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Monthly Archives: July 2008

Prophylactic Games

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Sometimes life is made more complete by stumbling across information, which in hindsight makes you wonder how you previously lived life without the knowledge.

A modest example if I may.

During the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, a total of 90,000 condoms were distributed to the 10,000 athletes in the Olympic village.
Obviously identifying this as some sort of dubious record to be broken, Athens managed to hand out 130,000 in 2004.

Now I am a little perplexed.  Were there a whole lot of olympic athletic events being shown on television late at night after Mrs GOF had safely tucked me into bed?    I am going to keep a close eye on it this year.

Has the inspirational Olympic motto of Faster-Higher-Stronger been modified to include "Relentless"?

I want the Olympics permanently moved to the Vatican City to eliminate all this sin and iniquity.

And I always did wonder what that Olympic logo was all about.  Now my life is complete.

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Two Glasses of Wine

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Thank you to my dear Globet for finding and sending this to me.
You are one of my golf balls.

Two Glasses of Wine
When things in your life seem almost too much
to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough,
remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of
wine theory…
A professor stood before his philosophy class
with some items on his desk in front of him. When
the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very
large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill
it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was
full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles
and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar
lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas
between the golf balls. He then asked the students
again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and
poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled
up everything else. He asked once more if the jar
was full. The students responded with a unanimous
The professor then produced two glasses of
wine from under the table and poured the entire
contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty
space between the sand. The students laughed.
'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter
subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar
represents your life. The golf balls are the
important things; your family, your children, your
health, your friends, and your favourite passions;
things that if everything else was lost and only
they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter
like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is
everything else; the small stuff.

If you put the sand into the jar first', he
continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the
golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all
your time and energy on the small stuff, you will
never have room for the good things that are
important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical
to your happiness. Play with your children. Take
time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out
to dinner. Play another 18 holes. Do one more run
down the ski slope. There will always be time to
clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of
the golf balls first; the things that really matter.
Set your priorities . The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and
inquired what the wine represented.
The professor smiled. 'I'm glad you asked. It
just goes to show you that no matter how full your
life may seem, there's always room for a couple of
glasses of wine with a friend.'

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A tribute to P. A. Yeomans

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Your blogger has had an involvement in agriculture and horticulture for the past 40 years. Farming is an honorable profession.  Australian agriculture has much to be proud of in terms of supplying the nation and the world with food.  Nevertheless its record of caring for the environment has often been less than optimum. As a nation during the past 200 years we have introduced plagues of rabbits, cane toads, prickly pear cactus, and bureaucrats.
During the 1960's and 70's Australian farmers literally went berserk clear- felling huge expanses of native bushland in order to establish farms.   As a result, much of the continents fragile soil was eroded either by wind or water.  Huge dust storms swept across the country carrying precious topsoil and depositing it in the oceans.

Today, Australias Murray-Darling river system is a disgrace to the nation.  Farmers have been given permission by past Governments, to completely block its tributaries to provide irrigation water for crops totally unsuited to Australias semi-arid regions.  (eg cotton and rice),  and been given almost unlimited pumping rights for other crops.  During 2007 the Darling river stopped flowing completely as did the mouth of Australias largest river, the Murray, allowing saltwater inundation to destroy fragile flora and fauna habitats.  It was convenient for officials to blame this occurrence on an extended drought.  The truth I suspect is that Government officials over the past 50 years have failed to recognise water as a finite resource and regulate its usage accordingly.
Additionally many thousands of hectares of good farming land in Eastern and Western Australia is now unusable because of salination…..the result of unsuitable irrigation practices.

P.A. Yeomans (1905-1984) was a geologist turned farmer during the 1940's and 1950's.  (The writer would like to apologise for any factual errors as he is relying on memory)   He was a man who devised sustainable systems for farming long before anyone else saw the necessity of doing so.   His geological experience enabled him to design a farm planning model almost totally opposite to conventional agriculture at the time.  He was derided by Government officials and many conventional farmers alike.
Yeomans designed the "Keyline System" of farming detailed in his book "The Challenge of Landscape".  Tradition had it that farm water storages be placed at the lowest point of a farm then pumped back uphill to irrigate.  Yeomans found out that by placing smaller water storages as high up on the property as possible, and often on ridgelines, he could divert rainfall runoff from the valleys out to the ridges using contoured and  grassed water channels.  This system prevented soil erosion, increased absorbtion of rainwater into the soil, and reduced the need for subsequent irrigation, which, if required could be done by gravity flow from his higher water storages.  It was revolutionary thinking, which he proceeded to prove and  put into practice on 3 large grazing properties in New South Wales.
Additionally he retained or planted wide strips of trees to improve the farms micro climate, when accepted practice was to bulldoze vegetation.  He did not plough large areas of soil leaving it vulnerable to erosion, but deep- ripped his grazing land to open up compacted soils and gradually integrate organic matter into them, increase rain penetration, and improve micro-biological activity in the soil.  He judged his success by observing the huge increase in earthworm numbers in his soils.
The Permaculture movement of the world now recognise these practices as part of their system of sustainable agriculture.

