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WWII, Australia, Paintings, Families, Rocks

29 Jun

australia-wwiiI found this story under a rock a while ago.

(figuratively speaking)

…Which is fitting, because it’s a tale of things hidden under a rock.

(figuratively speaking)

It starts on a farm

My Granddaddy John grew up on a farm in Virginia.  It was a big farm.  It is possible that his family owned slaves before the Civil War – I don’t know when they acquired the property.  Anyhoo.  He grew up in the country doing a lot of physical work and hunting and so on.  He graduated from UVA when he was something like 17, so they made him wait a couple years before attending their medical school.  After medical school he moved to Chicago and met my Grandmother, Jennie, who was from a posh family.  She was considered fun but not bright.  The closest thing her brothers did to work was playing polo.  So they got married and bought a house, had 3 kids, then WWII started.

So, John enlisted and was sent to the east coast of Australia to train as an army doctor in the Pacific Theater.  While he was there, he fell in love with Australia.  He loved the kangaroo hunting and the strong, outdoorsy people.  He felt very at home there.  And, he fell in love with a nurse. I don’t know if she was a fellow American or an Australian nurse.

When training was over, John went into the Pacific Theater and endured the horrors of sewing up young soldiers until eventually he contracted such a bad case of malaria that they sent him back to Australia to recover and discharged him, or the war ended – more facts I’m unsure of.  At that point, he decided that he was not leaving Australia and planned to start a new life with this nurse.  But his older brother wrote him a letter, reminding him that it was his duty to return to his wife and children in Chicago, and basically shamed him into returning.

John was a very strict father.  He returned to find Jennie and the children (my mother was the youngest) living with her parents.  The children had a live in nanny.  John thought they were spoiled and made them work outside while the other children in the neighborhood were playing.  Also, he loved the opera before the war, but never attended again when he came home.  He drank too much whiskey.  Jennie loved parties, but stopped entertaining because John became embarrassingly drunk.  He was a mean drunk, and his children did not cross him.

By the time I came along, he had mellowed out.  He spent most of his time in his favorite red chair.  My entire life, he had two watercolors hanging on the wall next to his chair.  I always assumed they were landscapes of Virginia, but once he died, and my grandmother died, and my mother died, and my father died, they came into my possession. Then, I looked up the artist and discovered that they were landscapes by an Australian painter which he brought back with him. My entire life, while he sat in his favorite chair, he was looking at Australia.

 

#DumpDrumpf

7 May

dump-drumpfHere’s the thing. The Drumpf movement is just making fun of somebody’s name that changed when they immigrated to the United States. I have many friends with “weird” names, or whose Americanized/Anglicized names aren’t the names their ancestors had a few generations ago. Should we make fun of their names? Are they worth less because of their idiotic names?

It was suggested to me that the Drumpf movement had something to do with illustrating how crappy Trump’s stance on immigration is. I’ve never heard anyone suggest that subtext until yesterday while trying to defend “the movement”. …And the connection certainly never came up in the original John Oliver segment.

When John Oliver dug up Drumpf, he was looking for laughs, and a way to debase Donald Trump. There are so many better ways to poke at that asshole. It’s akin to birthers “making fun” of Barack Obama because of his name. Is that the best they’ve got?!

I will not defend Donald Trump’s words or stances, but we Trump detractors can do better than Drumpf.

It’s in the last three minutes of this segment. The previous 20 minutes are great.

Freud on Religion

18 Feb

Sigmund Freud spent considerable time and effort examining religion. Freud on religion is usually presented as a cut and dry, “he hated it” sort of affair. But Freud was clearly more confused than convinced when it came to his nemesis religion. Read the article linked to earlier in this post for a take on Freud unintentionally and inadvertently empowering religion through the Freudian filter. Witness psychology’s father of psychoanalysis writhe posthumously. It’s fun, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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