Saturday, 22 June 2013

A tresured birthday

Today is my mother’s birthday, and the good news that she has been cleared of cancer after 2012’s masectomy has been overshadowed by the extreme pain her brother has been suffering. It feel terrible to think about, and I sent him a card on Tuesday, by my mother still says I should have much deeper feelings for him than I do.

Because of my mother’s work at Penleigh, she has not been able to do any shopping, but actually I have come to like this because it gives me more to do in a job which I really enjoy - though in recent months I have tended to shop far, far too late in the day due to a very bad rhythm whereby I have been going to bed at 02:00 and not getting up until 10:00. (Actually, I have tended to get up well after the recent cold mornings, and then go back to bed again still tired, before properly rising at 11:00 after half of the limited daylight has been lost.)

Today, we planned a steak-and-chips dinner - one Mummy has come to like a great deal when well-cooked because of the flavour. However, she was critical of my buying of budget rump steak because she thought it was a special occasion, but I said that even at Piedmonte’s - a semi-gourmet supermarket in Fitzroy - there was no alternative.

I then went to buy the cake at a shop i knew for a long time in Carlton, and chose a small “White Forest” cake that has still thawed too little for eating. Still, it is a rarity after a fine dinner that I receive pictures of the cake , which I will show here:

Sunday, 16 June 2013

A trade we need everywhere if it’s not come yet

Tonight, as I wait for a reprint 1910 Wisden to see if it ends, I have found an article that recalls my earliest days at Raleigh Street in a very nasty manner - and shows what has to be done.

Circa 1990 at Raleigh Street, a fellow student of mine (if I recall well several) said to me that they had a real gun when playing with a toy gun like those shown above. Although one might imagine the story to be a joke, this always taught me to fear the possibility kids would acquire a real gun and use it to shoot me. When kids said as I reached adulthood “I’ll (expletive) kill you” and “I’m gonna shoot you, (expletive)” I stood in great fear believing that many kids wanted me dead.

Although with age I can admit that it was my errant behaviour rather than hating me personally that caused kids to tease me so much, that does not mean I believe teasing as I suffered can be justified.

In this context, a trade by Strobridge Elementary School of books and bikes for kids’ existing toy guns is most refreshing and original. Each child will get a book in exchange and enter a raffle to win a bicycle. The idea actually came from a photographer called Horace Gibson, who takes students’ school pictures and expressed concern about a spate of shootings of young people by police in Oakland. Police, Horace Gibson says, often mistake toy guns for a real gun, despite the special colourings in the picture at the top.

It would be great if toy guns were replaced in this way at all schools in Australia, at least if schools are willing to do more than my school was about children acquiring toy guns which could give them a taste for real guns without understanding of when and how real guns can be used safely. I have never read about the effect of toy guns on whether kids become bullies or something much worse (like killers) but unless it can be shown that toy guns really help kids avoid violence with real guns (very unlikely I imagine) i would never let a child in my care have a toy gun!

Friday, 14 June 2013

A strange joke about the Eucharist

Today, my brother gave me this interesting anecdote:
1394: A court in Orne, France, sentences a pig to death for blasphemy - after it wandered into an open church and fed on the Holy Wafers.
This may have been understandable since, especially under the doctrine that humans are not animals - which is argued by opponents of Communism to prevent the extreme violence of all Stalinist regimes - the Eucharist is so sacred that allowing it to be consumed by animals is desecration.

Nonetheless, it is still funny that a pig would be sentenced to death, rather than maintained because it ate the Eucharistic Wafers!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Is Australia surprising?

This recent table, aiming to show how religiosity (based on “confidence” in religious institutions) aims to show that religiosity is inversely correlated with suicide rates.
The table is interesting in the context of the “atheist nation with a religious ruling class” image I have developed for twentieth-century Europe, actually suggesting this image to be true almost exclusively of Spain. In fact, the suicide rates of some other nations where I have suspected very low real religiosity are lower than those for Australia and religosity higher.

There is reason to question even “founder effects” as the cause for Australia’s low religiosity since its suicide rate of countries adjacent to Australia - which if “founder effects” were really making Australia less religious than it should be in simple environmental and economic grounds would be higher than Australia - are not actually so. There are a few exceptions in South Korea and two ex-Stalinist nations, but in fact one would expect such exceptions to be in “small-government” countries if my own theories are true.

This is serious reading for me, I think!