A Personal View



Music and Other

YouTube Music

“New Age”

I am not particularly a fan of a lot of the New Age philosophies basically because most are a mish mash of the old, the new and the crazy. A lot of the philosophies also tend to be very self centred. So New Age philosophies can include useful practices such as meditation (which is really "Old Age" regurgitated) but can also include things like crystals. However this said I must also say that I like some of the music that has come out of this genre.

Sacred Earth

Sacred Earth are a duo who are based in Queensland. Their music is great and I particularly like this song which I have heard them perform live. I seem to remember them saying at the time that it was a prayer or a call to Shiva, the Hindu God, to destroy all misconceptions so that they may see the world clearly as it really is. As I don’t understand the language that the song is sung in I can’t verify this. For really beautiful songs I don’t believe that it is necessary to understand the words.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1gXh6gidis

Temple of Silence - Deuter

This is a little bit more music in the New Age genre. This music is very beautiful and relaxing.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMJaYXTa5Ig


Caoineadh Cú Chulainn (Lament) - Davy Spillane

This performance appeared in the middle of the Riverdance show and was easily the best aspect of the show. Davy Spillane playing the Uilleann pipes (which some people say is the Irish version of the bagpipes, but it is really quite different). It is very mournful.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwxga8udIio


Nessun Dorma - Pavarroti

Pavarotti, the best tenor of our era singing one of the most popular operatic arias. Can't get much better than this. None Shall Sleep - not with that voice around.


O Mio Bambino Cara

Talking about popular opera, another hugely popular aria. This time sung by someone who has the one of the sweetest voices in opera.


Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

What can I say about this piece. It is so beautiful yet so sad. Which is understandable when you learn that the composer, Henryk Górecki, was inspired to write the music and words after reading the words scratched into the walls of Nazi concentration camp cells.


Moonlight Sonata - 1st Movement - Wilhelm Kempff

For some beautiful light finger work you don’t get much better than Wilhelm Kempff. Brilliant touch. Some versions of Moonlight Sonata sound like elephants stomping on the keyboard – not this bloke. Thoughtful finesse. I love his expression – he is really feeling it.


Moonlight Sonata - 3rd Movement - Tina S Cover

I am not sure I even like this interpretation of Beethoven. But you can’t deny the talent and skill. I had no idea an electric guitar could be played that way. Amazing. She was 17 when she performed this.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6rBK0BqL2w

(For a more traditional treatment see
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqSulR9Fymg)

Hildegard and Palestrina

I was only recently introduced to Palestrina and Hildegard and the music of the Middle Ages. Simply lovely. I will have to get more.

Hildegard Von Bingen - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6qFCYRQKVA

Palestrina - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pp0XUU6Rmk

Concerto de Aranjuez (2nd Movement) - Pepe Romero

Another beautiful piece of music with a sad back story. It was written by the composer at a time he and his wife were mourning the loss of their child - hence the very mournful second movement.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye-FvKCZp3s

Pie Jesu – Angelis


-  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfN8j9r-jGQ&feature=fvw

Marble Halls - Enya

Often when a popular singer tries the classical repertoire it doesn't work. That is not the case with Enya. She sings it better than most operatically trained singer - you can understand each word of the song. (Often it is worse when operatically trained singers try to tackle the popular repertoire - usually it doesn't work, their over trained voices just don't suit the style.)

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnvKPQ26U_g

Recent / Popular

To Her Door - Paul Kelly

One of my favourite singer songwriters.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZrfG9P6_D0

From Little Things Big Things Grow

Kev Carmody, is another good singer song writers - for some of his songs. His 2 CD set - "Cannot Buy My Soul" is one of my favourites - though another CD set of his that I bought was nowhere near as good. Here Kev is at the top of his song writing form as he sings this popular song with his co-writer, Paul Kelly.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tHEGo-g3mw

What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

Many have tried but none have succeeded in performing a better version of this song. He sings with a smile in his voice.


Knockin' on Heaven's Door - Roger Waters

Roger Waters, ex of Pink Floyd, singing a Bob Dylan classic.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOW_yOGXx8A

Song of Bernadette - Jennifer Warnes

Jennifer Warnes is the best interpreter of Leonard Cohen's songs. Her CD "Famous Blue Raincoat" is a must have for any music collection. I wonder why she never did another CD after this one dedicated to the vast repertoire of Leonard Cohen.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZIFavgLd38 


Another Leonard Cohen song this time by Alison Crowe. Just disproved my earlier statement - others can sing Cohen songs very well. Its the quality of the music and writing that makes it so good (though what are the lyrics really about?)

