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Tinderella - A Modern Fairytale

dark queen
You no-doubt have heard of the "dating" (yeah, right...) app, Tinder.

My son found this and showed it to me and I thought after all the doom and gloom in my last post, that you may enjoy this:





DLxxxxx

Farewell Gough Whitlam - Thank You

dark queen

Gough Whitlam 1916 - 2014

Member of Australian Parliament 1952 - 1978

Prime Minister of Australia 1972 - 1975

Thank you, Mr Whitlam, for acknowledging my political voice and for then listening to it.

Thank you for giving me the rights, dignity and opportunities I deserved and craved, but was denied before your government came into power.

Thank you for giving me hope and inspiration and sharing with us a vision of an achievably better, more equitable world.

Thank you for agreeing with my belief that I didn't have to give in to stereotypes, that I had the right to aspire to greater things and wasn't 'getting above my station' for striving for them.

Thank you for changing not only laws, but minds.



“When government makes opportunities for any of the citizens, it makes them for all the citizens. We are all diminished as citizens when any of us are poor. Poverty is a national waste as well as individual waste. We are all diminished when any of us are denied proper education. The nation is the poorer – a poorer economy, a poorer civilisation, because of this human and national waste.”

- From his 1969 campaign launch.


“Let me make quite clear that I am for abortion and, in your case Sir, we should make it retrospective.”

- On being repeatedly pestered by a punter on the campaign trail wanting to know Whitlam’s stance on abortion.


Picture: Getty Images


“Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands part of the earth itself as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever.”

- August 16, 1975, as Whitlam handed over freehold title of the Gurindji lands.


“I’ve never said I’m immortal. I do believe in correct language. I’m eternal; I’m not immortal.”


A truly great visionary and a personal hero of mine has now left this earth at the impressive age of 98. Gough Whitlam may not be here anymore, but his legacy lives on, despite many who have attempted to erase it (our present PM and his government included).

Gough Whitlam was incredibly eloquent and intelligent, unusually open and often blunt for a politician, controversial, had an ascerbic wit, was often described as arrogant (personally, I saw it as passionately dedicated with an unwavering belief in his cause), never spoke down to or was condescending to the Australian public and was incredibly charismatic and charming in person.

Gough Whitlam changed the face of Australia, the attitudes of Australians and the Australian culture as a whole - all for the better in my opinion.

He improved the lives of all Australians, in particular women, children and Aboriginal people,

He brought in the Racial Discrimination Act

He brought in equal pay for women, thereby increasing the minimum wage for women by over 30% by including them in minimum wage legislation (women's wages for the same job was 66.6% of a man's on average).

He brought in maternity leave (12 weeks paid and one year unpaid) and made it illegal to discriminate against a woman in the workforce because she was or could get pregnant and guaranteed her job back when she was ready to return to work.

Instituted free child care, allowing many women to re-enter the workforce or further their education

Recognised Aboriginal land rights

Instituted our national health scheme

Implemented the National Sewerage Campaign (Most Australian capitals had the majority of their areas unsewered, with some areas relying on septic tanks, but most relying mainly on "dunnymen" collecting the human waste once or twice a week - this was in the 1970's!!!)

He made higher education available to everyone, no matter their background or sex, by abolishing university fees and fees at TAFE (Technical Colleges) and broadened the curriculum for part time study. thus improving the living standards of many Australians, lessening the gap between rich and poor and giving us many people who have made tremendous contributions, not only to Australia, but to the world.

Note: Both current PM Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey attended university during the time of free university and Joe Hockey, who now has deregulated university fees and made student loans extremely expensive, was, during his time as a student, an activist for free university education.

Instituted subsidies for businesses training trades apprentices

Promoted decentralisation of business and industry by providing incentives for companies setting up in regional areas to prevent the death of regional towns and cities (sadly, much of this has been undone by later conservative governments)

Changed and instituted laws to protect women from domestic violence and rape within marriage

He brought in no fault divorce and established the Family Law Court

He brought in the single parent's pension, helping many families that were living well below the poverty line and giving families a chance to break out of the cycle of poverty

He indexed pensions to the cost of living

Took the sales tax off the contraceptive pill and made it available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to make it more affordable and available to all women in Australia.

Implemented and funded Women's Health Centres, Refuges and Crisis Centres

Upgraded our public (ie state) school system and curriculum

Withdrew Australian troops from Vietnam and stopped conscription: In 1972, Whitlam withdrew Australian troops from Vietnam, consolidating moves that had already been started by his coalition counterparts. He had been a vocal opponent of the war, and had addressed Vietnam peace rallies in Australia as early as 1965. He also ended military conscription, which had chosen young men by ballot according to their birthday “... it is intolerable that a free nation at peace and under no threat should cull by lottery the best of its youth to provide defence on the cheap,” he said in his 1972 policy speech.

Lowered the voting age to 18

Brought an end to the "White Australia Policy" which limited immigration to people who were of "acceptable" heritage.

Established the National Art Gallery (and also bought Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles for 1.6million dollars, the controversy turning everyone in Australia into an instant art critic), increased or instituted funding for the arts including dance, music, theatre and film

I could go on and list many more, but basically, he brought Australia into the modern world and gave us a clearer idea of an Australian identity, independent of the old British Empire and the later influence of the USA.

I can't say I agreed with everything his government proposed or tried to achieve, but, in the majority, I did. Neither he, nor his government were perfect, but they saw what Australia COULD be and were sincere in their goals and aspirations, and honestly wanted the best for the country and the Australian people - ALL Australian people, not just the rich and influential. He truly believed in "The Vision Splendid".

Many of these changes have been watered down over the years, often at the hands of those that reaped the benefits of these changes and wouldn't be in their positions of power and influence if not for them. The change in attitude has remained to a great degree though, and Australians as a whole would not allow a complete abolition of them as they have changed our attitudes and lifestyles so very much.

