Soapbox Speakers

The speakers and hecklers!

In Speakers and hecklers. on March 8, 2015 at 11:51 pm

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” 
Gerry Spence.

This sums up the relationship between the speakers and the hecklers.

This sums up the relationship between the speakers and the hecklers.

Some people say the speakers at Speakers’ Corner are a little eccentric. There might be a skerrick of merit in that point of view. Whatever the case, they’re an entertaining bunch.
Click here to see their 2015 highlights.
Click here to see their 2014 highlights.
Click here to see their 2013 highlights.

Find past posts  on our Archives site.

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The Speakers and Hecklers.

Steve Maxwell, historian and political commentator.

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell, legend.

In various personas, but always engaging, Steve talks about religion, Australian history and politics. Click here for highlights. To see more videos of Steve, go to the archives site. From his book, ‘Soapbox Oratory‘ Steve writes: ‘In a modern city, there must be a place where strangers can meet and discuss the issues of the day without fear of persecution; where the right to retain one’s individuality is allowed.

Helmut Cerncic, metaphysicist.

Helmut 4

Helmut used to be a professional wrestler going by the name of Helmut Rommel. He took on the likes of Killer Karl Kox, Mario Milano and Spiros Orion. And, he once beat Arnold Schwartzenegger in a body building contest.
More importantly, Helmut knows a lot about metaphysics (more than Arnold Schwartzenegger and Killer Karl Kox combined), and he is happy to explain why Isaac Newton was an ignoramus.
His battles with hecklers are fun. He calls his listeners his ‘groundlings’. Here are some highlights.
For more videos of Helmut, go to the archives site and to his own site, ‘Is Science the New Religion?’.

Mirko Terzic, 21st Century inventor.

Mirko

Mirko has created a phonetic alphabet to be used world-wide, and it’s better than Esperento. He has solved the problem of perpetual motion and has diagrams explaining how to get free unlimited energy from hydropower. Mirko knows how to think outside the square. Here are a few highlights of Mirko. For more videos of Mirko go to the archives site.

Ray, Christian.

Ray is concerned about your soul.

 Ray is passionate about spreading the word of God. He takes the task seriously but isn’t confronting. He is a gentle man willing to answer your questions. Here are a few highlights. For more videos of Ray, go to the archives site.

Mr Bashful, epiphany specialist.

Mr B 2

Mr Bashful, the epiphany specialist.

Epiphany specialist Mr Bashful tells us he is the spiritual advisor to the Dalai Lama, though that’s yet to be verified. He calls his listeners his ‘grasshoppers’ and his foes ‘garden gnomes’. (He himself could be called ‘King of the Cheap Shots’.)
  Among other things, Mr Bashful talks about New Age scams,  happiness myths, and why we should burn the Mona Lisa. One thing he isn’t, is bashful.
To learn more about him and see videos of him in action, click here.
He now has a Facebook page.

 

THE HECKLERS

Uncle Pete (heckler and occasional speaker)

Peter - best

During the week Uncle Pete teaches students, and if he teaches them with the same verve he has for the Sunday passers-by, they are lucky students indeed. Click here for a few highlights. For more videos of Uncle Pete, go to the archives site.

Tony, atheist.

Tony
New-Zealand born Tony used to be a speaker and is a fervent atheist scathing of the Catholic Church. When he is not berating Christianity he is either sinking the boot into other religions, or supporting Palestine. In this video  Tony expresses a few of his well considered opinions. For more videos of Tony click here.
He has retired as a speaker but keeps his eye in being a heckler to the other speakers.

Max (Quiet listener)

Max

Max is one of the gentler regular visitors. Says little, but when he does speak it’s sensible. A pleasant change for Speakers’ Corner. Click here to discover why he visits Speakers’ Corner.

Arthur (Heckler)

 Arthur 1

Arthur is not what you call the shy type, and is generous with his opinion. I caught him searching for disciples.

Jack (Quiet observer)

 Jack

“The old grey owl sat on an oak.
The more he heard, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Now, wasn’t he a wise old bird?”

Click here to hear a few words from Jack.

