10. More poems

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”

1. In 1915 Ernest Shackleton and his men were stranded in Antarctica when their boat, ‘Endurance’ was trapped in ice and crushed. They lived on seals and penguins for eight months before using three lifeboats to sail a long journey to Elephant island. Disappointingly, there were no elephants left on the island to eat, so Ernest and five others took one of the boats on a dangerous 16-day 1,300km voyage in huge seas to yet another island, inhabited by whalers. (Note: that’s ‘whalers’, not ‘whales’.) Their journey overland to find the whaling station was one of the most tiring and bitterly cold journeys ever endured. But they got there. A boat was dispatched and all the men from the ‘Endurance’ were rescued.

In short, Ernest Shackleton was a man made of the right stuff.

This scribe was reminded of Mr Shackleton when Mr Bashful turned up today at Speakers’ Corner, defying the drizzle and impending rain. It was a prodigious effort.

2. It must also be noted that Mr B’s crew of grasshoppers were just as hardy because they too bravely turned up. As it happened, all were spared: rain didn’t come, except for a few seconds that prompted umbrellas to open. It ended up being an enjoyable day.

3. Good news about Steve! The operation on his eyes has been a success after all, though he is still recovering. Get well soon, Steve!

4. Uncle Pete stood on the Ladder of Knowledge to answer the question: ‘Will Malcolm Turnbull still be Prime Minister at the next federal election?’ As usual, he was forthright and entertaining. He then talked about the vagaries of education and answered plenty of questions. Another good effort, Uncle Pete!

Sue the Unflappable also had a few words to say about education; in particular, the misconceptions some people have about schools. As did Jacquie the Patient One.

Thank you to the three of you.

The meme below sounds contrived and corny, but it also makes some good points.

5. Three poems today thanks to Uncle Pete, Peter the Younger and Mr B. And a heady diatribe from Mark the Grinner. Here is one of the poems:

6. And here is another poem recited on the day, by Uncle Pete. An evocative anti-war poem.

7. Today’s assertiveness tip was eagerly anticipated by . . . well anyway, it was this: Ensure your question is answered. Many people use a gamut of ways to avoid answering a question, and the person asking the question often lets them get away with it. Don’t let them get away with it. Cling to your mast. That is, focus ferociously on what needs to happen from now on. In this instance, it’s having your question answered. For more details, click here.

8. Mr B suggested that we have two complete societies in the one city, with each person working a three-and-a-half-day week in one society, or in the other. That would double employment, eradicate overtime and penalty rates, increase leisure time, allow two parents to give their infant seven days’ child care, and make schools factories, sporting fields etc. productive for seven days instead of five.

Two economies competing against one another.

Careers requiring workers for the entire 24 hours, like the police, fire-fighters and paramedics, could still work within those parameters. There would be other modifications for schools.

But when it was suggested that each football code would have two leagues, one for each society, one bright spark objected to the idea of having two A-league soccer leagues. There was a murmur of agreement.

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

10. Other subjects discussed:
– The merits of reducing and maintaining current penalty rates. One brave fellow gamely defended the reduction of penalty rates while everyone else seemed to be against the idea. Well done, brave fellow!

– The foolishness of astrology and the thirteen constellations in the zodiac. The thirteen constellation, no longer used by astrologers, is Ophiuchus, The Serpent Holder.

– People with Disassociative Identity Disorder (formerly ‘Multiple Personality Disorder’) can have physical differences specific to a personality. For example, one personality had blurry eyesight and needed spectacles, whilst another personality (in the same body) had 20/20 vision! In another person, one personality was allergic to orange juice but the other three personalities felt no discomfort after drinking the juice. However, if the “allergic” personality emerged after the juice was drunk by the non-allergic personality, their body would suddenly break out in hives. And, one person was colour-blind, but their other personalities saw all the colours.
(It prompts the question: how many of our own health problems have we “manufactured”?)

– The seven planets orbiting a star 40 light years away. Could at least one of them have intelligent life? Could we ever find out? Mr B gave an emphatic ‘no!’ Whether he’s right or not . . .

– Xeno’s paradox is the idea that someone who begins a foot race behind someone else can never catch up to them, because by the time they have caught up to where the other person was, the other person has moved forward. Ad infinitum.

11. Before you go to our Facebook page, check out this clever move from a librarian. (Thanks, Glenda.)