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News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 22nd October

In News for Speakers' Corner on October 23, 2017 at 10:34 am

“Every calling is great when greatly pursued.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

1. The words in the blue quotation above can be applied to Steve Maxwell, who turns up each week resplendant, and with a fresh topic to deliver in an entertaining fashion. Steve makes being a speaker a great calling, because he puts everything into it.

Steve had only delivered a small part of his material before he became engaged in a discussion with new speaker, Christian and healer, Danny. The subject was ‘God’, and Steve is an atheist! Uh oh!

Beforehand, this scribe asked Danny: “Out of ten people, how many would God heal through you?” Danny thought for a moment and replied, “About six.” He suspected that God didn’t heal all ten because his (Danny’s) faith wasn’t yet complete. After all, he is only human, Danny explained, and humans are unable to have 100% faith. This scribe thought that answer was a good one. And six out of ten healed is pretty good!

We hope Danny turns up again next week. He has the potential to be an entertaining and exasperating speaker.

2. Mr Bashful is still in disgrace from last week’s shemozzle, though he didn’t act like it. He was his old arrogant self today as he stood on the Ladder of Knowledge spouting his opinions. He began by taking a question from Albert: “Why are the kids of today so narcissistic? They’re always taking selfies.”

Mr B hotly defended today’s young people. He said that if Albert had possessed the same modern social media technology in his horse & buggy days, he too would have been taking selfies. And anyway, even if were true that the kids of today are self-absorbed, shouldn’t we focus on how they became that way? Did we, the older generation, set them a poor example with our focus on money, status and self interest? Wouldn’t the faults that a younger generation may possess be a result of the way we raised them? Instead of self-righteously criticising them, shouldn’t we be looking at ourselves?

3. Thoughout the latter part of the 20th century, Mirko gave us 21st century science, and now his predictions are coming true. Google is developing Mirko’s universal translator, and soon we will be able to speak into a phone and have our words translated into almost any language. No more shall the barrier of language foment discord between the nations.

Thanks to Mirko’s brilliant mind and Google’s money, humankind will draw closer to peace and harmony. We may even live to see the dawn of a new humankind.

Thank you Mirko, and well done!

It is heartening to know that Mirko has been right all along. And, like many other geniuses ahead of their time and not taken seriously by light-headed mortals, Mirko has remained humble. We at Speakers’ Corner are privelged to have him.

Mind you, his dissertation today on his brand of 21st century feminism was a touch confronting. And puzzling. We mere mortals may have to hear his wisdom a few more times before his 21st century logic sinks in.

4. Mark the Grinner had a few things to say about Aborigines. Rain stopped play, so he’ll be answering questions next week! Meanwhile, have a look at his video:

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

6. Ray spoke where he normally speaks (near the kiosk, so that his lucky listeners get to hear about God as they eat their salad rolls). Helmut didn’t get a chance to speak, because at 3pm rain fell and we all left.

Mr B has just informed me that he can’t move in his house, because all 32 wet chairs are open and drying out before they rust. It serves him right.

Mr B’s modest abode in inner Sydney.

7. Here are some of the topics to be discussed this coming Sunday:
(More will pop up on the day.)
– Helmut will be talking about science, physics and metaphysics. Bring along your questions!

– Steve will be talking about Australian politics and history.

– Ray (and Danny?) will be speaking of more godly matters.

– We will hear more from Mark the Grinner about the Aborigines in the Northern Territory, and explore the claims he has made.

– Why does someone become an atheist or a Christian? Is one smarter than the other? More knowledgeable? More rational? More spiritual? ‘None of the above’ says Mr B. He says he will explain the real reasons.

– Halloween jokes will be provided. Bring one along. And bring a regret or anecdote to tell.

– From an article written in the U.S.:
“I leaned in for a kiss;, she didn’t say no. 
I put my hands on her breasts, she didn’t say no.
I reached down her pants, she didn’t say no.
I went through the motions, all the way up to and through intercourse, and she didn’t say no, so I assumed she was enjoyhing herself and everything was good. Then after sex was over she turned to me and said the three words no decent man ever wants to hear: ‘You raped me.'”
We will examine the article in an attempt to understand what the hell happened. And just how often do such misunderstandings occur?

– Yes, we evolved to be social creatures and enjoy the company of human beings. But did we also evolve a need for solitude?

