29. It’s about time.

“Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.”
Ray Cummings

1. Poor Mr B. He’s a delicate man, as most of you know, and today he had a savage battle of wits with two young women. It wasn’t a fair contest because Mr B lacked amunition. The two young women argued using facts and logic,  and all Mr B used was his obnoxiousness. The savaging he endured was brutal and the audience loved it. This scribe likens the audience to the rabble you’d find in the peanut gallery.

Poor Mr B, I suggest you lick your wounds and move on.

2. Our best wishes for Tony Boyce. He has had prostate cancer for seven years and he’s now on stronger medication. It has been knocking him around. He couldn’t come today. Good luck Tony!

When there is a discussion in full swing, Tony likes to contribute irrelevant points, to give the discussion depth.

3. The ‘Something Nice’ segment, to charm some and irritate others.

4. Every Sunday a bicycle tour group (with music blaring) visits Speakers’ Corner. Mr B was about to give them his usual generous explanation of how Speakers’ Corner came into being when his regular grasshoppers revolted. They howled in protest, having heard the story so many times.

Uncle Pete came to the rescue. He took command of the Ladder of Knowledge, promising to give his version of the history of Speakers’ Corner. The audience settled down and listened attentively. Three minutes later the story had concluded and everyone was happy. Even Mr B, who is now thinking of delegating a few more tasks to his minions.

The tour group left happy, with music again blaring. That music reminded Uncle Pete of the inanity of many song lyrics. Mr B taunted him by declaring that Bob Dylan provides plenty of examples. (Uncle Pete is a big fan of Bob Dylan.) Uncle Pete was not to be outdone, and an anecdote followed.

Mr B eventually prised Uncle Pete off the ladder.

5. This joke was used to begin a talk about ‘time’.

Compare that snail’s perception of time with a pigeon’s, which when watching a movie would see 24 still frames, one after the other, every second. We humans are in the middle somewhere.
And, it’s feasible that an extra-terrestrial alien observer might perceive  our traffic in the same way we see it when it’s fast forwarded on television. Or, it might see our traffic in slow motion. Time seems subject to perception. Yet, it’s a real and measurable thing: think of two synchronised atomic clocks: one on Earth and one travelling fast on a space station: they are soon out of synch because time differs in different conditions. So, we discussed the nature of time.

6.  “Life is a play. We are given a character but no lines. We have to ad lib throughout life. We act in character, and at times, out of character. We are obliged to flesh out our character in the way we think fit. We are defined somewhat by other characters in the plot, and by how we react to our circumstances. There are many contiguous plays. Our character can slip into other scenes, particularly if the original scene is a lot of boring unmanageable shit.”
Helane Paizes, sister of Mr B.

Helane’s off-the-cuff words were quoted and a discussion soon ensued about the merit of John Donne’s famour words:

Are we islands, as Simon and Garfunkle suggested, or are we ‘one’? The views given were varied and interesting.

7. Do we have something we can be proud of? The following comment was found on our Youtube channel.

“That’s a nice speaker’s corner! The Hyde park speaker’s corner in London is messy, loads of noise and disrespect! The one in Sydney looks more intellectual and they don’t only talk about religion.”
Baptiste G.

8.  Today everyone agreed they had regrets, but only the speaker himself chose to volunteer one. It was about how he unnecessarily got his parents to walk further than necessary. That regret was deemed lame by one grasshopper. “Can’t you do better than that?” he asked.

Presumably the baying crowd want a regret involving blood and guts and a lost fortune, or something.

Due to grasshopper reluctance to express a regret we are changing the segment. This coming Sunday, bring along your tale of regret, OR life changing experience, OR an astonishing or entertaining anecdote.

9. The JokeFest fared better
, though one joke was more of a paradox about an unexpected exam. Uncle Pete pointed out that if a teacher tells her students that she will be giving them an unexpected exam in the following week, she won’t be able to give them that unexpected exam. Why? Because every day is predictable. If the students haven’t been given the test by Thursday they would know they would be getting it the following day, Friday. It would be expected. That means, an unexpected exam cannot be held on a Friday; it can only be held on a Monday to Thursday. However, that means that if the test hasn’t been held by Wednesday then the students would know they’d be getting it on the following day, Thursday. So again, it would be expected. Therefore, the exam cannot be on Thursday. And so on. Working back, using that logic, the test cannot be a surprise on any day of the week!

Yet, the teacher gives the test on Tuesday and it’s not expected, so where precisely is the logic wrong? Uncle Pete asked the audience for a response, and if you’d like to know the results of his enquiry:

10. Last year, Mr B proved conclusively to his grasshoppers that 1 + 1 does not always equal 2. Today he provided us with another mathematical proof, courtesy of the CSIRO. He proved to us that 2 + 11 = 12 + 1.

11. Other subjects discussed:
– Can an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile be intercepted? No, it was claimed, and the reasons why were given. To intercept one would be like trying to fire one bullet to hit another, this article from ABC news explains.

– The difference in pay between men and women. (That’s when the delicate Mr B was soundly beaten in the battle of wits. That’s enough on that subject.)

– Why do some some alcoholics attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings relapse? Mr B audaciously explained why.

– Toxic and acidic wastewater escaped a tailings dam in Israel, saturating twenty kilometres of desert and killing everything in its path. Jeepers. What’s worse is that few people know about it. How many other similar incidents are occurring througout the world, every week, and going unnoticed? It’s a bad sign when catastophes like that don’t make the headline news.

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