Soapbox Speakers

Archive for the ‘News for Speakers’ Corner’ Category

Can someone live on unemployment benefits?

In News for Speakers' Corner on July 15, 2019 at 9:05 am

This article was revised on 26th July 2019 because there was an error. Mr B had asked a Centrelink person if there was a Travel Allowance for someone on Newstart (unemployment benefits). He was told that there was a Mobility Allowance of $97.90 per fortnight. As it happens, he was misinformed. That Mobility Allowance only applies to a disabled person.

Therefore, the total income is only $701.70 per fortnight. Total expenses are seen to be (on the high end): $764. Therefore, a person on the Newstart Allowance would be short $63 per fortnight, or $31.50 per week.

Therefore, Mr B recommends that the NewStart Allowance be raised by at least $63 per fortnight.

The revised article:

There are different situations in which a person may become elligible for unemployment benefits. For example:
(A) those who have saved their money and have a financial buffer, and have become unemployed.
(B) those who have not saved their money and have no financial buffer, and have became unemployed.
(C) single parents with children.
(d) parents with children
(e) Other.

This article looks at the position of someone in category (B): “Can a single unemployed person over the age of 22 – without having saved a financial buffer – live a good life and seek work on unemployment benefits?


The current Newstart Allowance benefits are:
(source: Aust govt)

A single person receives $555.70per fortnight.

Plus rental assistance:

A room in Sydney will always be at least $305.33 a fortnight, so the fortnightly payment from the government will be $137.20.

Plus Energy allowance

Total income for a single person, per fortnight:
$555.70  Newstart allowance
$137.20  Rental assistance
$8.80 energy allowance.

Therefore, $701.70is the total income received per fortnight by our single person.

The Newstart allowance is to provide a person with a decent standard of living and the support they need in their endeavours to find a job. The taxpayer should not be obliged to fund a Newstart recipient’s:
– take-away food
– restaurant meals
– cigarettes
– alcohol
– recreational drugs
– gambling
– newspapers
– bottled water & soft drinks
– tea & coffee

That’s not the view of some people, though. One grasshopper asked, “Why shouldn’t someone on the Newstart payments be able to go out drinking and have a good time?”
Another grasshopper, when asked why the taxpayer should pay for cigarettes and alcohol, blurted, “Why should people be forced to live in horrendous conditions?”


A person could find on  a room in a shared house in Sydney for $200 per week. However, Kim has poor social skills and no one will live with her. Kim needs to have her own room, so she rents a room in a boarding house and pays $225 per week. Kim is paying $450 rent per fortnight.

Let’s assume Kim lives in an outer suburb and has one job interview a week in Sydney’s CBD. That’s $14.80a fortnight. Let’s say Kim can’t buy her groceries on the same trip, and she lives a long bus or train trip to the nearest shopping centre. Therefore she has to spend another $20 per fortnight in public transport fares. Total: $34.80

Tax:  $0. The Newstart allowance is $555.70 per fortnight, or $14,448.20 per year. The tax free threshold is $18,200 a year. Therefore this is no tax to pay. (The rental assistance and energy assistance allowances are tax exempt.)

Gas and electricity.
The socialite Mr B lives alone in a big house. He tells me that using arithmetic and his last four electricity and gas bills, he has determined that per fortnight, his cost of electricity is $28.08 and gas is $19.48.
Total energy costs: $47.56per fortnight.
(Water? In most instances when someone is paying rent, the water bill is paid by the landlord.)

Telephone and internet:
Internet: all libraries in the Sydney greater area provide free internet access. There an unemployed person can send and receive emails from prospective employers, as well as hunt for jobs. Cost: $0.
Telephone (to speak with prospective employers): $10 per month for a cheap phone plan. That’s $5 per fortnight.

Clothes:  An unemployed person will need smart clothes for job interviews, and quality goods can be found in op shops. (Mr B found a quality suit on his first attempt for $20.) However, if a person presents proof they are on unemployment benefits, they can receive clothes & shoes for free (and presumably, blankets.)
Socks, underpants and singlets need to be bought, let’s say at a generous average cost of$8per fortnight.

Haircuts:  For job interviews the applicant needs a presentable haircut. A woman told Mr B that generally a friend can cut a basic hair cut. And, there are Youtube videos showing how it can be done. However, this claim will be rubbished, so let’s include the cost of a professional haircut: Men’s haircuts: 8 a year at $12 each. That’s $4 a fortnight. Women’s haircuts:
a) Some hairdressing schools will have their apprentices cut a woman’s hair for $25. However, results aren’t guaranteed.
b) The firm, ‘Just Cuts’ will cut a woman’s hair for $32. At six times per year that’s roughly $240 per year. That’s less than $8 per fortnight. Hair dye, six times per year will cost $10 each time. That’s $60 a year or  just over $2 per fortnight.

$8 + $2 = $10is the average cost per fortnight Kim will pay. (Men: about $4.)

Most shared houses have washing machines, and most apartment blocks have communal washing machines and driers, that cost $2 per wash and $2 for the dryer. But let’s assume Kim has to use a laundromat to wash and dry her clothes. Twice a fortnightwill cost her $18 per fortnight.

Unnecessary items:
– toothpaste (the brushing cleans your teeth, not the lather). Besides, toothpicks and floss are even more important.
– laundry detergent. It’s the washing machine’s surging water that rids your clothes of sweat, etc., not the detergent. If you have an item with grime on it, hand wash the affected areas first with a bar of soap. Mr B hasn’t used laundry detergent for eight years.
– lipstick, perfume and eye liner.

Cost: $0 per week.

– The chemist informed Mr B that an unemployed person will pay a maximum of $390 per year for prescribed medicines. Let’s say Kim has medical issues and will spend the entire $390 each year. She will be paying on average $15 per fortnight.

Necessary items:
– bars of soap:
– toilet paper   (a handy hint to save money: use both sides)*
– toothpicks or dental floss:
– contraception:
– washing-up liquid:
– Tampons and pads
– other stuff I’ve forgotten.

