Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Isles of Greece : Lord Byron

THE isles of Greece! the isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,---
Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.The Scian and the Teian muse,
The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse;
Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo further west
Than your sires' "Islands of the Blest."The mountains look on Marathon---
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dream'd that Greece might yet be free
For, standing on the Persians' grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.A king sat on the rocky brow
Which looks on sea-born Salamis;
And ships, by thousands, lay below,
And men in nations;---all were his!
He counted them at break of day---
And when the sun set, where were they?And where are they? and where art thou,
My country? On thy voiceless shore
The heroic lay is tuneless now---
The heroic bosom beats no more!
And must thy lyre, so long divine,
Degenerate into hands like mine?'Tis something, in the dearth of fame,
Though link'd among a fetter'd race,
To feel at least a patriot's shame,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
For what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush---for Greece a tear.Must we but weep o'er days more blest?
Must we but blush?---Our fathers bled.
Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylae.What, silent still, and silent all?
Ah! no; the voices of the dead
Sound like a distant torrent's fall,
And answer, "Let one living head,
But one arise,---we come, we come!"
'Tis but the living who are dumb.In vain---in vain: strike other chords;
Fill high the cup of Samian wine!
Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,
And shed the blood of Scio's vine!
Hark! rising to the ignoble call---
How answers each bold bacchanal!You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet,
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone?
Of two such lessons, why forget
The nobler and the manlier one?
You have the letters Cadmus gave---
Think ye he meant them for a slave?Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
We will not think of themes like these!
It made Anacreon's song divine;
He served---but served Polycrates---
A tyrant; but our masters then
Were still, at least, our countrymen.The tyrant of the Chersonese
Was freedom's best and bravest friend;
That tyrant was Miltiades!
Oh! that the present hour would lend
Another despot of the kind!
Such chains as his were sure to bind.Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
On Suli's rock, and Parga's shore,
Exists the remnant of a line
Such as the Doric mothers bore;
And there, perhaps, some seed is sown,
The Heracleidan blood might own.Trust not for freedom to the Franks---
They have a king who buys and sells:
In native swords and native ranks,
The only hope of courage dwells:
But Turkish force and Latin fraud
Would break your shield, however broad.Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
Our virgins dance beneath the shade---
I see their glorious black eyes shine;
But, gazing on each glowing maid,
My own the burning tear-drop laves,
To think such breasts must suckle slaves.Place me on Sunium's marble steep---
Where nothing, save the waves and I,
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep:
There, swan-like, let me sing and die;
A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine---
Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Natural Gas Prices

This graph is taken from the U.S. Energy Information website "Weekly Natural Gas Update"( and shows the decline in natural gas spot prices over the past two or so years.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oil Spill - Gulf of Mexico

I venture to say that this disaster that is both the work of nature and man will provide a turning-point for the world. Understandably, you may consider my position an exaggeration - 'its just a nasty oil spill'. What we are witness to, live, is the largest energy disaster (I am mindful of Chernobyl - 26 April 1986)in our history, occurring on the coastline of the world's largest economy and hegemon. Do not underestimate this. The culprits in this case are even more shadowy than the world shaking villains of the past.

The images of the disaster, disfigured landscapes and oil-coated marine life have being awash through the pages of the media channels and we are covered in a slick of these images. To the children of the world watching on, trying to comprehend what they are seeing, what shall they make of it? How does this fit into the world? What can we impute from it? Those that caused the problem do not know how to fix it.

The President of the United States has ramped up his dialogue on this catastrophic addiction to carbon energy. There are answers but they do not have the one critical economic unit that is the key to oil – its relative cost.

The word addiction is used in a broader rather than medical sense, as we may call a person addicted to exercise. Extending the use of this word, the world has a problem with addiction to oil, and the weaning process, the drying out of the world economy from it's 'opioid' will hold much pain.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Double Dip - Human Nature to Avert

Just a few months ago it was 'deal fever' all over again and this fear of a double of dip recession was present but not causing a great deal of concern. Until of course the dreadful month of May was followed by surprisingly weak unemployment figures from the US (sans those for employed temporarily for the US census). We were all hopeful until Hungary sounded a possible beginning to the Eastern European debt crisis. 

Trichet commented that the debt situation in Hungary is exaggerated and not comparable to Greece. (addit : 15 Mar 2012 - he was probably right!)

There is enormous concern in the world about a double dip recession and this has caused significant volatility in financial markets. If the S&P 500 falls below its key 1040 support level there may well be another leg down.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has embarked upon a number of disastrous policy that have become stuff-ups. Firstly, he shelved the Emissions Trading Scheme that was a major platform for his election campaign. His problems have continued with his surprise introduction of the Resources Super Profit Tax (RSPT) which he revealed unexpectedly to the market and without industry consultation. This has caused uncertainty in the Australian mining sector and introduced a world-wide concern that Australia is country in which there is sovereign risk when making large mining investmenta given the government could act in such a unilateral way.

The fall in Euro has its benefits, with countries like Germany able to sell their goods overseas at more competitive prices. A stronger Germany will stabalise Europe. However, the issues of sovereign debt default in European and now Eastern European countries is creating uncertainty in markets.

The US jobless (non-farm payrolls) released on the 4th of June with only a small rise in new jobs after taking out the temporary effect of citizens employed for the US census.

The concern now is a double dip recession may be a looming, if the the strength of the US economy shows signs of losing its momentum.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Herman Melville

Moby-Dick (Vintage 2007)

Ahab had cherished a wild vindictiveness against the whale, all the more fell for that in his frantic morbidness he at last came to identify with him, not only all his bodily woes, but all his intellectual and spiritual exasperations. The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left with half a heart and half a lung. That intangible malignity which has been from the beginning; to whose dominion even the modern Christians ascribe one-half of the worlds; which the ancient Ophites of the East reverenced in their statue devil; - Ahab did not fall down and worship it like them; but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred White Whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it. (pp 202-3)


Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world - page 1.

Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian (p. 27)

the chambers of my soul are all in crookedness - Preachers story of Jonah in the tilted cabin. (p. 48) 

because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some part of you must be cold,for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is, merely by contrast. - (p. 59)

have mercy on this small black boy down here; preserve him from all men that have no bowels to feel fear. (p. 195)


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Paul Keating

"PK said when he was out of office he planned to have an answering machine with the message: 'You have reached the office of ex-prime minister Paul Keating. Now f$&* off and leave me alone',"

"He said Murdoch is a hard bastard and you need a strategy for dealing with him."

"On Murdoch, he told TB: 'He's a big bad bastard, and the only way you can deal with him is to make sure he thinks you can be a big bad bastard too. You can do deals with him, without ever saying a deal is done. But the only thing he cares about is his business and the only language he respects is strength'."

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Albert Einstein

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.