So many babies fleeing Syria. How come?

During World War II there were very few babies born in the war zone.  In fact, the war  population demographic is extremely small compared with the baby boom that followed.

The reason for this lower number of babies born is is obvious. First of all,  the potential fathers were away at war. The second reason is that nobody wanted to bring a child into the world during such a horrific time even when a man was around.

The third reason is that many women were starving either in the concentration camps or outside in desperate situations. The lack of food and stress made women infertile.

Which is why I wonder about the large number of babies born during the past four years in Syria. These are the babies who are being brought to Europe or drowning at sea.

If the Syrians in the Middle East are at war,  how come so many babies are born without regard as to how they will be cared for or kept safe during the war?

One Syrian man lamented the drowning of his wife and seven children on the way to Greece.  Several of his children would have been born during the current conflict in Syria. We saw this on TV the other day and it amazed me how this could occur.  Even if the Syrians spent time in refugee camps,  surely this was not the ideal place to bring babies into an uncertain future.

 

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The appeal of the Jeep Renegade TV advertisement in Australia

I have always been fascinated by advertising and marketing because it reflects society.  By trying to capture our attention advertising informs us about ourselves in the hope that it will appeal to our wallet.

Advertising is a gamble even if it’s well researched beforehand.  It’s no secret that I like the Specsavers ad when the hunky myopic guy rescues a seal believing it to be a young child. The ad is amusing, pleasant to watch and sends the right message.  “Go to Specsavers if you’re having a problem with your sight.”  Simple, amusing and effective.

On the contrary,  the Ford ad with that prissy little bitchy lady in the blue dress has a counterproductive effect and I have not been an admirer of that ad.

I do like the Jeep Renegade commercial, however, because of its catchy music and great masculine visuals.  I’ve even found the ad on You Tube and am enjoying listening to the band, the X  Ambassadors who perform in the ad.  It’s message is simple.   The Jeep Renegade is Now.  It is  adventurous, sexy,  and promises real excitement.  Music and product go well together and make their point.

Contrast that with that stupid Ford commercial whose message is lost by poor casting and visuals and you’ll understand why some ads work while others fail.

The Dressmaker–what in the world?

I have a suggestion for Peter Dutton, who is the Immigration and Border Protection Minster of Australia.  Whenever a boat carrying  “asylum seekers” is caught trying to reach our shores,  he should screen for them  “The Dressmaker”.

I guarantee that the boat people would beg the smugglers to turn the boat around and escape as far as possible from the image of Australia depicted in this film.

The setting for this Aussie production is the town of Dungatar which is made up of an extremely phony collection of sheds and outhouses.  Its inhabitants look like escapees from a Bruegel painting,  a bunch of weird caricatures.  There aren’t many of them in the town of Dungapoo but we have the village idiot, the cross-dressing policeman,  the demented mother of the dressmaker who is a hoarder,  the sex-starved fatty, the mean rich man who bosses everyone around,  all overacted by usually reputable Aussie actors.

Apparently,  the producers needed a celebrity for the title role of Tilly Dunnage who  has arrived to wreak havoc on the town that done her wrong by accusing her of murder.  So they chose Kate Winslet.  Alas, poor Kate. If only she had found a box of matches sooner and put us out of our misery long before the two hours of  “The Dressmaker.”

Francis Bacon said that  “revenge is a kind of wild justice” and boy does Tilly go wild. She outsews the opposition, cleans up her mother’s messy home,  cures her mother’s madness,  slims down The Biggest Loser by making her a new dress, finds out that the nasty man who drugs his wife and then has sex with her while she is knocked out, is actually Tilly’s father. Enough already.

In my defence, we were given these cinema tickets for free, but we overpaid!   We stayed until the apocalyptic end because I could not believe that this film which other people said I should go see was not going to improve.  Not even the town hunk who plays football can save this film.

Wouldn’t you think I would have learned my lesson by now?

 

 

Why I won’t be seeing the movie called “The Walk”

There are many reasons for not going to see  “The Walk”.  Quite frankly, one man’s ego-driven ambition to risk his life walking on a  tightrope between the Twin Towers of  the World Trade Center  does not impress me one bit. But hey, who cares if he falls?  So let him do it.

I’m very rarely moved by what I call the Richard Branson restlessness syndrome.  Life is dull so let’s makes it dangerous and exciting. You wanna bang your head against a wall to see how it feels,  be my guest.