P.A  Yeomans should be remembered as an innovator and intelligent custodian of our fragile earth.  In the 21st century, farmers can no longer afford to ignore the lesson he showed the nation 50 years ago.     The bureaucrats who failed to recognise the value of his work should now take a look at the Murray and Darling Rivers, and bow their heads in collective shame.

The world contains too many parasitic non-achievers wielding power far in excess of their knowledge and abilities, and not enough intelligent and innovative doers getting their hands dirty. (literally and/or figuratively)

P.A. Yeomans, you deserve the greatest honour for being an outstanding caretaker of mother Earth.

The German physicist Max Planck (1885-1947) is quoted as saying;
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die.

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Keeping Charltons dream alive

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Occasionally GOF has trouble with pesky critters who invade his vegetable garden, or neighbours who impinge upon his solitude.
In Australia you need to have an acceptable reason to own a firearm, have no criminal record, and pass a written safety examination  to be granted a licence to use one.
Unfortunately an annoying neighbour does not apparently fall within the parameters of "acceptable reason". However, being confronted with angry and hungry feral pigs on a regular basis does.  They are not easily negotiated with, and "shoo" does not immediately send them into rapid retreat.   A 410 solid projectile, on the other hand, does.  I do not ever feel the need to take my firearm to town for a couple of good reasons.  Firstly, no-one else carries a gun around town so there is no imminent threat to my wellbeing, and, secondly I prefer my own warm bed to that of the police lockup.
There seems to be an increasing awareness in the US that Charlton Heston (1924-2008) and the gun lobby's dream of guns for the masses is turning into a nightmare.  How many innocent children need to be gunned down in American schools before the issue of gun ownership is addressed.  I have considerable difficulty understanding the logic behind the right of every citizen to bear arms and its benefit to society.  Is it similar to vaccination?  If I carry a little pistol, will it give me immunity against somebody elses bigger weapon?
Being a caring citizen of the world I would like to offer a contribution to the debate;
There are two possible reasons for the apparent increase in gun related killings;

1. Charlton and the gun lobby are wrong.

2. Perhaps in the 21st century, guns no longer provide an adequate protection factor, and upgrading and expanding an individuals arsenal is long overdue.

Thus, civic duty has driven me to manufacture a very small personal nuclear device, with just sufficient power to eliminate  impediments to the happiness of the individual.   It resembles a matchbox and can easily be carried in the pocket or handbag, avoids detection by electronic systems, and is a perfect accessory for the harrassed individual, gang member, nutter, or corporate executive wishing to deter a hostile takeover bid.  It can be remotely triggered by a modified electronic car locking button, although it will be wise to clearly identify which one you use for your car.  Triggering the device whilst it is still in your pocket has adverse repercussions on your health.  It is kind to the environment and leaves no metallic residue or evidence of your involvement.  Everything within a 2 metre cubic volume will be vaporised.  Think of it as progressively cleaning up the littered world we live in.
Order now!   Phone within the next 20 minutes and receive a free mini cluster bomb attachment for even greater personal protection and safety.

How does one go about applying to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

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My jalopy needs restoration

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Up until the age of 30, like most, I was invincible.  Poor health was something that happened to old people and that was no concern of mine.
At 31, I presented my skinny little carcase to a late middle age doctor (late, as in advanced, and not as in deceased)  for treatment of a clunking shoulder joint.  His response was to stand up, move his body like a hula dancer, and perform his own orthopedic percussion……indeed with full skeletal orchestration, then suggest  "and you think you've got problems Sonny", charge me twenty bucks, and told me to come back when I was sick.   I never went back, either because I was never sick, or perhaps I felt there was a remote possibility his bedside manner needed to be refined a little.

Now, 28 years further on, I am myself an accomplished conductor of my own bodily concerti.  However, on a daily basis I give thanks for the good health that has enabled me to live a physically active life, and, so far, avoid ailments common in middle age.  I have subscribed to the theory that the human body has an enormous capacity to heal itself given the appropriate inputs for the body and the mind.
Death is not a scary prospect for me.   No-one knows the ultimate truth for human health and longevity.  Pritikin died of cancer when he believed his diet gave him protection against it.  My own personal health guru was, and still is, Ross Horne, researcher extraordinaire and author, whose message gives responsibility for health back to the individual, and not to the health profession.  His book Health and Survival in the 21st Century,
is my guide, and yet his advice is also not infallible.  After publishing How to Cancer Proof your Body, he apparently died of prostate cancer, even though he was well into his eighties at the time.  Thus, for all of us, we have to allow a certain amount of fate to interrupt our good intentions, practices, and intellectual understandings.

