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Let’s relate to Nature through the internet!!

This year has proved that many people have time for relating to animals and the wild. Through the portal of their computers.

Just in case you haven’t noticed (what?!) any images of animals over the last few months I’ve collected a few of the more well known.

There was ham face dog, of course.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/CkCrugH4KSA?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

As with most things on the internet I suppose there are people celebrating cruelty and death but, usually, I only see the ones I agree with. That’s modern life.

The pumpkin one:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/kuXoM-gWX3E?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Here’s an obligatory cat video:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/9vSVvQwwkgk?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

And a sports fan dog:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/6jaAgAFLtL0?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

I know. I already showed you a dog. Well, here’s a pig.

 <iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/149726065″ width=”500″ height=”281″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/149726065″>Max Ball</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/edgarsmission”>Edgar&#039;s Mission Farm Sanctuary</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Chickens?

<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/149363183″ width=”500″ height=”281″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/149363183″>Creature Technology Company Chickens_Dec2015</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user3851126″>Creature Technology Company</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

If you want more, then head to website The Dodo, which curates hundreds of animal videos for your interest.

Finally, here’s an animal trying to communicate with us.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/FVuNTiqHys0?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

 

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The Lobster is not about seafood

"The Lobster" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Lobster.jpg#/media/File:The_Lobster.jpg

“The Lobster” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Lobster.jpg#/media/File:The_Lobster.jpg

The Lobster is not a film about animals. It has been described as ‘an unconventional love story’ and ‘an achingly dystopian rom-com’ but I think it is far more than that. It asks how we must conform, how we must knuckle under, to survive. Then, The Lobster examines our attitudes to those who do not ascribe to correct behaviour, the other.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7aW_SW621o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7aW_SW621o

The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and co-written by Efthimis Filippou, is about relationships, though not necessarily about marriage. It is about politics; rules, conventions and the law. It is about expectations, survival and truth.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/z069ldsumxA?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

A man, David, finds himself single after his wife leaves him for another. He travels to a comfortable hotel of repartnering (a luxurious hotel in Ireland) taking his brother (who is now a dog). There are many regulations and his brother is a constant reminder of failure.

http://www.mtv.com/news/2262963/the-lobster-movie-trailer-colin-farrell/

http://www.mtv.com/news/2262963/the-lobster-movie-trailer-colin-farrell/

The Lobster is rather sweet and whimsical at first but quickly slides into a nightmare for the protagonist. He knows he has limited time to find a suitable partner. When he fails, as he probably will, he will be turned into the animal of his choice, a lobster. Most people want to be turned into a dog, which is why there are so many dogs and why most other animals are endangered. Whilst within this system he becomes part of the police and must track down and recover outsiders to buy extra time to seek that one special match.

https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjEguPxxqXJAhXh5aYKHTFpB7EQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fconcreteplayground.com%2Fmelbourne%2Fpinboard%2Fconcrete-playgrounds-handy-guide-to-whats-in-melbourne-cinemas-this-month%2F&psig=AFQjCNGNIeffUs9GMbptqudvmQcO1PBCPg&ust=1448333925994751

https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjEguPxxqXJAhXh5aYKHTFpB7EQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fconcreteplayground.com%2Fmelbourne%2Fpinboard%2Fconcrete-playgrounds-handy-guide-to-whats-in-melbourne-cinemas-this-month%2F&psig=AFQjCNGNIeffUs9GMbptqudvmQcO1PBCPg&ust=1448333925994751

After some horrible events David switches allegiance and finds himself amongst the hunted in the Woods. Here life is equally overburdened with rules and his attempt to find loopholes by creating another language is heavily punished. Finally, he must curtail his own freedom to survive. He damages himself in order to conform.

http://blogcritics.org/53rd-nyff-review-the-lobster-starring-colin-farrell-and-rachel-weisz/

http://blogcritics.org/53rd-nyff-review-the-lobster-starring-colin-farrell-and-rachel-weisz/

This is a black and white world. The characters are as careful as poker players as they attempt to avoid confrontation. Their neutral speech is that of robots as they struggle to protect their dissembling from discovery.

http://www.jimlepariser.fr/the-lobster-1984-version-couple/

http://www.jimlepariser.fr/the-lobster-1984-version-couple/

The final scenes are set in a cafe next to a highway full of busy criss-crossing roadbuilding trucks. Further questions arise from these pictures. What price progress?