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIMOdVXAPJ0

Sisters of Mercy - Leonard Cohen

The master himself, Leonard Cohen. Some people don't like his voice, thinking it to be a bit mournful. I think it is perfect for the types of songs he writes. His work is poetry set to music. I was greatly saddened when I heard of his death in 2016.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBFQg7P5YKw

Thank You for Hearing Me - Sinead O'Connor

Another great singer songwriter. Great voice, great songs.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj_xKA5C2vU

Everybody Hurts - The Corrs unplugged

I have a love hate relationship with the Corrs. I hate their over produced music that they generally release. It is produced to within an inch of its life, so much so it has no soul left. However I like their "unplugged" versions of the songs. Please Corrs, you've made enough money now, sack your producers and only do unplugged.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtGZGBvb7ic

Father and Son - Cat Stevens & Yusuf Islam

Another singer song writer (yes he is only one person - two stages of life). It is great the way he varies his voice when he sings the Father's part to when he sings the Son's part. It is also interesting to hear how his voice has changed over the intervening years between the two versions.

Cat Stevens - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-7c4VNGOgU

Yusuf Islam - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBO-6n9PVrA

Stop - Sam Brown

Good singer, good song.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muDZD3wgoHI

El Condor Pasa - Simon & Garfunkel

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np-LnAv815k

Solid Rock - Goanna

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t94RBuiOgsA

Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits 

This song has the great quality of pathos. You can hear the world weariness is the singing.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LauDl7qwcA0

I was only 19 - Redgum 

An unofficial anthem of the Vietnam vets. I am very glad I was too young to be called up for that war, or any war. I am sure it would have changed me significantly as it has changed many who were conscripted or volunteered to go.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7TXBuVUQJw

In the Year 2525 - Zager and Evans

I had forgotten about this song - and indeed the artists - until I came across it on Youtube. In this clip a fan has assembled a video montage to go with the music using shots "taken" from various movies such as the Matrix series and Lucy. It adds to the music.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNbUUSuiEho

Pathos - Playlist

One dictionary defines "pathos" as "a quality in life or art that causes feelings of sadness or sympathy". That definition is fairly close however it is my opinion that pathos also includes an element of angst about or commentary on the human condition. I believe the videos in this playlist displays this quality. It includes some of the songs listed above.

- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL35zUQ1WlH3zIsGB5GvqaB4cqoxPV2LL6

YouTube - Interesting TED(x) Talks

We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads | Zeynep Tufekci -
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFTWM7HV2UI

There's more to life than being happy | Emily Esfahani Smith  -

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Trdafp83U

Our democracy no longer represents the people. Here's how we fix it | Larry Lessig | TEDxMidAtlantic 
About the US system of democracy, which is more stuffed than our own, but still has some things to say which are useful in the Australian context. Actually the US could learn a lot from Australia if they adopted some of our institutions, such as the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and the associated state based organisations. The AEC, for the sake of any US people reading this, is a Government funded organisation tasked with running elections independent of political interference. They set the electorate boundaries considering only trying to make the voter numbers in the electorate even. They determine much of the detail of the voting system and practices. Australia has compulsory voting which has many benefits and which I support - but some don't. (In practice voting is not compulsory as what is put on the voting paper is completely private. So turning up to get your name marked off the voters role is compulsory, after that it is up to you.) Australian elections (State and Federal) are held on a Saturday so less interference from work commitments for more people, though I do like the idea touted of calling a public holiday for elections - even if it was just a half day holiday. For USA they could make it so that people only get the half day holiday if they vote or at least turn up to vote - I bet that would encourage greater turnout. What better reason for a public holiday than participatory democracy. Preferential voting is also preferable to simple majority.
This article in the Guardian highlights some of the many issues afflicting USA "democracy". Judging by this article the Republican party has little respect for the principles of democracy - one vote one value and universal suffrage for all people of age - if it threatens their hold on power. This willingness to ignore principles to obtain power is also reflected in them allowing their so called grand old party (GOP) to be taken over by Trump. The Democrats are also to blame as they don't attempt to fix it when they have an opportunity and turn a blind eye to the blatancy of it instead of speaking out. In the recent primaries campaign I didn't hear any Democratic candidate speaking out about it - perhaps they did but if so it wasn't very prominent. It seems that they are a willing part of the system that allows the gerrymandering and disenfranchisement.
Why do the American people allow it? Please look to other examples of functioning democracies around the world. As much as you may like to delude yourself you do not have the best democracy in the world. It can be better - a lot better.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJy8vTu66tE

A History of Capitalism - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIuaW9YWqEU

The dirty secret of capitalism -- and a new way forward | Nick Hanauer
An interesting talk from a capitalist about the faults of capitalism and the ways to fix them.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th3KE_H27bs]

How to Improve Capitalism - School of Life

My stroke of insight | Jill Bolte Taylor


What animals are thinking and feeling, and why it should matter | Carl Safina | TEDxMidAtlantic

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wkdH_wluhw

Leaving the Cult of Happiness | Keely Herron | TEDxJacksonHole

Not really about happiness but a good thoughtful talk on confronting social stigma.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnovQVRHj5c