Total fortnightly cost: Generous estimate:$18

* 🙂

It’s commonly said that people on the Newstart allowance cannot afford fresh food, and are forced to buy take-away food. Here are some examples of the prices of take-away food:

So, a cheap meal can be bought for $5 or $6.

Mr B said anyone suggesting that bought meals are cheaper than fresh food is, at best, mistaken. I asked Mr B to put his money where his mouth is. (He agreed to do so, but first had to remove his foot.) For a week he meticulously recorded the cost of the food he ate, and took photographs for proof. Here we go:

Note: Instead of expensive wine, Mr B uses a cheap wine substitute for most of his meals. Although it’s often included in the photographs, the cost is not included because it’s negligible, and because an unemployed person does not need to purchase alcoholic beverages in order to survive.

Breakfast: Two bowls of cereal, (Freedom’s ‘Buckwheat & Quinoa Active Balance) with oat milk.
Cost: $2.40 for both bowls.

Morning snack: banana.
Cost: 36 cents.

Lunch:  two free-range eggs (91 cents each), tomato, avocado on grain & seed toast.
Cost: $2.48

Dinner: 1/3 rump steak fried with mushrooms & onions, plus three other vegetables.
Cost: $6.41

Total cost for Monday: $11.45


Breakfast: Free range eggs, tomatoes, chilli, on grain & seed bread.
Cost: $2.73

Lunch: Two bananas on grain & seed bread plus one mandarin.
Cost: $1.06

Dinner: 1/3 rump steak with eight vegetables.
Cost: $8.28

Total cost for Tuesday: $12.07


Breakfast: Two bowls of cereal, (Freedom’s ‘Buckwheat & Quinoa Active Balance) with oat milk. Plus apple.
Cost: $2.40 plus:

Lunch: two bananas on grain & seed bread.
Cost: $1.00

Dinner: 1/3 rump steak with eight vegetables.
Cost: $7.42

Total cost for Wednesday: $10.82


Breakfast: Two free-range eggs, two tomatoes, chilli, on grain & seed bread.
Cost: $2.43

Lunch: Avocado on grain & seed bread. Plus one banana.
Cost: $1.10

Dinner: Stir-fry on rice: 1/2 salmon, beans, broccolli, carrot, beetroot, capsicum, mushroom.
Cost: $6.40


Total cost for Thursday: $9.93


Breakfast: Two eggs on grain & seed bread toast with Jarlsburg cheese.
Cost: $2.78

Lunch: Salad with canned tuna, lettuce, capsicum, tomato, garlic & dressing
Cost: $5.34


Dinner: Stir-fry on rice: 1/2 salmon, beans, broccolli, carrot, beetroot, capsicum, mushroom.
Cost: $6.40


Total cost for Friday: $14.52


Breakfast: Apple, plus Two bowls of cereal, (Freedom’s ‘Buckwheat & Quinoa Active Balance) with oat milk.
Cost: $2.80 for both bowls.

Lunch: Toasted turkish bread sandwich with margarine, tomato, onion, Jarlsburg cheese, an egg, chilli, avocado & lettuce.
Cost: $3.53


Dinner: Borscht. (gravybeef, beetroot, celery,
Cost: $3.87


Total cost for Saturday: $10.20


Breakfast: Toasted turkish bread sandwich with margarine, tomato, onion, Jarlsburg cheese, an egg, chilli, avocado & lettuce.
Cost: $3.53


Morning snack: 3 mandarins
Cost: 54 cents

Lunch: Toasted turkish bread sandwich with margarine, tomato, onion, Jarlsburg cheese, an egg, chilli, avocado & lettuce.
Cost: $3.53


Dinner: Canned pilchards with tomatoes, onion & garlic on rice.
Cost: $2.24


Total cost for Sunday: $9.84

Monday:        11.45
Tuesday:        12.07
Wednesday:   10.82
Thursday:         9.93
Friday:             14.52
Saturday:        10.20
Sunday:             9.84

Total food expenses for one week: $78.83   Therefore: per fortnight: $157.66

450.00  rent
34.80  travel
47.56  gas & electricity
5.00 phone
8.00 clothes
10.00 haircuts
18.00 laundromat
15.00  medicines
18.00 other
157.66 food
Total expenses: $764.02

Given that the total income is $701.70,and that total expenses are $764.02 that means the unemployed Kim is short $62.32 per fortnight, or $31.16 per week. Of course, in most cases those expenses assumed the highest costs possible. For example, if Kim didn’t have poor social skills and her many health problems she would be paying $400 per fortnight instead of $450, and $5 per fortnight for medicines instead of $15. However, the Newstart Allowance should cater for people like Kim, which means the current Newstart Allowance for a single person 22 years or over is not adequate and should be raised by at least $63.

How about for a single parent? For a couple? I don’t know.



News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 7th July

In News for Speakers' Corner on July 8, 2019 at 12:22 pm

“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky. We fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness.” 
Kahlil Gibran

1. Poor Steve Maxwell is still crook after his eye operation and he didn’t appear today. Heal soon, Steve!

The nurses in St Vincent Public Hospital say Tony is a lovely and co-operative patient. “He’s a real sweetie,” a nurse told me. Heal soon, Tony.

Mr B’s voice went at Speakers’ Corner and he has just informed me he now has bronchitis. Heal soon, Mr B.

Today Uncle Pete called Mr B a simpleton. You’re a heel, Uncle Pete.

Flowers for Steve, Tony and Mr B.

2. In his croaky voice Mr B talked about how happiness evolved, and why people in poor countries are often happier than the occupants of wealthier countries, like Australia.

3. Two American lawyers
on a cyclists’ tour arrived. Billy and Meagan. Billy kindly took the Ladder of Knowedge to answer questions about litigation in the U.S. Most interesting. Thank you, Billy!

4. It was a hard act to follow. Mr B tried with grace and flair to answer the question, ‘What is Art’, but as soon as Mikayla indicated that she wanted to speak, Mr B’s minutes were numbered. His short-attention-spanned grasshoppers just wanted him to get to the point so they could then get Mikayla up onto the Ladder of Knowledge.