The Lobster’s layers of fantasy and magical realism embrace cold naturalism and swing it into another world. It’s not a comfortable world. Nor is it dystopian because it is impossible in the way of Brazil or The Bothersome Man or A Zed and Two Noughts. It is like Pan’s Labyrinth in that there are certainly strict and forceful methods of dealing with outsiders. As I understand dystopia that grim future may be possible, such as in The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984 or The Road. The films I listed above, such as The Bothersome Man, are more like The Lobster as allegory or parable and were made specifically for film, the visual media, and not adapted from novels.

http://blogcritics.org/53rd-nyff-review-the-lobster-starring-colin-farrell-and-rachel-weisz/

http://blogcritics.org/53rd-nyff-review-the-lobster-starring-colin-farrell-and-rachel-weisz/

The Lobster asks many ethical questions of the audience. How are we to live our lives hamstrung by nonsensical conventions? Who makes up the rules? Why should we go along with the majority and worse still, assist in policing rules we don’t understand and don’t need to follow?

In order to partner with someone, to return to the city and a somewhat ‘normal life’ in a steady relationship, there must be a match in identifying characteristics. Is this how we now live our lives on the internet? We are aware of information shared by those we agree with. Is it possible that in the days of newspapers and television that edited truth provided a wider view than that which most of us choose to see from our ‘tribe’? If all we ever know is what we already know, then how can we even begin to imagine what life is like for others?

Taking an even wider vision from the film, our society is divided.Why should some people be better than others? The show of force from stronger and stronger police, armies and surveillance must be examined. Which laws exist to protect us? Who is us? Whose side are you on?

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/gCLFbddF27Q?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

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Like the sunshine …

When I remarked upon the Pope’s encyclical, I had not seen George Monbiot’s passionate piece about love for nature. He’s right that economical arguments around the cost of environmental damage do not appear to be successful. Time to try something else. Like our emotional response to nature.

http://top10for.com/top-10-best-health-benefits-of-sunlight/

http://top10for.com/top-10-best-health-benefits-of-sunlight/

I have also commented upon the increased interest in getting children outdoors in order to increase that love for nature. And now we have an added incentive. Chinese children are increasingly myopic. It’s not just Asian kids. How to fix that short sighted crowd? Get them outside.

http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/article/1858791/if-you-dont-want-fat-and-short-sighted-kids-let-them-out-more

http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/article/1858791/if-you-dont-want-fat-and-short-sighted-kids-let-them-out-more

Give the young long sight – a vision. How else will they learn to love nature and protect it?

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/sunliught-reduce-high-blood-pressure-study-article-1.1586791

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/sunliught-reduce-high-blood-pressure-study-article-1.1586791

I’ve been diagnosed with low levels of Vitamin D – and I walk the dog every day. You need Vitamin D for strong bones and teeth. And skin conditions. To heal infections. And possibly to prevent diabetes and obesity. And ricketts. And lower your blood pressure!

http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/dietary-chlorophyll-helps-us-captureuse-sunlight-energy-groundbreaking-study-reveals/

http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/dietary-chlorophyll-helps-us-captureuse-sunlight-energy-groundbreaking-study-reveals/

Remember the tv show Northern Exposure? There were numerous references to SAD and the need for sunlight in Alaska.

Chris builds the Northern Lights in Northern Exposure http://alaskanriviera.com/2014/12/09/4-18-northern-lights/

Chris builds the Northern Lights in Northern Exposure http://alaskanriviera.com/2014/12/09/4-18-northern-lights/

There’s no debate about the need to get outside to help depression. Sunlight triggers serotonin. Even the World Health Organisation says so. When you are outside you feel better, you love nature, you will protect it. It’s common sense. How strange that our response to nature swings to extremes – sun burn – cancer – sun screen – indoors – deficiency – short sightedness …

Is this guy lighting a cigarette? Tevs. http://top10for.com/top-10-best-health-benefits-of-sunlight/

Is this guy lighting a cigarette? Tevs. http://top10for.com/top-10-best-health-benefits-of-sunlight/

Clearly everything in moderation – where I live – 15 mins three times a week is fine. Between eleven and three get under a tree or wear sunscreen, hat and sunglasses.

