Hi there, you seem to have not noticed my first letter to you, which I found a bit disappointing. Perhaps you did notice it, and thought “well we’ve got all these secret plans which will resolve this issue, but since they’re secret we’re not going to say anything”, which still sucks, because you could have at least said, “Yes, we’re aware that this is a problem and we’re working on a solution”. I would have been much cooler with that… since I wasn’t the only person who had raised this as an issue, something I discovered after checking your google feedback and issues page.
So you didn’t notice, and life moved on. You created Googe Plus (G+), a rival to Facebook, something that looked interesting and inviting until the Nymwars began, and I quit. I didn’t quit all my other google products. I still have my calendar, my email and my RSS feed with Google, it’s annoying (though not impossible) to move them all.
I didn’t complain when you changed the way that Google Calendar looks, although I think it looks sterile and ugly. When there was mention that Google Buzz was going to be shut down, I wasn’t particularly concerned – afterall, most of that stuff was on Google Reader anyway, and Buzz wasn’t all that popular.
When I heard that Google Reader might be rolled into G+ I was concerned. I use Reader a lot. I share articles with friends and people with similar interests to me. I read articles shared by friends and people with similar interests. I have a decent investment in Reader, but I thought to myself (clearly blithely) that most of the existing functionality of Reader would remain, because not every Google client is able to use G+ (particularly those with nyms, and/or a need for anonymity).
Clearly I couldn’t've been more wrong. Google, you broke Reader. You broke everything that made it a product that I enjoyed using, and that my friends enjoyed using, and that was actually useful. You broke communities of people who shared stuff with one another, in the hope of improving your G+ product. I don’t understand why we can’t have both G+ and Reader.
Now, if I want to see what my friends have read and are interested in sharing, I have to rejoin G+, something I’m not interested in doing until you’ve fixed the nymwar issues. I know that you are working hard on this, you’ve had your VP of Social wassname come out and say that pseudonyms will be allowed, but without a time-frame. I’m not willing to rejoin until that happens, so for me, and all of those who can’t or won’t use G+ until that time? You’ve taken away communities from us. That sucks.
The other issue, the one you appear to have completely failed to take into account, is about how much people want to share, and who they want to share it with, as well as how people use Reader and the items that people share with them. In moving Reader to only share on G+, you’re effectively making people spam the feeds of their friends, and not allowing those who don’t have time every day to check the items that someone has shared, to stockpile those and read them when they have time.
I know you can create circles on G+ so that you only share things with people you want to share things with, but do I, or anyone else I know, want to flood a friend’s feed with a whole range of blog posts that interest me, when they can’t pick and choose the time to go and read them? That was one of the best things with Reader. I could leave it for a couple of days if I was really busy, and then spend some time to catch up. There have been months when I’ve had very little time to read posts shared by people who read some very fascinating stuff, and letting it stockpile until I had time meant that I didn’t miss out on anything, and that I knew it would be there for me to read when I found that time.
I know I’m not a lone voice in the wilderness about this. I know that I’m not alone in being very upset that you’ve killed off a community building function so that you could focus entirely on G+. I urge everyone else who is reading this, and who is upset at the removal of sharing functionality from Reader, to sign the petition.
*Trigger warning for discussion of rape and relationship abuse*
So, dear exes… these songs are all for you.
For the pain, heartache, and torture you put me through during and after our relationship by being a complete and utter arsehat. For dumping me so you could be monogamous with your other girlfriend because she’d earlier dumped you and you’d never been dumped before. For so completely misunderstanding me and never asking me why I did something or what I was thinking. For emotionally abusing me for years, treating me like dirt, because the power got you off. For raping me and not listening to me say “no” and then being faux apologetic afterwards, “Let’s not do that again”, and then at the next opportunity pressuring me into having sex with you again. For failing to communicate effectively with me and instead just dumping announcements and changes on me, expecting that I’d be completely fine with them.
These are the breakup songs which speak to me and help me keep going on, the songs that help me know that I did nothing to deserve the pain that I went through, and that I sing with the other strong women (lyrics linked to in song titles).
