Speculations spread about Amazon Australian launch

On Wednesday, Herald Sun reported speculations that online shopping giant, Amazon are set to extend business to Australia by the end of the year.

Warehouses are set to be established in Sydney and Brisbane, as well as the one in Melbourne.

An e- mail obtained by news site, Lifehacker suggested that five hundred businesses have already signed up with Amazon to join their Marketplace during a trial.

Amazon argued that this could help smaller retailers by offering a platform. This will make them rivals with Ebay.

Business analysts and other retailers had warned that the (now failed) launch by yesterday was overly ambitious. However, there is confidence that Amazon could complete the rollout by Christmas.

 

I really hope it goes well for Amazon. I believe the more retail competition we have the better.

I bought a few things from Amazon years ago. Before iTunes took over for my entertainment, I bought quite a few albums that I couldn’t find in a store near me from legends Suzi Quatro, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Alice Cooper. I remember being thrilled when I found them on the site and when they arrived.

They were all in perfect condition, too.

From top left: Suzi Quatro: Rock Hard, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Sinner, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Greatest Hits, Joan Jett, Bad Reputation, Alice Cooper: Alice goes to Hell
I was thrilled when I found and bought these albums on Amazon.

The delivery times were always fair, often a few days before the expected date.

I think it’s great that Australian businesses will soon be able to join Amazon. I think it really could bring success to all parties involved.

The criticism about Amazon taking competition from Ebay, Harvey Norman and David Jones? I hardly think that Amazon will end up defeating such companies. It might drive them a bit more to better services, make sure stock is up to scratch and that financial details remain secure and transactions are legit (I’m looking at you, Ebay)*.

Not only that, isn’t it great that Amazon is offering small business owners in Australia a chance to develop? The Australian economy and culture thrives on small independent businesses! This will give them akickstart! I think that’d be good! As long as Amazon  abides by Australian consumer law and it helps rather than hinders small business, I really can’t see any problems.

 

 

*Just a disclaimer: I personally haven’t had any bad experiences with Ebay, but I’ve heard of people who have; both buyers and sellers.

How have your experiences buying from Amazon been? Let me know in the coments below.

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Sologamy: Fad? Good idea or selfishness?

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There is a bit of a trend of people; men and women,’marrying’ themselves. (Image: iStock)

Emmajane Love, 33, got married… to herself.

It happened last year on the Gold Coast, with friends and family from different parts of the world attending the ceremony.

It’s not legal here, and in the US state of Arizona where she currently is. So, it’s symbolic.

It may seem strange and it worries some experts. Some regard the concept as “the saddest trend you’ve ever seen”.

While many say it’s narcissistic, I can actually see the logic behind it.

Love told David Koch and Samantha Armytage on Seven’s Sunrise that sologamy was the chance to declare a love to the self. According to Love, this came about in the aftermath of toxic and abusive relationships. For this reason, I’m sympathetic to the idea.

 

More than anything, I think the ‘sologamy’ movement brings up conversations that society needs to have.

One is self – esteem and self – worth. Even now, I think these two things are (mistakenly) linked to marriage and significant romantic and sexual relationships.  The link between lack of marriage and loneliness is still emphasised, even though it’s not always the case.

Too often, women (and men) can feel inadequate or broken for not having a ‘significant other’. While marriage and long – term relationships are the norm, marriage is not something that people should be pressured into. People’s self – worth should not be tied up in finding “the one”.

On a second, and more sobering note, I think we need to talk about those who need healing from toxic or abusive relationships. Domestic violence is way too prevalent worldwide, with the World Health Organisation stating that around one in three (35%) of women are victims of sexual and/ or physical violence at the hands of a partner, spouse or non – partner in their lifetime. Data from the 2012 ABS Personal Safety Survey said that 1 in 22 men have experienced sexual violence since the age of fifteen. Survivors of abuse need to be given permission and tools to heal from such trauma. If a “sologamous” wedding provides that, then good luck to them.

 

On the other hand, as I researched for this blog, I have noticed that some women have had’sologamous’ weddings to prevent nagging about finding a partner and getting married from friends and family. This should not be necessary. Some adults are single; happily single, single, but want a relationship and those who may have given up on finding love. I strongly believe that the stigma towards these people, especially those in their 30’s needs to stop. Some people won’t get married. Ever. Or get married again. These people should be left to be. If they want to find someone, then let them look. BUT for those who aren’t on the look out, they should NOT be made to feel broken or lesser than anyone else.

 

Will sologamy be a dying craze or keep growing? We’ll have to wait and see. It certainly brings up a lot of interesting things that should be talked about: healing from toxic or abusive relationships, how society views single people, particularly women over thirty and the ability to love yourself unconditionally.

What do you think about sologamy? 

 

Social media: is it a platform for honesty?

