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Monthly Archives: February 2011

History according to GOF; Tutorial 104

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Aloysius the Border Leicester ram looked around the field at all fifty of his cute and fluffy satisfied conc-ewe-bines who were knee-deep in abundant but dry summer grass, and he baa-ed out loud at how wonderful his world was.

Then he decided to celebrate with a drink.
It was 96 degrees in the shade.
Firstly he snouted-down the float valve to send a burst of water bubbling through the trough so it would have extra froth on top.
He preferred it that way.

Their world was a single paddock which contained everything that the sheep thought they needed, and none of them ever felt an urge to look through the fence, or, Ovine God forbid, break through it and discover that Old McDonald had five acres of lush irrigated rye and clover growing on his farm just beyond the next ridge.

It is therefore no coincidence that the word ‘flock’ was adopted by religious organisations to describe their congregations of faithful adherents.

Pastoral Staff

The ‘pastoral staff ‘, an object which is part of the Episcopal Vestments of Bishops in the Catholic Church is a replica of a shepherd’s crook, and is used as a symbol of power over the “flock”.

The Roman Catholic Church has historically needed to use much greater force than a pastoral staff to prevent it’s parishioners from venturing into the intellectual topography beyond it’s constrictive boundaries.

“Inquisitions” were committees of Little Theological Hitlers charged with the responsibility of rounding up the strays, and having them clonked on the head with a four by two plank of wood when other methods of convincing them to remain within the confines of the Catholic paddock failed.

1. The Papal Inquisition

Established in 1233 by Pope Gregory 9.

Erasmus the Tinker trotted around Italy on his horse in the year 1235 providing a unique service repairing leaking pots and pans with his patented sealant concocted from Vesuvian Spotted Toad spleens.

He was put to death by the Church after inadvisedly whispering to
Mrs Ciccione, the owner of an extremely holey frying pan who also happened to be an undercover informant to the tribunal, that the story of Adam and Eve  “was a bloody great big load of unmitigated codswallop”.

Two Popes later in 1252, Pope Innocent 4, a gentle caring humanitarian and devoted earthly representative of God, authorised the use of torture by his Tribunals.

Gaius Apuleius Gaggio, a shy and sensitive used chariot salesman, (who also enjoyed an occasional cup of coffee) was suspected of having heretical tendences in 1253.
Additionally, there was a rather well worn track of evidence in the grass starting at the back door of his house, to suggest that he might have been servicing, after hours, some of the aforementioned Mrs Ciccione’s needs which were not always being attended to by Mr Ciccione, a merchant seaman.

He was tethered inside the apse of the church just behind the altar and rigorously interrogated for seven hours, but a full confession only came forth after his testicles had been connected to the terminals of a truck battery in the following sequence;
Right to +ve, left to -ve.

2. The Spanish Inquisition

In 1480 the Church endorsed King Ferdinand the 5th and Queen Isabella’s dubious idea of launching an Inquisition which, over a period of three centuries, executed 30,000 people for heresy, polygamy, seduction, smuggling, wearing your underpants inside out, and not cleaning the blue lint out of your belly button.

3. The Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition

It was a particularly bad day for Pope Paul 3 in 1542 for two reasons.

Firstly he had received an unusual item in the mail.
It was a bundle of pamphlets hot off somebody’s newly invented
‘printing press’.
They were invitations for all the Priests and Bishops to join the Roma Club de Spogliarello for  ‘Steamy Friday nights of raunchy revelation.’

Shocked, appalled, and just a tiny bit aroused at the prospect of attending, he retired to the Sistine Chapel for meditation and guidance from God.

No sooner had he opened the door, than a trail of paint spatters led his eyes ever upwards to an intoxicated Father Pius, with his black cassock in disarray revealing all manner of atrocities, suspended beneath the ceiling on ropes, holding a paintbrush in one hand, having obviously spent a lot of time enlarging certain anatomical features on Michelangelo’s male nudes.

Upon being discovered, Pius swung himself back onto an upper parapet whilst attempting to sing a slurred rendition of the chorus of  ‘Oh what a lovely bunch of coconuts’, in Latin.

The Pope immediately rushed off to the Apothecary, swallowed four aspirin and six valium, washed them all down with a bottle of mead, then declared an Inquisition to counter the dissemination of ‘subversive’ information from all the new-fangled printing machinery which threatened the Church’s domination and control.

The prospect of free expression and mass-produced literature for all people scared the Papal crap out of him.

This Inquisition remains in place today, although in 1965 at Vatican 2, it was renamed ‘Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith‘, and it no longer interferes in the lives of the laity.

The Catholic Church Administration today has a full-time job just trying to prevent it’s own clergy from widening the narrow 16th century tunnel of doctrine into something that might be vaguely appropriate and useful for the 21st century.


In the broader perspective of the universe, whatever happens in this field of human endeavour will most likely prove to be little more than a conceited and impertinent irrelevance.

Open letter to Pedro the Fisherman

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Dear Pedro,

It is with considerable chagrin that I watch your various faces regularly hogging the television documentary limelight.

