An Explanation of Nudge Economics

Following the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Economics to Richard C. Thaler, I was concerned that not enough people knew about the subject of his contribution to economic theory, behavioural economics or, more commonly, “nudge theory”. I believe that this is because nudge theory economics had never before been explained in rhyme. So, I fixed it.

An Explanation of Nudge Economics
or U Can’t Nudge This, Doo-do-do-do-doo.

Ruling the morons is irksome and tiring.
Their taste for self-harm never slows or relaxes.
So when changing the public’s destructive hard-wiring,
the old-fashioned methods are levies and taxes.

But the twenty-first century’s ways are more subtle.
No need to let everyone know what you’ve planned.
To make any Gulliver rule Lilliput ’ll
be easy when you learn to be underhand.

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Zinedine Zidane – lyrics spelled correctly

This song is brilliant, but I haven’t been able to find a version of the lyrics with the names spelled correctly (yeah, so I’m a word geek). Here is my attempt at fixing that. (Vaudeville Smash, feel free to steal these back… or correct them.)

Zinedine Zidane – Vaudeville Smash feat. Les Murray

In 1972, under a scorching June sun, in the French coastal town of Marseille, two Algerian immigrants awaited the birth of their fifth child. Later that day, a star was born.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Verón.
Suárez, van Basten, Gianluigi Buffon.
Xavi, Iniesta, Drogba, Hazard.
Tevez, Schweinsteiger, Steven Gerrard. Continue reading

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Weirdest and worst lyrics of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest

Vilija Matačiūnaitė wants this man to pay her some attention. Do you think she will succeed?

Vilija Matačiūnaitė wants this man to pay her some attention. Do you think she will succeed?

In tragic news for all long-time fans of the Eurovision Song Contest, the overall standard of lyric-writing appears to be improving. This year’s contest featured an increased number of entries that were written by people who appear to have some actual songwriting talent. The days of “years ago when I was younger, I kinda liked a girl I knew” may be numbered.

Thankfully, a number of writers who learned English in chatrooms are still having some success in the ol’ Song Contest. Here is my selection of the weirdest and worst lyrics from the entries in the 2014 Eurovision in Copenhagen… plus a few genuinely good lyrics at the end.

Weirdest lyrics

“Free your mind from the doubts that are tickling” – One Night’s Anger, Hersi (Albania)

“Aunque llueva y nos mojemos, no pararemos de bailar
(Even if it rains and we get wet, we won’t stop dancing)”
Dancing in the Rain, Ruth Lorenzo (Spain)

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Worst and weirdest lyrics of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest

Yes, it’s time again for the greatest festival of English-as-a-second-language songwriting, the Eurovision Song Contest. This year’s contest in Baku has given us the usual mix of songwriters who use languages that have wonderfully weird metaphors and songwriters who thought they could write in English but should have stuck to languages that have wonderfully weird metaphors.

Here is my pick of the worst and weirdest lyrics in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

Weirdest lyrics:

Watch out! Her plane may land on the unlit runway of your soul.

Atëron aeroplani im në pistë pa drita të shpirtit tënd
(My plane is landing on the unlit runway of your soul)
Suus, Rona Nishliu (Albania)

Kotšıše no šumpote no, punije no šumpote, kotšıše no šumpote no, punije no šumpote, mılı-kıdı kapčija no šumpotonen pačılme, mılı-kıdı kapčija no šumpotone no
(The cat is happy, the dog is happy, the cat is happy, the dog is happy, we are in a wonderful mood and very happy, we are in a wonderful mood, oh joy)
Party for everybody, Buranovskiye Babushki (Russia)

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Get ‘im in the team – Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane v Kings XI Punjab

Ajinkya Rahane not playing one of the orthodox cricket shots I was talking about.

Twenty20 cricket throws up flash-in-the-pan cricketers fairly frequently. Every now and then, however, it brings to attention cricketers who might have more substance.

Ajinkya Rahane scored 98 from 66 balls for Rajasthan Royals against Kings XI Punjab last Friday night, mostly through the use of orthodox attacking cricket strokes. It was enough for me to look up his first class record.

At present, Rahane has played 50 first class matches, mostly for Mumbai, and scored 4862 runs at an average of 68.47. That’s right – 68.47. Forget that the Ranji Trophy probably spread a moderate talent pool too thinly; that is a ridiculously good average to sustain over 50 matches.

Rahane has already played for India in the shorter forms, but given the retirement of Dravid and the long-delayed declines of Tendulkar and Ganguly, I hope that Rahane gets his chance in the white clothes sooner rather than later.

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The Return of the Swing

I am liking fast bowling at the moment. Fast bowlers in Test cricket in 2012 generally do something with the ball and do it intentionally. The ability to keep the seam upright and swing the ball is almost mandatory for Test bowlers after 15 years of being out of fashion. And the most beautiful thing about this trend is that it has all but killed the legacy of the bounce bowlers.

Courtney Walsh - pure doggerel in motion

You know the ones: Courtney Walsh; Curtly Ambrose; Glenn McGrath; Shaun Pollock – not an ounce of real cricket skill between them. Sure, they were fit, they were accurate, they could even be scary. But where was the skill? Could they bend the ball at the last nanosecond like Hadlee? Could they cut the ball both ways like Lillee? Could they even keep the seam straight like Shayne O’Connor?

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Open letter to the Bangles – re: Eternal Flame

Dear Bangles,

Bangles circa 1989

The Bangles - the world's most inquisitive band

after 22 years of hearing Eternal Flame on the radio and, more recently, on my wife’s stereo, I finally have some answers to your questions.

1. Yes, I can feel your heart beating. This is because after I closed my eyes and gave you my hand, you put it on top of your chest.

2. Yes, I understand. You feel very strongly about me but I have to keep my hand over your heart and not go the grope or I’m going to luck out again. Continue reading

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