Saturday, November 24, 2012

Just the cats and me here this arvo - too hot for anything else much - 

Monday, November 19, 2012

I thought this post from Kevin P Miller on my blog roll was well worth reading

A sobering read
by Kevin P  Miller 12 Oct 2012

IT WAS LARGELY A BOOK ABOUT EVIL, the Holocaust and one man's decades-long obsession with finding the most genocidal tyrant to ever walk planet Earth. In 1982, literary critic and essayist George Steiner took his fixation with Adolph Hitler and delivered The Portage to San Cristóbal of A.H., a daring and disturbing philosophical fantasy about one man's belief that Hitler had survived World War II and the destruction of Germany. In the novel's opening pages, the Führer is discovered in the jungles of South America. He is an an old man, reminiscent of the images of a wild-eyed Saddam after he emerged from his subterranean existence and was forced into the arms of his American captors.

While I have not read Portage for over 25 years, the most memorable passages of the book explore German sensibilities just prior to WWII. . .a time when Nazism began to eviscerate human rights and human lives. The Germany Steiner richly details is one of societal dualities; on the one hand, Germany had been considered among the most culturally rich societies on earth. Yet, from this beauty emanated a dark and inescapable brutality that is now infamous.

Germany blessed the world with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, the late Middle Age art of Albrecht Dürer, and technological achievements such as automobiles with gas-powered combustible engines, long before America. They even developed one of the finest university systems in the world, so how, Steiner asks, did these people — rich with wealth, culture, education and technology, allow this horror to occur?

In one very powerful chapter, Steiner meticulously paints a portrait of the country's elite, perched at windows high above a popular theatre, as they witness the arrest and extermination of commoners and Jews on the streets below the playhouse. The same people who “shed tears during a tragic play,” Steiner wrote, displayed an odd ambivalence to the tragedies of real people crying for help as the Nazi atrocities unfolded.

I am reminded of Steiner’s work once again because as I approach the four year anniversary of my documentary GENERATION RX, I realize that the same indifference abounds, particularly as it pertains to the health and futures of our people. Every day — for four years — I have been bombarded with horrifying letters and tales of real people affected by the trauma these powerful drugs have caused. . .and they keep coming. . .from parents and teachers and students and loved ones. It has motivated me to release a book, LETTERS FROM GENERATION RX in 2013.

Yet, there is silence — from doctors who should know better, from academics and educators, from elected officials , government agencies, and yes, most horridly of all, from the media.

In the wake of this realization, I will admit to be absolutely stunned at how little North Americans understand about the drugs they are forcing down the throats of so many young Galileo's. For reasons of public politeness, perhaps, we bow before profit-based science and ignore the journalistic cowardice which allows this to perpetuate. This “disconnect” between what medicine has told us about ADHD, bipolar and the “plague of mental illness” — and the reality of what the science really says about these medicines and the life-changing harm they often inflict, is, well, maddening.

All we ask is that people be informed of the risks in advance so that people can weigh the evidence and make an informed choice about whether to drug .. or not to drug. But good luck in trying to get any help from the FDA, the AMA, or just about anyone else in the medical industrial complex. They act as blocking backs for the powerful petrochemical forces...those who spend billions in marketing in an attempt to convince us with their facade of caring.

JUST THIS MORNING, I received a phone call from a health food storeowner and nutritionist. Every day, she is approached by parents who are desperate to find help for their beloved children as the side effects of ADHD drugs, antipsychotics and antidepressants take their toll. They have tried every drug the “experts” have recommended, only to see their loved ones slip further away: sicker, more distant .. drunk with dark images .. and in need of help.

She told me the tragic tale of yet another teenager whose health has been stolen from him by the deadly thief called methylphenidate, or Ritalin. One year ago, the young man apparently possessed the good looks of a soap opera star, and teenage girls swooned as he walked the halls of his high school. He was a superior athlete and student, but that was all prior to him being diagnosed with ADHD.

Twelve months later, his weight had dropped to 110 pounds. There is a real possibility he could die while under a doctor's “care.”

