Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence, Caravaggio, 1609
Month: December 2022
A Small Price (for us) To Pay
On 25th of March, 2022 (keep the date in mind) Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defence Minister, released figures for Russian army casualties in the month-long war, or “special military operation,” in Ukraine. 1,351 Russian servicemen had been killed, and another 3,825 wounded. NATO sources put the number killed at between 7,000 and 15,000.
On 22nd of September, Shoigu updated the figures to 5,937 Russian servicemen killed. Neither of these numbers included Donbas militiamen, or the Chechen forces, or mercenaries of the Wagner Group. Up to that time, much of the fighting in northern Donetsk and in Luhansk had been conducted by the Donbas militias, who had been carrying the main burden of the fighting with the Ukrainian army since 2014, by the mercenary Wagner Group, and by forces comprised primarily of Chechens under a Chechen leader. Both of the latter were engaged in the fighting around the city of Bakhmut, a vital supply link for Ukrainian forces which had been shelling the city of Donetsk since the war broke out in 2014.
WolfmanOz at the Movies #50
Laurel & Hardy
Well for my last post before Xmas, and to bring a smile to Cats faces, I can think of no better topic than to discuss the most beloved comedy duo in cinema history in Laurel & Hardy.
Stan Laurel (1890-1965) and Oliver Hardy (1892-1957) started their career as a duo in the silent movie period, they later successfully transitioned to talkies. From the late 1920s to the mid-1950s they appeared as a team in over 100 films, starring in 32 short silent films, 40 short sound films, and 23 full-length feature films.
They became internationally famous for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy, childlike friend to Hardy’s pompous bully.
To describe their magic would be like trying to explain the genius of Mozart or Shakespeare – somethings are just beyond words; so I offer the following bits and pieces about them.
They often had physical arguements which were quite complex and involved a style of violence that was almost cartoonish. A brilliant example of this would be their silent short masterpiece Big Business (1929) in which they play two Christmas tree salesman trying to sell Xmas trees in July. The film then resolves itself into a tit-for-tat vandalism between them and James Finlayson who doesn’t want to buy a Xmas tree.
Their ineptitude and misfortune precluded them from making any real progress, even in the simplest endeavors. Much of their comedy involves “milking” a joke, where a simple idea provides a basis for multiple, ongoing gags without following a defined narrative. An example of this would be Perfect Day (1929) where two families embark on a pleasant Sunday picnic in their Ford Model T, but manage to run into a variety of issues with the temperamental automobile. Each incident requires repeated exits and reboardings by everyone.
Other favourite shorts of mine include Laughing Gravy (1931) where they try to keep their pet dog hidden from their landlord; The Music Box (1932) where they attempt to move a piano up a long flight of steps; Towed In A Hole(1932) where they renovate a boat in order to catch their own fish; and, Tit For Tat (1935) where they establish an electrical goods store.
By the mid-1930s they had moved away from shorts and concentrated on features (which were more profitable). They had a big hit in 1933 with Sons Of The Desert, but they hit the jackpot in 1937 with the timeless comedy masterpiece Way Out West.
Here they are entrusted to deliver the deed of a old mine to a deceased prospector’s daughter. The film features one of the most beloved songs/routines ever performed in Trail Of The Lonesome Pine.
Incredibly in 1975, Trail Of The Lonesome Pine was released as a single in the UK and reached No.2 in the charts !
But by the end of the decade their best films were behind them, and they left Hal Roach Studios for 20th Century Fox but their films now were but a shadow of their former glories.
In the 1950s they then embarked on a number of tours re-enacting their routines which proved tremendously successful with the public who still adored them. This period was affectionately depicted in the excellent 2018 film Stan & Ollie with Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy.
The film also re-created another favourite routine from Way Out West, in At The Ball, That’s All, although, as always, the original is still priceless.
Laurel & Hardy are timeless and will be beloved forever for those who value their comedy and artistry.
Enjoy . . . and a Merry Xmas to you all !
From The Guardian:
Australia’s first offshore windfarm zone … will be on Victoria’s Gippsland coast, which environmental advocates have labelled a game-changer. “It is one of the most significant wind resources anywhere in the world,”the premier, Daniel Andrews, said, referring to powerful winds from the Bass Strait. The projects are expected to support more than 3,000 jobs over the next 15 years in the development and construction phases and an extra 3,000 ongoing operation jobs.
Sorry Dan, special vessels are required to install offshore wind, they are all in the northern hemisphere, they are in short supply and the bigger ships required for the latest offshore wind turbines are still under construction.
With just over 30 of these vessels navigating the world’s seas in 2020, according to Rystad, offshore wind projects already have to vie for time with a limited number of ships.
What could go wrong?
Diversity, a one-way street
Efforts are afoot to make North American (ice) hockey more diverse. Apparently it’s too white. I am not aware of any similar efforts being made in water polo or swimming or in chess for that matter. Nor am I ware of any complaints that American basketball and football and, say, athletic sprinting are disproportionately too black.
