Anyone Looking For Violin Lessons in Brisbane?

UPDATE: 2013-05-22

Well Chrissy is now my wife, not my girlfriend, and her Suzuki violin & viola studio has been going strong in Brisbane for four years. She has a full contingent and is hard pressed to fit in new students, but feel free to contact her just in case she has a spot.

Original Post Published on: May 31, 2009

I usually don’t talk about my private life here, but today I have to make an exception.

My lovely girlfriend, Christine Dunaway (@fddlgrl on Twitter), is moving from Seattle, Washington to Brisbane in July! No, we didn’t meet on Twitter, we actually met on the island of Corsica last year while we were both there for the Napoleon conference. Chrissy  was there to perform at the gala dinner (she’s definitely NOT a Napoleon geek!).

Chrissy is a Suzuki violin teacher with 10 years teaching experience (she’s not as young as she looks!) and for the last year has been the Director of The Suzuki Academy at Seattle Music Center. As she’s moving to Brisbane, she will be setting up a new music school and will be looking for students to start immediately!

She will be looking for students from age 4 up to adults and from beginners to advanced in Brisbane who want violin lessons or viola lessons starting in July 2009.

Chrissy is a very popular teacher in Seattle (check out some of the testimonials from parents of students on her site) and I’m sure she’ll be just as sought after here.

So if you’ve got kids in Brisbane wanting violin or viola lessons – or even if you want to learn yourself – check out her new website for more information!

Salbuchi explains the Global Financial Collapse

Fascinating explanation on YouTube by Argentinian analyst Adrian Salbuchi on what the financial collapse is all about. He suggests that the entire financial system is "extreme capitalism" and a giant Ponzi scheme which will end in another global world war, the same way that the depression of the 30s was ended.

Part 1

Part 2

Salbuchi goes on to explain the "new world orders" that we’ve already seen arise over the last century that were engineered out of WWI and WWII and the next "new world order", a world government. I’m a fan or having a world government – if it’s a legitimate democracy – but his explanation is quite dystopian, an unelected, unofficial world government run by private corporations and, in particular, a small handful of think tanks and lobby groups. Hey – isn’t that the world we already have? Yes – and that seems to be his point. Salbuchi says there is no conspiracy theory involved – all of the players are out in the open.

Part 1

Part 2

Letterman Apologizes To Bill Hicks!

I have to thank @BrisbaneGirl for this one, she told me about it this morning over coffee.

It seem that back in January, Letterman invited the legendary Bill Hicks‘ mother onto the show to formally apologize in public for cutting Bill’s Oct 1993 stand-up routine from the show. Apparently Letterman and his producer were concerned about Bill’s jokes about Jesus. As Bill Hicks’ fans know, he died 5 months later from pancreatic cancer.

Not only did Dave apologize back in January, he played the banned stand-up routine. It’s pretty moving.

 Here it is:

Here are the first two parts of the full interview.

Part One

Part Two

Tonight on G’Day World Live…

We’ll be talking about the stories of the week – Christians letting their kids die, George Bush’s holy war, the difference between terrorists and heroes, the USA’s stance on torture, and, of course, CHK CHK BOOM, punking the media. The special guest for that last segment will be Bronwen Clune, who will be joining us around 10pm AEST.

I’ll be using Tokbox again tonight, so keep an eye on my Twitter feed for the conference link, about 8pm AEST.

Is Obama Fighting Bush’s Holy War?

While there is some doubt as to the author of this article in AlterNet (the byline says it’s by Clive Anderson, while the bio down the bottom says it’s by Australia’s own Clive Hamilton), the subject matter is fascinating. And a little bemusing. I had always assumed that George W. Bush’s religiosity was a sham, a cynical attempt to convince the unthinking American God-fearing public to go along with his crazy schemes. This article, however, claims that Bush told French President Jacques Chirac that:

"This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins".

Apparently Chirac himself confirms this in a new book published in France last March and the conversation had been published earlier by a French theology professor who the French government turned to for clarification about what the hell Bush might have been talking about.

I seriously never thought of Bush as really nuts. I figured he just put on the whole Jesus-lovin’ Texan ol’ boy routine purely as manipulation, just as a way to squeeze extra votes out of the Religious Right. Could I have been wrong? Is Bush simply insane?

And if Obama continues his "war" in Afghanistan (I still laugh at how the US likes to declare that it’s a war but refuse to classify their prisoners as Prisoners Of WAR under the Geneva Convention), is he perpetuating Bush’s Holy Jihad?

Yet again we see Christianity used as a justification for the murder of tens of thousands of civilians. It’s just another reason why we need to treat Christianity in the same way we treat any other intolerant, violent philosophy – with extreme disdain and our own (non-violent) intolerance.

GDay World 377 – Can Your Mobile Phone Save The Planet?

That was the subject of a debate I was part of last week, run by AIMIA QLD. There were four of us on the panel and I was part of the “NO” team. Not by choice. It was fun and tough to make a case AGAINST the mobile phone, especially as I love my iPhone to bits.

Anyway, this show is a live recording of the event.

Are you a member of the TPN500?


When Faith Kills

I’m reading tonight about the case of Dale and Leilani Neumann, an American couple who let their 11 year-old daughter, Madeline Kara Neuman, die of diabetes last year. When it was obvious that she wasn’t well, her parents didn’t seek medical care for her. Instead, they prayed to God.

