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Monthly Archives: March 2009

The old dead tree

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                                          Life has gone from the old dead tree
                                          Lights extinguished, curtains drawn.
                                          Who cares, or feels, or wants to see
                                          The reason for me to mourn
                                           Its passing, an ordinary tree, just one
                                           Of thousands in the cast.
                                           Part of nature's plan begun
                                           In mists and clouds of aeons past.

                                           Feathered friends remember now.
                                           A bough where songs were sung
                                           In winter warmth and sunshine glow,
                                           And home to fledge their young.
                                           For death provides a space to grow.
                                           Where life will start anew.
                                           Eternal cycles ebb and flow
                                           Where the old dead tree once grew.

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Happy Birthday Eleanor Nancy Gow

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Happy 45th today Eleanor.  Thank you for the part you have played in my life.
Please call me when you are next in my neighbourhood.

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Shooting for the stars

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Occasionally I entertain my mind by giving consideration to the technical and scientific achievements of mankind that have occurred since our ancestor constructed a rudimentary circular object and presented to civilisation "the wheel".

Our lives today, dominated by technology and labour-saving devices, rarely slow down sufficiently for us to give adequate tribute to those whose minds saw beyond the boundaries of the stadium, and dared to dream about playing ball in the universe beyond.

To illustrate the extent of human knowledge in just one single field of endeavour, I have, for us, designed a hypothetical.

This involves just the two of us dear reader.
Yep, thats you and GOF.  Nobody else.

We will be transported back in time 100 years. It is 1909.
The Supreme Benevolent Dictator has ensured that we both will have a singular focus on our task by taking care of all the other distractions in our lives.  We shall be comfortably accommodated, have no family or financial difficulties, and no ill health or death will intervene.

Our mission in life together will simply be to lob any piece of earthly matter of our choosing on to the surface of the moon.
Just the two of us starting with a1909 knowledge base.
Aviation and aeronautical knowledge is at this time very basic. 
The first powered takeoff, flight, and landing (by Orville Wright in the Kitty Hawk) only occurred in 1903.

Now I understand that you, relatively, are a genius, and that I will inflict a mental hamstring injury upon our partnership.
I do, however, have a little real world experience to offer. 
In 1961, after the yo-yo craze died out, (we had all perfected "walking the dog", "round the world" and "rocking the baby")  there was the much more exciting "Cap Rocket".  These "toys" were designed like a playing dart, except that the sharp point was replaced by a blunt metal chamber which could be loaded with gunpowder "caps".
The loaded device was thrown into the air, and it then exploded into orbit (exercising literary licence and exaggeration) after it landed on the playground bitumen.
This craze also rapidly died out along with the eyesight of numerous children, and most of our several hundred rockets ended up on the second storey roof of the Bendigo School of Mines.

So, let us consider what may be on the agenda for our first discussions over a cup of coffee. 
(SBD for some obscure reason removed all alcohol from our reach)

We might have to concern ourselves experimenting with, and understanding the physics involved, along with other technical considerations.
1.  The structure of the atmosphere.
2.  The energy required to propel a given mass through and beyond the  troposphere.
3.  The relative effects of both earth and moon's gravity upon trajectory, to ensure that our anvil, pussy cat or frying pan does not end up at some place other than the moon's surface.
4.  Proving eventually to the SBD that our earthly artifact actually got there.
5.  We might also need to show some planning consideration to our neighbours who may occasionally be intolerant of shrapnel wounds or "friendly fire", and assorted "space junk" prematurely returning to earth on their side of the fence.  

In order to secure ongoing funding the SBD would like for us to provide an estimate of our completion date. 
She said it would be OK to round it off to the nearest century.
We should not be overly optimistic, because with the conditions of employment being so good I think I will be tempted to sabotage a lot of your good work.

And of course I shall also enjoy your company for an additional century or two.

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Wrong man for the job

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One of the good things about growing up in a Methodist environment was the music.  Stirring hymns, many composed by John and Charles Wesley, magnificent pipe organs, and congregationally sung with great verve and scant regard for pitch and musicality were the only redeeming moments during my childhood sunday church incarcerations.

