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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Inaugural Pain in the Arse Award

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Give your eyeballs a break and let GOF  read it to you;

(click on the little triangle thingy )

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Distinguished WordPress bloggers, Your Highness, Your Excellency, Your Eminence, Madam Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, guide dogs, and Elle MacbloodyPherson and her new gentleman friend;

Thank you for attending the inaugural presentation of our Pain In The Arse Award.

We are gathered here tonight in the The Bucket’s magnificent new beach-themed auditorium which was constructed with the assistance of a ten million dollar higher-education grant from the Australian Government, as well as donations of $1000 from each of my blog subscribers who probably haven’t noticed it’s disappeared from their bank accounts yet.

A very special welcome to my American friends who are with us tonight. Thank you for traveling so far.  Although your first reaction to my mentioning the words ‘sport’ and ‘cricket’ might be to wander off for a slurp at the 24-hour bar in the foyer, I urge you to hang around to assist with the hurling of brickbats.
This time-honoured sport will begin shortly.
Besides, someone in Florida needs to share some responsibility for training today’s award winners.

Firstly let me take you back to a time before sportsmen and women were paid huge amounts of money just for playing games.

As young cricketers during the 1960’s there were two very important principles of sport (and life) which were drilled into us relentlessly by coaches and mentors.

1. “The game” is more important than your personal performance.

2. “Sportsmanship”, including respect for opposition players and umpires, was paramount.

Today I  lament the passing of “sportsmanship” in many sports, including my own beloved game of cricket.

Too often today, the degree of sportsmanship displayed on the field of play is inversely proportional to the amount of prizemoney on offer.

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Let us now turn our attention to tennis. Never in it’s long history have players tarnished the image of the game so consistently and shown such poor sportsmanship as tonight’s award recipients.

These two spoilt little brats have the temerity to demand total silence from spectators yet proceed to launch themselves into spasms of screaming every time they hit the ball.

They claim that the habit has been a natural part of their game since childhood.  Pigs arse. Pull the other one. I had a daughter who once upon a time played tennis.  Had she started squarking at 100 decibels every time she hit the ball I would have firstly bashed her over the scone with the racquet before carting her off to have the disorder corrected by a psychiatrist.

Screaming is NOT a natural part of tennis you pampered little millionaire darlings. It is a contrivance.
It is YOUR deliberate tactic to distract opponents. Like it or lump it, what you are actually doing is CHEATING. You are defrauding your opponents, and defrauding the public of it’s right to enjoy watching your sport.
The practice should be outlawed immediately by the International Tennis Federation.

The Bucket has no pleasure at all in awarding the
Inaugural Pain in The Arse Award to the joint winners;

Tonight we truthfully recognise the contribution which these two players have made to women’s tennis, and acknowledge that both of them are dispensible millstones around the neck of good sportsmanship and decent behaviour;

Ladies and gentlemen, our award winners for 2012,

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VICTORIA AZARENKA and MARIA SHARAPOVA

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Azarenka

Sharapova

One short clip of an Australian crowd reacting appropriately to some of Sharapova’s absurd behaviour.


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And finally, in response to a tweet just received from @eavesdropper532  “GOF do you think their childish ear-shattering on-court behaviour today will inevitably be carried forward into the ‘games rooms’ of their adult relationships tomorrow?”

You are a pervert eavesdropper532 ….A PERVERT! and NO I am not interested in paying $7000 for your covert audio recording of “Sharapova’s forty/love climax point in a marathon three-hour French Grand Slam.”
GO AWAY you horrible little man.

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An evening with François Boucher.

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(With apologies to Peter Cook and Dudley Moore)

Marquise de Pompadour painted by Francois Boucher

The scene is Paris, the city of romance on a Spring evening in 1764 with the fragrance of roses wafting on the breeze and the laughter of lovers echoing down the alleyways. As a reporter for the now defunct Antipodes Argus, I was dining out at a sidewalk cafe with the sixty-one year-old Premier Peintre du Roi, François Boucher, enjoying conversation, cuisses de grenovilles and a superb vintage white wine.

Boucher reminisced that as a young man he had been an apprentice embroiderer and then a talented engraver before his artistic skills came to the attention of King Louis XV who awarded him the prestigious Grand Prix de Rome  to study at the Palazzo Mancini in Italy.