Last week, Leilani Neumann was found guilty of second-degree reckless homicide.

Then there is this mother who is on the run with her 13 year-old cancer-stricken son to avoid chemo.

This highlights what I’ve often said is one of my major concerns with religion. It invariably teaches that faith is not only equal to reason but actually superior to it. I’ve often said that this is a dangerous and despicable kind of brain washing. The death of this child is just one example of why faith is dangerous. On a larger scale, it seems to me that once people come to accept that faith is all you need, they are less likely to challenge authority figures when told things like "Saddam is going to use WMD on us" or "climate change is natural". If we live in a society that conditions us not to say "well hold on a second, where’s the proof?" but "ummm okay, if you say so", then we can be lead like sheep to the slaughter house by figures of power and authority.

Madeline Kara Neumann, known as Kara, died on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008. Three weeks before that, on Feb 28, her mother wrote this article on a Christian site called "America’s Last Days". In the article, she talks about how she and her husband had been ‘laying their hands’ on people so that, as with one woman they touched, "the power of God fell on her and she immediately felt the Holy Spirit fill her with His Presence". She also writes:

"Many times The Lord has told me things that are going to happen many years down the road…"

Apparently he neglected to tell her that her daughter had Type 1 diabetes, was going to die in three weeks, and needed to see a doctor urgently.

The Neumann’s are part of a church called Unleavened Bread Ministries which is run by the preacher David Eells. Apparently in his conversations with God, the subject of Kara’s disease didn’t come up either.

Even worse than adults being inculcated with faith is when kids are brain washed before they are old enough to know better. In a press release Leilani wrote after the trial, she claims:

"Madeline Kara was a very mature Christian of deep faith in God’s Word; she did her own study on doctors and medicine exactly one week prior to her death…. Kara found out through her study of God’s Word that the Bible did not advocate doctors or medicine but, rather, that modern-day medicine is a counterfeit to God’s healing power."

I’m torn between feeling genuinely sorry for the Neumann’s and feeling disdainful at their ignorance. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to lose a child. And I don’t doubt for an instant that they thought they were doing the right thing. On the other hand, believing that your imaginary friend is going to heal your sick child is just plain stupid and irresponsible. There’s no excuse. She writes:

Dale and I thought we were within our rights to pray for our daughter’s recovery.

I agree. But why not take her to a doctor as well? What about Kara’s right to live? What about her right to have medical care? As a society, where should our priorities lie – respecting people’s religious beliefs, no matter how primitive and ignorant, or protecting children from their irresponsible parents?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1944 ruling in the case of Prince v. Massachusetts ruled:

The right to practice religion freely does not include the right to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill-health or death… Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children before they have reached the age of full and legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves.

Neumann writing about the progress of her daughter’s illness:

Later on Sunday, I recognized a change in Kara’s condition, as we witnessed the deep sleep and a completely limp body, but for reasons some may not understand, I was not fearful — thinking this was something my daughter could fully recover from. Again, I did not understand what the changes in Kara’s body meant, whether good or bad, so we sought for answers from God.

"We sought answers from God." No doctors.

Now – if you’re a Christian reading this, and you’re saying to yourself "oh yes, well those people are obviously stupid Christians, but my particular kind of Christianity has it right", let me ask you: what’s so different between what you believe and the Neumann’s believed?

I continually talk to Christians who tell me that they have a "relationship" with God or Jesus and that one or both of them "talks" to them. What makes them different from the Neumanns?

Perhaps you’re thinking "well *we* would have taken our child to the doctor." Well good for you. But what areas of your life *do* you put faith ahead of reason and facts? If you put faith ahead of facts in any circumstance, then I submit to you that you are just as deluded and dangerous as the Neumanns.

Faith is dangerous. The people who told you that faith is superior have brain washed you so that you won’t question them while they pick your pocket and lead you down a blind alley. Faith is basically not thinking for yourself. Anyone who tells you not to think for yourself is someone who you should not trust.

The only sensible way to evaluate anything in life is to collect as much data as you can, think about it as best you can, and make the most educated decision you can.

“’Faith’ means not wanting to know what is true” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Why Clare Werbeloff is a genius.

Buy your commemorative t-shirts here!

Clare Werbeloff has punk’d the news. Brilliant. For years the news media have been punking us. It took Clare Werbeloff to turn the tables. She punk’d them. She made up the entire “chk chk boom” story on the spur of the moment. What talent! What creativity! What balls!

Years from now, when studying how the media died, I’m sure journalism professors will point to Clare as one of the defining moments. She perfected the media punk model.

1. Be in the right place at the right time.

2. Find a news crew.

3. Make sure you’re looking hawt – the news doesn’t talk to fuglies.

4. Create a somewhat believable story.

5. Here’s the most important part – Come up with an instant catch phrase that works as a 10 second sound bite!

Together we can speed up the end of the old media by punking them over and over, day and night. They won’t know who to believe. And let’s face it – they won’t care. It’s not like they have cared much about what’s true for the last 20 years anyway. What they care about are the three S’s: sensationalism, scandal, and selling advertising. So this is just taking their model to its natural conclusion.