RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: April 2011

History tutorial #108; Silk

Posted on


Commodities which are commonplace in the twenty-first century often have obscure and accidental origins.

For example, only a very small clique of reputable historians including GOF know that our peculiar human dependence upon cow’s milk can be traced back to a strange little man called Alvin the Inquisitive.

Alvin resided in the town of Saint Helier on the Channel Island of Jersey in 1031 AD where he was employed as a gardener and part-time scabbard oiler at one of the medieval castles.

Shortly before lunch time on a stinking hot day in June, instead of swaggering off down to the stream at the bottom of the hill for a drink, as was his normal practice, he instead just for the heck of it, decided to stick his head between the nearby enticing legs of a little yellow cow and suck on three teats to quench his prodigious thirst.

Alvin thoughtfully left the fourth and somewhat less attractive right rear teat for the now gobsmacked calf who was watching the entire episode from the shade of a gorse hedge.

Astonished co-workers attributed Alvin’s bizarre behaviour to his having been pottery-jug fed as an infant.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

Silk was similarly discovered by social accident.

Chinese Emperor Huang-ti (2640BC) was utterly fed up with watching his 14 year-old bride Hsi-Ling-Shih playing with her Barbi dolls and fawning over the latest teenage heartthrob Justhuang-biebi.
“Isn’t he like just totally cool and like REALLLLY gorgeous?”  swooned the besotted Hsi-Ling several times each day to the annoyance of her husband who she often disrespectfully referred to as “Old Huang-ker Emp”.

Huang-ti angrily responded that she should immediately grow up and perform some greater wifely functions, then sent her outside to find out what was chomping away at all the mulberry tree leaves in the Imperial garden.

It was then that the little Empress discovered all these pretty golden cocoons which she thought would be perfect for converting into nice pillows and handbags to accessorise her vast collection of Barbi dolls.  In order to mould them into the correct shapes, she dropped them all into some hot water whereupon the cocoons unexpectedly exploded into magical cobwebs of silk.

Hsi-Ling experimented by weaving the silk thread into beautiful cheongsam dresses and intricately fashioned underclothing including lacy brassieres for herself, although these bras remained substantially empty for two more years until she eventually grew her full womanly entitlement of perkiness with which to fill them.

Empty

Full

Hsi-Ling’s discovery of silk eventually provided a financial windfall for China as many countries in the West clamoured to procure supplies of this unique and exotic new product.

In 1235BC following complaints from several Meditteranean customers who were suffering an embarrassing fungal itch during their hot summers, China produced the world’s first self-ventilating or “crotchless” silk knickers. Western society however, to it’s eternal shame some three millennia later, was to irrevocably pervert the innocence and functionality of these original Oriental garments.

The Chinese kept the silk manufacturing process a secret until the 6th century AD, all the while sending caravans laden with assorted silk products westwards to Persia and Damascus.

In 550 AD Byzantine Emperor Justinian 1 sent two Nestorian monks to China, where, at great risks to their lives, they snooped around until they discovered the secret of silk manufacture, then stole mulberry seeds and silkworm eggs, hiding them in hollowed-out walking sticks for the return journey.

This simple act of thievery by trusted chrome-domed monks spawned a burgeoning silk industry in Byzantium and triggered an epidemic of impious and illegal behaviour by both bald and hirsute men of religion which continues to this very day.

Italy had developed a major silk industry by the twelfth century, followed by France in the seventeenth.

Silkworm facts are rivettingly fascinating.

An acre of mulberry trees will support 100,000 caterpillars of the silkworm moth Bombyx mori.

silkworms

One Kilogram of raw silk thread is 3000 kilometres long.

That’s enough to roll out in a direct line from GOF’s tropical paradise to the freezing “there’s-two-stinking-places-in-the-world-and-Melbourne’s-both-of-’em” on the southern extremity of the continent.

My vast following of readers in the entomological research facilities of the former Soviet Union will know that this also equates to the distance between Omsk and Olekminsk.