Since Methylphenidate was classified in the U.S. under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances as a Schedule II drug, we can’t say we didn’t realise the dangers. Many times since that seminal report, methylphenidate has been characterized as “Speed” — as highly addictive and risky. In 1971, despite the warnings, psychiatrists and MDs began using speed for the pre-ADHD diagnosis of a condition called “Minimal Brain Dysfunction.” By doing so, they ignored the potential for abuse, for addiction, and of atrophy of the vital organs, especially the heart and brain.

IN THE HEALTHFOOD STORE, the young man was extremely sick by the time his parents finally decided they needed another opinion. Worried to death about their son — and saying they were not sure if he would live to see his next birthday — they pleaded to speak with the owner and nutritionist. They had followed the advice of their doctor and psychiatrist, they told her, but their son continued to decline.

The owner explained to the parents that her store could be shut down by the FDA for simply speaking with them about ADHD, pulled them into her office and then continued in whispered tones. The methylphenidate, she said, had taught the boy’s body not to eat. “This child is starving,” she told the mom, noting that Ritalin, with its cocaine and speed-like properties, was the obvious culprit. “But the psychiatrist diagnosed his lack of appetite as depression,” the mother said. “So they added an antidepressant to his regimen.”

A few weeks after taking antidepressants, the mother said between sobs, the young man uttered aloud, “I just don’t want to live like this anymore.”

The parents stood before the health food store owner with tears streaming down their cheeks. It is a scene she has witnessed innumerable times since the 1990s, and each time she discusses disease conditions like this, she never knows for sure whether the people standing before her are undercover agents for FDA. . .or just what they appear to be: people in distress. . .people in need of answers.

When I produced GENERATION RX, I did so to arm parents with the facts they needed in order to make a fully informed choice about their healthcare. I produced the film to amplify the ‘cries from the street’ — to give a voice to those who are being ignored by society at large—dismissed as anecdotes—and to provide the tools to enable parents to fight back, if necessary. In the Spring of 2013, I'll be releasing a new documentary addressing these issues.

But I wonder — in this age of neuroscience — if we haven’t brought George Steiner’s commiserations to life? Whether we’d shed tears watching It’s a Wonderful Life, but not for real the traumas of a tortured child or his parents?

Some day, will futurists ask, “How did these people, rich with culture, education and technology allow this horror to occur?”

I wonder.

Like Steiner's book, though, one thing is very clear: citizens of this planet must choose — whether to exercise our freedoms in ways that do not conform to the wishes of those in power — or whether to avert our eyes. . .away from the horrors on the streets below.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Into my book room - library I guess
Its a most beautiful day here today. I have to admit this is the best introduction to summer I have experienced in my whole life. Apart from the odd hot day here we are in late November and its only 18 degrees and a gentle sunny day. So much different to what I have been used to till I moved to Melbourne - I know its windy but I think based on this last year that the weather really suits me. I took a few photos of around my house - I am pretty settled in finally not much to change now apart from de cat hairing the place almost daily - where do they get all that fur from I have to wonder... 

Ahem! I don't have wallpaper I have photos and many hang at angles even though I blutack the backs of them...its a mystery to me and I remember it used to annoy Don no end - He always had a good eye for "straight" and "level" which missed me. 
Down the Hall
I still don't have my car back yet - never have I had such a run on broken down cars. It broke down on the 3rd nov and here it is Nov 18th and no word on its return. The warranty runs out on 20th and its getting mighty odd how long they are taking to fix it. The kids suggested I email the car dealer to ensure my warranty as they have had the car since 5th and they were I hope suspicious that it was being dragged out for warranty reasons but as its a major car dealer they wouldn't want to try because I will make a noise  - and go public - I always suggest that to anyone who is treated unfairly and cannot get resolution - but am hoping they are being honest and will have my car back tomorrow at no charge. Will be two weeks on Wednesday. As i have been driving about in their loan car all this time they can't really claim they didn't have the car. I hadn't even thought about this until the kids put the idea in my head - I don't think it is the case as i quite liked the salesperson not because he was smarmy charming - he wasn't - he just seemed decent- so will see. I would like to believe and so will until...proven wrong

