Sunday, May 17, 2015

Let's talk

Fitzroy Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

New research into early Aboriginal stories set along Australia's coast has detected evidence of dramatically rising shoreline waters over several thousand years. It seems that sea level about 20,000 years ago was 120 meters below its current level, rising 13,000 years ago to about 70 meters below current sea level.

It seems today's sea level was finally reached only about 6,000 years ago. Linguists have also uncovered ancient Aboriginal tales about living where the Great Barrier Reef now stands.
"In the beginning, as far back as we remember, our home islands were not islands at all as they are today. They were part of a peninsula that jutted out from the mainland and we roamed freely throughout the land without having to get in a boat like we do today. Then Garnguur, the seagull woman, took her raft and dragged it back and forth across the neck of the peninsula letting the sea pour in and making our homes into islands."

This is part of an Aboriginal story about the origin of the Wellesley Islands in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria.  It's a story that can be found along every part of the coast of Australia.  But these stories are not part of the "Great Flood" tales found all over the world, the difference being in the Aboriginal stories, the water does not recede and the land does not regenerate.  The sea levels changed around Australia after the ice ages and it's well known scientifically.  The source of the legends seems to be based on observations of events and preserved through oral traditions as the sea level rose all around the world but only here do the stories exist.

They may have existed elsewhere but scholars had the view that oral traditions rarely survive more than a millennium so probably never looked for them.  Australian Aboriginal storytelling is for preserving information, handing down from generation to generation with accuracy. Of course you have to try to make a distinction from the 'fact' story and the story for entertainment.

One of the comments on this article said that "Socrates was concerned that the switch to written language would mean a decline in people's cognitive abilities." "The skills required to remember a complex narrative are allowed to atrophy when you have that narrative available in written form."

I could not read Chaucer in the original old English. I have trouble with HipHop language.  I have trouble with some parts of Shakespeare although four hundred years separate his language from english now, we are still using phrases he invented.  But we could not repeat his plays word for word without printing.  I must admit I got a bit lost in the comments after a while, my brain went walkabout but when we read the laments about the burning of the great library of Alexandria, that is something that we, who rely on the written word, can relate to.  Can we relate to the loss of an oral tradition of a catastrophe if we never knew there was one?

I still have a Sony Walkman, tapes, vinyl records but I can't watch the 16mm films of the family made in the 70s unless I go to great expense of having them put on dvds.  I can tell you the family stories but with no-one to follow me, they'll die out.  So with all the blogs, tweets, facebooks or instagrams of the electronic age, we're still behind, way behind, the Aboriginal tradition of the Dreamtime storyteller.

But we still have our storytellers, bless Parliament and its contingent of accomplished liars.

(All that waffling to make that one point.  Don't you love language.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why didn't I think of this?

I loved this idea but it would not do for our giant native birds like magpies and ravens.  The Mynah birds would give them a decent whack as well so the pretty cord would have to go and fencing wire used instead.  I rather like the thought of them hanging on the leafless branches for winter and I'm always resisting buying a lone cup and saucer at the op shop just because it looks pretty.  I have a cupboard full of 'looks pretty' and I'm still using a chipped mug.

But here's one for Miss O'Dyne and myself for those genteel afternoon teas in spring.  Wine glass tea cups with the added benefit of nosey parkers not being able to see the gin or plonk (in Miss O's case) or sometimes we do have tea. The Willow pattern is a bit heavy looking, I'd rather go for a nice Royal Albert or Aynsley.  Miss O and I are nothing but class all the way. 

Sheer genius this idea.  Your favourite tea cup as a bracelet.  Well, for me I'd have to cut up the teapot and that's the problem, the cutting up part. I suppose a tile cutter would do but knowing me I'd end up with a bucket of pretty pieces for that mosaic pathway I have also filed away as a brilliant idea.

Now I might have a chance of making this.  At last count I have 7 teapots and this would look great on the Christmas table.  Those cheap trees from the $2 emporium would be ideal with the added bonus of being able to use the teapot again.  So many ideas, so little time. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The right place, the right time.

The Sky from Mauna Kea
Image Credit & Copyright: Shane Black Photography; Rollover Annotation: Judy Schmidt

The volcano is the Hawaii's Mauna Kea, and the time was a clear night last summer.

 In the foreground of this south-facing panorama lies a rugged landscape dotted with rocks and hardy plants. Slightly above and further out, a white blanket of clouds spreads horizontally to the horizon, seemingly dividing heaven and Earth.

 City lights illuminate the clouds and sky on the far left, while orange lava in the volcanic caldera of Kilauea lights up the clouds just left of center.

 The summit of an even more distant Hawaiian volcano, Mauna Loa, is visible in dark silhouette near the central horizon.

 Green airglow is visible above the clouds, caused by air molecules excited by the Sun during the day. The Moon is the bright orb on the right.

 A diffuse band of light-colored zodiacal light extends up from the far right.
 Most distant, the dramatic central band of our Milky Way Galaxy appears to rise vertically from Mauna Loa.

The person who witnessed and captured this breathtaking panorama stands before you in the image center.

I just watched the auction of a Picasso painting in New York, it sold for $202 Million dollars AUD.
You couldn't buy this moment on earth for any amount.  As Hannibal Smith says, "I love it when a plan comes together." and it did for one lucky photographer.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Whistling 'Mack the Knife'

This shark is 4.5 metres long and it has teeth not to mention just a bit of blood smearing from the last kill.
If I had been the photographer washing the camera in the water, the second photo would have been taken from far up in space.
The female shark popped up to have a look around in the ocean off Port Lincoln in South Australia.
Dave Riggs was making a video for Discovery's Shark Week and said he was euphoric to be so close to the animal and thought it was a perfect illustration as to why we need to preserve it as the last living relic of a bygone era.
Riggs also said the shark was researching the area the only way she know how, with her mouth, giving us a nice view of those sharp teeth.

Not so lucky as Dave Riggs was Frenchman Yves Berthelot, holidaying in New Caledonia, whose meeting with a 3.5 metre bull shark was a much more aggressive show. Despite being given first aid aboard his boat, nothing could be done for Mr. Berthelot.

I hope no-one raced out and decided to shoot every shark in the area as frequently happens in Australia.  After all it is their home and hunting ground, we're just visiting.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What's the point, if not cake!

Mothers Day, a day for mothers and what happens, the Cake Fairy loses my address again, probably pissed from visiting all those other mothers and being plied with champagne until her wings are wasted.  And I'm still waiting for my lemon meringue cupcakes and my vanilla and strawberry cream heart cake with musk hearts and cream on top.  I think I ordered two layers but I'm sure I didn't order purple icing.  There's always the Bombay Sapphire and if Absinthe can be called the Green Fairy then Bombay can have a Blue Fairy.  I love lemon meringue cup cakes.  Bloody fairy.