Soapbox Speakers

Archive for the ‘News for Speakers’ Corner’ Category

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 6th January.

In News for Speakers' Corner on January 7, 2019 at 8:49 am

“A lot of our interest in fancy cars, jobs and houses has nothing to do with materialism. It has to do with a hunger for the respect and esteem that is only available in our societies through the acquisition of material goods. It isn’t the goods themselves we seek, it is the love we stand to gain through our possession of them.”
Alain de Botton

1. Your scribe has no idea what the five speakers spoke about because he wasn’t paying attention. Yes, I was there at Speakers’ Corner, but Mr B asked me to sort the logistics for another Carlos Castaneda’s Power of the Night!

If you remember (and you would remember if you were one of the lucky ones) in 2017 Mr B took us to a national park and at midnight blindfolded us. He then had us run full speed into the pitch-black forest. By harnessing the Power of the Night we would instinctively know where to place our feet and when to hurdle obstacles. Although that excursion was not 100% successful, it was character building. And Mr B says he has learnt from his mistake and this time he will bring with him a torch.

Click here to read a description of that exciting excursion in which we harnessed the Power of the Night.

To discover he is planning another excursion is exciting!

How was he prompted to plan another? Apparently there is new a horror film called ‘The Birdbox Challenge’. The characters have to go about their lives blindfolded to avoid vicious supernatural entities. It’s one scary film and it prompted Mr B to generously offer us his services again. He thinks we should all be skilled at harnessing the Power of the Night.

Sign up when you see him. A gold coin donation will be accepted.

2. One brief talk did catch your scribe’s ear. It was about the famous ‘ice man’, Wim Hof, and it was about the not-so famous (but just as impressive) Mighty Apollo. Wim Hoff’s breathing techniques allow him to withstand freezing cold. One of his many feats, for example, is to stay immersed in ice for nearly two hours. Also, he once ran 42kms in five hours, in just shoes and shorts, when the temperature was minus 20 degrees Celsius! It’s all about the breathing, he says.

The Mighty Apollo (Paul Anderson, but not the American weightlifter Paul Anderson) lived in Melbourne and was a man of strength. When he was fifteen he carried a horse up a 32 foot (6km) ladder. In 1950 he towed a semi-trailer carrying two elephants and fifty people (33.5 tons) up the Russell Street hill from Flinders Street to Collins Street, with his teeth. In 1955 he took the weight of an 8.5 ton elephant on a platform on his chest. In 1957 he defeated 60 men in a tug-of-war. Etc. It’s all about the breathing, he would say.

So, both men claimed that their breathing technique allowed them to achieve those extraordinary feats. The lesson is folks: keep breathing.

 

 

3. In our Unusual Critter Series we present to you the Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko from Madagascar. It could appear in our Facebook Page and you would never notice it.

 

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News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 30th December.

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 31, 2018 at 9:18 am

“Kill one man and you’re a murderer, kill a million and you’re a conqueror.”
Jean Rostand.

1. Thank goodness for the Morton Bay figs, because they provide plenty of quality shade. Certainly more shade than a gum tree provides, or a bromiliad.

Mr B explained the mindset of a conspiracy theorist, then Mirko ascended the Ladder of Knowledge. Mirko spoke about Adam and Eve, and somehow linked the Adam’s apple in our throat with the story of how Adam and Eve earned God’s disfavour. Fortunately, just when this scribe began to doubt the veracity of Mirko’s claims, Mirko supplied the following photograph of the event. Then it all made sense.

2. Men would never buy a magazine again if it purposely published falsehoods, yet women buy magazines knowing the photos are fabricated, celebrities are stalked and harassed, and outright lies peddled. “Why do women buy those magazines when they know that?” asked the perplexed Mr B.

Mr B was referring to this item in the ABC’s Media Watch television program.

3. Ben the Whisperer took the Ladder to explainwhy we will never run out of fossil fuels, and then answered questions. He was brave, and did well.  Here is a link to the process he was talking about.

Bill Gates: the man turning air into petrol.

4. Other topics discussed:
– Mark the Grinner spoke about gender issues (“both sexes have psychos on both sides and we should ignore what they say”) and he expressed his concern for how our culture is becoming amalgamated with that of the U.S.

– Mr B read a short story by James Thurber: “The Macbeth Murder Mystery”. It shone a much needed light on the Scottish play and revealed who really did kill King Duncan.

