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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Condoms or bulldozers

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Australia is the driest populated continent on earth.
During 2009, water storages in many cities and towns became perilously depleted.  Some to below 10% capacity.

Our nation's water managers regurgitated the get-out-of-jail-free explanation conveniently used for decades by politicians;
When in doubt, blame the drought.
Then they pushed the panic buttons…..new pipes to divert water from here to there.  Recycling sewage.  Desalination.  Water saving devices and regulations.

So how did we get into this mess?

I keep wondering just how much different the principle of supplying water for a town or nation is to what we had to do in the early years at GOF's Paradise.

We had to build a dam to provide adequate year-round reserves of water for domestic use, and to grow food for ourselves, and have surpluses to sell to make our living. 
We installed tanks, pipes and pumps to move the water around. 
None of this involved rocket science.

Before constructing the dam I had pangs of environmental guilt about flooding a beautiful fern gully, but it occupies only 1% of our total area, and is now home to platypuses, waterlilies, fish and birds.  
We also planted 5 acres of forest to encourage mother nature's forgiveness.

Governments of Australia in the early 1900's had a vision. One that included the construction of many inland water storages.
We once had water enough to waste on inefficient irrigation practices, and public urinals in a constant state of flush.

How did we get from that to the legislatively enforced desertification of suburbia we now have?
Drought, no doubt has contributed, but we've had that in the past.
Perhaps that our population has doubled since the last major storage dam was constructed might coincidentally have something to do with it?

What to do?

Zero population growth.  My previous deliberations on this subject were as popular as putting my mongrel dog into the Royal corgi breeding kennels, so I will explore the remaining possibilities.

Conserve and recycle.  Good, but someday our increasing population will catch up with the limits of that possibility too. 
GOF's logic would impertinently suggest that once a town's dam is empty with no facility to refill it, then any of its programs for conserving and recycling water will instantly become null and void.  Like the town itself.

Build new dams in strategic locations which are periodically subject to flooding. We all understand that some personal money kept in the bank is some protection against the inevitable financial "rainy day".  Why then should Governments not ensure maximum water storage as a buffer against drought.   Research could also be directed into methods of limiting evaporation from those storages.
Let politicians dream like they did 100 years ago and have the conviction to put the dreams into reality.  Affected landowners facing eviction or a life of treading water will naturally object to dam construction.
Offer them compensation of double market value and most of their objections will evaporate.   (During construction of the Hume Dam last century an entire town was relocated.)  
Environmentalists will complain vehemently, and that is their right.  Trade them "5 acres of forest" and some platypuses and birds to play around with, and let them know how their children will love water sports, and fun with a fishing line, and be nutritionally enriched by the vegetables they will be able to once again grow in their backyards.

Failure to adopt these alternatives leaves us with only one other.
We must get the water where mother nature always found it.
In the ocean.
Desalination.

Now perhaps that will require something a little more like rocket science.

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Labour saving devices

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The Bucket has always been a civic minded Institution which has now chosen to divert all it's scientific resources to assist past inventors whose patented innovations failed by just a gnats gonad to catch on.

1.  Centrifugal Birthing Apparatus

Patent # US 3216423        November 9, 1965.

The full name of this patent is “APPARATUS FOR FACILITATING THE BIRTH OF A CHILD BY CENTRIFUGAL FORCE”.  
“The present invention relates to [an] apparatus which utilizes centrifugal force to facilitate the birth of a child at less stress to the mother.  In the case of a woman who has a fully developed muscular system and has had ample physical exertion all through the pregnancy, as is common with all more primitive peoples, nature provides all the necessary equipment and power to have a normal and quick delivery. This is not the case, however, with more civilized women who often do not have the opportunity to develop the muscles needed in confinement.”

Evaluation

This is a truly worthy first recipient of Bucketary assistance, for its original failure was caused simply by failing to give adequate consideration to one basic biological fact.
Something which Julia Roberts almost accidentally stumbled upon  in "Pretty Woman". 

i.e. Babies, at the time of parturition, are "slippery little suckers".

Background

Test trials for this apparatus were carried out in a circular birthing suite with eight "catching nurses" stationed at the compass positions of North, NE, East etc around the room, as the birthing apparatus containing the mother-to- be rotated at increasing speed in a horizontal plane.

Minor casualties did however unfortunately occur when babies breached (sic) the cordon of nurses and slammed unimpeded into the padded perimeter walls.
Investigations at the time concluded that these regrettable incidents resulted from two things;
  
1. All women are not created equal when it comes to the g forces required to induce birth.  Excessive rotational speed combined with nurses standing too close in their catching positions caused most of the mishaps.

2. The failure of the nurses to understand that the trajectory of babies propelled from the moving platform was not linear. 
They had, as baseball catchers, soccer goalkeepers, and cricket wicketkeepers will understand,  "failed to pick up the correct line" of the baby in flight.

Recommendations;

The following proposals will improve efficiency, safety and social acceptability.
Firstly, two  guinea pigs birth mothers will be simultaneously harnessed into the apparatus.  This will engender "sisterhood through shared motherhood" unavailable with the original proposal of solitary confinement.
Secondly, the apparatus will be converted to have an elliptical track.  Only 4 catching nurses will then be required. 
Two each at the peak-g-force North and South positions.
One primary catcher, with a secondary backup.
Between the two points, the ladies may simply lie back and enjoy the ride.
Less staff + happy mothers = win-win.

