Soapbox Speakers

Archive for June, 2019|Monthly archive page

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 23rd June

In News for Speakers' Corner on June 24, 2019 at 10:58 am

Shame drives two big tapes. “Never good enough”, and if you can talk it out of that one: “Who do you think you are?”
Brené Brown

1. It was as cold as the proverbial witch’s tit.

It was so cold a dog got stuck to a lamp post.

If this post is late it’s because I first had to thaw.

It was even colder than an Antarctic blizzard. The only thing colder than today is the look Helmut gives you when you insult him.

Steve, Mr B, Helmut and Ray nevertheless seemed to enjoy their stints, but passers-by were understandably low in number. (That low number may have been a cardinal number but I would call it an undetermined number, and quite possibly, indeterminable. Of that number, one person was irrational.)

Yes, we talked about numbers.

Towards the end of the day Steve Maxwell came over to listen to Mr B, in the hope of thawing. Mr B, tired of feeling like a garfish hanging in cold storage, invited Steve to stand on the Ladder of Knowledge and speak. Steve took the opportunity, and that’s when the trouble began.

Long-term readers of this blog know that Mr Bashful has banned from Speakers’ Corner:
– the three amigos,
– jokes relying on word-play, and
– history.
Well, reckless Steve immediately broke the ban on history. Then it was on for young and old, and the crowd grew. Helmut came up to add to the raucousness. It all got better/worse from then on, depending on your perspective.

Finally it was time to pack up, and thank goodness for that.

Despite the bitter cold, it was a good day.

Those horses are going to hell if they don’t repent.

2. Last week this blog proved 1 = 0.999 . . .  However, Uncle Pete wasn’t satisfied with the explanation provided. It wasn’t comprehensive enough, he said. So here is another proof:

x = 0.999 . . .
10x = 9.999 . . .
10x = 9 + 0.999 . . .
10x = 9 + x
9x = 9
x = 1
0.999 . . . = 1

You’re welcome, Uncle Pete.

So, with that knowledge, it must mean that 1 – 0.999 . . .  = zero. But is that true?

1 – 0.9 = 0.1
1 – 0.99 = .01
1 – 0.999 = .001
1 – 0.999 . . . = .000 . . .1 ???

3. Other topics discussed.
– Who cares what other topics were discussed? It was too bloody cold to take notes.

4. Our Unusual Critter series. You have heard of the Adelie penguin, the Chinstrap penguin, the Emperor penguin and the king penguin. Have you heard of the Gentoo penguin? No? It hasn’t heard of you either.

But it has subscribed to our Facebook page.

Gentoo penguin




News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 16th June

In News for Speakers' Corner on June 17, 2019 at 11:53 am

“Stories are data with a soul.”
Brené Brown

1. Although it rained heavily for most of the morning, not one drop of water fell in the afternoon. That allowed the three speakers who turned up: the forthright Mr B, the earnest Ray, and the indignant Helmut , to hold just one meeting together for the first hour or so. It was a vibrant meeting and many people contributed, including regulars Ben the Whisperer and Uncle Pete.

Then Mr B and Helmut held their own successful meetings. At 5.20pm they packed up and went home.

It was a good day.

The speakers talked about many things, but because Ray was present, the topic of religion received a fair going over. Your fairminded scribe presents two memes representing both sides of the discussion.

The top one is from the postsecret website.

2. One topic was a fun one involving tricks of infinity.

Thomson’s Lamp: A one-minute experiment. Switch it on. After 30 seconds switch it off. After 15 seconds switch it on. After 7.5 seconds switch it off. And so on. When the minute has elapsed, will the lamp be on or off?

– A building has an infinite number of storeys above it. If each storey is half the height of the one directly below it, the structure can only be two storeys high. But how can it have a roof?

– Adolf Grunbaum’s Pi machine will print the entire number Pi on one line of a page. How? Each integer is printed in half the time it takes to print the preceding one, and is half the width of the one before it.
Mr Bashful intends to commission Mirko into making a working model.

– For eternity, Bill is in a red room and Ann is in a blue room. Once a year, just for a day, they swap rooms before returning to their own room. Question: who spends more time in the red room?
(Answer: they both spend the same amount of time in the red room.)

– Why is 0.999 . . .   the same as 1?
Answer: 1/3 = 0.333 . . .     3 X 0.333 . . . = 0.999 . . .    3 X 1/3 = one. Therefore, 0.999 . . . = 1.

Uncle Pete generously offered to tutor Mr B on the nature of infinity. What next?! Will Mirko be offering to teach basic arithmetic to Warren Buffett? Will Mr B be schooling Gene Simmons on how to meet women?

3. This week’s creature in our Unusual Creature Series is the Sarcastic fringehead, a fish found in the Pacific Ocean but not on dinner plates. This particular specimen has made sarcastic comments about our Facebook page.




News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 9th June

In News for Speakers' Corner on June 10, 2019 at 10:28 am

‘Just like a bear is helpless but to behave like a bear, a murderer is helpless but to behave like a murderer. I have no doubt that if we changed variables in these people’s past (their childhood, their influences, their parents, the media the were exposed to, or even their DNA) they would be radically different people, perhaps even the best among us. Conversely, if you were to alter variables in your own past, you could be become indistinguishable from those you deplore the most. In some sense, everyone else is an alternate version of you. If you had the experiences and the biology of another, you would literally be them.’
Sashin, in his blog, Sashinexists

1. For a few weeks we have the restaurant with us while renovations are being made. That, and big crowds, gave the place an almost carnival atmosphere today.

Ray took this photo last Monday. Thanks, Ray.

