Thursday, 31 May 2007


I was, as is my usual tool, surfing the interweb. Checking out sites and links until I ended up somewhere I had never been before. Jacquline Mackie Paisley, who I take it, is or was a prolific blogger who is now taking a break or not blogging us much - now to what matters to my post right here. That is the content of here latest blog, posted 29 May 2007.

Which relates to Health Insurance and her struggle to find the right policy for herself. What brings my attention to this is the apparent lack in interest in the fact that she HAS to get health insurance in order to plan for any future medical assistance.

The post reads as if she has lost all thought that her Government has some responsibility to her well being and health. I suppose I am looking at this from the perspective that here in Australia we have a partially Government sponsored Health system. That is if we need emergency health care - aside from the Ambulance trip, which is another story - we have things covered in the sense that the hospital will heal you, operate etc. It is not completely covered but you will get medical care in emergencies and in selective surgery you will, eventually, get in to the hospital and get say a knee reconstruction or hip replacement.

From what I understand in the USA if you have no health insurance you will not get any medical care at a hospital. I understand that there are 'free' clinics and such but I do not understand the general apathy that intelligent people, like JMP seems to be, have towards Health Insurance. Why does she pay taxes if not for the Government to take care of her well being.

I realise that I am picking on JMP a lot and I do not mean to single her out, I mean this to the general public of the USA and as a warning to people in Australia. Are we turning into America, will we one day turn people back form medical care because they do not have Health Insurance? What will that mean to us as a country if or when that happens?

I am happy to be in a Country that cares for those on lower incomes, that cares for the battlers and those unable to work in a higher paying job. I also am happy for when I earn more money to use things like Private Health providers instead of the strained public system. What I am not prepared nor willing to do is sit back and let it all turn into a terrible and horrid system like they have in the USA and like the UK is going/gone.

Public Health and Public Education ( I'll leave that for another rant) SHOULD be and always SHOULD be the major mandate of any Government. After all it is he Tax payer moneys that fund Governments and not the other way around.

There is my rant for the day.

Thoughts? Theories? Go right ahead maybe we can get a debate happening here.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Links to make you think

The first link in this series is courtesy of my Friend the critical critic, Constance;

Fashion Guru and 'inventor' of the Punk image - designer of the Sex Pistols outfits - Vivienne Westwood seems to be in the media again, this time not bringing down the constabulary but trashy TV shows, Magazines - encouraging people to read and visit galleries and museums.

It seems Vivienne wants us to be released from the mire of crap and rise out of the depths and reclaim our sanity. Good Luck Vivienne! with all the Hype and Media driven mania around reality TV and Celebrity Gossip you 'll have more of a fight on your hands then I think you can handle.

She is fighting the good fight and I wish her well. Any thoughts on the article?

Unitarian Universalism

I was once again searching the wonder of wikipedia - this time it began with Joe Hill (not the Swedish activist and songwriter) but the writer. Who if you did not already know has written his first novel "Heart-Shaped Box" - which I have but have not read as yet. I plan to have a day (by day for those that don't know me I mean maybe an hour - if I can fit it in) of reading on the morrow I have a Tad Williams to finish and a John Scalzi to start then Joe Hill's after that.

As usual I loose track...

Joe is really Joseph Hillstrom King - son of (drum roll) Stephen King. It was kept a secret for a long time - at least until he got his first Novel out but once a picture of him was release it was obvious who his father is... poor guy - good thing he can write.

So after checking out Joe's stuff I went to check up on Stephen. I have a few (insert heaps) of his books and know a little about him and his life so it was more a bored, time wasting thing to do and low and behold I found Unitarian Universalism.

It seems that Stephen Kings Daughter is a Reverend in this Church. I had never heard of this particular religion before and so I had to go and check it out.

I was not disappointed.

"Our faith, Unitarian Universalism, is a spiritually alive and justice-centered religion." I found this on the UU site. Could I have uncovered the perfect religion - something that is really truly able to be say it is there for everyone and everything. Or is this religion just trying to be too much for everyone and not settling down on a belief.

They seem to stand for everything, free speech, gay/lesbian/transgender rights, environment you name it - if it is an under dog they are for it. Is this really a religion? Is it really Christian based? WTF?

