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Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Skylights Project

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The Skylights Project was a 1960’s top-secret operation designed to prepare Australia for a position of world supremacy in the forecast booming personal computer market of the 1990’s.

Seventeen men and women comprising the finest electronics minds in the Southern Hemisphere were bunkered in a discreet laboratory three storeys below footpath level in Swanston Street, Melbourne in January 1968 when disaster struck.

One of their number, Eunice Hopsteader, smuggled her pet rabbit through the strict security system, into the lift, then down to Level 3.

The rabbit was infected with a mutated and virulent strain of the Myxoma virus. Ten of the scientists, including Eunice, were dead before lunch time.

Those who remained symptom-free celebrated their close shave with death by dining out the following day at Farmer Gramoxone’s Country Style Restaurant just around the corner in Flinders Street.  (Named after explorer Matthew Flinders.)

Six of them were declared stone cold motherless dead within minutes of sipping the vegetable soup which mistakenly contained diced carrots laced with strychnine poison which Farmer Gramoxone had prepared for distribution as rabbit bait on his farm.
(Today Australian Workplace Health and Safety Regulations only allow poison bait preparation in Registered Kitchens on weekends and Gazetted Public Holidays.)

The Director of The Skylights Project, Bill Picket-Fences, was the only one to survive after a quick-thinking cyclist shoved his bicycle pump all the way down Bill’s oesophagus and syphoned the deadly contents out of his stomach and back into the soup bowl.

“My bike pump never did work very well after that”  Wayne Pedalworster reported to the Advertiser newspaper three days later. “The strychnine corroded my plunger like real bad mate and nobody’s offered to replace it either.”

Even Blind Freddie could have forseen that Bill Picket-Fences would select me as deputy leader of the new Skylights Project team.
With a fresh-off-the-press Diploma of Agriculture and an I.Q. of 71, I was assigned the priority task of developing a portable computer memory device with a capacity of 16 gigabytes.

After just 44 years, I am proud to present the fruits of my labour to the world;  The GOF 16GB Portable Memory Device specifically designed for the Skylights Operating System.

So, all you computer nerds, stick that in your USB slots and smoke it. It will be a long time before you come up with anything better.

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The GOF 16 Gig Portable Storage Device. (GOF PSD)

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Look what they done to my pump, Ma.

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The bastards put this on it.

Only once before in my life have I been angry enough to take up my ‘pointless pen’ and write a Letter to the Editor of a newspaper.
 
Way back in 1975 I attempted to bring to public attention the extent to which village smallholder coffee growers were being short-changed by the foreign-owned coffee millers in Papua New Guinea.
It did not make me a popular man amongst the perpetrators of this injustice.  Today I find myself again having to speak out, this time more selfishly about another sort of inequity.

I know not whether the following letter will make any sense to you given that the facts had to be compressed into fewer than 200 words.
Nor do I know or care much whether it will be published. We live too far out of town to get newspapers and just writing the letter has been a sufficiently therapeutic exercise for me.

Now I need to get on with my life. I refuse to allow the bureaucracy to spoil the dream which is GOF’s Paradise, but sometimes….just sometimes, even Australia gives me the screaming shits.

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Year of the Farmer.

My walkman radio told me the other day that 2012 was the Year of the Farmer. My mouth immediately opened so wide with astonishment that my vegetable-chipping hoe handle ended up half way down my gullet.

I for one will not be celebrating.

Thirty years ago I moved to this somewhat inhospitable rural smallholding in an attempt to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. We built a small dam to provide permanent water where previously there was none, and eventually made a modest living from vegetable growing.

This year, The Year of the Farmer, the Queensland Government via the Department of Environment and Resource Management installed a water meter on our little pump to raise revenue for itself.

Even though we only use a fraction of one megalitre each year, there are annual charges of several hundred dollars payable for licences, for maintenance of the Government meter and to pay someone to travel to read the meter which serves no purpose. No purpose at all, because even if I further reduce my water consumption the flat fees and bureaucratic charges will remain the same.

I am amenable to initiatives designed to ensure the sustainability of the planet’s water resources, but these fees have nothing to do with responsible water management or encouraging me to use less.
They are simply an inequitable tax on those who can least afford it.

Any country which actively discourages primary producers deserves the fate which will ultimately and inevitably befall it.

Year of the Farmer?  I think not.

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Let’s hope the meter reader does not expect our usual country hospitality and a cup of tea when he arrives.

