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Is my bum too big?

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My Love’s an oceanographer,
On the sea which is my mind.
Sampling wit and truth and wisdom
For the enrichment of mankind.
She tests my depth of knowledge,
And breadth of cognisance.
Before basking on the deck
Of my apparent omniscience.

“What’s the speed of light?” dear GOF,
My Love didst ask of me.
“Well it’s really frigging fast my dear,
More than the eye can see.”
“I think you’ll find” she corrected me
“When it’s traveling at it’s limit,
That your ‘frigging fast’ is approximately
Eleven million miles a minute”.

Chastened and chastised I star
Ted heading for the door.
“Not so fast Smarty Pants”
I’ve got one question more.
If your repertoire’s so full
Of erudition to discharge,
Then perhaps you can tell me
If my bum’s a bit too large.

I scarcely could believe it.
The question all men dread.
If you get the answer wrong
You might just as well be dead.
First I feigned some hearing loss,
Then cramps and diarrhoea
Before bolting to the bathroom
My confus-ed head to clear.

I emerged aglow with truthfulness.
“Within parameters it fits
‘Tween Tyra Banks and Roseanne Barr”
Thinkin’ she’d be thrilled to bits.
Now I’m sleeping in the doghouse
But having avoiding my demise,
If I’d empirically measured it
With an axe handle for size.

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A plague of enyots

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Warning;  Contains one naughty word necessary to tell the story.
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Mrs GOF’s father was caught between two worlds. Born in a remote village in New Guinea he was deprived of a formal education so he chose to relocate his young family by overland trek to Pindiu, a Government outpost where all his children could attend an English curriculum school.

He had extraordinary linguistic abilities. Speaking five languages fluently he also had a working knowledge of two more. After moving to Pindiu he started adding a few English words to his vocabulary. Most came from overhearing his kids chattering after school, or listening to the more colourful language being used by the Australian Patrol Officers for whom he worked as a labourer and translator.

He did not understand the dictionary meaning of these words and sometimes his pronunciation went awry. For example ‘idiot’ always came out as ‘enyot‘. I suspect the older siblings might have been complicit in ensuring the mispronunciations continued because they still tell funny stories about it today long after their dad has passed away.
“You enyots” was his reprimand for minor childhood transgressions, but more serious breaches elicited a bellowed “You fukkin enyots“. In his mind, these words meant simply “You naughty children”.
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For nigh on twenty years Mrs GOF and I have had a market stall selling plants at the annual Father’s Day street carnival at the Cairns Botanic Gardens. For most of this time the smooth operation of the event was a credit to Betty, a matronly volunteer who toddled around with a clipboard, pen and a welcoming smile. Life was good back then.

A few years ago the Cairns City Council took over management of the event and replaced Betty with an assortment of overpaid tertiary-educated bureaucrats who abolished common sense and progressively turned administrative stupidity into an art form.

This year, applications and communications could only be made online.
We will not be allowed to participate unless we take an entire day off from our farm work and drive four hours to Cairns to participate in a mandatory induction course to learn about the workplace health and safety implications of setting up a market tent.

It’s being conducted this morning.  Goodness gracious me we’re going to miss out.
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I refuse to enable any of these fukkin enyots to gain a foothold in my life.
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A pubic nuisance

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(Inspired by an allegedly true story (here) about a lady who had a car accident while she was multi-tasking…. driving while doing some downstairs shaving at the same time.)
Warning;  Contains adult themes and an implausible act of chivalry by one bearded old farmer.
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Helene was stuck in peak hour traffic
On a city bound commute
When she felt a strange sensation
Around her private parts hirsute.
The itchiness was quite intense
And scratching made it worse,
So she grappled out the razor
Hidden deep inside her purse.

But then the traffic lights turned green
And the cars began to flow
Which was seemingly the signal
For her pubes to quickly grow.
Shooting faster than the beanstalk
That Jack was wont to climb,
They sprouted every which way
Like a labyrinthine vine.

They curled around the gearstick
And the accelerator too.
The clutch was hard to operate.
And they blocked the mirror’s view.
When she looked down at the pedal
She could not believe her eyes
It was like ten Irish Setters
Were camped between her thighs.

Pubes grew right through the firewall
And wrapped around the fan,
Pulling, tugging, wrenching
Until her tears welled and ran.
The hair caught fire on the manifold,
So the cabin filled with smoke
And more wrapped around the tailshaft
Until it weakened, cracked and broke.

She parked the car and knickerless
Shaved the hair off at the roots,
In front of passing executives
All dressed in business suits.
Then I arrived in the nick of time,
And to sweet Helene I gave
A rub with herbicide lotion
To make her follicles behave.