(The more perceptive senior students at The Bucket History Academy will at this point be tempted to make an immediate connection, albeit a rather tenuous and to date unsubstantiated link, to other artful driving forces in history such as Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda, Stirling Moss and Sir Jack Brabham.)

François eventually returned home to his beloved France, initially designing tapestries at the Beauvais factory before earning public acclaim for his rococo style pastoral and mythological paintings which were unusually amorous and sensual.

In 1755 he was appointed head of the Royal Gobelins Factory.
(Established around 1450 by Jehan Gobelin, the Factory is an exclusive tapestry production house which was purchased by
King Louie XIV in 1662.)

Rumour had it that beneath the Factory there was a network of tunnels and caves where disenchanted genetics professors and unemployed battery-hen farmers had joined forces to breed elves, faeries and gnomes for general distribution, and leprechauns specifically for export to Ireland.

Boucher’s revealing paintings of the Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV, ensured that both artist and subject have a permanent place in history.

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Later that evening François and I walked the cobbled streets back to his studio apartment where the following conversation took place;

GOF;   “Hey, François, do you think you could make me as famous as Madame de Pompadour by doing a painting of me?”

François;  “Miracles can happen GOF. Would you like to show me the raw material with which I would have to work.”

GOF;   [Drops all his gear in a pile on the floor and then reclines seductively on the model’s couch.]  “Get an eyeful of this lot, François”

François;  “Oh mon Dieu!  Disastre total!  What I see before me does not fill me with great hope. Let’s see if I have this right;”

“Mr GOF, you are auditioning for a role normally reserved for a beautiful voluptuous young woman.  You, a long streak of misery with a hairy face, prominent ribs, kneecaps and other assorted protruberances are asking me, the Premier Peintre of France, to convert this mess into an acceptable piece of erotic art?”

GOF;  “Well yes, if it’s not too much trouble. Is there anything else you can see that’s wrong with me?”

François;   “Where shall I begin. Let’s start at the bottom. I’m sorry, my English is not being very good. Bottom is terrible like conjoined shrivelled prunes covered in rampant fungus disease.
What I meant was …..let’s start with your feet.”

“Your toes, feet and ankles Mr GOF are quite exquisite. I have no problem at all with those. They are finely sculptured and aesthetically pleasing. It’s just that all the other things attached to them as far as the eye can see are quite extraordinarily scrawny and unsuitable for the purpose of artistic rendition.”

“Your primary deficiency Mr GOF lies with the top 95% of your body.”

GOF;   “Well couldn’t you sort of enhance my appearance with creative ‘Photoshopping’ strokes of your brush as you are painting, with the aim of immortalising me and making me irresistibly attractive to hordes of female art lovers?

François;   “What’s Photoshopping?”

GOF;   “Sorry François, I am occasionally prone to unexpected surges of clairvoyant genius.  So do you think there is any chance at all that you could whip up a really sexy painting of me when you have some spare time?”

François;  “There is  a little glimmer of hope for you Mr GOF.  If every woman on the planet suddenly died, along with all the better looking chimpanzees, orangutans and three-toed sloths, you could quite reasonably expect to receive a call from me to be my next nude model.”

“Au revoir  Mr GOF.”

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The Bucket History Academy…..proudly educating the world.

Firing up the barbie

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(barbie = barbecue)

On Thursday she’ll be Australia Day mate, so I thought I’d take a gander, squizz and dekko at what justification we might have for celebration.

The enthusiasm I feel towards our National Day is tempered by the knowledge that little snowballs of patriotism in other parts of the world have historically been known to get completely out of hand and result in avalanches of violence, warmongering and genocide.

So this year I will leave my machete, mustard gas, AK-47’s and any notions of ethnic superiority securely locked away as I consider what Australia Day means to me.

Foremost I will appreciate the fortuitous genetic circumstance which resulted in my being born in Australia and not Rwanda or some other country where it snows for half of the year or where they speak some weird foreign lingo.

I will also remember the tenacity, vision, commitment, blood, sweat and tears of those who contributed during the last two centuries to building a prosperous and peaceful country from it’s convict-settlement beginnings.

I will not wave any flags or jubilantly sing our National Anthem, (primarily because they keep changing it and I can’t be bothered learning the words because they are stupid) but I will nevertheless feel just a little bit proud of the contributions made by some Australians to the world community.

