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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Dirty rotten planks

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This is a shameful piece of cross-promotional nepotism.

Nevertheless, I should tread very carefully because I am not a member of Globet's favourite gender at the moment.

It is probably fortunate that I once philosophically inoculated her against precisely this sort of affliction.  
Back in Grade 8, when I first caught her checking out some blonde-haired juvenile Adonis, I took her aside and presented her with ;

GOF's Law #1 for Daughters;

"All men are bastards.  Don't have anything to do with them."

Now this little seed of Goffish wisdom was apparently sown upon infertile ground and it's first little growth shoot was killed off by the subversive herbicide of Mrs GOF whose main concern in life is to own grandchildren.

I think Globet is turning back towards my point of view.
With a vengeance.  And poise.  And dignity.
And expressive colourful vocabulary.      I'm proud of my Inga.

But it is time for me to announce GOF's Law #2 for Daughters;

"There are exceptions to Law #1.  Rare, but worthwhile.
Even so, they still need some supervised probation to make sure that they are not tempted to graze outside the home paddock."

Globet's latest justification for GOF's Law #1  is here

I'm sure she deserves better advice than mine.

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Always 2 steps ahead….A tribute to Ian Rowles

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Have you ever had a role model in life, who might have played for your team, yet was forever positioned at the far end of the field which thus prevented your paths from ever crossing?

Someone you held in high regard, yet they never even knew you existed?

Have you had a distant admiration for someone, based only upon the trail of evidence and reputation which they left for you to find along your road of life?

Someone you were never quite able to catch up with. Ever.

That person in my life was a man called Ian Rowles.

Physically, the closest I ever got to him was soon after my posting to the tiny outstation at Pindiu in Papua New Guinea in 1972.    
He came, very briefly, to within about ten feet of me.

Above.

"Rowlesy" was piloting his single-engined taildragger Cessna 185 when he sneaked between treetops on the 5000 foot high mountain  behind my house, cut his throttle and dive-bombed a group of us standing beside the airstrip, before heading off directly to his home in the remote Kabwum valley.

Ian Rowles will probably be remembered by most Australians who knew him, or knew of him in PNG, for his irresponsible and reckless aviation exploits.  Thinking about him always causes me to recall the old aviators saying;
"There are old pilots, there are bold pilots, but no old bold pilots."

After just a few years of flying which notably included a string of accidents which were often a result of grossly disregarding Civil Aviation Regulations, Ian was killed, along with 6 passengers, a pig and a dog, when his plane was involved in a horrific fiery crash near Sialum on PNG's north coast.  
I think the year was 1974.

He was just 34 years old.

But I choose to remember Ian Rowles for something else.

He had another life before aviation and private enterprise.

He was my predecessor in the position of Rural Development Officer at Pindiu which I had just recently occupied.

The job involved trekking to each of more than 100 villages in the area, across some of the steepest, most broken terrain on earth permanently populated by humans, to find ways of helping the people achieve their economic and social development aspirations.

Many weeks of each year were spent camped out in the villages with  pleasant evenings sharing stories around cooking fires in the thatched houses of the host families who invariably "adopted" us for the duration of our short stays.

During my seven years of walking around the Huon Peninsula highlands I would hear, wherever I went, almost identical stories of admiration for "Masta Ian".
The Didiman who shunned any notion of racial superiority (which was common amongst expatriates in PNG at the time,) and selflessly devoted his time, expertise and prodigious energy to helping people wherever he could.  
This was not just another man from the Government full of piss and wind who failed to honour his promises. He was their friend.  A real friend, a hard worker, and an advocate for ordinary people living in the bush.  He was one of them.

Ian Rowles.

Although my feet were many sizes smaller, I once walked in your  footsteps.
Noni kike hatage boyopepo.

It was one of the greatest privileges of my life.

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P.S.  There is a vivid first-hand account of the amazing exploits of  Ian Rowles  (here)  written by his friend, Patrol Officer Paul Oates, who also documents his own unenviable, gruesome and emotional task of overseeing the removal of bodies from the crash site.

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Dead or alive?

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Early in 1996, the year when I was going to turn 48, I decided that this was the year during which I was probably going to die.

No family predisposition to early mortality.

No clinical indications of depression or ill health.
 