The reason for Facebook friends? They post things like this:

BY WENDELL BERRY

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Even in the dark we can still love nature!

And I apologise in advance for this dodgy footage. But …

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/FLbKVOPzweg?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

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Ask your doctor if Nature is right for you

Nature. A new advertising campaign.

http://www.nature-rx.org/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4Us7SZ7eY0GCHXKxNwDnww

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Melbourne International Film Festival and Social Impact, or, The Power of Film?

http://pictify.com/559792/george-gittoes-in-his-studio

http://pictify.com/559792/george-gittoes-in-his-studio

George Gittoes won the Sydney Peace Prize. He makes art from war. He is passionate, intense and purposeful. His daughter, however, thinks he should chuck it all in and join Louie Psihoyos in making films trying to save the sea.

http://hesomagazine.com/featured/the-cove-interview-with-louie-psihoyos/

http://hesomagazine.com/featured/the-cove-interview-with-louie-psihoyos/

George did join Louie, on stage briefly, in a forum during MIFF. Also on the panel were Susan Lambert, director of Tyke, Elephant Outlaw and Nick Batsias the producer of That Sugar Film. The moderator was Malinda Wink, from Good Pitch. It was a fantastic gathering of minds and a real privilege to be in the audience.

http://gittoes.com/

http://gittoes.com/

George spoke about his film, SnowMonkey, and his work with The Yellow House, Jalalabad. He believes that documentaries are applied art, not fine art. He spoke of his horror of war and the never-ending personal effects of witnessing the Rwandan massacre in the 90s. His biography is fascinating and I remember hearing about the Sydney Yellow House in the 70s, and I saw it when they rebuilt it at the Gallery of NSW in the 90s.

Racing posterLouie, the director of The Cove and Racing Extinction and the Executive Director of The Oceanic Preservation Society, began by reminding us we are either activists or non-activists. He makes films that are weapons of mass construction. He says he’s not making a movie, he’s making a movement. (According to Paul Hawken, he’s one of many but that’s quibbling!) At the screening of Racing Extinction, Louie spoke of wanting to increase the circle of compassion and recommended Saving Species.

Racing Extinction will play to over a billion people on December 2nd 2015 via the Discovery Channel just prior to the

2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference

in the hope people will contact their politicians and make a difference.

Racing Extinction has been on my radar for months. From my jaded perspective of reading and writing about endangered species for over twenty years (Polyglot Puppet’s Not the end of the world premiered in 1995) I have to admit to slight disappointment in the film itself, mainly because of its lack of focus. The three acts could easily have been three films; the first an eco-thriller about undercover photographers in clandestine operations to expose illegal marketing of threatened species. Secondly, the story of an Indonesian fishing village encouraged to transform into a shark whale tourist destination and, finally, the brilliant story of passionate photographers projecting ghostly images of endangered (or extinct) animals across the landscape of New York.

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/empire-state-building-light-show-for-endangered-species-322070

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/empire-state-building-light-show-for-endangered-species-322070

Whatever, Racing Extinction is a wonderful film and I urge everyone to see it. It reminded me of another ambitious film, The Age of Stupid, which I also encourage you to see, despite its title. Both films, intensely entertaining and engaging, suffer from the makers trying to do too much. However, because I am aware of the issues (I am the choir) I may not be able to judge effectiveness in changing audience’s hearts and minds.

Tyke B&W posterTyke, Elephant Outlaw is a smaller film with one clear viewpoint and one leading character. One of the co-directors, Susan Lambert, spoke in the forum about the need to engage the audience’s hearts. Sometimes the film brings tears, sometimes it makes you laugh but if the makers can’t engage the audience, she suggested trying something else!