Part of the main room
FoxyMoron got it right in the last comment re last post's temporary melancholia about missing Don when she wrote "I can sometimes "hear" in your writing that you still just can't believe that he is gone." Even going for a Sunday drive with music on is likely to have me sobbing unable to drive...God knows what's there a normal? Most of the time I am okay, I seldom cry and am out there talking and being with people but at the back of it all is a dreadful hollow that hurts with a physical pain. After time people switch off as they must as as no doubt I have done - although I hope not with my Mum...I do remember liking it when she talked about Dad because I got to know him better through her doing that but now I understand her pain - a pain I know she felt as intensely as I do and without the resources I have to deal with it...she had no sisters nor brothers, no parents and just us kids who were too young to really understand. Like me she was "self sufficient" in that we were used to being alone and able with our family never needing swarms of gatherings with friends etc... I have spoken with two of my sisters and the girls about this not needing friends apart from when outside the house - and we are all like this - In my case and with Mum apart from one good friend maybe our husband and kids were/are our friends.

Add caption
The older I get the more I have compassion and love for my mother, when maybe when i was younger I just didn't see the whole - maybe this is the growing up we need to do as I slide to the age she was when she died - I understand her so much more. The funny thing is about grief that when you first experience it you have people near you generally and they are happy to talk with you, but thats when you can't talk about it and it takes ages sometimes to be able to say the words. When the words come and spurts without reason most times you just say them to yourself because society's "rules" seem to be that there is a certain progression of "grief" From my understanding this only happens with those who have not really loved deeply...from my talking with others such as myself even ten years and more you can be doing something and a smell or sound will sit inside you and you are rocked right back to an intensity of grief that hurts physically. In saying this it is so unlike depression, as some assume because like most I am most of the time fine...then it hits. 

Dining room - its lovely 
My place
No one has ever held me with as much love as Don did. I know I was lucky listening to others - I thought everyone had what we did. I never knew what to expect and life was like constantly going around bends not knowing what might be around the corner...but it wasn't scary because he was there and as far as I was concerned he could do everything. He could fix everything  

a huge rose twice the size of those in Port Macquarie
A mother who has lost a child (as Foxy knows sadly) a sibling loss, husband or wife, very close friend - its not how you think it will be. Years down you can still smell their special smell. You can see the very pores on their skin and are close to the light in their eyes and its there no matter what others assume you should be feeling. I guess this is just my experience I thought I would never recover from Dad's death, then when Mum died I was knocked flat even though I functioned amazingly on auto for with Don I was on auto for so long, too long and now there is time to really grieve.

More roses

I haven't posted here that much of late because its just not there. But in saying that if someone said to me I had to go back to Craggy Island to live tomorrow I would be really upset. I love it here. I have made it a home. I have completed another term at Tafe - another certificate and have applied for a position. I am employable although not young and I believe i will make a go of anything I do because I like being amongst people outside - I have joined two writing groups and go to them monthly. Our local port Macquarie Group is about to have our anthology published and I will go back there for that and am in two minds about how I will handle this. I made the book marks for the books and did a great job as well.I joined a social club which features retro music (60's and 70's) and am looking forward to this. I go to Pilates weekly with Ali, and see her often. I speak with Melissa many times a week and two of my four sister. So I am not wasting the life I have been given which Don did not have...that would be wrong. I am involved in some areas to do with things that I believe in and most importantly i plan on leaving this Earth a better place for my passing through - which is what I am doing - just passing through. So no a touch of melancholia never hurt anyone actually as long as it doesn't hang about it can cause you to reconsider things you would not normally think about. It like Rosacea is considered the curse of the Celts! But then the Celts have written some incredible books and music so who knows...maybe its better that being satisfied with Bread and Circuses.
There are some amazingly beautiful roses here which I am happy about and am nurturing. I planted the flowers down low a few months ago and they are doing well. Right now I am sitting here typing, listening to Humble Pie"s "Thirty Days In the Hole" which we used to blast out on an amp which would lift the roof of any flat...the afternoon sun is streaming in the windows and it really is a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

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Monday, November 05, 2012

Melissa and Don mid '90's
Old Photos
Alison and Don mid 90's
The day before Melbourne Cup day seems to be an almost official part of a long weekend down here in Victoria. My new second hand car broke down again in an underground car park yesterday which was fun... got it going after ringing the RACV (thank you!!!) but only enough to get back the truck took it away this morning. Lucky it didn't break down the evening before as I drove the kids over the West gate bridge and over to the other side of Melbourne to go to their favourite Mexican place - then drove back - the timing was perfect as if broken down on that bridge in the dark with my family on board it would have been terrifying as no where to get off the road. So I am very grateful for that.