Your mouths are opening constantly, but very little common sense or reflections of intelligent thought ever emerge from any of them.

Your Sub-Saharan African villager’s face sadly informs me that fish stocks in your inland waterways have diminished to such an extent that only the occasional misadventuring minnow can now be caught by any of the many thousands of your fellow fishermen.

You tell me that you do not understand why it is so, and that it was not like that for your Grandpa, or for any of his ten sons who also went on to become fishermen.

Your South Pacific Atoll outrigger-canoeist’s face tells me that
reef-fish catches are in decline even though you’ve attempted to boost them with the regular use of dynamite.

You tell me that you do not understand why it is so, and that it was not like that for your Grandpa, or for any of his ten sons who also went on to become fishermen.

Your Oriental ocean-going trawler skipper’s face cries tears tinged with balance-sheet red when you tell me that increasing lengths of long-lines and nets are required each year to sustain your haul.

You tell me that you do not understand why it is so, and that it was not like that for your Grandpa, or for any of his ten sons who also went on to become fishermen.

Your weatherbeaten Australian mackerel-fisherman’s face angrily rejects Government proposals to financially compensate you as an incentive to leave the fishing industry, in order that the Great Barrier Reef and it’s fish stocks can be protected for future generations.

You tell me that you do not understand why it is so, and that it was not like that for your Grandpa, or for any of his ten sons who also went on to become fishermen.

That’s what you tell me Pedro.

In doing so, you fail to dignify the noble occupation of an outdoorsman and primary producer with these proclamations which reflect an ignorance of the laws of nature.  The Earth and it’s oceans were never a limitless resource of food to be plundered by ever-increasing numbers of human hunters and gatherers.

Agriculture since Neolithic times has been based on the premise that in order to reap, you firstly have to sow.  Did you honestly think your free-for-all fishing party was going to continue forever without the necessity of contributing anything towards it’s future sustainability?

Your party is over Pedro. I am sorry that you apparently cannot understand why it happened.

Mother Earth is speaking.

Listen to her Pedro.  Just listen.

Yours in concern for the future of all the world’s children,


Ye Olde Bucket Gift Shoppe

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GOF has scoured the globe and is proud to bring into your home the finest selection of trinkets, bric-a-brac and unique gift ideas.

Special Offer February 2011

Looking for something a little different to give to a workmate who has everything?

Need a functional gift for your next-door neighbour, or an ex-lover who you may have judged a little too harshly?

Are you feeling the urge to bestow a philanthropic gift upon a perfect stranger you encounter on the street?

If so, The Bucket Online Gift Catalogue is the perfect place to shop.

February 2011 Special Offer;


Money back guarantee if it does not work the very first time.

Supplies are limited.




(** Head not included.)

But there’s more!

Order one or more QUIT RIGHT NOW CROWNS by the end of February 2011 and we will include, totally free of charge, one of these handy accessories to pamper your beloved pussy-cat and keep your bathroom smelling like the powder room at a Chanel Convention.


1. No humans or cats were harmed during the testing phase of these products.

Well, except for just one unfortunate incident.

History according to GOF; Tutorial 103

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(Parental guidance recommended;  contains erotica and sexual references suitable for 15 year old boys.)

China pioneered the process of manufacturing superior quality porcelainware from fine white clay mixed with silicates and fired in high-temperature kilns.
This technology remained solely in the hands of Chinese artisans until the eighteenth century AD.

A feature of this pottery was the intricate fine-lined artwork which often depicted scenes illustrating Chinese legends.

The blue and white Willow Pattern plates became popular in the West during the 19th and early 20th century, and original specimens have become highly prized and extremely valuable collectors items.

The following, however, is a plate mass-produced in China during the 1990’s followed by the modern day story of events which led to it’s design.

Hu Sung Dat was the Managing Director of Jonah (Asia) Pty. Ltd.,
a company based in Beijing that imported, then processed, raw
seafood from Japan before reselling it in cans bearing the
“Nippon Whalesong” logo.

Hu’s Headquarters were in an architecturally pleasing three-storey replica of an ancient Chinese pavilion located beside a landscaped garden dominated by an attractive water feature. Decorating the reception lounge in the office were some genuine artifacts dating back to the Ming Dynasty, including one purportedly owned by Emperor Yung Lo himself.

Hu’s daughter, Mee Sung Dat was a precocious nineteen year-old who had the unbridled hots for her Father’s secretary, the ruggedly handsome Mr Chang.

Mee Sung was bountifully endowed by Mother Nature with waist length silky black hair, an hourglass figure that according to those with intimate knowledge possessed significantly greater capacity on the top half than the bottom, and legs that went all the way up to where her femur was connected to her pelvic girdle bone.

It was these long and shapely legs that carried her today discretely up the thirty two steps in the fire-escape stairwell to the third storey office of Mr Chang, where she perched herself seductively on the corner of his desk, waiting expectantly for him to perform his daily thorough debriefing.

