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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Mohr’s Law ** (+ The dysfunctional Bucket)

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Edit April 05;   The Bucket is going into wet season hibernation due to a lack of solar power and an abundance of associated Goffly Malaise.

The Bucket   will      r  e  s  u  m  e         w     h     e     n ………….   zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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(The most entertaining and down-to-earth little book I have read in the last decade is Les Mohr’s “The Dead Horses”

Mohr philosophophizes with Aussie humour and irreverence upon various activities and concepts including God, political correctness, sport, love, festering, marriage, and “The case for selling women”  in a series of 32 short essays.
I am indebted to the part he played in reinforcing my own thoughts, conclusions and life experience, and for inspiring me to write the following rant article.)

** My wording. Mohr’s modesty prevented him naming the law after himself.

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Occasionally in the past I have chosen to point out deficiencies that, as a humble farmer and gardener, I observe in the way Australia’s judicial system functions.

Rather than being a simple and effective system for maintaining law and order, it is primarily a complicated entrenched framework which ensures that the principal players, i.e. judges, lawyers and legal draughtsmen have an institutionalised means to syphon off the maximum amount of money over the longest possible period of time from plaintiffs, defendants and the public purse.

The present adversarial system encourages courtrooms to become theatres for case-winning acting performances rather than practical places for handing out considered, timely, effective and equitable justice.

That I am able to bring you this truth is largely due to the way I was treated by the legal system on one occasion thirty two years ago, following which I made an irrevocable decision to never again attempt to obtain justice from this unwieldy, expensive, self-serving industry.

Our present system is a deeply entrenched and untouchable relic of the past.
It is unaffordable and inaccessible to those in greatest need.
It is also a disgrace that innocence or guilt can be determined by the degree of character assassination inflicted upon litigants (and witnesses) by opposing lawyers.

As Mohr states;

“The legal profession has hijacked the opportunity for common sense and with it justice for ordinary people.”

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Mohr has a solution.

Abolish every law in the statute books, then replace all of those laws with just one;

Mohr’s Law **

It is an offence to cause harm, attempt to cause harm, or behave in a manner likely to cause harm.

There will be no necessity for “fine print” and endless pedantic legal argument.
One simple law which effectively covers everything from slander to physical violence, fraud or environmental vandalism.

Having introduced this level of simplicity, all that is required of
the justice system is the determination by judges and juries of  “extent of harm” caused, then the handing out of sentences commensurate with the “degree of harm” caused.

I have a suspicion that my Dad, who was a Justice of the Peace and occasional assistant in the Magistrate’s Court, would have concluded that Mohr’s Law represents an unsophisticated, unwelcome and flawed attempt to erode the foundations of our established system of British Justice.
Perhaps it is, or just maybe the principle behind it deserves more than a passing glance, for the present justice system is beyond the reach and comprehension of most Australians.

It may be no coincidence that both Mohr and I (separately) spent many of our younger years working with village people in Papua New Guinea and accordingly now view the world from a different perspective knowing that civilisation and simplicity need not necessarily be mutually exclusive.

Mohr’s Law has approximately zero chance of ever being taken seriously by the Establishment. Judicial reform is not exactly music to the ears of all the rich and powerful lawyers and politicians who have vested interests in maintaining Australia’s legal status quo.

I applaud Mohr’s Law for it’s promise of judicial common sense, a commodity which is increasingly absent from the deliberations of, and sentencing applied by Australia’s legal system.

It is more concerned with playing the games that lawyers play.

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One for everyone

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One for Dog Lovers

One for Cat Lovers

One for Electricians

One for Miss Piggy

One for GOF the help him clean up the cyclone debris.

One for Globetrotting Naturalists.

One for Herself, then One for Democracy.

One for Scholars of Ancient Architecture.

History Tutorial #106; Undersea diving

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One of the most outstanding examples of human folly and stupidity is that which sees them deliberately leaping headfirst, or by a variety of other counter-intuitive entry methods, back into the ocean seemingly trying to return to the distant womb of their evolution.

It is quite obvious to the casual contented landlubber that people who have more completely evolved from primitive life forms find no requirement to ever again stick their heads back under water into a diluted sludge of brine, fish excrement, ship bilgewater, human sewage and industrial waste.

Had we been intended to do this, God in Her wisdom would have provided us with gills or blow holes with which to breathe, and an osmotic filth-extraction organ to return our cellular structure to a condition of homeostasis afterwards.

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The majority of inventions and innovations are a result of at least one of the following five drivers.