– John August spoke about the obtrusiveness of advertising. His talk inspired plenty of interest and some vibrant discussion.

– One judgemental passer-by asked with a smirk if the Earth was flat. Mr B took exception to the enquiry. He gave an emphatic ‘no’ and then harangued the young man until he was out of sight. And then some.

5. This scribe would like to end the year by thanking the park’s rangers for turning a blind eye to Mr B’s parking habits. Mr B parks illegally to drop off the chairs, and then again when it’s time to pick them up. When the rangers drive past they always just happen to look the other way. That’s gracious of them. Thank you, rangers!

A toast to you all, and happy new year!

6. We also end the year with our Unusual Creature Series and by featuring a Lowland Streaked Tenrec from Madagascar. I wonder if they can be kept as pets? Perhaps someone will tell us on our Facebook page.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 23rd December

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 24, 2018 at 10:07 am

“Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?” 
Mary Oliver

1. Mr B began the meeting with a parable about echoes, and he received the same asinine questions he has come to expect. Eg. “How did the boy fall over?”  “Shouldn’t there be multiple echoes?”

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Mirko took the stand to restore sanity to the meeting. In his Serbian accent Mirko earnestly spoke about the human soul. Someone asked a question and he answered loudly and with frustration, “Our soul! Our soul!” For some reason unclear to this scribe, that prompted roars of laughter. For reasons equally unclear, throughout his talk people kept asking him the same stupid question, and with ever heightening exasperation poor Mirko kept having to provide the same succinct answer, “Our soul! Our soul!” Result: even more hearty laughter. It is indeed a strange world.2. Whatever game the audience were playing with poor Mirko, it eventuallly ended and Mr B again took the Ladder of Knowledge. He explained who the secret Illuminati supposedly are and then gave five reasons why they don’t exist! At the conclusion of his talk Mr B mysteriously suggested that if he were insisting that the Illuminati didn’t exist, then perhaps he himself was part of the Illuminati! He received a collective yawn for his trouble.

3. Steve Maxwell wasn’t here today, but Mark the Grinner was. Mark took the Ladder and worked Ben the Whisperer into a frenzy by insisting that Australia should ditch the U.S.A. and have China as its main military ally.

Mark the Grinner

 

Ben the Whisperer

4. At around 5pm Helmut finally took the Ladder and instead of his normal dour self, he was bright and breezy. He took a few shots at Mr B and a few more at Peter the Younger, all in warm good-natured fun. Then he happily answered questions about the nature of sub-atomic particles. You were in good form today, Helmut!

Helmut Cerncic

5. This year we lost two of our own: Donny Dodd and Arthur Knight. Neither man sent us this wonderful pendant:

Jon Jermey kindly added a stanza:

I thought I’d be dining
With Grandma as well,
But Jesus just told me
She’s burning in Hell.

6. Other subjects discussed: 
– All the times Finland invaded other nations.

– Should we deem Australia’s economy to be healthy when it’s partly based on high house prices?

– We heard about Mr B’s auditory hallucination, experienced while pretending to pray with a Christian Youth group.

– Has Australia become like a Third World country because its shops are open day and night? And with penalty rates under threat?

– We heard about lawyers’ propensity to obfuscate when creating contracts, even though the clarity and accuracy of plain language is less likely to allow loopholes.

– Do humans have an inherent inclination for war? Opinion was divided. (But not so divided that war broke out.) And, why do people enlist in the armed forces knowing they might have to kill someone? Some good answers were given.

7. Instead of trying to promote our Facebook page with an unusual critter, here is something more in keeping with the season.

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 16th December

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 17, 2018 at 11:13 am

“Lawyers believe a person is innocent until proven broke.”
Robin Hall.

1. For Mr B it was a day of interruptions. This scribe actually felt sorry for the poor fellow.

2. Sometimes Mirko talks about the world-language he has invented that will allow us to talk with one another with ease. And, sometimes he talks about his two-polarity physics that may or may not have something to do with the imminent world diesel crisis. Today he began the meeting by combining the lot, and created a stream of consciousness that would make any transcendental guru proud. Well done, Mirko.

3. Then Mr B tried to begin his talk about the sham of Zen Buddhism, but with all the interruptions it was like he was wading through knee-high mud. Seeing the signs, he wisely chose to let 95 year-old Albert replace him. Albert talked about the evolution of humankind and how we should continue that evolution by being nice to one another and developing our collective-bloody-consciousness. Sorry, our collective consciousness.

