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Imelda the millipede

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A  LITTLE STORY FOR CHILDREN

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Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Millippines where all the Chilopods and Diplopods lived, there was a young millipede called Imelda. She was a very beautiful millipede. Every day she would look in the mirror as she was shaving the 70 pairs of legs which sprouted from her 35 segments and make a promise to her gorgeous reflection “One day I’m going to seduce our handsome King Ferdipoop and join him in holy millimony and then we’re going to live together in the Pod Palace and reign over all the other lesser pedes in the land.”

And do you know what happened? That’s exactly what she did.

King Ferdipoop and Queen Imelda spent many fun days in the Palace garden which was full of rotting leaves and hollow logs. In and out they would go, then over and under and up and down then in and out once more until it was time for them to go and exterminate anyone who might have been plotting against them.

They were also very careful looking after the Kingdom’s money. They stashed it all in lots of hidey-holes far across the sea where nobody else could find it.

Queen Imelda used some of the money to buy lots and lots of shoes for all her feet. There were breakfast shoes, lunch shoes, toilet shoes, tish shoes, and supper, party and dancing shoes. Her most favourite shoes of all were the sharp pointy-toed wooden clogs which she used to kick the Palace staff right up their excretory tubules whenever they were not working hard enough.

There were hundreds of working-class pedes employed to keep Imelda’s Palace looking shipshape.

First there were the disabled Monopedes who could do nothing much with their single legs except sproing through all the rooms in the Palace on pogo sticks painting the ceilings in short sharp brush strokes or changing light globes in stages. The Impedes were the court jesters and they flitted around joyously dressed in floppy red pixie caps adorned with green pompoms and flashing LED lights. They laughed a lot and played tricks on everyone with their protruding antennae, leaving behind a gay air of frivolity.

The Velocipedes dashed around here and there, hither and thither, high as kites on their staple diet of cocaine and amphetamines, while the squadrons of Stampedes just trudged around with military precision squishing all the invading ants and cockroaches with their hob-nail boots.

Life came to a sudden and tragic end for Queen Imelda. One sunny day when she was out tanning her ventral surfaces in the grass next to the bespoke coconut-shell swimming pool which Ferdipoop had commissioned, a human being whizzed over the top of her with his motor mower set on full throttle. All the Imeldrial legs, body segments and stink glands together with one hundred and forty tiny hot-pink Gucci flip-flops were splintered and splattered and flung all over the Arthropodian realm.

When King Ferdipoop came along and saw all the blood and entrails and pieces of thorax, mandibles and ganglia blemishing his brand new pool he exclaimed “Holy Crap! What a bastard!” Then he immediately went out and found himself a younger replacement millipede. One who he hoped would never upstage him in public like Imelda had done.
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And her name was GaGa.

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THE END

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A Christmas letter

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Friends of The Bucket will be aware that the online provision of factual and educational masterpieces such as this one is merely a hobby of mine. A humble little gift to humanity. My real job is being a partner with the innovative social engineering firm Smirnoff, Fulcrum and Gof.  The three of us share such close working and personal relationships that sometimes it feels almost as though we are just a single organism.  Being baby-boomers we are still a little old-fashioned and send out Christmas letters to our nearest and dearest.  Today I am sharing with you the one I received this week from my friend and partner Jasper J. Fulcrum Esq.
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Hello dear friends,

Holy Rudolph!  Time doth fly doth’nt it!  Once again it’s time for me to reflect upon, and share with all our friends, the gobsmackingly magnificent achievements of my family and pets during the last 12 months.

Well not too much about pets this year.
Donatus our Doberman blotted his copybook in October.  He ate the neighbour’s Pomeranian which had just won the Best Dog in Show award at the Brisbane Exhibition.  No-one would have discovered who the culprit was except that the next-door family members were enjoying a Sunday barbecue lunch on their front lawn after church when Donatus arrived on the scene and regurgitated a furball containing the victim’s pink hair ribbon, Council registration tag, a microchip and a rather nasty looking large tapeworm.  Stupid dog.