1926    Electronic pacemaker             (Dr. Mark Lidwill)
1961    Black box flight recorder       (Dave Warren)
1972    Permaculture                             (Bill Mollison)
1978    Bionic ear                                     (Prof. Graeme Clarke)
2003    Google maps                               (Lars and Jens Rasmussen)
2006    Cervical cancer vaccine        (Prof. Ian Frazer)

However, just so we don’t get carried away by our own magnificence,
I will balance the discussion with a few shortcomings as well as some other things which I like about Australia.

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Thumbs up;

1.   I am able to blog freely and express my views against all religious and political organisations without being persecuted.

2.  Candidates with robust sexual, drinking or other questionable personal histories can be elected to the highest office in the land purely on the basis of their presumed ability to perform the task.

3.  Only the posh choose to sit in the back seat of a taxi.
The rest of us plonk ourselves down in the front with the driver where we can sort out all of the world’s problems in around ten minutes flat.

4.  There is no obligatory tipping for services. By law I pay the advertised price. No mental arithmetic is needed to add on tax or additional fees for service. Simple.
A realistic minimum wage structure enables this simplicity.

The Bucket  is committed to ensuring Australia remains a  No Tipping Zone, but one which will nevertheless encourage individual gifts of gratitude in exceptional circumstances.

5.  Most Australians tend to view social climbing and cults of celebrity as rather ludicrous and laughable activities.

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Thumbs down;

1.  As a nation we have still not made adequate and appropriate reparation to the Aboriginal people of this continent who were disenfranchised and treated with such contempt and brutality.

2.  Despite our multicultural successes, remnants of the ‘White Australia Policy’ remain in practise if not in law, and we have failed to decisively and/or compassionately manage illegal immigration.

3.  Personal freedom and common sense are being eroded by over-regulation and fear of litigation.

4.  We continue to consume far more than our sustainable share of the world’s natural resources.

5.  There are nowhere near enough clothes-optional beaches in Australia where a fully-clad GOF can go and sit on top of the adjacent sandhills with his powerful binoculars to enjoy penguin spotting, whale watching, and the exquisite nautical ballet of yachts tacking into wind.

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Happy Australia Day, and if we ever change our National Anthem to something meaningful such as ‘I am Australian’ (clip below), I’ll take the time to learn the words and maybe sing it just for you on Youtube.

(Oh, and Inga  has convinced me that turning ‘comments’ off was a really stupid idea and also that I should stop being a curmudgeonly obnoxious Vitamin D-deficient old bastard every wet season.)

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GOF in the doghouse. Again.

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Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.

Woe is me.

Until 3 months ago Mrs GOF was not interested in the internet.
Then she bought a new-fangled mobile phone primarily to annoy text all her relatives and friends around the world.

In order to finagle a single bar of mobile signal she has to take Nelson the snake-detector dog on a trek up through all the long grass in the paddock, then follow the dirt track another kilometre to the top of a hill.  This she does quite happily twice a day with umbrella, bag of lychees and phone in hand.

And yea, Mrs GOF didst also open the mysterious portal of temptation and walk into the valley of the internets, whereupon the Cyber God verily spake unto her with offers of free cars and cash and handsome young men, and showeth her pictures, and lo, she was very happy.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday Mrs GOF discovered  “The Bucket”.

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Apology, Retraction and correction (# 1 of 47)

I hereby apologise for all the times when I surfaced from my labyrinth of journalistic sewers and posted questionable “Mrs GOF” stories.

I will never again use the word “junk” in the same sentence as “Mrs GOF”.  All future public announcements about her tendency to collect assorted household items will instead include the phrase “Paraphernalia of Life”.

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Admittedly our house IS full of Mrs GOF’s  crap,……. sorry P.o.L., but it is not entirely what it seems to be at first glance.

Firstly, our home is small. Having only sixty square metres of floor space it tends to magnify the extent of her 30-year utensil and paraphernalia collection.

Whenever Mrs GOF travels to visit her brother in Minnesota I restore sufficient floor space to perform my morning gymnastic routine by hiring front-end loaders, dump trucks and squads of blonde cheerleader labourettes to clean out the accumulated surplus kitchenware, photography supplies and handy appliances.

