Soapbox Speakers

Archive for December, 2018|Monthly archive page

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 30th December.

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 31, 2018 at 9:18 am

“Kill one man and you’re a murderer, kill a million and you’re a conqueror.”
Jean Rostand.

1. Thank goodness for the Morton Bay figs, because they provide plenty of quality shade. Certainly more shade than a gum tree provides, or a bromiliad.

Mr B explained the mindset of a conspiracy theorist, then Mirko ascended the Ladder of Knowledge. Mirko spoke about Adam and Eve, and somehow linked the Adam’s apple in our throat with the story of how Adam and Eve earned God’s disfavour. Fortunately, just when this scribe began to doubt the veracity of Mirko’s claims, Mirko supplied the following photograph of the event. Then it all made sense.

2. Men would never buy a magazine again if it purposely published falsehoods, yet women buy magazines knowing the photos are fabricated, celebrities are stalked and harassed, and outright lies peddled. “Why do women buy those magazines when they know that?” asked the perplexed Mr B.

Mr B was referring to this item in the ABC’s Media Watch television program.

3. Ben the Whisperer took the Ladder to explainwhy we will never run out of fossil fuels, and then answered questions. He was brave, and did well.  Here is a link to the process he was talking about.

Bill Gates: the man turning air into petrol.

4. Other topics discussed:
– Mark the Grinner spoke about gender issues (“both sexes have psychos on both sides and we should ignore what they say”) and he expressed his concern for how our culture is becoming amalgamated with that of the U.S.

– Mr B read a short story by James Thurber: “The Macbeth Murder Mystery”. It shone a much needed light on the Scottish play and revealed who really did kill King Duncan.

– John August spoke about the obtrusiveness of advertising. His talk inspired plenty of interest and some vibrant discussion.

– One judgemental passer-by asked with a smirk if the Earth was flat. Mr B took exception to the enquiry. He gave an emphatic ‘no’ and then harangued the young man until he was out of sight. And then some.

5. This scribe would like to end the year by thanking the park’s rangers for turning a blind eye to Mr B’s parking habits. Mr B parks illegally to drop off the chairs, and then again when it’s time to pick them up. When the rangers drive past they always just happen to look the other way. That’s gracious of them. Thank you, rangers!

A toast to you all, and happy new year!

6. We also end the year with our Unusual Creature Series and by featuring a Lowland Streaked Tenrec from Madagascar. I wonder if they can be kept as pets? Perhaps someone will tell us on our Facebook page.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 23rd December

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 24, 2018 at 10:07 am

“Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?” 
Mary Oliver

1. Mr B began the meeting with a parable about echoes, and he received the same asinine questions he has come to expect. Eg. “How did the boy fall over?”  “Shouldn’t there be multiple echoes?”

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Mirko took the stand to restore sanity to the meeting. In his Serbian accent Mirko earnestly spoke about the human soul. Someone asked a question and he answered loudly and with frustration, “Our soul! Our soul!” For some reason unclear to this scribe, that prompted roars of laughter. For reasons equally unclear, throughout his talk people kept asking him the same stupid question, and with ever heightening exasperation poor Mirko kept having to provide the same succinct answer, “Our soul! Our soul!” Result: even more hearty laughter. It is indeed a strange world.2. Whatever game the audience were playing with poor Mirko, it eventuallly ended and Mr B again took the Ladder of Knowledge. He explained who the secret Illuminati supposedly are and then gave five reasons why they don’t exist! At the conclusion of his talk Mr B mysteriously suggested that if he were insisting that the Illuminati didn’t exist, then perhaps he himself was part of the Illuminati! He received a collective yawn for his trouble.

3. Steve Maxwell wasn’t here today, but Mark the Grinner was. Mark took the Ladder and worked Ben the Whisperer into a frenzy by insisting that Australia should ditch the U.S.A. and have China as its main military ally.

Mark the Grinner


Ben the Whisperer

4. At around 5pm Helmut finally took the Ladder and instead of his normal dour self, he was bright and breezy. He took a few shots at Mr B and a few more at Peter the Younger, all in warm good-natured fun. Then he happily answered questions about the nature of sub-atomic particles. You were in good form today, Helmut!

Helmut Cerncic

5. This year we lost two of our own: Donny Dodd and Arthur Knight. Neither man sent us this wonderful pendant:

Jon Jermey kindly added a stanza:

I thought I’d be dining
With Grandma as well,
But Jesus just told me
She’s burning in Hell.

6. Other subjects discussed: 
– All the times Finland invaded other nations.

– Should we deem Australia’s economy to be healthy when it’s partly based on high house prices?

– We heard about Mr B’s auditory hallucination, experienced while pretending to pray with a Christian Youth group.

– Has Australia become like a Third World country because its shops are open day and night? And with penalty rates under threat?

– We heard about lawyers’ propensity to obfuscate when creating contracts, even though the clarity and accuracy of plain language is less likely to allow loopholes.