Vale Nelson

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Chief of Homeland Security.
Loyal protector of Inga, Mrs GOF and GOF.  (in that order of priority)
Feral pig annoyer.
Poisonous snake killer.
Respectful admirer of pythons and carpet snakes.
Coconut dehusker.
Silent fart manufacturer.

Passed away peacefully surrounded by family on 20 July, and is now at peace with Calli, Molly and Rosie.

No comments by request……instead please give a moment of appreciation and affection to your pet.

Thank you.

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The girls of Korbau

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The most enjoyable and productive times I spent working with village people in Papua New Guinea occurred when I was based at Pindiu Patrol Post between 1972 and 1979.

The climate was close to perfect all year round. The people were industrious and hospitable, and unlike some other tribal cultures within PNG, women were involved equally with the men in most of our development projects.

The hamlet of Korbau was nestled in a mountainous saddle between the Masaweng and Mongi River catchments at 4000′ altitude. With a population of just one hundred plus a few, it was a hard three-hour walk from Pindiu.

I spent a lot of time working with the Korbau people constructing earthworks and developing and modifying our prototype micro hydroelectricity unit to provide village lighting.

(Story with pictures of the Korbau Hydroelectricity Project here)

Everybody participated. Old men and women, boys and girls and even the little kids. It was a wonderful working atmosphere. Despite being some of the poorest people on earth, the days were always full of laughter, frivolity, banter and even occasional innocent flirting.

Australians working in PNG at this time in history were mostly treated like minor dignitaries and rarely invited to join mundane day to day village activities.  It was therefore a pleasant surprise when, late one day after work, the girls of Korbau invited me to join them in a game of basketball.

I had never played basketball in my life although I knew the object of the game was apparently to throw the ball through the hoop.

No worries.

Even though these girls were strong beyond belief from carrying heavy loads of food, firewood and babies up and down mountains,
I was over 6 feet tall, and they were all only knee-high to grasshoppers.

So……….How difficult could this be?

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Korbau basketball court circa 1977. Add one more ingredient…..slippery.

So……How difficult could this be? 

The Korbau girls invited
Master GOF to play a game
Of basketball, local rules,
A big chance for sporting fame.  
They’re tired from a hard day’s work.
And I’m twice their height I see.
Bring it on, you little chicks.
How difficult could this be?

The ‘court’ was something diff’rent.
So I uttered words profane
Mudholes where pigs did wallow
Their complexions to maintain.
And big boulders two feet high
To trip me arse right over tee.
Then suddenly it registered
How difficult this might be.

But I ain’t seen nuthin’ yet
‘Till the girls brought out the ball.
At the top end of the slope
They all looked eight foot tall.
The Amazons then threw the orb
To me, then they charged with glee
And slammed me into the goal post.
Shit!  Difficult this will be.

I eventually got back vertical
To gasp and wheeze and stagger.
Then ‘Sister’ Barbara elbowed me.
Rib pain just like a dagger.
They accidentally flattened me.
Despite my attempts to flee.
It seemed that saving my life
Would my priority be.

Thank God they’re at the other end
Shooting goals at my expense
And giggling uncontrollably
At my sporting incompetence.
Oh Christ no! here they come again
One tonne of femininity
To trample me in the mudhole.
How embarrassing this will be.

I hit the ground six more times,
Which caused lumps upon my rump.
But every time they helped me up
And none said White Men Can’t Jump.
They didn’t keep the score that day.
Which needed no apology.
‘Cos everyone was a winner.
‘Specially me, I now can see.

Memory looks back all these years.
What a privilege it was
To be accepted as an equal,
But much more than that because
They showed me joy and happiness
Depends not upon degree
Of wealth, and to forget them
Is impossible for me.

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Carrying capacity….one man’s triumph

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(Blame the Finns for this one. It’s all their fault.)

It was never within the Grand Universal Blueprint for every human to be bountifully blessed with elite-level athletic ability.

Some of us got it, but most missed out.

The decision was a no-brainer really.
I’ve been selected by the Institute of Sport to represent Australia at the International Wife Carrying Championships in Finland next year.

My selection does not of course come without onerous responsibilities being attached. Carrying Mrs GOF speedily and safely across the finishing line on my back is just one of them.

Accordingly I have a training support team…. not only to make sure I can complete the 253 metre course in less than 1 minute 20 seconds, but also to coach me to the highest levels of International diplomacy, sportsmanship and modesty expected from one who is destined to become an athletic role model for future generations of Australians.

