22. Are birds dinosaurs?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We hope the two lads come again and speak.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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