– Do humans have an inherent inclination for war? Opinion was divided. (But not so divided that war broke out.) And, why do people enlist in the armed forces knowing they might have to kill someone? Some good answers were given.

7. Instead of trying to promote our Facebook page with an unusual critter, here is something more in keeping with the season.



News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 16th December

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 17, 2018 at 11:13 am

“Lawyers believe a person is innocent until proven broke.”
Robin Hall.

1. For Mr B it was a day of interruptions. This scribe actually felt sorry for the poor fellow.

2. Sometimes Mirko talks about the world-language he has invented that will allow us to talk with one another with ease. And, sometimes he talks about his two-polarity physics that may or may not have something to do with the imminent world diesel crisis. Today he began the meeting by combining the lot, and created a stream of consciousness that would make any transcendental guru proud. Well done, Mirko.

3. Then Mr B tried to begin his talk about the sham of Zen Buddhism, but with all the interruptions it was like he was wading through knee-high mud. Seeing the signs, he wisely chose to let 95 year-old Albert replace him. Albert talked about the evolution of humankind and how we should continue that evolution by being nice to one another and developing our collective-bloody-consciousness. Sorry, our collective consciousness.

The Borg have attained Collective Consciousness

4. Mr B then tried to resume his talk on the sham of Zen Buddhism but the interrupters, grateful for the break he had given them, were even more vociferous. Beaten, Mr B handed the reins to Mark the Grinner.

Mark the Grinner said Australians are xenophobic and unnecessarily scared of foreigners wanting to invade. We’re surrounded by water, so who would want to invade us? China doesn’t want to invade us; it would prefer to have us as a trading partner.  “It’s time we stood on our own two feet,” he said. “We should cut our ties with the U.S. and side with our biggest trading partner, China.”

His reasons for doing so prompted unceasing cries of “Bullshit” from one member the audience.

Mark the Grinner’s comments prompted a vigorous and interesting discussion.

5. Mr B once again tried to begin his talk on the Sham of Zen Buddhism, and then the cyclist guy from Bike Buffs‘ came along with his cycling tourists. A cyclist asked Mr B about Global Warming and Mr B responded by dividing the topic into a number of questions:
1) Why do we now call it ‘climate change’ instead of ‘global warming’?
2) Is the globe warming or cooling?
3) Is the climate change anthropogenic?
4) How do we know?

Mr B gave a brief response and off the cyclists went, a little bemused. But the conversation about climate change continued with Peter the Younger, who had a lot to say. Though he didn’t get to actually say most of it.

6. When that conversation about Climate Change ended Mr B yet again began his talk about the Zen Buddhist sham. This time he got halfway through a story, but with the continuous interruptions he received he had to face facts: the punters weren’t interested in the topic. Eighteen years’ research down the drain.

He changed the topic to “Why we shall never colonise Mars.” That topic received more respect.

7. In the past we have heard Mr B eloquently explain why there is no such thing as a Scotsman, and what he says makes perfect sense. In human history, never has someone been more right. Yet, somehow, a Scotsman arrived to defy Mr B’s irrefutable logic. His name was Marshall and he was with his missus and their two snot-gobblers. Marshall asked if he could speak on the Ladder of Knowledge. Mr B, halfway through his tedious explanation as to why Mars can never be colonised, did the right thing and relinquished the Ladder.

Marshall expressed his concern with how there were so few young people at Speakers’ Corner to listen to the speakers. “When you old speakers go,” he said charmingly, “who will carry the torch? Who will keep Speakers’ Corner going?”

Does Marshall know something we don’t? Is the Domain Trust planning to do some nefarious “permanent work” on us to finally rid themselves of the thorn in their side?

But that got your youthful scribe thinking: if the old geezers do indeed start popping off like flies, as Marshall seems to be suggesting, who would replace them? Would they be replaced?

But the speakers haven’t gone yet, Marshall, despite your prompting! Don’t hold your breath, lad.

We grasshoppers do hope that a few younger people will have the courage to get up and speak, and become regular soapbox orators. The trouble is, young people don’t know anything. They have no life experience. They have nothing matured in oak. They’re as thick as custard, and as sharp as a bowl of milk. If a young person got up, what could they possibly say?

“And I’m concerned,” added Marshall, “with how many of the young people are glued to their eye-phones.”

8. When Mr B resumed his rightful place on the Ladder of Knowledge he gave us all a brief lecture on the use of swear words. Then he finished his talk on the non-colonisation of Mars. By this time he was fed up with the whole thing, and handed the ladder of Knowledge to Helmut. It was 5.25pm. Helmut answered questions about God, even though he believes God is just energy without consciousness.

How God would look in a mirror.

9. There will be a meeting next week, eve of Christmas Eve. There will be road access after all, as usual, and you won’t be asked to carry chairs. There will also be cheesecake.

10. In our Unusual Animal Series we have the Ankole-Watusi. It doesn’t give a damn about our Facebook 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.

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 side 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.





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).

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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