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Monthly Archives: April 2009

GOF and Globets Magical History Tour

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I have just returned from a fantastic week revisiting and reliving my childhood.
Every location brought back an emotional recollection of places and events forgotten during the subsequent 50 years. The journey provided for me a reassuring certainty that my years from 5 to 12 provided the mould for the adult I was to become.

Growing old is renowned for not having too many advantages attached.  I thought I might have stumbled across a new one.

GOF, with Globet in tow, arrived unannounced at each of his childhood abodes and provided a suitably suave and debonair introduction to the current owners;
"Good afternoon Sir,  My name is GOF, and, in the middle of the last century I lived in this house."

My performances earned entry, tea, biscuits, and cakes at each location, plus one jar of apricot jam, together with an escorted tour of each property.
I was beginning to dream of wider applications for my new and obviously convincing social skills.
My pride in the power of seniority was however short lived.
Globet removed me from my newly acquired pedestal by suggesting that had I not been accompanied by an attractive young woman at the time of these introductions, then I probably would have had doors slammed in my face, and been arrested for vagrancy or impersonating a religious salesman.
So, unfortunately it is time to quit while I am ahead.

That's what I like about Globet. She keeps me from exceeding my station in life.

I also enjoy immensely her company and sick jokes.
Thank you Globet for uncomplainingly allowing me to throw a large spanner into your social works, and for your tolerance of all my repetitious life stories.  You are now free to clobber me if you hear them one more time.

The last week has, for me, included some of the most wonderful days of my life.  I suspect also that when Globet gets to my age she will not have forgotten the time when she had fun with her Dad on a little road trip.

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Evidence that I actually went somewhere

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In the early 1950's my parents bought 240 acres of almost soil-less quartz and clay at Castlemaine, Victoria, in a 20" p.a. rainfall zone and attempted to make their living from dairying. 
It had previously been used as a prison farm to keep inmates usefully occupied.
Mum and Dad, with assistance from extended family built this house in 1953, and it has recently been modernised and renovated by the present owners.
These days it also has electricity connected.

The prison gatekeeper was responsible for screening visitors to the farm.  The building was used by little gof as the worlds most fantastic cubby house equipped with stove and fireplace.

Confronting this building after almost 50 years was an emotional experience for me.  With my Dad often in hospital, Mum and I would hand milk 20 cows before and after school.  My school was 3 miles away, although often a much longer distance with my bicycle detours exploring bush tracks.
Milking machines were installed in 1956.

This monument is an indication of the regard that people in many country towns have for those who fought for the freedoms we now have. 
We coincidentally visited here on the Anzac remembrance day weekend.  

For the ultra modern gentlemen of the world who would like to emulate GOF's chic ensemble, he is wearing a pleasing denim and wool combo, with vinyl jacket, and crowned by a unique and stylish item of oriental knitwear, hastily obtained from a secondhand shop for $2, to stop his ears from freezing off.

4 degrees Celsius.  What more needs to be said!

Victoria is unsuitable for human habitation.

For at least one human anyway.

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Third time lucky?

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GOF lives on the tropical tablelands, and his 6 kilometer long- and-winding road through the jungle has a human population density of one per lineal kilometer.
( no comments please about invalid units of measurement)Daughter Globet lives and works at the opposite end of Australia, in Melbourne, population 3.7 million.Now I am uncertain how anyone ever counted this number.
My experience is that for sheep and cattle you funnel them into fenced yards and then run them through a narrow “race,” and even then if 6 people are counting there will be 6 completely different totals.
As far as I am aware, Melbourne does not have human yards, although I would consider it a very great honor to be given the task of converting the central railway station into one, and droving the whole 3.7 million through it with the assistance of my electric cattle prodder.

I am also professionally qualified to provide ancillary services such as oral-drenching to treat any gastro-intestinal worm infections, and I have a perfectly functional surgical quality stainless elastrator with which to apply emasculation rubber bands to ensure that next year there will not be an even greater population of Melbournians to run through my yards.