– What is the importance of Speakers’ Corner? Does it have any?

– When someone asks us to ‘like’ their Facebook page or post, should we do so even if we don’t actually like that page or post, or don’t give a stuff about it?
If we do, aren’t we lying and destroying our integrity in the process? Aren’t we eroding our connection with humanity? In our efforts to help the person advertise their page, aren’t we no better than the celebrity who advertises breakfast cereal without actually eating the damned stuff? (With the only difference being that we aren’t paid for our lies?)
That’s what Mr B will be arguing, anyway. This scribe thinks he’s crackers, and will argue the opposite if he gets the chance. It’s about time this poor scribe spoke up.

‘When we lie we apprehend the ghostly, the void . . . we sense the abyss.’ 
Philopher Robert Tilley.

– Television journalist Lisa Wilkinson’s recent departure from Channel Nine has been said to be an example of gender pay disparity. A contrary view will be put forth.

– Doctors are obliged to keep up-to-date with advances in medicine. How about teachers? Are they obliged to keep up-to-date by learning new teaching methods?

8. We have had our Facebook page for nearly two years, and it’s encouraging to discover that legendary soapbox speaker, Steve Maxwell, has just now decided to become a subscriber. Welcome, Steve!
He even occasionally browses this website!
What about the other speakers? Helmut? Ray? Mirko?
Nuh.
What about the hecklers?
Nuh.
Mr B?
Who cares? He’s in disgrace.

 

 

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Correction.

In News for Speakers' Corner on October 17, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Mr Bashful has disgraced himself.

Worse, he has disgraced Speakers’ Corner, and Sydney itself, and all of Australia and its territories. He has disgraced humanity past, present and future.

I do not exaggerate.

Each Monday, on this site, this trusting scribe recounts what happened at Speakers’ Corner on Sunday. He tries diligently to get his facts right to give you, dear reader, an honest account of the day’s events.

However, when the speakers themselves don’t get their facts right, this scribe can be misled. And, in turn, you are misled.

Thanks to an alert reader, Bill Browne (AKA William George), it has come to this embarrassed scribe’s attention that Greens Senator Scott Ludlum did not speak the heinous words, “I’ve always said that my job as a father is more important than my job as a senator.” No, it was Liberal National Senator Matt Canavan.

Holy Moly. Mr B, would it be too much trouble to get your facts right? Would there be any danger in being accurate? Would your arms fall off if you got through an entire session without making a goose of yourself?

Jeepers creepers.

Anyway, thanks to William George, this site is now again 100% accurate.

In future, this scribe will fact-check every syllable Mr B utters.

Thanks again, William George! And no thanks to you, Mr Bashful. it’s time you took a long hard look at yourself.

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 15th October.

In News for Speakers' Corner on October 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm

“Intuition: an uncanny second sense that tells people they are right whether they are nor not.”
Anon.

1. What a day! Helmut, Ray, Mr B and Mirko were at their vigorous best but the bad bit was: Steve Maxwell wasn’t there. He had other plans.

The best bit: we had three new speakers!

One was John August, Radio Skid Row star Tues noon til 2pm, and Pirate Party representative. This scribe was busy listening to the other speakers, so I can’t tell you what what John talked about. But it would have been topical and in no way eldritch.

John August taking a break.

2. Andrew was also from the Pirate Party and he spoke about intellectual property rights, colour blindness and its treatments, power generation for Australian cities, and same-sex marriage. There was nothing eldritch about Andrew, either.

Andrew, from The Pirate Party.

3. Danny is a Christian healer. Or, more accurately, The Lord uses Danny to heal people. Danny bravely came to help The Lord heal passers-by. This scribe does not know how industrious or successful the pair turned out to be, but both are welcome back again.
Danny is as far from eldritch that you can get.

If Danny does come again we’ll have someone check on The Lord’s efficacy. If people are healed we want to know about it. If The Lord can heal a few people at Speakers’ Corner it will give the place a big boost.

4. Kate spoke about the dangers of artificial intelligence with regards to the stock market. The crowd quickly grew! Kate then explained why she is reluctant to have her photograph displayed on social media sites. But instead of sounding like a paranoid fuddy-duddy, she sounded sensible. One grasshopper called her ‘brilliant’.

