Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Empty Words

They seem to be everywhere. At the moment, with State elections looming and federal leadership challenges, our televisions are being bombarded with empty words, promises that may or may not be met (and I tend to lean towards the may not), bickering and finger pointing and blame games that don't seem to take into consideration what the public actually really wants, or what would really help to improve the lives of people within the community. Take Campbell Newman - former Lord Mayor of Brisbane who decided to abandon his role there so he could jump straight into the leadership position of the Liberal Party in the hopes of being elected Premier of the State. He was recently at a Christian Lobby Forum reaffirming his party's intention to repeal same sex civil union legislation when previously (and I suspect conveniently) claiming to support same sex marriage.

But empty words are not just limited to the bantering and promises of politicians. They are everywhere. We are all guilty of them. How many times have people said they will do something or share something or say something only to let time slip by and the matter fade into non-existence, whether intentionally or not? How many times have you said something, secretly hoping that the person you say it to will forget and not actually call you on it? How many times have you felt like you are the only person who is giving of yourself, or really sharing things - that the two way street is in fact only one way and has been for quite some time?

Empty words have become so common place I don't think people actually recognise them clearly much anymore. I don't believe people really see when they are being fed bullshit by those close to them. We all recognise it from politicians and people in prominent positions of power, and we all jump up and down and vent our thoughts and frustrations on social networking sites and blogs similar to this, but do we recognise when its happening by someone not on the TV, someone not impacting upon the lives of the masses? Do we jump up and down and vent all over FB or twitter etc etc? Probably not. 

Are empty words just a part of every day life now that we all have to come to accept and just deal with, or should we be putting our foot down and stating emphatically that it is no longer acceptable? 

Friday, February 24, 2012

MARY POPPINS in Australia

Over the rooftops, step in time
Over the rooftops, step in time
Never need a reason,
Never need a rhyme... step in time!

So I took myself off to see this at the Lyric Theatre last night and can I just say A-MAZING!!! Utterly brilliant. I had a fabulous time!

It hadn't necessarily started that way. Slight wardrobe melt downs ensued when I realised I don't necessarily own anything that would fall within the casual dress category. It bugged me, which was actually rather surprising, that I couldn't really find anything suitable to wear. So much so that for a time I didn't actually want to go. What is it, I wonder, that makes us so concerned with the impressions and opinions of complete and total strangers - to the point where we allow it to encroach upon our enjoyment of something special? And then there is the going out in and of itself. Whilst it was fabulous and I loved it, sitting down at a table on my own in a crowded restaurant, to eat a meal before the show just made me hyper aware of the fact that I was there alone. Again, what is it that makes this seem like a negative? Why do we let it bother us?

I was glad that I went out, I thoroughly enjoyed the show and have determined that it is something I will make the effort to do a little more often (but not so much that it is no longer special). And for some reason - insert negativity - I have decided to upgrade my wardrobe with some more suitable dress clothing. Why though, do I then have that small voice in my head asking me what the point is, since I would be going on my own. I wonder why we do this to ourselves...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012



It apparently makes the world go round - it can't buy you love - it doesn't make you happy (though it certainly can go a long way towards helping). I have known what it is like to not have a lot of money before, to only be able to afford food for 3 or 4 days and then to simply go hungry until my next pay. A lot of people struggle today as a result of the GFC and increases in basic commodities. Food prices have gone up, petrol prices continue to rise. Energy and gas prices are increasing, as is water and other basic necessities. 

I have known my fair share of people who seemingly throw money around like it grows on trees, who are so comfortable that their idea of a treat or gift to someone is something outlandish like a motorbike. I am sure, if I had that kind of funds, I wouldn't indulge in those kind of things but that is mainly because of my previous experiences with money and the issues I have had.

I recently renovated my kitchen, at ridiculously low prices thanks to the generosity of a friend of mine. I am currently planning renovations on my bathroom, again at low cost (looking at around the $1000 mark). Now, I know that the money I am spending is increasing the value of my property and is making the space I live in more comfortable and enjoyable for me. But it is still a hurdle to spend that sort of money on myself. I still have to remind myself that it's 'good spending', that I am not wasting my money on frivolous things.

