A live toad every morning

Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Shilling shalley

Went to look up the lyrics to the Dubliner's Saxon Shilling, to find they made no sense at all.  Had to go back to the original poem....


The Spirit of the Nation  (1843) 
The Saxon Shilling by K. T. B. (Kevin T. Buggy)

Hark! a martial sound is heard—
 The march of soldiers, fifing, drumming;
Eyes are staring, hearts are stirr'd—
 For bold recruits the brave are coming.
Ribands flaunting, feathers gay—
 The sounds and sights are surely thrilling,
Dazzl'd village youths to-day
 Will crowd to take the Saxon Shilling.
Hark a marshall sound is heard
The march of soldiers fife and drumming
Eyes are start and hearts are stood
For bold recruits the brave are coming
Ribbons flaunting feathers gay
The sound and sights are surely thrilling
Dazzle village youths the day
Who're proud to take the Saxon Shilling

Ye, whose spirits will not bow
 In peace to parish tyrants longer—
Ye, who wear the villain brow,
 And ye who pine in hopeless hunger—
Fools, without the brave man's faith—
All slaves and starvelings who are willing
To sell yourselves to shame and death—
Accept the fatal Saxon Shilling.
Peace of spirits will not bow
And peace to parish tyrants longer
Ye who wear the villain brow
And ye who pine and hope asunder
Fools, without the brave man's face
Are slaves and starving who are willing
To sell themselves to shame and death
Except the fabled Saxon Shilling


Ere you from your mountains go
To feel the scourge of foreign fever,
Swear to serve the faithless foe
That lures you from your land for ever!
Swear henceforth its tools to be—
To slaughter trained by ceaseless drilling—
Honour, home, and liberty,
Abandon'd for a Saxon Shilling.


Go—to find, 'mid crime and toil,
 The doom to which such guilt is hurried;
Go—to leave on Indian soil
 Your bones to bleach, accurs'd, unburied!
Go—to crush the just and brave,
 Whose wrongs with wrath the world are filling;
Go—to slay each brother slave,
 Or spurn the blood-stained Saxon Shilling!
Go to find the crime and toil
That doom to which such guilt is hurried
Go to leave on Indian soil your bones
To breach accursed and buried
Go to crush the just and brave
Whose wrongs with wrath the world are filling
Go to slay each by the slave or
Spurn the blasted Saxon Shilling


Irish hearts! why should you bleed,
 To swell the tide of British glory—
Aiding despots in their need,
Who've changed our green so oft to gory?
None, save those who wish to see
 The noblest killed, the meanest killing,
And true hearts severed from the free,
Will take again the Saxon Shilling!
Irish hearts why should you bleed
To swell the tide of British glory
Aiding their spots in their needs
Whose chains are green so often gory
None say those who wish to see
The noblest killed, the meanest killing
And the true hearts of the risen free
Will take again the Saxon Shilling


Irish youths! reserve your strength
 Until an hour of glorious duty,
When Freedom's smile shall cheer at length
 The land of bravery and beauty.
Bribes and threats, oh, heed no more—
 Let nought but Justice make you willing
To leave your own dear Island shore,
 For those who send the Saxon Shilling.
Irish youths reserve your strength
Until an hour of glorious duty
When freedom smile shall cheer at length
The land of bravery and beauty
Bribes and threats so heed no more
Let not but justice make you willing
To leave your own dear Ireland shore
For those to send as Saxon Shilling

Listening to the Dubliners, though, I have to say that the transcriber certainly had every excuse; I wouldn't have been able to find the correct text myself.  I'm not absolutely sure that the Dubliners aren't singing from a slightly corrupted version themselves.

My favourite transcription was a Stones album from the sixties, transcribed for cover notes in Taiwan;
where  "Now she gets her kicks in Stepney, not in Knightsbridge any more"
admittedly a toughie, for someone without an A to Z,  came out
"Now she gets her kicks unsteady, not in nights rich in amour".