The Borg have attained Collective Consciousness

4. Mr B then tried to resume his talk on the sham of Zen Buddhism but the interrupters, grateful for the break he had given them, were even more vociferous. Beaten, Mr B handed the reins to Mark the Grinner.

Mark the Grinner said Australians are xenophobic and unnecessarily scared of foreigners wanting to invade. We’re surrounded by water, so who would want to invade us? China doesn’t want to invade us; it would prefer to have us as a trading partner.  “It’s time we stood on our own two feet,” he said. “We should cut our ties with the U.S. and side with our biggest trading partner, China.”

His reasons for doing so prompted unceasing cries of “Bullshit” from one member the audience.

Mark the Grinner’s comments prompted a vigorous and interesting discussion.

5. Mr B once again tried to begin his talk on the Sham of Zen Buddhism, and then the cyclist guy from Bike Buffs‘ came along with his cycling tourists. A cyclist asked Mr B about Global Warming and Mr B responded by dividing the topic into a number of questions:
1) Why do we now call it ‘climate change’ instead of ‘global warming’?
2) Is the globe warming or cooling?
3) Is the climate change anthropogenic?
4) How do we know?

Mr B gave a brief response and off the cyclists went, a little bemused. But the conversation about climate change continued with Peter the Younger, who had a lot to say. Though he didn’t get to actually say most of it.

6. When that conversation about Climate Change ended Mr B yet again began his talk about the Zen Buddhist sham. This time he got halfway through a story, but with the continuous interruptions he received he had to face facts: the punters weren’t interested in the topic. Eighteen years’ research down the drain.

He changed the topic to “Why we shall never colonise Mars.” That topic received more respect.

7. In the past we have heard Mr B eloquently explain why there is no such thing as a Scotsman, and what he says makes perfect sense. In human history, never has someone been more right. Yet, somehow, a Scotsman arrived to defy Mr B’s irrefutable logic. His name was Marshall and he was with his missus and their two snot-gobblers. Marshall asked if he could speak on the Ladder of Knowledge. Mr B, halfway through his tedious explanation as to why Mars can never be colonised, did the right thing and relinquished the Ladder.

Marshall expressed his concern with how there were so few young people at Speakers’ Corner to listen to the speakers. “When you old speakers go,” he said charmingly, “who will carry the torch? Who will keep Speakers’ Corner going?”

Does Marshall know something we don’t? Is the Domain Trust planning to do some nefarious “permanent work” on us to finally rid themselves of the thorn in their side?

But that got your youthful scribe thinking: if the old geezers do indeed start popping off like flies, as Marshall seems to be suggesting, who would replace them? Would they be replaced?

But the speakers haven’t gone yet, Marshall, despite your prompting! Don’t hold your breath, lad.

We grasshoppers do hope that a few younger people will have the courage to get up and speak, and become regular soapbox orators. The trouble is, young people don’t know anything. They have no life experience. They have nothing matured in oak. They’re as thick as custard, and as sharp as a bowl of milk. If a young person got up, what could they possibly say?

“And I’m concerned,” added Marshall, “with how many of the young people are glued to their eye-phones.”

8. When Mr B resumed his rightful place on the Ladder of Knowledge he gave us all a brief lecture on the use of swear words. Then he finished his talk on the non-colonisation of Mars. By this time he was fed up with the whole thing, and handed the ladder of Knowledge to Helmut. It was 5.25pm. Helmut answered questions about God, even though he believes God is just energy without consciousness.

How God would look in a mirror.

9. There will be a meeting next week, eve of Christmas Eve. There will be road access after all, as usual, and you won’t be asked to carry chairs. There will also be cheesecake.

10. In our Unusual Animal Series we have the Ankole-Watusi. It doesn’t give a damn about our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 9th December.

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 10, 2018 at 10:41 am

‘It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity, and not have one, than to have an opportunity, and not be prepared.’
Whitney Young

1. Thank goodness for shade. It made the day perfect. Ray turned up to save a few souls, as usual, and he stood near the kiosk behind the big Morton Bay fig tree. Mr B was on the other side of the tree and started his meeting with a talk about the Rothchilds. Unfortunately, he had confused them with the Rothmans cigarettes his mother had smoked. When he realised his mistake he cut short his talk.

