Blackouts – the new normal?

Early in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith watched his fellow citizens react to an announcement that the government was “raising” their chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. Winston remembered the announcement from the previous day, however: the government was reducing the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. He marveled as everyone all celebrated what was actually bad news, which they should have all remembered was bad news.

Winston thought: “Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory?”

With respect to that great achievement long ago of cheap, reliable electricity, how many of us in the new normal will even allow ourselves to remember it?

WolfmanOz at the Movies #51

Is cinema dying ?

As I write this last post for the year, a feeling of melancholy and sadness is with me as I write about what I believe is that movies and the thrill of going to the cinema and luxuriating in the magic of the big screen appears to be dying.

There was always something special in going to the cinema in having that shared experience in enjoying a film, whether it be a comedy, a musical, a drama, a western, an action flick etc etc.

As I look back on 2022, I only saw 2 films at the cinema – No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s last foray as Bond (thank God, as this film was awful) and Top Gun: Maverick where Tom Cruise shows he’s still got the magic to provide a thoroughly entertaining non-woke film for the audience. But after that zilch nada nothing.

Hollywood, in particular, keeps rehashing old material and making the same movies and TV shows over and over again. The key differences between the old and new versions is that the newer offerings are often dumbed down, coarser, infused with contemporary woke themes, and are obliged to have a far more racially diverse cast, and all the while delivering an inferior product that isn’t worth the time of day.

Of today’s crop of films I have soon had my fill. Most of them are obscurely told, they tell me things I don’t care about, in language I find offensive; and they concern characters whom I would willingly cross the road to avoid. Dark and shaky cinematography makes them unattractive to look at, and all the old studio crafts, so laboriously learned during the Golden Age, appear have been jettisoned in favour of obscenely large budgets which allow the film-maker to wander restlessly around the globe giving distorted views of real locations or the film is laced with incessant CGI instead of setting their own and the audience’s imaginations to work.

Nowadays one has to fight one’s way through the thick showy surface in order to get to a story which all too often is not worth following.

One problem is that modern films are largely made by people with no sense of humour, people who do not realise that they must please the mass audience if the industry in which they work is to survive. Old-time screenwriters would no doubt be viewed by these people as cynical hacks, but at least they took pains to please their audience with all the expertise at their command, and they still expressed their own view in a vein of sardonic humour which ran through most of their scripts.

The absurd pretensions of some modern film-makers certainly causes amusement wherever sensible people congregate, but the advocates of sanity are in no position to have the last word.

Movies are thus produced for a small group of jet-setters and wokesters; meanwhile that patient paying audience discovers that not only the films but the cost of going to the cinema is infinitely more expensive, as the cost of admission has risen at a phenomenal rate.  What other commodity has risen in price to this extent?  Television is infinitely cheaper and can be viewed in the comfort of one’s home: no wonder so many people prefer it.

So the movie industry hastens on its way to perdition and catastrophe, a fate which surely cannot be delayed more than another few years, and for which simple-minded greed, lack of foresight and a large measure of incompetence are chiefly responsible.

Some of the elements missing from modern cinema are to be found in television, with the plethora of choice for viewers from endless streaming services there is so much to chose from. But television is a private enjoyment, and one inevitably misses the sense of comradeship, of sharing a pleasure, that the cinema used to fulfil.

So, I usually include some clips scattered in my weekly post, but all I can think of now is just to present some of my favourite moments in cinema which I can still enjoy but I know I won’t see any more of in the coming years.

Enjoy . . . and a Happy New Year to you all.

Abundant cheap renewable energy? Imagining will make it so

Drove to Melbourne and back a few weeks ago. Haven’t driven interstate for decades; haven’t owned a car for about eight years. Could I still drive? Still not sure because the Hume Highway offers little challenges. Two generous lanes, dual carriageway, all the way. Rest areas aplenty.

Not long out of England, many decades ago, I worked for the Queensland Main Roads Department and was stationed in a camp near Cardwell. A new long section of the Pacific Highway [Correction, as reader miltonf points out, it was the the Bruce Highway in that neck of the woods] was being laid next to the crumbling existing road. One lane each way. I asked the foreman why the opportunity was not taken to build a four-lane highway. You don’t understand, he replied patiently. Australia’s a big country with relatively few people.