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Age Bin

Amanda Vanstone warns against the politics of envy, telling us that the top 2% of taxpayers pay 25% of the tax. Why would that be, I wonder? Well, let’s skip the top 10%, for the moment; let’s look at the top 2 – the top 0.000 000 01%.  Gina Rinehart and the Pratts, together, have 27 1/2 billion dollars. That’s ever so slightly more assets than the bottom 14% of Australians put together, right there.

Very few people realise how very rich the rich people are in this country. If string cost a thousand dollars a millimetre the poorest 10% of Australians could afford enough to measure the joint of their little finger.  The average household would have under half a metre.  Gina Rinehart’s allocation would stretch from Federation Square to Tullamarine Airport, as the crow flies. Do the math.

Rich people in this country sit on heaps of treasure like Smaug on his hoard, flying out to attack anybody who wants to diminish their wealth by a farthing.  Their influence distorts our politics, our economics, and our media. Politicians, and ex-politicians, compete to lick their boots.  And now we are told that we ought to be grateful that in absolute terms some of them pay more tax than I do. 

Bring back death duties for estates over, say, fifty million dollars. It’s not as if Gina want to pass it on to her children anyway.

Assets of bottom 14% - ABS Household Wealth and Wealth Distribution, Australia, 2011–12

Top 2 wealth from BRW Rich list

Actually, they have an excuse for binning this one - Richard Deness of the Australia institute makes much the same points at http://www.theage.com.au/comment/australia-needs-to-be-fairer-if-it-wants-to-be-richer-20141013-115bdo.html

Monday, October 13, 2014

Out of Chaos

In God the Geometer, doesn't the universe look like someone trying to remember how to draw

the Mandelbrot Set?

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Age Bin part the millionth

Since nothing else seems to be working, why don't we land our Superhornets in ISIL territory and leave them there with the keys in the ignition? It may be expensive at first, but if we can tempt the enemy away from their pickup-truck-and-machine-gun model and into our billion-dollar high-tech way of warmaking then we have a fighting chance.
I mean, who are we kidding?  Kipling nailed it a hundred and thirty years ago:
"Strike hard who cares -- shoot straight who can --
The odds are on the cheaper man."

Friday, October 03, 2014

Trivia question

Which single book has been made at various times been made into movies starring
Alan Bennett
Anthony Newley
Baby Leroy
Carol Channing
Cary Grant
Dame Flora Robson
Dudley Moore
Edward Everett Horton
Eydie Gorme
Gary Cooper
Harvey Korman
Imogene Coca
John Bird
John Gielgud
Leo McKern
Lloyd Bridges
Malcolm Muggeridge
Martha Raye
Martin Short
Michael Crawford
Michael Redgrave
Miranda Richardson
Peter Cook
Peter Sellers
Red Buttons
Ringo Starr
Sammy Davis Jr.
Sir Ralph Richardson
Sterling Holloway
Steve Lawrence
Telly Savalas
W.C. Fields
Whoopi Goldberg
Wilfrid Brambell

Wilfrid Lawson?

Thursday, October 02, 2014


Went to the Equalizer, a really shitty movie.  The low point came when Denzil Washington, who is neither Edward Woodward nor his bootlace, had an extended killout in a Home Depot hardware warehouse, offing the villains with barbed wire nooses, pruning saws (I think), and - for god's sakes - battery-operated power drills to the head.
You cannot kill a person with a power drill to the head unless they're held down against a wall or floor. Even if they don't move of their own accord, which seems unlikely, the drill just push them away. It will spin off the skull without penetrating, and if it doesn't it will still take some time - seconds - to get through the skull to the brain, allowing them to avoid death by stepping away. You'd be better off hitting them over the head with it.
You'd also be lucky to have a barbed wire spur pierce a vein, and you can't shoot someone at a distance with a nailgun.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Age bin

Banning the burqa from Parliament House would be a good start, but still leaves far too much scope for male terrorists to disguise themselves as women.  We should accept nothing less than a policy of complete nudity below the waist. 

Some might suggest that certain groups might have religiously based objections to this policy, but that boat has surely already sailed.  And been boarded.  And returned to its country of origin.

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