I grew up learning that if you wanted something, you worked for it and earned it. If you *needed* it, it was provided for you, but if you wanted something - you earned the money to pay for it. 

I don't know - this post really had no purpose or argument. It was more just a venting/explanation of my own little quirky 'issue' with spending money on myself.

Friday, February 17, 2012

My choice!!

From today's prowling on

Organ donors shouldn't be vetoed - Minister

THE low organ donation rate in NSW could be improved by families talking among themselves about the issue, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner says.

NSW has a comparatively low organ donation rate, with about 50 per cent of potential donors in 2010 overruled by their families at the time of death. In response to this, the NSW Government launched a discussion paper in December that canvassed abolishing families' right to veto.

The Department of Health & Ageing FAQs:

What if I’m already registered as a donor elsewhere?

It is important that you register your consent to be an organ and tissue donor on the Australian Organ Donor Register, which is the only national register for organ and tissue donation for transplantation.

Even if you have previously expressed an intention to donate organs and tissue, for example, by ticking a box on a driver’s licence renewal or registering elsewhere, it is very important that you update your details and register your consent to be an organ or tissue donor on the Australian Organ Donor Register.

By recording your consent on the Australian Organ Donor Register, you can be confident that your consent will be recognised should the circumstances arise when you may become an organ or tissue donor.

Should I discuss my decision about donation with my family, partner or friends?

It is important to discuss your decision with your family, partner or close friends.

By registering your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register, you will ease the burden on your family of having to make this decision on your behalf.

They will be an important part of the donation process so you need to make sure they are aware of your decision to register your consent on the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Your family member, partner or friend will be asked to confirm that you had not changed your mind since you registered your consent or your decision not to donate.

Where you have recorded your consent to donate organs and tissue, your family member, partner or friend will be asked questions regarding your medical history to determine which organs and tissue may be suitable for transplantation.

The more family members who know of your decision about organ and tissue donation, the easier they will find it to ensure your decision is respected and fulfilled.

My two cents:

I think it is fairly obvious by the choice of title to this particular blog post. I firmly believe that it comes down to the right of the individual to choose whether or not they consent to being an organ donor. My organs, my choice. I am an organ donor. Not only have I nominated it on my license, I have also registered on the Australian Organ Donor Register. 

What I do not understand is why this register does not provide some sort of binding agreement/decision for the donating party, notwithstanding any medical exclusions. Obviously, if an organ is not viable for donation then it would be redundant to take it. But I do not see why my family should have the final choice on whether or not my organs can be used to save the life or improve the life of someone else. Why should they have the power to turn around and say "No" when I very clearly have said "Yes"? Why should I have to sit down with them and stress my wishes and reiterate to them that it is what I want and that they are not to change my decision? What is the point in having that conversation when in the end, my wishes could still be completely disregarded by my family. I should be able to register myself as an organ donor and have that decision abided by everyone unless there is some specific and valid reason for excluding me or defying my wishes. 

I support any legislative proposal that would abolish the family's right to veto the decision of an organ donor. It might sound silly, but I didn't think that the second I drew my last breath, my wishes became moot. I can legally, through the registration of a valid Will, determine the distribution of my personal assets, why then can I not legally determine the distribution of my physical self? 

Organ donation is a personal choice. I don't believe it is something that should be a compulsory agreement - though I would entertain such an argument if donation numbers were so critically low that the number of people needing organs obscenely outnumbered the number of organs available for donation. I am an adult, a tax payer, of sound mind and able to make rational decisions. As such, I make the decision to offer any and all viable parts of myself after my death to help improve or prolong the life of someone else. My decision should not be 'confirmed' and ultimately 'allowed' by my family. My family should not have the right to turn around and change my mind posthumously. 

My right to donate.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Double Standards

I have generally tended to avoid arguments around same sex marriage, simply because everyone else is already talking about it. But during my prowling, and then with the snippet of Glee's episode tonight, I felt inclined to lend my two cents worth. 

