Monday, February 25, 2008
This new one was brought in by his office manager. Staples, which uses the Easy Button in it’s advertising, has begun to market them in a form that relates to communities Staples serves. Part of the five dollar price of the buttons goes to support the Boys and Girls Club of America and its activities—up to one million dollars. But there’s also a Limited Edition button—the kind we have—with designs on the side done by children who are members of the Club. Buying the Limited Edition button kicks an additional $100,000 into the Club’s coffers.
All well and good, but what Fritz loves about it is that when you push the easy button, a man’s voice says, “That was easy!” So now, whenever he reaches an agreement with someone in the office, or makes a decision, or says something with even the remotest connection to doing something simply, he pushes the button.
He pushes the button a lot. The novelty hasn’t worn off yet and I’m not above hitting it in retaliation with the hope that we might all get it out of our systems that much faster.
I officially ended physical therapy this morning. I went in for a final session where the mobility of the ankle was tested, my ability to support my entire body by going up on the toes of just my right leg, and holding firmly for five seconds before coming down slowly was tested, and I had to keep the ankle immobile while various amounts of pressure were brought to bear, trying to push it in different directions. I had no trouble going through all of it.
It didn’t hurt that Fritz and I went snow shoeing yesterday. We’ve got some nicely varied terrain on the properties that was a good challenge, including some slopes steep enough that going down sideways is advisable. That meant a lot of small, split second readjustments for the muscles in the foot, ankle and lower calf and was excellent exercise in terms of the therapy (which had included my picking up marbles with my toes, and balancing on one leg on resilient foam rubber pads).
Most importantly, the ankle now feels great and I have regained my stamina in it for long walks, going up and down stairs and ladders, etc.
Now that homophobe and bigot John Howard has been replaced as Australia’s Prime Minister by Kevin Rudd, the government has released an official apology to the continent nation’s Aboriginal citizens for the appalling treatment of them over the centuries. In particular, the practice of taking their children away from them to be raised by white Australian families was acknowledged to have been an outrage, a mistake, and a source of great pain to the Aboriginal population, as well as a severe danger to their culture.
Apparently, an apology in some form or other had been proposed to Howard during his time in office, but he refused to take it any further. Gross mistreatment of Aboriginal people had survived well into the 20th century. Farmers and sheep raisers could, if they found Aboriginals camping anywhere on their vast properties, simply shoot them dead with no danger of prosecution.
1933 saw the very first conviction for the murder of an Aboriginal person, but social progress on the relationship between them and white Australians was a thing of fits and starts for quite some time afterwards. And even today, the social and economic status of Australia's first people remains problematic.
Anyone interested in the complex and fascinating history of Australia, its people, it’s exotic flora and fauna (including fish that change sex more or less at will) would enjoy Bill Bryson’s “In a Sunburned Country.” Bryson is a superb comic writer who passes along huge amounts of hard information and keen observation, served up with a sharp wit and laugh out loud humor.