For me the time has come for acceptance that not everything in my vehicle can be repaired and renewed.  Some bits and pieces have a limited life span. Much is a reflection of poor maintenance and the contaminated fuel I have put in it over the years.
The wheels have not as yet fallen off…but I can no longer deny that a couple of wheel nuts are loose and they can no longer be tightened again.  Much of the bodywork is damaged, and yet each dent and scratch allows me to reminisce and appreciate the journey we have travelled together.  

I am forever thankful to my faithful jalopy for all the good times that we have had, and find great peace and comfort just being in it. It is not a pretty sight, yet there is no way I would ever want to have it restored or modified.  Its character would be lost forever, and I cannot afford the downtime…..we've got some travellin' to do.

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The Dairy Diatribe

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Most great industries of our world have a recognised Founding Father or Mother.
Electricity would not be as it is without Edison and Tesla.
David Buick invented enamel bathtubs before messin' about with automobile engines. 
So, who is the founding Father of the dairy industry?   Which human genius was first responsible for sticking his head between the legs of a cow and sucking on a teat to satisfy his hunger and thirst.  His identity appears to have been lost in the annals of history, so for the purposes of this piece of literary rubbish I would like to call him Alvin the Inquisitive.

Before proceeding I would like to offer my partial curriculum vitae in an attempt to give some credibility to the verbiage that follows.
I was raised on a dairy farm, studied dairying for 3 years under the legendary and dour "Chuckles" McKenzie whilst incarcerated at a somewhat reputable Australian seat of agricultural learning, and worked on dairy farms for a small part of my adult life.
It may well be that during the last phase I was kicked in the head once too often by a cow in the dairy shed.

Dairy milk is a truly great food.  For baby bovines.  Human milk is great for baby humans.   As the young grow up they have a diminishing need to depend on milk for nutrition.  Adults of both species have no need to consume milk after weaning, although in the case of humans it has been recorded that the male of the species occasionally maintains an enduring intellectual interest in, and appreciation of, the receptacles where the milk is produced.  I am unaware if male bovines have similar thought processes. Thats an academic thesis opportunity awaiting some enthusiastic university student.

We have been led to believe that milk is an essential food for human adults.  Nonsense.  Many ethnic peoples of the world do not consume other-species milk.  They do not drop dead at an early age from cow-milk malnutrition..  All the useful food elements in milk can be obtained from other sources.  It is 87% water, and by the time it has been  pasteurised, homogenised, and otherwise farted around with, it is no longer the product that our hero Alvin found so satisfying. 
The dairy industry (at least in Australia) was nurtured by politicians after World War 2 in land resettlement schemes for the returning soldiers.  Government subsidies were paid to farmers.  As children we were forced at school to drink one half a pint of milk every morning before we were allowed into a classroom. Guaranteed consumption.

Cows are one of Gods nicer inventions. She must have spent considerable time designing them.    Dairy farmers are salt- of- the -earth people who sacrifice many of lifes pleasures by working long hours 7 days a week.  No criticism of either is intended here.

Dairy farming however, is an extremely inefficient use of the earths rapidly diminishing arable land and water resources.  Cows belch and fart a lot producing greenhouse gases, and their untreated effluent often goes into waterways, and there is a slightly sordid side to the farming operations.
For those living in cities and who may be unaware,…. in order for a cow to consistently produce a lot of milk it has to give birth to a calf every year.  Mother Nature in her wisdom does not give dispensations for dairy farmers and ensures that half of these calves are little boys.   Bull calves are of no economic use to dairy farmers, given that no way has been found as yet to extract milk from them, so it has been common practice in this country for them to be, how can I phrase this delicately, cheaply euthanased, during their first 24 hours of life.
Milk factory operators have also recently been embarrassingly exposed adding dubious ingredients to their "pure milk".   Oh dear, who can we trust any more.
Alvin the Inquisitive would be appalled.

I think I'll go have a cafe latte and think about it all. 

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GOF’s In love………….yet again

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Over many years it has been my pleasure to have had meaningful love affairs with several of the worlds most beautiful women.  Well, they have been meaningful to me.   With an enduring sadness it is unfortunately my duty to report that precisely none of them have shown the slightest interest in me at all.
All that prevents me from suffering permanent psychological damage is the knowledge that at the very least I have selected women who have been very competent judges of character.