I was still firing on all cylinders, although lower gears needed to be selected when going up hills, and there were a few other worrying mechanical noises and exhaust emissions which indicated that the journey was not going to last forever.

My life had been interesting and productive up to that point, so I simply decided that my time was probably up.
I figured it was better to die with only preliminary signs of decrepitude in 1996 than hang around annoying people into the next millennium with my malingering whilst waiting for the wheels to fall off completely.

Nineteen ninety six was also a nice looking even-numbered year.
Born in an even-numbered year I like the idea of symmetry and balance.  Forget astrology and all that sort of bunkum. 
It all comes back to numbers.

If I ever died in an uneven numbered year I would be forever pissed off afterwards.
 
Forty-eight plus forty eight equaled ninety-six. (and probably still does)  Beautiful numbers.
All exquisitely divisible by two and one into the other.
Time for GOF to depart in this moment of exotic equilibrium.
Observers of my gravestone would remark;
"there lies a man who lived a life of exquisite numerical balance."

So I paid my taxes, packed my pillow and waited for the train to take me to the Kingdom of Eternal Rest.

The trouble is that now, fourteen years later, in moments of deep philosophical contemplation, can I ever really be completely certain that I did not die? 

All these current preoccupations I have with middle-aged ex supermodels, flight simulators, growing pretty plants and blogging might just conceivably be components of my afterlife.

One or two of our deep thinking Vox neighbors seem to know a lot about this "proof of life" stuff but I probably never paid enough attention to them.
 
But then again, how can I be absolutely certain that they too are not also dinner guests seated at some heavenly table from which we may all be dining.

I'm confused, and what's left of my either dead or alive brain is overloaded, so I'm off to have a little lie down.

Please wake me up when you think you have an answer to my conundrum.

But only if you have unequivocal and absolute proof of your life status.

I don't want some dead person trying to tell me what to do.

I'm not a complete weirdo.

 

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Remembering

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Lest I forget.

Tomorrow, ANZAC Day, is when we remember the Australians who served in all theatres of war since World War 1.

I sit here today with my Dad's five war medals beside me.  
They were the only thanks he received for participating in World War 2 in Ceylon and the Middle East.
His personal legacy of service was having to live the second half of his life classified as Totally and Permanently Incapacitated.

I also think of my gentle-natured teenage mate who at age 20 drew the short ballot straw and was sent off to fight in Vietnam.  He saw and experienced things there which took away his sense of fun and humour, and sent his mind to a place which never again needed my close friendship.

Additionally, I have enormous gratitude for all the young Aussie men responsible, under appalling conditions, for repelling Japanese invasion forces in WW2 at our front doorstep, on Papua New Guinea's Kokoda Track in spite of inept high level military command and support.

My allegience to Australia does not however preclude me from also giving compassionate thought to the 100,000 Japanese young men who died in the PNG conflict.

They, just like our own front line soldiers, were simply pawns in the ugly game of human conflict.

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Franchise opportunity of a lifetime

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I have spent much of my life being appalled at one thing or another.

This week, together, we have already sorted out the doctors, and we now feel a great deal healthier having vented our grievances.
 
Now I would like to turn my appalling attention to the alternative health care industry.

In Australia it is apparently open slather for any old quack or charlatan who decides to set up business as a Herbalist, Acupuncturist or Naturopath.

The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association estimates that of the 100 acupuncture practitioners in South Australia, 50% have either no qualifications at all, or received inadequate training.

Apparently the only qualifications an entrepreneur requires to attract the rich and gullible is to preferably be of mature years, with an IQ matching the number of those years, and possess a bespectacled serious demeanor, enhanced with a stylish grey beard.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I proudly introduce;

The GOF Naturopathy Clinic

No appointments necessary.

Discreet off-street parking for clients and hearses.

Modern facilities with the latest technology.

Phone; 1800MALPRACTICE


Menu of Services and Fee Schedule

          (refer illustration below)

1.       Silicone breast enlargement.

          Left Breast…..no charge.  Right breast $1975

2.       Emasculator services.
  For pets and gentlemen.
          (discount gift vouchers available for Fathers Day)
          Single; $125  Double; $200

3.       Apothecary. Herbal mixtures and remedies.
          $75 per batch plus payment of fines if we are caught.

4.       Realigning and unblocking Chakras.

          Chakra leverage;  $100 per hour plus
          depreciation on crowbar $5

5.       Lucky dip surgery including "Specials of the Day"

          Refer to chalkboard out the front.

