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Monthly Archives: October 2009

The joy of tax

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It is that time of year in Australia when tax documents must be lodged for the previous financial year.

Mrs GOF and I look forward to it, because our tax accountant relocated to the beautiful tropical mountain village of Kuranda.

We can behave for the day just like the tourists who disembark from either the train which winds its way through tunnels up the coastal escarpment from Cairns, or the world renowned Skyrail rainforest viewing cablecar.

We dine out cheap and alfresco on a village specialty; 
Kangaroo pie with coffee, and watch the world go by, which it does very slowly, in this stunningly beautiful part of North Queensland.

The Taxation Commissioner of Australia I suspect rarely schedules an office party to celebrate the electronic arrival of our paperwork, for our little plant nursery provides only a basic income for ourselves, with an occasional allocation of beer money for him.

Sometimes I feel that we are a very weak link in Australia's economic chain, for there has never been a time in my life when I was driven to try and make large amounts of money and accordingly pay more tax.

I subscribe to a quaint old country boy's belief that my entitlement to riches does not extend above that which accrues proportionate to the physical labour I put into the project.

Lotteries, share trading, speculative investment, get-rich-quick schemes and chasing rainbows are of no interest to me.

Once again the poetic and philosophical words of LaPoone;

"Eyes unblinkingly focussed on some distant pot of gold
 Will never see peripheral beauty along the way unfold."

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Corporal punishment : GOF’s 21st century review

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The experience of life has left me with the belief that the occasional impeccably timed smack on a kid's arse after reasonable attempts at negotiation have failed, can be a useful and effective deterrent against its subsequent delinquency.

Last year when I expressed this view I was taken to task by some of my Vox neighbors.  This year I have felt obliged to examine whether or not I was perpetuating antiquated barbaric behaviour, and to check whether any other cracks might have developed in my 20th century fortress of child raising certainty.

The immediate dilemma was where to find another child on which to experiment.  Globet, for reasons unknown, vamoosed many years ago to live at the opposite extremity of this large continent.
And anyway if I attempted to lay a disciplinary hand on her 27 year old backside today the most favourable outcome from the menu of potential repercussions would probably be that her gymnasium toned body would simply pound my patriarchal puniness into pulp.

Society also apparently frowns upon old men randomly selecting children to smack in supermarkets, even though the temptation on occasions is almost overwhelming.
Long term readers will remember that GOF additionally has some "prior history" of questionable behaviour in shopping centres which resulted in him being banned from two of them.

My review options were becoming seriously restricted.

I thought that maybe doing a few experiments on animals might be more acceptable, but Animal Welfare caught me at it and told me it wasn't.
At least no conviction was recorded, and I am learning a lot during my community service at the local animal shelter.

The only remaining opportunity for me was to do my testing on some inanimate object, and just in the nick of time I was presented with a suitable contender.

Our 20 year old television set suddenly had the temerity to display floating rainbow colours instead of any transmitted program.

Whack!!! on the side panel.
Picture restored.   (instantly, but temporarily)
Whack!!!!!    Wallop!!!!!!
Picture back.
I am well on the way to proving my point of view here.

However after two weeks of corrective discipline administered with increasing frequency and intensity, and just as I was about to scout around for a suitable weapon with which to administer a damn good flogging, I decided last Sunday in a moment of frustrated exhaustion to sit down in front of the television and speak quietly to it.

(I have cleaned this up a little for the benefit of your innocent eyes)

"I am dissatisfied with your recent performance.
 Next Thursday I am going to take you to the dump recycle centre,
 then I am going to buy a new digital TV"

We have had a perfect television picture for the last 2 days.

My belief system is now in tatters.

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A gift for Globet

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(The attached little comedy sketch is specially for Globet, and for anyone else whose week has also not been entirely filled with sunshine.)

Glob, if one day Old Gof comes to stay for a while, then invites our mutual septuagenarian Vox friend/resident philosopher to visit, the conversation you witness across your dining room table may, on occasions, perhaps go a little bit like this;

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Crunching numbers

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Papua New Guinea has more than 600 distinct languages because the tribal groups evolved in geographical isolation from each other and the world. 
Similarly, their systems of counting were traditionally many and varied, and rarely decimally based.