Sarky  (Sarcophagus our eldest boy now prefers this truncated version of his name) seems to have become a professional globetrotter of some sort. Something like a storm chaser I believe. He follows cyclones, typhoons, floods and other natural disasters all around the world in rented pantec trucks, then sends back shipping containers full of all sorts of furniture, jewellery and electrical goods which he has rescued from the tempests.  He calls himself a ‘recycler of potentially shop-soiled merchandise’.  That must be a good thing for the planet.  I think he might live in Switzerland because after we sell everything for him that’s where we have to send the money.

Candy still provides ancillary services for Australian and American naval personnel when they arrive in Sydney for R and R.  She is doing very well with one office in Kings Cross and a new one closer to the wharves to provide rapid response services to those with more urgent and pressing requirements.  It is wonderful to know our daughter is giving some little thing back to the servicemen who do so much for our country.  We are very proud of her.

Wollemi, who was born in the year when this rare Australian pine tree was discovered by botanists, turned out to be as thick as two pine planks which probably serves us right for giving him that name in the first place.  He’s become addicted to takeaway food and the demon drink, and judging by his present body shape maybe we should have baptised him Baobab instead.   Well this is the last year I’ll be mentioning him in my Christmas letter because the ungrateful sod went and took out a Restraining Order on me after I went to his place in March and syphoned 500 gallons of his home-brewed stout down into the sewers. For his own good mind you.  There’s only so much you can do for children when they run off the tracks like this.

Eronius, our lastborn who arrive a decade later than the other children, is now 22 and runs a millinery and embroidery business with his very good friend Nigel.  We can’t wait for one of our kids to produce a grandchild.  I think Eronius is a dark horse and might be the first although he keeps telling me that he hasn’t found the right girl yet.  He’s a shy boy so I think he might be reluctant to tell me all about his love life but it wouldn’t surprise me if I have some quite amazing news to share with you within the next couple of years.

Happy holidays, and may all your Herald Angels hark on cue and sing with sublime tunefulness this Christmas,

Love and best wishes from Jasper and all the Fulcrum Gang.
(Except Donatus who is too busy eyeing off the new Chihuahua next door through a knot-hole in the paling fence…….maybe I should nail Wollemi to the fence to block off the hole…..sheesh! ……bloody rotten fruit of my loins he turned to be.  )

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26

Reverend GOF’s Christmas Newsletter

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Dear Friends,

Hello again to you all at this special time of the year.
Golly gosh doesn’t time fly.

It has been a difficult year for Our Lady of the Divine Eructation Church.  In February one of our parishioners broke into the vestry and stole a silver chalice and two collection plates which contained three hundred and seven dollars, four plastic buttons, one cigarette butt and a nut and washer from the transverse shaft of a 1966 Volkswagon gearbox.

I should not have been surprised when the offender, Walter Sphincter, was arrested shortly afterwards while he was trying to hammer the washer into a parking meter using the metal leg which he had just broken off a nearby restaurant’s alfresco dining table.
When I baptised Walter 24 years ago I said to the Verger  “Verger, mark my words, with parents like those, that little bastard is never going to amount to much.”

Last Christmas the church conducted a special fundraising campaign to help save the starving children in Ethiopia following an address to the congregation by Pastor Sikam Bastar who said that he worked with the children.  Unfortunately it transpired that he was not a religious man at all, but a warlord whose only contact with the children was to supervise them smashing up rocks with their bare hands in his quarry.

We did feel much better though when he assured us by telephone that he had spent our entire donation of $7620.15c  (plus one New Zealand twenty cent coin) on improving the lives of prostitutes in Addis Ababa.

Gospel according to Mark; Chapter 9 Verse 43;
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off .

Thank you all for your best wishes and get well cards since this event. The wound has healed nicely after several months of intravenous antibiotics.  Perhaps I should have been a little more gentle on myself and at the very least used a sharp hacksaw blade.  After all it wasn’t entirely my fault.  The Matron of Honour seated next to me at the wedding reception did, after a few drinks, grab my hand and direct it to where she wanted it.

