A little of my story

by Federico Rossignoli

(The events listed below are not necessarily in strict chronological order.)

My name is Federico Giuseppe Rossignoli and i am the Author of this site. (The spelling of my name is correct.)

Over my life i have been known as: -
  - Fred the Snakeman,
  - Freddo,
  - Rico - The Wrecker (a building demolisher),
  - Federico,
  - Snaggs - In early school years in Cobram Victoria,
  - Spaghetti - When i was working at sea.

I left school at the age of 14 Form 2 now known as year 8. Had a few attempts at school later in life that never amounted to much. Just couldn�t get the hang of what school was about. Not the fault of the school it was probably just me. You can�t win em all.

One of my first jobs after working on the family farm in Cobram, Victoria was being a Telegram Boy at the North Balwyn Post Office and in the Melbourne GPO.

Off and on throughout the 60s much of my work was as a seaman on Australian small ships, the ketches and schooners that plied the coasts of Australia and New Zealand, i was known as - Spaghetti. I was often addressed as the �garlic munching dago bastard�. With a surname like that what else could a shipload of Skips with the odd �Two and From� as crew call you. By the way for those drongos who give so much attention to Political Correctness. I never ever felt anything but love and support from all the people that i sailed with. My few years at sea on the last of the sailing ships that carried cargo around Australia left me with some of the most treasured memories of my life.

The first ships i worked on include: -
  - Ships out of Melbourne and Geelong,
  - The Argonaut and the Wongala, carrying mostly explosives and timber.
  - Ships out of Port Adelaide,
  - The Annie Watt and the One and All, carrying grain and salt.

Hitch hiked and worked over much of Australia. Worked in the Mossman Sugar Mill in Mossman Nth Queensland and milked taipans at Hartley�s Creek between Mossman and Cairns in the early 60s.

In 1966 I was working on the Wongala and arrived back in Melbourne one day to find i was drafted into the army. Because being at sea made me miss going in with the National Service intake and being sent to Puckapunyal. So, they put me in with the regular intake at Kapooka near Wagga Wagga.

Did most of my basic training before being thrown out for flat feet. They said that i�d have been put into the Engineers Corp which for me would have meant Army Small Ships. Anyway did all the drills/squarebashing etc and learnt quite a bit. However, was quite happy to get out, as i did not like the idea of shooting people. Especially, just to support some country�s Gross National Product whilst pretending to the world that we were all fighting for peace.

It was however, an eye opener to be training with regulars because they were in there for completely different reasons than the Nashos. Like everywhere else many were wonderful people, but some were just scumbags.

Was a Gravedigger, Dogcatcher, Street Sweeper, Public Toilet Cleaner, Nurseryman and Tree Planter in Alice Springs then rode a Lambretta Motor Scooter to Darwin to work and reach my 19th birthday.  On the way to Darwin i visted The East Aligator and Arnhem Land.  When back in Victoria, i was a Night watchman for the town of Cobram.  Sugar cane cutter in Mossman Nth Queensland in the late 60s when cane was still cut by hand.  Worked in my parents hotel The Nelson which was in South Melbourne. I found it fascinating that in those days the people who lived around the area of South and Port Melbourne all spoke with a very different accent than the rest of Melbourne or Australia for that matter.

Was working as an Ordinary Seaman on an American scientific research ship The MSTS Eltanin in the late 60s down towards the 60th parallel, close to the Antarctic when they were said to have landed on the moon.  I had my 24th birthday down there and being August it was mid winter.  It is strange to see the sun rise at about 10am and then set and be pitch dark by 3pm.

Lived in Mosman in Sydney 1970 and went to night school to get my School Certificate and somehow got it.  In 1973 tried for Matriculation at Balwyn High in Melbourne but did not apply myself very well, so did very poorly, or perhaps I was just too stupid anyway.  Did however, learn a lot about learning and so now have for the last 10 years lectured from Kindergarten to University on Snakes, Gene Pools and Biodiversity.

Have worked as an Itinerant fruit picker, Brickies labourer, Building demolisher, Drott (traxcavator) operator, Powder monkey � explosives and Truck driver.  In the mid 70s i worked in the Andalusian region in Southern Spain when Franco was in power and i was still there when he died.  Worked there in a bar at night and in the day as a guide on horseback through the hills south of Malaga, mostly for Scandinavian, Dutch and French tourists.  Worked in London as a Tea Lady (tea person was my actual title) for an Israeli shipping company and as an interpreter for Spanish crewmembers on their ships.  Made my way back from Holland to India overland in the late 70s.  Worked in the ski industry at Mt Buller Vic in the 80s.  Made boomerangs for sale in the late 80s.  Six months driving around and skiing in the US and Canada and spent New Year 1990 in a little coastal village in Mexico called Topolobampo � a very interesting lesson in politics and how some people have to live.  Then had a Roller Blade shop in Brunswick Street Fitzroy Vic.

Currently one of my strongest desires is to live in North Western Italy or Southern Portugal.