6.       Liposuction and head lice removal.

          $105 per kilogram and $0.05 each.

7.       Bone spur excisions.
          $50 without anaesthetic, $1754 with.

8.       Body piercing.
          Ear $10.  Nose $15. Tongue $20
          Nipple Male; $35  Female; no charge
          Belly button $37.50
          Any lower; go find someone else. It is wrong. Wrong!
         
9.       Correction of cardiac arrythmia.

          $150 per amp/hour of battery discharge
          plus connection fee $20.

10.     Stomach stapling

          GOF's special staples which dissolve into
          harmless ferrous oxide.  $175 each.
          


Franchises available!

Your $20,000 franchise fee, (payable in used bank notes and collected in person by my caring clinic assistants Big Bruno and Luigi the Lip,) will include this entire range of precision instruments, together with a sterile bright white pharmacists smock with epaulettes, nametag, and instructions on how to effect a condescending smirk of superiority.

Training will consist of a one-hour online seminar, satisfactory completion of which will entitle you to the GOF University Doctorate of Organic Healing.

This just has to be your lucky day.

 

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“Adverse events”

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Occasionally I get urges.

Today I have one which will see me sink my critical yet professionally unqualified commoner's boot into the medical profession.

I acknowledge that the vast majority of doctors do not lack compassion, competence or dedication, yet their services (despite Australia's generous health care rebate system) are increasingly unaffordable to many of us.
 
The "Doctor Industry" however, still insists upon retaining it's unethical and incestuous business relationships with pharmacists, pathologists and pharmaceutical big business.

In coming years because of their unaffordability not only to us as individuals, but also to the nation as a whole, they will be forced to take a long hard look at themselves.
Either that or the Government will probably need to do it for them.

The concept of "elective surgery" is not something that I understand.
 
I will never "elect" to have someone stick a knife into me if there are softer alternative treatments available, or modifications which I can make to my lifestyle to alleviate a problem, or preferably prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Last year Australian Health officials were unable to deny the claims of an insider that there were "more than 10 jumbo jets-full of adverse events in Australian hospitals each year."

For "adverse events" please read "unnecessary deaths".

The whistleblower also suggested that we should never schedule surgery for January or February for this is the time of year when new anaesthetists and doctors were most "unfamiliar with equipment".

Even proponents of elective surgery admit that whilst such procedures can bring about great improvement in health, they may also result in disability and death, especially in weaker patients.

There is consistent evidence to suggest that when unnecessary surgical interventions cease, the overall death rate in communities decreases.
Such was the case when doctors went on strike in Israel in 1983, then again in 2000, Finland in 1984 and for a period in Toronto during 2003 when all elective surgery was cancelled at 4 hospitals because of the SARS epidemic.

Until now, doctors seem to have been afforded immunity to prosecution for surgical ineptitude, because of their long entrenched powers of influence within successive Governments.

For the first time, at least in my memory, a doctor is now facing the courts in Australia charged with killing people by surgical malpractice.  He was eventually extradited to Australia after hiding out under the protective skirts of America's medical fraternity and legal system for some years.

I hope that a satisfactory precedent will be set with this trial.

For far too long doctors have remained unaccountable for their mistakes, and accordingly behaved with an aloofness, arrogance and air of "untouchability" which is no longer appropriate or acceptable.
 

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Secret men’s business

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What follows is culturally sensitive information.

It includes profound wisdom and enlightenment as provided by an elder of the tribe to a young man as part of the rites of passage into adulthood.

Accordingly it is inappropriate for it to be seen by women, so I would kindly request that you, should you happen to be of the feminine persuasion, toddle off to your favourite blog while this discussion is taking place here.  
Thank you.  I have constructed an impenetrable barbed wire fence and, at great cost, employed a security guard with dog to deter those of you with a disobedient disposition.

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                                                       STOP
.+++++++++++++++++++{ Sex check boom gate}++++++++++++++++

GOF the Elder;   Good evening young Alvin, and what are you up
                             to tonight with your flashlight and clobbering-stick
                             in hand?

Alvin                    I was just on my way to check out the koala,
                            numbat and kookaburra traps we set today.
                            It's roast dinner day tomorrow and Mum's short of
                            meat.