Was he trying to be funny?

Anyway, he then suggested to his grasshoppers that it wasn’t just men who have been keeping women oppressed for the last seventy years, it was also women. Women usually made the decisions in the family, and they would reinforce the accepted norms by telling each other that a women’s place was in the home, etc.  He suggested that those women were more influential than men. His grasshoppers helped him out by fleshing out the topic. The status of being married was a big driver of their influence, they suggested. And that, ultimately, it was the institutions which had the real power, and they were run by men. That’s what made the difference.

2. Steve Maxwell turned up a little late, but then he got cracking. He gave five examples of when the Wrecking Ball of Australian History made an impact:
(1) 1788. (The arrival of the First Fleet from Britain.)
(2) World War One
(3) World War Two.
(4) The Whitlam dismissal. (A sad day for Australian cricket?)
(5) Foreign ownership 
3. On the Ladder of Knowledge was Mirko. He was there to talk about the diesel crisis in France. That was a welcome change from the diesel crisis he usually talks about: the one imminent in Australia. Thank you, Mirko.

4. Peter the Younger then got up to talk about feminist lies, and calmly informed us that he hadn’t prepared for that talk so he would talk about something else. Sigh. As it was, he held our interest with a talk about history, even though Killjoy Bashful had banned history weeks before. For that matter, he had banned Peter two years ago. And, he had banned dissent as well, about six months ago.

It seems Peter the Younger doesn’t respond well to bans.

Anyway, Peter spoke about how the far right governments of the 1940s (the Nazis and fascists) were in reality far left extremist socialist governments like the Soviets. He included Italy, Germany, Tonga and China. Maybe not Tonga.

5. Then Mark the Grinner appeared and had five points to make. Your ashamed scribe is forced to admit he was too engrossed in the talk to take notes, and can’t remember the points Mark made, so you’ll have to imagine Mark’s talk for yourself. If you imagine a talk that is provocative, insulting, insightful, and with a huge double-dollop of bullshit, you will be pretty close to the mark.  (No pun intended on the words ‘close to the mark’, because Mr B banned jokes based on word-play three weeks ago.)

Oh, one thing I do remember: Mark the Grinner doesn’t like ‘niceness’ and reckons girls/women should aim to be less nice and more honest.

6. “The plays of William Shakespeare are overrated.” So said Mr B as he drew upon the Scottish play for evidence. For example, he said it was a bit rich for Shakespeare to suggest that a forest walking up a hill is the same thing as a bunch of men carrying twigs in their pockets for camouflage. Shakespeare wouldn’t get away with that nonsense today, said the sage Mr B.

It would be fair to say that Uncle Pete was not in total agreement with Mr B.

Uncle Pete impressed us all with his intimate knowledge of the play and his passion for it. He kept quoting bits like he’d actually read the thing.

Despite Uncle Pete’s objections, Mr B did convince this conscientious scribe that Shakespeare is indeed past his use-by date. However, for some reason, the other grasshoppers were not keen to jump on board. (‘Jump on board‘ is probably a Shakesperianism, bless him.) They seemed to side with Uncle Pete.

Would Phyllis Diller have made a good Lady Macbeth?

7. At about 4.30pm Mr B began explaining the many ways men get a bad deal in life. And, he spoke about sexual consent. Pretty soon there was a vigorous debate and the crowd swelled. We didn’t stop until after 6pm. There were plenty of contributors and they made it an interesting discussion.

From the Postsecret website:

8. In our Unusual Creature Series we present to you the atelopus frog, native to Costa Rica, Panama and Tonga. Maybe not Tonga. It shares its Facebook page with us.

 

 

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 2nd December

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 3, 2018 at 1:14 pm

“. . . never did I learn things at school that I would consider truly important for being an adult: how to do a tax return, change a tyre, pay off a car, buy a house, nail a job interview, do CPR, start a self-managed super fund. . . . Education in Australia not only needs to be more practical, it needs to be more holistic. Valuing high marks and exam success over practical skills – and skills in entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation – is an antiquated model that turns out unenthusiastic, uncreative, outcome-focused students who lack the necessary qualities to be well-rounded members of the workforce, and of society.”
Student Alana Leadbeater, who earned a 99 ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank).
https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/comment-i-got-a-99-atar-but-i-had-a-lousy-education/ar-BBQ4lOi?li=AAgfYrC&ocid=mailsignout

1. Another beautiful day, with the park’s enormous fig-trees providing shade to make the day perfect for Ray, Steve and Mr B. There were reasonable crowds because why wouldn’t you come to Speakers’ Corner on such a beautiful day?