When Inga comes home she also cuts swathes through the clutter of saucepans and “I-might-need-that-one-day” plastic containers to re-establish some bench space to pile up all her rations of TimTam chocolate biscuits, potato crisps and exotic liquor, but within days of Inga’s departure, Mrs GOF has re-populated every horizontal surface with a brand new generation of Chinese manufactured “essential” kitchen gadgets.  “Every one of them has a purpose, GOF.”

We relentlessly tease Mrs GOF about all her stuff, but both Inga and I in our hearts understand why it is so.

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Mrs GOF is not a hoarder with any similarity to those who fueled the ratings on the Oprah Winfrey Show with their afflictions of affluence.

She had a childhood with very few possessions.
Two little skirts and blouses hand-sewn from remnant material by her Mum. A mat to sleep on the split-bamboo floor and a rolled-up family towel to use as a pillow.
That’s all. Nothing else.
No shoes. No toys.  Her ‘doll’ was a scavenged empty beer bottle which she ‘dressed’ in her Dad’s handkerchief.
If she needed a ball to play with she either carved it out of the pith found inside tree-fern trunks, or had one made from a pig’s bladder.

Her Dad, employed on a remote Papua New Guinea Government Patrol Post, was paid the grand total of $1.50c per fortnight and provided with rations of rice, tinned fish, and margarine to supplement fresh food grown in the family subsistence garden.

Her Mum owned a frying pan, a small enamel billy-can and one very large saucepan which she suspended over an open hearth fire to cook for an immediate family of 15 as well as numerous extended-family members who often dropped in at meal times.

It is not wise to suggest to Mrs GOF that she grew up in poverty.
She will remind you that she never ever went hungry and that she was always surrounded by the love and support of family, and great cultural richness.  Poverty, she says, is something altogether different.

So we understand why Mrs GOF now owns at least twenty five saucepans and cooking pots, along with enough crockery and cutlery to serve a five-course meal for an entourage of the International Olympic Committee complete with mistresses, corruption advisors and bribery collectors.

We know why she is reluctant to part with anything even though she rarely has to cater for more than four people, because Mrs GOF knows that one day, thirty itinerant relatives might just turn up unannounced for dinner just like they did when she was a kid.

If they do she will be prepared.

Additionally Mrs GOF always has our cupboards crammed full of tinned and preserved food and all the other provisions necessary to sustain us for at least 2 months in the event of something preventing us from making our weekly pilgrimage into the nearest town.

Once again, she is prepared.

Mrs GOF’s clutter is NOT about hoarding.

It is all about Preparedness.

If I am still around when our Western World’s consumerism limousine inevitably collides head-on with the semi-trailer of fiscal and environmental reality I suspect that I will be thankful to have Mrs GOF’s grass-roots life experience on my side.

And that, my friends, is the truth.

(apart from the paragraph about squads of cheerleaders….there was only ever ONE squad.)

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With more good behaviour like this I should be allowed out on a short leash by the end of January.

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Sloshing out The Bucket

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Before I skim some globs of semantic suet and coagulated crud from inside The Bucket and start heaving them in your direction once more, I would like to recommend an unexpected little gem which I found floating on top.
Sammy is a new blogger who started life in Philadelphia and now resides in Australia. He writes from the heart about life matters in an easy-to-read style. I feel good whenever I read Sammies Blog  and I’m sure he would appreciate your company if you have a little space left in your blogging world.

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Now let’s clean some stuff out of The Bucket.

1. “You clench your buttocks so tightly when you are asleep that you could sharpen a pencil in there.”  (Mrs Meldrew to Victor in “One foot in the Grave” )

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2. “Speeches at weddings should be like a mini skirt.
Long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be interesting.”
(Parish Priest Father Bernie Macklin)

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3.  “A fully loaded e-book reader can weigh a millionth of a millionth of a gram more than an empty one”.
(ABC radio)
You have no idea how many sleepless nights I spent worrying about this possibility. Now I feel relieved, but knowledge and concern for others can be such a burden. Now I worry about all the e-book owners who must be suffering from prolapsed discs and acute facet joint arthropathy under the weight of all this electronic literature.

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4.  This one is a last minute addition. My daughter is feeling slightly overwhelmed at the moment by the responsibilities and workload of  her job.   Many years ago the two of us would giggle uncontrollably over this piece of Monty Python nonsense, so my dear Inga this is for you today.

