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News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 25th June.

In News for Speakers' Corner on June 26, 2017 at 11:53 am

‘Be ashamed to die, until you have scored some victory for humanity.’
Horace Mann

1. A report on Mr B’s excursion.
This scribe apologises for his late scribble. I haven’t long been home.

Last night, after the meeting at Speakers’ Corner had concluded, Mr B took 14 lucky grasshoppers to the Royal National Park for an adventure. This scribe was one of them. Our purpose was to experience the ‘power of the night’.

We certainly experienced that.

Carlos Castaneda-style, we were to run full tilt into the midnight forest, blindfolded, and because we would be ‘at one with the night’ we would instinctively know where to run and which obstacles to hurdle. We would emerge from the forest an hour later, puffing and blowing, but unharmed.

At least, that was the plan.

At 6pm Mr B parked the hired minibus in front of the Art Gallery and 14 of us piled in. Then we began our drive to the Royal National Park. Unfortunately, the heater wasn’t working. And, an argument quickly broke out in the back of the bus. I was in the front passenger seat, so the only words I heard (over and over) were “Mother Nature” and “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Two hours later we entered the park and the night was pitch black. Heavy rain began to fall. That’s when the argument finally ended; it was too difficult to hear each other over the deafening noise of raindrops hitting the roof of the minibus. Someone asked when they would be eating the pizza, they were hungry. Mr Bashful confessed that with all the arguments going on in the back of the bus he had forgotten to buy the pizzas on the way. It was too late to go back now.

Someone then asked if they could at least have a cup of hot coffee. Mr Bashful confessed that four thermos flasks of hot Nescafe Blend were still sitting on his kitchen table. “But no matter,” he said cheerily, “we will soon be experiencing the power of the night. And I’ve remembered the blindfolds.”

We drove down the same stretch of road five times, back and forth, until we found the required turnoff. Five minutes later we came to a gate that barred our way. The sign on the gate explained that the National Park closes at 8.30pm. It was 8.40. That news didn’t please Mr Bashful but neither did it faze him. “Our site is only five kilometres down that track,” he said, pointing. “We can walk.”

Someone protested, saying that they didn’t want to walk five kilometres in heavy rain just so that they could run into a dark forest. They wanted to know why we couldn’t experience the power of the night by running from here, from the minibus. Mr B said there were wire fences about, which would curtail our experience. We needed to be in the park itself.

So, in the blackest of nights and in heavy rain we plodded five kilometres to the site, feeling our way along the track with our feet. This is probably when we lost one of our number. We heard someone calling for help but the rain got even heavier and we couldn’t hear them any more. We kept walking.

Someone asked Mr B why he didn’t bring a torch with him. Mr Bashful confessed that he didn’t think of it. “But it’s a good idea.”

We finally arrived at the site. The only reason we knew we were at the site was because someone walked into a sign post and broke their spectacles. The light from someone’s smartphone revealed that the sign prohibited fires. This seemed to dampen Mr B’s spirit. He had planned to have us sitting around a campfire while he taught us how to capture the power of the night. Someone pointed out that the prohibition on fires didn’t really affect us: there was more chance of being visited by a spaceship of aliens that there was of successfully lighting a fire in this heavy rain. Someone agreed, volunteering to keep a look out for them.

Then someone announced that “nature was calling”. We felt around for a while but found no evidence of a toilet. Or of any building, for that matter. We seemed to be just standing in a carpark. Three people said they desperately wanted to go to the toilet and would we wait a bit? We said we would. We assumed all three had wandered off to do their business, but pungent odours soon suggested otherwise. A little way off we heard two possums fighting. Well, we thought it was two possums fighting until a woman said, “That’s just my husband.”

The two that had remained close to us to do their business announced that they had finished, and the smell was too strong for us to hang around. We had only moved about a metre when the same woman said, ‘We can’t leave my husband behind.” So, we waited for her husband to return. Eventually we heard his distant cry for help. None of us thought to yell back. The cries seemed to get further away and eventually they faded into the noise of the pounding rain. It was about this time when Mr B said we should move to less odorous parts and discuss how we could all capture the power of the night. The woman again asked, “what about my husband?” and Mr B explained that as day follows night, day would follow night, and in the morning her husband would find himself in the dawn’s early light, refreshed.

“If he hasn’t died of exposure,” said some wit in the darkness.

“If we all haven’t died of exposure,” said another bleakly.

It was refreshing to find that in these blizzard-like conditions people were still able to crack jokes and keep our spirits up.

In the pouring rain we stood huddled together like emperor penguins, while Mr Bashful spent the next twenty minutes patiently explaining how we could all capture ‘the power of the night’.

This scribe has to admit that much of what he said didn’t seem to make sense. In fact, none of it made sense. But no one else said anything so I continued to place my trust in Mr Bashful.

Apart from the frequent complaints made about having had no dinner, and no coffee, and being deathly cold, and shivering uncontrollably while standing in driving rain, and having lost two of our number, we were ready. Mr B sang ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon’ so that we could all find him again. He needed to give us our blindfolds. Someone asked why we needed a blindfold, given that we couldn’t even see our hand in front of our face. Mr B explained, “Just to be on the safe side”.

Then it was time. With blindfolds on we all formed a circle, facing outwards. And when Mr B yelled the words ‘collective consciousness’ we ran as hard and as fast as we could into the darkness.

This scribe can’t go into the details of what happened next, for legal reasons. Besides, I witnessed nothing. It was pitch black dark and I had a blindfold on. Suffice to say that four of our number, including me, didn’t even make it to the forest, having tripped over the low wooden railing surrounding the carpark. We were the lucky ones, sustaining only cuts and bruises. Those who had managed to reach the forest reported broken teeth, broken noses, one broken eye-socket and a bout of concussion. Thankfully, one person had their phone working, because someone had broken a leg and had to be airlifted out by helicopter.

Only Mr Bashful remained unscathed. He is, after all, a seasoned veteran when it comes to harnessing the power of the night.

The helicopter medics didn’t look pleased. They couldn’t understand why eleven people in heavy rain had run headlong into a midnight forest wearing blindfolds. Mr Bashful tried to explain to them the power of the night but they didn’t seem interested.

I quietly mentioned to Mr Bashful that there should be thirteen of us, not eleven, and that the thirteen didn’t include the two who had wandered off earlier. Mr B seemed unwilling to dwell on our reduced number. He doesn’t believe in focusing on the negatives.