I have resolved that in future I will be less selfish, perform fewer limb amputations on myself, and continue to enthusiastically give my one remaining helping hand to those in desperate need.

Sunday School classes have been temporarily suspended since that unfortunate day when the Italian exchange teacher Miss Profligatus showed the senior youth group part of a DVD titled  “Virgin Mary Does Jerusalem”, believing it to be a religious education film.

Our eldest daughter Philistinia gave birth to twins on the 29th of January and the 1st of February. One black and one white.  Praise be to God for this miracle.  We also ask you to pray for the paediatric nurse down at the clinic who has been passing around some very hurtful and defamatory stories about our daughter.

Prayers are also requested for Philistinia’s husband Festus.
Soon after the birth of the twins he received a spiritual enlightenment from the Lord and immediately went off to work in the fleshpots of Asia saving souls and preaching His word.

We are so proud of the work Festus is doing, but Thailand must have very primitive communication facilities.  We haven’t heard from him for almost 10 months now.

We wish you a not too merry Christmas after all the trouble you got into last year, and hope to see you regularly in our church during 2013.

In contrast to your record of attandance this year.

Love and blessings,

Reverend GOF and family.

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Sermon on The Sign

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And the Lord didst descend from heaven and alight upon the crossbar of the “H” closely followed by His detachment of divine handmaidens.
He then preached a parable through his megaphone unto the distant horde of tourists milling behind the security gates with their Nikons and Canons pointing toward the HOLLYWOOD sign upon which He was standing.

He forthrightly denounced Tom Hanks as being a false prophet and spake unto the people thus;  “Life is NOT like a box of chocolates.”

“Thou shalt think of life as being like an automobile.  It begins with the coming together of a nut and a bolt in the sanctity of holy design, and from this sacred union of nut and bolt the automobile grows with every passing hour. It’s heart beats, valves open and close, and the vital fluids of it’s existence flow to every extremity, and when the time is come to full term the factory doors open wide and another brand new little bundle of consumptive joy issues forth into the world.”

“And from that very day onwards, it gets older, it deteriorates, and it falls apart until one day the entire creation dies and crumbles back into the earth from whence it came.”

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Despite the almighty amplification this message was not heard by anyone at all because it was carried away on an unpredicted forty knot crosswind.
God was not amused and declared  “Lo and behold, today’s weather forecasters will, on the Day of Judgment, pay dearly for this ineptitude.”

After reading God’s subsequent press release, the President of the American Meteorologists Association, Michael Hector-Pascal angrily responded;  “This is horseshit!  After all, the wind shear was simply the result of an Act of Himself.  If He and His flock of aerodynamically challenged angels had not plummeted from the heavens with such celestial terminal velocity as to cause a localised area of low atmospheric pressure, then these strong winds would not have eventuated.”

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, Ohio, Joy Scroggs  (here on the left)  was curled up watching the television coverage. During the commercial break she unfurled her long shapely middle-aged legs, admired them, then gently ran an appreciative hand down her thigh, secretly wishing that GOF could be there to do it for her.
The news story of the moment interrupted this delicious erotic reverie, so Joy turned to her housemates and commented;
“It just goes to prove that passing wind and public speaking should be kept as two separate events.”

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Too old to dance?

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Last year 43 year-old Richard Fuller was forcibly removed from a Cold Chisel rock concert in Townsville after dancing in the aisles.
A magistrate subsequently fined him $450 (it seems young Richard might have overexuberantly resisted the security guards who were hauling him out of the venue) and then dismissed him from the court with “You are too old to dance, Mr Fuller.”

(actual Video footage here)

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Well root my boots*.   I smell a conspiracy.

Older friends of The Bucket will remember that Richard is not the first ancient sacrificial dancing lamb.

Three years ago I also found myself in a spot of bother on my one-man dance extravaganza  “M. C. Screwdriver”  tour of retirement villages down the eastern coast of Australia.

