Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let's Get This Off the Front Page - Thank You Mr. Santorum

"It's not about you," he told about 300 suburban Columbus Tea Party members. "It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your job. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."
- Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum February, 18 2012

Front Page of Australians Abroad
I wasn't happy with the lead photo of my last blog posting. It was a bit spooky as you can see from the clip of the left.

I usually post a link to my latest Letter from New York on my website, Australians Abroad website. Oops, this current graphic IS going to look at little odd - if I choose it as the front page lead ...

I've wanted to replace that old spooky one, but I haven't been blogging much lately.

To use a bit of Australian vernacular, I've been a bit butcher's, or as the English would say, I have been "feeling poorly." How do Americans say it? "Feeling sick". I should know, as believe it or not, I am American. I won't say "and proud of it" because I didn't do anything special to become one. Well, I did, but that's another story. I don't say I am proud to be Australia" either, because I didn't do anything to deserve being Australian (and I'm still an Australian citizen) because I was born there, an event that I can hardly proclaim as being proactive on my part.

When I was at school, the forbidding forboding headmistress Miss Barrett at Mac Robertson Girls' High, used to tick us off if we said we were sick. She told us that "sick" meant "vomit".

So in the interests of being trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific and tran-century I will merely say, I have been unwell.

Ideas for "Letters" have been few, and the energy to actually write them, rarer still. I was beginning to think that there'd be no more "Letters".

Peak District, UK - Now That's What I Call Secular!
Then along came good ol' Rick. For the non-US readers, Rick Santorum is I believe, the Tea-Party preferred candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination for President of the United States.

Now that I am an American I can really understand the way Americans talk, as if the rest of the world should know all about us. It is just easier, and when it comes to people like the Tea Party people, less embarrassing.

If I'd just said "good ol' Rick" and gone on without explaining, most non-Americans would assume that Rick was just some loon I'd maybe met in a bar in the Mid West. But I AM a bit of a pedant and like to make myself clear so, I admit it, one of the front-runners for the position of the next president of America really did suggest that our President, PRESIDENT Obama, is molding America according to some non-Christian theology. Oh the shame of it. The Tea Party should be hidden away so that we could hold our heads up high. But I can't blame the press for shrieking Santorum et al's idiocisms to the world. It's just too bizarre to ignore. Even the ober-conservative Murdoch press will have a field day with this one!

Yes, Mr. Santorum really did say, "It's not about you,it's not about your quality of life. It's not about your job. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."

Now I know that most of us rational people would see this as a positive - the non-Christian bit that is - but "theology"??? Was Mr Santorum implying that our democratically elected president is a non-Christian. Of course he was.

"Home of the Brave", Babylon, NY
He's trying to wheedle his way out of it now, claiming that the other boy made him do it, that he was talking about something else - like oil, or that by "theology" he meant "secular".


He got me out of my sick bed, and for that I thank him.

And thank you too, all my Australian friends who have been telling me to "enjoy being President" tomorrow - yes it's a holiday here, "Presidents' Day". Yes I intend to enjoy it. And no, we don't all dress up and pretend to be our choice of president. ASIF!

But looking beyonf Presidents' Day 2012, there is a possibility, albeit slight - that our next President will be able to heal the sick!

Yikes! I am beginning to have an inkling of what "President Santorum's" health-care package would be based upon ...

Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Reality of Reality TV

"Watch a horror movie right there on my TV
Horror movie right there on my TV
Horror movie right there on my TV
Shockin' me right out of my brain
Shockin' me right out of my brain" - from Skyhooks, "Horror Movie", 1975
Horror Reality: Halloween House, 96th Street, October 2011
I didn't even know I was watching "reality TV" till I came across a listing of my channel offerings, and found "Judge Judy" categorized as such.

Oops. Well too bad. "Judge Judy" is reality TV and I watch her. It seems I am if I am not already, I am on my way to becoming a reality TV junkie.

Mea culpa. If my greatest sin is that I watch "Judge Judy", then I am prepared to be cast by the first stone.

But it got me thinking ... if "Judge Judy" is reality TV, then what about the other shows that I watch? "New York One Weather" - ye gads! Piers Whoever on CNN? I started going through my regular TV shows. It didn't take long. "Judge Judy" and "New York Weather" and the occasional CNN candy - and that was it. I don't watch anything else "live", and "live" isn't even "live" anymore. It is removed, by several degrees of separation.

Remember "Repeats". "Presequels" "Sequels"? By definition they don't even exist anymore. Not in "real time", that is. If I turn on the telly and start looking at something, how do I know it is "live".