The first is by Paul Mac, featuring Ngaiire, called, “It’s not me, it’s you“. I hadn’t actually seen the film clip to this song until tonight, and it’s awesome.
The second is by a relatively unknown (at least in Australia) indy band called Elizabeth and the Catapults – called “Momma’s Boy“. Because I relate to this song so much (and I like this song but it isn’t specifically breakup related).
You suck in so many ways it’s difficult to quantify how much you suck and the amount of despair you put me through whenever I go shopping for clothes. In an ideal world you’d all have the clothing sizes you carry listed on the outside of your store, that way I wouldn’t bother setting foot inside your store looking for something to wear because I know you don’t cater to me. This would also require clothing sizes to be standard, something that would also make me happy. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to not quite fit into the size 18 for “thin” people, but for the size 18 for “fat” people to be too big? Does this even make sense? And why is the clothing for “fat” people so limited in variety and fashion? I walk in, look at what you have on offer and turn around and walk out again – it’s boring, uninteresting, and certainly not flattering. It’d be nice if you offer clothing for “thin” people and “fat” people that the sizes just continue up the scale – and that you sell the same type of stuff.
And those stores which do sell clothes that fit me – why is everything made from such heavy synthetic material? I prefer to wear cotton or cotton blends, I like my clothes to breathe so I don’t overheat. Also, don’t suggest that I “enjoy my curves” by completing covering them all up – that doesn’t make sense.
And if we “fat” people are to exercise to lose weight – why on earth do you not sell exercise clothing for people above a “thin” size 18 – yes I am specifically looking at you Target…. and in fact most sports stores. It’s a catch 22 situation if we’re told to exercise because we’re too fat, but can’t buy clothes to exercise in.
So thank you for making me almost cry in a shopping centre from frustration and shame. I really appreciated the public humiliation you kindly dished out to me. Please remember – the harder you make it for me to shop in your store – the less I’m likely to return if I do ever lose weight and fall into your sizing range.
I’d like to be quite clear straight up, I loath Danny Nalliah and especially loath his god (and by that I mean his interpretation of god). This is a man who claimed that Victoria decriminalising abortion resulted in the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 that killed 173 people and wounded 414, because he had a dream about fire and brimstone.
Now he’s come out saying that the floods in Queensland, specifically Brisbane, are the result of our former Prime Minister (now Foreign Minister), Kevin Rudd, being mean to Israel (don’t read the comments on that piece unless you’re prepared for a dose of scary). Apparently asking Israel to to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and open all its nuclear facilities to UN inspectors is mean, and Australia/Queensland/Rudd needed smiting as a result.
I can’t (and even when I was Catholic struggled really hard with this) worship or believe in a god that would happily kill (or make miserable) hundreds or thousands of people because of something that someone else did (or even that they did). I don’t even get how that makes sense. I never liked the whole fire and brimstone methods used by some ministers and hate the rhetoric of fear (which is something that Nalliah uses all the time).
That Fleming Gent posted a comment on Nalliah’s press release/blog post/thing and unsurprisingly that comment was not published, because it disagreed with the message that Nalliah was pushing. PZ Myers also had some good commentary on Nalliah:
Kevin Rudd has been insufficiently zealous in his support for Israel, and Rudd is originally from Queensland, so God is making it rain great buckets in Queensland to send him a message.
It’s a rather opaque message, O Lord, and it seems to be causing far more suffering to other people, rather than Rudd. Wouldn’t it have been far more effective and efficient if, say, the Lord God Almighty made the plumbing in Rudd’s upstairs bathroom overflow? I should think it far more persuasive that something mysterious and ominous was going on if every time Rudd flushed, he ended up with a gusher of feces and urine on his shoes. Taking aim at the whole of Queensland is just a bit sloppy.
I also don’t understand, if god is loving, forgiving and understanding, why ordinary, regular sinners are being punished for their representative’s alleged sins (I refer to Queensland (and bits of NSW and Victoria) for Rudd and Victoria for the decriminalisation of abortion). That doesn’t make any sense to me, and I’d hope it doesn’t make much sense to those Christians who actually critically think about things.