‘Team GOF’  comprises;

Ten arthritic masseuses, nine lame sports psychologists, eight anorexic nutritionists, seven indolent motivators, six hypertensive cardiologists, five sprightly ex-weightlifters, four eloquent World Championship wrestlers, three foul-mouthed spiritual advisors, two philanthropic financial advisors, oh…. and a morose Scandinavian elocutionist to help me respond in unaccented Finnish when I receive my gold medal.   (because the partridge will be remaining in it’s Aussie pear tree due to quarantine restrictions.)

Because Mrs GOF has refused to be treated like common baggage being humped all over the farm for the next 300 days, the Institute of Sport in it’s infinite wisdom has provided me with a substitute training partner.

Angie.

I will miss Mrs GOF’s limpet-like attachment to me during training, with thighs strangleholding my neck, (please refer to following video for clarification) knee-spurs urging me forever onwards by biting deeply into my ears, arms vicelikely gripping my waist, and breasts flocculating around my shoulder blades in search of support which they rarely seem to find.

It will not be the same with Angie.

The life of an elite athlete involves much inconvenience, pain and suffering.

I will be doing it for Australia.

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Angie

GOF’s Charity Department

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At great expense The Bucket is now being published for your convenience in the marvellous newly-patented green, blue and black Tripartita Format.

1.  AUDIO UP HERE FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED  ˄˄˄

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2. Extract of key words in the middle here for busy readers who can’t spend more than ten seconds in The Bucket, but would neverthless like to get the jist of it ;

“G’day, private lottery beautiful Megan God take me 59,999 times nine hours stuffed. The end.”

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3.  Unabridged text down here for the hearing impaired, and for those visionaries who could arguably be making better use of their time.

G’day. You have reached GOF’s private residence.
If you are one of my highly intelligent, beautiful and/or handsome readers of The Bucket please press “1”.

If you are the representative of a lottery organisation wishing to deposit funds into my bank account, please press “2”.

If you are Megan McCormick and you would like to take me along with you on your next Pilot Guides expedition to the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro please press “3”.

If you are a charity begging for money please press “4”

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You have now reached GOF’s charity processing department.

As staggeringly ridiculous as it might seem, there are apparently 60,000 registered charitable organisations in Australia.

If, like you, the other 59,999 chose to interrupt me once each month by ringing my private telephone, my life would be in total shambles.

Please don’t hang up before I present all the arithmetical data in support of this hypothesis. It took me a very long time to compile.

60,000 charities divided by 30 days in the month equals 2000 phone calls every day. Multiplied by 1 minute each, this would require 33 hours of my time.
Therein lies my dilemma given that God rations me to 24 hours in most of my days. This leaves me with a deficiency of around about 9 hours and quite frankly I’m stuffed if I know where I could find that number of additional hours even if I was on really good terms with God herself.

Accordingly it would seem like a reasonable and simple solution if you were to just bugger off and stop ringing my telephone in the first place. This would serve two purposes.  Firstly it would please me to a degree rarely seen in grumpy old bastards, and secondly it would allow me to distribute my charitable endowments as I see fit.

Thank you for understanding.

To return to the main menu please press “1”

The end.

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The day I lost my flow

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‘Twas early in my ed
Ucation days at school
That Miss said “GOF you write
Poems so beautiful”
I sat upon my gift egg
And nurtured it with love
Then gave the lucky world
My prosodic dove.

Literati dubbed me
Poet Laureate of Oz.
Dined and duly feted
Like the verse star that I was.
Migrated then to Hobart,
The natives there to teach.
That’s where it all went wrong
Upon a windswept beach.

The albatross was flying
Too low with too much speed.
Mistook me for a haddock
In haste to find a feed.
A mermaid nursed me back
To glowing Goffly health.
But lost the gift of poetry.
My major source of wealth.

The words just wouldn’t rhyme.
Lost metricality.
Inspirational light
Snuffed out, oh woe is Eddie the eagle.
I totally lost control
Of rhythmic form and then
I would write long lines like this with words going on forever before I’d
Drag ’em back here again.

So then I decided sonnets I’d write.
One fourteen line classic done every night.
I’d ramble ’bout rainbows, clouds and nice things
Like koala bears and bird’s downy wings.
But then my mind was filled with distraction.
Memories of a youthful attraction.
‘Twas somewhere around nineteen sixty nine.
Knew her, not biblically, puppy love sublime.
Dressed in pink mohair I admired her much
From a distance. I looked, never to touch.
So now as I dream of times from my past.
Memory snapshots of life gone so fast.
And all of the failures, many there’s been.
You wouldn’t believe the shit that I’ve seen.
Like this frigging sonnet with lines fifteen.

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