You and I could also stretch out our one kilogram of silk all the way from Louisiana to Maine except that the ten thousand west coast retirees mooching around in Winnebagos towing RV’s would keep getting in our way.

Is anybody still here?

No I didn’t think so.

What a mind-numbing and stultifying exercise this has been.

*yawn*

It’s enough to bore the silk britches off a hibernating three-toed sloth.

Research funding

Posted on

Scholars and intellectuals involved in the study of unusual subjects often have difficulty accessing sufficient funds and resources to complete their programs of research.

Yesterday on the “Australia all Over” radio program one such Australian gentleman phoned-in from Brazil where he was on a self-funded jaunt studying the behaviour of  Brazilian Stingless Bees.

I immediately felt his financial pain.

For 37 years I have been looking for a generous benefactor to sponsor me and pay my airfare every February to Rio De Janiero so that I can collect additional data and make observations for my own special-interest Brazilian research project.

“The effect caused by the annual Rio Carnivale on the Gross National Product of Brazil.”

Sadly neither cash nor vouchers have been forthcoming from the Government or Qantas Airlines, our national carrier.
My seventy three “Applications for Scientific Grant or Bursary”  lodged with Australia’s most distinguished seats of learning were neither acknowledged or approved.

Accordingly, I’ve just clocked up thirty seven years of selfless unfunded sacrifice collecting information to broaden the knowledge base of humanity.

In the spirit of scientific generosity I am attaching at the end of this article four files containing my most recent findings which should substantially illustrate the current advanced stage of my research.

There was a time in my younger life when I possessed competence in designing scientific experiments, collecting and collating data obtained from them and finally calculating the statistical significance value “p” from that data.

I also once upon a time knew how to present my findings in a format suitable for publication in scientific journals.

These days I just can’t remember, and wouldn’t know what to do with them at all;

Even if they just suddenly fell into my lap.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Findings #1

Findings #2

Findings #3

Findings #4

Flogging life back into the dead horse

Posted on

pest  n  1. an annoying person or thing.
              2. any organism that damages crops or injures or irritates
                  livestock or man.
or GOF’s definition;
          3. any living organism which, as a result of ignorance or a changed environment, increases its population to such an extent that it needs to invade areas beyond the boundaries of its normal habitat causing detriment to all other living organisms within that new habitat.     eg  man.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

My recent submission  supporting the introduction of Mohr’s Law proved to be almost as popular as a swarm of fire ants invading the annual Nudist’s Picnic.

All my fault.

I forgot to include the most compelling evidence of all.
The results of my very own animal testing trials.
Two modest examples follow, but firstly a reminder of
“Mohr’s Law”;

“It is an offense to cause harm, attempt to cause harm, or behave in a manner likely to cause harm.”

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

I have been animal-testing Mohr’s Law for the past 2 decades in my immediate local jurisdiction (where it is known as GOF’s Law) because of the practical deficiencies and inherent stupidity fineprinted into some of the existing laws of this country.

An example is the “Australian Fauna Protection Act” which prohibits GOF, as a human, from causing any sort of discomfort or distress to venomous Brown Tree Snakes even when they fall from the ceiling onto Mrs GOF’s snoozing head in the middle of the night.

This sort of behaviour by a snake does however seriously contravene GOF’s Law by “causing harm” to Mrs GOF,
(primarily psychological) so a Court hearing is hastily convened, considers all available evidence, then passes judgement on the defendant.
The wheels of justice revolve rapidly under GOF’s Law.
Sentences invariably bring into play the well-worn snake stick which permanently resides near the front door of Judge GOF’s Chambers.

snake stick

Similarly, large white-tailed rats, at the rate of at least one hundred each year, mistakenly consider themselves to be fully protected and immune from any sort of punitive action from humans under the “Queensland Native Fauna Conservation Act 1987.”

Unfortunately however they fall foul of GOF’s Law by straying from their designated National Park habitat to take up a warmer, drier, and altogether more comfortable residence in a house which they did not build or even contribute financially towards.

