28. Poem: About School

1.As the evening concluded young Orlando, who has haunted us before, contravened strict regulations by capturing two pokemons at the Speakers’ Corner site: Jigglypuff & Staryu. He refused to release them.

This is outrageous.

2. Just some of the subjects discussed:
– Should illegal drugs be legalised? Mr B argued strongly against the idea. Should alcohol be banned? Mr B was in favour. He is a right royal kill-joy, that Mr B.

– Should the legal age to drink alcohol be raised from 18 to 21? Or 25 ? One well dressed man suggested maybe 35. To taunt him, a man pulled from his jacket a whisky flask and took a swig. The well dressed man then called the police, because the Domain is an alcohol-free park. Mr B called him a disgrace, and both men left in separate directions, grumpy.

– Two speakers discussed the possible origin of the universe. Both speakers differed markedly in their opinion, and both had no idea.

– How different would a person’s personality be after death, if there were an afterlife?

– Is Malcolm Turnbull happy?

– Steve Maxwell was asked why Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles is a good painting. How do we know it is? What makes it a good painting? Steve Maxwell explained why and in the process defended modern art.

– Steve Also asked us all to answer truthfully on Census Night. And, if we are not a member of any religion to tick the box, ‘No Religion’. People who believe in God, but who aren’t religious, can still tick that box, explained Steve.

– Peter the Heckler contributed too, as did Helmut, in all matters of science.

– It was claimed that no matter how hard we try to earn our self-worth by seeking the approval of others, we will fail. This meme seems to provide good advice.

self esteem

3. On the same subject of self-worth, the question of earning money arose.

Money 2.img

4. A poem was recited and a discussion about school and its effects ensued. Here is the poem:

About School, by R Kukerji.
He said things, but no one understood.
He explained things. But no one cared.
So he drew.
Sometimes he would draw and it wasn’t anything. He wanted to carve it in stone, or write it in the sky.
He would lie on the grass, and look up at the sky, and it would be only him and the sky, and the things inside that needed saying.
One day he drew a picture. It was a beautiful picture. When he closed his eyes he could still see it, and it was all of him, and he loved it.
When he started school he brought it with him. Not to show anyone, just to have with him, like a friend.
It was funny about school. He sat in a square, grey desk, like all of the other square grey desks. And he thought it should be red.
His room was a square, grey room, like all of the other rooms. And it was tight, and close, and stiff.
He hated to hold the pencil with his arm stiff, and his feet flat on the floor, stiff, with the teacher watching and watching.
Then he had to write numbers, and they weren’t anything. They were worse than the letters that could be something if you put them together.
The numbers were tight and square, and he hated the whole thing.
The teacher spoke to him. She told him to wear a tie like all of the other little boys.
He said he didn’t like them. 
She said it didn’t matter.
After that they drew.
He drew all yellow. It was the way he felt about morning, and it was beautiful.
The teacher came again and smiled down at him. “What’s this”, she asked? “Why don’t you draw something like Ken’s drawing?”
It was all questions.
After that his mother bought him a tie.
And he always drew aeroplanes and rocket ships, like everyone else.
The old picture . . . He threw it away.
And when he lay on the grass looking up at the sky, it was big, and blue, and all of everything.
But he wasn’t anymore.
He was square inside, and grey. 
His hands were stiff.
 And he was like everyone else.
And that thing inside that needed saying: it didn’t need saying anymore.
It had stopped pushing.
It was crushed.
Like everything else.

5. Each week Mr B discusses a modern day hero. Last week he spoke of seven heroes in Mexico. A nurse, two doctors, two anaesthetists, and two bomb disposal experts volunteered to operate on a woman with a live grenade lodged in her jaw. The operation took place in a paddock, and took four hours to perform. The grenade was successfully removed.

This week Mr B spoke about a brave man called Genert Quintero. A drug kingpin called Mauner Mahecha in Columbia had his men build three submarines to silently ferry tonnes of cocaine beneath the seas. Each cost millions of dollars. They were 22 metres long and could submerge to sixty feet, stay under water for eighteen hours at a time, and go for ten days without refuelling.

The submarines ran on hundreds of batteries, which made them so quiet they were undetectable, even by radar. 
They were made in the mangrove swamps of Columbia and Equador, without electricity.

To build them he had bribed officers from the Columbian navy and hired the workers.

One day they tried to recruit an engine mechanic who was working in the Columbian Navy. Genert had been earning a modest salary and was about to retire. He was promised $50,000 (a small fortune) to work on the submarines.
However, he knew it was a dodgy business and reported the offer to a trusted friend, and that was reported to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administraton, who linked with the Columbian naval intelligence unit and asked Genert to accept the job and go undercover. He did. He retired from the Navy and became a crew member on one of the submarines.

He knew that if he were discovered, he and his family would disappear.

During the next few months, Genert gave the authorities names and phone numbers and secret locations. Thousands of telephone calls were recorded. They secretly videotaped crew members at cafes, airports, and even amusement parks. They monitored suspects’ email accounts.
Just before the submarines maiden voyages the authorities raided the cocaine processing labs and discovered four tonnes of cocaine easily worth tens of millions of dollars. They seized the submarines and made lots of arrests. They caught the kingpin himself and he was extradited to the United States and sentenced in a Florida court to eighteen years jail. The crew and builders and accountants and security guards pleaded guilty and are all doing time in prison.

Genert was a brave and honest man, and to be commended. Next week, another hero.

6. Have we ever mentioned that we have a Facebook page? And that if you want to see past posts you can go to the archives site?