It really sunk in as Magda spoke about the 'velvet oppression'. Without focussing too much on the increasingly and frightening trend of youth gay suicides at the moment, I couldn't help but find myself agreeing with sentiments about how homosexual people are often times forced to live in this 'sheltered' pretend view of their lives because of who they choose to love. She's right, gay people pay taxes like anyone else, they contribute to society just like everyone else does so why should they not be afforded the same opportunities and rights as anyone else? Why should the minority opinion be allowed to expect gay people to justify why they should be allowed to marry?

When I think about the things that Magda's raises in her brief visit to The Project, and when I consider the 'double standards' that are displayed on Glee I couldn't help but remember the very same double standards being applied to me as a young adult. My mother, whom I love and whom is now a very big advocate for my right to love whoever I choose, used to own a hair salon. The majority of her clients were pensioners so, because of the 'image' I presented to them and the impact it would have on her place of business, I was not allowed to show any affection to my female partner - someone I had bought a house with and was planning children with. Yet my brother was able to show the same, and even more escalated displays of affection, with his fiancee not only without causing any issues in the salon but also gaining some level of encouragement from people there. Yet, if I were dating a man, it wouldn't have been an issue.

Personally, I identify as sexually fluid. I don't really like to prescribe to labels such as 'gay' or 'bisexual'. I am attracted to people irrespective of their gender. It is the personality that truly engages me. If I find myself attracted to a woman then I am attracted to a woman. Equally, I may find myself attracted to a man. Now some people would look at that and go "Well that makes you bisexual" but in my mind, it does not, because their gender is largely irrelevant. It has very little, if anything at all, to do with my attraction to them. I have loved both men and women. I have been intimate with both men and women. Why should I have the ability to marry one person, if I happen to be attracted to them, simply because they have a penis, and not the other whom I might love just as much, because they don't?

Charlie was right on the money if you ask me - scrap the institution of marriage, or at least remove any legally binding elements to it and make it an entirely religious ceremony only. Make civil unions the only legally binding arrangement (or domestic partnership as it is sometimes termed). Then it doesn't really matter who you love and who you choose to bind yourself to in a legal sense. Religious people can have their marriage ceremonies, non religious people can have their commitment ceremonies and EVERYONE can have their legally binding civil unions.

I don't think this has really come across the way I wanted it to, but it is late and I am a little tired.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day, Love & Commercialism

So, it's Valentine's Day and as usual all the flower stands have popped up on the side of the road, florists are advertising like crazy and the TV is still full of advertisements for jewelry as it has been for the last few days. The above video, not surprisingly, was even in the news. That is what Valentine's Day has been reduced to. A commercial, money grabbing excuse to show someone you love them. Silly me, I thought you did that every day in the little things you do to make each other's lives easier. I thought it was something you do because the person you are with makes you happy and content. I thought, perhaps foolishly, that you show someone you love them *every* day - not just February 14.

A bit of a history lesson, thanks to Wikipedia:

Saint Valentine's Day, often simply Valentine's Day,[1][2][3] is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from theGeneral Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").[1][3]
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.[4]

Chaucer's love birds
The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer[20]Chaucer wrote:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
["For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]
This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia.[21] A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381.[22] (When they were married eight months later, they were each only 15 years old).
Readers have uncritically assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine's Day; however, mid-February is an unlikely time for birds to be mating in England. Henry Ansgar Kelly has pointed out that Chaucer could be referring to May 2, the celebration in the liturgical calendar of Valentine of Genoa, an early bishop of Genoa who died around AD 307.[23]

So Valentine's Day wasn't even about romance until the 15th century and even then people were content to share flowers, confectionary (chocolates) and a card. Now? Now its flowers, jewelry, chocolates, gift cards, pamper packs, dinners and concerts and the like. If you simply got your partner a card, nowdays, you would seemingly be cheap or 'not in the spirit'. I personally would rather receive a hand made card like they would have back in the 15th Century than a prepackaged Hallmark special. I am pretty sure Hallmark wasn't around back then.