GOF’s Law’s enshrines the principle that a homeowners abode is his or hers or undecided’s personal temple.

It is not an acceptable venue in which invaders should be allowed to run around willy nilly urinating, defecating, chewing up wooden framing, insulation and electrical wiring, or spreading the debilitating Leptospirosis disease.

The “causing harm” clause once again comes into legal play.

GOF’s Law takes precedence over any conflicting impractical legislation dreamed up by office-bound public servants, and it  empowers the homeowner to protect property with deterrents.

deterrents

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *
So there you have it…..Mohr’s Law has protected my domestic sovereignty for more than twenty years.
No uprisings, lawlessness, graffiti, sedition, public lewdness or ram raids, and not a single lawyer has ever been sighted here since the inception of the trial.

Now it’s time to move on from animal testing to the next phase.

I will forward this practical evidence of Mohr’s Law in action, along with my previous proposal, to the Attorney General who will then undoubtedly replace every stupid law of the land with Mohr’s Law, and furthermore, extend the boundaries of the current GOF Jurisdiction to include all of continental Australia.

I’m so excited. Only six more weeks to go until the Queen’s Birthday Honors List is announced.   “Sir GOF…..for services rendered to the Judiciary.”…….ahhh yes…….you finally made it, son.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Editors note;

The Bucket’s “comment” facility is not a democratically operated forum provided for the purpose of crucifying GOF for his treatment of animals.

It will however entertain endorsements for his upcoming knighthood, and inevitable elevation to the position of Chief Justice of Australia, as well as the usual sharing of wisdom by his friends.

Criticism of his animal welfare record will be accepted (very temporarily) from anyone who, like GOF, might have spent at least 30 years replanting and regenerating more than 30 acres of rainforest for the designated purposes of soil conservation and native animal habitat.

GOF thinks he has earned the common-sense right to protect his 120 cubic metres of earthly human refuge from all invaders as he sees fit.

The Goft Shop……..April Specials

Posted on

The Bucket is proud to offer three special and unique products this month from The Goft Shop.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

Catalogue # 675831.
Genuine Vatican Jelly for healing sin.

$27.65                                                         Add to trolley.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

Catalogue # 735472.
Jesus Toaster 
The Goft Shop recommends ordering half a dozen Vatican Jellys with this product as a precautionary blasphemy healer.

$106.95  (bread not included)                   Add to trolley

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

Catalogue # 698362
The Gentleman’s Ballscratcher.  
Sterling silver.
Dishwasher friendly.
Not tested on animals.
Order two so that your man can multi-task at barbecues by using them as tongs to flip over the steaks and sausages.
Perfect also for getting the last irritating little bits out of the bottom of peanut butter jars.

$57.99                                                   Add to trolley

Sterling silver Gentlemans Ballscratcher

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

CALL NOW!!!!!!  1800-GOFTSHOP    

And, as a very special offer, we will send to you free of charge with every Sterling Silver Ballscratcher ordered, a jar of

GOF’s Soothing Scrotum Salve.
Simply have your gentleman massage liberal amounts into his affected and adjacent areas before using the scratcher for an experience which neither of you will ever forget.

(Please disregard superceded label on illustrated item.)

REMEMBER CASH ONLY!    PHONE 1800-GOFTSHOP

The Industrial Revolution

Posted on

(#107 in the series of GOF’s concise history tutorials.)

This Tutorial is for advanced students of English history and concentrates on lesser known precursers to the Industrial Revolution, as well as events occurring during the period 1760-1860.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

The Industrial Revolution is arguably England’s greatest gift to humanity if one disregards Fergie The Duchess of York.

England was for one hundred years truly the “workshop of the world”.

Before it got really serious about progress, England did a lot of messing about by habitually engaging in verbal abuse-slinging and nautical combat with anyone across the Channel who spoke English with a foreign accent.

