inspect the property". We replied via both email and phone message, but heard not a word in reply. What was that all about? Who bloody knows? (No one, except the idiot who sent the email, I suppose).
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.