The main reason, however,  which will prevent me from going to that particular film,  is that I become furious when I see a mock-up of the now destroyed Twin Towers in New York.

Ever since  September 2001, my hatred of the perpetrators of that horrific crime has made it impossible for me to trust and respect people like them.

I remember how the Palestinians rejoiced and whooped joyfully in the streets following the attack.  I remember how the rest of the Muslim world failed to condemn such bestiality.

And that left a scar in me.

Why “the migrants” should thank Hitler

Hundreds of thousands of migrants are coming to Germany as I write. They do not want to go to Hungary nor do they want to stay in Greece where they often come ashore.  They don’t even want to remain in Turkey, a Muslim country,  even though the migrants themselves are (mostly) Muslims.

For them,  Germany is the land of plenty, the land of people who are friendly to foreigners who are not Aryan.

It is hard to reconcile this Germany with the Germany of of the Thirties,  the Germany of Hitler who was determined to create a pure race of perfect human beings who would rule the world for the next thousand years.

Well,  that did not happen and Germany was left with a rotten reputation to say the least.

For years, the Germans pretended that they were unaware of what was going on under their very noses. Those who had an “inkling” claimed they were only following orders.

To give the current Germans their due,  they have gone out of their way to make amends and it would be wrong to blame the children and grandchildren for the horrors perpetrated during the Holocaust.

In my opinion,  therefore,  I regard their expressions of welcome as a desire to further distance themselves from the evil deeds of their grandparents.

I also suspect that had the Syrian war occurred thirty years ago, the Germans would not have been ready to acknowledge the reality of their monstrous past,  not while the Nazi perpetrators were still alive and kicking amongst them.  And while that was the situation,  the migrants would not have been welcomed with balloons and streamers as they are at the moment.

How long this elation lasts, however,  remains to be seen.

 

Bald men are in

While hanging out at Chadstone, the Fashion Capital of  Melbourne,  I was struck by the number of men who are now sporting a totally shaved head.  And so I began to wonder why that is so.

Since they looked quite fit I dismissed the idea that they were on chemo.  Some of them might have been, of course,  but by far the greater proportion of them seem to have shaved their heads on purpose.

A few of them had even grown a beard as if to demonstrate that they were indeed capable of growing hair somewhere, should they so desire. That was not such a sexy look,  in my opinion.

The majority of the intentionally bald men had dark patterns around their scalps where hair would have been if they had not decided to shave it.

The ratio of  totally shaved balding men to ordinary balding men was 6 to 4.  An amazing statistic, I thought.

It’s an interesting phenomenon.  As if to anticipate gradual balding,  these shaved men have chosen to go all the way and declare,  okay,  so I’m losing my hair,  so what?

Let’s see what this thing called baldness, which men fear so much that they get wigs and pay for expensive lotions and even hormone treatment,  looks like.

So they shave their hair off completely and defy that fear.  They are bald and it looks fine. The world has not come to an end.  In fact,  some of them look even better then they did while they were in the process of going sparse up top.

No more shampoos and gels,  no more comb-overs,  no more silly caps to conceal a bald spot. What a relief that must be.

 

Middle East students at the Holocaust Museum

A few years ago I was a volunteer  guide at the Holocaust Museum in Melbourne.  It is a very solemn museum  devoted to the memory of the Jews who were exterminated by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Among the many visitors to the museum were school children of high-school age. They would come with their teachers to learn about the Holocaust and most of the time they were very well-behaved.

Some were visibly affected by what they saw.  It was an excursion that was part of their education and it was meant to teach them about the dangers of bigotry  and racial hatred so that the world would be a better place in the future.

We can all live in hope and we have to try to improve things, don’t we?

I remember one particular occasion,  however,  which depressed and horrified me.

It concerned a school visit from one of the Northern suburbs of Melbourne.  I was walking around the exhibit as was my role as a guide when I heard a couple of Lebanese boys making fun of the photos of Jews being tortured by the Nazis.  I know they were Lebanese because I overheard them talking and then they spoke in English.

This is what they said as they stood in front of a particularly horrible photo.

“We could learn a lot from the Nazis about how to deal with the Jews.”

Those two boys were about 15 at the time and that was five years ago.

I can’t help wondering where these boys ended up.