Prior to the Revolution, England’s economy was based on;

1. Agriculture

2. International trade through it’s East India Company.

3. Currency exchange with the Spanish.

Spain had established numerous depots along the Pacific coast of South America, with Headquarters at Valparaiso.
The native Indians had invited the Spanish to their countries by sending urgent morse-coded smoke signals across the Atlantic Ocean, because they were feeling incredibly guilty about owning mountains of gold and silver, and they wanted to give a lot of it away to purge their wealthy third-world guilt.

English Merchant Banker, Sir Francis Drake operated a mobile banking ship called The Golden Hind.  Twice a year he would depart Plymouth harbour and set sail for these Spanish settlements to negotiate a bullion exchange rate.

Agreement was normally reached withing ten rather noisy minutes of him either anchoring in the harbour, or occasionally intercepting a Spanish galleon overloaded with gilded treasure on the high seas.

The exchange rate in 1578 averaged one ton of Spanish gold for each two tons of English cannonballs, with the latter being delivered in advance by fusillade.
In 1579, however, the rate blew out to three tons of cannonballs, which sent the FTSE 100 into rapid decline, closely followed by the Dow Jones, which threatened to send the entire world economy on a journey of discovery back up into the darkness of it’s own fiscal quoit.

English ingenuity and enthusiasm powered the Industrial Revolution, which was largely based upon cotton spinning and weaving.
Spinning was traditionally women’s work.
Weaving was done by men.
This division of labour had nothing to do with the fact that spinning was more tedious and took five times longer than the weaving.

It is just the natural order of things that the men should sit under a shady tree for 4 hours out of five despairingly wondering why women took so long to do anything.

One day in 1764 James Hargreaves was “despairingly wondering” and absentmindedly inserting a fresh wad of Cuban tobacco into his pipe when he heard an almighty crash inside the house.
Daughter Jenny, kinda big for her size, being all of one and a half pick-handles across the beam, had accidentally sent her spinning wheel flying arse over turkey in a mad rush to get up out of her chair and accompany her bladder to the rest room in time.

James, surveying the carnage, had an unusual moment of inventive inspiration and wheezily ran out to his workshop with spit dribbling out of the pipe onto his whiskery chin, before setting to work building a vastly more efficient multi-spindled spinning wheel which the world still knows at the “Spinning Jenny”.

Americans missed the early Revolution bus.

They were distracted by a couple of domestic issues.

The full time hooter had not yet sounded in the Rumble of the Century between the North and the South.
Also, instead of applying the new-fangled steam power to factory use like the English had done, some thrill-seeker instead mounted the engines on wheels and proceeded to aimlessly cavort hither and thither Amtrakking around the countryside on roads of steel.

Additionally, Americans at this time were still very busy redecorating the house, by sprucing up the interior and Western sector with a fresh shade of people.
This project so impressed Australians that they went on to rapidly adopt the same colour scheme for their entire continent.

The Industrial Revolution would of course have begun in Australia had Captain Cook not wasted so much time farnarkling around  the Pacific Ocean in the seventeen hundreds looking for us.

While we were waiting for him to arrive, we were busy inventing and manufacturing curved sticks that come back to you every time you try to throw them away, and genetically engineering chooks into emus to satisfy the growing domestic market for banquet-sized drumsticks.

In order to take advantage of this Aussie gift of innovative brilliance, England exported boatloads of it’s finest industrial and designer minds to the brand new colony of New South Wales in what became known as “The First Fleet”.

In the twenty-first century, Australian inventive ingenuity continues to illuminate the worlds technological achievements like an otoscope lighting up an ear canal full of wigs and wax, except that our excessive Government charges and administrative red tape now means that all our good ideas are sold off cheaply to China for development, manufacture and profit-taking.

Thank you for your attendance at this Tutorial.

GOF will now be available to answer any questions on the subject.

He will also be on high alert for any suspicious looking postal items arriving from England or Spain or South America or the USA or from women, or the British Royal Family or the Golden Hind Historical Society.

.

.

.

The entire semester of academic learning may be accessed via the “history tutorials” tab at the top of the page.