This is the closest we could get to taking a photo of Kate. It is, nevertheless, an uncanny likeness.

Kate did an excellent job and answered many questions. The word ‘eldritch’ does not apply to her, and she is welcome back any time.

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

6. “I’ve always said that my job as a father is more important than my job as a senator.”

They were the brazen, selfish words of Greens Senator Scott Ludlum this week. Said Mr B.

CORRECTION: Thanks to alert reader, Mr Bill Browne (AKA William George), we now know that the words were spoken by Liberal National Senator Matt Canavan. Mr B got it wrong!

The vexed Mr B criticised the senator, and criticised the reporter for not reprimanding him when she had the chance.

Yes, but it would have been nice if he had criticised the right senator!

7. Christians say that Jesus will soon return to Earth. The eldritch Mr B examined what would happen if Jesus did return. Would Jesus be obliged to use the current media platforms like CNN to spread his message? Would there be queues of people miles and kilometres long waiting to be healed, and if so, how would Jeus deal with them all? With all of his press commitments, would Jesus have to ignore the suffering of many? Would he be resented for it? Could he heal en-masse? And, people would still have to get up each morning and go to work, so would Jesus soon become yesterday’s news?

Or what?

  (Albert claimed that the media moguls would villify Jesus. Does Albert have a point?)

Mr B also gave his reasons why God and Jesus, if they did exist, would be no better than we humans or a blind mole.

8. The spirit of the law or the letter of the law?
Seven politicians with dubious dual citizenships will soon have their dubious political careers determined by the High Court. Mr B is curious to discover if the High Court will make its decisions based on commonsense, or based on the letter of the law.

He claims that it’s obvious that the seven politicians are not foreign spies infiltrating Australian politics, and commonsense should prevail.

And, will Mathias Cormann, who is obviously a Belgian spy, get away with it just because he relinquished his Belgian citizenship?

9. The word ‘reform’ has become a weasil word. The ABC news claimed that with the Sydney City Council’s approval, retailers might soon be allowed to introduce reforms allowing them to open from 7am to 10pm every night.

Get that? REFORMS’!

Mr B was furious. He wasn’t foaming at the mouth, but he was close. He said that a ‘reform’ is supposed to be an improvement, not a backward step towards Third World practices. In Second and Third world countries shops are open day and night, seven days a week. Should we be eager to join them?

A robust discussion ensued, with Mr B battling supporters of the plan.

Apparently, the Sydney City Council wants to bring “life back to Sydney”. Mr B  reckons that life isn’t and shouldn’t be about drinking and shopping. He listed a string of things that life IS about. For once, this scribe agreed with him.

10. What is 1% of infinity? And, if Bluey slept in a blue room for an infinite period of time, and violet slept in a violet room for an infinite period of time, but every Christmas Day they swapped rooms for the day, who would spend more time in the blue room?

(Answer: they’d spend the same amount of time in the blue room. The scenario was posed by A.W. Moore.)

11. Other subjects discussed:
– Albert explained how banks create money, and then explained why they are evil. He says banks have ‘enslaved us all’.
Mind you, Albert didn’t look enslaved. He looked quite comfortable.

– Mr B was criticised for calling one or two of his grasshoppers ‘imbeciles’. “You don’t need to insult people,” he was told.
Mr B deftly defended himself, explaining that it’s not his fault they’re imbeciles.

– An Australian couple were forced to fly their child to the U.S. to have a heart operation. It cost $150,000. The speaker discussed why an operation would cost that much. He then explored the awful dilemma some specialist doctors are in. (No, there was no sarcasm.)

– One of the JokeFest jokes:
Bill and Ben are walking along a footpath. Bill finds a pay-packet with $400 in it.
His mate Ben says, “You’re lucky!”
Bill says, “Waddaya mean lucky? Look at the tax I’m paying!”

– We discussed Edward De Bono’s ‘Intelligence Trap’. That’s the idea that many intelligent people aren’t good thinkers. They might be adept at articulating their thoughts, but that doesn’t mean their thoughts are well conceived. They have set a trap for themselves: they are so good at stating their case and cherrypicking examples to support their case, and are so concerned about their status as an intelligent person, that they can miss the opportunity to see the times when they are wrong. They’d rather dig a deeper hole than go elsewhere.
(It was pointed out that Mr B is safe from the intelligence trap. He has nothing to fear.)

