by Paul Green
Recently by Paul Green: Free
Society = Welfare Society
I’m all for
a bit of good cheer and seasonal entertainment. But call me out
of tune with popular culture... and I'll appreciate the compliment.
So when my
ageing satellite box blew a fuse a year or two ago, I had to ask:
What was actually worth watching?
celebrating another couple diving into massive debt…? Mainstream
Media news…? Strife-torn soaps…? Sifting through a ton of stubble
to find a needle in Hollywood's haystack of sex/war/state worship…?
What we choose
to think on over time, determines outlook, faith, mental and even
physical wellbeing. Yet many people have a kind of funnel over their
head, and without any kind of filter, they allow a stream of government
approved thoughts to be poured in. Their parents start the flow
by handing them over to a government school system and then as adults
they allow a government regulated, insider owned, "mind-stream"
media to carry on.
In the end,
I never did get a new satellite box – and have never missed it.
At the same
time, most of us still want to just sit back and enjoy some good
entertainment once in a while – and especially with Christmas time
coming up. So what’s the answer?
A Wide World
is a world of good entertainment available on the internet – in
fact some of the best and most worthwhile programmes I've seen.
most people are aware of and use YouTube. I’m just one of at least
a million of them who have "lol’d" and "rofl’d"
while watching the hilarious "Trolling
Police" video from crazy young Frenchman, Remi Gaillard.
But more particularly,
I am referring to file sharing, downloading and "torrents".
have been scared off by the Hollywood copyright propaganda/threat
machine. But if that's a big concern, there are many legal torrents
out there. Many old movies for example, can be hard to find elsewhere
but are in the public domain and freely available via torrent sites.
The fact is,
with the real risk being way lower than crossing a street, for millions
of users there is little such concern. The latest shows are also
available – once you have found the handful worth watching. If concerns
do persist, you could always use one of the many torrent-friendly
VPN services out there.
program like "utorrent.org" is the first requirement. Then, search
engines like "torrentz (.eu)" or "btdigg dot org" at least claim
to be 100% legal by linking only to other third party sites.
Depending where you are and what you click on, downloading the results
might not be. You will also need broadband with if not unlimited,
at least a substantial download allowance – a show or movie can
be anything from a couple of hundred megabytes to a few gigabytes
in size. Note that some also throttle torrent traffic.
You will need
to download the programmes as video files on to a computer. But
rather than use its smaller screen, much better to copy the files
onto a memory stick and then plug that into an inexpensive, tiny
"Media Player" device. These devices connect to your high definition
flat screen TV for quality far better than a standard DVD player.
They are also great for playing home video and pictures from camera
There’s a wide
selection of them on Amazon, I suggest looking here,
You might well need an extra HDMI
even easier, way to get some shows is via paid download from Amazon
Video. Using the free Unbox
player (Windows PCs only) the files can first be downloaded
and saved, and then copied onto a memory stick for large screen
playback on a Media Player device.
those who do have a TV subscription may be able to get some of the
fine freedom friendly shows I have come across, in a more official
manner. The History Channel and the Discovery Channel strike me
as having improved lately and may be among those few worth subscribing
By using any
of these methods, there are actually some wonderful shows available,
and even a small handful of Hollywood films that are passable too.
I'm going to focus on a few that have been both beneficial and fun
for my family, with a few comments for lovers of liberty:
One of our
favourites and last year, the highest rated show on Discovery Channel
was Series 2 of the reality show, "Gold Rush Alaska".
A group of
out of work friends with more guts than knowledge leave Oregon to
mine gold. They are led and funded by Todd Hoffman with his father
Jack, a quintessential western style "old timer". His catchphrase
is a squeaky, "no guts, no glory!" while his son sums it all
up with: "I don't believe in our economy... I believe in gold"
and "So what are we sitting here for? Let's get some freakin'
The show is
edited for effect, but pretty much unscripted. It is a rip roaring
roller coaster ride, the ups and downs of a bunch of fellows and
their families who have many failings but do really care about each
other. The moderate but down to earth language is edited for family
viewing, with terms like "frickin" or "freakin" favoured over the
church pastor joins them in the first series, and they are stepping
out in faith in a way that reminded me of the early American pioneers.