I am somewhat shocked and disturbed by all this talk of religion actually taking up issues I believe in. I think I might need to lie down for a while bury my head until it all goes away. This just goes against all I believe about religion!!!

A quote to which I stand shocked and full of dismay;

"Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion that encompasses many faith traditions. Unitarian Universalists include people who identify as Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, and others. As there is no official Unitarian Universalist creed, Unitarian Universalists are free to search for truth on many paths.
To quote the Rev. Marta Flanagan, "We uphold the free search for truth. We will not be bound by a statement of belief. We do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed. We say ours is a non-creedal religion. Ours is a free faith."
Although we uphold shared principles, individual Unitarian Universalists have varied beliefs about everything from scripture to rituals to God.

As I mentioned in the previous post I believe that Beliefs and I suppose Faith are a personal thing. you cannot have someone or indeed something tell you what you believe. Plenty try but I think that true free thinkers can wade through the mess and come to their own choice.

I have often thought about a belief, if I have to have one and if I have to turn it into words to describe it to others I would say a lot of what UU seems to say. I believe that IF there is a God out there, it would be made up of all the different Gods that we currently and have believed in throughout our human history. The pagan gods and goddess of the stream and tree and sky, the Hindu Gods, Christian, Jewish and Islamic and even the many parts of Buddha and others. Something about UU has me worried though. This is in America and it all seems a little too good to be true.

So I dug some more.

It seems that the Orange County Churches Review and Guide do not like them - they marked the church as one to avoid and that it was a Cult! (and not in the good way!) Of course I do not know what criteria this review blog works under and to be honest I was afraid to look too closely into the site itself - a little to Right Wing Christian for me. Surprise the RWC do not like UU - A vote for them from my books.

I told you it was all to good to be ture... I found this page. Here is the heart of the matter;
"Contrary to popular belief, when you join a Unitarian Universalist congregation, you cannot “believe anything you want.” You must believe, with all your heart and soul and mind, that love can transform the world."

What if MY belief has nothing to do with changing or transforming the world. After all I can only change myself, that is all that I have control over. Unless I am allowed to lock up people at my will I can do nothing about them or their beliefs. If by changing the world they mean change my out look on the world then yes I can do that - through love? Maybe, but love of what? Self love is important, universal love is something totally different. I can respect other people and other views but can I truly say I Love them if I do not know them?

I am not sure that UU is a religion for me but if one day I was forced to take a religion and follow it, UU would be on the short list. I would just need to know more.

In the mean time I will trust in the time honoured belief that has held me good for the past 30 something years. Or at least keep thinking what I want and believe in that instead.

What do you think? Is it really your own thoughts...

