Monday, May 28, 2012


This ran on TV the other night. It's a nationwide campaign that's been running for the past couple of years.  Can you imagine it in the U.S.?  Not hardly.

Me, the Recruiter

Here's the next Badger tight end, if I have anything to say about it:

And no, I'm not standing in a hole.  It just kind of looks that way.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Sydney is beautiful (the city is nice, too).  Beautiful weather, the harbor, all of the things that  captivated us during our time here.

Small world story: after my Planet America interview, an American who has lived here for 30 years emailed me, asking if I wanted to meet.  I wound up meeting two people, Jeff Young and Carl Peterson, who came over in the early 1980s for work.  Jeff is from Des Moines, and Carl is from Green Bay.  Carl's son Greg  plays professional rugby, and there was a game today.  He's 6' 9"", about 270 pounds, and has a couple of offers to play college football (Indiana, but still).  I went to the game, and learned a lot about it.

Met a man named Colin Scotts, who played professionally with Arizona and Houston from 87-91:

And Carl (one of the two men) had a dog, a chocolate lab named Mars (think about it):

Carl has a beautiful house near Manley Beach, right on the water.  They took me out to a sushi restaurant, where we had an incredible meal.

What are the chances?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Planet America

Finished in Canberra.  Gave talks at ANU and Parliament House, appeared on ABC Radio, lunch with students.

Then off to Sydney.  My first stop was a television show called Planet America, hosted by two recovering comedians (formerly "The Chasers"), who are really into American politics.  They asked questions about the Wisconsin recall, which would be like an American TV host asking about the Darwin city council elections.

You can see the video here.  I was the last story, starting at about 34:30.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

West Coast Eagles

We became Australian Rules Football fans during our 2006 stay, and the West Coast Eagles were our team.  I tried to find a T-shirt for Adam, without much luck, since the sleeveless jerseys are the most common souvenir.

As it turns out, the Consul General here in Perth is a huge Eagles fan.  When she found out about my quest, she insisted on taking me to the stadium to visit the official souvenir shop.

Here I am in front of the 2006 Championship trophy:

And guess what I was able to procure?  Anyone?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Coonawarra Naval Base

Here's a pic of me talking to a group of Royal Australian Navy personnel and local government department heads, at the Coonawarra Naval Base in Darwin.  Amazing place, remarkable people.  The host was Commander Ben Favelle, RAN.  In the link, you can see the whole base, and my talk was by the water, directly across the channel from the 3 ships at the right hand pier.  Darwin is in the background.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Made it yesterday.  The place is still booming, and there's tension here over the fact that the WA economy is growing so fast that payments from the federal government are being reduced every year, to the point that many people here feel they're being punished for the state's success.  In this morning's paper, the Premier denied that the state was considering formally separating from the rest of Australia.  That the question came up at all is interesting.

The cost of living is astonishingly high.  Skilled trades (electrician, plumbing, mining) are earning close to $200,000 in the mining areas, and households earning $150,000 a year are sometimes eligible for government subsidies.  People struggle at $50,000-$75,000 a year.  A cab driver told me that salaries in mining are so high that even professionals -- and we're talking lawyers, accountants, even medical providers -- are taking mining jobs.

Hmm. . .

Darwin, Concluded

Yesterday morning I visited the Darwin Military Museum, and the exhibit on the Japanese bombing of the city in February 1942.

It was a glorious day, and I got some nice pictures looking North towards the Arafura Sea.

One last note: the weather was perfect.  Warm, not a cloud in sight.  The weather report that morning was "mostly sunny."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Darwin, Continued

Busy day today.  Went to a high school in a town called Palmerston, about 20 miles outside of Darwin.  Then a 45 minute panel interview on ABC Darwin, with the director of a local health care center, and a journalist.  An interview with the Northern Territory News, another high school, a meeting with members of city government, and then an informal talk at the local Royal Australian Naval Base, to a group of officers, enlisted, and government agency heads.

The high school kids were a hoot.  Though I started with a talk about politics, they invariably wanted to know more about the U.S., so I wound up talking about the differences between Australia and the U.S. One student thought that we were defined by "pies," by which she meant the meat pies that are common here.  She was very surprised to learn that if she asked for pie in the US, she'd likely get a wedge-shaped crust filled with apples, cherries, or chocolate.

The journalist was hilarious, too: he was fascinated by the number of elections we have, and thought it uproarious when I told him that we actually elected our coroner  (judges, too).  We even talked about it on the show.  He thought it odd that we have so many elections, but don't have compulsory voting.

Tomorrow I'll visit a museum that deals with the Japanese attacks on Darwin during World War II, and another with exhibits about cyclone Tracy, a 1974 storm that killed dozens of residents.

Everyone in Australia says that Darwin is a unique place.  They're right.