They pray together, forgive and forget, persevere through adversity,
etc. etc. and heaven knows, they need to. In fact, they make so
many mistakes, they need all the help heaven can offer – but though
flawed, they are an admirable bunch.
So if you like
gold, guns, guts, grizzled beards and grizzly bears, the third series
of Gold Rush has started and airs on Friday evenings. It seems screen
success has not changed the format too much. You might want to just
video or HD
Video) and/or Series
2 first, or download Episode 1 of the new series free from Amazon
Video). The in between after-show specials are just as good,
and the episode, "The Long Road" is a good series summary
so far. There is also a recent special extended episode where Todd
and the team go down to Guyana, South America looking for gold to
mine – and find it.
gold mining adventure series has been running on Discovery called,
Gold". You can watch the extended
preview now for free. Two formerly successful Americans almost
bankrupted by the property bust head off into Ghana, West Africa
A number of
years ago I spent some time in Ghana and can confirm the incidents
they face are typical and very familiar. Ghana is another country
where government (funded mainly by international "aid")
tries hard to interfere. Thankfully, it doesn't work – if it did,
everything would just grind to a halt. As it is, every step can
be difficult and every official and unofficial obstructionist has
to be paid off – I'm absolutely sure not even the half of it is
shown on camera.
Ghana may be
undeveloped, but once you know the score, have contacts and can
find trustworthy local help, you can in many ways have more informal
freedom than in the "first world" today. It is actually
one of the better countries in which to live in Africa. Government
has had its façade ripped off and few there have western
style illusions about it. With some money from outside or a good
business inside, life can be very good – especially on the more
developed outskirts of the main cities, where land and property
rights are better established.
airs at weekends. The events in the show are definitely genuine,
but apparently with partial or summarized re-enactment for the camera
second favourite reality show this year and the First Lady’s first
choice was probably Series 3 of The History Channel’s "Swamp People"
Video – free preview). Set in Louisiana, it’s about tough self
reliant people with strong family and voluntary community ties,
living off the swamps, and focusing around alligator season. A new
series should be coming up next year for those who want more guts,
guns and gators – or to be more precise, guns spilling gators' guts.
There are some great characters and having seen other lesser programs,
it seems it is the producer's choice of people that really makes
Also up there
with the very best of shows, are the Discovery reality series, "Yukon
Video) and similar, "Alaska
– The Last Frontier" (Amazon
Video) – Season 2 is only available via torrent or on TV so
far. Both are really excellent and you will soon settle on favourite
characters. There's probably not a bureaucrat within hundreds of
miles of these hardy people. But still they manage to harass the
Yukon Men from afar, with rules like an 18 hour window for fishing
the salmon their very survival depends on. Another series along
these lines is The History Channel’s "Mountain
Men". All of these programs are sure to please "preppers"
– and annoy bear huggers.
One of the
hardest core shows ever on regular TV from a pro-liberty point of
view is Series 1 of "Moonshiners".
You'll have to exercise restraint not to throw something at the
TV when useless bureaucrats with bullets constantly chase our heroes,
who do nothing worse than make great liquor for those who want it.
The legal defence for this show will be that there was no real alcohol
and that it was merely a re-enactment – but it seemed mostly real
to me. We really liked that show. A new series has recently started.
from adventure reality to just good business, there are quite a
few great shows now. The name put me off initially, but actually
is terrific and the family run pawn business a good example of the
(relatively) free market at work. The patriarchal Old Man could
be kinder and more cheerful sometimes, but his quips, catchphrases,
dressings down and digs are great entertainment too. There's a copycat
type show on the same History Channel called "Cajun
Pawn Stars". I actually liked that even more for the first two
One of the
most fun type shows in this category is "American
Digger" from Spike TV. The reality star is a former pro wrestler
along with his artefact recovery crew, so there is a strong element
of showmanship. But it’s not totally faked... as far as I know.