And then, Nalliah and his “church” took credit for the Brisbane flood not peaking as high as it did, because they prayed for Queensland, filling the gap between Rudd’s actions and god’s wrath… or something. Seriously, they gathered on the steps of the Victorian Parliament (because they’d get publicity there) and prayed loudly and publicly (you know, something Jesus recommended against):
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:5 (NIV)
Prayers such as Nalliah’s are great thing, it’s not like you can test them scientifically, and discover whether or not the prayers had any effect (they didn’t), and when things turn out well you can say that your prayers had the right effect, and if things turn out badly, you can say it was clearly god’s will, and that you tried. It’s a win-win situation and really does nothing for anyone. It’s not like someone, who claims that god speaks to them, would ever admit that their prayers were not heard.
I honestly would like Nalliah and his Ministry to stop receiving publicity, to go away and be on the fringe where they belong. I’d love Nalliah to stop being so afraid and infecting others with his fear. I’d love him to recant his hateful and prideful ways and to be humble and listen to the stories of those he currently considers sinful and learn that there is more than black and white in the world. I’d love him to actually love, unconditionally as Christians are called to love, and to stop judging as he should really know better.
[I'd like to state at the very beginning of this post that I am having a small whine. I, unlike Queenslanders who have been affected by the floods, have a roof over my head and haven't lost family, friends, belongings, pets, or my house. If you want to donate to the Queensland flood relief fund go here]
For the past few days, I haven’t been living in Melbourne, well I have, I’ve been living back in the tropics. The warm nights and warm days, with very high humidity have put me in mind of my time on Christmas Island versus living in Melbourne. My tiles are covered in condensation, meaning we have towels all over the place, my carpet is damp (and smells of wet sheep or carpet depending on your point of view) and the humidity level inside the house are currently at 98% (only slightly below being immersed in water (this is a joke)).
My back garden (have I mentioned that we’re situated on clay soil?) has taken as much water in as it can, and has flooded into the garage, so for an hour after I returned from the gym we bailed out the back yard, moved stuff that shouldn’t get wet in the garage higher, tried to seal the garage against further inundation, swept excess water from the garage, and then bought cat litter for the poor kittens who don’t want to go to the toilet in a lake.
This La Niña, although successfully having broke the drought for much of Australia, has been incredibly destructive. My parents have had their property flooded twice, and this time they’ve evacuated because the reservoir upstream from them is above capacity and the Government is concerned about downstream residents. I’m wondering how many of us want the drought back.
I’m Australian, and consequently value real-estate quite a lot (housing is in short supply and consequently rather expensive). I’m also, I guess, an intellectual, and value knowledge and books quite a lot too. So when I see photos, like these of Detroit, I am unable to comprehend why there is so much derelict property lying around (not to mention books, and police files). I do understand that Detroit is in the process of being abandoned and that there are many (apparently) insurmountable social issues, as well as being part of the rust belt’s decline, but I am staggered by the decay and abandonment of the property in these photos. Every time I see photos of abandoned real-estate in the US (without good reason like it being riddled with asbestos or unsafe to live in), I wonder how a nation can have such a glut of what is/was perfectly serviceable property that could be turned into residences or something else useful.
A photo of a library in disrepair. Books line shelves or are on the ground, light filters through a dirty window and the paint is peeling from the ceiling
Photos from police dossiers litter the floor of a police office. Filing cabinets have their draws left open and the paint on a secure room door peels
This photo (above) disturbs me for the wanton privacy breach. Because the people represented in the photos here clearly don’t deserve any privacy.
A ransacked desk is in the foreground with draws pulled open and a box of what appears to be brightly coloured Children's Books spilled onto the floor. The paint in the wide but brightly lit room is peeling and books remain on the shelves on the far walls
Apparently I touched a nerve with my comments on Brendan Black’s article in Fairfax on Friday. Now I can understand someone wanting to rebut the assertions and critique I (a lowly nobody really) made about their piece, but there are ways, and oddly enough my preferred way would be to actually comment on this blog.