Mr B persisted, and the calls for Mikayla became thick and fast. Finally, Mr B succumbed. Your concerned scribe thought that if he had kept the Ladder of Knowledge for another minute the audience would have begun to light torches.

Mikayla was soon fielding awkward questions like, “How and when will contemporary art end?” and “Will Post-Modernism be followed by Post-Post Modernism?”. She handled the questions deftly and included references to Dada and Dali.

It seems Mikayla’s popularity is growing and she is gaining a following.

It must be said that Mr B already has a big following. He’s being stalked by a sumo wrestler.



Mikayla talked about Dali for some reason.

5. When Mikayla relinquished the Ladder of Knowledge did she hand it back to the rightful occupant, poor Mr B? No, of course she didn’t. She handed it over to a guy called Philip who is researching aspects of artificial intelligence. But it’s just as well she did, because Philip was interesting and informative. He grew the crowd and, like Mikayla, deftly answered questions.

Will androids ever have emotions? Will attractive androids, programmed to make their owner fall in love with them, be so effective as partners that the human civilisation will collapse?


Philip is not an android.

6. Mr B finally took back the Ladder of Knowledge but his voice soon gave out, so Helmut took his place, and then Mark the Grinner took Helmut’s place. By the finish it was after 5pm.

People said it was a good day. And it was.

Most days at Speakers’ Corner are enjoyable. Come along and see for yourself. If you lose interest you can visit the two art galleries opposite.

7. Steve Maxwell has written another article for his popular Passing Parade page.

Bughouse Square Debates (part 3)  

The Bughouse Square debates were revived in July 1986.

This year, 2019, the main event may be live streamed. The subject is “The Legacies of 1919”, referring to the Chicago race riots. See more on

The debate is between Natalie Moore (South Side Reporter from, WBEZ 91 Chicago radio ). and Charles Whitaker the interim dean/professor from  Medill School, North-western University.

Two awards are sponsored by Newberry Library: the John Peter Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award and the Dill Pickle award for the best soap-boxer of the day.

The John Peter Altgeld Freedom of Speech award is named for former Governor of Illinois Altgeld,(1847-1902), who granted clemency to anarchists rounded up after the Haymarket Labour Day bombing of 1886. Altgeld saw their trial as a travesty of justice.  Though there are many posted videos of the debates online, live streaming is something new.

The oldest video was posted on July 31ST 2010. That year, the Altgeld Award for Freedom of Speech was awarded to Kartemquin Films.  This Chicago-based documentary film company holds a mirror up to American society and disseminates reports of difficult, ignored and unpopular issues.

The Dill Pickle award is named after the bohemian Dill Pickle Club. It is indeed a large plastic green dill-pickle.  (The 2013 Bughouse Sq. debate) Runners up awards for soapbox speaking are wooden plug nickels about the size of a penny. All this is done in the name of free speech and good humour.

I visited Newberry Library in 1997 and received my research readers ticket. On Saturday July 26, 1997, I helped judge the speakers on the soapbox in Bughouse square! The organizers divided the square into four sections. I was given a questionnaire in which I had to mark from 1 to 10 my opinions of the speaker’s ability; subject, delivery and audience reaction. It was fun to do.

I met a lot of interesting people in Chicago. Sadly many have died over the years. I was lucky to hear Studs Terkel writer (radio broadcaster 1912-2008) open the debate that year.  The Main Debate: “Multiculturalism: Ebonics or Moronics?” being between Michael Silverstein, University of Chicago professor of anthropology, and Leon Todd, Director of the Milwaukee School Board.

Studs Terkel   had lived close by the Bughouse Sq. and the Dill Pickle Club in Tooker Alley. Studs never forgot the characters he had met.  The Dill Pickle club was a bohemian speakeasy frequented by literary figures and radicals of all kinds.  Both the square and the club played a vital roll in life of Chicago. See more:   ttps://     

Newspaper writer Wallace Willits, who gives us a sample of soapboxers of those times in his article, had this description of the speakers: ‘the “ardent vegetarian,” “the psychopathic expert,” “atheists and left-wing socialists,” “Freudian psychologists,”  and a drunk hoping to “promote” 50 cents from some distracted passer-by so he can purchase another pint.             “Free speech never was freer than in this unique spot on the near north side,”.  Willits continued to write. “This freedom, he seems to imply, is also the freedom to speak without making any sense. It occurs in a space outside state surveillance and iconography, which the shedding of “Washington” in popular reference to the park reflects”.

World War II and a post-war crackdown against socialists and communists led to Bughouse Square’s decline and, by the mid-1960s, it had all but ceased to exist. The area also went through an upgraded development period. In 1986, the Newberry and community activists officially revived the spirit of the park in the form of a yearly event, The Bughouse Square Debates.

I interviewed Hank Oettinger, (1924-2014 )  who was always on hand at Bughouse debates. He is best known for his letters- to- editors. Hank Oettinger worked in the Chicago newspapers as a printer. He knew most of city’s best journalists and where they liked to drink and they knew he was worth publishing. Collections of his letters to the editor are held on;

Hank gave me great insight into the Chicago Democratic Convention protest of 1968, which ended in a police riot. The Convention was split between anti-war and pro-war campaigners. The brutal assassinations of civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy ensured that there would also be a large protest from those movements.

In Hank’s opinion, during the eight days of protest there was a great effort to unite the anti-war campaigners and the civil rights movement, but also great efforts by others to divide the two. If the left could have united them, Mayor Daily’s hold on the city would have crumbled.

I also met with people who were in the Chicago police department at the time. Their job was to go out into the streets and convince protesters not to trust the others. For example, anti-war campaigners were said to be young white draft dodgers, while civil right campaigners were ‘dangerous radicals’. That was before the police got into the action and all hell let loose.