Mind you, Mr B stretched our patience because he talked about the same subject for most of the day: the different theories for the origin of the universe.

A brief summary:

– He began by saying he would explore two puzzles:
(1) How did our universe come into being?
(2) Why does our universe allow intelligent life, given that fine-tuned laws of physics would be required?

–  He then did his best to describe what nothing is. Yep, honestly. He figured we should have a clear understanding of what preceded the universe before we tried to understand its origin.

– Theory One: God Made the Universe. Somehow he included an episode of Bewitched. We even had a witch in the audience to add to the verisimilitude.

– Theory Two: The Many Universe Theory.

– Theory Three: The Big Bang Theory.

– Theory Four: The Oscillating Model of the Universe.

– Theory Five: The Eternal Inflation Theory.

– Theory Six: The Universe Has Always Been Here Theory.

– Theory Seven: Quantum Mechanics Theory.

– Theory Eight: The Lava Lamp Theory (Mr B’s term) AKA, The fine-structure constant isn’t so constant after all.

– Theory Nine: Helmet’s theory. Unfortunately, Mr B felt the need to tear strips of Helmut’s theory and off Helmut himself. As you might expect, Helmut was “vocal” in his response. That was a torrid fifteen minutes!

– Theory Ten: A grasshopper provided The Matrix Theory (formally known as Gilbert Harman’s ‘Brain in a Vat’ thought experiment). Is our universe just a simulation created by an exceedingly advanced computer? Do the operators of that advanced computer live in a universe which is also just a simulation? It gets awkward, folks.


2. This week’s complaint about the justice system involved a twenty year-old Victorian man, Miraz Zuanovic. He was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to 30 days jail for blowing a bubble while chewing Hubba Bubba bubble gum in front of magistrate Rodney Crips. Miraz spent 12 hours in custody before a Supreme Coourt judge granted him bail following an appeal by his lawyers. His barrister pointed out that his client hadn’t even received a warning, and had been denied procedural fairness.

Mr B complained about the magistrate’s lack of wisdom, his sense of self-grandeur, and his gross misuse of power.

Mind you, Peter the Younger took the magistrate’s side and said he would have given the miscreant 60 days.


3. Other subjects discussed:
– the exemptions religious schools want to be able to impose on homosexual students and teachers.

– Mr B claimed that learning about history is no better than stamp collecting. In fact, it’s worse, because it distracts us from finding solutions to our current problems.
His grasshoppers insisted that we could learn from history, but although they tried, not one of them could provide a specific example. If you can think of a solid example, bring it to Speakers’ Corner with you one day.
(Examples such as a person’s personal medical history will not be accepted.)


4. Next week:
Steve, Ray and possibly Helmut will be doing their thing, and:
– Mark the Grinner will be speaking on two topics yet to be disclosed.

– Peter the Younger will be speaking on the ways feminists lie about sexual assaults and harrassment.

– Mr B will finally, hopefully, be explaining why Zen Buddhism is a sham, and the medical reasons it originated.


5. In this week’s Unusual Critter Series we have two Bush Dogs from Central and South America. They asked this scribe to place a photo of them on our Facebook Page.

Bush Dogs in Chester Zoo. Speothos venaticus.

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 25th November.

In News for Speakers' Corner on November 26, 2018 at 12:52 pm

“When I was teaching suicide intervention skills for Lifeline counsellors, we would tell them to listen to enough reasons the caller had to want to die, and to listen for their reasons to live.”
  Gay McKinley

1. Was it godly intervention? Mr B was just about to talk about the merits or otherwise of Zen Buddhism when the SBS crew arrived with a bunch of Christians. Then all hell broke loose, so to speak.

Four Christian speakers stood on the Ladder of Knowledge (one after the other, thankfully) and spoke about their beliefs. They then answered questions from the audience and those questions came mainly from passionate atheists.

After the Christians spoke, fervent atheist Ian Bryce spoke briefly. And then Helmut followed, so it was back to normal. No, it wasn’t. You could never say that hearing Helmut speak is “back to normal”.