 

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Image: Canva

 

 

 

On Tuesday, Channel Ten’s The Project Mitch Wallis, who said that he had a breakdown when taking a trip in Kentucky.

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The breakdown spurred Wallis on to start a campaign “Heart on My Sleeve” on both Twitter and Facebook, encouraging people to be honest about their experiences and feelings on social media.

 

I think it’s a good, and frankly, brave idea (I’ll explain why in a sec).

When on social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, most people only upload photos and write posts that reflect the best aspects of their lives. The happy holiday snaps, the cute kids when they aren’t fighting and (usually) not crying, the happy couple pics, you get the idea.

So, I scrolled through the Heart on My Sleeve Facebook Page recently, and it’s quite brutally honest. If you read the pinned post I embedded above, you’d know what I mean. That’s good.

Here’s the thing, will this campaign take off and change the way people view and use social media? That’s what I’m a bit skeptical about.

I said that this campaign was “brave” because people who are too honest on social media, they often get a backlash, either online or in their personal lives. This is especially true when it comes to conflicts with others. And I get that, to be honest. Unless it’s something to do with the law or something terrible has happened, it’s probably best to work out conflicts among you and the person you have issues with.

So, that’s obvious. But what about talking about things like depression, mental breakdowns, grief? What about photos that don’t look the best? Now, I’ve got to say that my Facebook friends are quite honest in how they’re doing. But for some people, especially younger people, this can be intimidating, especially when a backlash is likely.

Thing is, some – if not most people – only want to hear and read certain things and are, unfortunately, critical of people when they aren’t. So, how do we change this mindset? How do we get rid of the fear of backlash because we may have posted something someone may not like? Also, in terms of mental health, when should someone just seek professional help, rather than airing it online? Is there a potential risk that airing certain things will only exacerbate the problems?

Maybe this campaign can extend to honesty in everyday life, not just on social media. Are you OK? if not, talk to someone, a friend, partner, family member or a professional. We all need someone who we can be honest with. Will it work with three hundred “friends” (I think the average number of friends someone has on Facebook)? Not sure.

I think something could be said about this, for both online and the real world (probably the latter more so). And that’s we need to let people be who they are and express how they feel and let ourselves do the same thing. For some people, social media or a blog may be an ideal platform – at least to an extent. But, for others, it may be better to do things more privately; one on one or in a small group. At least then, you may get more sympathy and/ or understanding. Whatever works, I guess. Anything that prevents someone bottling up too much must be a good thing.

What do you think of the Heart on My Sleeve campaign and honesty on social media? Do you think it’ll ever become a regular thing? Leave your thoughts below. 

What should Australia’s national anthem be?

On the “Today Show”, panellists talked about the Australian national anthem and if it was changed what should it be. Just for fun, I’ll offer a few suggestions:

1. Eagle Rock – Daddy Cool (1971)

Does this song need any introduction? Fun fact: Ross Wilson was the first concert I went to at the Commercial Club in Albury, NSW.

2. Solid Rock – Goanna (1982)

Written by someone who was born in Australia (singer/ songwriter Shane Howard was born in Dennington, Victoria). Plus, it is about Australian history. Then again, it may be too controversial and too divisive.

3. Land down under – Men at Work (1981)

Flute riff aside,  this song was written by Colin Hay and Ron Strykert. It’s mixed as in who was born here. Strykert was born in Korumburra, Victoria. However, Hay was born in Saltcoats, Scotland.

4. We can’t be beaten – Rose Tattoo (1982)

How can I leave out Rose Tattoo? Written by front-man, Angry Anderson (real name Gary Anderson), who was born in Melbourne. We need a bit of a pump – up song, don’t we?

If New Zealand was another state….

5. This time – Dragon (1976)

Written by brothers Marc (late lead singer) and Todd Hunter.

6. Computer Games – Mi – Sex (1979)

Written by late singer Stephen Gilpin, Kevin Stanton and Murray Burns. The first time I heard of this song was actually on the Countdown Spectacular extras DVD. How has computer games taken over so many people’s lives now? Except instead on an old PC, most people play them via social media (Facebook, Messenger) or on Ipads and phones. I’m no exception.

Bonus one: I Still Call Australia Home – Peter Allen (1982)

How can I not add this one? If I’m honest, I’m not a big fan of this song like the others, but it’s undeniably iconic. Written by the late Peter Allen, this song is an ode to Australia, which, I think many people would agree, that this country needs. For those who live here, we are lucky. Very lucky.

 

To Australians, if you could pick a song for our national anthem, what would it be? Feel free to comment your thoughts below. 

“The Simpsons” turns 30

It’s been thirty years since the hit animated sitcom, “The Simpsons” debuted in the U.S. I can’t believe it. What an achievement!