In Sunday School little gof regularly massacred the melodic
"Jesus wants me for a sunbeam" with the other young inmates.
Performances accompanied by visions of me levitating across the earth's surface beaming joy and happiness to all mankind with a rainbow-esque spectrum of light emanating from some unspecified bodily orifice.  (Hey, I was just a kid…gimme a break.)

These days I understand that Jesus would not have been that stupid to select me for such an honorary vocation.

Not one single human being who has ever had dealings with GOF in the past 60 years would have said  "what a pleasant illuminating fellow that GOF is……I think he should be a little lighthouse to help guide the way for humanity."

I emerged from the womb grumpy, and the condition progressively worsened.

My parents somehow tolerated me for 14 years, after which they both left town, leaving me in the dubious boarding care of an elderly and grouchy parishoner, who fed and nurtured the garden of cynicism and sarcasm (and lets not forget reality) growing within me.

No, I am sorry to say that Jesus most definitely did not want me for a sunbeam.
He had greater works in mind for me.

He gave me my own special hymn, sung to the same tune.
So please join me with this melodic lilting waltz.
Please sing it well.  We don't want any tunelessness reverberating around inside The Bucket.

1-2-3, 1-2-3

Jesus wants me to ex-ter-min-ate,
Re-lig-ious big-otry.             
Rabid evang-E-lism, and      
Mone-tary greed.
Sectar-ee-an Arro-Gance,     
(gotta get meter and emPHARsis right)
Pontificating priory,
Remove them all from me.

Chorus;   (sung with gay wild abandon)

ItsThe Bucket's wish for humanity.
Ree-ligious bigotry. YEAH!

Everybody,  one more time………………….or perhaps not.

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Just to remind me……

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……that if this photograph is genuine, then I share an extraordinarily beautiful planet.

If it is not, then it reminds me that some of my fellow humans possess a wonderful imagination, and enviable computer skills.

Does anyone have any idea where I might find this sort of scenery?

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Globet Inc.

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Ten years ago, our daughter generated for herself the nickname "Globet".

It is the sort of obscure name you see on personalised car number plates that makes you wonder what significance it has to the owner.
I do know the derivation of "globet", but it deserves to remain shrouded in mystery.

Last night, in the most vivid of dreams, I discovered a telephone directory entry for "Globet Inc." 
A display advertisement of magnitude normally reserved for a major airline or large government department.

Now for me, those who profess to interpret dreams have as much credibility as astrologers.   (i.e. very close to zero.)

In this case however, I am prepared to make an exception.

I forsee that I am going to be cared for extremely well indeed during my rapidly approaching autumn years.

I can also see a little red convertible and a penthouse apartment.

And then that retired Aussie supermodel who has been avoiding me for all these years might just change her mind.

And just when I was about to set the final jewels in my crown of fantasy, Mrs GOF had to come in here and ask me what I was thinking about, and would I like a cup of tea.

Now I've lost my train of thought.

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One day at a time

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My friend Snowy recently addressed the wonder of just being alive in a recent  Friday Night Philosophy. (here)
I highly commend it to anyone who has not read it. 
It is a philosophy which takes just two minutes to read and understand on an intellectual level, yet for me, only late in life have I really come to appreciate what it means on a practical daily basis.
The following are snippets from one mans journey of discovery.

I am reminded every day, as I spend time in my "office", of the simple joy of my "being".

No people bother me. (apart from my own occasional stupidity)
No telephones ring.
The air that I breathe has just travelled 5000 kilometres across the Pacific Ocean and Coral Sea since the last human exhaled or otherwise polluted it.
I work, potting and weeding my plants or simply sweeping the grunge off the weedmat floor.
Sometimes I just sit, wonder, and appreciate my good fortune at being able to earn a modest living in this beautiful place.

The present is even more precious when I briefly consider the long and occasionally difficult road which brought me to this moment.

A ten year old boy, in 1959, stood in a paddock on the family dairy farm in rural Victoria and determined that his future would lie in agriculture and horticulture.