Foreigners seeking numerical answers from village elders to questions in "Tok Pisin", the lingua franca of PNG, sometimes elicit the response "sori mi sot long namba".  ("sorry, I have run out of numbers")

This brings me to thinking that a whole lot of numbers might be surplus to my own requirements too.
Only rarely does my numerical vocabulary have practical use for numbers greater than one thousand.

For good things in life like good friends, sunsets and moon-rises, happy days and memories, my counting system goes something like this;
98,  99,  100,  Sufficient.  Be thankful.

For bad things like broken electoral promises, aggressive people, flat tyres, and bodily ailments, I count;
98,  99,  100,  Too many.  Automatic cutoff.  Stop counting.

I certainly have no earthly use for the number One Million.

Once, together with some friends in Form 4 at school I tried to grasp the true magnitude of the number 1,000,000.

The corridor of our new school was 6 feet wide, and the ceiling was clad with perforated fibro sheeting.  The holes were spaced 2 inches apart, so that every foot of corridor length had approximately 200 little holes in the ceiling.

It was quite sobering to understand that the corridor would have needed to be almost a mile long before we could have counted 1 million holes.

(There is also a remote possibility that my arithmetic is faulty given that I achieved 19% in my mathematics examination that year.  I think  I might have been too busy counting holes in the ceiling to be concerned with the real curriculum)

These days, whenever I read that someone has paid $1 million for a house, or has a mortgage of $500,000 I know that it represents an awful lot of $5 notes.
I understand five dollar notes best, because it is the hourly rate of pay I earned during my years of milking cows and doing other farm work.

And a BILLION of anything? 

Well frankly it is just way too many.

You can have them.  The whole lot. 

The entire one thousand miles of corridor.

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Emjay is a slightly troublesome Vox neighbour of mine.

In a nice way.  She regularly publishes gorgeous photographically illustrated accounts of life in her town which occupy far too much of my time and limited solar power in viewing admiration, and occasionally they also send me scurrying back on nostalgic journeys into my past.
Such was the case when she included the picture of a draught horse in a photo documentary.

When we first moved to GOF's Paradise, I desperately wanted the first farm animal resident to be a draught horse.  Unfortunately it was going to cost several thousand dollars at a time when we were earning considerably less than $100 per week, so the dream did not come true.  

Until the late 1960's, suburban Melbourne still had the "Milko"; 
Vendors with draught horses pulling drays, home delivering milk in glass bottles with silver foil lids which would regularly occasion fingerly harm when us kids attempted to open them incorrectly.

The Agricultural College I attended was built on 6000 acres, at least 20 miles away from any town.  It had, in effect, its own self sufficient little township of Currawa housing all the 100 staff necessary to operate such an esteemed institution, along with their families.

Occasionally our student work roster would have us out of bed before 5 am to prepare Pip the draught horse, reverse her into the 4 wheeled milk cart harness, load bottled milk from the farm dairy, and home deliver it according to the written list of recipients we were given.

It mattered not if, in the dark, we could not identify which house belonged to whom.  Pip knew from all her years of experience on the job, and she would only stop at the houses which needed milk delivered.

Whilst clopping along between houses she would perform an equine rectal extravaganza;
Farts (and sometimes more) of such depth and richness, magnitude and frequency, that they provided top shelf comedic entertainment for teenage boys.

Most of us loved Pip.
Draught horses are the Dalai Lama's of the animal world.
They are gentle in deed and thought.
They are, quite simply, beautiful animals.

Pip died in 1967.
Her death brought a sorrowfull pall of gloom over the whole campus and community.
A sadness that I can still recall after all this time with almost as much clarity as that which followed the assassination of JFK in the same decade.

Pip was one of the greatest ambassadors for animals I ever knew.

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Oh dear, it’s back.

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GOF, it would appear, has returned.

As that troubled 20th century philosopher LaPoone once observed;

"Putrid marine sludge will often disappear from the beach out to sea on one high tide, only to eventually return again on another."

I was quite happy to leave GOF where he last found himself.
Deaded, desiccated, and processed into a nourishing Soylent Green biscuit.

Thank you to those friends who gave me encouragement to resume blogging.  Especially Globet, who, when every pulse of her intelligence must have been happy with my biscuit option, nevertheless chose to give me inspiration to write again.

During the last few weeks (apart from waiting an eternity for someone to come and fix up my satellite internet) I have spent many hours walking around my favourite place, Wooroonooran National Park, just a short bicycle ride from my front doorstep.

Here are just a few reasons why;

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