Just as the Bughouse speakers corner has been revived with an annual debate, so too has the tradition of the Dill Pickle Club;–with a weekly meeting called “The College of Complexes”.  In fact, it was founded in 1953 with the counterculture motto “The Playground for People who Think” and with its promise of “No Homework – No Credits / No Sleeping in Class”   I was again lucky in Chicago to meet Charles Paidock who invited me to the College.  Now he is program co-ordinator of the College of Complexes. From time to time, I drop in and view their program. It’s always interesting for me. As I said, I met a lot of interesting people in Chicago – too many to list and thank.

This ends my story of Chicago’s free speech venues. That said, anyone at any time can visit the web and view the BUGHOUSE DEBATES.

Steve Maxwell

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 30th June

In News for Speakers' Corner on July 1, 2019 at 10:53 am

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”
Norman Vincent Peale

1. First, an advertisement, compliments of Steve Maxwell. The 2019 Bughouse Square Debates.

Saturday, July 27, 2019    Noon to 4 pm

Washington Square Park (aka Bughouse Square), 901 North Clark Street, across Walton from the Newberry

Free and open to the public; no registration or tickets required

This is really the last of the open forum left in the USA

For more information, click here.

The Bug-house Square debates.

2. Except for every conspiracy you can think of, your percipient scribe doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories, but when the Domain Trust “just happens” to block off an area for grass regeneration, and the restaurant “just happens” to take up more space in our area, you have to think that perhaps the Illuminati really are planning a New World Order, and they’re making a concerted effort to banish Speakers’ Corner and its erudite speakers.

If so, they failed dismally. Today the speakers made do with the limited space they found.

Mind you, Mr B was on the embankment, and your nervous scribe was worried he would fall backwards and plummet to his death to the road below. But thankfully that didn’t happen.

Tony Boyce, ex-speaker and regular visitor, has not been so fortunate with regards to his health. While walking about ten days ago, his legs went to jelly and he fell. Low blood pressure, apparently. He has been in St Vincents public hospital since then, getting treatment. Today he had three visitors: your sympathetic scribe, Jack, and Mr B.

Tony assured us he has been well fed. Mr B is not so sure. When Tony’s back was turned Mr B grabbed Tony’s plastic bottle of apple juice and took a swig. Mr B says it’s the worst apple juice he has ever tasted.

Good luck, Tony! We hope you’re soon well and back at Speakers’ Corner!

Tony Boyce, modelling Giorgio Armani pyjamas.

3. Mikayla appeared again and explained why a urinal is a piece of art. (See the Duchamp exhibition in the gallery, which appears to be more like a recycling centre.) She also sank the boot into Israel Folau.

Again, Mikayla did a good job. She spoke fluently, kept the meeting light-hearted, and answered people’s questions.

One of her female friends in the audience was a troublemaker, for asking awkward questions of the other speakers.

Both are welcome back any time.

Duchamp’s work of art.


Mikayla answered the questions put to her.

4. Mark the Grinner had a long stint on the ladder of knowledge and prefaced his talk by saying, “Do not believe what I am about to say.” He added, “Your job is to think about what I say and evaluate the merit of my claims.”
“Thank goodness for that advice,” said Mr B, relieved, “I would have believed everything you said without questioning it.”

Mark the Grinner spoke about:
– Israel Folau’s shenanigans.

– The failure of the Labour Party to oppose the coaition’s legislation that increased the powers of our national security organisations.

– Victoria’s ban of mobile phones in schools. Mark said that ban might have the unintended consequence of informing the students that they can indeed survive without their phone for six hours.

– Teleological thinking: beleiving that a phenomenon occurs because it has a purpose. (Eg. A giraffe grew its neck to reach the leaves in high trees, not as a result of natural selection.)

– The difference between evolution and intelligent design.

– Today a big proportion of our young population seem to be suffering from anxiety or depression. Has there been a strong commercialisation of our emotional states?
This idea offended everyone in his audience and they all burst into tears.

– Mark the Grinner then spent ten minutes arguing with a group of twenty-year olds about how all people less than thirty-five years of age should be made into dog food.

At some point in his talk a dear little silver-haired old lady trundled up to him. Mark reached down to hear her whisper to him, “Please don’t use the f word so freely.” Mark the Grinner grinned and made a polite comment to suggest that nowadays it’s an acceptable word to say. However, he managed to talk for another half hour without using the word once. Tamed, by a little old lady.

5. Across the way, Steve Maxwell spoke about our Prime Minister’s contradictions in his stint at the G20, the contradiction being his stances on free trade and national security.

In the brief seconds your peripatetic scribe visited Helmut, Helmut criticised Isaac Newton in three different ways – none of them savoury. It’s a shame Isaac Newton isn’t alive today, because it would be interesting (and fun) to see the two head-to-head, in a battle of the minds.

John August also spoke, but there is no record of what he spoke about. But he has a nice smile, which is the important thing.

John August



6. Peter the Younger also got up onto the Ladder of Knowledge and with the passion of an evangelist preacher spoke to us about climate change. He said that recently the definition of ‘climate change’ has changed, and it’s now a very shonky definition indeed.

With his passion and antics Peter grew the crowd and inspired plenty of debate. He would make an excellent speaker if he spoke permanently.

Peter the Younger creating his own micro-climate.

7. You have four playing cards, two red and two black, shuffled and face down. If you pick two cards at random, are they more likely to be the same colour or different colours?

Further, is there a difference between:
a) choosing one card, looking at it, and then choosing another card, and
b) choosing the two cards at the same time?

8. Mr Bashful responded to some of Mark the Grinner’s material. He spoke about:

– the real reason why there is so much anxiety and depression, and the possible benefits of counselling.

– why the NSW Art Gallery is more of an investment house than an art gallery.

Michael T Osterholm is a public health scientist and a biosecurity and infectious disease expert in the United States. Mr B remarked that on the ABC’s Drum television program Michael casually made a claim that we won’t mention here, because your diligent scribe has discovered it to be probably false. Mr B, impressed by Michael’s credentials, should have done more research into Michael’s claim before he mentioned it. Shame, Mr B!

how giraffes really evolved long necks.

Giraffes don’t just eat the leaves high in the trees, they also eat aeroplanes.