Since then, the population has more than doubled. Still, Australia hasn’t shrunk in size, and the population remains small in the scheme of things, yet now we can afford modern motorways. And there’s more. From motorways to urban side roads. A perfectly serviceable laneway near where I live was dug up by the local council a little while ago and the bitumen replaced with fancy paving. How have such wonders been possible?

Let me guess, I don’t believe the Greens or Teals or even Laborites ask themselves this singular question. If they did they might conclude that cheap, abundant and reliable energy has played a vital part in our ascending prosperity. Essentially they are Cargo Cultists. They see what we have but don’t see how it was wrought. This will turn out to be a fatal blindness for them and, most particularly, for us.

When you don’t appreciate how things are made, and how hard it is, your plans (however unrealistic and unachievable) become your reality.

Plans to build nine times the existing number of wind and solar farms, to crisscross the country with 13,000 to 28,000 kms of new transmission lines, to construct new dams and pumped hydro, to become the world leader in green hydrogen production and export. These are paper constructs. Back-office imaginings. Meanwhile coal-power stations are actually being demolished. Real power out; imaginary power in. This won’t end well; to put a euphemistic gloss on it.

O Advent Tree!

The buds begin to appear towards the end of November, just before Advent. Thoughtfully, the trees vary in their timing, some retaining their vibrant heads of blossom well into January, but for the most part, their display is at its most spectacular in the third and fourth weeks of Advent with a show that always thrills me. And how did they know that red and green are the colours we would come to associate with Christmas? What reds, orange-reds and green they are. They fairly burst with joyful colour.

Greenslopes, 14th December 2022

It’s Brisbane, and the trees are, of course, Poincianas, named after Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy, who was a governor of St Kitts. Officially, they are Delonix regia, and are also known as flame of the forest or even flame tree, but we have a better candidate for that. The name which probably suits them best is flamboyant. They go by many names across India and S.E. Asia.

Keep your pines and firs, with their un-snowed-upon branches gracelessly upright, desperately needing baubles and drapes of tinsel to convey festivity. I’ll walk outside and, where the passion for subdivision and six-packs has not destroyed them, look across the suburban hills to pick out the splashes of red, even yet, with contributions from the occasional flame tree still afire with the fading remnants of its peculiarly intense red.

Annerley, 25th November 2022

I know Advent is penitential, but, but… what a season it is. If we must forgo a springtime Easter, we have at least subtropical summer Christmas. Praise God!

O come, O come, Emmanuel!

Guest Post: Mother Lode – A Pagan Christmas

Well we are closing in on Christmas – a special, even magical time of the year. Families will be sitting down together, table heaped rich foods, adults already slightly aglow from a glass or two of Christmas cheer, kids on their second wind after their frenzied ravine upon Christmas wrapping, aaand then some pompous boor will proclaim, with a smug air of unassailability, that Christmas is actually a pagan festival.

It is a new old claim. But how many of these boors are scholars in matters of history and religion? How many have read any source materials or researched and argued treatises? How many have thought about it at all, beyond what is necessary to memorise it and savour the rank stink it carries like a fly contemplating a particularly loathsome glistening turd. So they sit waiting form the right time, restraining the desire to break out like Mel Gibson with his face painted half blue saying “Hold! HOLD!” until they can finally unleash this mental morsal in its full caustic effect. Honestly, what kind of person would accept an invitation to Christmas with all the joy that attends the day, and then wish to tarnish it? To make it somehow illegitimate and empty? They should count themselves lucky that Christmas does not incorporate cricket bats and shallow graves in its celebrations.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Mother Lode – A Pagan Christmas”

The modern slave trade

From the transcript

People need to know about this… Never throughout the history of slavery has there been more suffering that generated more profit that was linked to the lives of more people around the world…

Preview YouTube video The Disturbing Reality of Cobalt Mining for Rechargeable Batteries

Who are the modern slave traders?

When will their monuments be torn down?