But I have digressed yet again.

Twice during the last 4 years I have attempted to spend a week or two visiting Globet.  Each time I have failed to last the distance.

Firstly I have a reticence to travel because of the mind numbing boredom of sitting on my arse for 3 hours in an aeroplane breathing in recycled germs from all the coughers and splutterers.
Cabin staff should have the power to remove diseased passengers into the cargo hold, or, for those with more serious contagion infringing public health etiquette, into the wheel wells.

On both of my previous excursions to Melbourne, appalling weather, ( in Cairns, when the temperature drops below 20 degrees C, it is officially known as “bleak”)  and the culture shock of 3.7 million people in one place has seen me on a return flight to GOF’s paradise after only 48 hours.
Some family and friends view my behaviour as a source of mirth.

On the last occasion Mrs GOF, who had been looking forward to at least a week without me, (why?) almost refused to let me back in my own house when I unexpectedly boomeranged home in the middle of the night after only 2 days away.

I have since entertained the prospect that perhaps I should simply make day visits.  Globet could meet me at the airport terminal in Melbourne for a cup of coffee after which I could catch the return flight. But $300 per cup of coffee did seem a little over-indulgent in these testing economic times.

Tomorrow, early, at around a quarter past sparrow-fart, I am going to face my demons, and infectious fellow humans, for the third time.
As daughterly wisdom would have it, I am seriously leaving my comfort zone.

Globet is going to chauffeur me on a grande tour to all the places of my childhood in country Victoria, many of which I have not seen for 50 years.   GOF and Globs excellent nostalgic adventure.

I am also going to relive my greatest sporting achievement.
GOF and his young-adolescent friend Alan were an unbeatable partnership in every three-legged race ever conducted during 1961- 64  at the annual Bendigo Combined Protestant Sunday School Picnics.
The price of this athletic fame and glory, and our preference to avoid media attention, meant that we have had no contact with each other for the last 45 years.  We are going to rectify that sad state of affairs over some sort of beverage, which will hopefully not once again leave us with a deficiency in the leg department.

My Vox neighbors will be relieved to know that GOF will be absent for ten days, during which time their blogs will remain free of his unnecessary comment.

But then again, I might just be back in around 48 hours.



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Wars are good ……….

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………for very little except the following;

New Guinea, an innocent bystander, found itself plumb in the path of Japanese expansionist forces during World War 2.

Closely followed by Australia's defense response, and a massive United States military presence, both of which combined with loyal Papuans and New Guineans to eventually achieve the formal Japanese surrender at Wewak in September 1945.

The US does not pussyfoot around when it comes to conducting warfare.
Nor does it spend much time dusting the shelves or vacuuming under the beds when it comes time to leave.

At Finschhafen, a major base for US forces in New Guinea, massive amounts of infrastructure, stores and machinery were simply bulldozed off the end of the isthmus into the ocean, leaving behind only two things.

1. Cleared earth.

2. A wonderful opportunity for an enterprising Australian businessman to almost immediately hoist everything back out of the sea, and, in very short order become a millionaire ship and aircraft owner from the proceeds of selling scrap metal.

Twenty years after the war, as a rural village development worker I was eternally grateful to the Americans for providing a seemingly limitless supply of marsden matting, (perforated steel sheeting used to surface military aircraft landing strips)  44 gallon drums, wire rope of all dimensions, and steel culvert pipes.

These resources were used for good purposes building houses, suspension foot bridges over deep gorges, copra driers, and village smallholder pig and poultry projects.

Now, living my own low-key bush lifestyle in Australia, I miss not having access to marsden matting.

K Mart continually ignores my requests to stock it.  
Surely there must be some surplus in Iraq or Afghanistan that they could get hold of if they were really interested in customer service.

