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My car is a bomb.

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I bought this new vee-hickle,
A green and purple van,
From Yakuza Motors Incorporated
At Fukushima in Japan.
They assembled it from spare parts
Found scattered up the street,
On rooftops and in trees and
Under slabs of thick concrete.

The seats are radioactive.
It runs on nuclear power.
I outrun all the cops doin’
Two hundred miles an hour.
I fill ‘er up with uranium.
Special blend of two three five.
A single rod for every gear,
Plus two for overdrive.

The chain reaction starts by
Pushing pedal to the floor.
Smokin’ beryllium out the back
You can hear my turbines roar.
But I’ve got a little problem
That worries me somewhat;
Festering ulcers up my nose
With pustules oozing snot.

There’s lesions on my larynx,
Cysts and blisters down below,
And I illuminate the neighbourhood
With my incandescent glow.
I’m sure the car is not to blame.
It’s the vindaloo I ate,
At Mother India Restaurant
Wot’s caused this deathly fate.


Salaen and the rooster

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Village elders in Papua New Guinea were often unable to read or write, but many were gifted orators and storytellers.

The following story is based on one told to me at Finschhafen in 1974 in the lingua franca Melanesian Tok Pisin.

It is a tale that brought tears to my eyes.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *
Salaen was a New Guinea village man who had proudly inherited the traditional craft of house-building from his ancestors.
His small one-roomed hut, like all of the others in the hamlet, was constructed almost entirely from bamboo except for the wooden stumps and bearers which supported it three feet off the ground.

The roof was made of stitched-up bamboo leaf thatch, the walls from flattened bamboo stems woven into flat panels, and the floor  fabricated from long lengths of large-diameter bamboo hammered out into flat sheets and laid with the smooth side facing upwards.

The underneath surface remained rough and in parts razor sharp…..after all, bamboo slivers could be used to slice meat if metal knives were unavailable.

One of the advantages of bamboo flooring, especially from Mrs Salaen’s point of view, was that as the bamboo dried there were numerous cracks which appeared in the floor.  These were useful for sweeping dust through, or after cooking taro and vegetables on the central hearth fire she could simply pour the excess water from the saucepan onto the ground through the slits in the floor.

The family chickens eagerly gathered under the house at cooking time each day waiting for the small morsels of food which seemed to always miraculously appear like manna from their heaven above.

*        *       *

Salaen was also a traditional man with his simple choice of clothing. He possessed only a single garment. One colourful laplap which was fastened around his waist to cover the lower half of his body.

Mr and Mrs Salaen, in true Melanesian style, often had their little house full of relatives and friends at meal times where they would all sit in a circle on the floor around the fire.

It was at one of these gatherings that Salaen gained considerable notoriety, but almost lost something a lot more important to him in the process.

*       *       *

It was a very hot evening on the tropical coast, and, made even more uncomfortable by his proximity to the roaring fire, Salaen gradually eased the laplap higher up his legs for ventilation and cooling purposes.

In a regrettable moment of miscalculation he raised it too high and one testicle fell out and down through a narrow slit in the bamboo floor.

For half an hour he casually attempted to release it without flinching or drawing attention to himself, but no matter how hard or scientifically he tried, the errant ball refused to rejoin it’s twin on top of the floor.
Every time he tried a different manouvre the sharp bamboo lascerated and bruised it even more until it was twice it’s normal size and the colour of an over-ripe plum.

He tried with great subtlety to prise the hole wider with his fingers, but the floor would not budge in any direction because six other people were sitting on the same length of bamboo.

*       *       *

The sudden appearance of three twitching fingers under the floorboards caught the attention of Roger the rooster who had been waiting patiently under the house for scraps of food to appear.
He had seen fingers before and knew them to be inedible, but in his state of hunger the dangling object accompanying the fingers certainly appeared to offer several gastronomic possibilities.

He sprang up and pecked it gently. Nothing. It just kept hanging there.  Then he took a flying leap and took a sizeable nip out of the side of it with his beak.  Still nothing, but he thought that it moved a little and made a strange grunting noise when he did it, but no matter how often he flew up and grabbed hold of it in his beak he just could not release it from whatever mysterious force held it in place under the floor.

Even when, in a final concerted effort, he launched himself skywards and latched onto it with such force that his entire body dangled precariously from it for at least ten seconds the damned thing still refused to come loose.

Unbeknown to Roger however, the forces of the universe were at this very moment conspiring against him.

Salaen had smuggled a length of firewood kindling from his side of the hearth and wedged it into the bamboo floor, widening the hole sufficiently to allow the complete retraction of all his equipment.

Ashen-faced, he excused himself from the gathering and hobbled to the door where he grabbed his recently sharpened machete which was kept on a shelf above it.

He limped silently down the steps and crept under the house.

Roger was still there, gazing upwards at the crack in the floor.


What sort of merciless Chicken God would giveth and then taketh away?

Roger never even saw it coming.

RIP. Roger. 1972-74

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

Ye Olde Bucket Gift Shoppe

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If so, The Bucket Online Gift Catalogue is the perfect place to shop.

February 2011 Special Offer;


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Supplies are limited.




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But there’s more!

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1. No humans or cats were harmed during the testing phase of these products.

Well, except for just one unfortunate incident.