8. This week’s Unusual Critter is the Asian bear. Completely and utterly harmless to our Facebook page.






News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 23rd June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, we talked about numbers.

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

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

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

Despite the bitter cold, it was a good day.

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

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

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

You’re welcome, Uncle Pete.

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

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

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

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

But it has subscribed to our Facebook page.

Gentoo penguin




News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 16th June

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

“Stories are data with a soul.”
Brené Brown

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

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

It was a good day.

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

The top one is from the postsecret website.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 9th June

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

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

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

Ray took this photo last Monday. Thanks, Ray.

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

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

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

Ho hum.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 2nd June

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warragamba dam is drying out because of the coal mines.

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

From the Postsecret website:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 26th May

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 27, 2019 at 10:39 am

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. “
Mary Oliver

1. The meeting began in an unorthodox manner, even for Speakers’ Corner. Mirko explained to us his latest invention: anti-gravity shoes.

I am not making this up. Nor was he kidding us. Mirko fully believes in his ideas.

HIs idea is to attach magnets to the footpaths, and magnets to the soles of our shoes. The magnets would repel each other and make it easier for us to lift our feet. “One stride could be ten metres” he told us, eyes bright.

His plan was flawless, except for the bit where he said the magnets in the footpath would be positive, and our shoe magnets would be negative. Uncle Pete charitably pointed out that if that were the case, we would stick to the footpath. Ex-electrician Mirko would have none of that. He rejected the idea that for his plan to work we would have to use magnets with the same polarity.

Honestly, I really am not making this up.

It is fair to say that Mirko did not receive the support he expected. As a result he was a right royal pest to Mr B for most of the day.

2. Peter the Younger stood on the Ladder of Knowledge to say a few words about global warming, as did John August. But John left in a hurry after a remark about “old farts”.

3. Your scribe can’t tell you what Steve Maxwell, Helmut or Ray talked about, but late in the day we had a passer-by get up and speak. His name is Sashin and he spoke about the necessity for veganism. Try his colourful website.

Sashin’s talk prompted Mark the Grinner to offer us vegan recipes. He also offered recipes for left-handed people and rangas (people with red hair). As cannibalism is still against the law, no one took up his offer.

4. Mark the Grinner and Uncle Pete were busy being pests. They entertained everyone except the speakers with their witty remarks. Here are just some of the discussions they interrupted:
The Just World Theory. Do you blame the other person for their plight because you feel powerless to help them?

The  Tyranny of the Should. Get rid of the ‘shoulds’, ‘oughts’ and ‘musts’ in your life and become relaxed and easygoing.

– The Newstart Allowance. “It’s more than enough”, said Mr B, “especially with the added rental allowance of $122.40.” Thankfully he didn’t go so far to say that people on Newstart are living in luxury.
The figures on this link don’t include the $122.40 per fortnight rental assistance.

– Can the laws of physics, created 13.8 billion years ago in the Big Bang, be applied to the universe of light that existed before then (according to Helmut)? Indeed, were the laws created in the Big Bang at all?  Could they have existed before then?

– Did Scott Morrison’s love of the Game of Thrones help him win over the disinterested swinging voter and help the coalition win the election?
There’s no coal in ‘coalition’. Oh, wait, there is.

– Why can’t a cricketer choose to take three runs instead of four, if she hits a boundary? The one answer put forth was unsatisfactory.

– Do people with wacky ideas have them because they have neglected to think deeply about the implications of their belief?

– “What is the biggest problem facing the world?” asked someone. Mr B replied: “Overpopulation.” Mr B then got stuck into us, and three grannies then got stuck into Mr B.

– The history of hecklers. (See last Thursday’s post for a full description)

– Are there any wealthy people not struggling financially?

– Why do new smokers, before they are properly addicted, not see that cigarettes could be becoming a problem for them, and stop while they still can?
From the Postsecret website:

5. This week’s Unusual Critter is the Croatia Marten. It has not yet found the time to look at our Facebook page but promises to do so.




The history of hecklers

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 23, 2019 at 9:21 am

There are many articles about the history of soapbox orators, but none about the hecklers. This article addresses that omission.

1. Julius Caesar  46 to 44BC
Julius was a character. His main topics were politics and the military. However, he had stiff competition from two other soapbox speakers: Brutus and Mark Antony. You can find examples of their speeches on Youtube.
  Unfortunately, Caesar’s hecklers were a disagreeable lot, and one day things got out of hand. He was stabbed and taken to hospital, but pronounced dead on arrival.

2. Jesus Christ  circa 27 to 35AD.
Jesus stood on a hill and talked about religion (a popular topic). Some historians say he had about twelve people in his audience, which suggests his oratory skills were no better than Helmut’s. Other historians claim he had hundreds of people in his audience, which suggests his oratory skills were entertaining, but lacked sufficient depth to attract more than twelve regulars.
  His hecklers were brutal, and he didn’t last long as a soapbox speaker. However, he was the most successful; his ideas are still discussed today.

3. Adolf Hitler 1930s to 1945
Adolf was a controversial soapbox speaker who stood on a balcony to talk to his ardent followers. He had a remarkable ability to inspire audience participation: for reasons unclear he would intermittently get his followers to raise their right arm. However, Adolf broke the unwritten law of soapboxing by using a microphone and amplification, and drowned out his hecklers’ objections. For that reason none of his hecklers rose to prominence.
Unfortunately there was a war going on at the time and his distracted hecklers were losing interest in what he had to say. With his popularity waning, in April 1945 Adolf took his own life.

4. Benito Mussolini. 1930s to 1945
‘The Iron Prefect’ was an Italian fellow who, like Hitler, enjoyed addressing his followers from a balcony. His adept use of body language, vocal variety and improvisation made him one of the world’s best soapbox speakers. However, he made Hitler’s mistake of using a microphone and amplifier, but his hecklers were less accommodating. One shot him dead. That concluded Mussolini’s soapboxing days.