After teaching thousands and thousands of people about the identification of snakes and snake safety, i found that kids are the easiest to teach. Adults are sometimes a little hard to teach because they already know everything. For example adults can�t seem to grasp that, almost without exception, the only times i ever get a bite from a snake is when i�m not handling that snake. There is a simple story about so-called Tiger snake attack here.

Federico Rossignoli

The Way I See The World

My political views:
I belong to no political party and probably never will.
Usually the Extreme Left or the Extreme Right of politics, i find hard to relate to.
I believe that we all have a right to an opinion. However we all have a responsibility to learn about any serious subject before forming an opinion and we should always be ready to modify or change as new information emerges.
I believe that most people who parrot �Oh I have my opinions� are just dodging an issue and probably never stood up for anything.
Politically I am an extremist. Extreme middle of the road, something like extremely moderate. This does not mean sitting on the fence, if you think that, then look at my website. If you find any mistakes on my site, and can be bothered, please let me know. However, i�m not interested in hearing from nitpickers. Those types i see as lazy, selfish and pathetic. Constructive criticism i do appreciate.

I believe in Free Enterprise not Capitalism.  Sorry, there has to be a difference.  Any drongo should be able to see that.  Shouldn�t they?  To me free enterprise means small businesses whether, self employed, employing one person or a hundred people.  I also believe in cooperatives especially in the style of the Cooperatives of Mondragon, definately worth a read.  My belief is that if we don�t support small business and cooperatives then the obvious question is.  Who will take over?  Foreign powers and Giant Multinationals of course.  That is Capitalism.  Even Silly Willy should be able to see that.

The so-called Free Trade Agreement is about capitalism not free enterprise regardless of what twaddle any politician will tell you.  Strangely many so-called socialists and some industrial union leaders don�t seem to get it; or perhaps they choose not to.  That begs another question.  What do they really stand for?  The �Free Trade Agreement� is nothing more than a dressed up version of GATT, MAI and GATS.  These agreements are designed to destroy as many small businesses as possible.  That is why Late Night Shopping was designed as it was.  The GST is there for the same reason.  Otherwise we�d have something fair and simple like the Australian invention called the Debit Tax.  By the way, that is not the debit tax you are probably thinking of.

I believe that:-
All politicians should understand the difference between a �broadly based and a narrowly based gene pool� starting with the Prime Minister the Minister for Trade all Ministers for the Environment and all Premiers. I believe that if these people don�t understand these very simple concepts then they are akin to drunkards in charge of a school bus. Especially, when they are wheeling and dealing with our children�s genetic heritage. The idea of gene pools is clearly and simply explained in the story on the home page of this site called �GM crops in a Nutshell

I believe that the children of the future will have to make their own decisions. However, it is highly irresponsible to burn their bridges and destroy their options, whether genetic or material, before they even have a choice. So, if a politician does not consider our children for at least the next 200 years, then that politician is a dud and should be treated as such and laughed out of office.

It is my belief that the following topics and methods of approach should be a part of our children's education.
Knots and Splices. (Learning the ropes)
All children in kindergarten should learn to tie knots and by Grade 1 Primary should learn to splice rope.  Ropes were invented centuries ago by our ancestors, so by now all intelligent humans should know how to use them.  There are no more than half a dozen knots and hitches of importance to learn and then one splice one whipping and one crown in that department are all you�ll ever need.  No big deal to learn but very useful in life.

First Aid
In either Kindergarten or Grade 1 Primary all children should start to learn basic FIRST AID as a subject, and should not stop until they finish school.  That would mean that within a generation there would be advanced first aid people across the nation.

In first year Primary School they should also start to learn speed maths.  There are mountains of that material available and the methods work.  The detractors of this form of maths have usually never learnt any of it, or, are just jealous because they are so slow and have to use a calculator.  As i do, because i am obviously lazy.  Trachtenberg as far as i can see was one of the originals with this system of maths.  Over the years i�ve come across various others that differ slightly in their approaches.  Perhaps it would be sensible of our maths wizards to go through all the approaches and pick out the fastest for our schools.  Believe me, the people who do maths with any of these systems are not fast, they are like lightning.  Yes, that means in most cases they solve mathematical problems instantly.  Often in their head and it seems that most people can learn it.  It would mean that students by the end of Primary School could have reached something akin to year 12 level in mathematics.  Hard to believe?  Why don�t you have a look.  But you must be honest about it and watch out for the �stick in the muds� because they are the true Luddites.  Then imagine what our students could then go on with.  Calculator sales would probably drop a little but it is nice to travel light.

In Kindergarten or at least by grade 1, primary children should start 3 foreign languages, one actively and two passively.  That means: one they learn to speak the others they learn to understand only.  They learn passively by watching selected cartoons and sometimes hearing appropriate live speech in the target language then later moving to more advanced films.  Those designing the courses should always be conscious of word and phrase frequency so that time is not wasted and learning does not become dull.  All children will then end up with at least 2 active and 2 passive languages.  They will understand the value of what they know.  That will equip them to learn other languages at will, as they move through life.  Learning should be open ended otherwise your brain gets old and dies.  The belief by some, that English will take over the world and we will need no other languages is pure nonsense peddled by sad people living in fairyland.  English will grow (especially in business) but it will not take over the world; nor should it.  Which languages should we first offer our children?  Well here are some ideas from my Australian and world perspective, they are variously grouped below.