We heard the helicopter pilot complaining of having stepped in a mound of human faeces. With the aid of a medic’s torch Mr Bashful generously took off his jacket and used it to wipe clean her shoes. Ever bold, he then asked for her phone number. For some reason he lucked out.

When the helicopter rose and flew away with its two passengers (‘broken leg’ and ‘broken eye-socket’) the rest of us slowly and carefully limped back to the minibus. It took some time because we still had to feel our way, and the one with concussion kept holding us up. When someone asked Mr Bashful why he hadn’t borrowed the medic’s torch he confessed that he didn’t think of it.

It was five o’clock in the morning when we made it back to the minibus. However, we discovered that Mr Bashful didn’t have the keys. They were in his poo-smeared jacket that he had abandoned back at the carpark.

He must have been as cold and as weary as the rest of us, yet gallantly he volunteered to walk back to the carpark to retrieve the keys. By this time, dawn’s early light was peeping through the trees, so it only took him two hours to make the return journey.

But when he turned the key in the ignition we discovered he had left the headlights on all night, and they had flattened the battery.

It took the roadside service man only an hour to come and fix the problem, but he couldn’t fix the heater. But at last we were on our way home! Nine of us were, anyway. The woman again asked, “What about my husband?” but Mr B thought there were more pressing matters to deal with. Three of his passengers were lethargic, slurring their speech, and falling in and out of consciousness: all signs of hypothermia.

We left the rain the minute we left the park. As we drove back to Sydney there were no arguments in the back of the bus, no mention of Mother Nature and the like. Just silence. And the occasional moan. It seemed to me that our experience together had drawn us closer. Having experienced the power of the night we had become brothers and sisters, and had outgrown our petty disagreements.

Back in Sydney, Mr B thoughtfully dropped our three unconscious passengers off at St Vincent’s hospital. Two others got out as well and limped inside. Mr B dropped the remaining three of us off at Speakers’ Corner. However, after letting us out of the minibus he seemed reluctant to leave. He seemed to be stalling. I thought it was because he didn’t want to break the strong bonds we had forged between us in our search for the power of the night, but I was wrong. He said to us, “You might remember a request for a gold coin donation . . .?”

I had forgotten about that! I felt bad. Mr Bashful had put a lot of effort into making our experience a powerful one, and yet, we had failed him. As I handed him a dollar coin I reflected: I was still the same self-absorbed man I was yesterday. The night’s experience has not changed me. Inside I felt hollow.

Curiously, my two companions responded differently. They looked incredulous. Their response was a colourful one and no money changed hands. They staggered away, grumbling.

But Mr B is a forgiving man. He simply smiled at me and said, “I’ll be organising a scuba dive/spear fishing expedition soon. I’ll let you all know about it.”

He’s a good man, that Mr B.

We were all so glad to get back to the minibus.

 

2. During the week Mr B made this video, and he begged me to include it in ‘The News’. I guess if I want to go spear fishing . . .

Now a report on yesterday’s meeting:

3. One grasshopper asked how will we gain satisfaction in years to come, when most jobs have been automated? What will we do with our free time?

The speaker boomed across the park, explaining in detail how our species evolved to be diverse, and that each and every one of us has an inclination. (Not ‘gift’, because some people suck at what they like doing, but ‘inclination’.) By doing what we feel we must do, we gain satisfaction.

4. We had our jokefest, and as usual the jokes were met with hearty laughs. Here’s another joke. It’s more cerebral than the chortlers we heard today.

 

5. The subjects of weight loss and exercise were also discussed, but they were given a different slant to the usual comments you’ll hear elsewhere.

But just in case you’re hoping to lose a few kilos, the information in this meme might help.

6. We discussed the imminent 2% increase in politicians’ pay. The speaker suggested, counter-intuitively, that the increase might be a good idea, and he gave his reasons why. However, reducing penalty rates? Uh uh. No way!

7. The ‘Something Nice’ segment. To charm some and irritate others. (It’s a postcard from the postsecret website).

8. Today’s regrets were about a primary school girl sweetheart, a foregone opportunity to be an actor, and a man oblivious to womens’ advances. All good stuff.

9. Other topics discussed:
– One speaker claimed that political opportunists are more interested in reviling Senator Pauline Hanson instead of calmly addressing her concerns. Has Pauline inadvertently brought to our attention a genuine problem with regards to the teaching of autistic children, or not? Either way, let’s focus on making sure that we’re doing the best we can for our kids, instead of focusing on gaining political points.

– Christian terrorists.

– The shenangans of Karl Marx.

– Is it a good idea to try to be in the ‘here and now’? Or is it better to be in the ‘before and after”?

– Is it worth trying to change the world?

10. Speakers’ Corner legend Steve Maxwell’s has written another article for his popular ‘Passing Parade‘ series. Enjoy!

Steve Maxwell’s Passing Parade

The Speakers’ Corner in Brisbane.

Morton Bay (Brisbane) was a convict colony until convict transportation to the place stopped in 1840. After that, Kanakas (workers from the Pacific Islands) were lured to Queensland under the pretext of indentured labour, to replace the convicts.

Queensland was administered by New South Wales until 1859, and then Queensland became a self-governing sovereign British colony with its own army and navy and immigration policy. Its first parliament met in May, 1860. Morton Bay had a small white population of 25,000. A tiny elite of powerful graziers controlled parliament.

The graziers favoured coolie labour and wanted the land clear of Aborigines.

The Queensland army occupied Southern New Guinea to stop German expansions in the 1870’s, and in the 1890’s was preparing a war against striking shearers. The shearers objected to the coolie labour and were preparing for a rebellion. In 1893 Mother Nature intervened just in time. Three cyclones hit Queensland at once, causing one million pounds worth of damage. The revolution was cancelled.

Queensland’s boast is that it had the first Labor government in the world! It lasted one week in 1899.

Under federation in 1901, the colony ceded its power in foreign affairs and trade to Australia.

Free speech in Queensland was hard fought for, and not guaranteed until 2010 when the Queensland government dedicated a Speakers’ Corner to celebrate 150 years of parliament in Queensland. It is in the George Street forecourt, just outside of Parliament House.

Next week: THE RED FLAG RIOT

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 18th June

In News for Speakers' Corner on June 19, 2017 at 1:18 pm

“Weapons of mass distraction.”
Silicon Valley technology forecaster Paul Saffo, speaking about smartphones.

