Guns and Bridges

The other day I did an interview on Australian talk radio. The news about the Littleton, Colorado killings had just gone ’round the world and the show’s host said to me that it was typical for the USA to have this problem since there are too many guns there. While I agree with that sentiment in general, I disagree with the particulars and told him so. Violence will never be limited to guns… kids can throw rocks onto cars and buses from freeway bridges and kill people… or, in this case me and my band experienced in Brazil: somebody loosened the lugnuts of one of the wheels of a van taking us to the airport!! Luckily many drivers pointed at our wheels and our driver stopped and noticed that one wheel was barely hanging on by one lugnut only.

In 1996 I learned that Colorado had slashed funding for music and art classes in schools by 30%. You tell me what better way there is for an angry child/teenager to deal with anger than the arts? To learn to transfer the anger into music or onto a canvas?

Hornet’s Nest

I guess I stepped in a hornets’ nest the other day. Here is what I received after my note about the Victoria Premier’s School Girl talk… in order to give you a balanced view:

As a Victorian I was extremely upset to read your last email. The PREMIER of Victoria (we have a separate and distinct political system from the US, know as the Westminster system) was, as usual, taken out of context in the interest of cheap, sensationalised ‘news’. I find it offensive that you can come to Australia and immediately start criticising our leaders. Jeff (Kennett, the Premier of Vic.) was merely discussing the fact that Australia is facing a reduction in population, a good or bad thing depending on your point of view. He did not tell these school girls to ‘go forth and multiply’, as the media would have you believe. He merely joked that these girls will need to get busy and procreate if we are going to maintain steady population growth. The reality is that Victorians are used to Mr. Kennett’s joking ways. I can understand that you would be shocked upon hearing the carefully and cunningly selected sound bites offered by the nightly news, or the quotable quotes offered by our newspapers. I can only hope that you can look into a matter at some depth before making any snap judgments. Nothing annoys me more than criticism based on everything but fact.

Whoa, as Keanu Reeves would say… It’s only a politician after all and I simply quoted the Melbourne media… I do think that Australia should deal with their projected population reduction by allowing more people to immigrate to this beautiful country rather than encouraging school girls to reproduce. There are a lot of people in this world…and many would love to come here… In any case I do love the city of Melbourne and we are all looking forward to spending half of Sunday, and all of Monday and Tuesday there.

Elections + Breeding

How does Australia get 80% of the population to vote in elections – compared to about 40-45% in the USA? If you don’t vote you get fined $100, that’s how. Not a bad idea really.
Now this, however, is a bad idea:
The Governor of Victoria told 16 year old school girls at an exclusive school in Melbourne to ‘breed for Australia’ last week. Those were his words! Australians
apparently don’t reproduce enough in his opinion and instead of letting people immigrate he would prefer for Aussies to ‘breed’ more…

Tasman Abel

This is what I learned:
The first European to see New Zealand in 1642 was Tasman Abel, a Dutch navigator. Zeeland is a province of his native country, The Netherlands. Tasman named New Zealand after that province, and named the island of Tasmania after himself…