Please do not misunderstand me, I am a hopeless romantic. I am the girl who leaves a post it note on the cereal box because I had to go to work before you got up, or who leaves a love letter on your pillow just because you were on my mind and I wanted you to know. Sure, when I am in relationships I make the effort on Valentine's Day but even then, the effort is contained and within the spirit of old school romance, not this commercially driven sales gimmick that is just chasing as much $ out of me as it can.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone - just remember to show those you love how you feel *EVERY* day, not just today. Buy flowers and chocolates, take the time to make a card or at least write a hand written original message instead of the preprinted commercial crap not just today, but any day, because the people you love deserve it, are worth it, and are worth being shown they are loved on more than just one money grabbing day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Respect not as important as amusement it seems...

I got up mid morning this morning to the news (smattered across FB and then confirmed through a few brief searches on that Whitney Houston had been found dead in her hotel room. It was actually the leading story on the TV News reports tonight even. Whilst not necessarily 'surprised' given the singers fairly difficult battle with addiction, it was still sad to read of the loss of such a beautiful voice (at one time) and immense talent. I am always saddened when the world loses someone with a gift that has brought so many pleasure and enjoyment. And then the jokes began circulating. They popped up on my friends feeds on FB and even in SMS messages to my phone, which frankly I find utterly disgusting and disrespectful.

Whitney Houston:

Whitney Houston...... Waiting to exhale.

"Crack is Whack"... coincidentally it's the same sound Whitney made when she hit the floor.

Whitney Houston won an impressive six Grammys in fourteen years. Slightly less impressive was her recent attempt at six grams in fourteen minutes.

There's going to be a huge line outside Whitney Houston's funeral next week. Which coincidentally is what killed her.

Michael Jackson inspired things like this:

Remember... when you hear that rumble in the sky today, its not thunder.
It's Elvis kicking the shit out of Michael for marrying his daughter!

Princess Di:

What does DIANA stand for? Died In A Nasty Accident.

What do Pink Floyd and Diana have in common? They both had a hit with a wall.

Amy Winehouse:

Can all those waiting to make a joke about Amy Winehouse please form a line…
It’s what she would’ve wanted.

Now, please do not mistake me for someone who cannot take a joke, or who doesn't find even the above somewhat amusing. I have a healthy sense of humor and will admit to having a quiet chuckle over similar sorts of jokes in the past. I am reminded about a text I received some time during the not that long ago Tsunami in Japan that went something like "Dear Japan, Sucked In. Love 'The Whales'."  At the time I received this text, I felt similarly to how I do right now - disgusted. Sure, a few weeks later when it circulated again and was sent to my phone I found myself having a bit of a chuckle at it, and I am sure that in a few weeks time if the Whitney jokes are still doing the rounds I might become amused by some of them, but hours after her death has been made public? Not in the slightest. Hours after hearing about her death I am filled with nothing but sadness for the loss of such a monumental talent, and especially the loss of love and affection for a teenage girl now left to grow up without her mother.

Celebrities, by the very virtue of being celebrities, leave themselves open to public ridicule and mockery. Their faux pas and public stuff ups become fodder for comedians across the world and it is, in a lot of ways, the price they pay for making their living from the public at large. But I firmly believe that like any other person, a celebrity is entitled to having their privacy respected, to not having the serious personal issues in their lives splashed across tabloids and websites for entertainment value, and that ultimately in their death we, as human beings, should have enough respect for them as a person/a parent/a partner etc to allow an appropriate amount of time before we start tearing strips off of their name, before we start tarnishing the memory of them in the minds of other people for our own selfish amusement.

I am not, in any way, suggesting that jokes about celebrities are completely and always unacceptable. I am just saying that I hope, as people, we could begin learn when it is and is not appropriate to air such amusements. When did our own personal amusement and entertainment become more important than respecting the dead, regardless of who they are and how they died?

Thank you for the wondrous experience that was your music Whitney

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen.

I was asked tonight what my take on this was. This was my response:

Children who have laptops bought for them, who have internet accounts paid for by their parents and who don't have to go out to a job every day to work for all the nice things they have really shouldn't bitch about the people that provide those things to them. Granted, shooting the laptop was overkill but its HIS laptop, its his internet. She wants a laptop and the ability to bitch about her lazy folks then she should go out, get a job, buy it herself and pay for it herself. Otherwise, she should shut up and just be grateful she gets those things in the first place.