I lived through the Whitlam years as a young person and saw and benefitted from these changes more than I can say.

Many people who grew up after this era knowing nothing else but a life with these benefits are quite ignorant of how very much he and his government improved the lot of so very many Australians - how soon people forget...

He and his wife, Margaret (another hero of mine), were a formidable team - she was outspoken, a tireless campaigner for women's rights and other social reform and far from the quiet 'yes women" we see in most politicians' marriages. He revelled in her being a strong, independent woman with a voice of her own.

The Whitlams were true egaletarians that didn't look at the fight for their causes as 'noble' - to them it was just logical, no nonsense common sense, a view I agree with.

To paraphrase Paul Keating, Gough Whitlam changed the face of Australia - there was the Australia before Gough Whitlam and there was the Australia after him - you can't say that about too many people.

Some more of his more memorable quotes:
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My Cat Knows What You Do In The Dark...

dark queen
My son and I found this when we were just looking up a cappella stuff on youtube and we both loved it (I like it better than the original Fallout Boy song!) .

So for all you cat lovers out there, enjoy!



For all those fearful of cats... now you have another reason! (mwuhahahahaha)

The Bletchley Circle

dark queen
I've just finished watching the two seasons of this excellent mystery series and all I can say is that I wish there were more. I hope ITV reconsiders and brings it back. I loved the characters, the plot lines and the setting. All in all a quality series.

If you haven't seen this yet and are put off by my saying it has been cancelled, fear not, for it doesn't end on a cliff hanger and is nicely tied up - I just wish there were more of it.

I'd highly recommend it.

You Don't Have To Try

dark queen
I know that in the scheme of things, this isn't earthshatteringly shocking or thought provoking, but great oaks from little acorns grow. I really like this song and video and I hope lots of girls and women see it and it changes their perspective a bit.

Colbie Caillat - Try



A Yummy Summer Cooler!

dark queen
Hi all of my Northern Hemisphere Summer swelterers!  It's colder than a brass monkey's ... *ahem* ...nose here, so these will have to wait for me, but I saw this yummy recipe/how to for a combo of flavours for ice blocks (Aussie name for popsicles, freeze pops, icy poles or ice lollies, depending on where you hail from) that had never occurred to me, but once I saw it, I thought they'd be quite delish.

Introducing.... Watermelon and Parsley Ice Blocks!



They're made in a blender (a food processor would most probably do the trick as well), so if you don't have a juicer, then you won't be left out. Being watermelon, you could more than likely just chop and mash it by hand if you wanted to.

The recipe is on instructables here: http://www.instructables.com/id/watermelon-and-parsley-popsicles/

According to the person who posted the recipe, they reckon these taste like the best watermelon you can imagine.

If you don't have much of a sweet tooth, I have also made V8 ice blocks in summer. I've found them to be quite yummy and very cooling, if a bit off-putting to people until they try them. I've been considering trying carrot and ginger or carrot and celery next summer, too. I don't use my juicer anywhere near as often as I'd imagined so I thought that would give it a whirl.

Anyway... Enjoy!
dark queen
I love classic, old school science fiction.

blah blah about why I doCollapse )

Now, to the point of my post. Much of this wonderful material is now in public domain and so can be found either to read or listen to and/or download LEGALLY FOR FREE on many sites, but I've found a youtube channel that has a good collection of both fantasy and science fiction in audio form, well categorised into playlists, all well read and mostly by  authors such as Frank Herbert, Frederick Pohl, Poul Anderson, Frederick Brown, Philip K. Dick, H.G.Wells, Fritz Leiber...well, you get the idea...

Here's the link for this particular channel which is a good starting point:

https://www.youtube.com/user/NewThinkable/featured

and from there you'll be able to find many others - once you stumble on one, they're everywhere! You'll find many more free public domain audiobooks at librivox as well: https://librivox.org/ Note: you can also volunteer to record for them too - I'm planning on a bit of volunteer reading for them over this winter, if they'll have me.

If you'd prefer to read, then you'll find many classics of all genres for free in various ebook formats at Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ and other such archives. Thank heavens for these projects, as many fine stories have not been in print for many years and could be lost forever if not preserved.

Below is the contents of that first sci fi anthology I read (yes, I bought that very copy from the library when they were having a chuck out sale years later, sentimental sod I am),  all of which are still some of my favourite old school short stories, for you to look up and read if you'd like somewhere to start:
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Aspects of these last three were used in the movie Avatar. People only ever seem to credit Call me Joe, but in my opinion, there are certain ideas from A Case of Conscience (a damned good story on faith, ethics, dogma and what constitutes a soul) and Deathworld in Avatar as well. Also, you can't talk classic sci fi without also mentioning Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Ursula K. Le Guin, Marion Zimmer Bradley and, despite the scandals, Arthur C. Clark. Even now, I want to keep on going as there are so, so many more, but I'll stop for now.

Scrat In No Time For Nuts

dark queen
I just watched this after stumbling upon it whilst riding the insomnia train. I love the Scrat shorts, they're always so funny. It only runs for seven minutes and gave me a good laugh so I thought I'd share!

Humour

dark queen
I love this because it's funny and the voice of reason at the same time.


Anyway, enjoy!





NB: Please don't think that I'm picking on the US because of this - we have the same sort of climate change deniers over here as well. Some deny for self interest, some out of sheer bloody-mindedness, some because of how the issue is represented by media (as pointed out in this clip) or for various other reasons. It's sad, but true. In Australia, we have a government that takes the stance of climate change scepticism, which is highly embarrassing and worrying to me and many other Australians. I won't get on my soapbox about our present government, though, or this would be a very long, and, to most people, boring post.

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