32. Mr B causes consternation

“I never understood how God could expect his creatures to pick the one true religion by faith – it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe.”
Robert Heinlen.

1. Even before we got underway we had a passer-by asking Steve for the opportunity to speak, and Steve generously made way for him. For fifteen minutes, Shimon spoke on the podium about homelessness and what it takes to make a community. He did a good job, holding everyone’s attention.

Shimon is welcome back any time.


2. Steve replaced Shimon and then spent much of the day talking about the divide between science and religion, and about his theory that Australia should have more states.

Steve wasn’t suggesting that Australia should invade other nations to get more states; rather, he was suggesting that we divide the current states into smaller states.

This scribe thinks that’s a good idea. Indeed, Victoria could split itself into eleven states, each one hosting a team from the Australian Football League. State Essendon, anyone? Hawthorn, the Premier State?


3. The ‘Something Nice’ segment, to charm some and irritate others. (If the sign above doesn’t already warm your heart.)

4. Ray, our evangelicial Christian speaker, informed this scribe that he had had a good day chatting to several people about God.

The other speakers turn up each week because it’s a fun afternoon, but Ray is selfless. He turns up solely to spread the word of God. He gives his time to save the souls of others. He doesn’t get the support of a big crowd, and he regularly gets atheist dipsticks pestering him, but he battles on. That’s because he wants people to one day receive what he expects to get: eternal life.

Ray might not have a high strike rate saving those souls, but as he explained to this scribe, he is at least planting the seed.

Good stuff, Ray!

Ray has not yet had a crowd this big.

5. Mr B caused consternation when he criticised the patronising view society takes of women’s efforts to exercise. He said that if women don’t exercise because they feel intimidated and embarrassed, then perhaps we should be focusing on helping them develop the confidence to move through those awkward feelings, rather than focusing on making them feel more comfortable.

That didn’t go down well.

He then remarked upon a woman’s need to be loved for who she is, rather than on being loved for what she looked like. He said that perhaps a woman should learn to live her life without relying on being loved at all. He said that if we are older than twenty we don’t need to be loved by someone to be happy, and if we believe otherwise we need to wake up.

That didn’t go down well either.

6. Other subjects discussed:
– Our JokeFest went well, with Uncle Pete getting away with a rude joke because it was funny. David got a good laugh from a joke four seconds long. If only the speakers could be so efficient.

– Melvin Lerner’s ‘Just World Hypothesis‘ was discussed. It is about our habit of blaming the victim when we don’t have the power to help them. Examples given: someone with an illness, poverty, obesity, rape victims, refugees, and the happiness gurus who insist that success is all about persistence.

– Mr B explained to a Scottish woman why there is no such thing as a Scotsman. To her credit, the woman took the bad news philosophically.

– To ask someone to believe in themselves is like asking an atheist to believe in God. It won’t happen. Beliefs don’t work that way. Even for a million dollars or with a threat of death, we can’t adopt or ditch a belief as though it’s a raincoat. So, when the happiness gurus tell us to believe in ourselves, they’re being naive. (And suffering from the Just World Hypothesis.)

– A bystander asked Mr B for the meaning of life. To spare his regulars who have heard it before, Mr B took a different tack. He tried desperately to remember the message he had given in his latest video. Manfully he persisted, despite his poor memory and a surfeit of interruptions, and eventually he got it out. He then asked the bystander if she were satisfied with his answer. She said ‘no’, and everyone laughed. Poor Mr B.

– Mirko was a right royal pain in the proverbial today, blathering nonsensical rubbish involving goodness-knows-what. In other words, business as usual.

– Mr B explained how he once hypnotised thirty people without actually hypnotising anyone. He’s pretty amazing, that Mr B.

– “How do you know if something has life?” asked 93 year-old Arthur. He then answered his own question. (It’s a generous grasshopper who supplies both question and answer.) Arthur explained that anything that moves must be alive. That’s as detailed as he got. When asked if a plastic bag blowing about in a breeze was alive he rightly ignored that silly question.

– Should television judges be cruel to talentless wannabes?

– Uncle Pete gave us two enjoyable anecotes of a time when he was 15 years of age. The first was a description of what happened to him when he made his first batch of chloroform, and the second was about the time he appeared to set the school on fire with his negligent use of phosphorous. Great stories!

Peter must have been a real handful when he was a kid. Then again, he’s a handful now.

7. Our Facebook page has 56 subscribers but 58 followers. What the hell does that mean?