I untangled all the flowing locks,
Fixed her car and doused the fire,
Then carted off the fuzzy thatch
In a nearby truck for hire.
I’ve turned it into yarn and felt,
With élan and aplomb,
And now it’s all for sale on
Toupeesforgirls dot com.

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Anthrax. Another New Guinea memory.

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The portly government recruiting bloke in Australia warned me that the job I’d applied for as an Agricultural Officer in Papua New Guinea would involve unique challenges and responsibilities.
And so it proved to be…..time and time again during my 12 years working there.
I’d only been in PNG for a few weeks when this event happened;
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I was nineteen years old when I found myself in charge of one of the most remote agricultural extension stations in Papua New Guinea. Lumi in the West Sepik District. No roads to the outside world, and all supplies were flown in from Wewak once a week on a chartered Piaggio or Cessna ‘push-pull’ aircraft.

No telephones either. Just a crackly HF radio sched each morning which delivered the following telegram from my boss in Vanimo;
“OUTBREAK OF ANTHRAX IN PIGS REPORTED AT RAUIT, BOGASIP AND ANGUGANAK VILLAGES STOP PROCEED AT YOUR EARLIEST TO VACCINATE ALL DOMESTIC PIGS STOP VACCINE ON NEXT GOVERNMENT CHARTER STOP’
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Pigs are a highly valued asset in PNG village culture.
My journal entry for Monday 24 June 1968 reads simply;
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“Departed 10.30 am to Rauit village for anthrax vaccination of pigs. Arrival Rauit 6.30 pm. Overnight Rauit.”
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Now God knows what the village elders thought of us earnest well-intentioned lily-white overgrown children from Australia who were scurrying around their tribal lands ineptly pushing forth barrows full of Western superiority and magic potions delivered with administrative aggrandisement. My own ineptitude on this occasion;
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1. I hadn’t been in PNG long enough to acquire a working knowledge of Melanesian tok pisin, the lingua franca necessary to tell the good folk of Rauit that I was about to poke holes in their pigs with sharp objects. Fortunately a Persian anthropologist was living nearby and able to translate.

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2. I’d never previously administered an injection to anything or anybody, but I thought I’d once seen a vet do it to a cow somewhere.

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3. I had zero knowledge about anthrax. Obviously a rare failure of the Australian agricultural college curriculum. No books or library to look it up. No internet. To this day I do not know if pig anthrax can be spread to humans or if I should have taken any personal precautions whilst administering the vaccine. I spent three days from sparrow-fart to sundown ‘shooting’ hundreds of domesticated pigs with my new fancy veterinary equipment, so I’m assuming either the disease was relatively harmless or I have natural immunity to anthrax.
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Now, one more little thing…… “Departed 10.30 am to Rauit….arriving 6.30 pm” is a statement which totally overlooks the degree of technical difficulty involved.

Getting to Rauit village was not some sort of air-conditioned cruise down the freeway in a Mustang with a Camel cigarette hanging out of my mouth and Hank Marvin and The Shadows twanging away in the quadraphonic speakers. It was a project best left to idiots  people like me who were being adequately remunerated for all the effort and inconvenience. Fifty six dollars per week plus 65 cents camping allowance for every night when we didn’t make it home again.
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Stage One; Lumi to Anguganak. Anguganak Missionary Station was 25 kilometres from Lumi on what we sarcastically referred to as the Sepik Highway. In fine weather it took one hour riding the Government issue Honda 90 motor bike, but on this day, like many others, the journey took several hours.
With every shower of rain the wheels jammed up with sticky mud until they would no longer rotate. The rocky fords at the four major river crossings were so deep that water flowed back up the exhaust pipe, instantaneously killing the engine. Recovery procedure as follows;
Curse and gesticulate.
Push bike over slippery boulders to other side of the river.
Curse extravagantly. Arms too tired for gesticulating.
Dismantle engine and pump water out of cylinder with kick start.
Curse with greater originality and cranked-up volume.
Spray Jesus Juice (CRC) on all parts and reassemble.
Repeatedly push bike up nearest hill and roll back down in gear until engine eventually fires up again. (allow 30 minutes to 1 hour for each river)
(Travel tip; Stop swearing and referring to CRC as ‘Jesus Juice’ before arriving at any missionary station.)

Stage Two; Walk to Rauit.   Leave motor bike with the good missionary folk at Anguganak, then zig-zag walk for an hour up the vertical escarpment behind the station before sloshing through the jungle for another hour to Rauit village.
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I treasure all these memories of what was a wonderful chapter in my life.
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Pictures below; Apologies for crap quality. Not my fault. Almost half a century of fungus and fading did it.
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'Sepik Highway' near Lumi 1968.  Many years later is actually became a graveled highway to the coast at Wewak.