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(When I read this version of Cinderella, I am inevitably reminded of that wonderful, now departed, Danish pianist and comic entertainer, Victor Borge.  I am not sure if these are his words exactly.  It does not matter.  It still brings a smile to my face remembering his antics at, on, beside and underneath his grand piano.
May you all have great success from slopping your drippers 😉

Once upon a time in a corn foundry there lived a geautiful birl and her name was Rindercella. Now Rindercella lived with her mugly other and two sad blisters. Also in this same corn foundry there lived a pransome hince, and this pransome hince was going to have a bancy fall and he'd invited people for riles amound especially the pich reople.

Now Rindercella's mugly other and her two sad blisters went to town to buy some drancy fesses for the bancy fall, but Rindercella couldn't go cause all she had to wear were some old ruddy dags. Finally the night of the bancy fall arrived and Rindercella couldn't go so she just crank down and shried. And she was sitting there shrieing when all of the sudden there appeared before her, her gay mudfather and he touched her with his wagic mand and there appeared before her a kig boach and hix white sorces to take her to the bancy fall, and he said — "Rindercella, be sure and be home before midnight or I'll purn you into a tumpkin!"

When Rindercella arrived at the bancy fall the pransome hince met her at the door because he'd been watching behind a wooden hindow. Rindercella and the pransome hince nanced all dight until midnight and they lell in fove. And finally the mid clock struck night, and Rindercella staced down the rairs and just as she beached the rottom she slopped her dripper! The next day this pransome hince went all over this corn foundry looking for the geautiful birl who had slopped her dripper.

They finally came to Rindercella's house, and he tried it on the mugly other and it fidn't dit. Then he tried lt on the two sisty uglers and it fidn't dit and then he tried it on Rindercella and it fid dit! It was exactly the sight rize!
And so they were married and lived heavenly after happily. Now the storal of the mory is: if you go to a bancy fall and you want a pransome hince to lell in fove with you — don't forget to slop your dripper

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Toilet humour

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Those who have had their fill of my Papua New Guinea stories may be well advised to leave before this one gets under way.

It is a tale of (among other things) how even the finest of human beings sometimes have difficulty ascending to the throne of leadership, and stumble under pressure at the last hurdle.

Missionaries, such as my old friend, Father Tom (here), together with Australian Government patrol officers did much to improve health outcomes in many remote areas of Papua New Guinea during the 1960's.

Some projects were more successful than others.

People in lowland areas of PNG suffer from endemic malaria, and in Fr. Toms district, infant mortality to age 5 was 50%, due to malaria, dietary protein deficiency, and gastro-intestinal infections.  A nation-wide program was begun to introduce pit toilets, and Fr. Tom selected a nearby village for his first demonstration.

He explained the concept to the village Luluai (L) and Tultul (T) (generic titles for village chiefs), and left design diagrams with them.

PNG village society has survived for countless centuries without new fangled devices such as toilets, so L & T enthusiastically promised to build the structure just to humor the funny white man, knowing that none of his clan would ever easily adopt the concept of crapping in the same place more than once.

The small village consisted of 20 or so bush material huts built around the perimeter of a 50 metre diameter brushed-earth village square.
(I am retrospectively thinking that perhaps a "square" mostly does not have a "diameter", but I beg forgiveness on the grounds of ignorance, stupidity, linguistic licence or all three, and that maybe a "village square" per se need not necessarily have four sides of precisely equal length, or indeed any straight sides at all, and yet still be qualified for the "village square" nomenclature, in which case the average distance across it could loosely be termed the "diameter".  It may also be argued that the term "village square" may denote social purpose rather than geometric configuration, in which case a village square may be more or less circular thus qualifying it to have a genuine "diameter".)
Isn't it good that we cleared that little matter up so concisely?

L & T selected a central location and instructed the village men to dig the prescribed pit 6 feet deep with the shovels left by Fr. Tom.
After 2 feet they hit bedrock.

L & T went into conference and deliberated over this unforseen impediment to progress, and proposed a logical solution.  If you can't dig a pit toilet DOWN, then you obviously have to build one UP.

And so it was that a magnificent hollow-centred pyramid six feet high was constructed from softer earth scraped from the near vicinity. The central core was reinforced with bush logs to prevent inward collapse.  An appropriate seat was carved from bush timber and mounted on the top.  A modesty wall woven from plaited bamboo strips was erected around the summit and the project declared complete.  No roof was considered necessary because no-one was likely to use it….apart from, apparently, the visiting missionaries and patrol officers who kept coming up with all these peculiar ideas.

According to custom, new projects require ritual and ceremony before use, so Fr. Tom was summonsed to not only provide a spiritual blessing of the facility, but also to contribute a more practical "blessing" as a demonstration of how this modern convenience should be used.   

So, surrounded by the entire village community, Fr Tom completed the religious formalities, cut the ribbon, then followed the steps to the top and mounted the pedestal.
The surrounding privacy walls, whilst perfectly satisfactory for people of PNG short stature, unfortunately only reached up to neck height on the sitting Fr. Tom.

Somewhere during the process of focussing on the sea of inquisitive eyes below him, he rapidly and understandably became distracted from the immediate task at hand.

His failure to perform under pressure was a major setback to hygiene improvement in Papua New Guinea.

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Favourite graffiti

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My favourite graffiti was from many years ago, found written on the wall of a public toilet. It may well say more about my peculiar sense of humour, but it was a small voice pleading for global action;


I sort of hope they did.

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