Three years later, the country boy, a little fish out of water in suburbia, treasured his backyard garden of succulents and geraniums as a place of refuge, biding his time before going to agricultural college.

Agricultural college taught us that to gain respect from peers, you should be the first to volunteer to jump into the pig pen with a shovel and clean out the shit. 
Now aint that a lesson which should have a broader application in life.

At times during the last forty years I have laboured hard just to put food on the family table.
Jobs that some would consider menial, but to my way of thinking, farming, producing food for people, is the most honorable of professions

I have often been shat and pissed upon whilst milking other people's cows…..working 14 hour days in all weather for minimum wages.

My Mr Puniverse body lugged 15 litre backpack sprayers, filled with 2-4D and 2-4-5T (agent orange) mixed with diesel fuel, up and down hills poisoning tobacco bush weeds, (and I shudder now to think what else) for dairy farmers.

Mrs GOF and little Globet spent days, weeks and years with me, up to their arses (literally) in wet season mud and torrential rain hauling taro and yam tubers out of the ground for sale.

I even spent one day working in a milk factory coldroom, packing bottles of milk.  Only one day.
The very next day I returned my free issue of eskimo clothing, advising management that having to punch in and out on a timeclock was an activity that contravened my Contract with the Cosmos, and I immediately returned to milking the cows who at least respected me as an individual human being.

Over 20 years we gradually built a plant nursery and collected bromeliads (plants native to South America).

Then, exactly three years ago today, the 20th March 2006, Cyclone Larry completely erased the nursery and relocated most of our farm buildings to places where they did not belong… in the branches of trees 100 metres away.
It prompted me to also rearrange a few of the priorities in my life, and recognise that life itself is a miracle.  We have no control over its commencement, nor, perhaps unfortunately, its moment of termination.
I committed to honouring the magic of life itself, with daily appreciation of my "existence".

I acknowledge all the elements of good fortune which have also accompanied me during the first three quarters of this journey of life, including good health and being born in Australia.
I regret not a single day of my working life.
Not even the milk factory.

For now I have daily happiness and contentment, and I will not let myself forget it or take it for granted.

The little boys dream has been lived.

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A smorgasbord of disease

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Long before the days of the internet, Australia had Dr James Wright.

Most countries of the world probably had their own Dr Wright.  
It seemed that no matter what time of the day or night, Dr Wright would be on the radio or TV dispensing free medical advice with evangelical enthusiasm.

He wrote the Family Medical Guide which was an essential part of the furniture in most homes.  A hard cover manual of monumental proportions which contained vivid details of most diseases known to humans in the 1970's.
I once read through his Manual and suddenly discovered I was suffering from 17 illnesses which I did not have before opening the book.

With the advent of the internet, I could easily be convinced that I have several hundred ailments.  Indeed right now I think I might have pernicious infectious splodge of the anterior sibongle, which can only be cured by intravenous oil of hedgehog.  (No, don't bother googling it).

I have resolved to only use the internet for medical opinion when I really seriously require it, and to accept only that information which appeals to my common sense.

Actor Orson Bean in his autobiography gives sage advice about dealing with most minor ailments.  "If you don't think about them, they go away".

In Australian aboriginal custom the procedure of "pointing the bone" was sometimes meted out to those who seriously offended custom, immediately inducing psychosomatic illnesses in the recipient who often died after a short period of time.
The ultimate example of the power of mind over matter.

But is this process limited to native cultures?  
Could not an unexpected medical diagnosis of cancer have precisely the same effect on someone who had, until that point, considered themselves healthy?
Too often, in matters of health care, we happily surrender our individual power and intelligence to the medical profession.

Are all those blood tests really needed for the patients benefit, or are many conducted simply to keep the machinery of medical industry running quiet with a constant and excessive application of monetary lubricant?

Perhaps we underestimate the capacity to control our own health outcomes through sensible lifestyle and dietary choices, and the healing power of the mind.

And I hope you don't catch my splodge when reading this blog.

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