balcony, beer

Jailhouse Rock

I've posted this everywhere else. Here it is on LJ. One of the best stories I've heard all year, told brilliantly by the documentary team on board the Rainbow Warrior.
balcony, beer


Would you like a slice of bread?
Would you like a slice of bread with peanut butter?
Would you like a slice of bread with apple syrup?
Would you like a slice of bread with pink flamingos?
[checks cupboard]
We're out of Pink Flamingos, would you like peanut butter?
balcony, beer

The Greenpeace Song

I've spent a bit of time recently tracking down an old bit of Greenpeace history. There's a couple of documentaries coming out that both used the first verse of the song below and I wanted to know what it was. Some asking around led me to the documentary 'To save a whale', which contains the five verses I've transcribed and is clearly the source material for the new documentaries.

The songs origins are mysterious. The most likely candidate to have written it was Mel Gregory, a musician who was involved in the early whales campaigns. But folks who were around point out that if that had been the case, he'd have performed it a lot, and no-one remembers him ever performing it so it probably wasn't him. Another suggestion is that it was played by an unknown stranger* at the send off for the first whaling expedition in 1975 and recorded then. If that was the case the presence of the verse about the James Bay 'a great battleship' suggests that the documentary recording was made later - in or after 1976.

Anyhow, here's the song, currently known only as 'The Greenpeace Song'

Oh the Greenpeace is a sailing they're crazy as hell
They be riding the big ocean in a hollowed out shell
They'll probably get sea sick or they'll probably go blind
They're probably on drugs or at least out of their mind

And what is a whale but a big hunk of flesh?
Let's poke him and stab him and steal his breath
Let's shoot him, let's waste him let's blood up the sea
Till there's none of them left in the whole world to see

Come fellows let's get on some big fancy ship
And chase all them whales there's money in this
Come on boys lets get 'em let's dry up the sea
They're made to be taken like women and trees

Oh the Greenpeace is sailing they're as crazy as hell
They'll be dodging harpoons and dancing on swells
They go to save whales, at least that's what they said
Those folks will be lucky they don't come back dead

Greenpeace is still sailing they're crazy that's it
That thing that they're sailing is a great battle ship
Them whalers blood hungry they're out to get rich
Greenpeace is still sailing and Greenpeace won't quit

You can hear it starting 2:20 into this video, other verses appear elsewhere in the documentary

And the internal 'office' version, ah yes, we've come a long way since someone wrote these despairing words I tell you...

Oh Greenpeace is failing, they're crazy, that's it
They're fighting each other while the world turns to shit
They're striking committees, they're striking new rules
They're striking each other and acting like fools

* Clearly the same mysterious dulcimer player who gave Bob Hunter the book of Indian Prophecies from which the name 'Rainbow Warrior' was taken.
balcony, beer

Five years and counting

Friday was our five year wedding anniversary. Since then we´ve managed two kids, one house and four new jobs between us. Who knows what the next five years will bring?

To celebrate we took ourselves off to our local castle/hotel/michelin starred restaurant - the Vrienden von Jacob

It was, as one might expect, fantastic. A reminder that we should do stuff like that more often.
balcony, beer

Oh dear

Given that I think the Eurozone, the UK and the USA have been persistently pursuing the wrong macro-economic strategy for more or less the last two years I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that we appear to be heading into, at the very least, an extended slump.

This is going to be really unpleasant, particularly since a lot of the political and financial capital required to get out of slumps has already been expended.

It's odd really. As the 2008 crisis hit everyone agreed that stimulus was needed, everyone applied it, and it (more or less) worked. Then rather than keep going till things were OK we had a wave of austerity, which had exactly the results you'd have expected. Growth fell, that is making it harder for countries to address their problems, including the debt problems that apparently required austerity to be imposed, and things are getting worse. Despite the fact that Keynesian remedies worked as expected in '08 I'm not sure governments will be politically willing to go down that route this time.

One side effect is to bring this closer, and along with it a fundamental change. What happens when the richest economy in the world contains vast numbers of people who themselves are not actually that rich? We haven't seen that happen for centuries, but with the rise of China and India seemingly inevitable, it's coming.
balcony, beer

Race to the future : Grid Parity

From California comes this


The report shows - among many other things - that in 2018, a 960 MW Perssurized Water Reactor would generate electricity at $0.17/kWh - $0.34/kWh (see page 20; they calculated with a Westinghouse AP1000, which Westinghouse calls "the most economical NPP available in the worldwide commercial marketplace").

Meanwhile, GE's global research director (remember, they also make nuclear reactors) suggests that the price of Solar is going to be down below $0.15/kWh in the near future.

and a German study (you'll have to take my word on this one) has put the cost of adequately insuring a nuclear powerplant at between $0.17 and $2.34 /kWh, the variation is I think down to factors like whether or not you're in an earthquake zone... So, if nuclear plants were forced to insure themselves in the public marketplace they'd already be at least twice as expensive as solar power...