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And now I’m off for a hot rendezvous at  chickswhoneedhunks.com

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Indestructible Protestantism

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It’s like mercury or Dieldrin.  Once it gets inside your system it’s very hard to get rid of.

Believe it or not this is going to be some sort of explanation as to why my “Comments” are disabled.

Every wet season I become guilt-ridden by remnants of infused Presbyterian righteousness when it comes to the management of comments with my WordPress friends.

It is a sin for one to receive when one dost not give.

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My blogging activities are governed entirely by the following scientific truths.

1.  My computer, in the absence of an onboard nuclear fission facility, coal-fired steam engine or mice pounding away on a treadmill requires electricity to function.

2.  As I have been unable to come up with the $100,000 required to connect to the power grid, or find a method of growing harvestable electrons in my garden composter, I have to rely upon solar panels to produce them.

3. Solar panels go on strike during our wet season when the sun has to shine through 10,000 feet of cloud and rain to reach them.  No amount of verbal abuse or threatening behaviour will encourage them to produce more than a pittance of usable power.

This pittance I must share equally with Mrs GOF.

My share of the pittance enables me to post stories and read yours, but only during rare sunny breaks do I ever get the computer time necessary to compose and post comments.

There are two possible ways that you might be able to help me overcome this problem.

A.  Send lots of money so I can buy more solar panels and batteries.

No. That won’t work. Methodist morality would make me return it to you immediately, with interest added, on the grounds that I didn’t work for it.

B.  This might be a better idea. You could come and suggest to Mrs GOF that watching The Bold and Beautiful every day on TV is a complete waste of precious electrons which could be better utilised by GOF posting smart-arse comments on your blog.

Please let me know in advance when you will be arriving so that I can pre-book an ambulance and a bed for you in the local Intensive care Unit.

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In the unlikely event that you find something in The Bucket which requires correction or urgent comment, or you’d just like to communicate with the Grumpy One, please shove a Private Message down my Chute located in the wall to your left.

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For anyone interested in pictures of our solar power system they are  HERE.

Please forgive this self-indulgence

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Holy cow!  Some memories just never fade.

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Apart from walking for a full day from the nearest roadhead, there  was only one way to arrive at Pindiu, Papua New Guinea, in 1972.

That was by light aircraft, a 25 minute flight from the old, now abandoned, Lae city airport.
The direct fine-weather track was via the 7000′ Landslide Gap in the Rawlinson Range. In poor weather it was safer to follow the coastline then head inland for the final 15 miles following the Mongi River.
This is the sector when most of the aeronautical fun began.

The interior of the Huon Peninsula is deeply dissected by a maze of valleys heading in all directions, and mountains up to 13,000′ high. Pindiu, at 3000′ elevation, could be extraordinarily difficult to find by visual navigation in deteriorating weather conditions.

Thanks to someone elses recent flying experience and camera work (below) I am now able to relive the final approach to the airstrip which is so indelibly etched into my memory. On more than one occasion the sudden appearance of this tiny strip of dirt through a hole in the clouds was the most beautiful sight I could have wished for.

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When enthusiastic young GOF was delivered by a Macair single-engined Pilatus Porter aircraft exactly 40 years ago onto Pindiu soil he had no idea that he would fall in love with the place and it’s people and spend most of the following 8 years living and working there.

He also had no inkling that three years later he would learn to fly and, according to his Log Book, eventually go on to repeat that landing approach himself more than one thousand times as he came back home after working in nearby villages which had even shorter and more interesting landing strips.

As I watch this clip today I get goosebumps. Serious goosebumps.

I see my old home, the highset house 50 metres off to the left, halfway up the ‘strip. I hear the various sounds of flight and my heart beats faster. My palms begin to feel a little sweaty. I still have an urge to make final-approach landing checks whilst peering through the windscreen trying to get a fix on the exact location of the ‘strip through all the murk. I get butterflies in my stomach knowing that on short-final approach it is too late to abort the landing on this one-way uphill strip.

But most of all, as the aircraft rolls up the hill and turns into the parking bay, I am left with the warm feeling that I have just come back home again.

Pindiu got into my heart in 1972 ………..and never left.

Dammit!  Do you have a box of tissues handy? If I watch this one more time I might just need one.

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Edit December 2012…..due to internet gremlins please copy and paste the following URL…….landing approach to Pindiu airstrip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBn4OYUJbpU&list=PLDD7563CA053A8759&index=6