As a sobering byline I wish to present the following figures to illustrate the utter futility of war and the waste of human life.
300,000 militarily brainwashed young Japanese men took part in the New Guinea invasion.
60,000 died in battle.
110,000 died from tropical diseases and starvation.
The remainder surrendered.

For what  result?   Absolutely nothing!

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About caffeine, sludge and health

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Sooner or later in life most of us will need to confront a health wake up call.
For me it came in my forties with an assortment of vague, persistent, and seemingly unrelated symptoms including lethargy, recurrent headaches and mouth ulcers.
Scans and blood tests found no cause, and antibiotics had no effect.

Thus began a lengthy process of learning why for me, at least in this case, modern medicine was so ineffective.  
It led me eventually to Ross Horne who, over a period of 20 years, had studied the works of many eminent health practitioners of the past century, and reached conclusions, 80% of which appealed to my common sense.

Horne was an airline pilot whose interest in health was initiated by his observation that so many of his fellow pilots who had passed rigorous annual health checks were dying within 5 years of retiring at age 60.

His academic research focusses on the much earlier work of Max Gerson, Pritikin and others, and theories regarding "homeostasis" …the health and function of individual cells within the body.
Horne's findings and recommendations in effect lead us to understand that we all have significant power to control our own health simply by what we choose to eat.  
Accordingly he was never very popular with modern medical practitioners.

He suggests that our body cells and immune systems benefit greatly from regular "de-sludging" to remove accumulated fat and toxins, and choosing a diet to keep them in optimum functioning condition.

In practical terms, for most western diets, this means a drastic reduction in fat and protein intake and a reliance on fruit and vegetables (preferably raw).

He also recommended a "sure fire" cure for those with a collection of vague symptoms similar to those I was experiencing.
I am a sceptic of the first order, but I had nothing to lose.

Four days of fasting (water only) or for those a little undisciplined like me, small amounts of a single variety of fruit for 4 days. (eg grapes or watermelon).
He warned that the first 2 or 3 days would be tough….even worse headaches and weakness as the body cells detoxified.

The results for me were nothing short of miraculous.  Three days were tough, but as promised, all the symptoms disappeared, and even without food on the fourth day I had a strength and energy I had not known for many years.

Occasionally since then I have reverted to bad eating habits and drunk a little more coffee than was good for me, and the symptoms resurfaced.  

A serious hour of bone thumping therapeutic body massage, followed by 4 days of raw fruit and vegetables, has, to this time in my life, always provided an energising and curative solution.

It would be irresponsible of me to suggest that this is a guaranteed cure for serious health disorders, although it may well have a significant preventative value for many of our "lifestyle diseases".  
It should also be noted that fasting for longer periods should only be done under supervision.

P.S.   Ross Horne's findings are to be found in several books including "Health and Survival in the Twenty First Century" which is now available free of charge as an online document here

For anyone interested in an overview of his work I would recommend initially reading the Authors Preface, Introduction, then Chapters 15 and 16 on how diet relates to health.

P.P.S.   I realise that a post of this nature might well be tempting fate, and that the Great Universal Combine Harvester may choose to include me in tomorrows reaping schedule.
Nevertheless I wish to acknowledge Ross Horne as a major contributor to my understanding of human health and nutrition.

It is my hope that others may also find some enlightenment from his work.


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Icons and inspirations

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Astronomers have the milky way,
Painters, a morning sunrise.
Ballerinas, Dame Margot Fonteyn.
Physicists, Isaac Newton.
Freedom fighters, Nelson Mandela,
Archaeologists, Egyptian ruins.
Harmonica players, Larry Adler.
Mountaineers, the Eiger
Glider pilots, soaring eagles
And GOF has his scrap bucket.

Oh well, nine outta ten aint bad.

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A matter of time

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One of the great frustrations of Westerners who choose to visit or live in a developing country involves cultural differences in the way people use and measure their time.