1. “He doesn’t know enough to get out of the rain” is an expression employed by some disparagers to cast doubt upon a person’s intelligence. Today, Mr B’s grasshoppers didn’t know enough to sit in the sun. On a bitterly cold day (for Sydney) they sat in the shade, and had no intention of moving to a sunny area only metres away. Mr B had to pick up his ladder and lead them. His actions reminded this scribe of Moses taking his followers to the promised land.

To be fair to the weather, it wasn’t cold enough to freeze a dog to a tree, but the strong wind coming off the harbour did make the afternoon uncomfortable. We left early, at 4pm.

2. Special announcement. Mr Bashful is organising something special.

When Mr B was a lad he heard about an incident described in a book written by Carlos Castaneda. The book’s protagonist, Don Juan, was so in tune with himself and with ‘the power of the night’ that he was able to run through a forest in complete darkness and remain unharmed. Although effectively blind, he ran with abandon, and when he came to a log he ‘knew’ it was there and jumped it; when he came to a tree he ‘knew’ it was there and ran around it. He would run in that forest for an hour at a time, in total darkness.

Mr B says he has figured out the secret. And, this coming Sunday, 24th June, on the darkest, moonless night of this month, he will be driving a hired minibus with 14 lucky grasshoppers to the Royal National Park. There they will sit around a camp fire for twenty minutes while Mr B explains to his grasshoppers how they too can capture the power of the night. Then it will be their turn to run full tilt into the midnight forest and remain unharmed. They too will experience the pleasure of being ‘at one’ with nature.

Just to be on the safe side, Mr B will blindfold them as well.

It will be an extraordinary experience and one which will be long remembered. This scribe is going, and if you want to be one of the lucky ones I suggest you reserve your spot now. The remaining 13 seats will go fast. We will be leaving from Speakers’ Corner after the meeting. 

Mr B will be supplying all the pizza you can eat and all the hot coffee you can drink, but bring with you warm clothes and comfortable footwear for running.

Mr B says a gold coin donation towards the cost of the petrol, pizza, coffee and minibus hire would be appreciated.

It will be even darker in the forest than this photograph suggests, because there will be no moonlight. That will be perfect for experiencing ‘the power of the night’, says Mr B.

3. The Something Nice Segment. To charm some and irritate others.

4. We have a winner! Today’s grasshoppers played bingo. (See last week’s post.) The first person to complete their card was a passer-by. Congratulations, Charles!

One of our regulars, Sue, came second and won nothing.

5. We had our JokeFest segment and all five contributing grasshoppers got a laugh.

6. We also introduced a new segment. The grasshoppers were invited to stand on the Ladder of Lament and express a regret they kept deep within them. Three people took the opportunity. It was an interesting segment and this scribe looks forward to discovering what will be said this coming Sunday.

Bring a regret with you when you come next Sunday, and share it. If you have no regrets, do something stupid during the week.

7. What is creating the Himalayas? Is it India, crashing into Eurasia? Or are India and Australia both crashing into it?

Let’s see. About 300 million years ago two whopping big continents, called Laurasia and Gondwana, got together to form a supercontinent called Pangaea. Pangaea was like a monopoly because it had most of the world’s land mass. But Laurasia and Gondwana never really got on, and about 200 million years ago they had a falling out and went their separate ways. That was the end of Pangaea.

Laurasia went off to do its thing up North and Gondwana went South.

But the break up was devastating for poor Gondwana, and about 100 million years it stopped coping and began to break apart. (So too did Laurasia up North, truth be told.) Gondwana broke up into chunks called tectonic plates, and those plates began bumping into each other like bumper cars. 43 million years ago two of those chunks got together to form the Indo-Australian Plate. That plate, and the African Arabian Plate, didn’t like the direction Gondwana had been taking, and headed back North. However, the Indo-Australian Plate was moving at about 8 or 9 cms per year, which was a reckless speed given its proximity to the Eurasia Plate. Inevitably, disaster happened: around 40 million years ago it crashed into the Eurasian Plate (which had only been minding its own business) and that created the crumple zone we now know as the Himalayas.

But did the Indo-Australian Plate stop and take a long hard look at itself? No. Like a psychopath, it continues to push into Eurasia at around 3.7 cms per year, causing the crumple zone to continue to grow at around 1cms to 6cms per year (depending on whose ruler you use).

This wanton violence stressed the Australian half of the Indo-Australian plate, causing it to reflect: did it really want to live this way? Did it want to spend the next 100 million years causing trouble? No, it didn’t. So, for the last 10 million years there has been a lot of friction between the two halves, causing lots of Earthquakes, and about 3 million years ago the two began breaking up. Two separate plates were created: the Indian Plate and the Australian Plate, and the Australian Plate is fleeing the scene. (But some say they’re still together!)

Trying to look innocent of the part it played in the collision, the Australian plate floats peaceably about, tentatively moving North at a sedate 5.6 centimetres per year.

By this time the African and Arabian Plates had also broken up, having had their own problems.

So, who caused the crash? Did India cause it, or did India and Australia combined? The fact is, there is no definitive proof that we Australians were ever involved. All you have is circumstantial evidence and the opinions of boffins who probably put their pants on backwards. In short, we Australians insist that we are separate from India and always have been. We have nothing to do with the collision up North; we are in the clear. Now leave us alone.

8. Other subjects discussed:
– The shonky practice of opportunistic tradies: of passing the cost of parts onto the customer and making a profit in the process. The speaker claimed that their job is to do the work, not act as retailers seeking margins.

– Do women really fear death when they go out on a blind date, as “studies” suggest? If so, what does that mean? If not, what does that mean?

– Steve Maxwell spoke for much of the day about ‘The College of the Complexes‘, which is “a playground for people who think”. A big part of Steve’s success and legendary status is his ability to consistently produce fresh, original material. Good going, Steve!

– Helmut spoke twice: the first time was to relieve Mr B, whose voice seems to be finally breaking. (About time!) Helmut spoke again while Mr B retrieved his car. Thank you, Helmut!

– Do we have a right to judge people’s attitudes “appalling”? Do we have a right to decide what other people think? Or can we judge only their actions?

– What is truth?

9. There is a Facebook page which has posts astonishingly similar to the ones in this blog. Either
a) it’s an extraordinary coincidence, or
b) it’s blatant plagiarism, or
c) the ‘cut & paste’ feature is applied.