But no, Mr Black decided he’d hunt down my personal email address (which is not on this blog) and email me personally. This is not cool. He published an article in a public space, I deconstructed the article with my own opinions and readings in a public space. There was no call for him to dig up my email from the various places it is on the interwebs and personally email me.
I have placed his comment, in which he decides to correct my reading of his article, in the comments section of my blog so you can judge that on its merits. This is a request for all future people who decide that they REALLY need to write to me about something I’ve written on this blog. Put it in the comments section. I do not appreciate being emailed out of the blue by someone who is upset at something I’ve written.
Emailing me privately, after going to the effort of digging up my email, is not flattering, it is down right creepy.
Colour me surprised and everything… who thought I’d find rampant sexism and plain bad journalism in the Herald Sun’s tabloid afternoon news paper… but I did and I thought, why not blog about it with my OODLES of spare time (hah!). For what it is worth, one of their journalists wrote an opinion piece dismissing the article discussing gender roles being linked to biology (thank you so much Amelia Grevis-James).
So onto the articles which upset me. I’ll find equivalent links to either news.com.au articles on the same topic, or other relevant news sources as I discuss each article that offended me.
Sin? Your biology made you do it (Maria Bervanakis)
This article is so NOT newsworthy that it was not run by news.com.au nor any other actual news source (I cannot find it on google news at all). Instead, the best source I can find for it is Newswise from August this year. Maria tells us that:
A study by a church-backed uni found that biology has a major role in sinful behaviour.
US Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Matthew Stanford, of the Baylor University in Texas, examined years of research into people that commit the seven deadly sins and discovered their actions could be explained by their physical make-up.
What the article in the MX doesn’t say, which is reported in Newswise, is that Professor Stanford himself is religiously aligned, which is evident in the use of “sin” if you think about it. The Newswire also doesn’t report of Professor Stanford actually has any qualifications in biology other than his qualifications in Neuroscience, and indeed where he obtained the qualifications he holds.
Stanford said all of the behaviors outlined in the book violate, in some way, the creative order that God has established, yet something biologically occurs in us that causes the behavior. However, biology is not destiny, Stanford said, and when we fully understand the effects of sin on our physical bodies, it becomes clear that “broken biology” can never be used as an excuse for sinful behavior.
As Stanford studied the data, he also noticed that, on average, men and women sin differently. Stanford said men tend to be outwardly manifested and focused on obtaining immediate gratification like aggression or adultery. The sins of women, on the other hand, tend to be more inwardly focused and concern on relational status, privilege or position like envy or pride.
“Because God created men and women physically different, it is understandable that the effect of original sin on our bodies and minds varies between the sexes,” Stanford said. “This is not to say that men and women differ in their degree of sinfulness, but simply that they sin in different ways. Men and women are equally sinful and sin is equally destructive in both.”
Each of these paragraphs should be addressed, although briefly because I don’t want to give this whackjob more time than he’s already had.
Professor Stanford has published a book. I haven’t read it, I’m not going to read it, and quite frankly am not interested in reading a book regarding what someone views as “sin” when I don’t share his religion. To suggest that sin has any “effects on our physical bodies” without actually being clearer and providing examples (yes I know this is a summary report) and then saying that “‘broken biology’ can never be used as an excuse for sinful behaviour” comes across more as homosexuality is a sin and even if being gay is biological it is still a sin and you can control your behaviour.
Look, men and women are different so they act differently and sin differently. Quite frankly Professor Stanford, go fuck yourself and attend some Feminism 101 before ever saying such crap again.
Look sinfulness is destructive (though it all depends on what you view as wrongful behaviour – according to Prof Stanford I’m a terrible sinner and would never get to heaven) and it impacts on women and men differently because they are different. Seriously Professor Stanford, go and meet some actual real people and find out how similar (apart from societal conditioning) men and women actually are.
Wife’s pay can cost a marriage (unattributed)
This article was also run The Times of India, I can find no other news source in Australia that ran this piece.
