Soapbox Speakers

Archive for August, 2019|Monthly archive page

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 18th August

In News for Speakers' Corner on August 19, 2019 at 12:27 pm

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”
Erma Bombeck

1. We had a new speaker for a while: Socrateaser. He implored us to ask him a challenging question, and each time we complied he simply asked a question of us in return. Brilliant thinking. But then he began talking about a 140 year old yogi’s tips to prevent ageing. One tip was: don’t live in square buildings. The two most important organs in the human body are the heart and the brain, and they are spherical. Therefore, we need to live in spherical surroundings.

You get the idea.

Only later did your scribe realise he was ‘having a lend’ of us. Surely! The trouble is, Speakers’ Corner has enough genuine “unorthodox” people spouting sincere nonsense that  it has become easy to assume anyone talking nonsense is “unorthodox”. But you’re not “unorthodox” are you, Socrateaser? (It’s in the name, isn’t it?) Yes, you fooled us. But you won’t do that again!


2 . After Socrateaser’s nonsense, it seemed only fair we get someone sensible to speak. But that didn’t happen. Mirko stood on the Ladder of Knowledge and told us about two polarity. He was heckled, but not outdone. Michael sat in the audience ranting about atheists and abortions, and he was not outdone. In short, the irresistable force had met the immovable object.

Oh dear.

The sensible ones in the audience left and found Helmut and Steve Maxwell. Steve ended up with a big crowd, and he held it for the rest of the day.

3. Other subjects discussed:
– What precisely is wrong with Alan Jones’ advice to our Prime Minister regarding the placement of a sock in the New Zealand Prime Minister’s gob? Mr B generously explained.

– Should there be a client/lawyer privilege? No, said Mr B. It has to go.

– The Tragedy of the Commons. ie. Should Australia reduce its carbon emissions given that even a huge reduction in our emissions would make no significant difference to Climate Change, and given that no other country would follow Australia’s example?

4. Our unusual critter this week in our Unusual Creature Series is the ball-bearing treehopper. It uses its antennae and wifi to read our Facebook page.




News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 11th August

In News for Speakers' Corner on August 12, 2019 at 9:42 am

“Speaking of statistics, did you know that one in seven dwarves is grumpy?”
Mark the Grinner.

1. Where was Mirko? How did we manage without him?

On the Ladder of Knowledge Mr B soon became passionate about his purpose in life, and he was pretty negative about his accomplishment. What fun!

2. It was good to see Albert and Jean back, though poor Albert received a vocal reception as a heckler and as a speaker. It seems, however, his patience is limitless. Albert spoke about the stupidity of the world’s arms race, and the importance of  collective conscousness. Good work, Albert!

Keep defending him, Jean!

3. When Mark the Grinner alighted the Ladder of Knowledge he referred to ‘Idiocracy’, a film about our future world populated and run by morons. Mark said the future is already here, and he gave us a few examples. He said being a moron is no longer an impediment.

Later, he engaged in a robust debate with Peter the Younger about humans’ role in climate change.

4. Here is another chapter of Mr B’s book. It’s about the different types of happiness researchers.

5. Other topics discussed:
– Is Mr B a narcissist?

– Mr B explained why James Hardie should not compensate do-it-yourselfers dying of asbestosis and mesothelioma. He said we all know that  some building products can be dangerous, so we should take personal responsibility for the risks we take. Mr B was not 100% popular with his grasshoppers.

– The misuse of statistics. For example: is it really true that you’re more likely to die from falling out of bed than from being killed by a shark? Yes, it’s true, but only because more people get out of bed every morning than swim in the ocean.

– We talked about suicide and its aftermath. This photo is from the Postsecret site.

6. This week’s creature in our Unusual Critter Series is the Cooloola Monster, found in parts of subterranian Queensland. It was discovered in the 1980s and is rarely seen. Today it is Guest Editor on our Facebook page.



News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 4th August

In News for Speakers' Corner on August 5, 2019 at 9:54 am

“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”
Brené Brown

1. Uncle Pete was the first to ascend the Ladder of Knowledge and for an hour answered questions such as, “Could the speed of light have changed over billions of years?” and “Would the Earth have a different gravity if the amount of time and space in the universe were different?” and “Should Fitzroy High School continue to teach all its boys and girls how to cook?” The answer to all three questions was, basically, ‘no’.

He also answered questions about the process of natural selection, biology, chemistry, and even the origin of life. (Though that last one hasn’t hasn’t yet been nutted out.)

Congratulations to Pete’s daughter, Sarah, for having her book, “Callan Park, hospital for the insane“, short-listed in the NSW Premier’s History Awards.

2. Does Mr B have an ego? If not, why is he up there on the Ladder of Knowledge? And what does that have to do with Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby?

3. Don’t get the NBN! advised Uncle Pete. When he visited his Optus store, Pete discovered that many people are avoiding the unnecessary hassle and cost of an NBN installation by adopting mobile broadband instead. Peter converted, and is very pleased with his 60 mps.

4. Have aliens visited Earth? A passer-by explained that twenty years ago, when he was 16 years old, he and his companion witnessed a fiery ball hover in the night sky, and then plummet. Up until then he hadn’t believed in aliens, but that object was weird.

It was suggested that the light may have been ball lightning, but he didn’t seem enamoured with that possibility.

True story: when I was a lad living in the country my mother came home late one night and excitedly explained how she had been driving in the valley when her car had suddenly been illuminated by a strong light. The light had followed her for a long stretch of the road, then blinked out. “I was being followed by a UFO” she gasped. I suggested to her that perhaps there had been hunters in the hills spotlighting, and they had turned their spotlight onto her car to see who it was. “Pooh!” she scoffed. “How likely is that?!”

5. People used to believe wacky things like ‘women shouldn’t vote’, and ‘it’s okay to smash a Chinese girl’s feet into little pieces and stuff them into shoes the size of tea cups’. What wacky beliefs do we have today that in 100 years will have people scratching their heads? Mr B explained three from his list of twenty.

6. Other topics discussed:
– In order to dampen Mirko’s “enthusiasm” we had to promise him a stint on the Ladder of Knowledge if he managed to shut up for five minutes. He sort of managed to shut up for those five minutes, and when he got up, he sort of managed to impart what he wanted to say.

– Steve Maxwell and Ray spoke too, of course, but your scribe fell asleep listening to Mr B and didn’t visit them.

– Helmut talked about quantum mechanics and the composition of an atom.

– Greg asked Uncle Pete if we should be teaching children life skills such as how to change a flat tyre. Uncle Pete was not 100% impressed with the question.

Uncle Pete changing a tyre.

7. Should we even seek happiness? Here is another chapter from Mr B’s book for young people:

8. In our Unusual Creature Series
we present to you the gharial. This one has objected to our Facebook page.





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