M. C. Screwdriver

It wasn’t my fault that a slight wardrobe malfunction at the Gosford Senior Ladies Lawn Bowls Club resulted in twenty matronly sheilas from the front rows running squealing and gesticulating out the nearest exit with their knickers in knots down to the local constabulary.

Well, last Saturday Richard made his comeback and he was accorded hero status at the inaugural Not Too Old To Dance Comeback Concert in Townsville.  (story and short clip here)
I wish Richard a long life full of happiness and dancing.

In fact, as my two years probation for lewd and lascivious behaviour has now expired, I might resume the nationwide dance tour from where it was so rudely interrupted if Richard would like to take over as headline act.  I am no longer quite as lithe and limber as I was in 2009 so I might just play a minor supporting role this time. Something involving audience participation perhaps.

Like juggling some flaming swords and a chainsaw.

What could possibly go wrong this time.

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* “Root my boots” = Aussie exclamation of exasperation.

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Growing up with Napoleon

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As we navigate the ocean of life through a flotilla of fanatics, it appears to me that there are only two people remaining in the world with a grip on truth and reality.  You and me.

Accordingly I would like to donate the following grain of historical sand to add to your expansive beach of general knowledge.

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I was born at Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. My childhood friend, Napoleon, was a painfully shy and introverted boy who rarely ventured outside the family home.
When we were both eleven years of age our families moved to Brienne-le-Chateau in France, and by sheer coincidence lived on the same street. The Gof’s at No.17 and the Buonaparte’s in No.26.  The year was 1778.

Unlike me, Napoleon had grown into a rather saturnine and bedraggled looking lad with a ruddy complexion. Truth be told, he was still very much a ‘Mummy’s boy’ with no sense of adventure at all.

Eventually I tempted him to come and play in one of the sand piles on a nearby vacant allotment. It had once been the site of a glass factory which produced Waldglas utilitarian products until Great Britain started to dominate the world table-glass market in the 1750’s at which time our little factory had been abandoned and demolished.

When Napoleon first saw the forts and battlements which I’d constructed in the sand pile he was very upset because he was such a peace-loving person. We decided instead to build cathedrals in both Gothic and Romanesque styles, complete with classical motifs. Then we carved figurines and sacred objects from leftover lumps of clinker and furnace slag, and we had great fun moving our bishops, cardinals and parishioners around the cloisters and ambulatories of our many churches.

Occasionally Nap’s eyes would glaze over and he would utter really weird things like “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping the common people quiet” and “A constitution should be short but obscure”.  Funny boy. I think he might have been an escargot or two short of a full banquet.

Eventually we ran out of sand in our pile, so one dark night I dragged Napoleon along to help me steal some more from the piles which all the other kids were using.  When we’d doubled the size of our sandpit Nap said to me “ Shit GOF, that was a lot of fun. I’ve really got the taste for expansionism now. What else can we do now?”.

At that point I knew I could trust Napoleon so I shared with him my ultimate dream.

“You know Nap, when I grow up I’d like to go to military school then unleash an unprecedented wave of invasion and carnage on the world. I’d just love to go and belt the crap out of some Austrians, Russians, Germans, Prussians, Sardinians, Syrians, Egyptians, Swiss, Ottomans, Portugese and Poles.”

Sadly I was never able to realise my dream because of what happened in 1785.

My father relocated our family to La Rochelle near the Bay of Biscay and one weekend Dad and I went fishing in a crude little sailboat.  A tremendous storm blew us out into the Atlantic Ocean then southwards into the Roaring Forties until we eventually made landfall on Terra Australis driven by the South-East tradewinds.

Even today I find it difficult to believe that we had actually survived for two years adrift on the high seas.

We were the first Europeans to discover the continent of Australia.
The year was 1787.  Much of the gloss of our epic achievement was removed twelve months later by some overdressed pompous Pommie bastard who sailed into our little settlement of Goftown and renamed it Cooktown.

Gof family voyage of discovery to Australia 1785-87

Despite my fame and advanced years (243) I still sometimes wonder whatever became of that unobtrusive and bashful little friend who I left behind in France all those years ago.

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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)