Mrs GOF has had to suffer constantly through my assorted flights of fantasy, but she good naturedly accepts it as part of the "for better or for worse"  contract she acquired when she drew the short straw.
Not so accepting of my extracurricular activities is our 26 year old daughter Globet. (we didn't give her that name so no correspondence please)     In a declaration bordering on elder-abuse she has banned me from admiring any woman younger than herself, and threatens to install me in a disreputable nursing home if I continue the practice.  Almost wish I'd left her wallowing in dirty diapers longer than necessary in 1982.

I have made a short list of those who have made GOF's miserable existence just a little more tolerable during the past 30 years.

 Jamie Lee Curtis, Megan Gale, Ali McGraw, Claudia Schiffer, Kristian Alfonso, and even sisters Elle and Mimi Macpherson, simultaneously.   After lengthy deliberation I also include Catherine Bach in my list.  It was a photo finish ……my lust for her and the car in The Dukes of Hazzard were of equal proportions.

I have sought therapy for my appalling obsessions, and now know that none of it is my fault.  GOF first fell in at love in Grade 1 at the age of 5 with an older girl in grade 6 who was assigned to look after him in the small one roomed school he attended.  Any deviant behaviour he has displayed in later life can surely be traced back to having been led astray at such a tender age by a 12 year old who insisted on holding his hand occasionally on his first day at school.   

Thus it is a great pleasure to report that I am absolutely besotted with Mr and Mrs McCormicks little girl Megan.
Megan is a presenter on the Lonely Planet, Pilot Guides television travel documentaries.
We have travelled around so much of the world together in the last few years…..just the 2 of us.  We have stayed at backpacker establishments, luxury hotels, traversed the worlds deserts, swamplands, mountains and oceans, and met a multitude of deviant little ethnic Romeos who have sought to get their grubby little paws on her.

Megan, my dear friend, you are the most competent travel presenter I have ever known.  Your knowledge of the subject matter and the ability to communicate lengthy historical and informative monologues to camera make you the finest presenter the US, world, solar system, universe or cosmos has ever seen.   You are respectful of the people and cultures you encounter, and reinforce my theory that most people on earth are decent and caring, and share similar human values. (except for the grubby little Romeos)

Oh…., and incidentally if you will permit me to be a little more shallow than normal for a moment….  you are totally gorgeous to look at.
Old GOF now needs another Librium and a lie down.  Blogging is a health hazard.

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Love on a leash

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The sexual abuse of children is simply the most heinous, appalling and disgraceful crime of our time.  Yet I suspect this is nothing new in human history.  There is ample evidence of it occurring during previous generations in western cultures, as well as being endemic in some traditional indigenous societies.  Like a pebble thrown into a pond, its effects permeate our entire society from the horrendous impact on the victim,  to family, friends, and successive generations.  
Sadly a majority of crimes against children are perpetrated by family members or close friends.

I have wonderful memories of being a little boy spending time alone with real and honorary Uncles, "helping"  them in the vegetable garden, being told stories, or just sitting on their knee riding the imaginary horse.  I know my parents would not have even remotely considered the possibility that I could be abused in any way.
Very sadly it seems these times have gone forever.  

Mr and Mrs GOF have had a couple of close friends for around 30 years.  We have been there when each of their children was born and shared the joy of watching our own daughter grow up with their children.  
Such was our friendship that one of the young children adopted me as her honorary "Dad" when her real one was absent working in a distant location for a year.   That this child should have shown such trust in me remains to this day one of the most  beautiful moments in my life. Yet I knew it was a situation to be handled with a great deal of care and restraint.  Whilst my natural instinct was to give affection to this child as I would my own daughter, I felt it necessary to self-impose strict boundaries of behaviour.
Our friends are both highly intelligent and caring human beings,  so I was always aware that, being responsible parents, they could never allow themselves to trust me completely.   They would never have made me aware of any lack of trust …..  yet I knew that it was their responsibility to maintain an appropriate level of vigilance.   Accordingly I felt the need to limit my displays of  affection towards the children, avoiding hugs that were forthcoming, or being alone with any one of them.  The children are now wonderful young adults and yet I still have a hesitation about giving them a hug whenever I see them. It has been a joy watching them grow and sharing the events of their lives.   But for me there is also just a little tinge of sadness.  Perhaps I have been a little over sensitive, but I still  consider it was right to err on the side of caution.

In dealing with the children of the world, I must adhere to boundaries appropriate to a man who has been tainted with guilt-by-association with his own gender, and the disgraceful behaviour of some.

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