1. Hunger
2. Greed
3. War
4. Sloth
5. Insanity

Peruvian Indians started all this returning-to-the-sea nonsense 4000 years ago by diving for mussels on the ocean floor.
The original shellfish discovery was accidentally made by a village lunatic named Enrico Flotsam.

Enrico had a series of vivid dreams repeated nightly for more than a month, about a tribe of lonely young women who were in deep distress and showing telltale signs of anticipatory horniness whilst  awaiting his arrival on an island called Oahu, somewhere out there in the deep blue sea. Dressed in nothing more than grass hula-skirts, an entire bevy of them were gathering at Koko Head every morning at sunrise, looking towards the Southeast and chanting in unison;
“Enrico, Enrico, wherefore art Thou Enrico, adorable Son of Flotsam”.

The repetitious scenario was driving him even more insane, so he hotfooted it down to Global Llama Hire (South America Inc) and inquired if they had an amphibious model available for immediate rental, whereupon the receptionist professionally replied “No Sir, we don’t have any left today” before suggesting that maybe he should resume taking his prescribed medication.

Not to be deterred, he immediately strutted down the beach at Chimbote, fully equipped with desperation, unmedicated confidence, navigational and pre-Archimedial ignorance, intending to jog his way along the sea bed until he got all the way to Hawaii.

Sadly, after trekking just a few metres underwater, his toes lost traction, and buoyancy popped him back up to the ocean surface like a rubber duckie in a bathtub, but not before he’d accidentally grabbed a handful of mussels on the way up.

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Diving in the Aegean Sea developed simultaneously but independently of the South American experience.
Because of the underwater limitations of the human lung, “water bladders” were fashioned from goat and pig skins to hold an air supply.  The skins were sewn-up and waterproofed with oil, leaving a single breathing hole into which the diver’s snout could be inserted for a breath of putrescent but nevertheless life-saving air.

Eventually dives of even greater duration were made possible by using bladders made from elephant hides, and significantly greater depths were achievable after Pepe the Adventurer came back from Africa in 1985BC with a single souvenir giraffe skin.

Scuba device

The name for this self-contained underwater breathing apparatus is an acronym derived from Simple Contraption for Unexpected Breathless Asphyxiation.

Aqualung technology uses portable bottles of compressed air strapped to the diver’s back.

It enables human lemmings to die not only from shark attack and drowning, but also from the bends and narcosis, the latter being the peculiar tendency of divers at depth to become intoxicated with their own stupidity and oxygen imbalance, before succumbing to an irresistible urge to remove their mouthpieces in order to give passing fish some of their air to breathe.

The original Homo sapiens blueprint specified that optimal performance could be achieved under standard conditions of air pressure, which, at sea level is 15 lbs per square inch.
Pressure at 1000 feet of ocean depth is 500 lbs per square inch, and at the deepest part of the ocean 7 tons per square inch, which is like really really heavy shit, man, and if you mess wif it you gonna DIE!

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Jacques Yves-Cousteau

The Bucket acknowledges that no studious historical dissertation such as this about undersea diving would be complete without genuinely paying tribute to the French explorer and SCUBA inventor Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
His extraordinary heroism, vision, and contribution to human knowledge during his lifetime must surely rank him amongst the greatest scientists and adventurers of the 20th century.

Cousteau operated from his floating laboratory boat Calypso, as well as constructing underwater Conshelf Stations in both France and the Red Sea which enabled humans to live for extended periods on the ocean floor studying the marine environment, thus enabling mankind to shine a light for the very first time on the wonders of the deep.

Conshelf Station 2, Red Sea

The bastard’s ** back up again

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(** For those unfamiliar with the many and varied uses of the word “bastard” in Australian English, I highly recommend PeterMcc’s recent Users Guide.)

The following is a rough pictorial account of how GOF managed the magnificent achievement of rebuilding his cyclone damaged shade house in 6 weeks instead of two.

After Cyclone Yasi

Step One

Oh bastard!

Step Two

Oh bastard and #@%&

self explanatory

I don't want to talk about it

WOOHOOOOO!!!! 🙂

A little toast to the shade house

I don't want to talk about it

From the album of life

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Snapshots of inspirational people in chronological order.

Posted with gratitude.

Mum and Dad circa 1946

1. Mum and Dad; For life itself, and for showing me their sound moral and ethical raft upon which to float through life.  It was not their fault that I kept falling off it.