My son was a Columbine shooter. This is my story | Sue Klebold | TED

You can but imagine the personal impact if the shooter had been a member of your family – it would have been devastating as indeed this woman found out. Fascinating to see how she carefully worked through the issues to get to the place she is in this TED talk. Clearly sharing her story and journey is part of her method of dealing with the tragedy.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXlnrFpCu0c

Youtube - Other Stuff

Happiness | Steve Cutts

A short amusing animation. Despite its name it is really about the traps most of us fall into in the search for happiness that do not ultimately end in happiness.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9dZQelULDk

Man | Steve Cutts

Gee I like Steve Cutts' animations.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfGMYdalClU

Table Tennis

I recently (2019) restarted playing table tennis after a break of 20 years. I was speaking to someone about why I had done this. The answer was in two parts: I enjoy table tennis, and it is one way of getting some much needed exercise without going to the boring gym. The person I was speaking to scoffed at the idea that much exercise could be had from table tennis, or as they called it ping pong. As evidence to support my assertion I provide this Youtube clip link (not that I play anywhere near this standard!). There are  tonne more on Youtube.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yQJkAYTRjU

A Machine To Die For - The Quest For Free Energy

An enjoyable study of eccentricity – and obsession. The lengths they would go to and the contraptions they would build. The big wheel is fantastic - I love the way he counted the spokes as they went past - giving each a little push as they passed. It is not perpetual motion (applied math and physics teachers - get your Year 11 and 12 students to explain why it isn't). Still it is a remarkable construction. (So why does it go round? Well it would have low friction and a large angular momentum once it got going. And windmills also go round.)

The ball bearing track is great too - perhaps it is a perpetual motion machine! He should sell it to a museum with a money back guarantee if it has stopped working in two years. It would be a great hit. In fact I am sure every museum in the world would want one - if it works - so he could make a fortune manufacturing them and selling them to museums around the world - and into the private collections of billionaires - and make a real name for himself in history. Instead he has it locked in a vault in this house - which may tell you something. 

A lot of the people shown in this documentary don't understand the basics of physics, engineering and the laws of thermodynamics. This is their weakness - but it might also be their strength. Their imaginations are not restrained by the accepted wisdom allowing them to dream up and then experiment with ideas that anyone with the accepted knowledge would have dismissed soon after having the idea. It also means that they can waste an awful amount of time going down dead ends. However it is their time and if they enjoy it then why not. And who knows - they may stumble across something - a breakthrough that works - that others may have dismissed soon after the idea stage. But I won’t be holding my breath. Nor, more importantly, investing my money.

Warning - video quality is poor - but still worth watching.

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6UgV3gVmd0

Some more "perpetual motion machines".

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hYYdmjuDac

The Jesus of History versus the Christ of Faith
Fascinating but long. This bloke might have made Sunday School interesting.

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VOMFjQfJ8w

Favourite Youtube Channels

Potholer54 - is an English journalist, who now lives in Australia, who takes it on himself to debunk the claims of others - primarily in the area of climate change and other science. Does it in a very English style and is usually quite entertaining as well.

- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCljE1ODdSF7LS9xx9eWq0GQ

Juice Media - short satirical pieces having a swipe at the hypocrisy and stupidity of the government, mainly the "Australien" government but also the American government. Usually spot on. But such foul language from such nice looking girls!

- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKRw8GAAtm27q4R3Q0kst_g

TED and TEDx talks - are usually up to 15 minute long talks (though some are longer) about some topic with most done in a very similar style - sole person standing on a large red dot in front of an audience - no lectern - and talking. The talks cover a large range of topics. Pick and choose - many are quite interesting.

TED - https://www.youtube.com/c/TED

TEDx - https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDxTalks

Dust - Short Science fiction videos, some of them are excellent, some a bit less so. Production values are often quite high. I like some types of science fiction as it gives the writer a chance to explore ideas and alternatives that would not be possible in fiction restrained by current or historical realities - in the same vein alternate histories can sometimes be interesting. Not  fan of fantasy sci-fi - e.g. Star Wars or other fantasy - e.g. Lord of the Rings.

- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7sDT8jZ76VLV1u__krUutA

Steve Cutts Channel - Interesting animation

- https://www.youtube.com/user/steviecutts 

YouTube Movies

There are a lot of full length movies on YouTube. Most of them could fairly be described a "B Grade". There are some real shockers - so bad you watch them in amazement that anyone could make a movie with so many obvious flaws. But in among the movies there are some that are entertaining - it is just a matter of finding them. I have made a list of those that I consider not too bad. Most are not good enough for cinema release but good for what they are. The movies are mainly action or end of the world disaster epics.

- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL35zUQ1WlH3y-lZE1yxCnjMd38nc9i9b7

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