Don’t miss the confrontation with Chicago police in episode 10.
Some say yet another Spike TV show – "Auction Hunters" – is faked.
They are actors as well as genuine dealers and the mine may well
be salted for effect on occasion. But it is at least fun entertainment
about deal making with the contents of abandoned storage units.
I came across
the fiction series "Leverage"
a couple of years ago, long after it had begun. It started out as
a twisty well plotted con show, halfway between the A-Team and Mission
Impossible, and way above typical prime time trash. The first two
series and even the third had perhaps a 75% episode hit rate
for us. The stories usually reflected disdain for following petty
rules and laws in the interest of seeing justice done.
the network bosses were obviously visited by the liaison officers
of various government bureaucracies, concerned that the audience
might start getting ideas. So the other 25% are either just badly
directed or contain left leaning statist drivel with a bit of right
leaning military statist drivel to "balance" it out. So
far, the latest Series 4 has gone down this path further and we've
now stopped watching.
But the early
series are unusually enjoyable entertainment, produced almost to
movie standards. There is some respect for God and church, but remember
to discount the overall left bias with little concept of family
and, no matter how great the dangers, an absurd gun control theme
The only other
reasonable fiction show we have found is the Canadian, "Murdoch
Mysteries". It is intelligent non-Hollywood entertainment set
in the 1890’s – a time when police had only just been invented and
at least activity was more focused on actual crimes. There was still
a high episode skip rate for us in the first series, which seems
to have improved in the second half of the second series with some
excellent mystery stories that continued into the third. Halfway
through the fourth series and so far there are some real ripping
yarns – don’t miss the pro-confederate Episode 7, with talk of splitting
the US into provinces and a plot worthy of a movie.
It’s not much,
but these are the only fiction programs I can suggest.
in the haystack
have been rather thin on the ground lately, and I would never have
come across most of these but for the internet (mostly via "yify-torrents").
Here are some that at least on balance might be palatable to family-friendly
on a Ledge" (2012) – Pretty interesting thriller, with a
theme of exposing police corruption.
Double" (2011) – A pretty good spy/mystery/conspiracy
thriller with Richard Gere.
Adventures of Tintin" (2011) – Really great family entertainment
set in the days when reporters actually rooted out corruption.
Island" (2012) – The old story again, but with new twists
and very well done.
(2007) – Older, but new to us – Anthony Hopkins in a first class
House" (2012) – Denzel Washington in a Bourne style conspiracy
with old western style shootouts, except more blood.
Justice" (2011) Nicholas Cage is in New Orleans. Thriller
about alternative systems of justice – benefits and pitfalls...
Am Legend – Alternate Ending" (2007) An older, "preppers"
delight, but revitalized with a much happier ending.
Book of Eli" (2010) – Denzel Washington stars in a biblical
flavoured apocalyptic action film.
Greater Glory…" (2012) – Catholic Christians in Mexico
fought to overthrow a Marxist regime in the early 20th
century: Inspiring, entertaining, and a true story.
Nick Beal" (194*) – Ray Milland is old Nick in this excellent
analysis of political corruption.
Black Book" (a.k.a. Reign of Terror) (1949) – Battling
tyranny during the French revolution.
Verdict" (1946) – Top notch Greenstreet/Lorre locked
room mystery about an overzealous prosecution, later rectified...
Hour of 13" – A great old British mystery film, with Peter
Just for fun
Three Stooges" (2012) – The first half hour had me in
stitches, the rest is so-so and too suggestive, especially for
Bear" (2010) – More laughs, some at the expense of politicians.
Little Words" (1950) – Fred Astaire/Red Skelton in Fred's
Band Wagon" (1953) – Fred kicks again, and in glorious
Are you kidding?
...No final thoughts here, it is just the end of the list.
conclude in a style in keeping with "Gold Rush Alaska":
"What are we
sitting here for? Let's get off our backsides" …and find that
PS: As a seasonal
extra, I leave those with any latent or overt jazzy inclinations
with the fabulous fiddlesticks of homeschooled family, the "Annie
Moses Band" – "God
Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (older
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