Walt Disney

2. Walt Disney; For inspiring a life-long interest in geography and nature, and a fascination with foreign cultures and customs.

Enid Blyton

3.  Enid Blyton; The Famous Five series of books encouraged my childhood love of reading.  Her books transported me from the dry, harsh, Central Victorian goldfields to magical places in the countryside with mountains, fog, mist, springs and babbling brooks.
The man then went on to live his boyhood imagination.

Patty Duke

4. Patty Duke; My first teenage unrequited love. She fired the starter’s gun to begin my marathon race to discover the mystery and wonders of the opposite wotsit. Has anyone seen the finishing line?

The Beatles

5.  The Beatles; Who energised, motivated and redirected an entire generation, and remembering especially the quiet and talented George Harrison (centre at back) who always remained grounded in reality.
Oh yes, and they showed me a radical new hairstyle that I retained for 30 years until all my hair started falling out.

Peter Cook (L) with Dudley Moore

6.  Peter Cook; Gifted British comic genius. I will continue to laugh at his short sketch “One leg too few” (here) until the day I die.

Sidney Poitier

7. Sidney Poitier; The former dishwasher and janitor who succeeded in life despite all the overwhelming obstacles that were placed in his path. Poitier’s character in the 1967 film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” forced me to seriously consider racism and segregation, for the first time in my life, from the recipient’s point of view.
Now in his Autumn years, Poitier exudes with Mandela-esque gentility the qualities of dignity, wisdom, forgiveness and compassion.
If the good Fairy of Fate could arrange for me to spend a day with just one celebrity in this world, I would select Poitier.

John Denver

8.  John Denver; For his music, and contagious enthusiasm for life, the environment and the universe.

Sadly only four people from this list of twelve are still alive.

I hope all twelve found peace and contentment in their lives,
for their contributions enabled me early in life to find my own.

Some random lines from this musical meditation.

The days they pass so quickly now
Nights are seldom long
And time around me whispers when it’s cold
The changes somehow frighten me
Still I have to smile
It turns me on to think of growing old
For though my life’s been good to me
There’s still so much to do.

And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
And what about tomorrow
And what about our dreams
And all the memories we share.

.
(John Denver 1943-1997)

So, disregarding lust as a driver, which celebrity would you most like to spend a day with?

Scripture reading, then History #105

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And the Lord verily spake unto all the gathered heathen that the agony of one man’s spinal trauma was like that of a woman issuing forth a child, whereupon GOF gingerly raised his scrawniness from the sick bed upon which he was stricken and exhalted “Hallelulah Lord, and both events resulted from fleeting moments of reckless folly” whereupon the Lord quizzically looked down upon GOF and He was mightily displeased at the disrespectful and unauthorised interjection.

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AN INTERVIEW AND CONVERSATION WITH VASCO DA GAMA

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Vasco Da Gama

The following is an interview I conducted on board Da Gama’s square-sailed boat in Cochin Harbour, India, in 1524, at which time I was  an immature cadet travel writer with the Terra Australis Tribune.

caravel

Unfortunately the original transcript has deteriorated, not only because it is 487 years old, but also as a result of an unplanned
dunking in salt water for two hours very soon after the interview
was completed.

One or two inaccuracies may therefore have occurred in this transcription. On the other hand, the paragraph about me spending 150 days sharing a boat with ‘half-naked dusky wenches’ is a blatant lie, but nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable piece of cerebral confectionery for such an old man as myself.

.

GOF; G’day Mr Da Gama.

Vasco; Bom dia GOF, como esta?

GOF; Eu nao falo Portugues. Is there any possibility that we could
conduct this interview in English?.

Vasco; GOF, let’s get one thing straight right from the start. I am the
Master Mariner of Portugal. This is MY caravel we’re sitting
on. You are some nondescript pipsqueak journalist feeding
off the magnificent achievements of heroes like me.
I’ll damned well talk any language I like, and if you have any
difficulty understanding that concept you can take a
uni-directional stroll along that plank over the side there.
Now do we have agreement, you little runt of a reporter?

GOF; OK Yessir Your Honor Captain Mr Gama Sir.

Captain, could you please give me a brief outline of the
history of Portugese maritime exploration.

Vasco; Certainly GOF.  My pleasure. I’m beginning to like your style
of grovelling and subordination.

There was one major overland trade route between
Asia and Europe, along which Portugal ran a great
profiteering racket…..sorry…..I mean fair trading program
until Turkey threw a spanner into the works.