SBS had chosen their Christians well. They were all good speakers capable of expressing themselves in a clear, articulate manner. Good work, SBS.

There were lots of chats afterwards, so the day didn’t finish until 6.30pm. SBS got about two hours of filming. That two hours of footage will be reduced to 3 minutes, which we will see one day in a television program. Your scribe will let you know when it happens.

We won’t display the speakers, for SBS reasons.

 

2. I guess we should represent the atheists and Christians with a meme for each:

 

3. Steve was going gangbusters today (before the Christians arrived) and he was ready for them.


4. Mirko returned today and
made up for his three week abscence by being a pest supreme. He was indefatigable. Resistance was futile.

What do you do when you get a comfortable chair but want to move to another speaker? Answer: you become a hermit crab.

5. Other subjects discussed:
– Was it right the right decision to close places like Callan Park Mental Hospital and release the patients into society?

– Mr B spoke about leadership skills. With all the interruptions he received it was evident he hasn’t any.

– Greg’s great, great grandmother dreamt her son had died in the war. The next day she learned he had indeed died during the night. Spooky? It turns out that statistically, such incidents would have been common and inevitable.

– Was the fuss made of the recent death of Melbourne cafe owner, Sisto Pellegrini, warranted? Was the State funeral he received warranted?

– Mr B told us how one day he saw a man whose facial expression made him look like a priest. The man looked so much like a priest (he was wearing only casual clothing) that Mr B felt compelled to ask the man his profession. “Priest” was the answer. Mr B asked his grasshoppers for possible explanations, and received them.

– We heard Mr B’s weekly whinge about our justice system: a woman suffered a back injury. A Queensland ‘No win, no fee‘ law firm won for her $5,000 in compensation. They charged her the $5,000 plus another $7,000.

– We heard a parable about three saucepans of boiling water. In each was a carrot, an egg or ground coffee.

6. Subjects to be discussed this coming Sunday (hopefully):
– Steve will doing his bit: Australian history, politics or religion, or “anything else that gets in the way”.

– The merits, or otherwise, of Zen Buddhism. (How and why monasteries became insane asylums.)

– The current theories of the origin of the universe. (And hopefully by this coming Sunday Mr B will have figured out the real reason it came into existence.)

– The Rothchilds. Mr B has for some time been seriously investigating this topic and his results could be explosive.

– Another whinge about our justice system.

 

7. In our Unusual Creature Series, this Patagonian Mara posed for our Facebook page.

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 18th November

In News for Speakers' Corner on November 19, 2018 at 10:38 am

Men (and women) occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”   
Sir Winston Churchill.

1. We had a gamut of speakers today in what was a beautiful, Goldilocks day. Indeed, it was so perfect we had trouble deciding on whether to put the chairs in the sun or the shade. So, I guess the day wasn’t so perfect after all.

We had Steve Maxwell, who explained the difference between Climate Change modelling and economic modelling.

Speaking of models: My mum used to tell everyone she had a model husband. One day, Dad looked up the word ‘model’ in the dictionary. It said: “model: small imitation of the real thing”.

We had John August from the Pirate Party speaking about gambling, and how the government should be regulating it, not facilitating it. He was referring to the recent abominable incident regarding an advertisement pasted on the sails of the Sydney Opera Billboard.

Second-time visitor Maggie spoke. But only just. For some reason, Mr B was in an ungenerous mood and not keen to relinquish the Ladder of Knowledge. But the fans demanded she speak, so she got the gig. Three people openly disagreed with what she had to say, but she handled them well and answered plenty of questions. Importantly, she spoke clearly and articulately. She avoided the ums & ers and ‘you knows’ that sometimes come with public speaking. So for the second time, she did a good job despite the flak she received.

Mark the Grinner gave us vegan recipes. Unfortunately, the recipies weren’t about how to cook vegetables, they were about how to cook vegans.

Tony spoke for a half an hour and held a good crowd. His main message was: “there are no gods”.

Ray was also about, and so was Mr B. Had Helmut and Uncle Pete spoken, and had Tommy and Mirko turned up, we would have had twelve speakers in total. Is Speakers’ Corner finally beginning to get some momentum?

