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Monthly Archives: March 2009

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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Mysteries of life #38.24.36; Mixed messages

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(Ed;   The Bucket acknowledges that many opinions expressed by GOF in these pages are quite obviously the result of inadequate or even zero research.   Occasionally he is sent on fact-finding excursions to remedy this imbalance.
On reflection it is probably best for his own welfare that he remain in his bush retreat and continue writing unresearched rubbish.)

Men of the world are constantly reminded of the offence they cause to women  by habitually gazing at their chests instead of their eyes.

Why then, do so many women choose to wear tee shirts with mysterious and attractive messages emblazoned across the front if they don't want us to look there?  

An example if I may from my recent exhaustive shopping centre studies.
(There was to be an accompanying photographic portfolio with this story, except the mean security guard confiscated my memory cards.)

"The best just got better"  was worn rather snugly by a member of my random sample group.

Pondering what lay behind these five words I found a couple of quite magnificent opportunities for semantic palpation.  
Who previously judged what was "best"?,
and who gets to decide whats "better"?.  
And the ever perplexing "best what?". 

To assist with my intellectual closure, I accordingly manoeuvred myself several times into strategic positions within the shopping centre, to re-read the message, just to make sure there was no additional fine print lurking beneath in the shadows, which I might have missed on earlier viewings.

Security guards apparently have no respect for the honest pursuit of knowledge.

The picture of me which appeared on the front page of the local newspaper was totally unflattering.

And the fingerprinting ink won't wash off either.

I have pleaded "not guilty" to all seven charges.
Having chosen to conduct my own defense, I now have the onerous task of studying legal statutes, and maybe some precedent, in the unlikely event that someone in the past did what I did.

GOF will be absent from The Bucket for the next 4 days. 

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Toni Childs concert review

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It should be mentioned that Mr and Mrs GOF enjoy attending music concerts several times each year, and do not often find need to complain.
We appreciate that international quality entertainers only occasionally visit our neck of the woods, and we like to lend our support.

This one was an exercise of endurance and suffering.
In short it was the most appalling unprofessional event we have ever has the misfortune to witness and pay for.
Firstly the venue was 40 minutes late opening its doors, then the usher staff were confused at the seat numbering system, and the concert began before most people could get in.  
No great shame.  
We suffered with an hour of ageing paunchy Aussie rocker Richard Clapton accompanied on stage by at least 1 bottle of beer from which he found regular need to refresh himself, even mid-way through some of his raucous super amplified exhibitions of vocal inadequacy.
Now I am as athiest as almost anyone could be, but I defend the right of Christian patrons not to have to put up with blasphemous banter when they have paid $100 to be entertained by music.

Next, Toni Childs.  My worlds most powerful, unique, emotional, beautiful voice utterly spoiled and distorted by gross over-amplification and drowned out by the imbalance of guitars and drums over the vocal performance.  Ms Childs also during her minimal 35 minute performance had to consult with her drummer on 3 occasions to find out what song she was supposed to sing next.  Not good enough.  Nowhere near good enough.

The most pleasant part of the evening was watching 10 roadies rearrange the furniture and entertain us with spurts of electronic feedback for 35 minutes prior to the appearance of the main event…..Jackson Browne….. I am unable to provide a review of his complete performance, for Mrs GOF and I decided to have more respect for our hearing, and left the scene of the fiasco following his third over-decibellage offering.

None of the performers were introduced to the audience in the normal time-honoured tradition of live music.  They just anonymously ambled in from the shadows and began assaulted our eardrums.

Worst concert I have ever had the misfortune to pay $100 to attend.
Cairns Convention Centre should be ashamed of its unprofessionalism and stick to hosting basketball games and tax-minimising talk-fests for lawyers, doctors and corporate high fliers.

 Now I'm going back to bed to let my eardrums recover.

Perhaps when I wake up I will discover it was all just a bad dream.

PS…  late addition for anyone who would like to hear how she really sings, here she is with Many rivers to cross

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Bufo is not amused

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When he was young he used to smile.
Not any more.     
With good reason.
He is hated, despised and discriminated against.
Yet he is the innocent victim of a single act of stupidity.

One hundred of his ancestors were toad-napped and forcibly relocated from their native South America, via Hawaii, to Australia in 1935 by humans.
Highly educated humans who had delusions of their ability to manipulate nature.

Bufo was set to work in a sugar cane plantation at Gordonvale, North Queensland, to eat two species of the cane beetle pest.
He discovered lots of wonderful things to eat in and around the cane paddock, but by dint of personal preference, or maybe toad religious doctrine, cane beetles unfortunately rarely passed his lips.

Other natural wildlife tasted so good on Bufo's palate, that all the rellies now occupy 5% of Australia's landmass in a rapidly expanding search for delicious new dietary ingredients.

Bufo of course is not the first animal to display this sort of adventurous behaviour.

Another species, from origins many thousands of years ago in the heart of Africa, managed to spread across and overpopulate much of planet Earth, destroying entire ecosystems as it went.

Bufo's sad expression merely reflects the gross inequity of his species being so unfairly maligned, hated, and a target for destruction.

He also has serious misgivings about human ability to conduct sustainable and sensible ecological planning and practice.

That makes two of us.