5. Mahatma Gandhi.
Mahatma was an Indian soapbox speaker whose favourite topic was civil rights. But he was a man of contradictions: his speeches pleased the Indian segment of the community and alienated the English, yet there is no suggestion he was racist. He would often undertake long fasts, yet there is no firm proof he had an eating disorder. He lived modestly and honestly, and advocated non-violence, yet spent plenty of time in jail. A heckler became fed up with Mahatma’s inconsistency and shot him dead.

In conclusion, we can see that hecklers are a disagreeable and murderous lot. It is not an understatement to say our current orators are brave and noble fellows, for they have chosen to put their lives on the line for the edification of their followers. For that we thank them.


  1. ^ Jeffrey M. Shaw; Timothy J. Demy (2017). War and Religion: An Encyclopedia of Faith and Conflict. ABC-CLIO. p. 309. ISBN 978-1-61069-517-6.
  2. ^ “Gandhi”. Archived 14 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.
  3. ^ “The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi”. Gandhiserve foundation (Berlin). Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  4. ^ McGregor, Ronald Stuart (1993). The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 799. ISBN 978-0-19-864339-5. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: (mahā- (S. “great, mighty, large, …, eminent”) + ātmā (S. “1.soul, spirit; the self, the individual; the mind, the heart; 2. the ultimate being.”): “high-souled, of noble nature; a noble or venerable man.”
  5. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006) p. 172: “… Kasturba would accompany Gandhi on his departure from Cape Town for England in July 1914 en route to India. … In different South African towns (Pretoria, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, and the Natal cities of Durban and Verulam), the struggle’s martyrs were honoured and the Gandhi’s bade farewell. Addresses in Durban and Verulam referred to Gandhi as a ‘Mahatma’, ‘great soul’. He was seen as a great soul because he had taken up the poor’s cause. The whites too said good things about Gandhi, who predicted a future for the Empire if it respected justice.” (p. 172).
  6. ^ Nehru, Jawaharlal. An Autobiography. Bodley Head.
  7. ^ Jump up to:
    a b McAllister, Pam (1982). Reweaving the Web of Life: Feminism and Nonviolence. New Society Publishers. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-86571-017-7. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: “With love, Yours, Bapu (You closed with the term of endearment used by your close friends, the term you used with all the movement leaders, roughly meaning ‘Papa’.” Another letter written in 1940 shows similar tenderness and caring.
  8. ^ Eck, Diana L. (2003). Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras. Beacon Press. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-8070-7301-8. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: “… his niece Manu, who, like others called this immortal Gandhi ‘Bapu,’ meaning not ‘father,’ but the familiar, ‘daddy’.” (p. 210)
  9. ^ Jump up to:
    a b “Gandhi not formally conferred ‘Father of the Nation’ title: Govt” Archived 6 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine, The Indian Express, 11 July 2012.
  10. ^ Jump up to:
    a b “Constitution doesn’t permit ‘Father of the Nation’ title: Government” Archived 7 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine, The Times of India, 26 October 2012.
  11. ^ Maeleine Slade, Mirabehn. Gleanings Gathered at Bapu’s Feet. Ahmedabad: Navjivan publications. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  12. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c Khan, Yasmin (2007). The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan. Yale University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-300-12078-3. Archived from
  13. ^ Khan, Yasmin (2007). The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan. Yale University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-300-12078-3. Archived from the original
  14. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c Brown (1991), p. 380:
  15. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Cush, Denise; Robinson, Catherine; York, Michael (2008). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Taylor & Francis. p. 544. ISBN 978-0-7007-1267-0. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Quote: “The apotheosis of this contrast is the assassination of Gandhi in 1948 by a militant Nathuram Godse, on the basis of his ‘weak’ accommodationist approach towards the new state of Pakistan.” (p. 544)
  16. ^ Todd, Anne M. (2012) Mohandas Gandhi, Infobase Publishing, ISBN 1-4381-0662-9, p. 8: The name Gandhi means “grocer”, although Mohandas’s father and grandfather were politicians not grocers.
  17. ^ Renard, John (1999). Responses to One Hundred and One Questions on Hinduism By John Renard. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-8091-3845-6.
  18. ^ Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autobiography chapter 1 (Dover edition, p. 1).
  19. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Guha 2015 pp. 19–21
  20. ^ Misra, Amalendu (2004). Identity and Religion: Foundations of anti-Islamism in India. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7619-3227-7.
  21. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006). Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, His People, and an Empire By Gandhi. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-14-310411-7.
  22. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d e f Tendulkar, D. G. (1951). Mahatma; life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Delhi: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
  23. ^ Malhotra, S.L (2001). Lawyer to Mahatma: Life, Work and Transformation of M. K. Gandhi. p. 5. ISBN 978-81-7629-293-1.
  24. ^ Guha 2015, p. 21
  25. ^ Guha 2015, p. 512
  26. ^ Guha 2015, p. 22
  27. ^ Sorokin, Pitirim Aleksandrovich (2002). The Ways and Power of Love: types, factors, and techniques of moral transformation. Templeton Foundation Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-890151-86-7.
  28. ^ Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber & Rudolph, Lloyd I. (1983). Gandhi: The Traditional Roots of Charisma. University of Chicago Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-226-73136-0.
  29. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006) pp. 2, 8, 269
  30. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Arvind Sharma (2013). Gandhi: A Spiritual Biography. Yale University Press. pp. 11–14. ISBN 978-0-300-18738-0.
  31. ^ Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber & Rudolph, Lloyd I. (1983). Gandhi: The Traditional Roots of Charisma. University of Chicago Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-226-73136-0.
  32. ^ Gerard Toffin (2012). John Zavos; et al. (eds.). Public Hinduisms. SAGE Publications. pp. 249–257. ISBN 978-81-321-1696-7.
  33. ^ Guha 2015, p. 23
  34. ^ Guha 2015, pp. 24–25
  35. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Rajmohan Gandhi (2015). Gandhi before India. Vintage Books. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-0-385-53230-3.
  36. ^ Louis Fischer (1982). Gandhi, his life and message for the world. Penguin. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-451-62142-9.
  37. ^ Rajmohan Gandhi (2015). Gandhi before India. Vintage Books. pp. 25–26. ISBN 978-0-385-53230-3.
  38. ^ Sankar Ghose (1991). Mahatma Gandhi. Allied Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 978-81-7023-205-6.
  39. ^ Ramachandra Guha (2015). Gandhi before India. Vintage Books. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-0-385-53230-3.
  40. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Mohanty, Rekha (2011). “From Satya to Sadbhavna” (PDF). Orissa Review (January 2011): 45–49. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 January 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  41. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Gandhi (1940). Chapter “At the High School”; Archived 30 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  42. ^ Gandhi (1940). Chapter “Playing the Husband”; Archived 1 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  43. ^ Ramachandra Guha (2015). Gandhi before India. Vintage Books. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-385-53230-3.
  44. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Guha 2015, p. 29
  45. ^ Guha 2015, p. 30
  46. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Guha 2015, p. 32
  47. ^ Gandhi (1940). Chapter “Preparation for England”. Archived 2 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  48. ^ Rajmohan Gandhi (2015). Gandhi before India. Vintage Books. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-385-53230-3.
  49. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Guha 2015, pp. 33-34
  50. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006) pp. 20–21.
  51. ^ M K Gandhi (1940), The Story of My Experiments with Truth Archived 17 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Autobiography, Wikisource