Chang diligently and dexterously devoted himself to this mutually rewarding ritual.
Mee Sung was the most beautiful girl in all of Beijing, but her normally radiant face today made Chang go all wobbly at the knees.
Just that very morning she’d had studs inserted in her eyelids, nostrils and lower lip and each puncture wound was still dripping tiny coagulating rivulets of blood.

Chang accordingly decided to start operations at the opposite end.
He slowly and sensually worked his way up from her nine slender toes (one had been accidentally amputated in a panda trapping mishap seven years previously) to her athletically smooth calves and thighs.

Then beyond.

Quivering uncontrollably, his hands slowly loosened the belt of her faux-leather mini-skirt revealing to him for the very first time an exotic expanse of unexplored territory interrupted only by a single tattoo in the centre of her left buttock.
One five-letter word.
An indelible and permanent memento of Mee Sung’s teenage infatuation with pop singer Sting.

This was not immediately apparent to Chang because the Mandarin-speaking tattooist had misspelt the name by using a “K” as the final letter.

In this moment of temporary befuddlement Chang accidentally and unknowingly pushed the intercom button on the front of his desk which allowed Mr Hu to overhear the muffled duet of synchronous lust-fuelled heavy breathing and groaning coming from his secretary’s office.

The workers at Jonah (Asia) Pty. Ltd. had all signed an Employees Contract which detailed ten misdemeanors under the clause “Inappropriate Conduct”, each item of which constituted grounds for immediate termination. Misdemeanor Number 7 was;
“An employee shall NOT, during the course of his normal duty be discovered with both hands full of tits which belong to the boss’s daughter.”

Avoiding the large swinging sword in Mr Hu’s hand also constituted an immediate incentive for Chang to speedily leap out of the office window following Mee Sung onto the nearby limb of a weeping willow tree, before sliding down the trunk and running across the old arched bridge with Mr Hu in hot slashing pursuit.

Mr Wang was an 83 year-old bachelor who lived in an apartment across the road. He had recently bought a 35 optical-zoom camera specifically to spy on his 75 year-old spinster neighbour who was, according to Wang “still a pretty hot chick”.

Witnessing the confrontation unfolding across the road on the little bridge, he immediately took a photograph which became the inspiration for all modern Willow Pattern plates.

A somewhat older and arguably more accurate legend pertaining to Willow Pattern plates can be found here.


Brief Summary of GOF’s Cyclone Rebuild

Days since cyclone                         12
Effective working days                    2
Days in bed                                           6
Days unaccounted for                      4

Highlights;    Nursery shadecloth roof temporarily raised 3 feet off the ground.

Lowlights;    Hit in the face by an irate tree that took offense at my chainsaw….relocated nose 3mm west, fingers skinned by another, then all 5 overstressed worn-out lower vertebrae fell out onto the ground while lifting shadecloth.
All replaced using fencing wire and Araldite.
Waiting for glue to set.

Conclusion;  If GOF was a horse he would be sent to the knackery.

Next scheduled summary;  Christmas.

This is going to take time folks.

Thank you everyone

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Mrs GOF and I have been deeply moved by all your messages of support for two insignificant Aussies who most of you have never met.

Those who have lived through multiple cyclonic events in their lives will understand that it is not simply a matter of cleaning up the physical damage inflicted by the storm which was thankfully minimal for us this time.
There is also a longer lasting roller-coaster of emotions reliving the terror and drama of cyclones from the past, confronting your own mortality, and thankfulness and relief when discovering that your home is more or less still intact after coming within 30 kilometres of the northern eye wall of a 500 kilometre wide Category 5 cyclone with 300 kph winds at it’s centre.

It is not however a time for celebration knowing that so many of my countrymen just down the road have lost everything except their lives.

Your thoughts and encouragement mean a great deal to us both. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who has commented, sent us emails, or telephoned.

Mrs GOF and I now have just a little work to do together.

We didn’t think much of Mother Nature’s pruning job which converted this,

into this.

There are also a few twigs to be cleared from the lawn and manicured garden;

and half an acre of this;

to be rebuilt into this;

Which is not quite as daunting as the task that confronted us after Cyclone Larry in 2006, when the entire plant nursery was demolished.

After Cyclone Larry 2006

Could I please make the audacious suggestion that we should all give a moments thought to the homeless Australians at Mission Beach, Tully and Cardwell, and all the survivors of the numerous natural disasters around the world, and take time to appreciate what you and I have in this life.


It can all so easily be taken away in the blink of an eye.

Oh shit, here we go again.

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Cyclone Yasi, potentially one of the largest and most intense cyclonic systems ever to threaten the Australian continent is forecast to make a coastal crossing somewhere in my vicinity in the middle of Wednesday night.

We know the routine well, but that is very little comfort in situations over which we have so little control.

Chainsaw down large trees beforehand, create a bunker inside the smallest room of the house then cower on a mattress under a table scared shitless  in the total darkness as the surrounding rainforest is shredded and the air becomes filled with flying missiles.

We only have the daylight hours today to prepare, so I am out of here immediately, with no expectation of returning  in a hurry.

In the event of my longer term absence, Inga (on blogroll off to the right of page) will probably be able to provide an update.