– A fortnight ago Mr B was asked why so many refugees destroy their documents before they come by boat to Australia. “They’re just economic refugees,” the grasshopper claimed, “trying to fool the authorities.”
Today Mr B gave six reasons why many refugees arrive without documents, and why we also might arrive in a foreign land without documents if we were refugees.

– We heard an anecdote about a woman who jumped into a river to save her struggling child. After dragging her son to the river bank, and then sitting back in her deck-chair, it was pointed out to her that she still had her cigarette in her mouth!

– Mr B wanted to know why texting, emailing and tweeting are so popular. One grasshopper (Andrew from the Pirate Party) gave him a satisfactory answer abut the addictive hits of dopamine.

12. If you haven’t already examined our Facebook page you probably have a good reason for not doing so. If that’s the case, keep avoiding it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 8th October

In News for Speakers' Corner on October 9, 2017 at 11:35 am

“What do you learn at school, Hans Thomas?” Dad asked.
“To sit still,” I replied. “It’s so difficult that we spend years learning to do it.”
Jostein Gaarder, from ‘The Solitaire Mystery’.

1. Helmut, Ray, Steve, Mirko and Mr B kept their groundlings/grasshoppers informed today, if the word ‘informed’ can include misinformation.

Our aim to make Speakers’ Corner one of Sydney’s biggest tourist attractions has hit a speed hump: we have the inability to consistently get big crowds. Once we have solved that minor problem it will be full steam ahead.

Why not come along soon and avoid the rush?

2. The Infinite Lottery. If you bought one ticket in a lottery that had an infinite number of tickets, would you have zero chance of winning or an infinitely small chance of winning?

But how could an infinite number of lottery tickets exist? They would fill the infinite universe and all the space in between, and yet there would still be more. Adolf Grunbaum solved that problem with his hypothetical Pi machine: it can list all the lottery numbers on the first line of one page. Each number is half the font size of the preceding one, and it’s printed in half the time each time. That means: infinitely long numbers, in infinitely small print, are printed in an infinitely short period of time. Result: all the numbers are printed in the first line of a page.

Or are they?

And what’s the lottery’s prize, anyway? How much do the tickets cost? Is it a fundraiser? When will it be drawn? Mr B neglected to tell us the details.

3. Speaking of tickets, Mr B wanted to know why people pay good money for tickets to see a stand-up comic, and make all the effort to get there and find parking, while knowing they can see the same show a few weeks later on television?
Mr B’s insightful grasshoppers helped him out.

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

5. In light of the recent massacre in Las Vegas, two helpful grasshoppers assisted Mr B by reading aloud the words of a US gun dealer.

If it’s still that easy to buy weapons in the US . . .

6. Jean is 87 and her husband Albert is 92. Jean told us how she was recently asked by her grandchildren (early twenties) if she and Albert still had sex! Without missing a beat Jean told them. “Yes, of course.”
(Surprised) “How often?!”
“Last night and again this morning.”
This prompted laughter and amazement from her grandkids, and they let her be. But a week later they asked again. “Grandma, was it true?”
Jean told them, “Yes. And last night too, and again this morning.”
The kids ran off again, delighted and amazed.
Ha!

Let’s hope the grandkids don’t ask for a video.

 7. The words on a pamphlet prompted Mr B to take umbrage:  “When we open our hearts, when we truly welcome people seeking asylum, we open the door to a new life.’

Mr B claims that the pamphlet self-righteously suggests that a large percentage of the population have not opened their hearts. “That’s a cheap shot,” he says. (That’s fine, coming from the king of the cheap shots!) He argues that almost 100% of Australians welcome refugees; they only differ on how many of the 50 million refugees Australia should accept.

8. Other subjects discussed:
– One way to help reduce Americans’ dependency on guns is to make voting compulsory, claimed Mr B, giving his reasons.

– The grasshoppers were told fable about two men and a horse. The horse wasn’t lame, but the fable was.

– Mr B recounted his experience working for the Insurance and Superannuation Commission, about twenty years ago. With barely any training, and no knowledge of superannuation, his job was to answer people’s questions about superannuation when they rang the Commission’s Superannuation Hotline.
Those poor people. It’s hard enough to get straight answers from Mr B on topics he DOES know something about.