  52. ^ Thomas Weber (2004). Gandhi as Disciple and Mentor. Cambridge University Press. pp. 19–25. ISBN 978-1-139-45657-9.
  53. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d Brown (1991).
  54. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Herman (2008), pp. 82–83
  55. Badian in Griffin (ed.) p.16
  56. ^ Goldsworthy, p. 30
  57. ^ Ward, Heichelheim, & Yeo p. 194
  58. ^ Blackburn, B and Holford-Strevens, L. (1999 corrected 2003). The Oxford Companion to the Year. Oxford University Press. p. 671. ISBN 978-0-19-214231-3
  59. ^ Keppie, Lawrence (1998). “The approach of civil war”. The making of the Roman Army: from Republic to Empire. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-8061-3014-9.
  60. ^ Suetonius (121). “De vita Caesarum” [The Twelve Caesars]. University of Chicago. p. 107. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. “More than sixty joined the conspiracy against [Caesar], led by Gaius Cassius and Marcus and Decimus Brutus.”
  61. ^ Plutarch. “Life of Caesar”. University of Chicago. p. 595. “… at this juncture Decimus Brutus, surnamed Albinus, who was so trusted by Caesar that he was entered in his will as his second heir, but was partner in the conspiracy of the other Brutus and Cassius, fearing that if Caesar should elude that day, their undertaking would become known, ridiculed the seers and chided Caesar for laying himself open to malicious charges on the part of the senators …”[dead link]
  62. ^ Tucker, Spencer (2010). Battles That Changed History: An Encyclopedia of World Conflict. ABC-CLIO. p. 68.
  63. ^ Froude, James Anthony (1879). Life of Caesar. Project Gutenberg e-text. p. 67. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. See also: Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Julius 6; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.41; Virgil, Aeneid
  64. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:28–30
  65. ^ Dionysius, iii. 29.
  66. ^ Tacitus, Annales, xi. 24.
  67. ^ Niebuhr, vol. i. note 1240, vol. ii. note 421.
  68. ^ Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.7. The misconception that Julius Caesar himself was born by Caesarian section dates back at least to the 10th century (Suda kappa 1199). Julius wasn’t the first to bear the name, and in his time the procedure was only performed on dead women, while Caesar’s mother Aurelia lived long after he was born.
  69. ^ Historia Augusta: Aelius 2.
  70. ^ Goldsworthy, p. 32.
  71. ^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Plutarch, Caesar 1, Marius 6; Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.54; Inscriptiones Italiae, 13.3.51–52
  72. ^ Plutarch, Marius 6
  73. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Plutarch, Caesar 1; Suetonius, Julius 1
  74. ^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.54
  75. ^ Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.22; Florus, Epitome of Roman History 2.9
  76. ^ “Julius Caesar”. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012.
  77. ^ Suetonius, Julius 1; Plutarch, Caesar 1; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.41
  78. ^ Canfora, p. 3
  79. ^ William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities: Flamen
  80. ^ Suetonius, Julius 2–3; Plutarch, Caesar 2–3; Cassius Dio, Roman History 43.20
  81. ^ Suetonius, Julius 46
  82. ^ Again, according to Suetonius’s chronology (Julius 4). Plutarch (Caesar 1.8–2) says this happened earlier, on his return from Nicomedes’s court. Velleius Paterculus (Roman History 2:41.3–42) says merely that it happened when he was a young man.
  83. ^ Plutarch, Caesar 1–2
  84. ^ “Plutarch • Life of Caesar”.
  85. ^ Thorne, James (2003). Julius Caesar: Conqueror and Dictator. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 15.
  86. ^ Freeman, 39
  87. ^ Freeman, 40
  88. ^ Goldsworthy, 77–78
  89. ^ Freeman, 51
  90. ^ Freeman, 52
  91. ^ Goldsworthy, 100
  92. ^ Goldsworthy, 101
  93. ^ Suetonius, Julius 5–8; Plutarch, Caesar 5; Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.43
  94. ^ Mouritsen, Henrik, Plebs and Politics in the Late Roman Republic, Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2001, p 97. ISBN 0-521-79100-6 For context, see Plutarch, Julius Caesar, 5.4.
  95. ^ Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.43; Plutarch, Caesar 7; Suetonius, Julius 13
  96. ^ Sallust, Catiline War 49
  97. ^ Kennedy, E.C. (1958). Caesar de Bello Gallico. Cambridge Elementary Classics. III. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 10. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  98. ^ Hammond, Mason (1966). City-state and World State in Greek and Roman Political Theory Until Augustus. Biblo & Tannen. p. 114. ISBN 9780819601766. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  • Meier writes that Jesus’ birth year is c. 7 or 6 BC.[1] Rahner states that the consensus among scholars is c. 4 BC.[2] Sanders also favors c. 4 BC and refers to the general consensus.[3] Finegan uses the study of early Christian traditions to support c. 3 or 2 BC.[4]
  • ^ Most scholars estimate AD 30 or 33 as the year of Jesus’ crucifixion.[6]
  • ^ James Dunn writes that the baptism and crucifixion of Jesus “command almost universal assent” and “rank so high on the ‘almost impossible to doubt or deny’ scale of historical facts” that they are often the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus.[7] Bart Ehrman states that the crucifixion of Jesus on the orders of Pontius Pilate is the most certain element about him.[8]
  • ^ Greek: Ἰησοῦς, romanizedIesous; Hebrew: ישוע, romanizedYēšū́aʿ; Arabic: عيسى, romanizedIssa
  • ^ The New Testament records a variety of names and titles accorded to Jesus.
  • ^ Jump up to:
    a b In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman wrote, “He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees”.[16] Richard A. Burridge states: “There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more”.[17] Robert M. Price does not believe that Jesus existed, but agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars.[18] James D. G. Dunn calls the theories of Jesus’ non-existence “a thoroughly dead thesis”.[19] Michael Grant (a classicist) wrote in 1977, “In recent years, ‘no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus’ or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary”.[20] Robert E. Van Voorst states that biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted.[21]
  • ^ Ehrman writes: “The notion that the Gospel accounts are not completely accurate but still important for the religious truths they try to convey is widely shared in the scholarly world, even though it’s not so widely known or believed outside of it.”[23]
  1. See Benito and Mussolini in Luciano Canepari, Dizionario di pronuncia italiana online
  2. ^ Hakim, Joy (1995). A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509514-2.
  3. ^ “Historic Figures: Benito Mussolini (1883–1945)”. BBC – History –
  4. ^ “Mussolini founds the Fascist party – Mar 23, 1919”.
  5. ^ Anthony James Gregor (1979). Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520037991.
  6. ^ Jump up to:
    a b Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi (1997). Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini’s Italy. U of California Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0520926158.
  7. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d e Gregor 1979, p. 191.
  8. ^ Haugen, pp. 9, 71
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ MacGregor Knox. Mussolini unleashed, 1939–1941: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy’s Last War. Edition of 1999. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. pp. 122–27.
  11. ^ MacGregor Knox. Mussolini unleashed, 1939–1941: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy’s Last War. Edition of 1999. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. pp. 122–23.
  12. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d Moseley 2004.
  13. ^ Viganò, Marino (2001), “Un’analisi accurata della presunta fuga in Svizzera”, Nuova Storia Contemporanea (in Italian), 3
  14. ^ “1945: Italian partisans kill Mussolini”. BBC News. 28 April 1945. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  15. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d Charles F. Delzel, ed. (1970). Mediterranean Fascism 1919–1945. Harper Rowe. p. 3.
  16. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c “Benito Mussolini”. 8 January 2008. Archived from the original on 5 February 2008.
  17. ^ Jump up to:
    a b c d Tonge, M.E.; Henry, Stephen; Collins, Gráinne (2004). “Chapter 2”. Living history 2: Italy under Fascism (New ed.). Dublin: EDCO. ISBN 978-1-84536-028-3.
  18. ^ “Alessandro Mussolini 1854”. 8 January 2008.
  19. ^ De Felice, Renzo (1965). Mussolini. Il Rivoluzionario (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi. p. 11.
  20. ^ Gregor 1979, p. 29.
  21. ^ Gregor 1979, p. 31.
  22. ^ Mediterranean Fascism by Charles F. Delzel p. 96
  23. ^ Mauro Cerutti: Benito Mussolini in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 19th May

