Recently, changes to our migration act here in Australia meant that any non-Australian citizen who served a prison sentence for more than 12 months would be at risk of deportation at the end of their prison sentence. No doubt this was an attempt to rid our otherwise unsullied paradise of unsavoury foreign types who go around committing crimes and generally bringing down the tone of the place.
Recently, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked if, given the opportunity, he would travel back in time to kill Hitler as a baby. He answered that of course he would, although he admitted that he didn’t know if or how that would change the course of World War II and history.
The whole time-travel-to-kill-Hitler concept has become a bit of an internet meme, and because of this, seems to have a sense of the absurd about it. It’s as if you can’t say that you would do anything else, with the gift of time travel, without mentioning that first.
This has a couple of major problems, and it bothers me that people treat it with such disregard. Of course, I’m also aware of the absurdity of writing a blog post about the issues of time travel, but it highlights a number of greater concerns.
This past week has sped by so quickly for me–as is evident by the fact that I’m writing this on Monday rather than the usual Friday–so I only heard in passing about the incident between a police officer and a high school student in South Carolina, and I only managed to read anything about it yesterday. But I did hear a discussion about a related issue on the radio later in the week, and during this talk, the interviewee discussed the issue of police violence, in particular in relation to persons of colour. Racial prejudice in the police force was something which needed to be addressed, he said.
Last night I got out the electric piano. I’ve not played it in the almost two years we’ve been living here, and I promised the Handsome Sidekick I would help him out with a song on the game he’s about to release, so I sat, Schroeder-like, on the floor, working out the key and the bassline, and it was So. Much. Fun. It’s one of those moment when it really hits home just how important those ‘non-core’ subjects like music, art, sport, and (at least, here in Australia) languages are. It’s been over 20 years since I last had any formal musical instruction, and so much of it is still there, beneath the surface.
Music’s great, isn’t it? So are music teachers. So are parents who pay for lessons.
Hope you all have a musical day! Enjoy your links…
Much cause, in fact. When I was in town the other day, I discovered that there is an Indian grocery store coming to one of the shopping centres. I cannot wait to investigate. Yum, Indian food! Spices and chapati and curry mixes and interesting sweets! I’ll be sure to let you know what I think when it opens.
The other thing which is exciting is that I’ve put up a website for my editing business, which I’m starting up. I’m expecting mostly local people to contact me, but of course, if you (or others you know) are interested, feel free to get in touch! That link up there on the right hand side—that’s me. I’ve ordered business cards. How ridiculously mature of me.
I also have another exciting announcement, but that deserves a post of its own. WATCH THIS SPACE.
Now, on with the links! You get an extra one this week because I missed last week. See how I’m looking out for you?
First Offspring went for a sleepover last night. I dropped him off in the afternoon and went to get him this morning. He was fine about it, not homesick as far as I can tell, but his siblings were quite lost without him! It was very sweet how they all crowded around when I brought him home, telling him that they missed him. Aww!
Today promised to be sunny but I think it’s going to go back on that. So I’ll go ahead and do some cleaning instead of some gardening (what a terrible trade-off THAT is) while you go ahead and enjoy this week’s links!
Today I thought I’d offer a throwback to 2013, since the post in question is relevant, given recent events. It’s interesting that this debate has been going on for years, but is only now getting such huge press.
I also think, while it’s important to question what flags we want to represent us, and what flags we allow to be flown, that we still ask the deeper questions about what motivates people to want to fly such symbols. Simply taking down the flag does not remove the sentiments behind it. Removing the Confederate flag from state buildings is a small step. Just because we can no longer see that flag, doesn’t mean the issues of entrenched and institutionalised racism and prejudice, which have been associated with it, simply disappear. And we should be wary, as this post points out, of assuming that we are all guiltless of the same, when it comes to what our own flags represent.
‘Do you think the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate?’ the Handsome Sidekick asked me as I was slouched on the couch, reading.
I thought about that for a moment.
‘Well… it was the flag of the South, during the Civil War, right? So I guess there is that aspect, with the slavery. I can see how people would be upset about it being flown. But… flags, you know? I mean, who decides which flag should be flown?’
It turns out, as we did a bit of reading about the Confederate flag and the evolution of the present American flag, that there were a lot more flags and banners around, at the time, than we realised. It raised the question of which flags are considered acceptable, and what a powerful symbol they are.
I can’t imagine anyone flying a flag emblazoned with a swastika without wanting…
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The other week, I was asking Second Offspring about whether she remembered any children from her old school. She had only just turned five when we left, so I’m always interested to hear about what memories they have, and how they fade, what they hold onto.
“I remember Shannon,” she said. “Remember Shannon?”
“She wasn’t very nice,” Second Offspring added. “She was mean to me. She was kind of a bully.”
THERE ARE ANTS IN OUR HOUSE.
I have managed to get rid of most of them but oh, how persistent they are. Now, I could understand their wanting to come into the kitchen, where all the food is, and they have indeed been in recently to get crumbs that our Offspring leave on and under the table, and then they leave when I clean up. But then the other night, the Handsome Sidekick and I were about to climb into bed when we discovered our bedroom — where no food is consumed! — was under attack. They had swarmed all over my bedside table and were even on the bed. After almost 45 minutes we got the last of them. Phew, it was a late night.
On that note, I’m off to double-check that all the surfaces in the kitchen are still clean and ant-free. Enjoy the links!
I’ll admit that I’ve only been half-following the riots in Baltimore this past week, in part because life has been busy, but also because it is very easy, as with shootings in the US, to sigh and wonder when things will ever change.
Of course, change does come, albeit slowly, and the fact that police officers have now been charged with Freddie Gray’s murder is a huge step in this direction. I suppose we will see what happens in court, and whether they will be held accountable for their actions. And I suppose, it’s only a matter of time before the entrenched attitudes begin to shift.