Even if it isn't a repeat, it doesn't mean it is happening in the here and now - in the present.

And if it ain't live, and if it isn't drama, it's reality???

"Reality TV" ... it almost has a Jean Paul Sartre ring to it. I am reality therefore I exist. Or was that Descartes? Whatever.

I daren't turn on the Food Channel. If cooking isn't reality, what is?

"The News" would be the ultimate in "Reality", if it could be believed. But that's taking it a bit too far. I want to be fair.

And so, I won't turn on the telly. I will just watch what I have recorded.

In the past.

Where I belong.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Facing Up To It (One Site Fits All)

"I don't wanna know what kind of cocktail you are or which member of the Beatles or which 1950's movie star. I don't give a toss if you're a ninja or a pirate, I'd suspect you'd be a pirate but I don't wanna verify it. and I don't give a shit what your stripper name is or if your Kitty had a litter.." - from the song by Kate Miller-Heidke - "You Wanna Be My Friend on Facebook"
"A quick, optional way to organize friends so you can control what you see in your News Feed and post updates to specific people. We won't tell your friends if you add them to these three new lists." - from Facebook's "What are Lists?"

I "shared" the photo on the left on Facebook today. Someone else posted it first of course. Perhaps it was reposted many many times, but eventually it showed up on my "wall".

I don't even remember his name of the person who posted it just before I saw it, though his name was displayed. I didn't know him anyway. Someone else, someone who I DO know, well "sort of know", had re-posted it. I say, "sort of" because the friend who re-posted it, is someone I have never met. I know who he is though. I came across him originally on the members' section in its heyday.

I liked the photographed "definitions, so I "shared" them - it took only a seconds AND - there's the rub ...

I didn't even have to THINK. Once, when cyber social networking was yet to become "generic", when one site didn't fit all, pre-Facebook. Back in the old days, whenever I came across something I found amusing or interesting, I'd think, "Hey John would like that", and I'd send it off in an email. I might even add Betty. The thing is, I would THINK. And people would send me stuff. And we'd all get to know what each other liked and our lives would be individually richer.

Nowadays I don't need to bother thinking who would like what. I just post it on my Facebook wall and it they want it, they can come and get it. If not, I'm easy!

Now, I'm not an anti-Facebook person. Really I'm not. I don't contribute much with Twitter, but I look at it a few times a day. Twitter and Facebook have functions. It's all net and no work. You can disseminate all sorts of stuff, literally at the click of a button.

A lot of the stuff that gets disseminated is rubbish, and a lot is a load of hogwash. But sometimes something funny strikes my eye and I pass it on to a group of people - a broad group comprised of people who range from family and friends, to acquaintances both real and cyber. A group of people who I could not even list, unless I was logged on to Facebook. An amorphous mass of people who have cybered their way into being my Facebook friends.

Nevertheless, I feel I have to say nice things about Facebook as I don't take kindly to Luddites. Some of my best friends are Luddites! Even some of my Facebook friends are Luddites ... Even Luddites have to move with the times.

An Old Fashioned Lady - DUMBO Festival, New York
Times change. I'm ALMOST old enough to remember (joke Joyce) when ladies went visiting and left "cards" with the maids. This was before there were telephones. I imagine that when telephones came on the scene people despaired of the direction they imagioned society was headed. "No one will VISIT anymore," they'd cry. "We will just know people by their VOICES!"

So it is just plain silly to decry products like Facebook.

No one forces you to use the telephone, or Facebook. Or eBooks. Interestingly, while eBooks are sounding the death knoll for dead tree books, the telephone has yet to be replaced by cyber social networks and email. Most likely because phones now incorporate both.

I hate to beat a dead tree, but for those people like the ones I wrote about in Yes to Scrolls, No to Codex, those people who claim they love the smell of paper and the feel of turning a page - I just wonder, how often do they really actually sniff and feel their books? And do they use abacuses instead of calculators.

And more important, when they see something interesting do they actually THINK about who else might like it and email it? Or like me, do they just re-post it for all and sundry to see should they care to do so?

A little while back I noticed you could have the category "close friends" and "restricted" as well as "family" people on Facebook. I started to diligently go through everyone I had in my Facebook, categorizing them according to "close friend", "family" and "acquaintances".
But I soon gave up on categorizing everyone. I felt mean demoting some people to just "acquaintances".

Easier to lump all of 'em together and let them look at my wall!

Another social nicety bites the dust.