Peter the Younger suprised us all by getting up. He explained that when the Americans (and others) took slaves from Africa, the Africans they took were already slaves! None of us were quite sure of the point Peter was making but what he said was interesting nevertheless.
Someone asked if Australian Aborigines were ever slaves. Apart from the fact that the Aborigines were grossly underpaid for the work they did for the white fella, on land the white fella took from them, (thanks Mark the Grinner) and apart from the Kanak slaves the Queenslanders stole from Melanesia, this photo suggests that all was not quite right.

2. This coming Sunday there will be an SBS documentary crew filming some Christians speaking. The Christians will want a crowd and questions from the audience.

Christians: come along and give them your support.
Atheists: come along and give them your “support”.

With the two Peters to be there, and Tony, and other hecklers . . . I’m reminded of something . . .


3. Mr B explained how we
could have solved the refugee “problem” long ago. In so doing, debate raged as to whether asylum seekers coming by boat are acting illegally.

Your dutiful scribe will clear the matter up: A govt website says:  “Although those who come to Australia by boat seeking Australia’s protection are classified by Australian law to be ‘unlawful non-citizens’, they have a right to seek asylum under international law and not be penalised for their mode of entry.”

Another page on the same site says: “It is not a crime to enter Australia without authorisation for the purpose of seeking asylum. Asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws simply by arriving on boats or without authorisation.”

As for the grasshopper claiming that the refugees are queue jumpers, this page explains why that isn’t true.

Rwandan refugee camp in Zaire

4. Other subjects discussed:
– critical thinking. Thanks to Mr B we were sent on a wild goose chase trying to solve the puzzle of the boy who predicted his own death by meteor.

– Differences between men and women were briefly discussed. Men take off jumpers, drink from a glass of water, look at their heels, and look at their fingernails in ways that women don’t. Yes, profound stuff.

– To make up a joke, most of us rely on inspiration. Mr B told us the steps the professionals use, and how much the top comedians, singers and magicians can earn.

– If you don’t like the American version of the television show, ‘The Office’ are you anti-American or do you simply have poor taste?

– It was explained how solicitors and barristers purposely waste time in court because they get paid more that way. Meanwhile, there is a severe backlog of cases waiting to be heard.

– There’s nothing wrong with having a new Prime Minister every five minutes despite what the media tell us, argued one speaker. After all, the Prime Minister is not our leader. The PM is the leader of their political party, and each party can have whoever they want as their leader. We, the public, don’t elect the Prime Minister, we elect a party, and we should focus on the policies each party puts forth.
Here is a photo of one party electing their leader.

5. In our Unusual Creature Series, the Cape Genet of South Africa has expressed no interest in our Facebook page.

Vale Donny Dodd

In News for Speakers' Corner on November 14, 2018 at 9:05 am

One of the Domain’s past best speakers has died.

Donny Dodd was born a Kaanju-Bire man to Katie and Reg Dodd on Palm Island. He moved to Sydney and in 1980 he began speaking in the Domain about Aboriginal affairs. Twenty years later, in 2000, he retired from speaking.

Your scribe met Donny a few times and on each occasion Donny was likeable and well mannered, and a pleasure to be with. When he spoke on his podium he was entertaining, informative, and exasperating.

Thank you, Donny, for your significant contribution to the health of Speakers’ Corner.

For more about Donny read Steve Maxwell’s article about him.

Donny Dodd was about 92 when this photo was taken.

Here are some photos of Donny over the years, courtesy of Steve Maxwell.

At 2pm Donny gets ready to speak at Speakers’ Corner

 

 

The people come to listen to Donny.

Here are six photos of the many platforms Donny spoke from:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donny gets heckled.

 

Donny heckles too.

 

Donny gets advice.

 

Donny gets on the radio. Mirko stands in the background.

 

Donny lets a good speaker on his platform.

 

Donny addresses the people on National Soapbox Day.

 

Sunset on the Domain. Time to go home.

Goodbye, Donny!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 11th November.

In News for Speakers' Corner on November 12, 2018 at 11:24 am

“A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways.” 
― Machiavelli Niccolo, The Prince

1. Today was Remembrance Day and Steve Maxwell understandably talked about World War I and how it began. His Great Uncle was in the 48th Battalion in Bullecourt, at the Western Front. That made it even more special for Steve and his listeners.

2. Uncle Pete had a serious question. He asked Mr B for his thoughts on having ‘Waltzing Matilda’ replace ‘Advance Australia Fair’ as Australia’s national anthem. Mr B was not in favour of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ but his preferred choice, “We are one; we are many . . .” prompted a few people to gag on pretend vomit. Then Helmut insisted Mr B’s real choice was ‘God Save The Queen‘ before Tony reminded us all, for no apparent reason, that the Spanish anthem has no words.

