15. Marshall gets up!

I am not young enough to know everything.”
Oscar Wilde.

1. Mr B had a chest infection that would have killed most men, but he turned up anyway. His grasshoppers were pleased he did because it meant they each had a chair to sit in.

Steve Maxwell talked about “politics and other tics”, while across the way, Ray sat down and had a leisurely talk with one of his grasshoppers about God.

Mr B did his thing and then late in the day, Helmut threw out all of the toys in his cot, complaining of how we should have the best orators speaking during the middle of the meeting, not at the end of the day when there is no crowd. (And yet, there usually is a crowd.)

But Helmut, I thought we DID have our best orators speaking in the middle of the day. Mark the Grinner did a fantastic job when he took over from the croaky Mr B, whose throat was sore. Peter the Younger also did a wonderful job keeping us informed and interested. Mirko took the ladder and made us all laugh with his repeated bellow of  “Shuddup you! I’m talking!” It was particularly funny because of the sheer hypocrisy involved.

Passer-by Marshall also did a great job when he stood on the Ladder of Knowledge. Here is a snippet, so you can see for yourself:

2. Early in the meeting Mr B explained why no one should vote in state and federal elections, and that if no one did, we could replace the current system with one that actually works. Mr B then tentatively put forth alternative systems, but failed to elicit inspiring feedback.

Mr B seems to think we grasshoppers have given up on the idea of doing things properly, and instead choose to pretend to ourselves that by voting, we can achieve something.

He tells me he should be calling us ostriches, not grasshoppers.

One of Mr B’s reluctant compromises is the following: when we collect our ballot paper to vote we should also be given a True/False “intelligence” test to complete. For example:
– Ten percent of $200 is $20. True or False?
– Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Halal are all terrorist organisations. True or False?
– Ayer’s Rock had its name changed to Hanging Rock. True or False?
– Old photographs reveal the world used to be in black and white. True or False?
– Polar bears eat penguins and seals. True or False?
Not difficult questions, are they? So, get one wrong and your vote won’t count. Mind you, Mr B thinks birds aren’t really dinosaurs, so what would he know? His vote shouldn’t count either.



3. Some questions about George Pell’s sentence were raised:
– Why will George Pell be eligible for parole after serving less than four years of his six year sentence, given that the purpose of parole will not apply to him?

– Why did the Chief Judge allow for George Pell’s “good character and otherwise blameless life” given that for decades Pell refused to do anything about the abusing clergy when complaints were made?

– Why did the Chief Judge give George Pell a short sentence because of his age, telling George, “so as to increase the prospect of you living out the last part of your life in the community”? Why is it important that George spends the last part of his life in the community?

“In my view it does not even approach low-end offending.” said the Chief Judge. So, Chief Judge, why did you give him a light sentence and unnecessary parole?

– Pell will be registered for life as a sexual offender. Given Pell’s familiar face and notoriety, why is that important? That’s like writing the word ‘hippo’ on a hippo.

4. Other matters discussed:
– Mr B brought the meeting to a close by thanking the early forefathers who had the presence of mind to create a park and plant Morton Bay fig trees, so that people in the far future would enjoy the park, and have shade from the sun and shelter from the rain. A passer-by told Mr B to also acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. He refused, saying that the indigenous people would, quite rightly, have opposed the ravaging of their stolen land to make a park, and for us to thank them for the park would be inappropriate and disrespectful. Mr B has told your scribe that if he survives his current malady, this coming Sunday he will discuss the matter of acknowledging the Gadigal people. Come along and express your view on the matter.

– Earlier, Mr B explained why the indigenous people didn’t build ships.

– We discussed Tim’s special meeting last week (about drug decriminalisation and pill testing) and a few grasshoppers were critical of the electronic amplification (normally outlawed at Speakers’ Corner), and of the selective mircophone use. More on that to come, this scribe suspects, because on May 12th Tim will be holding another meeting, this time with politicians.

– Mr B wants the government to create a ‘Listeners’ Bureau’. Would the man who killed 50 people (and injured many others) in Christchurch have done so if he had had his concerns respectfully and comprehensively addressed much earlier, by knowledgeable people willing to answer his questions and listen to his complaints without judgement? Did the man’s pain fester into violence because no one would listen to his fears except his like-minded and equally bitter cyber-associates? Could tragedies be prevented if there were a place to go to for a person wanting to freely discuss and express their concerns?

This is the virus currently ravaging poor Mr Bashful

5. In our Unusual Creature Series we feature the thorn bug, native to Florida, U.S.A. It has generously given our Facebook page five stars. (But we don’t know what to do with them. They’re not redeemable for cash.)