Soapbox Speakers

Archive for December, 2018|Monthly archive page

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 9th December.

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 10, 2018 at 10:41 am

‘It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity, and not have one, than to have an opportunity, and not be prepared.’
Whitney Young

1. Thank goodness for shade. It made the day perfect. Ray turned up to save a few souls, as usual, and he stood near the kiosk behind the big Morton Bay fig tree. Mr B was on the other side of the tree and started his meeting with a talk about the Rothchilds. Unfortunately, he had confused them with the Rothmans cigarettes his mother had smoked. When he realised his mistake he cut short his talk.

Was he trying to be funny?

Anyway, he then suggested to his grasshoppers that it wasn’t just men who have been keeping women oppressed for the last seventy years, it was also women. Women usually made the decisions in the family, and they would reinforce the accepted norms by telling each other that a women’s place was in the home, etc.  He suggested that those women were more influential than men. His grasshoppers helped him out by fleshing out the topic. The status of being married was a big driver of their influence, they suggested. And that, ultimately, it was the institutions which had the real power, and they were run by men. That’s what made the difference.

2. Steve Maxwell turned up a little late, but then he got cracking. He gave five examples of when the Wrecking Ball of Australian History made an impact:
(1) 1788. (The arrival of the First Fleet from Britain.)
(2) World War One
(3) World War Two.
(4) The Whitlam dismissal. (A sad day for Australian cricket?)
(5) Foreign ownership 
3. On the Ladder of Knowledge was Mirko. He was there to talk about the diesel crisis in France. That was a welcome change from the diesel crisis he usually talks about: the one imminent in Australia. Thank you, Mirko.

4. Peter the Younger then got up to talk about feminist lies, and calmly informed us that he hadn’t prepared for that talk so he would talk about something else. Sigh. As it was, he held our interest with a talk about history, even though Killjoy Bashful had banned history weeks before. For that matter, he had banned Peter two years ago. And, he had banned dissent as well, about six months ago.

It seems Peter the Younger doesn’t respond well to bans.

Anyway, Peter spoke about how the far right governments of the 1940s (the Nazis and fascists) were in reality far left extremist socialist governments like the Soviets. He included Italy, Germany, Tonga and China. Maybe not Tonga.

5. Then Mark the Grinner appeared and had five points to make. Your ashamed scribe is forced to admit he was too engrossed in the talk to take notes, and can’t remember the points Mark made, so you’ll have to imagine Mark’s talk for yourself. If you imagine a talk that is provocative, insulting, insightful, and with a huge double-dollop of bullshit, you will be pretty close to the mark.  (No pun intended on the words ‘close to the mark’, because Mr B banned jokes based on word-play three weeks ago.)

Oh, one thing I do remember: Mark the Grinner doesn’t like ‘niceness’ and reckons girls/women should aim to be less nice and more honest.

“Nice girls have shotguns” 1974

6. “The plays of William Shakespeare are overrated.” So said Mr B as he drew upon the Scottish play for evidence. For example, he said it was a bit rich for Shakespeare to suggest that a forest walking up a hill is the same thing as a bunch of men carrying twigs in their pockets for camouflage. Shakespeare wouldn’t get away with that nonsense today, said the sage Mr B.

It would be fair to say that Uncle Pete was not in total agreement with Mr B.

Uncle Pete impressed us all with his intimate knowledge of the play and his passion for it. He kept quoting bits like he’d actually read the thing.

Despite Uncle Pete’s objections, Mr B did convince this conscientious scribe that Shakespeare is indeed past his use-by date. However, for some reason, the other grasshoppers were not keen to jump on board. (‘Jump on board‘ is probably a Shakesperianism, bless him.) They seemed to sidle with Uncle Pete.

Would Phyllis Diller have made a good Lady Macbeth?

7. At about 4.30pm Mr B began explaining the many ways men get a bad deal in life. And, he spoke about sexual consent. Pretty soon there was a vigorous debate and the crowd swelled. We didn’t stop until after 6pm. There were plenty of contributors and they made it an interesting discussion.

From the Postsecret website:

8. In our Unusual Creature Series we present to you the atelopus frog, native to Costa Rica, Panama and Tonga. Maybe not Tonga. It shares its Facebook page with us.