Thankfully, sport is not a likely candidate for affirmative action. Nor is chess. The reason is clear. Everything is in the open. Incompetence, inadequacy, inferior performances can’t be hidden. They are overtly penalised.
Take top hockey teams. They all want desperately to win the Stanley Cup – the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League winner. Don’t tell me they would reject a player who would make a difference whatever his colour. It might be that the bodily physiology of white North Americans is more suited to hockey, as the bodily physiology of black North Americans is more suited to basketball. In any event, it seems to me that the call for diversity is a one-way street.
I support Liverpool Football Team. When they were kneeling before each match last year in some misbegotten homage to Black Lives Matter, the commentators invariable said that it was to symbolise opposition to racism inside and outside the sport. But most of the Liverpool players were black or of colour. Each earning at least £100,000 a week. Egyptian player Mo Salah, £350,000 a week. Doesn’t smack of racism or discrimination to me. I’m not too sure, by the way, what the cut-off point is between black and of colour. I say ‘of colour’, because you can’t say coloured for some reason, though you can say black and white.
How is there racism in English football, I ponder, when most of the players are non-white? I watched the World Cup Final. The Washington Post (WP) in an op-ed lamented the absence of black players in the Argentinian team. While they corrected this piece when they discovered that only one percent of the Argentinian population was black, the bias is evident. They didn’t lament the fact that the Senegalese team had no whites or Asians, or Eskimos (pardon me Inuit).
During the second period of extra time in the World Cup Final, I couldn’t help but notice that all ten of the French outfield players were black. Only the goalkeeper was white. Now, I know that each of these players was there on their merits. So be it, in my view. That’s France today; lots of black people and, presumably (?), the ethnic French, on the whole, are not that good at football. At the same time, the news media didn’t appear to notice at all the hue of the French team. They were selectively colour blind on this occasion. The only sound from the WP was deafening silence.
Not my favourite topic but someone had to say it.
While there is animated discussion about the mutilation of girls who have been persuaded that they want to be boys there is another kind of female mutilation that has been under the radar for some time. What is going on?
I don’t have time to do more research, just putting it out there.
A few references to get started, an ABC report from five years ago, a Federal Government fact sheet. And [triggerwarning] Hirsi Ali on the practice.
Open Thread – Tue 20 Dec 2022
Rafe’s Roundup 19 Dec
Roundup of Partners and Fellow-Travellers
Drop in and see what they are up to!
The Energy Realists of Australia Jo Nova Quadrant on line
IPA Climate and energy program CIS The Sydney Institute
Menzies Research Centre Mannkal Economics Education Foundation
Advance Australia Taxpayers Alliance Australian Inst for Progress
The Conservative Vagabond The Rathouse and The Site of Kilmeny Niland
John Story on the selective catastrophism of climate alarmists
It is far from clear whether the preferred cure advocated by climate alarmists won’t be environmentally worse than the disease, but the Left is madly rushing to tear down our reliable energy production sources anyway.
In fact the “cure” is far worse than the disease. See the first chapter of Triggerwarming for the human, social, environmental, economic and cultural damage of climate-control policies.
CHRISTMAS READING Including Pink Flower: Growing up in Mao’s China, Australiana, Essays on Hayek and Making Science Pay: How to do good R&D.
CHRISTMAS LISTENING A short guide to the 700 pages of The Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper.
SOS SAVE OUR STOVES. Where are FOGS the FRIENDS OF GAS STOVES when we need them. Albo and the Greens are out to take away our gas stoves!
HOH HELP OUR HOSPITALS. Recently The Financial Review ran a piece based on a Deloitte study, reporting:
Australia’s ageing and growing population means the country needs to build a 375 bed acute-care hospital every month for the next 15 years to keep pace with demand and replace our stock. That is 180 hospitals by 2037.
The same modelling estimates that if the system does not evolve the health workforce must become 4 times more productive by 2050 to meet forecast demand,
Put another way if current levels of productivity were held constant, the health workforce would need to grow from 11% to 45% of the total Australian workforce to meet rising demand.
Good luck with that! So much demand for concrete and steel and everything else to build windmills, solar factories and related rubbish.
Deloitte was not prepared to provide a copy of the report.
Meet the classical liberal vagabond
There is a quiet achiever on the liberal/conservative scene, the indefatigable and mercurial Dara Macdonald.
Thinker. Writer. Reader. Freedom enthusiast. Conservative Vagabond. Cocktail maker. Lawyer.
Dara Macdonald is an Australian lawyer and founder. Dara has worked as in-house legal counsel for various national and multinational companies. Last year she took up a year-long research position with Australia’s oldest free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, established years before the Mont Pelerin Society. Last year she launched a new organisation, All Minus One, a salon to promote a culture of freedom.
Watch these spaces. Her projects and her writing.
Mosf of the writing is not in the mainstream media listed above, go to the archive.