Remembering Michael

Today, after another highly successful day at the office, I thought I’d saunter across the road to JB Hifi at lunchtime to see whether the rumour was true that stocks of Michael Jackson CDs were selling like hot cakes and (according to news reports) there might not be any left at all due to unprecedented demand..

I was of course, also thinking, perhaps I should just pick up one of his “Greatest Hits” CDs or a DVD just as a little memento.

Well not only were the rumours completely unfounded – they had a bountiful supply of Jackson CDs and DVDs – but also, no one seemed to be remotely interested in buying them – AND they were all marked down to $9.95 each!

So, standing there by myself, almost feeling guilty like people were wondering what kind of pervert was I, I perused the covers of “The Essential Michael Jackson” which had two CDs with a total of about 36 songs as well as “The Number Ones,” which by it’s very nature, makes you wonder whether he would’ve released “The Number Two’s” as a follow-up (had he lived a bit longer).

The song list was essentially the same, and despite the demands of the title that it was “essential” it didn’t really strike me as anything essential at all.

There was just the usual crap – Billie Jean, Thriller, I’m Bad, Beat It, and so on…

It took about five seconds to reach the conclusion that no amount of sentimental claptrap that’s being paraded around in the media would really be sufficient enough to warrant enduring listening to all the little squeals and yelps and “Ow’s” that are so typically “Michael Jackson”.

“Don’t stop ’til you get enough” I was invited. Why thank you. But I think just reading the track listing has been perfectly sufficient.

“A DVD perhaps?” I thought. Because then at least you get to see him do that standing on tip-toes thing, and of course the infamous moonwalk.

And as much as I really wanted to leave the store with some little piece of memorabilia that I could watch/listen to that might remind of this “great talent” I ended up just leaving the store feeling that really perhaps there isn’t really that much worth remembering at all really..

And as I took a shortcut back to the office via Target noticing the adjacent boyswear department, I couldn’t help but wonder whether a little pair of green Y-fronts for an eight year old might make a more suitable memento.

Who’s bad?

The Population Bombs

This is guest post from Tony..

In 1968 Paul Erlich, an American biologist, wrote a book entitled The Population Bomb, in which he predicted large-scale human catastrophe as a consequence of overpopulation. Echoing his ideological predecessor Thomas Malthus, Erlich wrote:

The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer.

Of course those famines never eventuated. In fact, even though the world’s population has roughly doubled since 1968, food production has grown at an even faster rate, partly due to the technological advances associated with the transformation of agriculture known as the Green Revolution.

Now, in more good news (unless you’re an Erlichian-Malthusian), we learn that the availability of arable land world-wide is more than twice that which is currently being used. An article just published in New Scientist has the details:

Doom-mongers have got it wrong – there is enough space in the world to produce the extra food needed to feed a growing population. And contrary to expectation, most of it can be grown in Africa , say two international reports published this week.

The first, projecting 10 years into the future from last year’s food crisis, which saw the price of food soar, says that there is plenty of unused, fertile land available to grow more crops.

“Some 1.6 billion hectares could be added to the current 1.4 billion hectares of crop land [in the world], and over half of the additionally available land is found in Africa and Latin America,” concludes the report, compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

If further evidence were needed, it comes in a second report, launched jointly by the FAO and the World Bank. It concludes that 400 million hectares, straddling 25 African countries, are suitable for farming.

Models for producing new crop land already exist in Thailand , where land originally deemed agriculturally unpromising, due to irrigation problems and infertile soil, has been transformed into a cornucopia by smallholder farmers.

As in Thailand, future success will come by using agriculture to lift Africa’s smallholder farmers out of poverty, aided by strong government measures to guarantee their rights to land, say both reports.

Julian Simon would be pleased.

Midweek Mayhem!

Looks like reb & joni forgot about our midweek thread of madness, so I thought I’d better put one up for those of us missing the general randomness of the discussion that follows…

I can’t rant like reb can, nor do I have anything really newsworthy to pass on. So I decided to post an interesting poem written by Dr Seuss… after reading Shakespeare 🙂

Green Eggs & Hamlet

I ask to be, or not to be.
That is the question, I ask of me.
This sullied life, it makes me shudder.
My uncle’s boffing dear, sweet mother.
Would I, could I take my life?
Could I, should I, end this strife?
Should I jump out of a plane?
Or throw myself before a train?
Should I from a cliff just leap?
Could I put myself to sleep?
Shoot myself, or take some poison?
Maybe try self immoloition?
To shudder off this mortal coil,
I could stab myself with a fencing foil.
Slash my wrists while in the bath?
Would it end my angst and wrath?
To sleep, to dream, now there’s the rub.
I could drop a toaster in my tub.
Would all be glad, if I were dead?
Could I perhaps kill them instead?
This line of thought takes consideration
For I’m the king of procrastination.

Enjoy the mayhem peoples!