The modified apparatus will be ready for field testing at the end of 2009 and pregnant volunteers are urgently required to assist with this process.  ( email;  catchingpractice@gofsentertainment.org)
In recognition and appreciation of the level of trust I must now enjoy with all the women of the world, I will be generously donating my own time to operate the speed-controlling rheostat.

The Bucket does not seek universal acclaim for these little contributions it makes to society. 
The knowledge that it has, in some small way, taken civilisation to another level of humanitarianism is adequate compensation.

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Architecture; the grand and the grotesque

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Bendigo is one of two historic inland provincial cities in the state of Victoria. Its foundations were laid during the gold rush of the 1850's.

It was my home town for part of my childhood, and I recently revisited it after an absence of almost half a century.

The first two pictures are examples of buildings constructed more than 100 years ago.  The third shows an example of architectural mediocrity which has replaced a grand old theatre which previously occupied the site.

I do not plan to lose any sleep over grand and elegant design being replaced by modern disposable architecture.  I think I should view it more as a challenge.

People of my advanced years apparently need to keep their minds occupied with new information, while embarking upon challenging new projects.

Now I understand this is a fairly long shot given the genteel nature of the residents of my neighbourhood, but does anyone have some residual experience from their misspent youth on how to blow up letter boxes with fire crackers?
Surely someone else could provide me with tuition on how to successfully implode really ugly sprawling modern buildings?

I promise not to hurt any humans, dogs, pussycats, ferrets or flamingos.

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Owl in distress

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Birds of various persuasions have featured rather disproportionately in The Bucket recently.
This injured owl wandered into our garden today.
Tomorrow we will take him to one of the wonderful local volunteer
wildlife carers.

I like owls.  I hope he recovers so I can bring him back to eat some rats.  I don't like rats..

P.S.  (I would have asked Dorothy for advice on how to look after it, except that this week we are only communicating through our lawyers 😦

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Ebony and Ivory

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(Title thanks to Paul McCartney)

God knows where I acquired my abhorrence of racism.
Maybe even He is scratching His omnipotent head in order to comprehend from whence it came.

Racism, reverse racism, discrimination based on ethnicity;  it is all equally repugnant to me.
It certainly did not come from my nominally Christian upbringing.
A father who vociferously implored me to understand that "pure breeding" was good, and just as applicable to humans as it was to his dairy cows. 
A creed which depicted Jesus as the morally superior white guy, and scriptures which made no reference, that I can remember, to Africans, Asians or any other native peoples. 
It also preached that all other sects and religions were inferior.
An education system which accorded hero status to Great Britain, conqueror, invader and dominator of all the "red bits" on the world map, and inferred insignificance upon the "rest of the world".

Nor did it come by osmosis from being raised in an Australian country town in the 1950's at a time when generations of Anglo-Saxon Governments had marginalised and relegated aboriginal Australians into second class citizens.  Indeed until 1967 they had no voting rights at all, and previous census statistics had included them in the category of "fauna".
Many country towns in Victoria had aboriginal camps and settlements located under bridges, or on their outskirts. 
European Australians drove over or past them at 60 mph without a sideways glance, or caring why it was so. 
I swallowed it all, hook, line and sinker.  Fourteen years old and totally persuaded that white was dominant.  White meant being superior, and that was the way my world said it should be.

Then, in 1962 I came face to face with my first black person.

A Fijiian missionary came to speak at our Methodist boys club.
I was entranced, not only by his appearance, but by his gentleness, warmth and intelligence, as he delivered his impassioned message.  A message which opened my eyes and my mind, and made me feel compassion for the inequities of his world. 
The world as seen from the other side of the discrimination fence. 

Like springtime rain on an apparently barren desert, it triggered the germination of whatever seed of "rightness" existed within me. 
Some core tenet that every human on earth deserved to be treated with equality and dignity.

Those developing principles took me to live and work with rural village people in Papua New Guinea for 12 years, where my new understandings were reinforced and fine tuned over hundreds of days and nights spent listening to the wisdom of village elders, most of whom could neither read nor write. 
These custodians of oral history generously imparted to me their philosophies which were constantly being drawn upon as they lived their lives with simplicity.  Wisdom which would apply equally to princes, millionaires, and every other human on the planet should they care to listen.
Principles common to all humanity involving self, the family, the community and our relationship with the universe.

Australia has made huge advances in cultural diversity and racial tolerance since the 1960's, and, after various waves of immigration has pride in declaring itself a multicultural society.
A society which, for the most part, is homogenous and functions well.

Let us, however, not be totally fooled by our own publicity.

Discriminatory racial and ethnic barriers remain within our policies towards accepting refugees.
 
Unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles also effectively deter or prevent genuine tourists coming from poorer countries. 
Perhaps not in official policy, but certainly in practical reality.

Aboriginal Australians deserve to be given back more of the land we stole from them, as encouragement to once again live with traditional dignity.  (then leave administrative responsibility in the very capable hands of people like Noel Pearson, a man of exceptional intellect and practicality, who is also adept at detente.)

Until these inequities are rectified we are all unable to hold our heads as high as we otherwise might.

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So who needs that stupid Dorothy anyway!

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I would like to acknowledge my wonderful Vox neighbours who provide me with so much pleasure.
On this particular occasion special thanks to the gifted and creative Little Odd Me

(for newcomers, this effectively and thankfully terminates the "Dear Dorothy" discussion two posts below this one)

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Signs of winter in the tropics

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