Silvia

Sylvia

Silvia drops by and stays for some time. We hope one day she expresses an opinion.

Peter the Younger

Pete

The well-read Peter knows an awful lot about many subjects, and in particular: geo-politics and U.S. shenanigans.  Click here to hear why Pete comes to Speakers’ Corner.

Howard

howard

Howard is always polite and reasonable, yet despite that he fits in well at Speakers’ Corner. His contributions are appreciated by all. Click here to hear why he comes to Speakers’ Corner.

Mark the Grinner

mark-the-grinner

Mark regularly gets a hearty laugh from the crowd with his meticulously crafted questions. Plus, his serious comments are  insightful. His companion, Sue, is less vocal, but she has no trouble speaking her mind when she has something to say. Click here to hear why Mark comes to Speakers’ Corner.

Ben the Whisperer

Although Ben is softly spoken, when he does speak, people listen. Click here to hear why he likes Speakers’ Corner.

Jean

Jean 2

Jean tries so hard to be feisty, but she’s just a big softie. Click here to hear why she comes to Speakers’ Corner.
Her husband Albert is below. Both of them are excellent value at Speakers’ Corner.

Albert

Albert 3

Albert may be 92, but he is as alert as anyone, and fit. When he helps Mr B unload the chairs he carries six at a time.
Albert wrote an absorbing book titled, ‘Civilisation Hijacked’. It explains how good men are persuaded to do bad things.

Book
If  you would like to buy a copy ($20) email Albert:  al.morris@optusnet.com.au
Albert is the husband of Jean.

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News for Sunday 17th September

In News for Speakers' Corner on September 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

“A rich man is beset on every side by people demanding that he invest or give away part of his wealth. He becomes suspicious – honest friendship is rarely offered him; those who could have been friends are too fastidious to be jostled by beggars, too proud to risk being mistaken for one.”
Robert Heinlen.

1. Today we tried something different. Ray and Mirko remained on the fringes, but the other speakers banded together to create one meeting. The tireless Steve Maxwell served as a competent and worthy MC. (Normally, MC stands for Emcee or Master of Ceremonies, but in Steve’s case the letters stood for Megalomaniacal Cad, among other things.

The speakers took turns to speak, and Steve, our Mellifluous Crooner, ensured that each speaker kept to a specific time limit. That time limit varied throughout the day, depending on the direction of the breeze and the number of bees per square kilometre.

2. There seemed to be something missing during the day, and we were better off for it. But what was missing? I don’t know.

3. Steve, our Melodious Concupiscent, spoke about ‘the history wars’. (The ongoing public debate over how the British colonisation of Australia should be interpreted.)
He also spoke of the Aboriginal Tasmanians.

Scenes like the one below should never be forgotten.

4. The ‘Something Nice’ segment, to charm some and irritate others.


5. With Steve being a Multiskilled Charismatic he hosted the following speakers:
– Mirko, who did his thing in his own inimitable style.

– Radio Shock Jock (2SER Radio Skid Row 88.9FM Noon til 2 Tuesday) John August spoke about Labour and Liberal statistics. (Or something like that. Listing his radio credentials has taken the wind out of me.)

– A Finnish guy and some other passers-by bravely stepped up onto the Ladder of Percipience. (Oh oh, where was the Ladder of Knowledge? Is that what was missing today? Yes, it was missing, but I have great respect for the Ladder of Knowledge, so it must have been something else that freshened the air by its absence. But what?)

– Backpack Peter even got up to speak. He says we shouldn’t make a fuss about global warming, and he called for Australia to adopt nuclear power.

– Helmut didn’t speak. (Was that the thing missing? . . .  Well yes, because it’s always a pleasure to hear Helmut speak, but no, the thing missing wasn’t actually being missed. Today, Speakers’ Corner felt alive and fresh. Reinverated. I just can’t think what it might have been.)

– Uncle Pete didn’t turn up today. But we noticed his absence, and we weren’t grateful he was missing. No, it was something else . . .  This scribe asked around, but no one could put a finger on it.