In News for Speakers' Corner on May 20, 2019 at 11:53 am

“The best cure for sea sickness is to sit on the lee side of a church.”

1. It was the morning after the Federal Election but the election wasn’t mentioned at Speakers’ Corner. Why? Because Speakers’ Corner is the place for discussions you don’t get elsewhere, and discussions about the election were everywhere else.

That is why Speakers’ Corner is head and shoulders above every other media outlet on the planet.

. . .

Your poor scribe just had a coughing fit. I’m alright now, thank you.

2. It was perfect weather and all four speakers: Steve, Helmut, Mr B, and even Ray, had steady crowds all day.

And, all day, ultra-pest Mirko earnestly tried to inform everyone about the importance of the past, present and future. Mr B was patient with him but this scribe chooses to be less diplomatic. Mirko: Your past must have been a nightmare, you haven’t been in the present for twenty years, and you have no future except for Friday night’s banana custard. Let it rest, for goodness sake.

3. Uncle Pete was keen to learn more about the process of natural selection, and Helmut was keen to learn the Ist Law of Thermodynamics. It’s heartening to know that men that old still have enquiring minds. They are an inspiration to the rest of us.

4. Mr B has changed his mind. For years he has been saying schools should teach their students life skills, and he has received plenty of opposition. “Where would we find the time to teach these skills?!” cried the outraged teachers in the audience. Unlike Mr B, your thoughtful scribe thinks they make a good point. After all, how could they teach a student how to change a flat tyre AND the year in which the Battle of Hastings was fought?

Yes, Mr B points out that he also wants history banned from the curriculum. He argues it would not only enrich each student’s life, it would also free up time so that life skills could be taught. But that change won’t happen any time soon, we both suspect.

Anyway, today he recanted a little, saying that kids can learn some life skills from Youtube. The Battle of Hastings is safe.

The Battle of Hastings. A copy of this print is just $10.66, plus postage.

5. Other subjects discussed:
Alice and the Dark Forest

– What were the unfortunate circumstances of Mr B’s loss of virginity? (Yes, folks, he has lost it. Though not recently.)

– Who leads you? It’s certainly not Scott Morrison.

– Which school subjects are the most important? Is maths one of them?

6. This week’s Unusual Critter is the amblypygi, found worldwide in tropical areas. Although it’s harmless, you probably wouldn’t want to sleep with hundreds of them. The one pictured is a regular contributor to our Facebook page.




%d bloggers like this: