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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.

 

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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!

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 24th September.

In News for Speakers' Corner on September 25, 2017 at 10:08 am

What matters more? What you have learned, or what you have taught?
Anon.

1. From the opening bounce, today was a treat. A grasshopper named ‘Steph’ asked a question along the lines of, ‘Why don’t Australians have public discussions about our mortality?’

It turned out that Steph is a doctor who works in an Intensive Care Unit. Countless times she, and other doctors, have saved the lives of elderly people knowing that death may well have been a better option. She pointed out that had there been frank discussions in healthier times, better decisions could have been made for the patient.

Steph would like all of us to have regular talks with our loved ones about what we value in life. Do we value life at all costs? Or a healthy mind? Our mobility? We should know these things about ourselves and our loved ones.

And, instead of wasting time reporting on the Kardashians, Current Affairs programs could focus on these more important questions.

Steph was soon persuaded to come to the front of the group and give her thoughts on the matter, and answer questions. She spoke for more than an hour, and we learned a great deal.

It was an absorbing talk and we are grateful to Steph for giving us her time, her patience and her honesty.

Two of the twelve Kardashian sisters.

2. After Steph left, Mirko took the Ladder of Knowledge to share his ideas. He had a different speaking style to Steph. Steph had been clear, cogent and coherent.

3. When Mr B finally stood upon the Ladder of Knowledge he explained why it’s important for people like Mirko to tell their point-of-view. (He didn’t half labour the point.) Then, as a few more passers-by sat down, he handed the Ladder of Knowledge to Helmut!

Mr B was having a real bludge today.

Mr B sat in the audience and kept asking Helmut: “Helmut, why do you use the word ‘God’ to describe non-sentient, non-intelligent and non-conscious energy?” (See how he labours a point?)

Finally, after being a pest to poor Helmut, Mr B moved to another part of the park and spoke on the less impressive Ladder of Percipience.

4. The ‘something nice segment’, to charm some and irritate others.

5. Mr B wants to give the man who headbutted Tony Abbott a medal. But not because he thinks Tony deserved a headbutt.

The assailant is an anarchist. When asked why he headbutted Tony, the man replied, “I’m a lone anarchist that felt the need to headbutt Tony Abbott because I didn’t think it was an opportunity I’d get again.”

Get that? The man’s only reason for headbutting Tony was because he had the rare opportunity to do it. No other reason.

The words and actions of a true anarchist.

The man deserves a medal, explained Mr B, because he acted in accordance with his philosophy. How refreshing! The man is an inspiration to us all.

6. Mr B examined possible reasons why someone might become a foot fetishist, or a homosexual, or a heterosexual, or a paedophile. He then briefly discussed love and its causes. He spoke of all this in order to come to his main point: “Is it possible that our sexual attraction to a sex is not the precursor to us falling in love with a member of that sex? That instead, we are wired to fall in love with a member of a sex, and that determines our sexual attraction to that sex?’

You won’t get ideas like that expressed in ‘Mr Ed’ reruns!

7. Other subjects discussed.
– Mirko and an Aboriginal speaker had an intellectual sparring match that was frightening in its intensity and absurdity. We hope the Aboriginal speaker comes back so that we can hear more of what he said. (Though the words, ‘be careful what you wish for’ are ringing in my ears.)

– The fable in which Prisoner A has a window in his cell and prisoner B in the next cell doesn’t. During the day, Prisoner A peers out his window and patiently describes in detail to Prisoner B the park he sees. Each day there are different incidents to relate. This helps to keep Prisoner B sane. This goes on for years until one day Prisoner A dies. Prisoner B begs the warden to be given the now vacant cell, and receives it. He then peers out the window and sees . . . a brick wall.
(The effect was lost on one grasshopper who thought he had been listening to a joke. He couldn’t make sense of the punchline. Sigh.)

– In some places in the U.S. the only way a young man can survive in the streets is to join a gang. If he wants to stay alive that’s the only option he has. And, to stay in the gang he is required to commit a felony. If he wants to stay in the gang and stay alive, that’s the only option he has. When he gets caught he goes to jail and he may serve five years to life, depending on what he has been compelled to do. If he chooses to not suicide, that’s the only option he has.
Should we shake our heads sagely at such a prisoner and say, ‘It serves him right. He should not have broken the law.’?
Should we be outraged with that inevitability in the same way that we are outraged with murder and rape?

8. It has been three years since The Speakers’ Corner dog died. Mr B felt the need to recount three brief anecdotes about her.

9. Our Facebook page has been voted by humanity to be the best page on the internet.

Our Archives site won second place.

An outstanding achievement by this modest scribe.

News for Sunday 17th September

In News for Speakers' Corner on September 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

“A rich man is beset on every side by people demanding that he invest or give away part of his wealth. He becomes suspicious – honest friendship is rarely offered him; those who could have been friends are too fastidious to be jostled by beggars, too proud to risk being mistaken for one.”
Robert Heinlen.

1. Today we tried something different. Ray and Mirko remained on the fringes, but the other speakers banded together to create one meeting. The tireless Steve Maxwell served as a competent and worthy MC. (Normally, MC stands for Emcee or Master of Ceremonies, but in Steve’s case the letters stood for Megalomaniacal Cad, among other things.

The speakers took turns to speak, and Steve, our Mellifluous Crooner, ensured that each speaker kept to a specific time limit. That time limit varied throughout the day, depending on the direction of the breeze and the number of bees per square kilometre.

2. There seemed to be something missing during the day, and we were better off for it. But what was missing? I don’t know.

3. Steve, our Melodious Concupiscent, spoke about ‘the history wars’. (The ongoing public debate over how the British colonisation of Australia should be interpreted.)
He also spoke of the Aboriginal Tasmanians.

Scenes like the one below should never be forgotten.

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


5. With Steve being a Multiskilled Charismatic he hosted the following speakers:
– Mirko, who did his thing in his own inimitable style.

– Radio Shock Jock (2SER Radio Skid Row 88.9FM Noon til 2 Tuesday) John August spoke about Labour and Liberal statistics. (Or something like that. Listing his radio credentials has taken the wind out of me.)

– A Finnish guy and some other passers-by bravely stepped up onto the Ladder of Percipience. (Oh oh, where was the Ladder of Knowledge? Is that what was missing today? Yes, it was missing, but I have great respect for the Ladder of Knowledge, so it must have been something else that freshened the air by its absence. But what?)

– Backpack Peter even got up to speak. He says we shouldn’t make a fuss about global warming, and he called for Australia to adopt nuclear power.

– Helmut didn’t speak. (Was that the thing missing? . . .  Well yes, because it’s always a pleasure to hear Helmut speak, but no, the thing missing wasn’t actually being missed. Today, Speakers’ Corner felt alive and fresh. Reinverated. I just can’t think what it might have been.)

– Uncle Pete didn’t turn up today. But we noticed his absence, and we weren’t grateful he was missing. No, it was something else . . .  This scribe asked around, but no one could put a finger on it.

– Tony spoke against the introduction of gay marriage. (Who would have thought?)
He also praised Kim Jong Un, the North Korean despot. Tony seems to think that Kim is a nice guy getting bad press from the western propaganda machine. (From his photos, Kim does seem to be a cheery fellow, so who can really argue?)

6. Thanks to Steve, our Magnificent Compere, the day went well and a good time was had by all. Whatever it was that was missing, can stay missing.

An ibex, serving as a metaphor for Steve Maxwell.

7. If we had set up our Facebook page this morning then we could be pleased with having sixty subscribers.

If we had set up our Archives site this morning we could be slightly pleased with the total number of visitors this site has received in its history.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 10th September.

In News for Speakers' Corner on September 11, 2017 at 1:17 pm

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.”
Jerzy Gregorek

1. Abe from Melbourne popped in to say hello and climb onto The Ladder of Knowledge. He spoke about the Aboriginal activist William Cooper, who died in 1941.

This scribe thinks that Abe looks a lot like the actor Danny Glover.

2. “Um, er . . . you know.” ‘Fillers’ like these in day-to-day speech are abhorred by Mr B and he tries to avoid uttering them. He told one grasshopper off for preceding a question with an ‘um’ and that’s when Uncle Pete took umbrage and said Mr B was being unreasonable. “Every civilisation in the world uses phatics,” he explained. (He meant ‘fillers’, but we can pardon him for confusing the word ‘phatic’ with ‘filler”. He is, after all, only a science teacher.)

This scribe reckons Mr B would be a stickler when it comes to spelling, too.

3. Steve Maxwell had a busy day and talked a fair bit about global warming. He believes it’s happening and he’s not in favour of it. His criticism of government policy (or lack of) prompted a few beefy comments from a passer-by. And  then it was on! Some people might call it intellectual sparring; others might call it ‘boys shouting’. Whatever you call it, it was fun.

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

5. Mr B spoke about assisted dying and euthanasia in the Netherlands, and his talk was followed by comments from both Greg and Whispering Ben. They gave us their personal stories about losing (or nearly losing!) a loved one.

Greg’s story about his mother was so shocking some listeners found it hard to believe, and Whispering Ben’s account of his father’s death was absorbing. Thank you to both men!

6. Yes, Greg and Whispering Ben made a big contribution to the meeting, as did others who got up onto the Ladder of Knowledge throughout the day.

When grasshoppers get up, we are reminded that if they didn’t contribute, a meeting would quickly become dry and tedious. After all, the speaker’s job is not to be the centre of attention (even if they think otherwise); it’s to be a facilitator, a moderator, for the group’s discussion.

This scribe likens a speaker to a symphony conductor: they aren’t there to make the music; they’re there to allow it to happen.

7. Mr B talked about the choices we make in life. Do we aim for the success society respects? Or do we aim to take our own path?

8. “Can we become lonely as a result of taking our own path?” asked Mr B. “Perhaps,” he responded, answering his own question, and then he said he had been lucky in life. He explained how he only gets lonely one night a year: New Year’s Eve’. And he has even found a solution to that!


9. “No one is indispensible,”
goes the saying, and this coming Sunday Mr B will prove it. He will be elsewhere.

Relax! The chairs will still be there, which means it will be business as usual. It’s just that we won’t have someone in a hoarse voice telling us we’re blithering idiots. How refreshing!

This is where he’ll be.


10. Other subjects discussed:
– How to gain true financial security.

– Uncle Pete gave us a beautiful story about a very human-like Orangutan.

– What is love and from where does it come?

– Are contentment and core happiness the same thing?

– Mr B flogged the spider story again.

– The Jokefest segment has become the ‘Mr Smith Segment’, and thanks to Andrew, Mark the Grinner and Mr B, we learned a fair bit about Mr Smith today. Mr Smith has been in dire straits with the doctor, twice, and he’s having his leg cut off this Thursday. Poor Mr Smith.

11. Our Facebook page is the favourite Facebook page of Kim Jong Un. Who would have thought?

He likes our Archives page too.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 3rd September.

In News for Speakers' Corner on September 4, 2017 at 11:31 am

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”
William O. Douglas, judge. (1898-1980)

1. It was Fathers’ Day today and to every speakers’ credit, it wasn’t mentioned.

But this scribe has other ideas, thanks to the Postsecret website.

2. Steve Maxwell met two men from the American Hillsong church, and spoke to them about African-Americans in Australia soon after World War II. He must have said something right because the two Americans blessed him.

Steve also spoke about global warming, and he explained why he was in favour of gay marraige. Naturally, dinosaurs Tony and Laurence objected and Steve had a battle on his hands.

3. Mr B also had similar questions asked of him, with the main question being: “Do transexuals actually change their gender?” Mr B said ‘yes’ but Peter the Younger disagreed. Everyone joined in the discussion!

Mr B said that all possibilities on the sexuality spectrum were natural anyway, and he took an evolutionary approach to support his cause. (Speaking of people on the broad spectrum, this postcard is also from the Postsecret website.)

4. The subject of happiness was also raised, and Mr B explained his evolutinary approach to that too. And, he linked happiness with a feeling of connectedness.

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

Greece, in winter.

6. A bewildered Mr B spoke about the ‘Homeless Socceroos’ who will be competing against 47 other teams in the World Cup homeless Soccer competition in Oslo. He was in favour of it, but bewildered just the same.

He was even more bewildered when he discovered that about 80% of Australia’s homeless have permanent accommodation in boarding houses and the like.

Going to Oslo! Photo from ABC News, Antoinette Collins

7. Mirko stood on the Ladder of Knowledge and generously gave us the latest update on his phonetic language. Here is a taste of some of Mirko’s brilliant work, to entice you to come along to Speakers’ Corner and find out more.

8. Philip Feinstein, the founder of the Music For Refugees website, popped by and spoke a few words about the recent Refugee Council’s report. Apparently, at each detention centre the rules change with the wind. There has been no consistency, and that has been causing stress on the detainees and their visitors.


9. Cheeky Philip seemed keen to discuss
the level of Mr B’s self esteem. Mr B complied.

10. 92 year-old Arthur was in fine form again today, asking lots of nonsensical questions that had nothing to do with the topic at hand. For example, when we were talking about Muslim women and Pauline Hanson wearing the burqa, Arthur felt the need to ask, “What would you do if Marilyn Monroe knocked on your door?” 

Mind you, Uncle Pete didn’t help any, asking how Arthur would feel if Mathius Cormann wore a bikini.

Sigh.

Federal Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann

11. Other subjects discussed:
– This coming Sunday Mr B will vacate the Ladder of Knowledge during his meeting and be replaced by young up-and-comer Helmut Cerncic. Mr B will then immediately set up elsewhere. We hope this new development suits everyone.

– Thanks to filmmaker Bryan Cockerill, Mr B was able to enlighten his grasshoppers about the rights filmmakers and their subjects have in public spaces.

– Australia’s Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten refuses to present evidence that he is not a dual citizen. So, when Helmut Cerncic stood upon the Ladder of Knowledge, one of his groundlings insisted that he present evidence to prove that he is not a dual citizen. Helmut’s refusal to comply was blunter than Bill Shorten’s.

– Uncle Pete recounted the time when he helped his students discover the making of glass. Most entertaining!

– Mr B described his bizarre experience in a Chinese restaurant in Haymarket. It was so bizarre that some of his grasshoppers refused to believe him! Others thought it was a restaurant conspiracy to make sure he never came back.

– This scribe has the sad duty of informing you, dear reader, that the two jokes told today by Mr B and Uncle Pete were unseemly. But funny!

– “Why the hell should I be fined just because my brother was driving my car and I refuse to sign a statutary declaration to say it wasn’t me?” That was the question asked by outraged grasshopper Greg.

12. Our Facebook page garnered some testy disagreement this week.

However, our Archives site is as placid as ever. If you ever want to hide information so well that no one can ever find it, ask this scribe to place it on our Archives site.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 27th August

In News for Speakers' Corner on August 28, 2017 at 11:19 am

“It is one thing to study war, and another to live the warrior’s life”. 
Stephen Pressfield

1. The buoyant Steve Maxwell had three main topics today. He was asking the question: “What in your opinion is the most important issue that will affect the world in the future? Will it be . . .
– the corruption of the state?
– Automation, and the concomitant large percentage of the population being unemployed?
– Man-made pollution and its affect on nature?”

One of the many good things about Steve as a public speaker is his propensity to introduce new topics each and every week. And make them interesting.

Steve Maxwell (Photo by Joseph Iliades)

2. Mr B spoke about happiness and its relationship with the Hadza, a hunter-gatherer tribe in Tanzania.

“Onwas is an old man . . . Across his arms and chest are the heiroglyphs of a lifetime in the bush: scars from hunts, scars from snakebites, scars from arrows and knives and scorpions and thorns. Scars from falling out of a baobab tree. Scars from a leopard attack. Half his teeth remain.”
Michael Finkel, National Geographic 2009.

“A Hadza hunt at night: Walking through Hadza country in the dark is challenging; thorn bushes and spiked acacia tress dominate the terrain, and even during the day there is no way to avoid being jabbed and scratched and punctured. A long trek in the Hadza bush can feel like receiving a gradual full-body tattoo. The Hadza spend a signifcant portion of their rest time digging thorns out of one another with the tips of their knives.”
Michael Finkel, National Geographic 2009.

3. Mr B claimed that Aborigines were not the first to discover Australia 65,000 years ago. They didn’t “discover” it at all! Unlike Earnest Shackleton, Christopher Columbus, Abel Tasman, and countless Polynesians and Melanesians, the Aborigines weren’t explorers searching for and discovering new lands. 65,000 years ago sea levels were lower, and the Aborigines would have walked across the land bridge between the land masses we now call Papua New Guinea and Australia, taking advantage of the abundant fauna along the way. It may have taken the tribes hundreds of years to cross. Then, they “woke up one morning” and found that the sea level had risen and they were “stranded”.

That’s not “discovering” a continent, argued Mr B. That’s “getting stuck on an island when the tide comes in.”

But he readily agreed that the white fella was wrong to invade over 200 years ago.

(Apparently, the Aborigines colonised the continent by going along the East and West coasts, until they finally met in South Australia. There was a land bridge to Tasmania too.

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

5. Other subjects discussed:
– Gay marriage. Mr B explained why he is in favour of it.
One grasshopper told us that both his mother and father were gay. Ironically, the Church would have approved of that marriage of convenience. (We also learned that genuine love did grow over time.)

– Why was a young boy deemed missing in Barcelona after the terrorist truck-driving incident, when he was simply one of the unidentified dead? The media were taken to task about this. (The media regularly get a walloping at Speakers’ Corner.)

– What are the legalities regarding people being filmed in the park? Can someone refuse to be filmed? (More about that next week, hopefully.)

– Mirko took the Ladder of Knowledge and talked about stupidity and smart phones. Heaven help us!

6. The warm day suddenly turned cold and black clouds threatened. We finished early at 4pm.

Our Facebook page received two subscribers this week. Does that mean it has gone viral?

If you have something important to do but you’re a procrastinator, then you might as well check out our Archives site.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 20th August

In News for Speakers' Corner on August 21, 2017 at 11:15 am

“A politician tends to put the interests of the State before those of Australia, the interests of his party before those of his State, the interests of his constituency before those of his party, and the interests of the man he happens to speak with before the rest of the world. Such politicians become popular.”
Walter Murdoch.

1. A big thanks to all the financial contibutors today! Thank you, grasshoppers! So far we have raised $324.10 towards the cost of having a 1972 film of speaker John Webster digitised. (See the last post.) And in the process, someone got a $70 book for $10.

2. The day began with Mirko trying to convince Uncle Pete and a few onlookers that he had invented a perpetual motion machine. Next week he would provide incontrovertible proof: a photo. Suddenly Uncle Pete saw the light. He understood Mirko’s message! Then he mocked this scribe for having doubts. Jeepers.

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

4. As promised, Mr B explained the process of natural selection, but he “went around the world” to do it. He first examined hybrids, then what makes a species, before finally moving onto the topic of natural selection itself.

Even lions are subject to the process of natural selection.

5. Other subjects discussed.
– Guys, have you ever caught yourself in your zip? We heard about one boy’s unenviable experience.

– What do you do when you are twenty and your mate discards a slide photograph of his lover in a negligee? You retrieve it from the bin when he isn’t looking, of course, and when he hosts a slide night eight years later with his family you make sure it magically appears in the slide show. Then you watch what happens next.

– Mr B gave his leadership rant. (i.e. Our Prime Minister is not our leader. He is the leader of the Liberal Party, and he is our most senior public servant.)

– Chimpanzees groom themselves by picking nits and leaves from each other, whereas we humans groom each other by texting. Which method do you think is the more soul enriching? Mr B gave eight reasons why smart phones are having a negative effect upon us.

6. Helmut spoke about physics and had to deal with one interesting character new to Speakers’ Corner. In the photo below we see that the laws of physcics don’t always apply. Where did the gravity go, Helmut?! Take that!


7. It was a cold day
and we left early, at 4.30pm.

8. Why not click on our Facebook page and read this all again?

And try our Archives site if you would like to read 200 more.

 

 

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