‘Sepik Highway’ near Lumi 1968. Many years later is actually became a graveled highway to the coast at Wewak.

Rocky ford at Keifangu River. Motor bike on far side.

Rocky ford at Keifangu River. Motor bike on far side.

 

Walking up the Anguganak escarpment.

Walking up the Anguganak escarpment.

 

On top of the bluff...mission station far below near the river.

On top of the bluff…mission station far below near the river.

GOF the Masterchef

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My small country town held a Masterchef competition last week. It was a fundraiser at the church for our beloved Bishop Risotto Parmagiano. He is suffering from depression and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after he scored an incredible 99% in a paternity test of the Rawlinson quintuplets.
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Our talents are for giving
As philanthropic deeds
To the destitute, and spawn
Of Bishop’s holy seeds.
There were nine young contestants,
Plus me, I tagged along
With ‘old age and treachery’
Whistlin’ Willie Nelson’s song.

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Seven of ‘em exited
Before the show began.
I uncorked my flask marked ‘Anthrax’
And they all took off and ran.
So as I surveyed pots and woks
And lentils, nuts and ghee,
There remained just the three of us;
Gaylord, Fat Anne and me.

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Next to go was gourmand Anne
With a loaf of sourdough bread.
Golden brown and shaped a little
Like Bishop Risotto’s head.
Smiling wide with nostrils flared
Fat Anne was thrilled to bits,
But I’d laced her flour with Epsom Salts
And the judges got the shits.

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Gaylord mortar-pestled with
An alcoholic grin,
From vodka in his drinking glass.
How the hell did that get in?
He fell down drunk and went to sleep,
So now I’m here to boast,
‘Bout how I won the Masterchef
With canned baked beans on toast.
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Wickedness

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Thankfully we got rid of most forms of censorship in Australia, but that does not give adults the right to behave in a manner which is prejudicial to maintaining an environment of innocence for our children.  
Warning;   This story necessarily contains one tasteless sexual reference.

 

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Wicked Campervans began operating in Cairns a long time ago hiring affordable wheels, primarily to young backpackers. For many years I was wholesomely entertained by the passing parade of witty slogans and eye-catching paintings on their vans. Proclamations such as “A baby ate my dingo” and “Virginity is curable” still make me smile.

In recent times the slogans have became increasingly crude, sexist and misogynous accompanied by sexually explicit illustrations. I will spare you the worst of them which graphically demean women and sexuality. We’re not talking bumper stickers here…..this is stuff most people can read from 50 paces, and myopic GOF from ten.

The proprietors of Wicked have been thumbing their noses at complaints from locals, and authorities failed to intervene as it seems motor vehicles are exempt from scrutiny or regulation under any Australian public decency or advertising standards legislation.

It required a courageous eleven year old girl from interstate to stop the rot. She was offended by the prominent tailboard slogan “In any princess there is a little slut who wants to try it just once” and initiated a media campaign which received a tidal wave of support from around the nation.

The company has now been forced to back down and apologise and begin the huge task of erasing offensive material from dozens of their vans.

I am left wondering why all the responsible adults sat on their hands while Wicked sped so far out of control leaving one little girl to deploy the metaphorical spike mat which finally brought the vulgarity to a halt.
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The last blacktracker

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(My use of the word ‘blacktracker’ instead of ‘Aboriginal Police Tracker’ may be politically incorrect in 2014, but it is part of our vernacular and as I am using it with respectful intent I don’t give a rat’s arse.)

 

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Australia cannot claim much moral high ground over America or South Africa when it comes to the past treatment of people of colour.

Until the 1960’s Australian aborigines had no voting rites, the National census classified them as ‘fauna’ and many were forced to live in shanty settlements on the outskirts of our towns.

This is the reality of the country in which I was raised, yet ‘white Australia’ still grabbed every opportunity to bask in the glory of those aboriginals who excelled despite their ethnic subjugation.

On one hand we lauded the exceptional achievements of Albert Namatjira (artist),  Kath Walker (poet),  Doug Nicholls (Pastor and Governor,) and Lionel Rose (boxer), whilst with the other we abducted aboriginal children from their parents.

Blacktrackers have always been an under-appreciated part of our history.

For more than 100 years they have been employed in remote locations to work alongside European police officers, using their unique tracking skills and knowledge of ‘country’ to locate fugitives and lost travelers. In places far away from ambulances and Forensic Crash Units they were also called upon to assist with first response services and investigation of motor vehicle accidents.

Barry Post, age 72, (pictured above) retired last week at Coen, a remote township on Cape York Peninsula.   He was Australia’s last blacktracker, an occupation made redundant by satellite imagery, GPS and mobile phones.

Blacktrackers served Australia with distinction (and inferior employment conditions) and they should never be forgotten.

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