Its funny since I moved here late last year I realise I don't spend much time here in the daytime and when I do I always have a radio on somewhere in the house - but today the rain smelt so wonderful and birds were just going crazy out in the backyard - seemed wrong just to drown them for the first time ion ages I am here with my thoughts. I realised with a shock that I have not been thinking too much at all - on purpose no doubt - just doing what needs to be done and frustrated because the things I am doing are robotic things which I can do without much thought. There is the danger when I have this sort of time to myself I will go and look at photos - or whatever - even found a funny nonsense poem Don typed out way back in the 80's - its so faded am glad I found it when I did as getting hard to read.

 So today just resigned to the reality that there might be a bit of melancholia - a few tears . But somehow that's better than feeling nothing which is how I have felt for some time. I am in the process of trying to at least begin scanning in the old albums and started in the mid 90's which is when all these were taken... In the many albums we have - am ashamed to say exactly how many (its over 80) I have hundreds of Don being hugged by the girls and I and everybody female - its a good thing to have because it helps to realise that just because his life ended in weeks of abuse, and although he suffered a lot after his initial accident, although in the early days it was really rocky and so lucky we made it through - Don was absolutely showered with love and gave back more even. An acquaintance once said to me after she visited our house for the first time " I always imagined that the homes of those people who are disabled would be somehow sort of miserable and unhappy - but I see so much love in your place - much more than in my own" - while this is not always true and it depends on the nature of the people involved. There are bad bastards of disabled people who want everyone to suffer because they are and there are bad bastards of relatives who abuse and rip off their disabled relatives - but sometimes and I know another place where I have seen it work - sometimes you get it right for once in a blue moon. Now I don't know if reincarnation exists but it not sure what waits - but from personal experience I know there is something beyond - and I feel that just sometimes in the life of humankind a few people just work hard at it and get it right - and when this happens there is magic in the home. I look about me and see so many men my husband's age who have let the child inside go - who can't be silly just for the sake of it - who are so predictable...ggarrgh! I don't think we would have survived had he been like this or had I been like this - all over the house there are letters and cards and poems from the kids - to us and the general theme was how happy they were - although not always happy in their chosen life - home was the draw-card - this year we are having Christmas "Mackay" style something we are all looking so forward to - its a tradition really which came down from how my Mum and Dad did Christmas so really the wrong name but Don loved how we did it and it became the only way to go. We usually have a huge bowl of Prawns (Australian ones) Chicken maybe ,lots of salads and nice breads - nibbles Champers - and slowly one at a time opening presents so that everyone gets to see what each has and who from - not just the rip tear bust - and the beauty is that its not too hard on the one person so that the cook isn't worn out at the end - everyone gets to have a good day - sometimes as this is happening my mind will flicker back to a small back verandah in a tiny inland town - its always burning heat on Christmas day and there is my Dad with his lovely smile and grey blue eyes giving each of us our small pressies - mainly for the kids as adults didn't get nor expect much at Christmas - it actually was for the kids the gift giving - and bliss - Cherry Cheer soft drink - a rarity - the chicken had been walking about the yard the day before and was always called Olimathea I or II plus - Rellos came about 10 and we waited for the pressies under the tree till then as they didn't have kids and we were it...but we got to open Santa Clauses' as soon as we woke. Desert was always custard, plum pudding and if the Greek Milk Bar was still open almost next door one of us would run up and buy a brick of ice cream as our own kerosene fridge didn't freeze properly - no doubt as time passes the girls will be my age and have similar thoughts on Christmases in the future - thats if we are still allowed to call it that.

Just a thought train - its raining a little bit now -