2. Mr B was critical of the ABC’s response to the raid on them by the Australian Federal Police. He pointed out that their current affairs programs (The Drum and Insiders, so far) had not one person on their panels taking a contrary view. And anyway, if the ABC wants to disagree with the AFP’s actions they can issue a press statement like everyone else. To use their flagship programs to unabashedly spruik their case is a strong conflict of interest.

Mr B said that media organisations do what they can to get the viewer’s eyeballs. Weasil-like, they hide their nefarious practices under the banner of Freedom of Speech. Under that banner they get away with photoshopping lies, cruel hounding and breaches of privacy from the paparazzi, unnecessary snapshots not in the public interest (remember Kevin Rudd eating his earwax?), publishing leaked private correspondence that is no one’s business but the sender’s and the recipient’s (eg. Israel Folau), and their never-ending search for the ‘gotcha’ moment that has eradicated any chance of getting straight talk from our politicians.

The media are a disgrace. For a long time they have repeatedly violated the trust we give them and the ethics expected of them, and now they stand like innocent souls, indignant that they could be questioned.

Ho hum.

That’s Mr B’s take on the matter, anyway. Your dear scribe thinks Mr B is wrong, because what the ABC tells me indicates he’s wrong.

3. Question: do you win your point when you purposly yell so loudly the other person can’t speak?

Uncle Pete . . . Belligerent Pete was up to his old tricks again.

4. Passer-by Mikayla got up onto the Ladder of Knowledge and spoke about Art and its expression. She held the crowd until it was dusk and time to pack up. Even then she kept gabbing with a couple of listeners. Good work, Mikayla!


5. Other topics discussed:
– Steve Maxwell explored the claim that the Angus Taylor (now Energy Minister) set up an account in the tax haven Caymans for an $80m water buyback.

– Ray spoke directly acrosss from the new restaurant’s seated patrons. Therefore, not only did those lucky souls get to consume their food and drink, they also had the opportunity to learn about God’s boundless and merciful love, and the hell awaiting them if they don’t accept it.

– We lose our appetite when we are sick. Why can’t the science boffins understand what’s going on in that instance, and replicate that effect with a pill, to help people lose weight?

– One passer-by had a lot to say, but her laryngitis had other plans. It was very funny. Her sk8ter boi companion answered Mr B’s question when no one else could. For that he deserves a medal. Unfortunately, Sk8ter boi will  have to forge that medal himself, but he can rest assured that it is well deserved.
What was the question only Sk8ter boi could answer to Mr B’s satisfaction? “Why does no drug addicted thief return the money they stole after they are free of their addiction?” (Sk8ter boi answered the question by supplying one (close enough) example in which it did happen.)

– The mindfulness gurus suggest we live in the present. “But should we?”, asked Mr B. “Why is it wrong to lose ourselves reminiscing about the past and pondering the future, and thinking about ideas, instead of being in the present and focusing on what’s around us?”, Mr B wanted to know. “If we’re surrounded by boring old grass and trees, we’re stuffed. There is only so much ‘That is a leaf; gosh, look at its structure‘ we can take.”
Mr B said he’d much rather listen to the radio while he’s washing the dishes than waste his time observing the soapy water sloshing about his hands.
Sometimes he is not quite with it, that Mr B.

6. In our Unusual Critter Series we feature the East Asian raccoon dog, which is not a raccoon. This particular specimen says our Facebook page is subversive. It’s about time someone noticed.



News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 2nd June

In News for Speakers' Corner on June 2, 2019 at 9:10 pm

“A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.”
Ian McEwan, Atonement.

1. For years Mirko has been talking about the translating software he has developed, and thanks to the Japanese, his invention has finally been commercialised. Congratulations, Mirko!

Speaking of Mirko, he  wasn’t here today, for family reasons. But naturally, Destiny had to provide a suitable replacement and it did: Michael turned up and was a pest just like Mirko. Sigh.

The Welsh words say, “I’m not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated.”

2. Steve Maxwell brought our attention to Water NSW’s submission to an Independent Expert Panel. It claims that coal mining is draining Sydney’s water supply. Millions of litres are being lost daily to the coal mines, explained Steve. Some creeks are now bone dry because of the coal mines.  If you would like to know more, click here.

Warragamba dam is drying out because of the coal mines.

3. A passer-by, Kevin, bravely stood on the Ladder of Knowedge to tell us his true ghost story. He did a good job of it, too. Thank goodness it was day time. As a follow-up, Mr B examined the nature of ghost-hood in general, but he wasn’t convincing.

From the Postsecret website:

4. A paradigm is a collective belief held by society. Some paragigms can be wacky, but people believe them anyway, because it appears to them normal and sensible. Mr B listed a few paradigms, and one of them was the reverence of burial sites. We tend to take graves and tombstones too seriously, he said.

5. “What is the relationship between humility and epiphanies?”, one passer-by wanted to know. Mr B gave his view on the matter, and on the matter of optimism and pessimism.

6. Other topics discussed:
– Mr B talked about another incident involving his past love life. He hasn’t told that story before, and he probably won’t again.

– Helmut spoke about the tennis and about his mentorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger, when Arnold was a polite young lad willing to learn from Helmut.

– Sashin spoke about the four truths of Buddhism, but he unfortunately received too many interruptions from Michael.

– Mr B presented a fair chunk of his happiness material today because his regulars were across the way listening to Helmut. Mr B spoke about the two different types of happiness, how the two types evolved, the relationship between anxiety and happiness, and the Deep Need to Belong. For a reminder, click here.

– Michael was allowed up on the Ladder of Knowledge. Mr B expected that the crowd would suddenly leave to send Michael a message. But no, the crowd immediately grew. Sigh. Michael talked about atheists.


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