Tyke posterTyke, Elephant Outlaw certainly engages, perhaps even too strongly. Perhaps we might have been spared some of the analysis, perhaps some of the more graphic footage might have been trimmed, but as Lambert describes their aim, the film wants to explore mankind’s relationship to other species through the story of one creature and they clearly succeed. The story of Tyke is grim viewing, a Blackfish for land animals. But that is our relationship to elephants, to other species, and the film makes it clear that that relationship is changing. Has to change.

http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/george-gittoes-and-the-art-of-war-20150409-1mhay4.html

http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/george-gittoes-and-the-art-of-war-20150409-1mhay4.html

For George Gittoes, man’s inhumanity to man is at the heart of the battle but I believe all these great artists, Gittoes, Psihoyos, Lambert and Batsias are fighting the same war, trying to raise awareness of man’s essential destructive abandon. I think George can reassure his daughter he is working with Louie.racing image

On mass, humans don’t know, don’t care and we are, beyond a doubt, destroying our only home and endangering the human race. The rock that is the Earth will survive us, of course, but there is no doubt, we are in a war, a war with ourselves as the enemy. Our ignorance and blindness to the effects of our actions on our neighbours is now, with over seven billion people on the Earth, completely catastrophic.

Will we wake up in time? Can the forces of captialism, corporate greed and elitism be splintered into individual beating hearts by the use of art?

Let’s join George, Louie and Susan and try.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/GJtq6OmD-_Y?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

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It’s not all about talent

Chatting to my sister on the phone over the weekend, we talked about the Bowie exhibition and the film about Amy Winehouse. Her remarks about talent gave me pause. Is it all about the talent? But what is talent? Or is it something else?

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3139096/dark-set-to-climb-new-mountain/

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3139096/dark-set-to-climb-new-mountain/

Opera singer Jacqui Dark in her blog ‘My advice to my younger self’:

I love the Calvin Coolidge quote: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

The most talented people do not always win. Many of them are deeply, DEEPLY insecure (in fact, the MOST talented people I know are also the most full of self-doubt) and fall by the wayside at the first or second rejection. If you really want this career, you are going to have a million little rejections along the way: not getting roles you desperately want, working with difficult colleagues or bosses/conductors/directors who bully you or belittle you, being slammed in reviews. If you can’t cope with rejection, get out now.

Amy. The product. The film about the product. The film about bear-baiting. The film about prodding a little caged bird with a stick, ‘Sing! Sing!’ Amy the person lost, abandoned, crushed. She said at the outset she felt lucky to be able to sing. It was something she enjoyed doing, wanted to do well and was glad she could do it. But it wasn’t about being famous. Or rich. She just wanted to do her own thing.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/jan/08/amy-winehouse-alcohol-poisoning-inquest

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/jan/08/amy-winehouse-alcohol-poisoning-inquest

Her final concert; the treatment by her record label representatives, fellow musicians on stage and audience made me consider that human beings, together as a species, have bulimia. We don’t know when to stop stuffing ourselves with the good things, things we like, like pretty singers and booze and fish and fossil fuels and porn. Maybe we’re all looking for someone to tell us what to do. To be a friend. To bring us into line. To manage us. Amy portrays a desperately sad story of management gone seriously, badly, wrong.

Is this human nature?

On the other side of the talent coin, Bowie on exhibition, shows all the stuff out of his shed (admittedly it’s a way cool shed). He was allowed to grow up, possibly he was a physically stronger person to start with and he survived. The man was a dancer, trained with Lindsay Kemp. Incredibly disciplined, focused and energetic.

https://www.pinterest.com/nemer12/arts-i-love/

https://www.pinterest.com/nemer12/arts-i-love/

It’s obvious when you watch the clip of Bowie as a mime artist struggling with a mask, he is extremely fit and muscular; must have been taking all sorts of classes as well as conniving amazing frocks and sets and writing songs and finding new people to work with. Remembering that ‘collaboration’ means ‘working with the enemy’, Bowie sought input and inspiration from a wide assortment of recently graduated stars. Determined, ambitious and curious, Bowie kept seeking new things, including drugs.

Tony Bennett said about Amy, that he would have told her to slow down, that life teaches you how to live, eventually. If you live that long.

The arts are tough. There are many talented folk who want a go in the limelight and the people who spin the golden wheels need only a few to put through the grinder at any one time. And how do the ingenues come through the grind? Some survive and go on to a happy relaxed retirement, the odd brilliant cameo and wonderfully photogenic grandchildren. Really?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2220403/The-real-hate-crime-persecuting-decent-man-beliefs.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2220403/The-real-hate-crime-persecuting-decent-man-beliefs.html

All we want is an audience, and I’m speaking for myself here, just some helpful souls to recognise the work and listen/absorb/contemplate the ideas. I don’t know about creating demand for more. That’s not factored in to my story. But for those who can, who know how to take a cut, who want to be friends so they can benefit? (Lucky I don’t know anyone like that!)

At an arts forum the other night, an empresario encouraged the ‘artists’ present to think of themselves as somehow different, as the ones with ideas, the creative ones. But I think he’s wrong. I think everyone is creative, more or less, everyone has ideas, it’s human nature. You’ve just got to be allowed (by yourself as much as anyone else) to shape them and share them. So do. Make that thing! Sing that song!

Just beware human nature.

And remember Amy.

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The woman who warns us about propaganda in zoos – hilarious or scary?

How did they work all this out woman!

Incredulous woman can’t understand how theories of science appear on printed signs!

Go to the zoo with creationist Megan Fox and learn that zoos are failing in their duty towards humans. She loves the animals, why, she even got married in the zoo, but the notion of humans being apes is just hilarious. She reads ecologically informative signs in the various enclosures in an outraged tone – ‘Oh, humans are baaad!’ Megan thinks children should be entertained and informed about the eating habits of all the marvellous animals instead of learning critical information about destruction of habitat and loss of species. Megan says not all humans are bad. Hunters, for example, give all sorts of money to protect animals. Hunters conserve. Like in Zambimbia. (SIC) Hunters feed hungry people. The EPA buys weapons and donuts. They don’t clean up streams. It’s all political nonsense.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/06/brookfield-zoo-science-mom-audit_n_6271800.html

You really want more? Here is her incredulous visit to the American National History Museum with commentary from someone who actually thinks. Thank you, AnswersInEddas.

It’s a fairy tale. She’s just making it all up!!

My only comfort is when her children become teenagers they will revolt and start learning just to spite her. Oh, I cannot wait.

Megan Fox doesn’t want a relationship with nature. She is unnatural.

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Terrific response to Melbourne Cup

I mean terrific as in filled with terror. It’s the first time I’ve noticed public opinion rise against this bizarre pageant of money, cruelty and lust we call the Melbourne Cup. I congratulate Sam de Brito on his fantastic opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Cup – that will do me. Please read and share it.

Rubbish left over from the 2014 Melbourne Cup

Picture from the Illawarra Mercury of the remains of the day, 2014 Melbourne Cup

de Brito’s observations are balanced and passionate. It’s well worth the read. It evokes another wonderful article from some years ago by Marike Hardy, The Melbourne Cup: It’s a truly revolting spectacle published in The Drum.

I’ve been both heartened and surprised by the many posts in Facebook over the last few days as people describe their saddness at the death of two horses in 2014’s carnival. Yet so many horses die each year as a result of the racing industry. Have people never thought about how many horses are bred, how many hopes are pinned on how many hours of training? I’m only glad that people are starting to think now. What can we do about our relationship to horses? Where does the money go?

Here are some facts about horse racing in Australia

Here’s a link to an interesting blog about retiring horses. They don’t mention the wastage during the training period. Only a small percentage of horses actually make it to be professional runners, just like humans. Imagine all those Little Athletics Club children. How many of them become full time athletes? What happens to all those racehorses

But for the utter last word on The Melbourne Cup, watch Kenny.

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Racing Extinction

Oh, this looks very good, don’t you think?

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Happy Anniversary year, Martha! Not really. Last Passenger Pigeon. Ever.