Every activity in industrialised nations is scheduled around the clock.
It is precisely that regimented adherence to "time management", and the achievement of work targets, which has of course driven our progress from the Industrial Revolution until this day.

Our morning wake-up alarms are set.
We expect trains and buses to depart precisely on time.
It would be nice if our bosses pay us on the allocated day.

Much of the world however, does not operate with such concern for the passage of time.  It has a more laissez-faire approach which results in local phenomena such as manana, Pacific Islands time, or one with which I have a more intimate knowledge,
"Papua New Guinea time".

The newcomer in these communities has two options.

1.  Fight it.  Whinge, whine, and bitch about it. 
     Try to change it.  Tell the people and the world how inferior
     their civilisation is compared to your own.

2.  Go with the flow, even if only out of concern for your own
     blood pressure.

Option one implies that Westerners have some superior life skills, including time management, which need to be mimicked by all societies around the world. 

So who is "right"?

Many of the communities in "developing" nations have existed more or less with their current philosophies, ethical and social values for thousands of years.
Compare that to our own unstable and frenetic activities. 
We have seen an explosion of technology, and unprecedented destruction of our environment and family structures in the relatively short period of time since the Industrial Revolution.

Have we simply been rats on the treadmill of life who have lost the ability to get off, or at least slow it down a little to enjoy the view out of the gymnasium window?  

Well folks, the treadmill is now defunct. Ratshit. Cactussed. Kaput.
Too many of my friends were thrown off it by the sheer mass of big feet pounding it into overspeed.
Treadmill wizards are attempting to repair the whole kaboodle with string and sticky tape.
It requires a total re-design and reconstruction, to accommodate all members of the club simultaneously, and at a regulated speed.

And if the Pope and his ilk continue to uncontrollably shove new members in through the front door, then the whole freakin' clubhouse will implode and eventually collapse.
The treadmill will then cease to have any relevance whatsoever.

Perhaps it is time for us to pay some attention to the simple, wise and dignified human beings who live in the cultural slow lane, and learn some of their secrets about longevity of society.
For it was one of them who said;

"You Westerners have the watches.

We…………………….have the time."    

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Two good people

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If my parents were still alive they would now both be 100 years of age.

They were products of working class, suburban, devout Methodist families.
Dad a printer by trade, and Mum a factory worker.

Their individual young dreams were probably irrevokably altered by the real depression of the 1930's,  and they deferred plans of marriage until after the second world war.

Dad enlisted in the air force and was a navigator on Beaufort bombers.  He later spoke little of these experiences, but I know he was posted to Winnipeg, Ceylon, Cairo and England.

His war was to leave him embittered and physically injured.
Yet he rightfully had great pride at having defended Australia from invasion.  Had it not been for him and all the other brave young Australian men and women, this blog would probably be written in Japanese, for there were political plans in place to sacrifice at least half of Australia to the Japanese should an invasion occur.

My Mum did what all the other women of that period did.  She kept the factories and the country operating in the absence of men at war.

War injuries and a quarrying accident ensured my Dad would have difficulty finding permanent post-war employment.  So many memories I have of my Dad involve me seeing him in a hospital bed.
He died at age 65.
Enduring inner peace and happiness having been denied him by the stupidity of war.

They raised me in an era when children were "seen but not heard".  
I was compliant.  Even when my Mum was ailing at age 80, I still felt I had no right, as her child, to ask about many events in her life.   
I retain numerous regrets about that, and resolved that my own children would not be deprived knowledge about my life, thoughts and philosophies.
That, in part, is a reason for the existence of GOF's scrap bucket.

I hope my Mum and Dad are in their heaven, and looking down upon the life of their boy, finding some pride amongst the disappointments,  thankfulness that he has not witnessed military conflict, and observing that he retains some principles of what is right,  moral, and good from their teaching and example.

Perhaps they might also understand my reasons for jettisoning organised religion as the vehicle for transporting these qualities with me through my life.

I thank them for providing this miraculous and wonderful gift of life.

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