First computer I ever owned I bought with my own money that I had to work to save up for. Kids today are ungrateful and expect simply because the technology is there, that they are entitled to ipads and iphones and wii's and the like. You want it - you fucking earn it yourself. Personally, if I was her parent I would have sold the laptop and taken the other half out for dinner with the money from it or something - and made a point of letting her know that I had sold *MY* laptop because she was obviously ungrateful and didn't deserve to have such luxuries given to her. Maybe then she would appreciate things her parents provide a little more, and be a little less critical.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stupid People become the victims of stupid things

Now, I realise it is likely not a very popular or even understanding opinion but honestly, I had to laugh when I first watched this video. I am not someone who gets off on the pain of others, and I don't really find the fact that this news anchor required hospitalisation and medical treatment funny - what amuses me is the stupidity shown in the first place to do what she did.

Based on the news articles I have read, to get the background on this particular story, this Argentinian Mastiff fell through some ice after getting loose and chasing a coyote. So - within 24 hours a dog gets loose, falls into some ice and has to be rescued, likely got poked and prodded by vets and police, has had cameras and lights and news studios in his vicinity and then some tv anchorwoman shoving her face into his.

And we're surprised he bit her? 

Would you go up to a dog you didn't know, a dog you had never seen before and stick your face in its face? Would you even do that with a dog you were semi familiar with? Dogs, like most animals including people, do not like to be crowded and have their space closed in on. So when you have a dog that is being held by a collar by the policeman behind him, what would possess you to think that cramping this strange dog you have never ever seen before would be a safe and smart thing to do?

I understand that the owner should be cited for 'leash violations' and vaccination issues, but I cannot fathom why they should be held responsible for a tv anchorwoman's stupidity. You shove your face in my dog's face, not knowing that dog and after it had been through a bit of an ordeal, what do you expect to happen. I can tell you I won't be paying any ticket if they react to your invasion. Serves you right for being a dickhead.

Again, I don't find the actual trauma itself funny, but the stupidity is amusing and really - I have no sympathy whatsoever for anyone who doesn't engage the lump 2 feet above their ass.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Flag Burning

The burning of the national flag, on the steps of Parliament House, by a group of Aboriginal people has had a mixed response amongst the community. It prompted a number of 'friends' of mine on Facebook to post the following status on their pages:

"From a friend, I couldnt resist reposting...

I wasn't going to comment on this, but it's burning me up... now to the indigenous people of Australia, I understand how you feel. I know why the tent embassy is there, and know about your wishes for a Sovereign Treaty. I am sure the vast majority of indi...genous Australians that I know will agree with what I am about to say, but If I offend you, you may as well delete me, because I am far from finished.

The Australian Government has publicly acknowledged your rights to the land. They said sorry, and you accepted that apology. Tony Abbott was right. It's time to move on. Your wishes for a Sovereign Treaty will not be granted. They are all based on MONEY. You want all the rights to all the land that will make you money. The government bends over backwards, providing indigenous Australians additional welfare, funding, housing etc etc etc. This money comes from taxes, provided by working Australians, and big business, most of whom use that land you want to be paid for, so you can sit on your ass and do nothing. It's just not going to happen.

We cannot change the past, and for the past, we have apologised, but we can change the future, and promote racial understanding. What a small group of indigenous Australians did on Australia day was outrageous. To burn the flag on the steps of parliament was an act of desecration, and probably the most racially offensive and unpatriotic act I have ever seen in this country. You have put racial understanding back 100 years in this country, and only you are responsible for the retaliation this will bring from an outraged country. Not to mention how you treated the Prime Minister, despite her party being responsible for tipping off your demonstration.