– Tony spoke against the introduction of gay marriage. (Who would have thought?)
He also praised Kim Jong Un, the North Korean despot. Tony seems to think that Kim is a nice guy getting bad press from the western propaganda machine. (From his photos, Kim does seem to be a cheery fellow, so who can really argue?)

6. Thanks to Steve, our Magnificent Compere, the day went well and a good time was had by all. Whatever it was that was missing, can stay missing.

An ibex, serving as a metaphor for Steve Maxwell.

7. If we had set up our Facebook page this morning then we could be pleased with having sixty subscribers.

If we had set up our Archives site this morning we could be slightly pleased with the total number of visitors this site has received in its history.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 10th September.

In News for Speakers' Corner on September 11, 2017 at 1:17 pm

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.”
Jerzy Gregorek

1. Abe from Melbourne popped in to say hello and climb onto The Ladder of Knowledge. He spoke about the Aboriginal activist William Cooper, who died in 1941.

This scribe thinks that Abe looks a lot like the actor Danny Glover.

2. “Um, er . . . you know.” ‘Fillers’ like these in day-to-day speech are abhorred by Mr B and he tries to avoid uttering them. He told one grasshopper off for preceding a question with an ‘um’ and that’s when Uncle Pete took umbrage and said Mr B was being unreasonable. “Every civilisation in the world uses phatics,” he explained. (He meant ‘fillers’, but we can pardon him for confusing the word ‘phatic’ with ‘filler”. He is, after all, only a science teacher.)

This scribe reckons Mr B would be a stickler when it comes to spelling, too.

3. Steve Maxwell had a busy day and talked a fair bit about global warming. He believes it’s happening and he’s not in favour of it. His criticism of government policy (or lack of) prompted a few beefy comments from a passer-by. And  then it was on! Some people might call it intellectual sparring; others might call it ‘boys shouting’. Whatever you call it, it was fun.

4. The ‘Something Nice’ segment, to charm some and irritate others.

5. Mr B spoke about assisted dying and euthanasia in the Netherlands, and his talk was followed by comments from both Greg and Whispering Ben. They gave us their personal stories about losing (or nearly losing!) a loved one.

Greg’s story about his mother was so shocking some listeners found it hard to believe, and Whispering Ben’s account of his father’s death was absorbing. Thank you to both men!

6. Yes, Greg and Whispering Ben made a big contribution to the meeting, as did others who got up onto the Ladder of Knowledge throughout the day.

When grasshoppers get up, we are reminded that if they didn’t contribute, a meeting would quickly become dry and tedious. After all, the speaker’s job is not to be the centre of attention (even if they think otherwise); it’s to be a facilitator, a moderator, for the group’s discussion.

This scribe likens a speaker to a symphony conductor: they aren’t there to make the music; they’re there to allow it to happen.

7. Mr B talked about the choices we make in life. Do we aim for the success society respects? Or do we aim to take our own path?

8. “Can we become lonely as a result of taking our own path?” asked Mr B. “Perhaps,” he responded, answering his own question, and then he said he had been lucky in life. He explained how he only gets lonely one night a year: New Year’s Eve’. And he has even found a solution to that!


9. “No one is indispensible,”
goes the saying, and this coming Sunday Mr B will prove it. He will be elsewhere.

Relax! The chairs will still be there, which means it will be business as usual. It’s just that we won’t have someone in a hoarse voice telling us we’re blithering idiots. How refreshing!

This is where he’ll be.


10. Other subjects discussed:
– How to gain true financial security.

– Uncle Pete gave us a beautiful story about a very human-like Orangutan.

– What is love and from where does it come?

– Are contentment and core happiness the same thing?

– Mr B flogged the spider story again.

– The Jokefest segment has become the ‘Mr Smith Segment’, and thanks to Andrew, Mark the Grinner and Mr B, we learned a fair bit about Mr Smith today. Mr Smith has been in dire straits with the doctor, twice, and he’s having his leg cut off this Thursday. Poor Mr Smith.

11. Our Facebook page is the favourite Facebook page of Kim Jong Un. Who would have thought?

He likes our Archives page too.

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