 

 

 

 

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News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 2nd December

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 3, 2018 at 1:14 pm

“. . . never did I learn things at school that I would consider truly important for being an adult: how to do a tax return, change a tyre, pay off a car, buy a house, nail a job interview, do CPR, start a self-managed super fund. . . . Education in Australia not only needs to be more practical, it needs to be more holistic. Valuing high marks and exam success over practical skills – and skills in entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation – is an antiquated model that turns out unenthusiastic, uncreative, outcome-focused students who lack the necessary qualities to be well-rounded members of the workforce, and of society.”
Student Alana Leadbeater, who earned a 99 ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank).
https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/comment-i-got-a-99-atar-but-i-had-a-lousy-education/ar-BBQ4lOi?li=AAgfYrC&ocid=mailsignout

1. Another beautiful day, with the park’s enormous fig-trees providing shade to make the day perfect for Ray, Steve and Mr B. There were reasonable crowds because why wouldn’t you come to Speakers’ Corner on such a beautiful day?

Mind you, Mr B stretched our patience because he talked about the same subject for most of the day: the different theories for the origin of the universe.

A brief summary:

– He began by saying he would explore two puzzles:
(1) How did our universe come into being?
(2) Why does our universe allow intelligent life, given that fine-tuned laws of physics would be required?

–  He then did his best to describe what nothing is. Yep, honestly. He figured we should have a clear understanding of what preceded the universe before we tried to understand its origin.

– Theory One: God Made the Universe. Somehow he included an episode of Bewitched. We even had a witch in the audience to add to the verisimilitude.

– Theory Two: The Many Universe Theory.

– Theory Three: The Big Bang Theory.

– Theory Four: The Oscillating Model of the Universe.

– Theory Five: The Eternal Inflation Theory.

– Theory Six: The Universe Has Always Been Here Theory.

– Theory Seven: Quantum Mechanics Theory.

– Theory Eight: The Lava Lamp Theory (Mr B’s term) AKA, The fine-structure constant isn’t so constant after all.

– Theory Nine: Helmet’s theory. Unfortunately, Mr B felt the need to tear strips of Helmut’s theory and off Helmut himself. As you might expect, Helmut was “vocal” in his response. That was a torrid fifteen minutes!

– Theory Ten: A grasshopper provided The Matrix Theory (formally known as Gilbert Harman’s ‘Brain in a Vat’ thought experiment). Is our universe just a simulation created by an exceedingly advanced computer? Do the operators of that advanced computer live in a universe which is also just a simulation? It gets awkward, folks.


2. This week’s complaint about the justice system involved a twenty year-old Victorian man, Miraz Zuanovic. He was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to 30 days jail for blowing a bubble while chewing Hubba Bubba bubble gum in front of magistrate Rodney Crips. Miraz spent 12 hours in custody before a Supreme Coourt judge granted him bail following an appeal by his lawyers. His barrister pointed out that his client hadn’t even received a warning, and had been denied procedural fairness.

Mr B complained about the magistrate’s lack of wisdom, his sense of self-grandeur, and his gross misuse of power.

Mind you, Peter the Younger took the magistrate’s side and said he would have given the miscreant 60 days.


3. Other subjects discussed:
– the exemptions religious schools want to be able to impose on homosexual students and teachers.

– Mr B claimed that learning about history is no better than stamp collecting. In fact, it’s worse, because it distracts us from finding solutions to our current problems.
His grasshoppers insisted that we could learn from history, but although they tried, not one of them could provide a specific example. If you can think of a solid example, bring it to Speakers’ Corner with you one day.
(Examples such as a person’s personal medical history will not be accepted.)


4. Next week:
Steve, Ray and possibly Helmut will be doing their thing, and:
– Mark the Grinner will be speaking on two topics yet to be disclosed.

– Peter the Younger will be speaking on the ways feminists lie about sexual assaults and harrassment.

– Mr B will finally, hopefully, be explaining why Zen Buddhism is a sham, and the medical reasons it originated.


5. In this week’s Unusual Critter Series we have two Bush Dogs from Central and South America. They asked this scribe to place a photo of them on our Facebook Page.

Bush Dogs in Chester Zoo. Speothos venaticus.

 

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