Soapbox Speakers

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 13th November

In News for Speakers' Corner on November 14, 2016 at 11:38 am

There is only one question: ‘How to love this world?’
Mary Oliver, ‘The Bear’.

1.In the past few weeks
we have spoken about music wannabes like Prince, John Lennon and Bob Dylan, but today the speaker chose to speak of the death of a true singer and songwriter: Leonard Cohen.

‘Normally,’ the speaker explained, ‘I would ask for us all to have a minute’s silence in respect for the passing of this great man, but he deserves so much more. I ask you all to remain silent for twenty minutes.’ With that, he bent his head in a mark of respect.

The speaker had forgotten he was speaking to philistines. Only three seconds had passed when someone in the audience began speaking. The twenty minutes was ruined.

An hour later he tried again. Same result.

Honestly, this scribe is in awe of the speaker’s boundless optimism. The speaker manages to expect far more from his barbarian audience than it seems they’re capable of giving.

He tried two more times throughout the day, but the respectful restraint required from the audience was not forthcoming.

The speaker tells me that Mr Cohen finally got his deserved twenty minutes of silence. It was in the speaker’s car, on his way home. He added that the car’s radio doesn’t count as an interruption.

Leonard Cohen

2. Gary the Christian got up to speak again, about Truth, though his meaning of the word differed from the dictionary definition. Be that as it may, he again performed well. He kept the audience amused and bemused. Gary is considering becoming a permanent speaker, and we hope he does become one.

truth

3. Steve Maxwell spoke about a fellow called Donald Trump, who happened to win the presidency of a banana republic in the Americas.

melania-trump

(Special thanks to Glenda Michelle Browne. I steal a lot of memes from her.)

4. Uncle Pete was asked if there can be any advantages to having Donald Trump as president.

5. The super moon is due tomorrow (Monday) at sunset, and the idea that the moon can influence us (even slightly) was discussed. Mr B said the moon can never have an effect on our personalities because:
– a full moon doesn’t mean it is closer to the Earth. It’s ‘full’ because of its position in relation to the Earth and the sun.
– a full moon can’t affect the water in our body (as it does when it creates the tides) because the water in the body is in a closed and very dynamic system that obliterates any possible effect. Even puddles are barely affected by the moon, and that’s stilled water.
– a full moon’s light is nothing special, it’s merely sunlight.
– a full moon might increase crime, but only because burglars, etc can see what they’re doing.
– the claim that people in mental hospitals are affected by the moon is explained either by the fact that residents might be woken by the streaming moonlight, and wake others, or it might be explained by confirmation bias. (Confirmation bias is when the observers notice and remember the times when the patients are rowdy on a full moon, and ignore the times when they’re not rowdy with a full moon, and ignore the times when they’re rowdy, but it isn’t a full moon.)

moon

6. Mirko had a few things to say . . . 

7. Other subjects discussed:
– If the Sun were a basketball, how big would the Earth be, and how far from the basketball would it be? Answer: it would be a grain of rice 26 metres (yards) away. Pluto was a speck of talcum powder a little over a kilometre away (half a mile).

– The speaker recounted a story about a battalion of soldiers going up the Kokoda track in Papua New Guinea in World War Two. The point was that there is a difference between being an administrator and being a leader. If a CEO is only maintaining the status quo, or being dictatorial, they’re not leading.

leadership

8. What is success? Is it earning considerable money, or status, or power? Does it have something to do with developing qualities in ourselves that we respect? Is it about succeeding in raising a family? Or is it, as the speaker suggested, something to do with managing to make our father, or mother, proud of us?

The discussion that resulted was moving. Men in the audience took turns to describe the relationship (if any) between their thoughts about success and their feelings about their father. Each man gave interesting and insightful answers. Three men grew up without a father, and their answers differed to those with fathers. It was an absorbing exercise.

It was an exceptional reminder of how important the audience is to the success of the meetings at Speakers’ Corner.

success-8

9. Two villages. Village A has one hundred families and one hundred apple trees. Village B has 100 families and 90 apple trees. An economist would correctly point out that Village A, with its 100 apple trees, has the better economy. That economist would not take into account the fact that in Village A, one family owns the entire one hundred apple trees, and in Village B, 90 of the families each own an apple tree, and share the apples with the other ten families.

From there, a diatribe about the disadvantages of free trade began. (Though it didn’t last long, for reasons unclear.)

10. Next week: Mr B will be focusing on the subject of refugees. His 14 point lecture has 19 things to say. Don’t miss it.

He will also talk about women. This is concerning, because it seems to be a subject he knows little about.

He will also finish his diatribe against free trade.

11. The crowdfunding effort to buy the Facebook company is now closed. We failed to raise an amount sufficient for our purposes, so we are cancelling the project. All money donated will be refunded. Yes, that means our Facebook site will remain in the doldrums.

So will our Archives site.

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