Mr B then remembered his favourite anthem, and promised to share it with this scribe. (Should we adopt it for our own?) Here it is:

3. Speaking of Mr B, he has asked me to pass on an apology to one poor woman. He called her a ‘blabbermouth’ because she packed a whole heap of information into a handful of long sentences. He wanted to examine each claim but there were too many of them, one after the other, he explained. He should have handled the situation better, he says.

“How?” I asked him.

“I could have focused on one claim and examined that,” he said.

I told him “it’s a bit late now” and asked him, “Why, after so many years speaking at the Domain, are you still making basic mistakes like that?”

That’s when he slunk off.

For the woman.

4. Relief at last!  Peter the Younger often prefaces his questions or comments with an unnecessary aside, and Mr B has tediously (and some would say unfairly) criticised him for it. Today, as though in commemoration of the conclusion of the Great War 100 years ago, the two men came to an agreement. After a generous concession by Peter the Younger, Mr B will never again ‘roar him up’ for unnecessarily prefacing a comment. Hallelujah.

A completely unrelated photograph.

5. There are righteous nations and wicked nations, explained Mr B (stealing from Walter Murdoch). The righteous nations never start wars; wars are forced upon them. The righteous nations want justice; the wicked nations want injustice. The righteous nations keep their promises; the wicked nations break agreements. Some nations are willing to fight on your side, and these also are righteous nations.

The trouble is, as Walter and Mr B pointed out: every nation believes it’s a righteous nation.

“If the world were really like a chessboard, if human beings could be as sharply divided into good and bad as chessmen are divided into black and white, history would be easily understood, and the international situation could at any given moment be explained to a kindergarten.”
Walter Murdoch.

6. There are countless examples of our ‘disposable’ mentality. We buy an item and discard the packaging, and then soon discard the item itself. Cars are owned for three years instead of thirty. And so on. We are now tending to think of the Earth in the same way, warns Mr B. Christians have said to Mr B that it doesn’t matter that we’re destroying the Earth because when God returns we will have a paradise again. Other people have said that one day we will terraform Mars and live there. Mr B railed against that foolish disposable mentality from Christians and wanna-be Martians, saying we desperately need to look after the Earth we have now.

7. Mr B made a momentous change to the Australian way of life. He banned history.

Yes, that’s right, folks, he didn’t just express his displeasure of history, he outright banned it. The possible ramifications for our society make this hardy scribe shudder. In a few months let’s examine the influence this ban will have had upon us.

A rare photo of the battle of Hastings. Who doesn’t know it was in 1066? Who needs to know that?

8. Mr B pretended to begin to give us a history of flight (even though he had banned history). The talk turned out to be a criticism of current day capitalism. (Alex Nobel calls it ‘Crony Capitalism’ and you can read Mr Noble’s brief but absorbing article here.

The Wright brothers, about to create history.

9.  When fighting in the Crusades, gallant knight Sir Thrust-a-lot used his sword to solve many of his problems. So, when he returned from the Crusades he kept using his sword to solve problems, even though using a sword wasn’t appropriate. In the same way, some people have become reliant on one particular emotion to solve all their problems.

To read the story of Sir Thrust-a-lot, click here.

10. Other subjects discussed:
– Does a woman have a right to NOT be traumatised?

– A Scottish woman took umbrage with Mr B’s claim that there is no such thing as a Scot. Well, to be more accurate: a woman who thought she was a Scot took umbrage with his claim.

Tartan is a delicacy in Scotland.

11. Mr B butchered this joke:

A little girl tells her father she’s marrying little Billy next door.  The father finds this amusing and asks her “What are you going to do for money?”  The little girl says:  “Well, Billy has saved up $4 and I’ve saved up $5.20.” 
   The father loves this answer and is prompted to ask her “Where are you going to live?” The little girl says “Billy can live here sometimes, and sometimes I’ll live at Billy’s place.”  The father thinks that’s a fine answer.  So he asks her “And what happens if little ones come along?”  She says, “Well, we’ve been lucky so far.”

12. In our Unusual Creature Series
we have a Durrell’s Vontsira, a Madagascan mammal. You will find the same photo on our Facebook page.

 

 

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