I grew up watching “The Simpsons”. Here in Australia, it’s been featured on “Channel Ten” (now on Eleven), for years and years. It used to be on weeknights at 6 pm for, I don’t know how many years. Plus, episodes use to get played on the weekend, too. That includes endlessly repeated episodes.

I’ve also seen “The Simpsons Movie”. It’s good. I’ve never been overly keen on the Halloween episodes. Not sure why, just like the regular ones.

Favourite episodes

Hmm, favourite episode… That’s a bit of a hard one. There are so many to choose from, but I do have a few favourites. One of my all – time favourites is where Homer realises his mother is still alive and is a fugitive. Here’s one of my favourite scenes from it:

Another one I liked I actually studied at school in Year 10. It’s where Homer gets paranoid about having gay local shop keeper and about Bart’s sexuality

When Homer tries to be a hippy… with disastrous consequences, of course.

Of course, Bart, even though he is (eternally) only ten, he has a mortal enemy, Side Show Bob. Yet, they become allies when Bob’s evil brother tries to kill them both. Even though Bob saves Bart, he still gets arrested. Life’s just not fair for some, eh?

 

“The Simpsons” still manages to make an impact on pop culture. What a legacy! I guess it still reflects Western society today, as it did back in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, and people can relate to the characters: a child who’s too smart and crying for recognition, a boy who has behavioural problems, the underappreciated housewife, etc.

 

It goes to show that, quite frankly, people are slow to learn – about prejudice, how reliving the “old days” tends to backfire and how, unfortunately, the education system is failing children that need help the most.

Apparently, there’s an episode about “safe spaces” online. I’ll have to check that out.

 

I don’t think “The Simpsons” is going anywhere anytime soon. It’ll remain a staple in pop culture both here in Australia and in the U.S. for years to come. With it’s biting humour and relevancy, how can it go wrong?

 

So, happy birthday, “The Simpsons”!

 

What are your favourite “The Simpsons” episode?

YouTube in hot water after alleged censoring and demonetising channels

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Freelance journalist and Herald Sun contributor, Alice Clarke accused YouTube of restricting videos from LGBTQ+ YoutTubers, while not censoring straight users even though their content can be explicit. Ironically, conservative YouTubers, such as Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson has condemned YouTube for demonetising conservative bloggers and drowning independent users out as they can’t compete with organisations such as CNN and The Young Turks.

 

I have a Google account and comment on videos, but I’m not a YouTuber myself. I’m quite happy doing my blog at the moment, so I’m not 100% sure what’s been going on or exactly their policies, etc. I will say this though; if YouTube are restricting videos by LGBTQ+ YouTubers in a way that they don’t censor or restrict straight YouTubers talking about a similar thing, then that’s not OK. Likewise, if they are trying to make it harder, if not impossible for independent YouTubers to make a living from their content, regardless of their socio – political persuasions, then that’s not OK…. unless all users know from the get – go that the platform is a conservative/ liberal – free zone. I mean, they can do that. They are a privately owned company.

 

What annoys me is how social media platforms, and, by the looks of it, YouTube as well. Due to children accessing platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, it makes sense that some content would be off limits altogether or, as in YouTube’s case, placed in restricted mode.Things like graphic violence, (Slayer’s clip to their song “Pride in Prejudice – trust me that’s gory), sexually explicit content and other content that’s not suitable for those under the age of eighteen should be restricted. Videos that promote or legitimise illegal activity should be banned, period. Unless a social media or video sharing platform is advertised and known  to only accept content from people of a certain religious or political persuasion, the platform should allow (legal/ non – graphic) content from all users, not just some.

And, be consistent! In the past, Facebook have been accused of unfair censorship when they took down pictures of women breastfeeding, while allowing graphic violent and explicit images and videos to be published on the platform. In response to some violent content (I think it may have been  ISIS related), they tried to argue that it was allowed because it stirred up debate. However,  after a public backlash, Facebook eventually took the offending content down. That’s not the only time that their “algorithms” have been scrutinised. I personally have reported memes that I thought promoted anti – LGBTQ+ violence, only to be told that the memes/ comments didn’t breach their standards. (Before anyone accuses me of censorship or being a “snowflake”, these memes I’m talking about actually advocated that men should use physical violence if trans – women use the female bathroom… only they had gross caricatures of them, rather than real ones, but you get my drift).

 

As debate over 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 has raged, I’ve become more and more in favour of as little restriction as possible. We should be able to debate ideas and laws shouldn’t be implemented to destroy people’s livelihoods unjustly. I’m starting to think that censorship maybe the thing that stops people from supporting groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or other ethnic – minority communities. Unless specified, social media, blogging and video – sharing platforms should be places where there is as little restriction as possible and also everyone should be treated the same and be placed under the same restrictions.