Ask anyone about it and you get a different answer. Sure some may be based on the same general idea, or have the same name, but the real answer wil be something different. That is beacuse religion is something personal and it means different things to different people.
Our beliefs are defined by family, friends, experience and interests. These differ from person to person and across nationalities and socio-economic barriers. Yet our religion and our beliefs always get put in hole or pocketed away to become this all encompassing tag we carry around forever. Whether we are Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist or other, we are defined by what other people think about that tag. These thought feeling and indeed beliefs about other religions come from experiences (good and bad) and though interactions and the real evil in this world The Media.
Look at any news show, paper, magazine or website and you will see someone or something telling what to believe - and yes even this is doing that. We as free thinking human beings have to take, what they tell us and really examine it, think about it and decide to take on that idea, dismiss it or otherwise. I want to know can we truly dismiss it completely? Or does that idea, good, bad or indifferent really leave us.
For example, the Cronulla riots in 2005, had ideas about white supremacy and the hatred of Musliums. The amjor theme was that Middle Eastern or Southern European youths had conducted assults or intimidated people in the Cronulla area. A force of white supremacist then went and attacked people of Middle Eastern appearance, which then resulted in pay back assults.
Do those ideas and the fever from thoes days stay with people? Even thoes that dismissed them as racist? Or have thoes ideas taken a hold in the minds of people to fester and grow so that one day when say something else happens these previously dismissed beliefs come back to haunt them.
Say for example Sam, a person of mainly pale skin background, who would be thought of as coming from a mainly Christian heritage was walking home one night from work. He takes a train from the City to an outter suburb and walks the 4 blocks home to his flat he shares with other people of a similar background. He saw the riots on television in 2005 and was shocked at the blatant racisim toward Middle Eastern people. He dismissed the idea that Middle Eastern people are evil or bad and went on with his life. On this night is attacked and mugged for his wallet ($40, Credit Card and incovience), the attckers (there where two) where of Middle Eastern appearance. Now since the riots there has been many images in the media about attackes and violence all with hints (some more obvious) that Middle Eastern people where bad and always at fault.
So does the previously dismissed ideas come back to haunt Sam, maybe even turn his opinion and make him believe that what was said is the truth now he has experienced this attack. Or can his reason, in a clear and thought through way make him see this attack as a separate incident to the issue?
What I am trying to say here is - even though we dismiss ideas that are evil because of what they make us feel and how we know we should be as free thinkers. Do these same ideas infect us with fear and anger even as we reject them?
I suppose this all comes from watching to much crap "current affairs" shows on TV. Shows like Today Tonight and A Current Affair which seems to promote nothing but fear and anger at people, races, business, governement and individuals. I wonder if maybe even though I can look at the "stories" with an objective view am I really safe from being lured under there spell. Am I safe from being able to hold true to my beliefs and not be turned to think like they seem to want me?
It used to be the answer to your belief. I am a Christian, I am a Jew... Now you have to ask whether or not you believe what the TV tells you, or the internet or the guy at the water fountain. It used to be that you could avoid being brain washed by avoiding the Church or public speakers. This open and continued bombardment from the Media means that you are constantly attacked, your person beliefs questioned and opposing views thrust at you. How can one stay true to oneself when everything you believe is constantly attacked?
What do you believe?
Who do you believe?

Trust no one.

New Music - Old Tastes

I went on a Wikipedia search the other day... as you do. I ended up at Roger Taylor page. The drummer of Queen, you know that great rock band of yesteryear, A fantastic musician and I suppose one of the reasons that I took up drums with such a fever in my youth. Him and others that I will get around to talking about at some stage I am sure...
Anyway i digress, I always knew that Roger had formed a side band "The Cross" at some stage during the Queen era - something I think they all did at some stage, Freddy and Brian with there solo stuff, not so sure about John Deacon - I think he is a very close family type of person and maybe he was happy with the fame from Queen and just to live with that... Anyway I have no idea so we'll leave it at that.
What I found out on Wikipedia was that Roger had a few solo albums starting with his first solo album "Fun In Space" in 1981 - he had a single at some stage before that. So intrigued as I am about Roger I went to iTunes and downloaded the album.
It is a little slower then I expected ( The Cross - from what I have heard - where a lot more rocker then this) Roger plays all the instruments on the album and sings through-out. His producer helped a bit with some synth or keys but this was mostly just Roger - unlike later Cross stuff where other where given co writing credits. I suppose I have to also remember this was early 80's and a different sound was around then.
The album has some really experimental tracks on it and a few really cool drum work - as you would expect. I also liked Rogers vocal capabilities (probably because it isn't always perfect but it has a growl to it) My favourite tracks after the two listens this morning...
Magic is Loose - Very early feelings of the "It's a Kind of Magic" album Queen will write later in the 80's. something about the way it builds up and is pop but still verging on something else. Roger's voice is brilliant in this funny little song.
Interlude in Constantinople - Synth and effected vox. makes me think of a soundtrack for a space opera movie. Something like Dr Who... then it just ends... funny
Airheads - Ah here is the rock number, thundering drums makes you want to turn it up to 11. Cool guitar riff, "people round here.. call me an airhead.." typical Roger lyrics straight to the point and direct. Love it - reminds me of the "I'm in Love with my Car" Queen song - penned by Roger
Fun in Space - If Interlude was Space opera THIS is the blockbuster and cult classic like 2001 - A Space Odyssey.
Such discoveries are still out there, finds of music and talent that I sometimes think are all gone. Nothing else can make me smile as much as music drifting me off to some special and secret place. I really want to grab some of The Cross as well, iTunes does not have it - next time I go to the big City I will search for something to make me dream again.
Good bye for now I drift off to my world in space and mind...