Apparently, if a woman in a heterosexual relationship out-earns her male partner, that relationship breaking up is far more likely than in situations where a woman under earns her male partner. From MX:
The finding is the result of a 25-year study of more than 2500 marriages and follows other research showing that house-husbands are prone to affairs.
The US researchers found that women who consistently made more money than their husbands were up to 38 per cent more likely to divorce than others.
Jay Teachman, of Western Washington University, said possible reasons for the statistic were that financial independence makes it easier for women to escape an unhappy marriage, and dented egos – of both sexes.
For a happy marriage, Teachman recommends a 60/40 split in income, with the husband being the higher earner.
Thank you Mr Teachman for suggesting that women continue to earn less money than men and therefore have less money as a safety net to retire on. Thank you Mr Teachman for proposing that instead of finding a way to solve the problem you’ve identified by having society treat each partner’s contribution to the relationship as valid, that women just take lower paying jobs. And you know what lower paying jobs typically are Mr Teachman? Would you do them?
This issue has been covered repeatedly, even on news.com.au. So here are some good links so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you can just read it yourself.
So it’d be nice Mr Teachman if you actually think beyond “let’s make the wimmenz earnz less” and into whether or not those relationships should have been saved, what societal changes need to be made so that if women out-earn men then nothing negative happens.
Now… last I checked if you were going to have an affair with someone, that other person had to be willing – otherwise we’re entering the realm of unconsensual behaviour – and the MX and the Vancouver Sun certainly do not suggest there was any question of consent. The MX used terms like “theft” and “stolen” in this article, which implies that the husband in this case was an automaton and had no part to play in the affair he clearly was involved in. So yes, it takes two to tango here and suggesting otherwise removes agency from the now ex-husband and makes him completely blameless. I note that the Vancouver Sun did not use either “theft” or “stolen”.
I’m not going to debate the strange law that North Carolina has on it’s books here right now.
So thank you MX for continuing the sexism that is prevalent in the world right now. You had a great opportunity to dispel sexism and make the world a better place, but no you decided to wander the easy path and screw women over again. I appreciate it, I really do.
Tony Abbott, our delightful opposition leader, stated recently what Jesus would say and do regarding asylum seekers in Australia. It showed yet again that Abbott’s Catholic beliefs are a cover for his arch-Conservative views and that he really has no idea what he’s talking about. As a lapsed and possibly now agnostic Catholic, I know more about the bible than Abbot appears to.
Here is what he said recently, which really makes me wish he’d just stop talking and embarrassing the rest of us:
“Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”
Mr Abbott was quizzed extensively on his criticisms of the Rudd Government’s softening of Australia’s border protection policies and how that criticism squared with his own strong Catholic faith.
Asked what Jesus would do on the issue of asylum-seekers, he replied: “Don’t forget, Jesus drove the traders from the temple as well.”
“This idea that Jesus would say to every person who wanted to come to Australia, ‘Fine, the door’s open’, I just don’t think is necessarily right,” Mr Abbott said.
“(But) let’s not verbal Jesus, he is not here to defend himself.”
Ok, now lets look at what Jesus is actually attributed as saying on such issues:
Matthew 7: 1 – 5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
So Abbott, don’t judge others because you do not have the authority to do so.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Both of these quotes would suggest that a welcoming and loving heart are the call of the day and not one that would willingly exclude others, whether it be from entering a country or seeking asylum.
And as far as Jesus driving people from the temple goes, the story is as follows:
Matthew 21: 12 – 13
Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’”
Which has nothing to do with keeping asylum seekers from seeking asylum in Australia or any other country they can make it to and choose to seek asylum in. Jesus spoke of befriending outcasts, the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 and, Zacchaeus the tax collector in Luke 19:1-2. He healed Lepers (Luke 17:11-19) and others with diseases and disabilities. He taught about humbleness and acceptance of others. He is not the man that Tony Abbott keeps thinking he is. And on a final note, a quote from Luke 18:9-14 that Tony Abbott needs to consider:
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”