Take it from this scribe that for our archives site, (c) applies.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 11th June

In News for Speakers' Corner on June 12, 2017 at 11:38 am

“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.”
Dennis Wholey.

1. The rain wasn’t heavy enough to dissuade most of the regulars from coming, but it did prompt us to keep our umbrellas open.  For the first hour, anyway.

The rain was like the paparazzi. It hung around for a while unwanted and made a nuisance of itself, but it wasn’t bad enough to force us to leave the place.

Not that many of us know what it’s like to have the paparazzi stalk us. It’s really only Mr B who complains, because he thinks anyone carrying a camera is the paparazzi. Oh please!!

2. Steve Maxwell had other plans today and didn’t turn up. What could be more important than speaking at Speakers’ Corner? Presenting a keynote address at Australia’s biggest think tank? Hosting the Logies? Bringing down the Federal Budget? Donning  a cape and saving the planet from Dr Evil?

There could be nothing more important. Don’t let it happen again, Steve.

3. Holy dentures, Batman! Speaking of super heros and super villains, the death of Batman got a mention today. Mr Freeze, The Riddler, The Penguin and The Joker were no match for Batman, but apparently another arch enemy, ‘Mr White Blood Cell’, managed to succeed in knocking off the caped crusader. Mr Cell, (known in Gotham City and Interpol as mild mannered Luke Emia), ended the life of the 88 year old crime fighter, who was about to retire anyway. (He had been having trouble using his bat-walker, and getting out of the bath.)

Batman’s bat-cape smells of urine, and it will be buried with him in his secret bat cave this Wednesday, at his funeral. Thousands are expected to attend the service. He will be buried in the bat-coffin, of course. (The rumour that he would be left to rot hanging upside down from a power line is false.)

Goodbye, Adam West.

Holy incontinece pad, Batman!

4. The ‘Something Nice’ segment. To charm some and irriate others.

5. We had our inaugural JokeFest today and it went well. There were many hearty laughs.

Bring a joke along this coming Sunday.

6.  This coming Sunday Mr B’s grasshoppers will be playing bingo. You can play too!  Print a copy of the card below and bring it with you. When you hear an expression that is written on your card, cross it off. The most alert among you will finish first, and call out ‘Bingo!’

There will be a fabulous prize.

7. Mr B and Helmut took turns back and forth standing on the Ladder of Knowledge to have a rattling good debate about the origin of the universe. Helmut had a distinct advantage: he had credibility, a booming voice, heaps of charisma, an authoritative air, and a savant-like affinity with numbers. Mr B only had the facts on his side.

8.  Recently the Saudi Arabian soccer team were pilloried for not respecting the one minute silence held before a soccer game began at the MCG. Mr B got stuck into those pills, calling them ‘whingers’. He said that we Australians have become too precious. Where is the shrug and the ‘She’ll be right‘ attitude of the past? We used to be tolerant when things didn’t please us, so what happened? Have we all become sooky-sooky-lah-lahs?

“Let’s be concerned about incidents that matter,” continued Mr B, “and not have hissy fits about silly things that don’t matter.”

9. With the early drizzle and the ever-present prospect of rain, we didn’t have many passers-by for a while. But it was still an enjoyable day with the regulars.

For all your Facebook needs go to our Facebook page. For past posts go to our archives site.

Pia, a friend of Mr Bashful’s, dropped by.

Mr B and his good friend, the wonderful Pia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 4th June

In News for Speakers' Corner on June 5, 2017 at 11:55 am

“Young people want to change the world. What would be far more productive, says the Dragon, is to change their idea of the world.”
Andrew Toth, in his book, ‘The Purple Dragon’.

1. The first question Mr B was asked as he stood atop the Ladder of Knowledge like a mighty Roman god was . . .

No, no, I’ll start again. My job as scribe is to make the speakers look good, but clearly, not to the point of being ludicrous. The best thing I can say about Mr B on the Ladder of Knowledge, while remaining honest, is that he inhabits it.

Think of Smeagol and the ring.

Anyway, he was asked, ‘What do you make of Margaret Court’s comments? Should we rename the Margaret Court Arena?”

For those of you unknowledgable about the matter: a retired tennis player said some silly things. Should we punish her? Mr B gave his fence-sitting answer and most of his grasshoppers had something to say about it as well.

2. With regards to the Margaret Court incident, aren’t the media at fault? If someone says something silly, shouldn’t the reporter think to themselves, “That’s silly. Reporting what they said won’t help anyone. I’ll ignore it.”

But instead they think, “Great! This person’s famous, so if I report what they said I’ll have a scoop. Yes, the person is troubled and people will be offended, and nothing good will come of it, but my boss will be pleased because what I report will sell advertising space.”

People in the media complain about having their jobs under threat, but so often they make it hard for us to feel sympathy for them. In such instances, ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’ seems to be poor advice.

3. A big chunk of Steve Maxwell’s charm is that he prepares new, fresh material each week. Today he spoke about Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, and juxtaposed the ideas expressed in that work onto current Australian society. Can More’s ideas apply to us? Good work, Steve!

4. A student from Cheltenham High School, Sydney replaced Mr B on the Ladder of Knowledge and suddenly the crowd brightened. It was as though the clouds had parted and we were bathed in sunshine. She explained why she isn’t pleased with how the school is run, and talked about the changes needed. She didn’t half sink the boot in. She was direct, articulate and interesting, and had no trouble answering questions, even from Tony.

She is another example of how the future is in good hands.

5. Albert, with his ideas about collective-bloody-consciousness, got up to speak about them and spoke well. (Thanks for carrying Mr B’s 32 chairs again today, Albert.) Mirko also got up to speak, but inexplicably lost the crowd quicker than a whiplash.

 6. Some sad news. Today was the last of our poetry readings for a while. (Unless someone requests to read one.)

We went out in style. Peter the Younger read another haunting Siegfried Sassoon poem, and the grasshoppers helped Mr B examine ‘The Draft Horse’ by Bobby Frost.

Mr B’s sole consensus was that the poem is about fate and imminent death, though not of the horse.

7. Some more sad news. Terrible news, really. There was no Assertiveness Tip from Mr B and there won’t be one from now on. He has completed the list.

In one nostaligic moment, here is an example of Tip #8, of what not to do.


8.  Good news!
Next week begins our new JokeFest Segment. So come along, step onto the Ladder of Drollery, and tell us a joke.

To give us an inkling of what the segment would be like, Uncle Pete told a joke, and got the heartiest laugh of the day. The bar has been set high, folks.

9. More good news!
Each week, Mr B will reveal to his grasshoppers a disabling paradigm. Paradigms are wacky beliefs held by a society. They can be strong and pervasive, and it can take clear thinkers decades to demolish one, though Mr B reckons it will take him just five minutes to open the eyes of his grasshoppers. (We’ll see.)

Well! Thank goodness Mr B is here to help us. (Cough cough). So, turn up each week to get one of your cherished beliefs pulled apart.

Today’s revelation was: ‘Get rid of your books! You’re doing yourself and the world a disservice by owning books.

You had to be there.

One philistine misunderstood Mr B’s message and began chanting ‘Burn the books,! Burn the books!’ Sigh.


10. The ‘Something Nice’ segment.
To charm some and irritate others.


11. Other subjects discussed:
– Mr B’s science fiction story, about a large space ship that has been moving through space for thousands of years. Its naked occupants have lost their past and have no knowledge of planets, stars or space. The story ends three billion years later with a fish.

– Should we let people express their wacky views on radio and television in the pursuit of free speech and balance, or do such instances lead to false balance?

12. This scribe also operates our Facebook page, though he still hasn’t got the hang of how it all works. However, he has a rough handle on our Archives site.

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday May 28th.

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 29, 2017 at 12:07 pm

“There are none so blind as those who will not see.”
John Heywood

1. 92 year old Albert carried all 32 chairs from the bus stop while Mr B stuffed about parking his car. But Albert cheated, taking only six at a time.

Albert is one of a number of individuals who help make Speakers’ Corner what it is.

“Well, what is it?” you ask.

It’s a bunch of people arguing.

2. Steve Maxwell was in good form. He has considerably perked up since recovering from his operations. We mean ‘perked up’ in the positive sense.

Steve mainly talked about the overly expensive $9 billion motorways being built in Sydney by Westconnex. “Those motorways are supposed to  solve traffic jams, but they won’t,” Steve explained.  His reference was David McRaney’s book,  “You can beat your brain“, chapter 2. “Common belief fallacy”.

Steve also explained to a group of English-speaking Chinese tourists what Beijing was like in 1974. (Steve had visited the place with his communist uncle.) The tourists were fascinated to learn what Beijing was like 43 years ago.

From the 'Everyday Life in Maoist China' blog

Party leaders celebrate May Day in 1974

3. Last week Mr B incorrectly stated that birds are not dinosaurs, and two grasshoppers swooped on him like a pair of raptors. To them, his claim was no less inflammatory than a bushfire. Mr B said he’d check his facts.

Today he reluctantly admitted that he was wrong: birds are dinosaurs. The words fell from his lips like stones. There was no enthusiasm in his voice, no grace. But as promised, he did eat humble pie and admitted he was wrong.

This scribe might tone down the metaphors and similes a little.

This perspicacious scribe could tell Mr B still wasn’t fully convinced that birds are dinosaurs. “If we have to take the boffins’ word for these things”, he said, “then presumably a pomologist boffin wouldn’t complain about having tomato in her fruit salad. (Thanks, Glenda.)

4. Speaking of dinosaurs, Mr B might like this picture of one:

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

6. It has been 50 years since a referendum was passed to include Aborgines and Torres Strait Islanders in the national census, and to allow the Commonwealth government to make laws for them. This acknowledgement prompted a robust discussion about the stolen generation.

No agreement was reached, but let’s never forget the treatment Aborignes and Torres Strait Islanders have endured.

7. And, with regards to that referendum 50 years ago, it can be no coincidence that in that same year, the Beatles released one of the most famous albums of all time, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“.

Let’s not forget how the Beatles inspired thousands of adoring followers to try drugs themselves. The Beatles: the greatest drug “pushers” in history.

And they were offered knighthoods???


At least Ringo Starr did some penance by narrating the television program, Thomas The Tank Engine, for two years. That’s some comfort, I guess.

8. Peter the Younger read a poem written by World War I poet, Siegfried Sassoon. Thank you, Peter!

And this anti-war poem is from poet Mary Gilmore:

9. In most instances, a favour is a favour. If we do a favour for someone we shouldn’t expect a favour in return. However, sometimes we are asked to help someone who may not respect our time or our money as much as we’d like. If we choose to comply with their request, this week’s assertiveness tip says we should expect something in return. Something in particular.

For example, if someone close to us wants to borrow money to start a business, it’s only fair that we ask to see a business plan. If someone repeatedly asks us to give them our time, let’s ask them to give us a written account of the steps they’re taking to correct their frequent problem.

It’s fair and reasonable to expect such ‘payments’. And, when the person has to prepare for you a blueprint of the solution, they get to discover that solution for themselves.

10. Other subjects discussed:
– To create affordable housing, should the State government build units alongside the railway lines and above? That would have the trains effectively run tunnels of apartments. If so, as one grasshopper asked, could track maintenance still be carried out?

Triple J, the ABC’s radio station for young people, would say it’s against all forms of discrimination. Yet you will never hear old people on Dr Karl’s science program. That’s because the producers don’t take phone calls from older people. That’s ageist, isn’t it, Triple J?

– Six people spoke on the Ladder of Knowledge today: Mr B, Firey Jean, Helmut, Tony, Viktor Zammit and Mirko.
Albert also spoke, but mainly from his chair. Albert has learned the exquisite skill of changing the subject to suit himself. He has learned well from The Master, Tony Boyce. Oh dear.
Thank you to all the speakers for their contributions.

– Someone asked Mr B’s opinion about whether or not Schappelle Corby was guilty twelve years ago. Mr B expressed exasperation and refused to answer the question, adding that he didn’t know the answer anyway.

– Anyone who applies to go to Mars should be rejected, simply because they are silly enough to apply. We shouldn’t send silly people. So said Mr B. He painstakingly explained why the idea of colonising Mars is absurd and effectively impossible. That didn’t stop a few grasshoppers claiming that similar predictions have been wrong before. To them, Mr B would point to the quote at the very beginning of this post.

If you had the opportunity, would you travel to Mars? Bear in mind that you would be suffering the disadvantages of weightlessness and solar radiation: atrophied muscles, brittle bones, high blood pressure, kidney stones, visual impairment, persistent backaches, loss of congintive function, cataracts, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Not to mention the pyschological problems associated with boredom, lack of privacy, anxiety and likely depression.

“And once you got to Mars, and managed to survive the landing,  it gets worse,” says Mr B.

NASA and SpaceX are working on solving those problems, but Mr B says it’s unlikely that they will. And anyway, those problems are just the beginning.

He’s a cheery sod, that Mr B.

11. There is no escape from the bird/dinosaur discussion on our Facebook page, so avoid that page if you can.

While you’re at it, avoid our Archives page too.

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday May 21

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
Nietzsche.

1. As soon as he began the meeting, Mr B gave us a sob story about how he can’t always get his facts right when he’s answering questions for which he hasn’t prepared. And he complained about the pressure he feels each week to provide new and accurate material for his regular attendees, but admitted that he refuses to spend the time necessary to prepare enough flawless material for a three hour stint. As a result, he muddles through some subjects and leaves himself open to being proven wrong.

One grasshopper agreed, calling him a “model of courageous imperfection”.

Perhaps Mr B’s ‘confession’ was supposed to pull at our heart strings, but none of our heart strings, valves or ventricles gave a damn about his soapbox oratory problems. So, we waited patiently for him to finish his mea culpa and then got stuck into him with the first wrong thing he said.

That first wrong thing he said was when he claimed that birds are not dinosaurs, contrary to popular belief. He said that although birds evolved from dinosaurs, they have evolved too much to still be dinosaurs. He promises to check his facts and eat humble pie at the next meeting if he’s wrong. (It’s not looking good for him.)

2. The ‘Something Nice’ segment. To charm some and irritate others.

3. Philip Feinstein stood on the Ladder of Knoweldge and gave an interesting talk about anti-semitism in Australia. In one example he described how  schools and synagogues hire security guards to vet people entering.

His audience asked him if other religions have similar problems, and more than one grasshopper asked if there might be an ‘Us and Them’ mindset within the Jewish community with prejudices of their own, and which can sometimes verge on paranoia. Philip answered his questioners well.

It was a calm and interesting discussion, and Philip even managed to deal with interruptions from Mirko and one interminable question from Tony. Philip is welcome any time.

Philip helps refugees in detention centres pass the time by supplying them with musical instruments. Click here for his website: Music For Refugees.

4. Two snot-gobblers sitting in the audience also wanted to speak, but they had disappeared by the time it was their turn. One of the lads had hoped to speak about Esperanto, which he said was ‘the world’s best language’. Mr B wanted to know how it came to be the world’s best language when after 130 years, less than 0.003% of the world’s population speak it. He suggested that one criterion for making it the ‘world’s best language’ should be that a sizeable chunk of the globe’s population actually use it.

He’s a pain, that Mr B, when he nips a youth’s enthusiasm in the bud.

We hope the two lads come again and speak.

5. Assertiveness tip number 18: Ask for help. Apparently, being assertive doesn’t mean being harsh and independent. It’s about resolving situations respectfully.

And asking for help is one good way to do that.

When a monk asks a passer-by for a meal he isn’t abrogating responsibility if he doesn’t expect the food, and if he doesn’t resent the passer-by for not supplying it. Indeed, by asking for help under those conditions he is taking responsibility. In the same way, we take responsibility when were are assertive enough to ask for assistance, provided we don’t expect that assistance or resent not getting it. And on those terms, in rejection we have the opportunity to build resilience.

Further, if someone complies with our request, we receive the message that we are worthy. It’s one more briquette towards fuelling our own self worth.

For more information try, ‘The Umpteen Ways To Satisfy Our Deep Need to Belong

6. The question, “Is there life elsewhere in our solar system?” seems to be frenetically asked by scientists nowadays. Mr B asked the question no one else seems to be asking: ‘If there is, so what?’

7. Other subjects discussed:
– Two poems were read in our poetry segment, though for some reason neither poem received a standing ovation.

– We talked about the mentally ill woman who died from brain damage after falling onto the floor of a mental hospital twenty times, while covered in faeces. It’s all very well for us to express outrage when such things happen, but precisely what really would be the most humane way to deal with that patient? The suggestions put forth were  lame.

– An epidemic: when we make enquiries of organisations, those organisations rarely get back to us. In March, Mr B contacted five guttering companies, three Consumer Question hotlines, two publishers and a two government departments, and not one of them answered him. But you know what it’s like, don’t you? You have your own examples.

– For the first time, Peter the Younger got up onto the Ladder of Knowledge to speak, so that he could ram home his point that birds are dinosaurs. Sigh. It was a topic that kept jumping up throughout the day.

Next, Peter will be using the photo below as proof that cats are dinosaurs too. Oh dear.

8. There is no proof that Mark Zuckerberg, host of our Facebook page, is a dinosaur. But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that our hecklers are.

For previous posts, dating back to the Cretaceous era, go to our Archives site.

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 14th May

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 15, 2017 at 10:38 am

“Yesterday is a cancelled cheque. Tomorrow is little more than a promisary note. Today is cash. It is real. It is tangible, and you and I have to spend it wisely.”
Amicus.

1. The drizzle before 2pm didn’t scare away our speakers and it turned out to be a beautiful Goldilocks day.

Mr B had barely stepped onto the Ladder of Knowledge when Ray and Helmut got into a D & M. (Not to be confused with an S & M, which was for later, presumably.) Mr B figured that if Helmut wanted to debate with Ray, then he might as well stand on the Ladder of Knowledge and do it. Helmut agreed, and he was soon entertaining his audience so well that Mr B found himself grabbing a few chairs and setting up elsewhere.

He soon found a handful of fresh grasshoppers willing to listen.

Ray spent the entire day in Helmut’s audience. (No one was sitting on the wet chairs of the kiosk, so there was no audience for Ray.) He seemed to enjoy his ‘holiday’ from saving people’s souls.

Steve Maxwell drew big crowds all day, spending most of the afternoon discussing the winners and losers of the Federal Budget.

With all three speakers holding crowds it was like Speakers’ Corner of old.

Mirko was as troublesome as ever. You can understand why some animals eat their offspring.

It was a very enjoyable day.

Helmut and Ray discussed science and religion amicably.

2. The something nice segment. To charm some and irritate others.

3. Mothers’ Day poem.

4. Other subjects discussed:

– Mr B explained to a Jewish man why there is no such thing as a jew, and explained to a French lass why there is no such thing as a French lass. And, he told an Englander why there such a thing as an Englander. All three took the sad news well.

– The God Particle.

– The meaning of life. Guess whose Meaning of Life involves a white hollow bust of a good hearted devil? And, when one grasshopper pictured an ocean full of goldfish, what the hell did that mean?

– The origin of the universe.

– Eat your veggies.

– The hardship suffered in North Korea.

– James Hardie should NOT compensate ex-employees suffering asbestosis or mesothelioma. (Yes, that old chestnut.)

– Mr B told two shy little girls how to get over their shyness, and why they should. Eventually they overcame their shyness and asked him a question, just to shut him up.

5. Our Facebook page has not yet suffered the ransomware cyber attack that has beleaguered countless people in 150 countries. Nor has our Archive site. Make use of them while you can, because this scribe is damned sure he won’t be paying any ransom.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 7th May

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 8, 2017 at 12:52 pm

“Everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need. When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: ‘For my sake was the world created.’ But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: ‘I am but dust and ashes.
Rabbi Simcha Bunim

1. It was a quiet day for two reasons: (1) Steve Maxwell wasn’t there (because he was feeling poorly) and (2) There were fewer people around, possibly due to the May Day march nearby and its concomitant traffic problems.

It was a poor day to stay away, because Mr B presented to his grasshoppers a sneak preview of the federal budget, which will be officially revealed this Tuesday night by Australia’s Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison. How Mr B obtained a copy isn’t clear.

It presents good news! Mr B went through the document, line by line, revealing Scott Morrison’s unorthodox but brilliant economic policy. On Tuesday night every person glued to their television set will be pleasantly surprised and impressed by Mr Morrison’s innovative measures. The treasurer will be providing us all with a $247b turnaround to Australia’s ailing fiscal position! As a result of this budget the deficit will be wiped clean and a big chunk of Australia’s debt will vanish. At this rate, in a little over four years Australia will have no debt. Well done, Scott Morrison! Your budget is bold and brilliant. It will be talked about for years.

Tuesday May 9th will be remembered as the day Australia took a stand and turned its future around!

The presentation would have been even better had Mr B provided a pie chart similar in style to the one below.

2. For the first time in this blog’s twenty year history this scribe made a mistake. Last week we told you that Cyclone Rhonda had returned to Melbourne. We were wrong. She stayed in Sydney for today’s May Day, and when those festivities concluded she came to The Domain to haunt us again. We were treated to a colourful history of the Eureka flag.


She also suggested that we should become a republic. But who would want to offend the harmless dear little old lady pictured below?


3. John August, radio shock jock
of Sydney’s FM radio station, Radio Skid Row, also stood on the Ladder of Knowledge. He spoke about the ‘fractionalisation’ of parties today. For example, one party’s mission might be to help the environment, but there are so many different ways of helping it that the party could attract some environmentalists and repel others. It’s difficult to find a party that truly represents our values and policies.

Mark The Grinner explained why small parties like One Nation don’t have to be elected to make an impact.

Helmut couldn’t speak. Tony wouldn’t let him! (Tony, ex-speaker turned heckler, is so adept at baiting Helmut that Helmut now gives up trying to speak.) Hopefully, when Steve Maxwell returns, Steve can act as a decoy again.

Be kind, Tony!

4. Two poems were read. Mr B admitted to not understanding either of them. And one of them was his! Fortunately, Mark The Grinner was on hand to explain one of the poems to him. It is as follows:

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


6. Other subjects talked about:

– How can it be that Coles was successfully sued for $1.1m by a woman who broke her hip falling off a safety step?

– The generation that has just died (those born in the 1920s) experienced a far greater rate of change in their life than those preceding them and those of us who are following them. They lived in changing times.

– The ‘Keyser Soze’ method of preventing all international wars.

– The upgraded NATO of preventing all international wars.

7. Mirko turned up at 4pm instead of 2pm. He is still adjusting to the changes involved with Daylight Saving Time.

8. Last week’s lament for more Facebook subscribers prompted a deluge of subscribers. (If you can call two a deluge.)

Our Archive site has been nominated by this scribe for the ‘World’s Best Blog With No Visitors‘ award. Wish us luck.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 30th April

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 1, 2017 at 12:37 pm

‘God’s a kid with an ant-farm. He isn’t planning anything.’
From the film, ‘Constantine’.

1. Apologies to our loyal subscribers for the old news that was electronically sent to you earlier.

2. The meeting had barely begun when Mr B disgraced himself by placing no value on children. He called them ‘walking natural disasters’ because they’re contributing to Earth’s population problem. They’ll be the ones using up seventy years of resources and producing more children, he raged. He added that an adult’s life is more valuable anyway: they’ve put so much into themselves.

One grasshopper added to that, pointing out that in some Aboriginal societies, the elders are more valued than children because of all the knowledge they have. When they die, the knowledge dies.

“When an old person dies, a library is lost.”
African saying.

Two young ashen-faced lasses protested, saying that young children have potential.

“Yes, they do,” bellowed the cruel Mr B. “The potential to thieve, consume resources, pollute, and bring into being even more walking natural disasters.”

He then went off the deep end by saying that China hadn’t gone far enough: “What we need is a ‘no child policy’.”

That’s about when three people left. It was not a pretty sight.

 3. As usual, we had members of the audience taking turns to replace Mr Bashful on the Ladder of Knowledge. First was Mirko, who phonetically said that if one factory begins making a product, no other factory should compete with it by making the same product. It should leave the original factory alone so that it can keep employing its workers. Why should one factory send another factory bankrupt?
It appears Mirko has expertise in science AND in economics.
And, he wishes to make it clear that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Next was Cyclone Rhonda, who demanded that Australia become a republic. She was adept at taking questions from the audience, and even more adept at not answering them.
Rhonda is on her way back to Melbourne. Thanks for visiting, Rhonda. You’re welcome any time.

Albert spoke of how innocent people can be persuaded to become soldiers and be sent to other countries to kill people they don’t know. He spoke about paid assassins and about North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un. And he praised China for the way it modernised itself into such a wonderful society. (Albert got plenty of flak for that!)

Helmut spoke about black holes and fielded questions about event horizons. (Speaking of which, it would be wonderful if a few of our hecklers were on an event horizon. Indeed, any horizon would do.)