While it might not mean much to some people in this country, that flag represents the very soul of who I am, and what I believe in. I wear that flag on my uniform every day. I fly that flag when I go overseas to defend this country's freedom. I have draped that flag over a mates coffin, and presented that flag to the mourning family of a fallen comrade. You people are not Australian, and if I am ever see someone burning my flag, and I am close enough, I will stomp your guts into the ground. If you are not prepared to accept this country the way it is, accept our apologies for something the current generation was not responsible for, and embrace a multicultural society, one which Australia was built on 200 years ago, then pack your bags, and go find another country where you can take handouts, complain you are hard done by, and burn their flag. Because you are not welcome here while I am defending you rights, and paying taxes to support your welfare. GTF OUT"

My personal reaction to the footage that was plastered across every news channel that evening was in a word, ferocious. I cannot help but find myself agreeing, at least in part, with the comments that circulated around on FB, my feelings joining a significant number of Defence members who were utterly outraged by the actions that were taken. I know, had I been anywhere near those individuals when they did that, I would have found it difficult not to lash out in response. The burning of my flag, in these circumstances, felt like a violation of an important aspect of my personality.

Watching the footage now, I am reminded of the epic speech Michael Douglas' character gives in one of my favorite RomCom's "The American President":

"You want to claim this land as the land of the free, then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag, the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest." Michael Douglas - The American President.

I understand the logic behind such a statement. I agree that freedom of speech should not be restricted to words alone and exclude the burning of a flag in protest. I agree that such an action should not be criminalized, as is suggested at the end of the short video clip, and that criminalizing it would be counter productive and largely, ineffective. But, the circumstances when I would consider such an act of protest in any way appropriate or acceptable are at best, extremely limited. We do not live in an apartheid state. Indigenous Australian's are not treated like slaves, are not subjected to the conditions of slavery and do not have to fight for their very freedom. Certainly, I will acknowledge that in a number of ways the indigenous community remains underprivileged or disadvantaged in our society, but significant progress has been made in rectifying the wrongs of the past and to turn around and burn the nation's flag - a flag that is for ALL Australians (Indigenous and non-indigenous alike) because your continued press for sovereignty are being thwarted, and because a politician had the temerity to suggest that the Tent Embassy, whilst serving a purpose 40 years ago, was no longer really relevant, is disgraceful. To spit on that flag as you burn it, is repugnant. 

I, like those I serve with, wear that flag on my uniform. I have saluted coffins draped in it as soldiers who fought and died for the very freedoms those flag burners enjoy were returned home. When you burn and spit on my flag, because it is something you have always wanted to do ever since your father did, while holding your other hand out for more government benefits and assistance, you spit in the face of the very constitutional rights that allow you the freedom you enjoy. When you behave in such a way, you better pray there isn't someone like me standing behind you lest you find yourself being tossed about on the ground, putting out the very fire you chose to start.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Australiaoz flag

On 25 May 1995, the Northern Territory of Australia became the first place in the world to pass right to die legislation. The Rights of the Terminally Ill Act lasted 9 months before being overturned by the Australian Federal Parliament. Today, Voluntary Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide are illegal in all states and territories of Australia. 
The only end-of-life laws that exist are a patchwork of Advance Medical Directive and Power of Attorney laws, none of which allow a person to ask for active assistance to die. These laws operate on a state-by-state basis.  Your access to these laws depends entirely on where you live will.

I saw a friend briefly this morning who had had to take his 11 year old dog to the vet because of prostate problems that were causing him extreme pain and discomfort, as well as impeding his ability to have normal bodily functions. It got me thinking, sidetracked momentarily by the presence of my own four legged companion, about the apparent difference between people and pets. Now, I understand that pets are animals and as such most people do not afford them the same level of attention or importance as other people, but there are those of us that do look at our pets as more than just some animal. My boxer, my gorgeous boy, is my family. He is my partner, he is my son. Until I have children of my own, he is it. Even then, he would continue to be like a child to me, so important is he to my life. When I take him to the vet I don't stop to think "Oh should I spend this kind of money to get him fixed". I wouldn't think that about taking a child to the doctor, I don't think it about my dog.

It got me thinking though, about the apparent ease with which we as humans decide when it is acceptable to end the life of our pets. When the pain and discomfort that they are in so far outweighs the enjoyment of their daily life, we see no issue in sending them to the vet to be put to sleep. And yet we do not afford that same right of choice to people when it comes to ourselves, or those that we love. Now, I understand why there are concerns over other people having the right to choose when someone else lives or dies. But what about my right to choose my own fate? Why do I, as a responsible pet owner, have not only the right but the expected responsibility to take my dog to the vet and have his life ended if he is living in painful consistent discomfort with no other ultimate prognosis than an uncomfortable death. Yet as a person, if suffering from a terminal illness, from which there is no cure or from which it has progressed too far beyond the point of recovery (like cancer or AIDS) I do not have the right to decide my own fate, to determine when I no longer wish to suffer the constant daily pain and suffering that my existence has become. What if I were, heaven forbid, in a motor vehicle accident that left me with such brain damage that I was either in a constant vegetative state, or so mentally damaged that I am no longer myself? Personally, I would not wish to live in that kind of state.