GOF                   Good work young fella, but why the long face?
                            You look scared.  What's the problem?
                           
Alvin;                   GOF, I just passed by Grandma's house and I
                            overheard her and some of the other women
                            telling frightening stories about some "Man of
                            Paws".
                            It sounded scary and I was afraid that I might
                            meet up with him tonight in the dark.

GOF;     Alvin, you have very good reason to be scared, but
              unless you make a serious error of judgment by succumbing
              to the advances of the cougar with big boobs next door,
              this thing should not confront you for at least 30 years.

              What the women were talking about son was something
              called menopause. It is a temporary seasonal condition
              which affects the women of our village during the early
              Autumn of their lives.
              Relief for them is only gained by unloading all the pain,
              misery and frustration onto us men of the tribe.

Alvin;     GOF, Sir, (Alvin is very respectful of the elders in his
              village) is there any way I can avoid this bad thing
              happening to me?

GOF;     Yes Alvin, there are three ways.
               Please come and sit down.
               You see that big mountain in the distance silhouetted by
               the moon?  Well, you can choose to go and live the rest
               of your life in celibate isolation in the big cave near the
               top of that mountain.

Alvin;      What is "celibate"?

GOF;     Let's just take one step at a time Alvin and deal with one
               bad thing before moving on to another.

Alvin;     O.K.  What are the other two ways to avoid this
              unspeakable happening GOF, elder of mine?

GOF;     Well, you can either wait a very long time until you are old
              and wrinkly, then marry a girl at least 40 years your junior,
              OR become gay.

Alvin;     Bugger!, Damn! and Holy Hell!

GOF;     Watch your language please Alvin.

Alvin;      Sorry GOF, I don't know what came over me.
               Big Bertha taught me those bad words.
               What exactly is this menopause thing?
 
 GOF;     Menopause is like……..well it's hard to explain.
               Imagine you owned a railway line which went
               all around this huge continent of Australia, and then you
               found a brand new steam locomotive to drive on
               these tracks of yours.
               Your loco is of course now in perfect running condition.
               Groovy painted exterior, a well oiled piece of machinery and
                it goes like the clappers, and doesn't rattle or make too
                much noise.
                In short it runs like a  dream……well at  least on average for
                27 days every month anyway.

Alvin;      Ooh yes! I'd like that Uncle GOF.   I like trains.

GOF;     Well Alvin, after 30 odd years of faithfully choofing around
              Australia, your loco will lose a little exterior gloss after
              having collided with a few old cows and other feral animals,
              then become quite squeaky and noisy, and even begin to
              exhibit some startling and peculiar behaviours.

Alvin;     Like what GOF?

GOF;    Well, primarily you will notice that the boiler regularly tends
              to overheat when least expected. When this happens, it is
              best to leave it alone completely and give it lots of time to
              cool down.

Alvin;     What if I stay, and play around with some taps, dials,
              levers and other things, and talk nicely to it and try to help?

GOF;    Very bad mistake Alvin.  I have seen some terrible things
              happen.  Some of these old locos have been known to
              spew forth steam, smoke and embers enough to drive a
              man completely into another occupation. 
              Occasionally some of them have even been known to
              fly completely off the rails.
 
Alvin;    It seems to me then GOF that when it happens I should
             pretend to be a wise monkey…..plug up my ears with some
             Eminem in the iPod, shut my mouth, cover my eyes, and
             most importantly never touch my loco until combustion has
             diminished and taken it's natural course.
             What happens then GOF?

GOF;   What happens eventually Alvin is nothing short of a miracle.
            The locomotive resumes it's travels as if nothing had
             happened, with a renewed sense of purpose,
             happily blowing it's whistle before every level crossing and
             train station, and startling all of the bystanders who happened
             to witness any of the previous malfunctions..

Alvin;    These locos operate in peculiar ways, don't they GOF.

GOF;    Ahh yes son, indeed they do.

Alvin;    Now, what's this "celibate" thing you mentioned.
             I notice you've been trying to avoid the issue.

GOF;    Celibacy, my dear Alvin is what is known as the
             "greater of two evils."
         
             
.

.

(Ed;    For his own safety and protection GOF has been sent on
           sabbatical to a remote monastery in Tibet.)

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