23. Yes, birds really are dinosaurs

“There are none so blind as those who will not see.”
John Heywood

1. 92 year old Albert carried all 32 chairs from the bus stop while Mr B stuffed about parking his car. But Albert cheated, taking only six at a time.

Albert is one of a number of individuals who help make Speakers’ Corner what it is.

“Well, what is it?” you ask.

It’s a bunch of people arguing.

2. Steve Maxwell was in good form. He has considerably perked up since recovering from his operations. We mean ‘perked up’ in the positive sense.

Steve mainly talked about the overly expensive $9 billion motorways being built in Sydney by Westconnex. “Those motorways are supposed to  solve traffic jams, but they won’t,” Steve explained.  His reference was David McRaney’s book,  “You can beat your brain“, chapter 2. “Common belief fallacy”.

Steve also explained to a group of English-speaking Chinese tourists what Beijing was like in 1974. (Steve had visited the place with his communist uncle.) The tourists were fascinated to learn what Beijing was like 43 years ago.

From the 'Everyday Life in Maoist China' blog

Party leaders celebrate May Day in 1974

3. Last week Mr B incorrectly stated that birds are not dinosaurs, and two grasshoppers swooped on him like a pair of raptors. To them, his claim was no less inflammatory than a bushfire. Mr B said he’d check his facts.

Today he reluctantly admitted that he was wrong: birds are dinosaurs. The words fell from his lips like stones. There was no enthusiasm in his voice, no grace. But as promised, he did eat humble pie and admitted he was wrong.

This scribe might tone down the metaphors and similes a little.

This perspicacious scribe could tell Mr B still wasn’t fully convinced that birds are dinosaurs. “If we have to take the boffins’ word for these things”, he said, “then presumably a pomologist boffin wouldn’t complain about having tomato in her fruit salad. (Thanks, Glenda.)

4. Speaking of dinosaurs, Mr B might like this picture of one:

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

6. It has been 50 years since a referendum was passed to include Aborgines and Torres Strait Islanders in the national census, and to allow the Commonwealth government to make laws for them. This acknowledgement prompted a robust discussion about the stolen generation.

No agreement was reached, but let’s never forget the treatment Aborignes and Torres Strait Islanders have endured.

7. And, with regards to that referendum 50 years ago, it can be no coincidence that in that same year, the Beatles released one of the most famous albums of all time, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“.

Let’s not forget how the Beatles inspired thousands of adoring followers to try drugs themselves. The Beatles: the greatest drug “pushers” in history.

And they were offered knighthoods???

At least Ringo Starr did some penance by narrating the television program, Thomas The Tank Engine, for two years. That’s some comfort, I guess.

8. Peter the Younger read a poem written by World War I poet, Siegfried Sassoon. Thank you, Peter!

And this anti-war poem is from poet Mary Gilmore:

9. In most instances, a favour is a favour. If we do a favour for someone we shouldn’t expect a favour in return. However, sometimes we are asked to help someone who may not respect our time or our money as much as we’d like. If we choose to comply with their request, this week’s assertiveness tip says we should expect something in return. Something in particular.

For example, if someone close to us wants to borrow money to start a business, it’s only fair that we ask to see a business plan. If someone repeatedly asks us to give them our time, let’s ask them to give us a written account of the steps they’re taking to correct their frequent problem.

It’s fair and reasonable to expect such ‘payments’. And, when the person has to prepare for you a blueprint of the solution, they get to discover that solution for themselves.

10. Other subjects discussed:
– To create affordable housing, should the State government build units alongside the railway lines and above? That would have the trains effectively run tunnels of apartments. If so, as one grasshopper asked, could track maintenance still be carried out?

Triple J, the ABC’s radio station for young people, would say it’s against all forms of discrimination. Yet you will never hear old people on Dr Karl’s science program. That’s because the producers don’t take phone calls from older people. That’s ageist, isn’t it, Triple J?

– Six people spoke on the Ladder of Knowledge today: Mr B, Firey Jean, Helmut, Tony, Viktor Zammit and Mirko.
Albert also spoke, but mainly from his chair. Albert has learned the exquisite skill of changing the subject to suit himself. He has learned well from The Master, Tony Boyce. Oh dear.
Thank you to all the speakers for their contributions.

– Someone asked Mr B’s opinion about whether or not Schappelle Corby was guilty twelve years ago. Mr B expressed exasperation and refused to answer the question, adding that he didn’t know the answer anyway.

– Anyone who applies to go to Mars should be rejected, simply because they are silly enough to apply. We shouldn’t send silly people. So said Mr B. He painstakingly explained why the idea of colonising Mars is absurd and effectively impossible. That didn’t stop a few grasshoppers claiming that similar predictions have been wrong before. To them, Mr B would point to the quote at the very beginning of this post.

If you had the opportunity, would you travel to Mars? Bear in mind that you would be suffering the disadvantages of weightlessness and solar radiation: atrophied muscles, brittle bones, high blood pressure, kidney stones, visual impairment, persistent backaches, loss of congintive function, cataracts, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Not to mention the pyschological problems associated with boredom, lack of privacy, anxiety and likely depression.

“And once you got to Mars, and managed to survive the landing,  it gets worse,” says Mr B.

NASA and SpaceX are working on solving those problems, but Mr B says it’s unlikely that they will. And anyway, those problems are just the beginning.

He’s a cheery sod, that Mr B.

11. There is no escape from the bird/dinosaur discussion on our Facebook page, so avoid that page if you can.

While you’re at it, avoid our Archives page too.