I know certain conditions can be adapted to, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia. A person can adapt to losing limbs or senses such as sight or hearing, but when your brain becomes to physically damaged that you are no longer able to fend for yourself, that you need help with every aspect of your life from going to the toilet to feeding yourself and dressing yourself - why should I not have the right to determine how I choose to live my life or how I choose to end it? 

We all have a right to life - why not a right to death? Death comes to us all so why not, in certain circumstances, can it not come on my terms when I am ready for it and when I know, for me and those dearest to me, its the right time to go?

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Critics claim it is nothing more than government propaganda, so what? What government doesn't use propaganda in some form? You come into an election year and politician's bombard your television with advertisements for their political party. The radio waves become full of campaigning. You cannot watch the news without some story or another involving a politician running for government. They travel around  the country speaking with people, appearing to be concerned with the issues that affect each of the communities they visit. Sometimes, they engage in televised debates, extolling their political stance and why they are the better option than their competitors.

How is this not, in its own way, propaganda? Granted, the critics of the above mentioned television show likely mean it in a more derogatory reference, but really, is it not all just varying degrees of the same thing. One of the reasons Adolf Hitler was so successful was because of the propaganda that he was able to spread amongst his countrymen.


  [prop-uh-gan-duh]  Show IPA
information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely tohelp or harm a person, group, movementinstitution,nation, etc.
the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.
the particular doctrines or principles propagated by anorganization or movement

I realise that when people use the term propaganda they mean to in a specific context, but can we not simply consider advertising in general a form of propaganda? 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reality TV Ugh!

I was channel surfing earlier and being bombarded by crappy reality television programs. On one channel, Biggest Loser (or Biggest Fatties as I like to call it). On another channel, their version of Biggest Loser - Excess Baggage, where a celebrity teams up with an ordinary Australian to lose weight. I hate reality television with all the poor me, my life is so hard that's why I am fat or never got my shot as a singer/dancer crap. It's never about what it claims to be about - losing weight or finding talent - it's about how much money can be made off the viewing public with votes and what not.

But seeing the two shows on tonight reminded me of a conversation I had earlier that day while enjoying Subway for lunch with a dear friend. Australia, it seems, has become the global leader in obesity. Quite a shock when you stop to consider just how many people there are here when compared with places like the US and Asia. But apparently we are a nation of fatties. It led to a very interesting discussion on fast food vs good food. I reasoned, whether rightly or wrongly, that the main reasons people today are as overweight as they are rely on a few key things; 1. Technology 2. Pricing 3. Laziness.

1. Technology. The technological advances, even in my relatively short lifetime, have been amazing. I am only 30 years old and yet I was a young teenager before we even got our first computer in the house. We were fortunate enough to have an Atari to play and it wasn't upgraded the minute a new gaming system became available. We never owned a Sega Megadrive or a Nintendo or a Playstation or anything like that. Hell, I still have my original x box and only recently (within the last 2 years) got myself a wii. iPhones didn't exist when I was a child - god I still remember my first brick of a mobile phone. Children today spend too much time gaming, playing consoles and DS's and the likes and less time outside running around and riding bicycles, climbing trees and playing sport.

When I was a kid we made tree houses, I played cricket and basketball and soccer and touch football. We would mow a racing track in the backyard and race our bicycles around it. I would dare to venture that most children today wouldn't even know how to build a halfway decent tree house, but they could tell you everything you needed to know about an ipad or an x box 360. They would know all about WoW and Skyrim and Call of Duty.