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Grand expenditure

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My second favorite television program at the moment is one of UK origin called Grand Designs. 
(top of my list is the archaeological Time Team)

Each Grand Design program follows the often frustrating progress of someone designing, building or renovating a house in a unique, innovative and grand style.

I am able to some small degree understand the enormity of the task confronting people embarking on projects of such complexity.

Mr and Mrs GOF in 1983, double-handedly built their own home.
Not grand in design. 
An $8000 budget effectively prohibited delusions of grandeur.
(As did the experience of hand digging by crowbar and spade all trenches for the concrete footings.), 
Nor was it grand in the execution of the build. 
It remains unfinished 26 years later.
Nevertheless it is a warm, cosy cottage which provides a barrier to the weather, and most of the tree snakes who would seek to share our comfort. It is filled with memorabilia and images reminding us of the achievements and challenges of our quarter century here.

Grand Designs features the top end of house architecture, often with a price tag approaching $1 million.
The way architecture has changed over the centuries reflecting different civilisations is a fascinating subject. Great architecture is like fine art.  It elevates the human spirit.  It dares to be different.
It reaches for the sublime, and occasionally achieves it.

I have admiration for those who seek to excel in all fields of human endeavour.  Respect for those who dream to take mankind on a new and different path.

The program is also enticing to me with its portrayal of human relationships under pressure.  Financial or personal. 
House building rarely proceeds completely according to plan.

As much as I love this program, it often leaves me with a feeling of ambivalence.
Various examples below from several episodes cause me to invoke thoughts and questions for ethical consideration.

1. A nuclear family of 4 builds a $3 million Georgian-replica mansion with an additional triple carport and 4 guest rooms above.

2. A single man does not bat an eyelid when his quoted $20,000 renovation of a single bedroom apartment blows out to $100,000.

3. $15,000 is spent on wallpapering the master bedroom.

4. A walk-in wardrobe large enough to house an entire family of  Rwandan refugees is built to accommodate the clothes for 2 people.

5. $18,000 for a custom designed shower stall.

6. $15,000 for a stereo sound system. (television and video system additional).

Does anyone else find questionable issues of morality here?

I rarely view ethical matters as either distinctly black or white. 
That is the reserve of fanatics. My world is a myriad shades of grey.  This dilemma for me adds another grey hue.

Does this level of personal indulgence constitute an obscenity when so many in the world, through no fault of their own, have neither food nor shelter?

Then again, perhaps ordinary people who witnessed construction of the pyramids, Buckingham palace, Windsor castle, and Hearst castle also asked similar questions at the time.

Has the jury of time handed down its decision yet in the matter of
The People vs Personal Edifices?

Note;  All figures are approximate, in Australian dollars.
           At the time of writing one $A = 70 US cents.

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Toni Childs concert

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Only 3 sleeps to go.

Tomorrow it will only be two.    🙂

S l o w   d o w n   t h e   e x c i t e m e n t  o l d  f e l l a.
L i m i t e d  n u m b e r  o f   h e a r t b e a t s  l e f t.
R a t i o n   e m.   

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Here a sign, there a sign……

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One hundred thousand too many signs.

Urban myth would have it that old farts like me have a difficult time keeping motor vehicles where they should be on the road.

Nowhere near as much trouble it would statistically seem than the 18 to 30 year old males who drive with the competence of graduates from the Campus of Lemmings, rather than driving school.

It is a wonder that anyone at all remains on the tarmac whilst being constantly distracted by superfluous traffic advisory signs.
There is a forest of them, all vying for the attention of my eyeballs at the approaches to many towns, intersections and roundabouts.

And they seem to breed like rabbits. Every week some new ones.

Are they all for our benefit and safety, or are they each one an individual monument to every single bureaucrat and labourer who was ever employed by the Council or Main Roads Department?
Are the really big dazzlingly reflective signs hallowed memorials for some deceased patriarch of road workers, who, back in the 1960's leaned on his shovel**** with his mates behind the "men at work" sign?

These days they don't lean on shovels any more. 
They sit in a gaggle of air-conditioned four wheel drives with flashing orange lights whilst watching the half million dollar excavator clean a few leaves out of the roadside drain.

I am going to launch a campaign ( why is it always my responsibility to launch all these campaigns of civil disobedience……I am constantly risking lengthy periods of incarceration, and have yet to receive a single "Hope you get out soon GOF" card)  to rid this country of puerile traffic advisory signs like;

"slippery when wet"  I learned this lesson in Grade 1 thank you very much after falling off the concrete steps when it was raining.

"heavy fog, lights on"  is the newest one.  I know I am a bloody genius with my ability to recognise what that thick white stuff is and what to do when I drive through it, but does anyone else need to read this information in two foot high lettering for the 98% of the time when there is no fog at all. 
Then, for the 2% of the time when the sign might be of use to somebody, it suddenly becomes invisible in the fog.

"loose stones travel slowly"   Do they really?  Very slowly indeed I would have thought unless some idiot Land Cruiser driver speeding through new roadworks kicks one up into your windscreen.

Next Christmas I am going to ask Santa for the worlds biggest angle grinder.  I am going to clear fell anything which is not a speed advisory,  "stop" or "give way" sign, or a direct aid to my navigation.

The other 9996 messages are surplus to my requirements.

Common sense, and courtesy to others, are not.

**** shovel /shu-vell/  ancient artifact, tool, which, with regular use  prevented obesity.

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