Callow Pipedreams ahead? Already here

I see that Jacinda Ardern is intent on lowering the voting age to sixteen in New Zealand. It’s a developing trend. Let’s face it, nobody remotely believes that the voting age will be restored to twenty-one from where it should never have been lowered. All the impetus, from the left and from the greenies, is to lower the voting age to sixteen; and, be of no doubt, on the way to fourteen. I read in disbelief that David Runciman, professor of politics at Cambridge University, thinks there is a strong case for dropping the age to as low as six. I assume that’s a spoof. But who can tell. Give me any ridiculous idea and I’ll find you the academic who supports it.

Apparently the human brain is not fully developed until the age of about twenty-five; and in the case of some academics one hundred and twenty-five. I imagine the brain of someone aged sixteen years has a way to go. Eighteen too, for that matter. There is no mystery as why the left side of politics favours lowering the voting age. Children are more likely to support utopian ideas which have no practical application. However, labour parties (parties which have evolved from the traditional left) should watch out. Green parties can out-utopian labour parties any old day.

I would say that lowering the voting age means more youthful pipedreams ahead but then some elite oldies are already off and running. Regressed to a callow stage. Pulled the rug from under the youngsters’ feet, so to speak. Apropos, the mirage of bucket loads of green hydrogen emerging from our north to all parts of the world propagated by Andrew Forest et al; the emergence of Queensland as a global renewal-energy powerhouse according to Annastacia Palaszczuk and her cronies; and yesterday, in the Weekend Australian, I read about aging economist Ross Garnaut expressing his belief that Australia is ideally placed in the world to export steel made from iron ore and green hydrogen. I could obviously go on. Pipedreams aplenty to pick from without relying on lowering the voting age.

Roundup 4 Dec

Roundup of Partners and Fellow-Travellers

Drop in and see what they are up to!

IPA         Climate and energy program  CIS          The Sydney Institute

Menzies Research Centre  Mannkal Economics Education Foundation          

Advance Australia  Taxpayers Alliance  Australian Institute for Progress

Save these dates

15 December at 6.0 Sydney time. Menzies Research Institute webinar forum for representatives of rural communities faced with wind and solar factories and transmission lines. Register here.

2 February next year, Climate and Energy Forum, at Dee Why RSL (Sydney, northern beaches). Details to be finalized.

Why we must keep the coal fires burning

The figure below indicates the shortfall in energy from the sun and wind over a typical 24-hour period without the contribution of black and brown coal.

Observe the size of the shortfall between late afternoon and mid-morning. Contemplate the number of extra windmills required to make up the difference with that amount of wind (a bit below average.)  When there is a serious wind drought with next to no wind overnight, then no amount of overbuilding will help.

There will always be gaps in the supply of intermittent energy and all of our current conventional power capacity will have to be maintained until nuclear power is available.

The failure of wind power in South Australia

Checking at sunrise, whenever the wind is less than average (CF 29%) SA will most likely be importing power from Victoria and burning a heap of gas as well.

On 1 Dec at 7am Sydney time SA was importing 27% of the demand. Wind CF 36%, well above average.

On 2 Dec at 6.30, importing 10% with wind at 45%!

On 3 Dec at 6am, importing 40% of the demand with wind at 27% .

This morning 4 Dec, only importing 10% with the wind well above average CF at 40%.

It is surprising that SA is rated a great success as the wind-leading state on the basis of the penetration of wind and solar on sunny and breezy Sunday afternoons. The real indicator of the progress that has been made to replace coal is the amount of penetration of wind and solar on windless, or almost windless nights.

Most of the power coming from Victoria is coal power, so what will the South Australians do when Dan Andrews closes down the coal stations?

Jo Nova reports on the industrial wasteland caused by the green dream in Europe.

Rabz’ Radio Show December 2022: Covers and the Covered

It’s always “interesting” to discover that a song you may have assumed was written by a certain artist or band turns out to be a cover. A classic example of this is posted below as the first of the intro tracks.

