Illustration: John Shakespeare.
HER Roy Hill Highness Gina Rinehart has been immortalised in song. In medieval times, bards - the PR flacks of the day - would strum their lutes and extol the virtues of their patrons in the knightly classes. Today's mendicant creative classes pay tribute to their betters through the modern equivalent, the YouTube video.
Jazzy mob the Hot Swing Set have set Australia's richest person to music in The Ballad of Gina Rinehart, an oddly soothing blues ditty captured for posterity in old-fashioned black and white.
Of course, Rinehart is not the first woman of world-historical importance to be transmogrified into melody.
Elton John turned Marilyn Monroe into a Candle in the Wind before reusing the tune for Princess Diana, while closer to home there's the tribute to Adolf Hitler's mistress Eva Braun performed by Australian novelty rockers TISM, Defecate on my Face.
Sadly, The Ballad of Gina Rinehart seems more of a complaint than a celebration - perhaps unsurprising, as the Hot Swing Set's only other YouTube video is titled Eat the Rich (no relation to the Motorhead song of the same name).
Sings front lady Zelda Da, adopting the Rinehart persona: ''I've got $30 billion and something to say/The people 'round here are getting too well paid/When they're down underground, makin' my hay/They should be working for $2 a day.'' At the same time, the song puts Rinehart's earnings at $600 a second. Awfully cruel and unfair. Surely she makes more than that.
A grinding halt
DESPITE dimensional shifts, magic keys and ''advanced multidimensional beings in the seventh density'', it seems inventor James Kwok's efforts to raise money to build what looks awfully like a perpetual motion machine have come to a grinding halt.
Kwok is the inventor of the Hidro+ electricity generator, a system that is supposed to use ''continuous hydrostatic pressure potential energy conversion'' to generate electricity.
Briefly, pressure in a water column turns a flywheel, and the water released doing this is returned to the top of the tank.
It's been a long time since CBD had anything to do with physics, but the idea would seem to violate the second law of thermodynamics because it's always going to cost more energy to return the water to the tank than you get out of the system.
Nonetheless, ASX-listed Hidroco Limited, which has licensed the doodad from Kwok, put out a prospectus in early January seeking to raise $3.5 million towards, among other things, ''constructing and commissioning a demonstration commercial Hidro+ Generator plant''.
Included in the prospectus is a glowing technology report, penned by Wayne Nowland, BSc Hons, PhD, who says that ''notwithstanding any circumstances that James Kwok may or may not have experienced in the past, there is no basis for not accepting that the information provided to the author is of the highest integrity''.
Could this have something to do with a James Kwok who in 2007 was sentenced to 14 months' periodic detention for failing to disclose his wife and son owned land leased by Envirostar Energy, where he was a director?
Nowland also owns the Spiritual Science website, where readers learn of the WingMakers, ''one of the seven Tribes of Light who make up The Central Race''.
The site also features scads of useful information about magic keys connected to ''the Grand Portal - our gateway to cosmic intelligence and multidimensional reality''.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission permanently stopped Hidroco's prospectus on January 23.
Plane of pain
WHAT is it with casinos and torture planes? It turns out that Crown Casino isn't the only gambling den running a private jet that was formerly used for CIA dirty work.
As CBD reported last week, one of the Gulfstream jets owned by James Packer's Crown Limited appears to have spent some time in the hands of the CIA, who allegedly used it to ferry kidnapped terror suspects off into the loving hands of third-world allies.
It turns out that Slim Jim's Vegas rival MGM Mirage is also running a one-time plane of pain, a Boeing 737 that formerly held the registration number N313P and was allegedly used in the 2004 kidnap of Libyan Islamist militant Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Bouchar, from Bangkok.
According to a report in The Guardian last year, the heavily pregnant Bouchar was taped to a stretcher and Belhaj shackled while they were flown to Libya, where they were given up to Muammar Gadaffi's people.
Documents recovered after the fall of the Gaddaffi regime include a CIA flight plan showing that Libyan secret agents were asked not to bring ''weapons of any type, cameras, cell phones, or recording devices on board the aircraft''.
CBD isn't sure what restrictions MGM puts on its guests' carry-on luggage.
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