Mark The Grinner gave what must have been a prepared talk about entitlement, and about characteristics common to the wealthy. The talk had structure. It had anecdotal examples. It had a point. It was excellent.
An example he gave: a study found that people driving luxury cars were four times less likely to give way to a pedestrian than drivers of ordinary cars. (Presumably no pedestrians were run over in the name of science.) Further, in a study in which the participants were asked to play Monopoly, those who were given an initial advantage (an extra die and extra money) and won the game as a consequence, tended to forget that they were given an advantage at the beginning. They assumed they won with skill, and even gloated over their opponent. Message: people with privelge tend to inflate their own importance and look down on those less privileged.
It was an excellent talk that held everyone’s interest.

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

This message is from the PostSecret website hosted by Frank Warren.

5. The roadworks on the Southface leading to Speakers’ Corner will be completed soon.

6. We had beaut poems read to us. Ben The Whisperer read one about a person approaching death. Ben, would you please send it in? Or bring a copy with you next Sunday?

Peter the Younger provided another clever John Clarke poem, and Helmut read an excellent poem that had Isaac Newton being proven wrong yet again! (Where does Helmut find them??)

And there was this poem:

 7. Other subjects talked about:
– When it comes to voting on legislature, should each member of parliament be allowed to vote secretly? That way, they could vote for what they believed in, rather than having to toe the party line. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of that?

– A controversial subject: are there instances in which it is okay for an older person to have a sexual relationship with someone ‘under age’? The question was taken seriously and discussed with civility. Opinion was divided.

– The speaker claimed that we can’t trust the accuracy of records written more than a thousand years ago (such as the Quran and the Bible) so let’s focus on what is happening today. And, just because a custom is accepted by an entire society doesn’t make it an acceptable custom, then or now. So, let’s focus on today’s customs, and if necessary, change them.

Some people struggle to know what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

8. A record was made today. For the first time ever, Mr Bashful didn’t call anyone a ‘blithering idiot’ or an ‘imbecile’. We don’t know why he refrained because the audience was rife with members of both categories, and he was given plenty of opportunity.

Here’s something from one of them:

9. In the last five weeks our Facebook page has attracted just two more subscribers. It’s hard to believe that we are struggling to attract subscribers given that Justin Bieber gets plenty on his page.

And our Archives site is like a cemetery. Posts are buried there, never to be seen again.

 

 

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 23rd April

In News for Speakers' Corner on April 24, 2017 at 11:31 am

“The greatest horrors of our world, from the executions in Iran to the brutalities of the IRA, are committed by people who are totally sincere.” 

John Mortimer.

1. Mr B’s propensity to give his grasshoppers 4 minutes to speak, and then answer questions, seems to have become a habit. Today’s extra speakers were the usual suspects: Albert, Jean, Mirko, Rhonda and Helmut.

Helmut was asked to speak about his days of being a professional wrestler in Sydney. He explained how he had wrestled as Helmut Rommel for more than three years, having 167 matches. How many did he win? There was no point in asking him, given that the winners were decided beforehand, he explained. No match did not have a pre-determined outcome. He told us what he was paid. He gave anecdotes. He was required to be a good guy, which he thought was stupid. After all, Germans were the bad guys in those days. (He is Austrian, it must be noted.)

Helmut also spoke of the bodybuilding world and its scandals, and that was interesting too.

Killer Karl Kox, one of Helmut Rommel’s opponents.

2. The best work of the Higher School Certificate art students from NSW high schools (public and private) is being displayed in the NSW Art Gallery, directly opposite Speakers’ Corner. The speaker claimed that some of that art work is far better than much of the rubbish the gallery owns and displays.

There was hum of agreement, and Mr B was in danger of launching into his regular diatribe against the gallery. Thankfully he was distracted, and the audience were spared another dose.

3. It was asked, is this sign below racist? (The owner of a Melbourne milk bar stuck this sign to his window.)

Mr B certainly found the mix of ‘blacks’ with dogs objectionable, though he conceded that the poor phrasing was probably due to the writer’s poor English.

For the sake of the argument we assumed that the ‘black’ kids of that age were indeed stealing. The following questions were asked:
(1) Could the ban simply be a financial move?
(2) What about the fact that the shopkeeper is only prohibiting 14 to 18 year olds? Older ‘blacks’ are welcome? Does that change our perspective?
(3) What if the shop owner didn’t include Sudanese kids, only Aboriginal kids? Or vice versa? (In other words, skin colour wasn’t an issue.)
(4) What if the shop owner was white, and he found that only white skinned youths of that age stole, and he prohibited only them? Would he be racist?
(5) What if the shop owner was Sudanese and he was only banning Sudanese teenagers of that age?
(6) What if the shopkeeper knew some of the black kids and trusted them, and made them exceptions?
(7) What if there is a gang of young white kids, aged from 14 to 18, and they all wear a blue bandana to show they’re in the gang. To stay in the gang they’re expected to steal, and they steal from the shopkeeper regularly. What if the white shopkeeper put up a sign that said: ‘Members of the blue bandana gang are prohibited’? Does that mean he has a prejudice against the colour blue? Does it mean he has a prejudice against bandanas? Or a prejudice against blue bandanas?

 Or does he have a prejudice against teenagers who choose to wear blue bandanas? Does he have a prejudice at all?
(8) For those of you who still think the sign is racist: let’s say the shopkeeper is obliged to pull down the sign and as a consequence loses $1,000 a year, every year, to theft. Would you be prepared to reimburse him?

Discussion was vibrant.

4. The Something Nice segment. To charm some and irritate others.

5. A few months ago Mr B explained why there is no such thing as a Scotsman (or Swede, Tongan, Aborigine, Jew etc.) He even made a video of the talk which has resoundingly been ignored. The video below expresses the same sentiment, but says it much better. Lift your game, Mr B.

6. Other topics discussed:
– Waterlogged homes in Wooloomooloo prompted a discussion about the merits of housing developers using their own inspectors to self regulate.

– Mr B railed against the idea that someone could be charged with ‘blasphemy’, and he expressed concern about the idea of people voting for a candidate simply because that candidate shared their faith. He would prefer that people vote for the person they think is best for the nation.

– Peter the Younger read another pleasing John Clarke poem, and then the group discussed Mary Gilmore’s poem, ‘The House’. Its reception was lukewarm at best, with Mark The Grinner being genuinely distressed.

– Bad statistics. To say that you’re nine times likely to be killed by a bee than a shark is a gross misrepresentation of the facts, Mr B claimed, indignant.

7. Our Facebook page is still short the ten million subscribers it seeks. And try our Archives site if you want to know more about our speakers or see past posts.

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