Hi Kiwi John - ahhh, 'the handles' . . . Here's a little history lesson . . . (exactly what you wanted, right?)
The university where I teach (Mississippi State University) at is a Land Grant Institution. An act of the U.S. Congress in the 1870's decreed that each state would establish a college with an emphasis on agricultural research, veterinary medicine, and engineering.
The goal of the law was to help ensure that the growing nation (just recovering from the horrors of a protracted civil war) would have a steady supply of engineers and agricultural experts. Many of these public colleges started out being called 'Agricultural and Mechanical' schools.
These schools attracted bright and capable students from all social classes were often sneered at by already established institutions which often had been the exclusive domain of upper-class, old-money aristocrats.
Here in Mississippi, the old established college is 'Ole Miss' or the University of Mississippi. Ole Miss has always sneered at the upstart Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Miss. State Univ.) as being a 'cow college' where country bumpkins finally learned how to tie their shoes and shovel cow manure.
Rather than try to fight the perceived country bumpkin image, Mississippi State University embraced it's humble origins and very practical goals. Hence, the cow bell became a symbol of pride. Cow bells are a fixture are MSU athletic events - fans ring them in support of the Bulldogs (our school's mascot).
'The Handles' part comes from how people weld a length of pipe onto a regular old cow bell so that it is easier to raise it up and give it a good shaking. The photo with the song at the MySpace Music http://www.myspace.com/r200james page shows a typical MSU cowbell all decorated and ready for action. A stadium full of cow bells is extremely loud - so loud that at certain games these bells are officially forbidden (but people do it anyway).
My song simply attempts to relate the cow bells with the lovely young ladies (cow belles) who come to the university to get their education.
Although I have never seen a female MSU student with handles welded upon their physique, I have noticed that many of them might be very nice to hold - that is, if I were much much younger, and not married, and not a teacher, and didn't have daughter their age . . . .
So, John - I have never been to New Zealand but I am hoping for your sake that many of the females there are also 'nice to hold'. Try this - find a woman who seems willing and with a little effort I'm hoping you can find some handles . . .
Let me know how it goes!
"That darn Pythagorean Comma thing keeps messing me up!"