–  “Frank doesn’t want Muslims emigrating to Australia because he doesn’t like the way they indoctrinate their children with religious teachings, and he doesn’t approve of arranged marriages.” The question is: “Is Frank Islamophobic?”
The answers were varied and thoughtful.

–  Should Australia have nuclear weapons? Peter The Younger says yes, while Mr B says no. Both gave their reasons.
Peter also gave us a history of the Korean war (1950 – 53) which helped us to understand the goings on of today. Thank you, Peter!

9. Our efforts to purchase the Facebook company have failed again. As a result, our Facebook page continues to struggle for subscribers.

 

 

 

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 1st October

In News for Speakers' Corner on October 2, 2017 at 11:16 am

“To seek freedom is the only driving force I know. Freedom… to be like the flame of a candle, which , in spite of being up against the light of a billion stars, remains intact, because it never pretended to be more than what it is: a mere candle.”
Carlos Castaneda.

1. Mr B had hardly got started when Albert began evangelising about collective consciousness. Albert insisted that half the world was trying to kill the other half, and that we should all love each other instead. Mr B exclaimed that he had heard enough of Albert’s banalities over the past year and that was the last straw. He castigated Albert for making such fatuous comments, and for grossly exaggerating. The two men went toe-to-toe and Albert won the encounter, which wasn’t fair argued Mr B, because Albert is 92 and should be in a nursing home eating his banana custard.

2. Last week the world was supposed to end again. We speakers are all out of Rapture Cards like the one below, but we’re having more printed.

3. It was the first day of Daylight Saving and amazingly, Tony was on time. Is Tony finally getting the hang of it?

4. Mirko claims that his invention for reducing a household’s energy consumption by 75% is ready and working. Mr B didn’t ask to see the device; he asked to see two electricity bills: one from a year ago, and the most recent one.

We will keep you posted on that, dear reader.

We hope Mirko’s device doesn’t infringe on the copyright of this astounding invention.

5. The best way for a nation to get rid of smoking is to raise the legal age by one year, every year, says Mr B. In eighty years no one will be smoking, and no one who is 18+ today will have had their rights infringed.

Plus, the governments and the tobacco companies will have eighty years to get used to the diminshing income.

Someone suggested we try that with alcohol, too!

6. A young woman asked, “What do you think of young people’s use of smartphones?”

Mr B surprised us all by explaining why he was in favour of them.

One grasshopper disagreed, and others complained about having to ‘leap out of the way’ when zombie-like pedestrians walk towards them staring at their smartphones. Mr B accused them of being whingers. That didn’t go well.

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

Chinese doctors bow to an 11 year-old boy with brain cancer. He saved several lives by donating his organs.

8. What is money, and how is it generated? How does $1,000 become $2,000 without extra money being printed?

He then moved onto his old chestnut: real financial security.

9. Other subjects discussed:
– Steve Maxwell spoke of Australian politics today and in particular, about the Sydney Morning Herald’s article on the Leader of the National Party’s lobbying activities.

– Some risqué poems were recited. Too risky for this blog.

– “Death bed clarity.”  That’s what the happiness gurus claim happens when we are on our death bed. Apparently, we don’t look back and say, “I wish I had worked more.” Instead, we say, “I wish I had spent more time with the kids.”  The gurus then sagely recommend that we make smarter decisions now.
“Phooey,” said Mr B, and gave his reasons.

– A grasshopper said that Helmut was particularly interesting as he boomed across the park from the Ladder of Knowledge.

– ‘Give your life to Jesus!’  That was Ray’s message, as usual. Ray is like a fly in the outback. Persistent.

– “Why do refugees coming by boat discard their docoments on the way?” The answers received were varied and vibrant. There will be more answers this coming Sunday.

– Can a sports team psyche out another team? If so, how? Why do intelligent people enjoy watching 36 men kick around a football in a ‘paddock’?  How can winning a Grand Final be the best day in a person’s life – even better than the day they got married and the day their child was born? Mr B had answers.

Mr B holding the (real) AFL premiership cups won by Hawthorn in ’13 & ’14.

10. Our Facebook page is not that popular. This scribe might try MySpace instead.

Glenda Browne noticed this sign and rightly took a picture. Thanks, Glenda!

 

 

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