World Perspective
For the first group as i see it from a world perspective, there are only five languages:
English, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian and Arabic.
These are the 5 large powerful languages. For mother tongue English speakers Mandarin is difficult unless you start young because of the tones, but there is no grammar, just word order. From an English standpoint Russian and Arabic are difficult because of the grammar.
English speakers usually have no idea what grammar really means until they start to learn one of these highly flectional languages.

Second group world perspective:
French, German, Portuguese, Hindi and Cantonese.
A way to assess the desirability of learning any language, meaning, whether or not it is worth the effort to learn could go something like this.
The last language in this list, "Cantonese", will not be a political language but will remain a small but strong business language for some time to come.  Cantonese however, is perhaps harder to learn than Mandarin.  There are still more native speakers of Cantonese scattered around the world than native speakers of Mandarin and so at present it is commercially a very useful language.  Mandarin is slowly gaining ground on the world stage and will also have a much wider currency than Cantonese as time goes on and Mandarin will remain a major language for many years to come.  In China and on the international scene almost nobody studies Cantonese.

Australian regional perspective
First major group, Australian regional perspective 4 languages:
Mandarin, Malay/Indonesian, Japanese and Korean.

Second Group, Australian regional perspective:
Thai, Vietnamese, Khmer, Lao, Burmese, Tamil, Bengali.

Other important world languages
Some other important world languages because of:- cultural influence, number of speakers, the large area they cover or their political clout.
Farsi (Persian), Greek, Hausa, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Swahili, Telugu, Turkish, Urdu, Serbian/Croatian
These last two are basically the same languages but Serbian is written in Cyrillic script while Croatian with the Latin alphabet.  As spoken languages however, they are closer to each other, than Australian and American English are.

A little about other languages compared to English.
Firstly for those who keep referring to Europeans as Caucasians, perhaps you should find out what Caucasian means.  The Caucasians come from the Caucuses.  We Europeans are not from the Caucuses.  Our languages are not Caucasian most Europeans speak an Indo-European language and so, all the languages of Europe with the exception of Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Lap, Basque and perhaps Turkish if you�d like to add that.  The Caucasians speak languages like Georgian, Chechen, Ingush, Circassian and Tabasaran - there are many Caucasian languages.  We do not speak languages even remotely related to those languages because we are not Caucasians.  That nonsense was started by some idiot in America years ago and people have been parroting it ever since.

It does not really matter which languages you learn as each one equips you to learn another faster.  From English-speaking children�s perspective it would be useful to get grounding in both a tonal language and in a language that actually has grammar.

Contrary to what many English speakers think, English has very little grammar.  English does however, have a huge vocabulary available to it.  The traditional Grammar Schools carry that name because they teach or at least used to teach Latin and Greek.  The word grammar comes from a Greek word referring to declensions and conjugations.  That is what is meant by grammar.  Most native English speakers don�t even know what these words mean.  Most of the true grammar started to drop out of English just over a thousand years ago before the Battle of Hastings.  So what is left in English are just a few dinosaurs, which is trivia when compared to a language like Polish.  That is why an educated Pole who comes to Australia will in a year or so, master English, because from their perspective they view English as simple.  See if an English speaker could do that in Poland.

Remember this has nothing to do with spelling.  We make lots of excuses why we cannot learn languages, while the real reason is historical.  Icelandic people live on an island but they can learn languages because they speak an old Indo-European language held together by grammar not by word order, as is English.  If you still don�t believe me then just drop into a foreign language bookshop and have a quick brows through the first three chapters of a Polish or Czech grammar book, then come back and tell me how difficult you really find English; not with spelling that is, but grammar.  Remember that you rarely speak with a pencil so spelling really has nothing to do with it.  The old saying, �Oh but English has so many words that mean the same thing� Well guess what?  So does every other language with the exception of any of numerous artificial languages like Esperanto, Ido or Interlingua etc.

So my choice for a child would be one language from a world perspective and one from a regional perspective.  The language chosen as that to be learned passively can, when and if needed, is quickly turned in a spoken language.  It is just that it takes a lot less effort to learn a language passively because that is learned subliminally.  Also by learning a few phrases and niceties in that language a person can move amongst speakers and because you understand all that is spoken, appropriate answers and questions become simple.

There was some graffiti that was found on a wall in a Youth Hostel in Salzburg Austria.  It read �If you speak three languages you are trilingual if you speak two languages you are bilingual if you speak one language you are English�.

With a little thought, effort and enthusiasm we could turn that nonsense around, in at least one English-speaking nation.  The one we like to call Australia.

Music, dancing or art of any kind should be a given.

I believe that this approach would make our Australian society highly educated and truly sophisticated.  We would be equipped to help ourselves as well as the world.  If we cannot afford to educate ourselves to at least that degree as a nation, then who can?

Federico Rossignoli