Another interesting aspect of covers relates to the lively discussion/arguments/shouting matches that might arise about whether a particular artist/band has covered a song and made it their own. That is, the cover is considered to be better than the original. There are many songs written by Bobby Zimmerman for example, that could be included in this category, given his somewhat “esoteric” (and not to everyone’s taste) vocal and musical stylings. In his favour, the songs were pure gold nuggets just begging to be refashioned in a more “listenable” form. His version of “Like a Rolling Stone”, however, has never been bettered, even by Jimi.

To stimulate some discussion and debate, at this point I’ll list some songs that have been extensively covered, the original artist and the definitive (in my opinion) version. Some of my favourite ever songs are on this list. They include:

Heard it through the Grapevine: Writers were Whitfield/Strong, original artist was The Miracles, definitive version by Gladys Knight and the Pips (sorry, Marvin)

Song to the Siren: Writer/original artist Tim Buckley, definitive version by This Mortal Coil

Hey, Mr Tambourine Man: Writer/original artist Bob Dylan, definitive version by the Byrds

All along the Watchtower: Writer/original artist Bob Dylan, definitive version by Jimi Hendrix (honourable mention XTC)

I can only give you everything: Writer/original artist Them, definitive version by Naz Nomad and the Nightmares (i.e. the Damned)

Spirit in the Sky: Writer/original artist Norman Greenbaum, who also performed the definitive version

Out of Time: Writer/original artist the Rolling Stones, definitive version a dead heat between The Stones’ and Chris Farlowe (given they’re basically musically identical)

Sea of Love: Writer/original artist Phil Philips, definitive version by Horace Andy

Sweet Jane: Writer/original artist Lou Reed/Velvet Underground, definitive version by the Cowboy Junkies (although the Velvet’s version is also magnificent)

Anyway, here’s the two intro tracks:

I think it’s going to rain today: Writer/original artist Randy Newman, definitive version by UB40

Song to the Siren: Tim Buckley on the Monkees’ TV Show, 1968

Enjoy, Cats!

Please post your favourite songs that have been covered at some point including either the original or your preferred cover version. Again, I’m barely scratching the surface here. Plenty of space in the comments section, so go for it and let’s see some spirited debate. You know you want to.

WolfmanOz at the Movies #47

Men of Harlech

The Battle of Rorke’s Drift between a small British army contingent and a huge army of Zulus in January 1879 was memorably presented in the splendid 1964 film Zulu which depicts how 150 British soldiers successfully held off an army of 4,000 Zulu warriors.

The battle followed on after the Battle of Isandlwana fought a few days earlier where a British army of 1,800 men was utterly defeated and routed by the Zulus.

Rorke’s Drift also saw the awarding of 11 Victorian Crosses the greatest number ever awarded for one single engagement. Also the basic premises of the film is largely true and accurate, but it is not a historical re-enactment of the actual events.

The heavily outnumbered British successfully defended Rorke’s Drift more or less as portrayed in the film. Director and co-writer, Cy Endfield, even consulted a Zulu tribal historian for information from Zulu oral tradition about the attack. There are, however, a number of historical inaccuracies in the film but in the overall scheme of things are relatively minor.

The film was largely instigated by actor/producer Stanley Baker and is also the film that first introduced Michael Caine in a major role, ironically playing a foppish British officer rather than the cockney role for which he would become world famous for.

Despite the overwhelming odds, the discipline and training of the British army enabled them to repel the first Zulu attack.

Where at the film’s climax the two armies compete against each other with their chants and songs. History tells us there was no stirring rendition of Men of Harlech but who cares, in this film it is magnificently staged as a prelude to the final slaughter.

Zulu also boasts a terrific supporting performance by the criminally under-rated Nigel Green as Colour Sergeant Bourne, a seasoned officer who plays a key role in organising and leading the British defence

Nearly 60 years after it first released, Zulu has remained a constant favourite of many a film goer in its numerous re-releases and then as a perennial television fixture. It’s been a favourite of mine ever since I saw it on one of it’s many re-releases.

In 2018 Chief Mangosuthy Buthelezi defended the film’s cultural and historical merits, stating that there’s “a deep respect that develops between the warring armies, and the nobility of King Cetshwayo’s warriors as they salute the enemy, demanded a different way of thinking from the average viewer at the time of the film’s release. Indeed, it remains a film that demands a thoughtful response.”

And as a final note, the film boasts an outstanding score by one of my favourite film composers in John Barry.