2. Pricing. People struggle financially. It is a fact after the GFC. Hell there are times I struggle financially just like everyone else, with a mortgage on a single income and what not. It is no wonder people are more likely and inclined to turn towards fast food outlets like Maccas and HJs (Burger King for you Americans) and KFC. For some ridiculous reason I cannot fathom, crap food that is really quite bad for you is cheaper than (or at least appears to be) buying healthy fresh produce. Of course someone is going to go and get that Big Mac meal for $5.95 (I don't even know if that is what it costs) when you can have a burger, fries AND a drink for that price, instead of going to the Salad Bar and getting a chicken and salad sandwich for $9. Thats JUST the sandwich, no drink. If I am going to have take out, 9.5 times out of 10 I will have Subway because I believe it is at least still a healthy alternative. I do not deny myself the once in a blue moon treat from KFC but I always end up feeling like crap after wards and asking myself why I did that. I would much rather go to my local fish and chip shop and get a home made style burger anyway.

But during my conversation today I asked the simple question - why does the Government make such bad unhealthy things so readily available? Granted, I realise we are adults and should be free to choose what we want to eat and in what quantities. I am not suggesting that fast food be banned, but when your country becomes the global leader in obesity, does the government not have a responsibility to put the health of her citizens first? Laws were passed banning the advertising of cigarettes. They are now kept in plain, unadorned cupboards in retail outlets that sell them. Additional taxes were placed upon alcoholic drinks to try and make them less appealing, especially to younger people who might be a little more restricted by budgets. Why then can the government not put some sort of fee or tax or whatever you want to call it on fast food. Sure - the item is still available but at a price. I don't know that many people would be willing to buy a regular big mac meal from Maccas if it is going to set them back $15 to do so. Yet if their healthier alternatives (which they are starting to introduce) were cheaper than the crap, people might actually choose them instead. Why can't there be some incentive for spending a certain amount of money on fresh fruit and veg at the massive supermarket chains? They have a majority of the market and make massive yearly profits, surely they can stand to make slightly less of a profit in order to provide healthy options to people at affordable pricing, or perhaps a bonus of milk or bread or something like that for XX amount spent on fresh produce? Those ideas might not be realistic or feasible, but it doesn't change the fact that whilst we as individuals are responsible for the crap we put into our bodies, the government should get to a point where they put their foot down and say 'Enough is enough!'.

3. Laziness - I think generations today are for the most part, lazy. Not everyone mind you, but a lot of people are. They want everything and they want it now. They want it handed to them on a platter, instead of slogging their guts out to earn it themselves. They want the nice, fancy 4 bedroom house, the brand new expensive car, the designer labels, the high paying job. They want all these things and they don't want to have to spend 10 or 15 years working for it, building it up. They want to look great and fit into everything and be stylish etc but they don't want to have to spend time exercising and eating right to get it. They want to be able to go out Friday night and get their drink on, but still wake up looking a million bucks Saturday morning. It's just not realistic people. If you want something, you have to work for it, you have to earn it. You want that high paying job - get educated, start at the bottom and work your way up, get the skills you need and the experience to back you. You want that nice house and fancy car - Work your way up to the high paying job, buy yourself a fixer-uper and put some money into doing it up to sell it so that you can move on to something better. You want to fit into that size 10 dress - go for a walk, get on a treadmill, ride a bike, do pilates.....get off the couch and do SOMETHING!

You want to sit on my television screen and cry that no one loves you and you can't find a partner because you're morbidly obese, you want to cry 'poor me' because you have a problem saying no to food and you eat when you get emotional, you want me to feel sorry for you because you're a 21 year old male with bigger breasts than me...... Harden up, suck it up, get off your ass and do something about it. Do something about it because you want to change your life, not because of the $250,000 carrot dangling in front of your chubby fat lips if you happen to be 'the biggest loser'. Otherwise, go away, feed your face full of all the crap and shit you've been shoveling down for years, end up with diabetes and heart disease and likely dying of a stroke or a heart attack because you can't even see your own feet anymore. It might sound harsh and cruel, but maybe that's what some people need in order to wake up to themselves. Can't help someone who won't help themselves and I for one am not going to sit here and feel sorry for someone who weight such preposterous amounts and refuses to make an effort to change their circumstances.