Leave the ‘profiteering’ reference out of your notes
GOF…..or you know what’s going to happen to you.
Think  P. L. A. N. K.

The goddamned Turks unexpectedly invaded Constantinople
and installed a boom gate with flashing lights
and armed border guards to stop Christians and Europeans
from travelling East any more.

GOF; Couldn’t you have used some back roads to bypass the
road block?

Vasco; We tried that, but we could never outrun the CHIPS.

GOF; What are CHIPS?

Vasco; Oh, that is the Camel Highway Patrol in Turkey GOF.
A very deceptive name which fooled all the itinerant traders
because the cops didn’t actually use camels for highway law
enforcement.

GOF; What did they use then Vasco?

Vasco;   They had a team of racing pursuit donkeys with enlarged
sand-gripping hooves, ears aerodynamically slicked back,
and modified extra-wide nostrils.
These hotted-up donkeys were fuelled with a high-octane
mixture of barley fermented with date-palm sugar. Every time
they took off from a standing start there would be a flash of
blue flame shooting out of their rectums.

Anyway GOF I am digressing. With the Arabs turning the
whole trade route between Asia and Europe into a
schmozzle, King Manuel of Portugal gave me the job 20
years ago of finding a sea route AROUND Africa to India.

Vasco’s trade route Portugal to India

GOF; Why hadn’t anyone done this before?

Vasco; Prince Henry, who had failed Grade 2 Geography as a
youngster had dispatched 30 ships last century with the
command “Go south. Go south.”
They all ended up bumping into icebergs near Antarctica
and were never heard of again.
What he should have ordered was;
“Go south, then turn left, then left again.”

GOF; Why not build a Suez Canal instead?

Vasco; What’s a Suez Canal GOF?

GOF; It’s a sort of big ditch Vasco….don’t worry I’m just winding
you up.  I was simply exercising my gift of clairvoyancy.

Vasco; GOF, may I take this opportunity to remind you one final time
of  THE PLANK!

GOF; OK, sorry. Were you made to feel welcome the very first time
you arrived on the shores of India?

Vasco; Not exactly in an “open arms” sense GOF.  No.

A lot of derogatory and hurtful comments were made about
our traditional apparel, and the natives poked fun at our
woolen breeches, doublets and helmets.

Then the King of Calicut on the Malabar Coast actually made
some totally inappropriate suggestions about where we
should stow the gifts of cloth, cheap coral jewellery and six
wash basins that we brought as fair exchange for ten million
escudos worth of pepper, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and
cloves.

Eventually, when I got him drunk enough on a few bottles of
1504 vintage Turkish Barley and Date Wine, he agreed that
Portugal could set up some Trading Posts in India.

GOF: They have wineries in Turkey?

Vasco; Apparently GOF. I never did discover where or how this vino
is made.  The Turks themselves refuse to drink it….in fact
they call it “donkey piss“.  We never could understand that,
even though the wine is perhaps a little horsey on the nose
and lacking any delicate piquancy or fruitiness on the palate.

GOF; So why have you returned to India now, 20 years after that
initial contact voyage?

Vasco; The managers of our Trading Company are skimming off
profits and putting them into Swiss personal bank accounts.
The King thought I’d be the right man to sort out the thieving
little bastards in exchange for a luxurious villa at Lisbon
Lakes Retirement Village.

GOF; How are you planning to discipline them Vasco?

Vasco; I am not at liberty to reveal very much GOF, but there
might just possibly be a plank involved.

GOF; Thank you for the interview, and congratulations on recently
being awarded the esteemed title “Admiral of India” by
your King Manuel 1 in recognition of the seafaring route you
discovered.  I was just admiring the backlit framed certificate
on the wall of your cabin.

No doubt all the Indian folk are as impressed with your title
as the Portugese people will be when Ranjit Singh from the
Punjab sails into Lisbon harbour one day and announces
himself to be the “Admiral of Portugal”.

INTERVIEW  SUDDENLY TERMINATED.

.

P.S.   I was eventually rescued by a passing dhow full of
voluptuous and comely wenches who sailed
slightly out of their way to drop me off back in Sydney
Harbour.

Vasco Da Gama died at Cochin, India, just a month after this
interview in 1524 at the age of approximately 55.

History does not record if a plank was involved.

(More tutorials in GOF’s History Series may be found via the “History Tutorials” tab at top of page, although for the life of me I have no idea why you would want to punish your intelligence any more.)

Edit December 2011;  Brand new “Interview with King Henry VIII” may be found HERE.