 

It is now easier than ever for people to have their say… or at least theoretically it is. If social media platforms start having consistent policies, it can continue in the future.

Have you had any issues in regard to how a social media platform or YouTube censor or ignore certain content? Let me know your experiences.

The truth about the ADF and Mardi Gras – or is it?

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On Monday, I wrote a post criticising the Australian Defence Force’s participation in the Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Saturday. This was in response to Miranda Devine’s opinion piece that was published in the Sunday Herald Sun the next day. I agreed with Devine on her concerns, about Section 83 of the Defence Act 1903 and the protocols. I also enforced criticism about how former army officers, including WA’s state Coalition MP, Andrew Hastie who was the former SAS officer who was dismissed after he advertised himself in uniform during WA’s State by – election in 2015. It didn’t make sense to me that Army Major, Bernie Gaynor was prevented from attending a pro – life march, and yet they still went to the Mardi Gras. Not to mention the modifying the Rising Sun badge, which is prohibited. So, I was with Devine on this one (I don’t agree with her a whole lot)…. now I’m not so sure.

After reading this counter – argument by Adam Bub on Mamamia makes me wonder whether I bought into the fear mongering of conservatives… again, when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. If Bub is correct, then Devine left a whole lot of information out.

Counter argument about the accusation of ADF participating in a “party political” event:

Let’s get this straight: Victims groups like the LGBTI community are afforded privileges in Devine’s words.

On this point, I get sick of conservatives like Devine spouting that line. I’ve written extensively in the past three years about many issues LGBTQ+ people face, including in the Western world. Coming out as LGBTQ+ only to be ostracised by family members or friends. It’s not “privileged” to come out, only to have your faith community turn their back on you, ostracise you, or psychologically and spiritually abuse you into thinking you can change your orientation and/or gender identity if you try hard enough (note: none of this has happened to me, but I’ve read countless stories about it happening to others). This has only been dealt with on a national scale recently. Let’s hope it never happens again. LGBTQ+ people in the West that come from Arabic or Muslim families also have extensive hurdles they face.

I wrote about the horrific murder rate of transwomen of colour (TWOC) and homelessness rate and the hardships faced by LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. I was (and still) am apalled at how Australia has no official data on the rate of LGBTQ+ homeless youth in Australia and how trans people in particular find it difficult to get emergency accommodation. I’ve also written extensively for over three years about the alarming rate of bullying suffered by LGBTQ+ youth. No bullying should be tolerated, however, I can actually say from personal experience that when your attacked because of your sexuality, or perceived sexuality, there is a level of shame that comes along with it. There’s an extra layer of fear of being ostracised if you speak out. Then self – hatred starts. That’s a tough cycle to get out of. I’m not saying that all LGBTQ+ go through this and this was over ten years ago, but I think it may give insight into the impact on anti – LGBTQ+ bullying.

I could go on, but I think you get my point. While things have drastically improved over the years for LGBTQ+ people, that doesn’t mean work can’t be done. It also doesn’t mean that we can become complacent and let things slide down again.

 

Moving on. Devine also accused the ADF of modifying the Rising Sun lapel pin, which is against their protocol. Historian and researcher for the Defence LGBTI Information Service (DEFGLIS), Dr. Shirleen Robinson argues that the move was an important gesture:

This is particularly important because until 1992, lesbian and gay service personnel had to serve in silence,. knowing that if their sexuality was revealed, they faced discharge from the military.

On the Rising Sun badge which Devine said was modified:

It is also important to note that the rising sun itself was not modified on the badge worn in the Mardi Gras parade.

I saw the badge that Devine protested about in her piece and Dr. Robinson is right. The Rising Sun emblem itself wasn’t touched, coloured or altered in anyway.The rainbow was around the edge, not anywhere near the emblem. Also, why would a military personnel, such as the former Army in Chief David Morrison – despite all his flaws – go out of his way to break ADF protocol surrounding the badge?

I also want to point out that former Vietnam War veterans are apparently not united in condemning the ADF for their participation in the Mardi Gras and supporting LGBTQ+ rights, according to one of the comments:

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After reading the article above and researching for this post, I think I did jump on the outrage bandwagon too quickly… again. That’s if Bob’s right. Makes sense, to be honest. And, contrary to what Devine said, they didn’t breach Section 83 of the Defence Act 1903. To my understanding it’s unlawful for a non military personnel to display the military badges without expressed permission from the appropriate military bodies. That’s what I got from it when I was looking it up. By Dr. Robinson’s account, they didn’t break any protocol surrounding the displaying of the rising sun, either. The actual emblem itself wasn’t touched or modified.I think it’s a panic about the gay marriage debate, again. To be honest, I still don’t agree with what happened to Bernie Gaynor.

 

Who’s right? Can anyone from the ADF or with family/ friends from the ADF tell me who’s right here?